Minicon Recap

  • Last weekend at Manhattan Minicon, I ran and completed The Redoubt of Hades over two play sessions.

Players were Greg, who I met for a pickup game of GURPS Infinite World, and who has played through two of my other con games, Beneath the Fallen Tower, and Shame of the Deepguard. He played Jelani the halberdier, and made great use of called shots to the neckJelani Character Sheet 187 for Greg

Next was Andre, who has played several characters in my online game, Northport, including the goblin priest of the Erl King, Zeelzeel Shadowspear.  He was torn between Marlo, the thief of indeterminate gender, and Zeelzeel’s necromancer cousin, longtime NPC Razakeel Shadowcloak , who had some zombie allies. He ended up settling on Marlo, due to his love of knives.

Marlo Character Sheet 187 for Andre

Mark, enthusiastic and new to GURPS, was also attracted to Razakeel, became torn between Ofelia, the Sleep centric mage from Shame of the Deepguard, and Thornstripe, a movement and missile mage, equipped with both fireball, and the now off-book Winged Knife. He succumbed to the sweet lure of pyromania, which worked well against the undead being faced.

Thornstripe character sheet 187

Nick briefly contemplated an adventurer, but decided to complete the classic quartet and wonderfully played the cleric Sister Clarissa

Sister Clarissa 187

(Note: her will is 13, not 11)

Nick is French, and my campaign is set in a caricature of medieval France, so there were some awkward moments as I mangled the names of some of my NPCs. He took everything in stride and was hilarious in his depiction of the charitable but severe priestess.

“Good morning Heretic, we are here to enter the Undercity.”

The adventure started in the common room of the Adventurers Guild, which is my conceit for accommodating a West Marches style of play.  They were called upstairs by Bellarius (high elf Agent from DF15), the secretary of Camilla the Quest Coordinator (Agent+Adept) who brought them to her, where they also met with Plutocrat Remulos of the Hadereum (cleric+a couple of social lenses with rank and wealth), Margeaux le Manifique (the apparent sole survivor of that poorly managed expedition by a bad player), and Karlow the orc working for the Department of Acueducts and Sewers.

Due to increased cult activity in the Undercity, several members of the hadereum (12 cultists and 2 initiates) had entered to rededicate a long abandoned temple of Hades in order to strengthen the presence of law amid the chaos below. Two weeks ago (a week before Margeaux returned) they went dark, and a guarded caravan of food and supplies sent to them disappeared.

The route from the Hadereum has been blocked, as something large (the bhole {super dire Rotworm} that came through the Ymid’s Bone Gate) collapsed part of the tunnels. Margeaux’s story suggests another route, and Karlow will be their guide.

Margeaux is accompanied by the ghost  dof her dead husband Claude, who really wishes their wedding vows had included “to death do we part”, and she talks to him, suggesting he keeps himself hidden with the Plutocrat present. (The Hadereum likes everyone to stay dead where they belong)

Claude spells out something in water drops from a glass nearby “Anything to get away from you!” Which is spotted by Thornstripe on a critical perception roll, allowing the mage to see the shimmering form of the spirit.

Sister Clarissa, having higher purpose: slay undead starts chanting an exorcism, which is interrupted by Remulos, who asks her to refrain from her non-pagan ways in his presence (Sister Clarissa is a Triunist, and comes from the Bishop of Sonne, who is currently paying Adventurers to fight wights in the abandoned Monastery).

They proceed to Ashbury’s Abattoir , meet the crew their, and find their way to the ladder well left unsecured when Margeaux’s group had lowered their dwarf sized iron golem down it. This caused grumbling from Karlow, who closed the hatch. Now on the second level, they ran into the terribly hungry and frightened young speaking Otyugh (IQ6) in a catchment room, trying to keep out a handful of horde zombies who fell to fireballs, thrown knives, halberd work, and True Faith. (The zeds had been released from impromptu burial chambers by evil cultists with the Brotherhood of the Dead perk).

Karlow grumbled some more, fed and locked it in its pen and the catchment room., And they determined that the local Sewer employee had been killed by a member of  Margeaux’s group…

They dove into a room that recently held dead to avoid a horde of plague zombies, and Jelani rolled a critical strength failure trying to push the door closed, and instead pushed something out…

Just the TiP


After this encounter, they entered the pool room, where Margeaux’s party met their demise, (along with a crowd of undead whose corpses were  the scattered about)  along with the reanimated remains of her party. The guild was paying them to recover their guild badges, so they collected all but Timeon’s. When confronted with the puzzle of lighting fires atop the pylons, the mage fireballed one, and critically failed another, stunning himself.

Lighting both pylons (in a very Legend of Zelda way) caused the fountain to spill gold coins into the mildly caustic water (the golem had rusted through in a week). Unfortunately, not lighting them simultaneously (which two people with torches could have done) released The Thing in the Pool, or as my players called it, “just the TiP”. It was a multi-tentacled elder thing that had a fear aura, and laid heavily into the party. We even used a bit of Gaming Ballistic’s Fantastic Dungeon Grappling when dealing with the TiP wrapping tentacles around Jelani before it could eat her.

After it was defeated, with both haste and great haste being cast, and both the gold and the golem’s orichalcum maul, which Sister Clarissa took despite lacking the requisite strength.

They exited the pool room into a nearby storage room where Timeon was holding out, using one ancient barrel of rations for food, and another for used foods, and he shot Marlo with his crossbow, and the tribe accepted him as a member, finding out while resting and healing that he had been unwilling to re-enter the pool room for fear of the Void Brute that Frer Noe had summoned to kill the previous party, and  because he broke his lockpicks on the outer door. Once some fatigue was recovered (including some from Lend Energy) they exited the anteroom by means of Karlow’s key, and ran into a horde of plague zombies


True faith and great haste again ruled the day, as they cleaved,  mauled, stabbed, shot, and fireballed their way through the fleeing horde, and ended up Fantastically Grappling a cultist who had been herding the dead.

The second cultist ran ahead and opened a door, releasing three New and Improved Wights.

Unlike my previous versions, which were unkillable with an Achilles heel of Silver or Magical Weapons, these had Injury Resistance (50%) to attack forms other than fire and silver or enchanted weapons. Skeletal undead take 2x from crushing weapons, which cancel out the injury resistance, allowing Sister Clarissa to pound the wights, which is good, because two out of three resisted true faith.  Jelani was closed with after missing a neck shot with her halberd, and was the first to suffer energy drain (FP) from the wights. Marlow made a head shot count, and Karlow stepped in, and was eventually overrun, losing enough FP to end up in a HP lowering Death spiral.

Weakened and afraid of Karlow turning, they took out the wights.

Soon after, they rescued the worshipers trapped in the Redoubt, and headed home.

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Death and Taxes: On regulating the Undercity

One of the organizational features of Northport is the Plutocratic Bureaucracy.  Centered in their underground temple complex, the Hadereum, the Plutocracy has oversight over all things below the surface, and of taxation.  Priests of Dis Pater Pluton, with spheres of Earth and Death, the Plutocrats are all at least Almost Wealthy, and concerned about lawbreakers, tax evaders and anything underground.  They are vociferously against Necromancers and will hustle to put down greater undead, but do allow for criminals (especially debtors) to serve out sentences of “Death plus hard labor” and frequently have a few necrmantic zombies wandering about bearing placards indicating their crimes as object lessons for the populace. They make a point of casting Final Rest on decent citizens, and any holy warriors of the sect definitely use the shtick that prevents reanimation. They do not raise the dead either.

There is a standing 30% tax on any goods found under the city, which has lead to a small cottage industry dedicated to bypassing this.  Any goods found directly under your own property are immune to this tariff, and civil servants who work for the Department of  Sewers and Aqueducts (a perk) are entitles to anything they can carry.  As half of the city is actually under foreign control (Little Shevnia) the reach of the plutocrats end at that geopolitical border.  Some of the Adventurer’s Guild Quest Brokers (Agents, or Adept Agents with agents of their own) make a very selective effort in vetting those on retrieval missions to avoid anyone with a duty to the plutocracy from participating. On the other hand, there are delvers that make use of created servants and golems to transport goods to locations that are not taxable, so that they can pass a Truthsayer spell asking if they themselves moved the property…

Maintenance of the underground is handled by the doughty members of the Department of Sewers and Aqueducts, who spend their time repairing gates that keep the overabundant slorn from entering public areas, and unclogging drains of debris (like corpses) that are then fed to ottyughs that dwell in caged pits near the sewer catchment basins.  One such Sewer worker is Karlow who has served as a guide to many of the adventuring parties attempting to investigate the undercity


orcish sewer worker
att:100 adv: 32 d/q: -54 skills: 46 total: 125
ST 13 [20] DX 12[40] IQ 10[20] HT 13 [20]
Hp 15[0] Will 11[0] Per 11/13h [5] FP 13
bs: 6.0 [-5] mv: 6 dodge: 9  T/S: 1d/2d-1
[15] orc: +1 ST, -1 IQ, +1 HT, +2 hp, +2 acute hearing;
         rapid healing, +3vs metabolic hazards, social stigma: savage
         ugly, bully
[5] +8 vs metabolic hazards
[5] absolute direction
[1] licenced sewer worker
[1] adventurers guild member
[-10] bad smell
[-5] stubborn
[-10] struggling
[-5] loner
[-5] anosmia
[-5] curious
[-5] workaholic
-claustrophilic, horrible hangovers, proud, nosering

area knowledge: undercity level one IQ/E: [8] 14
                   ( other levels default at -2 per level)
                    Northport surface IQ/E [1] 10
hidden lore: sewer secrets IQ/A [1] 9
carpentry IQ/E [1] 10
Masonry IQ/E [2] 11
Engineering: Civil IQ/H [1] 8
Plumbing IQ/A [8] 12
forced entry DX/E [2] 13
traps IQ/A [1] 9
climbing DX/A [2] 12
stealth DX/A [1] 11
streetwise IQ/A [1] 9
swimming HT/E [1] 13
Brawling DX/E [2] 13
knife DX/E [1] 12
Staff DX/A [2] 12
polearm DX/A [4] 13
axe/mace DX/A [2] 12
Search Per/A [2] 11
Observation Per/A [2] 11

Languages: Aralaise native/broken 0/-2
           Orcish accented/0 2/0

Leather Jacket $50 DR1
Heavy cloth pants $40 DR1
Boots $80 DR 2
Medium hardened leather vest $125 DR2 =DR3 total
Leather helmet $40 DR3
heavy leather gauntlets $13 DR2
Pack $40
Crowbar $20
dueling Bill: 2d+1 cut/1d+3 imp/1d-1 cut(hook) $100
large knife $40 1d imp, 2d-3 cut
knobbed club,$20 2d cr
gate key: 1 lb iron key on lanyard attached to his belt

Of course, the true maintenance of the deeper levels are managed by the original inhabitants, who do not care for these recent developments…