GURPS Banestorm redux narrative thread

This is the narrative thread for the game discussed at:

…which is a continuation of the game started at:

This thread is for in-character posts by the players and GM only; please keep all meta discussion to the other thread.

Current party members:

Thwip, a goblin steampunk engineer

Ranar, a dwarven warrior

Sasha, a dwarven geomancer

Hayu, a human street tough


@DaakSyde @William_George @MalevolentPixy @strokeybeard

Heading over to examine the metal panel, Hawk places his hand upon it. As he does so, it swings smoothly open, forming a tray in front of a small compartment in the wall. Inside lays a potion bottle, a scroll case and a cloak-pin mounting a large jewel.

Examining the contents, Hawk and Aronn carefully extract the scroll from its case. Though fragile, the parchment is intact and written in Arabic. Aronn declares it to be a spell that destroys water; combined with the jeweled cloak pin (which is apparently a large powerstone), it could clear the entrance.

The contents of the potion bottle appear intact, but the effects are unknown. It is labelled in Arabic, الخفي : alkhafiu, “hidden”.

A quick discussion then ensues as to what to do about the forces lurking on the surface. As there appears to be only one route in or out of the base, a confrontation appears inevitable. A suggestion of diplomacy by Hawk is strongly rejected by Aronn. The main question seems to be whether to attempt to lure the adversaries into the complex, or to instead charge for the surface as soon as the water disappears.

An examination of forces on your side consists of Ranar, Nic, Jibril, Thwip, Hawk and Aronn. Clearing out the water will exhaust the powerstone as well as one of the mages. Eabd is no more, but there is still a giant spider lurking in the infirmary that could be controlled by Hawk.

Aronn has the box from the no-mana room, Ranar has the other small items of loot. Everyone is in reasonable health, and Eabd’s armoury is available to use.

Examination of the surface forces via the map table reveals that the humanoid figures have disappeared from sight. The centaurs are still on the surface, and appear to be searching around for other entrances.

[Player cue: Thwip & Ranar, give me a quick suggestion as to how you’d like to approach the encounter, and I’ll write up the next bit]

Ranar Bolijyr

“I canna see outrunnin’ gallopin’ centaurs in the open. Here at least, we have confined spaces.” His tone conveys the natural dwarven love for tight underground spaces as he gestures at the walls. “Gives us an an ahh… the advantage. Maybe someone tricksy enough could make it more of an advantage - set up some traps along the corridors. We’ve got some rope, I think there was a crossbow in the weapons pile, maybe some knives… Improvise. Then we lure 'em in, through the traps, to a doorway or intersection where we can hit from both sides and take 'em down one by one.”


The goblin strokes his chin as he considers this plan. “My only prablim wit tis is tat wonce tey know we’re still in here tey kin just retreat an starf us oot. Are tey a ‘Proud Warrior Race’ type o peeples? Meebe we kin lure tem in wit tere prefious defeet?”

“Meebe we kin use magicks t’ help wit an escape?” He asks Blue Hawk, “Kin yi command t’ worms an bugs t’ soften bits o t’ ground aroond t’ foundations enuff tat a critter as big as a center will easily collapse? Make holes jus’ big nuff fir a leg t’ go in? Ten meebe we can use tat t’ slow 'em doon?”

Thwip shudders at the memory of the giant spider. “Ifin we kin make t’ spider run oot ahead off us at t’ same time…? But we mightn needt Blue Hawk’s healin’ magicks. Meebee tie Eabd t’ it and haff tem chase after it whilst we go t’ otter way?”

“I wunder ifin I kin do someting wit t’ spider, mi Greek fire, and Eabd’s boddy?”

Starting to become lost in pondering the great mysteries of his current situation, he frowns his customary frown, “Tho meebe tey expect a distrakshun an t’ centers are distrakshuns temselves?”

Thwip commands the table to show more of the surrounding area. He wants to know where the pinkies have gone.

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The surface pinkies are not visible; they may have gone underground.

Thwip grimaces and points this out to the military experienced members of the party. “I have heardt off some fighters tat kin use t’ landscape t’ vanish witoot magick like some animals. Couldt tis be it?”

Another thought, “Unless tere’s an otter underground complex like tis one?”

Ranar Bolijyr

“Ah yes, our spider friend! Good for capturing pests. Her home would be a good trap, but we would only have a few minutes. Hmm…” Ranar sits on the floor and draws lines and X’s in the dust with his fingers for a couple of minutes, wipes over it and starts over on a fresh patch of dust.

“Thwip, Jibril, De Courcy could rig something in that hallway so that when the water clears and our attackers come in, it makes noise, preferably with some light. Cover that sign on the door we didn’t go into, the one that scared Blue Hawk, with something marked like it was where we found what we were looking for. Put an arrow on the floor pointing into the spider lair with a ‘2’ and a camp symbol, like we made camp in the room beyond the spider room. Maybe prop Eabd’s armor at the end of the hallway or just inside the spider lair.” Ranar looks at the ceiling and breathes for a moment.

“We hide behind the fake wall, where the flashing Things came from. Blue Hawk brings our spider friend out to the central chamber and up out of sight over the doorway. Aronn clears the water. The enemy enters, the thing rigged in the hall makes some noise and light. The enemy goes to investigate. Once they’re in there, looking at the markings, maybe getting trapped in the spider’s room or worse, Blue Hawk and our spider friend web up the doorway from the central chamber to that hallway, leaving them stuck inside. Then’s our chance.” He makes a short arc in the dust. “We burst out through the wall like Things and run for the exit.”

Ranar trails off, sounding a little uncertain. “Then uh, ahm, when we get to the surface w-w-we ah imp-improvise.”

He looks around at the others for reactions.


He nods along at this plan. Then something in the back of his head starts shouting.

“T’ room tat… Oh! T’ meebe demon-infestid room? Kin we use tat Somehow?”

Ranar Bolijyr

“Aye, tis why I said t’ cover the sign and mark it like it was where we found what we were lookin’ for. So maybe they’ll go in and ahh… whatever’s in there will ahh, keep them occupied.” Ranar nods to Blue Hawk and Aronn. “If they think it’s a bad idea to go in there, it might be a good place to send the enemy.”


He nods, finally understanding the plan. “We’dt haf t’ make it look like we’re berrykaydid up tere or sometin. Try t’ make t’ otter stairs look like a distrackshun wit t’ traps so tey’ll ignore tem?”

He frowns at the map again. “Not knowin’ were t’ pi… hoomans are is makingk me worry. Tey couldn’t haf gone tat far in tis time.”

Chin scratch. Brow furrow. Arabic.

“Map. Show me zee surface wittin und two mile radyus of zis vacility. Underlay any maps und schematics zat you haff of vacilities und conshtructions wittin zat area. Sixty dekrees ankle.”

Thwip deeply hopes that they missed another bunker or even a root cellar on their way in. Avoiding those will be easy if the enemy is hiding in them. Avoiding fast-moving centaurs will be hard enough. Fast moving humans on top of that will really complicate matters.

After some observation and consultation with Nic about tactics, Thwip reports this to Ranar. “Meebe tis is to are atvantage? Ifin tey come raging in tey might be easy t’ lead where we want.”

Ranar Bolijyr

Ranar nods and agrees. “Yes, that’s what I’m hoping for.”

After the others have had their say, Ranar paces back and forth for a few moments, stroking his beard and "hmm"ing and grunting to himself. Blue Hawk may be able to run far faster than Ranar ever could, but nowhere near fast enough for that. And he would then be too tired. And the whole team would have to take a blind leap of faith that everything was timed perfectly. Not quite workable.

But still, the core idea of luring the enemy into the spider’s nest and the adjacent chamber feels good. As does hiding behind the wall.

“Okay, as Thwip says, a little more preparation. Trap the other hallways, leave the one to the infirmary open. As described before, put markings there so that if they do go in they’ll want to investigate further. And if possible something that makes noise and some light to draw them to it. Put Eabd’s armor sitting there, slumped over so that it looks like perhaps someone has fallen asleep guarding the entrance to that hallway. Let the spider alone to do its own thing. If they go in there, it may still delay them.”

“We’ll still hide out behind the fake wall, but once Aronn clears the water, Jibril and De’Courcy will take turns poking their heads through to peek out, quickly, and assess the situation, and when the enemy falls for the bait or all seems clear, they’ll give the signal. If they think they’ve been seen, we’ll prepare to defend against anything coming through the wall and wait a couple of minutes before peeking again.”

“How does that sound, any other ideas?”


@DaakSyde @William_George @MalevolentPixy @strokeybeard

As Aronn studies the antique scroll, the rest of the party scramble to prepare. With Hawk close behind as a precaution, Ranar and de Courcy carry Eabd’s armour into the hospital wing, using the webs to glue him into a standing position with his helmet back in place. The spider lurks in the back of its web as they hastily do this.

A scrap of cloth cut from the hem of Nic’s cape suffices to cover the “plague/demon ward” sign; the force-field door is still in place. Aronn provides a pair of magically-lit stones as lures; one for the top of the stairs, one tossed deep into the spider’s lair.

Once your preparations are complete, Aronn heads to the entrance with the scroll. Clutching the powerstone in his left hand, he reads aloud the Arabic spell; as it completes, the water vanishes and Aronn collapses to the ground exhausted. Grabbing him by the armpits, Ranar and de Courcy hurriedly drag him into the hidden corridor. Only Thwip remains outside, the decoy lights providing just enough illumination for his Goblin vision, ready to dive through the secret doorway at a moment’s notice.

As time passes, your heartbeats slowly subside, but the tension remains high. It is difficult to accurately measure the passage of time. After a delay that feels like hours (but might have been minutes), Thwip is startled by the noise of a stone skittering along the floor of the entrance hallway and a light appearing from the base of the stairs. Suppressing an involuntary shriek, he jumps back into concealment behind the illusory wall.

Carefully poking as little as possible of his face back into the central chamber, Thwip continues to observe. After another seemingly endless delay, a brightly glowing stone is thrown from the entrance hall into the main chamber, skittering to a halt in the centre, where it dimly illuminates the entire room.

Again, there is an interminable delay, before a black-clad figure peeks a head above the edge of the entrance stairs. As soon as it appears, Thwip whips his face backwards into concealment and signals frantically to the rest of the party.

You all catch your breath as you strain to hear beyond the wall without success. The intruder/s are remarkably stealthy. Once again, the seconds stretch out like hours as the silence continues.


@DaakSyde @William_George @MalevolentPixy @strokeybeard

After what seems like an eternity, you hear the sound of twanging bowstrings, perhaps from the vicinity of the hospital wing.


Thwip takes a deep breath and takes a quick peek with the hope that no one else with a bow is looking in his direction.


@DaakSyde @William_George @MalevolentPixy @strokeybeard

A quick look does not reveal any movement; the glowing stone is still in the centre of the main chamber, as is the lure at the top of the stairs to the hospital wing.

[give me another roll if you want to take a second, longer look]


@DaakSyde @William_George @MalevolentPixy @strokeybeard

A longer, more careful look returns similar results. The brief noises have subsided; silence reigns.


@DaakSyde @William_George @MalevolentPixy @strokeybeard

Retrieving a mini spyglass from one of his many pockets, Thwip carefully eases it through the illusory wall. The field of view is narrow and dim, but it’s better than nothing.

After another tense delay, a pair of figures descend from the stairs to the hospital wing.

They are elves, dressed in black silk outfits which appear remarkably similar to Aronn’s normal attire. One carries a slender spear; the other has some sort of short flail in his right hand and an unusual [1] dagger in his left. Both have longbows slung over their shoulders.

They move with great stealth and a deadly grace, signalling to each other with silent gestures. They appear to be a well-practiced team. As you watch, they move towards the armoury wing (AKA Eabd’s section) and disappear up the stairs.

[1] The quillons are greatly extended, and curve forwards almost as far as the tip of the blade.


Thwip turns to the others and makes a spider with his hands followed by a throat-cutting action. The goblin then mouths “assassins” at the rest of the party while holding up two fingers. He makes pointy elf ears with his hands and fingers over his own pointy goblin ears in the hopes that everyone realizes that they must strive to be equally silent lest they’re spotted by the fabled elven hearing. He then makes walking-up-stairs motions with his fingers, points in the general direction of the armory while mouthing the same.

He then makes a running motion, and with a questioning face mouths at Ranar, “Go?”

Ranar Bolijyr

Blast! The delay didn’t slow them down. Still, the armory is the farthest point from the exit. Ranar quickly makes a circular gesture and points to Aronn and the middle of the circle, then nods and waves everyone forward urgently.

As they hastily form up, he moves to the left side of the group, shield and axe readied.


@DaakSyde @William_George @MalevolentPixy @strokeybeard

Aronn struggles to his feet and hobbles along on his staff as the party moves out into the central chamber. Nic and Jibril lead, while Ranar covers the flank, armour softly jingling. Thwip and Hawk bring up the rear.

As the party approaches the gloom of the unlit entrance hall, only Thwip sees the black clad figure appear from the tunnel in front. Squeaking a warning, he raises his rifle to his shoulder, but by that time the arrow is already in flight. Before de Courcy can react, the projectile plunges through the centre of his chest, punching several inches out the back.

While Jibril and Hawk momentarily freeze in shock, Ranar roars and charges towards the attacker. Thwip pushes his rifle past Jibril and lets fly; the shot is accurate, but the elf dodges as it retreats into the tunnel.

Snapping out of his shock, Jibril also charges for the bowman. As he reaches the top of the stairwell, he screams and stumbles. He tumbles down the stairs, his sword going flying as he lands at the base with a caltrop spike impaling his foot.

Skidding to a halt with a curse, Ranar shelters behind his shield as he struggles to kick the caltrops clear in the near dark. As he does so, the elf lets another arrow fly, pinning the fallen Jibril to the stones.

As Thwip frantically reloads, Aronn falls to his knees and grabs something from his pouch. Holding his clenched fist to his temple, he begins to chant as Hawk spins to cover the rear, spear and shield at the ready.

Clear of the caltrops, Ranar roars and leaps down the stairs. Landing with a thunderous crash, he charges past the unmoving Jibril towards the deadly accurate archer.

Scrambling further back into the darkness of the tunnel, the elf drops its bow and draws a pair of unusual hooked swords. Ranar follows, axe and shield high.

Back in the main chamber, Thwip reloads his rifle just in time as Hawk shouts a warning. Racing across the chamber from the armoury are what appear to be the other two elves. They move with inhuman speed, and are painfully hard to visually track; it as if they were each blurred into an ever-shifting yard-wide cloud. The effect appears to be similar to what occurred with Ranar during the fight with the centaurs.

The first to close is the one with the strange dagger and flail. As Hawk desperately thrusts, the elf catches his spear with the long tines of its dagger, then whips the short flail over the shaman’s shield. The foot-long club which forms the end of the flail smashes into his unprotected head, crumpling him to the ground.

Snatching his rifle to his shoulder, Thwip whips off another snap shot at the rapidly-closing blur of the second elf. Defeated by the visual distortions, his shot goes astray and the elf leaps forwards, spearpoint lancing towards the goblin’s heart.

Moments before the blow lands, Arron’s staff scythes across in front of Thwip, deflecting the spear into the ground. Springing to his feet with fluid agility, the apparently-once-again-uncursed mage spins into the melee, his staff glowing with its familiar black light.

In the entrance hall, Ranar closes and swings a mighty blow. The elf catches the axe on crossed blades, then spins left and hooks for the dwarf’s knee with his right-hand sword. Ranar himself turns as he pulls his leg out of danger, deflecting the blow with the rim of his shield.

The dwarven warrior swings again, and again the elf uses both swords to defend, then flicks the hook of one sword over the rim of Ranar’s shield. As he uses the hook to jerk the shield aside, his other blade scythes low towards the dwarf’s neck.

Ranar tries to jerk out of the way, but fails to evade. Fortunately, his extensive collection of steel outerwear extends to his neck; the mail and plates collar deflects the blow without harm. Ranar steps forwards again, slamming his axe down once more. This time, he aims his force at the defending swords, smashing all three weapons into the floor with a tremendous crash.

Screaming in dwarvish, Ranar turns his axe and rips it upwards in a blow that would have surely bisected the elf had it not taken that moment to somersault backwards. Landing with perfect poise, the black-clad assassin grins and raises his right sword in salute as he mutters a word in elvish. As he does so, his appearance blurs in a similar fashion to his companions in the main chamber.

In the main chamber, Aronn leaps and whirls, his staff a blur as he stands over Hawk and fends off both attackers. All of the elves move like dancers, in a notably similar style that is both beautiful and deadly. But although their styles are similar, it is clear that Aronn’s skill far surpasses that of his attackers. However, the press of numbers is forcing him to concentrate on defence, and he is unable to land a blow.

Reloaded once again, Thwip squints with watering eyes as he desperately attempts to draw a bead on the blurred, leaping targets. More than once his finger twitches on the trigger only to be stayed by a fear of hitting Aronn. As the battle circles in front of him, he slowly creeps forwards, waiting for a target.

In the entrance, Ranar lowers his shield and charges at his mocking opponent. His ferocious roar twists into a snarl of frustration as he impacts only air. Now behind him, the elf hooks a sword around Ranar’s right knee and tears his leg out from under him. The dwarf crashes to the ground, desperately rolling to free his leg and bring his shield back into play.

Catching one blade on his shield, Ranar swings his axe at the one place where he knows he can find a target: the sword hooking his knee. Stretching to reach past the hilt, he screams in triumph as he feels the blade smash through an elven wrist and sees his target return to normal, un-blurred appearance. Unfortunately, this means that his mouth is wide open as the spurting blood from the elf’s severed wrist sprays into his face.

Creeping to the side, Thwip aims and fires. The shot grazes the left arm of the flail-wielding elf, causing him to drop his dagger. Spinning with a snarl, the elf leaps at Thwip and brings his flail smashing into the goblin’s right arm, snapping it like a twig. Thwip screams and falls, but holds onto his rifle with his left hand.

Aronn catches the spear-wielder’s weapon on the tip of his staff, flicking it offline before leaping back towards the elf standing over Thwip. Extending into a full lunge, he pokes the end of his staff into the flail-elf’s back. As soon as it touches, the black light of Aronn’s magic crackles all over the elf’s body, which suddenly loses its blur and begins to visibly wither and crack under the magical assault. Mouth open in a scream that instantly fades to a croaking hiss, the elf collapses to the ground in a crumpled heap.

In the entrance hall, Ranar rises to his feet with a roar. Leaping forwards, he brings his axe down on the elf’s remaining sword, deliberately hooking both blades together. Pulling the weapons down and away, he steps forwards and slams the rim of his shield into the elf’s throat.

As the elf falls, Ranar drops both knees onto his enemy’s stomach, and continues to slam the rim of his shield again and again into the increasingly unrecognizable elvish face.

Back in the main chamber, the spear-elf recovers its weapon and launches into a lunge that is almost a perfect mirror of Aronn’s move. While his weapon does not carry Aronn’s deadly magic, it does carry a bright and razor-sharp spearpoint. The blade rips into Aronn’s back before punching out through his sternum.

With a shocked gasp, Aronn clutches at the bloody metal. Lifting his head towards Thwip, he croaks “the ring…the Master must not find it…”. Then his hands are enveloped in the familiar black light, which flows into the spearpoint and down the shaft, crackling as it burns through Aronn’s own chest.

As it reaches the elf at the other end, the now-familiar horrorshow recurs; the target screams and writhes as it withers in the black, apparently unable to release the spear. Both Aronn and the spear-elf collapse to the ground and move no more.

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– Ah! I believe that I am having a disassociative moment. That explains my lack of pain and the fact that I can see myself from above. Look at my beaten and battered body there standing in shock among the corpses of my friends. I feel that I shall be spending many nights crying over their memories in the future. Well, should I get out of this alive to have futures. What’s this? I’m opening the box and taking out the ring? Will I slip it on? I wonder if I’ll go invisible or see eldritch nightmares just beyond our reality? –

– Oh. I seem to have swallowed it. Well, that’s one way to keep it hidden though fishing through the chamber pot over the next few days won’t be very fun.–

– There I go, stumbling off in a daze. I better follow myself. It sounds like Ranar is still alive at least.–

– I wonder how loud I’ll scream when I fully realize what has happened?–