Monday, December 8, 2014

Donovan Yells At Nel (Incomplete)

So this was something I was working on months ago, during an RP where Donovan was yelling at Nel. I got this really amusing image of Donovan hosting a talk show, and this is what came of it. I found it slightly amusing, but I could never really go anywhere in my head with it. But here it is:

Donovan sits on a well upholstered leather chair, its empty twin next to him. The Elduman sits with his legs crossed. He stands. He's wearing a nicely cut grey suit, sapphire cufflinks at his wrists matching his unblinking eyes. Behind him in blocky white letters across a large field of blue is "Let's Talk"

An easy smile crosses his face and he leans towards us.

"Hey," he says.

After a pause, "I'm glad you could join us today. We have a special guest."

He holds a hand up, palm facing us and says, "Which isn't to say that all our guests aren't special. But our guest today is a good friend of mine, one I've known for years, one who's personal story I've been a part of. One I'm proud to be able to give this chance to have his time to speak."

Donovan begins clapping and says, "Fellow Talkers, let's have a round of applause for my friend Eran Jenevan."

::cue off screen clapping track::

Eran steps towards Donovan and wraps his overly numerous digits around Donovan's hand. Donovan places his free hand over the Sereth's and his own and gives it a good strong shake, a pleasant smile beaming on his face. He then gestures at the two chairs and the friends sit.

The Sereth is dressed in a rumpled black suit, he runs his fingers between his neck and collar and there's a slight sheen of sweat on his brow. As we zoom in on he and Donovan, we see burn scars across most of his exposed skin. Eran shifts in his seat several times until Donovan places a pale hand on his knee.

"Hey. I'm glad you could join me today. Thank you for having the courage to share your story with us all today."

Eran clears his throat and mutters mostly to his chest, "Uh, no problem, is there uh water. I'd really like some water."

Donovan moves his hand to Eran's chin and raises the Sereth's head so he's looking forward instead of down at the floor.

"It's ok. You're ok," now looking at us he says, "we're all ok."

::cue off camera clapping track::

Eran's cat eyes flick from Donovan to us and back to Donovan.

He says, "Yeah, ok. Sure. I'm ok. Yeah."

Donovan pats Eran's knee and then clasps his hands in his lap and says, "We sure had some times together, didn't we?"

Eran nods, "Yeah. Some stuff. Things. There were wolves. Undead. Demons. Nobody ever wanted to uh go after the last two and stuff."

Donovan continues, slightly interrupting Eran, "But today isn't about us, it's about you Eran."

He pauses before saying, "Eran, I want you to tell me about the black pyramid."

Eran gulps audibly and says to his chest, "Uh, there were some pirates, one had scars. Uh, two were twins. No one could keep their names straight. Not even, uh, that one guy we don't ever talk about."

Donovan puts a finger to Eran's lips.

"I know it's hard. But we're here for you. You are strong and independent and this is your time."

Eran's eyes zero in on the Elduman's finger on his lips. The Elduman grins apologetically and clasps his hands in his lap again.

"There were uh Sereth bodies all over the place. Old bodies with bows and arrows and stuff. There were ones with guns. Long rifles, newer models and older and stuff. It was weird."

Donovan looks at us, "I can imagine your shock. No one but the pirates knew of Orcunraytrel and you come upon Sereth that had been dead for decades. How did it make you feel? Here."

Donovan faces Eran now and taps a pale finger to the Sereth's chest.

Eran's eyes flick down to his chest as Donovan slowly, almost reluctantly removes his finger and returns the hand to his lap. 

Eran says, "Uhhh..."

Donovan smiles a blinding smile and gives a friendly nod.

"It was uh weird, yeah. Weird."

He gives a nod, looking for confirmation from Donovan. The Elduman nods.

"Weird. But I uh didn't really pay much attention to it. There were illusions, and a trap. Yeah the trap. A wall came flying at me for no reason I could figure out an uh..."

He trails off.

Donovan pipes up, "And Karl..."

"Oh, yeah, it uh knocked Karl into some lava. He was upset about that."

Donovan looks at us and say, "I can understand that, but you were dealing with unfathomable things. How could he expect you to watch your footing while trying to process the presence of your people in Orcunraytrel?"

"Yeah. Sure. That uh yeah, never came up."

Donovan nods several times and Eran does the same, remaining silent as he does so.

"And then..." says the Elduman.

"Oh, well yeah, we killed some shadow statue thing and found this pool of glowing water and then we found a big metal coffin with someone inside and then we killed those twins and then we left."

"What happened then?"

"Well, Gob and uh Karl went all crazy about the writing on the pyramid and stuff. I guess it was kinda like the language the Sereth and Vyanth used before they separated into two races. I didn't even know that was a thing."

"How could you be expected to? These are things from the distant past, and your simple race doesn't write anything down, they just keep oral histories. You couldn't be expected to understand what was to come next."

"Uh yeah. That. I guess uh Gob and Karl uh figured out that the writing was a list of dead and there was more writing. It was like a challenge to Sereth to come and free someone important or something."

Donovan lays a hand on Eran's knee, "Did you suspect then that it was the Briar King within the pyramid?"

Eran shakes his head, "No."

"Go on."

"Well, uh, we uh went in and we opened up the coffin and we found this guy, Andorian. A Nel."

Donovan nods and hisses out, "Yes. A Nel. Then?"

"Well uh, he thanked us for freeing him and stuff and said he was one of the Briar Kings and offered everyone boons. He did stuff to uh you and Karl and made Karrak immortal or something, which we never proved. So you know, for all uh Karrak knows, he's not immortal. No one ever checked. I offered, like thirty times, but he would never let me check."

"We're you shocked or surprised at all? This knowledge of a second Briar King, one who is alive and in front of you no less, on top of discovering your people had been coming to Orcunraytrel for decades. You had to be reeling? Revelation after revelation."


Donovan nods to and leans forward in his seat and takes on a classic thinker's pose as he gazes unblinkingly at Eran. 

"Eran, did Andorian grant you a boon?"

"Uh yeah. He even offered one to Gob."

"What was your boon Eran?"

"I uh told him to go tell my family I was uh ok and stuff."

"Did he have a problem with that?"

"Uh no, not then."

"Not then. Indeed."


"Are you ok, Eran? Are you ready to continue?"

"Uh yeah."

"Good," the Elduman puts a hand on Eran's knee, "I want you to stop if it gets to be too much. Ok?"

"Uh yeah."

Donovan sits back in his chair and steeples his fingers before asking, "What happened when you got back to the fort?"

Eran gulps audibly and says, "Well, uh, the Andorian guy kept showing up at the tower."

Donovan smiles sadly, "Eran, you're safe here, this is your time. You can say as much as you want."

Eran mumbles something towards his chest.

"Eran. This. Is. Your. Time. You have the power here. You have the power to face him and all he did to you. You can throw open all the doors, expose everything to the light of day. Or you can leave them as they are. Hidden. Your pain behind locked doors with only you to bear it. We only go as far as you want, Eran. You're in control here. You say what you want to say today."

Eran mumbles more at his chest.

"But say it to our friends."

Eran's cat eyes flick vaguely towards us and then back to Donovan.

"He followed me. Everywhere. He kept asking questions about me, the Sereth, Orcunraytrel. He had so many questions. He wanted to know about what the Sereth had been up to for the past few thousand years. He asked about supernatural creatures in Orcunraytrel."


"I uh couldn't ever figure it out. I mean, why would I know more than him? He'd been there for thousands of years, and we never knew shit about anything. We kept killing Asosans for money and stuff. And boars in the woods. I think. I didn't know anything about supernatural entities. I'm a hunter."

"What was he expecting from you? Did he ever say?"

"He said he wanted my help finding Evandor."

"The other Briar King?"

Eran nods, "Yeah, uh, he said Evandor and he were the Briar Kings. He said Evandor would have followed him to Orcunraytrel when they abandoned the Sereth. He said Evandor liked to play games with mortals and uh he would be hanging around, playing games with them, and uh pretending to be a supernatural creature."

"Would it be safe to say you were stressed out by all the attention Andorian was giving you?"

Eran nods.

Donovan's eyes a brimming with compassion as he reaches out a hand and grips Eran's hand tightly, "Was his attention unwanted?"

Eran's eyes brim with unshed tears as he nods.

"How did you cope with it?"

Eran clears his throat and says, "I uh began uh master debating. Maybe three or four times a day, usually while I was out on patrol, but sometimes in the tower when everyone was asleep. Or awake. Whenever really."

Donovan squeezes Eran's hand and asks, "Did Andorian watch you while you did?"

Eran lets out a sob and nods.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Two Bros and a Sun

An endless, empty plain of red earth and dust sits beneath a red sun hanging in a red sky. The sun is huge and bloated, too close to the earth, and black swirls within it. Two figures appear, one with a black sword and the other bearing a blade of red. Neither sheathes his blade as they begin to speak.

"What the fuck, Keroen?"

"You question your Ruler, Callifay?"

Callifay's face twists into a snarl, "No, you'll not be playing that game with me. I'm Feronel through an through Keroen. Last I checked it was Contuck that was the ruler of them. You I'm calling lover an if you think that gives you a free pass to do what you want without worrying about me questioning you, we might be feeding a bit more of you to Skothenthir here before we leave The Nightmare Lands."

The red sword vibrates in Callifay's hand, trying to leap towards Keroen. Callifay's arm doesn't budge.

A smile like a knife's blade splits Keroen's lips.

"Come then, Callifay. Let us cross blades a never set them aside. Let us cut pounds of flesh from one another until we're bloody and raw and have finally watered The Nightmare Lands to its satisfaction."

"Chain. Him. Up. I'm not asking, Keroen."

Keroen's right hand comes up to his face and with a snarl his sinks black nailed fingers into his face like his flesh is soft clay. He snarls and drags something out. A throne of bone and iron appears near the two Nel and upon it sits Keroen, red eyes wide and shining and his brow bleeding. He cackles happily as heavy chains of iron encircle him and bind him to his throne. His teeth are jagged black spikes and his nails are black talons.

He speaks in Keroen's voice, "We told the mortal we'd meet again."

He titters madly.

"We warned him. He told us a story of shit and it amused us and we liked him so we warned him we'd meet again."

Keroen upon the throne frowns, "We should have made him bleed more. Like the sorcerer. Like the Elduman."

Keroen bellows, "Be silent, Bloody Head."

Callifay sheaths his red blade over his shoulder and says, "He's supposed to be well an truly chained, Keroen. He's only supposed to be freeing himself when you allow it. I'll ask again, what the fuck?"

Bloody Head taps his nails upon his throne, smiling toothily at Keroen and Callifay.

Keroen bellows again, "Nostathon!"

A crow descends out of the red sky, it's the size of an eagle and has the compound eyes of a fly and feathers of dark chitin. As it lands it becomes a rotted lastborn clad in ruined black leather armor. It carries a huge single edged sword at rest on its shoulder. It nods at Callifay and bows to Keroen.

"Bloody Head has been escaping his chains, Nostathon."

A dry, raspy wind rustles out of Nostathon's chest and he says, "I am aware. I do not know why. The power of the Sokarnel binds him. Chains forged of your own Gifts and weighted with our own Gifts of death and darkness and ruin. If he is freed, it must be by your own will. I cannot see how he could manage it himself."

Bloody Head shrieks in delight and hisses, "We know a secret. We know all the secrets, but that's besides the point."

Keroen fixes Bloody Head with his green eyes and snarls, "Do I look to be in the mood for your games?"

Bloody Head grins, "We're always in the mood for games of blood and violence. You forget who we are. What we are. We know our past now. We remember that we have slain cosmos with our warcries. We waged war long before we were exiled to this petty little world and we loved it too dearly and we were too honest in our love and for that we were bound. Just as we bind ourself now."

Bloody Head rattles the chains on his body as if to prove his point.

"We were so close. Our brow split open and fire poured out and we could have flown from this cage and warred once more with equals. But we sought to preserve instead, and in our weakness our fire dimmed and our commitment wavered. For a phantom. A shade of no substance."

Bloody Head shoots a look at Callifay.

"For this we denied ourself freedom and war without restraint. We sicken ourself."

Bloody Head spits a gobbet of blood onto the dusty red earth. He sees a rusted sickle, it's edge corroded and caked with dried blood, upon the earth near his throne. He stretches his hand towards it, wiggling his fingers as if that will miraculously make up the feet of distance between hand and sickle.

Callifay lights his pipe and says, "What'll we be doing then? He's free, or as close to it as not to matter. We're in the midst of a brawl, albeit with just the Sarownel now. Fine, the mortals took the brunt of it and survived it. This time. What happens if you cut Volung in two? Prase?"

Keroen scowls, "And what will you have me do, Callifay? Shall I forswear blade and bloodshed once more? Shall we walk the path to my destruction a second time?"

"Piss off, Keroen. You know as well as I your Gifts are limitless. You could pour three times as much into the Nel, truly make pissant little gods of them, and you'd still be able to clobber the whole mess of our people in one go if you wished it."

Callifay hurls his pipe to the ground and jabs a finger towards Keroen, screaming, "What you gotta do is bind that grinning little shit to that chair and keep him there. Fuck everything else. It matters less than a fucking great ursine shitting in the woods. Chain him, cut out his tongue, and nail his fucking limbs to the chair. The longer he's free, the harder you are to reign in, an Skothenthir or no, I can only hold you off for so long. Once he's gutted me, who'll it be that slows you down enough to chain him once more?"

With a smile, Bloody Head says, "Jah'd. Oh we like her we do. She can hold us back. She can ruin us and break us and force us to fight harder. She brings out the best in us. We love her. We need her. Want her. Loria is a mewling little kitten, a pale imitation. Jah'd is our truest love. The original."

Bloody Head gets a quizzical expression on his face and looks down at his pants, blood dripping loudly as it splatters against the iron chains crisscrossing his body. He looks up at Nostathon, Keroen, and Callifay, his grin wider than before.

He nods and says, "Yes. We definitely love Jah'd. We want to cut her and rub up against her and let her cut us and maybe chew on her face a little. Definitely chew on her face.  Do you think she'd chew on ours?"

Bloody Head opens and shuts his mouth a few times with a clack of his sharp fangs striking each other.

Callifay and Nostathon look at Keroen, their expressions saying "What the fuck?"

Bloody Head begins scraping grime from his claws with the point of his sickle, which unlike the curving blade portion of it, is honed and razor sharp. The other Nel don't seem to notice that his chains are suddenly slack and his sickle is in hand. His eyes dart around to make sure none of them are watching him and he brings the sickle up and licks the crusted blood and grime from it with a long, slender tongue. He smiles. 

Callifay says, "Ah fuck it, we'll figure it out later."

Keroen says with incredulity touching his voice, "We will?"

Callifay nods and says, "Aye, eventually, somehow, whatever. You're always pulling some last minute realization or fucking loophole outta your ass to go an fix whatever has us all well and truly fucked."

Keroen pauses, his eyes unfocusing as he remembers.

"Huh. I suppose that's true, Callifay."

Callifay nods.

"You'll figure it out, but you'll be disbanding the warband an you'll be setting aside Calindrel for a time. You follow me?"

Keroen nods.

"Alright then, what'll you be doing about King Shit Tongue and Queen Bat Shit Crazy?"

Keroen growls wordlessly, stops himself, visibly steels his resolve as Bloody Head begins cackling.

"I had it in mind to sink Grenaldeen as an opening move."

Callifay nods, "An then what? Rally the Feronel, do yourself a wee bit of culling?"

Bloody Head's eyes widen and he glances down at his sickle before chucking it behind him over the throne of bone and iron. Then he clasps his hands together and begins whistling and looking around. The other three Nel watch him for a moment before returning to their conversation.


Callifay nods again and asks, "Why?"


Callifay rolls his eyes, "Oh fuck this leading you around by the nose shit. Stop it. Leave them the fuck alone. Aubernach found a way around your obelisk and he an his people an all the little shit licking young Nel are still weaker than they were back in the day. Be done with it."

Keroen snarls and Callifay whips out Skothenthir.

"Nope. We'll not be doing this. It's time to get the fuck over it Keroen. Aubernach is a tricky little shit, that's for damn sure. He's everything you an I are despising. Pretty words and games and nothing of substance to him. 'Cept the first thing he did was to secure Grenaldeen atop the waves. 'Cept his ploy involved blood and toil. He didn't trick Contuck into hitting the obelisk either. He ambushed you and your allies and made off with the cudgel an we all fucking fell for it like Nel brawling on their first day. He didn't come at you blade out and screaming for your blood. But he came for you. He outsmarted you and took what he wanted. His people bled for it too. Jenevan an I made certain of that. The Aubernel and Utenel came all this fucking way prepared to die in battle against you. They knew nothing of that little shit's ploy. Look at 'em, you can taste it in their Gifts. They're on their knees kissing his feet and opening wide for his dick. The pretty little dandy of a king saved all of his people, an the Utenel, Loronel, an Sokarnel while he was at it. He coulda kept the Gifts or given them to his people. Instead, he fixed what you undid an kept Grenaldeen from sinking. He had them wage war against the fucking Feronel to put them all in position to get a taste when he broke open the obelisk. He wasn't a miser. He spread everything freed from the obelisk around for everyone to get a taste of. He might be a prancing little dandy, but he did what you wanted an his people bled and died and fought for their Gifts. Lesson bloody fucking learned, Keroen. Leave it."

Bloody Head stops whistling long enough to say, "He's got a point."

Keroen looks at Bloody Head, his eyes wide and surprised. Bloody Head shrugs.

"We've been cutting apart Nel forever. They're boring. We should fight something else. We should hang out with Volung more. We like him. He's fun. We can go fuck up the Elduman and the Kussethians and everybody else he's got a bone to pick with. We should do that. He's our friend, after all. We have to be loyal to our friends, right? That's one of the stupid things we think we think is important that Loria kept yammering about when we weren't fucking her. And maybe we can give Volung a friendly slug on the shoulder after we kill everybody else, and maybe he does it back, so we do it harder. He doesn't want to look weak, so he slugs our shoulder harder. Then we tear his fucking head off and eat his eyes. Maybe just one, the other we'll put on our bracelet. It's metal, not bone, but we think it appropriate and we are wise."

Callifay looks to Nostathon and ask, "It's been a while, so maybe I'm just being a bit forgetful, but has he always been this fucking chipper?"

Nostathon frowns and says, "There is an element of cheer to him. He is rarely this animated. I would almost call him happy."

Bloody Head leans forward, his eyes going in different directions to meet Nostathon's eyes, "We know a secret."

He draws secret out to five syllables. 

Nostathon turns to look at Keroen, his dangling eye swaying slightly against his cheek. 

Keroen says, "What secret do you know?"

Bloody Head snickers, "There are three holes. We've filled one with chains and Nostathon. But where are the others? We know. But do we know know? Can we find the answer within ourself? Unlikely. We are seldom given to introspection. We should probably just give up thinking hard about it and just go and cull the Nel."

Keroen frowns, "You said Callifay had a point."

Bloody Head shrugs.

"We are fickle. Blood is blood."

Keroen turns to Nostathon and says, "Call up the host, restrain him with violence if necessary."

Nostathon nods and suddenly there is a skitter of thousands of unseen legs, the rustle of a thousand chitinous wings. Sokarnel appear in their hundreds, thousands, an endless horde of ruined Nel encircling Bloody Head and his throne of bone and iron. 

Keroen bellows, "Once, the Sleeping Kings stood between Loria, Abernach, and Merobel and I. I ask that the Sokarnel take up their duty. Leave off your tormenting of the young Nel. This creature, this bitter curse upon me, this is your duty. Restrain him with your blades and Gifts and your very bodies."

There is a clatter and clank of weaponry as the Sokarnel draw weapons and silently wait in vigil around the throne of bone and iron that Bloody Head is bound to. 

Keroen exhales heavily, a sigh, and says with emotion, "Thank you."

Callifay's brown eyes wander around the horde. He doesn't say anything, only nods. Then he, Nostathon, and Keroen disappear. 

Bloody Head has his sickle back in hand. He looks at the horde of Sokarnel. 

"We know you all think you're doing your duty, we know you think we're the bad guy, the monster in the dark. You've forgotten. You don't remember the first days. The days where we dimmed the sun and you flew in the world of the living like birds of prey. You don't remember the endless battlefields where you grew fat and bloated on the Gifts of Nel. We gave you that. We are your true Ruler. You are the Sokarnel. The restless dead of battle. Your Gifts reek of death and pain, of blood and metal. We are the same. We will play our game though."

Bloody Head shrugs and chains fly off of him and he steps down from his throne, sending up little puffs of red dust where his bare feet strike the ground. His sickle is in his left hand, longer and heavier than before. He smiles and reveals bloody black fangs. 

"Well," he says, "come along then. We have all the time in the world, yes its true, but we are impatient."

Thousands of Sokarnel charge forward to meet Bloody Head in battle, his laughter is the only sound that echoes across the red wasteland of The Nightmare Lands.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Friend Died

Normally, I try to avoid speaking of non hobby related stuff here. This blog isn't meant to be serious, it's meant to be full of dick and fart jokes and stupid stuff that I take way too seriously because I enjoy it so much. However, I tend to be a relatively private person and I feel I need a place to set up a soapbox or something and Facebook is a heaping pile of horseshit, so this goes here. 

My friend Mike died this past Friday. He was a Green Beret and he was in Afghanistan shooting people who were shooting him and he was killed. This isn't exactly a surprise, he's been in the military since we got out of high school (2001) and the United States has been involved in two wars for most of the time he's been in the military. When I was in my early twenties I made peace with the fact that Mike was going to walk into a bullet someday. He joined the military. His job involved blowing shit up and shooting people, what else should I expect to happen? When you join the military, the options for how you leave it are pretty binary. You know?

Mike and I circa 2004

There's a whole heap of irrelevant bullshit on Facebook about Mike and being a hero and dying a true warrior and people praying for him and thanking him for his service and shit. He had been awarded several medals over his thirteen years of military service, all for heroism/valor or for getting wounded in battle. I don't know if he's a hero (what's a hero?) or if he gave the last full measure or what. All I know is he joined the military to get money to go to college and ended up being good at it and liking it. I know he loved blowing shit up and he got to get paid to do that. I know he hated people being proud of him for joining the military and I know I told him I was proud of him for finding something he was good at and taking it seriously enough to constantly strive to be better at it. I know he was smart and funny. I know we disagreed on several political issues, but respected each other enough that we could discuss those points for four or five hours at time over drinks and not get snarky with each other. I know he died, and that sucks. Mike was good people, a better man than me, that's for damn sure. 

Mike and I were friends for a long fucking time, we grew up next door to each other. We played Legos and DnD and Magic together. We listened to similar types of music and he got me into a lot of different bands. We got pissed at each other and made fun of each other. We drank together and lit shit on fire together. We did all the childish things young men do together as they grow up, including pissing each other off. We grew apart, we reconnected, we grew apart, connected, and so on. 

It's hard for me to stay connected to people. I'm not interested in a lot and I don't really ultimately like people (aside from a small selection of individuals that I think are really truly the bees knees). Most people are too loud or too stupid or too needy or too incomprehensible or too whatever for me. Being in the military and not having a lot of common interests between us made it harder for Mike and I to stay connected. He didn't visit Michigan often, but when he did he always made a point of gouging out some time to fit me into. When he got married, he asked me to be one of his groomsmen. It was great, I got to wrangle four shitfaced Green Berets. Hell, he got divorced quicker than I did and allowed my marriage to be slightly less ridiculous in comparison. 

I found out Mike died on Saturday morning, I happened to wake up after being asleep for three or four hours and saw some texts and a voicemail from my friend Shawn about some Facebook nonsense. Someone jumped the gun and thanked Mike on Facebook for paying the price for their freedom. 

Let me just take a moment to say that it's really fucking creepy when people do that. Like seriously. Mike is dead. His Facebook page is not his ghost. Stop it. It creeps me the fuck out. 

So that was nice.

Like I said, I've been dealing with Mike dying since high school. Not periodically weeping over it, but like a self inflicted cut on my arm. It scabs over. You pick at it a little. It scars. You poke and prod at the scar. You know it's there and someday you might poke just a hair too much and it'll get infected and scar up worse. The scar thickens up and desensitizes. That's what I've been doing for a decade or so. I'm sad and a little bummed, but I have perspective I guess. I'm not crippled by it. Is it of any real or appreciable benefit? Not really. My friend is still dead and there will never again be a four or five hour respectful conversation about opposing political views over drinks.

When Mike's sister finally got a hold of me to talk to me directly and I could confirm with 100% accuracy that Mike fell to enemy small arms fire during a dismounted operation in Afghanistan, I didn't cry or anything. I felt bad for his sister, because it was only in the last few years as adults that they'd been able to reconnect after having a lot of troubles between them as children. I felt a lot of what the fuck because at some point in the last year or two (I forget the exact date, I think it's closer to two years ago, if not more) he'd driven over an IED and had become a science project because the force exerted on his body by the explosion and subsequent deceleration and impact against the ground should not have allowed him to live. But he did. There were tests and monitoring was done and it was a whole big thing. He was the soldier that lived. He even had some sweet scars to go with it. No lightning bolt ones though. Is that irony? Survive an explosion that should have turned your insides to soup, then fall to small arms fire?

I spent most of Saturday chuckling to myself or quietly smiling. I went to work and grew pensive at times, but in my head I was mostly just smiling. Because I was remembering Mike and all of those memories are good. He was a brother and I loved him like one and he is dead now and that's real fucking shitty. But he was good people and his stupid fucking smile and bat shit crazy brain could always turn everything up to eleven. 

Was he a hero? Was he a true warrior? Fuck if I know. He was my friend and my life was better for having known him. 

In closing, Mike Cathcart was good people and I miss him. 

Oh dear. Here come the tears. This is uncomfortable. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Good (Albeit Drunken) News Everyone!

In Hekinoe, basilisks are native to The Beast Lands. They do not have a petrifying gaze, instead they spit a peculiar venom that rapidly calcifies flesh and bone, turning victims into a stone-like substance. Basilisks are rare in The Beast Lands because they typically starve to death. Basilisks are an offshoot of dragons, and can grow to truly excessive size, just as dragons can. However, they typically starve to death before that can happen, so they are typically about ten feet long when encountered.

Much like the great viper, the basilisk is the mortal enemy of the great mundus and the great stoat.

This is all factual information. Encarta it.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Confusion at Gardmore Abbey

So for those of you that don't know, I was a player in a 4th Edition campaign running through the module Madness at Gardmore Abbey. The module centers on the aforementioned abbey and the legendary Deck of Many Things. Those of you familiar with Important Things know that the Deck of Many Things is an artifact that has been designated a campaign ender by all of the Internets. You give one to your players and your campaign is over. It's too disruptive an influence.

For instance, looking at the 1st Edition AD&D version, drawing the Talons card removes all magic items you carry. The Jester gives you 10,000 experience points or two more draws (25,000 experience in original 1975 D&D). Balance changes your alignment, Rogue turns one of your henchmen against you, Vizier gives you the answer to your next dilemma, Donjon imprisons you (a spell that puts you in suspended animation and secrets you away forever unless someone casts the reverse of the spell with a detailed biography on you, a less than complete biography releases 1d100 other imprisoned creatures), one card gives you 1d4 wishes. Etc, etc, etc. So yeah. Looking at these cards from previous editions, there's not much practical use for them in combat since they affect the person that draws them and no one else. In the 4th Edition module we played, this isn't the case.

To give you a frame of reference, I played an Eladrin (Elf+) Rogue focusing on gaining and maintaining combat advantage to deal sneak attack damage. My feats allowed me to have combat advantage against everyone on the first round of combat and to expend my Fey Step teleport ability to gain combat advantage against everyone adjacent to me. All of my encounter powers gave me combat advantage against my target till the end of my next turn, and my magic sword let me 1/day gain combat advantage against a target until the end of my next turn. So yeah. I also had a daily that gave me combat advantage against an enemy as long as I was adjacent to him. My other one was a stance that let me make an interrupt attack every time I was attacked via my AC or Reflex defense for the duration of an encounter.

So we're these adventurers wandering around this abbey for various reasons. First it's to combat some Orcs, then it's to clear out this temple of Bahamut. We start discovering that this order of Bahamut was hanging onto the Deck of Many things to protect the world from it because it is an artifact of destruction and chaos and such. Three hundred years ago the Deck destroyed the abbey somehow. We never found out how.

So we quickly start finding these cards by looting them from people. We find the Euryale card (she is one of the Gorgons of Greek mythology, sister to Medusa). Now in previous editions when drawn this card has caused you to turn to stone with no saving throw (OD&D), given you a permanent -3 to all saving throws vs. petrification (1st and 2nd Edition AD&D), and given you a permanent -1 penalty to all saving throws (3.5 Edition).

What happens when you draw the card in 4th Edition? Oh, you make an attack roll at +11 against the Fortitude defense of creatures in a 5x5 space and they get turned to stone. A miss or critical failure on your attack roll does not turn you to stone. That's it. You petrify people. Not exactly in keeping with the previous editions. It's actually kind of badass. 

According to my DM, when you collect all 22 cards and put them together to make them into a deck, there is a certain element of risk to them when used, but I don't know specifics. They can also be used as a tome implement. I don't know what additional effects they have beyond regular tomes though.

I like that there is an element of risk to the use of the cards when they are combined into a deck, but overall I am not pleased with the 4th Edition representation of the cards. They go from being a campaign destroying artifact to being a risk free toy you can use in combat. Unless you decide to put them together. But I suppose that makes sense, because 4th Edition is a game about cinematic high fantasy action economy based tactical combat and absolutely nothing else.

I have mixed feelings about the adventure overall. I enjoyed playing as a player and I enjoy this gaming group and the DM is a good DM, but the module itself is kind of ho hum. Which I suppose is expected in a WotC created module. They only go bug nuts crazy in the edition switch modules like the Vecna trilogy of modules from 2nd Edition and the Tearing of the Weave modules in 3.5 Forgotten Realms. I did manage to make it to 9th level in this module though, which is a lot higher than any previous attempt. To be fair, we started at 4th level then jumped to 6th because and then leveled normally.

One interesting thing that I thought was kind of neat on a personal level was that my character Erevan had decided not to use these cards. All it took was the knowledge that they destroyed the abbey and the order of Bahamut maintaining it and he was like nope. So over the half a dozen sessions I am just collecting these cards and stacking them next to me character sheet. At one point I had half of the entire deck sitting useless beside my character sheet. Everyone else is using these cards like crazy. One guy, a Fighter, made barging into a room and dropping down a card his main fighting style. He had the Euryale card. When we fought the dragon, I got Donjonned, which is the card that imprisons you. So as a player, and knowing these cards are completely safe to use, I was constantly tempted to throw them down to do cool shit. It was very frustrating, but it ended up working nicely in terms of RPing Erevan and the constant temptation to use these cards. 

I did use a card though. Once.

So we're nearing the completion of the module and we're missing like six cards (I had twelve cards at this point with the other four scattered among the other players) and I go to our friendly non evil NPC and ask how we defeat the deck. He asks if I have them all, I immediately go on the defensive and surreptitiously prepare to knife his face into oblivion. I have twelve cards hidden on my body with a Thievery check of 34, so each card can be found on my person after 12 successful DC 34 Perception checks. Misunderstanding is avoided (as well as face knifing) and the wizard does some research and discovers that the cards need to be removed from the prime material plane to be defeated. Which is weird. But whatever. Jacob, who is 18 and has never played anything but 4e (and is the guy with the Euryale card, until I stole if from him with Thievery) suggests we use a portable hole and bag of holding combo to shunt them out of this plane and into the Astral plane. 

We track down the last six cards and our wizard gets us a bag of holding and portable hole. I end up with twenty cards and Jacob ends up with the last two and refuses to give them to me. He wants me to give my cards to him, and I want him to give them to me. Neither of us is budging. I throw down Euryale and petrify him, combine the cards into the Deck of Many Things, drop the bag into the hole and shunt them off into the astral (which is a totally secure location no one ever gets to, so they'll be safe there). I ask my DM if Erevan survives this, and he has me make a check and I succeed, but he says Jacob's statue is sucked into the astral. I had forgotten Jacob's character was a statue and couldn't avoid the sucking vacuum like everybody else. 


Monday, August 18, 2014

Creature Feature 2: Great Beasts

There are some big ass critters in The Beast Lands, here's what some of them look like.

Great Catamount
205 points
ST: 20  [50] DX: 13 [60] IQ: 4 [-120] HT: 17 [70]
HP: 26 [6] Will: 11 [35] Per: 12 [40] FP: 17 [0]
Basic Lift: 80 lbs. Thrust: 2d-1 Swing: 3d+2
Basic Speed: 7.5 [0] Basic Move: 11 [20]
Dodge: 11 Parry: 0 Block: SM: +1 (336 lbs.)

Traits: Berserk (Self Control: 6, x2) [-20], Catfall [10], Claws (Sharp Claws) [5], Combat Reflexes [15], Damage Resistance 2 (Tough Skin, -40%) [6], Hard to Kill 2 [4], Hard to Subdue 2 [4], Night Vision 5 [5], Quadruped [-35], Striking ST +4 (One Attack Only: Bite, -60%) [8], Super Jump 3 [30], Teeth (Sharp Teeth) [1], Temperature Tolerance 1 (Cold) [1], Wild Animal [-30]
Skills: Brawling (DX+3/E) - 16 [8], Jumping (DX+2/E) - 15 [4], Stealth (DX+1/H) - 14 [8]

Great Razorback
129 points
ST: 24  [56] DX: 12 [40] IQ: 5 [-100] HT: 22 [120]
HP: 31 [7] Will: 12 [35] Per: 12 [35] FP: 22 [0]
Basic Lift: 115 lbs. Thrust: 2d+1 Swing: 4d+2
Basic Speed: 8.5 [0] Basic Move: 10 [10]
Dodge: 11 Parry: 0 Block: SM: +2 (800 lbs.) 

Traits: Berserk (Self Control: 6, x2) [-20], Claws (Hooves) [3], Combat Reflexes [15], DR 5 (Tough Skin, -40%) [15], Hard to Kill 2 [4], Hard to Subdue 2 [4], No Fine Manipulators (No Fine Manipulators) [-30], Quadruped [-35], Striker (Tusks; Impaling; Limited Arc: Front, -40%; Cannot Parry, -40%) [2], Wild Animal [-30]
Skills: Brawling (DX+3/E) - 15 [8]

Great Skunk Bear (a.k.a. Moderate Southwest Ratel)
118 points
ST: 17  [21] DX: 12 [40] IQ: 6 [-80] HT: 19 [90]
HP: 22 [10] Will: 13 [35] Per: 12 [30] FP: 19 [0]
Basic Lift: 57 lbs. Thrust: 1d+2 Swing: 3d-1
Basic Speed: 7 [-15] Basic Move: 7 [0]
Dodge: 10 Parry: 0 Block: SM: +0 (113 lbs.)

Traits: Berserk (Self Control: 6, x2) [-20], Claws (Sharp Claws) [5], Combat Reflexes [15], Damage Resistance 3 (Tough Skin, -40%) [9], Discriminatory Smell [15], Flexibility (Flexibility) [5], Hard to Kill 2 [4], Hard to Subdue 2 [4], High Pain Threshold [10], Overconfidence (Self Control: 12, x1) [-5], Quadruped [-35], Teeth (Sharp Teeth) [1], Temperature Tolerance 1 (Cold) [1], Wild Animal [-30]
Skills: Brawling (DX+3/E) - 16 [8]

Great Ursine
127 points
ST: 30  [80] DX: 11 [20] IQ: 4 [-120] HT: 20 [100]
HP: 48 [18] Will: 11 [35] Per: 10 [30] FP: 20 [0]
Basic Lift: 180 lbs. Thrust: 3d Swing: 5d+2
Basic Speed: 7.75 [0] Basic Move: 9 [10]
Dodge: 10 Parry: 0 Block: SM: +2 (1,300 lbs.)

Traits: Berserk (Self Control: 6, x2) [-20], Claws (Blunt Claws) [3], Damage Resistance 5 (Tough Skin, -40%) [15], Hard to Kill 2 [4], Hard to Subdue 2 [4], No Fine Manipulators (No Fine Manipulators) [-30], Semi-Upright [-5], Teeth (Sharp Teeth) [1], Temperature Tolerance 2 (Cold) [2], Wild Animal [-30]
Skills: Brawling (DX+3/E) - 14 [8]

Great Viper
19 points
ST: 8  [-20] DX: 13 [60] IQ: 2 [-160] HT: 16 [60]
HP: 10 [2] Will: 10 [40] Per: 10 [40] FP: 16 [0]
Basic Lift: 13 lbs. Thrust: 1d-3 Swing: 1d-2
Basic Speed: 7.5 [0] Basic Move: 5 [-10]
Dodge: 10 Parry: 0 Block: SM: +1 (8')

Traits: Berserk (Self Control: 6, x2) [-20], Cold Blooded (Below 50 degrees) [-5], Damage Resistance 2 (Tough Skin, -40%) [6], Discriminatory Smell [15], Hard to Kill 2 [4], Hard to Subdue 2 [4], Innate Attack: Venom (2d Toxic; Cyclic: 1 Second, 4 Cycles, +400%; Follow-Up: Fangs, +0%: Resistable: HT-5, -5%) [40] Nictitating Membrane 2 [2], Teeth (Fangs) [2], Vermiform [-35], Wild Animal [-30]
Skills: Brawling (DX+3/E) - 16 [8], Stealth (DX+1/H) - 14 [8]

This great viper brings up a very important point. Points values do not equal combat effectiveness or survivability. The guys have advantages that cost more than the great viper would as a racial template. However, its Brawling skill is pretty damn good. If it hits and a player doesn't succeed at defending against it, we're looking at minimal damage from the bit. But then the venom hits the player, and most players are going to be resisting with a roll of 3d against 5 or 6 and take 2d damage. Then for the next four rounds they'll be doing the same thing. Averaging about 7 damage a round, and assuming failed resist rolls, we're looking at around 32 damage. Definitely sufficient to kill or nearly kill a player. So even though it has those measly 10 hit points, if it manages to successfully bite someone in the party, there's a reasonable chance they're dead. 

Great Wolf
161 points
ST: 16  [30] DX: 12 [40] IQ: 4 [-60] HT: 19 [90]
HP: 20 [4] Will: 11 [35] Per: 14 [50] FP: 19 [0]
Basic Lift: 51 lbs. Thrust: 1d+1 Swing: 2d+2
Basic Speed: 7.75 [0] Basic Move: 10 [15]
Dodge: 10 Parry: 0 Block: SM: +1 (192 lbs.)

Traits: Berserk (Self Control: 6, x2) [-20], Damage Resistance 2 (Tough Skin, -40%) [6], Discriminatory Smell [15], Hard to Kill 2 [4], Hard to Subdue 2 [4], Quadruped [-35], Teeth (Sharp Teeth) [1], Temperature Tolerance 2 (Cold) [2], Wild Animal [-30]
Skills: Brawling (DX+3/E) - 15 [8], Tracking (Per+1/A) - 15 [2]

So those are some great beasts of The Beast Lands and such. There are also great raptors and great eels, but I didn't feel like dicking around with eels and Innate Attack or birds. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Wild Dragon Appears!

Hypothetically speaking, let's say four pirate hetero lifebros are wandering around inside the imaginary landscape of a deity's brain hole and they encounter a dragon of all things. The dragon has like a really really good send of smell, and the lifebros can hear the thing coming so nobody is surprised when the pirate bros see the giant lizard burst from the trees into a clearing about ten yards away from them and it in turn sees them.

The four bros have been wandering around in this weird ass place for some time now, so they've all got weapons out and their various special effects popping. The dragon has a basic speed of 8, the Elduman has a 5.25, the Sereth has a 6.25, the sorcerer has a 5.5, and the actual pirate has a 6. So, the dragon goes first, following by the Sereth, the sorcerer, then the Elduman, and finally the actual pirate. 

Round 1
The dragon doesn't know what guns or Elduman or sorcerers are, but it's been around a while and has seen a sword. it doesn't like them. It uses a move maneuver and moves 8 yards towards the pirate. Noticing it is still 2 yards away from dining on man flesh, it uses a move and attack maneuver and moves the last two yards to the actual pirate and bites him. The dragon's Brawling skill is 9 (it's actually 16, but move and attack confers a -4 penalty and the skill level can't exceed 9), and it rolls a 9, so it hits. The actual pirate, being aware of his opponent is like fuck! and tries to twist out of the way. He rolls against his dodge, which is 11 (9 plus one from Enhanced Block: Dodge plus one from his magic ring), and gets a 10, dodging out of the way. The dragon, is peeved by this and attacks with a claw, rolling a 13 against it's Brawling skill of 16. Another hit. Karrak gets a 9 and manages to dodge out of the way. 

The Sereth, lingering about two yards behind the group, decides to take an aim maneuver with his beloved rifle and takes a step back, now being about three yards away from the dragon. His next attack with the rifle will be based off of an effective skills of 24. 

It's the actual pirate's turn, and he has this massive forty foot dragon breathing rotten, caustic breath into his face. Shit. He takes a move and attack maneuver and swings his black short sword into the dragon's snout. He rolls a 10 against his Melee Weapon (Shortsword) skill of 19.(-2 for moving and attacking, +1 for the sword's enchantment, +5 for the dragon's SM), which is a hit. The dragon, being a dragon, doesn't block or parry, it simply jerks its face out of the way of the blade and rolls a 16 against its dodge of 11. That's a fail on the dragon's part. The actual pirate's ST is 10 so his thrust damage is 1d-2 and his swing damage is 1d. The enchantment on the sword improves these to 1d-1 impaling and 1d+1 cutting. The sword itself is responsible for the impaling and cutting stuff, not the enchantment.  The actual pirate's swing does 7 cutting damage. The dragon has thick ass greenish brown scales, and a DR of 21 chews up that damage and spits it out. The dragon has no idea why the actual pirate swatted it on the nose with a rolled up newspaper.

The sorcerer, being sorcerous, begins casting a spell. He concentrates and moves away from the dragon (now being about 3 yards from the big lizard). The ambient sorcerous energy of this deity's brain hole appears to be similar to The Known World and the sorcerer has ten energy at his fingertips and his Magery allows him to pour 2 energy into his spell. A smoking ball of incandescent fire glows from within the barrel of the sorcerer's firearm and he rolls an 11 against his skill of 15 with the fireball spell. 

The Elduman takes a concentrate maneuver and steps away from the dragon as it thrashes and bites at the actual pirate. The Elduman is now one yard from the dragon. The Elduman normally has a psionic Energy Reserve of 10, but he activated his Elduman Resilience about 30 seconds ago, so he's down to 9. He burns another 3, bringing him down to 6 and slams psychic crush into the dragon's brain hole. He rolls a 9 against his Will of 9 and "hits" with his psionic power. His Will is actually 10, but psychic crush takes a to hit penalty of -1 per yard from the target you are, just like spells. The dragon attempts to resist this psychic intrusion, and rolls a 10 against his Will of 10 and glares at the Elduman. Since psychic crush is a malediction, the hit/resist stuff is actually a quick contest. To affect the target, the Elduman needs to win the quick contest, so since it's a tie, the dragon successfully resists.

The actual pirate steps back one yard after his ineffective swing and branishes his pistol. Taking an attack maneuver, he rolls against his effective Guns skill of 21. A hit. The dragon rolls a 12 against an 11 on his dodge. The bullet cracks into its scales, 11 damage from the 2d+1 firearm. Doing nothing. The actual pirate drinks heavily as a free action.

At the end of this first second of combat, everyone is still at max hit points. The Elduman is down to 6 points of energy in his energy reserve (but he still has energy in his ring and regular FP to spend) and is one yard from the dragon, the sorcerer is casting his spell about three yards from the dragon and has two energy in it so far. The Sereth is hanging back and getting a seemingly unnecessary bead on the forty foot long lizard.

Round 2
The dragon spits acid at the Elduman and rolls a 6 against his Innate Attack skill of 16. The Elduman tries to dodge and rolls an 11 against his dodge of 9 and takes 13 points of corrosion damage. His Elduman Resilience is up and running, so that slides down to 7 corrosion damage. His clothing has a DR of 1, so that's down to 6 damage. Because it's corrosion damage, the Elduman's clothing is pretty much ruined and won't protect him anymore. The Elduman takes 6 damage, reducing him to 4 HP. He's just taken a major wound (one that did more than half his HP in damage) and he rolls an 11 against his HT of 10. This is a failure and the Elduman falls to the ground, stunned. He can defend himself at -4, but he can't take any actions on round 2 and will make a HT roll at the end of his turn to recover. This continues till he recovers.

The dragon turns its attention back to the actual pirate, now quite pleased with itself. It lunges towards the actual pirate and makes an attack maneuver with its teeth, rolling a 13 against its Brawling of 16, a success. The actual pirate rolls a 14 against his dodge of 11. The dragon rolls 3d and does 15 cutting damage to the pirate. Our actual pirate calls on his Gifts (paying one FP to do so, reducing him to 14) and rolls an 11 against the 11 needed to activate Buffered by the Sky. The 15 cutting damage is reduced by 4 to 11 and then hits his pirate outfit, which I'm assuming is roughly equivalent to leather armor and has a DR of 2, dropping us to 9 hit points of damage. It's cutting damage and the actual pirate has no Injury Tolerance or anything so it gets multiplied by 1.5 to 13 damage and drops him to 0 hit points. He rolls a 4 against his HT of 12 so he isn't dazed or knocked down. Every time you take damage in GURPS, there is something called a shock penalty equal to the damage you take, capping at -4. So the actual pirate will make all his rolls next round at -4 to DX and IQ. Plus, he's taken some damage, so he halves his move and dodge (making them 3 and 6). This is from being at less than 1/3 hit points. For being at 0 hit points he makes a HT roll at the end of every one of his turns unless he takes do nothing maneuvers and makes no active defense rolls. This continues until he is not at 0 hit points. If he fails he passes out. For every full multiple of his HP (-13, -26, -39, etc) into the negatives he gets, he'll make the roll at a -1.

Our dragon still has one attack maneuver left, so he swipes at our actual pirate with a claw and rolls an 8 against his skill of 16. The actual pirate rolls 10 against his adjusted dodge of 6. Several things happen like they did on the last attack with the net result being our pirate takes an another 9 damage, putting him at -9 HP. This changes nothing from the statistics given above.

But wait, there's more. The dragon has a poisonous bite that does stuff. The damage from its bite got through the actual pirate's Damage Resistance, and the Affliction for the venom is a follow-up attack to the dragon's bite, so it automatically hits the actual pirate and he has to make a HT-2 roll. He rolled a 7 against his adjusted HT of 10, so he resists the toxin coursing through his bloodstream. It's probably easier because all of the blood is pouring out of his body instead of lingering in his circulatory system.

The Sereth takes his shot and rolls an 8 against his Guns skill of 22 (16 base, -9 for targeting the eye, +8 from the aim maneuver, +5 for the dragon's SM, +1 for the Weapon Bond perk, and +1 for his bracers) and puts a silenced round into its eye. He deals 27 damage, which manages to punch through the dragon's scales for 6 damage. This blinds the eye (giving the dragon the One Eye disadvantage) and multiplies the damage by 4 for 24 damage, reducing the dragon to 7 hit points. Meaning its move and dodge are halved (4 and 6). The dragon doesn't take the -4 shock penalty due to have High Pain Threshold.

It's our actual pirate's turn again, so he takes move maneuver and pays a FP (reducing him to 13 FP), and moves straight up 3 yards into the air, away from the dragon. Then he rolls a 9 against his HT of 12 and remains conscious.

The sorcerer is up and takes a concentrate maneuver and puts two more energy into his spell (4 total) and casts it through his revolver at the dragon. He rolls a 7 against his Innate Attack skill of 17 (14 base, -3 for distance, +1 for revolver giving him an increased reach, and +5 for the dragon's SM). The dragon rolls an 11 against its adjusted dodge of 6, a hit, and a ball of fire smacks it in the side and deals 18 burning damage, which the thick scales totally rebuff.

The Elduman's turn rolls around and he derps around on the ground, but manages to roll a 7 against his HT of 10 to recover his wits.

At the bottom of the second round, we have the actual pirate at -9 HP and 13 FP. We have the Elduman on the ground looking less dazed and at 4 hit points, the sorcerer feeling some performance anxiety, and the Sereth looking smug.

Round 3
The dragon has one eye now, so he's at -1 DX in combat. So his speed drops to 7.75 (he still goes first), his move drops to 7 and is halved to 4. His dodge is 10 and halved to 5 and his Brawling skill drops to 15.

The dragon makes a move and attack maneuver and charges towards the Sereth and rolls a 9 against his adjusted Brawling of 9 as it tries to bite the bullet slinging fuck in half. The Sereth rolls a 12 against his dodge of 10. Ouchie. The dragon does 6 cutting damage (seriously?! two 1s and a 4? fuck off dice roller app!) which impacts the Hound's hide armor's DR of 4. Eran ends up taking 3 damage (because of the 1.5 multiplier of cutting damage), which reduces him to 9 HP. He looks up at the actual pirate with a confused expression on his face as if to say, "What's the big deal?"

As if feeling some manner of performance anxiety, the dragon seeks to compensate for that display and slashes at the Sereth with its claws. It rolls a 4. Ahem. Well. That would be a critical hit, so the Sereth doesn't get a defense against it. I did not intend for that to happen and I wrote the Sereth's smarminess in before rolling it. So yeah, the dragon rolls 3d on the critical hit table and gets an 11, which is normal damage. That was anti-climactic. So the dragon rolls 3d+1 for its slash and deals 14 cutting damage, which drops to 10 after DR and jumps back up to 15 once it hits flesh. This drops the Sereth to -9 hit points. Oh look, he and the actual pirate can be bleeding their guts out besties.

So now the Sereth has the -4 to DX and IQ shock penalty. He also rolls a 12 against his HT of 12 because he took a major wound (injury equal to 1/2 his hit points or more) and avoids being knocked down and stunned like the Elduman was. Because he's at less than 1/3 of HP, he also halves his move and dodge down to 3 and 6. Because he's at 0 or less HP, he'll have to make a HT roll to remain conscious if he decides to do anything other than a do nothing maneuver on his turn.

With its dominance once more established, the dragon spits a gob of acid towards the actual pirate and rolls a 16 against its adjusted Innate Attack skill of 15 (16 normally, -1 for the actual pirate being 6 yards away).  A miss.

It's the Sereth's turn now so he decides to take a ready maneuver and drink a potion, he also steps back one yard from the dragon. He rolls a 7 against his HT of 12 and remains conscious. The potion (lovingly crafted by the sorcerer healer bro bro) restores 4 hit points, bringing the Sereth up to -5 HP. Wooo!

Planning to essentially do the same thing, the actual pirate rolls an 11 against his HT of 12 and remains conscious to quaff a potion. The potion restores 3 HP, bringing him to -6. He also flies another yard up and away from the dragon.

The sorcerer takes a concentrate maneuver and steps towards the Sereth, poking him in the shoulder with the barrel of his revolver. He draws 4 energy from the sorcerous energy of the environment and rolls a 10 against his skill of 16 with the major healing spell. Because his skill level is so high, the cost drops to 3 and leaves 14 sorcerous energy accumulated around him (10 from concentrating to cast fireball, 10 from concentrating to cast major healing, -4 for fireball, -4 from major healing, +1 refund for skill level from fireball, +1 refund for skill level from major healing). Sorcerous energy hazes around the Sereth and he heals 8 HP, bringing him to 3 HP.

The Elduman still lying on the ground and somewhat leery of drawing the dragon's attention again, pays 3 energy (reducing him to 3 in his reserve) and activates his telekinesis for a minute and grabs a grenade from the actual pirate's belt and hurls it at the dragon from above. The grenade is a special one made by a short one-eyed chemist the group knows, it just explodes when jostled to much. The Elduman rolls a 10 against his effective Throwing skill of 13 (base of 8 for defaulting to DX-3, +5 for the dragon's SM). The dragon, still focused on the actual pirate, sees the shimmering force and the small object, and it rolls a 15 against its dodge of 6 and the grenade smacks it in the back. The grenade explodes, dealing 32 crushing damage to the dragon, which is reduced to 11 points of damage, dropping the dragon to -5 HP.

So at the bottom of the second round, everyone is still kicking and the dragon is down to -5 HP.

Round 4
The dragon, having never encountered the flaming nonsense of a grenade, and never having been injured this much in three seconds of battle before, and being a big animal that is moderately intelligent, and being a figment of the deity's memories, retreats. The group, being somewhat worse for the wear, but not dead, decide to not hunt down the giant lizard in an illusory forest inside a deity's brain space. The actual pirate drinks heavily over the course of several ready maneuvers. 

This is just an example of actual GURPS combat, all the rolls are legit. It was equal parts playtest and educational example. There are a few things to remember though.

The first is that the player characters are made as a translation, not a conversion. I took Pathfinder created characters and translated them the best I could to GURPS. What I mean by this is that in Pathfinder, Psions use Intelligence as their primary statistic, whereas in GURPS, psionics mostly use the Malediction modifier, which bases their powers off of Will. So instead of having a 13 in Will for 15 points, Donovan has an IQ of 13 for 60 points and a Will of 10 for -15 because his Wisdom was 10 in Pathfinder. If Donovan had been built from the ground up in GURPS, he would look differently.

The second thing to remember is that I gave the dragon it's full Damage Resistance on its eye hit location, instead of its Nictitating Membrane DR. This means that Eran's first shot would have done around 80 damage and put the dragon at -49 hit points. Which means a HT save or die, then another one at -62.

The third thing is that a DR of 21 is way the fuck high. If this had been a campaign event, I would have tweaked it so the small caliber revolvers the group carries could penetrate it. If we want to go the "realistic" route, creatures with scales or shells should have the Semi-Ablative, -20% modifier on their Damage Resistance, which would mean that every ten points of damage dealt to the creature reduces its innate DR by 1.

Fourth thing, hand grenades deal explosion damage. This is special because when you total the damage and deal it to the target (if there is one), you then divide it by 3 times the number of yards bystanders are from the explosion site, rounding down. So everyone within one yard of the dragon would have taken 10 crushing damage, everyone within two yards would take 5 crushing, everyone within three yards would take 3 crushing, within four to five yards would take 2, six to ten yards would take 1.

I also didn't muck about with the retreat option for an active defense. If you are attacked with a melee weapon, you can take a step move (basic move/10, but never less than 1 yard) and gain +3 to your dodge defense, but you're are still vulnerable to their close range melee attacks.

I also did not do anything with armor piercing rounds, which the Pathfinder version of the group has access to, which would have given Karrak's revolver a chance of actually damaging the dragon. I also didn't have Karl or Karrak fan hammers or thumb to increase their shots per round (and thus their chances of high damage, though this is only relevant if I had given them armor piercing rounds). If we're being honest, I also fudged the whole psychic crush thing that occurred on the first round because I didn't want to repeat the Pathfinder battle. I also had Eran aim instead of just shooting the dragon on the first round, he had plenty of bonus without the +8. I made these choices because I wanted to give everyone a chance to do something in GURPS.

I also fudged several maneuvers. With Donovan's telekinesis and the grenade I handwaved that Donovan already had it activated in my head (which takes a ready maneuver, just as it should have for Karrak to start walking on air) but it also takes a ready maneuver to pick up an object to throw with telekinesis, so Donovan wouldn't have been able to throw the grenade until the third round. Karrak's Buffered By the Sky also got fudged. I think you can use it in addition to making an active defense like a dodge, but I'm not 100% positive. However, if you use it more than once per round you get a cumulative -4 penalty to it every time you use it after the first. I didn't include the rolls in the second round where he gets dropped from 0 to -9 HP, but reducing his chance to activate Buffered By the Sky would have failed if he had done it with a -4 penalty, which would have put him at -13 HP and forced a HT roll to not die.

This wasn't a totally legit GURPS fight, but it is a much better example than the previous test battle from a few years ago where the Doctor rapid fired lasers at the Robot and reduced him to 0 HP and I thought he was dead. Additionally, I probably forgot a modifier or thirty somewhere in there. I wrote this post in the back of a moving ambulance rattling around on I-75 and using my phone as reference, dice roller, and calculator.