John Shepherd(MrShep)United Kingdom
Two Kingdom Death posts in one week? Meh. I guess it’s not like I want to be on the “top blogs” list on the front page every day, is it?
Standing waist-deep in the warm and mysterious pool, Mrs Meomwt cupped her hands and drank the strange water. And as she did, her mind was flooded with strange thoughts and new knowledge… she found herself able to speak the language of the sun, and understood the reason why the group had been called here …they were destined to be the sacred protectors of the pool, and of the warm light that shone down upon it! She excitedly beckoned the other survivors forward … and as each of them ritualistically sipped the water of the pool, they also gained the language of the sun, and an understanding of their new, shared purpose.
The pool must be protected. Always.
The tribe busied themselves, fashioning crude shelters close by, and making simple weapons with which to protect the pool.
And as they worked, the eggs at the bottom of the pool glowed happily.MrShep wrote:A convincing poll victory for Mrs Meomwt, taking almost 30% of the vote. And at the other end of the scale… ollybh scored 0%. Which suggests that he didn’t even vote for himself.
Which... things being as they are in Kingdom Death world… might be an entirely-sensible tactic.
Here’s the starting settlement for The People Of The Sun. This time, we have the sun instead of a lantern hoard (and note that the camp is so warm that our survivors are unable to wear heavy armour in this campaign. At least it’s a better outcome than that awful Gorm Climate!).
And we also have a Sacred pool — from which, once per settlement phase, a pair of consenting adults may drink the sacred waters. Speaking of which…
Some time later, it was time to perform the first of many rituals in the Sacred Pool!
Coraval and Imperator Zero stepped into the waters, and tasted the strangely-scented oils floating upon the surface of the pool.
The couple quickly fell into a strange trance-like state... and as the rest of the tribe members chanted ancient and mystical words in the language of the sun, the murky waters began to churn and bubble! As the chanting reached a crescendo, it seemed like something very large, and very powerful might be moving beneath the roiling surface!
But almost as soon as it had appeared… it was gone. The water surface was still, and the tribe fell silent.
Time passed… and Coraval was blessed with a child; the first born to the tribe, and the first member of the tribe not to have eyes mysteriously stained with ink. The child was a boy, who came to be named danrodz.MrShep wrote:There was a bit of hand waving and general vagueness around childbirth and parentage in the last campaign. Primarily because it’s possible, in the base-game Kingdom Death campaign, for childbirth to be fatal to the mother, or to the child (or even — in some circumstances — to both of the parents!). But infant mortality — even fictional infant mortality — wasn’t something that I felt very happy about applying to a game where my characters are named after real people. So, if such a result was rolled in the last campaign, I decided that I’d play the result correctly “behind the scenes” … but that the characters in the narrative would suffer a co-incidental death in some other story-appropriate way.Soon the people of the sun decided that they would need more weapons and stronger armour with which to protect the sacred pool and the great sun. Nothing was more important than this task!
In this campaign, the “intimacy” action carries an entirely different risk. Specifically: you might not make it out of the pool without being eaten by the-thing-which-lives-within. But if you manage to get past that not-being-eaten challenge… well, the actual birth will be fine
That said… the actual odds of being eaten during the intimacy ritual are worryingly high. (Essentially: Roll 2d10 … if either dice shows 3 or less, it’s dinner time! … although there are various mitigations and preparations which you can use to influence that roll…)
Clearly, this makes population growth a bit of a risky business to The People of the Sun. But I’m definitely not saying that it would be strategically sensible to put our most battle-injured and disruptive citizens into the pool.
That’s absolutely, definitely not what I’m saying.
Maybe we should have a vote next time.
Speaking of votes…
A hunting party would be sent into the plain of faces, to collect resources and slay another White Lion.
But which brave warriors-to-be would be bestowed with the honour of this undertaking?
Poll The Hunting Party Multiple votes allowed... Choices Your Answer Bars Vote Percent Vote Count danrodz (the young 'un) 24.5% 12 DSHamster (the foul-mouthed) 63.3% 31 masonap 8.2% 4 moesjiff 14.3% 7 ollybh 32.7% 16 sowilliams 10.2% 5 Heurmistic 10.2% 5 Kristabelle 36.7% 18 Mrs Meomwt (the strong and couragous) 53.1% 26 Mizerak 14.3% 7 Wulfman 28.6% 14 Voters 49This poll is now closed. 49 answersPoll created by MrShepCloses: Sun Mar 28, 2021 6:00 am
(Coraval and Imperator Zero are still in recovery)
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It's a blog on a board-gaming site. Pretty safe bet it'll be about board games then...
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Once upon another time, there was a place of carved stone faces. A man with a lantern lay sleeping a dreamless sleep. He knew nothing.
It has been SUCH a long time since I last had company here at the great pool. Just how long HAS it been, I wonder. Months? …Years?
Perhaps decades … or even centuries?
…it is difficult to be sure when there is so little here to provide me with entertainment and amusement. So, dearest heart, imagine my delight when a new group — containing no fewer than a DOZEN new survivors — arrived at the great pool today!
There appears to be six males … calling themselves DSHamster, Imperator Zero, masonap, moesjiff, ollybh, and sowilliams …plus six females, known as coraval, Heurmistic, Kristabelle, Mrs Meomwt, Mizerak and Wulfman. A selection of most unusual (and at times confusing) names, but I shall neither complain nor fuss; it is good to see the place busy again, and I shall make the most of this new opportunity for distraction!
Sadly, two of the survivors do not appear to be in the best of health. I do hope that they recover soon; it would be a shame to lose two of my new friends so soon after getting to know them. Apparently DSHamster, Imperator Zero, coraval and Mrs Meomwt were attacked by a White Lion mere moments after their awakening! All four put up a brave and frantic fight — armed only with shards of stone that they found on the ground. But alas, coraval was gravely wounded … a “destroyed back” leaving her virtually immobile … and the one called Imperator Zero now has a gaping chest wound and ruptured spleen! — I doubt he’ll be fighting any more lions for quite some time.
DSHamster — although outwardly fine — seems to have suffered inflictions of a different sort … a damage of the mind! He seems incapable of staying quiet for any length of time … and whenever he opens his mouth, a stream of most foul and inappropriate phrases pours forth!! “Coprolalia” is, I believe the name of the disorder with which the pour soul is afflicted.
Mrs Meomwt — the last of the survivors involved in the Lion Skirmish — seems to be the only one who came away without any permanent damage. Quite the opposite, in fact — It seems that whilst dealing out a particularly lethal blow to the feline monstrosity (by fist and tooth, no less!) she discovered herself to be capable of feats of strength far beyond her expectations … in fact, I suspect Mrs Meomwt to be the strongest survivor in the entire band!
Sadly, all of the weapon-stones were lost in the fight … apparently the White Lion — cornered and close to death — had resorted to repeated use of its Terrifying Roar … an intimidating attack which chipped away at the very sanity of the survivors, repeatedly pushing them out of melee range. The only way to break the cycle — before dangerous levels of brain damage ensued — was to hurl the very last stone from a distance … wounding the lion and breaking the cycle of torment … but permanently losing the weapon in the darkness!
Fortunately, the tactic worked … the lion was vanquished, and the group — along with several other people who found themselves simultaneously (and mysteriously) awakening in the nearby darkness — were inevitably drawn to the light and warmth of The Pool.
But of course they were. This is always the way. Soon there will be a hive of industry here at The Pool …the survivors busying themselves, fashioning new weapons from the lion’s bones. Such fine adventures await!
But I wonder who will be the first to drink the water, and discover their true calling? (Not one of the wounded, I suspect…)
Poll Let the tyranny decide! Who drinks the water? Choices Your Answer Bars Vote Percent Vote Count DSHamster 21.3% 13 masonap 3.3% 2 moesjiff 1.6% 1 ollybh 0.0% 0 sowilliams 3.3% 2 Heurmistic 1.6% 1 Kristabelle 23.0% 14 Mrs Meomwt 29.5% 18 Mizerak 8.2% 5 Wulfman 11.5% 7 Voters 61This poll is now closed. 61 answersPoll created by MrShepCloses: Thu Mar 25, 2021 6:00 am
Rest assured, dearest heart, that I shall keep you informed of all developments!
Your obedient servant.
The KDM Diary potential-victim-sign-up thread can be found here
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Long ago, ravenous beasts searched the darkness, using their keen senses to find prey.
In the distance they saw a blooming pillar of light surrounded by tasty morsels, bustling in their tiny industry.
Licking their chops, they approached.
But the beasts halted mid-step. The wind carried a foul, menacing presence.
Surely the busy creatures were harmless? Yet, the menacing warning persisted; the beasts felt it in their very bones.
Instinctively, the beasts turned away, seeking their meals elsewhere.
It was a final, glorious battle… a battle like no other! The entire tribe — from hardened veterans to inexperienced newbies … the young and the old alike … all came together in an attempt to drive the fearsome Watcher from their home!Quote:The Watcher showdown has quite the epic feel to it. Usually, in Kingdom Death Monster, players only control 4 hero figures … and when those 4 figures are defeated, the battle is over. But in the showdown against the watcher (which was the grand finale back in the original version of the game), the entire settlement can get involved. You still have four core heroes leading the battle … but there are a couple of really interesting rule tweaks for this one, which bring other survivors onto the board. They are:Benisace makes the first move for our defenders … leading his retinue into battle from behind the watcher, he launches a volley of 3 arrows using the vespertine bow. The first one hits the watcher in its tentacle chains… but this causes the monster to recoil at great speed … putting it out of range of the remaining two shots.
Retinues. Each of your four main characters can summon a “retinue” into the arena … this is a 3x3 “block” of survivors (i.e. 9 figures) which move around in formation, following their own rules for interacting with the monster. They can’t deal any damage themselves, but any hero standing next to a retinue (any retinue) gets a +6 damage bonus. The bonuses stack … so with a bit of manoeuvring, it’s fairly easy to get a couple of retinues in position to give your heroes +12 damage. Which is nice. (And also pretty much essential against the Watcher!)
When The Watcher defeats a retinue (which is a reasonably frequent occurrence… The Watcher doesn’t specifically target retinues, but they can kind of get accidentally caught in the crossfire), or if the leader who summoned that retinue dies, you pay quite a significant price. Namely… you scrub 4 members of your settlement.
Pedantry warning: You might notice that I haven’t painted anywhere near enough Kingdom Death survivor minis to properly represent 4 individual retinues. (Yet!). So please excuse the somewhat loosely-grouped nature of some retinues on my board, and the tendency for the same figures to jump around the board into different crowd scenes. And don’t be surprised if you see a recently-killed main character suddenly reappear as retinue member
And secondly… there’s a special action called “embolden” — triggered by certain Watcher reactions — which gives you the opportunity, should you have fewer than 4 heroes on the field at that point, to bring a brand new character onto the field. This newly-emboldened survivor enters with all of their “departure” bonuses applied, and can also be instantly equipped with anything available … including stuff that a recently-deceased party member may have been carrying. Which can be very useful indeed!
In short: The Watcher fight can quite easily involve a cast of dozens.
And in our case… it probably willQuote:Another complication in the Watcher showdown: there are a bunch of “first strike” hit locations for this particular monster which trigger an instant movement … often placing the watcher out of range of the rest of your attack!Ben uses a survival point to “surge” and shoot again (this time using the long-range feature of the bow) … and hits the Watcher in its hydrostatic skeleton. Glowing splinters fly from the watcher’s body and -- as if to prove that old thing about every action having an equal and opposite reaction -- one of the flying splinters strikes Ben square in the face and draws blood.
The Grim Reeple (brave Twilight Knight and sworn nemesis of the Watcher) falls to the ground, fainting at the sight of blood!Quote:Hmmm. I knew that hemophobia disorder was going to be a problemMTGStretchy (and retinue) charges the Watcher from behind, landing a duo of hits with The Butcher’s Cleaver…
…but… ITS A TRAP! MTG is knocked to the floor, brain damaged, and suffering the Stolen Dreams ailment until others come to his aid.
Random Obfuscation hurls one of the tribe’s valuable Founding Stones at The Watcher — A critical hit to its void tentacles (cancelling the Stolen Dreams effect!) … and then encourages Grim Reeple back to her feet.
Then the Grim Reeple attacks with the Twilight Sword, with her retinue close behind … causing significant damage to the Watcher’s Void Corpus … but she’s left herself in a vulnerable position, and is swept from her feet (again) by the Watcher’s Lantern Vortex as it begins its attack.
The Watcher swoops across the arena towards MTG Stretchy… a whirl of spinning chains and lanterns … and although MTG and his brave retinue stand their ground against the terrible onslaught, it seems that there is NOTHING that can save them from this assault. MTG’s head is pounded to a bloody pulp by the spinning metal vortex … closely followed by those of ianwat, Doug Peterson, Hrune, and the anonymous brave soul who was born last lantern year, but who who I didn’t bother to name because I knew they’d be on the top of the retinue death list as soon as this fight began
Without missing a beat, the Watcher turns to Random Obfuscation, inflicting a liquify attack… hurling her backwards with limbs flailing, and causing a spiral fracture to her arms and bleeding legs.Quote:Well… so much for MTGStretchy being our ultimate killing machine and being tooled up with our best armour … he didn’t manage to lay a finger on The Watcher before his untimely rolled-three-head-wounds-and-then-a-decapitation-result demise.Ben encourages Grim back to her feet … then launches another arrow towards The Watcher — striking it in the Void Polyps (sounds painful!) … the Watcher is enraged, and instantly hits back at Ben. Ben’s feeble rawhide armour is little defence against The Watcher’s rage-driven strength; he suffers two critical hits to the waist — the first causing intestinal prolapse … and the second strike ripping his genitals clean off his body!
It’s just as well that the Grim Reeple (brave twilight night and sworn nemesis of the Watcher) is already on the floor, otherwise she would’ve passed out again at the sight of more blood.
At this point, Ben is the only hero still standing…Quote:"Destroyed Genitals" ... that's what it says on the results table. I don't just make this stuff up for comic effect you know!Barely back on her feet, The Grim Reeple (brave twilight night and sworn nemesis of the Watcher) sees the shower of blood spurting from Ben’s groin… and promptly… faints again.
No heroes are left standing … the Watcher turns his attention to the currently-barely-conscious Random Obfuscation, and attacks again … alas, she is left bleeding and disemboweled …resulting in death mere moments later
The Watcher pauses, returns to the centre of the arena, and heals its wounds.Quote:You know… up until this point… I kind of thought we were in with a chance. Prior to healing, The Watcher had been taken down to half of its initial health point total. Another couple of decent attacks, and we might just have swung this battle our way. Still… there’s a fair few tribe members waiting in the wings, should we get a couple of embolden actions into play. The battle might still go our way.The Grim Reeple (brave twilight night and sworn nemesis of the Watcher) stumbles back to her feet and strikes with the Twilight sword… another hit, this time in the beast’s Hydrostatic Skeleton … again, the attacker is damaged by flying splinters from the blow and starts to bleed (so down she goes again. Ho hum.) … BUT a successful hit on the Hydrostatic Skeleton raises a cheer from the audience, and allows an embolden action!
Speaking of which…
Microsillon enters the battle (wearing leather armour that was stripped from MTGStretchy’s corpse moments earlier) and with a retinue behind him …attacks The Watcher using a counterwighted axe, inflicting damage upon its hydrostatic fluids, and causing the watcher to flee to the other side of the Arena. As its sinister form floats through the spaces occupied by The Grim Reeple and her retinue they each feel a sense of panic, and a few seconds of fading consciousness … but the sensation soon passes; they’ll live to keep on fighting. For now.Quote:Lucky dice roll for the retinue there, the odds of survival were not in their favour!…and then an emboldened MGreen02 also enters the fray, hurling one of the settlement’s two remaining founding stones at The Watcher (for a critical hit), randomly swinging a whistling mace around his head (to no great benefit), and then running out of harms way as fast as his legs could carry him.
Fighting against overwhelming, agonising pain, Ben is back on his feet and launches a long-range arrow towards the retreating Watcher … hitting it in the back, but triggering ANOTHER trap! The Watcher turns, swoops towards Ben and executes a furious, limb-rending counter attack upon Ben and his entire Retinue … within moments there is nothing but a heap of bloody, shattered bones-and-limbs in the place where Ben and his comrades — including Krista the second — once stoodQuote:Well… the trap card was sitting at the top of the HL deck (we seem to have surfaced trap cards a disproportionate number of times in this fight), and somebody had to dislodge it. Sorry Ben.
Microsillon attacked… but tripped the trap AGAIN!Quote:What!!!?…fortunately the leather armour that he’d “borrowed” from MTG went some way towards saving his life here … he suffered a gaping chest wound and bleeding kidneys … but then both he and MGreen were sent bowling across the arena in a massive shockwave, as The Watcher re-materialised at the centre of the Arena.
The Watcher turned his attention to The Grim Reeple. I’ve lost track of whether she was still standing or already knocked down prior to Microsillon getting his kidneys speared, but she would definitely have fainted having witnessed that particular spectacle of gore. Either way… she wasn’t in a good position to put up a defence against the Watcher’s latest attack — a combination of intestinal prolapse and shattered back were the wounds that finished her off … and the remaining members of her retinue were picked off seconds later.
Microsillon and MGreen02 — last survivors of The Tyranny of Small Lanterns — get back on their feet, summon their retinues, and chaaaaaaaaarge…..Quote:Note that you can still raise (and lose) retinues after your settlement has reached zero population. Because… well… I guess it’s just cooler and more exciting that way. Just imagine these folks as the extras and B-listers who were present in the settlement background, but never really got a starring role in the story…The Watcher smashes into MGreen02 with a Petrify attack … smashing his rib cage… a shattered bone fragment punctures his heart — causing instant death — and his retinue is subsequently flattened.
Enraged, Microsillon rushes to avenge his fallen friend, swings his axe and…Quote:That ****ing blackout card came out again. Seriously. I’m starting to wonder if it has an unusually slick surface or something on that particular card which keeps bringing it back to the top of the deck…The rage of The Watcher was brief and furious; the retinue fell the full brunt of The Watcher’s rage, with Microsillon receiving a torn leg, ruptured spleen, and gaping chest wound.
And thus Microsillon — last survivor of the Tyranny of Small Lanterns — was no more.
With a great inhalation, the Watcher greedily consumes everyone and everything, before traveling for an eon, ultimately seeking a new place to hibernate.
The time of the settlement has come to an end.
Its people and history are forever lost.
Once sky had no day. There was a Shadow that was sad. It could only play in the small light of a lantern.
The shadow found a hole in the sky and decided to steal enough lanterns to fill it. It took many generations, and when it was done, the shadow slept under its big light, dreaming dreams about how it would play. But when it awoke, all of the light had gone!
At the centre of the hole in the sky was a tiny shining entity, with a great big mouth.
The shadow named the tiny thing the sun.
And they played forever.
Kingdom Death Diary will return with: The People of The Sun.
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“Now remember folks … this is no ordinary prey that we’re pursuing today. This is an old and ancient white lion; fiercer … wiser… more cunning than ANY that we have hunted before. The way ahead will not be easy; we will have to venture deep into the darkness in pursuit of our quarry. Go further than we have ever gone before… travel to the very limits of our endurance… push ourselves to previously-untested limits, stretch our resolve to the absolute maximum, and find ourselves…”
“Wait, what’s that?”
“It’s a tiny white lion!!?”
“Quick!!! KILL IT!!… Get it!!! GET IT!!!!!”Quote:Well, that was a stroke of luck; the first two cards drawn on this hunt were: Prowling Lion (moves the lion one space further away down the track, and causes the lion to begin the battle in Ground Fighting Mode … followed by:Within seconds of the lion cub meeting its untimely demise, the enraged mother lion burst into the clearing… dropping low to the ground and — with a fearsome snarl — adopting a defensive ground-fighting stance.
A White lion cub! … in other words, a grab-bag of low-effort resources, followed by the instant appearance of the mother lion, avoiding the need for a long, protracted and troublesome hunt. Sweet!
(Note: this is the Mother Lion. Remember that. I might mention it later.)Quote:Well, there’s nothing that I can see in the rules about that Ground Fighting status being displaced by a subsequent enraged pounce. So ground fighting is what we’ll have. Which should also play to our advantage…As the lion growled and snarled at our brave band of survivors — taunting and goading them to attack — our heroes kept their cool, and quickly changed formation to lure the fearsome monster into a ambush!
The plan was simple: Random Obfuscation would launch a vespertine arrow directly at the beast’s head, causing it to charge towards her… but she would remain just out of the lion’s reach … drawing the lion into the range of the other survivor’s melee weapons…Quote:…because the lion’s imminent reaction has been anticipated, courtesy of the wisdom potion:
Though the imminence of this card did prompt some rapid forum checking to see if a trap cancels ground fighting. It doesn’t; basically the lion is going to full-move towards Random Obfuscation, and then switch back into ground fighting mode. It’s interesting just how tactical and thinky KDM fights can get, once you’ve unlocked a few tools and abilities.
The trap is sprung!… The Lion charges at Random Obfuscation... but can't quite reach her position ....MTG Stretchy attacks with the butchers cleaver … landing blows to the lion’s scapular deltoid, and then lopping off a complete claw! Grim Reeple follows with a flurry of twilight sword slashes, bruising the beast’s femur, and slicing off a chunk of the lion’s Glorious Mane (hmm… a female lion with a mane?)… and then Neuhauser sweeps swings with her axe … crunching down on the lion’s neck, and knocking it completely off its feet!
A flurry of follow up blows reign down upon the now-vulnerable lion… wound after wound... but then Neuhauser makes a fateful move! — crunching her axe into the lion’s groin (invoking the power of the blue lantern to empower her strike) and successfully severing its…
look, that thing I mentioned before about this being the MUMMY lion? This evidence definitely suggests the opposite!
Anyway… two very significant consequences occurred at this point. Firstly, Neuhauser's achievement provided the vital last couple of experience points that she required to obtain THIS completely ridiculous (and badly-photographed, sorry!) combat trick:
And secondly… the lion suddenly got angry.
Unstoppable-revenge style angry…
it pounced upon Neuhauser, chewed her foot, broke her leg, and then…
bit her head clean off her shoulders.Quote:NOooooooo! … alas, it seems that luck was not on Neuhauser’s side; she even still had her free lifetime re-roll available, but when I re-rolled the dice, it STILL showed a decapitation result. So, very sadly, mere moments after obtaining her god-like saviour combat abilities, poor Neuhauser is nothing more than lion chow!
And how did our hemophobic Twilight Knight, the Grim Reeple, react to this vile scene? Well … the moment that she caught a glimpse of Neuhauser’s mangled, bloody body, she started to feel faint… stumbled… and fell to the floor!
Almost immediately, the lion grabbed at ‘Grim’s body with it’s teeth and claws … and quickly dragged her away from the rest of the survivors …to a nearby clump of long grass.
MTGStretchy and Random Obfuscation gave chase … Random Obfuscation shouting encouragement to The Grim Reeple to bring her back to her feet. Her shouting seemed to work! ‘Grim snapped out of her delirious state, and swung her blade at the White Lion … slicing its golden tail clean from its backside!
MTG Stretchy caught up… his arms a dizzying whirl of blades, raining slice-upon-slice down upon the lion… slashing its triceps… its back… and finally… driving the deadly cleaver into the back of the beast’s straining neck!
With a mighty crack, and a splintering of bone, the old white lion was dead.
The haul from the showdown was magnificent … aside from the beast’s remains, the various body parts that had been lopped off during the battle, and the remnants of the young lion slaughtered at the start of the fight, the group had also found ample opportunity to collect a strange bloom and unusual mineral resource from the battlefield while the lion was snarling and growling from its initial ground fighting position. The craftsmen back at the Tyranny of Small Lanterns would have plenty to work with, to prepare for the battle with The Watcher!Quote:And I later remembered to add two more resources; one to account for Neuhauser’s corpse, since the survivors have the cannibalism principle, and a further monster-resource-of-my-choice from the White Lion deck, thanks to the “Ultimate Weapon” plan which gets unlocked when you first discover The Watcher! All in all, this battle managed to furnish us with a complete set of leather armour, add two levels of twilight sword proficiency to the Grim Reeple, and make MTGStretchy an even slightly more deadly killing machine than he already is. But, to be fair, he is already ludicrously deadly killing machine.[to be continued…]
Shame about Neuhauser though. This next fight is going to be a tough one without her….
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18 Feb 2021
A resigned silence descended upon the tribe. Several days had passed since the secret chamber had been discovered within the lantern horde — several days packed with preparation and planning for the ordeal which was to come. And now — as the tribe divided into retinues, ready to take to the battlefield and support their leaders in mass combat — the four bravest, strongest members of the tribe stood upon the threshold of The Watcher’s lair, ready to wake the monster that slumbered within ...and to seal the fate of the Tyranny of Small Decisions forever!
The preceding days had been a bustle of activity as the tribe prepared for the fearsome confrontation. Blades were sharpened … plans were made … armour was fashioned… tactics were discussed… and the camp was such a hive of activity that the survivors barely noticed the now-somewhat-familiar figure of the hooded stranger turning up… seeking The Grim Reeple for a (rather timely) “training-and-testing session”.
The sound of metal-upon-metal echoed from within The Grim Reeple’s hovel …and the hooded stranger looked rather flustered as they left; perhaps Grim had managed to put up a better fight than expected?Quote:A good die roll here; The Grim Reeple gained two levels of proficiency in the Twilight Sword … a weapon specifically forged to be used against The Watcher (and passed down from the hooded stranger to Twilight Tony… and then to Neuhauser via Challst (sort of) many chapters ago…) It looks like Grim may now be ready to meet her destiny …though that pesky hemophobia disorder — which makes her faint at the sight of blood — might be a slight hinderance.Grim would definitely be a candidate for the showdown with The Watcher … but who should accompany her? MTGStretchy seemed like the best choice — his prowess with the Butcher’s Cleaver had quickly gained him a reputation as the most lethal fighter in the tribe. And it also seemed like Neuhauser, the Saviour, could be key to winning the battle — but had her powers developed to their full potential yet?Quote:Neuhauser is SOOOO close to gaining Lucernae's Lantern — a silly super-powerful (albeit life-draining) ability which allows the wielder to “reach into the dream, excise a screeching skull — darker than darkness — and then hurtle it at their opponent”. Which translates to masses of auto-landing critical hits in a single attack. Which seems like a crazy-useful thing to have at this point, right? So……perhaps one last preparatory hunt was in order? …an opportunity for these three heroes to hone their skills and their weapons prior the final(?) battle, and to maybe to gather a few last-minute resources to help with the fight. But who could join them? — Random Obfuscation! … a survivor who seemed to have become particularly burdened by the discovery of The Watcher on that fateful day, and who had been training near-relentlessly ever since … would complete the party!Quote:Random Obfuscation picked up a Quixotic disorder during the Watcher revelation … “You carry the weight of your settlement on your shoulders. Everyone is counting on you to save them, and you will rise to the challenge. If you are insane when you depart, gain +1 survival and a +1 strength token.”The team was to hunt a white lion … the tribe had recently embarked upon the innovation of leatherwork, and an older, larger lion would go quite some way to furnishing another set of armour for the watcher battle. While tracking down such a beast, Neuhauser would hopefully unlock her full fighting potential, and perhaps The Grim Reeple would gain a little more experience with the Twilight sword.
Random Obfuscation is very insane indeed, and that +1 strength will do nicely!
At least, that was the plan … and it seemed like a very sound plan, when the team departed on the hunt, just a few days ago, full of hope and optimism. Alas, sometimes even the best plans don’t play out exactly how you hope they will ….and only three of the brave band of adventurers returned from the lion hunt to face The Watcher.
But what had happened? Who survived? And what had gone wrong?…
[to be continued]
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Spoiler warning… pretty significant KDM core plot stuff is about to be disclosed. To be fair, the game has been out for 5+ years now, anybody who is even vaguely interested in KDM lore probably knows this by now anyway, and I know that many of you are just interested in vicariously living the KDM experience through session reports rather than actually playing it yourself. But hey… it’s a couple of years since I last put a spoiler notice out… so consider yourself warned!
PREVIOUSLY ON KINGDOM DEATH DIARY…
Wibbly-wobbly-fade to Ben and Microscillion, sitting by the Lantern Horde, circa June 2019…
"Have you ever wondered where this all came from?"
"Where all what came from?"
"This... the great lantern hoard!"
Microscillion shrugged. "Urm... not really. I mean, it's always just kind of been here. Hasn't it?"
"I know that's what everybody says. But surely somebody ... or someTHING must've put all of these lanterns here in the first place. But why? Why would they do that? What was their purpose? Where did they get them all from? What were they trying to achieve...?"
"Ben... you're over-thinking it. The Lantern Horde keeps us safe. Everybody knows that!"
"But how? HOW does it keep us safe. I mean, we know that there's all kinds of terrible, horrible things out there -- the monsters, the weather, the insects, the terrain... even the plant life have all done their level best to try to destroy us at one time or another. And the lantern horde is like a big, shining beacon that you can see from miles away. A big shining beacon saying 'I bet there's something interesting over here, why don't you come and check it out?'. So why does the EXACT OPPOSITE happen? WHY do the monsters actually keep away?"Quote:Yes, I too find it difficult to believe that:CUT TO THE PRESENT DAY…
(1) I foreshadowed this episode a year and a half ago, and
(2) I’m still writing this nonsense…
THERE IS PANIC IN THE SETTLEMENT! A LOW RUMBLING CAN BE HEARD… CRACKS APPEAR IN THE GROUND… CRACKS THAT WIDEN INTO FISSURES, BELCHING UP HOT, FOUL-SMELLING VAPOUR. PEOPLE ARE SCREAMING, FLEEING IN TERROR, AND THEN….Quote:Oh. We didn’t actually have ANY returning survivors from that Kingsman fight. Or any home endeavours. Or any nightmare training going on. So I guess those big cracks are nothing to worry about then. ‘phewCautiously venturing back into the settlement — when the rumbling and quaking had stopped — our brave band of survivors noticed something VERY concerning. The lights of the lantern hoard are starting… to go out! And as a tide of darkness slowly spreads across the great pile of lanterns, the tribe notice something else: there is some kind of hidden chamber within the lantern hoard itself!
Slowly, the most daring survivors peer into the darkness… where they discover a dreadful truth…
Slumbering deep within the chamber is an ancient and evil presence. A presence which radiates great power and malevolence. And instinctively, the survivors know that this creature has been the force that has guided their progression; the inspiration to innovate and advance their culture … inspiration which they thought was coming from the warm, protecting light of the lantern hoard was actually projected from the creature within. And the reason why the monsters and creatures of the plain of faces have always stayed away from the light of the the settlement? Well… a good farmer always protects its livestock, doesn’t it?
And although it still sleeps, the creature is hungry.
Soon it will be time to harvest its crop.
Knowing that the great predator will soon wake, and that the light holding back the endless darkness may soon be extinguished, the survivors begin to make preparations.
[to be continued...]Quote:
And thus we uncover the twist at the core of every Kingdom Death Campaign: the places where humans find apparent safety in the world of KDM are all, in general … just traps or prisons of one sort of another. The Watcher is the “settlement” monster of the base game campaign -- it lures unintelligent savages to the “protection” of its lantern horde, massively accelerates their societal progression and intelligence (you may recall that at the beginning of the game, our survivors didn’t even have the innovation of “language”) … and then — once the tribe has achieved a suitable level of intellectual “ripeness” -- it will feast upon all that it has created.
Sucks to be a human, right?
From this point forward, we can wake The Watcher up during any showdown phase and trigger the climactic battle to determine the fate of the tribe. Each year that we defer that fight The Watcher will grow more powerful — so its kind of in our interests to get it over with sooner rather than later. But… unfortunately… although the Tyranny of Small Lanterns has thrived pretty well in terms of population (we’re still in double figures at this point!), and has got a couple of reasonably capable damage-dealers to send into battle … our technological advancement has been really stunted in this campaign, and I fear that we lack the protective gear that we need. So perhaps one or two resource-farming sorties and crafting sessions may still be in order first.
If we win? … the campaign continues — but without the protection (and light!) of the lantern hoard — and life gets even tougher for the tribe.
If we lose? … well… there’s a whole bunch of expansion campaigns with entirely different monsters (and motives) at the core of each settlement, all waiting to inflict their dastardly plans upon unwitting survivors. Volume 1 might end, but the story will continue…
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“Quickly child! The time has come! … The Kingsman is here — it is time to prove yourself on the battlefield, defending the glory of the Tyranny of Small Lanterns!”
As one of the youngest members of the tribe, UKSweeny wasn’t entirely sure that he was prepared to defend the glory of anything quite yet, let alone the glory of the entire tribe … and although Crazy Lynn was, for the most part, just a nice old lady and nowhere near as insane as the other tribe members said she was, he did sometimes wish that she maybe didn’t have quite as rampant a blood-lust as she did. Still, if Lynn was correct, and he was — indeed — the reincarnation of a great and renowned warrior, famous for protecting the tribe … then maybe the battle that was about to take place wouldn’t be so hard. Would it?
UKSweeny grasped the vespertine bow, took aim, and glanced nervously at his fellow combatants. Lynn had, of course, charged straight onto the battlefield alongside him — daubed in bloodpaint, and wielding sword and mace. But the other two defenders-of-the-glory-of-the-tyranny-of-small-lanterns on the battlefield were, perhaps, a little less-keen. Supermoosh had somehow been nudged to the front of the crowd and found a katar pressed into each hand … and Tea Table Topper — who hadn’t really been the sharpest of combatants since the day that he lost his right arm in an unfortunate sporting accident — was adorned in lion armour, and brought the numbers up to four.Quote:There’s a certain school of KDM players who say that when a kingsman nemesis encounter comes around, it’s easiest to just throw away 4 survivors and proceed straight to the next settlement phase. To save time.And for a time — For a depressingly short, but gloriously notable time — the fight went surprisingly well for our noble heroes!
But WE’RE not going to adopt a defeatist attitude like that, are we?
The kingsman had become distracted from his march towards the settlement by the corpse of some strange, unidentifiable behemoth. A mysterious (and very dead) beast, which had fallen by some stone columns, slap-bang in the middle of the battlefield. And as the Kingsman prodded and poked at the pink, bulbous, blubbery cadaver with his halbard, the survivors managed to sneak into positions of tactical advantage … launching a perfectly-choreographed, slickly-executed surprise attack; Topper charged in at speed, slamming the kingsman into a prone position, Lynn attacked in a frenzy of blade and mace, Supermoosh stabbed wildly with dual-wielded lion katars, and Uksweeny scored multiple critical hits with the vespertine bow. One particularly fierce hit to the Kingsman’s regal faceplate triggered a reflexive spew of acid into supermoosh’s eyes … followed by a smack to the face which instantly shattered his jaw … but, as things go, it seemed like the first round of the fight had swung strongly in the favour of the survivors.
Perhaps they were in with a chance?Quote:Reading up on Kingsman encounters a bit later in the day, I discovered that a monster corpse is considered one of the best possible terrain cards to draw for this fight. And — with lots of survival points expended — I managed to milk the situation for an awful lot of wounds to the Kingsman in the opening moments of the encounter. But would it be enough to keep our survivors alive?Well… no. Not really. As the Kingsman’s focus switched to the fight, the survivor’s frenzied assault became progressively harder and harder to sustain … the kingsman’s battle pressure and silent hymn ability gradually slowing their attacks to a rate that was laughably easy to shrug off — coupled with a whirling halberd defence which even rendered the usually-trusty vespertine bow useless!
Supermoosh was the first to suffer a (literally) sticky demise — delivered via a second blow to the head… the halberd hitting with a speed and ferocity that smashed his skull open in an explosion of blood-and-brain gore.
Next was ‘Topper … a blow from the Kingsman’s halberd rupturing the muscles in his one-remaining-good-arm (a bit mean, I thought!) …before he too was despatched with the explody-head treatment.Quote:Some very low rolls on the severe head injury table here!Lynn — in an attempt to avenge her now-headless comrades — swung her mace into the Kingsman’s regal skirt … only to suffer a counter-attack that smashed her jaw to pieces. A smashed jaw is not, usually, a fatal injury… but this hit tipped the balance on accumulated blood loss from various injuries sustained earlier in the battle… so Lynn, sadly, also met her end.
UKSweeny was the last defender standing … though only barely. His main weapon rendered ineffective by the Kingsman’s whirling halberd, Sweeny stumbled over to the giant monster corpse… perhaps hoping that the Kingsman might again be distracted by the spectacle of the deceased beastie? … or that he might be able to find some makeshift weapon on the corpse?
Alas, the only artefact that he found amongst the creature’s remains — “love juice” — was no help whatsoever to his present situation. Not that he had very long to muse over the uselessness of the discovery, as — mere seconds later — the Kingman had caught up with him … and with a mighty lunge, thrusted the halberd clean through Sweeny’s torso … spearing his lungs, and rendering him lifeless.Quote:At least by playing the entire battle out, I gained a bonus love juice. So it was totally worth doing
Seemingly satisfied by the sacrifice of the settlement’s champions, the Kingsman retrieved his halberd from Sweeny’s corpse, turned away, and marched into the darkness…
A bleak day, you might think, for the Tyranny of Small Lanterns. And indeed, the loss of 4 brave warriors was a considerable setback for our tribe ...but this second, fateful visit of the Kingsman was soon to be shadowed by a terrifying discovery, made only a few days later, which would seal the fate of the settlement forever...
[to be continued]
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07 Dec 2020
The battle with the Gorm was a story that quickly acquired near-mythical status amongst the people of The Tyranny of Small Lanterns. On many a dark cold night (which could — technically — be pretty much any time at all out on the plain of stone faces, as it was a realm entirely unblessed by rays of sunshine), the tribe would gather around the Lantern Hoard and re-tell the story of how MTGStretchy — with his face daubed in bloodpaint — sliced and diced away at the great thundering beast … hacking the whole thing limb from blubbery limb in a matter of mere minutes!
The fact that The Grim Reaple had also managed to land at least two (unlikely!) blows upon the beast with her recently-acquired Twilight Sword during the fight, the detail that Krista had knuckle-shielded the monster straight in its testicles at a particularly-critical juncture in the battle, AND the twist that the killing blow had actually been delivered by an arrow between the eyes courtesy of Ben’s vespertine bow all paled into insignificance against the stories of MTGStretchy …and the unstoppable slaughter-machine that he had seemingly become since his acquisition of The Butcher’s cleaver.
But a good story teller never gets too hung up on all of the fine details, right?Quote:MTG is reaping the rewards of surviving the level 2 butcher fight here. Given the fact that he was already one of the strongest survivors in the settlement, he’s become quite the killing-machine with his new cleaver. And fortunately the party also seemed to catch up with a particularly easy gorm on this occasion … no traps triggered, and the particular mix of AI cards which came out of the deck gave the impression that this particular gorm was less overtly-aggressive than usual (if subject to occasional temper tantrums!). With a bit of clever herding — and being careful where our heroes positioned themselves at the end of each move — it proved to be a very easy fight.
I think I’ve mentioned it before… but I really do love the way that KDM’s AI system throws out these personality differences between the various monsters that you encounter. Although all monsters of the same class display broadly similar actions and characteristics, the different card combos that you encounter throw out all kinds of behavioural sub-patterns and traits — especially as the AI deck thins out, and the creature falls back into a core fight-or-flight strategy. Admittedly, I’m guilty of projecting a small amount of connective narrative onto the various cards that emerge — and, don’t get me wrong, it’s not a hugely-sophisticated mechanism driving all of this …just a nicely curated set of flavour texts and breadth-of-actions in the various sub-decks generating this behaviour. But it absolutely, definitely works. And is a longevity-extending nuance that you maybe don’t really “get” until you’ve got a fair bit of KDM under your belt.
With the gorm defeated, our heroes sang a song of victory; a formidable song filled with threatening shouts and wild cries… a menacing cacophony, intended to drive the rest of the gorm herd far away from the tribe’s lands…
…and when the gorm-climate storms failed to materialise later that lantern year, it seemed like our heroes had been successful in their plans
The mood within the camp was jubilant for quite some time after the success of the gorm hunt (or, at least, as jubilant as it’s possible to be in the face of never-ending darkness and the ever-looming possibility of unforeseen, horrific and arbitrary death) — resulting in many births. The tribe was blessed with the arrival of two girls — Elebenty and ZaophodDK, and three boys… Hrune, DougPeterson, and…
…well, we’ll come to the 5th child in a moment…Quote:One of the objectives of sending Ben and Krista on an easy mission was to trigger the matchmaker skills that they each have … which resulted in the first two of those births. A third birth came via the “love juice” loot drop from the gorm, and a forth birth was triggered by an augury action, which resulted in twins! … so, all in all, a usefully-prolific lantern year for the tribe
The fifth child — a boy — attracted particular interest from one of the oldest survivors in the settlement. Shortly after the child ’s arrival — as his proud parents displayed their new-born son to the rest of the tribe — a voice spoke up from the crowd. It was the voice of “Crazy” Old Lynn (dingle-sneak of the Lantern).
“It is HIM!” — she declared — “UKSweeny … one of the great old warriors of the tribe! Do you not see the resemblance? …surely he has returned to save us!”
In truth, not many people were very convinced. After all, Crazy Old Lynn was called “crazy” for a reason, and there were not many other people around who could remember very much about UKSweeny… other than the rumour that he’d met a particularly nasty fate on something that had become known as “the night of the necrotic mistletoe”. But if you ever asked the tribe elders about what exactly happened on “the night of the necrotic mistletoe”, they’d just cast guilty glances towards Twilight Tony’s old hut, mention what a boon the creation of the vespertine bow had been to the progress of the settlement, and then change the subject rather quickly.
Nevertheless, the proud new parents thought that UKSweeny was a nice name anyway… and so, that’s what they named their son. And as the child grew older, Crazy Old Lynn (dingle-sneak of the lantern) very much took the youngster under her wing, passing down the hunting and survival skills which had kept her alive for so long.
“You are destined for great things, boy. Soon… very soon…”
“It must be the gorm urine that did it.” declared MTGStretchy. The other tribe members rubbed their chins, and nodded in agreement. There was no doubt about it… the rawhide leggings that had come into contact with the gorm’s frequent and torrential sprayings during that last battle were somehow… “different” now. They’d changed. But changed in a beneficial way — they’d become a little bit tougher, and perhaps even a little bit more hard-wearing.
“Just think," said MTG... "If the process could be scientifically refined, then maybe we could…”
“NO! It is FORBIDDEN! …We were tried that sort of thing with lion pee, back in the old days. But it angered the kingsmen. They smashed up all of our experiments in their rage. We can NOT risk attempting it again!”
MTG looked at his cleaver. The sharp edge glinted in the lantern light. A grin spread across his face.
“Pah… Kingsmen …who’s afraid of the kingsmen?”Quote:Losing access to ammonia quite early in the campaign was a bit of a blow; the tribe hasn’t had any access to leather armour until this point. Fortunately, the Gorm battle has restored the tribe’s knowledge of ammonia, courtesy of the “Posturing Piss” attack. Thanks, Gorm!The group’s train of thought was suddenly interrupted by a scream of terror from the camp perimeter, and a metallic, rhythmic marching sound could be heard in the distance.
Odd timing, all things considered, because…
Something — or somebody — was approaching the settlement…
[to be continued]
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It’s been a little while since we last checked in with The Tyranny of Small Lanterns (shush now, all you people who are cheering about the long gap… this is, quite clearly, the VERY best thing on the blog). So I thought it was maybe time for an update…
Since we last joined our hardy group of survivors, there’s been another new arrival; a bouncing baby girl called ianwat (Ian is — according to a quick internet search — the 12,850th most popular name for a girl. Just in case anybody other than me was wondering). Congratulations to the proud parents (whoever they were…) and I’m sure that little ianwat will be all grown up and scrapping with the rest of the crew in pretty much no time at all!
And secondly… the survivors have made a significant cultural breakthrough since our last episode. For the first time in (HOW LONG has it been since the settlement was founded??) — a particularly bright and inspired individual came up with the idea of mixing meat with fire, and invented…
COOKING! … a whole new wold of nutritional possibilities has been unlocked! Eyeball stew, beetle kebabs, stuffed cockroach, stone gruel … the possibilities are endless! …well, OK, semi-endless; there’s just one small obstacle standing in the way of an epicurean revolution: Those pesky acid gorm-climate storms. These still plague the settlement on a regular basis, repeatedly melting all of the camp’s provisions into puddles of useless fizzy goop. And, as I’m sure you’re all aware, top-quality cheffing requires a well-stocked larder!… there’s nothing more irritating than getting to the last stage of a recipe only to discover that you’re missing an all-important sprinkle of freshly-minced lion testicles!
The tribe elders have therefore decided that it’s finally time to chase the nearby gorm herd away and solve the acid rain nuisance for once and for all. Hooray!
The survivors nominated for this strategically-vital and high-profile quest are:
BenisAce and Krista II. It’s been noted that whenever either of these members of the tribe successfully returns from a mission, there is a sudden and inexplicable boost in population a few months later. Manpower is currently running worryingly-low within the Tyranny of Small Lanterns, and the tribe elders are keen to see if some kind of combined Ben-and-Krista victory-mania might trigger a bit of a baby-boom next year.
MTGStretchy. MTG picked up a particularly brutal-looking cleaver after the showdown with The Butcher a few episodes back, and has been itching to give his new toy a test-run ever since. An encounter with a giant lumbering gorm seems like an ideal opportunity to practice some cleaving!
And… TheGrimReeple … who through an odd combination of succession and transmorgification became the camp’s resident Twilight Knight last lantern year, and who desperately needs LOTS more practise with the Twilight sword. The tribe elders have an overwhelming sense of foreboding that something very, very bad might happen in the non-too-distant future… and that it would be a good idea to have a fully-functioning Twilight Knight ready by that point. ‘Grim might therefore be seeing a fair bit of action between now and then. (Whenever “then” happens to be…)
In preparation for the mission, the team spent a few days training and learning from Neuhauser.
Although a relatively new member of the tribe, Neuhauser has already gathered wisdom and combat skills far beyond her years — one of the perks of being “the Saviour” — and is now useful for sharing her experience and insight at the lantern hoard. Notably, as Krista’s experience increased under Neuhauser’s tutelage, she learned to compensate for the wound to her left eye — her accuracy improving to a level where she was as deadly with a weapon as pretty much anybody else within the camp… almost as if her blindness had been completely cured!Quote:Was that a lucky roll on the age table, or a bona-fide miracle at the hand of the Saviour?And so — with their training completed — our brave adventurers set off in search of the herd…
[to be continued]
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Seizing the moment, Krista II made a dash for the gaping stone maw… squeezing between its petrified lips, wriggling betwixt sharp, rocky teeth…
…and pausing in the dark cavern of the mouth for just the briefest of moments before bolting out again to safety!Quote:A roll of 20 gets Krista +2 courage, triggering the “bold” event. And because she became “bold” during a settlement phase, this grants her the matchmaker skill. A pretty useful outcome, given the camp’s present population status.
We now have two active matchmakers; Krista II and Benisace. Both of whom are now extremely likely to find themselves sent on a relatively-safe-to-return-from mission next lantern year. Because… babies! MORE BABIES!!!
Krista’s triumphant sprint into potential-death-or-glory was the talk of the settlement for weeks to come. Heads turned whenever Krista was around, and she was suddenly very popular with the other survivors; an individual capable of such levels of bravery would make a very good partner indeed!
The mysterious gaping mouth remained open. Tempting… (or challenging?) others within the tribe to brave its dark and mysterious interior.
I mean… Krista made it look easy.
What could possibly go wrong?Quote:Krista’s triumph also seems to have racked up a bonus endeavour opportunity. So if anybody else has now been inspired to chance their arm (or, more likely: their leg) …do speak up. I mean… look at the results table. There’s a Lantern Sword in there somewhere. A LANTERN SWORD! Krista just nipped in and out again -- Big deal. Just think how impressed the other tribe members would be if YOU managed to emerge with a Lantern Sword...
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