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Subject: We return 1 week later.... rss

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Paul Humphreys
United Kingdom
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My friend Alex was relating the tale of our surprisingly enjoyable recent game of Dungeon Quest to his brother Richard, a regular member of our gaming group. He claimed to have no knowledge of such a game, which in some ways is not unsurprising. As a much younger brother, Richard’s attempts to join in with our teenage gaming sessions were usually met with scorn or ridicule (but that’s all part of growing up isn’t it!). Anyway, as if an excuse were needed we agreed to play it again the following games evening to try to refresh his memory.

After the set up was complete, he did agree it looked familiar but wasn’t sure if he had ever actually played it. So in reflection of Dungeon Quest’s lethal nature and Richards’s rookie status it was therefore decided to allow him 2 characters, to give him a least a chance, before meeting what was surely his inevitable death…

So then at dawn Richard started off in the North West corner with Sir Rohan who instantly received a baptism of fire in the form of an explosion trap! Next up came another trap tile, this time it was a cave-in, but after a good dice roll he managed to avoid instant death on turn 2. Not to feel left out Richard’s second character, the usually agile El-Adoran, was also struggling to negotiate a cave-in tile section, loosing several turns. Meanwhile to the East of me Alex once again controlled Volrik and in an almost instant replay of our previous game struggled to make any headway into the dungeon. In fact by turn 8 his path had formed a perfect square, which lead him straight back to his original starting space!

Ulv Grimhand was once again my character, and like our previous game set off from the South East corner of the castle to take an early lead. 2 monster encounters (both of which fled) and 2 poisonous snake traps did little to hinder him, and so by late morning was about to enter the treasure chamber alone. My first treasure grab however only revealed 130gps and 230gps, so when I awoke the dragon at the first attempt it was only a major loss to my life points and not to Ulv’s bank balance!

But it didn’t matter; there was still plenty of time left. My rival adventurers were all still some way distant. Volrik sealed off in his own personal mini dungeon, had given up on going for the central treasure chamber and was resigned to searching for any valuables close to the entrance. Sir Rohan and El-Adoran had taken quite a battering, and both were down to single figure life points. They also had taken quite meandering routes to the dragon’s lair, so by the time Sir Rohan joined me in the middle I had amassed a personal fortune of about 3500gps!

As tempting as it is to stay for one more round of treasure I instead made the sensible decision to leave. It was just after midday after all, plenty of coin in the pocket, all that was left to do was cruise to my inevitable victory…that was until things started going wrong. The existing available routes back out didn’t look very tempting, all blocked by cave-ins, portcullises and trap tiles, so I therefore set off on a fresh route due South and then planned to link back on to my original path to the West. However the tiles I drew simply wouldn’t take me the direction I wanted to go, until eventually my route came to a dead end against the castle wall.

At this point Volrik, after a particularly bruising encounter with a giant centipede (I guess it must have gone up his trouser leg or something!), decided to call it a day and walked out of Castle Dragonfire mid-afternoon. With only a small some of coin in his pocket, he would at least live to tell the tale at of how he had come face to face with a vicious man-eating insect…

Anyway, as the sun began to set and having wasted so much time back tracking on my failed exit attempt, it wasn’t looking good. Both of Richards’s characters had done well in the treasure chamber, in fact leaving and re-entering at one point to refresh the dragon deck so they could grab more loot. They were both now heading North East along El-Adoran’s path to get to the exit, and after finding several timely secret passageways to sidestep some tricky cave-in and trap tiles they were home free. That left just me in the dungeon, only 2 tiles away from the exit. I was therefore able to watch the sun set just before the castle doors slammed shut in front of me…

So the result of another enjoyable game was an almost mirror image of our previous session; 1 dead and 3 survivors. I was in last place again, leaving yet another rich corpse behind inside Dragonfire Castle. Alex came in 3rd but had at least beaten his personal best of 10gp with an impressive 110gps! So therefore the very unsatisfying result was a clear victory for Richard on his first attempt. After hearing so much talk about the near certain death that awaited him from us grizzled veterans, he had managed to get both his characters out alive and with impressive amounts of treasure to boot (2000 El-Adoran – 7300 Sir Rohan). So in summary; another fun and challenging game of Dungeon Quest, plus the lessoned learned that taking a known but dangerous route is usually safer than taking a chance and exploring off into the unknown.
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