I decided to review and report on each quest in Well of Darkness as we play through them. My main review of WoD, which will get links to each session report, is here:
Lisa had begun glancing at quest 2 a bit, and suggested that she thought it would be more fun, so the following day we ventured into the spider-filled corridors. Well, by ventured I mean we were apparently dragged off and webbed up! Eek!
For our heroes, we chose the last two heroes we had not yet used from Well of Darkness, and then two random heroes. We had two tough melee fighters, Lord Hawthorne and Trenloe the Strong. Lord Hawthorne had Cleave and Furr, while Trenloe had the Knight ability, though he would be struggling to power it with only 3 fatigue. We got a generally well rounded team; we had Landrec, who on top of his 2 free surges had a skill for 2 more free surges! He also had vampiric blood; with nothing particular to spend fatigue on he was equipped with the Ghost Armor rune, figuring he could keep fatigue up with vampiric blood. Lastly, we had our missile character, Tethrys. Like Laurel in the last quest, she had Born to the Bow and Lucky (those new cards tend to drift to the top due to their larger size). She was also alert, so she could attack monsters moving next to her. She decided to try the new sling.
Our heroes armed, the OL began to set up, though she first mentioned, “There’s a really big problem that we’ll need to figure out here.” She set up the board and read the intro. I immediately commented on the problem as well. You see, you have all been captured, and all start split up in four different corridors, each with a glyph, and you need to find the other heroes.
Um, well, how about to find the other heroes I step through that glyph next to me and go back to town, then go through their glyph? I’ve since seen the FAQ and it addresses this, but how in the world did this ever slip through playtesting?! It should be the very first thing you notice as soon as the scenario is set up! Lisa decided she was going to treat it, as it turned out, about like the FAQ did and say we couldn’t use any of the glyphs but those in our own section until we had actually reached the area with one of the other glyphs.
A second problem was that the board seriously threatened to overrun our table! Apparently, somebody at FFG is a believer in the “bigger is better” theory.
Well, our heroes ventured out of their cells. Tethrys was able to quickly open a chest and get us some gear. The two melee heroes began a slow and steady advance, which became more challenging quickly for Trenloe as the OL spawned a Master Manticore in his section of the board! He decided to ignore the little creatures next to him and just sprint down the hall, hoping that taking fewer shots from the manticore would be worth it. This worked out all right, and he was able to clear the area with minimal damage. Hawthonre was doing well to; he had gotten the Shillaleigh out of the chest, and with cleave was bonking everything near him (which got to be not very much stuff pretty quickly).
Landrec and Tethrys were not faring so well. Tethrys, with her unexciting missile weapon, just couldn’t hurt the named spider she was facing. Landrec could hurt his target…a little. He had the new blinding light rune rune item and could keep her stunned and at a range where she couldn’t seem to hit him, but it was slow progess and a razorwing kept pecking at him. Finally, however, the spider managed to roll an extra point of range and Landrec went down, our first loss of the quest.
Our melee heroes made it down the respective stairs, eager to rush off and help the other heroes. And discovered that despite having started in opposite corners, their stairs led to the same place.
I’ll take a moment to comment on the layout; there were four starting places, which looked connected based on the physical layout, but actually were not. This means that if the players try to place their heroes intelligently, say, teaming one strong fighter with each weaker character, they wind up in the worst position. What’s the point in specifically designing a level to penalize planning? And while we are on the topic, both of the copper chests available are in the sections that eventually connect. So if you try to play with only two heroes, and they happen to pick the wrong two start areas – sorry, no treasure for you! But I digress.
Down below, the melee heroes found a huge, winding area which quickly began to fill with monsters as the two of the struggled to move forward. Up above, Landrec, managed to kill the named spider he was facing and grab the chest. Tethrys got a melee weapon, with which she was able to stop hiding in town and actually go kill the scarlet spider.
The next chunk of playing time got pretty dull. Basically, the OL was constantly spawning – there were far too many areas to cover them all. The melee heroes were plodding forward, but the monsters were spawning almost as fast as they could be killed. Hawthorn was overwhelmed in the mess and eliminated. (but boy was he having fun smacking everything anywhere near him while he was up!) Tethrys and Landrec finally made it down the staris, but we still had a ways to go. The level features two levers at opposite ends of the board that need to be pulled at once to open the door to the final area. The problem? I was figuring pulling the levers would let out something nasty. Unless we could make it to the central corridor and claim the glyph (and silver chest!) there first, any killed heroes would be having to restart from glyphs a few turns back – and our copper weapons really weren’t up to heavy fighting. I think this was a sound tactic, but it made for a lot of pretty dull turns with a lot of dice rolling and not much tactical choice. We finally made it to the glyph though!
By then, Trenloe had been reduced to about 5 wounds and the OL was looking forward to finally killing him. When she tried to play a Mimic on the silver chest though, we realized the area was so packed there was no where for it to stand except on the glyph, and decided this wouldn’t be legal. Out of the chest, Trenloe got a healing amulet and was able to zoom back to full health next turn. All that work wasted!
At this point we pulled the levers, and faced the monstrous queen spider. She charged forward, but failed to break through Trenloe’s armor. He charged in return, drinking a vitality potion to power his Knight skill, but was dropped in a pit and couldn’t make it to her. However, Hawthorne rushed around the corner and got in some good hits. Tethrys also joined the fight from down the fall…and failed to do any damage with Skullcracker, continuing our trend of being unimpressed by it. A round or two later, the spider queen had fallen and the heroes were victorious, with a few conquest tokens left – but not many!
This scenario was ok. It is a bit buggy. Besides the starting area, there is the rubble filled passage that specifically mentions Acrobat cannot be used to cross it, but no mention is made of Earth Pact, which leads to confusion. I would assume Earth Pact would let you move through, but prohibiting one makes you wonder about the other. There was also the pool that heals poison damage. How much should the OL tell the heroes about this? The first hero to activate it had no poison tokens. She wondered about this – should she tell him what it did? Should he have lost his one use of it even though he wasn’t poisoned?
The bigger bug (well, besides the giant killer queen bug!) was the helplessness of Tethrys. With no good way to get assistance, a hero that can’t fight one of the Scarlet Spiders (or something worse spawned by the OL) is going to be spending a good chunk of the game being bored. Not a good design for everyone having fun! The plodding fight in the middle was also pretty long and slow paced. I think switching the destination of two of the staircases would be a good idea, but I don’t know what to do about the bogged down battle. Still, it played ok and was overall a fun game…though I again stress that if the Tethrys had been the players only character, I really don’t think it would have been for her.
When the bullet hits the bone!
I ran this quest as the OL just recently, and we had the same question come up about Earth Pact and the collapsed passage. We treated it as impassable, because the description says it's impassable.
As OL, I opted to tell the heroes about the effect of the pool, seeing as they were afraid of it and were going to use the Acrobat skill to jump over it. No one was poisoned at the time, anyways, and they never used it. Psychic poison did kill one hero (they were webbed at the time).
As OL, I thought there were too many glyphs of transport. I had the heroes down to three conquest tokens, and one more kill would have made a win... and then they opened four separate glyphs in two turns and my chances of victory faded away...
We had used Tethrys in WoD Quest 1, and already decided that he was useless.
We played this map last night and found it totally awful. We played it with three heroes and so the OL spammed one hero killing him about 4 times. After the other two heroes finally met up and helped their friend the OL just spammed the entire top floor with monsters pulling them back in a giant defensive bottle neck. Very boring but well within the rules and a easy win for the OL.
My group will be reluctant to play Descent for a bit after this map as it was a real downer (and only our third game).
This quest can be realy easy for the OL. With the Ol targetting the weakest player all the time. But for all to have fun the OL should target the others and leave the struggling hero alone.
That of course depend on who the OL is and if they are willing to carry out this small compromise