Ryan DeLano
United States
West Valley City
Utah
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It took time, but Lem was able to unlock at least some of the secrets of the runeforge. He was able to imbue their weapons (yes, even all of Valeros') with some of it's power. Satisfied, they left the runeforge and returned to the mountaintop from which they entered. It was time to go to Xin-Shalast.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Lem
Male Halfling Bard Charlatan
Card Feats: Spell x2, Blessing, Armor, Item
Skill Feats: Charisma +4, Intelligence +1
Power Feats:
Light Armor proficiency
Once per check, recharge a card to card to add 1D4+3 to a check attempted by another character at your location
Add 2 to your check to acquire an ally or defeat a henchman
Starting Deck
Venomous Heavy Crossbow +2
Wand of Enervation
Sihedron Medallion
Staff of Hungry Shadows
Wand of Scorching Ray
Incendiary Cloud
Haste
Holy Light
Frost Ray
Lightning Bolt
Mass Cure
Hide Armor of Fire Resistance
Toad
Merchant
Saber Toothed Tiger
BoPharasma x2
BoGozreh
BoErastil
BoAbadar
BoIrori


The last mention of Xin-Shalast in any of tomes that they had studied in their travels placed the city somewhere in the Kodar mountains. In fact, the only time it had been described in any detail was in mention of a dwarven expedition to find the city. That was some time ago, but perhaps the pair could find the remains of that expedition as a starting point.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Valeros
Male Human Fighter Weapon Master
Card Feats: Weapon x2, Item, Blessing, Ally
Skill Feats: Strength +4, Constitution +1
Power Feats:
Hand Size 5
Add 1d4+4 to another character’s combat check at your location
You may use Melee in place of Ranged when using a weapon with the Ranged trait
Starting Deck
Fanged Falchion
Dancing Scimitar+2
Impaler of Thorns
Longsword +2
Scythe+1
Bastard Sword +1
Mokmurian’s Club
Magic Chain Mail
Magic Shield
Magic Half-Plate
Wand of Treasure Finding
Emerald Codex
Staff of Minor Healing
Blast Stone
Grizzled Mercenary
Burglar
Charmed Red Dragon
BoCalistria
BoGorum
BoTorag
BoAbadar


Rimeskull itself was found on the western edge of the Kodar mountains, which spanned almost the entirety of the northern border of Varisia. Not knowing precisely where Xin-Shalast was located, they would have to travel east, searching for signs of the dwarves and hoping that those signs still existed. And so the pair and their tiger set out from Rimeskull, following the base of the mountains through thick woods.

Their first encounter was with a horde of undead. Though they were easily defeated, their appearance was unhelpful in determining whether they were still on the correct path to Xin-Shalast.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Turn 1
Lem - BoShelyn
Woods
Skeleton Horde - Everyone fights an ancient skeleton *yawn*
Lem - Lightning Bolt + Valeros = D10+5+3D6+D4+4 = Dead
Valeros - Bastard Sword+1 = D10+7+D10+1 = Super Dead
Skeleton Horde banished forever
Recharge Lightning Bolt = Successful


As they felled the last skeleton in the horde that had attacked them, a great howl sounded from the woods. It was haunting, unlike anything they had heard before. It echoed through the trees, and sent a chill up Lem's spine and sent their tiger running into the woods.

Valeros, as usual, was unfazed. He readied his sword for whatever might attack them. However, even he could not remain steady at the sight of the creature that charged them from the trees. It was a huge, muscular, bipedal, but definitely not humanoid. It's limbs were long and misshapen. The hands formed into impossibly large claws while the legs ended at the ankle. It simply floated towards them with incredible speed.

Worst of all was it's head: a twisted mockery of an elk, with huge red eyes and a twisted rack of antlers sprouting from it. The sound it produced was nearly deafening. Valeros slashed at it as he tried to dive from it's path, but his blade appeared to be ineffectual. It sprinted past them, heading east. Perhaps this creature, terrifying as it was, would lead them to their destination. Reluctantly, they followed.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Turn 2
Valeros - BoG
Woods
Wendigo - No spells, difficulty +2, Reveal Bastard Sword+1 + BoGorum + Lem BoIrori + Lem Recharge = D10+7+D10+1+2D10+D10+D4+3 = 36 = Success
Location Closed


They reached the mouth of a great cave. The creature had entered here, and they could still hear it's screams echoing through the hollow rock. They entered cautiously, but it was no use. The creature descended upon Lem with blinding speed. In seconds, Lem lay bleeding on the stone floor, and the creature was gone once again.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Turn 3
Lem - BoNethys
Treacherous Cave
Wendigo - ugh - just discard whole hand and cry a little, then Wendigo moves and I discard one more card. Now, this location says I need to pass a check to be moved to another location, so I just voluntarily failed that and thus wasn’t moved by Wendigo’s effect


As Valeros tended to Lem's wounds, he sensed movement from behind them. It wasn't the creature, but something else. As he turned, the pale blue outline of a dwarf shimmered in the darkness. It said nothing, but reached out toward, eyes wide with horror. Slowly, bites of flesh disappeared from the dwarf, until there was nothing left. The bones collapsed to the floor before disappearing.

"That..." Lem said weakly, struggling to rise, "That was one of the dwarves. If their spirits haunt this place, we must be close."

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Turn 4
Valeros - BoG
Treacherous Cave
Emerald Codex - Consecration, Detect Magic, Holy Light
Detect Magic - Goblin Warchanter
Goblin Warchanter - Scythe+1 = D10+7+2D4+1 = Banished forever
Discard BoAbadar explore - Cannibal Haunt - Banish Burglar from hand forever
Location Close check - Wisdom + Lem Recharge + Lem BoPharasma = 3D4+3 = 12 = Success
Wendigo Remains in Deck


Valeros helped Lem to his feet and, slowly, they began to make progress once again. Valeros was on-guard for any sign that the creature was near. Lem was in bad shape, and he couldn't afford to join him.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Turn 5
Lem - BoG


They reached the end of the tunnel, and standing in the entryway was the creature, waiting for them. Valeros gently set Lem down and readied his sword once again. The creature made no move, but stood motionless at the entrance. It stared at them with those giant red eyes.

Valeros charged, not wanting to give the creature an opportunity to strike first. His sword cleaved through the creature and it dissipated, vanishing like a mist. Was it destroyed? That seemed too easy. No, they had best remain on their guard. Retrieving Lem, they resumed their journey and exited the cave.
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Turn 6
Valeros - BoG
Wendigo - No spells with the attack trait, difficulty +2, banish haunt difficulty -2, Reveal and recharge Bastard Sword +1 + Lem Recharge + Lem reduces check difficulty using staff of hungry shadows + Lem BoPharasma + Dancing Scimitar +2 recharge = D10+7+D10+1+D10+D4+3+D10+D6+2 = 37 = success = no need to roll for staff
Location closed
Staff of minor healing - Lem


They had reached the peak of the mountain, and Lem still felt as though they were on the right track. The scene they witnessed with the dwarf was a warning, and it was one that his wounds told him he should take to heart.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Turn 7
Lem - BoCalistria
Mountain Peak
Learned my lesson - no explore


Lem had finally recovered enough to be able to heal some of his wounds with a divine prayer. He hoped it would be enough to see him through this trek. These mountains were treacherous, and the monsters that lurked here would only make it more challenging.

Valeros stopped just outside the cave, spotting a glint in the snow that littered the mountain peak. He found tools, and they were of dwarven make. This only reinforced the notion that they were close to the dwarven encampment, if not Xin-Shalast itself.
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Turn 8
Valeros - BoAbadar
Mountain Peak
Lem Mass Cure - D4+1 to both
Lem - 5
Valeros - 3
Recharge Mass Cure - Fail
Wand of Treasure Finding - Thieves Tools - no sign of henchman or villain
Thieves Tools - Dex = D8 = 6 = Success


Although they had reached the peak, this mountain range was massive. They continued their journey east, hoping that the encampment was nearby. They were sure that no dwarves were left there, whether or not they had found Xin-Shalast, but there may still be some shelter.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Turn 9
Lem - BoG
Bury a card


A sound in the rocks nearby caused the pair to whirl, and they both sprang into action, unleashing hell on the spot where the sound had come from. Convinced that whatever might have been there was destroyed or disappeared, they moved to inspect the area. Valeros found a book half-buried in the snow. He picked it up and attempted to open it. There was a lock on it, but it would stand no chance against his strength. As he pried the book open, Lem turned and saw what his friend was doing.

"Wait, don't-" but it was too late; Valeros opened the book and it exploded in flames, engulfing both of the adventurers. After rolling in the snow to extinguish the flames, Lem brushed some of the soot and snow from his clothes as he chastised his companion.

"You may be able to read a few spells, but leave the strange books to me next time." Valeros couldn't argue with that.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Turn 10
Valeros - BoCalistria
Bury a card
Ambush - Dex + BoCalistria (recharged!) + Lem BoAbadar = 5D8 = 21 = Success
Free explore - Trapped Spellbook - Yeah, no way - 2D4 fire damage to both
Lem - 4
Valeros - 4
Lem Sihedron Medallion reduces to 0
Recharge Medallion = Success


Lem took another brief opportunity to heal their wounds. Who knows when they might have another chance to do so? As he muttered the healing incantations, he involuntarily shivered, noticing for the first time how cold it was on the mountain peak. They would need to find shelter before dark.
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Turn 11
Lem - BoNorgorber
Bury a card
Exchange Incendiary Cloud for Mass Cure
Mass Cure - D4+1 to both
Lem - 4
Valeros - 3
Recharge Mass Cure - Fail


Their trek continued unmolested for some time. Only the wind howled at them from between the sparse trees. They saw no further sign of the dwarves, or their camp. Valeros started to worry that perhaps they had lost the trail.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Turn 12
Valeros - BoCalistria
Bury a card
BoLamashtu - Intelligence - D6 = 4 = Fail
Discard BoGorum explore - BoAbadar - Dex - D8 = 6 = Success
Discard BoAbadar expore - Greatsword - Melee - D10+7 = 13 = Success


That worry disappeared quickly as a shambling mass of vegetation moved towards them. A quick poisoned bolt, and a bit of flame, were quick to end that threat, but it was not the last of the threats that faced them.
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Turn 13
Lem - BoIrori
Bury a card
Battered Chest - Banish forever
Discard Toad explore - Elven Breastplate - Banish forever
Discard BoErastil Explore - BoCalistria - auto-acquire
Discard BoCalistria explore - Muck Graul - Wand of Enervation - -7 to difficulty, Venomous Heavy Crossbow +2 + Charmed Red Dragon + Valeros = D8+D10+2+5+D8+D4+4 = 34 = overkill
Recharge Wand = Success
Red Dragon Roll - 8 = Safe


A robed figure stood on the horizon, watching the pair. Was this a servant of Karzoug? Perhaps a citizen of Xin-Shalast itself! Before any of these questions could be answered, Valeros' spear flew through the air and impaled the figure, killing it instantly.

Exasperated, Lem turned to his companion, "We actually might have wanted to question that one."

Valeros only shrugged, and moved to retrieve his spear.
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Turn 14
Valeros - BoGorum
Bury a card
Cultist - seriously? Banished forever


They crested another rise, and saw it: the dwarven encampment! It was in shambles, and half-buried, but it was there. Their pace quickened to reach shelter and explore the remnants of the dwarves for clues.

Before they could reach it, a spectral figure rose from the earth to block their path. It said nothing but flew, arms outstretched, towards Lem. He fired his magical crossbow at the creature, and it seemed surprised to find that the bolt found its mark. It dropped into the snow before vanishing.

"Well, we're definitely on the right track." Lem muttered.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Turn 15
Lem - BoPharasma
Bury a card
Karivek Vekker - Combat - Venomous Heavy Crossbow +2 + Recharge Tiger + BoPharasma + Valeros BoAbadar + Valeros = D8+D10+2+D6+D8+D8+D4+4 = 29 = Success
Location Close check - Wisdom + BoAbadar = 3D6 = 9 = Success
Examine top card of Village House = Shadow


Another shadow confronted them as they entered the first dilapidated cabin, but was easily cast aside by Valeros' blade. How many ghosts were there here, Valeros wondered. There had already been too many for his taste. He preferred corporeal foes.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Turn 16
Valeros - BoErastil
Village House
Shadow - Bastard Sword +1 = D10+7+D10+1 = 19 = Success


Lem took another opportunity to heal what remaining wounds they had. They began to search the first cabin, filled mostly with decayed clothing, bones, and rusted weapons. There was very little here worth salvaging.
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Turn 17
Lem - BoIrori
Exchange Haste for Mass Cure
Village House
Mass Cure - 1D4+1 to both
Lem - 5
Valeros - 2
Mass Cure recharge - Fail
Soldier - Banish forever
Discard BoGozreh explore - Warhammer - Banish forever


Valeros began throwing piles of junk out into the snow, trying to clean up some of the space in the makeshift cabin. It was small by his standards, and the more room he could make, the better.
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Turn 18
Valeros - BoShelyn
BoG - auto-acquire
Discard BoG explore - Night Watch - Banish forever


Lem helped his companion, grabbing piles of gnawed bones that he would rather not think about, and throwing them outside. Underneath one pile, his eye caught a cluster of runes. Thassilonian runes. He had become quite adept at spotting them at this point, and there was no mistake. These particular runes appeared to be some sort of trap, which Lem was fortunately able to disarm.

Once he did so, however, another hideous dwarven apparition appeared. This one, like the others, had great bites taken from it's flesh. There was no time to reach for his crossbow, the thing was upon him. Spectral teeth and claws began gnawing at him before Valeros could attempt to remove the ghost from Lem. They were so intertwined, it was impossible to swing any of his weapons at the creature, so Valeros went in himself, attempting to wrench the creature from his friend. Finally, he was able to wrap his hands around the neck of the spirit, and tore it's head free from the spectral body. It did not die, but merely disappeared back to whatever limbo it had come from.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Turn 19
Lem - BoDesna
Exchange Holy Light for Mass Cure
Mass Cure - D4+1 to both
Lem - 2
Valeros - 5
Recharge Mass Cure - Fail
Zuvuzeg - recharge venomous crossbow to acquire
Discard Zuvuzeg explore - Explosive Runes - Arcane + BoIrori = 2D10+5 = 15 = Success
Haste explore - BoNethys - Auto-acquire
Recharge Haste = Success
Discard BoNethys explore - BoTorag - Auto-acquire
Discard BoTorag explore - Silas Vekker - 14 to defeat? No problem! Wait...WISDOM?! OK...nm
All the damage to BOTH characters


Valeros once again helped Lem to his feet and checked his wounds. They were not fatal, but the bites and scratches were deep. If they did not plan on resting here before, they would definitely need to now. Especially with that abomination still roaming the snowy peak outside.
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Turn 20
Valeros - BoG


Before they could even gather themselves or prepare any defense, the door to the cabin burst into a thousand splinters, and sent Valeros flying into the wall, unconscious. In the doorway stood the monster. The unblinking eyes were fixated on the pair, and it's twisted maw opened, emitting a terrible scream. It charged Lem knocking him to the ground with it's antlers. Lem wasn't about to go down without a fight, though. He swung at the creature with his bare fists, again and again. One blow pierced one of the bulbous red eyes, and the thing reared back. The screaming it emitted never ceased.

The wind was suddenly knocked from Lem's lungs as another weight descended upon the pile. Their tiger had returned! It's claws and teeth tore open the backside of the creature. After a few moments of melee that felt like an eternity, the thing collapsed upon Lem completely. The tiger sank it's teeth into it and dragged it from Lem's body. Lem was alive, and he would heal.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Turn 21
Lem - BoG
Wendigo - No attack spells, Wisdom check + BoCalistria + Valeros BoG = 3D6 = 12 = Success, Wand of enervation - -7 to difficulty, Strength + Recharge Tiger + Valeros Blast Stone + BoErastil + Valeros BoGorum + Valeros = D4+D6+D4+D4+2D4+D4+4 = 22 = Success
Yes, Lem just rode in on a tiger and punched the Wendigo TO DEATH


Valeros boarded up the doorway as best he could, and they spent the night freezing inside the cabin. It was not pleasant, but they would survive. They had to.

Xin-Shalast awaited them both.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Scenario Victory!
Reward - Power Feat
Lem - Add 2 to acquire an ally, defeat a henchman or villain
Valeros - Add 1D4+5 to another character’s combat check at your location


Post-Game Analysis
This was a really fun one. It's also one that I feel is much more difficult with more characters, so I was thankful to be playing only with 2. No real loot of note this time, just another solid adventure in the books.

Behind the scenes, I only have two scenarios left to play for this campaign. I'm excited and sad at the same time to be finishing this up. Till next time!

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Robert Ahearne
United States
Ayer
Massachusetts
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Thanks! Great as always.

I cannot believe you met the villain at the top of two successive decks. When that kind of thing happens in the digital game, I think, "This would NEVER happen in the physical game."

Niggling rule detail: the game does not allow you to "voluntarily fail" a check. Checks to acquire boons are optional, and you can choose not to attempt them, but any check you are required to take, you can't just choose to fail it. That said, with a d6 Lem probably would fail a Con 6 check.

Goblin Warchanters are annoying buggers. To use a weapon against them, you have to first pass a Wisdom 8 check. Totally irrelevant here, as Valeros autos the Combat 8 check with his hands. Forgive me for mentioning it.

Really impressive that Valeros closed a location with a Wisdom close check.

I had to remind myself you had already played this scenario before I brought up that Lem has a -4 penalty using his Venomous Heavy Crossbow.

Not sure why an Abadar gave Lem two dice for the Wisdom check to close the Mountain Peak. Maybe you left out Valeros' blessing.

Silas is a royal pain. I've only played Runelords with large parties. We split up in this scenario so only one of us would have to fight him and saved blessings to throw at him (unless we got lucky and Kyra hit him).

Beautiful ending. Great job getting Lem to defeat a tough villain with a d4 strength, with no margin to spare.
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