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Sadgit
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This is the fifth report on the Shadows of Nerekhall campaign played as PBF here at BGG. In this quest the heroes encounter an old acquaintance - Tristayne Olliven - again and send their regards.

Links to all quests currently played in this campaign:
1. A Demonstration
2. Prey
3. The Rat-Thing King, Encounter 1
4. The Rat-Thing King, Encounter 2
5. The Price of Power, Encounter 1
6. The Price of Power, Encounter 2


Campaign Phase

Shopping
The heroes had 225g and the following shop items available:


Heroes decided to buy Sunburst here to boost up offense of Mok and Astarra. Obviously Bearded Axe was discussed, but fitsou preferred Trenloe to be played as dual-wielding skirmisher.


Heroes at the start of encounter 1

as a Skirmisher (fitsou)
Skills: Dual Strike (starting skill), Keen Edge (1XP)
Items: Rusted Handaxe, Jagged Handaxe
2 XP unspent.


as a Runemaster (Sadgit)
Skills: Runic Knowledge (starting skill), Exploding Rune (1XP), Rune Mastery
Items: Arcane Bolt, Shadow Bracers
0 XP unspent.


as a Thief (Vitezslav)
Skills: Greedy (starting skill), Appraisal (1XP), Sneaky (1XP)
Items: Throwing Knifes, Lucky Charm
1 XP unspent.


as a Bard (dtain)
Skills: Song of Mending (starting skill), Understudy (1XP), Rehearsal (2XP)
Items: Traveler's Blade, Lute
0 XP unspent.

OL at the of encounter 1

by (Letanir)
Basic Deck II, Call of Ravens (1XP), Feast (1XP)
Ariad plot deck: Misdirection, Mirage (1TT) and The Ritual Continues (4 TT) in play.
Threat tokens left: 6
Relics: Ynfernael Rune, Shadow Plotter

The OL chose Wraiths for his open group in this encounter.
The traveling step granted the heroes a free search card: a Warding Talisman.

Map after Setup

Strategic considerations
The objective for the OL in this quest is to convert 5 villagers into chaos rifts. At quest setup, he is allowed to convert two villagers of his choice into rifts for free, leaving him with three more to go to win. To do this, as an action Tristayne can test knowledge adjacent to a villager. Chaos rifts trigger as soon as a hero enters their map tile or a hero is activated on a map tile with a rift. They come in four different colors with associated effects:
Blue - test
- fail: hero stunned
Red - test
- fail: hero bleeding
Green - test
- fail: monster of open group (wraiths) spawns
White - test
- fail: hero is poisoned or diseased (OL choice)
Furthermore, at the start of each OL turn, Tristayne can teleport to a space adjacent to a changeling.

The objective for the heroes is to free 3 villagers. To do this, a hero has to pass an
- or
-test adjacent to the villager. Interestingly, the Ironbounds in this encounter are special: they are immortal, change sides each turn and negate the effect of chaos rifts on the same map tile.

After reading this, the heroes were disheartened, as it seemed virtually impossible to prevent Tristayne to convert the villager on P1 in his first turn and teleport to the next one at the beginning of turn 2, as 3 of the 4 remaining villagers can be easily reached by changelings. Thus, in turn 2 heroes would have to kill all changelings adjacent to villager tokens to prevent the OL to win the encounter in round 3. And this does not even take into account effects of chaos rifts, OL cards, plot cards or IB attacking heroes ... Ah, well: Changelings are reinforced at the start of the OL turn, and curiously in the hero turn IBs can do only one move action, whereas in OL turns they are allowed the usual two. All in all this sounds that the quest is pretty loopsided in favor to the OL, which by the way is also reflected in the statistics at d2etracker (OL winrate ~ 70%).

The OL chose to give Tristayne the Shadow Plotter relic and convert the two villagers closest to the heroes into green chaos rifts.

The heroes discussed three general strategies here:
A: Splitting up the group, Raythen goes to the west corridor, opens door to put pressure on the OL to protect the villagers on G8 and C10. The other heroes enter the room to the north to attack Tristayne.

B: Not splitting up, trying to kill Tristayne in turn 1 with all possible force.

C: Not splitting up, getting the search token, and doing some damage to Tristayne which should force the OL to teleport Tristayne at the start of the turn, thus saving the P1 villager.

In the end heroes decided to go for plan A.


Round 1
Heroes
Raythen moved to J12, unfortunately failed his
-test (despite 2 re-rolls), resulting in a Wraith placed on J11. Heroes moves one IB onto tile 51, the second IB was moved away from Tristayne. Mok used his feat to discard Mimic from OL hand, activated Rehearsal and moved into position (N5) to attack Tristayne next round. Trenloe double-moved next to the search token. Astarra used the IB to teleport and 4
to get to O5 and attacked Tristayne twice at range 3. These attacks doomed Tristayne and caused a nice 8
.

Map after Heroes turn round 1


OL
As Tristayne was under pressure, OL was forced to teleport him out to D3. Raven Flock was spawned from a Wraith. Tristayne moved to the next villager, but failed his
-test. Wraith attacked Raythen but missed. Changelings moved to the door at H8 to block Raythen from the villager and the search token in this room. Both IBs double-moved towards the heroes.

Map after OL turn round 1


Round 2
Heroes
Heroes decided to go for the kill in this round. Raythen used his feat to search token close to Trenloe revealing a Fire Flask, and moved to I1 using Sneaky in the process to open a door. This was done mainly to prevent any attacks on Raythen and bring him closer to the rest of the team. As the IB was double-moved, heroes could not put him back on tile 51 and Trenloe promptly failed his
-test. Wraith was spawned, but Trenloe did not care much and moved to open the door for Mok and Astarra. Mok passed his
-test, used his lute on Astarra, moved and attacked Tristayne. The dreaded X was re-rolled with Rehearsal and his attack caused another 5
due to blank defence roll and Doom. Astarra passed her
-test, moved in and sealed the fate of unlucky Tristayne killing him.

"The heroes send their regards. Begone, foul monstrosity!" Astarra, Mok, Raythen and Trenloe step over the burning ashes where Tristayne stood a second ago and follow him deeper into the academy."

Map after Heroes turn round 2


Conclusion
Although this encounter looked very difficult, heroes chose the correct strategy and with some lucky rolls were able to kill Tristayne in round 2. Actually, I think the only chance for the heroes in this encounter is an all-out-attack on Tristayne in turn 1. Forget about the villagers - hunt the bastard down! This will prevent Tristayne corrupting the adjacent villager, because with the heroes close by, he would be too vulnerable in turn 2. Therefore, he is forced to teleport out at the start of the OL turn before changelings can be moved close to the other villagers. The P1 villager is then more or less save for the heroes to grab (if they like). Still, putting more pressure on Tristayne is more important, I think. High mobility (as always) really helps in this encounter.
Have you played this encounter? What are your experiences and (failed) strategies? Do you think this encounter favors the OL (or heroes)? What would you have done differently as heroes or OL? Looking forward to your input.
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Jack Liu
United States
Irvine
California
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Wow good show

I have to say you guys really put in some hurting on those attacks you got through. The OL can really finish this scenario quickly so it was good you guys were able to move so much and put pressure on him

I agree that if you didn't have the mobility feats/movement, you would be hard pressed to catch up to Trist if he got away from you.
 
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flavio lamas
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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cant you , the overlord, use the shadow dragons instead? they are far more reliable...
 
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Sadgit
Germany
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No, Shadow Dragons (dark, cave) are not possible as an open group in this encounter (civilized, hot).
 
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Jack Liu
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Also shadow dragons are boring! (and OP) Most OL should have gotten their fill of the shadowy beast if they are this many campaigns in
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