Four people awoke in the darkness, each with a lantern softly glowing at their feet. They were not alone; a savage lion attacked. Armed with little more than stones, fists, teeth and rage, they quickly tore it apart, its savagery outmatched by theirs.
They travelled through the strange landscape, clutching lanterns. A tall, inhuman figure saw them dragging the body behind them. It cocked its head for a moment, weighing them, taking in the blood on their arms and faces, the way they quickly assumed fighting stances when they saw it… and the Tyrant smiled.
He spoke to them. One of them, a women who would come to be known as Ursa, was the first to understand him and shared this knowledge with the others. He told that they were his people, the People of the Stars, and that he would protect them. He guided them to a makeshift settlement where ten other stood, shivering, around a vast throne. The Tyrant ascended, telling his people simply that he would be watching.
The survivors butchered the lion’s carcass and recognised that they, too, were monsters born of the darkness like the lion and Tyrant. They declared Ursa their leader. The others – Fornax, Cassiopeia and Leo – set off with a new survivor, one newly born and with a hint of scales to her skin, a gift from the settlement’s patron. The girl was named Capricorn.
They hunted a lion and slaughtered it before turning their attentions to strange antelope that screamed in the night. Across three great hunts, Leo, Capricorn and Cassiopeia fell. Two died of wounds, but Leo simply disappeared. Ursa, Fornax and two twins, Castor and Pollux, became the hunting party.
It was then that the Tyrant descended, calling the four to him for a test. They faced their ruler in battle, confused by the pride in his eyes each time their blades bit into his flesh. A spectral blast took off Pollux’s head – his brother cried out. It was Fornax who avenged him – the wounded Tyrant, amazement and pride clear on his face, bade his people stop. He rewarded them, presented them with robes, and gave unto the settlement a glowing orb, a source of heat. One youth pressed his hands to it, burning them, and was blessed by the Tyrant. They named him Draco.
That year, Ursa, the eldest woman, the strongest, the leader, fell when the earth rent asunder beneath her. They would say that the earth itself feared her strength.
Fornax lead Draco, Castor and a woman named Virgo to face a lion. Castor died, too distracted by his brother’s death.
Disaster would strike the following lantern year. Draco, Fornax, Virgo and a young woman named Libra, made foolhardy by greed and misplaced bravery, chose to hunt a far larger lion. It would be a terribly long and dangerous hunt. They passed through darkness, Fornax stumbling upon a strange sword. As they drew near to their enemy they found the beast’s cub. They killed it, enraging its mother. She was waiting for them. Though Virgo wounded her with arrows, the lioness quickly tore Libra apart and snatched Draco, dragging him away from the others, pulling him back whenever he fled. His death was not quick.
Fornax and Virgo caught up with the bloodied lion and penned it in, slicing away at it ineffectually. It dragged Fornax away, hoping to tear him apart as it had Draco, but something inside him snapped and he fought back furiously, avenging their dead with a flurry of blows from his axe. The two made cairns for their dead and dragged the lion bodies back to the settlement, where necklaces were made from their teeth and new, metal weapons were forged in the heat of the glowing orb the Tyrant had bestowed upon his children.
This is a brief summary of the first seven years of my campaign.
Kids, never, ever even think of taking on a L2 Lion when you’re not ready. I think ready equals armour sets for everyone and all survival actions unlocked – surging and dashing would have been super welcome. Had Fornax not gotten two critical with a Savage weapon in a row I think that fight would have ended very differently… Of course, I did end up carting 8 Lion resources and 8 basic back home, so it was profitable, but pristine, red fisted little Draco was a tragic loss.
The Tyrant is fun. Very different (and so much easier) than other KDM nemeses. When Ursa fell in a crack my heart broke a little, she was shaping up into an absolute monster. Already I’m feeling the general power of the People of the Stars, though much of it does stem from not having the Butcher stomp you down (fighting the Tyrant makes you stronger).
I do plan to throw a certain expansion into this campaign later on – I was very close to adding the Gorm to this campaign, but in my first (Lantern) campaign I hunted a criminally small number of lions (I got distracted by antelope and flower knights), so I felt I’d stick with the lion for now.
- Last edited Sun Dec 4, 2016 1:06 am (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Thu Oct 27, 2016 11:28 pm
Nerds call me
Excellent session report! Thanks for sharing.
Fornax and Virgo took two young survivors, Sagittarius and Crux, with them to hunt an antelope. Though hunting a larger lion had proven… unwise, the People of the Stars were courageous and overconfident. It was an arduous hunt but the group took down the antelope. The two new survivors, eager for the Tyrant’s approval, squabbled and fought.
That year, a feather fell from the sky. Fornax seized it for himself, hiding it while the people of the Stars looked upon the glittering creature that flew overhead. Unseen, the Tyrant’s face twisted into a smile. The glimmering feather blinded Fornax but filled him with bravery; the Tyrant’s attention flickered briefly to his favoured son.
The two veterans, Fornax and Virgo, took two more young survivors with them while Sagittarius and Crux recovered from their wounds. Carina and Scorpio joined them as they hunted another powerful antelope. The hunt was, again, long and dangerous and the hunters braved nightmares, madness and the freezing cold as they stalked their quarry.
This antelope quickly became fixated on Fornax, perhaps sensing that he had killed many of its kind before. It gored him repeatedly, breaking his legs and taking his other eye before smashing his head with a huge hoof. The demoralised survivors fought on and the antelope succeeded in slaying Carina before Virgo dealt the killing blow.
A trader came to the settlement, but he was ignored. The People of the Stars were too concerned with building. They constructed a forge around the radiant orb the Tyrant had provided and erected a crude stone circle.
A strange light appeared in the sky. The Tyrant scowled and his people vowed to hunt down and extinguish that light. Four survivors set out to hunt and kill the sun. Virgo had become strange and secretive and was too busy to hunt, so Scorpio, Sagittarius, Delphinus and Andromeda left. The found their quarry a strange creature that even turned their shadows against them – Scorpio and Delphinus would slay two such shades before they killed the titanic, glowing creature and carved up its body.
Upon their return they made some darts from the strange glowing stones they had found in its body. A woman came to the settlement, calling herself a ‘dentist’ but the People of the Stars had no interest in her offers, electing instead to scavenge and train.
The Tyrant descended from his throne again and once more bade his people face him in combat. Virgo, Scorpio, Sagitarius and Delphinus gathered to face him. It quickly became apparent that their patron was less indulgent in this second battle, turning blows aside with impatience. Scorpio’s mighty blade shattered upon his gauntlet and even the newly forged darts did little to deter the Tyrant. His strange incantations sent the chosen champions flying away into the darkness and before long all four lay, dead, their bodies shattered.
The Tyrant looked around in obvious disappointment and a controlled rage. Polaris experienced a heatwave that the People attributed to the anger of their patron. The Tyrant took four young survivors, all born with the strange scales that seemed a mark of his favour. He showed them the faces in the sky and two fell dead, instantly, at the sight. A woman named Ara was emboldened by it, inspired, and ready to prove herself. The last, Hydra, felt a chill within him as a droplet fell from the heavens. He flexed his limbs, puffed freezing air, and vowed to test his new abilities.
A brutal TPK against the level two Tyrant which I mostly attribute to an incredibly nasty Mood he kept re-drawing as I whittled his deck down. Quite the blow – all of my more experienced, badass survivors are now dead (though admittedly the Tyrant did just give me two promising new starters), my zanbato is shattered and I lost my adventure sword to boot.
My first ever sunstalker hunt wasn’t too hard, though without Dash I wasn’t able to grab the salt (which you need to craft a lot of the susntalker gear); I’m really feeling the lack of Dash, it would really have helped against the Tyrant as well. I just can’t seem to draw it when I innovate! As I’ve been eyeing the tasty sunstalker gear for a while, I’m probably going to be hunting them quite intensely…. Though maybe I should hunt a lion or two to try and make a cat’s eye circlet and a new zanbato…
Oh, and don’t rush to L2 monsters when you’re not ready yet; even if you beat one handily the next one might kill your eldest and best (who just maxed out his courage)…
Sadly, I’ll have much less time for KDM after tonight so I won’t be dumping multiple years at a time quite so regularly.
Ara and Hydra, eager to earn the Tyrant’s favour, left to hunt another sunstalker. Andromeda, who had faced such beasts before, and a new survivor called Canis joined them. On their travels, they encountered a newborn child and a blade. Canis faced a desperate choice and chose to save the child, cradling it. He vowed to save this child, carrying it through the hunt and the battle that followed.
The loss of the People’s strongest, and some of their equipment, was felt. This sunstalker was vicious, screaming and maddening the survivors, clutching and sending them sprawling with its shadowy tentacles and vomiting kaleidoscopic acid. Ara and Hydra, so recently favoured by the Tyrant, fell. Andromeda, all affect blunted by the horrors she had seen, killed the beast in a detached, emotionless manner.
Upon his return, the settlement accepted the child along their own newborns. Canis was invited to take a leading role in a re-enactment of the settlement’s initial victory over the Tyrant. The performance was well received. Canis and Andromeda scarred themselves in honour of the fallen and as the People crafted armour from the teeth and scales of the dead sunstalkers, they learned to use its inks and humours as paint.
Canis and Andromeda, along with two new survivors called Orion and Aquila, hunted another sunstalker. This was a particularly fearsome beast that screeched, shadow-tentacles striking from every turn, vomiting colour. It killed Andromeda and Aquila.
Perhaps it was the horror that took their tongues, but the People of the Stars briefly forgot the words the Tyrant had taught them, bickering. It was from this animosity and confusion that the society decided to master the darkness and find a perfect death.
Another hunt followed. Two joined Canis and Orion. One was bitten in half by the beast and the second succumbed to a plague after they returned. Bloodletting ensured that he, alone, died, from the pestilence. A great feast was held and in a ritual ceremony Canis’ hand was branded. One survivor ascended to the Tyrant’s throne and his body tumbled down afterwards and a terrible hush washed over the settlement.
It was then that a creature approached the settlement. A man, once, now a mad shell inside his armour. The Tyrant considered killing the upstart but decided that its children must prove their worth. Three of the older survivors, three who had never hunted, faced it alongside Orion.
It was a slaughter. They died, one after another, to the frenzied attacks of the Butcher. The madman rampaged through the settlement, smashing and burning, before the Tyrant skewered him upon his claws and glared, disdainfully, at his people.
Plague died out that year, but a strange haunting presence echoed through the camp. Perhaps this was not surprising, given how many had died.
Canis went to hunt once again, taking three promising youths; Cetus, Lyra and Serpens. They hunted a small antelope and slaughtered it without injury or incident. They took a strange fruit from a tree, but none dared to bite into its hard flesh. Lights in the sky, taken as the Tyrant’s blessing, awaited them upon their return.
They would then seek more dangerous game; a sunstalker. This one seemed weaker, or perhaps these four were simply stronger, more capable. The killed it without losing a single life and completed a set of armour made from its teeth and scales, armour they had been painstakingly crafting over many lantern years. The Tyrant’s approval seemed obvious to all, a welcome change after what felt like years of failure, each victory at great cost.
The Tyrant’s face flickered as another approached the settlement. He flexed his claws, weighing the stranger, but smiled when he saw that this man sought only to test his children’s worth, just as he himself did.
Level 2 Hand to come soon! A series of frankly punishing years – the Sunstalker is not an easy quarry and a level two Butcher is a nightmare, though I mostly sent some useless survivors to die rather than lose people with Dragon Traits. I’ll be taking a break from Sunstalkers to stick to easier prey – level 2 lions and antelope, I think – for a few years to train up my survivors. I’ve still not gained a single constellation yet and we’re over halfway. Very happy to finally finished a set of Cycloid Scale, though; I really want to craft a Denticle Axe (amazing synergy with the Cycloid Scale set) but I doubt we’re even close to ready for a level two sunstalker…
I’ve got some Nightmare Fruit. I’m tempted to eat it, but might wait a few years until we’re a bit stronger, as I’ve never fought the Nightmare Tree. You may also spot some of the white box promos sneaking into my basic hunt events now!
- Last edited Sun Dec 4, 2016 1:11 am (Total Number of Edits: 5)
- Posted Sun Nov 6, 2016 1:41 am
The Hand came to the settlement and their champions – Canis, Lyra, Serpens and Cetus - came to face him. Canis wore the armour they had crafted from the sunstalkers and something about the glittering scale seemed to attract the Hand’s attention. He rained blow after blow upon Canis, but Canis had brought a shield and his scaled armour, lubricated with ink squeezed from sunstalker organs, made him blur. The Hand struggled to hit Canis as dodged and weaved, blocking what he could not avoid his shield. Though he did suffer a painful blow to the tailbone, he escaped quite unscathed.
The other survivors were practically ignored, though at one point the Hand bade them line up and struck each in turn. Later, in a moment of strange pique, the Hand switched targets, smashing his armoured palm into Lyra’s solar plexus. She died instantly, her chest caved in, and the Hand chuckled over her body. This seemed to content him – he threw one or two more half-hearted punches at Canis before applauding the survivors. With a gesture he healed their wounds, their bones melting and twisting inside them . Cetus almost died from the pain, but the Hand’s bone-warping sorcery only strengthened Canis and Serpens. As Canis reflected on his age, he thought of all the battle he had seen, all the wounds he had received, and he grew to relish the pain that reminded him he still lived.
The Hand offered a parcel as a reward (and one person mysteriously disappeared from the settlement). A trader returned, once again finding the people of Polaris quite uninterested in his wares. With their victory over the Hand they declared themselves an Empire and a child, Auriga, was born to Canis and Cetus. She was a pristine, perfect child born with her father’s immense strength and the scales and oracular gifts of both parents. She would join them on their next hunt. The people played drums to celebrate, attracting the Tyrant’s eye, but his expression was quite inscrutable.
The following year would be a portentous one. Auriga, Canis, Serpens and Cetus set out to hunt a large lion that had prowling near to the settlement. They slaughtered it without injury and with fairly minimal effort and returned to the settlement. The settlement was haunted by a strange dream of a godlike entity, not the Tyrant controlling their actions and they created an arena to train in. Auriga was the first to use it and unlocked incredible new power within her blood.
The quartet of hunters set off to hunt another enemy, a sunstalker larger and more powerful than any they had ever faced. It would be a long, arduous hunt. They almost starved, became lost more than once. They ate vile, rotting things before stumbling on strangely addictive fruits that sapped their will. The sunstalker cowed them at first, turning aside their blows and summoning legions of shadows to assail them, but Canis’s axe bit deep into its rubbery flesh again and again. A lightning blow from Cetus’ spear caused an explosion of gore and teeth and the titanic beast grew still.
As the light died, Auriga looked up and saw her face in the sky. She became the first survivor to become one of the People of the Stars. She screamed as she struggled to contain the power within her, breaking her jaw with the force of her roar. She was now the Absolute. Inspired by her example, Canis practised with his axes and as he mastered them he felt a change within his own blood. Static electricity crackled around him and he coughed blood as he became the Storm. From the sunstalker’s body a powerful axe was crafted. Canis smiled as hefted it.
The Tyrant, evidently pleased, descended from the throne. The survivors knew what this meant, but despite playing his part in an re-enactment of the first time the settlement had faced their patron, Canis knew this was not a fight for him. He let his young son, Corvus, wear his armour and test his new axe. Corvus was, like his sibling Auriga, a strong and pristine child. He stood alongside Cetus and Serpens, as well as another young hopeful named Taurus.
The survivors were well prepared for this battle. They had learned how difficult the strange obsidian gates the Tyrant created were to shatter and had crafted clubs and maces for this purpose. The Tyrant struggled to harm them, especially Corvus, who was a blur in his father’s armour and greasy ink squeezed from dead sunstalkers. A lucky blast from the Tyrant’s outstretched head made Taurus’ head explode in a shower of gore, but the denticle axe was an incredible weapon in Corvus’ hands and the Tyrant conceded, proud of his people.
It was then he issued a shocking proclamation; the Tyrant bade his people build him a tomb, drenching the foundation with blood from two of the survivors not blessed with scales, oracular visions or his other strange blessings. It was then he revealed his true form, vast wings unfolding, His people, terrified of their patron and the thought of his demise, set to work…
As always (in my experience), the Hand is a watershed moment that really ups the badass-quotient of a settlement. After he’s boosted you things tend to become noticeably easier – Canis, Auriga, Serpens and Cetus are incredibly powerful with boosts to almost all stats (though nobody has any bonus Luck). Sadly, getting those all-important Constellations for Cetus and Serpens will take some work and I’ve got four hunts to do it… Thankfully the Arena innovation should help, especially since the Storm gives you a constant trickle of Iron to use on it.
My reading of how Cycloid Scale armour interacts with the Hand was interesting, as it meant he almost constantly targeted the wearer, who had a shield and some monster grease boosting his evasion to pleasantly ridiculous levels that made the fight pretty simple.
The Denticle Axe is a thing of beauty, truly, especially in combination with cycloid scale armour. It was worth all the incredible pain that is hunting Sunstalkers. I’m debating what to hunt next; should I hunt more sunstalkers to make more cycloid scale and denticle axes, or play it safer (at least until we’ve got four constellations in the bank).
- Last edited Mon Dec 5, 2016 2:38 pm (Total Number of Edits: 6)
- Posted Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:08 pm
Though I doubt I'll ever play this game, I've certainly enjoyed reading your session report on it! You seem to have had a pretty rough time of it up til now, or are that many deaths normal? In any case, I vote for hunting more Sunstalkers.
- Last edited Sat Dec 3, 2016 11:46 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sat Dec 3, 2016 11:45 pm
Though I doubt I'll ever play this game, I've certainly enjoyed reading your session report on it! You seem to have had a pretty rough time of it up til now, or are that many deaths normal? In any case, I vote for hunting more Sunstalkers.
This is pretty normal, I think. My first campaign had a similar 'meat grinder' phase until the Hand arrived and in the Dragon King campaign he's not an option until very late.
Sunstalker(s) it is, then! Though we're very sane at the moment...
- Last edited Sun Dec 4, 2016 1:17 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sun Dec 4, 2016 12:51 am
Love these write ups!
Canis, hefting a new shield gifted to the settlement by the Tyrant, lead his daughter, Serpens and Cetus to hunt another sunstalker. On their way they found the body of a deceased warrior and Cetus, who was highly skilled with a spear, suddenly understood a technique for fighting with a sword.
It seemed the sunstalker had set fires – flames burned around them as they closed in on their quarry. It was a particularly restive quarry, reacting to each attack with strobing lights and thrashing tendrils, but the denticle axe in Auriga’s hands bit through its rubbery flesh with ease.
Canis coughed up a gobbet of thick, tarry blood that was used with what they took from the dead creature’s body to craft a second denticle axe. He almost fell to his death as cracks once again opened in the ground, but his daughter grabbed him in time. The settlement toiled at the Tyrant’s tomb, though they found time to make a few pieces of a second set of Cycloid Scale armour.
The four veterans, enervated from the twin efforts of hunting and building, rested while Corvus lead three other survivors (Pisces , Cygnus and Perseus) to hunt another sunstalker, smaller than the last. The group were dragged through the sky when Cyngus’s sky-fishing snagged something huge and unseen… They landed near to their quarry and attacked it. The heat was overwhelming and it summoned a veritable army of shades to attack them but, rather suddenly, another sunstalker fell to the axes made from its kin.
The survivors returned and the settlement paused in its toil to work on the tomb as mortar set. They constructed a barber surgeon, continued work on another set of cycloid scale armour and convened a council of elders. They whispered of a terrible Lion, the Beast of Sorrow, and the people of Polaris vowed to hunt it once they had completed a final set of cycloid scale armour.
Please enjoy the (rather bad) pictures! Two hunts, a nemesis and the final showdown to go. It’s going to be a sunstalker (probably gonna play it safe and take a L1) as I’m one piece off a second set of Cycloid Scale and then the Beast of Sorrow. The final nemesis really has to be the Hand. I was hoping to finish the campaign this week but didn’t quite have time, so I suspect it’ll be just after Christmas when I actually finish.
Sadly, with only two People of the Stars, the odds are very good that I’ll fail, since after this hunt I’ll have to roll an event that will either kill everyone without a constellation or massively boost their Courage and Understanding (which would really help Serpens, Cetus and Corvus to unlock those constellations). Hard not to find that design a little cruel and arbitrary, even by KDM standards…
Having now fought a considerable number of sunstalkers I’ve got the feel for them now. They’re very different to everything else I’ve fought – they seldom move and a lot of their attacks, especially of course the solar flares, affect every survivor making it impossible to tank them. They’re very intimidating – best to come with some insanity armouring your brain before you attack one. The HL deck is a nasty one too (they often try to flee out of your way, making Reach weapons very useful, provided you use them while adjacent). That said, I’ve been ruling that cards in the solar track, like moods, don’t count towards totals, which means sunstalkers can die rather suddenly and their ‘health’ varies considerably.
Denticle axes continue to be amazing and, once you’ve got Ultimate Weapon, they’re quite easy to make. The Storm is an amazing constellation, as Canis is now a source or Iron and halfway to Shield Mastery. Cetus has learned the Black Guard secret fighting art form the Percival Promo… which is kinda useless to a lady this close to spear mastery. She can teach it to others… by breaking her arm. Not ideal.