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Subject: Custom Scene: Throwing More Than Stones rss

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Download this scene as a PDF here!

Disclaimer: This content is 100% unofficial. Lore and abilities are not canon. I'm just making stuff up.

Do you love teleportation, fast-moving enemies that devour each other to heal, and non-euclidean mazes? Then this adventure is for you!

This scene is Bees + Crazy twisted patways:
+

Art: "Relativity", by Escher and "Beedrill Pokemonstrosity" by J. R. Coffron

I wanted an excuse to use my fancy new objective tokens, so I created a scene that uses them. What's a fun mechanic for tokens? Why *teleportation* of course!

--

Throwing More Than Stones

A nest of Blood Wasps has been discovered close to the village. Too close. The Hive Queen's brood is near to hatching. The village must destroy the hive, or flee.

[Image: Hut-sized wasp nest with person-sized wasps]

The Thornwatch arrive just as the hive's shell is cracked open. You enter, to find the nest is larger inside than out - a floating, twisty labyrinth where gravity holds no sway.

--

New Content

Two new enemies: the Blood Wasp and the Hive Queen

Blood Wasp


Text version:

• +1 Momentum
Attack - Shutter Sting: Ranged d10-1 d10-1
Twisted Speed: A Blood Wasp may move up to two spaces during its move.


Hive Queen:


Text version:

• +1 Momentum
Attack - Boring Larvae: Ranged d10-1 d10-1 d10-1 d10-1
Twisted Speed: The Hive Queen may move up to two spaces during her move.
Protect The Young: If the Hive Queen begins her turn in an area containing Thornwatch, she must leave that space during her move.
Devour: If the Hive Queen would be killed the Judge may instead choose and remove a Blood Wasp pawn. The Hive Queen then shifts back up the Momentum track.

New terrain card: Blood Honey



Any character in this space may choose to roll d10-1.

ebb: take 5 wounds
miss: take 1 wound
hit: return 1 wound, draw a card
double hit: return all wounds from hand, draw a card, gain a hero die



--

Rules



• Place up to 6 terrain cards.

• Use the Blood Wasp and Hive Queen enemies. Place a number of Blood Wasp pawns equal to the number of heroes + 2.

• Pick two objective tokens of each color (or two of each number, if you prefer).

Shifting Hive: Each round before resolving momentum, remove all objective tokens from the board, place them face down, and shuffle them. Then place one objective token randomly on each square area tile.
• Exception: areas that contain a Thornwatch terrain effect do not remove their objective token.

Between the spaces we know: Once during their turn any hero or creature that occupies an area with an objective token may move instantly to the area tile with the matching objective token as a free action.

--

Scene Ending

Thornwatch victory: If the Hive Queen is defeated, the scene ends in Thornwatch victory.

The Queen’s thorax splits with an inhuman wail. Her legs spasm as her body plummets deep, deep, deep into the hive and out of sight. The sound of buzzing dies.

Thornwatch defeat: If the wound deck is exhausted, the scene ends in Thornwatch defeat.

The bubbling mass on the Hive Queen’s back erupts! Fresh young, ravenous, spew from the hive, searching for their first meal. The village screams...

--

Here is a pic of the scene in action:




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Design notes

This scene involves chasing fast enemies, and working to teleport somewhere useful so you can kill them while the maze constantly shifts around you. The tile arrangement is meant to be compact, so it's still possible to get anywhere and head-off enemies if the party splits up.

This scene is fun while there are a large number of enemies flying around the board available to kill. It's sometimes unfun at the end, when only the queen remains and the party has to hunt her down. Not sure yet what to do about that. You could possibly change the teleportation rules so that players could teleport any number of times per turn, instead of just once. I'm not sure if you want the bees doing that also though

How to design a Thornwatch boss monster?

Designing boss monsters in Thornwatch is tricky, because you want them to be tough but Thornwatch has no concept of hit points. A boss monster that is dealt on the edge of the momentum track and dies after one hit is an anticlamatic boss indeed...

You could use tokens to track hit points, but that seems to go against Thornwatch design. You shouldn't have to track stuff. Shouldn't have to do math. Thornwatch doesn't use hp.

So how do you create a monster that's tough in battle, with no hit points, without breaking Thornwatch's "keep things simple" design goals?

• One obvious option is having multiple momentum cards. Hence the Swamp Choir.
• Another might be to dodge attacks or force players to roll again to confirm the kill, ala my Culled monsters. But that's not great for a boss.
• Another way is to make the boss invincible, ala Glider Alpha - it cannot be killed while minions remain on the map. But scenes that use the Alpha usually have time limits so it's not quite so dangerous.

So what if the boss wasn't quite invincible, but could still suffer mulitple hits? What if instead of dying she devours her own minions to heal herself? devil Then she still has staying power - she can survive multiple wounds. You also have built in health tracking - count the number of minions to know how many more hits it might take. But you can see it visually without having to count - you can look and see if there are a large or small number of minions left on the map. You don't need to remember anything, because removing minion pawns from the board is a normal part of play when you kill things.

With this in mind, the Hive Queen was born.

Devouring means options

Having the boss devour minions also gives the players choice and options - they can attack the minion bees or the queen depending on what's easier that round. Enemies move around. Momentum changes. But usually you'll have a viable option every round to help you make progress *somehow* and beat the scene. The teleporters are meant to help with that - help players get to something useful they can do. Plus I can show off my tokens

Feedback is quite welcome if you try this scene! I'd love to hear about it.

--

Footnote 1: Taking my own medicine - pre-count terrain cards

After playing the Riddle of Autumn and Aurum I thought it would be a good idea to pre-calculate how many terrain cards the Judge can place in the scene. I've done that here so no one needs to do math!

Footnote 2: Color-code tile types

I used a different color for each of the tile types in the scene map - squares vs rectangles. I feel this makes it easier to quickly see how the map should look and feel.
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