Alex chose the Air Spells which meant no Healing Spell...
The Spiral Passage - "The Great Citadel lies deep beneath the mountains. The series of staircases that lead to the Citadel is known as the Spirit Passage. It seems, to those who pass through them, that they are forever going down and around into the very heart of the mountain. The journey down to the main living quarters is a long one. Beware, for the Orcs may have laid traps to guard against attack."
Image Courtesy ofWaterZero
Indiana Who? - Having survived the Warrior Halls our great heroes were cocky again as they prepared to descend into the darkness. Maurice the Barbarian had picked up the Plate Armour courtesy of the Dwarven Armoury and felt that he was nigh on invincible.
No sooner had the party tightened their rucksack straps and sharpened their blades than a deep rumbling could be heard from behind. Alex was leading the way, Maurice took the middle and Strongbeard was protecting the rear. Dust began to fall from the ceiling amid the cacophony of sound and with horror Maurice looked back to see a giant boulder fall from the ceiling and slowly inch forward on the incline that was the Spiral Passage.
Alex bolted forward, the fleet of foot Aragorn having no trouble reaching the first set of steps. Never before has a Dwarf moved so fast and Strongbeard was soon clambering over the heaving Barbarian towards the end of the passage.
Maurice however was another matter. Weighted down by his shiny new Plate Armour he was no match for the rolling ball. Before anyone could say "Raiders of the Lost Ark was the best of the original trilogy" Maurice was being crushed by 400 tonnes of rock, suffering 3 damage points in the process.
Now sporting a nice streak of red, the boulder continued on its path, keen to reach its destination. Aragorn managed to reach the furthest door in the passage and opened it to discover a Firmir, an Orc and 2 Goblins. Strongbeard had a much narrower escape as he lunged for the nearest door handle, stumbling into a room that was home to 2 Orcs and 3 Goblins.
Feeling a little worse for wear Maurice could only stumble down the passage as the distant sound of steel on steel rang out from the dark.
The Elf took a swipe at the Firmir only to find the stone of the nearby wall. The minions of the dark gathered around him and he soon took a wound from the Orc. Strongbeard faired slightly better, dispatching a Goblin before the Orcs entered the fray and inflicted a wound also.
Maurice kept coming, decided that the courageous Dwarf could handle himself and followed the cries of help from Aragorn.
The Elf this time managed to vanquish the Firmir but the cost was high, as a Goblin dagger opened another gash. With Orc's Bane shining bright, Strongbeard managed to kill a Goblin and then spun to behead an Orc.
With the help of Maurice, Aragorn soon stood over the corpses of 4 slain foes. Strongbeard likewise stood triumphant over his four foes. Once more combined the party made short work of the 2 Firmirs waiting in the last of the early rooms. The party had survived but they had paid for it dearly...having lost 5 life in a matter of minutes.
Descent - Journeys in the Dark - They were soon on their way and amidst 5 searches they found a secret door. This was most annoying as it allowed the boys to avoid a couple of traps. It's also worth noting that the first 5 Treasure Searches threw up the D6 * 10gp card, 25gp, 50gp, 100gp and another 25gp. The boys were going to buy some serious gear.
Aragorn again lead the way and having forgotten to search the new passage for traps, stumbled into a Spear Trap taking him down to 4 life points.
Soon enough the next corner was rounded and Alex was wise enough to search for traps. I revealed the Pit Trap just ahead but thanks to the clever work of the Orcs I was not required to reveal the next 3 Spear Traps. I waited eagerly for him to rush ahead into my traps, only to be left shaking my head as he opted for the nearest door, avoiding potential disaster!
Maurice was again lagging behind but Strongbeard quickly filed into the room to join Aragorn in the removal of 3 Orcs and a Firmir. They didn't have it all their own way as the Elf was reduced to 3 life and the Dwarf down to 4 life. They soon discovered the fireplace and took care of the Firmir, finding another 50Gp and a Potion of Strength along the way.
Down the Rabbit Hole - Aragorn was still keen to lead and on his charge towards a Goblin at the bottom of more stairs, he succumbed to a hidden Spear Trap. At 2 life he was ready to let someone else lead and Strongbeard quickly pointed to Maurice...the Barbarian and older brother had finally assumed the leadership role once again.
Two goblin kills later, the boys were preparing to enter the middle of the Spiral Passage. Isaac decided to ignore the Sentry Room that marked the middle of the Spiral Passage and promptly fell into a Pit Trap and was down to 4 Life. Strongbeard could not ignore the allure of another room and walked into 2 Orcs and a Firmir that surrounded him immediately. Orc's Bane glowed bright but he only managed to kill one Orc. The retaliation was swift as the rusty blades of the enemy bit deep into the Dwarf's side, inflicting 3 wounds and reducing Riley to 1 life.
Aragorn had kept a reasonable distance at the rear and was forced to unleash his Genie to kill the remaining Orc. The Dwarf made short work of the Goblin and was rewarded with another 50gp. Maurice was having a harder time of it, taking a wound at the hands of an Orc.
The passage twisted around the central room and Isaac took another hit as he killed two more Orcish Guards.
The finale was deliciously poised. With the Barbarian on 2 Life he was still voted to lead the way. Aragorn was on 2 life and Strongbeard down to 1. Fear was written across their faces...the exit was nowhere in sight.
The Climax - Always Good for the Ratings - All three boys were on the edge of their seats now, unsure of how this was going to end. Maurice inched forward and with only 5 movement to round the corner, Isaac made a fatal mistake and decided to open the door. His jaw dropped and the nervous tension trebled as I set up the Chaos Warrior and 8 Orcs that served as the Guard Patrol of the Spiral Passage.
After match panicking and frantic discussion, Isaac called for his brothers to run through. He would block the passage and rely on his Plate Armour to protect himself and the others. He set himself to defend the doorway as Aragorn and Strongbeard approached from behind.
The Chaos Warrior's first attack was telling, the force of his axe registering 3 Skulls. Isaac rolled with one eye closed and managed to roll 2 Shields. He was down to 1 life.
Aragorn and Strongbeard rushed past Maurice but they could only make it just around the next corner. More stairs descended into the gloom and at the other end of the short passage a doorway could be seen. Riley and Alex were relieved to not see a monster guarding the door.
Isaac began to fight his rearguard action, moving backwards down the passage, his Plate Armour a help and a hindrance. The Chaos Warrior again charged at the Barbarian, this time Isaac easily defended the attack. But his nerves were frayed. He shouted for Aragorn to do something and reluctantly Alex decided to dig deep (I did have to remind him that he had a Swift Wind Spell that may be useful).
Strongbeard soon rushed to open the door and was elated to discover the staircase exit. He was quick to use it. Isaac limped his way towards the staircase, falling narrowly short of safety but still out of reach of the Chaos Warrior should Aragorn fall. Alex braced himself and used all his cunning to turn a crushing blow into a mere flesh wound...he was however down to 1 life. He quickly cast Swift Wind and bolted to the staircase, with the Barbarian following closely behind.
The boys had made it...barely. The adrenaline rush and shouts of Woohoo were amazing. This was Hero Quest at its best.
The expected trash talking was soon to follow. What's a Dad to do.
Post Game Thoughts - It was interesting to watch the boys genuine concern as they all reached near annihilation. They really had no concept that the dungeon was spiraling to the centre and that the exit was not too far away. This suggests a lack of visual/spatial awareness.
It was also something of a bummer to realise that the whole nod to Indiana Jones with the Rolling Boulder was totally lost on my boys. It made me feel old alright. I may have to hire those movies and expose them to the magic.
Beginning and End - The boulder was a hoot to watch as they tried to outrun it and was made even more hilarious with Isaac and his Plate Armour. He gagged out a 'what the?' when I said the boulder rolls 5 dice for damage.
The ending was the key though. Never before have all 3 been so close to defeat and not a Healing Spell or Potion been in sight.
The Gift Shop
A bucket load of gold and a whining Isaac saw the Plate Armour thrown away for the more lightweight Chain Mail. They took some convincing but I did highlight to the younger boys that it was Isaac that had come to their rescue in the latter stages of the quest. They begrudgingly handed over the gold.