I had played 3 or 4 games of ATOE with others, and occasionally thought of trying it solitaire, but didn't get around to it until a couple days ago. It was well worth it! The session ended up being a tense 20 turn thriller in “cooperative” mode with 1 player character. I kept notes on my laptop on which I also played the game's soundtrack. I understand that there is going to be official solitaire rules with the release of the upcoming expansion “Something Wicked...” and I am interested to see how they will work. But even as it stands now, the game works very well solitaire. I did the session report in narrative style, but tried to reflect accurately what was actually happening on the board during the turns.
The soldier Karl arrived at the small new England village of Shadowbrook after a damp and dreary journey from Boston. Since the war, Karl had been chasing rumors and legends in search of the Supernatural. Perhaps it had been the horrors of war that had toughened him and had made him a fighter that had also opened his eyes to the creatures of the night that were not entirely of this realm. He had become a hunter, tracking down evil to its lair to vanquish it from the earth. And so, it was for this that he had come to Shadowbrook. He had heard stories of some unearthly monstrosity terrorizing the community, and if there were any truth to the tales, he would find out. Karl stood before the town hall on almost deserted streets. Within the building he met with six of the leading members of the village; Lord and Lady Hanbrook, Reverend Harding, the midwife Sophie, Magistrate Kroft and Doctor Manning. While they did not discourage Karl, they did not encourage him either. Information was sparse and they seemed to be unwilling to put much trust in a stranger and outsider. Karl knew that he would have to do most of the work himself without much help from the townsfolk, at least at the beginning.
He did find out that there was a horseman allegedly terrorizing the community. Some insisted that the horseman was ghostly. There had even been a claim or two that he, or it, was headless. Karl decided that the matter was worth looking into and the townsfolk seemed to welcome his efforts without actually admitting it out loud.
The Soldier's Battle Begins (Turns 1-3 of 20)
First things first. Karl walked down the street to the church where he sought to gather himself and perhaps gain some spiritual strength. There he learned that the militia, in response to the threat posed by the alleged horseman, had located itself at the Manor northwest of town. It was as Karl was leaving the church, and quite unexpectedly, that he was able to remove the word “alleged” from his description of the horseman. The dark form that rode the horse as black as midnight save for the glowing eyes attacked Karl with great fury. It was Karl's toughness and reflexes that saved his life that night, though he did suffer grievous wounds. But he also learned that the monster was all too real, and the towns folks' respect for him grew a little. He had survived, after all, fighting off the horseman who had then galloped to the center of town before disappearing into the night.
The incident forced Karl to change his plans, instead of traveling west of town to the Manor to investigate, he was forced to stagger back to Doctor Manning's office for treatment of his wounds. The good doctor patched him up and, as Karl left the office he discovered that a thick fog had enveloped the countryside. It would be slow going until the fog lifted.
Karl headed southwest from town having decided to visit the Abandoned Keep instead of the Manor. It was very slow going, so Karl practiced his martial abilities against the shadows as he walked the road. He heard a familiar gallop as the Horseman again appeared and attempted to remove the soldier's head. Again, Karl fought off the monstrosity, and though wounded decided to continue on toward the Abandoned Keep as the Horseman headed off toward the town. Karl was sure this time. The Horseman had no head.
The Adventure Continues (Turns 4-13 of 20)
As Karl investigated the old Keep, he was cautiously on guard. After a good while of searching, there was a movement at the doorway. Ready to fight, Karl discovered a young man who turned out to be a servant boy named Jack. Jack informed Karl of some terrible news; The Reverend Harding had been horribly hacked to death by the horseman. The lad offered to help Karl if he would allow him to accompany him, and Karl reluctantly agreed, The boy could help the soldier carry some things in his goings here and there.
Karl and Jack returned to town and Karl again visited Doctor Manning's office for some patching up. Karl and his young companion then traveled to the Olde Woods southeast of town and discovered a smugglers' camp but no smugglers. The camp was in shambles with blood everywhere. The bedding ripped and strewn about, but nothing else was found. A traveler headed from town to somewhere “far away from here” informed Karl that ghostly soldiers had been spotted in the vicinity of the Manor. Perhaps it had been only the militia in the fog. Perhaps not.
The soldier decided to head west on the road out of the woods to check out the Marsh south of town. As the pair traveled there was an eerie smell of death which the two companions took as a Dark Omen. The shadow of evil and fear; a great sense of foreboding had been growing steadily, and seemed to increase significantly. Upon finally reaching the Marsh a message was received from town. A troop of ghost soldiers was seen by others on the road from the Manor and heading toward town. Even more disturbing, Lady Hanbrook had been brutally murdered in the same fashion as Reverend Harding. The soldier and the servant boy continued west from the Marsh to return to the Abandoned Keep for further investigation. Upon reaching the Keep, Karl found a broken mirror. Gazing into it, instead of his reflection he saw himself fighting the horseman and being hacked apart. So disturbing were the visions that Karl fell to his knees overcome in mind and spirit. He would have to recuperate! In the meantime, word was again received from town that more ghost soldiers were spotted south east of town at the crossroads near the previously visited Olde Woods.
Karl returned to town and again visited Doctor Manning's office. The doctor treated the soldier with some medication which soothed his mind and steadied his nerves. Word reached Karl that Lord Handbrook had been discovered horribly dispatched in the same manner as his wife and the Reverend had been. The town was fast losing confidence in the soldier. Karl had to act quickly and decisively to regain their trust and cooperation.
Karl and Jack returned to the Abandoned Keep believing there was something there being overlooked. Karl found a Book of the Occult there, and upon looking the book over he was able to develop some theories about how to defeat the great evil oppressing the village of Shadowbrook. Karl gave the book to Jack to carry.
The pair retraced their steps eastward back through the Marsh to the Olde Woods where they were attacked by trees, angry trees, so it seemed. These could have proven deadly, but Karl's skills as a warrior defeated them, though not without his being sorely wounded. Again, it was time to return to town and the services of the good doctor who again patched the battered soldier up. Again, news came that “Ghost soldiers” had been spotted; one group at the Covered Bridge SE of town and the other group right in the center of town in the area of the town hall.
The Hour is Late (Turns 14-19 of 20)
Karl returned to the church for additional solace and spiritual encouragement. Hysteria and paranoia was taking its toll on everyone as the shadow of evil grew darker. Karl and his young friend headed north west out of town to finally search the Manor. The heaviness of the fog continued to impede the travels of the soldier as it had almost from the beginning. But Karl became more determined to see the task through to the end. It was a matter of honor, and the strength of courage. The hour was late, and the shadow of evil grew at a quicker rate. Karl knew he wouldn't have long now to defeat the rider-thing.
Karl and Jack arrived at the Manor and Karl discovered some information on Doctor Manning. The doctor liked to tell tales; embellish the truth or simply make up lies about his deeds and accomplishments. He wasn't really Washington's private physician. This would not have any effect on the task at hand. But Karl also overheard two of the servant girls whispering about the townsfolk. The soldier learned that Sophie is a reluctant hero. She is quiet and rather slow to act, but in desperate times she will rise to the occasion. Karl also learned that Magistrate Kroft has a fire burning within; an inner strength; a warrior's strength and a hero's courage.
The soldier and his comrade traveled southwest from the Manor back to town. Again, the accursed fog hampered them, and again the Horseman rode down on Karl attacking out of the fog. The Horseman missed as Karl parried the attack and fought back. The Horseman rode into the night toward town and Karl thought that perhaps he could fight the dark rider and defeat him after all. The pair continued on the road toward town, moving ever so slowly. Through the fog above the dim outline of a full moon was barely discernible. The soldier's knowledge of the occult made him aware that the creatures of evil thrived on such nights, even stronger and more dangerous than usual.
Returning to town, Karl and Jack avoided the center of town where “Ghost Soldiers” were still lurking. At the church. Karl again sought and received spiritual strength on this draining night. It was here that he made a startling discovery. Adding some clues together, the soldier was able to determine that the lair of the “Spectral Horseman” was at the old Windmill northeast of town.
Endgame and Showdown (Turn 20 of 20)
Karl enlisted the help of Sophie for her “reluctant hero” fighting ability which surpassed even the Magistrate's. The soldier also called on Doctor Manning for his ability to render aid, and of course the faithful servant Jack. These four traveled through the fog to the windmill itself and came “face to face” with evil, though in this case evil was without a face.
Karl and Sophie attacked and landed blows on the Horseman even as it also attacked. It seemed as if Sophie would fall, but the wound that appeared mortal was only a scratch. Karl's soldier instincts assisted him in avoiding damage with a little help from the doctor.
Karl made an extra aggressive attack knocking the horseman from his steed with Sophie's assistance. The horseman cornered the doctor and appeared to have him in a hopeless situation, but the doctor survived with a mere scratch. Karl also suffered a wound that would have been worse if not for his veteran status.
Karl and Sophie inflicted yet more damage to the Spectral Horseman, who seemingly would not die. The Horseman attacked and the doctor was powerless to help. Not even the soldier's veteran status could save him, but Jack's sacrifice of himself could, and did. Jack took the fatal wound meant for Karl, and Karl, though severely wounded, yet lived. The soldier's young friend Jack died at the blade of the Horseman.
Enraged, Karl and Sophie again inflicted grievous damage to the Horseman, yet it still relentlessly attacked. He, or it, missed the three survivors completely, though he sought to kill them all with a flurry of attacks.
Karl and Sophie again delivered great damage to the Horseman as he attacked and struck Karl. Both the Horseman and the soldier fell to the earth; the Horseman shriveling, twisting and vanishing in smoke and fire, never to return. Karl's veteran status reduced the wounds he took but the damage had been accumulating throughout the fight. Doctor Manning tried his best but his treatment failed to save the soldier. Karl fell to the earth beside his friend Jack, mortally wounded.
Doctor Manning and Sophie returned to town as the sun rose. The Ghost Soldiers were gone, as was the fog. The town would remeber the sacrifice of the soldier and the servant boy for a long time. A new day began.
The Spectral Horseman had 7 fight dice and 14 hits in the final showdown.
- Last edited Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:24 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Thu Jun 18, 2009 7:09 am
I enjoyed reading your solitaire game of ATOE and I am really thrilled that I now know it can be played that way.
At least 80% of my games are played "solitaire" with, what I call, a "ghost player".
Great, I just love how this game plays out always to a movie script. It never fails to entertain.
The Game does play very well solo,it will be interesting
to see how the actual solo rules in SWTHC work.
Dear Geek: Please insert the wittiest comment you can think of in this text pop-up. Then times it by seven.
The Coat of Arms of Clan Montgomery - Scotland. Yes, that's a woman with the head of a savage in her hand, and an anchor. No clue what it means, but it's cool.
Nice Session report, Jon!
I've toyed with getting a roleplaying/boardgame like this one, or Descent, but I never bit the bullet.