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18 Days Left
This was our first stab at RtL, and except for one player, the first experience of the others with Descent. The following is taken from my notes over four sessions, so some details are getting a bit hazy.
The players were each dealt some random heroes to choose from and ended up with Sir Valadir, Trenloe the Strong, Ronan of the wild, and with one player in absentia, Vyrah the Falconer vs me as the Overlord. I picked the Titan and chose the plot "Eternal Night". I chose super Ogres as my upgrade and sent my lieutenant toward Greyhaven via the Plains of the Ruby Gate, intending to besiege it. The party stocked up (first mistake I made was not putting copper treasures in the market) and set off without incident to Starfall Forest, where they entered the dungeon and romped their way through the first level: (1) Collapsed columns. The second mistake I made was not carrying my threat over to the next level, and discarding my hand and starting afresh. The next level was (18) Garden of Grazius. The party was so dismayed at the sight of the Giant, a horde of skeletons and the Ogre, that they nearly fled. But they pressed on, thinking they would chance it. There was some confusion as to exactly who Grazius was, but we decided it was the Giant. The party smashed their way through the skeletons and with some difficulty brought the Ogre down, but not before he had knocked back one of the heroes into the shrubs. Grazius became enraged, but the portal was open and the Heroes rushed through to the next level. It was 11:15, so we wound up the evening. Score: party - 13 conquest; overlord - 10 conquest.
The player in charge of Trenloe dropped out. His place was taken by another who had played Descent once before. He chose Mok, and for this week, since his daughter was in tow, she joined in as Andira Runehand, so things were stacked against me as the Overlord. The heroes completed the third level of Starfall Forest - (4) The Bridge of Death - suffering a couple of deaths. They returned to Tamalir for a couple of weeks to recuperate and train. I pressed on with besieging Greyhaven. They picked the rumour "Split Heirlooms" and placed it in the Guardian Hills.
At this point the Heroes were equipped thus:
Valadir: Treasurer - 1000 coin
Axe & Crossbow
Ring of Quickness [copper]
Great Bow [copper]
Rune - Ghost Armour
Rune - Pacify [copper]
Dwarven Fire Bombs [copper]
Rune - Immolation
Rune - Bane [copper]
The heroes departed Tamalir and headed south to Thelsvain Highway, where they entered the dungeon. They were dismayed to see the Throne Room (12). Ronan dashed in to grab the rune key, but was filled with arrows. Mok also rushed up. I didn't realise he had divine retribution, and when I killed him he took all my remaining skeletons with him. A fine piece of tactical work. The heroes ran for the level exit, but failed to score any conquest for the level at all. Clearly they should have stayed and cleaned up. The session finished with the score: Heroes: 22; Overlord: 24.
The players asked how the campaign ended (this is first time for us all), and when I told them at 600 conquest, one wailed "We've been sucked into a monster game! It's WiF! (aka World in Flames)." This got me thinking and I realised that at our current rate, probably playing once a fortnight at most, since we all like to play other games and can only manage one session a week together at most, then we would be at the campaign all year. So I created a short campaign variant wherein each dungeon is counted twice (the rules are posted on this site), so that we might have a chance of finishing.
Game Week 4: Continuing with level 2 and 3 of Thelsvan Highway. This week's session was a thrashing for the Overlord, with the heroes completing level 2 (23: Pit Fiend) for 6 conquest and level 3 (37: Web of Lives) for 11. The Overlord scored 8 conquest total; 5 of these in level two for killing Mok and Ronan. I can't recall which level the other kill was on, but the third level was basically a disaster, not helped for me (the Overlord) by misreading the rules for Blast and Breath to ignore the effect of armour (armour DOES protect). Mok has some terrible blast weapon (Bane) with which he wreaked havoc on both levels, but smote the Master Leader spider on level 3 extremely rapidly. I also managed to roll about 5 misses in a row on level 3 at a critical juncture. Careful play from all the heroes. Possibly I made a mistake by advising them to make better use of their fatigue to move and battle, because they put this to good effect this week. Valadir also managed to score the Dragon Tooth Hammer copper treasure, which he used effectively. Mok picked up the Bone Blade copper treasure. Total score: Heroes 39, Overlord 32. No cities razed.
Mok's owner was absent for this session, so Ronan took him over.
Week 5. Heroes: 39 conquest; OL: 32/32.
I upgraded humanoids to silver. I have grown fond of Beastmen and look forward to the expressions of dismay they will cause when I get them into play. Alric continues seiging Greyhaven. After completing Thelsvan Highway, the heroes proceed to Riverwatch.
Week 6: Heroes: 39 conquest: OL: 8/33.
At Riverwatch, Mok trains to add a black dice to his magic ability; Ronan adds a black dice to his bow ability. Only after this session did I realise that it is not possible to train in these skills at Riverwatch. Too late to go back now! The other heroes healed in the temple.
Week 7: Heroes: 39 conquest: OL: 9/34.
Greyhaven is razed on the first roll. Hoorah for the forces of Darkness. Alric moves to Tamalir. The Heroes visit Riverwatch's market and buy Valadir the "Belt of Strength", and Mok "Heavy Leather Armour".
Week 8: Heroes: 39 conquest: OL: 11/36. I purchase the first Scroll of Heaven for the Eternal Darkness plot and place it in Blackwing Swamp. Alric moves to Blackwing Swamp and picks up scroll. The Heroes decide they have to try to intercept Alric and move back to Thelsvan. They have an encounter: "The Wild Hunt" in "The Marshy Valley". The heroes deal efficiently with the Hell Hounds (1 master and 4 others, plus reinforcements), taking only some wounds. Valadir is becoming a monster: anything he hits, he kills. Where are my lovely Beastmen?
Week 9: Heroes: 41 conquest: OL: 3/38.
Alric moves to Tamalir with the scroll. The Heroes sidestep to the Gardens of Tarn, planning on finishing the dungeon and immediately returning to Tamalir to intercept Alric (only later did we realise that they would not be able to intercept him on the turn they return to Tamalir). On the way they have an encounter: "The Red Necromancer" in the "Swollen Stream". They had some trouble, and Ronan was killed by a skeleton (+3 for the OL). Valadir mashed everything in his path.
The dungeon at the Gardens of Tarn was auto resolved (using my short campaign rules - the quickest dungeon ever). The auto resolution applied the same outcome to the Gardens of Tarn as that achieved for the last dungeon. This killed Valadir (+3 OL) because of his wounds from the two encounters, so some good news for me. But the heroes gain another +17 conquest and the Staff of Punishment [copper treasure]. I gained only +8 conquest. The heroes returned to Tamalir. The week and session ended with the scores on: Heroes 60 conquest; OL 18/53.
The heroes are in poor shape after their two encounters and the auto-resolution of the Gardens of Tarn (except possibly for Valadir). Maybe I should bushwhack them with Alric next session rather than scurrying back to the Dark Castle.
AaAaAaAaAaAaA! Oh no! You shanked my Jenga ship!
"We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can't think what anybody sees in them."
Great report, though the thumb and geekgold is for one of the most amusing antiheroes ever in your avatar!