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Subject: The Battle for Castle Drakonkeep rss

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Uwe Heilmann
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Hi from Germany,

I have recently started to play this game and I think it's a lot of fun to experience this "siege" and it is even better when winning it.

This kind of game invites to "tell the story".
Here is one.

Replay of LEGIONS OF DARKNESS – Undead Scourge Scenario
Castle Drakonkeep was neither a famous nor an exceptionally large fortress. No place for nobles, traders, merchantment or soldiers hunting for glory. The garrison was small, there were no special weapons or defense installations. Drakonkeep seemed to have been forgotten within the kingdom.
This was not the case for the enemies of the kingdom.
Nitupsar, a scholar of the dark magic and master of evil schemes, assembled a huge army of undead creatures and had them march towards Drakonkeep. „Take this pathetic castle, kill its wretched defenders and we got a most welcomed portal to invade the kingdom.“
Nitupsar’s army consisted of ten thousands of zombies and skeletons. Fearless warriors of evil. And there were other attackers, too: a whole division of wraiths, prepared to attack from above. „Attack their souls, rip off their heads and you will enjoy the carnage.“ Finally, Nitupsar had summoned creatures from the abyss – deformed monsters, beasts of unspeakable horror, hungry for human flesh.

Few in the kingdom realized this threat of an invading Undead army.

A small group of people entered Drakonkeep during late evening of day „zero“, just one day before the siege and the desperate struggle for the fortress began. The garrison, and especially its commander, Count Xavier, were more than surprised about the visitors.
„Who – in the name of the king – are you and what – the hell - do you want here?“
„Calm down,“ a mighty warrior knight, clad in full plate armor, replied, „this is Arturius, our venerable wizard; next to him is prior Teximo, and the hooded fellow calls himself Peter, others prefer to just call him a rogue. Myself, I am Marc from Ebonia, loyal vassal of the king and knight of the white order. A final hint: you better pay full respect to our leader, Audrey the sorceress. She is now in full command of Drakonkeep and its garrison.
„A woman! In command of a fortress! Ridiculous!“
Audrey seemed to completely ignore Xavier as she cast her first spell. Suddenly the whole castle was bathed in white magic light. „This is enough for a start. Arturius, use it. Teximo, prepare your divine spells.“
„To all of you: this castle is under siege. The enemy will be here at dawn. They will not stop, they will not relent until they have overrun this place. Our only chance is to thwart all their efforts and finally destroy them. Three days from now, the king will arrive here, together with a huge army, to save this place ... and us. But this will only be possible if Drakonkeep remains ours.“
All night, the people of Drakonkeep prepared the defenses and steeled themselves for the upcoming battle. There was no mercy to be expected, but also no mercy to be applied.
Note the special card - scratchbuilt - right of the game board. I use this "extra" character to modify the game set up a little bit. Whenever I lose a game session, I improve two parameter settings in order to have a somewhat easier time next play. If I win, one parameter setting is reduced to a lower value so it becomes harder to win again.

Dawn – Day 1
From the West an enormous contingent of zombies moved towards the walls of Drakonkeep. In the East, an army of mounted skeletons came into view. Opposite the wall with the main gate, an even larger unit of undead creatures got into position. „Keep a close look to the skies. Nitupsar will use his wraiths to attack us from there. Once daylight is gone, his nightmarish creatures will try to terrorize us. They will advance from there“, Audrey pointed to the dark valley southeast from the castle.

Morning – Day 1
Distant bugle sounds were heard, rotten banners were raised and the enemy started the first attack with the zombies from the west and the combined force heading for the main gate.
The tokens are used to keep score of action and heroic action points spent.

„Take this map. It will show you the way to an ancient magic bow. It will help us once the fighting becomes hot.“ Audrey’s map proved to be correct and the magic bow was brought to her.

„Marc! You will defend the main gate. Drive those hordes back! They must not breach this wall.“
The approaching zombies were thrown back by a first determined archer attack. Hundreds of the creatures were mowed down by a dozen missile salvoes.

Noon – Day 1
Xavier was surprised. „They give up! They are indeed afraid of a sorceress!“
Was the previous garrison commander right? Nothing happened for hours.

Audrey used this gift of a seemingly confused enemy to check – together with her heroes – all the castle’s defense positions and to talk to the defenders. That boosted the morale.
„We should prepare a hot welcome for the attackers right here at the main gate.“ The trap of hot metal – the garrison nicknamed it Lava – was installed. „That might come handy,“ Marc thought as his commander left for the castle’s keep again.
Nitupsar was furious. He ordered the skeletons of the combined force to carry death to the humans.

Evening – Day 1
The reason for the inactivity became clear. The attackers had built some catapults which now began to send their missiles – rocks and burning pellets of wood – towards Drakonkeep. And not all missed their targets. „We've lost nearly 30 men-at-arms. About 50 are wounded.“

„Teximo! You’re in charge of the Western wall now.“ Both the wizards and the clerics prepared their first spells (Fireball and Raise Dead). Praying also helped somewhat.

Twilight – Day 1
...

Is there any interest in continuing this replay report?


Cheers
U.L.H.






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John McKendrick
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Please continue!
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Paul Sacco
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Sauron was not of mortal flesh, he could never again appear fair to the eyes of Men, yet his spirit arose & returned to Mordor. There he dwelt, dark & silent, until he wrought a new guise, an image of malice & hatred made visible; the Eye of Sauron.
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One moment only it stared out as from some great window immeasurably high there stabbed a flame of red, the flicker of a piercing Eye. The Eye was not turned on them, it gazed north but Frodo at that dreadful glimpse fell as one stricken mortally.
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I think the story is great. I would love to read more.
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Uwe Heilmann
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Thanks for the replies.

Here is part 2.

Twilight – Day 1
The sun was close to the horizon, darkness was crawling towards the castle. Suddenly the light simply ... disappeared. „My god, they’re coming. The monsters from hell.“ Panic was imminent. Marc raced to the most threatened wall and organized a sally. But it was totally in vain. „No way to hit anything in this pitch black darkness.“

Something was approaching Drakonkeep. Unspeakable. Unstoppable.
Wrong! A burst of light! Lightnings and fireballs! Audrey’s magic was unleashed right in time. And struck the ranks of the most horrible creatures. Those that had climbed the walls were instantly burned into heaps of ashes, living torches for a couple of seconds. Their flames provided enough light to have the defenders watch as the remaining hordes of monsters ran. They turned their wicked backs to the fortress and stampeded back into the black woods that had disgorged them just a few minutes before.
„Hurrah!“ the defenders roared. „Three cheers to our magic lady.“
In the keep, the sorceress, the wizards and some of the clerics busily prepared their next spells. „This was just the beginning, I’m afraid.“

Midnight – Day 1
Nitupsar now ordered his wraiths into an all out attack. „This is THE night assault!“ The ghastly undead started a „charge“ but were stopped cold by a brave group of archers and some priests. They all paid the ultimate price but the onslaught stopped as quickly as it had started.
„Bring them back!“ Audrey ordered and the wise guys of the castle’s chapel chanted the secret song of the Raise Dead spell. The ranks of the defenders were back to nearly full strength.
Peter, the clever rogue and master of fortress defenses occupied the main gate wall. „There they are. Must be about 12000. I mean, it’s only their first wave. I thought there were more.“ Few of his men shared his humour. „Give them hell!“ And the zombies were destroyed rank by rank until they lost contact with the skeletons to their left.
Audrey released another avalanche of fireballs and the skeletons seized to exist.
„There is nothing but a burning meadow left ... .“
A second attack of the archers destroyed the zombie contingent.

Early morning – Day 2
The group of men in the tower room of the keep were in awe as they watched Audrey preparing another powerful magic. Her incantation in a language unknown to them all, made a small orb glowing in bright orange coloured light. „There will be no cracks in the wall,“ she suddenly whispered and the orb stopped burning in this eerie light.
Way down from the keep, Marc and his men were in trouble again. The terror was back ... but it was apparently too late for the monsters. „The sun will be back in a few moments and then all those foul creatures must ran back to their stinking nests.“
Praying brought some new divine mana. And Peter had the „Acid“ installed at the East wall. „Always quite amusing to see those bastard dissolve rightaway.“
In the East, the skeleton cavalry seemed to gather for their first charge.
Had Drakonkeep held for the first night?

Early morning – Day 2
Marc’s assessment on the terror division was wrong. The darkness stayed and so did the monsters. And this time they got what they aimed for. Nearly one hundred defenders were slaughtered or turned mad witnessing the horror from the abyss.
„They may strike again. Push them back!“ Audrey ordered the warrior knight. And so he did.
By Torchlight.
„Mylady! The Chain Lightning spell is ready!“
„Now this will surprise our dear friend Nitupsar.“

Early Morning – Day 2
Three groups of attackers – now much more carefully – advanced towards the walls of the fortress. The zombies from the West, the Terror division was back at the walls and the Main Gate contingent replenished and back in Melee range.
„This bastard has stolen our arcane mana.“
„Nothing really to worry about“, Audrey replied. But never underestimate this Master of Night.
Marc led a second counterstrike and the terror was pushed back. „They are not only big and ugly. There are also too many of them.“
Well aimed clouds of arrows forced the zombies back into the woods in the west. The other division of zombies also had to retreat. There leading ranks just vanished as hundreds of arrows found their mark. „Jolly good firing“, Peter remarked dryly.

Early Morning – Day 2
„They just keep coming!“
And somehow the sun seemd to be blocked as darkness kept its cold grip over the fortress.
A third time the terror was forced back. „This must stop. My men are beyond exhaustion.“
Both zombie division were also pushed back again. „Arrows?“ „Don’t worry. We’ve plenty of them, Mylady.“

Early Morning – Day 2
All five attack groups advanced now. They knew that daylight no longer could be withheld.
„Marc! Do not waste anything. The monsters must leave now.“
Arturius placed himself as the leader for the elite archers ready to strike the wraiths.
His attempt to force them back with fireballs failed. Twice.
He changed position to confront the attackers from the East carrying the banners of „Victory or Death“.

Noon – Day 2
The terrain around the castle became visible again in full daylight. The sight was sickening. Thousands of killed creatures, still only a few number of defenders, littered the ground around the fortress. „No one but brainless undead and mindless monsters would continue such an operation.“



... to be continued.


Cheers
U.L.H.

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Christopher Taylor
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I can't wait to see how this turns out.

I really like your action/heroic action markers. Good idea!
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Uwe Heilmann
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Here we go.

Part 3.

Noon – Day 2
As the sun passed its highest point in the sky, the enemy moved forward again.
„This is a full-fledged Western Assault.“
„The force in the East does not move.“
Audrey ordered Arturius to „slow“ the skeleton force there anyway. Nitupsar was more than surprised as he saw his blood-seeking undead retreat as if by magic ...
Teximo personally led a counter-attack from the West gate and repulsed the advancing zombies.

Early evening – Day 2
„This seems to be a General Assault. All four contingents are advancing.“
„Wrong! The Eastern force seems to be glued to the ground. Great magic we have, I suppose.“ The defenders on the walls cheered as another attempt of the enemy was hampered from beginning on.
Peter led his troops and scored another small but important victory against the mounted skeletons trying to force the main gate.
Marc placed himself on the East wall to prepare the defense against the inevitable attack here.
Audrey prepared a new Fireball spell.
Teximo smiled for the first time during the siege: „We finally got the Divine Wrath ready to strike.“

Midnight – Day 2
Was the enemy exhausted? Were they preparing the final all-out attack?
The night brought some relief as the high temperatures of the day dropped significantly. „This will keep us alive in our armor“, Marc mused and stared East.
„This bastard is applying his magic again. We lost some Arcane mana.“
„The terror is back!“ „Watch the wraiths! They are in striking distance now.“
Audrey cast the Chain Lightning spell. It only succeeded in driving the grotesque monsters back.
„Hahahaaa! Girl’s magic is too weak! Hahahaaa!“
Arturius’ appearance at the elite archers made them cheer and gave back some desperately needed confidence. „Chaps! We will succeed! Our magic, our weapons, our skills are powerful. Our will to survive will decide everything!“
As if to prove the wizard’s statement, the zombies in the West were pushed out of melee range again.

Midnight – Day 2
The wraiths executed a brutal attack and many brave defenders died. Nearly 200 Men-at-arms and priests became victims of the evil monsters with Darkened Wings. Audrey remained calm. „We must not give up!“ Her powers brought back some desperately needed Arcane mana. Some of it was instantly used to create Fireballs against the wraiths but they failed to score any losses.
The bloody fight in the darkness continued.

Midnight – Day 2
Nitupsar apparently blundered. Right after shifting the focus from the Eastern force to the Western one, his mounted skeletons in the East charged (to bring death to the defenders before an Eastern Sunset).

This tactical mistake made the defenders’ morale soar. Arturius’ archers crippled the wraiths and they lost their position close – too close – to Drakonkeep. The badly timed charge was beaten back. Marc’s armor would have been soaked in blood ... but his enemies no longer had any blood.

Early morning – Day 2
The defenders felt some first rays of hope. The second night was close to end now and they were still standing. Losses had been considerate but not decisive. And no enemy force was close to the walls and gates. For the time being ...
„There is always a good chance to win As The Moon Turns“, the leader of the undead army thought. And again three of his forces assaulted the castle.
Audrey knew that the troops’ morale could dramatically change anytime. So she decided to visit all key defense positions. And it worked. The defenders – tired as they were – all felt a surge of confidence and kept their hope of survival and victory.
The skeletons were annihilated as they tried to storm the Eastern wall. But the terror force was close again.

Early morning – Day 2
As if using Wings Of The Bat the forces of evil assaulted again. There were still too many. Suddenly the rather advantageous situation turned into a desperate again. Using all power to repulse the wraiths, two other forces got closer to the walls then ever.
„Release the Acid!“ The skeletons would have laughed if they could. Marc ordered another sally. The first two waves of rattling bones simply dissolved by the fury of the defenders.
The wraiths could not be stopped. Arturius felt a creeping cold ...
Some priests rushed forward to support and unleashed the Divine Wrath. Blue light replaced the darkness of the last morning hours ... and annihilated a full contingent of the undead killers.
„Just in time!“ „This cost our last amount of divine mana.“

Morning – Day 3
The enemy was beaten again but the defenders were tired to the bones.
Audrey knew the final phase of the struggle had begun. Nothing was decided yet.


... to be concluded.


Cheers
U.L.H.


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John McKendrick
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You are cruel .... leaving a cliffhanger ending devil

Seriously though

great read

-John
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Uwe Heilmann
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The final part.

Morning – Day 3
As the morning fog lifted, the defenders of Drakonkeep saw the enemy assaulting with determination. The combined force was now scaling the main gate walls, the Eastern force breached the walls!
„They are within the final defense perimeter!“
Arturius cast a powerful support spell that could help in throwing the attackers back, but he sacrificed himself and fell to the floor, heavily wounded.
The Acid again proved to be useless against skeletons, but Marc’s determined counter-attack killed all attackers at the breach. Peter’s group – using Lava to the maximum extend threw back half the attackers at the main gate. The situation remained most dangerous.
Audrey joined the defenders at the main gate and ordered Peter to attack again. The skeletons were annihilated. Then the sorceress used the Magic Bow. The zombies were killed by waves and waves of magic missiles. No one survived. This location was secured – for the moment. But the Eastern wall remained a most critical point. „There’s no way to stop them if they attack us again.“

Morning – Day 3
The forces of evil pursued another strategy.
The wraiths were back. The elite archers were decimated.
And the combined forces were reinforced with a new division of zombies.
„Peter! Help me in building that breach!“ Audrey was in the midst of the carnage now. As she directed the building of a final defense wall she killed all undead that came too close to her.
Never argue with an upset sorceress!

Morning – Day 3
The ghastly wraiths continued to decimate the garrison rather effortlessly. Hundreds of brave men-at-arms and archers became their victims.
The zombies – carrying the standards of blood – approached the West wall and the combined force was back at the gate.
„This IS the critical moment!“
Peter led the shrinking force of his defenders and repulsed the zombies trying to climb the walls at the main gate. Lava did help!
Teximo could only helplessly watch as his brave men threw themselves against the attackers at the West wall. The losses were horrible ... but the attackers were forced back.
Audrey cast a Fortune spell and her powerful magic allowed her not only to see the near future but also to change it ... just a little bit.
„I can’t tell the boys what’s going to happen next.“

Morning – Day 3
Was this the Killing Stroke?

The wraiths nearly wiped out the defenders. But the few defenders now fought with their backs to the wall.
Both attempts to wipe out the wraiths failed! The wounded Arturius was too weak.
The elite archers made a final attempt and achieved success. The sky was liberated from evil.

Noon – Day 3
Three forces were back at the walls. Their Engine Of War was apparently working now. Morale dropped!
„The Acid!“This time it worked.
„First attackers neutralized. Two more to go!“ Audrey thought.
Peter smashed into the ranks of mounted skeletons. The fighting was at impossible odds, but the eyeless enemy was crushed.
„Force them back! All of them“, Audrey yelled. She knew what was coming next.
The archers smashed the zombies. And the last reserve of men-at-arms destroyed the skeletons.

Afternoon – Day 3
„Barricade And Pray!“ Audrey’s order was echoed by the roaring voices of all defenders left.
There was no need for a Last Ditch Efforts, the defenders were at the brink of extinction.
„For a last time! The sun is close to the horizon. The King and his army will be here!“
Audrey marched along the last line of defenders in front of the main gate. Peter was next to her.
„Drakonkeep must not and will not fall to the forces of evil! Are you ready, guys?!“
The last force of defenders, less than 300 men, answered with the voice of several thousands.
„Chaaaarge!“
The skeletons were mowed down like grass.
And Audrey calmly prepared another – maybe final – Fireball spell.

Evening – Day 3
The Eastern contingent as well as the combined force came forward again ...
but it was too late for the Undead army.
The King’s men routed all that was left from Nitupsar’s army. Not one creature would see the light of the next day. Nitupsar was never found.
As the King finally rode to the castle, he saw what was left of it. The carnage of battle was everywhere, the remains of the attackers were everywhere. You could walk around Drakonkeep without ever touching the ground.
The defenders? Few were left but they stood upright. Proud and sad at the same time.

Audrey and her team? They left the fortress next morning. They had done what they had been called for. There was another „Drakonkeep“ to be saved from evil.


I hope this story provided some impressions about LEGIONS OF DARKNESS.
It was a tough contest and Lady Luck was some times on the side of CASTLE DRAKONKEEP.
As a rookie regarding this game, the extra capabilities of Audrey surely helped to save the day. It is a great advantage to use spells time and again (they are still randomly drawn though). But a humble +1 for Rally and Build also help tremendously.
As I have won this game, I have to reduce Audrey's extra capabilities by one. Which one would you remove?



Thanks for reading all this.


Cheers
U.L.H.



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John McKendrick
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Thoroughly enjoyed reading itzombie

I'm not sure I can help I don't know the rules well enough and I don't have the game ... but that may change in the not too distant future

-John
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Joshua Gottesman
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Great read. You just can't kill Nitupsar.
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Uwe Heilmann
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Hi,

it seems you are familiar with the secret advisor of the last tsar ...



Cheers
U.L.H.

 
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Jeremy Lennert
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I only skimmed this, but I think I may have spotted a couple subtle rules errors. You should note that:

- If a wall is breached, any upgrade on that wall is destroyed, and you cannot build another one in that spot (ever).

- Building a barricade in a breach does not remove the breach token, it just flips it to the barricade side. Unlike the original wall, a barricade has only a *chance* of delaying the attacking army, and it does not allow you to build an upgrade.

- Heroic attacks do not receive bonuses from the Oil or Lava upgrades; only regular defender attacks do.
 
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