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Subject: Session Report rss

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Steve McKnight
United States
Needham
Massachusetts
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This game was played by e-mail a couple of years ago, but I wanted to re-submit it because there is a website (listed below) with all the moves recorded and graphics of the board at the end of each turn. The Narrative gives the flavor of the game and the detailed web site provides useful examples for mastering the rules.

--Steve McKnight



Session Report on the
Beginning/Intermediate Magic Realm
Play-by-E-Mail Game

July – November 2001

Rules:
Second Edition Rules
All Advanced Rules used
Only Optional Rule=Seasons/Weather

Season: High Summer

Note: The complete record of this game, including graphics of the board at the end of each day, can be found at the “Unofficial Magic Realm Site”:
http://www.redridgegames.com/MR/


Players:

Carn, the Magician: Tim Heinz
(Victory Requirements=1 Notoriety, 1 Gold, 3 Spell)

Drusilla, the Witch, and Midnight, her Familiar: Mick Shields
(Victory Requirements=1 Fame, 1 Notoriety, 2 Gold, 1 Spell)

Yellowbeard/Beowulf, the Berserker: Dave Brown
(Victory Requirements=3 Fame, 1 Notoriety, 1 Great Treasure)

Sir Whytbred/Sir Weetbred, the White Knight: Bryan Winter
(Victory Requirements=2 Fame, 1 Notoriety, 2 Great Treasure)

Brother Maynard, the Pilgrim: Bill Andel
(Victory Requirements=2 Fame, 1 Notoriety, 1 Great Treasure, 1 Spell)

Morkidan, the Wizard: Todd Ornett
(Victory Requirements=2 Fame, 1 Great Treasure, 2 Spell)

Nun Tragui/Dep Targui, the Elf: Pau Ferret
(Victory Requirements=1 Fame, 2 Notoriety, 2 Gold)

Bonehead, the Witch King: Andrew Nickelson
(Victory Requirements=2 Fame, 1 Notoriety, 1 Great Treasure, 1 Spell)

Saruman, the Sorcerer: Jason Green
(Victory Requirements=2 Fame, 3 Notoriety)

Ordhek, the Black Knight: Scott DeMers
(Victory Requirement=2 Fame, 2 Notoriety, 1 Gold)

Gamemaster: Steve McKnight



Game Narrative:

Whoever said “geography is destiny” must have had Magic Realm in mind. Having heard from the gamemaster the “Valleys in the center” creates an easier game than “Valleys on the edges” or “Valleys behind mountains or caves or secret passages,” the 10 beginning and intermediate players in the Beginning/Intermediate Magic Realm (BIMR) game were diligently trying to create a board in which the Dwellings in the Valley tiles would be centrally located. Only the gamemaster, who had a printout of the board setup with the chit locations, noticed the slight deviation from this practice that created the destiny of the BIMR game.

Tim placed High Pass instead of Evil Valley as the eighth tile, and by the time he played again, Evil Valley, which would become the location of the Inn, found its spot on the extreme northeast of the board. The six characters who started at the Inn (Witch, Berserker, Black Knight, Elf, Sorcerer, and Magician) found themselves competing along a bottle-neck of six tiles cut off from the rest of the board by the monsters and treasure sites in the Lost Castle in Cliff or a difficult trek through the Caverns. The four characters who started away from the Inn, Bro. Maynard (the Pilgrim) and Sir Whytbred (the White Knight) starting at the Chapel, and Morkidan (the Wizard) starting at the House, and the Witch King, starting with the Ghosts, had the other 14 tiles almost to themselves until the Elf found a way out by double-enchanting Oak Woods. As a result, despite crowding around the Lost Castle that cost at least two players dearly, three tiles were never entered by the characters and one treasure site (Cairns in Caves) was never looted.

The game started out in the usual fashion with the characters at the Inn massacring the Rogues and splitting their goods. Carn, the Magician, took advantage of his friendship with the Rogues to pick up three hired men on Day 1. In the battle that night, the Sorcerer, probably feeling his way into the game as a beginner, elected not to attack the hired Rogues (or the Magician), but still removes the RHQ and one of the Rogue Axmen. The other Rogues were quickly polished off by the Ordhek, the Black Knight, and Carn, who turned his hired Rogues on their former comrades. The three victors then settled in to pick up the Rogues’ items, and fortune smiled on the Black Knight when his allies, the Company, appeared at the Inn on Day 2.

The Elf, having the misfortune of both failing to hide and battling the Rogues on Day 1 (a string of three 6’s in a row!), was able to save himself by luring and casting Persuade on the Rogues in the evening. He played no further part in the battle, but was able to pick up two horses and a treasure from the Rogues’ items. After selling the items to the Company HQ, he attempts to cast Persuade and hire the Company before the Black Knight can hire them himself. An unfortunate decision, as Ordhek attacks without warning and, matching directions on the first combat round, kills the Elf on Day 4, taking the Elf’s Light Bow and all his gold. On the next round, the Black Knight hires the Company and is well on his way to winning the game.

The Berserker and Witch, in the meantime, elected not to hang around the Inn and join in the massacre. Yellowbeard, setting out immediately for unknown parts, kills a Heavy Spider on Day 1, before succumbing on Day 2 to three Heavy Dragons attracted by the Witch King moving away from the Ghost’s clearing. Drusilla spends a little time in an isolated valley clearing to cast Broomstick, and then takes advantage of her Familiar’s reconnaissance to arrive at the Lair by a hidden path before any of the other characters are even aware that the treasure site is located in the Mountain tile right next to the Inn. Suddenly confronted by a Tremendous Dragon, she uses her Absorb Essence spell to absorb the Dragon’s essence, becoming transmorphized into a Tremendous Dragon whenever she is in the presence of black color magic.

The White Knight and the Pilgrim, in the usual strategy, started at the Chapel where Sir Whytbred borrowed gold from the Pilgrim and succeeded in hiring two of the Knights of the Order. Well protected by their burly friends, Sir Whytbed and Bro. Maynard started off to meet with the Wizard at the Statue that Morkidan has uncovered. Sir Whybred and his army easily polished off a Tremendous Serpent, and Bro. Maynard Exorcised away the Imp. The Wizard pulls the Good Book out of the Statue, containing two Type I and two Type VII spells. The Pilgrim negotiates to borrow and study the Good Book, and in the meantime, reads the two Type VII spells at the Statue.

Bonehead, the Witch King, started in the clearing with the two Ghosts and, moving away quickly to avoid being killed by the Ghosts, stumbled onto the Lost Castle in Cliff. Quickly attracting the Heavy Dragons that killed Yellowbeard as well as a Tremendous Dragon, the Witch King absorbs the essence of the Tremendous Dragon and attacks the Heavy Dragons. For a brief moment the board had two characters, the Witch and the Witch King, transmorphized into Tremendous Dragons. But, the Witch King is victimized by a rules interpretation by the gamemaster, who fails to flip the Tremendous Dragon red-side-up when the Dragon’s head hits, but doesn’t kill, one of the Heavy Dragons. One more miss on the next round, and, since the Dragon/Witch King is not red-side up, combat ends for the day with the heavy monsters still alive. The next day dawns with Bonehead without any enchanted black magic. Missing a hide roll, Bonehead is blocked and killed by the Dragons and the newly arriving Heavy Serpents.

The God Squad has also run into trouble on the other side of the board. The White King, Pilgrim, and Wizard moved into Borderland, missed a hide roll, turned up the Lost City, and were blocked by the Demon, the Flying Demon, and two Heavy Serpents. Bro. Maynard, with two Demons in his clearing and the Exorcise spell which liquidates Demons in his bag of tricks, was helpless because he had neglected to reenchant his white magic after killing the Imp. An epic battle ensued with the Wizard, the White Knight, and the two Knights of the Order battling the two Demons and two Serpents. The Knights survive two Power of the Pit attacks and the Wizard’s Fiery Blast kills one Serpent. One of the Knights kills the Flying Demon, but the other Demon kills his Knight and turns to attack the remaining Knight with a third Power of the Pit attack. The Wizard, with no remaining purple magic to launch another attack, runs out of the clearing following the Pilgrim. The White Knight matches the Demon’s direction with a killing blow, but the Power of the Pit attack hits first, causing Fiery Chasm Opens and killing all unhidden characters, natives, and monsters in the clearing! The Demon, the surviving Serpent, the remaining Knight, and Sir Whytbred are all consumed in the Chasm.

So, by the end of the first week, the Elf, the Berserker, the Witch King, and the White Knight have all been killed and reincarnated at the Inn. The Lair has been emptied out by the Witch and the late-comers, Beowulf, the reincarnated Berserker, and Carn, the Magician. Beowulf, has found the Crypt of the Knight, and looted the Bane Sword, while Drusilla has found the Golden Crown which is worth 50 gold and 20 Fame points—if she can get it over to sell it to the Guard. And unfortunately the Golden Crown’s heavy weight exceeds the Witch’s carrying capacity.

In the second week, shortened to 5 days by the rainy weather, the Witch, Black Knight, Berserker, Magician, and Pilgrim make significant progress toward their Victory Requirements. The week is dominated by the saga of the Witch, who each day created black magic and converted herself into a Tremendous Dragon, using the Dragon’s carrying capacity to lug the Golden Crown over to the Guard House where she sold it and gained 20 fame points. Carn spent the week trying to get the hang of his Control Bats spell, managing to cast it successfully once. Unfortunately, his three controlled Bats failed to find the Vault for him in 12 search phases. Twice the Bats fall out of hire at Sunset and end up attacking their erstwhile controller, but fortunately Carn has a workhorse with heavy vulnerability that the Bats beat their wings against but can’t hurt. Carn is able to sell the Royal Sceptre to the Guard for 20 conditional fame points. At the end of the week, Ordhek and his hired Company slaughter the Guard, scattering their possessions, including the Royal Sceptre and Golden Crown, over the clearing at the Guard House.

On Day 14, Beowulf gets revenge on the Dragons that killed his kinsman Yellowbeard. Hidden in a clearing in Cliff, he finds Carn, his three hired Rogues, three controlled Bats, and the regenerated Heavy Dragons that block Carn and his minions before they have a chance to do any activities. In the combat period, the Bats turn hostile and the Magician has no choice but to lure the Bats to his horse again and let his hired men take one Dragon each. After the monsters are distributed, Beowulf charges out of hiding, alerting and swinging the Bane Sword with speed=2 each turn, and kills the three Dragons in three rounds. Along with the two Bats that he killed earlier, the 30 Fame and 30 Notoriety that Beowulf gets for killing the Dragons by himself satisfy his victory requirements in those categories. He only has to find a Great Treasure to have a winning game!

Saruman, the Sorcerer, still looking to get to a mountain clearing so that he can use his Lightning Bolt spell, finally gives up looking for the secret passage to the mountains in Cliff, transmorphizes himself into Mist, and seeps through the secret passage to the Pool in the mountains in Cliff 6. Dep Targui, the Elf, after a fruitless visit to the Small Campfire where he doesn’t find any natives to hire, discovers another use for his magical powers. Moving into Oak Woods, he enchants the tile creating a passage where there wasn’t one before. After moving across the passage, he unenchants the tile recreating a path to take him out of the Inn/Cliff/Lost Castle bottleneck toward the House where the unsuspecting Soldiers are hanging out. By the end of the week, Dep Targui is in the process of eliminating the Soldiers by putting arrows in them from ambush.

Meanwhile, over near the Lost City in Borderland, Bro. Maynard, the Pilgrim, borrows the Wizard’s Good Book and learns four spells in one turn, including the powerful Type I spells Peace and Small Blessing. Joined late in the week by the reincarnated White Knight, Sir Wheetbred, fresh from his journey from the Inn, the Pilgrim and Wizard move cautiously into the Lost City, discover the Altar from which the Bro. Maynard pulls the Flying Carpet and the Sacred Grail on Day 14. The Grail is an infinite source of white magic, which they immediately put into use since they attract a Tremendous Dragon. Morkidan, the Wizard, lures and uses the Peace spell from the Good Book and the white magic from the Sacred Grail to pacify the Tremendous Dragon. As the Dragon lies peacefully on the ground, Sir Wheetbred kills it with his Great Sword. At the end of the day, Bro. Maynard casts “Small Blessing” and gets a Wish for Strength that will make the next blow with his staff do tremendous damage!

The weather for Week 3 is a Heat Wave, shortening the week to five days and requiring characters not in the mountains or caves to fatigue a chit at Birdsong. In the weather-shortened week, the Black Knight, the Magician, and the Berserker loot the Guard’s belongings, netting Ordhek another 50 gold. He then rehires the Company on a boon and uses them to eliminate the three Heavy Dragons who have returned to the board looking for a best-two-out-of-three result against the Berserker.

The distrust between the Berserker and the Magician, festering from the Magician’s late arrival at the Lair, breaks out into armed conflict as the Beowulf attacks without warning and slays Carn’s trusty workhorse, Schatenfell. Angling for an opportunity to transform the big fellow into a Frog with the spell he learned by reading the Scroll of Alchemy, Carn ends up watching his newly-hired Rogue devoured by Bats, afraid to cast Control Bats because Beowulf is also hidden in the clearing, waiting with an alerted Bane Sword for the Magician to become unhidden. In the next turn, Beowulf finishes off the Bats and then turns on the unhired Rogues and removes them from the board so Carn can’t hire them again.

In the mountains in Cliff, Saruman the Sorcerer, finds and loots the Pool, discovering the Cloven Hoof which adds one to his Missile Table rolls and prevents him from toasting a Tremendous Serpent who drops in. Saruman slips away with Melt into Mist, but faces the task of re-enchanting his purple magic and finding someplace to stash the Cloven Hoof before he can return and tackle the monsters at the Pool.

The Elf finishes off the Soldiers and sells their treasures to the recently-arrived Woodfolk, purchasing a medium bow which enhances his fire-power but reduces his mobility. The Witch, looking for spells to complete her Victory Requirements, flies across the board and Reads Runes at the Statue, catching two “Ill Health” curses that she removes with her “Remedy” spell and a crippling “Whither” curse which fatigues her magic chits so she can’t cast any more spells. When she has to fly away from the opportunistic White Knight and Wizard, she has only her Tremendous Dragon “Absorb Essence” to protect her. At this point, due to the reconnaissance of Midnight, her familiar, the Witch is the only character who knows the locations of all the treasure sites on the map.

Bro. Maynard, the Pilgrim, tries out his Flying Carpet using the purple magic from the enchanted Borderland tile and flies to Crag, landing right on top of the Hoard, the most lucrative treasure site in the game! While he attempts to locate and loot the site, his companions Sir Wheetbred and Morkidan hasten to join him, the Wizard’s arsenal having been enhanced by a “Wish for Strength” result when Sir Wheetbred casts “Small Blessing” on him. For a brief moment, the Pilgrim and the Wizard have the two most powerful weapons on the board in their matching Staffs enchanted with “Wish for Strength.” The Pilgrim soon uses his to eliminate the Tremendous Flying Dragon who drops in on him at the Hoard. With white magic from the Sacred Grail, Bro. Maynard first pacifies the Dragon by casting the “Peace” spell he learned from the Good Book, and then dispatches the blissed-out Dragon with his Staff and Wish for Strength!

Going into the last week, the weather is “Showers” with a full seven days and the normal four phases per day. Bonehead, the Witch King, despairing of ever finding the secret passage to the mountains in Cliff flies off to High Pass and, finding nothing of interest, flies back to the Lost City in Borderland where he finally is able to Absorb Essence of a Tremendous Troll. He uses his new form to rip a surprised Heavy Troll to pieces, but it is too late to find other monsters to dispatch. Discovering the Shrine, he is frantically trying to learn the spells there when he runs out of time and the game ends.

Drusilla, the Witch, meets a more dramatic end. Landing at the Altar, she is immediately converted into a Tremendous Dragon by the black magic of the Toadstool Circle there. She tries to Read Runes to learn a spell while she is transmorphized, but she misses a hide roll and is blocked by the other Tremendous Troll who turns up in her clearing. In the battle of the Tremendous Troll vs. Tremendous Dragon that follows, Drusilla is undercut and killed by the Troll in two rounds!

Saruman, the Sorcerer, re-enchants his purple magic, drops the Cloven Hoof and slips back to attack the Tremendous Serpent, but is undone by the fickle Missile Table once more. The game ends before he is able to find easier targets.

Dep Targui, the Elf, hires the Woodfolk and, desperately in need of Notoriety, goes hunting for the Wizard and White Knight at the Hoard. The Wizard uses his “Premonition” spell and knowledge of the secret passages to lead the White Knight past the Elf and his hired band. The Wizard and White Knight repeat the Peace/Wish for Strength trick to let the Wizard kill a marauding Giant. Sir Wheetbred and Morkidan go looking unsuccessfully for more monsters to kill, while Bro. Maynard flies off to the Chapel and sells the Sacred Grail for 50 Fame points to the Order. For good measure, the Pilgrim then moves to Ledges where he attracts and dispatches a Giant with his Fight M2** staff and another Wish for Strength.

Beowulf arrives at the Chapel to remove the Disgust curse he got along with the Jade Shield from looting the Remains of the Thief, and he immediately quarrels with the Order. Unable to run with his Move H4** while carrying the Bane Sword, he takes a hit which destroys his helmet and wounds him before he can drop the Sword and run. Sneaking back into the clearing, he is able to sell his equipment and spend the night at the Chapel to remove his curse. With his Victory Requirements met, he spends the last two days hanging out near the Chapel, but away from the irritable Knights of the Order.

Beowulf’s old adversary, Carn the Magician, is almost able to pull out his Victory Requirements. Making a deal with the Pilgrim, Carn gains the Glowing Gem with the last spell he needs to make his Victory Requirement. But, Reading Runes on the final day, he is blinded with an “Eyemist” curse, and, unable to learn his final spell, stumbles into the Chapel where he fortunately doesn’t quarrel with the Order or the arriving Lancers who regenerate on Day 28 after their massacre by the Black Knight’s minions.
Ordhek, the Black Knight, spends the last week profitably, despite losing the Company HQ to another Tremendous Troll. He returns to the Small Campfire, hiring the Bashkars and using them and the remaining Company members to eliminate the Lancers. In the last two days, he and the Bashkar HQ loot the Lancer’s goods and sell them (except for the Dragon Essence Great Treasure) to the Warlock, who has arrived just in time to purchase all the goods.



Final standings and comments on play by Gamemaster (Steve McKnight):

1. A tie for first place!

Bro. Maynard, the Pilgrim, and Ordhek, the Black Knight: +18 points.

Bro. Maynard makes the most of his character’s abilities despite missing a chance to Exorcise the two Demons because he hadn’t any prepared color magic at the time. His alliance with the White Knight and Wizard is very useful to him as, together, they find both the Good Book and the Sacred Grail. He quickly finds the knack of using Type I spells, taking out two tremendous monsters by casting “Peace” on them and dispatching them with his staff and Wish for Strength. He creates purple magic by converting tiles that allows him to use his Flying Carpet to first locate and loot the Hoard and then fly to the Chapel to sell the Sacred Grail for 50 Fame points.

Ordhek came out of the usual conflict at the Inn in great shape, dispatching the Elf and using his gold to hire the Company, who obligingly show up on Day 2. He then showed a mastery of using hired natives to dispatch the Guard, the Lancers, and numerous monsters. Looting the native’s items and selling them, he was able to amass gold and Great Treasures in addition to his Fame and Notoriety, despite spending almost the whole game in the small stretch of clearings between the Guard House and the Small Campfire.

3. Yellowbeard/Beowulf, the Berserker: +6 points

Beowulf makes his Victory Requirements despite dying on Day 2 in his first incarnation as Yellowbeard. Yellowbeard’s initial strategy of beating the crowd away from the Inn and looking for monsters was a reasonable play with the Berserker in a ten-character game, but he would have benefited from having a hired Rogue or two when he ran into three Dragons at once! Finding the Bane Sword after his reincarnation as Beowulf was an enormous stroke of fortune, enabled by a good negotiation with the Witch. With a speed=2 tremendous blow, the Berserker is the most accomplished monster-killer on the board, which he proved by dispatching both Bats and Dragons wherever he found them. He also displayed good game sense once he had achieved this Victory Conditions by abandoning the search for treasures to allow enough time to get to the Chapel and remove his Disgust curse.

4. Carn, the Magician: -6 points

The Magician perhaps plays better as an elusive spell-and-run character, but Carn became a force to reckon with on Day 1 by hiring three of the Rogues and looting a workhorse from the Rogues’ abandoned items. But arriving uninvited at the already-discovered Lair instead of searching for undiscovered sites did not make him popular with the Witch and Berserker. The mistrust between Carn and Beowulf lasted throughout the game and hindered both players, costing Carn his horse which would have been useful in getting to the Chapel. On the other hand, Beowulf probably never realized how close he was to being transformed into a Frog. (Although he might have become an Eagle instead, which would have been fatal for Carn!) Carn’s major problem in the mid-game was the crowd of characters in the Lost Castle in Cliff kept him from effectively casting “Control Bats” except on Day 12 when his three controlled Bats had 12 Search phases and were unable to find the Vault! Control Bats could have been very powerful considering that Bats were active on four straight days in Week 2, although with a horse and three hired natives he wasn’t in a position to use them to fly across the board. Carn put off a search to fulfill his “Spells” Victory Requirements until just too late. Nevertheless, the Magician missed learning the last spell he needed by the narrowest of margins on Day 28.

5. Sir Whytbred/Sir Wheetbred, the White Knight: -18 points

While selecting two Great Treasures for the White Knight’s Victory Requirements is a little suspect, Sir Whytbred’s initial strategy of starting at the Chapel and hiring two of the Knights of the Order cannot be criticized. With two Knight in tow, he was invulnerable to anything except the “Fiery Chasm Opens” which the Magic Realm gods arranged. Reincarnated as Sir Wheetbred and having to start at the Inn (instead of the Chapel) cost him just enough time to make it impossible to find enough monsters and Great Treasures to meet his Victory Requirements.

6. Bonehead/Bonehead the Other, the Witch King: -19 points

The Witch King is the most difficult character in the game to play well, and it took a couple of tries to get it right here. Starting out as Bonehead, Andrew chose a nice collection of Fiery Blast, Absorb Essence, and World Fades. But as a maneuver spell, his choice of Unleash Power is greatly inferior to Broomstick. Because Unleash Power is a Day Spell, it expires at Sunset which is exactly when you need to have the transformed Move and Fight chits for combat! Until he could absorb a monster, Bonehead was essentially defenseless in combat. Nevertheless, things could have turned out OK if the right ruling on “Dragon-head-hits-cause-the-bodies-to-flip” had been discovered a few days earlier. Bonehead’s initial absorbed Tremendous Dragon failed to kill the two Heavy Dragons, and he met an untimely end when he ran out of black magic and failed a hide roll the next day. Reincarnated as Bonehead the Other, the Witch King chose a safer group of spells: Fiery Blast, Absorb Essence, Melt into Mist, and Broomstick. Looting the Rogues abandoned treasures at the Inn with Magic Sight, the Witch King found the last workhorse. Too valuable to abandon and too heavy to fly with him, the workhorse turned Bonehead the Other into a clearing-to-clearing plodder, rather than the tile-to-tile flying character that was called for at that stage of the game. Stuck in the mass of characters trying to get through the Lost Castle in Cliff, the Witch King finally abandoned the horse and began using Broomstick to fly. Although he was then able to find a Tremendous Troll to absorb and discover treasure sites with the spells he needed for his Victory Requirements, it was too late to learn the spells and find and kill the monsters he needed to win.

7. Morkidan, the Wizard: -21 points

The Wizard is often a favorite character for beginning players, but is difficult to play well. For Victory Requirements, 2 Fame is perhaps ambitious for the Wiz unless he runs into Goblins that he can Fiery Blast, and if he’s counting on 2 Fame, 1 Notoriety seems to be a natural. On the other hand, as far as learning Spells goes, the Altar has a Type II and Type III spell that the Wizard can learn pretty easily with his Lore advantage. When you go for more spells than can be found at the treasure sites, you’ve got to be counting on finding artifacts and spell books that may turn up anywhere, or may not turn up at all, as in this game. Traveling with the Pilgrim and White Knight was safer for a beginner, but it often seems that teams of two players work out better than larger teams that have to split what they find too many ways.

8. Nun Targui/Dep Targui, the Elf: -33 points

The Elf began the game with the concept of hiring a native group using his “Persuade” spell and going after Notoriety and Gold. In fact, he was able to loot enough of the Rogues’ abandoned items to have a good chance at hiring any native group. Hanging around and competing with the Black Knight to hire the Company is not a recommended Elf tactic, however. First, the Black Knight has a significant advantage in only rolling one die on the hire rolls, and number two, it’s not a good idea for the Elf to get into a quarrel with an armored character. With more experience, the Elf would have run from the clearing if unhidden with the potentially hostile Knight, but having his maneuver matched on the first round was unlucky. After reincarnating without enough money to realistically hire a native group, it took the Elf a little too long to find another idea. Breaking out of the Lost Castle/Cliff log jam by double-enchanting a Woods tile, ambushing the Soldiers at the House, and hiring the Woodfolk when they show up is brilliant Elf strategy. It just happened too late in the game.

9. Saruman, the Sorcerer: -45 points

The Sorcerer began the game with a clear strategy and carried it out well, so I’m really not sure why the results were so poor. A more cut-throat Sorcerer might have enhanced his Notoriety total by targeting the Magician and his hired Rogues in addition to all the unhired Rogues in Round 1, but it is a gamble because the Magician will undercut and inflict a serious wound with his dagger if he survives the Fiery Blast. And, of course, if the Sorcerer succeeds in killing the Magician, he has created an enemy for the game. The concept of going to the mountains and using Lightning Bolt to knock off large monsters and Melt into Mist for safety seems sound, but it took a while for the Sorcerer to extricate himself from the mass of characters in Cliff/Lost Castle. Finding the Cloven Hoof which added 1 to the Missile Table rolls made Lightning Bolt no better than Fiery Blast--not good enough against tremendous or armored monsters. Perhaps leaving earlier to seek numerous smaller targets would have helped, but in the whole game the Goblins never had their number come up on the Monster Roll.

10. Drusilla, the Witch: -99 points

The Realm can be a cruel place sometimes. The game seemed to be falling into place nicely for the Witch. Her use of her Familiar to locate the Lair and the hidden path leading to it gave her a head start to the treasure sites, and absorbing a Tremendous Dragon allowed her to carry the Golden Crown for sale to the Guard for 50 Gold and 20 conditional Fame, nearly meeting her Gold requirements and exceeding her Fame requirements in one transaction. The only drawback was that the Tremendous Dragon is too slow to be effective against anything that has a tremendous blow, as she found out to her regret against the Tremendous Troll. In hindsight, it might have been best to have cast “Remedy” to break the Absorb Essence on the Tremendous Dragon before going into dangerous spots where there were other tremendous monsters to absorb. If she had been able to absorb the Tremendous Troll, knowing where all the board counters were from her Familiar’s reconnaissance, the Witch could have met her Victory Requirements handily. But, of course, it was impossible to foresee the crippling Whither curse (the only curse that she couldn’t remove with “Remedy”). Even then, a successful Hide roll on the turn the Troll showed up would have left her still with a playable game. All in all, a well-played game ending in disaster. Sometimes characters are the play-things of the fickle and dangerous Realm.

Overall, a well-played game by all, and an excellent introduction to the twists and turns of fate in the Magic Realm!.




Player Comments:
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Comments of Scott DeMers (Black Knight): I had never played the Black Knight before so I was pretty excited about going out exploring the Realm with this guy. My general thoughts on him are that, although he is heavily armored, he is not a big monster fighter due to his lack of a strong weapon. However, his armor does convey survivability and his mace has a nice speed of 3 when alerted. I was anxious to try my hand at native-bashing - something I had not done before in a game of Magic Realm. Therefore, I chose my victory conditions as 2 fame, 2 notoriety, and 1 gold. I do not like having large gold requirements because I like to feel free to spend my money (game imitates life?). I also knew that I would have to hire natives as there were not enough natives to go around (in my greedy little mind, anyway).

I decided that I would plant myself at the Inn until the company arrived, hire them, and then go native bashing and killing any unlucky monsters that encountered my small army. I almost saw my plan go up in smoke when the Elf cast persuade on the company before I could hire them. I decided that, although this was a beginner’s game, I needed to act. I did not see myself killing the Elf, but did expect that he would get the message to leave. Instead, I got lucky, killed the Elf, picked up his gold and his bow!!!

Almost my first battle with my new hires (I battled the ghosts) cost me my first casualty as I lost on of my halberdiers. I decided that, although I was powerful, I needed to be careful.

I spent most of the game shuttling between the guardhouse and the small campfire. This worked well for me because the guard were an ancient enemy that afforded me some nice notoriety value (and they possessed the golden crown, having purchased it from the witch). On the other side was the small campfire which had Lancers, and Bashkars, and Woodfolk just waiting to be slaughtered.

This plan worked almost perfectly. The only parts of the plan that did not go well were when other players were involved. The Magician swooped down from the mountains after I killed the guard and stole away with the golden crown. I was forced to purchase it from him, due to game time constraints, at half price - reducing my overall benefit for my hard work. I also lost the company HQ to a troll after promising the Berserker to help him search for the great treasure that would cause him to achieve his goals. After assisting him, the company HQ was on his way back to join me when I foolishly left a hide for the latter part of the turn instead of the first part of the turn. The result was that he stumbled into a clearing containing a Tremendous Troll while unhidden. Unable to run, and unable to kill the troll, his only chance was to dodge until combat ended - no dice (literally) as he was killed in round 2.

The rest of the game was simple math for me. The Lancers, Bashkars and the Warlock showed up near the end of the game at the small campfire where I was awaiting someone's arrival. I figured out who would be of the most benefit, decided it was the Bashkars, hired them, and killed the rest. The Bashkar HQ then helped me loot and sell the goods to the warlock to close out the game.

The game was great! It was, by far, the most fun I have had playing MR ever and I would not have changed a thing. Challenges for me for the future would be to be more cutthroat and attack other characters if there is significant benefit to be had and also to play a character that depends on magic. I look forward to those next challenges.
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Comments of Bill Andel (Pilgrim): I started this game with the goal of just living to the end and learning as much as I could. Never dreamed of tying for first. But getting there would not have been even remotely possible without my comrades-in-arms, the White Knight and the Wizard, whom I affectionately refer to as "The God Squad".

It was great playing with everyone, especially Bryan and Todd. Steve did a terrific job GMing. Congratulations also to my co-winner, Scott DeMers and many thanks for his excellent web site and all the work that went in to maintaining it.

To all who voted the Pilgrim the weakest character at MagicRealm.net, I say :-p "PPHHHBBBT!!!" It all depends how you play him. Team him up with the right characters and get some ridiculously lucky rolls like I did, and you're ready to rumble! ;-)

Seriously, though, the Pilgrim is perhaps the only viable fighter/spell-caster in the game and I learned a lot both about the game and strategies for playing the Pilgrim. Much hinges on his initial spell selection. If you want to be a spell finder, take Exorcise. If you want to be a treasure hunter, Peace With Nature may be a good option. If you want to go around St. George-ing with the White Knight, take Peace and have the White Knight take
Small Blessing. Don't leave Chapel till blessed with Strength. The one-two punch of Peace and T damage from a strength-blessed Pilgrim or the White Knight's great sword are a definite TKO!

I would seriously consider a "buddy" strategy in the future, if opportunity presents. Duos which complement one another and start away from the maddening crowd at the Inn seem to have a lot of potential. I'd love to try a Wizard/Dwarf team up, for example.

May the grace of St. Pavlov of the Blessed Salivation be upon you always.

Brother Maynard
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Comments from Dave Brown (Berserker): Great Game! I couldn't have gotten +6 without the help of several players, specifically the Black Knight, the Witch, and yes, even the hated Magician! <grin>

I had a great time, and feel like I could run a game now on my own at home, of course there would always be the impossible question I'd have wing it and ask Steve about it after the fact.

THREE CHEERS FOR STEVE! Harumph, Harumph, Harumph!

Hey I didn't hear a harumph outta that guy...give the governor a harumph...you watch your ass!

Dave

aka Beowulf, brother of Yellowbeard, witch-friend, ally of the Black Knight, enemy of the Magician, dragon-slayer, bat-smacker, rogue-stabber, wielder of the Bane Sword of death, Jade shield finder, 7-league strider, curse survivor, Knights of the Order disguster, kinsman avenger, ale quaffer, etc. etc.
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Comments from Tim (Magician): Sorry, my cheers are coming a bit late due to this Eyemist I had to recover from. Sad that reading the runes did work in such a bad way, otherwise I really could have had a nice positive score. I also enjoyed the game - Stephen did very well in pointing out difficulties to (all of) us :-)). Also thanks once more for handling Carn, while I was doing my exams and during the holidays thereafter.

The Magician is a very open character, and I think his chances to win are not bad - he is fast, can learn useful spells and has nice friends. Next time I will rather go for more fame, with a few people hired fame could easier be achieved than I had reckoned. Spells (I wrote down 3 points) are also an option, but more time-consuming than I thought. Especially the chance for curses is _high_ with the -1 advantage -- a few bad rolls can spoil everything if the chapel is further away.

Thanks to Stephen for mastering the game, congrats to the winners and everybody
who had a good time playing his character according to his ideas... The white Knight did a great job defending the wizard and one of the Brethren against those evil demons. Rank 1 for style :-).

Tim
--------------------------------------------------------

Comments by Pau and Michael (Elf): This has been an excellent experience for me. Particular thanks to Pau for letting me kill his elf while he was away and especially to Stephen for such a helpful and understanding approach to us 'newbies'. Next time maybe I'll have an idea of what I should be doing....

Michael Longdin (Observer)


The death of the elf was a premier lesson on gaming style: you don't play alone, and other characters are as good as any monster to kill. Probably the best non-rule lesson I took, even while on vacations :-)

Pau
----------------------------------------------------

Comments from Bryan Winter (White Knight)

Well, I for one had a great time!

I think I was the newest newbie of all, as this was my very first game of MR ever - I've never even played solo! I can't express enough my thanks to Steve for guiding us all through the rules, and especially to Bill for taking me by the hand and guiding me through the Realm. I'm glad I could help in your victory.

When I started the game I was certain I would not be in the black for the final tally, and that indeed proved true. Of course, I did end up in the middle of the pack, and I certainly can't complain about that! Of course, had I not been waylaid by sudden and epic death on Turn 7, I'd be speaking a different tune. :-)

And speaking of my demise at the hand of the demon (in which my killing blow was beaten by its incredible unlikely Fiery Chasm roll), that has to be the highlight of the game. When you make the Old Pros say "Wow, that was incredible. I've never seen that before" then you know you're having a good time.

I am already looking forward to my next game, and I hope that if another BIMR game is started that I am on the list to play. Of course, next time the gloves are off... :-)

-- Bryan Winter


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Comments from Mick Shields (the Witch): Ok, its my turn to thank Stephen and everyone for such a fun game! I really enjoyed it, even my untimely demise at the hands of the T Troll! That particular event was just proof to me on how this system can smack you when you think you can coast by. I skipped hiding that one day, taking my chances with the monster roll, and guess what!

I also enjoyed working with the Magician and the Berserker, and seeing how all of you played your characters was great. Especially memorable will be the scene of the White Knight, Wizard and Pilgrim walking around with T attacks!

Special thanks to Stephen for the rules pointers, and the strategy tips. I can only assume the rest of you got them too. I don't think I could have figured out the magic system without you. And personally, I don't think there's a better combo of spells than Absorb Essence, Broomstick, Remedy. Talk about Fighter/Mages!

Ok, I'm becoming long-winded too. I just didn't want you guys to think I'd lost interest in the game since day 23 or so...and if anyone is still reading this, I'll announce that I'd like to try my hand at running a game. I'm hoping we could start it in about two weeks and that it would be the BIMR crowd, with Stephen getting a chance to play. Let me know if you are interested.

Mick, the witch
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Comments from Andrew (Witch King): I would like to join all of the other BIMR players in thanking Steve for doing such a great job running this game. I had a lot on fun, and I learned a great deal about how NOT to play the Witch King.

Many thanks to everyone who played, and I hope that we all get a chance to do this again soon.

Andrew (aka Bonehead the Original and Other)
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Comments from Todd (Wizard): Congratulations to Brother Maynard and Ordhek!

Thanks to everyone for a great game! This is truly been an amazing game and even more amazing that I didn't die, so although in the back of the pack for VP I consider that victory enough. Also, I'm sure I would have perished had it not been for the company of Brother Maynard and Sir Weetbred and his band of knights in the early part of the game. So, I thank you.

Also, the Wizard's Reading Rune advantage is great - when there are runes to read! hehe, next time I'll follow the advice of Steve and lower the usable spell count for any magical character I play. Thanks Steve for all the help with rules, refereeing and organizing the game. Great job Scott on the Unofficial Magic Realm Site - that made play of the game very convenient.

- Todd aka Morkidan
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George Haberberger
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Great writeup, and great explanation of the strengths and weaknesses of the different characters.
 
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