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Subject: The Thomson Boys - Theories and General Bumbling rss

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This is the third adventure undertaken by The Thomson Boys in the Return of the Witch Lord Expansion for HeroQuest.

If you've missed the boy’s earlier adventures through the world of HeroQuest, you can find links to them at the end of this report.

Preparations

After the demise of the Barbarian and Elf last adventure both the boys and I had some decisions to make. Was I going to let them keep all their gear? I had a look through the next few missions and realised that they could probably do fine without everything so I decided to make their deaths mean something.

They were only allowed to keep 1 item. Isaac kept his handy Crossbow and Alex quite wisely kept the Spirit Blade, remembering that they would need it to face the Witch Lord.

Riley then very reluctantly (he is such a Dwarf!) handed over some of his gold to but each a piece of defensive gear.

Isaac decided it was time to dispense with the comical names and asked for a real Barbarian name. I told him Conan was the most famous...I had to tell him...it was totally lost on him of course. I am failing as a father...shake

Alex is only 10 and stayed with the humourous theme, deciding it was time for Twig's cousin Twiggy to avenge the family. He also insisted that he was the owner of the Twiggy Pest Control Company...where do they get this stuff?

Isaac (12) - Barbarian (Conan) - Crossbow, Helmet

Alex (10) - Elf (Twiggy) - Spirit Blade, Shield

Riley (9) - Dwarf (Axeboy) - Battle Axe, Borin’s Armour, Hand Axe

Alex chose the Earth Spells for this one.

Scenario Background

The Silent Passages – "These passages have been silent for over a thousand years. The last voices that echoed these hallowed halls were those of King Agrain and his people as they rushed to defend the city. It is said that ancient and terrible magic is at work here. Tread warily, my friends."

Things that go Bump in the Night! - The opening to this quest is nicely done. After a few fast paced beginnings, our band of heroes found themselves in an eerily quiet hall and due to low movement rolls, they were in there for 2-3 turns.

In the same turn that Axeboy rounded the corner of the hallway to reveal the Death Mist Twiggy the Elf had opened a doorway to reveal 5 Skeletons. My description of the Death Mist evoked gags of, "Oh no we're being attacked by a Death Fart...hold your nose guys," but I soon had them a little more sombre when it first passed through the Dwarf. I described how Axeboy's bones went cold and he lost a Body Point. But more scary than that I think was the fact that I didn't pick up any dice to do that damage. I think this was the boy's first experience with something that dealt guaranteed damage. Suddenly they realised that this quest might be a challenge.

The Skeletons weren't causing the boys any particular problems but quite by surprise Alex made an unusual call and opened the next door, revealing 3 Zombies...whilst there were still 3 Skeletons at his back!

Of course the combination of Spirit Blade and Conan made light work of them all but not before they had both suffered a few scrapes...the Elf looking the worse for wear.

While the boys were doing battle, Axeboy did what all good Dwarves do, rolled up his sleeve and set about swinging his mighty axe at the Death Mist. When I described how it passed through the Mist doing nothing more than bring a smile to its face-ish region, Riley responded with his 'Crap I'm surprised and now I need to get out of here look'. The other two boys were well tied up at this stage so he simply had to run.


The Death Mist Stalks Axeboy and the Elf and Barbarian stick to their corner defense...bwahahaha!

Image Courtesy of Neil Thomson

Comedy Capers – The next passage of play saw the boys take out the 2 Mummies in the adjoining room and Riley did this shuffle between room and corridors but not before the Death Mist had swiped him again. Isaac had a theory that if they stood in the corners of a room the Death Mist couldn't enter. This was purely a coincidence from the first time they ran into a room to get away, but now it was fact in the minds of the lads and it was quite comical. The effect on the game though was serious as they would often move deep into a room, which meant that they needed to roll high movement totals to get out again and past the Death Mist's reach, which they had deduced was 6.

Riley was the first to bolt and this began a serious of turns where he fell into one trap after another, rolled poorly and caught another swipe or two from the Death Mist. At 2 Body Points remaining he looked done for as the Elf was miles away hiding out in a cupboard somewhere.

But as fate would have it the little bugger risked searching for treasure and found himself a healing potion. That Dwarf is blessed I tells ya! cool

The End Game and Revelations – A sarcophagus and two graves later and the boys were approaching the end game of the dungeon. They found the secret door and were finally free from the Death Mist's clutches. I didn't tell them that though and that kept the tension up. It also saw them open the door on 3 Zombies and 3 Skeletons and rather than take them on they raced for the exit. The upside of this was that they didn't get to search for the secret door that lead to a chest full of treasure so I was happy with that.

As the boys looked back on the adventure, Alex realised that the exit was only separated from the start by a single rockfall. He then looked down on his spells and let out an almighty, "What...you mean I could have used Pass Through Rock at the beginning and been out of here?!"

I replied with a smile and a simple, "Yeah I guess so."

I then revealed the truth of the Death Mist and the fact that it couldn't enter any rooms. I also highlighted that Isaac's theory was the single dumbest and funniest theory I had ever heard in a game.

He responded with a matter of fact, "Well I told you I was dumb now."

Post Game Thoughts – My boys are developing nicely but they are still to think through in regards to the gear they have and how it could help them at key moments. The boys were in a silly mood I will grant for this one but none of them thought to attack with the Spirit Blade after Riley's first failed attack.

Could I have told them...should I have told them? In Descent it is written that no knowledge should be kept from the heroes and in that game I think it is fair as the game is already hard enough.

But HeroQuest is a different beast and giving the boys all the information could make for dull times. This mission is really a walk in the park without the Death Mist plus my decision meant the boys would learn a valuable lesson about thinking their way through a mission instead of just rolling dice and moving pieces.

In the end I felt I got the balance right.

The Highlights

d10-1 Conan the Realist – Isaac was acutely aware that his Barbarian was not as bright as he used to be due to losing the Talisman of Lore. But for one fleeting moment he forgot...for a moment.

As he bounded down the hall and the Death Mist was revealed he started with his usual bravado, "I'll take it down...no problem."

Then he leaned in for a closer look at the artwork and added, "Actually that thing kind of looks a little magical...and I'm not as bright as I used to be. Ok I'm outta here you guys can take care of it!" Classic stuff. laugh

d10-2 Classic Theories of Developing RPGers – So the boys had taken a few licks from the Death Mist and decided that running into rooms was the best idea. Not sure if it could follow them or not they moved into the corners of rooms for the first evading move or two. From that point Isaac had another brilliant theory, "Hey guys, it can't hurt us if we move to the corners of rooms!"

What resulted was another 40 minutes of game time where the boys religiously moved to the corners of every room they entered, not knowing that the Death Room simply couldn't move into the room period. At one point the Death Mist was right outside a doorway and Riley's Axeboy was on the other side of the door. Having only rolled a 4 for movement he didn't want to exit the room so he moved to the corner again...away from the door...making it harder to roll the movement to get past the Death Mist and out of harm's way. Idiots!

d10-3 Maintaining the Tension - As the boys entered the end game rooms my Death Mist was no longer a threat for me as it was restricted to the corridors. But I didn't tell the boys that and wanted to keep the perceived threat high to build the tension. Riley decided to stay in that first room for a turn longer to search for treasure so I took the opportunity to ham it up on my turn.

"The Death Mist finally breaks through the secret door having grown in power. It hovers over your head [I literally pick up the tile and move it in a circular motion] and attacks with a wicked cackle before doing whatever damage you have left, killing you instantly!"

Riley's little face paused for a second as he realised his folly but before things could go pear shaped I burst out with...

"Only joking, the thing is still at the door."

Reality was still setting in for Riley, whilst Alex and Isaac started laughing their heads off before Riley could get a "Daaaaaaaaad!!!" out. Fun times.

My last little prank came as the boys entered the final hallway and could see the exit door. I thought I'd give them one last scare on my turn,

"You hear a scrabbling sound like claws scratching at rock. Suddenly the Death Mist breaks through one rockfall and begins scrabbling at the second."

I gave the boys a few seconds to leave a deposit in their pants as they were at 2 and 3 Body points at this stage...before adding,

"The scratching continues before you hear a soft whimper of [insert pathetic sad cat sound here]."

The boys realised I was just yanking their chain at this point, heart rates eased and they began to laugh yet again.

The Gift Shop

Despite finding some 90 odd gold the boys didn't have enough to buy the Chainmail so they decided to pool their resources till they could.

The Kill Count

Isaac (Conan - Barbarian)

0 Firmirs (0)
0 Chaos Warriors (0)
0 Orcs (0)
2 Mummies (2)
2 Zombies (2)
2 Skeletons (2)
0 Goblin (0)
0 Gargoyle (0)

Total = 6

Alex (Twiggy - Elf)

0 Chaos Warriors (0)
1 Mummy (0)
0 Firmir (0)
2 Zombies (2)
6 Skeletons (6)
0 Goblins (0)
0 Orcs (0)
0 Gargoyle (0)

Total = 9

Riley (Axeboy - Dwarf)

0 Orcs (0)
0 Firmirs (0)
0 Goblins (0)
0 Zombies (6)
2 Skeletons (7)
3 Mummies (4)
0 Chaos Warrior (2)
0 Gargoyles (0)
0 Spirit Riders (3)

Total = 22

So 3 Quests down...

The Quest Rolls On

Join The Thomson Boys on their next adventure as they enter the 'Halls of Vision'.

The Return of the Witch Lord Adventures

The Thomson Boys - The Adventures of Timmy, Twig and Axeboy

The Thomson Boys - Two Birds with One Stone

The Kellar's Keep Adventures

Adventure #1 - The Thomson Boys - A New Wave of Heroes

Adventure #2 - The Thomson Boys - Warrior Halls


Adventure #3 - The Thomson Boys - Raiders of the Lost Passage

Adventure #4 - The Thomson Boys - Like Termites in a Beaver's Den

Adventure #5 - The Thomson Boys - Tiptoeing Through the Dwarven Dead

Adventure #6 - The Thomson Boys - Death at the Delicatessen

Adventure #7 - The Thomson Boys - Up the Khyber Pass

Adventure #8 - The Thomson Boys - Death From Above

Adventure #9 - The Thomson Boys - Crossbow Capers

Links - The Original Quests

Adventure #1 - Blooding a New Generation of AT Gamers

Adventure #2 - The Thomson Boys Save Sir Ragnar

Adventure #3 - The Thomson Boys - Gimli's Comedic Sense of Timing

Adventure #4 - The Thomson Boys Learn HeroQuest Strategy

Adventure #5 - The Thomson Boys - When Heroes Turn to Cowards

Adventure #6 - The Thomson Boys - Dark Days

Adventure #7 - The Thomson Boys - Tanks for the Memories

Adventure #8 - The Thomson Boys - Tricks and Traps

Adventure #9 - The Thomson Boys - A Dwarf goes Mining

Adventure #10 - The Thomson Boys - A Dwarf, an Elf and a Barbarian walk into a Magic Castle...

Adventure #11 - The Thomson Boys - A Dwarven King Departs...

Adventure #12 - The Thomson Boys - Tombstones and Trinkets

Adventure #13 - The Thomson Boys - A Sword too Far?

Adventure #14 - The Thomsons Boys - A Light at the End of the Tunnel...Staaay Awaaay from the Liiight)
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Robert
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Sad to see you never finished the Return of the Witch Lord quests. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your quest reports!
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Max_Fischer wrote:
Sad to see you never finished the Return of the Witch Lord quests. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your quest reports!


They kept getting killed on that one where a room right from the get-go has like 14 monsters in it and then they got a little but older and found other games.

That said they have been nagging me of late to play it again...so watch this space.
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