Sunday, 16 October 2016

Fire Away

The Infernal Crypts campaign roars to a fiery climax!

Too Hot to Handle

The fifth part of the campaign, called something like Here Be Monsters, sees the heroic team racing against the clock to get to the other side of a flaming river, through a magically warded door and then out the other side of a tight and lava-flooded complex.

As the name suggests, it's fairly well guarded - Hellhounds and a Moloch on the outside. And on the inside? Well, they'll have to wait and see. The Heroes are now upgraded to Legendary, which feels like a con given that they skipped the last frustrating level. Ah well, even cheaters prosper sometimes.

Leaping over the lava flow, the heroes get off to a romping good start when the Moloch uses an unexpected ability to hurl the Wizard backwards into the lava. Ouch.

This leaves the big brute rather exposed, sadly, and the other heroes quickly muster round to bash it to bits from behind. The Hellhounds don't last long either, and they're all quickly on their way to the door.

Despite my best efforts to rain lava down in front of it, the double strength ward lasts only a single turn, thanks to the Wizard's power crystal stash. Beyond, Efreets and Flamebearers wait in a demonic jacuzzi.

More rules loopholes appear - although you can use stepping stones (the round black tiles in the lava pools above) to jump over a single square of lava, other lava squares can't be jumped if you play by the book. So when I seal off one side of the pool with some bubbly magma, the Witch Hunter has to risk scalding herself to try and hit the Flamebearers. She does it, because the damn things are raining flame on the Wizard thanks to a double interrupt, and he's starting to smell well done.

But the minions I've got just aren't enough. The Wizard keeps knocking the Efreets off the lava so they can't regenerate, and once they've got an angry fishwoman up in their faces, the Flamebearers don't last long. The heroes breeze to safety in plenty of time, leaving them to face the final level...

Hot in the City Tonight

The finale offers a large open map packed with devilish underlings as well as their boss - Drech'nok the Destroyer, essentially a heavily boosted Efreet. The heroes don't actually need to kill him, however, just steal his cache of four fire lotus flowers from the big lava room where he grows them.

As ever, the heroes waste no time, romping down the main corridor and scragging the nearest two Lesser Abyssals before forming a nice square formation. Great for beating off French Cavalry attacks, I hear.

Sadly, I have none to offer, and the Flamebearers down the side corridor start roasting the Wizard again. A pair of Abyssal Guards come and help out, and the Wizard is immediately looking like a problem for his team.

Except that unusually, I have to cripple all of them for a win here (or hold them up for twelve turns). Not that it matters - the Wizard's pals immediately exact vicious revenge on the Flamebearers, whilst the Wizard himself uses Tornado to flatten the Abyssal Guard.

They're about to waste no time and head for the lava hothouse, when another double interrupt hits them. Two Damned Souls pop themselves on the Cleric, destroying themselves but automatically deducting a pair of wounds in the process. My hope here is to keep dishing damage to both Cleric and Wizard - the former can use a spell to soak damage from the latter (or any other team member, in fact), and none of this team handle attrition well.

Over the next few turns, however, it becomes apparent that I'm spread a little thin. Drech'nok comes up to the fore and ties up the Barbarian. The two of them have an entertaining battle on a floating lava raft. They're well matched, although the Wizard keeps having to shove the big demon off the lava to take away his regeneration.

The Wizard tangles with an Efreet, and the Witch Hunter manages to pick a lotus before a Moloch comes steaming over the lava to put a crimp in her day. This is a mixed success, however. The rules are a bit ambiguous, but suggest that even for models immune to Lava (as the Moloch is) take a nasty hit if they end their turn on it. The Moloch is massive enough that it'll take a few turns to cook, and I'm willing to risk it, but it still feels like a rules screwup.

Drech'nok breaks off his combat with the Barbarian in the end, deciding to try and finish off the weaker Wizard instead. Nope - he eats a big tornado instead, more or less at the same time that the slow-cooked Moloch collapses on the lava thanks to repeated beatings from both Cleric and Witch Hunter.

This leaves me a lone Moloch, standing confused on a lava raft thanks to the Wizard's new spell. He's not enough to guard three Lotus flowers by himself, and the heroes swig a bunch of fire walking potions, steal the lot and go home to forget about this entire sorry affair.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

So that's our first Dungeon Saga campaign over and done with. Fun in parts, this one, but I'd say it's a weaker brew than the ongoing Undead one. The rules are ropey in places, the levels are wildly uneven in terms of pacing and challenge. Our last level felt extremely tough to beat. These two felt like a walk in the park in comparison, although the first one was actually quite close after I nearly torched the Wizard.

The levels are also very samey, with an over-reliance on the lava as a threat that doesn't really deliver thanks to fluffed rules. This definitely feels like the Kickstarter add-on it was, B- I'd say, compared to the Dwarf King's Quest's B+.

I shall relegate it to the Bookshelf of history.

I did, however, manage to paint everything a day before we finished. So we can finish with a 'You Have Been Watching' roll, like the end of that episode of Dad's Army where they were all banished to a fiery afterlife of perpetual torment. It's possible I may be collating shows there, but never mind.

Flamebearers - definitely the nastiest risk to your heroes, able to throw out high damage attacks at long range. Excellent at killing the Wizard or the Witch Hunter from miles off.

Tortured Souls - potentially nasty, but only three in the whole campaign I think. Underused. 

Treasure! Jewels this time. These look better stuck on a bit of gold, I've decided, I won't use them like this again.

And here's where your minions can roleplay between levels. 

Efreets. Nice model, reasonable threat on the table thanks to regen. The Wizard can reliably negate this an awful lot of the time, however. 

Molochs. Very respectable enemy in terms of toughness and hitting power. But never really placed in the dungeons to be enough of a threat, I found. Plus as with all the Infernals, they really ought to be completely immune to lava. That, beyond anything else in this campaign, would sort a fair amount of balance issues I think.
A magically-warded door, glowing with magical energy and GW special effects paints.
My second crack at the Cleric - earthy greens and browns this time. 
And another alternate colour scheme here, with Witch Hunter Goldie the Clownfish.

Then heroes from an entirely different campaign, the Tyrant of Halpi - here's a nice red paladin...
And his ally, a sneaky halfling thief. Also his Ally, seeing as that's her name. These two are both sporting the new GW textured snow paint, Valhallan Blizzard. Very effective stuff, but don't use a brush to apply it, you need a little spatula or something. 

Ah, Drech'nok. So much time being foreshadowed for so little effect. Nice model! Would have been even nicer if he was the same size as a Moloch, though. He's also posed badly on his base, making him very back heavy and prone to tipping. No amount of hot water could fix it, he needs moving forward about a centimetre. Still, I like him. It's like the Heroquest Gargoyle had an epiphany and started hitting the gym, got buff, got a girl, got effective. 

More anon...


  1. Hell and damnation! I finally make some progress on my Infernal Crypts set, and you go and beat me to completion!

    Some excellent and imaginative paint jobs there - especially well done on Drech'nok the Diminutive. Shame to hear the campaign wasn't so hot - maybe when I get around to it, I'll throw in some of those tweaks.

  2. I can't take all the credit. One of those Molochs was undercoated by my daughter. She's very thorough - even the underside of the base got a lick of paint. Blue, specifically.