Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Warlord of Galahir: While You Were Sleeping

We're back into the Dungeon Saga of Galahir! Tonight's brave quest involves ... the murder of the unconscious.

Wait, what? Are we going to happily kill the minions in their sleep?

Red Dwarf IV: Justice
"I could happily kill him if he was on the job."

What the hell kind of heroes are these anyway? I blame Joe Abercrombie.

Seriously, our mission tonight is to sneak into the dungeon and kill three sleeping orcs. And if that works up an appetite, perhaps we can steal some candy from a baby on the way home.

It's probably harder than it sounds. I hope it's harder than it sounds, otherwise Mission 3 just took a dark turn.

Meh - they're just orks. Damn liberals  - you're probably going to want to take them home and offer them education. Kraken here, looking for approval for my new Orcbane-a Care Proposals.

Mission 3: Rise And Shine!

A report from Dungeon Saga, Warlord of Galahir - Mission 3: Rise And Shine!

No door tonight (shame ... and I almost had them painted), just a single level laid out before us. The three toppled orcs are asleep, dreaming their happy dreams. Most of the Goblins are in a single room, betting heavily on the Mawbeast fight and too distracted to spot us. That only leaves two sentries with their backs to us.

The sneaky part of this mission is that no Goblin or Mawbeast can do anything until they see us, or get shouted at by an Orc. The Orcs will only wake up if attacked, or have a chance of waking up if they hear a commotion (i.e. a Goblin making a defence roll).

There are some new rules covering all this stealth, and they're functional if a little erratic. Most of it revolves around a nice random dice roll when you start stabbing. All the same, I'm feeling apprehensive. My defence force is a lone stand of Orclings until the heroes screw up and alert the troops.

With murderous intent, the Dwarf and Salamander creep up behind the Goblin  sentries and swiftly dispatch them. Easily done, but that's enough to wake two of the Orcs, so there goes our surprise.

(Given that there's no way to get to the Orcs other than killing those sentries, it's a shame there wasn't a stealthy way to take them out - the Elf's bow, Mawbeast Treats, or a magic tranquilliser dart gun).

A report from Dungeon Saga, Warlord of Galahir - Mission 3: Rise And Shine!

The other two heroes join the fray. The Gladewalker casts Root on the Orclings, so even if the Goblins see us, they're stuck in the gambling den (given that the Orclings are designed to be underfoot, you'd think there would be a mechanic to trample over them).

A report from Dungeon Saga, Warlord of Galahir - Mission 3: Rise And Shine!

The Elf shoots a wound off one of the Goblins. It awakens the final Orc, but at this point, the Umbral Cat is very much out of the bag.

In the Overlord's turn, the Greatax Orc backs away to his yawning buddies, and they all lie in wait, brushing their tusks and changing out of their pyjamas.

A report from Dungeon Saga, Warlord of Galahir - Mission 3: Rise And Shine!

Unfortunately, the Root spell takes a turn to recharge, so we can't keep the Orcling cork in the bottle. However, the Gladewalker moves to their far side and plants himself in their way, as an arboreal doorstop.

The rest of the party piles into the Greatax, even the Elf, who we reckon isn't really needed for shooting in this adventure, as much as lending outnumbering weight to the foes.

The attack doesn't go well, however, and the best efforts of all three fighters can inflict only one wound.

At this point, the Overlord reveals the special rules for Orcs: they can't be killed in a single round, and wounding them sends them into a Green Rage which makes them more lethal.

A report from Dungeon Saga, Warlord of Galahir - Mission 3: Rise And Shine!

As we digest the pickle we've placed ourselves in, the Overlord plays a double commands card, and essentially Waaagh!s his way into us. The Greatax swings at us (with his incongruously-named 'Hammertime' ability), the Morax steps up, the Skulk shoots, and the Goblins and Mawbeasts start to pour out of the gaming den to surround us.

All the heroes take a spattering of wound each. Mercifully none are concentrated on a single character, but I think the Elf has to borrow a Healing Potion at this point to stay viable.

A report from Dungeon Saga, Warlord of Galahir - Mission 3: Rise And Shine!

Yes, now I've got them all where I want them! Although those three orcs do look a bit flimsy compared to the full pack of heroes. It took all six of my doubled actions to get this party started, and that's a one-off, so I'm going to have to make quick work of the goodies if I hope to succeed.

Back-to-back, the heroes go to work. The Gladewalker shifts his stance (to ensure the Goblin sneaking up on the Dwarf is now in his front arc, and so outnumbered) and Roots the Morax Orc.

The Dwarf activates his Whirlwind feat and rips through both the sneaky Goblin and the wounded Greatax.

The Elf then steps over the dead orc, downs a Battle Potion and wounds the Morax. The Salamander finishes off with a killing blow.

We've ripped apart the jaws of the ambush, and two-thirds of the quest is complete. Go team!

A report from Dungeon Saga, Warlord of Galahir - Mission 3: Rise And Shine!

The Overlord responds by sending in the fast-moving Mawbeasts to take a bite out of us, although thanks to our judicious use of Mawbeast Treats (acquired in the last adventure) we manage to avoid taking much harm,

The heroes even started handing the damn doggy bags round to each other. The Mawbeasts end up more interested in the food of the heroes than the heroes as food, much to my chagrin. Never mind - plenty of goblins to pick up the slack!

A report from Dungeon Saga, Warlord of Galahir - Mission 3: Rise And Shine!

On the next turn, the Dwarf moves forward to overwhelm the Orc Skulk, but both he and the Elf whiff their attacks. Preferring not to inflict only one wound, and have to deal with a Green Raged Orc in the Overlord's turn, the Salamander steps back and clobbers the Mawbeast behind him.

A report from Dungeon Saga, Warlord of Galahir - Mission 3: Rise And Shine!

We wrap up in our next turn with the Skulk being Rooted to the spot, leaving him open to get smashed by the combined attacks of Dwarf and Salamander.

There is also the bonus mission: the character to kill the second Mawbeast shall earn the title of 'The Beastslayer'. With only the Elf left to play, she swings at the Mawbeast, scores high, but fails to kill it. No cool title for you Thessilar!

A report from Dungeon Saga, Warlord of Galahir - Mission 3: Rise And Shine!

Back at the Tavern

Well, that was a fun mission, although not strictly the mission advertised. Unless the dice rolls favour you, you're really not going to sneak up in the sleeping Orcs, so the 'stealth' aspect of this dungeon is little more than a head start.

(Conversely, if you did manage to reach a sleeping Orc, it would be absurdly easy to win)

Yeah, my reading of the rules in advance left me rather unimpressed. It's a lot of faff for not much return, really, which is a shame. The idea of a stealth level is a nice one, and could be a good change of pace. This mission was more fun than I expected, for all that it doesn't really deliver what it sets out to do terribly well.

The Goblins pouring out of a single chamber is a nice mechanic, and the addition of a second chamber might have made more of a tactical challenge (had we boxed in the Orclings with Elf and Gladewalker, then the majority of the minions would be stymied - and greenskins count on their outnumbering bonus to get damage through).

Though we took more damage than before (it was quite a brawl), I don't think either Leofa or myself felt in danger of losing. I think the problem here is too many Overlord cards - in the best Dungeon Saga missions, the enemy has always been the clock. Even when we've lost due to casualties, it was because we were forced to rush into vulnerable positions. The games either need to be faster, or the dungeons bigger.

Absolutely! Twelve turns for a smallish dungeon is way more than the heroes need here. I'd definitely stick a second similar room of goblins on the far side, too. Even if the heroes are horribly outnumbered, the activation system stops the Overlord totally overwhelming them because you can never activate enough minions. 

So it's a decent premise, but I feel there's a better premise in there.

Yup. For me, if you made this level a wider central corridor with snoozy orcs along it, with some narrow, snaky side passages leading to a goblin barracks, maybe one per orc, then you've got a challenging and exciting mission rather than this novelty diversion. I'd also question the stealth rules, whereby half a room of goblins can get woken but the other half sit about oblivious to the commotion. I can't tell if it was poor wording or a deliberate but limited decision that sets that up, but as the GM, it's pretty frustrating.

And for totting up our tally: three kills for Hrrath, four for Guraf and nothing for the other two. That makes the running tally of kills/experience point as follows:
  • Kapoka (Gladewalker): 2 kills + 0 exp + 1 Haste Potion + 2 Healing Potions
  • Hrrath (Salamander): 1 kills + 2 exp + 1 Haste Potion
  • Thessilar (Elf): 4 kills + 1 exp
  • Guraf (Dwarf): 2 kills + 2 exp
We'll be back in the dungeon soon!

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