Friday, 14 April 2017

Warlord of Galahir: Bouncers Back

We got puréed in our last encounter with The Bouncers, but if first you don't succeed ... blame the questbook and generate some more effective dungeoneers!

Behold, two new-and-improved heroes, ready to re-try the mission!

All New! All Different!

After persisting for four missions, Leofa finally had enough of the limited options offered by Guraf and Kapoka, so Kraken generated a couple of dopplegangers with some more interesting powers.

I (Kraken) quite like the character generation system in some ways, although as ever Mantic are guilty of some erratic work. Spell selection from the enormous spell deck is a fun system, but highlighted that there are many duplicate spells around, as well as spells almost identical to each other but for one glaring weakness. E.g. Energise, below, is nearly identical to another spell that does exactly the same thing except that people only get their wounds back on a 4+. Why would you ever pick one and not the other? Daft.

Guraf II: Level 3 Dwarf Cleric

  • Move: 7
  • Combat Dice: 3
  • Armour: 2
  • Health: 3 hearts before injured
Holy, Stalwart (2), Spell Caster - Divinity: Energise (major, everyone within short range gets a wound back), Power of Faith (major, everyone in range ignores the first wound from all attacks for the rest of the turn), Transfusion (minor, next time the target suffers a wound, the caster takes it instead) and Holy Might (minor, +2 dice to the caster's next attack.

Actually, somehow these got a bit turned round by the evening. Not by design, but by an accidental reshuffle of the spell pile, Power of Faith got swapped for a different spell that grants the target Frenzy (3) on their next attack. Might swap that back for next time, Power of Faith is a better spell I think.

Kapoka II: Gladewalker Wizard

  • Move: 6
  • Combat Dice: 2
  • Armour: 1
  • Health: 2 hearts before injured
Take Root (a feat that stops you moving or being moved but gives you +3 armour until the end of the turn), Magister (a feat that casts three petty spells at once), Stealth (can't be shot at from more than short range, although spells can still get you), Spellcaster - Petty and Sorcery, Earth: Hold Fast (another renamed Feet of Stone, but a minor one), Vile Visage (minor, lets you spin an enemy model and choose its new facing), Torment (major, a ranged attack of one dice per armour of the target) and Blink (minor, put yourself somewhere else on the same tile).

Mission 4: Bouncers, Attempt II

We kick off, as we had previously, facing a pair of Trolls in the main chamber. We also set up the corridor behind the locked doors, as we're now under no illusions as to what lies beyond.

The mission is the same: kill both Trolls and open the final door to complete the mission.

My mission is also the same - take one of them down before this happens. Or at least delay them until I can bring in unlimited green minions.

Shazam! The newly-improved Gladewalker wastes no time in playing his feat (three Minor spells at once) and Blink teleports within range of the first Troll. He then casts Vile Visage to flip the Troll around (I hope you like it that way, darling) and immobilises him with Take Root.

This Troll is dressed like a Turkey and ready to be stuffed!

The three combat heroes pile in, with bonuses for rear-attacks, outnumbering and an immobilised enemy. The Elf doesn't manage to scratch him, though the Dwarf takes off a wound (despite his denuded combat status).

And then the Salamander comes in. He does two wounds right away and a further two with his Relentless ability.

No regeneration saves are made and one Troll is down! On the first turn! Easy peasy!

This is why all of us repeatedly say 'backs to the wall' after every single move we make. You leave a blind side, you get blindsided. 

The Overlord decides to back his remaining Troll into a corner, and then it's the adventurers' turn again.

In which they'll no doubt turn me round again. Cry yourself to sleep in the corner, trolly, it's your only hope.

Flushed with early success, we decide that the obvious course of action is to divide our party and send our only fighter on a solo mission.

I love how quickly a mild success can get to your heads. The evening started with a very strict decision to stick together at all costs and not split the party, as that way certain death lay. Ha! Three turns in, and you're drunk on power and glory already. Your confidence is your weakness, as my faith in my Trolls is mine.

The Elf kicks down the door and the Salamander charges down the back corridor to slay the Orcling obstacles and open up the final door.

While this is going on, the remaining three adventurers will wear down the final Troll with magic and missiles until we can reunite and win the level! What could go wrong?

Nothing. Of course.

For a start, the Salamander whiffs his attacks against the first mass of Orclings (his blade must be slippery with all that Troll blood) and the Overlord brings up a second mob of Orclings. So our hero is now outnumbered, and while he's in no physical danger, he's going to have a harder time hacking through the critters.

In the main chamber, the Troll advances towards the heroes, but finds himself turned around with Vile Visage, immobilised with Take Root, and has a wound knocked off by the Dwarf Cleric.

(we're starting to wonder if this all-improved Gladewalker isn't a bit too all-improved - he's knocking spots off his former incarnation)

(I wondered that too, but remembered that he's still made of tissue paper)

After much flailing about, the Salamander chops up onegroup of Orclings. At last - progress!

... and then the Orverlord plays a card that brings back a fresh pack of Orclings, right where we don't want them. Damnit!

Binary fission, Orcling-style. Aw yeah. 

And by now, our very limited time has expired. The alarm bells ring and the green tide starts to appear, starting with an Orc Greatax.

Gee, it might be useful to have a combat hero at hand. I wonder what became of him?

Although no warrior is needed against the second Troll. Fortified by a battle potion and holy righteousness, the Dwarf manages to clobber the Troll. Our second target is down, and all we need to do is get to that last door to complete the level!

I mean, how hard could that be?

Well, a lot harder than it looks. Despite using his combat feat, the Salamander is making no headway against the Orclings. I can't even blame the dice - poor Hrrath was rolling above-average attacks, it's just that the pesky Overlord was beating them with boxcars at every turn.

I don't know how many turns this went on for, but it felt like a lot.

It was all the turns. All of them.

Back in the main chamber, kicking down a simple door proves elusively stubborn, and our three ranged heroes are starting to take hits from the greenskins as they try to break into the corridor via the other route.

Improved though they may be, they aren't actually all that hard hitting. The Cleric can pack a respectable punch, but to do anything hefty, needs to take a turn charging up. The Gladewalker is excellent in support, with his twisty-turny spell, which we all decided was called Flip rather than it's longer real name, and the Elf is perfectly respectable at shooting things from a distance, but only mediocre against doors. Heh.

Even when the Gladewalker tries to help out the Salamander with a Take Root spell, we're still getting nowhere.

In the meantime, things are getting hairy for the rest of the party, particularly for the Dwarf (who's hairy enough), who has been absorbing wounds from his teammates, as well as taking them from the encroaching greenskins, and is looking very shaky on his feet.

Oh Healer, heal thyself!

It would be nice to get him down into the corridor, where the Orcs couldn't gang up on him, but that damn door is proving elusive and we all seem to be trapped.

Did I say this was easy peasy?

Finally we're getting somewhere! The corridor door is broken down and the Dwarf races through it. However, he fails to batter down the critical final door, and now the Elf is looking a bit wobbly on her last few wounds. And the green tide keeps coming...

The Orclings, it need hardly be said, remain intact. The Salamander is considering knitting as an alternate career.

I got one!

The Dwarf once again fails to break down the door, the Elf is cowering in a corner, another Orc Skulk has appeared and now they greenskins are advancing down the corridor, but I killed on set of Orclings.

In brighter news, we've been at this so long, the Overlord is running out of command cards to throw at us, so the pace is slowing down - which is a good thing, because we're so vulnerable, we're counting down the turns in how many wounds we can absorb per round.

Without my extra activations, I'm stuck on only one a turn. That's definitely going to give them an advantage, although right now they badly need it!

Also: I got one!

Yes, you did very well. *pat pat

And then I get the other one! Take that Orclings!

They go to their tiny hovel in the sky, having more than done their job several times over. 

The final door stubbornly resists the Dwarf's efforts. I wonder if they'd be more agreeable if I painted them?

The Elf and Gladewalker decide their best option is now to huddle in a corner and hope the Dwarf Cleric's healing rays can keep them on their feet.

And still the green tide surges on...

...surges feels a bit strong, at one activation a round. Laps?

Buoyant after his mighty triumph, Hrrath Orclingbane pushes his way past the Dwarf and kicks down the final door. We're out!

Back at the tavern

It's been a mixed bag of missions in this campaign, but that may have been the most fun we've has with Dungeon Saga yet!

It was an excellent night, mostly packed with mirth as the Orclings mocked the Salamander.

After the ease of dealing with the Trolls, I don't know if we deliberately made it harder for ourselves with such an ambitious (re: idiotic) plan, but it certainly made it a nail-biter. I know it's Dungeonering 101 that you never split your party, but I hold that it was a good plan- who could have foreseen that the Orclings would hold the pass like itty-bitty Spartans?

Perhaps each base did hold one hundred of the titchy creatures, for a total of three hundred.

As I mentioned before, the ridiculously short time of this level seems designed to show off the 'green tide' special rules, and it certainly did that. There's just no way to realistically get on top of the oncoming goblins, and your only option is to escape, which is nicely characterful.

I certainly felt the lack of a second combat hero in the group, but the new Gladewalker and Cleric seem to have some very useful skills, so maybe it will force us to be more creative in our approach.

Next time: anything but Orclings!

We'll see about that. Heh heh heh.

For housekeeping, the Salamander managed to generate a lot of kills, due to his hard-won prowess as Orcling-slayer, and poor Kapoka remains unable to land a killing blow. Our pool of points and potions are as follows:
  • Kapoka (Gladewalker): 2 kills + 0 exp
  • Hrrath (Salamander): 2 kills + 2 exp + 1 Haste Potion
  • Thessilar (Elf): 1 kill + 2 exp
  • Guraf (Dwarf): 4 kills + 2 exp + 1 Healing Potion

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