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Like most people minus a few games here and there with my wife I haven't played a proper wargame or skirmish game in quite awhile. My wife and I did start a Frostgrave Ghost Archipelago campaign awhile back but instead of an ongoing campaign it halted after a single game. As she usually steamrolls me in most games I understand why she prefers to wait until our usual group finally starts getting together again. I guess she just knows me too well, making me an easy opponent. As for myself I'd rather be playing, even if I always lose, but I can see how always winning could get boring (Not that I'd actually know). The need to play finally brought me around to solo games which I'd never tried before and here we are. On many recommendations I ended up with Rangers of Shadow Deep, which makes sense as its only a modified Frostgrave system with a bit more meat to it.
Before writing up my first experiences with the game however there is one problem I've found. Its nothing to do with the system itself instead it has to do with my own shortcomings. Apparently my terrain and miniature collection (especially when it comes to monsters) is amazingly lacking. Up until playing this first game I thought I had a fairly decent collection but I guess I was just fooling myself. My warband didn't even escape this oversight and ended up being the most ramshackle bunch of any of my armies/squads. With that warning out of the way here is my first game...
The first mission begins just after the destruction of a neighboring kingdom and the appearance of the Shadow Deep itself. The book describes this as a realm permanently covered in black clouds and filled with evil creatures. With the entire kingdom on high alert you are tasked with locating a missing Ranger that was investigating attacks on a nearby village.
As you approach the village you feel that something is wrong. Everything is too quiet and the village itself smells of recent death. You pass bodies lying in the dirt as you move into the village proper. As your group reaches the village square and is beginning to form search parties you hear a horrible moaning sound surrounding you.
Seems like a great place to start the actual game right, but there are still a couple last pieces of bookkeeping. First up is introducing my actual warband (you were warned they were an odd lot).
Missing almost all of the necessary monsters I had to improvise.
The modern zombies are filling in for fantasy zombies.
The kobolds are filling in for giant rats.
The skeletons are filling in for giant spiders.
The three adventurers will be filling in for the village survivors.
As if that wasn't enough proxying I also had to proxy buildings with small wall sections. With the scenario needing houses with doors I selected center of the open area on each wall to act as the door.
Starting out your warband is deployed in the center of the village represented here with the well. There are six different points of interest that may act as clues to the missing rangers whereabouts. As you can see four zombies and two giant rats are deployed around the village. Clue 1 was moved 6" closer to my Ranger as he passed a perception check prior to the game.
With my first turn I started pairing my warband off attempting to reach all the clues. Going clockwise starting with my ranger (I'll be doing this going forward), he easily reached the first clue and managed to find a survivor (represented by the red wizard). Recruit 2 (The Ninja) managed to kill a zombie right off the bat. My arcanist (Oswald the overladen) started moving toward the clue inside the "house" while my knight (female half Orc) and hound (dog from a quarter machine) killed a giant rat. The archer (high elf archer) almost completely hidden by the well shot the zombie in front of him and brought it down to half health. Meanwhile my templar (old pikeman) and recruit 1 (villager with torch) were having trouble with their giant rat as the templar went down to only four health. That rat really did a number on him. Finally before the turn ended the event deck brought two more zombies onto the board.
On turn two my Ranger started working his way over to the other clue "house" and killed a zombie. The survivor made a beeline to the center of the village. Recruit 2 was knocked out fighting a zombie and the arcanist had to finish the job. The knight and the hound managed to defeat their first zombie while recruit 1 had to step in and save the archer after he was nearly killed. The templar slowly made his way closer to another clue. Then the event deck spawned another two zombies.
Turn three my ranger entered into his second combat. The survivor reached the well and the arcanist finally reached the door. The door requires either a Pick Lock or Strength roll (TN8) to enter, he tried to pick the lock but failed. Using a double move the knight went around the building getting closer to the second clue. Also using a double move recruit 2 started moving toward clue five. The archer shot at another zombie almost killing it but came up short. Meanwhile the hound tore across the board with it's double move and the templar reached the third clue. The third clue ended up being a mutilated body and with a very lucky survival roll he was able to determine the nature of the bite marks. Finally the event deck caused one of the buildings to collapse (Going forward it received a die on top of it), recruit 1 was too close and was nearly crushed. Fortunately he came away unscathed.
Turn four found my ranger and hound struggling to kill a zombie with my hound taking a hit. The survivor was content to hold his ground at the fountain while the arcanist continued to struggle with the door. The knight made it to the second clue but all she found was a zombie. The archer finally one shotted a zombie while recruit 1 finished off another. Recruit 1 also made it to clue five and found a potion of Wraithwalk. Try as he might the templar was still too far away to help the ranger and hound but he did close the distance. The event deck even spawned a zombie beside one of the clues inside a "house".
Turn five my ranger killed his second zombie with an assist from the hound. Again the survivor was content and the arcanist struggled with the door. Poor guy just couldn't get a decent roll. The knight began trading blows with a zombie and after just one turn they were both down to half health. Recruit 1 used a double move to start heading down to the arcanist hoping to put his +3 lockpicking skill to use. Obviously I should have sent him there in the first place but I really underestimated that simple TN8 roll. The archer like the survivor was content to stay where he was as he was very close to death. Last but not least the templar reached the "door" of the second clue "house", unfortunately he missed his strength roll. Finally thanks to the event deck my hound was struck with terror completely incapacitating him for a turn.
Turn six the ranger opened the door (after the templar failed during a group activation) and found strange tracks at the fourth clue. Using his tracking skill he was even able to determine their nature. The hound remained where it was frozen in fear while the survivor chose again to stay at the well. Recruit 1 used a double move again trying to get to the sixth clue. The arcanist continued to struggle with the door while the knight finished off her zombie and moved in to assist. The archer again stayed at the well. Then event deck then spawned four more zombies at the same location as the starting enemies.
Turn seven found my ranger, templar, and hound stuck fighting two zombies and managing to only kill one. The survivor and archer finally moved away from the well and closer to their allies. This didn't work out to well for the survivor as you see. The arcanist left the door and positioned himself between the archer and the incoming zombie. Recruit 1 killed another zombie and the knight opened the door. Instead of a clue as to the whereabouts of the missing ranger she found a treasure token (represented here by an old scatter die). The event deck had one more surprise in store for me however, it spawned two more giant rats.
As you can see in the picture I initially placed them incorrectly and forgot to take another picture after discovering my mistake. They are supposed to spawn out of line of sight beside a random building but if that's not possible they must spawn beside the building as close as they can to an enemy. In this case I could spawn only one out of line of sight (the one on the left) but the other one was clearly visible to my knight no matter where I placed him behind the building. The photo doesn't give this justice but believe me my laser pointer had the last word on the matter. So instead of spawning behind the building they spawned almost right on top of the survivor as the altered picture shows.
As you can imagine turn eight was quite a melee. The survivor was killed by the giant rats before I could intervene. I did however manage to kill one of them. My arcanist even got his hands dirty again at the end but only managed to lose two health for his trouble.
Things were a bit better with my ranger's group as they killed their last zombie.
They didn't exactly achieve their goal of finding the missing ranger but that wasn't due to lack of trying, that's just the way the dice rolled. Securing a treasure wasn't bad though as it turned out to be a Herb Pouch which in this system is a pretty good "magic item". The ranger received almost enough XP to level up while all his companions received two progression points, minus recruit 2 of course. As for recruit 2's injuries I'm happy to say he'll make a full recovery.
As far as a first game goes this actually went pretty smoothly, already knowing most of the system certainly helped though. I've got to say I really appreciate the way the scenario system handles monsters, knowing everything you need ahead of time for a mission is great. I know that comes at the sacrifice of a table of random encounters but it certainly makes it easier to plan for (even though I just proxied everything, you know what I mean). Also the number of each monster that it suggests was spot on, I really thought I'd have to grab some extra zombies or "rats" but I didn't. I really think this system might be the perfect fit for me. Even before lockdown and everything that came with it I had trouble finding anyone interested in playing Frostgrave or Ghost Archipelago (which I prefer). So a system that expands upon that and offers solo play is right up my alley.
With any luck I'd like to play this once a week for at least the foreseeable future. I'm a little rusty with writing battle reports and honestly I haven't written that may to begin with but with practice I hope to get better. I can already see that my notes need to be way better if for no other reason than to make writing the report quicker and less tedious. I had to look up so many things that could have been avoided had I just taken better notes.
I need some help identifying this skull.
Seriously, what kind of critter WAS this thing?
The skull is not real; it seems to be a resin cast, and as far as I can tell, it is not representative of anything that ever actually walked the earth. Judging from the smaller teeth, I'm guessing the master was sculpted from scratch by someone with only a tenuous grasp on what animal skulls, much less their teeth, are supposed to look like. The final puzzle piece: I got it at Hobby Lobby in the Mens Decor section; ten bucks.
I reiterate the question: If a visitor to my home steps into the trophy room with me for brandy and cigars... and sees THAT thing... and asks what it IS...
...what should I reply? Answers need not be serious, but bonus points for cleverness.
Critical Role resumes tonight (just in case you didn't know) in a brand new campaign with all new characters. I'll be watching it on Alpha, using my same personae.
We have no idea who will be who, or what they will be or where they will start, but the conjecture is strong.
Once the show has aired, please use Spoiler tags for any content that needs it. As the show is airing, feel free to discuss it! There is a spoiler tag alert in the header and I'll make a big sign below. No reason to use spoilers, but I can link to specific episodes if people need to skip something and come back to it. Maybe we won't say too much about previous episodes that way. Who knows... Otherwise, bring on the popcorn and lets enjoy a good show!!!
Be Ye Warned! There Be Spoilers Below!
The Silhouettes have been Revealed...
Before posting I searched this section to see if there was already a discussion going on but didn't find anything. I could be wrong though. I think it also goes without saying this post and any subsequent posts will include spoilers.
I finally got around to seeing The Last Jedi, I was waiting for the crowds to die down. So I ended up in a noon showing with only five other people (mostly older folks who I can only assume also waited for the crowds to die down).
Right off the bat I want to say I'm not impressed with the new film. Rather than go on a rant about what I liked and hated though I'd prefer to start a discussion of the new film.
What did you like? What did you hate? Were you happy with the final product?
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