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   @Rob Dean convinced me to give Rangers of Shadow Deep a try, and today we sat down to wrap our heads around the rules and play the first mission.   Rob provided everything from his traveling Battle in a Box collection.  As a change from our usual forays into the McCullough-verse, where we usually use stuff from our 28mm collections, the figures we used were ones selected from Rob's collection of beautifully painted 1/72 plastics. 

  Rob chose, besides the given Ranger (Marcus), an Archanist (Corvus), an Archer (Alana), and a Hound (Duke) for his companions.  I selected, other than my Ranger (Churchill),  a Rogue (Firefly) and a Guardsman (Cromwell).

  The mission had us investigating the disappearance of a fellow Ranger in a nearby town.  As we gathered in the town's center to discuss the fact that the town seemed abandoned and awfully quiet, a nearby moan made us aware of the approach of 4 zombies; one each from each table edge. 

   Quickly we jumped into action, and while some of us battled Zombies, others in our party attempted to tracked down the clues.  Of course some of the clues, and the Random Events each turn, produced more Zombies, or Giant Rats.  As the game went on, our wounds mounted, and we kept having to divert our clue-seeking in order to battle the creatures who kept getting in our way.  Eventually though, one by one, we were able to uncover the clues within the 8 turn limit while only two Companions were brought down during the game (Alana and Cromwell).  We never found the the missing Ranger, but we were able to determine what was going on and who was responsible for the apparent attack on the village and appearance of the Zombies. And, after the game, no one was found to be diseased, and all made a full recovery.  

 

We really enjoyed the game; especially the narrative aspects of the small personal nature of only controlling a few figures, and the inclusion of Clues and random Events.  We are looking forward to the next mission.

 

 

A look at our heroic band after the battle.  From left to right: Firefly the Rogue, Churchill the Ranger, Cromwell the Guardsman, Corvus the Arcanist, Marcus the Ranger, Alana the Archer, and Duke the Hound.

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We gather in the village's center to discuss our plan. Behind us is a house with a clue (as well as a pair of Giant Rats), another house with a clue can be seen just on the left edge of the photo.  (Note the clues are inside the buildings, but the interiors of Rob's buildings can not be accessed)

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We jump into action as the 4 starting Zombies approach.  Alana the Archer releases an arrow at the one entering from the bottom of the photo, hitting it and doing 3 HP damage.  My Ranger, Churchill, fires an arrow and kills one of the Giant Rats near the clue building at the top of the photo.  Firefly the Rogue moves to the building with a clue on the left and picks the locked door, as Cromwell the Guardsman runs up to the other clue building and dispatches the second rat with his mighty two-handed axe. .

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The fight continues as more Zombies appear.  At the top of the photo, Cromwell the Guardsman has successfully found the clue in the house which, after busting down the locked door with his great-ax, turned out to be treasure(!) and he now moves to investigate a clue by some nearby rocks. But has he moves towards the rocks he is set upon by another Zombie.  Alana and Churchill battle a Zombie near the other house, while Corvus faces off against a Zombie as well.  Firefly the Rogue had in the meantime discovered tracks in the clue house he searched and was able to determine what caused them, but ended up battling a Zombie and being reduced to 1 HP,  so he discreetly ran off to check a clue at the village's edge near some other rocks.  Corvus also at this point had found a clue by a small stream, off the upper right corner of the photo, which was a mangled body with mysterious bite marks for which he was able to determine the source.

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The badly wounded Firefly finds a lone survivor hiding behind the rock, who tells him what happened in the village.  Having just 1 HP left, Firefly asks if she minds if he hides behind the rock with her.

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Just when the sun shines brightest...  the Guardsman Cromwell, having found the treasure in the first building he searched, subsequently went off, and after killing a couple zombies, found a cache of valuable herbs behind the rocks he had gone to search.  Very content, with the treasure tucked under one arm, his great axe over his shoulder and the herbs stuffed in his pouch... he thought himself quite the hero as he passed by the house he had searched earlier.  But, at that point in the turn, the next to last turn, we rolled for the random event and it turned out to be Building Collapse!  Roll for random building, and it turns out to be the one he is standing next to.  We suspect he hit the house a little too hard earlier to bust the door in; and according to the event table upon its collapse everyone inside and within 2"  of it must take a +4 attack.   Unfortunately, Cromwell rolled poorly and couldn't withstand having a building drop on him and he was reduced to 0 health points.. his treasure and herbs lost amongst the debris.  Luckily, as I mentioned earlier he did roll to be Fully Recovered later that night, but when questioned about what happened he had no memory of the event. 🙂 

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Edited by Chris Palmer
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I took almost no pictures, but I did get an overview of the table.  As Chris mentioned, this was deployed using my Portable Fantasy Game just for fun (and because I painted zombies and sourced flies for the basic missions).  

 

As can be seen from this picture, we had one physical copy of the rules and one on pdf.  I am reminded how difficult it is to flip around a pdf rulebook.

 

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Neither of us had actually done our homework, so it took a little while to set up the heroes, and we may have made a few minor rules errors where we just went with the general Frostgrave/Ghost Archipelago rules.  After five years of *Grave campaigns, we have the basic fighting rules pretty well internalized.

 

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Posted (edited)

I also have to note that immersion during actual play mostly keeps me from noticing the creases.  The ground cloth has been in storage for a while, and I’ll see if I can iron it before the next scenario.

 

Someone elsewhere asked Chris about the figures; I looked them all up, and they are sourced from seven different 1/72 scale sets, both fantasy and historical, as well as including some early Bones giant rats.  More Bones will be coming up in future scenarios; quite a few small Bones monsters translate handily into the 1/72 scale environment.

 

(Oh, and buildings are all card models from Dave Graffam Models.)

Edited by Rob Dean
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We had our second session today; Chris will no doubt get a better report together than I will.  We did the next two scenarios, the spider woods one from the “Missing” mission, and the bridge guards from the tower of Torden Var mission.  Let’s just say that the spider woods was pretty much a cake walk, so we were a little complacent going into the bridge guards…

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Rob Dean said:

We had our second session today; Chris will no doubt get a better report together than I will.  We did the next two scenarios, the spider woods one from the “Missing” mission, and the bridge guards from the tower of Torden Var mission.  Let’s just say that the spider woods was pretty much a cake walk, so we were a little complacent going into the bridge guards…

 

 

Yes, as Rob says, we did the "Infected Trees" scenario yesterday, followed by the "Bridge Guards" scenario of "The Beacon Tower" mission.

We had our same crew of Rangers and Companions; Rob with Ranger Marcus, Corvus the Arcanist, Alana the Archer, and Duke the Hound. And I with Ranger Churchill, Cromwell the Guardsman, and Firefly the Rogue.

 

     Following our investigation of the deserted village last outing, the first scenario this time had us pursuing the Giant Spiders who had attacked the village to their nesting area, where we were tasked with freeing possible survivors from the various cocoons laying around, and torching the spiders' nesting trees. As Rob indicated, this venture proved to be rather easy, with the Spiders, appearing in small numbers, offering little challenge with an Armor of only 8 and a paltry 4 Health.  Luckily while searching the cocoons, we only came upon one Zombie, and were fortunate enough to save two survivors.  For my part, only one of my figures took damage (the unlucky Cromwell who had the building collapse on him last time) but luckily my Ranger has the Heal spell, so was able to patch him up immediately.  I don't think Rob took any damage.

 

An overview of the table.  On the far left are the nesting trees, on the far right, our two groups can be seen entering; Rob in the back, and my group in the foreground.  In the center are  5 cocoons randomly placed around the center of the table.

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Rob's group immediately heads for the cocoons to start checking for survivors.

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Meanwhile I head for the trees to start burning them.  This did put me closer to the spiders, and several started heading directly for my party.  We dispatched them in turn, but not before Cromwell (with raised 2-handed axe) got himself bitten.

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We start burning trees. 

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Soon we were heading back, two survivors in tow, when we stumbled upon one more nesting tree.  This one had a treasure under it, which turned out to be an herb (I forgot which one; Rob wrote it down).  

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Edited by Chris Palmer
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Posted (edited)

 

 (  ⬆️ Be sure to see account of first game above ⬆️  ) 

 

Because that encounter, the "Infected Trees", gave us such a false sense of our capabilities, as Rob said, we were overconfident going into our next Mission.  Neither of us had really gotten a handle on all our Spells and Heroic Abilities yet, having not had much call to use them.  And we didn't fully pay attention to the Stealth benefits that the scenario Special Rules offered at the start of the Bridge Guard game.  So, as we snuck up upon the titular Bridge Guard of the scenario, we didn't make full use of all the benefits we should have.  This put us, me especially, almost immediately in hot water once the poo hit the fan. 

 

The scenario lets you make a Stealth roll at the beginning of each turn until the alarm is raised, and if you pass, you can move one guard 6" in any direction You also get a +4 attack in the beginning to represent your surprising the Guards; again, until the alarm is raised.  The alarm is raised if one of the Guards ever activates in line of sight of one of our figures, or if a Guard takes damage in line of sight of another guard.  

 

Also note, the scenario calls for the guards to be Gnolls.  Not having Gnolls in 20mm, we substituted Orc figures, but used the Gold stats from the rules.

 

Overview of the table.  We entered from the right.  The river is lined with Guard archers, and various soldiers are either on the bridge or in the camp on the far side.  Also on the bridge is the tougher Guard Sergeant. 

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I  attempt to sneak through a woods on the left, while Rob's group, just visible in the distance, sneaks around behind the hill.

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Poo hits the fan.  Using our ability to move one Guard figure, I lure an Archer into the woods hoping to dispatch him quickly out of sight of his friends.  However, the unlucky Cromwell, fumbles his attack, and the Guard Archer knifes him in the gut, dropping him.  Firefly the Rogue does better, wounding the Archer, but the enemy is still alive at the end of my phase, and in the following Creature phase the Orc screams out in panic for help from his friends.  

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The call of alarm soon brings all the Guards running towards me.  I put up a valiant defense, but the numbers were against me, and one by one my figures fell.  (Post game, Cromwell rolled a 2 on the Injury and Death table, and was D-E-A-D.  Not surprising given his unlucky performance in the first two outings.  May Ranger was Badly Wounded, and Firefly was fine.)

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Rob's group seeing what was happening rushed to relieve the pressure on me, but it was too little too late.  Then they soon found themselves the target as the Orcs finished with me and raced towards them.  More randomly appeared in camp, and poured across the bridge.

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One by one Rob was able to cut them down, but the turns were passing and we were running out of time.  A final battle happened on the bridge in the next to last turn.  Rob's group was victorious, but we realized he then didn't have the movement to get to the camp to check it out, or get a figure off the table in the one remaining turn.  Then, luckily, we had a random event that a Soldier that has escaped from Tor Varden appears near the camp, and fortunately we were able to have them check out the clue token there, and find the Keys to the watchtower.  This should help us next time.

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Edited by Chris Palmer
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Posted (edited)

It has been an overly busy weekend, but I finally have some time to check and edit the few pictures I took during the most recent two scenarios, last Thursday.

 

From “The Infected Trees”

 

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Corvus checks out the web/cocoon while Marcus, Alanna, and Duke keep a wary eye out for spiders (or whatever else might lurk…).

 

Late in the scenario, our two rescued villagers hobble along behind Corvus, Alanna, and Duke.  The unlucky Cromwell can be seen in the distance:

 

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In the early stages of “The Bridge Guard”, we tried to draw a few of the guard archers out toward us, hoping to get the drop on them.  This led to a tense moment when Marcus, Corvus and Duke crouched behind a rock while an archer stood contemplating the rain, just on the other side:

 

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And, while Chris posted one already, here’s the last desperate rush to cross the bridge, just as the sun was setting:

 

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I need to take a look at the Burning Light campaign, potentially coming up after 5 scenarios, and set up to paint anything we are currently missing…

 

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Edited by Rob Dean
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