9) Square (a)

We’re back in town, Exile is boring and uncomfortable.

This time we use the Power of Foreknowledge and actually have a *gasp* STRATEGY!

Scenario 11

Goal: Kill the Commander

Team: Cragheart (lvl 4), Elementalist (lvl 3), Mindthief (lvl 4), Spellweaver (lvl 4)

Difficulty: 2

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Here we go again!

First room, we all attack the Elite Archer and ignore the guards.

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The Mindthief’s stench is so FOUL that he’s the least likely to be attacked

The Mindthief’s psychic powers convince the Cragheart that he’s not, despite contrary evidence, a plodding rock-person, and he moves all the way to the next room. That obviously takes the garrison by surprise – its much more lightly-defended than in our previous attempt.

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Mindthief: “Fly Craggy, fly!”
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Guard: “What was that? Must’ve been the wind…”

I kill one normal archer with a well-placed (2x) manabolt. The Elementalist kills an Elite with a ranged attack of his.

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One round later and we’re all re-grouped at the fountain’s room (or is that the eponymous square?). I ride the wind and freeze nova 2 archers. Next is our only hassle of the scenario as the archers pick a 2 targets deck card, severely wounding both me and the Mindthief with their ranged attacks.

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Meanwhile the guards choose the safety of numbers against the remaining Living Bones.
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Notice the nice wall of stone. Creation of the Cragheart to further slow down our foes.
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Commander: “WTF! You again!? Guards, to me!”
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Guards: “Comin’ Boss” *move -1*
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That’s what we call CORNERED!
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DEATH by RATS! Gruesome…

Blissful Victory!

Sweet Revenge!

  • As much as we were far removed from success in our previous attempt, now it was truly a walk in the park (and not because of medium difficulty)
  • We used and abused a perfectly legal (but strange) game mechanic whereas enemies don’t appear if there is no more available minis
  • I was pretty useless with my SW apart from giving elements to the Elementalist from time to time
  • The Cragheart led the charge and implemented efficiently our plan
  • The Mindthief did really good damage against the Boss

Session 12 – Terrible Mandibles

Characters

  • Lucky, Half-Elf Cleric of Tymora (Trickery), Street Urchin; the lowly will be exalted
  • Shin, Tabaxi Fighter (Arcane Archer), Outlander; big-game hunter, has no patience for weakness
  • Corpos, High Elf Wizard (Necromancer), Archeologist; antiquary, strange fixation on the undead
  • Kalohan, High Elf Wizard (Evoker), Inheritor; noble Elf, ill-suited for adventuring life
  • Phileas, Half-Elf Bard (College of Swords), Archeologist; “it’s not tomb-robbing if you do it respectfully”
  • Goro-Tso, Human NPC (Berserker template), Mercenary, devotee of Malar; bought by promises of gold and tej, have yet to see much of either

I had a cold and was dead-tired but it was still a worthwhile session, if a little of the filling sort. Guillaume had to look after his baby son (the joy of parenthood!) but he managed to join us halfway in the session.

Spider Riders (1)

The previous session the PCs had a fight against a small patrol from the Canopy Drummers (batiri goblins)  and had emerged victorious. They had then tried to put some distance before nightfall, between themselves and their goblin foes, and had crossed into another tribe’s territory. This, apparently did not suffice to deter pursuit, or at least, from some fast-moving skirmishers: Spider Riders.

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An Insect (spider) Swarm descended from the trees upon the poor, terrified Kalohan, while 3 Spider Riders moved to attack the PCs from a distance. Shin, quick to assert the main threat, let loose 2 magically-charged shadow arrows, killing the leader of the skirmishers, a goblin wearing a weird spider hat. The cleric of Tymora and the Elf wizard blasted to bits the Spider Swarm with magic bolts and divine fire while the bard tried in vain some mind trick on a Giant (medium) Spider.

The 2 remaining spiders failed to catch anybody with their webs. The goblins threw venom-dripping javelins and one downed Kalohan and the other wounded Philleas. However, the adventurers still clearly had the advantage after these first exchanges and they finished the skirmishers despite their annoying shoot-and-hide tactic.

A few antitoxin vials and healing spells from the cleric later and the PCs were ready to go.

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Jason’s character is now wearing this, on his head… The start of a new trend?

The Mantis Warrior

On top of a huge fallen tree stood a Giant Mantis, eerily still (2). Already upset with her recent encounter with giant spiders, Kalohan immediately hurled a fire bolt at the thing. The Giant Mantis dashed towards the PCs but their combined attacks forced its transformation into its true form, that of a disgusted-looking goblin shaman. The latter didn’t wasted time and transformed back into his more threatening Mantis shape and attacked savagely Philleas with spiked forelegs and bite.

The Mantis Warrior proved to be a worthy adversary but he was alone against 4. His wild shape once again used up, he tried to flee but the adventurers shot him in the back

Should have killed that dude the first time

Later the same night, the PCs were alerted by some ruckus, something was approaching. In fact, it was Corpos and Goro-Tso, running away from a pack of ghouls (3). Scavo, the ghoul they’d freed earlier, told them that he wasn’t such a big fan of goblin flesh after all…

The 5 ghouls caught up with the 2 they were pursuing, but the cleric of Tymora intervened and his Turn Undead sent 3 of them sprinting wildly the way they came. The PCs had no intention to let them flee however, they used their always efficient ranged attacks to mow down the flesh-eating monsters.

Scavo attempted a pathetic plea for mercy (yet again) and Philleas the bard responded: “indeed, I know, I totally agree, it’s just a big misunderstanding”, then he lopped the ghoul’s head off…

A Giggle in the Dark

Now near exhaustion from back-to-back fights, the PCs  saw goblin scribblings on the trees that Lucky deciphered as a warning to Batiri, that further ahead laid a dangerous area. That certainly posed a conundrum, it would mean a place away from the goblins but at what risk? What if whatever it was that rendered this area dangerous for the goblins proved too lethal for the depleted adventurers? They tried their luck.

But what was that they heard? A giggle? (4)

They were fortunate to have stumbled (5) in a friendly, somewhat over excited dryad’s territory. After some chatter to satisfy the social-starved fey, the PCs could finally have a decent rest. Next day, after offering them a delicious breakfast of berries and nectar, the dryad asked if they could solve a problem of hers: a burrowing monster was damaging the nearby trees’ roots to her great dismay. She had gifts for them if they would be so kind…

Acid-Spitting Giant Motherfuckin’ Centipede!

The PCs accepted gladly. Following her advice, they baited the monster with dead animals placed near its lair. The thing did showed itself and combat ensued (6). The well-rested adventurers had many tools at their disposal. The Tabaxi blinded the (Large) Centipede with a special arrow. The beast’s tremorsense couldn’t detect the levitating Kalohan, Shin perched on a branch, nor Corpos and Lucky whom were too far. It left the tough Goro-Tso and nimble Philleas as targets. It did managed to grab the bard between its fearsome mandibles, grievously wounding him, but it soon succumbed under the combined onslaught of its attackers.

The Dryad was overjoyed with this victory and gave the PCs well-crafted bows and magic mu-ngyengyue bracelets.

DM’s Notes

  1. I’m a bit cruel with my arachnophobe sister…
  2. The Mantis Warrior wished to make a deal with the PCs. It just didn’t happen the way I planned!
  3. A player that is late is very often the cause of such a dissonant scene, whereas his character oddly re-appear just like that…
  4. Okay, turns out that  I’m totally inept at giggling! Ha! Ha!
  5. Lenient DM
  6. Took an ankheg from the monster manual and boosted it a little.

 

7) Square (a)

Re-reading the rulebook and checking the FAQs, we now know that we’ve messed up a whole bunch of rules. Among them is the difficulty level. It appears that contrary to what we’d thought, we’re not that good… So, for the time being, very hard is beyond our capacity, as the actual post will make clear..

Scenario 11

Goal: Kill the commander

Team: Cragheart (lvl 4), Elementalist (lvl 2), Mindthief (lvl 4), Spellweaver (lvl 4)

Difficulty: 3

Our short mercenary career have, somehow, led us to side with the merchants in an attempt to overthrow the military rulers of the city of Gloomhaven. That doesn’t sound that bad, does it? That’s until you learn that the leader of our faction is also a necromancer…

Our role is to kill the Commander of the Guard. He has many men at his disposal but we’re not alone on this risky endeavor, undead troops fight on our side! Cannon fodder, yay!

Things starts smoothly, two guards and an elite archer in the first room. One of our lousy Living Bones is killed, and then we wipe the floor with the guards.

Next room: some archers and half a dozen guards. There’s also 2 Living Corpses on our side but they’re immediately cut down by the archers’ arrows. The useless stinking wretches. But here comes the Cragheart, RUTHLESS, he crushes our foes under tons of rocks. Me and our new friend, the Elementalist, finish the survivors.

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The Mindthief, behind, gnawing at a friendly Living Bones

The Elementalist opens next door and… there’s a SHIT TON of folks over there.

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Elementalist: *Uh, guys… Is it too late to defect?”

We do see that the right side is weakly defended and maybe we could dash to the final room? But, oh no, that’s not what we do…

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Cragheart: “I SMASH YOU WITH FOUNTAIN!”
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Commander: “Who the fook are you?”

The Cragheart and Mindthief are exhausted, leaving a wounded Spellweaver and a raw recruit to face the Boss… That dude has 56 hp. We fight ’til the end. It’s mercifully quick in coming.

Bitter Defeat!

That’s a hard blow to our pride…

  • We’ve almost cleaned up the map but it costed us way too much.
  • Both the archers and guards had shield, we had a hard time doing real damage.
  • The Elementalist card “infuse an element/ – 1 to damage” doesn’t look like its worth it.
  • Opening the second door without killing the previous enemies would have meant a less crowded third room.
  • We could have jumped in the fountain, killing the archers while (mostly) protected from the guards.

6) Infernal Throne

Killing the denizens of the Plane of Elemental Power got the attention of their master, the Prime Demon. He offers us a choice, kind-of, we can go retrieve an ancient artifact for him, or we can die…

-Uh… Give us a minute…

The Prime Demon frowns as we get in circle and debate together.

-An artifact!

-Yeah, but I want to kill demons, says the Brute.

-I want to help with that, I say.

-But seriously, demons? Again?

*Collective groan*

-Give me your answer NOW! booms the Prime Demon.

-We choose to die? err…

Scenario 21

Goal: Kill the Prime Demon

Team: Brute (lvl 3), Cragheart (lvl 3), Mindthief (lvl 3), Spellweaver (lvl 3)

Difficulty: 2

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The Prime Demon’s abode is rather modest

So yeah, more demons, even if we’re sick to death of fighting them, but the Brute is really close to accomplishing his Life Goal so we endure…

First room isn’t impressive, with only a Frost and a Sun. Those 2 dead, I open the left door, revealing 2 Wind and 2 Night. The Cragheart opens the other – 2 Earth and 2 Flame in the right. I joyfully hurl Fire Orbs at the demons near me and then we regroup in the first room. The Mindthief and Brute deal with the left while I support the Cragheart with the right.

We’re under pressure, dealing with 8 demons simultaneously, but things aren’t that bad. Except that the Brute tries and tries to finish a Night Demon and it takes an awfully long time before he finally succeeds. I and the Mindthief both had to heal him, as he was really battered.

The two hallways cleared, we got further in the Prime Demon’s abode. The Brute finds His Evilness in a room with a strange altar. The Prime Demon boasts of his invincibility, yadda yadda yadda, but hey, we have some sort of intuition (!) that he’s somehow linked with the altar.

You may be invincible but your stupid altar ain’t!

There’s a twist though, the altar changes location, jumping around clockwise and summoning demons at the same time. Not too inconvenient, as we had cleared the place prior to this. The Brute have the Prime Demon on his back, and that jerk hits hard! So we bash the altar as fast as we can, except the Cragheart who’s too slow, too far, and has his eyes on the treasure anyway.

The Brute and Mindthief get exhausted but the altar is almost destroyed. I’m in good shape but can’t finish the altar as it jumps too far from me. But the Cragheart, sporting a new piece of jewelry, is right there to finish the damn thing, dissolving the Prime Demon at the same time.

Victory!

  • Defeating the demons in both hallways saved us a lot of troubles later on
  • The Brute did good job distracting the Prime Demon
  • We got a LOT of gold for finishing this scenario but that still feels a little underwhelming

5) Plane of Elemental Power

The altar we found in the Ruinous Crypt is, in fact, a portal to the Plane of Elemental Power. We jumped in…

Scenario 10

Team: Brute (lvl 3), Cragheart (lvl 3), Mindthief (lvl 3), Spellweaver (lvl 3)

Goal: Kill everything

Difficulty: 3

Things went smoothly. At first. We cleared the first room in no time.

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Spellweaver: “Impaling Eruption! Piercing Bow! Die Demon Scums!”

Then we got horrendously bogged down.

The elite Sun Demon infused one of his special attack (two targets) and did a 2x damage on me. Shiiiit. I had to lose precious cards to survive. Not good at all. I then jumped inside the second room, invisible, to get out of the way. My three companions were immobilized by the Earth Demons for what seemed like an eternity. From bad to worse.

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Spellweaver: “Arrrggghhh! Should’ve stayed in the back!”

We lost so much resources on the second room that our only chance of success by then, was to try to accelerate things. This meant letting the baddies out of their room while my friends were still busy behind me. Hopefully they’d finish before the next wave. Risky business.

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My best move of the scenario: opening a damn door…

The Sun Demons are very lethal and can heal their allies too. The Earth Demons have simply a ton of hp. But man, it’s the Flame Demons, with their range attacks, retaliate and high shield, that are truly a pain in the ass…

With the lot of them hot on my heels, I fled, with a timely Ride the Wind.

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The Mindthief, valiantly distracting a Flame Demon

Me and the Brute got exhausted soon after but we’d managed to cull down the demons. The odds still weren’t favorable.

The Mindthief did a supreme effort before depleting his cards too.

One last demon, the worst of their kind: an elite Flame…

But, hey, we still had the Cragheart! I think he shoveled sand over it or something. Anyway, he doused it for good…

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Not so FIERY now, are you!

Victory!

Damn that was close!

  • Back in town, we unlocked the Sanctuary of the Oak achievement
  • after many scenarios that felt like a walk in the park, this one stands in stark contrast…
  • no treasure for us this time

4) Ruinous Crypt

Back to our own brand of persecution – against the Gloomy Cultists (or whatever they call themselves). We had previously cleansed the Crypt of the Damned, now it’s turn to the:

Ruinous Crypt

(set difficulty: medium)

This time, the cultists seem more ready to fend off invaders. Both me and the Mindthief are the targets of some dark power preventing us to attack for a while. Fortunately, I still can call my Mystic Ally to join the fray. Meanwhile, the cultists are rapidly cut down by the Brute and Cragheart but the 2 Night Demons are craftier creatures, they turn invisible!

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Feel our gloomy poweeeeer err, *cough *cough

But this is just a delay on the inevitable. We then split the party in two and open the doors both sides. Such is our confidence at this point.

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Oh, nice, a frosty for my collection!

More demons (Frost and Flame), and some living bones. The Brute have a personnal vendetta against the demons and he tries his best to kill as many as he can. The crypt is cleansed without much sweat.

Victory!

  • The first room took a lot longer than we’re used but we still kept most of our ressources
  • The Brute now had killed 4 ou the 6 demonkind to accomplish is Life Goal (Night Demons are troublesome to him)

3) Diamond Mine

So our shady employer had witheld information from us, who would’ve thought, and we ended up killing babies in their cradles. Shit happens. We got paid (well paid, but the guilt!) and now, of course, she wants to hire us again, this time to raid a diamond mine and kill its vermling workers.

-Go to hell! I said.

-No! We want this, said the Mindthief.

-We do?

-I want to kill vermlings.

-But… Aren’t you a vermling?

Sooooo?

-Uh, nevermind, I guess we’ll go kill vermlings…

Diamond Mine

(set difficulty: hard)

The entry is guarded by 5 hounds, we’re kind of talking about how to tackle them but the damn dogs don’t care to wait for us… They are FAST!

But still, we kill them and the Minthief opens the door to the mine proper.

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Yikes! That’s a lot of rats!

And… is promptly overwhelmed. The vermlings are mobile and numerous and their Overseer is intimidating  (his own attack his moduled by the number of minions he has, a whopping 10 for now).

That’s when me and the Cragheart came up with a PLAN!

-What are you doing?

-I’m putting spikes on myself.

-Oh… Do you want more spikes?

– *grins*

And that’s how a rocky, spiky Cragheart IMPALED a whole horde of vermlings (almost) all by himself.

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Come my lil’ ratling. Come join the big pile of pennies!

With his workers dead, the Overseer did not look so fearsome. At all.

 

We clowned around a little then snuff the life out of his pathetic existence.

 

Victory!

  • The hounds beat my best initiative card.
  • Even the elite vermlings were squishy with 5 hp, so our retaliate tactic proved absolutely lethal
  • Sadly, that kind of undercut the Life Goal of the Mindthief but he wasn’t very much in combat shape by then.