Descent–Labyrinth of Ruin Campaign
Let the Truth be Buried, Part One
After a long hiatus due to the birth of my daughter, we finally got back to the table to continue our Descent: Labyrinth of Ruin campaign last night. We had a full table, including newcomer Stef, “The Doctor of Broken Hearts.” He’s a non-gamer, but a very old friend of mine, so it was nice to have him over, and he was a good sport, and, frankly, did better with Raythen than Alex’s last outing with the ally.
I had selected Let the Truth be Buried for our quest, as it seemed to be both beneficial to the heroes as well as interesting in play. M picked Volucrix reavers for her open group. I think it was a very good choice, as the win conditions for the heroes necessitate eliminating all of these monsters, and the reavers have both numbers and strength on their side. Plus, as Stef put it, “those guys look scary.” Yeah, yeah they do. We did have a bit of a rules discussion early on, trying to figure out the purpose of the master reaver’s “Ravage” ability when “Skirmish,” seems to serve the same purpose, but after a quick jaunt online, it seems that Ravage gives the master reaver the ability to attack twice even is skirmish is somehow disabled through Cursed or another game effect. It seems a bit weak, but these guys are still a headache.
Our two goals being to defeat Splig and destroy the reavers, we sent Jain and Tarha down the corridor towards the zombies and reavers, and left Avric and Synd to rush Splig and his accompanying goblins. Raythen gave us an early head-start on treasure, granting us the Treasure Chest card on the first turn with his Sharp Eyes ability. The Helmet of Dusk or some such item was drawn, and Jon equipped it for Syndrael, granting her +1 to all of her attributes. Nice.
Maranda’s goblin archers proved a tough group, and they showered Syndrael with arrows, the master archer finally dropping the knight in the first turn. Ouch! This was definitely one of the best beginnings M has had in a quest, and we were now very worried and fearful of her Act 2 monsters, as we were still using only Act 1 equipment.
M continued to hammer away at our tanks, even as Tarha and Jain fought their way through the zombies and reavers. I believe Avric also dropped a reaver, but he, also, was defeated. I think Rick spent most of his turns healing himself and Syndrael, with some occasional attacks interspersed.
M seemed to be having some trouble getting Splig into a good position to move the chain, but she was able to defend him rather well, consistently putting him out of reach of our melee attackers, putting the chain in their way, and surrounding him with goblins so that he could use his Not Me ability.
I sent Jain up ahead toward the last Reaver, using her Heroic Feat to run up to him and fire on him point blank.
Tarha ran away from the zombies attempting to engage her to try to get back to the main battle with Splig and the Goblins. Jain eventually made her way across the bridge and rained arrows down on Splig, bringing him 1 point away from defeat, but her second attack that round, sadly, missed, and Jon, who had been rolling X’s (as well as crappy defence and other rolls) all night, finally redeemed himself and took down the King of All Goblins, giving us the win.
Slight Misplay: Jain must exhaust her Bow Mastery card in order to gain an additional surge on her attacks, meaning she can only gain one extra surge per turn. I believe this only came up once, as typically she rolled an X during one of her attacks each round.
Another Slight Misplay: Yes, Jon DID have “Guard,” the class ability that gives him attacks of opportunity, so he likely missed a few chances to deal damage to nearby monsters.
Of course, we forgot about Splig’s Not Me! ability quite a few times early on, and we also did not realize that drinking potions does not count as an action, so there were certainly some missed chances to heal up stamina and health here and there.
The biggest misplay, I think, was M’s who did not realize that it did not take an action to “whip” the chain at the end of each turn. I think had she done this effectively a few times, she may have defeated Synd and Avric once more each. There was also some confusion over whether a hero should take damage when the chain end was moved out from beneath them, but I believe this only happened once before I caught on and clarified.
As this session ran overly long, we could only finish the first Encounter of this Quest. It was a nice win for us, but I think the heroes are still nervous about the next Encounter, as we are in a sad state right now health-wise, and we are not thrilled with the special Falling rules of the next encounter. We do always seem to pull out victories despite the challenges before us, but I’m sure M is hungry for a win of her own at this point, and I think that could present a real turning point for her, allowing her to choose future quests as well as giving her additional Overlord XP’s.
I will say that M seemed to play very well tonight, plotting monster placement to block movement and line of sight, and using cards whenever advantageous. I did regret not being able to use Jain’s ability to trash one of her OL cards, but this game always does a great job of making you think very hard about your actions each turn and what you really have time to do. M also did well to continually hammer away at the perceived weakest character, forcing Avric to constantly heal us or forcing us to stay close to him to utilize his healing aura. Which is what he’s there for, of course.
Jon did a nice job, as well, of getting Syndrael right the heck in the way of Splig and his chain, but Maranda countered by “falling back” with Splig for a turn or two, effectively hiding behind the chain and goblins while waiting for the monsters to defeat or move her obstructions. Eventually, of course, the goblin king had to emerge, and we had the hard task of killing him even as he displaced attacks to his henchmen a great deal of the time.
This encounter was also interesting as it was one of the first in which Tarha did not seem to be the key player for us. I think she needs a new rune to match the power level of the new Act 2 monsters, though Blast and the Sun Stone are still nice power boosts to her original Arcane Bolt. I know I’m also anxious to get Jain the Bow of the Eclipse, as her newly purchased Bow of Bone is already showing its weakness; not being able to get the additional green die once Jain has moved is very restrictive. Syndrael also could use a serious weapon and armour upgrade. Luckily , we were able to grab all four treasure tokens. If we can pull of a victory in the next encounter, we’ll have another 300gp to add to our stash and buy more gear.
I’ll admit I was exhausted and ready for the game to be over when it ended, even as I was disappointed that we only got through the single encounter. (Oh, StB– I was wrong– the last quest we played, Interlude: Fortune and Glory, WAS 2 parts.) Just the same, I woke up this morning jouncing for another session, so hopefully with the summer coming up, we’ll be able to finish up this quest and carry on with the campaign quickly and consistently. Hard to believe that it’s been about a YEAR since we began, but that’s adulthood for you. So many games, so little time.