Monday, 28 November 2016

Thaddeus and the Luckless Library


Oddleigh shivered as the driving rain bounced of the demon’s huge wings. It stopped and pointed at a nondescript wooden door, half obscured by rubble.

“Here.”

It’s thick voice echoed greasily through the ruins, deep, dark and completely in tune with the thunder that rumbled in the black clouds above them.

“Good, very good.”

Between the folds of his tightened hood, Oddleigh studied his master: he was staring at the demon, oblivious to the downpour, with a mix of reverence and almost paternal pride. Thaddeus turned to the warband and beamed.

“Here we are – one of Felstad’s greatest libraries. Let us enter!”

The summoner practically skipped behind the demon as it moved forward and wrenched the door open. Oddleigh jumped as a peal of thunder, much louder than before, boomed and rattled the stonework. He shuddered, failing to understand his master’s optimism.

As Halfinch the Hobbit thief scampered through the aperture, he caught hold of his cloak.

“Is it me, or doesn’t this bode well…?”

Got a few more games in with Giles over the weekend. First off The Library.

I got off to an encouraging start – using the new summoning rules from Forgotten Pacts Thaddeus managed to summon a major demon pre-game, as well as brewing some choice potions.

Opposite, the Enchantress Lady Catherine led her band into the fray. With her reveal secret spell successfully cast, there was treasure aplenty, including a couple of choice pieces in the centre of the table.

As Thaddeus’ team split up. Leaving the easier pickings on the flanks to the underlings, my big-hitters, led by the demon and my captain, delved further into the musty depths. Would Red Sandra prove her worth this time?

As the central thrust closed in, their way was blocked by some conjured up walls. In order to free up someone from treasure carrying duty, Thaddeus tried to raise a zombie, but alas failed the roll.

Oddleigh did however manage to conjure up another wall to similarly impede the enemy and tried to lead his group around the obstacles.

On the far right flank, Halfinch ran forward to claim an easy treasure. All he had to do was lug it back – no problem.

Thaddeus was keen for his heavy hitters to get at the enemy. Knowing full well how his opponent liked to cower behind walls, he had brought a dispel scroll, looted during a previous game, and cast it, opening up the way a little.

But something was amiss… All this treasure hunting had attracted the attention of a hungry bear, which wandered into the library through the door Thaddeus had just used! Gog the barbarian was duly dispatched to send it packing – a bare behind vs. a bear behind!

Things heated up in the centre – peering around the magic walls, Thaddeus lost bosh infantrymen to enemy bowmen. Oddleigh bone-darted their warhound in reply.

Time to even the score. Thaddeus aimed a bone dart at the enemy captain – an easy target in all that orange – he hit, but buffed up with a massive 15 armour, no damage was done. Meanwhile the barbarian squared up to the bear, only to roll low on the attack and fall beneath it’s claws! Turning about face, one of my crossbowmen attempted to shoot down the bear, but also failed dismally!

I didn’t want to lose another soldier to the bear, so said crossbowman was leapt out of the beast’s line of sight. Suddenly, all magical walls shimmered out of existence – the way was open! Time to take out that OP captain. Luckily Thaddeus had recently learned the blinding light spell and cast it at his target (draining a lot of health to get it to work – another poor dice roll).

The spell struck, leaving the enemy captain floundering. Red Sandra, my own captain, piled in, while by my knight and warhound headed for a supporting archer.

Another crappy roll – warhound went down to the archer’s dagger! Red Sandra struck Orangey, but, now recovered from the blinding light, he countered, wounding her.

The demon clawed an enemy archer into ribbons, allowing it to move on the stricken captain. Could the knight follow suit?

Um, no… Yet another low combat roll saw Sir Pierre bite the dust. I was forced to pull the wounded captain back for some healing spells and rely on my demon.

I was definitely losing heart by now – there’s nothing you can do when you’re rolling low but get the hell out. What treasures I have gained are slowly being dragged to the nearest viable exit.

But what’s this? Suddenly a wall sprang up, barring the exit to my left. A low blow from ‘Lady’ Catherine. (N.B. we both forgot that there’s a 6” limit on casting the wall spell, so technically this shouldn’t have happened).

Another crappy roll and the demon was slain. I was rolling more and more 1’s and resisting the urge to fling my dice out of the window.

Red Sandra went in for another go and… well it’s all getting rather predictable now isn’t it? Another wall blocks another exit – kick a wizard while he's down why don't you? (N.B. by now Giles had cast so many walls that we had to use bits of scenery from unoccupied sections of the board!)

Nothing positive would come of this day, so Thaddeus and Oddleigh led the retreat, trying to discourage pursuit with a wall spell.

As a delaying tactic the warband had managed to evade the bear, which spotted Orangey and went for him instead. However the creature didn’t delay for long.

So, as the rest of the band tried to find an unblocked exit, Orangey’s attention was held by slashing through a couple of conjured up imps. Eventually the survivors managed to make their way out of the library. Four treasures had been taken, but at the cost of several members of the warband – most of which failed their survival rolls – of course.

So what promised to be a fun game quickly degenerated into a crap-fest for me.  Blocking the exits was a sneaky, and it turned out, ‘illegal’ move, but it served only to prolong the game as my worst enemy was by far the dice.

Use of captains was also an experience – I’ve only fielded Red Sandra once before, and she didn’t do much, whereas Giles’ captain has several games under his belt, and turned out to be a real tank – someone to be avoided I think. By the way, Giles' less depressing version of events is on his blog (part 1 and part 2)

Luckily any pain felt was tempered somewhat by the treasure rolls, and I earned enough experience to learn a spell that, though harmful to the caster, would hopefully deal with those irritating walls in the future…