"Down here Mistress.”
Aeon Flixx, Chronomancer, ducked as she followed the squat form of the newly-hired tunnel fighter through a cleft in the rock. The fellow may have been short and stocky, but in these claustrophobic tunnels he was in his natural environment.
He paused, keen eyes scanning the crumbling tunnel ahead.
“Yes, this way Mistress.”
He continued forwards, effortlessly weaving between the piles of debris and filth that littered the tunnel floor. Aeon followed as best she could while behind her, Brunhilde the apprentice cursed, swore and tripped as she forced her lumbering frame past the obstacles.
“Damn this – begging your pardon Mistress – accursed hole!”
“Nearly there dear,” Aeon whispered, “soon we’ll find what we’re after.”
The tunnel opened up into a larger space. Water dripped from the dark ceiling onto fragments of old mosaic, the tiny tiles crumbling as they trod on them. The tunnel fighter stopped and listened.
“I hear others Mistress. People, not monsters…”
Aeon sighed wearily. “That troublesome Illusionist again no doubt. Very well, let us see what’s to be done…”
And so we reached the last scenario of the expansion, the eponymous Breeding Pit! This was another scenario where no random monsters were rolled for when treasure was taken, but instead they were rolled for at the end of each turn. What horrors awaited us?
A slight rearrangement of the previous set-up to represent the long-lost laboratories of the legendary Beatcrafters. This was an important game, for post-game, one treasure could be exchanged for the fabled Book of the Beastcrafter – the first step in mastering such ancient knowledge…
Aeon’s warband fanned out from their entrance. Aeon took the right flank, down which the other end of the board could be faintly made out. Brunhilde took the centre while Grey Leopard the Captain held the left.
Shazzam! and his bunch of reprobates deployed diagonally opposite, splitting his force into two. With the reveal secret spell in his repertoire, he had at least one easy treasure in front of him.
Aeon led her team down the right flank, sending a thief forward towards a treasure token whilst casting wizard eye into the gloom ahead, covering the treasure that glinted there in the shadows.
Brunhilde’s team approached the central chamber, but a slithering sound behind them caused them to pause. Hidden behind a wall, an Ampilpede scuttled out of a drain and headed towards them. The denizens of the Breeding Pits were stirring.
Both warbands jockeyed for position, heading for treasures but generally avoiding each other. Brunhilde sent a thug and the warhound back to attack the Amplipede, but the creature bit back and slew the thug! At the other end of the board, another beast roared – a white gorilla no less…
Grey Leopard the captain followed the tunnel fighter into the central chamber. Through an archway he could just about make out Shazzam’s pointy yellow hat. The sellsword drew his bow and fired… Down went the wizard!
As the opposition reeled from this blow, their problems were confounded by the arrival of another Amplipede, which had crawled out from under some rocks.
The enemy treasure hunter paired up with a thug to claim a treasure chest. Unfortunately this happened right under the gaze of Aeon’s wizard eye. One elemental bolt later and the treasure hunter was zapped.
Brunhilde continued to move forward in the centre, despite the slithering Amplipede somewhere behind her. She also cast wizard eye to cover her advance. (Yes, I still have to make another wizard eye marker!)
The Amplipede, having had it’s fill of thug burger, decided to try warhound sausages instead. This little beastie was proving to be one tough cookie… However this little hiccup aside, I was doing rather well, rolling more 20’s than was decent.
More creatures loped into the arena behind the wizard formerly known as Shazzam’s warband – this time a Gnoll templar and thug. One of the opposing thugs (having dodged a mind control spell, the scroll of which Aeon had been saving for just such an occurance) decided to nab the loot dropped by his treasure hunter comrade, only to step on some caltrops, reducing his movement.
On the right flank, the limping thug attempted to haul away the treasure, only to be confronted by Grey Leopard. Meanwhile the Illusionist apprentice foolishly stepped into the gaze of Aeon’s wizard eye and paid for his impertinence.
With their tails up, Aeon’s warband pressed forward, taking the fight to the beleaguered and now leaderless opposition. The tunnel fighter quickly dispatched the enemy warhound, covered by an archer.
Meanwhile Grey Leopard took on the crippled thug and, kind chap that he is, relieved him of his burden. With their masters stricken and wandering monsters lurking around them, the opposing warband decided to withdraw from the field, leaving it, and four treasures, to Aeon Flixx.
This was a very quick game as the Dice Gods were very much in my favour (as evidenced by Giles' report at https://thelostcityofcarcosa.com/2018/05/23/fg-the-breeding-pit/). As such the wandering monsters didn’t really get the time to pose much of a threat, which is something to be thankful for! The Dice Gods were less kind to Giles, so fair do’s to him for wanting to play another game, rather than sulking and packing away his toys, which is what I usually do when I roll poorly!
“What I don’t understand Mistress, is, with all the mysteries of the Beastcrafters laid bare before us, why didn’t we plunder their knowledge for ourselves?”
Aeon sat back in her armchair and studied her apprentice’s enquiring face. Detecting not a speck of artifice, she smiled.
“Beastcrafting is powerful magic – perhaps too powerful. When it came down to it, I decided that meddling with the laws of nature in such a way… Well, let’s just say I don’t think the end really justifies the means… And besides, are fangs, claws and the ability to lick your own genitals really a good look?”
She reached for the wine bottle and poured herself another generous measure.
“Fear not though. We have earned a pretty pile this day. Now drink up dear, for tomorrow we must go down the pits for one last time.” She drained her glass. “Time being of the essence…”