Friday, 2 November 2018

Rangers of Shadow Deep Mission 2: The Beacon Tower (Scenario 1: The Bridge Guards)



Rangers of Shadow Deep is available to download now! 
https://www.rpgnow.com/product/257695/Rangers-of-Shadow-Deep-A-Tabletop-Adventure-Game. Here is the first scenario from the second mission...

Hunter whined, pawing the bare soil as his master, Grey Leopard, reached down to calm the bloodhound. He too was tense, for ‘The Scree’; the drab, rocky landscape around Tor Varden; was far removed from their forest home.

And yet it was to Tor Varden that they must travel, for nothing had been heard from the watchtower for several days. With beacons along the whole border mysteriously snuffing out, it was imperative to discover what had happened.

The ranger led his companions through the winding maze of ravines towards the river he knew they had to cross to reach the tower. It took all of is navigational skills to find his way to the Enthel valley and he was heartened to hear the sound of rushing water up ahead.

But there was another sound. No wonder Hunter was so on edge, for a few yards ahead, as if someone had taught a dog to talk, things were grunting and yapping in a mockery of language. Ned, the ranger’s old archer friend, stiffened.

“By the Gods I thought I’d never hear that accursed tongue again!” he whispered. “Gnolls, and plenty of them!”

(Note: This is a playtest of the draft document. Rules and scenarios in the finished publication may differ)


And so on to the first scenario of the next mission. To reach Tor Varden our hero must cross the Enthel River, but a party of evil gnolls from the Shadow Deep had set up camp at the only crossing point. Luckily, the labyrinth of rocks and boulders that borders the river offered plenty of cover for our heroes to approach unseen.


Patrolling along the river, the gnolls were led by a formidable sergeant, who commanded a number of warriors and archers. Their camp contained a clue marker and a treasure token. The initial objective was to use the cover of the rocky landscape to pick off as many of the gnolls as possible (thus gaining +4 to any attack roll) without alerting their comrades and raising the general alarm (after which the bonus was lost).


The warband cautiously approached the crossing, using the rocky walls to stay out of sight, Initial navigation and stealth tests were passed, allowing me to move our heroes into an advantageous position and have a lone gnoll wander into an ambush. Out of sight, the creature was peppered with arrows while his fellows stood guard unawares.


A random event card brought some reinforcements in the form of a member of the garrison at Tor Varden. Appearing on the other side of the river, this man-at-arms wisely decided to stay out of sight, lest he raise the alarm.


The gnolls continued their patrol, with one of them inadvertently moving into view of our heroes, but out of sight of his comrades (another successful stealth roll). Grey Leopard aimed his bow and fired, cutting it down.


Our heroes slowly moved forward, trying to maintain the element of surprise. However the powerful gnoll sergeant, no doubt wondering where his mates had got to, decided to poke around the rocks (random movement during the creature phase) and stumbled upon our gallant band! Wasting no time, Grey Leopard and his friends launched a group attack.


The alarm was finally raised! The gnolls scrambled for their weapons as behind their camp on the other side of the river, the surviving soldier decided to launch a diversionary attack.


The battle ebbed and flowed along the approaches to the river. The gnoll sergeant was quickly overpowered by Grey Leopard and his friends, but further along the riverbank, his faithful man-at-arms Ulf was having difficulty in defeating a gnoll fighter, which had dodged an arrow from Ned the archer.


Suddenly another survivor from Tor Varden appeared and joined the fray! (A slight mistake here, as I should have discarded the random event card, as it had already spawned one survivor). However he was quickly slain by a gnoll fighter.


Now organised, the gnolls began to close in and the element of surprise had been lost, forfeiting the +4 attack bonus. A gnoll archer was dispatched by the combined efforts of Ungarra the swordswoman, Blackwing and Hunter. However Hunter was taken out in the process.


Another gnoll bowman was lurking nearby – it took aim and poor Blackwing was shot out of the sky in a cloud of feathers. Meanwhile Grey Leopard was directing proceedings and shooting at any gnoll he could see. In doing so he stumbled upon a booby trap hidden among the rocks (a random event card). Luckily he was perceptive enough to spot the danger and avoided setting it off (perception test passed).


Our heroic ranger advanced towards the bridge, shooting one of the gnolls guarding the camp on the other side. Meanwhile the two rogues, Sneaks and Stabbs, had been working their way unnoticed along the right flank, and seizing their moment, attacked a gnoll by the riverbank.


Our heroes converged on the bridge, slaying gnolls left, right and centre. Having seen off several of the creatures, the surviving Tor Varden soldier made his way to their camp, digging through their filthy belongings to locate the clue marker. A clink of metal alerted him to something and, after passing an armament test; he recognised the keys to Tor Varden watchtower!


By now the entire gnoll patrol had been destroyed by our brave warband, allowing Grey Leopard to reach the treasure token. Hidden among the gnolls’ rags was a glittering magical two-handed weapon! Alas no-one in the party was trained to use such a thing, and so it was reluctantly discarded.


Our gallant warband had forced passage over the river and gained the keys to Tor Varden to boot. Alas hunter the hound was badly injured and would have to miss the next game, but taking his place was the grizzled survivor of Tor Varden – and it was this tower that now loomed before them, ominously silent in the swirling mist…