Monday, 24 September 2018

Aeon Flixx and the Hairy Horde

It had taken many weeks for the effects of Aeon’s meddling to be felt along her personal timeline, but eventually her memories changed.

No longer had a demonic entity broken through the containment field to wreak destruction upon her people. Instead something else had happened.
People began to change…

Scientists, engineers, researchers; all began to mutate into horrific insect-like creatures. It was they who descended on the populace and forced the Chronomancer to flee back into the past.
She shivered as she remembered launching the time capsule, seconds before the chittering tide engulfed the laboratory. As she faded from the present, all she could hear were the maddened voices screeching the name of their new master…

And now, as she struggled in the past to change the future, the same name was being chanted by the horde of barbarian tribesmen that infested the northern temple complexes of Felstad that Aeon Flixx was forced to explore: “Tiszirain! Tiszirain! TISZIRAIN!”

After a long break from gaming, I managed to get a spare day to meet up with Giles and continue through the Forgotten Pacts expansion. This time it’s part 1 of a 3 part scenario – Enemies Without Number. The table was set up the night before by my 9 year-old nephew. Three treasure tokens each were placed, next to which stood a barbarian berserker. Each time a berserker was killed, two more would take it’s place on random board edges.

Aeon Flixx the Chronomancer deployed along one table edge, having successfully cast Reveal Secret. This practically guaranteed her at least one treasure, but what of the rest of the loot? Would she be able to escape the barbaric tide?

Illusionist Shazzam! and his band deployed opposite. He had also cast Reveal Secret, as well as Fool’s Gold. After playing a few games at our mate Alan’s, Giles’ wizard was about 10 levels higher than mine.

Winning the initiative roll, Shazzam’s band advanced to take on the barbarians and steal the treasure they guarded. Mobbing one such fellow, a templar swung his weapon, only for the berserker to strike back, fatally! (Rolling for the berserker I got a 20!)

Undaunted, and still outnumbering the berserker, the tunnel fighter took his turn… Yes, I rolled another 20! The soldier went down, cursing his luck. (Dice placed in the above 2 photos for dramatic effect).

Aeon’s turn came, with her demon slayer and warhound immediately sought out the nearest berserker, only for him to slay the hound. They breed ‘em tough in these parts! Meanwhile Aeon cast Telekinesis to bring some treasure closer her way.

Brunhilde the apprentice moved up with the thieves, casting Telekinesis (learned from a bought grimoire after the previous game) to drag some treasure into their hands.

The opposition was also grabbing more treasure by Mind Controlling a berserker and having him drag some loot down from a ruined building.

Giles’ turn to get a 20! My demon hunter was slain by a berserker as a thief looked nervously on. Once again the opposing warband was more adept at getting to the treasure than mine.

Atop a creaking wooden walkway, the enemy captain and his chum fought off another berserker to get to the loot. The barbarian was pushed off the walkway, landing unharmed and perilously close to Shazzam’s apprentice Marvo.

The pesky berserker that had critted two of the Illusionist’s band was now Mind Controlled and tasked to pick up treasure, but another barbarian was charging into the fray.

Each dead berserker brought on two more. Worryingly, one such warrior wandered on right behind Aeon! She had retreated behind cover to launch off a few Elemental Bolts but was now caught off-guard.

More berserkers were infiltrating the field on other table edges, one such brute accompanied by a zombie, which had been attracted by the presence of tasty wizard flesh. This pairing was uncomfortably close to my captain and his thug comrade, but seemed happy enough randomly wandering around the board edge.

The fallen berserker fought Marvo and his chums, dispatching a treasure hunter and wounding a ranger before being felled by the apprentice.

Aeon’s captain Grey Leopard shot and wounded a berserker who was guarding another treasure token. Apart from the occasional pot-shot, both warbands had their hands full with the barbarians to bother each other too much.

Aeon fought the berserker sneaking up behind her and was wounded for her trouble. The only nearby assistance was in the shape of the apothecary and an archer atop a nearby ruin.

Shazzam and his cronies put paid to another berserker. Luckily for him, the barbarians he and his apprentice had under their control were mostly failing their will rolls and staying under their influence.

Thankfully Aeon survived the wrath of the berserker with the help of the apothecary and archer. It was a close-run thing though!

Grey Leopard and his chum took on a pair of berserkers and won, leaving a treasure ripe for the taking but also unleashing four more barbarians into the battle.

Many of these were arriving on my left flank. Most of the time they were out of sight and moved randomly along the board edge, but it was only a matter of time before they would spot someone and come charging in…

Other berserkers were arriving behind Shazzam’s band. By now I had run out of berserker models and was using Bugbear minis too (giving them berserker stats of course).

Brunhilde kept wisely under cover, blasting berserkers with Elemental Bolt, while above her an archer peppered the brutes with arrows.

By now Giles’ crew had picked up a fine haul of treasure and was more occupied with whittling down the ever-increasing horde behind them.

Speaking of which, more berserkers were charging into the fray behind Aeon! Her gallant apothecary protector was soon battered into the ground.

Some of the barbarians milling around my left flank had also gotten into gear, attacking and defeating Grey Leopard, whose chum had left him to pick up the treasure.

Once again the archer was called upon to protect the wounded Chronomancer. Barbarian berserkers were pouring in from all sides by now and it was time for Aeon tocast Fleet Feet and withdraw with whatever treasure she had found.

But not before shooting some of the brutes in revenge! Could the last unclaimed treasure be grabbed before the withdrawal became a rout?

No. The brave thug had originally picked it up, but had to drop it again in the face of the barbaric onslaught. He didn’t last very long alas.

Time then for the survivors to get the hell out of there! It was a fantastic game with lots of thrills and spills. The ever-growing barbarian horde was a force to be reckoned with, especially when they appeared behind you!

In the end, Giles got four treasures to my three, earning him the win. Aeon’s warband had been decimated, but thankfully, while I had a lot of injury rolls to make, only the warhound perished. A mere trifle to hire a new one, which is just as well as my treasure rolls were rubbish!

The inn resounded to the groans of the wounded as the apothecary painfully made his rounds among them. Aeon, herself wounded in the battle, stiffly eased herself into her armchair and poured herself a generous measure of wine.

“Did you hear them my dear? The barbarians? Did you hear what they chanted?”

“Aye ma’am.” Brunhilde sat awkwardly opposite, her face grave. “The name of the demon we must face.”

“Indeed. It seems this one commands a veritable battalion.” She glanced at where the demon hunter was having her cuts bandaged. “Let us hope we can stop it in time before it commands an army…”

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