Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Aeon Flixx and the Telescopes of Terror (featuring the Sinister Stones)

A lifeless plain rendered black by a void-riven sky; a vast sea of sand dunes blasted by merciless suns; a cyclopean cave, made crazy by a cavalcade of luminous insects; a huge, shattered chamber, lost for centuries under a cataclysm of ice.

Aeon’s head swam as the pictures flickered in her head like a broken holo-screen. She closed her eyes, forcing her mind to concentrate on the here and now.

“Yes, this is the place,” she said, voice thick with effort.

Concentrating, she traced out the crazy lines of magic, arcing from one device to the next in random patterns. Battered optical devices beamed strange forms onto the rubble floor whilst eldritch stones glowed with strange energy as odd shadows moved in and out of existence.

Beside her, Brunhilde the apprentice frowned.

“But I see nothing but junk mistress.”

“Ah yes, that may be the case, but one woman’s junk is another woman’s ticket to her own time-stream.”

Aeon paused.

“Okay, so it’s not the pithiest of sayings…”

Following the epic rescue of the prince, Giles and I turned to the penultimate scenario of the Forgotten Pacts expansion. With the two greater demons thwarted, it’s time to find our way home in the Chamber of Horrors! This scenario calls for three telescopes per player. Giles duly brought three nice models, but, as I haven’t got around to making any yet, I used three of my magic rune stones instead.

Aeon Flixx and her band bunched up in the centre of her chosen table edge. The scenario states that models can only exit through trapdoors/stairs (one to be placed by each player). However we couldn’t find where we were supposed to enter the board, so we stuck to table edges.

Aeon’s old adversary Shazam(!) the Illusionist appeared opposite, and was immediately threatened by a giant worm that had slithered up into the chamber after treasure had been claimed (very possessive creatures in Felstad aren’t they?)

As the terrain was reasonably open (this scenario states that there should be nothing taller than a single level), Shazam conjured up a wall of fog to screen himself from the barrage of elemental bolts sent his way by the Chronomancers.

Making his situation even more difficult, a minor demon had also crawled into the building, joining it’s wormy friend in hunting down the Illusionist’s warriors. Thankfully the balance was soon restored thanks to a sword thrust or two.

Suddenly one of the telescopes shimmered into life. The scenario allows the player with the lowest initiative to nominate a device to activate. If he then rolls high enough, he can roll on a table to see what demon materialises. In this case it’s a hard-shelled Grakyura.

In addition to avoiding demons and picking up treasure, the name of the game was to disable as many devices as possible by spending an action in contact with one. One of Aeon’s archers quickly fulfilled this role while Brunhilde blasted an enemy soldier with an elemental bolt (there was to be no Chronomancer's finesse in this game, just lots of blasting!)

On the right flank, it was Aeon’s turn to have her soldiers shot down, while her lowly thief is relieved of treasure by the enemy treasure hunter – both living up to their job descriptions!

At Shazam’s rear, the worm is finally turned. By now most of the devices had been disabled, having projected few demons into the fray, thanks to some low dice rolls.

The Grakyura continued to cause havoc among the Illusionist’s warriors however, grabbing them with it’s mighty claws and flinging them away before moving back into combat.

Another demon, this time a burrowing multi-headed Toravor, scrambled out of a portal as another device flickered into life. Aeon’s warhound attempted to head it off.

Grey Leopard the captain attempted to rush to the thief’s aid on the right flank, but arrived too late to save her. Outnumbered he wisely backed off, allowing his opponents to claim the treasure.

The Toravor was pushed back by the warhound before being shot down with an elemental bolt. All but one of the devices had now been disabled and Aeon had managed to grab the lion’s share of the treasure.

Meanwhile, Shazam’s soldiers were still contending with the Grakyura. Their master was doing his best to cover his movements with fog, lest he ended up crispier than anticipated.

On the right flank, the enemy apprentice and his companions guarded their treasure against Grey Leopard. With renewed confidence he faced them off, knowing that his comrades were moving up in support.

On the left, the demon hunter and archer were moving up around the fog bank as part of an impromptu pincer movement (no doubt inspired by the Grakyura.)

More of the Illusionist’s followers were flung around and dispatched by the demon. With Aeon’s warband closing in fast, it was time to disappear down the nearest trapdoor and make his escape.

With the captain closing in on one side and the demon hunter the other, Shazam’s apprentice requested a parlay. In return for their lives, they would forfeit their hard-won treasure.

With the lion’s share of treasures and less casualties under her belt, Aeon claimed the victory, having also disabled more of the gizmos than her opponent. It was another fun game, although it would have probably been more of a challenge if we hadn’t disabled the devices so quickly or they had spewed out more demons. I was also lucky that those that did appear arrived nearer Giles' warband than mine!

While her comrades celebrated a bumper haul of treasure, Aeon Flixx, Chronomancer, sat alone in a small workshop. Eyeglass in place over her more aged eye, she peered into the innards of one of the devices taken from the fabled building.

“Ah yes, I see…”

She looked up as Brunhilde approached, smiling at her quizzical expression.

“You did well today dearie – your aim is very good.”

The apprentice bowed.

“Thank you mistress. I take it your research is successful?”

“Indeed it is. Given a little tinkering I believe this stuff could replace the burnt-out circuitry of my capsule, but I still lack a useable power source for the temporal positioning locator.”

She turned to make a few adjustments to the lash-up of arcane machinery she had built, oblivious to Brunhilde’s look of total incomprehension.

“However, due to the Celestial Telescope I’ve been able to buy thanks to a certain grateful prince; I have pinpointed the exact location of such a source. Saddle up the horses my dear – we ride at dawn!”

“Er, we don’t have any horses mistress.”

“It’s an expression dear…”