Monday, August 6, 2012

Wrath of Ashardalon/Legend of Drizzt blitz

Lots of playtime on the Dungeons and Dragons Adventure System boardgames this past week. Wednesday night at Wandering Dragon with a couple of friends netted a victory for us in a party featuring a Dwarf Warrior, an Elf Paladin and a Human Cleric.

This game came down to the wire. The scenario was a standard hunt 12 monsters game featuring all the tiles and cards from Ravenloft and Ashardalon mixed into a giant stack.

This game came down to the very last sword swing. Literally. We had only two healing surges, all of them used, and we had a man down and out who had the next turn which would have meant a loss. Luckily we were one monster away and on the last swing of the axe the Dwarf Warrior cut the beast down and we won. A true nailbiter for sure. No one leveled and I had yet to see anyone do it UNTIL...

Bring on the weekend. Had another buddy come over and we once again had a 3 way game session. We fit in two games over the span of 4 hours or so this time a custom homebrew scenario that I designed. Basically it involved exploring the Underdark caverns. The goal: kill 15 monsters to help clear the caves. There was a Drow presence and they were allying with goblins. I custom tailored the game as follows:

One stack of Drizzt cavern tiles and in that mix the Broken Door tile. If that was pulled we flipped over to a stack of Dungeon Tiles from Ashardalon and Ravenloft.

Each encounter deck was custom tailored as well. One deck was for the caverns only. The other deck was for the dungeon only. The monster deck was culled of all Kobolds and the like and left with no Orcs, a lot of Goblins and some Drow as well as creatures and Undead. On hindsight I would probably have taken the Undead out as we did not draw enough Drow cards to make it feel "Underdarky". We pulled a lot of Goblins and odd creatures but not enough Drow.

All character classes were allowed, we had 3 healing surges and we mixed all Class skills together.

The tiles looked as follows:

We started in the Caverns on the Drizzt starting tile. There were no special chambers except the secret cave tile and some bridges and the like. I also cut back on the number of Volcanic Vent tiles.

In game 1 we took the barbarian Wulfgar, Bruenor and the rogue Kat. This game was rough and traps really played a number on us. We were out healing surges with 13 of 15 monsters killed and just could not keep up the healing. We lost and this was my first loss in the Adventure System games I had suffered.

We reshuffled, redrew and started over for game two and this time dropped Wulfgar and took a dwarf cleric played by Crabby Old Gamer.

I played the rogue again and things started off the worst possible way they could have. Immediately two tiles in I was assaulted by web traps, spiders and drawn into immobilization and poison right off the bat. I was killed and down in a matter of 15 minutes. One healing surge down and I was back up. We were down to two and started to explore the dungeon. A few acidic traps and volcanic vents plus a wraith and a flaming skeleton eventually killed the cleric.Two healing surges gone very early but we were up to around 10 monsters out of the 15 we needed.

My rogue's layout:

Our last death came around the 12 monster mark and we were out of healing surges and pretty beat  up when we managed to draw a Secret Cave tile. This proved to be the thing that helped us the most. Since you do not draw encounters here you can literally rest and regroup. However if you have the right cleric, one that can do one point heal each turn if he does not attack, you can fully heal your group by basically standing there. This tactic would not have worked if not for the cleric we had picked so there is no use complaining that its a cheat or instant win gimmick.

Once healed we needed 2 more monsters so we had to set out and explore some more to spawn some creatures. I actually also leveled up my rogue for the SECOND time in two games and was now level 2 and killing things quite nicely with thrown daggers.

We venture out and by now our map had become quite big:

The game was still down to the wire. Fully healed we drew a Goblin Archer, a ghoul and another Wraith. The cleric took down the Wraith but I was stuck south with the Warrior and we were in intense combat to kill the last creatures. We were rolling 1's, 5's, 10's and 3's and missing each turn. Then we got poison arrowed and started to lose health. Luckily with a strike of his hammer the Cleric killed the wraith and we were at 15/15 and we had won what was one of the toughest dungeon crawls I had been in.

For me this series of games captures many things I wanted the Descent series to be. I love the cop op and the random generation and the fact that with all 3 boardgames you have what amounts to a Dungeon Creation Kit right in your living room. We have not even tackled any of the scenarios yet as every game has been a monster hunt done with random tiles.

We never found the Dungeon entrance so in hindsight I would definitely cut back on the number of cavern tiles so that we could find the dungeon proper a lot quicker. I may make this into a campaign that focuses on stopping a Goblin/Drow alliance in the underground. 

Overall some of the best boardgaming I have had in a while and cannot wait to dig into the scenarios and use some of the player created content and campaigns.

The details on the models are awesome. And they wont break or break your wallet like Games Workshop's "FineShitCast":

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