Thursday 30 March 2023

Last Days Seasons campaign: March

 Welcome back to another monthly instalment of ‘Devon and friends struggle against the odds’. When last we left our group of survivors, things had not gone particularly well. They’d tried and failed to respond to a distress call from a survivalist, and in doing so Jess wasn’t faring too well: although she’s not been bitten, too much close contact with the walking dead had left her with an illness that she didn’t seem to be able to shake.

Seeing that bed rest alone didn’t seem to be enough for her to get better, Devon made the decision to head back into the city that they had previously vacated to try and locate some medicine - in the early days of the outbreak, the government had bombed the outskirts of the city trying to create a quarantine zone, a nice idea, but ultimately futile.

As it was the first month of spring, I decided to play the special seasonal scenario ‘When the Levy Breaks’, so Devon and company walked onto this board:

to find that the snowfall in the hills melting had flooded the outskirts of the city, leaving fast flowing water flooding from south to north on the board, making movement difficult, and potentially washing away caches of supplies.

(Side note: I finished my ruined buildings! I’ll make a separate post about those as soon as it stops raining in real life long enough for me to take a picture of them in the garden, as they’re too bit to photograph on my usual board)

With the flow of water pushing them from behind, the group barrelled onto the board into the first group of zombies. Jess and Kevin attempt to blast the zombie that they’re hanging up on, but can’t seem to land a head shot to actually take it out. 

Everyone else engaged in hand to hand, trying to move quickly and quietly to avoid drawing any more zombies onto the board with noisy firearms. In the middle, thanks to Umlaut the monkeys help, Devon is able to (despite only rolling a 2) tie with the zombie and still win due to his superior combat prowess! Despite this, he’s still not able to actually take it out though, until Umlaut manages to trip the zombie, which somehow lands on its head on some rubble and then lays motionless (which is fine, I guess, but why does Umlaut have to be a combat monster when he can’t benefit from gaining experience?)

Lynn and Dionne, who were making their way down the right flank to double team the zombie on that side, both easily beat the zombie in combat, but struggle to land a telling blow - so much for quick and quiet! 

Due to some abysmal rolls on my part, the majority of the supplies on the board at this point start to get swept away by the flood waters, and it turns out that Lynn and Dionne’s attempts at taking out the zombie were too loud, as two more shamble onto the board right by them:

Things continue much in this vein, with survivors attempting to take down zombies in pairs, and Cece at the back trying to snipe unengaged zombies, but failing miserably (I rolled a 1 to hit). 

Jess and Kevin bull rush the zombie that they had failed to take out with shooting, but mostly get in each other’s way and can’t seem to finish it off, as do Devon and Umlaut with their zombie in the centre. Dionne contracts a similar sort of sickness to Jess as she and Lynn both batter at their opponent, but again fail to take it out. When the zombies then fight back (which I think I had sometimes been forgetting to do), both Devon and Dionne manage to land telling blows, and take out their two zombies!

Umlaut, seeing that zombies are starting to mass and head towards Dionne and Lynn, breaks off to the right to try and draw some of the zeds away from the growing melee:

Over on the left, Jess finally manages to brain the zombie that she and a Kevin had been struggling with since the game began, and Dionne manages to dispatch another zombie with her samurai sword. 

Seeing everyone else picking up the pace, Cece has apparently been eating her wheaties and starts methodically sniping zombies, starting with one that had been sneaking up on the group from behind.

At this point, something clicks with the group as they realise that they might get surrounded at this rate, and they start bludgeoning zombies down with deadly efficiency (also known as my dice rolls started going in my favour, finally). Well, apart from Devon, who flails ineffectually against his opponent. 

Cece starts making her way up to a better vantage point from which to rain hot death down on her opponents, but unfortunately the rushing waters make it slow going, and pushing some supplies almost off the edge of the board:

While Lynn and Umlaut forge ahead towards some zombies that are carrying supplies, Dionne supports from the rear, finally remembering to use her Double Tap skill, but all that achieves is making even more noise than usual:

Whilst fighting another zombie, Jess unfortunately contracts a second level of sickness, so here’s to hoping we find that medicine we were looking for! 

At this point, just after midnight, my son (who had taken a danger nap earlier and so was refusing to sleep) came in to see what I was up to, and asked if he could play:

He commandeered one of the zombies, and used a supply token that was a tiny backpack as a shield to defend from my bullets. 

After multiple turns slogging through the water, Cece finally managed to climb up to a decent vantage point, but then realised that at this point she’d actually be more use on the ground trying to secure supplies…

Devon, seeing his gun is empty, makes a break for it pushed forward by the rushing floodwaters, and dashes forward to try and grab a third supply token that was rapidly disappearing out of view towards the edge of the table.

Jess flees the board with one supply token, hoping to avoid a repeat of last month’s venture. As she does so, three zombies shamble to their feet in the ruined building nearby:

Everyone else scrambles to secure what supplies they can, and make a break for it to head for home as more zombies crowd in around them.

So, all in the group managed to secure 7 supply tokens, but unfortunately one of them was ruined by the flood waters and had to be discarded. 

Post-game, Devon gained two levels, gaining the sniper skill and +1 to his firearms skill - finally, all that practice seemed to be paying off, and I was just happy that it wasn’t yet another point of Endurance!

Lynn gained the Heavy Lifter skill, which would be handy as without a firearm she usually ended up running round grabbing supply tokens, so this should help to keep her mobile. Jess gained a point of Firearms, as since being given a gun she’d apparently got a lot of practice with it. Dionne also gained a point of Firearms, as the rolls that I’d hoped for after previous games started finally happening. I was also doubly pleased with this, as it meant her double tap skill might start being more effective! Kevin gained the Headhunter skill, making him more deadly with his cricket bat, whilst Cece gained a point of close combat skill, as I was aiming for her to get better at shooting but just couldn’t swing it with the rolls I had…

For the supplies, I rolled once on the Winter table, three times on the Summer table, and twice on the regular table, hoping that the four seasonal rolls between them would furnish us with some medicine. It didn’t unfortunately, but did furnish the group with 4 preserved meals, 19 points of scavenge, a heavy club, climbing gear, and a hazmat suit (that I’ll probably have to put Jess in from now on if she ever recovers).

Without medicine, Jess is bedridden, and rest alone isn’t enough for her to recover, so she won’t be able to join the group on their next venture into the city. I set most of the rest of the group to forage for food (including Dionne, who is in the early stages of sickness, as she is an expert hunter), and set Lynn to work the cold cellar, in the hopes of building up a supply of preserved food for future months, but unfortunately all 3 forager roll the lowest possible result, and so produce no surplus for Lynn to can - we need Jess back to explain to everyone how gardening works! Dipping into our supply of preserved meals, we’re able to avoid anyone going hungry, and although luckily the sickness doesn’t spread to anyone else, with Jess bedridden and Dionne showing a worrying cough, things are only going to get harder from here on out…

Monday 6 March 2023

Rangers of Shadow Deep Scenario 2


As it had been eighteen months since I played the first one, I thought it was high time I play the second Rangers of Shadow Deep scenario, the Infected Trees. 

While it’s not essential to make special trees, and cocoon tokens, and Halloween spiderwebs to jazz up the table, I have to admit I was pretty pleased with how everything looked when I was setting it up:

So, having investigated a rash of disappearances at a village on the edge of the Shadow Deep, the Paladin and her band of merry men (one of whom was enthusiastically waving around the magic sword previously owned by the Ranger they’d been investigating the disappearance of) followed a set of spider tracks deeper into the woods.

Unfortunately, my tracker failed her tracking roll, the one thing she’d been brought to do, and so we made especially poor time through the woods. On the brighter side, she did find a dose of Farlight Leaf though, which she immediately ate, much to her companions’ surprise.

Stumbling into a clearing, the party spotted a series of roughly man-sized web cocoons, and so set about popping them open to get at the goodies inside. 

Obviously the first one they came to popped open to reveal a zombie, because that’s just how my luck runs.

Thankfully Five Trees falling (my tracker) is able to take it out with a well placed arrow before it can get it’s fetid claws into the Paladin.

Brother Eoin, not being the most fighty of party members, starts making a dash up the flank to try and start burning down the spiders’ nest trees rather than getting stuck in like his companions:

The Paladin, on the other hand, approaches the situation as she does any other - with a prayer on her lips and a sword in her hand:

Luckily for her, River Wind the barbarian charges in to assist and (despite me rolling a 4) wins the combat, cleaving a spider in two thanks to his two handed weapon!

Drawn by the sounds of combat, more spiders enter the fray, but thankfully far away from the melee breaking out in the centre of the board.

Brother Eoin, emboldened by his companions’ success at smashing up spiders, charges into one with his hammer held high…

And promptly gets clobbered, left with only 2HP. And poisoned.

Things are going much better in the centre though, as Five Trees Falling and the Paladin taking out a spider each with their bows. As a brief aside, despite my usual luck with dice, for the first half of the game I was rolling hot, and seemingly taking out an enemy with every attack!

The spider that was previously dominating Brother Eoin managed to whiff it’s follow-up attack, and was put down with a swift bonk from a hammer.

The next web cocoon opened also turned out to contain a zombie, suggesting that the delay caused by Five Trees Falling falling that initial tracking roll meant that the spider venom had plenty of time to ripen the missing villagers into zombies! 
Jarreth (the conjuror) however finds a web cocoon that must have been a little fresher, and manages to pull out a surviving villager.

As a zombie has managed to get into reach of Brother Eoin, Phinneas (the halfling rogue) dashes over to support him, followed by Five Trees falling, who snipes another spider on her way over. 
Between massively outnumbering it and carrying Aventine’s magic sword, Phinneas was easily able to dispatch the zombie, and then headed off to start putting nest trees to the torch:

On the other side of the table, Jarreth used the spell Swat to destroy the last enemy on the board, and so the party set to hurriedly completing their objectives before any more reinforcements turned up! The fourth cocoon investigated unfortunately contained a dead body, but on the other hand, better that than another zombie I guess…

As everyone heads to burn nest trees and investigate the last cocoon, River Wind manages to get himself tangled up in a spiderweb:

Although to be fair, if I had to choose someone to get stuck in a situation that requires strength to get out of he’s the one I’d choose! 

By the end of the following turn, the party had burned down all of the nest trees (Phinneas doing most of the heavy lifting here, with poor poisoned Brother Eoin limping along behind him) and investigated the last cocoon (revealing another survivor, hoorah!), so the party mostly formed up in a defensible position in the centre of the board to prepare for any more enemies appearing.

A zombie shambles up, and so both the Paladin and Five Trees Falling take up positions to take it out with their bows. Unfortunately, my usual luck with dice resumed and despite both landing damaging hits, it wasn’t enough to actually put the zombie down.

Jarreth, chilling on the side of the board waiting for the right moment to step in with his remaining spell and other wise generally stay out of trouble, looked up to see a giant spider descending on him from a previously unnoticed nest tree…

On the bright side, just before noticing the spider he’d stubbed his toe on a barrel, which might turn out to contain something valuable…

Heading Jarreth’s high pitched scream, the Paladin bundles around a large briar bush and takes down the spider with a single arrow, to her surprise as much as the spider’s. ‘I wasn’t scared…’, mumbles Jarreth as he sets the tree ablaze…

As the remaining zombie shambles towards River Wind, Phinneas leaps forward to try and strike it down with the magic sword he was brandishing. Despite managing to land several seemingly telling blows, the zombie doesn’t actually seem to notice. Shrugging, River Wind steps forward and knocks the zombie’s head clean off (as I rolled a Critical Hit!)

At this point, the sun went behind the clouds, limiting the effectiveness of bow fire, so everyone decided it was time to get while the going was still good and makes for the edge of the board. 
Jarreth scoops up the treasure token and begins shepherding the rescued survivors to safety, as the Paladin Heals Brother Eoin (although alas not enough to cure him of his poison, so he is still limited to only taking a single action each turn).
River Wind manages to get himself tangled in another web, presumably from poking at something that he shouldn’t have due to boredom at the lack of enemies to slay, and unfortunately isn’t able to flex his way out of it straight away as he previously had…

Another zombie shambles into the board, but alas time was running out and River Wind and Phinneas weren’t able to harvest it for XP, as the party need to get off and report their findings to their superiors…

And thus, next comes the best part of any campaign game:

All in a success, as nobody got taken out of action and I managed to get 97XP for this scenario, putting me on… 99, 1 short of levelling up. If only I’d managed to kill that last zombie! 

Phinneas gives back Aventine’s sword. Grudgingly.

Rolling for the treasure token, it turns out to be an enchanted set of Heavy Armour, that can be used to blind enemies, which the Paladin gladly dons.

So, another eighteen months or so until the next scenario I guess? I just need to make a river, a bridge, a ford, some rocks, paint a vulture… I’ll probably play some more Frostgrave first, as that’s a lot less terrain dependant!

The week after playing this game, the Tally took a hit too, which I’ll amend into this post:

I grabbed the last two minis of the month from GW, a masked cultist looking chap with a bow and a Khorne cultist type for my bits box, which puts the Tally at:

9 vs 9 = +0

Not back into the red yet! Although Salute looms ever closer…