Again into the Breach
This update is a bit delayed as my work is starting to pick up. I am sure this will be the last update for the next couple of months, but then it gets into a much quieter time at work, and some time off.
This weekend saw an opportunity to play Dungeon Down again, the couple who did the play-testing last time were asking when we could play it again.
The party was slightly different this time, as Hayden was back in the running. The others stayed the same, as both of them were quite attached to the characters they led to their death last time. As there has been a bit of delay, and some of the details are a bit hazy, this update will be a bit less cinematic.
Descending the stairs, the party found the stairs branched in two directions before ending. To their right was a dead-end and some nasty goblins while the left revealed skeletons and a veritable horde of goblins.
Throwing caution to the wind, Alain dove down the stairs to the right to cut down the goblins. After a bit of jockeying, eventually Hayden cut-down a zombie, with Alain stepping in to fell the other two. As the goblin swarm advanced, Joliee pushed past the mighty heroes to slay nearly all the goblins with her Blast spell.
After consolidating in the now blood-slicked corridor, Alain led the way into the storeroom ahead. With his first step he thought he heard some grinding, but it wasn’t until his second step that a volley of arrows struck him, one arrow hitting him hard in the seam between gauntlet and vambraces. As he grunted through the pain he heard the grinding of gears and a click as the mechanism reset.
Before he could shout a warning to the others, greed swept through the party and they ran into the room. Arrow after arrow strafed into the party, weakening them all. With reckless abandon, Joliee continued to plunder the room as was slain by another arrow as the mechanism failed with the squeal of metal shearing and gears grinding.
Some traps have a mechanism to reset. In fact, the most dangerous traps are more likely to reset. A total of 7 arrows were fired from the trap before the party managed to disarm it. We’ll call it disarm, at least that’s how the story in the tavern will go.
After the party finished looting the store-room, they proceeded down uneventful corridors until stumbling onto the Gauntlet defended by skeletons. After a long sprint down the corridor, Brother Roberto invoked divine favour and Turned all the undead with his prayers and chants.
After so many mystical puzzles in the corridor, the scribe demanded time not be wasted and all the puzzles should be left to her. Her haughty demands did raise eyebrows, but the fountain raised a smirk on Alain’s face when an arrow burst from the depth of the fountain basin and felled the scribe. With a sigh Brother Roberto again healed the scribe from her mortal wounds.
As the party explored past the Gauntlet, Alain demonstrated puissance and finesse as he first bested a Gibbering Horror and Grick with a single sweep of his blade and then sprinted the length of the room to plunge his blade into the abomination Mind Eater that emerged from the darkness.
At this point things get a bit, well recycled is a good word. First, the corridor cards got mixed up so the ones already drawn were being drawn again. As the deck only held enough for one of each terrain piece, it meant we were short of pieces. The easy fix of counting pieces didn’t work either: because the one corridor had been so long, it was disassembled as the party advanced.
After realizing the balcony would pose an obstacle with no rope, Alain was surprised to find a coil in a treasure pile right outside the entrance to the room. (Serious not Deus ex Machina, the randomly drawn treasure was a rope)
Before braving the balcony (everyone was hesitant to face a total party kill after the climb again), the side passage was explored revealing another storeroom. Such avarice struck the party that the looting began even before the monsters were slain.
The game makes use of actions that can be used to move, attack, open doors, or even loot treasure. So if a player elects to, they can spend actions looting treasure even in a fight. In this fight, after slaying the Darkspawn Cultist, Alain knew he couldn’t easily scratch the Spikeshell Warrior’s thick shell so elected to start looting chests.
The trepidation felt over the balcony was justified. As Alain climbed the rope he saw a set of stairs descending. As he set foot on the first stair he saw unholy eyes gleaming at him while the ground shuddered underfoot. Charging into the fray, he was able to make out more undead eyes in the distance.
As sections are revealed when you step on them, it is possible that multiple sections are revealed at once. If monsters are in them too…well it can be an issue. The monsters revealed posed a difficult fight.
As the intense melee played out, Alain carved his way through the skeleton, only to have it arise and the charging mummies reach him. Hayden fought the Ant Lion and was critically injured while Joliee used her spells to kill the Skeleton Sorcerer who could potentially bring skeletons.
The tension mounted as Joliee was wounded and Alain slain. Hayden was technically dead too, but she kept passing her roll to stay on her feet. Brother Roberto brought back Alain with difficulty while Joliee was slain by an errant trap as she moved into range to try blasting the Darkspawn Cultist. Alain was a bit nervous at that point.
Most traps target Defense, and Alain had it in spades. His player laughed off most traps and it took a good roll (and a 1 on his defense) to get hurt by arrows or blades. Spells he was weak to, and he saw that there were traps that targeted Resolve (one of his lowest attributes).
The game pushed on not much further until the Boss room was found.
A mechanic in the game is that Boss fights are randomly included. A Boss is a special card with both set-up rules and a stat line. For example, the Boss they faced was immobile but he could heal undead and turn corpses into skeletons. The fight took a lot of combined effort by the party but eventually they carved an opening in the almost perpetual horde of skeletons and the Undying King was slain.
Dragoth the Defiler was actually who I had in mind when I built the Throne Room. He is still a WIP, but even at this stage he really pops in his home.
I think the Boss mechanics worked pretty well and make for interesting fights. There were a couple of rules changes made after the game and I am still trying to get the best player card to get it all in one easy to use package. It shouldn’t be too long before I have something I can share with others.
Hopefully something was inspiring today, if nothing else to set up a recurring game.