Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Heroes Against Darkness: Session Report

Some readers might be wondering how Heroes Against Darkness works in play, rather than on paper. So here's a quick recap of our Monday night session.

In the lead up to the session, the six adventurers had been captured by goblins while traveling through an ancient dwarven tunnel that linked a series of beacon towers along a range of mountains. We pick up the story with the adventurers in cells in the goblin's tower, and negotiating with the goblin shaman to rescue the goblin chief who had been captured by human bandits based out of the next beacon tower to the south.

The goblin shaman returned to the cell-block with an ultimatum: Help the goblins or else. Luckily, the various members of the party had come to their senses, and negotiated the release of four of the party to rescue the goblin chief from the bandits who were holed up in the next beacon tower some 12 miles to the south. After some discussion, they decided that it was best to leave behind Gorlock the barbarian and Wraistlin the warlock, and to take the Boags the warrior, Stark the hospiter, Sting the hunter and Maza the warlock.

Their decision made, the shaman knocked out the four heroes, who woke up on the mountain pathway that led away from the goblin's tower down to the foot of the mountains. At this point the path widened somewhat, but through the middle of this wide section ran a deep crevasse. The goblin shaman and his minions stood on the other side of the crevasse, waiting for their captives to wake.

Once they were awake, the goblins threw the characters' equipment across to them and pointed the way to the bandit's tower, which was visible some distance to the south. The goblin shaman also threw across a small pouch of healing potions to aid the characters in their quest to rescue his chief.

The smaller party struck out down the path, then followed it into the woods at the foot of the mountain range. During their journey south, the group discussed their plan and decided to try to enlist the help of the bandits in a counter-attack against the goblins.

Some three miles from the bandit's tower, the group came upon a human lookout asleep at his post up in a tree. The party woke him and demanded that he take them to the tower. The lookout claimed that the tower was haunted (been there himself) and warned the party away. The party members insisted and ended up scaring the lookout, who fled into the forest, pursued by the hunter. The fellow proved evasive and lost the hunter to make good his escape.

Resuming their journey, the party came across another person on the side of the road, just a mile or so short of the tower. Again the second lookout warned them away from the tower, but the party convinced him that they had come from the goblin's tower and were here to see his leader. The lookout fetched the bandit leader, Jenton.

Jenton, the bandit leader, came to meet the party, with the first lookout in tow (and looking slightly worse for wear). Jenton told the party that the lookout had claimed that the party tried to kill him. The party convinced the bandit leader that the lookout was lying, and they had not attacked him. Furious, the bandit leader killed the hopeless lookout, and warned the heroes not to lie to him.

Sting the hunter immediately lied to him about what they wanted from him, prompting a final warning from the bandit leader.

Chastised, the warrior told the bandit leader of their captured allies who were held in the goblin's tower, and how they had severely weakened the goblin forces. Eventually, the bandit leader was convinced, and the party reached an agreement with him to assault the goblin's tower to wipe out the goblins and to rescue their captives.

After some discussion, together they came up with a plan for a three-pronged attack, with the bandits assaulting the tower from the northern and southern dwarven tunnels, while the remaining party members would take the goblin chief back for delivery to the goblin shaman. Ahead of the meeting time (sundown the next day), the party drugged the goblin chief to keep him out of the fight, and Enshrouded the hunter (extending the duration of the spell as well) so that he could take up a strategic position in the rocks above the rift-breached mountain pathway.

At the appointed time, the party arrived for the handover. When the goblin shaman arrived, along with two strong guards, two archers, and two weaker guards.

The party attacked. The goblin shaman acted first and knocked out the hospiter with a Restrain spell, but not before the hospiter immediately used an interrupt spell - Seize Initiative - which increased the initiative of all of the party members. Maza followed up with Wall of Ice, which he used to fashion a bridge across the rift. Boags the warrior grabbed the downed hospiter and dragged him across the ice bridge as he charged at the shaman and his guards. Up in the rocks, the hunter had been sighting the shaman using his Steady power and was ready to fire, a shot which struck the goblin a terrible hit.

The battle then began in earnest, with the goblin shaman Bane-ing the heroes to reduce their attack rolls and also calling forth a Mystic Warrior, whose attacks distracted the warrior by forcing him to attack the apparition. The Restrained hospiter managed to use his Shake It Off power to end the effects of the shaman's spell, and re-entered the fight as well as offering some limited healing to the other party members.

Maza the warlock used as much of his Anima as he could on several Chain Lightning spells, which coursed through the battlefield and electrocuted the shaman's cohorts. As the battle raged, the shaman and his archers managed to knock the hospiter unconscious with a few good arrow hits. With the hospiter down and their healing potions all gone, the party members were out of healing (having forgotten about the own Rally powers). Just as Boags himself was knocked out, Maza used the last of his blood Anima to cast another Chain Lightning which killed another two of the goblins, leaving just the shaman and three of his guards (one of the tough ones and the two archers).

Up above, the hunter sighted carefully and loosed an arrow which struck and killed the goblin shaman. With the shaman dead, the remaining guard fled towards the ice bridge (created by the Wall of Ice spell), just as the spell expired, and promptly plunged into the crevasse as the ice gave way beneath him. The two archers fled back towards the tower, but then came screaming back, pursued and quickly cut down by human bandits who'd made their way from the dwarven tunnels and had successfully overwhelmed the remaining goblins inside the tower.

As the smoke cleared, two of the adventurers lay dying on the ground (Stark the hospiter and Boags the warrior), Maza the warlock was on 4 HP (having spent a great deal of blood Anima through the course of the fight) and the hunter was unhurt!

Total combatants:
- Stark the hospiter (Level 5)
- Boags the warrior (Level 5)
- Sting the hunter (Level 5)
- Maza the warlock (Level 5)

- Goblin Shaman (Level 7)
- 2x Goblin Guards (Level 3 each)
- 2x Goblin Minions (Level 3 each)
- 2x Goblin Archers (Level 3 each)

Total Party Level: 20
Total Enemy Level: 22

Combat Rounds: About 8?
Combat Duration: 60 minutes (this was probably a bit slow because one of the players was controlling two characters he wasn't familiar with; the hospiter and the warlock)

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