Nature’s Ire – First Play

The Heroes

During my first play-through of Forgotten Souls, I learned that a Healer is essential, so I choose Avric Albright with the Disciple class. The starting weapons are not great, but with Prayer of Healing and Blessed Strike, the party should recover health easily.

Avric is ready for Nature's IreNature’s Ire features two large monsters: the Ettins and the Merriods. I will need a powerful fighter who can deal a lot of damage. I pick Syndrael and the Berserker class. The starting skill, Rage, is a bit weak but I use the extra XP to purchase Counter Attack. This skill will allow her to attack once in a while during the Overlord’s turn.

Syndrael is ready for Nature's Ire


Beyond the Fringes

Beyond the Fringe(1) The adventure starts! Syndrael charges the ugly Cave Spider and cuts a few legs with a swing of her Chipped Greataxe. Surrounded by noxious pools of water, she gets Poisoned. Avric and Desmond run to safety pass the Berserker who is stuck by an arrow and deeply bitten by the spider. She counter the attack and kills the arachnid.

(2) Syndrael shrugs off the effect of the poison and chops the last Cave Spider in two before joining her friends. The Disciple uses a Prayer of Healing to mend her wound and misses the Goblin Archer who fumbles with his own bow. The Berserker executes a riposte and cuts his head off. The path is clear.


Hoarder’s Land

Hoarder's Land(3) Avric passes through the thicket of bush and is immediately snagged by a grumpy Ettin. Syndrael cannot reach her friend but she steps into the stream and slashes at the huge belly of the monster. Guts are spilling out but the stupid monster doesn’t feel a thing and clubs her.

(4) The Berserker, blinded by the Ettin’s blood on her face, misses twice. Avric crawls next to her and pleads for help. The Ettin doesn’t miss and make Syndrael wright in agony (she now has 8 wounds).

(5) Syndrael struggles to untie the bonds but succeeds at her second attempt. Avric doesn’t waste the opportunity and strikes the Ettin between the legs with his Iron Mace. The beast crumbles to the ground. The loot track is full and the Heroes get to choose between the Bow of Bone, the Bearded Axe and the Rune Plate. The armor is very tempting but none of the extra effects will be triggered, so I opt for the axe that can do up to Pierce 3 and +2 damage. Both Desmond and the Healer mend the wounds of the Warrior. Fate advances by 1 and two spiders drop from the trees to block the exit.

(6) The Berserker unsheathes her new toy, cleaves the biggest Spider and hurts the other one. Avric uses Blessed Strike to kill the spider and reinvigorate the party, then cuts through the bushes to reveal…


Rocky Channel

Rocky ChannelSetup instructs to resolve a Peril card which can cause spiders to appear when Heroes fail attribute tests. It’s the end of the turn so 1 extra Peril card is drawn. Syndrael will have to move toward master monsters.

(7) The round of death. Avric tries to enter the rocky channel and needs to test either Might or Awareness. With a score of 2 in each attribute, he has 22% chance to succeed. He fails 6 times in a row and ends up defeated (Fate advances by 1). Because of the previous Peril card, 2 minion Cave Spiders also appeared. Syndrael revives the careless Disciple, healing him of 5 wounds, moves toward the critters and misses. Fate advances by 1 at the end of the Heroes’ turn and a new Peril card deals 2 wounds and 2 fatigue to each hero. Because they were full of fatigue, this means 4 wounds each (Desmond as well)! The Cave Spiders attack and poison Syndrael.

(8) Heavily wounded, the Berserker shrugs off the effect of the poison and exterminates all the vermin with two swift blows of her axe. The loot track is full and the Heroes get to choose between some Flash Powder and an Iron Shield. Both adventurers have low Awareness so the Disciple abandons his Wooden Shield for a sturdier one. Avric calls upon his Gods to heal 5 wounds to all Heroes and rushes into the rocky channel (now that all boulders have fallen on him). Fate advances by 1 again and Syndrael is poisoned once more.

(9) Syndrael searches some rubble and finds a Stamina Potion while Avric walks through the overgrowth to uncover webs of spider dangling everywhere.


Webbed Gulch

Webbed GulchAvric takes a few steps back and readies himself for combat. The arachnids, hungry, move their legs in unison and bite both adventurers.

(10) The Berserker slays a small spider but does not dare hit the big one (Doom would advance by 1). Avric rests and meditates on the best action plan. The queen spider grows more hungry and bites a huge chunk out of Avric’s leg.

(11) Avric kills a minion spider with Blessed Strike and does a Prayer of Healing. He uses energy to move a bit more and rests. Desmond moves next to the Spider Queen exhorting Syndrael for the kill. The Elf doesn’t take any risk and puts herself into a Rage, pulverizing the spider to the four corners of the woods. Fate is refreshed and Syndrael gets rid of the Peril card that was forcing her to move toward master monsters. The Berserker presses forward. Fate advances by 1 and a new Peril card increases the Doom level.

(12) Both Heroes rushes through the webbed gulch, find a Health Potion and ready themselves for the danger ahead.


Consuming Falls

Consuming Falls - Nature's Ire(13) The Disciple cuts through the bushes and is met by a volley of arrows. Retched Goblins Archers laugh as six sacks slowly float toward the falls. Avric hears the muffled screams of civilians and runs to their help, not knowing which sacks are the right ones. I really want to win the first main encounter and get 2 XP, so I use the heroic feat of Syndrael to grant one extra move action to both Heroes. In no time, the adventurers navigate through the water and are next to the sacks. The master Goblin shoots at the Warrior but she is already upon him, countering with a fatal slash of her axe. The loot track is full and Syndrael gets a Chainmail (I discard the Magic Staff and the Leather Armor). As she dresses the new armor on, a vicious arrow pierces her flank.

(14) Syndrael resists the urge to attack the Goblins Archers. While she fumbles twice to open a sack, Desmond comes running behind and helps Avric liberate 2 civilians! That little +1 from Desmond was a life saver as I rolled 3 for each attribute test. Fate is refreshed and the Heroes receive 2 XP each. Avric has been poisoned for a few turns, so I get him Cleansing Touch, plus Armor of Faith. Syndrael gets Whirlwind. Fate advances by 1 and a Peril card brings 2 Cave Spiders as reinforcement. All four monsters attack the Berserker, but her new Chainmail is impenetrable.

(15) Avric uses Cleaning Touch to purge the poison and heal his wounds. He attacks a Spider with Blessed Strike and moves toward the exit thinking the Elf would terminate the enemies, but Syndrael misses twice in a row. The monsters strike back feebly.

(16) The Berserker misses a third time and finally manages to execute her first Whirlwind that chops both arachnids. Avric pushes through the thicket…


Choke Point

Choke Point - Nature's Ire…and rests. A big Merriod comes hissing and flailing its tentacles while Cave Spiders gather around Desmond who only thinks of rescuing the civilians.

(17) Syndrael comes to the rescue and kills two Cave Spiders with another spinning attack. The loot track is full and the Heroes get to choose between Mana Weave, Iron Shield and Steel Broadsword. Avric needs a decent weapon, so he takes hold of the blade and kills the last spider while chanting a prayer. The Goblins leave the waterfall and sneak behind the Heroes. The disgusting aquatic beast, blocking the way to the exit, agitates its tentacles to no avail.

(18) The wild Berserker wants the monster’s head as a trophy: she tries a powerful downward strike of her axe which… hits the ground. Avric keeps his cool and perforates the Merriod’s troat with a single trust. He grabs a Crossbow from under the slimy body and rushes forward with Desmond. The civilians are getting close to the exit!

(19) Avric finds a Stamina potion and presses forward. Desmond rescues a civilian just before the exit. Syndrael keeps fumbling with her weapon against the two weak but persistent Goblin Archers.

(20) Avric and Desmond save the last civilian. Fate is refreshed and each Hero gains 3 XP! The Disciple gets Holy Power. This will allow him to heal 2 people at the same while also curing them of a condition (Cleansing Touch) and granting them an extra brown die of defense (Armor of Faith). A nice combo. The Berserker gets Brute and Weapon Mastery. The game transitions to Act II and Syndrael finally ends the Goblins’ life. Fate advances by 1 and a Peril card deals 1 fatigue for each movement point needed to reach the closest Hero. Avric is next to Desmond, so no problem, but Syndrael is 10 movement points away from Avric! Ouch!

(21) Syndrael’s thirst for blood is quenched. She looks around and finds herself alone. Time to catch up with the party! Avric walks through the trees to uncover…


River Flail

River Flail - Nature's Ire…an angry Merriod which constricts and immobilizes him with his tentacles. The Healer slips out of the deadly embrace and dodges the next attack.

(22) The Berserker, hearing the monster’s hisses, sees red again. She runs pass Avric, grabbing a Stamina Potion from his belt and quaffing it in one gulp, then brings down her Bearded Axe straight in the Merriod’s forehead, splitting his head in two. Fate is refreshed. Avric finds a Scalemail in the stream. He uses his Holy Power to heal the group and pushes forward. Fate advances by 1 and a Peril card forces Syndrael to discard her Healing Potion.


Blocked Gully

Blocked Gully - Nature's Ire(23) The Heroes continue their journey in the forest of doom and are blocked by a huge fallen tree. Fate advances by 1 and perils are avoided.

(24) Syndrael uses all her strength and moves the tree aside. The path is clear and Avric, once again, ends up scouting ahead.


Abandoned Campsite

Abandoned Campsite - Nature's Ire(25) Greed. Syndrael gets 2 red tokens and 4 wounds. Avric gets 1 blue token and heals the Warrior a bit. The big loot was not found and all remaining objective tokens are discarded. A nasty Peril card deals 3 wounds and poisons each Hero.


Firing Zone

Firing Zone - Nature's Ire(26) The Disciple is met by a volley of arrows, but the evil master Goblin strikes Desmond who is badly injured. Avric heals him slightly and charges the goblinoids. Syndrael screams for revenge and almost kills their chief with a single blow. Their counter attack is terrifying. Because the Heroes are next to them, they can use 1 surge for 3 extra damage. They keep rolling double surges which means +5 damage. Syndrael has 8 wounds, Desmond 4 and Avric 10!

(27) Avric is full of Fatigue so he cannot heal anyone. He hits a Goblin feebly but rolls a surge to recover 1 fatigue. He uses Blessed Strike for his second action. He rolls two surges, kills one Goblin. He and Syndrael recover 2 health. He uses 1 surge to recover 1 fatigue and 1 to recover 1 health. Enough to do a Prayer of Healing that help them recover 1 health each. Syndrael kills the master Goblin and rests to buy the Heroes some time.  Alone, the minion Goblin is no treat.

(28) The Healer kills the Goblin with his Broadsword and heals each Hero of 3. Only scratches left. Fate is refreshed. Syndrael searches the surroundings and discover a Treasure Chest that holds sharp Iron Claws. Avric hesitates to wear these evil looking gauntlets but he must prepare for the dangers ahead. Syndrael must have stepped into spider webs because 2 Cave Spiders suddenly drop from nearby trees! Both miss.

(29) Syndrael attacks twice and splits the master Cave Spider in two. The loot track has reached its limit and the Heroes must decide between the Bow of the Eclipse, the Obsidian Greataxe and the Cloak of Deception. I give the bow to Syndrael in case ranged weapons will prove useful later. Avric shreds the last arachnid with his Iron Claws and peers ahead.


Misty Gorge

Misty Gorge - Nature's IreSetup instructs a Peril card to be drawn and the overlord effect as well. Doom advances by 1 and Cave Spiders will appear when Heroes miss attribute tests.

(30) The whole encounter is a déjà vu of the Rocky Channel. Both adventurers miss their attribute tests and get full fatigue. Because of the Peril card, 2 Cave Spiders are spawned. The Heroes manage to kill the master Spider. Fate advances by 1 (now 2 spaces away from the Doom token) and a Peril card deals 3 fatigue to each Hero. Desmond has 7 wounds now.

(31) There’s no time to waste. Avric deals a feeble blow to the spider, enough to recover 1 fatigue and heal Desmond, and moves away. Syndrael charges into the clearing ahead.


Cabin of the Lost

Cabin of the Lost - Nature's IreThe final encounter! The Heroes must kill the Ettin who gains 1 extra defense for each civilian on the map. And there are six of them! Desmond, the only one who can rescue civilians, wastes no time and rushes to save a first one. The Cave Spiders come running and bite the adventurers viciously.

(32) Syndrael, surrounded, misses her first attack but then performs a Whirlwind that kills 3 spiders at once! She picks the Grinding Axe from the loot and discards the Heavy Steel Shield. Avric rips the Merriod’s belly and finds a Shroud of Dusk. Desmond runs near the river to rescue a 2nd civilian which triggers the locked door to open. An angry female Ettin, Zaldara, shows her ugly face and calls a master Cave Spider as reinforcement. Zaldara takes giant steps toward Desmond but cannot club him yet. The Cave Spider also heads for the old man who is now trapped within its web.

(33) Things look good but Fate is only 2 spaces away from the Doom token and Desmond is hurt. If he is knocked down, Doom advances by 1. My strategy is to block the Ettin in the tile with the river with 2 Heroes while Desmond rescues the remaining civilians to lower Zaldara’s defense. Syndrael attacks and miss. Avric moves in to form “the wall” and does no damage but boosts the group with Armor of Faith. Desmond slips pass his friend and heads into Zaldara’s cabin. Syndrael is Stunned because of a Peril card. The Fate toekn advances by 1 and is now 1 space away from Doom. Zaldara attacks and deals 7 damage to Syndrael. She has 12 wound tokens and the game would already be over if she didn’t have the Brute skill that grants her +4 Health. The bad news is, the monster card instructs Desmond to be placed on the entrance of the encounter… He will not be able to rescue 2 civilians next turn and reduce Zaldara’s defense.

(34) Avric misses his first attack, hurts the Cave Spider and calls his Gods for help. Syndrael, stunned, misses her only attack. Zaldara, seeing the golden opportunity, throws Avric toward the entrance and deals a massive blow to Syndrael’s pretty face. No more face. Fate advances by 1 and the game is lost…

THE END

Forgotten Souls – First Play

Prologue

The small village of Summers Glade sits quietly in the shadow of a massive castle. You come upon the village in the hopes of replenishing your bodies and minds. Many dangerous encounters have left you tired and worn, but your resilience is unbroken.

To your surprise, the town is devastated. Rooftops and walkways are covered in black ash. There is not an inhabitant in sight. Whatever flame consumed this town, it has taken all that lives.

Soon a shadow is cast upon you, and in front of the setting sun a young boy emerges. He slowly comes up to you, a glimmer of hope on his defeated face. “You came… too late…” The boy is weak and feeble, “The dragon lives… I will show you…” He slowly stumbles toward the castle entrance on the horizon. You follow.

Once inside the stone walls, the entrance seals behind you and the boy vanishes into the air, a grim smile spread across his face. There is no way out, your only choice is to delve deeper into the dungeon’s depths…


The Heroes

I will be playing this co-op game of Descent alone, so I decide to handle only two Heroes. Choosing a Healer seems like an obvious choice, but I want this quest to be really challenging, so I take Reynhart the Worthy as a Beastmaster and spend the starting XP to purchase Survivalist. This skill will grant extra defense to all Heroes adjacent to the wolf.

Reynhart the Worthy

I need a Hero that can do ranged attacks and nothing beats a Runemaster for this, especially with the blast ability granted by Exploding Rune. I choose High Mage Quellen because he can recover fatigue practically every turn.

High Mage Quelle


The Onset

As you make your journey into the dungeon, corpses that lined the floor begin to writhe with life. Behind you, near the sealed entrance, monsters appear from the shadows! You must stand together!

The Onset(1) Reynhart and his wolf kill the master Zombie, but Quellen fails to kill the master Barghest. The monster engages Reynhart and deals 6 wounds despite the extra defense die granted by his familiar!

(2) The Runemaster finishes off the Barghest with his Arcane Bolt and Reynhart is forced to go treasure hunting: a Health Potion! The Heroes cannot open the door this turn, so the Fate counter advances by 1 and a peril card is drawn: 1 grey die of Zombies could appear but a lucky blank roll saves the day.


Tunnel’s End

There is a ghastly pounding coming from the other side of the door. “Quick, quick, come my heroes, shhh, quick, stop it, come, now!” The voices fade and the pounding stops. The locked door will require the force of two heroes.

Tunnel's End(3) Quellen opens the door to reveal a short corridor ending with a sturdy door. Setup instructs a peril card to be resolved: Doom advances by 1… Using 3 fatigue, the Beastmaster rushes forward and bashes the door open using Might: Fate is moved backward by 1!


Hall of Riddles

A lengthy riddle is inscribed onto the door at the far end of the hall. The markings are handmade; the deep crevices hollowed by unknown hands.

Hall of RiddlesSetup instructs to resolve 1 peril card and the Heroes’ turn is over, so a second peril card is drawn. A master Zombie appears at the door and the Heroes feel exhausted, causing them to gain 1 fatigue each and stunning Reynhart in the process. The Zombies shambles toward the warrior and scratches him.

(4) Reynhart and his wolf kill the Zombie. There’s enough counters on the loot track now to draw 4 shop items: Iron Battleaxe? Poisoned Blowgun? Mace of Aver? RUNE PLATE! Given to High Mage Quellen, the armor grants +2 Health and an extra black defense die! The mage dons the plate, approaches the door and solves the riddle with a laugh, moving Fate backward by 1.


Shiny Corridor

You catch a glint of something shiny in the corner of your eye, but as you move forward it begins to vanish!

After setup, Quellen gets a festering wound from a peril card (cannot recover health until he searches or is defeated). The shiny treasure vanishes before the Heroes who suffer 2 wounds each, killing the wolf.

(5) Reynhart now has 10 wounds and 4 fatigue. He quaffs the Health Potion and moves forward while the wise mage, sensing danger ahead, waits at the door. Fate advances by 1 and a peril card stuns the poor Reynhart.


Room of Souls

Servants of the mighty dragon stand guard in front of a large cauldron. Inside the stone container lies innocent souls, not yet lost to the dragon’s control. Releasing the souls into the pit may be their only chance of salvation. But you stand disturbed, your presence provokes a chilling moan in the chorus of souls.

Room of Souls(6) Dragging his feet, the groggy Beastmaster reaches the door. Quellen opens it and is immediately attacked by vicious Flesh Moulders. The Runemaster fails to retaliate and the monsters attack again.

(7) The mage rushes forward, blasts the enemies and grab the cauldron. Reynhart, using his Skinning Knife, stabs the wounded master Moulder to death, but reinforcement keeps coming.

(8) Time is dire. Using all of his energy, Quellen drags the cauldron and throws it into the black pit. The Heroes draw 1 search card and get a Treasure Chest containing an Immolation rune, a ranged weapon that could prove useful to my warrior. Fate is refreshed and the 2 XP gained are spent buying Shadow Hunter and Rune Mastery. Reynhart rolls a miss and uses his heroic feat to recover all fatigue and reroll his attack die, killing a Flesh Moulder. He calls his wolf to his side but the last remaining enemy dodges the bite. Fate advances by 1, a peril card deals 3 fatigue to each hero (killing the wolf) and the warrior gets slightly wounded.

(9) The Beastmaster finishes the Flesh Moulder with a swift blow of his Hunting Spear and call back his wolf while Quellen, hurt, goes to open the door.


Treasure Vault

The room glows a magnificent golden hue. Riches from the
rich, forgotten valuables from the poor.

Treasure Vault(10) Both Heroes, ignoring the riches, move closer to the next door and take a rest. They are badly injured (6 wounds each), but full of stamina. It won’t be easy unless they can find some potions.

(11) Reynhart decides to open the last chest and gets Poisoned. Cursing, he forces open the door leading to a smog-filled corridor…


Fog-Filled Passage

A green smog swirls from the door as you pull it open. Villagers of Summers Glade begin to move towards you with their hands outstretched. Once they get close you begin to realize something: they’re all dead.

Fog-Filler PassageThe Beastmaster’s wolf charges at the first putrid walking corpse and tear its head off with a snarl. The loot track is ready and the Heroes get to choose between a Leather Armor, a Chainmail or a Crossbow. With no easy way to heal wounds, Reynhart grabs and equips the Chainmail. There must have been an armorer living around here! Quellen advances and incinerates a second Zombie with a blast. The remaining corpse, moaning, tries in vain to penetrate the Rune Plate’s defense.

(12) Poison seeps into the veins of Reynhart, but he clenches his teeth and spears the shambling Zombie. Out of danger, the Runemaster searches the passage and finds a Curse Doll. He can finally get rid of the peril card that was blocking him from recovering health. Not yet ready to press forward, Fate advances by 1 and a new peril card drops all Heroes’ attributes to a maximum of 3.

(13) Weakened again by the poison, the Warrior hesitates and pushes open the door to a wide stinky room…


Trash Heap

An unbelievable stench hangs in this dreary space. The aroma is intensified by an extreme heat coming from the far side of the room. These are more of Tharn’s followers, blocking the way to the locked exit. A magical key crafted from a dragon’s scale lies in a large mound of filth, but if the dragons are defeated too soon, the key will be lost with them.

Trash HeapQuellen cannot bear to see his comrade suffer any longer and uses the Curse Doll to purge the poison out of his body. He also manages to snatch a treasure under the Shadow Dragon‘s stare: a Health Potion! The beast rages in anger and attacks the wizard to no avail.

(14) The Runemaster plunges in the filth to discover more treasures but only catches a vile Disease. Frustrated, he casts a bolt at the Dragon and injures it while the wolf sacrifices itself to deal the killing blow.The loot track is full again but the choice is not great this time: an Iron Spear or an Iron Shield? The Iron Spear deals less damage than the Hunting Spear of the Beastmaster and is useless to the Runemaster. The Iron Shield requires one hand and every Hero has his hands full. The shield then, but Reynhart will have to swap items often. He moves forward and opens the door…


The Lava Tomb

The spirits have lured a helpless farmer away from his family and chained him in this deathly tomb, doomed to suffer the same fate they had to bear. He struggles with his bonds, like a squirming rat in the eyes of a large serpent. He is the dragon’s next meal.

The Laval TombTwo Flesh Moulders, creeping behind a pool of lava, cast spells at Quellen.

(15) The Heroes want to save the farmer badly, but the bolts of the Runemaster keep missing. Reynhart charges and barely hurts the master Flesh Moulder. They retaliate and the Barghests come closer, howling horribly. Things are looking grim with only 1 turn left to rescue the farmer.

(16) High Mage Quellen does two blast attacks and defeats the minion Barghest. Reynhart kills the master Flesh Moulder who drops the key, but too late… The farmer’s soul is taken by Tharn and the Doom token advances by 1. If that wasn’t enough, the game transitions to Act II and the monsters left on the board become stronger. Luckily, the Heroes get 2 XP to spend before combat resumes. The Beastmaster gets Savagery and the Runemaster gets Iron Will. The evil master Barghest lurches forward ripping through Quellen’s armor who succumbs in a pool of blood; Fate advances by 1 and both counters are now next to each other!

The end?(17) How can the Heroes survive this situation? If they don’t open the door to the next room, Fate will advance by 1 and the game is over. Reynhart has full fatigue. Even if he spends his 2 actions moving, he will not reach the door. Quellen? The only hope. Reynhart, braving his fears, steps into the lava to reach and revive his friend who recovers only 3 wounds. The Runemaster recovers 2 fatigue because of his special ability and must use his heroic feat that grants him 4 extra Stamina for a total of 8! Stepping through the lava, he uses 1 move action and 5 fatigue tokens to bring him to the door that leads to the…


Lengthy Sewers

Water drips from the ceiling as a cool breeze sweeps through the putrid air. A burst of concentrated energy flies overhead, just missing you!

Lenghty SewersFlesh Moulders await at the far end of the sewers, too far to hit the mage who can barely stand. Reynhart blocks a hit from the nearby Flesh Moulder, but he doesn’t see the Barghest sneaking from behind. With its fangs at his throat, he falls on the ground and vainly tries to cry for help. Fate advances by 1 and meets the Doom token.


Epilogue

Tharn’s spirits have grabbed hold of you. Your bodies slow, and your minds become faded. The world around you changes into a warped dream. In the distance, Tharn approaches. The beast takes great care with each step; his motions are calm. Then he is upon you. His warm breath flows around you, yielding a strange sense of comfort. Tilting his head  up, Tharn samples the air, deciding whether his army of spirits will grow, or if his next meal is prepared. Either way, your fate is sealed.

There were only 2 exploration cards left in the deck, so I almost made it to the final encounter, quite a surprise considering the absence of a Healer in the group. Armors helped a lot in this quest but the Lava Tomb proved to be an impossible room.Still haven’t figured out how Heroes can kill the master Flesh Moulder, pick the key and rescue the farmer on the far side of the room under 3 turns. It was quite fun. Stay tuned for a play-through of the 2nd co-op pack: Nature’s Ire!

THE END

Skills – Planning Ahead

You are about to embark on a long 30+ hours campaign: The Shadow Rune. You have chosen your Hero carefully and then decided between a few available classes for your archetype. After completing First Blood, the introductory quest, you receive your first experience point (XP) and wonder how to spend it. Use this website and plan ahead!

Doing the Math

Planning your skills ahead is an essential part when playing a campaign and doing the math is the very first step.

Each class has 9 skill cards worth a total of 15 points.

  • 1 free starting skill.
  • 3 minor skills worth 1 point each.
  • 3 medium skills worth 2 points each.
  • 2 major skills worth 3 points each.

During the Shadow Rune campaign, each hero player will earn between 8 to 12 points.

  • 8 points for playing each quest (win or lose).
  • 1 extra point for winning The Frozen Spire (must have lost or skipped A Fat Goblin).
  • 1 extra point for winning The Wyrm Turns (must have won Death on the Wing).
  • 1 extra point for winning Blood of Heroes or The Twin Idols (the 2 possible sequels to The Masquerade Ball).
  • 1 extra point for playing some quests from Rumors.

Unless you plan things extremely carefully and decide to chase XP instead of relics, you should normally get about 8-9 points. Yes, you will have to made some choices down the road.

Planning your Skills

The best way to plan your skills is to create your own “built-in-class”. Let’s say you picked the Knight class. You could create a custom list of skills focusing on the defensive powers or on the offensive powers. The two examples below illustrate two different built-in-classes.

The Savior Knight

He likes his shinny shield and wants to help everyone. A real inspiring martyr.

  • Defend (1 pts): you can get hit instead of adjacent heroes.
  • Defense Training (2 pts): you can soak more damage by using a shield.
  • Shield Slam (2 pts): you can use your shield to stun opponents.
  • Inspiration (3 pts): you can help adjacent heroes recover fatigue.

The Mad Knight

He just wants to attack, attack, attack! He wouldn’t mind a two-handed weapon at all.

  • Advance (1 pts): can grant 1 extra attack if a monster is defeated.
  • Challenge (1 pts): with 1 extra damage, it increases your chances to use Advance.
  • Guard (2 pts): 1 extra attack during the overlord’s turn.
  • Stalwart (3 pts): 1 extra attack when you are knocked down.
  • 1 more skill of 1 point.

You can see here that skill symbiosis (or “combos”) is really important when planning the list of skills to purchase. If you are clever, you can even plan combos with the other heroes’ skills. And why stop with skills? Think of which items you should try to get your hands on during the campaign so your built-in-class can be maximized.

To summarize, you will get about 8 or 9 points of skills to purchase during the Shadow Rune campaign. Think of your wish list ahead in the form of a built-in-class made of skills that are compatible and think in which order they should be bought. It will make a difference.

Ezhaeu, webmaster

Attributes – Knowing the odds

Your hero has been Poisoned by a lame spider and you hesitate if you should use your Curse Doll to discard this condition or just keep trying your luck each turn by doing an attribute test. Meanwhile, the overlord giggles at his Dark Charm card and wonders which hero he should target. Can’t do the math and need a little help?

Attributes and attribute tests are new mechanics introduced in the 2nd edition of Descent: Journeys in the Dark. The four attributes (willpower, might, knowledge and awareness) add more variety and flavor to the growing list of heroes but their real use is to:

With that in mind, no sane hero player should neglect the 4 little numbers written at the bottom of each character sheet. Neither should the Overlord if he is evil as he should be. Especially when playing a campaign, kinowing the attributes of his opponents is a must.

Let’s take a look at what seems like a balanced party formed of one Warrior (Grisban), one Healer (Avric), one Scout (Jain) and one Mage (Leoric).

Willpower Might Knowledge Awareness
Grisban 3 5 2 1
Avric 4 2 3 2
Jain 2 2 3 4
Leoric 2 1 5 3

What can you see? Low Might! Seems like Might tests will be a piece of cake for Grisban but something very hard for all three remaining heroes. Let’s dig a bit deeper and see what the odds really are when throwing 1 black die + 1 grey die and trying to roll equal to or less than the heroes’ attribute.

Result Chances
0 3%
1 or less 11%
2 or less 22%
3 or less 53%
4 or less 72%
5 or less 92%
6 or less 97%
7 or less 100%

Alright, no hero has a natural attribute of 0, 6 or 7 but it is still possible to reach six with items like the Shroud of Dusk or the Thief’s Vest and it is technically possible to test against zero if the Overlord is cruel enough to use Wicked Laughter on a hero with an attribute of 1. Seven? Yet to be seen. What you need to notice here is that the progression is far from linear.

Looking at the table above, the hero players should realize it is a waste for Grisban to use a Curse Doll when he has 92% chances of getting rid of the Poisoned condition at the start of his turn. The overlord should also see that the best victims for the overlord’s Dark Charm are Leoric or Jain with only 22% chances of resisting.

The table below summarizes what each player should really have in mind (or written on a piece of paper) when playing.

Willpower Might Knowledge Awareness
Grisban 53% 92% 22% 11%
Avric 72% 22% 53% 22%
Jain 22% 22% 53% 72%
Leoric 22% 11% 92% 53%

Knowing the odds of attribute tests is but a first step. Using the odds in your favor is something else that we shall cover in another article.

Ezhaeu, webmaster