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…
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.
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.
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!
(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.
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.
(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.
Setup 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.
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.
(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.
The room glows a magnificent golden hue. Riches from the
rich, forgotten valuables from the poor.
(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…
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.
The 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…
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.
Quellen 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.
(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!
(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…
Water drips from the ceiling as a cool breeze sweeps through the putrid air. A burst of concentrated energy flies overhead, just missing you!
Flesh 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.
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!