Monday, November 24, 2008

Hoo hah!

So, as I noted last time, it was Andy's turn to Lord it Over us in yestersday's game of Descent. And yes, at last, we (ie. the heroes) won! It took 8 long games, but eventually good prevailed over evil. Except, well, in 'narrative' terms it turned out to be something of a phyrric victory, because it turned out that we had delivered a dangerous relic into the hands of an evil villain. So I expect that the next dungeon, the last in the basic set, will feature heroes trying to clear this damn mess up.

As I said last time, I did go and pick out a hero in advance. Knowing Tony and Donald's penchant for fighters, I decided to opt for a roguish ranged combat specialist. I found one I liked, Silhouette. The key features which attracted me to Silhouette were:
  • The ranged combat trait and starting subterfuge skills of 3 each- I wanted to try a specialist rogue before taking a look at 'multiclass' heroes.
  • The hero ability, which I quickly realised would enable me to spend 3 Fatigue in a turn, go to Dodge, then spend those 2 remaining Fatigue to swap that Dodge for a Rest to reset the Fatigue to 5 before taking my next turn. I used this trick often in the game.
I also had a plan for Silhouette, which involved saving all her cash for training tokens so that I could push her ranged combat trait to 5 as quickly as possible. I managed to do this too.

I'd like to be able to say that all this preparation was crucial to our victory on the day, but I'd be kidding myself. The truth is that the major contribution I made was using my speed to get through to treasure chests or to glyphs to open or activate them. This is a very important part of Descent to be sure, but lone heroes are always vulnerable to the Overlord's monsters, lone and fragile heroes all the more so. Sure enough, it was Silhouette's death which put us within a mere 8 turns of defeat as we neared the end of the midgame.

In fact, I'd thought we were doomed to defeat long before that. We'd taken so long to clear the first area that the sight of a 2nd area with the same layout and harder monsters convinced me that we simply couldn't win. Moreover, it was precisely what Silhouette was good at- ie. grabbing the treasure- which I feared would take us so long that we'd lose simply by running out of time. I was wrong fortunately.

All the same, my useful contribution wasn't decisive. I would have to say that that honour belonged to our new 4th hero, Dave. Offered his choice of hero archetypes, he plumped for magic-user, ending up with Landrec the Wise.

Dave was a quick learner, and was soon charging about zapping monsters like a veteran. He was dangerous enough equipped with a rune which gave him access to the Breath template, so that he could waste whole handfuls of monsters in a single turn; but when he gained a skill which enabled him to use other heroes as the point of origin of his attacks, he became, as he said, a nuclear device with remote targetting. And when he got his hands on the rune for which we'd been searching, well, let's just say that he was powerful enough so that our final encounter, with the Big Boss, was, as Andy said, a bit of an anti-climax.

There's something in this which strikes to the heart of Descent, but I'll come back to that later. In the meantime, HOO HAH! ;)

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