Friday, May 17, 2013

Descent: Journeys In The Dark (Quest) - The Twin Idols


Quest VI - The Twin Idols


Having been briefed by Baron Greigory's librarian, the heroes departed for the Carthmounts to find the Twin Idols - the Idol of the Sun and the Idol of Skulls.  According to the librarian's findings, the Idols could be used to either reinforce or weaken the seals containing the Dragonlord Gryvorn.  The journey was largely uneventful until the heroes neared the mountains.  Jain Fairwood skillfully led the heroes around the Overlord's patrolling minions, and Grisban the Thirsty bravely held a nest of forest spiders at bay while his companions escaped to safety.  Before long, the heroes had reached the cavern that housed the Twin Idols.  [The heroes successfully evaded one of the Overlord's spies, forcing him to discard a card, while Grisban was the only one Poisoned by the spiders on the Travel Events.]

The heroes arrived just in time to see a group of goblin archers carrying the Idol of Skulls.  Grisban and Leoric of the Book hurried forward to hold them at bay, while Avric Albright stood guard as a pair of ettins approached from another passageway.  The goblins peppered Grisban and Leoric with arrows, but to little effect.  Meanwhile, Jain ran down the remaining corridor and searched in vain for a key to the Idol of the Sun.  [The heroes wisely rushed forward to the intersection and set up a defensive line to hold the monsters at bay.  Their plan worked brilliantly, namely because the Overlord forgot the goblins archers' Scamper ability, which allows them to move through heroes!]

The heroes hold the line

As Grisban and Leoric pushed forward against the goblins and felled a number of their number, they quickly moved forward to search for the key.  The ettin boss, Zak'n'Jak, wounded Jain and quickly pushed past Avric to keep the heroes separated and let the other ettin push forward.  Another goblin archer rushed in the entrance behind the heroes and quickly picked up the Idol of Skulls.  The heroes knew the race was on!  [The Overlord saw his opening once Jain was knocked out, and moved the master ettin to block Grisban and Leoric in the northern passage.  Meanwhile, a goblin archer reinforcement came in the Entrance and rushed forward with a Dash card to quickly grab the Idol of Skulls and made a run toward the Sewer tile, as the ettin minion moved to cover his escape!]

The tables are turned

Grisban and Leoric defeated Zak'n'Jak and tossed his key to Jain, who ran like the wind far into the Ettin's Lair.  The goblin archer carrying the Idol of Skulls had made it to the Sewer, but was just climbing down into the filth as Jain opened the door and activated the Idol of the Sun.  The heroes had triumphed, and were shown a vision of where to find the Sun Totem!  [Jain used her Heroic Feat to double move, and then used another Move action to move a massive 15 spaces!  The goblin archer was a couple of moves away from being able to place the Idol of Skulls, so the heroes won Encounter 1 and would get to go first as normal in Encounter 2.]

Jain reaches the Idol of the Sun as a goblin archer makes a break for it with the Idol of Skulls

A short while later, the heroes had reached the valley within the Carthmounts depicted in their shared vision.  As they reached a small pond and the Skull Totem, they heard the nearby moans of zombies and the familiar voice of Lady Eliza Farrow taunting them.  The heroes wasted no time rushing the zombies and destroyed a number of the decaying undead.  [Lady Eliza Farrow was equipped with the Scorpion's Kiss, and the open monster group was the ever-useful hybrid sentinels.]

The battle for the totems begins

The zombie gauntlet

As the zombies pushed forward against the heroes, Jain broke through their lines and made a sprint toward the Sun Totem.  She had just made it to the Graveyard where the totem rested, when she was attacked by both a master and a minion zombie.  Already wounded, she could not fight them off and fell to their attacks.  Suddenly, she found herself back on the Muddy Path leading to the Pond, restored by the mystical spirits of the valley!  [Jain was the first hero to get knocked out in this encounter, which meant she was restored to full health and stamina and placed back on the Muddy Path tile.  Normally this would have been a great boon to the heroes, but in this case it wasted her Heroic Feat in her attempt to reach the Sun Totem.]


As the zombies and Lady Eliza pressed the heroes, the hybrid sentinels simultaneously pressed the assault as one of their number flew overhead and grabbed the Skull Totem.  Leoric and Avric fell, reappearing next to Jain on the Muddy Path and leaving Grisban alone to fight the Overlord's minions.  Lady Eliza used the Scorpion's Kiss to great effect, raining damage on Grisban and pinning him in place with the bow's enchanted poison arrows.  While the Poison did little against the hearty (and ale-soaked) dwarf, the Immobilization enchantment kept him rooted in place and prevented him from chasing the hybrid sentinels.  As the dragonkin flew off with the Skull Totem, the heroes rallied and made a final rush past a wave of zombies to search for one last treasure.  [The Scorpion's Kiss was a great boon in limiting Grisban's ability to tear up the Overlord's forces by repeated Immobilize effects.  With one final push, multiple heroes fell as the hybrid sentinel escaped with the Skull Totem and rapidly escaped the heroes' ability to retaliate.  The heroes had been outmaneuvered, but put on a good show of teamwork to reach one last Search token.]

A hybrid sentinel escapes with the Skull Totem as the Overlord's forces hold the heroes at bay

The heroes cooperate to claim one last prize


The Overlord's minions withdrew, as Lady Eliza called upon the power of the Skull Totem and weakened the seals binding the Dragonlord Gryvorn.  The Overlord was one step closer to his goal of dominion!  [The Overlord won the quest, giving him extra XP as a quest reward and bringing Act II to 2-0 for the Overlord!]

OVERview

I felt incredibly daft in Encounter 1 once I remembered the goblin archers' Scamper ability!  After all, that was the whole point behind choosing the goblin archers as my open monster group!  Unfortunately, I had remembered only after Grisban and Leoric had decimated the goblins' ranks, so I don't know how well it would have worked.  The ettins worked fairly well, and did a good job of blocking the hallways once I was able to make a hole in the heroes' ranks to get them in place.  Overall, I would like to play Encounter 1 again with the same monsters (ettins and goblin archers), and see how it plays out.  Fortunately, losing the first encounter did not have a huge impact for the Overlord in this quest.

Encounter 2 started fairly well; the zombies fared about as expected, as they only have one brown defense die (pathetic!), even in Act II.  I'm not sure how that's supposed to be balanced; it seems that they either need to have a much higher amount of health (so it takes a while for heroes to cut them down), or else have a "Rise Again" ability that lets them stand back up the next turn and just keep coming.  The master zombie had a respectable attack, but the standard zombie minions are not a significant threat unless they can mob a hero.

As always, the hybrid sentinels were awesome shock troops and carried the battle.  The master hybrid sentinel's Fire Breath was only used once, but combined with their Prey on the Weak and Fly abilities, they are great at picking on weaker/support characters.  Also, as I predicted, their Fly ability came in very handy for reaching the Skull Totem past the heroes' lines and successfully escaping with it.

Finally, Lady Eliza Farrow combined with the Scorpion's Kiss relic was an excellent combination.  She already has a nice ranged attack, and since the Scorpion's Kiss ability is a non-attack action (it does not cause damage, only Poison & Immobilize).  The Poison ability on Grisban almost never actually does anything due to his massive Might stat, but the Immobilize was critical in locking him down and keeping him from slaughtering my minions.  I look forward to seeing this relic in action again, and seeing the heroes come up with a counter to it.

Since this was the second Overlord victory in Act II, it ensured that we would be playing "The Man Who Would Be King" as the Finale quest.