We readily adopted a number of the tweaks, including limited ceiling height, limited line of sight, and new rules covering where wandering monsters appeared. We also set up four entrances to the complex - parties could use any of these to exit the dungeon, apart from the one directly opposite, used by the other party.
Kelvin was worried about what the darkness would do to his vaunted orc archers, which he relies on heavily - along with his blasted Grenade spells. We also discovered the paved corridors would limit the use of his Mud spell, but the orcs still cast it a couple of times.
I had a dog and my dwarf man at arms Skeggi Boozehound resting up with wounds from the encounter at the Silent Towers, so needed to reinforce my party. I took a chance and hired a knight, plus a hobbit treasure hunter called Bagbo Biggins! Ragnar and Nordgrint failed to cast Fool's Gold before the mission, but they did raise a zombie, which proved useful. I was going into the game with only one dog, which would be quite different from my usual posture.
We built the dungeon using vintage Games Workshop dungeon floor plans, supplemented with Hero Quest furniture I bought on eBay. Overall I liked the retro effect we achieved. Kelvin got first choice on which entrance to use.
|Overview of the entire complex - orcs entered from the right, Ragnar from the left|
Both parties were seeking to loot books from an underground library. This meant there was a much higher chance of securing some grimoires. I realised that Kelvin's goblin witch is far more experienced than my soothsayer, and that I'd need to focus on getting some spells cast this time around.
Choice of entrance worked well for Kelvin and he managed to get himself into an advantageous position where lowly goblins could snatch a couple of chests before I even seized one. Three chests were pretty easy to loot, and I soon had my zombie on his way with a chest of my own. The other two would be a little more contentious.
One chest I sent my dog to try to grab but sadly it was defeated in a fight with the orcs' squigg.
|Ragnar and his boys in marching order early in the game...|
I had buffed two of my characters, the knight with a potion of strength and Bagbo with a potion of speed. The real fight devolved into a battle around a single chamber occupied by one chest. This was complicated by the arrival of a couple of wild dogs (wandering monsters) one of which attacked my party in the rear, but was quickly killed by a tracker. The other proved slightly more problematic but was also finally slain by my second tracker.
I sent my knight after the goblin witch - one thing I've realised is you don't want to let the witch get unmolested line of sight on your party, where she can start flinging spells at you. Sadly the knight was hampered by a Poison Dart spell, but Ragnar got up behind him and succeeded in casting Heal on him.
|Someone thoughtfully left the library fire burning for the orcs...|
I've decided Ragnar can actually prove quite useful if he is allowed to cast Heal on key characters like the knight. It is a touch spell, so he needs to stay close and this can expose him to hostile fire. But I knew I needed to keep him in the game to earn some XP. He also managed to use a scroll of Decay to make the orc barbarian's sword rust away, which was nice.
I succeeded in keeping the orcs away from a second chest, at some personal risk to Nordgrint, mind you, but he bought Bagbo enough time to allow the hobbit to scurry away on speedy feet with the chest. The knight was felled by a Grenade, although he lived to fight another day. But he applied enough pressure on the witch that she decided to exit the dungeon early.
|A lone goblin manages to snatch an easy loot counter...|
Elsewhere a lone tracker pursued the goblins leaving with the fifth and final chest. These goblins ran into a giant centipede which the game thoughtfully coughed up for them to encounter, and one was poisoned before they could kill it (we were using the underground encounter tables and new monsters which appear in Into The Breeding Pits).
That was pretty much that: Kelvin won on chests, 3-2. I didn't lose any critical personnel, which was good. Next time I'll get Skeggi back, plus an extra dog. Not only that, I'm building a kennel at my HQ in the city, which provides me with scope for another extra hound, so could conceivably have three canines for the next adventure....
Next up - A Night At The Museum