Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Heroscape: Paddling Down The River of Blood

The long promised "River of Blood" dungeon campaign for Heroscape/Dungeons & Dragons was finally released last week, both at GenCon & online. Braeden & I dove into it last Sunday afternoon... and so far I'm impressed.

I was the "evil that lurks in the Underdark" and Braeden was the "intrepid band of heroes trying to find the source of the River of Blood." His party was:
  • Darrak Ambershard (the dwarf rogue with sneak attack)
  • the Greater Ice Elemental
  • Erevan Sunshadow (Eladrin wizard with fire blast)
  • Sharwin Wildborn (Eladrin battle mage with arcane bolt attack)
  • Brandis Skyhunter (half-elf ranger)
  • and an Air Elemental

He had some tough going in the first scenario (The Descending Stairs), losing all but two of his party members to my crew:

  • the Deepwyrm Drow (Drow squad)
  • Drow Chainfighter (Drow with chain grabbing ability)
  • Pelloth (Drow hero)
  • and a Sahuagin Raider (nasty piece of work)

Still, once he knocked Pelloth out to end the battle, his Second Wind rolls left him with just one hit on each of the "dead" guys... and then he went farther along the river into scenario #2: The Hydra's Lair. This time around, he faced:

  • 3 Fire Elementals
  • 2 Earth Elementals
  • and the aforementioned Hydra

The Fire Elementals played havoc with his team... and along with the Hydra chewing up a couple of guys, that was the end of his ill-fated expedition.

We played the first two scenarios again last Tuesday, this time with my Fresno gamer buddy Joe leading the heroes into the Underdark. He had a similar party, trading the Elemental & Brandis Skyhunter for Mogrimm Forgehammer (a dwarf warlord). I brought the Drow crew again. He had an easier time of than Braeden in the first scenario, but ended with Mogrimm one wound shy of death on his Second Wind roll.

So when he entered the Hydra's Lair, he had to leave the dwarf warlord back out of the action - and face the wrath of the Hydra, the Feral Troll & Brandis Skyhunter (enslaved to the Dark Side) a man down. Brandis made mincemeat out of his troops, defeating single handed the last three of the heroes.

The campaign rules are much improved from the first campaign (found in the Underdark scenario book), including a way for the heroes to get "dead" party members back in a wounded state.

  • They managed to design a series of "rooms" that feel different but use only the terrain that comes in the Battle for the Underdark box.
  • Combined with the need for only the 1st wave of Heroscape/D&D, you've got a campaign that is pretty flexible while not requiring a monstrous commitment of cash and/or table space.
  • The Second Wind rule is excellent - heroes who "die" in a scenario roll X dice (X = how many lives they have on the card) and begin the next scenario with one wound per skull rolled.
  • I've just received the new wave of Heroscape figures (Iron Golem! "Snotlings"! An Elemental Master!) and can't wait to see how these guys will offer new challenges in this particular dungeon.

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