Chris Palmer This past Saturday we played the fifth game of our Ghost Archipelago Champaign. We had 5 of our regular players in attendance, and used a 3’ x 7’ table. For our scenario this time we turned back to the original Frostgrave rulebook, and did a modified version of “The Keep”.
Whereas the original scenario takes place within the ruins of a single building, we changed if for our game by spreading it out to be the ruins of an entire village. In this village there was a series of mysterious teleport discs spread throughout that had enabled the original residents to move quickly from place to place thorough their swampy jungle village. Now the system had either malfunctioned, or maybe the crews just don’t know how to properly use it; but whenever a figure would step on any of them, they’d immediately be transported to a random one on the table, including the possibility of ending up right back on the one where they started from.
|A view of the table. The numbered circles denote the teleport discs. The light blue ones are the Central Treasures.|
We placed two special discs with the central treasures on them, then each player placed two discs like they would treasure, and placed their treasure tokens on top of the disc. If you stepped on a disc you’d be immediately transported to the next disc, so you couldn’t pick up the treasure on the disc you stepped up, but you could pick up any treasure on the disc you landed on. Also, we ruled you couldn’t use any magic to move treasures off of the discs; they were treated as magical null zones.
I did poorly with my place in the order of Start Zone selections, drawing chip number 4. The good thing was, with there only being 5 players, that I was still able to get a corner spot on the 3 player side. Unfortunately there was only one teleport pad and treasure anywhere near me. I ended up with the Heritor Barl the Librarian directly on my right, and the Heritor Gnomeo across from me and a little to the right
The storm was blowing more strongly now, and the Captain headed to the Heritor’s cabin to have a frank discussion. The ship rocked and swayed, but the old seaman easily kept his footing.
A little while later he was finishing up his summation of the situation. “…the simple fact is we need to find a protected bay or inlet to ride this out.” he concluded to Barley. The little Halfling Heritor sat at her desk looking a little green and sipping from a small mug. She nodded and, taking a big swig of the last of the amber liquid in the mug, replied, “You’re the expert, Captain. I defer to your judgement.”
"Good.“ the Captain said, relieved. "My man up top had spotted what we think is an island a short distance to port before the storm hit. We’ll head for there.”
As it turned out, the island had a small bay that shielded them from the worst of it. When the gale had passed, Barley surveyed the coast, and quickly spotted the ruins of a tower, up in the low hills beyond the thin strip of beach.
"It looks like there was some sort of outpost or settlement here", the Halfling Heritor said to her Human Warden, Tork. I’m thinking we should investigate before we leave. It will give the Captain time to see to repairing any damage from the storm, and chart us a new course.
|My starting deployment|
A couple hours later, they had reached the remains of the tower. It stood half crumbled and long deserted. After considering it for a while, and glancing into the shattered remains of the walls, Barley was about to declare it a wasted trip, when Tok spotted the signs of an overgrown path leading further into the jungle. Barley figured while they were there, seeing where it went would be worth while.
A short distance away, they came to the outskirts of a ruined town. Crumbling, overgrown buildings were visible in all directions. Barley took the time to divide her crew up into three commands: with herself she took her Scout, Perkin, the Crossbow-woman, Lily, and the Crewman, Habby. With her Warden Tork, she assigned; the two Archer brothers Billy and Jikam, as well as Crewman Link. Crew members Corel and Ginsink would act as an independent reserve, helping out where needed.
Barley advanced towards a large tree on their left. She could see a small stream flowing a short distance away, seemingly dividing the village into two sides. What caught her eye was an ornate mosaic disc(12) set on the ground beside the stream. It measured about 10 feet across, and was mysteriously pristine when compared to the ruins and overgrown vegetation all around them. On the disc, the Heritor noticed sat a small chest, toppled to one side as if it had been dropped.
Then, as the Heritor studied the curious disc and the chest upon it, the air above it seemed to shimmer for a few seconds, there was a brief hum like a hive of bees, and suddenly a rotund Dwarf appeared magically, standing directly on the disc(12), right next to the chest. He appeared confused at first, but had the presence of mind to bend down and grab the chest. With a double take, Barley recognized it as the Heritor Ragnam!
|Barley, Perkin, and Lily advance to the left, as Ragnam appears on the nearby disc (top center of photo behind clump of tall grass)|
Barley was still puzzling over what just happened, when Tork came running towards her, and shouted “Little one, behind you!" The Halfling Heritor whipped around to see a Mountain Goat trotting towards them. Tork stopped in his tracks, and quickly attempted to use his Control Animal ability, but he rushed it and failed. The Archers, Jikam and Billy, both ran forward as well, and pausing, let loose with their arrows. Both missed. The Goat was angered now, and stopping a second, pawed at the ground before lowering its head and charging directly at Barley. The Halfling nimbly stepped aside, and brought her sword around with a powerful swing against the beast, stabbing it directly in the side. The animal skidded to a stop, flipping over and was dead before it hit the ground. (I roll 17, Goat rolls 3).
Then, there was a sudden loud roar in the distance that seemed to make the whole jungle go quiet. In the silence Barley could hear Tork, her Beast Warden, say to himself, "Uh, oh. Big Monster." And he was right; for just a short distance away, above the trees on their right, they could see the huge head of a Monarch come unto view among the highest branches. (Monarch from a Treasure Random Encounter enters behind Barl’s Start Zone)
Before Barley had a chance to consider the implications of this new arrival, she heard the hum again from the disc(12), and turned in time to see a Human Crewman (belonging to Cassilda’s crew) now appear on the disc(12) next to Ragman. The new arrival was as startled to see the Dwarf as he was to see her. Beyond the disc and its occupants, the Halfling Heritor could also see movement, and members of the Heritor Gnome’s crew came into view, moving among the ruins on the far side of the stream.
|The Monarch enters directly behind Barl’s start zone.|
Quickly, Barley gathered her wits, and taking cover behind a nearby tree, unshouldered her bow, and let fly an arrow at the Dwarf Heritor. It struck Ragnam in the shoulder, and the dwarf clutched at the shaft cursing (I roll a 17 +2S). Perkin joined his Heritor behind the tree and he too shot at the Dwarf, hitting him as well, in his thick thigh. (I roll 17 +2S again!) The Dwarf’s leg went out from under him, and he went down with a thud. Ragnam weakly crawled off the disc, dragging his prize with his good arm, then turned and crawled back on. This triggered the disc again, and with a hum and a shimmer of light the Dwarf disappeared as suddenly as he had appeared.
Tork once again tried to Summon Animal in an attempt to gain them an ally, and this time had success. Making a link with a Snapping Turtle further down the stream, he called the creature to assist them. The Warden then advanced, along with the two Archers, to a low ruin of a stone building that appeared to be the remains of a well house, as the masonry of the round well could still be seen. The two Archers seeing the strange Crew-woman still on the disc , both fired upon her, and both missed.
Crewman Link decided to follow the Dwarf with the treasure, and so ran after him, onto the disc. As soon as his foot touched the mosaic surface, he felt a strange spinning sensation, and the world around him blurred into a swirl of color and just as quickly reformed into unfamiliar surroundings. Looking down the mosaic on the disc was different. He quickly realized he had moved to another disc(5) somewhere in the village. Turning, he realized there was a Human standing on the disc next to him (Another of Cassilda’s crew); and before he could react, a large fist clutching a sword, swung at him and the metal of the hilt connected with his temple. His head snapped around, the world went black, and he collapsed onto the disc unconscious.
|Barley and Perkin take aim at Ragnam from behind the cover of a large tree.|
Suddenly, there was a distinctive "hiss” from the tall grass behind Barley, and turning quickly she spotted the head of a Giant Snake bobbing and weaving just a dozen yards away. (Summoned by the Gnomish Beast Warden). The little Heritor brought up her bow and fired, but the arrow went wide. “Perkin!”, she called to her Scout, and in a flash, he too spun around and readied his bow. Perkin’s arrow hit its mark, piecing the Snake just below the head, and it dropped down into the grass, dead. (I roll 19 +2 S = 21)
“Thank you!”, Barley said, relieved; and continued, “I think you should follow Link, and see if you can help him with the Dwarf. And with that, the loyal Scout turned and ran for the disc(12). Setting his foot upon it, Barley watched as he disappeared. The Halfling Heritor then turned to the Crossbow-woman, and called over to her, "Lily, follow Perkin and see if you two can help Link with the Dwarf. In the distance they could hear the Monarch give a loud roar that echoed among the treetops.
Tork seeing the three Halflings run to the disc assumed that everyone was supposed to, and he told the two Archer brothers to come with him, and the three of them ran for the disc. Like with the others, as each stepped upon it, each was immediately teleported elsewhere.
|Tork, Billy, and Jikam advance to the old well house and the Archers fire on Cassilda’s Crew-woman. (On disc behind clump of tall grass.)|
Meanwhile, when Perkin materialized on a different disc(8), he quickly realized the Dwarf, Ragnam, was nowhere around. Neither was Link. He was shocked however to suddenly realize there was a dead Human laying on the disc, and to his right was a Gnome Crewman. The two eyed each other suspiciously, but before either could act, there was a sound of loud wind and a sudden crashing of branches and both occupants of the disc stared in horror as the Monarch suddenly was blown past a nearby patch of jungle and landed just a few yards from the pad where they stood. (Barl’s Warden successfully casts Wind Blast against the creature.)
Lily had landed only about a hundred yards further away from Perkin, on another disc(4 Central Treasure). She was struck by the extra elaborate nature of the mosaic, and noticed a fine leather pouch studded with gemstones, laying in the center. She reached down to pick it up, admiring the craftsmanship.
Back on Perkin’s disc(8), the Halfling and the Gnome were frozen with indecision, not knowing whether to run or attack. As they stood there, dumbfounded, the air shimmered between them, and Tork now arrived on the same disc. He quickly realized the situation, and looking up at the big creature before them, said, "Oh, no." and instinctively threw his arms up to cover his head.
The Monarch however, had no doubt of what to do, and seeing an easy meal before him charged at the three occupants of the disc. Perkin, Tork, and the Gnome cowered, and though none were looking, they could feel the beast’s closeness and awaited the inevitable. None of them saw as the Monarch, leaning down, his jaws open wide, placed his leading foot on the disc. With a shimmer and hum he vanished.
|The Monarch is blown to a position near Perkin and a Gnome on disc 8|
He wasn’t truly gone of course, for as Lily ran her hands over the jewel encrusted pouch on the ornate disc(4), she became aware of a loud hum, and the sudden appearance of a large shadow above her. Looking up, she had barely time to let out a scream as the huge jaws descended on her. She tried to leap away, but the Monarch’s power jaws clamped down, just getting a hold of her cape. She was lifted high in the air, as the Halfling struggling to free herself. The Monarch, realizing it had missed the meaty part of its target and was trying now to flip the Halfling up into its mouth. Desperately, Lily grabbed at the clasp holding her cape, and ripped at it. It came loose just as the Monarch tossed her, and as the cape came free of her shoulders she was flung even higher into the air. The beast clawed and snapped frantically at its now-flying meal, but the creature’s arms were too short, and its mouth was still tangled in the flapping cape. Lily found herself hanging in the air for an instant, and then the rapid decent began. The Crossbow-woman came down hard, her head hitting the edge of the disc, knocking her out cold.
|The Monarch teleports itself to another disc (4) where it finds Lily with a Central Treasure.|
|Habby and Billy both land on disc 7 and recover the treasure there.|
It was now Barley’s turn to try the disc(12); and like the others before her, she too ran forward and leaped onto the mosaic circle. In a swirl of color she was gone. Her trip was shorter though, as she materialized on another disc(10) that was just across the river and next to the ruin where she had first spotted Gnomeo and his Crew. And, to her surprise, there was the Gnomish Heritor himself, in the ruin just a short distance away, dragging a large wooden box with decorative inlays on it.
The Warden, Tork, back on the the disc(8) he first traveled to, had seen the Monarch materialize in the distance on the further disc(4). Worried the creature would return, the Warden had immediately hopped off and back on to the disc(8) where he was. In a swirl he vanished and reappeared on a disc(9 Central Treasure) just a short distance away, on the far side of a branch of stream from where he had been. This was a much more ornate disc(9 CT) than the two he had been on before, and upon it sat a well made chest with gold and silver inlays . After admiring it for a brief time, Tork reached down and heaved it up onto his shoulder, and made for the cover of a nearby patch of jungle.
Crew members Ginsink and Corel, who had spent the last hour trying to work their way into a beneficial position behind the Heritor Barl’s crew, had finally given up, and now tried to find their way back to where they left the others. They came across one of the discs(8), and having not seen one being used yet, were unsure of what it was. First Ginsink stepped upon it to study the fine mosaic work, and when she disappeared in a shimmer, Corel ran onto the disc(8) too, to see what happened. Miraculously, they both reappeared in the same place; standing on each side of their Heritor, Barley, on the disc(10) she had materialized upon.
The two new arrivals, also saw the Heritor Gnomeo and his treasure. The three Halflings were so distracted by the excellent opportunity before them, they didn’t see the Gnome Archers who lingered around the ruin as well. First one, then another fired, both hitting Barley. (-4HP, and -2HP, reduced to 14HP) She staggered as the first arrow gashed her leg, and the second left a crease in her arm. Ginsink and Corel rushed forward to try and reach the shooters, but it was too late. Gomeo himself stopped, and turning shouldered his bow. Using his Trick Shot ability the Gnome Heritor took aim at Barley and hit her squarely in the right shoulder, knocking her back. The Halfling fell and blacked out before she hit the ground. Without thinking her two nearby Crew members rushed forward, and grabbing the unconscious Heritor. They started dragging her back to safety on the far side of the river, as the Gnomes shouted insults in their wake from the protected safety of the their ruin. The two Crew members jettisoned her light armor, sword, bow and quiver, to make her easier to move. They, along with the rest of the crew, now all started making their back to where they had landed on the beach.
|Barley, Ginsink and Corel teleport amongst the Gnomes.|
Treasure had been difficult to come by, and the Heritor felt lucky that her crew was able to bring home anything at all. Tork’s chest (a Central Treasure) had held 100 Gold Coins. And the one Habby had retrieved had held 10 Gold Coins and vial with some Gillivourt weed in it.
Her mind turned to the increasing pile money in the ship’s vault, and the number of Magic and Superior Weapons stored there as well. Perhaps, the Heritor considered, it was time to make a trip back to the Mainland. They could do some repairs and upgrades to the ship, take on fresh supplies, and perhaps find a potion that would cure Billy a little quicker.
A week later they were in a port on the mainland. Their haul of weapons brought a hefty sum! Barley found a beautiful Compass for the ship (-200GC) and Tork had found a stray hound that befriended hm, and begged for them to put a kennel on the ship. (-200GC) He asked for so little, Barley felt she couldn’t refuse. They had also located a potion (-50GC) that would help cure their Archer. And they still had plenty left over. Bailey considered adding Extra Quarters, but that would drain their treasury to almost nothing. Maybe next time, she thought…
|The final tally.|
What a wild and crazy game! It was bad enough that treasure was so hard to get, but having the Monarch appear on turn 1 certainly didn’t help. Luckily, I think I was the only one to land on either of the Central Treasure discs, and to have actually gotten one away was sheer luck.
I also wanted to add a note about the Snapping Turtle that Tork Summoned in the second turn. A Swamp Zombie entered the same turn in almost the same spot, and the two spent the entire game fighting each other, with neither managing to hit the other. So he was never able to play a roll in the game.
I finally decided to head to the mainland and cash in all my treasure, even though I haven’t lost any Specialists. Those of you who have been following along with my reports will know that many of the treasures I have found have resulted in Magic or Superior 2-handed weapons; and since I don’t have anyone in my Crew who carries such a thing, they were useless to me. So they have been gathering dust aboard the ship. I finally felt it was time for them to go. They brought in over 1000 GC, which helped pay for the trip, a new Compass, and a Kennel. We’ll see how that all works out next time.
via One More Gaming Project http://onemoregamingproject.blogspot.com/2019/05/ghost-archipelago-19-game-5-mysterious.html
from Tumblr https://harfordhawks.tumblr.com/post/184917457803