Things had to change for the forces of the Adversary. With two pretty one-sided loses under their belts, we set out to turn things around in week three. This meant starting with a numbers advantage, and thus an investment in a new hireling. Hopefully my new Iguan Assassin would provide me a meaningful advantage, while keeping an eye on my seemingly incompetent warband.
Having dramatically learned the value of Magic Rings, I acquired one for my Shadowfoot, as well as Neurotoxin (and the Journeyman needed to apply it). Having spent every iota of resources, this would be my best chance yet for victory.
Ikkinz, perhaps overcome with hubris, opted to spend her influence on more and better tradesmen, with an eye towards their longer term value. As we agreed to move up to 100pt games, this meant she would be down a body, but would have a wealth of Fate Weave to spend, a balancing mechanic that provides loads of tricks and options to those with a point disparity on the actual table. She would also add the Violent Faultline spell to her Geomancer, noting she has been an absolute MVP of versatility, utility, and offense.
My forces, now eager and ready to pick a fight, learn that the forces of the Advocate are on pilgrimage to an enchanted holy site. We pursue this lead, and arrive just after the Advocates, and find an unexpected scene.
The once beautiful reliquary for an ancient tool has been overtaken by rising waters. Now a brackish swamp, little remains, though the treasures are intact. Worse still, elaborate webs are seen all around, a chittering emanating as one approaches. This site has new guardians, but its original ones are here and intent on seeing their treasure stay where it is.
Ikkinz sets up as defender, and I as attacker. I have five turns in which to get two objectives off of a table corner.
Turn 1: Dividing my forces, I attempt to leverage my numbers advantage and split Ikkinz’ heroes even further. The water (difficult terrain), really slows this scenario down for me, so I know I will need to be cheeky. My Iguan Assassin, envisioning an elaborate and graceful series of jumps, proceeds to fail gloriously and repeatedly to make his Challenge 2 Jump Tests. He cannot roll a 4+ despite three chances.
Learning from his failures, my Hearthguard would focus, and make his jump, positioning for the next turn. He was within 3” of a Spider Nest, but rolled a 3+, so nothing happened. My other characters advanced modestly, with my Bibliothecary placing the always troublesome Horror to delay Ikkinz.
Her own activations were spent positioning to receive me in future turns. A deterrent rock spire was placed to dissuade me from approaching the less defended treasure on her platform, and dodges were placed on all.
Turn 2: Winning initiative, my Iguan Assassin enacted his plan. Committing all five AD he would reach, and secure the treasure, and begin his trek back to his deployment corner. This put Ikkinz in a tough, tough spot as she would have to reposition her out of place Geomancer, commit the Battlesmith, or accept my mission as half complete. She chose this last option, moving the Battlesmith to receive my Shadowfoot.
Showing why she is MVP, Ikkinz’s Geomancer proceeded to do some serious work. She swatted away the Illusionary Horror, and both placed, and erupted a Spire that would strip all of my dodge tokens, and even put two wounds on Hearthguard and Bibliothecary alike. When she would next activate she would leverage this by charging in with her Stonekin who promptly knocked down the Hearthguard.
My Bibliothecary now summoned a fresh Horror directly on a treasure, and threw out an ineffectual Elemental Smite. The Horror itself, however, would bind the Stonekin, grab a treasure, and begin his own, longer escape (luckily triggering nothing scary from the adjacent web).
My Shadowfoot faired more poorly. His first move spawned a giant spider engaging him, and though dodging, also missed killing the creature. It had no such problem, sinking its fangs in Shadowfoot for a damage, but worse, causing a plague which would damage me, each recovery phase, but also spread. Now her Battlesmith was ill, and we both knew we were best served far away from the rest of the battle.
Luckily, my Hearthguard also recovered, helping me maintain my roadblock.
Turn 3: With initiative once again, I activated my highly vulnerable Horror first. Two moves at least helped widen the gap between him and immediate threats, though my Hearthguard did less well, being immediately put back down by the Stonekin (who was at least still bound after failing to break free).
My Bibliothecary responded with an enormous Elemental Smite which put down the Stonekin in a single blow, and then trudged through the waist-high waters, away from the always deadly Geomancer. This was wisely timed as the Geomancer again used the powerful Spire/Eruption combo to now permanently remove my Hearthguard.
Elsewhere, a plague-riddled slap-fight ensued, as neither Shadowfoot nor Battlesmith could hit anything. The malicious plague did its work none-the-less, taking my Shadowfoot a mere health away from death.
Using her stores of Fate Weave, Ikkinz improved the odds of her Stonekin recovering to great effect, putting him upright to end the turn.
Turn 4: Moving my Horror again placed him within one more turn of freedom meant this entire turn hinged on Ikkinz removing my Bibliothecary, thus forcing my Horror to fade away due to Upkeep. Despite her very best efforts, and a Fate Woven reroll of damage, the bookish Moldorf endured with one wound left.
The Battlesmith, however, would proceed to drop and then finish my already infirm rogue.
Turn 5 and Post-Game: Winning activation, and the game, I walked my Horror off table, glad to secure a victory.
That said, it was a pyrrhic one, as my heavily-invested-in Shadowfoot would end up permanently dead, and my Hearthguard found himself with a broken hand to match my Bibliothecary’s.
The costly, costly win, did not feel like much of one at all.
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