Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Bogged Down - Red Book of the Elf King AAR

Sam and I met up this past weekend to play a game of Red Book of the Elf King. It had been a little while since we had last played, so our rules knowledge was a little rusty. But we remembered quickly enough and soon go into the rhythm of the game. 

We decided to try the Ruin of An Rhar scenario, which sees one Circle ambushing another Circle's encampment.

Sam and I randomly chose our Thanes with some under-the-table card shuffling. I drew Meksant Farseer, the most powerful spellcasting Thane of the original six, while Sam drew Lowic Angersand, a combat-orientated Thane only second in physical prowess to Vachel Goldenhand.

Seeking a mystical tome, Meksant had led his Circle deep into Lowic's territory. With the sun setting, the Circle made camp in the ruins of an ancient hall of some forgotten Fae lord. The Circle's Companions took up their watch, while others sat down to rest.

However, the spirits of the old Lord and their Companions were not quiet, and the Circle listened as their unearthly cries echoed through the night air.

It was with a fearsome cry that Lowic and his band of sworn Fae emerged from the twilight gloom, setting upon the intruding Circle. Meksant's Circle was awoken by the sudden flashes of Rhud Magick, some of which struck home and damaged Meksant's forces.

Taken by surprise, Meksant and his Circle were unable to respond in turn as they awoke and scrambled for their gear, although a couple elves were able to fire back and score a hit with their own magic. Meksant gathered his arcane energies to cast Thane's Writ, which would make it more difficult for the opposing Thane to cast their next Glamour.

Undeterred by the restriction of his arcane energies, Lowic dispelled the Writ and instead cast Endless Fen. This turned the entirety of the ruins into a murky, swampy mess that sucked at the boots of Meksant's Circle.

For a moment, the elves of the Pallasades despaired, but their training prevailed and they managed to rally. Lowic and his warriors had the advantage of mobility, where they could charge or cast Rhud Magick with impunity.

Stuck in the mire, Meksant cast Cruel Grasp, which allowed him to gather a burst of energy for some future use. Lowic responded with the dreaded Red Death, but the virulent disease was quickly deterred by the opposing Circle's defense.

Some of Meksant's warriors were able to escape the mire and began maneuvering against the enemy. To aid them, Meksant bent his will to cast Infernal Embrace, which added to the attacks of the Companions.

With Lowic's men pressing the attack, Meksant also cast Deathly Touch, making his warriors' weapons deadlier.

Lowic countered with a fiendish combination with his earlier Endless Fen. By casting Pit of Ultimate Despair on the same area, he forced all of Meksant's Circle that were still in the bog to lose their courage, which meant even the briefest of attacks was another to gain a Penalty Counter during the subsequent Courage test.

Both sides were dealing heavy damage to each other. Enough wounds were building up that Companion units were losing Elves, or being wiped out entirely.

Hoping to buy time, Meksant used Winds of Time to remove action counters from the bag, ending the turn early.

The game ended rather suddenly in a bright explosion of magick. Lowic came out from behind his wall to butcher a unit of Meksant's Companions using his Troll Cleave Glamour. With the enemy Thane finally in the open, Meksant stepped forward and released the energies he had gathered using Cruel Grasp earlier in the battle.

In one massive burst, the Mage-Thane released a Rhud Magic blast that overwhelmed Lowic's defenses and felled the Thane of the Hunt in a single attack. With that, the game ended, with Lowic's Circle retreating. Meksant's Circle, however, was forced to recuperate for some time from their losses.

I enjoyed the game with Sam, which ended with a chancy gamble that would have left Meksant exposed had I not gotten a really hot roll of the dice! We're looking into using the Troll Wars supplement to play the campaign scenarios that the book provides for further games.

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