Sunday, 12 February 2017

Aephyus Lantern Year 9

Though the previous hunts to slay Screaming Antelopes had yielded great success and begun to make life comfortable in Aephyus, the survivors, led by Gaea decided that they must explore more of their dark world in order to at least understand the threats that they face. The most experiences survivors thus set off in order to find the beast from which the mysterious feather had come from several lantern years earlier. Caleb, Gaea, Lorena, and Thalia set off with a sense of grim determination into the unknown darkness.

From the outset there was a sense among the survivors that this hunt would be somehow different. As they traveled time seemed to flow strangely and as they stopped to take a rest at a strange fountain they found that none of them could recollect how much time had passed. What felt like an age to Caleb seemed only moments to Thalia, disorientating and uncomforting the entire hunting party. Suddenly and without warning, the hunters find that they are plucked from time and plunged into Overwhelming Darkness. The veteran survivors hold their nerve as their world plunges into madness but are shocked when a monstrous flash of feathers rips through the darkness and savages Lorena with human like claws.

Recurring Nightmares is not one of the Phoenix Hunt events that you want to see pop up.

The survivors freeze as they take in the grotesque sight of the previously unknown monster. Before them, perched on a nightmarish tree, is an oversized bird with flaming red feathers, human like hands and a face that is pure madness to behold.

The ambushed survivors attempted to gain the upper hand over the Phoenix but struggled with what was easily the most dangerous adversary they had phased. Ferocious winds were created by the flapping of the Phoenix's massive wings which seemed to prevent Caleb and Lorena from utilising their Vespertine Bows to full effect and it was left to Thalia, the Twilight Knight, who was now near to mastering her weapon to take the fight to their enemy. Her sword slashed across the Phoenix in overwhelmingly powerful strokes which rended its flesh. Again and again she struck at a speed that was breathtaking to behold. The monster was dismayed at the ferociousness of her attack and lashed out wildly with its beak and claws but these found only the stalwart shield of Gaea. Lorena and Caleb, both thoroughly savaged by the Phoenix's ambush could only hide in terror as  the Savior and the Knight fought bravely.

Lorena and Caleb seek cover as Thalia and Gaea get the job done.

Though the others could not see it, the fiercest battle was being fought in the dimension of time between Gaea and the Phoenix. Constantly the monster sought to disrupt the hold on time that Gaea had achieved through profound meditation, threatening to rip her from existence itself. The Green Saviour though possessed a willpower that was more than the match of any foe though and with indomitable determination she fought off the abominations assault on her existence. The battle ended as it had begun but with the Phoenix's shrieks of rage being replaced with cries of pain and terror. It's thick hide and bulk was no defense against the lightning fast Twilight Knight.

Once again it's down to the Saviour and the Twilight Knight to get the job done. This really reinforced to me how important it is to manage your special survivors correctly. A big part of this is the need to get the Family innovation in order to have a "Twilight Knight Succession Plan".

The hunting party carried back their rewards slowly, exhausted by the exertion of the brief but dangerous battle they had just partaken in. Arriving back at the settlement they found that in their absence the other survivors had become increasingly certain that a presence was haunting Aephyus. The most affected was a young man named Mason, who began ranting so madly that none could rest or work in the settlement. Caleb, enraged at the youth's impudence, began beating Mason senseless with his fists and pushing him away from the lights of the settlement. As they reached the edge of the settlement Caleb screamed at him to leave and never come back. Terrified, Mason scrambled away from the furious Caleb and was never seen again. The other survivors were unsettled by Caleb's actions, but he turned around to face them and with a wide grin declared that now they could get back to living their lives.

With the creation of a Beacon Shield for Gaea she now has the ability to tank effectively until the end of the campaign and is usually rocking ~10-11 armour and +6 evasion by the time tokens and gear bonuses are applied.

Using the vast stores of the settlement a blacksmith was constructed where the people of Aephyus would be able to finally use the strange iron they had found to craft the greatest of weapons and armour. It was decided that a great shield would be the first weapon to be forged at this new site and for ages there ringed out the hammering of iron and steel as a Beacon Shield was forged for Gaea. Meanwhile the others constructed a Shrine where departing survivors could meditate and gird themselves for the horrors of battle. This was fortunate for at the edge of the settlement arrived one of the massive armoured strangers who had carried away four of their number years ago.  Arrogantly, the Kingsman approached the settlement, but this time he would not be allowed to act with impunity. Caleb, Gaea, Diana and Icarus assembled their weapons and armour, prayed before the Shrine and made their way to defend the settlement.


Well that fight caught me by surprise. I've fought the Phoenix before in other campaigns but I'd forgotten what a leap up from the Lion and Antelope it can be. The hunt event I pulled meant that both Lorena and Caleb were out of survival at the beginning of the fight and lo and behold they were the ones targetted during the Phoenix's ambush leaving both of them without armour in key locations and vulnerable to death. Thus they spent most of the showdown hiding after launching their initial claw head arrows as they were just too vulnerable. Fortunately, Thalia, went absolutely batshit crazy on the Phoenix. Due to the effects of the claw head arrows stuck in the phoenix she was essentially hitting and wounding on 2's or higher and with a few extra surge survival actions she cut through the phoenix like butter. Gaea was her usual awesome self as she effortlessly tanked the Phoenix. Ultimately it was a very short but incredibly tense fight.

In the settlement phase I had some tough decisions to make. I built the Blacksmith and had to decide where to invest my now 5 pieces of Iron. The choices were to start on a lantern armour set, build beacon shields or use it for phoenix armour. Ultimately I decided on beacon shields for a few reasons. The first is that I intend to finish the campaign with Gaea as my tank, and due to her being a green saviour the leather armour allows her to tank very effectively already. The second is that Gaea will also be working on shield mastery, ultimately granting the settlement shield specialisation meaning that beacon shields are worth +3 Armour to any survivor with them in their grid (and helps when fighting the Hand.) Finally, Lantern Armour is so resource intensive. Thus I'll work on building multiple beacon shields and then potentially build Phoenix Armour for one of my heavy hitters.

All in all it's going well and I'm confident that I can deal with the Kingsman without too much hassle.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Aephyus Lantern Year 8

Thalia was tired by her duel with the Hooded Knight and as such her responsibility for taking place in the hunt was passed to the Blue Savior Diana. Diana took up one of the settlement's bows, finding she had an immediate affinity with the weapon, and resolved that she would become as great a warrior and asset to the settlement as Gaea the Ageless had become. Caleb, Gaea, Diana and Lorena thus set out to slay another Screaming Antelope, and quickly agree that they should follow the same path that led them to the stampeding herd the previous lantern year.

Thus it was that they moved quickly through the teething grounds, but this time they discovered no flat teeth. Oddly this sent the once stable but now increasingly unhinged Caleb into a sudden fit of despair which the other survivors had to work hard to bring him out of. Eventually he came round though and they set off through the trampelled grounds and discovered a stone fountain that Lorena and Caleb had previously not noticed. The survivors stopped and drank the cool clear water, feeling all the better for doing so. Before they could reach the stampede they had to venture through the overwhelming Darkness. Gaea became temporarily mad and lashed out at her companions wildly, Caleb became a frenzied mess, Lorena was forced to use all of her wits and efforts just to survive the madness, and Diana, the relative newcomer was totally disorientated by the horrifying experience.

The hunting party emerged from the darkness, maddened and frayed by the experience, but glad to find themselves looking upon a stampeding herd of antelope. With courage bourne of experience they stood their ground amongst the stampede and were rewarded by being able to corner an antelope who was distracted by the corpse of its mate. This allowed the weakened survivors to ambush the monster!

The Screaming Antelope is distracted by its dead mate (must have been dead a while by the looks of it) thus allowing the hunting party to ambush it!

The battle began with Caleb and Diana launching clawed arrows into the beast's flank as Lorena and Gaea moved to engage the monster up close. Lorena though got to close and for her foolishness was gobbled up whole by the antelope. She kicked and squirmed but nonetheless became trapped in the beast's undermaw and could only scream out for her companion's help. Gaea and Caleb did what they could to help her but ultimately it was Diana who saved Lorena from a grisly fate as antelope food by destroying the Antelope's hoof, causing it to retch in pain and release Lorena from its gut. Lorena lay motionless on the ground beside the furious monster so Diana yelled at her to get up. Lorena did so and swiped half heartedly at the monster with her Beast Katars but the weapons were knocked out of her grasp by one of the many pairs of hands lining the Screaming Antelope's back.

The monster then went berserk, savaging both Lorena and Caleb with powerful kicks of its hind legs and dashing wildly across the stone plain. It was only with great effort that Gaea managed to draw its attention onto her in order to allow the others a measure of respite. The antelope hurled itself against Gaea over and over and flung her around but the Ageless Green Savior took it all in her stride, and slowly the beast exhausted itself. It was then that the survivors rallied and with a hail of arrows laid the beast low until Gaea could finish it by bludgeoning it to death with her shield.

The Champion of Aephyus works overtime to make sure that the Screaming Antelope goes down without killing any of her companions.

The fight had been harsh, but once again the rewards were great and the survivors were in a good mood as they made their way back to Aephyus, though they did appear to be having quite weird dreams, possibly brought on by the the water drunk from the fountain but they couldn't be too sure.

The settlement was peaceful that year, and they developed the concept of Family, spurring Thalia to pair with Caleb and give birth to twins, Dusk (her son) and Dawn (her daughter), both of whom inherited her skills with the Twilight Sword. This comforted Thalia greatly as she knew now that the settlement would always have a competent wielder for her beloved blade. The resources of the Antelope were not put to waste and a set of Screaming Fur Armour was completed, while the growing surplus of materials was put aside to build a blacksmith the next year. Diana used the peace and quiet to meditate at the lantern hoard as her idol Gaea had done, but she could not find understanding this way and grew frustrated.

Quietly, where no one else could see, Icarus gazed upon the now withered corpse of the murdered Grace. The ugliness of her dead body was broken by a single beautiful flower that grew from her lips. Compelled by some unseen force he picked the lone flower and ingested it, in a haze his consciousness was subsumed and he became someone else, a strange combination of Icarus and Grace.

It had been a rare peaceful year for the settlement of Aephyus, they now possessed strong weapons and armor, a bounty of resources, and seemed safe enough under the protection of their champion, Gaea.


It wasn't a bad year this year, but the fight against the Screaming Antelope turned out to be a tough one, due largely to Caleb (now a support character) being frenzied and Lorena being forced to use all her survival during Overwhelming Darkness. This meant my two Rawhide support characters had no ability to spend survival and this made it really hard to control the battle. Ultimately if Gaea hadn't been there to tank the Antelope I could very easily have partywiped here.

The hunt itself was bizarre in that despite a well shuffled hunt event deck I ended up drawing the exact same Antelope Hunt Events in the same order. Weird but ultimately it ended up alright as once again I managed not to roll a 1 during the stampede. If I had rolled a 1 I am pretty sure no one bar Gaea would have made it out of the actual showdown.

The settlement is looking pretty at the moment. I now have the family innovation which will make it a lot easier to manage the next generation of Twilight Knights, enough materials to build the blacksmith next year and a decent store (3) of iron to start me on building beacon shields and possibly Lantern Armour. In terms of innovation I'm working towards Clan of Death. Diana will start trying to gain understanding with the ultimate aim of getting her to be ageless once I've picked the Romantic principle in LY 12 to double my chances.

Thanks for reading and keen to hear from you.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Aephyus Lantern Year 7

Flush with their new weapons created from the fallen Flower Knight and his gardens the four survivors, Caleb, Thalia, Grace and Lorena set to hunting more dangerous and more lucrative prey in the form of an older and more mature Screaming Antelope. 

They moved out quickly from the settlement and returned to an area where they had seen antelope sign previously, and were rewarded to find a trail of devoured acanthus plants which would help them track their quarry. Soon they came upon an area of ground where deep gouges had been rent into the plain of stone faces and antelope teeth had been left behind, broken and discarded. Caleb and Lorena pocketed these and the party rested for the night. During their slumber though Thalia suffered from terrible nightmares about the hooded knight killing her when next they met and woke up screaming, thus preventing the rest of the survivors from being able to sleep. Caleb tried to get the others to play a game too pass the time but it garnered little enthusiasm from the tired survivors.

The next morning they set out once again but were overtaken by an overwhelming darkness which sent the survivors into fits of madness. In the end they push through despite Caleb's lantern light being drowned out, Grace is exhausted, Thalia is still upset from her nightmares, and Lorena is enraged. As they start to believe they are safe, they hear a sound, slight at first but then rising to a roar, over a rise comes rushing at them countless stampeding antelopes. Grace cries out that they must flee but Caleb yells at the survivors to stand their ground! This emboldens Thalia and Lorena and the three of of them manage to corner one of the stampeding antelopes while Grace weakly looks on.

Stampede is a scary event but I almost always choose to stand my ground for two reasons. The first is that I don't want a Level 2 moving away from me if I can help it as a real risk of starvation starts to arise. The second is that +1 Courage is awesome and KDM is about living dangerously, plus a Level 2 fight is not that hard in itself.

The battle itself is a glorious slaughter. Despite the Screaming Antelope being stronger than previous ones they have fought  the survivors tear it to pieces. The new Vespertine bows unleash flurries of deadly arrows into the Screaming Antelope as it dashes wildly amongst the survivors. 

The two archers have set up shop on a Giant Stone Face. They are both using Claw Head Arrows and Vespertine Bows, a brutally effective combination. 

What few coherent blows it does manage are ably absorbed by Caleb with his Leather Shield. It is not long before Thalia is able to deliver the killing blow by lopping off its head with her Twilight Sword. While the danger of the hunt had been much greater, so too was the plethora of rewards yielded by the larger Screaming Antelope, and the survivors hurriedly began to collect the resources to return them to the settlement. All except for one, Grace, who remained motionless and was still exhausted from her ordeal in the darkness. Her idleness sent Caleb into a rage and he screamed at her to get up and help. No amount of cajoling would cause her to budge though and finally Caleb's sanity, already sorely tested by his new found love of eating skulls, snapped and in a rush of violence he bludgeoned Grace to death with his shield. 

Caleb then looked up at Thalia and Lorena to gauge their reactions, wondering if they would cast him out or kill him. While he had the armor and raw strength he knew that between Lorena's Bow and Thalia's twilight sword they could cut him down in an instant if they so chose. Their actions though were the opposite, they declared they saw the necessity of his actions and that they would follow his lead in the future as he had always made good decisions in the past. This notion excited Caleb more than it should have, causing him to become a but quixotic and to seek new thrills safe in the knowledge that the others would indulge him.

Thalia and Lorena confront Caleb after he has murdered Grace. This was a tense roll as I really wanted Caleb to survive due to the huge amount of stat bonuses he has amassed so far this game (mostly from his multiple gender swaps). Ultimately though he'll continue to be a liability due to being a skull eater.

The carcass of both the Screaming Antelope and Grace were hauled back to the settlement. Lorena noticed that a strange flower had emerged from where Grace's mouth should have been and left her body to the side of the settlement to be buried later. The settlement was all in an excitement when they returned as they believed they had found a stranger who had been living in the settlement, but when they searched they had found only a dark pile of bones. As the survivors gathered around the strange bones a single brightly colored feather drifted down amongst them. Lorena cried out that it must be from a new monster which they must slay. 

As Thalia had dreamt, the hooded knight returned for her and wordlessly indicated that they were to duel. The combat lasted for what seemed an age and the whole settlement watched on in awe as Thalia, founder of Aephyus, fought for her life amongst a flurry of blades. Eventually, and without warning, the duel stopped. The knight simply bowed his head to Thalia, and then walked off into the darkness. 

The settlement was busy that year, constructing a Stone Circle and rendering the carcass of the antelope into a new set of armor to wear into battle. As the time inevitably came again for the settlement to send forth hunters for new provisions one more strange event did occur. Gaea, who had meditated for so long in front of the Lantern Hoard raised herself up and called a meeting of the settlement. She explained that she had learnt how to defy age itself, and that for the rest of her existence she would use her unique powers to guard Aephyus. Caleb eyed her nervously, trying to determine if she was a threat to him, but he knew deep down that she would never be so easy a victim as Grace was. He would wait and see.....

There are very few times you are happy to roll a 1 in Kingdom Death, but when it nets you an ageless Green Saviour it is a blessing. Gaea will now become the lynch-pin of Aephyus' defence against the horrors of the world. The biggest challenge will be protecting her against Caleb in any murder events. 


Well there are good years and then there are fantastic years, this being the latter. Armed with 2 Vespertine Bows the fight against the Screaming Antelope was pretty easy, and the hunt itself turned out to be not as bad as I had feared. I was certainly nervous throughout about the possibility of having to fight a Level 3 White Lion but all is well that ends well. The risk was certainly rewarded though with a slew of resources (especially since I am using the 1.5 rules).

I knew Grace was going to die due to the Skull Eater event last lantern year and deliberately manipulating her hunt XP so she would be the target and not Gaea. I'll be able to bring Grace back to life next year using the sleeping virus flower anyways so this is not a big loss. I was stoked though when Lorena and Thalia decided to accept Caleb as their leader rather than killing or exiling him. I picked Quixotic as it is a good disorder and Thrill Seeker as Caleb will now move into a permanent Rawhide Support slot where he can generate nearly unlimited survival.

The settlement events went well with Thalia doing well in her duel with the hooded knight and innovations going well. I'm still chasing after Family so that I can pass on Thalia's twilight sword proficiency and set myself up to create the settlement's second twilight knight when she leaves. I started in on the Stone Circle and the Screaming Antelope Armour as I've never used them before and want to try them out.

The best bit of luck though was finally getting Ageless on Gaea. An ageless Green Saviour is incredibly powerful and should make the rest of the game easier. I will have to be careful though that I do all I can to ensure she makes it to the end of the game as she (along with Caleb) will likely be among those who face down the final boss.

Thanks for reading, sorry it's been so long between updates.