Let’s Play: Descent (Act I – First Blood)

Our heroes have a big day ahead of them! Truthseer Kel, Silhouette, and Varikas, fresh off getting drunk at the only tavern in town that serves rogues, psychic blind wizards, and skeleton warriors, have embarked upon a quest to prove their prowess to the adventuring guild glitterati.


As you are traveling towards Arhynn, you come across the still-smoldering remains of a traveling caravan. One of the caravan guards, wearing the livery of Baron Greigory, lies wounded nearby.

“An ambush,” he gasps, “That ettin is sending his minions straight into Arhynn through the secret path! How could he have known?”

Ahead, you see the lumbering, two-headed form of an ettin. “He said his name was Mauler. You must stop him!”

Mauler’s goblin minions are taking a secret route to attack Arhynn, Baron Greigory’s seat. If too many of his goblins escape off the far side of the trailer, Mauler will have triumphed over you. Your goal is to kill him before that happens.

Hey, what’s one little ogre and a couple of goblins?


Heroes get two actions per turn. They can be used in any combination of move/attack/pick up stuff/whatever. Vakris, he’s a brave dude (being an immortal skeleton and all) and he leads the charge, moving his 3 spaces in one action, then attacking a goblin with his other action.

Which misses! So… that’s a great start. Especially since I spent one of his stamina (or “fatigue”, a stat used primarily for special attacks) to use his “Rage” ability, which would’ve allowed his attack to do more damage…  had I not rolled that big “X” on the blue die, which indicates a complete miss and invalidates the 1 heart that I rolled on the red die, not that it would’ve mattered because Graz rolled a shield in response  (hearts rolled – shields rolled = total damage).

Well, that sucks! My intention was to punch a hole in the goblin lines so Silhouette could use her once-per-game power, which allows her to dash around and pick up the “search” tokens, to gather as many items as she could, one of which is behind the goblins!

Oh well, improvise, improvise. With 10 movement thanks to her special ability, Silhouette has enough to grab the search token nearest her, then cut up to the ettin’s room where she can spend 1 fatigue and her second action on her Thief ability, which allows her to snatch up a search token up to three spaces away.

We get the items below:

So we’ve got a little insurance for health and stamina, which isn’t crucial, but each item card has a gold value that’s redeemed at the end of the adventure when we go shopping. Everyone knows adventurers love shopping.

Okay, Truthseer Kel, let’s use you to redeem the rest of this crap-ass round.

Kel’s a necromancer and she wants her corpse buddy to do some damage, so she moves up to the goblin lines and spends a fatigue to bring out her pal, Mr. Zombiekins. This has the unfortunate side-effect of setting Varikas on edge because, dude, it’s kind of not cool to keep his zombie brother in eternal bondage…

…but there are goblins to contend with…

And hey! After taking his move and an attack — skeleton pals can only move once and attack once, they can’t double up on their attacks or moves like heroes can — Mr. Zombiekins wastes one of the goblins! Which… isn’t too hard considering goblins only have 2 Hit Points. But oh well, a minor victory!

Graz hits the ground running… in so much as her objective is to have goblins cross the map and escape through the exit. Goblins are quick (if they spend both their actions on movement, they can run 10 spaces) and they can move through enemy figures, so Varikas and the Zombie, neither of which are particularly quick, just watch in a daze as three goblins clamber over and under and around their bodies, and make it 75% of the way towards the exit.

It’s okay, it’s okay! Graz needs to have 5 goblins escape. I let those 3 get by on purpose.

Meanwhile, the Ettin decides to pick on poor Silhouette, who is all by her lonesome.

In a not-so-great attack for an Ettin, he hits her for 2 damage (not so much, she has 10 health!) and he uses his other action to throw her into the corner. Now, monsters get two actions a turn like heroes, but only one of them can be used on an attack. However, Master Ettins (you can tell he’s a master because he’s red) have the ability ‘Throw’, which allows them to test a hero’s strength for the purposes of chucking them wherever he want. Though this action seems kind of… attack-y, we think it’s a legal move to perform both it and a regular attack on the same turn, since Throw does not say “perform an attack.” But hey, we could be wrong!

Which would suck for me, since Silhouette’s now sitting in the corner of the map.

Graz’s last action is to bring another goblin figure onto the map, replacing the one I killed. At the end of her turn if she doesn’t have the maximum amount of goblins in play (3 minions, 1 master), she can bring one back at their starting position.


Varikas is back in the fight! He’s going after the ettin while the ettin is good. As heroes, all we gotta do is take that big boy down, and Varikas is going to spend two fatigue to move (heroes can move at a rate of 1 space/fatigue spent) so he can spend both of his actions this turn trying to put the hurt on the ettin.

Which, well, it’s a good thing he spent his last remaining fatigue on his “Rage” power again, for a powerful dice roll of:

Another miss! It wouldn’t have even done any damage if it DID hit! His second attack fares slightly better, and does 2 damage, but that’s a deep hole to climb out of when the ettin has 14 health.

Surely the rest of the heroes will do better!

Kel uses her once-per-game power, which allows her to look at the top five cards in the Overlord’s deck and rearrange them as she pleases, putting one at the bottom. Graz has a “Dash” ability coming up soon, so I slip that one to the bottom of the deck, because I don’t want her goblins getting any extra movement points.

Kel then spends the rest of her turn whiffing against the one remaining nearby goblin. With impressive rolls like:

And her Reanimate follows suit, moving to support Varikas (undead bros in arms), only to miss the ettin entirely.

Silhouette, sensing that she’s the last line of defense, sprints across the map to meet the waiting goblin head on.

Can you guess what she did with her attack? Can you? Hint: it was not “kill the goblin.”

Graz has a prime position. She sprints her 3 goblins off of the map, now 60% of the way there (just according to plan! we’re not worrying yet!) and her 4th goblin is most of the way to freedom as well.


She then plays her card “Dark Charm” on poor Silhouette, who has suffered enough, I’d say. Now Silhouette doesn’t have very good Faith, or Intelligence, or whatever the stat that Dark Charm tests is. In order to not be hypnotized, she has to roll a 1 or less on the two dice below:

Low, but not low enough.

Charmed, Silhouette now must perform one action that Graz decides on. She decides to have her attack herself and, thankfully, fortunately, COME ON THANK GOD, Silhouette misses herself.

We’re not sure how that works out, practically, but we’re happy it did! And we breathe a sigh of relief as the ettin attacks Mr. Zombiekins and misses. Flush with shame, the big, dumb ogre retreats into a corner of the map.

And Graz respawns her master goblin, who escaped off of the map at the beginning of the turn.


Pretty close to what she truly wants, Silhouette spends 1 fatigue to move. Now within 3 spaces of a search token, she can spend another fatigue on her Thief power, which allows her to search up to three spaces away. We come up with:

Well, it’s not actually a very good item. A fire flask is basically as strong as any other ranged attack, with a chance that it can do an AoE burst. But it’s worth 50 gold! That part’s good!

Her attack, unsurprisingly, misses the nearby goblin.

Truthseer Kel, seeing no reason to buck trends, misses her first attack on the goblin master. But then! Against all odds!

We all bask in our moment of celebration.

The lightning bolts Kel rolled are “Surges”, which can be used to activate character/weapon abilities. However, Kel’s necromancer staff didn’t have any Surges applicable to the current situation, so those lightning bolts went to waste.

Then the Zombie and Varikas move and do absolutely no damage to the ettin, because they hate us and we hate them.

At least this has left Graz mostly crippled for her turn? She gets her 4th goblin off of the map, which sucks, but since she can only bring back one a turn, all we have to do is keep killing that one goblin and we’ll be fine!

But what’s that lonely ole ettin doing in the corner of the map?


Son of a bitch.

The ettin, who’s got a laser-fine target on Silhouette, is able to move his three spaces and still be in range of her (thanks to the ettin’s natural ability of “reach”, which allows him to attack from two spaces away). In his two attacks this turn, he deals 3 damage each, leaving Silhouette at 9 damage and right on death’s door.

And that stupid jerky master goblin pops right back up at the entrance, as if we never killed him at all.


Kel, now finally with the taste of blood on her hands(?), is going to show that goblin a thing or two. She moves (using fatigue) to get into range of the goblin, very narrowly avoiding a “Pit Trap” card that Graz throws down, only to miss her first attack and deal no damage on her second.

Good job, Kel!

Silhouette, panting and on the verge of death, finds some internal resolve and deals 4 damage to the master goblin, doing what Kel couldn’t and sending him to a Throwing Knife-y grave. Her attack doesn’t fare so well against the ettin, she misses again, but hey, one kill’s still better than our average!

Zombiekins and Varikas charge back into the fray, and hot damn, actually do some damage! Between the two of them, they deal 9 to the ettin, who is now sitting with only 3 hit points left and seriously wishing he’d chosen his alternate career path of Heating/Air-Conditioner repair. Serves you right, stupid ettin!

On Graz’s turn, which is short because she has no goblins in play, she moves her ettin to separate the two heroes, then splatters Silhouette and her 1 remaining Hit Point with ease.

That master goblin respawns again.

(hate that guy)


Fortunately for us (by us I mean me, and you, dear readers, since I assume you aren’t rooting for the forces of darkness) hero death in Descent is not permanent! Silhouette can either use her whole turn to stand up, or an adjacent hero can do it with only one action. Kel’s right nearby, so she does the honors and gets Silhouette onto her feet. She even does 2 damage to the goblin in the process!

Silhouette heals herself (thanks for remembering that!) because being picked up from near-death still leaves you pretty much near-death (you recover hearts equal to whatever hearts you roll on two red dice). She then shows her extreme talent by dealing another 1 damage to the goblin. But master goblins have 4 HP, so we’re not out of the woods yet!

That’s fine, Varikas will handle this!

OR, NOPE. Varikas, being the clumsy skeleton that he is, doesn’t see the tripwire coming. He ends his move next to the ettin, and so wastes another attack missing him, but the tripwire stopped him from getting into range of the goblin and killing it.

Surely Zombiekins will save the day!

Just kidding, he rolls an X and misses.

Now Graz’s turn, that goblin basically just sails off into the sunset:

He’s not gone, but he might as well be.

The ettin, sensing victory is in sight, spends his entire turn manuevering into position to block off the heroes from the goblin’s escape route.


It all comes down to this. Some said it was poor planning, just letting 4 goblins walk right by you. I say that I was simply waiting for this very moment, the moment when my back was up against the wall! Surely, the dice won’t fail me now!

Uh, long story short, they do…

Even though the ettin only has three Hit Points, I still can’t kill him. In fact, even with an insane expenditure of fatigue and seven separate attacks from three heroes and their zombie pal, the ettin remains unscathed (or, not FURTHER scathed, as the case may be) and the goblin flounces his merry way off of the map.

For the record’s sake, the final attack was Kel’s merry and IMPRESSIVE:

Screw you, Kel!

On Graz’s turn, the goblin says “Peaces,” and that’s all she wrote. Game over. :(

Graz wins! And I lick my wounds with a consolation prize of 100 gold from treasures found.

Mauler swats you aside and turns to go. His two heads speak in concer. “That is enough, my little friends. Our message is sent. The pathetic humans of Arhynn know now to fear the might of the Overlord!” The ettin and the goblins vanish into the wilderness, leaving you to nurse your wounds.

Good job, ettin. You were a real pal.

But it’s not over yet! Here’s where you come in!

This is just the first quest in many. We need your help! First, let’s go shopping!

Well, we have 100 gold. We can either buy the Leather Armor, which gives us a brown defense die (the weakest defense die, but better than nothing) or we can give Varikas, or anyone else, an Iron Battle Axe, which straight off the bat represents a huge improvement over the Chipped One we’re currently holding. It pierces armor by default, and has the chance of extra damage or extra pierce on a surge. I know which one -I’d- like, but ultimately it’s up to you guys.

[poll id=”13″]

Furthermore, since she won the quest, Graz technically has a choice of what we do next. But where’s the fun in that? Instead, we’re leaving it up to you guys to decide (with absolutely no context except the names of the quests!) Act I of the campaign will play out in 3 of these 5 quests. To where should our heroes venture forth?

[poll id=”14″]


  • Konner

    If only the Cardinals Plight would be something to do with a bottle of wine and energy hexes like Resonance of Fate!

  • Ian

    Rules note: with three heroes you should be drawing four cards when shopping (it’s # of heroes plus 1).

  • Yeah! I’m not sure how I made that mistake, because at the time I was thinking “count out four cards,” but the pictures don’t lie.

  • Sergei Tuterov

    Lol, you can’t have a lets play for a board game. Thats … thats just unnatural. Its like having a lets play for a football game. And then next think you’re going to say, lets televise “lets play” and put commercials during it.

  • Why not? Here’s the flow chart:

    Do you have any sort of recording equipment (camcorder, digital camera with video function, phone with video, etc)


    Let’s Play!

  • If you don’t want to call it a Let’s Play, you can call it “Let’s Neckbeard” or “Let’s Roll for Initative”

  • Sergei Tuterov

    Let’s neckbeard. Thats perfect!