Sunday, June 5, 2016

The ruins of Algor'nas: a 4 Against Darkness adventure

I picked up 4 Against Darkness (by Ganesha Games) a few weeks ago and played my first adventure this weekend. My party of four adventurers consisted of the following, in marching order:

Stegmo: level 1 warrior, equipped with light armor, mace, shield. Carrying 1 bandage. 7 life.
Kernas: level 1elf, equipped with light armor, sword, bow (default). Spells: blessing. Carrying 1 bandage. 5 life.
Abugol: level 1 wizard, equipped with a dagger and spell book. Carrying a lantern, 1 bandages and 10 gold. Spells: 3x fireball. 3 life.
Sharnas: level 1 rogue, equipped with a sling (default), dagger, light armor and lock picks. Carrying 1 bandages, rope and 10 gold. 4 life.

The entrance to the dungeon was a large room with two doors and a poorly lit corridor. Before trying the doors, the adventurers decided to move down the corridor. They found a closed door and beyond, another room with an alchemist in it. They did not have enough gold to purchase the strange potions he had, and so he moved on.
Starting a dungeon. I opened the provided graph paper template in Gimp and scribbled the rooms there.
They opened the next door to find a weird bug-like creature with four claws, dripping a green goo from its mandibles. "Iron-eater!", Stegmo shouted and leaped at the creature, hitting its head with his mace. Kernas hit a weak spot of its carapace with an arrow, and Sharnas exploded one of its eyes with a good sling toss. The monster dropped to the ground. After the fight, Kernas found a magic sword that somehow was not eaten by the monster. [Besides finding the treasure, Kernas gained a level.]


The room with the Iron-eater had a single visible door. The adventurers opened it to find a large cavern-like space with 8, no, 9 fungi-folk in it. The misshapen humanoids made weird humming sounds and seemed like they were making some kind of ritual. Confused by the sight, the party started attacking. Kernas quickly fired two arrows from his bow, taking down two fungus men. Sharnas felled other two with sling stones. Abugol screamed something about the god of fire and a ball of flames leapt from his hands, exploding in the middle of the room, incinerating other two fungi-folk, while Stegmo crushed the head of another. The remaining creatures fled in terror, and Abugol found a Sleep scroll.
The dungeon so far.
Upon entering the next room, the party found six vampire frogs (!) feasting upon the bodies of the fungi folk that tried to escape the battle. Once more, Kernas defeated two creatures with arrows, and Stegmo destroyed another. One of the frogs bounced on a wall and landed on Stegmo's face, wounding him. The warrior desperately tried to push away the bizarre creature while Kernas and Sharnas switched weapons and Abugol flayed his dagger around with no effect. Finally, he pushed the frog away and crushed it, and Kernas destroyed the other two monsters with his magic sword. After the fight, the adventurers patched their wounds and found 7 gold coins on the ground.

Continuing with their exploration, the adventurers entered the nest of a giant spider. Kernas hit it with the magic sword and Sharnas stabbed it with a dagger. The creature made a loud shriek and fled before they could react. They found some delicate jewelry tangled in the spider's web [two items, one worth 30 gold and the other 160 gold! Sharnas took the most expensive and Stegmo got the other.]

The adventurers walked back to the room where they fought the fungi-folk and opened another door. Inside, another part of the ruined dungeon with three giant centipedes. Abugol freaked out and hurled a fireball at them, but he was so scared that the flaming projectile hit the ceiling without harm. After some fighting, Stegmo and Kernas destroyed the creatures.

The rest of the dungeon beyond the room with the centipedes was inaccessible, so the adventures walked back to the dungeon entrance. They opened another door and found a giant spider -- was it the same as before? They fought, and this time defeated, the spider. However, both Stegmo and Kernas were hurt by it. Abugol found a Lightning Bolt scroll and the group found another 3 gold coins. [Stegmo went up a level, too.]

The adventurers opened the last door at the entrance and following a dark corridor, found a huge orc wielding a vicious-looking axe, in front of an elven treasure chest. Kernas leaped forward and slashed the brute [too bad Bosses don't suffer multiple wounds -- Kernas' attack roll total was 23, thanks to exploding dice!], and Sharnas also stabbed him. Abugol tried to use the Lightning Bolt scroll, but it fizzled. The orc then swung his huge axe -- Kernas was hit and pushed back, while Stegmo and Sharnas dodge the attack. The group attacked again, hitting the orc with all they had, and the brute hit back, wounding all but Abugol. Finally, Kernas slayed the orc. Within the treasure chest, the adventurers only found an Escape scroll. [However, Abugol gained a level.]
Final map of the dungeon.
After fighting the orc brute, the adventurers left the dungeon without any more trouble. Their situation after leaving the dungeon was (after healing):

Stegmo: level 2 warrior, equipped with light armor, mace, shield. 8 life.
Kernas: level 2 elf, equipped with light armor, magic sword, bow (default). 1 spell slot. 6 life.
Abugol: level 2 wizard, equipped with a dagger and spell book. Carrying a lantern, 1 Sleep scroll, 1 Escape scroll and 1 bandage, 10 gold. 4 spell slots. 4 life.
Sharnas: level 1 rogue, equipped with a sling (default), dagger, light armor and lock picks. rope and 10 gold. 4 life.

Total gold: 200 gold, split like this: 70 for Stegmo, 30 for Kernas, 30 for Abugol, and 70 for Sharnas, because some of them gained items (magic sword and scrolls.)

Conclusion
My first experience with 4 Against Darkness was good. The game is easy to learn and plays fast. I like the idea of boss monsters and weird monsters to create some surprises.

When I was adding the cross-hatching to the map image, I noticed that I missed a door, which could have extended the dungeon exploration for a bit. Other than that, I did not notice other mistakes while applying the rules.

6 comments:

Fitz-Badger said...

Fun report!
These rules are on my list to get when I have time to use them. I guess it's all pretty much paper and pen and dice (or digital equivalents)?

Ricardo Nakamura said...

Hi Fitz-Badger! Yes, paper, pen and dice. A piece of gridded paper for the dungeon, another sheet to write down character information and some bits during the game.

Ivan Sorensen said...

How does levelling up work?

Ricardo Nakamura said...

Hi Ivan, after fighting a number of enemies or a boss, one character can make a roll to try to increase level. Maximum level is 5.

Ivan Sorensen said...

Cheers!
So its like a threshold and everything you reach it, you have a chance?

Ricardo Nakamura said...

Yes, that's pretty much it. Reach a threshold and you have a chance to level up a single character, but you cannot try to level up the same character twice in a row.