Thursday, 16 March 2017

Aephyus Lantern Year 11 (Part 2)

         There was no time for preparation or fuss before the survivors set out to fight the Hand. Somehow the four of them, Caleb, Gaea, Lorena and Icarus found the strength to march towards another showdown with one of the horrors the darkness had to throw against them. Cautiously they approached the Hand of the King who seemed to wait for them with an aura of impatience as he flourished his finely wrought blade in a series of complex maneuvers. Then, with a nod to the approaching survivors he sheathed his blade and waited. While there was definitely no lack of menace in the Hand's actions it appeared that he was more intent on showing his skills and strength off to the survivors than simply killing them where they stood. This realisation led the survivors to approach slowly and let the Hand make the first move.

Lightning fast he attacked Gaea, and though the uppercut was strong and fast, she found that it was well within her ability to dodge the strike. As quickly as the attack started, it stopped and the Hand merely regarded Gaea with an amused manner. She cautioned the others to remain back from the monster and prepared herself. The second test came soon after in the form of a flurry of quick armoured jabs, as quickly as they came though she was able to raise her shield and was able to catch all but one of the punches on its iron surface. The final jab went low but she was able to dodge it before it struck her. The hand, obviously amused and a little impressed by the Green Saviour let out a soft inhuman chuckle which sent the survivors into a panic. Gaea and Caleb, the bravest of the survivors found themselves brought to their knees in dread, while the minds of Lorena and Icarus nearly broke and they fled away from the monster. Quickly though, Gaea regained her feet thanks to the encouragement of the others and prepared to go a few more rounds with the monster.

Lorena and Icarus flee from the Hand.


This pattern continued on, the Hand would unleash devastating blows with his fists at Gaea and she would deftly turn them aside. Occasionally the Hand would single out Caleb as well, and though he was not so fast or tough as Gaea, he was able to use her old Leather Shield and the cover of some long grass to survive the blows. Finally, the Hand stopped and opened his arms wide, signalling for the survivors to approach. Lorena and Thalia were hesitant, but Caleb declared that his foresight had shown him that should they disobey they would face a harsh penalty. Thus the survivors assembled before the Hand but still held to the safety of a patch of long grass. The hand then unleashed heavy blows upon all four. Many punches went wide as the survivors dodged his attacks, others struck shields, and some found their targets, but when all was said and done the survivors remained standing before him, bruised but not bloodied. The Hand, impressed by the strength and audacity of the survivors, stepped back and began to applaud. The terrible sound of his armoured hands clapping forced the survivors to their knees and they began to writhe in agony. Icarus was sent into a near fatal state of shock, while Caleb and Lorena found that once the agony had subsided that they possessed an even greater strength than they had before. Gaea was the most changed of all, her already formidable physique being twisted into the epitome of that of a warrior. 

The survivors line up in the dark to take their beatings, all but Icarus come out the stronger for it.


Elated by their victory, the four made the short return to Aephyus and are initially greeted by the sights of hundreds of beautiful pollen clusters and flowers dancing in the air above the atmosphere. The entire settlement is overjoyed and exhilarated by the beauty and the thrill of their victories and they begin to frolic and celebrate. As the merriment continued though a few of the survivors began to drift to sleep. It was only later, after the party finished that the survivors even noticed that four of their number had fallen into a deep sleep from which they would not wake. For days they attempted to nurse them but on the third day death came. With a sickly popping sound the heads of the unconscious survivors split open, spilling seeds and brains onto the cold stone floor. There was little the survivors could do but clean up and erect graves.

The survivors make merry as the toxic spores infect some of their companions.


The deaths did not prevent the settlement from making the most of the resources that they had gathered from their hunt with the Lion and a period of relative prosperity was ushered in. The settlement developed a clan approach towards raising strong children and this was quickly put to use in raising Thalia's newborn twins, Dusk and Dawn, one of whom would ultimately become the settlements next Twilight Knight. The sound of clanging metal was also heard constantly as two new beacon shields were created to help protect the warriors of Aephyus in their future endeavors. The past lantern year had been a difficult one; they had faced monsters and a nemesis, and watched many of their own die to disease, but ultimately they had triumphed and made new weapons and brought forth even more children into the world.

*****************************COMMENTS***************************************

So major SPOILER, but the Level 1 Hand fight is pretty easy as long as you have a tanky character or two, and is trivial with a Green Saviour so long as you just stand there and take your beating. That's about all there is to say about that one. The downside though is that since I've fought him early, it means I'm going to have to deal with a Level 2 during LY 13. Now I've fought a L2 before so I'm not too worried, but what it does mean is that I have one less Level 2 option to fight in LY19 which means I'm probably stuck fighting a L2 Butcher. All in all though it is well worth it in order to be able to hold onto my hard won iron and build a nearly full set of beacon shields.

In terms of the settlement phase I had to deal with necrotoxic mistletoe, this sucks but it's the price you pay for the Vespertine Bows and I pay it gladly. Ultimately I was left with enough endeavours to innovate Clan of Death and give birth to 4 new children, two of whom now have the Twilight Sword proficiency already at 3 thanks to being Thalia's children. This means next year I will send off Thalia to hunt so that she can move on with her quest of being a twilight knight and I can prepare her offspring to probably be the Twilight Knight I use in the watcher fight.

All in all, life in Aephyus is good!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Aephyus Lantern Year 11 (Part 1)

         Another hunting party set forth with the intent of tracking down yet another Antelope to render for resources in order to create great new weapons and armour at the Blacksmith which had been erected in Aephyus. Thalia declined to go along, stating that she would remain behind and meditate on how she would train the future Twilight Knights of Aephyus so that they may take up her blade when she inevitably had to depart the settlement. Gaea and Caleb thus set out with Diana and Lorena on what they hoped would be a fairly routine hunt...

It was soon apparent though that the good hunting times may well be over as they stalked onwards with little in the way of sign of their intended prey. Eventually though they picked up what they believed to be the track of a mature Screaming Antelope when they came across a massive pile of vomit. The survivors dug through the vomit eagerly and found many partially digested Acanthus leaves which they ate eagerly to renew the energy they had spent whilst on their hunt. There was little else of value though and Gaea with her greater understanding began to suspect that they were not the first to come upon the Antelope's tracks. As they carried on the trail became clearer and soon they were guided by the stench of rotting meet towards a large clearing. There before them stood the greatest White Lion they had ever seen, greedily feasting on the corpse of an antelope. The beast looked up at them and let out a roar that shook the survivors to their core. In terror Lorena and Diana made to run, but Gaea, fortified by her sense of destiny, and Caleb, propelled by his madness, yelled at them to take up positions on top a nearby stone face and ready their bows. Gaea readied her shield and the battle began.
So the odds of fighting a Level 3 White Lion in any given hunt are high enough that this was bound to happen eventually. I was just thankful it happened prior to Overwhelming Darkness as I would need all the survival I could muster to make it through.

They had fought the Butcher, defeated the King's Man and laid waste to countless lesser White Lion's and Screaming Antelopes, but nothing had prepared them for the wrath of an elder lion. It rushed into Gaea and unleashed a savage flurry of blows; some she could dodge, others she batted away desperately with her shield, but yet more fell on her armour, leaving her fighting just to stay on her feet. She managed it though, giving an opening for her companions to unleash arrow and axe upon the Lion. From the relative safety of a stone face Lorena and Diana let a volley of clawed arrows off and pierced the beast's side. Caleb though was less fortunate and after planting the Butcher's Cleaver into the beast's flank received crushing blows to the chest and arms. He shouted to Gaea to hold the beast's attention for as long as she could and fled to the relative safety of the stone face.

Valiantly Gaea blocked and dodged the White Lion's attacks while the archers let loose on it, all while Caleb cried out orders and encouragement. It was a losing battle though, and twice she lost her footing, only managing to get back up at the lost moment the first time thanks to Caleb's manic commands. The second time she lacked the strength to get back up and could only gasp for air and try to avoid choking on teeth which had been knocked loose by the Lion's blows. Tired of her, the Lion rushed at Lorena and Diana and mauled both savagely, injuring Lorena severely and leaving Diana's armour in tatters. The Lion too though was greatly injured and bled from over a dozen wounds inflicted by the brave survivors. It was confused and had slowed, but still had within it the strength to kill any of the weakened survivors with ease. The battle would be decided soon one way or another.

With a supreme effort of will Gaea righted herself, came back to her feet and lifted her shield. In that moment she and Caleb locked eyes. He nodded at her and with that she pulled from her belt one of the sacred founder's stones, the one which had been used by Rhea so many years ago to defeat the first White Lion. With all her strength she hurled it at the White Lion and was satisfied to see it rend it's flesh asunder and send a spray of dark crimson blood into the air. Enraged the Lion charged her. Time seemed to slow as the beast covered the ground to assault her. Gaea did not know if she could see off the monster again, but knew that she would try. On the abomination came until it crashed to the ground at her feet. As it's head lolled over she could see a second founding stone, hurled by Caleb, buried deep in the skull of the beast. Exhausted, she collapsed to the ground.

The moment of victory and not a moment too soon.


The others limped and scurried to Gaea to check her. They were elated to find that she was breathing and that for the most part her bleeding had stopped. She would live to fight again. Caleb moved to wake her so she could help butcher the kill, but Lorena (Gaea's sister) and Diana pleaded with him to let her rest. The mercurial Caleb agreed that Gaea had already done her part and the trio slowly began their tiring work of rendering the bounty they had received from such a powerful monster and bringing it back to the settlement. Gaea was dragged back on a litter, her wounds continuing to heal, in turns by the survivors. A rivalry almost developed between Diana and Lorena over who could carry their fallen comrade further, but quickly they realised how petty they were being and halted their bickering.

It was well enough that they made their peace and that the survivors had let Gaea rest, for when they returned to the settlement they found that yet another armoured figure had encroached on their homes. Icarus ran out to meet the party and declared that the arrogant entity had gathered up all of the settlement's hard won resources, including their precious iron, and was about to destroy it all.  The party was unsure what to do, and panic threatened to unhinge the survivors. Gaea's voice then cut through the discussion like a thunderbolt, "Over my dead body will we give up what we have earned." Miraculously her wounds had healed quickly on the trip home and she stood ready to battle once more...

The Hand resplendent in all his finery!


*****************************COMMENT**************************************

Woah, I knew there was a significant risk to hunting L2 Screaming Antelopes but my heart still skipped a beat when I saw that I was going to have to fight a L3 White Lion. The fight itself was beyond brutal. It consisted largely of letting the Lion beat on Gaea, while the two archers used the range of the Vespertine Bows in order to be out of range of monster reactions. This drastically slowed down the rate at which I could do damage to the White Lion and in turn put even more pressure on Gaea. Ultimately, Diana and her high +Luck was the deciding factor as this allowed me to put up some persistent injuries on the lion which ultimately made him manageable. Ultimately I made the choice to use two founding stones to finish the fight as otherwise I was soon going to be facing either death or severe injuries which would have made 3 of my star fighters useless. As it was I was lucky to get out of the fight with some broken teeth, a few skip the next hunt effects and nothing that will prevent Diana, Caleb or Gaea from being useful in the future. Lorena was worse effected and now no longer will have a shot at the first team.

I got home to find the Hand going through my stuff and rolled up that if I let him he would destroy all my resources. I have 4 iron plus a bunch of other stuff in there, so I'll be damned if I'm letting him have it.


Saturday, 11 March 2017

Aephyus Lantern Year 10

       
The four warriors approach the King's Man
 
        The four warriors stepped out into the darkness to defend Aephyus from the armoured King's Man. Years before this nemesis, or one like it, had come and cut short the lives of their friends and families, but they had been weaker then. Now they were prepared, and stronger than ever. Gaea, clad in a full set of leather armour and carrying an impressive iron wrought shield led the band out. As she had done so many times before she would guard her companions from harm. Diana, the Blue Saviour, and Icarus followed shortly behind resolutely carrying the Vespertine Bows which had been crafted after other hunters had defeated the flower knight. Finally in the rear came the leader of the settlement, Caleb, who hefted a great ugly axe which he had stripped off of the corpse of the Butcher. The King's Man stood motionless with its lantern halberd held to its side, waiting for the arrogant survivors to make their stand.

The King's Man waits patiently for the survivor's to make the first move.


              The encounter began with a nod from Caleb and the two archers unleashed a hail of arrows from their bows at their enemy. Half a dozen shafts sailed through the air in the blink of an eye but just as quickly the King's Man dodged and weaved, somehow dodging all of the arrows. Arrogantly he paused to show his achievement to the survivors but Diana and Icarus were ready. Surging with energy they each loosed a Claw Head Arrow which struck the abomination in the greaves and skirt. These arrows would remain lodged there for the rest of the battle. Gaea and Caleb rushed at the monster in order to be able to engage it in close combat.

Like lighting the King's Man lashed out with his halberd in order to cleave the heads from Gaea and Caleb. Gaea, with her inhumanly fast reflexes was able to slide under the arc of the halberd, but Caleb was caught unawares and it was only through a lucky dodge that he managed to avoid decapitation. He would have to be much more careful from now on. Caleb managed to regain his balance, and hacked away furiously with his axe. The King's man though was far too fast and deftly avoided the blows, though Caleb began to believe that he could see a pattern in the movements of the armoured soldier. A few more arrows managed to find their way through the King's Man's defence and Gaea bashed its face in with her shield before readying it to block future blows.

After a very close call with decapitation Caleb starts looking for safer places to hang out.


With ferocious speed the King's Man lashed out with it's Halberd and unleashed a flurry of blows upon Gaea which she ably dodged, evaded or took upon her beacon shield. Caleb, struck again, and this time the movements of the King's Man became clear to him. They fought and stepped together in unison and Caleb found he was able to penetrate its defence with ease now. This added pressure made life easier on the archers and Diana and Icarus found that many more of their arrows were now hitting the mark.

With a cry of frustration the King's Man kicked and speared at the survivors but found himself unable to penetrate Gaea's defences and quickly he was weakened by the damage wrought on his armoured body by the survivors.  Cracks began to appear in his armour and Gaea saw a strange liquid begin to ooze from the monster's wounds. She screamed at Caleb to run from the King's Man and in that instant gouts of acid spewed forth from the monster's armour. The archers were well clear from the spray but Caleb only just managed to escape the lethal acid. The other 3 looked on in horror as it seemd Gaea would be killed on the spot. The Ageless Green Saviour though crouched low and placed her iron shield in front of her. A great green flash of light erupted from her and when it was over the three looked upon Gaea, who was merely singed. The survivors let out an exhilarated roar, sure now that triumph was certain, and renewed their onslaught against the King's Man.

Shields FTW! I knew the trap was coming by using a rawhide set so made sure Caleb was well away as I think I had 7-8 cards on the wound stack at this point.


The showdown is finished when Icarus lets loose two arrows at the King's Man's collar which narrowly miss and strike its chest instead. The survivor's let out a cry of victory and then a sigh of relief. All seems well until Icarus begins screaming. They turn to see him holding his hands out in front of him watching in horror as his fingernails extend like a sheath and encase his hands and then arms in a cocoon of bone. Icarus then falls to the ground gasping in pain as searing heat erupts within his arms and what used to be his flesh oozes through the joints of the hollow armour which now comprise his upper limbs. Icarus then falls silent and sits on the ground with a defeated and shocked look on his face. The others help him up and they walk back to the settlement.

I got totally Kingdom Death'd on this one, the funny part is this is the second time in a row that I've rolled a 1 on the death blow location and missed out on the halberd. 


Back at Aephyus, they discover evidence that yet another stranger had been living amongst them when they find a pile of bones. Though they have a large store of iron, there are not enough other resources available for the smithing of more shields or innovating new technologies. Instead they use the lantern year to reflect and Diana gains more understanding of the world around her. Icarus though is left feeling cold and begins to isolate himself from the others. The leaders of Aephyus convened to discuss the future of the settlement. It was decided that the settlement must continue to grow and that to do so hunting of Antelope would have to continue for the foreseeable future. It was also determined that more effort would have to be put into creating families as the fabric of society. It was then that Thalia revealed to the others what she had slowly come to realise. There would come a day soon that she would have to leave Aephyus in order to become a Twilight Knight. The others were shocked by this, for if Gaea was their shield then Thalia was their razor sharp blade which struck down their foes. Thalia resolved though that before she went she would bear children and train them in the use of her Twilight Sword. It was the best she could do to ensure the survival of the settlement she had helped to raise from nothing so many years ago.

********************************COMMENTS*****************************

This fight went pretty smoothly once I remembered the tricks to fighting the King's Man. I had forgotten about his peculiar method of attacking all survivors in particular areas and this almost led to the decapitation of Caleb early on, but once my memory had been jogged I was able to keep only Gaea in the danger zone and sweep in and out with Caleb and was lucky to grab King's Step pretty quickly. From there it was a pretty simple fight, to the point where I actually cycled the HL deck a few times in an attempt to get the deathblow location and hence the halberd. I managed to get a situation where all I had to do was roll 2+ to get the deathblow but I rolled a 1 and the other hit wounded. This brought me to King's Curse, which was the entire reason I brought Icarus along. Icarus is at best a 2nd string team member and I need one of those around to get the King's Curse. While armour 4 at one location is good I believe it to be much worse than being able to obtain a set bonus so didn't want to risk any of my main crew getting the curse.

As for the settlement itself, we managed to innovate family last year but I'm holding off until I can get Clan of Death before I produce Thalia's heirs to the Twilight Knight title. My innovation deck has gotten relatively narrow again so this should hopefully show up soon in the next year or two.

Thanks for reading.

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.

***************************COMMENTS****************************************

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.

********************************COMMENTS**************************************

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. 



********************************COMMENTS**************************************

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. 



Thursday, 26 January 2017

Aephyus Lantern Year 6



Spurred on by the insistent Grace; Caleb, Thalia and Lorena took the newcomer with them to seek out the guardian of the hidden glade. As they made their way they came across a tome resting on a pedestal. Caleb opened the pages and the survivors looked at wonder at the contents but despite how hard they tried they couldn't discern any meaning. As they were peering at it Lorena let out a cry and motioned to the others to run as quickly as they could. Before them a wildfire raged, scalding them with its heat and burning to ash anything that lived on the plain of faces. As quickly as it erupted it died away, soon the ground was cool enough to walk on and the survivors carried on with their hunt.

The Flower Knight Himself


At first it seemed like little remained where the fire had touched but eventually they passed from the lands that had been damaged into new ones. Here there were signs of others, they passed by a gibbet, unenthusiastic to examine whatever inhabited it. Their wish to avoid the horrors of their world though were for nought, as only moments later a monolith of flesh erupted from the ground in front of them. It was truly a terrible sight to behold as it stretched into the sky like an amalgamation of organic matter and malice. Grace started forward to examine it but Caleb halted her as he instinctually felt the malevolence of the disgusting tower. The survivors circled around the monolith, but for the rest of their days the horror of it would stay with them.

They trudged on until they found the forest gate that the old crone had described before expiring. It begrudingly opened for them as they pushed through, but the battle through its thorny branches did leave them feeling weak and bleeding. They were rewarded though with a gracious aroma which enhanced their understanding of the world around them and made them eager to find their quarry. It was only a little further, and while they had to navigate a field of flesh eventually they found the Flower Knight.

Thalia leads the way through the Forest Gate


The flower knight gazed arrogantly at the survivors as they approached him from a ring of flowers. As they went to step inside the ring it burst into action, unleashing a cloud of noxious pollen and striking at Caleb's chest. The blows are weak though and are only enough to temporarily halt Caleb's advance. Content that he has warned off the intruders the Flower Knight carefully moves back to the centre of his domain.

Caleb just wants to pick flowers but the Flower Knight has other ideas. I'm assuming this is also the flower patch where he finds the tasty skull.


The survivors though are intent though on slaughtering the strange creature and unleash a volley of arrows at the knight, all of which it deftly parries and dodges. Instantly it reacts, by rushing back out at Caleb and swiping its blade across his head. Thalia attempts to use its distraction to her advantage and slashes across its helm with her twilight sword. While the blow is true the Flower Knight reacts with a lightning fast riposte which injures her foot. The knight's assault though is halted when Lorena hurls a dart into the back of the monster's delicate knee. In an instant the Flower Knight returns to the centre of his fairy ring and somehow transports Caleb right in front of him. The monster lets out a flurry of kicks with his bladed limbs but Caleb is able to dodge them all.

Is In response Caleb smashes his shield into the Knight's shoulder as Thalia lets loose an arrow into its legs. Caleb attempts once again to run out of the fairy ring but even as he exits it he is again somehow pulled to its centre and is shocked when the monster impales him with a venomous sting to his chaste, while slashing at his waist armour. Desperately Caleb lashes out and flees from the monster. The other survivors pelt the Knight with arrows and Grace hacks at it with her Katar, but none can properly close with the monster as it only seems to grow stronger the closer it is to the centre of its fairy ring.

The Flower Knight becomes wholly fixated upon Caleb, teleporting him back into the ring of flowers everytime he tries to escape and attacking him. It is all Caleb can do to keep his shield up and dodge the lightning fast blows of the knight's rapier as well as its poisonous stinger. His fellow survivors do all they can to help him but none can stay long in the fairy ring without falling victim to the noxious pollen. They rain darts and arrows at the Knight weakening it greatly.

The Flower Knight is not by any means a 'tough' monster but a lot of his hit locations can make it very difficult to land a good hit. 


As Lorena attempts to deliver the killing blow she is trapped by the Flower Knight who slashes ugly wounds into her chest and knocks her to the ground. It then brings down its pommel on her head but she avoids her skull being crushed thanks to her armour. Lorena crawls out of the fairy ring, desperate to live and her life is spared when Grace dashes into the ring and with all her might hacks at the Flower Knight with the Butcher's Cleaver. Furiously she hacks and bludgeons at the once graceful creature until the Knight is left twisted and broken on the ground.

The survivors rejoice and begin to collect all the flowers in the grove. Caleb though wanders at the edge of the fairy ring and finds something resting under a clump of rotten flowers. Curiosly he pushes aside the debris and discovers a decayed skull. Suddenly a compulsion overtakes him and he begins to eat the skull. The bone breaks into powder as he chews it and Caleb finds the experience exhilirating but is wise enough to hide his actions from the other survivors.

The mood is sombre as the survivors return to their settlement and they are upset to learn that while they were away a group of armoured strangers had arrived and killed five of their number.Grace though, is treated like a hero upon return to the settlement and she excitedly tells the tale of their battle with the Flower Knight, in particular acting out the way that the Knight would rapidly attack amongst a spiral of petals. This is great for the morale of the settlement and inspires them to make two might Vespertine Bows from the various plants and flowers brought back to the settlement. Curiously, the symposium the survivors usually hold to innovate new ideas is not held this year, as Caleb sticks to himself. Gaea, still contemplating the nature of reality, notices Caleb's withdrawal from the group. There will be trouble soon.....

**********************COMMENTS**********************************************

This year was almost all good news, the hunt went well and I had a really enjoyable fight against the Flower Knight which was made relatively challenging by him drawing the Noxious Cloud mood and another which meant he would basic attack anyone in the fairy ring at the end of his turn. This really drew the fight out as I was very reliant on my ranged weapons to take him down. I was also lucky that he continually picked on Caleb, the survivor most able to survive his attention.

One tip here for new players with hunting the flower knight is that you shouldn't hesitate to pick up tokens from "The forest wants what it wants" event. The Flower Knight has very low toughness so you can easily afford -1S tokens, and the bleed isn't too bad if you have a bandage or two lying around. That said I've only fought the L1 so it might be different if you fight a higher level. In my mind though it's almost always worth ensuring that you actually get to have the showdown.

The bad news though was drawing Skull Eater and having Caleb (the de facto leader) succumb to illness. While he hasn't been noticed there will be a murder next year. As such I used the Lantern Hoard to age up Grace so she will be the victim (and come back to life as she has the sleeping virus flower gear). Who knows what will happen then but it gives me the best chance of a decent outcome (I'd love to get to pick 3 fighting arts and disorders for Caleb.)

In terms of gear crafting I had the resources to build two Vespertine Bows so I went ahead and did that. These are incredibly powerful weapons and by building two at once I will only have one necrotoxic mistletoe event to deal with. This meant I wasn't able to innovate but at this point I was a little ahead (thanks to getting ammonia from the White Lion hunt) so I was willing to not innovate this turn.

Hope you enjoyed and keen to hear from you. 



Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Aephyus Lantern Year 5

After hunting the proud White Lions, the search for a Screaming Antelope was a new challenge for the survivors and they advanced more cautiously, knowing that new challenges and threats potentially awaited them. Caleb lead the survivors on towards an area where he had previously seen many acanthus plants growing, stating that it was as good a place as any to begin their hunt. When they arrived though they found that the plants had been uprooted and half eaten, certain evidence that a screaming antelope had passed this way recently. It wasn't long until they were able to pick up the trail of their quarry and they rushed excitedly after it. They ran and ran until tiredness took them and they had to pause to rest. Lorena suggested that their hunt may have been too eager and may have caused the skittish antelope to flee from them. Thalia was less sure about this, but either way it was clear that the trail had gone cold. 

Always good to be hunting a new quarry!


The hunting party continued on, coming to a portucullis standing alone on the plain of faces. It seemed to serve no obvious purpose and the group moved carefully around it lest it hide some unseen peril. In time they regained the scent of their prey and were lead down a strange path littered with the bones of dead monsters. The survivors hurriedly collect what they can. As he reaches down to harvest the bones Caleb pauses as his glance discovers something odd on the ground. One of the stone faces appears in the likeness of his own, but older and wiser. It is then that a scream pierces the darkness, the survivors rush towards it and in a clearing find their quarry, the Screaming Antelope, warily grazing amongst a clump of acanthus. 

Gratuitous beauty shot of the Antelope. My friend actually painted this for me and did a fantastic job of it.  


As the survivors try to surround the monster, Caleb stumbles and alerts the beast. In an explosion of movement it dashes straight at him, kicks him in the chest and then bolts away from him towards Lorena. Thalia and Icarus, both armed with Cat Gut Bows unleash a volley of clawed arrows which come to rest in the screaming terror's ear and knee, rendering it maimed and slower for the rest of the fight. Lorena attempts to gut their prey with her Katar but as she strikes the Antelope spasms ferociously and its black hooves strike her hard in the chest.

Frightened, the monster bucks wildly, forcing the survivors to keep their distance with the exception of Caleb who closes with it and attempts to bash it with his shield. It all goes awry though and the Screaming Antelope onto him and devours him with its grotesque undermaw. Lorena is horrified by the sight and is frozen for long moments staring into the antelope's restless eyes as it tries to digest her friend. It is the archers who save Caleb, as they let loose another hail of arrows into the beast's flank, causing it to regurgitate Caleb. Panicking, the beast bolts, smashing Caleb over and thrashing its hooves at Thalia's head. The survivors pursue the wounded abomination but as they try to strike it their weapons are ripped from their hands by the multitude of tiny hands which infest the monster's hide!

The fateful moment before Caleb is swallowed whole by the Antelope. 


Eventually though, Thalia manages to bring her Twilight Sword down onto its shank, causing it to sink to the ground in pain. This opens the way for Caleb, furious from her near death experience in the Antelope's Gut, to kill the monster by bashing its head open with repeated strikes of his shield. 

The return home seemed as if it would be relatively uneventful, most of the survivors had little to say and Thalia felt stronger as she reflected on how this new hunt had differed from the five other times she had battle for the good of the settlement. Almost within sight of home though, it appeared again! A strange spot hung there upon the ground, its silhouette reminding the survivors eerily of themselves of Caleb's former form. Without hesitation Caleb stepped into it and was transformed back to his former self and with the strange girdle absent. Caleb only smiled at his shocked companions and joked that he would try not to make a habit of doing such things in the future. 

Life at the settlement goes on and the survivors work on constructing more leather armour as well as a lucky charm. As they work industriously they hear a cry from the Lantern Hoard and discover that Starbuck has knocked over a lantern. She picks it up cautiously, but then shakes it vigorously causing it to heat up and burn her hands. She lets out a roar of triumphant surprise and declares that with heat they can accomplish many new feats of creation. She then starts a warm fire using the lanterns and the survivors gather around and tell stories. 

It is only late into the night that Freya steps forward to admit an old secret to her fellow survivors. She tells them of a forest gate beyond which she once saw a strange knight who tended flowers. As she tells the joke she moved off into the darkness and was followed by the settlement. To their surprise her tale was real and they reached a gleaming green gate and through it a peaceful glade. It was then that Freya fell over dead, a ghostly flower bursting from her lips with her last breath. Gently the survivors carry her corpse back to the settlement and leave her in state prior to burying her. One survivor, Grace, waits until no one is looking and grasps the blossom from her lips. 

Next year's quarry.


As the days go by Grace finds that she cannot shake an obsession to return to the glade and she pleads with Caleb and Lorena to take her on the next hunt to track down the glade and its guardian. 

*********************************COMMENTS*************************************

This was another year that went relatively well. The hunt for an antelope can be pretty brutal but I was lucky that Devoured Grounds balanced out Skittish. The fight itself was a bit more hectic than I made it sound and I was definitely a bit nervous when Caleb got swallowed up whole and Lorena fluffed her attacks. I also felt the consequences of lazy positioning a few times as the Antelope dashed all over the place and knocked over survivors a few times. Ultimately though everyone managed to get their weapon proficiency so it was a good fight.

I laughed when I drew A Strange Spot again and randomly determined that it would be Caleb who went back into it. I sort of house ruled that he would come back out as he was before (except with the buff from the first time he changed) with the exception that the belt of gender swap would be gone. It was sort of a weird situation but I figured this made more sense than him keeping it. 

The settlement phase went smoothly as I managed to pick up the lantern oven and scrap smelting innovations (I'm starting to amass a decent amount of Iron and Scrap) and I continued to work on a set of Leather Armour. Next year I'll depart to hunt the Flower Knight with the aim of picking up a Vespertine Bow.

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed it.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Aephyus Lantern Year 4


Caleb, Lorena, Gaea and Thalia approached the Butcher carefully. The monster stood there motionless, letting its oversized cleavers hang loosely at its side. The only indication that it was somehow alive at all was the misty air from its deep and heavy breathing steaming the cold darkness. Lorena motions to Caleb to flank the monster from a giant stone face and he and Thalia move to take up their positions as Gaea and Lorena move forward to confront the abomination.

Once in place Caleb and Thalia both loose their clawed arrows both of which lodge in the Butcher's Gut and knock it down to the ground. Seeing its vulnerability Lorena surges forward and slashes its greaves and thick cape to shreds with her Katar. As the armoured monster scrambles back to its feet Gaea moves in front of it and readies her shield.

A pretty good way to start your first Nemesis showdown.


In a whirlwind of fury and blades, the Butcher lashes out at the survivors around it. It launches a massive blow in an attempt to Hew Gaea in half but her shield takes the force. Frustrated by its lack of success the Butcher carves wildly at the Green Saviour but she is too fast and he manages only to just nick her rawhide headband.

Thalia uses the confusion to dash behind the beast and bring her Twilight Sword down across its unnerving mask as Caleb lets loose a hail of arrows which pierce the Butcher's cape and gauntlets. Lorena piles in with more attacks and breaks the nemesis' crown. In an instant it lashes out and sends Thalia, Lorena and Gaea sprawling to the ground. Seeing the vulnerability of his fellow survivors Caleb calls out to Gaea to rise. With effort she does and she brings her shield up to protect her fallen comrades. The Butcher is enraged by her defiance and kicks and hews at her but for naught. Gaea is fulfilling her destiny as a saviour of Aephyus and no harm comes to her.

Gaea was more than the Butcher could handle throughout the fight. I really can't overstate how much a Green Saviour helps when fighting the Butcher. 


Thalia then rips away the Butcher's Cape with a swing of her twilight Blade, but is knocked away as the Butcher hews away wildly at the survivors. Gaea wears the brutal blows the best she can and applies a bandage to staunch the blood that is now flowing from her chest. From the vantage point of the giant stone face Caleb continues to let fly arrow after arrow into the Butcher, bringing it close to the point of death. It took until this point in the fight but it seemed now that the Butcher realised the mortal threat posed to it by Caleb and it rushed furiously at her to cut her to pieces. It came to naught though as the Butcher once again found its path blocked by the resolute Green Saviour and his cleavers found only empty air and her shield.

With a knowing smile and a nod from Thalia, Caleb let loose the killing arrow which buried itself in the Butcher's Furious Scrag. In an explosion of blood and gore the beast was decapitated, though its corpse still stood lifeless in place. All of the survivors let out cries of celebration and inspired by Gaea's efforts learnt to better evade their enemies strikes. They also manage to salvage one of their nemesis's cleavers in order to outfit their settlement with a mighty weapon.

Careful manipulation of the HL deck with the Cat Eye Circlet allowed me to avoid the trap and put the final wound onto the Death Blow location. This would not have been possible without Gaea giving me the security of knowing I was in control of the fight after getting  the Butcher down to 1 wound. 


Their celebration though was short lived though as a roaring sound split the sky. With a flash the Butcher exploded in light and cracks in the ground appeared beneath the survivor's feet. The Survivors rushed back towards the settlement, nimbly dodging the chasms which threatened to swallow them into the dark abyss. After what was only moments but seemed an eternity they made it back, but only just. They felt sure that had any of them been wearing heavier equipment then they might not have made it.

A hell of a lucky thing that no one had heavy gear such as the White Lion armour. 


The celebrations resumed though when the hunting party were met by the other survivors of Aephyus. Elated to be alive and to have so convincingly defeated such a terrible foe they partied long into the night and thus was it that two more Saviours were born. Diana, daughter of Wilfried and Starbuck came into being and declared that she had dreamed the dream of the Lantern and would protect the settlement with deadly ranged weapons. Marius, son of Gerald and Freya, emerged from his dream with the rage of a beast, determined to strike down any who would bring harm to the people of Aephyus. As if the birth of two saviours was not enough good fortune, twins were born to Hiram and Scout. 

The survivors who had faced the Butcher were more melancholic than the others though. Caleb found Gaea sitting quietly contemplating the lantern horde whilst the others celebrated and asked her what was wrong. Gaea replied that she was happy that she had been able to protect the settlement but that she could feel that such effort had seemed to cost her dearly and that she could feel her life force ebbing as if blood from a wound. She resolved that she would seek to understand the nature of who she was so that she may protect the settlement forever. Thalia was also quiet and contemplated what it meant to have taken the first steps towards mastering the Twilight Sword and if it would be enough to face the hooded twilight knight when he returned. To symbolize her commitment to mastering her weapon for the good of the settlement she took the original cloth she wore when she first battled alongside the original founders and remade it into a tabard to cover herself in battle. 

Thalia, one of the original founders begins her journey to become a Twilight Knight. 


As the elation of survival slowly faded away, the hunger and stark reality of the settlement's existence returned. Knowingly, Caleb, Lorena and Thalia came together and planned their next hunt. This time they would hunt the antelope whose screams and tortured them several years past. Gaea would not come with them as she was busy meditating on her existence, but Icarus jumped at the chance to rejoin the hunt....

*********************************COMMENTS*************************************

Butcher fights don't go much smoother than this. I was able to open up with two Claw Head Arrows hitting the Butcher for a -2 evasion total and knocking him down. From there I used surge and dash liberally to pile on the hurt and I think I managed ~5 wounds the very first turn. From there it was a simple matter of tanking the Butcher with my green saviour (who had 5 armour at all locations, and +4 Evasion) and controlling the HL deck with the Cat Eye Circlet. At no stage was the Butcher able to reliably put damage through onto Gaea and that meant I had the time to make sure I got my first proficiency point with the twilight sword with Thalia and that eventually I could death blow the Butcher to get the extra stats (I chose evasion for everyone bar Thalia, who took accuracy to help with the Twilight Sword). 

I want to mention that I used the V 1.4 Lantern Hoard to age up Gaea to age 2 in order to allow her to bring more evasion to the fight. I'm not sure how balanced this is as it seems a bit too easy to power up a saviour for their first fight.

Cracks in the ground came up and I nearly had a heart attack when I rolled a 1, only to find that no one was packing any heavy kit. Definitely a lucky break as I would have hated to lose any of these four survivors. 

As for the settlement phase not too much went down as I couldn't innovate. Instead I pumped endeavors into Augury and was rewarded with more saviours thanks to Hovel, twins, and managed to  get Gaea more understanding in order to try and get her to be ageless.

Anyways hope you enjoyed. 

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Aephyus Lantern Year 3

With confidence born of their previous success the Hunting Party set out again to slay another of their eternal foes. Lorena lead the party ably into a sea of golden grass where the party was able to pick up the signs of not just one, but two creatures. One set of tracks though was much smaller than the others and after discussion they agreed it was likely a mother White Lion and her cub. The chance to reap such a bounty spurred the party and they stalked their prey with relish. It was only a little later that they came upon the Mother and her cub in a clearing. Without hesitation Thalia notched an arrow, drew her bow and loosed an arrow which tore through the cub's chest. The slain lion let out only a weak cry as its last breath escaped its lungs.The mother spun around quickly towards the survivors and in its rage let out a terrifying roar that sent a shiver of fear down the survivors spines.

The survivors square up for turns out to be a mercifully short hunt phase.


In the next instant the White Lion closed the distance between her and Caleb and clawed out at him. The attack though was obvious to Caleb and he was able to nimbly avoid the strikes and get out of the way, leaving Thalia free to fire her best clawed arrow into the monster's neck. Lorena and Caleb then strike the beast. Lorena manages to lodge a dart in the monster's chest but Caleb only receives a raking of claws across his rawhide armour for his efforts. The lion quickly switches tactics and waits cautiously on the ground to savage anyone who comes near it. This creates a stand-off between the warring parties which only ends when Thalia lets loose an arrow which strikes its heel. Her victory though is short lived as the roar the creature unleashes in its pain is so intense that it knocks Thalia to the ground. The Lion is so focused on avenging itself and her cub against Thalia that she fails to notice Caleb moving to her flank. The lion does notice though when Caleb's Katar smashes into its temple and shatters its skull, leaving it dizzy and confused.

Thalia was the star of the show as her arrows wounded the Lion over and over. Lorena and Caleb were also able to use their rawhide bands very effectively to manipulate Ground Fighting.


The Lion lashes out now in desperation and is able to fend of an attack by Icarus with powerful swipes of its strange and before trying to rip off Caleb's head with a ferocious Chomp. The instant before it can make its attack though Lorena warns Caleb and he is able to again roll out of the path of yet another potentially mortal strike. The Lion now is exhausted and confused and tries to buy time for itself by trying to fight the survivors on the ground where it has the advantage. It's of no use though as Thalia is able to let fly arrow after arrow into the beast and bring it near to the point of death. While the White Lion does manage to cleverly trick Lorena into exposing herself and inflicts a nasty wound to her head, it is not long before Caleb is able to finish the beast off by sliding his Katar between the beasts ribs.

The journey back to the settlement is longer than the hunt itself, especially as they are weighed down with the spoils of the slaughter of two White Lions. The survivors discuss how they are more experienced now; Lorena discovers a method for blocking blows with her forearms, Icarus masters a breathing technique which allows him to run faster than he had thought possible, and through great practice Caleb discovers that in the right circumstances he could chain his attacks together to do more damage to his foes. The journey went without incident until the survivors encountered a strange spot on the ground that seemed to emanate darkness and cause their lanterns to flicker uneasily. Caleb, the most courageous of the group moved to investigate it and was engulfed in darkness. Moments later Caleb emerged and to the surprise of the other survivors had been greatly changed. While moments ago Caleb had been a lean and wiry grizzled man, there was now before them a younger woman who was in the prime of her physical strength and powers. Caleb calmed the survivors down quickly though and though she couldn't explain what happened that all would be well. When Icarus asked her if she meant to take another name Caleb replied that she would not as she was essentially the same person.

A Strange Spot is a settlement event that came with the plastic pinups of death box. It's a bit silly but I throw it in anyways as any addition to the variety of settlement events you can get is welcome. 


Time passed once they arrived back at the settlement and the survivors worked industriously to create a leather shield, bandages, another set of bow and arrows as well as to concoct a drink from the genitals of the White Lion which would enable a survivor to fight with all the savagery of a monster. It was during this time that a Hooded Knight visited the settlement. The survivors could only look on speechlessly as it walked straight up to Thalia and left with her a tattered parcel containing a cloak and sword. The knight nodded to her with a wry smile as it left and she knew that he would be back to test her. The settlement was ecstatic as their numbers grew after Grace and Hiram gave birth to twins. Even this joyous event though was eclipsed by the miracle of Gerald and Freya having a second daughter in their new hovel. At the instant of birth their daughter, Gaea, disappeared for an instant and then returned fully grown. Gaea could not explain what had happened but that she knew her purpose was to protect the settlement and that to do so she had been given special powers. At that moment though the horror came.

A cry rang out from Icarus and the survivors rushed to him. He could only point in terror at a figure standing just outside the settlement. There was a man shaped creature, clad in armour and the flayed skin of humans, just waiting with two over sized butcher's cleavers hanging at its side. Not a word was spoken until Caleb cried out to the settlement with her new voice. She exclaimed that they must accept the darkness of the world around them no matter what it threw at them, and that by doing so they could conquer any foe who presented themselves, including the abomination that stalked them now. Inspired, the survivors roared their approval and set to preparing their most experienced warriors for the upcoming battle. All except for Icarus, the first to see the Butcher, for he was too terrified to face the creature. Caleb patted him on the shoulder and told Icarus he was not needed and that Gaea would be the saviour of the settlement. All she asked of him was that Icarus spend time with her so she could benefit from his experience. 

The Butcher just waits menacingly. Let's hope this next fight doesn't hurt too bad.


Soon all that could be done was done. Caleb, Thalia, Lorena, and Gaea, the finest warriors the settlement could assemble, set out into the darkness to defend their home.

**************************COMMENTS********************************************

This is about as good as a year as I could ask for before fighting the butcher. I had a thankfully short hunt phase (which makes a good change) and an easy showdown where I was able to collect ~14 resources. The Settlement Event turned Caleb into a woman but also increased her strength, evasion and accuracy making her now quite a powerful survivor for LY3. I've also now got a Twilight Sword that I can start getting Thalia to work on, though she will continue to use a bow as well.

Innovating Hovel was a no brainer when I had the option this lantern year for two reasons. First it gives me access to Saviours which are incredibly powerful (especially Green ones) and it also allows me to get the Family innovation which is an important part of developing the weapon proficiencies of the settlement as a whole (and of keeping the twilight sword useful until the end of the game). I was instantly rewarded for having Hovels with a green saviour who I then used my last two innovations to get XP for (using the KD 1.4 Lantern Hoard location.) This will allow me to put her up against the Butcher with a good deal of Armour and evasion to hopefully get me through the fight without too much trouble. 

I built another bow and claw head arrow as I had enough resources and this way all 4 survivors now have pretty decent weapons. 2 Claw head arrows also gives me the chance to really make it easy to hit monsters. I also built bandages as these are crucial to surviving a fight with the Butcher.

Thanks again for reading and hope you enjoy!