Silver campaign level started with good news for me: I had my first chance to raze a city! And with my plot, I actually was allowed to throw two dice instead of one...which didn't help unfortunately, as I rolled two power enhancements and Riverwatch was allowed to live.
The heroes had returned to Tamalir after the fountain of life, and now moved to the Gate of the North, presumably on their way to Shika's tree. We rolled another encounter, which I do not want to talk about here actually. Hunting Spiders in the Ancient Grove...'nuff said. Can you say immobile monsters? Silly encounter? Easy CTs for the heroes?
Before reporting about our first silver dungeon, let me give you an overview of what the hero party looks like now, including equipment.
First, we have Thorgrim with his Defender ability, Bear Tattoo, Cleaving and one silver and three black melee dice. He has a bone blade, chain mail, skull shield, and a bag of holding. His main strength is his high armor (5 vs. all attacks, 6 vs. attacks from up to five spaces away, almost inifinity vs. blast/breath/bolt attacks, and the skull shield to cancel some wounds) and high hitpoints (14), so he's the main tank, rushing in first to grapple the enemies and then cleaving away.
As a second tank, we have Kenor with his Ironskin ability, Weapon Mastery, Taunt, and also one silver and three black melee dice. He has the mace of aver and a ring of protection, and while his armor (5) is slightly lower than that of Throgrim, his Ironskin's immunity to pierce and sorcery effectively makes it higher against my skeletons and sorcerers. He likes knocking around baddies, and has saved a fellow hero's ass more than once with his Taunt.
Next we have Sarina with Tactician, Unmovable, Battle Cry and again with one silver and three black dice. She wields the powerful grinding axe, wears a plate mail, a belt of strength and a ring of quickness, and loves to use her ring and spend some fatigue to do battle actions, granting +1 fatigue for the party and +1 armor for her. If she manages to do this, she has armor 6 as well; if not, she's the "weakest" tank with armor 5 "only". As someone in the forum wrote in response to my treatise on hero armor, armor effectiveness essentially doubles for each point beyond 4 according to his calculations, so facing three tanks with an effective armor of 6 in most cases is a challenge to say the least! Which brings me to the so-called "softies" of the party...
...which definitely is Vrajotoru with Blessing and five black magic dice. He wields the staff of the grave and has a heavy leather armor and a mana weave, and definitely was a glass cannon during copper: He had a scary damage output at high range, but breaks fast with his armor of 3 - he was my main source of CTs so far. His damage output is lower now compared to the other heroes because he hasn't upgraded his dice yet, but this will change soon I guess.
And last but certainly not least, we have Rin with his Deadeye ability, Precision, Acrobat, Rapid Fire and three black ranged dice. He wields backbiter, and has a ghost armor, a crystal shield and an archer's charm. Even though his damage output is not the best yet, his dice still awaiting an upgrade, his effectiveness has increased a lot with Rapid Fire. With his backbiter bow constantly healing him, he was surprisingly hard to kill so far. After writing about the odd choice of giving Acrobat to him instead to a tank, we had another discussion about this in our group - and I'm still waiting for a situation where he will be able to put the skill to a combat-deciding use, but we'll see.
Apart from the main equipment listed here, they also carry around some spare equipment like a knuckle dagger and a falcon's claw. So far, they proved to be a highly effective party in copper level, one-shotting all non-named monsters from the get go and being able to withstand a lot of punishment. Let's see how they will do in silver!
What I can tell you already is that the party has made an exceptional amount of CTs in the dungeon at the Gate of the North - 35 CTs overall, not counting the encounter or the extra CT for visiting a new area! Let me repeat this: 35 conquest tokens from visiting three dungeon levels! That has to be some kind of record - if anyone manages to beat this, please let me know!
So let me tell you the tale of bountiful CTs...once the party had arrived at the Gate of the North, the first dungeon level they drew was The Joke (12). Er, no, actually it was called The Throne Room, but it was a complete joke!
I mean, c'mon, one of the two leaders is a normal beastman with no extra wounds or armor? Conveniently placed so he can be killed by the heroes on the first turn? We all know how normal beastmen are total push-overs even at diamond level, so this meant two free extra CTs for the heroes to take right away, for crying out loud! The second leader was a master giant, another weak monster, although here you could say it's my fault for not having upgraded humanoids. At least the leaders' posse was very nice: A legion of skeletons! I complemented them with a master beastman and a normal one, courtesy of my two free power cards, and placed all monsters behind the giant. No use even trying to protect Mim the Jester, as Rin with his Precision skill could still kill him on the first turn if he wanted to.
To add insult to injury, this level sported two glyphs instead of the usual one, and two treasure chests plus one free guaranteed treasure from the throne as well! Add to this the fact that the giant has only speed 3 (and would have been so slow even on diamond level), and that the whole level could be covered with LoS easily, this level was a total joke for the Overlord.
Its only saving grace were the huge amount of skeletons. Behold the power of the sniping silver skeletons!
Can you see the master skeleton two tiles behind the giant? All my skeletons moved to that position, and with surgical precision shot through the giant at V-Man, which the party had left conveniently unprotected for me to kill. That spot was the perfect position: I gained command from the master beastman, granting me an overall range of +5 (+6 for the master skeletons) even before rolling the dice, and I was too far away from Kenor's Taunt to affect me. 3 CTs for me!
It went downhill from there, though. I had no power cards to discard to use King Athos' ability, and he fell easily to the grinding axe. Once the path was free, Kenor could move in, effectively neutralizing my skeletons with his Taunt, and that was that. They found the skorpion helm in one chest, but the other contained no treasure, netting them yet another CT. First level completed, and it already stood 11-3 for the heroes!
Since most heroes had been nearer to the glyphs than to the portal, only Kenor used the portal to advance to the next level, while the others moved to town. Completely done for convenience and speed only, this turned into a major tactical advantage by sheer luck! Why? Because we drew The Graveyard (7) next...
This level looked like a fun one: lots of skeletons, plus one extra per turn, can shoot at the heroes who have to run some distance to reach them. There was even a double obstacle for the heroes to gather behind on their first turn, so that they could start to sprint from there on their second turn in the wanted to.
However, the level also had two glyphs again, one positioned after one third of the level, and the other near the level leader. And since four heroes were in the town anyway, they quickly saw a golden opportunity to completely break this level. What followed was really clever play, I have to grant them that! Although it wouldn't have been that effective with four heroes...
So Kenor ran and activated the first glyph. Rin was next, entered the dungeon through that newly activated glyph, and activated the second one near the monsters. Here's a shot of the situation:
So Thorgrim, Sarina and V-Man could now enter the dungeon through that glyph directly adjacent to the enemies, and happily hack away. Mind you, this was still the first turn, with me having no chance to do anything yet! Theoretically, using Thorgrim's Cleaving skill, they could completely annihilate all the monsters including the level leader now, and only a missed attack saved me here. But even then, I could only spawn one skeleton on my turn for free and not do much, and on turn two, all monsters were dead. First all normal skeletons were killed so I couldn't sacrifice one to save Adrian, and the Staff of the Grave denied him his normal undying roll as well.
The only thing I was able to do was to play Dark Charm on Thorgrim, who had a nice new silver weapon, the serpent blade - but he missed. Ah well. The chest contained an amulet of healing, and then the level was over already - I got only two turns to play, and the heroes left the level on their third turn. CT count for this level: 8 - 0.
What followed was the last dungeon level, where the heroes would get double CTs for each leader. And guess what? I drew one of the two levels with three leaders: Trial by Fire (26). Yay.
I so much wanted to have upgraded my beasts before playing this level, but alas, it should not be. At least this level was large, would give me some opportunity to spawn monsters, and at least contained only a single extra glyph and only one chest! Here's the level after setting up my minions:
The hellhound of course was a total push-over as usual - I think Rin killed him, shooting past the sorcerers who then died instantly once their leader was dead. I think this is one flaw in Road to Legend's dungeon designs: very often, the heroes can kill an important monster on turn one, before it has any chance to do something. This was the case in The Twins, in Dust to Dust, in the Throne Room, and here as well. I'm curious to know if this was done by design?
Anyway, the upside of the hellhound's death was that the rune-door not only unlocked, but also opened. So now the party had finished their turn, and saw a dragon down the corridor - and I had a charge and an aim on my hand! So after shooting with all my skellies, the dragon charged the party and breathed. The party was not impressed...Kenor was immune because of his Ironskin, Thorgrim had +5 armor vs. breath attacks, and in the end only Sarina received some damage, putting her down to two wounds (she had been wounded by the skeletons already). While I failed to kill her, at least I forced her to use the newly found Amulet of Healing.
Then the dragon died quickly, and with him automatically most of the skeletons. Only two survived, which I had placed there via my Hordes of Things card - and those, together with newly spawned ones, actually managed to finish off Thorgrim, for 4 CTs! Poor Thorgrim - his player suffered from an ungodly amount of misses. We all miss from time to time, but he missed so often that evening this was...amazing.
What followed was a very intense fight with the silver master demon. Boy, he was tough! And he had even more toughness because Thorgrim missed so often. I also had saved up a rage and an aim just for him, and attacked Sarina now. First I played rage, attacked - and hit, bringing her down to 6 wounds. Then I played aim on the second attack, and...missed! Good thing I had aimed it. I rerolled, and hit...and it was enough to bring her down, scoring me 4 CTs! W00t!
What made him survive longer than I had expected was his fear ability. Three attacks missed simply because the attacking hero didn't have enough surges to spend! Very nice. An Animate Weapons killed V-Man in the meantime for another 3 CTs, and about that time I cycled my deck for yet another 3 CTs, but that was all I got that evening. Kenor and his Taunt prevented me from making more kills: Sarina fought the demon for two rounds with only one wound left, and there was nothing I could do about it! Kenor taunted the demon, and then a power potion-boosted attack with the grinding axe finished it off.
The party even managed to save a healing potion by moving the heavily wounded Sarina only through spaces were other heroes stood on her way to the portal, so that I couldn't play a spiked pit (which, in fact, I had on my hand). Nice one!
So while this last fight with the demon had been intense and fun, overall I had lost that level as well: 16 - 14 CTs (the heroes hadn't found a treasure in the chest, for yet another CT). Three leaders on a last level is really evil - 12 CTs for the leaders alone! Overall, the heroes had made 35 CTs in this dungeon, and I only 17. Here's hoping the other level with three leaders won't be drawn on the last dungeon level as well...