11/13/2018

Rangers of the Shallow Deep. First mission, the deserted village.

 

Rangers of the Shallow Deep is a game to be played solo or co-op which uses Frostgrave basics but with a twist. It reminds me of the first release of the PC game Diablo, where your character was exploring, killing monsters and completing quests as well as gaining experience and equipment; only here you can only play as Ranger. Nonetheless, like in Diablo, you can take with you some companions with a variety of skills.

The book is well written and easy to read. It has a nice layout and fantastic, beautiful and very evocative illustrations with an old school vibe that I loved. You can find it in Wargames Vault and RPGNow. There is also a dedicated Facebook group in which the author actively participates and resolves any doubts and questions.

In this game you have a series of linked scenarios similar to some DnD games and you can dive directly into them and play just following their settings. A side effect maybe is that you are probably not going to play them more than once; so once you finish with the scenarios in the rulebook you are stuck until the author or some fan release some more. Unfortunately, there are no guides in the book about how to design some scenarios and it does not seem to be an easy task.

Another thing the rulebook does not have and that annoyed me a lot during my first game was an index. Being my first game, I needed to check a few points and I was unsure about but I could not find them all in that moment as much as I flipped back and forth through the pages. This frustrated me a bit and slightly spoiled the fun of the game. However the game was fun enough.

So for my first mission I spent three of the ten build points you are given for creating your Ranger in raising some stats, three more in gaining two heroic skills (hand of fate and Roll with the punch) and one spell (healing), and the last four points in improving most of my many ranger's skills. 
I used the 100 points given to select some companions to help me to get the job done. A Barbarian, a Savage with a two-handed axe, a loyal Bloodhound and an archer for ranged attacks.

The mission starts as follows:




  1. "As soon as you came within sight of the nameless village, you knew that something wasn’t right. There was no sound of man or animal, no movement except for the gentle swaying of the trees in the breeze. Closer in, you could see bodies lying in the dirt and smell the stench of death. Undaunted, you covered your face and carried on. Whatever happened here, it was your duty to try to discover the truth, and, if possible, determine the fate of Aventine. You had just reached the centre of the village, and were about to split up to search, when a horrible moaning sound came from all around."


    On the first turn my Ranger discovered the corpse of Aventine as well as his magic sword, which he picked up in time to dispatch a giant rat that came out from a near building.

    Two of his companions, the barbarian and the archer, killed another of those disease bearers.

    But I draw an ace in the events phase and in no time the adventurers were surrounded by zombies. It's a trap!

    The savage never had problems dealing with zombies during the whole encounter

    My Ranger had movement 7 and I decided to forget about the zombies and run for another clue marker as they only had eight turns to do it. There he discovered a wounded child who survived the slaughter. He was shocked and could only move 3 inches per turn and he was going to slow my ranger...

    Leaving back my dog caused it to die at the numbed hands of two zombies. It wounded them but could not kill them.

    The savage with Strength 8 could break down locked doors automatically and enter in search for clues.

    The barbarian run to a house and left the archer alone. He failed all his shots and was finally caught by a couple of zombies.

    The ranger left the surviving child hidden behind a tree in the hope no zombies would discover him, so he could move fast and search for more clues.

    The barbarian who left the archer found himself in trouble as well...

    But he heroically slain two of the zombies and could shake off the rest. Meanwhile the ranger raced sorting zombies towards the next clue.

     In turn seven the barbarian found a treasure near the bridge and the savage dashed in the last house and discovered some herbs in it.

    This is how it ended the game after turn eight concluded.

    After the encounter the archer and the bloodhound fully recovered but the dog got a disease, probably due to nibbling some corrupted corpses. The party got 102 experience points in total so my ranger could go up one level and raise some of his skills. Both the treasure and the herbs found turned out to be two potions.

11/07/2018

Terror mission

So continuing with the testing of ZoG and the campaign for X-Com I played a Terror mission. As I do not have the Snakemen painted yet, I used Sectoids and Mutons instead.
Also, as you can see my buildings are pretty basic. I wish I could have real ones but my budget at the moment is almost non-existent. I bought 20 of those cars for 3 dollars from an Ebay Chinese shop.

In Terror missions your team must clear the site from all Aliens who are attacking civilians. In the campaign, the more time you take to do it the less resources you get at the end of the encounter. Also in these rules, the more you spread your soldiers the less time you take to finish the mission, but more dangerous it becomes, so you have to think carefully not to pack them but neither to over split them.

For this mission I made three groups: Team A with two grunts and the HWP, Team B with one veteran in personal armour and two grunts, one of them with SAW, and Team C with one veteran (Corporal Jonlan) in personal armour and two grunts, one of them with missile launcher. All three team members with assault rifles, combat knives and hand grenades.
 
In the first picture below you can see a general view of the city and the Skyranger deploying first X-Com grunts with a Heavy Weapon Platform (HWP) or remote controlled tankette.

As it happened to me in many encounters in the PC game, the first aliens encountered were behind the dropship and shot at my back, wounding Cpl. Jonlan and making him and one grunt to hit the dirt.

My troops moved back at the forest but four of them were needed to shoot down the two Sectoids.

On the left flank Team A pushed forward without seeing anybody. As you see, they were moving and covering their backs in Opportunity fire just in case.

Teams B and C could not follow as they were ambushed by more Sectoids on their right flank.

Combined missile, SAW and assault rifle fire killed them all.

A Sectopod!

It appeared behind the HWP and destroyed it with one shot of its heavy plasma gun. The accompanying grunts run for cover.

A shot in the back.

Grunts from Team B trying to sneak behind of the Sectopod resulted ambushed by a Chryssalid!

Miraculously the grunt with the SAW survived the first assault and could turn around and face the creature. In the next turn he was hit and fell stunned to the ground and then his team member killed the Chryssalid with his assault rifle.

Straggled behind, a solitaire Muton who was accompanying the Chryssalid. Later caught in the open by the grunt with the SAW already recovered from the Chryssalid attack.

 Two Sectoids popping up behind Team C

General view of the city in chaos.

The surviving elements of Team A who took cover far behind the buildings after the Sectopod attack, were attacked mentally by a Sectoid who turned the corner and was fired in opportunity but totally missed. Its victim panicked and got into the building but his mate managed to lob a grenade to the Sectoid and kill it.

After killing the Chryssalid the X-Com soldier from Team B ambushed the Sectopod with hand grenades from a building. The turn before the Sectopod had already killed the grunt with the missile launcher who fired a missile at it but failed and paid dearly for that.
At the bottom of the picture you can see Jonlan having a lot of trouble when wounded and ducking back in a building was surrouned by three more Sectoids. He could kill two of them with a grenade.

The other Sectoid mind-controlled Cpl. Jonlan and made him to go in the open with the hope of killing him there afterwards. But in the next turn the alien was surrounded and eliminated and it was the last of them so the mission ended. Terror mission ships carry 23 crew but it is never exact and in this mission for example there were 25 in the end.

Mission was finished in 12 turns so I got 2 resource points that could be used on my return to base to research, recruit or buy new equipment and armament. I lost one HWP, one veteran in personal armour and two grunts, but one of them recovered after the mission. Cpl. Jonlan has to rest to heal his wound.

As usual, after the game I had to write a lot of amendments but they are less and less after every game. The game was fun, smooth and surprising, so I can say I am happy with my progress in the rules.