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.

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