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The Legend of the Devil in Iron

Or, how we learned to love getting defeated by the Ovcrlord.

So, with the recent & long-overdue arrival of the Conan the Conqueror kickstarter expansion for Conan, with all the additional King’s Pledge add-ons, we have started this campaign, with yours truly in the role of Overlord & an unruly cast of rogues for the heroes (Amra the Lion aka Conan, N’Gora, Zelata & Belit). Check back for updates as we complete scenarios (hopefully one a week). Scenario pages from the Conan app are linked in the title of each scenario below.

The heroes fight guards in the Swordfish tavern as Publio is interrogated in Uproar in Messantia. N’Gora is not feeling so hot. Belit is behind the bar (I think)

1 – Uproar in Messantia

Our brave heroes soon learned that the campaign scenarios were tougher than some of the standalone scenarios from the core game that we had been working through. Or at least, they required close attention to what the actual victory conditions were, versus trying to rack up experience points for the characters by cutting down mooks.

Zelata tries to come to N’Gora’s aid in the upstairs corridor brawl with Captain, archers & Publio (yes a LotR dwarf) . Painting very much in progress on figures as can be seen.

By the time they realized time was running short, N’Gora had been badly pin-cushioned by the archers & city guard, & ended up felled by the Captain (although post-action we realized that he would have had one energy left, & would not have been knocked out of action, so at least he got his equipment back).

Time runs out on the heroes, & Publio dies before they could retrieve the information needed to find the missing princess.

Result: Overlord win, VP 1

Hero experience: 6 each (24 total for the party). They decide not to buy gems & save it till next time to hopefully level all the characters after the second scenario.

Overlord experience: 15, buys a special gem

3 – An Improbable Alliance

Finding a letter in the deceased Publio’s belongings, the heroes head to the coastal lands of the Picts in their search to rescue Flavia. They attempt to find the evil Lieutenant (from among three) who has information that may lead them to the princess. These three, a Kushite sorcerer, a Kothian warrior & a Turanian prince. are protected by an entire Pict village, & a Giant Spider as well.

The final melee, with Kerim Sha, keeper of the secret info, hiding in the stone–walled hut before making his escap, as Pict Warriors Block everyone but the evaisve Belit from getting to him.

Learning from their previous experience, they develop a strategy that should allow them to quickly find & interrogate the three. Two lieutenants quickly fall, & the Picts fall back around the last, while the spider webs Amra. Timing things perfectly (if I do say so myself – given position in the River, hero positions & energy, turn, &c.) the lieutenant leaves the defended hut & tries to flee. the board. Amra almost gets him, leaving one life energy. It comes down to N’Gora to throw his spear in a last ditch effort to prevent defeat, &, whiff, with no energy for rerolls.

N’Gora’s last ditch thrown spear whiff, for the record.

Result: Overlord win, 1VP for 2VP total.

Hero XP: 7 each gained, so 13 each total (still not what is needed to level up, they decide not to use it on gems & wait to try to level up)

Party XP 52 total.

Overlord XP: 10

Giant spider survives to possibly fight another day.

6 – The Mad Shaman

Caffeine-fueled heroes figure things out quick this time. Ignore the special gem pool, that is just an Overlord special gem & should be in with the regular ones.

This one went pretty quick, as the heroes had their act together & worked out a detailed strategy of exactly what they wanted to do before the game even started, & then did it. Poor old Zohar & his Mummy & Skeleton cohorts did not have much luck.

Caffeine-fueled strategy. L to R Jason C. as Zelata, Dan R. as Amra the Lion, Bob P. as Savage Belit & Les H. as N’Gora. A happy bunch after having lost two scenarios, they need a W.

Amra & N’Gora severely overloaded some attacks to take care of jinxingMummies, with bandages & bones flying in all directions. Zelata & Belit supported as needed & cleared the path to Zohar, who was quickly cut down as instead of evading, he foolishly was running around trying to take out the pillars supporting the Swamp Village.

Result: Hero win, VP 1

Hero individual XP gain of 24, Party 76 total, all characters buy a level leaving them with 4 XP each.

Overlord XP gain of 5, 15 total, & buys second gem & then forgets to add it to his energy pool.

Party XP 76 total

10 – An Explosive Enigma

The last scenario having gone quickly, we decide to sneak in another one the same day, the heroes thus succeeding completely in their cunning plan to get ahead of the Overlord’s painting.

We did not count on the unfamiliarity with the orb & receptacle rules, which made setup take almost as long as the game as we puzzled our way through them & the FAQ (& tried to figure out what the Special Equipment deck was, having completely forgotten about that sidebar in the Campaign book where it should have been assembled, & then taking forever to rediscover it, not having played The Treasure Chest scenario due to the whims of victories & defeat. Highly recommended, check & read the FAQ every single time you set up a scenario, unless you are one of those evil Overlords who annotate their books. Also some useful threads on BGG & The as the FAQ itself leaves a bit to be desired in some areas…

In any case, having figured out the Orbs et al, our hearty heroes devise another plan, of carrying all three orbs to each receptacle, opening any chests that will provide hints along the way, & dropping each orb one at a time on a receptacle until they fall into place.

This plan sounds good, until after their first turn, all four heroes are standing outside the flap of the hut where the Hyberborean Sorcerer is in the middle of his ritual with the mysterious chest. Three guesses as to what he does. After the dust has cleared from the Kiss of Death spell & ensuing massive explosion, Belit & N’gora quite injured, while Amra & Zelata are relatively unscathed. The Gray Man Ape then rushes over & knocks Belit out of action & badly wounds N’Gora, before being taken down by the survivors of the group after a massive melee. With time running out, the heroes pick up Belit’s gear, rearrange their loads, & split up, gambling that they can drop the two other orbs on the correct receptacles without opening any further chests with the orb fragment hints in them (they had opened only one at this point). Amazingly, they manage to do so, acquiring four pieces of special equipment in total when the mysterious chest opens.

Result: Hero win, 1VP for 2VP total. Killed Gray Man Ape, exploded gloriously Hyberborean Sorcerer

Hero XP: 14 gained each, 18 each total, Party XP 72 total.

Overlord XP: 10 gained, 10 total. 2 special gems.

Equipment held at end of this scenario:

Amra the Lion (Level 1): Axe, Ashuri Cuirass, Shadow Mantle

Savage Belit (Level 1): Leather Armour, Pirate Sabre, Zingaran Bow

N’Gora (Level 1): Buckler, Spear, Chainmail, Shield of Mitra, Kordova Boots

Zelata (Level 1): Dagger, Blackstaff

13 – The Horror from the Abyss

So, our brave band find themselves on a ship heading for an ancient island civilisation, what could happen? Old One sea monsters? Pirates? Pirates an Old One sea monster & a sorceror? Yeah, that sounds right.

Thaug, his tentacles, as well as Khemsa & his pirates prepare to give the heroes a Bad Day ™

As outlined in the linked scenario description, the goal is to kill Thaug, whose armour is based on the number of tentacles on the board (which can be reinforced within certain limits). Meanwhile, two swarms of pirates led by the sorcerous Khemsa are boarding their ship trying to kill them. Easy-peasy.

First wave of pirates leap the tentacle filled waters, while N’Gora wades in to clean up some calamari

The Heroes actually had a good plan – Belit & Velata head to the crow’s nests, which can see every area on the map, while Amra/Conan & N’Gora get down to some wet work with their swimming & fighting skillz.

Unfortunately, both waves of pirates leaped between the ships without issue.

Bird’s eye view of the Amra-Thaug faceoff while an unfortunate Pirate joins N’Gora, briefly, in the water.

This worked to an extent – managing to get Thaug’s armour down to 5 if I recall correctly, Conan managed to do 5 points of damage, leaving the Old One with 7 life points. At this critical moment (at least in the view of the Overlord) N’Gora decided to continue to bash tentacles, rather than ram his spear into Thaug also. This allowed a) Thaug to live, & b) the cunning Overlord (full disclosure, me) to reinforce with more tentacles the next turn, thus bumping the nasty beast’s armour back up again.

The crucial moment when N’Gora thinks “Amra can handle this, no problem!” & swims away to get some calamari for supper.
A not-yet-painted Khemsa directs affairs from the Crow’s Nest of his own ship, Withering heroes here & there.

The surviving pirates meanwhile, swarmed Zelata & Belit in the rigging, which did not go very well for our brave band.

A partially painted Zelata &Pirates face off in the crow’s nest. Zelata decides to take the better part of valour, & run, but is cut down the next turn.

With Zelata cut down & Belit swimming with the fishes, it ends as an Overlord victory as time runs out. New victory point totals 3 to 2 for the bad guys. Being out of action, Belit & Zelata will not be able to use the experience they gained to level up in time for the next scenario, unlike Conan/Amra & N’Gora.

End game – Zelata is chopped down on the quarterdeck by pirate sabers, while Belit bravely jumps into the water to kill another tentacle in the hopes that Amra/Conan can conjure up a miracle with his last attack on Thaug. Alas, the tentacle next door had the final word with its Reach attack, & Conan only managed a single point of damage against Thaug’s partially-restored armour & pumped-up special gem Guarding. .

We also pondered the question of equipment loss. Rules as written, (both core rules & campaign) both Zelata & Belit’s equipment would have been lost, as none of it was recovered after being knocked out action. Before this scenario we discussed & were going to use a house rule whereby if the Heroes win, any out of action Hero equipment is recovered, but if they lose, it is only recovered if reacquired by another Hero per the rules before the end of the game. We were also going to house rule that a Hero going out of action in water or swamp means the equipment is not recoverable, period. Luckily for the Heroes, a re-read of the FAQ uncovered that out of action Heroes never lose their equipment in this campaign.

Hero XP: Scenario Lost, 5XP, one minion tile destroyed, 1XP, plus 6XP total. 24XP each grand total. Party XP 96XP grand total. Conan/Amra & N’Gora both level up to Level 2, leaving them with 4XP each. Belit & Zelata have 24XP each, & can’t spend 6 of it as they went out of combat, so decide to keep it for levelling up next time around.

Overlord XP: 2 heroes out of combat, 5XP each = 10 XP. Won scenario 10 XP. Thaug survives. plus 20XP total, 30XP grand total, buys two more special gems at 15XP each for 4 special gems total, 0XP grand total.

14 – The Mystical Dagger

Aaah, there is nothing like a good swamp full of demons & sorcerors & possessed ancient civilisation warriors to get the blood flowing. Even better when you have to wade around in said swamp looking for the magical dagger that is concealed within it.

Shh, don’t tell anyone, but the Yueshti Dagger is in #8. Far enough away to not be immediately searchable, & conveniently in the middle of the main collection of the Baddies.

Our fierce mercenary company decide to enter as a group in the top right (pig figures mark possible setup areas for Heroes & entry areas for Overlord reinforcements), bash through that first stilt hut, & get down to some serious swamp diving along the top of the map.

This was a good plan, up until, well, contact with one big Yueshti warrior in that hut with Blocking, a big stone hammer, & lots of Overlord energy (four special gems now) to back him up with Guard. End result is all the Heroes finish their turn in that hut, & a Yueshti Congressional Medal of Honour is prepared for engraving with that guy’s name on it, likely posthumous.

The Heroes woes were then compounded by the Overlord’s use of said special gems, to immediately activate the Swamp Demon, & rush him down to said hut. Heroes are now Horrified (max of two dice allowed for any action requiring energy use) & Jinxed (no rerolls). Said demon, meanwhile, takes a large hunk out of Conan/Amra.

It’s in number 8, you fools! Mwah ha ha.

Eyeing the Swamp Demon & a possible TPK evolving on Turn 2, our brave souls decide to hoof it. Belit uses Evasion to run out of the hut & across the bridge to the next one, with the path cleared by a nearly dead Conan throwing his axe at an archer as he does likewise. N’Gora, IIRC, finally kills our stalwart Yueshti Medal of Honour winner (posthumous, as the omens foretold) & runs to follow Belit. Zelata runs & jumps into the swamp to start the great dagger hunt.

The Swamp Demon follows up after some archer potshots & eventually stomps Conan dead, while Zelata & N’Gora manage to miss #8 between them, with the Overlord almost biting his tongue in half and giggling insanely at the same time when N’Gora decides not to jump into the swamp there but further up the bridge.

As an aside, although it does not seem to be mentioned on the map rules or in the FAQ, we houseruled that you could swim between the two water areas where this bridge goes into the water & back out (& also wade across the bridge there using normal movement). We also discussed houseruling swimming between water areas underneath connecting bridge areas, but decided against it as it would have required too many possible edge cases (figures on the bridge & underneath it, how does that work for hindering, area attacks, line of sight, &c. &c.)

Belit comes into the swamp & finally finds the Yueshti Dagger, as Natokh makes an appearance along with some reinforcements in the same body-filled hut. N’Gora rushes over to deal with the sorceror, throwing his spear ineffectively, while Zelata decides magic is the better part of valour & gets her shields up.

The crucial mistake this time was made by the Overlord, not the Heroes. While having enough energy to activate the Swamp Demon again, & rush him over to pummel Belit who had just found the dagger, I decided instead to bring on reinforcements & get a blocking force in the same entry area hut the Heroes were now targetting for running off with the Yueshti knife. This allowed Belit to use her Evasion to run past the three Yueshti in the hut (one of whom had Blocking) & make to the final area, but crucially not off the board, at the end of Turn 6.

The Overlord managed to knock Belit hors de combat, but on the final Hero turn N’Gora managed to kill the Yueshti with blocking, Zelata then managed to rush through the hut, grab the dagger, & exit for the win.

Conan/Amra lost their axe, but at some point Zelata poked around in a chest &grabbed a Tribal Mace, so we will likely see him so-equipped next time.

Hero win, but no VP granted per the scenario rules. Heroes choose (based on title alone from the three scenarios they have the option to choose from, as I am evil) to play the Cursed Treasures of Khawarizm next time.

Hero XP & VP

10XP gained for victory. Belit & Amra out of combat.

Belit: 34XP (only 24 available this turn as out of combat), levels up to Level 2, 14 XP remaining

Amra: 14XP (only 4 available this turn as out of combat)

N’Gora: 14XP

Zelata: 34XP (only 24 available this turn), levels up to Level 2, 14XP remaining

Total Party XP: 56XP (only 36XP available this turn after levelling up)

VP: 2

Overlord XP & VP

2 x Heroes out of combat for 5XP each, plus 5XP for losing = 15XP. Buys another special gem (now 5 special gems total) leaving 0XP remaining.

Swamp Demon & Natokh both survive.

VP: 3

The Cursed Treasures of Khawarizm

Up next time on the Legend of the Devil in Iron… stay tuned.

Published by clavain

Gaming in one way or another off and on (boardgames, miniatures, video games, card games, TTRPGs) for more than 45 years. Still can't paint miniatures to save my life. Currently controlled by a Border Collie.

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