Posted on January 27, 2017
Labyrinth of Ruin, Part I recap
We’ve finally made our way through the first half of our second Descent campaign, Labyrinth of Ruin. The story in Descent games isn’t particularly important, other than flavour; but Labyrinth of Ruin has so far been a little more bland than the main game’s silly campaign, The Shadow Rune. The little blurbs that kick off scenarios in The Shadow Rune were a little more cartoonish, with the blustering Baron Greigory and the villainous Baron Zachareth setting the scene. The narrative part of the game isn’t Descent’s strong suit – although Shadow of Nerekhall is praised for it’s narrative, so maybe I’m totally wrong.
Labyrinth of Ruin starts with the adventurers (more on those in a follow-up post) heading of to find fabled Sudanya, a lost civilization on the edge of the wilderness of Terrinoth. Apparently the Sudanyans had such magical power that they were able to control the cycle of day and night. But of course they meddled in things they hould have left alone and… that was that. And no one knows where all their shit is… so… Descent!
The first suggestion that they maybe shouldn’t just find Sudanya and show up with wheelbarrows to cart away easily gained loot is all the dead dwarves. An expedition of dwarves on the same path as the adventurers was massacred shortly before their arrival in the general Sudanya-is-probably-here vicinity.
Finding this dead dwarf heap has already killed their adventure-boner, but rolling up to the Pylia Caravan, their source of shelter and trade in the area, they find this is not as safe as it could be, with a goblin raiding party trying to drag off the people there. Spotting a richly dressed, unconscious lady being dragged away by a goblin shaman, they rescued her. She was so grateful she gave them cash, a Sudanyan relic – the Sun Stone – and two leads to follow up: rumours of a nearby mystic with healing powers and the shady survivor of the massacre of dwarves.
Naturally, they went to look for the shady dwarf.
Not before heading off to follow up on a few other rumours. First, they caught wind of a possible truce between the Ogres and Trolls, a terrifying prospect that might mean a united army of big lads marauding into the vicinity. They disrupted what passes for a diplomatic summit, but are likely to hear more from the Ogre/Troll alliance soon.
Second, they responded to a growing number of attacks by townsfolk with shards of the Everdark implanted in their skin. They found a mine where Minotaurs were leading miners to… I don’t know, the whole thing seems vague. They were mining crystals and sticking them in people and making them bad, I guess. Anyway, the party put an end to that plot, for a while.
Anyway, they eventually got down to finding the dwarf. They did, albeit in great peril, captured and guarded by Volucrix Reavers, my favourite of the new monsters introduced in this campaign. They really are dicks. Rescuing the dwarf, Raythen, they gained a new adventuring buddy, a new mechanic to this campaign: he acts as a drone, running around and making searching treasure easier. As the campaign progresses Raythen can be upgraded with extra abilities if the players are successful.
Speaking of which… Raythen leads them on to the next few quests, mostly helping him steal stuff that’s guarded by more than he could deal with himself. They went to loot a tomb, only to find recurring guest star villain Merick Farrow smashing all the nice stuff before they could make off with it. Raythen did, however, set them on the path to finding the lost civilization of Sudanya. They discovered a place where directions to a Sudanyan ruin had been inscribed on Scrying stones, but found a young woman already there, getting in ahead of them.
Making to what they hoped was a Sudanyan treasure vault, they found the words “The prisoner will lead the way” inscribed above every door arch they passed through. Eventually, they found the prisoner, a feeble old woman – blind and chained in the darkness. Carrying her through the dungeon, protecting her from all sorts of gribblies trying to get her, they delivered her to a complex locked door, where she promptly… revealed herself as the Campaign Bad Lady. She’d also been the rich woman saved from the goblin raiders, the young woman seeking the scrying stone and various other women they’d met in camp or along the way; Ariad.
After her big reveal, the dungeon crumbled around them and when they narrowly escaped they found the sun dimmed in the sky, Ariad’s effect on the world now evident.