When things appear to be going too well, you're not looking close enough.
That's what happened. As I was skimming through rule book glossary, I noticed this teeny weeny detail: Secret fighting arts count towards the maximum of three fighting arts. And I've played as if they didn't. This assumption was based on the fact that Sculpture innovation describes Secret Fighting Arts as not being Fighting Arts.
This misplay has had a major impact in current settlement, as Mursonus should have been far less useful. He's existence is an abomination now, unreal, performing dream-like feats of killing monsters as well as enduring their attacks.
It's far too late to revert effects of this misplay, but to make at least some kind of amends with my conscience, Mursonus ceases to exist right now, right here. He was a secret savior all along.
I also noticed I've been playing hunt phase wrong - as a solo player I don't get to pick who's the event revealer. This has probably given me quite an edge, perhaps saved from a few deaths, even.
But at least I've also been playing brain damage wrong to my disadvantage - I didn't know the actual brain symbol there is one damage level. I've been rolling for brain trauma immediately as first point of damage has soaked in through insanity. Also I did not know that you actually retain your weapon mastery even if you switch to another weapon.
But let's get 2018 Kingdom Death started.
I want a new Sleeping Virus Flower, so I'm going after Flower Knight level 3.
Departing survivors are getting +2 Survival, +4 Insanity, +1 armor.
Team consists of: Fabenta, Anhemio, Niamur and Sacronicus, which is also the turn order for being event revealer.
First we get 69, Time Lapse. As settlement has fought the Phoenix, everyone gets a little understanding, but feel a strange change in their personality.
Looks like team consists now of:
Lyaschura, who is Traumatized.
Undulantele, who has Performance Anxiety.
Draemolo, who is Unrelenting and has Anxiety. This is troublesome, as he has no stinky gear and next to no armor either, as he was supposed to be mostly for support.
Valherdence, with Coprolalia. Her re-roll is also re-set.
Next Undulantele picks 43, fresh kill. Not surprising that the prizes go to Undulantele.
Draemolo reveals 09, but the golden light is soothing for him. Perhaps it reminded him of the place where his personality should exist right now.
Valherdence reveals Dead Warrior and decides to investigate right away, gaining the Black Guard Style which does nothing for her.
Lyaschura rolls 82, Consuming Grass. Both Lyaschura and Undulantele become stragglers and have to archive a gear.
Party arrives at the forest gate. Roll of 4 means everyone gets a bleeding token, thus starting showdown with two of those.
Herb Gathering gives fresh acanthus and some survival. Everyone is now at maximum survival. Though the bushwhacking came with a price: everyone took a point of head damage from Sudden Life flower knight hunt event.
Choking Heat gives +1 Movement token for a couple of survivors, and Whispering Leaves left Valherdence without insanity to protect from brain damage.
Fight in itself went surprisingly well. I got accuracy penalty for Flower Knight, and danced with the bird with high evasion survivors. Fight might have been on the easy side, but again it seemed like I drew the trap every other round.
In the end every survivor had their defenses devastated thanks to the Perfect Aim card or what it was. But nobody died. Let's go home from a hunt well done!
Event is Cracks in the Ground, which yields a founding stone.
Settlement finally innovates Drums.
Sense Memory gives two Vespertine Arrows and Otherworldy luck for Valherdence.
I plant a new survivor from Warbling Bloom who eats Lantern Bud right away. This means a total of eight Endeavors.
I notice I have what it takes to cook a dish for the first time ever. And what a dish! +1 permanent evasion for Paraske. I will probably cry or something if he dies to some randomness after he will be resurrected via Sleeping Virus Flower.
Valherdence and Flont (the new flower face) use a little face painting techniques and drink two Love Juices right away. Valherdence forms a deep bond with Flont. How am I to convince Flont to eat Lonely Fruit, now? I'd be a monster to do that. Flont did lose his re-roll in this baby-making process.
Valherdence also found the time to pray at the shrine. Departing survivors are getting +1 armor to all locations.
Biliouli cures some leather and makes an extra love juice, which is put to use immediately. Finally the result I have been craving: Birth of a Special Child.
Settlement develops Bone Pickaxe, Almanac and Hunter Whip
With last endeavor Paraske attempts to learn Abyssal Sadist from statue, and succeeds in doing so.
I decide to hunt level 2 Sunstalker, as the level 3 fight with Flower Knight was so promising. But, yeah. Sunstalker is no joke. I don't know how you should fight it effectively. So much of the damage ignores high defenses altogether.
Paraske, Valherdence, Lebugdé and Pelastra is the revealing order.
Paraske draws Baby and the Sword, but as Paraske has no re-roll I dare not to risk it. After all there was this sailor-mouthed Valherdence within party. Got 82 instead. Consuming grass again. Luckily there's a whip in party now. Lebugdé lost rawhide gloves, and one point of evasion because of that.
Valherdence draws Perfect Meadow and everyone feels a little sleepy-headed. First roll is 66, Forbidden Word. Understanding the word gives Paraske some Insight, and Indecision disorder for Valherdence. Next roll is 16, Night Terrors. There is indeed a savior in the party right now. She gets Purpose from age story event, as well as her savior abilities unlocked.
Next Lebugdé rolls 100. I'm worried that I have to start showdown with next to no insanity now, but I suppose I should not complain when the cyclopean knight gifted the survivors with Steel Sword and Steel Shield. At the cost of draining Lebugdé's re-roll.
Crippling Misery breaks Pelastra's foot.
Paraske rolls a Nightmare, so he gets -1 evasion and some (8) insanity.
Overwhelming Darkness gives +1 population from Paraske's path of the brave. Then we got some events that dissolves both Almanac and a Monster Grease.
Fight is a disaster.
Very early in the game Paraske dies to some unlucky rolls from Sun Dial damage shenanigans. He was supposed to be my main damage dealer.
This has me panicking, so Pelastra uses her savior criticals, giving her a lot of hunt XP in not-so-good context.
For a little while fight goes a little better, but then Valherdence dies, too, and I'm left with two most inexperienced and undergeared survivors I had. With Pelastra even carrying the Steel Shield, slowing her down massively.
But there is only a couple of cards in the deck. Some of them nicely bubble moods. Soon situation is that there is one card left in AI deck, two on sun dial and two moods in play.
AI card is one of these that rotate sun dial and deal damage twice to survivors in light. Both survivors are reeling, so I assume I have only one chance to win this - surge an attack that hits and kills when the last AI card is resolving.
So Lebugdé raises his Steel Sword and strikes. And it's a miss. Quite a sinking feeling.
But then I realize that I got Pelastra left - and she does have a strength 6 weapon with only one attack (two hits would have brought trap) and I dash & surge her.
Such relief when Sunstalker dies, slapped dead with a shield!
Home, finally home, victorious!
Event is Nickname. Lebugdé, also known as Foolish Sneak of Darkness, has thus became rather useless survivor. Savior got a nickname too, which I didn't bother to roll, because of next story event.
Which is Murder. Biliouli murders our heroic savior who dealt the killing blow to level 2 Sunstalker. Was she envious? Anyway, she received +3 hunt xp, Quixotic and Otherworldly Luck. Though it may not be a very wise choice, as seems like giving Otherworldly Luck to someone is a death sentence. Oh well.
So all that was left from the glorified hunting party is the Foolish Sneak of Darkness (-1 accuracy and speed) that has intracranial hemorrhage. Of course one of them is coming back rather soon, but still an aggravating situation.
Then Hooded Knight pays a visit and gives +1 weapon proficiency for Undulantele.
And lastly, as Paraske died during showdown, the settlement is visited by a Guest.
Departing survivors will gain +1 to all armor levels, +5 insanity and a random fighting art.
And then I'm left wondering what to do with eight endeavors.
Yearly innovation is Forbidden Dance. Shrine ritual is a success, thanks to Biliouli.
Settlement develops Dried Acanthus, Almanac, Monster Grease, Rawhide Drum, Cycloid Scale Shoes and Skirt, Sky Harpoon and Sun Lure & Hook.
A whopping 4 endeavors is spent at shared experience to make Paraske and Vadramanten ready for a Phoenix fight. Because that's what I plan to do. Level 2 Phoenix.
I was not taking notes during the hunt phase nor writing here, so details have been lost. But it was a good thing I gave two points of hunt experience for two new survivors - that particular hunt event ended showing up that would have erased them from existence otherwise.
Extra annoyance came from recurring nightmare, that made hunting party having to face Overwhelming Darkness twice. This results in having two survivors with Post-Traumatic Stress, and quite a few negative attribute tokens that Vadramenten spent whole fight removing with First Aid Kit.
I wasn't very happy when first card drawn was Gouge & Feast. This caused arm and body severe damage rolls for Vadramanten, who thankfully survived despite getting -3 on the rolls because of Top of the Food Chain. Would have been quite depressing to lose a survivor to first drawn card in a showdown.
Paraske managed to cause a critical wound the bird's liver, which helped immensely and made fight go relatively smooth.
Getting Phoenix down to last card remaining wasn't all that painful, but that's where table-flip inducing rage started to build up. Last card was Excrete, so it was a very safe card indeed. There was also Death Blow location coming next. So I attempted to wait until Phoenix was preparing for a poop and then have Paraske surge a lethal shot. He was hitting on 2+ and wounding on 2+, with re-rolls on missed attacks.
Hitting was no problem, but wounding was obviously the "1", that I even tried to re-roll with Paraske's once-in-a-lifetime. Bad choice, because re-roll was also "1".
And three next rounds it stayed the same. Paraske even received destroyed genitals injury during this terrible streak of nothing but 1's on wounds.
I suppose the story here is: "never interrupt a Phoenix on it's poop."
But Phoenix went down without other casualties than some permanent injuries.
Two Post-Traumatic stresses caused me to have only three endeavors.
Settlement event is Elder Council which further reduced available endeavors.
After innovating Momento Mori, I'm left with just one endeavor. Innovation choices were absolutely terrible, but this will at least give me mask maker if I'll actually win Butcher level 3.
Butcher fight is coming next, and Paraske had to receive Post Traumatic Stress.
This gives an evil plan, though.
Some Lonely Fruit for the flower-head ought to give me one endeavor from losing survivors during settlement phase. And if there were survivors who perish against the tree, I'd gain even more endeavors. Maybe I might even get to cure Paraske with those.
Except now when I'm searching for some details over skipping next hunt, I notice that I've been playing even that wrong. I won't be able to get Paraske to fight Lonely Tree, but he will be available if I go fight the tree. It just feels so very much more difficult without a bow master.
Settlement develops Brain Mint, Hollowpoint Arrow, 2x Dried Acanthus, Phoenix Helm, Arc Bow and Monster Grease.
And then I try to fight the Lonely Tree level 3.
Vernark, Anhednia, Undulantele and Vadramenten try to crack the shell of the tree.
First round is amazing. Survivors deal seven points of damage to the tree - along with a less useful critical effect (iron bark loses super dense.)
Clawhead Arrow hits and damages, and then Arc Bow does the same.
Axe master deals two points of damage, and twilight sword deals three. Of course this required quite a bit of surging.
Tree draws Dreamer's Fruit, which in itself does not cause direct attacks.
Second round is far more meager, with only two points of damage to the tree, one of which came from Sky Harpoon's special ability. Two survivors were dragged to farthest Tall Grass, and Vernark takes Broken Hip.
Next the tree draws Absorbing Roots. Again not an attack.
Undulantele and Vadramenten take their time to trek back to the tree. During this time tree grows quite few moods that Vadramenten tries to play off with Whisker Harp. I start to feel rather secure - being extra careful seems to be the "thing" with Lonely Tree. Slowly move and stalk the tree. Do not let it notice you're there. (Of course it knows you're there...)
Many turns pass when Lonely Tree has only five life points remaining. And I had slowly grinded with the aid of Cat Eye Circlet the trap card to be the only card left in the hit location deck.
I wasn't worried at all about any regular attack tree was making. Diversion Tactics, Evasion +4 and one block and one hit ignored from Phoenix Plackart and survival for dodge and Dried Acanthus made me feel invulnerable with Undulantele. Four dice for attacks from the tree hitting on 7+ seemed like a joke. But then I had to pop the trap.
Suddenly it would be around ten attacks from Basic Action or whatever AI cards would do. Many of the hit locations makes attacker suffer Basic Action. Generally I managed to get one location that didn't trigger attack, and that wound was done with Arc Bow.
Soon the tree was at one life point remaining. (I figured it would still require two wounds to actually kill it, since you can wound the monster "normally" after all life points have been drained.)
Next AI cards were Blood Lure and Handed Roots, with Lure being completely out of question, and Handed Roots denying possibility to hug the tree and gain benefits of diversion tactics.
So the axe master Vadramenten takes a swing, with +1 speed token, and every attack hits.
Still, Vadramenten was only scoring wounds on 8+. Which would also be critical hits. Anyway, Vadramenten scored a critical wound and gained a point of strength. Next wound roll is abysmal, which I re-roll with Axe Proficiency. It's a second 9.
I did not expect the tree to fall this "easily", though the fight did not feel easy. Well, I spent around four hours at it.
Undulantele, who started the fight with insanity 18 had only nine points left after the showdown - most of the brain damage coming from Phoenix Plackart. It took that long both in-game and outside of it.
One Fresh Acanthus was found during play and Scavenger kit gives ??? and that's about it. There were no fruits on the ground during aftermath.
But the guaranteed rewards, oh my. Highly coveted Drifting Dream Fruit and Porous Flesh Fruit. And Super-Hair ability for the whole group.
Paraske and Lyaschura have now recovered from their Post Traumatic Stress disorder. Paraske eats Porous Flesh fruit.
Settlement develops another Hollowpoint Arrow, makes some leather to construct Phoenix Greaves, and then special innovate Scrap Smelting.
I plan on cheesing Butcher3 with -2 movement and hope that he doesn't draw this +3 movement card any time soon.
So. Might as well. Die.
Random terrain is Egg Sacs, which isn't very helpful.
Flower Knight Badge gives Diversion Tactics. I randomize the tactic card by placing all of them in a row, then rolling a d3 to see which one is what I get. And I believe I have had this tactic at least in 50% of showdowns when I've brought the badge. Or perhaps even more.
... and it was a full wipe. Kind of. Terrible loss, at least.
After so much carefulness and preparations.
For many turns I humiliated Butcher, who couldn't do much, running around with his movement of 3. Now and then he landed an attack, but generally they didn't have me scared. Then Butcher sped up with Lantern Frenzy. He picked Paraske as his target, which could have made me giggle a little. Paraske had movement 8. Butcher had only 5, even with all the tokens from Lantern Frenzy.
I was overconfident, I admit. Right next Butcher began to spam his teleportation attack. There weren't that many AI cards left in his deck, so it turned up quite often. Paraske, last one of the starting four and stat-wise and amazing survivor. He gave us the language we speak. His arrows would strike true even if he were blindfolded. And then this Butcher teleport from over half the board away and does the thing that gave him his name.
Then the fight started to fall to pieces.
Caramanca, the red savior, was the only one who managed to run off with Pictographs. Everyone else - my A-team - dead.
Settlement event is Phantom. Departing survivors will lose one point of armor randomly, and +2 to storytelling endeavors.
Hands of Heat becomes a tradition... right before Watcher fight on year 25. Not that I would have needed resources.
Nine endeavors, though. Better make them count, except with no resources it's going to be difficult.
And I realized I actually cannot nominate Biliouli for Intimacy, thanks to this regal plate covering her waist.
But I need new survivors. First Biliouli scavenges a broken lantern, and then starts doing Augury. It takes three attempts, but in the meantime this triggers Insight, which gave an extra endeavor. Oh well.
Undulantele and Lyaschura make a baby, and they don't even have to waste any re-rolls.
Biliouli prays armor ritual.
The new baby, Merdency, visits Momento Mori and gains instant Bold and Insight. This does mainly nothing, extra card when innovating and +1 endeavor, again.
So there are five endeavors left.
It takes three attempts for Merdency to learn Abyssal Sadist.
Lebugdé manages to cure his Anxiety, but intracranial hemorrhage is there to stay.
If I would have fared a little better against Butcher (meaning: I would have won at least Paraske and Vadramente still alive), I would have tried to hunt Lion God.
Now? I don't know. Maybe I'll try it anyway if I try some weird Vespertine Arrow + Death Mask shenanigans with +9 to luck.
Trailblazer makes the first hunt event a Lion God event. It's Geodes, which yields a little insanity for survivors and three (3) Iron. Only three venture to Worm Tunnels, though. And as sort of an achievement, Twinkare even descends to Crystal Lake and could have gone to Lantern City. He chose not to.
Next Lyaschura rolls 72, Something to pass the time. She doesn't have as good games as Livia had, so no-one is on the mood for one.
Undulantele receives Stark Raving from Lion God event White Pillar, but he had the almanac to protect him.
Merdency picks up a fresh acanthus from Herb Gathering, and then Jowls bites his nose off during Sky Fishing.
Then Twinkare gets 58, Scent on the Wind. And rolls 10. Skip next space. I take it that I still have to roll for Overwhelming Darkness, but ambush the monster.
Twinkare takes a -1 evasion token.
Undulantele is scared sane, but I could not take it. Had to re-roll, and gained a crab spider instead. (Undulantele has Twilight Sword. Being sane would have had quite serious repercussions - he would not have been able to attack at all, if he was sane!)
Same happened with Lyaschura, but I let it go. She has no sentient weapons.
Merdency gets insanity and courage.
And here we are. At the dawn of fight with Lion God. Ambush is going to help me immensely - the set-up in book looks suicidal. And I can get the bow-user on top of giant face and what else, oh my.
Honestly I did not expect Twinkare to survive, though I gave him Dried Acanthus. But against the odds - he did it. This also triggered Age for him. I rolled +3 permanent strength for him. Getting Post-Traumatic Stress and losing two levels of proficiency didn't feel that terrible any longer.
Then I proceed to rewards, and excited I read The Knowledge Worm story event. Roll 4.
If you want to call it intuition, then it was right. Twinkare did not survive. There went my Death Mask. But maybe I shouldn't feel bad because of it, as the showdown went exceedingly well. Monster giveth and monster taketh, I guess... when we take look at how Butcher fight went.
Fight itself was interesting. Ambush made it sure I had cover where survivors needed it. I tried to fish for some nice critical effects from hit locations before committing Twinkare. And I got the hematosis effect and -1 toughness token for Lion God.
Lyaschura gets frenzy from some brain trauma, which makes me hide her for most of the game. Merdency had his hands full at manipulating both AI and hit location deck, so most damage came from Undulantele and Twinkare.
Lion God completely wrecked two or three terrain pieces, one of which revealed the sinkhole.
Lyaschura had the time to study Lion Statues and eventually went to take the dive, when Undulantele was standing next to sinkhole in the blind spot of Lion God. I was quite afraid there as I didn't know how much there were knockback effects in the AI deck. But Lyaschura found Old Blue Box and the Urn thanks to some good rolls. Lion God had been slowly reduced to one AI card remaining, which was a heft effect. It was easy to navigate around as long as Undulantele had survival.
Eventually Lion God killed itself by hefting too many times.
Settlement event is Haunted. Roll of 4 is annoying, losing insanity and an endeavor hurts.
Them there is some lantern branding. Hands of Heat continues to be a tradition, but next time settlement sees it on year 34. Loss of resources was troublesome, even if survivors received probably my all time high resources.
Settlement innovates Bed, which is kind of hilarious. Just before they encounter the ultimate predator, everyone goes to bed. It was just a bad dream all along.
I realized that I got zero re-rolls available, which makes Intimacy quite risky. But it's the Watcher fight. I need a bigger settlement.
Anhednia and Identula paint the founder's eye, and drink Love Juice. It's a healthy pair of twins. But since I had a matchmaker in returning survivors, I spent endeavor for Anhednia and Identula to have another moment of intimacy. This time only one extra population, and not even with +1 bonus strength from bed. But hey, +3 population.
Then I got only one endeavor left.
Biliouli opens Old Blue Box and receives Ancient Lion Claws and Lantern Mehndi.
She also tries to pray at the shrine, but this time departing survivors are only getting a little extra insanity.
It's a terrible thing to notice that all of your shining stars have dimmed as you wake up the Watcher. I have any hope at all in Undulantele and Caramanca, and I suppose a little in Biliouli. What does it matter if I lose my only King's Stepper on this fight, because there won't be another King's Man encounter if I lose?
So, next comes The Watcher. I just don't know when.
2x Monster Hide
2x Lion Beast Katar, 2x Bandages
Ancient Lantern, Dormant Twilight Cloak
Catgut Bow, Clawhead Arrow, 2x Hollowpoint Arrow
2x Skull Helm
Bone Darts, Bone Dagger, Bone Blade, Bone Club
Scrap Dagger, Scrap Sword
2x Full Rawhide Set, Rawhide Boots
Cycloid Scale Set
Sky Harpoon + Lure & Hook
Leather Armor Set + Leather Boots, 2x Shield
Phoenix Plackart, Helm, Faulds + Feather Shield
2x Monster Grease, 1x Lucky Charm and Fecal Salve.
Monster Tooth Necklace
Flower Knight Badge
Regal Helm, Plackart, Boots and Skirt (on Biliouli)
Steel Shield, Steel Sword
Twilight Sword (on Undulantele)
Necromancer's Eye, Cat's Eye Circlet
Lantern Mehndi, Ancient Lion Claw
3x Dried Acanthus
Satchel, Scavenger Kit, First Aid Kit
Vespertine Cello, Whisker Harp, Rawhide Drum
1x Vespertine Arrow
1x founding stone
Organ Grinder, Skinnery, Bone Smith, Leather Worker, Weapon Crafter, Barber Surgeon, Skyreef Sanctuary, Plumery
Sculpture: Abyssal Sadist
Language, Paint, Symposium, Lantern Oven, Inner Lantern, Face Painting, Ammonia, Sculpture, Pottery, Cooking, Shrine, Hovel, Family, Sacrifice, Clan of Death, Pictographs, Bloodletting, Storytelling, Ultimate Weapon, Drums, Forbidden Dance, Momento Mori, Scrap Smelting, Bed, The Knowledge Worm
Mastery: Fist & Tooth, Katar, Bow
Life: Survival of the Fittest
Society: Accept Darkness
Astarno Meyhope (F) hunt xp 6, strength +4, evasion +1, Insanity 5
Courage 1, Understanding 1
Club proficiency 2
Hemophobia, Vestiphobia, Stark Raving
Has no re-roll
Biliouli (F) hunt xp 9, strength +7, evasion +1, Insanity 5
Courage 2, Understanding 2
Dagger proficiency 4
Sneak Attack, Otherwordly Luck, King's Step
Megalophobia, Secretive, Quixotic
King's Curse (head, body, waist, legs)
Fated vs King's Man
Has no re-roll
Twinja Meyhope (F) hunt xp 1, strength +2, evasion +1, insanity 3
Courage 1, Understanding 1
Club proficiency 1
Emotionless, Shallow Lungs
Anhednia Newlinga (F) hunt xp 1, strength +2, evasion +1, insanity 1
Club proficiency 1
Undulantele Forgamn (M) hunt xp 13, movement -1, accuracy +1, strength +5, evasion +2, insanity 0
Courage 5 (stalwart), Understanding 5 (explore)
Twilight Sword proficiency 6
Ruthless, Tough, Trailblazer
Has no re-roll
Identula (M) Newlinga, hunt xp 0, accuracy +1, strength +3, evasion +2
Sword proficiency 1
Lyaschura Forgamn (F) xp 7, accuracy +1, strength +4, evasion +2, insanity 0
Sword proficiency 3
Defender, Swordman's Promise, Synchronized Strike
Traumatized, Recovering from Post-Traumatic Stress
Has no re-roll
Merdency Forgamn (M), xp 1, accuracy +1, strength +3, evasion +2, insanity 0
Courage 7 (matchmaker), understanding 4 (tinker)
Has no nose (jowls bit it off)
Has no re-roll
Lebugdé, Foolish Sneak of Darkness, (M) hunt xp 1, strength +3, evasion +2, speed -1, insanity 6
Courage 1, Understanding 3
Axe proficiency 2
Vernark (F) xp 1, movement -1, strength +3, evasion +2, insanity 0
Caramanca (M), xp 6, accuracy +1, strength +4, evasion +2, insanity 1
Courage 2, Understanding 1
Sneak Attack, Caratosis
Gaping Chest Wound
Unnamed Survivor (M) accuracy +1, strength +3, evasion +2
Unnamed Survivor (M) accuracy +1, strength +3, evasion +2
Unnamed Survivor (F) accuracy +1, strength +3, evasion +2
Hooded Knight on Lantern Year 26