Having so recently killed a Screaming Antelope for the first time, the group was feeling pretty good about our combat readiness. We were also looking forward to crafting more gear now that we had some more resources.
Instead, we met an unexpected adversary.
Armored strangers entered the camp before we could even craft more gear, and marked 5 of our 10 survivors for execution. We decided to rise up and fight rather than let our population be halved.
So begins Showdown: Kingsman.
Dave couldn't make the game, so Stef, Seth and I took our red savior along and gave her the zanbato to ensure some high strength auto-hits. Survivor Hondo had his lion katars, Kiki used Link's bow and Daphne used her bone dagger.
It became evident quickly that this was going to be difficult. The Kingsman uses his own fighting style, and could easily counter any one of us. Only by overwhelming him with attacks or attempting to learn his rhthyms can you hurt him, and attempting to match his steps can result in injury or death for you. Survivor Daphne managed to figure out his fighting style well enough to keep him distracted long enough for the others to get a swipe in. Even with Daphne figuring his style fairly early on, his attacks were devastating, destroying armor and requiring us to burn survival points to avoid too many rolls on the dreaded severe injury table. Daphne kept close to ensure she could keep him distracted, but ended up getting her head exploded near the end of the battle. Hondo suffered a leg injury and can no longer use fighting arts. Kiki and red savior Zelda escaped unscathed. The dying Kingsman drops no resources.
So now we are down a survivor and haven't even done the lantern year 6 hunt.
Spoiler: for landing the killing blow on the Kingsman, Hondo is now cursed to slowly become a Kingsman. It might. Not happen for a while (at least 4 more hunts, likely many more) but it's inevitable. Even in victory this world punishes.
Lantern year 5 started with emboldened survivors ready to take on new quarry. The "bold" didn't last long.
Right off the bat, the settlement event resulted in two of us getting our strength decreased by one. Ouch. Nick-names... who said names can't hurt you?
We had been living in fear of the Screaming Antelope ever since seeing the artwork depicting its stomach maw devouring survivors. This game is brutal, but that was especially horrifying. Nevertheless, we had recently geared up, had some decent survivors and thought it time to try something beyond the lion. Hondo was concerned about his 0 insanity going into the battle, but went anyway.
On the hunt phase, we were immediately subjected to a stampede, which struck Kiki right in the head, splattering her brains all over us. Everyone suffered brain damage as a result. This was really starting poorly. We even started asking if there was a way to back out... there wasn't. We were on the hunt now.
....except, that didn't really happen...
A little further investigation revealed that event damage is non-lethal. It can cause woulds, but can't make you roll on the dreaded tables. Kiki's head miraculously reassembled itself. We all got some insanity back, Hondo and Daphne recovered from the disorders they had so recently acquired and we were on our way. It's funny how our first reaction to this was not relief but surprise. The game didn't kill us with extreme prejudice?! We lived?! Even so, we were all down 2 damage in each slot, which put us at a perilous disadvantage.
The group had actually modeled our various survivors, so not only were we hunting new quarry but we weren't using starting survivor miniatures for the first time.
Stef modeled Kiki with her huge Zanbato and Seth modeled Hondo with his lion katars, both of which their survivors are using. I chose a somewhat different route, since I'd only ever used a bone dagger. I modeled a survivor with the counter-weighted ax (a very cool looking bit) and holding a lantern out, as if on the hunt phase. Now that I've got some skill with dagger I'll probably model another survivor with daggers, since the daggers you can get from the blacksmith are pretty great.
Dave even went so far as to magnetize Link's limbs/head so that he could reflect gear as the game went on. He's a fellow "bakcer" (in-joke: game creator Adam Poots is a famously bad speller, so his kickstarter backers are colloquially known as "bakcers") so he's got all the bits at home to make his own minis.
Side note: as a fellow "bakcer" Dave and I both received the Spidicules expansion. There is a huge packing issue with that kit, with many people receiving a duplicate leg sprue instead of the two distinct sprues they should have received. Dave and I each had the problem, but it turns out that he got two of sprue #1 and I got two of sprue #2. We swapped a sprue and now each have a full Spidicules!
The battle with the antelope was much less eventful as we thought it might be. There wasn't even much screaming involved. I ended up getting bashed against the side of the board, so the antelope stayed over by me as the others harvested acanthus plants to prevent the antelope from regenerating. We must have pulled the easiest AI deck possible because everything just fell into place. The claw head arrow lowering the beast's evasion by 1 didn't hurt us either. I burned almost all my survival avoiding rolling on any severe injury tables, and everyone got a good hit in for weapon proficiency progression before bringing it down. We gathered up our newly acquired resources and headed back to the settlement.
In the settlement phase, we drew "haunted." Since our last session had resulted in Al and Peggy playing out "Story Event: The First Hookup" and Peggy dying, we decided to nominate Al as the survivor to see ghosts. We decided to keep him around, and so lost all our endeavor for the year. Nuts. No innovation, no augury, no salvage.
Now comes the hard part of figuring out what to craft out of this stuff! After the Butcher popped the only resource we had were broken lanterns, so it's nice to be able to make some stuff again.
Somehow we got on the topic of San Francisco today at work (and the "treat" that is Rice-a-roni) and I remembered this:
Skip to 4:45 for the "Old San Francisco" ride.
I rode this thing when I was five years old, and loved it. I was easy to impress as a pre-K I suppose.
We had a 45 rpm record of that "San Francisco, San Francisco out on San Francisco Bay..." song for years and years.