The Black Barrow (Sc. 1)
OR: Flow, the Maelstrom
After creating our characters, we set out for the first scenario, The Black Barrow! We are apparently chasing some half-hearted promise of riches beyond our wildest dreams.
Before we got to the colorfully named barrow, we ran into a group of Inox (a cross between orcs and Groot?) getting bullied by some city guards. We helped them out (Road Card, 85), and Flow ended up with a very, very helpful Necklace of Teeth. (Heal 1 after every kill — she’s a death machine, so this happens a lot.)
The setup for the Black Barrow dungeon has a boxy first room, followed by a corridor, and wrapped up with a bottlenecked rectangle full of coins and an innocuous treasure chest. Can we survive this tutorial-ish scenario?? Will we get all of the coins and the chest?? Will GREM be able to sacrifice himself for the glory of the Blood God?? The answer is: yes to two-thirds of those questions.
The scenario layouts specify how many monsters to add depending on how many players are in the game. This balances the challenge of the scenario across 2, 3, and 4 player dungeon runs (there’s also an optional difficulty setting for further tweaking— unless otherwise stated we will always be playing on Normal difficulty).
There are quite a bit fewer monsters in a two-player game. We appreciated the extra space on the board, given that our characters are primarily ranged, technical attackers. Instead of seven bandits in the first room, we only had three (two regular bandits and an elite/champion bandit).
We roughed up the bandits in the first room pretty bad. Alana went in with Flow raining hellfire down while GREM kited (avoided taking hits by staying just out of enemy range) and hit the guards with status effects when he could. On my last turn, I had GREM pop open the door to the corridor tile and lay… a proximity mine!
Anyone who has played GoldenEye will know the joy (or horror) of finding a proxy mine on a doorway. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
After one guard triggered it and blew up, we only had one guard and an elite remaining. I had GREM circle around the remaining normal guard (most likely named Norman) and use his hookshot (er, Hookgun…) to grapple the elite monster and drag him closer to GREM (almost straight into a spiky trap…except that he died from the grapple first :( ).
Flow then walked on the wind (seriously) to speed over and open the second door. GREM rushed in with a flamethrower (most likely laughing maniacally) and set the skeletons hanging out in there on fire. The flaming skeletons then proceeded to pummel GREM in the face, ultimately allowing him to fulfill his personal oath to the Blood God… (only 11 more to go…)
With GREM dead, that left Flow to finish off the very weak skeletons, to KO the two archers, and to snag any loot that she could.
Flow’s spellslinging proved too powerful even for her. She wiped out the remaining archers before she could snag the last three coins. For Alana, leaving loot behind is a cardinal sin in most games. We held a moment of silence for the lost gold.
The treasure chest unlocked a random side quest: The Toxic Moor. Ooo, spooky.
All told, we executed the scenario with surprising efficiency. Our table layout worked pretty well too. I was worried given the ludicrous size of this endeavor. (Good thing we chose our dining room table based on its ability to adequately hold an 8 player game of Twilight Imperium.)
We schlepped back to Gloomhaven (instead of proceeding to the bandits’ Lair) and got another bum city card (19 — attend a wedding and buy a gift, which we couldn’t afford).
We considered our options and…instead of heading straight to Scenario 2 (The Black Barrow’s Lair), we decided to do something a little more challenging. Side quest! Off to save the Great Deku Tree!
Rules We Struggled With:
- GREM’s Harmless Contraption should have died when he did. This had a minimal effect on the outcome given the swirling maelstrom that was Flow.
- At one point, a monster blocked a doorway to melee attack a character on the other side of the door. A second monster approached from behind and queued up behind the first monster. The second monster should have stayed put instead of queueing since there was no viable path to the monster’s focus (IE the player). Again, minimal effect.
- It took us a while to figure out if GREM could place the proximity mine on the open doorway. It was unoccupied but not empty, so the answer was yes.
- The hookgun is super frustrating! Every step of its pull must move enemies CLOSER to the character using it. That’s very limiting. It would be much easier to use it to throw a monster into a trap if it could move them laterally.