|Proud and (over)confident Level 2 Mingo, ready to take on the City of the Ancients!|
I decided to go with one of the early, "easier" missions: "Seal the Void Gate." After a cursory read I saw that in this mission you search through the mines for two Clue Tokens. The first Clue Token represents your discovery of the 'lost posse' who had a magic book (let's call it the Necronomicon) they were going to use to seal a Void Gate in the mines. Then you are supposed to continue exploring until you reach a second Clue Token, at which point you find the Void Gate and have to close it. Easy peasy.
However, just a few steps in I found a random Void Gate in the mines. Checking the scenario it says to ignore all Void Gates to other dimensions, but where's the fun in that? I desperately wanted to see what the City of the Ancients tiles were like, so I decided to alter the mission goals just a tiny bit. I mean, what if the lost posse had gone through the Void Gate and died there, and the Necronomicon is just on the other side? Seems foolish not to check it out, just in case...
|Magic portals in underground haunted mines? I'm sure a quick look won't hurt...|
I pulled the world card for the Targa Plateau and found it to be a very harsh place, and I took quite a few wounds from rolling 1's as I stomped through the snow.
|Blah blah blah...wait, double the chances of free Grit?! Count me in!|
|I'll just check out these levers and buttons over here...|
The Snow Terror was not only an extra-tough SOB, but the Terror effect it has makes it blast your Sanity every round. That constant sanity needling is almost worse than its obscene damage value or defense capability.
|Even one Snow Terror is a pretty major opponent for a low-level solo character.|
|Hack hack hack.|
|YOU MUST CONSTRUCT ADDITIONAL PYLONS|
|The loot take from that battle seemed pretty lame at the time, but that sole piece of Dark Stone became a game-changer later on.|
|Hooray! I found the book. This is going to be easy...|
Crap. You have to battle a combat at one threat level higher than you. (to represent what killed the previous team, I guess.) There are four separate Threat decks in the game (Low, Med, High, and Epic) that correlate to the number of players. Well, One Threat Level Higher (Med) resulted in a bunch of Void Spiders jumping down and going to town on poor Mingo.
|But wait...Revive Tokens!|
|Basically they're 1-ups.|
|Actual armor. Sweet.|
Armor is pretty rare. Its a last-ditch save against an attack, but with armor you have to roll for each point of damage you take, rather than against the whole attack (like you do with your Defense attribute).
Here's a quick example of how Combat (and Armor) works:
- The Snow Terror has Combat 3, Melee 5+, and Damage 4.
- When The Snow Terror attacks Mingo, it rolls 3 dice (Combat 3). For every 5 or higher it rolls (Melee 5+), Mingo takes a Hit .
- Mingo's Defense is 4+.
- Mingo then can roll his Defense save for each hit he takes. So if Mingo took two Hits, he rolls two dice. For every 4 or higher he rolls (Defense 4+), he negates one of the hits from the Snow Terror. For every Hit he doesn't negate he takes 4 wounds (Damage 4).
- So if Mingo rolled bad and didn't negate either of those Hits, then he would take 8 Damage. Since he's only got 13 Health, that would be bad.
- But Armor gives you one last-ditch save after all that!
- So if Mingo took 8 damage but has his Deflection Armor (Armor 4+), then he can roll 8 dice. For every 4 or higher rolled he negates one point of damage.
After finding that sweet Armor, I decided to do a little scavenging around the map, and sure enough came upon another pimpin' Targa Artifact, the Plasma Arc Rifle!
But all that scavenging meant I was rolling (and failing) more and more "Hold Back the Darkness" rolls. You have to make a check at the beginning of every turn to keep the "Evilness marker" from moving down the "Darkness Tracker." If it reaches the end, you fail. Also as it moves it generates 'Growing Dread' and 'Darkness' cards that are always bad for you. Eventually I got a Darkness card that made rolling the "Hold Back the Darkness" even more difficult, and I realized I should head back to the Mines and use the Necronomicon to seal that Void Gate I came through and finish the mission (I decided since it was the only gate around, that's the one I'll seal).
|See that +2 Move? That also became important later.|
|Get a move on, little doggie!|
Welp, with the help of my new found speed-boost I made it back through the Void Gate and into the Mines in no time (and just considered that my "Clue #2" token -- it was a work night, after all), so at that point I looked up the entry for what you do when you reach the Void Gate that you want to seal with the Necronomicon.
The instructions say you have to deal with all the Growing Threat cards first, and then draw an Epic Threat card and defeat all the enemies.
Epic? Even for a solo character?
Yup. There's no modifier on the paragraph. It says Epic Threat. Looking through the other missions, they just about all say the that you have to defeat an Epic Threat before you can win any of the missions. No ifs, and's, or buts about it. 100% of the time you've got to face an Epic Threat. Everything else in the game is scaled to how many players, except the final step of every mission. Seems like a design oversight, in my opinion. But who am I to argue? I reached down and drew an Epic Threat card.
|Seriously regretting that solo jaunt into the Mines now.|
|Look at the amount of Health they have! LOOK AT IT!|
Remember that Darkstone Shard that Mingo found in that first encounter? Well this is where he fed it into that Deflection Armor Artifact he found and charged up his personal shields.
In a hope of clearing out the Void Spiders quickly, Mingo let loose with his new fancy-schmancy Plasma Arc. It works pretty well at hitting hordes of enemies, except it doesn't allow for critical hits, which makes it nearly useless for high-defense baddies.
|Brrzzzzzap! Die Spiders! Be tickled, everyone else!|
|Even swampy Kheogum's Ointment only kept Mingo going one extra round.|
|Last Revive token. Next death and Mingo's finished!|
|Mary comes to the rescue.|
|A Level 2 Outlaw with Shotgun and Dynamite is just what the Mingo ordered.|
|Hey there pardner, I'll be your Huckleberry.|
|Clementine Sureshot distracting the Goliath...with a shotgun.|
Now all Mingo had to do was make his Escape roll...
|Ding! A 6! Suck it monsters, Mingo's outta here!|
|Mary throws one last dynamite at the Goliath as we sprint out of the mines.|
|"Uhhhh...so, I'll pay you back some other time?"|
|The heroic rescue of a damsel in distress.|