This is the second installment of my Kingdom Death Campaign Journal. You can find part one here. We pick up where we left off, with the survivors having just won a harrowing battle with a White Lion…
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Johan and Jennissa, the only two remaining survivors, gather the spoils of the hunt, as well as the gear and the mutilated bodies of their comrades, and head back to Arcadia, their settlement.
Having defeated their first proper White Lion (ie, not the tutorial showdown), the settlement now contains the Catarium location, a crafting shop which allows armor and weapons to be made from White Lion resources.
Upon reaching the settlement, all of Johan and Jennissa’s non-severe wounds are healed. I gain 1 Endeavor each for the two returning suvivors, and two for each survivor killed on the hunt (thanks to our Graves principle), for a total of six to spend during this settlement phase.
A random Settlement Event is drawn, and I pull Skull Eater.
Johan is randomly chosen by drawing his name from a hat, and devours one of the skulls of the deceased. The rest of the settlement fear his ravenous hunger, and turn on him, killing him and displaying his skull as a warning to others.
I gain one additional Endeavor from Johan’s death during the Settlement Phase.
I update the settlement’s death count, as well as the timeline, extinguishing another lantern to mark the passing of a lantern year. This triggers the Endless Screams event. This opens up the Screaming Antelope as a hunt quarry.
Jennissa is nominated as the Voice of Reason, gaining +1 courage. She rolls a 4, gaining +1 insanity and +1 Understanding, which also triggers the Insight event.
She gains Tinker, and rolls a 5 for another Endeavor, bringing our total to 8. It’s time to spend those on development.
I start by having Jennissa Innovate by spending 1 Endeavor, and 1 each of Bone, Hide and Organ. I draw two cards, Paint and Symposium.
I decide to keep Symposium. While Dash certainly sounds useful, right now I feel having a higher Survival cap for my survivors is more important. Being able to cherry pick future Innovations doesn’t hurt either.
With Innovation complete, I turn my attention to my population problem (namely, the lack thereof). We need more people if this community is going to survive in this nightmare land. I generate a new male survivor from my existing population, and name him Hokk. Hokk spends an Endeavor to roll on the Augury table, and rolls an 8! Intimacy is triggered.
I pick one of my unnamed female survivors and name her Thera. There and Hokk will participate in Intimacy. Hokk rolls a 2 on the Intimacy table. Thera dies in childbirth along with her baby. Hokk doesn’t take it well, gaining +3 Insanity and the Coprolalia disorder.
At this point, I say fuck it, let’s double-down. Hokk rolls on the Augury table. He rolls a 9, once again triggering Intimacy. This time, Jennissa is selected as his mate. They roll a 6 and birth a healthy baby girl named Naori! It’s Arcadia’s first baby, triggering the Principle: New Life event.
I must choose how the settlement treats and raises children, and as tempting as the stricter approach is with their later benefits, with my rolls I cannot risk it. I choose Protect the Young.
Naori rolls a lantern 10 on the table, gaining +2 Understanding, and a random Fighting Art. She draws Strategist.
That went pretty well, and Naori is off to a great start! I then turn my attention to crafting. My group needs better gear if they’re going to survive the next hunt in better shape.
I turn a Great Cat Bone and White Fur into a White Lion Helm at the Catarium. I also construct a White Lion Coat, White Lion Gauntlets, and the Sinew I gained from Cullen’s amazing finishing blow in our first showdown is turned into a Cat Gut Bow.
This is a good moment to talk about an element of the game that I have not previously discussed much, and which ties heavily to Kingdom Death’s heafty price tag. The game comes with dozens of sprues of model pieces, only a few of which are actually required to play the game (the monsters, and the four starting survivor models). However, this is a board game for hobbyists (people that enjoy assembling/painting models) and so it provides you with dozens of additional models.
At this point, if I wanted to, I could build a survivor model with the exact gear loadout I want to use. So if I have a survivor with the White Lion Armor and a Bow, I can assemble a miniature that looks like that. If a survivor is wearing half Antelope armor and Half Pheonix armor… I can make that miniature too. It’s an incredibly powerful system, and while it’s not realistic to build a new miniature every time you get a new piece of gear, it really does offer an added level of immersion when your game piece can reflect the gear you’re actually using. Anyway…
With Endeavor left to burn, and nothing else to spend it on (it doesn’t carry over between phases), Hokk takes more turns at Augury. He rolls a 6, gaining +1 Survival.
He rolls a 3, costing us 1 Broken Lantern resource, but gaining +1 Understanding. He proceeds to lose us another Broken Lantern resource, and gains another +1 Understanding.
On this next Augury attempt, he rolls a 10. Intimacy. Hokk and Jennissa seemed to have a connection, so they participate together, rolling a 7. They birth another baby girl, named Aria, and share a deep bond with eachother, each gaining +10 Survival. Jennissa, due to her intercranial hemmorhage, cannot gain or spend Survival. Hokk’s Survival is caps out at 3 (the settlement’s limit).
I decide to call it a day, and let the last Endeavor go to waste. I can’t afford any more poor rolls. I archive my 2 remaining resources (a Lion Nutsack and some White Fur), and prepare my departing survivors for the next hunt.
Cullen, the hero of the very first hunt (who had to sit out the second hunt) is now ready to join the fray again. With a permanent bonus of +1 Strength, he’s in great shape, and so he gets all of the best gear. I give him the Bone Axe, and all of the White Lion armor. This gives him a lot of protection, and the ability to pounce (gained from the White Lion Coat).
Naori is also in good shape (I know she was just born… kids, they sure do grow up fast, eh?) so I give her some decent armor and the Cat Gut Bow.
Hokk, gets some armor, and one of the two remaining Founding Shards.
One-eyed and brain-bleeding Jennissa gets the other Founding Shard and a piece of cloth for her naughty bits. Honestly, I’m not expecting her to survive the hunt.
While the Screaming Antelope is now available for hunt, I decide to hunt the White Lion again. I did not exactly win easily last time, and I’m not eager to hunt after a whole new monster that I’m not at all familiar with. I want at least one more Lion (and their parts) under my belt, so we set off in search of our prey.
The Hunt track is set up exactly the same as before, with Event cards randomly assigned to spaces. Since we’re only hunting a level 1 Lion, we don’t need to go far to find our prey.
The hunting party moves into the first space, revealing Scratching Grounds.
Jennissa decides to investigate, rolling a 3. She takes 1 damage to her arms. Hokk also tries, rolling an 8 and nothing happens. I decide not to press my luck.
On the second space, we draw Lion in Heat.
Hokk and Jennissa have Insanity to protect themselves, but Cullena and Naori each take one Brain Damage.
On the third space we roll 44 on the Random Hunt table, Opportunists.
The idea of hunting a wounded/easier lion is enticing… but the resources are the entire reason we came on this hunt. I decide to forego the smaller prey, and focus on our original target. Our next move brings us to the Showdown.
Thanks to Naori’s Strategist fighting art, I get to place a Giant Stone Face terrain object after all normal terrain placement. Standing atop it gives +2 range and +2 accuracy to ranged weapons, and Naori just happens to have a bow…
I set up the Lion deck as instructed, 3 random Advanced moves, 7 random Basic moves, for ten total AI cards. 11 wounds needed to kill the White Lion.
Last time we ambushed the Lion, getting to go first. No such luck this time, and the Lion takes first turn. It draws Size Up.
It specifies Random Threat in Field of View. Naori is behind the Stone Face, so Cullen, Hokk and Jennissa’s name go into a hat. Jennissa is the target. The Lion rolls a 6, causing 1 Brain Damage to Jennissa, and she is knocked down.
Naori uses her action to climb up onto the Stone Face, getting into position to rain death down from on high in future rounds.
Cullen moves in to strike, landing two hits with a roll of 8 and 9. The Lion’s Back and Elbow are pulled as hit locations, and successfully wounding either of them will cause a Reflex, making the Lion run away. Cullen rolls on the Back first, and comes up with a Lantern 10. The critical wound gives -1 Accuracy, and cancels the reflex, meaning the Lion stays put and Cullen can roll on the Elbow. No critical, but he does cause a wound. The Lion reflexes, charging forward. Fortunately, nobody is standing directly in front to be grabbed and dragged.
Since the Lion has now moved near Hokk, he circles around to its blind spot, and manages to score 1 hit, but no wound.
The Lion activates and draws Claw, targeting Hokk. Hokk takes a wound to his body and a wound to his legs. At the end of the Lion’s turn, Jennissa stands up.
Angry at losing the staring competition, Jennissa moves in for an attack. Even with her -1 Accuracy from her missing eye, she lands a hit and a wound on the beast’s leg.
Hokk moves around behind the Lion again to gain the blind spot bonus. 1 hit on the heel, and wounds with a roll of 8.
Cullen charges in with his bone axe, and scores two hits… but one of the locations pulled is a trap! The Lion turns to attack, but with it’s slightly lowered accuracy, only scores one hit. Cullen takes a wound to his chest armor. The Lion’s Hit Locations get shuffled back into the main deck, including the trap.
The Lion is out of Naori’s bow range since it’s charge, and she decides to stay put on her perch, hoping the Lion will come back her way.
The monster draws Alert.
As long as nobody moves, it should be fine…
Cullen activates first, but swings 2 big misses.
Hokk stabs with his Founding Shard, landing a solid wound to the creature’s Soft Belly.
Jennissa attacks, but cannot find her target. Naori, still out of range, moves up a couple of spaces to close the gap. She can’t attack, as the Cat Gut Bow is cumbersome, and requires both her movement and action to fire.
Lion’s turn. It draws terrifying roar. Haven’t seen this before, and it’s a doozy.
Naori rolls first, suffering knockback and one brain damage. Her back is already against the Stone Face, so she stays still, but the Brain Damage causes a roll on the Brain Trauma table. She rolls a 9, and is knocked down and gains 1D10 Insanity. She rolls a lantern 10, gaining 10 Insanity. She is now certifiable.
Cullen is also knocked back, and has to roll on the Brain Trauma table. It causes him to flee further towards the nearest board edge, and collapse in quivering terror.
Hokk is already against a board edge, so the Knockback has no effect, and his Insanity protects his brain. The Lion rolls a 2 against Jennissa, but it does not exceed her 2 Courage, so she is fine. The Lion then turns to attack Hokk, wounding his head and arms.
Hokk fights back, landing a hit on the Lion’s Tail and Flank. He cannot manage to wound either location, but simply landing a hit on the beast’s tail causes it to lurch forward, grabbing Hokk in its jaws and running into the board edge. Hokk suffers 1 wound to his waist.
Jennissa lunges to Hokk’s aid, smacking the Lion’s tricep with her stone shard. She can’t penetrate it’s tough hide, though, and the angered Lion retaliates, slashing her arms and legs. The damage to her arms is heavy, and she’s knocked down from the blow.
Cullen and Naori are still knocked down, and unable to help.
The White Lion draws Bloodthirsty, followed by Size Up.
Hokk is the unlucky random survivor, and the Lion glares at him, causing 1 brain damage and knockdown. One token is placed in Bloodthirsty.
Jennissa moves, triggering Alert and becoming the Lion’s priority target. She only takes 1 hit to her body, thanks to the Lion’s lowered accuracy. She attacks the Lion herself, scoring 2 hits. She fails to wound its temple, and provoking another retaliation from the Lion. But the Lion misses with both attacks! Jennissa then succeeds in wounding the large cat’s Fleshy Gut.
Hokk can’t make anything happen, and Cullen, starting incredibly far away after running scared, can only move closer. Naori also moves back into bow range, hoping to finally fire her weapon next turn.
The Lion draws Terrifying Roar again. Jennissa is knocked back, and suffers brain damage. A roll of 1 against Hokk means the Lion’s scream has no effect, but Cullen is not so fortunate. He’s blasted back yet again, and takes another roll on the Brain Trauma table… Memory Loss! He loses 3 levels of weapon proficiency… but he doesn’t have any to lose! Such luck! Naori is knocked back as well, but her newfound insanity protects her brain from further torment.
The Lion advanced on Jennissa. 1 hit, 1 wound to her waist. Another token on Bloodthirsty.
Jennisses leaps behind the White Lion, landing a hit on its Strange Hand and Beast’s Paw, both of which have nasty consequences for failing to wound.
She manages to wound the Strange Hand, but fails on the Paw. Both of the Lion’s payback strikes land, dealing 3 damage to Jennissa’s arms and waist locations, and Severe Damage rolls on both. She rolls a lucky lantern 10 on the arms, which sends her sprawling. A bruised tailbone on her waist location prevents her from dashing (an ability she doesn’t have) and gives her one bleeding token (5 of which will kill her).
Naori, Hokk and Cullen all advance forward, after having yet again been thrown back by the earlier Terrifying Roar.
The Lion’s turn begins by spending all tokens on Bloodthirsty for a quick attack on Jennissa. She receives a wound to her head, and another Severe Damage roll for her waist. Her newly bleeding kidneys gain her two more bleeding tokens. The Lion draws Alert for its AI card, and Jennissa stands up.
With Jennissa being battered and beaten, Hokk takes a step back, intentionally triggering Alert. He becomes the new priority target, and draws the Lion closer to Naori and Cullen, and away from Jennissa. The Lion lands 2 hits on its new plaything, both on the chest, but Hokk spends 1 Survival to Dodge one of the wounds. He then tries his attack, but cannot connect.
At this point, there are only two cards left in the Lion’s AI deck. Alert is in the discard pile, and there is one facedown card waiting to be drawn on the Lion’s next turn. I’m incredibly worried that that card is Terrifying Roar, and that I won’t survive this fight if my hunters keep getting knocked back out of range (not to mention the brain damage). So I decide Jennissa will throw her Founding Stone for a guaranteed hit/crit to remove that possibility. She hurls the shard of rock, critically damaging the Lion’s ear. Now partially deaf, the Lion suffers another -1 Accuracy, and the facedown AI card is moved to the Wound pile. Alert is now the only card left in the Lion’s AI deck.
Naori advances again, into bow range. Cullen also moves up as close as he can get.
The Lion begins by discarding its Bloodthirsty tokens for a basic attack. Hokk, being the priority target, receives 2 wounds to his legs, but spends another Survival to dodge one of them. The remaining wound still causes heavy damage, though, and Hokk crumples to the ground, knocked down. The Lion draws Alert, it’s only AI card.
Naori is finally starting a survivor turn in range with her bow. I have severely underused her this entire match, and her weapon and abilities have gone to waste. But now is her chance… Alert is a Mood card, which stays in play until triggered. In play it does not count as being in the Lion’s AI deck, which means there are no cards currently in the Lion’s AI deck. The next wound will kill it.
Naori lines up her shot, draws the bowstring, and rolls the dice. She lands one hit. But it’s a trap! A clever ploy! The beast turns and runs to Naori, clawing at her for one damage to her waist!
Cullen has no choice but to move, triggering Alert. The Lion turns and moves back to him, wounding his head and body. Cullen’s armor absorbs the hits.
With Alert now in the discard pile, Jennissa attacks valiantly with her Fists and Teeth… but her missing eye turns the rolled 8 she needs into a 7, and a near miss.
The Lion discards his Bloodthirsty tokens, and attacks Cullen for two more wounds. Head and waist. His armor is now in shreds, but his body is unwounded. The cat draws Alert again, and Hokk stands up.
Cullen hefts his bone axe, hoping to end this fight, but hits only empty air.
Naori draws her bow yet again. This is her chance to do something this fight, to prove that she deserved to wield the Cat Gut Bow. She needs 7s to hit and rolls a 6… and a lantern 10! One hit on the beast’s femur. She needs an 8 to pierce the monster’s tough hide, and she rolls a 5… but combined with the 3 strength on her bow, she’s done it! The Lion is killed by an arrow through its leg, and everyone has survived the encounter!
To celebrate, the four hunters harvest the White Lion’s corpse.
Cullen receives the +1 Insanity from the Curious Hand.
The group heads back to the Settlement, victorious.
Both Cullen and Jennissa have now survived two hunts, and that triggers the Age event in which they both gain ability as a result of their experience.
Both Cullen and Jennissa can now choose a Weapon Proficiency before a hunt. If they wound a monster with the specified weapon, they will begin to gain expertise with that weapon.
Cullen rolls a 12 on the table, and gains 1 random Fighting Art. Cullen is now an Orator of Death.
Jennissa rolls a 15, also gaining a random Fighting Art. She can now Double Dash.
I collect 5 Endeavor, one for each returning survivor, and an additional 1 thanks to Jennissa’s Tinker ability.
A random settlement event is drawn… Open Maw!
Hokk decides to spend 1 Endeavor to prove his bravery, and he elects to roll 4 dice. His results are 8, 3, 5, and 4, for a total of 20! He braves the darkness for just a moment, and gains +2 Courage.
One more lantern goes dark to mark the passing of time.
I choose to start the development stage by Innovating. Thanks to Symposium, I draw 4 cards to choose from. After debating for a while, I decide to take Ammonia, which will allow me to later craft harvesting tools like the pickaxe and sickle, that I can use to gather resources while out on a hunt.
I then craft some more gear. I use the Lion’s Mane to creare a Lion Headdress, which adds 1 armor on top of any helmet item. I also make another White Lion Helmet, and a Rawhide Headband, because my survivors have very squishy heads. I also need another weapon, since the hunt cost me another Founding Stone, and I turn the skull into a Bone Blade.
Hokk and Aria drink the Love juice, triggering Intimacy. Only then do I remember that Aria is Hokk’s daughter. Oh well. I guess that’s how we do things here. They roll a 9, birthing a lovely set of twins, Maso and Masa, a boy and a girl.
At this point I call it a night. When I start my next game, I will begin by choosing/equipping departing survivors, and heading out on the hunt!