Undercity Adventures: Chapter 1 – Body of Evidence

I had a nice delivery earlier this week.

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I’ve been looking forward to getting my mitts on this bad boy for a while now, ever since I saw the teaser and how-to-play videos a few months ago. A co-operative dungeon crawler set in the Iron Kingdoms, with steamjacks and gunmages and trollkin and all the other cool shit from Warmachine and Hordes? Hell yes.

I managed to coerce convince Emma that she really wanted to play through the campaign, and we made a start on it today!

So, quick background. If you’re familiar with Descent, or any other kind of dungeon crawler, you know what to expect. Undercity is an RPG-lite experience, where each player takes control of a character (in this case a trollkin warrior, a human alchemist, a human gunmage, or a gobber mechanic and his pet steamjack) and completes quests in the catacombs of Corvis, one of the Iron Kingdom’s major cities. If you’ve played Warmahordes before, you’ll be familiar with the mechanics; 2D6 + modifers to beat target score. The rules are similar to the tabletop wargame version, but simplified slightly, especially in terms of movement and combat.

As it’s a co-op game, there’s no DM or Overlord equivalent controlling the enemies, but instead a deck of Villain cards that determine which enemies activate. How those enemies activate is worked out by looking at their tactics, checking their target priority, and so on. It’s all very thorough. It was a little tricky to get our heads round at first, but it quickly made sense.

So, we set up the map for the first mission, Body of Evidence, and then fought for room to put down tokens, cards, reference sheets, models… definitely a game that requires some time and significant space to set up!

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In this mission, we had to get to the body of a dead City Watch agent and recover the evidence he had on him relating to an alchemic smuggling ring. Unfortunately a criminal gang were lying in wait to stop us…

Emma took Candice the gunmage, and Pog and Doorstop, the gobber ‘jack marshal and his steamjack. That left me with Gardek Stonebrow the trollkin warrior, and Milo Boggs the alchemist. And off we went!

We started off by storming straight ahead; the first Event caused fog that would make ranged attacks less accurate. Fine by me, all those crossbow thugs lining up against us was pretty intimidating. Some of the sword thugs rushed towards us, but Doorstop and Gardek made short work of them. Candice and Milo just twiddled their thumbs.

Next round, we got Clumsy Thugs as an Event, which meant that the thugs would do less damage with their attacks. Good stuff! Candice fluffed her shot, Milo melted a thug with an acid bomb, Doorstop continued to wreck house while Pog ran off to go and investigate the Side Quest card, and Gardek rushed closer towards the body.

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As you can see in the photo, some sword thugs had ganged up on Doorstop, and were whittling him down. He could take it though, at least until Pog got back.

On the third round, our event was one that would’ve given the thugs boosted attack rolls. Emma used Pog’s Feat card Scout to disregard that card and draw another one; Ominous Silence, no effect! Canice and Milo continued their tradition of not getting much done, Doorstop smashed some more thugs, and the Side Quest card turned out to be a Fear Gas Grenade! Emma made a truly spectacular STR check for the weedy Pog and we had some new Loot! Meanwhile Gardek checked the body and recovered the evidence, which meant that the boss showed up. It was a 50/50 chance of being either an Ogrun bruiser or a Rhulic mercenary, and we got the short angry man, along with some more goons!

On our final round, Canice aimed and used a Perfect Aim Feat card to knock one health off the Rhulic gang boss, and Milo tried (and failed) to take out a crowd of thugs with a frag grenade. The mission came to an end though when Doorstop left the thugs he was fighting (taking some damage from a free strike) and after being buffed up by Feat cards, rolled so well on his attack against the Rhulic boss that he did SUPER DAMAGE and finished him off!

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With that, the mission was won! The other thugs ran off, and all that was left was to divide up the XP. Each character ended up with 4 XP, which isn’t great; I suppose we could’ve farmed XP by killing more thugs… perhaps next time! After checking our character’s Ability decks, nothing really stands out; upgrades don’t start getting really good until the 8+ XP mark. The nice thing is that we can save XP between missions, but it does mean that we’ll be going into Mission 2 without any new tricks…

All in all, a great first game! There’s a lot to keep track of, what with enemy spawning, Feat cards (which is a great mechanic by the way), and Second Wind abilities (which we definitely forgot). Definitely looking forward to next Sunday where we’ll be following up on the evidence we retrieved…

Gareth

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