Keep of the Fire Lord . A first attempt to take some existing pieces and create an overall castle for use in Heroica. I tried to fit this into the overall storyline of the Heroica world. . Background
Deep in the Northern Mountains built into the mountain itself lie the ancient ruins of Thurin Keep. Far North of Barresh, this remnant of the Old Age stands against the forces of weather and time. While history of this age is mostly lost, the keep was once central to giants of that realm. Home to Tianan the Giant King, the keep served as the center of relations between the four clans: the Durgan, the Baelan, the Faarlge and the Anderlak. Masters of the four elements, each clan was represented on the Council of Four. Tianan, a Durgan, represented the element of Fire. The other clans were each represented by a member of the Royal Order, the governing body of the giants. The other members included the lords from the Baelan who were masters of the Waters; the masters of Air, the Faarlge; and the masters of Earth, the Anderlak. Near the end of the Old Age, the scrolls tell of a great rift between the clans that swallowed the world until it was reborn as it is known today. Why Thurin Keep remains as a testament to those times and what magics preserved it are unknown. Sages speak of the collapse of the elements centered on that one point in space and time, which while creating the rift, also shielded the keep from its destruction.
While it is unclear what truly caused the downfall of the ancient giant clans, what is known is that soon after the keep was inhabited by the mysterious Fire Lord. For over a millennium the Fire Lord, Alafmazeer, has ruled the Northern Realm from this keep. Now dubbed the Keep of the Fire Lord, Alafmazeer has used the ancient powers of the keep to twist and shape the forces around him. This has allowed him to not only greatly extend his life, but also reshape the keep itself, using the keeps matter to make it suitable for those of common stature. The sagesí scrolls document the early days of the his benevolent rule before the keepís power corrupted him. Now he uses that power to control the evil dwellers of Heroica and to summon dark creatures from the Underrealm and set them forth upon the lands. What evils these are, the sages do not know, but whispered rumors that one of the demon princes of the Underrealm walks among us, is the talk in the taverns of the land.
The darkness now threatens Barresh itself. Who will come to the aid of these lands? Only the greatest of heroes can possibly hope to defeat this evil. Stand forth and prepare. Your adventure awaits.
The castle is created from a combination of pieces inspired by the Lord of the Rings sets and Monster Fighter sets (modified to fit my theme) and my own creations. The entire keep from the top looks like this:
Here is a view of the left side of the keep:
The right side looks like:
The back looks like:
The adventure begins as you climb the steps to the portcullis. Fallen rocks litter the steps. These rocks must be crossed using the regular Heroica rules for passing through them.
After rolling a shield, the Portcullis can be forced open:
Which allows entry to the tower entrance:
After defeating the Goblin guards, the giant keep doors must also be forced open:
The adventurers must fight their way through the keep, retrieving the relics and ultimately to slay the Fire Lord.
Into the tower to defeat the Vampire Lord:
and (yes, I cheated and glued the plates to the spiral staircase):
Into the gardens:
Where they must defeat the minotaur:
Into the Great Hall where they must defeat the Dragon:
After making it through the innards of the keep, the real challenge awaits when they must face the demon:
and then ascend the staircase cut into the mountainside to face the Fire Lord himself:
When the adventure is over, the keep unsnaps and can be stored in pieces:
Due to the size of the keep, we've been able to play up to 6 players. However, more can probably be used. Characters play cooperatively in the keep.
Additional characters include:
The Assassin - Since we play with monsters requiring hits equal to their strength, the assassin's melee ability is to instantly slay the monster regardless of its strength
The King (from Ilrion) - His ranged ability is to rally the other adventurers and give them a re-roll
The Princess - She has both a limited ranged ability of the Knight and a limited melee ability of the Prince
The Paladin - He has the melee ability to heal himself for 2 health when rolling a shield (UK Role Players Paladin)
The Metatheurgist - A character that comes from our other role playing adventures whose ranged ability allows him to summon players from anywhere in the keep to an adjacent space (which is really needed on a board this large)
New Monsters include:
The Fire Lord - Takes multiple hits and cannot be instantly slain by the Assassin
The Demon - Takes multiple hits, has an attack range of 3 and resists lesser attacks requiring a shield roll to hit him
Blood Spider - Able to spit poison up to two spaces away (poisoned players miss their next turn)
Phase Spider - When rolling a skull, the hero is phased back three spaces
The Dragon - Takes multiple hits, can attack three spaces away and cannot be hit by ranged attacks (loosely based upon UK Role Players Dragon)
Giant Rat - Similar to a Goblin Warrior
Rat Queen - Similar to a Goblin Guardian
The Minotaur - Takes multiple hits and has an attack range of two
The concept of attack range leveraged for the Demon, Blood Spider, Dragon and Minotaur is being able to attack more than one space away. This allows the monster to strike the heroes prior to them being able to engage the monster in melee.
So, that's it. Hopefully, this is along the lines of what folks find interesting on this site.
Many of the ideas for the pieces come from the Lego Lord of the Rings sets and also the Monster Fighter sets. However, none of the pieces are exact copies.
The ideas for creating the rocks came from this page - Rocks 101
The method of creating the 1/2 offset for the portcullis case from this page - Towers 101
Several of the monsters (e.g. the dragon) come from other sets
What I wish was different...
While I enjoyed building the overall layout, it doesn't work all that well for Heroica. Many of the places on the board are too tight for fingers and you are constantly looking over the edge of the wall to see what is going on (which could be a challenge for smaller players). However, you can play with one of the walls removed. The other challenge was getting the alignment correct for the walking paths.