Forbidden Psalm: Tea for the Mad Wizard!

And here's another solo-able game that's been off the radar... until now. (Told you 2022 was shaping up to be that kind of year...)

I backed the latest Kickstarter for the expansion and got the core rules into the bargain. That was late last year, I think. But I needed to wait until I got reunited with my dungeon terrain set. I made up my 5 member war band. All female. Their names: Mad the Indiscriminate (barbarian), Xiqah the Loudest (ranger), Nishet the Depraved (magic user), Uaqoh the Willing (rogue) and Pookie the Moist (warrior). All the names are from the rulebook. Honest!

Now to play the first scenario "Tea for the Mad Wizard." My warband has to collect some black fungi to make tea for the mad wizard Viprix, my employer, of which it's been said "No one really knows if Vriprix the Mad Wizard is a WIzard or a mad man that found an abandoned castle full of gold. But as long as he pays does it really matter?"

Which sets the tone for the entire game in general.

My warband goes in, eyes all the corpses on the floor, doesn't see any enemies in sight and thinks "Easy peasy."

But... Disemboweled Ghouls spawn when the corpses are searched... and the race is on! I need to grab as much black fungi and treasure as I can while dodging or killing the Ghouls.

Which isn't easy when some of your stats are negative!

You normally have to roll a target number of 12 on a d20... which isn't too bad as it gives you a 60% chance of success but wait! It's a d20 which means... yup. Swinginess! Because not only do you have to cope with a d20... most of your stats are also negative or zero! So whatever number you roll has to take your stat line into account. If it's positive all well and good. But if it's negative...

Failure usually has some consequences. They can be as mild as taking 1 DAM when failing a treasure search to the more extreme consequences for magic users such as "The caster begins to glow an eerie green colour, when attacked opponents get a +3 to hit the caster" (a very mild calamity out of a list of 20) to "He appears, devours the caster and any other model in 3 inches. Anyone devoured dies". I think you can see my spell slinger is not long for this world, having failed 3 times to cast a spell already. Failures accumulate across games! Since the chances of success are 6 in 10... that shows how abysmal my rolls were.

One thing that's good is the combat goes both ways, so attacking in melee isn't without risks. It's slightly mitigated by the fact the defender has a -3 penalty. 

My archer was the busiest member of my war band. But her ammo is limited. Even misses take up one ammo spent!

Then I discovered my best searchers... were also the ones who had the smallest slots for equipment! Which meant they could probably succeed in the treasure search... but they couldn't carry anything. Oy vey. I think I need to re-jig my stat lines now I've actually played an actual game.

While playing solo, the monsters usually come at you one at a time, giving you chances to gang up on them and that's how it worked out for the most part. Helped in part by some lucky damage rolls that dealt maximum damage. The enemy minions were Disemboweled Ghouls with 8HP and 2 ARM. It's not that easy to take them down without some very lucky Damage rolls.

So this game had me dodging around, getting clear LOS to shoot and cast spells and hopefully take down the ghouls while searching for treasure and black fungi. 

It wasn't helped by the fact that the Ghouls usually (randomly) spawned near my Rogue who had the best search and carrying capacity, ensuring she was engaged in combat most of the time instead of searching!

In the end I managed to NOT get any of my war band members killed. No mean feat. But I also only got 3 treasures and 3 black fungi. An average return.

Post scenario, I got my rewards and used some XP to re-roll one of my war band member's flaws. "Putrid Smell : All models within 3 inches suffer -1 to presence tests" and exchanged for "Poor morale: Whenever they take damage they make a morale roll." Sigh.

I guess I'll have to live with that because I really need to make use of the XP from the upcoming scenarios to start increasing my war band stats.

TL;DR: if you like heroes with flaws, a totally irreverent take on the entire fantasy genre and the ability to see your warband members die off with equanimity, then Forbidden Psalm could be just the game for you.