|The Infection Spreads
Guest Writer Mark Pollard Looks at New Overlord Options from The Trollfens
|Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition | Published 03 September 2013|
In June, Fantasy Flight Games announced The Trollfens, an expansion for Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition that introduces new heroes, monsters, classes, quests, and more. Over the course of its five new quests, which you can play as side quests to a larger campaign or as their own mini-campaign, heroes can investigate secret rooms and rumors while the overlord spreads infection and brings a powerful new lieutenant into play: the massive troll, Bol’Goreth.
In an earlier preview of the expansion, guest writer Mark Pollard introduced us to two new heroes ready to brave the dangers of the Valdari Marsh. We saw how the Stalker and Prophet classes bring engaging new options to the Scout and Healer archetypes. Today, Mark takes us deeper into The Trollfens and its dangers, offering a look at the expansion’s new Overlord class, the Infector, and his two new monsters, Plague Worms and Harpies.
In the Blood
What makes the overlord’s new Infector class so nasty is its callous inevitability. Other overlord classes concentrate on surprises, one-time damage, and monster control, but an Infector plays the long game; once a hero has been defiled by the insidious contagions of the Infector class, there’s little he can do but wait for the consequences.
The Infector class uses infection tokens to mark its victims, and as these tokens accumulate, they represent the advancement of infection in a hero’s body.
The only limit to the number of infection tokens a hero may have is the supply of infection tokens, and you can be certain there are enough tokens for infection to become truly brutal. Also, since Infection isn’t a condition, per se (there’s no card for it), there is very little recourse once a hero has been so marked. A hero might cure one token with a new relic called the Mending Talisman, but if the overlord is playing his cards right, one infection token is merely a drop in the proverbial bucket of festering disease.
Now let’s take a closer look at a few Overlord cards from the Infector class. Contaminated is a straightforward example of the general concept. Heroes accumulate infection tokens in their play areas, which the overlord can then discard at key moments to apply pain. Tainted Blow increases the lethality of a monster’s attack, while Dark Host is a twisted version of the classic favorite, Dark Charm. Overlords will also notice that a few Infector cards remain in play throughout the duration of a quest. These persistent effects offer significant bang for your buck and create more ways to place infection tokens on the table.
With Airborne, for example, any monster can become a carrier of infection. With it, an Infector can go after the group’s defensive “tank,” direct his monster’s feeble attacks against the hero’s armor, and still lay the groundwork for future villainy. Meanwhile, my standout favorite is Adaptive Contagion, simply for the sheer number of possibilities it opens. The card’s secondary effect is potent in the right situations. In any encounter that requires frequent attribute tests as part of its storyline (like The Masquerade Ball or Death on the Wing), one per test can really tip the scales. But the card’s true power derives from its primary effect; if you want to overwhelm your heroes with infection tokens, you can use Adaptive Contagion to turn any Cave Spider or Zombie into an infection-spreading terror. And if you have the Conversion Kit or expansions, you can create even more pestilent monster menaces.
From Above and Below
Speaking of monsters, The Trollfens introduces two disgusting new abominations. Plague Worms are despicable, disease-carrying creatures thought to have died out generations ago. Carriers of just about every affliction imaginable, these scavenging beasts feed off of the pestilence and filth they create, and their reappearance in the Valdari Marsh is a sign of ill tidings for the realm.
Don’t let their speed rating of “2” fool you. Plague Worms are startlingly mobile. They can burrow beneath the heroes’ cleverly guarded choke points and assault their most vulnerable teammates. Their Burrow ability allows them to surface right in the middle of a group of heroes, and when you pair it with their Pestilence ability, they become adept at spreading disease.
Even as the Plague Worms assault the realm from below, another threat arrives from above. Harpies are bat-like monsters that have been twisted through sorcery into a mockery of the female form. Vicious and unyielding, these semi-intelligent carnivores always hunt in groups, swarming over their prey with deadly precision.
Indeed, the harpies’ Swarm and Flock abilities synergize quite well together, ensuring that they’re able to attack in groups to maximize their effectiveness. And with the Fly ability and an impressive speed of “5,” there’s little stopping a swarm of Harpies on the horizon.
The Plague Worms, Harpies, and Infection of the Valdari Marsh pose a threat to the realm that cannot be ignored, and Terrinoth’s heroes must act. Will they successfully thwart the Overlord’s newest schemes, or will they succumb to infection? You’ll soon find out when you venture into The Trollfens!
Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition is a story-driven board game for 2-5 players that takes a party of adventurers deep into the dungeons of Terrinoth for adventure, treasure, and glory. Players will embark on a campaign of linked quests as they develop characters based on four fantasy archetypes.