The Tomb of Alrik Steelheart

A NIGHTWATCH Adventure

Had the privilege of running a large game of Nightwatch on Saturday afternoon. Five, first-time players gathered to search the Wildlands for clues to location of the long, lost Tomb of Alrik Steelheart. All teachers from the History department of a local International Baccalaureate Charter school, it was more a good excuse to get together, eat pizza, and try something nerdy and different.

To make things as easy as possible, Nightwatch served as the engine for a straightforward, narrative adventure; the party had to travel through goblin territory and gather the six clues that would yield the location of the tomb.

I statted out five pre-gen characters – three Blades, a Mancer, and a Tracker with a War Hound companion – and set up the table with six searchable locations. Each Hunter had the usual weapon and Guild skills, plus a unique ability to flavor their character. Each site offered one clue and some loot, but would trigger a roaming creature. Goblin patrols would start arriving at the end of turn 2. Sharpen those weapons, ready those spells, it’s danger time.

Our intrepid adventurers

“Proceed with Caution”

Seemed to be the party motto. Understandable, since the game, the pastime, the whole ‘toy soldiers on a table full of tiny terrain‘ thing was all new. Wary of everything that moved, the party advanced toward the ruined bridge with its statue guardian.

And promptly spawned a Dire Bat!

The two fighters waded in and swiftly dispatched the beast, grabbing the first clue along with some useful potions. One objective down, five to go.

That wasn’t so bad. Let’s see what’s over here...”

The party decided to shift to their right, heading through the ruins toward the shattered tower, the serpent gate, and the abandoned campsite. Easy- peasy, right? Except for now the goblin patrols start arriving.

The adventurers spread out to deal with the new threat, but bolstered by their easy win over the Dire Bat, figured they could multi-task and search the ruined tower at the same time. The Tracker started loosing arrows, the Mancer clambered atop a section of ancient stonework as the Cleric and Barbarian moved to meet the incoming goblin wave. The Rogue, being all sneaky devious, headed for the tower.

A few well-placed arrows and judicious use of Superior Mage Bolt spells took care of the gobbos, but the Rogue triggered a giant Cave Spider and the fight was on.

The Barbarian moved to assist and once again, our heroes prevailed. Another clue, more loot, (tokens, this time) and the second objective is theirs. Wiping spider guts off their blades, the Barbarian and Rogue move toward the Serpent Gate while the Cleric trudges toward the Campsite. Back in the center, the Mage and the Tracker keep an eye on the next wave of goblins that mercifully spawned on the far side of the table.

Both the Serpent Gate and the Campsite trigger new creatures, four unnamed Uglies and a Carrion Worm. Vicious brawls break out, so much so that the Tracker sends her faithful canine companion to help take these monstrosities down. The doggo – a big-chested, armored war hound whose name was supposed to be Krieg but somehow ended up being called Fluffy – proved to be worth his weight in dog treats and pooper-scooper baggies. He tore into these threats like a stiletto through silk.

Pretty soon, two more objectives have been claimed. It’s time to move to the other side of the board.

Warming to the Task

Quoting Samwise Gamgee, “I think I’m getting the hang of this“, the party moves left of the bridge toward the Mystical Fountain and the Dark Well. Just in time because the greenskin heavies start showing up.

Both the Tracker and the Mage developed an affection for the high ground and promptly took up station on the ruined bridge. Meanwhile, blood is spilled on the ancient stones of the overgrown roadway as a series of nasty fights break out against the larger Ork and troll hound reinforcements. Our heroes start needing those healing potions on their belts. In fact, Fluffy himself needed a Revive after being on the losing side of a tussle with one of the Troll Hounds.

Orks keep coming and soon enough, a massive Warchief lumbers in. It takes a combined effort to bring him down, the Mage casting Aetherial Cords to entangle him while the Blades surround him and keep pummeling until his armor breaks.

The Warchief falls, signaling the end of the greenskin patrols, but the final two locations remain. The end is in sight but the party can’t celebrate yet.

The Mystical Fountain brings out three creatures including a massive Toad Demon who puts some serious hurt on the Barbarian. The party rushes to help and the toads are turned into a lovely cuisses de grenouilles appetizer. The bloody Barbarian gets patched up in time to search the final location, the nearby Dark Well.

Poking around the creepy-looking cistern disturbs a huge serpent that slithers out from behind some nearby tumbled masonry. But it doesn’t stand a chance against the full might of the now experienced team. Down it goes, the sixth and final location is searched, the last clue is found.

Sun setting over the scene of carnage and courage, our heroes have uncovered a mystery that was buried for centuries: the location of Alrik Steelheart’s tomb.

The real question now is will they be back to face the unknown terrors that lurk in the dark beneath the earth?

***

Aftermath

Victory!

The game took five hours, multiple cans of seltzer, an entire bag of grapes, two cans of wasabi peas, and a bag of honey wheat pretzel twists. By the end, the banter was flowing, the dice were rolling, baddies were going down, and heroes were being heroic. Good things, in my book.

And it looks like I need to finish the large batch of undead on my painting table because they’re already asking about Round Two. There’s a crypt that needs exploring and more monsters in need of pummeling, so that’s another Win.

Thanks for stopping by. Have an excellent day.

Remember, if you want some fast, simple tabletop adventure, Nightwatch is available at Amazon or WargameVault. (Along with its cyberpunk cousin, Exploit Zero)

7 thoughts on “The Tomb of Alrik Steelheart

  1. Well done, sounds an ideal intro… I may well do a similar one to engage a group of RPGers I game with! I have the rules from just before Covid times.

  2. Thank you. It certainly scales up or down, according to the number of players. I considered eliminating enemies from the portals altogether and have them spawn exclusively from the searchable sites. More like an RPG adventure. But in end, I wanted to keep everyone occupied, so waves of incoming goblins kept them all on their toes, with little to no downtime.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.