Saturday afternoon session play testing new combat rules for Nightwatch – Blood and Bone saw four Guild Hunters track the witch, Ulva Bone Hag, to the village of Malencra. Silent streets, shuttered houses, no sign of villagers, livestock, or pets, the place gave off a sense of malevolence like a bonfire sheds heat. It felt more than abandoned; it was violated. Defiled.
The newly-erected profane totem in the village center was what senior Nightwatch members would call a ‘clue.’
“Well that’s got to go, for sure,” the Gustav the Blade remarked.
NW BnB adds narrative RPG elements to the fast-play tactical portion, and links a character’s core attributes to their tabletop capabilities. As a result, things like Move Rate and Equipment Slots become variable which leans into certain Fantasy tropes. The not too bright but burly fighter helping the smart but squishy mage, for example. The mix-n-match range is still there, but the goal is to make character classes more distinct and encourage complimentary, not competitive or mirrored, skills in a given party.
Our heroes advance into the deserted streets. The Tracker, the Blade, and the Alchemist spread out to counter near by spawning portals, while the Mancer beelines to the totem, intent of revoking its curse and dismantling it.
The Village People and Bog Maggots
Our heroes in position, the villagers appear. Seems their earlier reticence has been abandoned for a sudden taste for flesh. Obviously, Ulva’s wrinkly fingerprints are all over this development. But like so many of life’s inconveniences, it’s nothing a hand grenade and a few swings of a bastard sword can’t fix.
Joined by the Alchemist, the Mancer continues to reverse the totem’s curse while the Blade and the Tracker dispatch the first and second wave of dark spawn.
Walk in the Light
Together, the Alchemist and the Mancer are remarkably fortunate in dispelling the curse. They topple the witch’s totem in record time. With a deep groan and gust of foul air, the edifice falls. A shriek is heard from one corner of the village, followed by gibbering commands; Ulva herself has come for vengeance.
An ugly brawl ensues as Ulva and a pack of slavering ghouls charge our heroes, intent on feasting on their livers and consuming their souls. (Chianti and fava beans, anyone?)
The Dark Spawn enemies are much more dangerous in Blood and Bone, each tier enhanced by evil traits that add not only flavor, but increasing lethality to their presence.
In the final round, the ghouls pounce and claw. The witch flings dark magic. But the bastard sword flashes, spells, grenades, and arrows fly. Eventually, the ghouls fall. Ulva herself dies, hissing out a final, futile curse, cornered but defiant to the end.
It is over. Malencra is silent. Malencra is empty. Malencra is cleansed.
A quick game to run several modifications through their paces: variable movement, new defense/armor rules, different spells and spell-casting restrictions. The session answered some questions and raised new ones. Common, at this stage. Still, nothing was on fire at the end or so horribly broke as to be useless – so that counts as a play test win, in my book.
We’ve got a couple regulars out this week, so we’ll tweak the mechanics according to Saturday’s lessons, and try again tonight. Slow and Steady. It’s taking shape.
More soon. Thanks for stopping by. Have an excellent day.
Oh and if you’re interested in some fast-play, mini-agnostic, solo/cooperative, tabletop monster hunting, you can pick up a copy of the Nightwatch core rules here.
7 thoughts on “The Cleansing of Malencra”
Looking forward to this expansion.
Thank you. TBH, it’s going to be a stand-alone game; an iteration of the core mechanics and Nightwatch setting, but a variant for people who want more narrative and depth.
Release is slated for late this year. That’s the goal, anyway.
I’ll post more details as the project develops.
Stand alone. Interesting.
Love the concept (rather that the usual dungeon crawl).
Who makes the totem mini and the stone walls?
Totem was a 3D print from an Etsy seller. Apologies, but I can’t recall the name.
I’ve had the short stone walls for years. Hard plastic. GW, maybe? Or perhaps Warlord Games? They’ve endured many a battle.
Wow, I’m excited for this. Nice battle report. I’m glad that Nightwatch is getting more content,
It’s still being fine-tuned but I’m excited too. I think it’ll fill a niche for folks that want a fast-play, tactical fantasy RPG.