Only after having played the this next scenario (the 4th Act I scenario) did I as the game master notice my mistake, perhaps an easy mistake to make but sloppy nonetheless. The campaign has 1 Prologue, 5 Act I scenarios, 2 Interlude scenarios and 5 Act II scenarios that end with a Finale.
Looking at the scenario reference sheet, and reading the campaign book I missed that you are only supposed to play:
3x Act I scenarios
3x Act II scenarios
I guess this is to increase the replay value beyond having the victories of Act I determine which scenarios are played in Act II. With 4 scenarios played, it looks like we are going to make it an "epic length" and actually play through all the scenarios of Act I and Act II. The guys seem to be happy with this solution, and we get to try out all the scenarios (well almost all, the Interlude which acts as the act break is still decided by the side which won most scenarios of Act I).
Anyway, scenario 4 of Act I was "The masquerade ball". Again played with the same cast of players and characters as the "Cardinal's plight". That is:
(Player name, character, skills)
Andreas "Widow Tarha": Rune Mastery, Exploding Rune
Fredric "Avric Albright": Time of Need
David "Tomble Burrowell": Dirty tricks, Sneaky
Johan "Grisban the thirsty": Counter attack, Brute
Alexander "Overlord": Dark Resilience, Explosive Runes
The host is lord Theodir, who is yet another person who for one reason or the other has found himself on the hit list of the Overlord. In his possession he has an artifact known as "Fortunas Dice" which the Overlord, after having failed to steal the "Staff of light" is eagerly wanting to obtain. The party is crashed the Overlords minions - this time led by the lady Eliza Farrow, another member of the apparent vampires to have been leading recent attacks all over the realm.
As the heroes barge in the party is already under siege, and the masked guests are being abducted by the Overlords minions. The heroes must slay the monsters and unmask the guests, only half of which are actual guests - the rest are disguised cultists who have infiltrated the party. The key to victory is for the heroes to save as many people as possible, the more they save the easier it will be to identify lord Theodir afterwards and ask him about the artifact.
The Overlord aims to abduct as many of the guests as possible in order to find lord Theodir and obtain information about his hidden vault, information that is very valuable in the second encounter.
Beefed up with items and the Staff of light the heroes didn't have much trouble dispatching the initial wave of monsters. However both the Overlord and the heroes had to find the real guests amidst the "?" tokens since these were randomly placed. Early on the Overlord unmasked two guests and headed with them towards the exit, but only one goblin managed to make it past the heroes and off with the kidnap victim. The other goblin was slain and the guest freed and rescued.
After this the monsters and lady Eliza Farrow were pushed back and defeated, the heroes managed to save 3 out of 4 human guests. However, when they rolled their die they needed to roll equal to or fewer shields on a black die in order to identify lord Theodir. If they had rescued all guests they would have automatically passed, as it now turned out they rolled a 4 which meant they failed to rescue to host of the party.
Temporarily defeated Eliza Farrow had escaped down into the dungeon, her minions had found lord Theodir and she had beaten the secret magic passwords for the magical doors out of him. This would save her time as she was making her escape - with the artifact "Fortunas dice".
The heroes were at her heels, fighting their way past spiders, clearing a way for Tomble Burrowell to lockpick the first door leading to the room where lady Eliza was located. As soon as the door was opened two Ettin’s attacked the heroes - blocking the doorway and buying Eliza Farrow some time to continue her escape down the tunnels. With the first Ettin killed Eliza Farrow's back was now guarded by a single minion, but he was tough and withstood enough damage for her to move and open the next door to a chamber holding two shadow dragons. And as soon as the heroes had dispatched the last Ettin they had to fight the Shadow dragons who were blocking the way just like the Ettins had done.
This last obstacle proved to be too difficult for the heroes to surpass in a timely fashion, and even though one Shadow dragon was slain, the second one remained and held the heroes at bay long enough for Eliza Farrow to struggle with the final lock - to which lord Theodir had not shared the password - she managed to pass the riddle and escaped off the board with the artifact - now corrupted into the "Dice of Woe".
The heroes had lost this fight and one valuable artifact which was now in the hands of the overlord.
All players were awarded an additional 1XP though.
Campaign summary so far:
Prologue: Victory for the heroes
Scenario 1 A Fat Goblin: Victory for the Overlord
Scenario 2 Castle Daerion: Victory for the heroes
Scenario 3 A Cardinal's plight: Victory for the heroes
Scenario 4 The Masquerade ball: Victory for the Overlord
Overlord 4XP (2 Unused XP)
Widow Tarha 4XP --> upgraded character with the "Inscribe rune" skill
Avric Albright 4XP (2 Unused XP)
Tomble Burrowell 4XP (2 Unused XP)
Grisban the Thirsty 4XP --> upgraded character with the "Weapon mastery" skill
The hero shared item pool now consists of:
Staff of light* (artifact)
Bones of Woe* (artifact)
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