Monday, 7 December 2015

Kingdom Death : Guest blogger - Natanel

Kingdom Death: Monster - ACG Campaign Group

Kingdom Death Monster is a co-operative survival horror miniatures board game with tactical turn based combat that takes elements from tabletop RPG games and dungeon crawlers. In video game terms, it can be described as Dark Souls meets Monster Hunter meets X-COM. I will be running a campaign at the Auckland City Guard club and hope to have one or two play sessions run each week during the club on Sunday.

What is Kingdom Death?

KDM is a campaign based game that takes place over 25 game sessions. Each game session takes about 30-90 minutes and covers three phases, the Settlement Phase, the Hunt Phase and the Showdown Phase. After 25 'Lantern Years' the game comes to a climax with a final showdown against an entity known as "The Watcher".
During the Settlement Phase, players manage a settlement of multiple survivors, playing through story events, and spending resources to built locations and gear for their survivor characters.
During the Hunt Phase, players choose a monster to hunt for resources and travel through the dark world of Kingdom Death to find and take down their prey.
During the Showdown Phase the players face their quarry and attempt to take it down.
The game is about building and maintaining a popualtion and a settlement, and surviving; rather than an adventure based on single characters. Player characters will die and retire as the campaign goes by, and players will constantly create new survivors kit them out and gain new skills, abilities, mental disorders and permenant injuries.

Below I have written up an account of the first one and a half lantern years played through so far. These write ups will be written after every session, so that players who miss a session or dont manage to get a spot for a session one week can keep up to date on the story and progress of our ACG Kingdom Death campaign.

Lantern Year 01

Brushing caked ink from their eyes, the survivors woke from a dreamless sleep. They had no memory, no knowlege of who or where they were, no words; nothing but a lantern - their only source of light. Their bodies felt cold, pressed against  the stone floor of carved faces that spread as far as they could see; stopping to meet a unbroken horizon of darkness. They had little time take in their surroundings before screams of terror could be heard a short distance away.
A white lion attacked from the darkness that surrounded them, rampaging through the confused and terrified survivors, ripping them apart with its oddly human hands and devouring them whole with its strange mouth lined with rows of teeth. Refusing to succumb to this monstrosity, four brave survivors grasped chunks of sharp shattered stone faces and faced the lion, filled with fury.

Our campaign started with four survivors, Pythagoras, Orgasma, Hannah and Selina, fighting back against the lion that disturbed their disoriented awakening. Stabbing at the lion with their founding stones they managed to wittle down the lions health. The lion didnt give up with out a fight however, grabbing Orgasma it attempted to isolate its prey and finish it off before the other survivors could retaliate. Luckily however, even after being dragged along the cold stone ground, Orgasma managed to evade the lions grasp and strike back, buying time for the other survivors to come to his aid. After a lucky encounter, the survivors took down the beast and scavenged its corpse for resources.
Our tutorial and introductory showdown was one of the smoothest I had ever run. We took no injuries and managed to maim the lion, giving it a Lost Hand persistant injury, and breaking its ribs - which slowed it down.
The Settlement Phase
Exhausted and wounded, the four survivors walked off into the darkness. Eventually they spotted a strange calming light emanating from a distance. And when they arrived, they found a large group of 10 survivors crowded around the piled mass of glowing lanterns they dubbed "The Lantern Hoard".  Realising they must band together to survive, Selina stood up and uttered the first words. Over time, the survivors developed language and with it, discovered their 'inner lantern' a source of spirituality. Spending the resources the four brave survivors managed to carve from the lion, they built a skinnery, organ grinder and bone smith, and crafted armour and weaponry to aid them with their survival. After some time however, food ran low, and a single lantern in the lantern hoard dimmed and died out. A 'Lantern Year' had passed.

Once we managed to defeat the lion it was time for us to move on to our first Settlement Phase. Our initial story event happened, and we rolled a super lucky result on the event's table and was rewarded with 10 additional survivors which we could use to form our settlement. During our settlement phase we decided to spend resources to build the first 3 crafting locations and innovate, drawing the Inner Lantern innovation card. After we had exhausted our resources, we moved onto the Hunt Phase.

The Hunt Phase

Outfitting themselves with their new weapons and armour, 3 of the original survivors set out with their new companion John to hunt another lion. Hoping to bring back food and resources for their settlement.
Wandering through the darkness, following their quarry's trail, the survivors stumbled accross a terrifying sight. Infront of them laid a wasteland of smashed and broken stone faces, strewn with bloody viscera and littered with piles of putrid dung. The survivors scavenged through the rancid waste, finding a handful of useful resources.
Our first hunt phase went rather quickly, as we were lucky enough to roll a result on the hunt event table to skip a hunt event and move further forwards. Our second event allowed us to roll to investigate the dung and viscera strewn area around our survivors, and all of us managed to roll the same result, granting us a basic resource in exchange for damage to a random location on our body.

The Showdown Phase

Eventually the survivors found their prey, an adult white lion. With their experience fighting against their first lion, the lion was no match for the survivors. Using the tall grass jutting from the ground beneath the stone faces the survivors hid and evaded the lion, and struck back at the lion. The survivors took some painful blows, and Hannah took some nasty lacerations to her thighs, but battered and bruised, they took down the lion and dragged back parts of it's carcass to their settlement.

We were incredibly lucky again during this showdown. Managing to find an additional bone sword on the corpse of some unlucky survivor, and managing to take down the level 1 lion with no injuries or casualties.

Lantern Year 02

Shortly after the survivors returned with their supplies, the ground shook violently and cracked open around the survivors. Luckily the light hide gear the survivors were wearing gave them enough range of movement to avoid falling into the crevices around them. But before they could relax an ear peircing scream engulfed the settlement bringing fear and terror to the population. Selina once again stood, and calmed the everyone down. Explaining that whatever creature is out there making this terrible wailing, it can be hunted... and killed.
As the next lantern year went by, the survivors crafted new gear and weaponry and built the symposium innovation. And as time went by, bonds formed and two couples of survivors attempted to bring new life into the world. However, the first couple was not so lucky, the mother and the child were lost during childbirth - her partner scared by this trauma, developed a brain disorder leaving him 'indecisive' and weighed down by his regret and choices that lead to this. The second couple decided that this world was too dark for them and left the settlement, hands entwined, walking into the darkness. Their corpses found shortly after.
Bringing the two survivors corspses back to the settlement, the population decided, after much debate, that the bodies should be harvested for food and resources, which were scarce in this cold barren world.

Our lucky streak continued, rolling a 1 on the settlement story event allowed our returning survivors to come back to the settlement unharmed, and rolling high on the story event table, Selina became the voice of reason and gained the "Orator of Death" fighting art, granting her an ability that will definitely come in use later on.
After spending our resources on new gear and weapons, we spent our remaining endeavor points on rolling on a special table on one of our settlement locations. Twice this started the Intimacy story event (one where new survivors can be born into the settlement) and twice we were unlucky and lost survivors. Bringing our population down to 11.
Our first survivor death sparked the Principle: Death story event, that required us to decide whether we should bury dead survivors in graves, or harvest dead survivors for bonus resources. The group decided on the latter.

This is where our first gaming session ended.
I hope you have enjoyed this write up of our first Kingdom Death Monster session at the club, and if you are interested in participating in the campaign make sure you reserve a spot in the next game session by letting me know you are interested!

Thats all for now,

Natanel Apfel


  1. Keen to play again in the next session. When is it?

  2. Keen to play again in the next session. When is it?