It took exactly one turn for them to dispatch the hellhounds (drat) and another to finish off the skeletons, leaving only the giant to take abuse for several turns. Not long enough, however, for him to survive long enough to clear the Overlord deck a second time and give me extra CP. We finished the dungeon (and the first week - yay!) with the heroes at 21CP and the Overlord at 11. What I'd forgotten is that the Overlord tends to catch up a bit as the turns go on, as the heroes aren't always in a dungeon every week.
In fact, the heroes spent the next week traveling back to Tamalir, where they got to do a little shopping, and spent the next turn healing up. That was a good choice, because it was clear that Sir Alric Farrow was on his way to besiege the Orc Market, and they needed to get the Enchanted Boat purchase just to be able to go after him as the only way you can get to the Orc Market is by boat. This also limited their ability to gain skills or extra power dice, although it also forces me to try to bring in my other Farrow lieutenants while I can still get their cost bonuses (they are cheaper XP-wise if I bring them in with other Farrows on the board). I was saving up for a Beasts upgrade, but think perhaps the lieutenants are a better idea for now.
The one drawback is that they were forced to travel on Medium and Hard paths to get to the Orc Market, so they ran into their first outdoor encounter on the way. The party was ambushed by a Master Ferrox along with his tribe and a military advisor Naga, but the party got lucky and drew the Secure Glade as the area, which meant that you subtracted two from wounds generated which severely limited the Ferroxes special Bleed and Leech abilities. Laurent's character Tahlia took a little bleed damage, but only five or so total hits before they managed to clear out the encounter for a paltry 300GP.
At this point, the party decided that since they had arrived at a dungeon, and since they were going to need to get a little money anyway, that they would enter the dungeon, so our next session will start at that point. After that, they go to the Orc Market, where they can apparently sneak into the besieged city and heal up before taking on Alric and his goons. I suspect they'll make fairly short work of him, but with two more lieutenants running around and chewing up the various cities, it may be hard for them to cover all of those bases.
We also got our first Rumor, which the party wisely placed just south of the Orc Market, allowing them to continue through and grab the extra award after they finish with Alric. Of course, at the rate we're going, that will be in about three months, so I don't know that they will necessarily remember what the rumor was. Something about getting an extra treasure card every time they went to market, so pretty worthwhile.
Everyone seemed to really like the character development part, but what was particularly cool was deciding whether to go after Alric or let him burn down the Orc Market. They seemed to find a pretty good balance, although by my count, they will have to spend one week traveling to the city, another week training, and one more week fighting Alric. By then, I'll have both his wife and brother out there (5XP for the brother, not sure what the discount is for the wife but it will be doubled because I'll have two other Farrows on the board by then. She costs 11, so at worst the discount will be four. That's exactly twelve XP total for both, so in two more weeks I'll have three lieutenants on the map making the heroes chase after them! Woohoo!
I love being the Overlord. There's a lot of downtime for me, but it lets me get down with my inner Bad Self. Plus, as host, I'm pretty likely to be the one consistent element from session to session, so the Overlord is a natural choice for me. Since I also put the game away, there are no secret elements that I have to avoid looking at (as there would be were I a hero player).
I'm happy to say that the game worked just as well with three hero players as with five or four. Everyone really liked the added dimensions of the game, and it's almost too bad that the base game takes so much of the play time to get through. My estimate is about two hours per dungeon level, so a seven - eight hour session is just about right for a complete dungeon, an encounter or two, and the leveling (encounters seem to take about an hour). We can't really do that, so it will take about three regular sessions to accomplish the same thing (as it did in the last three sessions, in fact).
We ended up with 35CP by the time we finished, and it's likely we'll each gain about the same amount in the next dungeon (21/14 - I'm hoping to get through the Overlord deck a little quicker this time). I also learned that I get to choose different Treachery cards every time we play! Also, there are a few Overlord improvements that allow you to remove cards from my deck to make things a little faster. I won't get those this turn, but I'll be able to get them in the future. Now I'll have to decide between lieutenants and a smaller deck...
Thanks to Ken, Laurent, and Ben for coming and playing. At the end of the evening, Ben asked if it was 9:30, but it was actually an hour later. That's the sign of a good game, to my mind, time just flies and you've been so immersed that it's over before you know it.
Our next RtL session will be Tuesday, August 5th. I may start the game a little earlier (6:30pm) in order to get two dungeon levels done instead of one and a half. At least I can have the dungeons pre-set in terms of critters selected and map pieces sorted, which always helps. The encounters aren't so bad, as there aren't that many outdoor tiles, but the dungeon tiles and critters are many and varied, and they take about ten minutes to collect and set up (including the various special pieces on the board).