Deep beneath the earth winds a sub terrene world of unsuspected vastness. It is dark, alien, exotic, and even more rich and varied in its landscapes than the surface world. Beings raised in the wide-open expanses of sun and sky cannot fathom the extent of tunnels, caverns, chasms, rivers, forests, fissures, magma streams, pits, ice caves, steam vents, and seemingly bottomless plunges that form the geography of the world beneath their homes and fields. Surface dwellers are restricted to two dimensions, but the underearth inhabits three.
Fierce, territorial wars rage through this dark landscape for generations. One such conflict is the raiding that takes place between the frontier outposts of Nachtreichweite, the great drow metropolis, and the troglodyte warrens that twist for miles beyond its control.
Drows' Revenge is a three-battle mini-campaign that follows one such raid along its path to strike at the troglodytes. One player controls the drow raiding party. The other controls the troglodytes and the creatures that occupy the no-man's land between the drow and troglodyte territories.
The Route of Advance
The drow must traverse an expanse of hostile, underground terrain before reaching the lair of the troglodytes. This is represented by various maps from the Fane of the Drow and Hellspike Prison map sets. Four maps are available as possible routes -- Mithral Mines, Fane of Lolth, Mushroom Cavern, and Hellspike Grotto. The drow player must fight her way across two of these maps before reaching her objective. The third and final battle is fought on the Magma Keep map.
Each map has its own associated force list for the troglodyte player to use when building his warband.
Sequence of Play
On all maps, the troglodyte player wins terrain initiative automatically. Otherwise, follow the maps' skirmish rules as printed on page 16 of Fane of the Drow and Hellspike Prison.
The drow player builds a 200-point warband from the Drow force list below and uses this warband through all three battles. The troglodyte player will build three warbands during the course of the campaign, using force lists determined by the drow player. These warbands are built before each battle, so the troglodyte player gets the advantage in battles two and three of knowing what's coming.
The commander 0 rule is in force for the troglodyte player in all three battles. If he doesn't include a commander in his force, he can spend 5 points and make the lowest-cost figure in his warband a commander with a command rating of 0.
Faction rules are relaxed somewhat for both players. All units on their force lists are legal in their warbands, regardless of faction. Summoned creatures need not appear on the force lists -- any creature that normally fulfills the summoning spell's requirement can be summoned.
All battles are played to the standard victory condition -- the winner is the player who eliminates the opposition. The victor in the campaign is the player that wins the final battle in Magma Keep. If by some mischance the drow player loses battle 1 or 2 (very unlikely), then the campaign ends and the troglodyte player wins.
After each of battles 1 and 2, any of the drow player's units that routed off the map return to the warband. Figures that died are removed from play. Figures that took damage remain at their damaged hp levels. Spellcasters recover all of their spells. Summoned creatures are removed from the warband. Should any minions somehow come into play and be slain, they are not replaced between battles.
If all drow commanders were killed but the drow won the fight, one surviving figure in the drow warband can be designated as the new commander with a commander rating of 0.
For purposes of checking morale, a figure always compares its current hit points to its printed HP total. Once a figure passes a morale check for falling below 50% of its starting HPs, it doesn't need to pass another in any other battle.
This string of battles is pretty straightforward. A short look at the force lists will tell the drow player what sorts of foes she can expect at each stage of the march toward the troglodytes' lair. Each map has its own distinct flavor. Battles 1 and 2 should be relatively easy wins for the drow, but the trick is winning without taking too many casualties. By the time the drow reach Magma Keep, the troglodytes know what's coming and can craft a warband specifically to defeat it. If the drow warband is worth less than 120 points by then, they'll have a very tough time winning.
Depending on playing styles, route, and warband composition, players may decide that one side or the other has an advantage. To counteract this, both players can bid for the drow side. Before play begins, one player announces how many points he wants to build what he considers a winning drow warband. If the other player is willing to play a drow warband with fewer points, he counterbids with a lower point total. Bidding continues, back and forth, until one player is unwilling to go lower. Then the player with the low bid builds a drow warband with points equal to his bid and the campaign begins.
A Note About the Force Lists
The Number listed for each figure indicates both its set and its position within the set. The Drow Archer, for example, is shown as being figure 160. This means it is from set 1 (Harbinger) and is number 60 within that set.
As usual, players are free to alter the force lists however they choose. This is a good way to vary the campaign from one playing to another. Ideally, new force lists should be created by a third player who's not an active participant in the campaign.
Drow Force List
Mithral Mines Force List
Fane of the Drow Force List
Mushroom Cavern Force List
Hellspike Grotto Force List
Magma Keep Force List
For the final Magma Keep battle, the troglodyte player can build his 120-point warband using any evil figures, with only one restriction -- at least 60 points worth must be figures that have the word "troglodyte" in their names (Troglodyte, Troglodyte Barbarian, and Troglodyte Captain).
About the Author
Steve Winter is a writer, game designer, and web producer living in the Seattle area. He's been involved with publishing D&D in one form or another since 1981. Tiny people and monsters made of plastic and lead are among his favorite obsessions.
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