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  • Writer's pictureJW

What's that Smell?

Get ready for more solo Talisman adventures in 2024! Earlier posts in this series are:



Today we continue our travels with The Firelands expansion. It adds four new characters and three alternative endings, plus more adventure and spell cards as usual. But also Fire tokens and Terrain Cards - as during the game the lands will slowly burn away.


The ending I picked was "A Hero Rises", as that would be nice, right? Something good coming from all the flames?



Set up done, we've got this glorious view. Oh, it's good to be back.



 

So far, our excavation hasn’t shed any light on what has happened here, all those ages ago. A thriving civilization, swept from the earth in such a short time?


Most of the remains we dig up are burnt. No clues. But our luck may have turned, as yesterday a curious box was found, still intact, and inside there is a stack of papers. With notes. In almost undecipherable writing, but let’s see what we can make of it.


 

Strange days. Sightings of fiery spirits, whispers of woe to come. As if my own troubles weren’t enough. And I don’t know why this Warlord is after me, I’m nobody! I’ve dabbled a bit in magic in the past, nothing serious. Still people look at me in a weird way. Or perhaps it was more serious than I thought.


Fortunately, so far it looks like the Warlord is not the smartest foe. She got drunk in a tavern, then visited a carnival and got drunk again. Barely sober she encountered an Ice Elemental (craft 7) and lost a life. So I had time enough to practice and learned my first spell: Crack the Earth. A very powerful spell, as it would cause my enemy to lose yet another life. I decided to wait for the perfect opportunity. Like when she'd be down to her last life… 😈



But then the fires started. The City became a ruin and some cards of the Adventure deck were burned (removed from the game). Landing on the City space would cost a life from now on, also the doctor, alchemist and enchantress were gone. The first of many casualties.



And the Warlord caught up with me. Our fight ended in a stand-off, but it was more luck than skill. I’d rolled a 6. I would really need to prepare for the next fight. And first, get as far away as possible. A Brass Horseman took mer to the Carnival, where a Wizard teleported me to the woods. Way over at the other side of the board. Great! But, what’s that noise coming from behind those trees. It looks like there’s a ritual going on in the clearing.



I lost a life. And what’s worse: the Warlord would be able to pick it up. I probably should set the woods on fire with my Crack the Earth spell. (Which I forgot to do, so she ended up with an extra life. 🙄)


Meanwhile the Castle was set on fire by the Ifrit. Another doctor gone.


Through visits to the Village Mystic and an encounter with a Ranger in the Forest, I managed to level up my craft to six. Time to go to the Highland. But first I outsmarted the Warlord in psychic combat and robbed her of that extra life. An Angel took another one. Take that!



Too confident. The Warlord assembled her conscripted army, set up an ambush and stabbed me in the back. I was down to two lives. Time to visit the Church? That's the only place left where I could heal. Or wait, what about these rumours of a Waterfall with healing powers in the Highland. Perhaps I did not need to change my plans.


Also, the Warlord stumbled across the Lord of the Pit. And she was down to two lives as well. This game might end without a Hero rising...



In the Highland I found a Horn of Power, making me stronger. But I'd missed something while crossing the Ravine. The Warlord discovered the fabled Pool of Fortitude there! 😭 Gain a life or strength with every visit. I had to get back! But that also meant getting closer to the Warlord and her army. And yes, she killed off another of my lives. One left.



And somehow I could not find the Ravine anymore. Must have run too far. But what do you know. While climbing the Cliffs, I discovered a Well of Life! Of course I grabbed one, back to two lives.


So I guess the situation would be like this: the Warlord and me running to and fro, trying to grab the remaining life while trying to kill each other so we’d also lose lives every time we’d meet. 😨 I was going to need a lot of good dice rolls. Come on!



Except. I’d forgotten all about the Grim Reaper. And he payed me a visit. And I rolled a one.


’It is time’ – lose all lives, you are killed. 



Bummer. Time to read up on the rules on Fate tokens. No special rules in effect. Let’s re-roll. Two.


‘I’m here for that one’ – Lose a Follower, or if you don’t have any followers, lose a life. The Warlord had conscripted my only Follower when we last met, so... Lose a life! It’s better than losing all lives. Then again, not much better. Time to use my special ability. As a Nomad I'm able to stay in the same spot by spending one Fate. Of course I need Fate tokens to win, but I also need to be alive to win. So I stayed in place and claimed the last life from the Well. Then got the hell away.


While I went deeper into the Highlands, still searching for that healing Waterfall, the Warlord fell somewhat behind. She was attacked by Highland Raiders, who took all four of her conscripted followers and dumped them on the Ridgeway. Now the Warlord gets her strength from these followers, so I had to try to reach the Ridgeway before her. Racing back once again. 😁



I was nearly there! Just one more step. Not often in Talisman you find yourself wishing for a dice roll of 1, but here I was. And so was the Warlord. She was just one step behind me, drew her adventure card, and... We were caught in a Blizzard. For two turns both of us would only be able to move one space at a time.


Yes!


Yes!


Yes!



I took all the followers, then attacked the Warlord on my next turn.


Back on my way through the Highlands again. Pretty uneventful. I fought the Eagle King at the Eyrie, grabbed a nice weapon from the nest and teleported to the Livery Stable. Bought a Horse and Cart there for comfy travels during the second part of my journey. Let’s see. I had a Talisman, a weapon, a shield. Time to collect Fate tokens as I’d need thirteen for the win and I had only five while the Warlord was at nine. But how? More adventuring, looking for enemies. And try to engage the Warlord in psychic combat. She was still roaming the Highlands though. So that would have to wait.

 

[notes are illegible here]

 

What to do? Meanwhile the Warlord was so lucky. While I was struggling to make any progress, she'd collected those 13 Fate Tokens easily and already went through the Portal of Power into the Inner Region. She got held up a bit rolling dice with Death, then I found a Rod of Ruin and robbed her of two strength. She barely survived the fight with the Werewolf, but her renewed army of conscripted followers pulled her through. So yes, I lost. An evil hero rules the land, doing nothing to prevent the Regions being layed to waste by the Ifrit. Everything’s ruined.



I’m hiding in one of the last shelters. Who knows for how much longer. I smell something burning.



The Crazy World of Arthur Brown - Fire


 

👍 The Firelands may be a small expansion, but I really enjoyed the new mechanisms of fire tokens (when you visit the space, you lose a life) and the fire laying spaces on the board to ruin.


👍 The Warlord looked completely overpowered to me. Go play another game if you want balance.



Disclaimer: Talisman is not a solo game. Don't try this at home.



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Zerbique
Zerbique
Dec 26, 2023

Fun read! You know all of my collection of Talisman (and I own all of 4th edition expansions) is still in shrink. I never played this game... But it looks mightily cool. I'm sure I would enjoy it.


But I guess lots of the flavor we see here is due to your engaging and witty narrative.

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