Come giocare a Incontri epici: Hive of the Ghoul-kin

La nostra banda di intrepidi D&Ders continua la sua ricerca di fama e fortuna. Mentre il Imperatrice Lich may have been defeated, other threats linger – and these ones have a taste for flesh and blood. What trials await both them and our Dungeon Master in our latest Epic Encounters How to Play? How easy is the set to use? And most of all, is it actually any fun? Read on to find out.

How to Play Epic Encounters: Hive of the Ghoul-kin – Introduction

We’re back for another session of Dungeons and Dragons with the help of one of the latest Steamforged Games Epic Encounters box.

D&D can be a tough game to get into. There’s a lot to it, and the scope and breadth of its system leaves would-be players at the whims of a thousand rulebooks and unsure where exactly to start their journey. Donning the mantle of Dungeon Master/Game Master, however, is an infinitely more daunting prospect – even the most experienced D&Der.

As such, products like Steamforged Games’ Epic Encounters sets take some of the legwork out of both running and playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Incontri epici Hive of the Ghoul-kin Review Unboxing 1

Designed to be an encounter in a box, SFG’s Epic Encounters come in one of two flavours: Warband boxes, which come equipped with a number of different figures for larger, pack-style encounters, and Boss boxes, for dramatic showdowns against monstrous, er, monsters.

Today, we’ve re-assembled our Dungeons and Dragons players to have a look at SFG’s latest Warband box. Having escaped the Arena dell'Orda di non morti e ha affrontato il loro primo nemico veramente indomito in cima al Torre dell'Imperatrice Lich, our players’ next encounter will take place within the Hive of the Ghoul-kin.

If you haven’t already done so, make sure you check out our full close-up review of the contents of this box in our Recensione di Hive of the Ghoul-kin.

How to Play Epic Encounters: Hive of the Ghoul-kin – The Team

You’ve met them once before already, fumbling their way from the Arena of the Undead Horde to the Tower of the Lich Empress, but here they are again!

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So, from left to right, we have Rich the Half-Elf Wizard, Ollie the Dwarf Barbarian, Dave the Wood Elf Druid (who would like everyone to know he doesn’t normally wear sunnies indoors, he’d left his regular glasses at home and only has these!) and Lizzie the Aaracockra Rogue*.

As ever, the session will be organised and run by FauxHammer’s own Rob…

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…who disperatamente ha bisogno di uno schermo DM più grande.

Since last time, we’ve also outfitted our D&Ders with their own custom minis, courtesy of Miniature personalizzate di Hero Forge.

Incontri epici Hive of the Ghoul-kin Recensione Heroforge Custom Mini 1
Lizzie’s Aaracockra Rogue
Incontri epici Hive of the Ghoul-kin Recensione Heroforge Custom Mini 3
Dave’s Wood Elf Druid
Incontri epici Hive of the Ghoul-kin Recensione Heroforge Custom Mini 4
Ollie’s Dwarf Barbarian
Incontri epici Hive of the Ghoul-kin Recensione Heroforge Custom Mini 2
Richard’s Half-elf Wizard

These were all 3D printed by Ross using his Photon Ultra and designed and painted by Rob using Citadel, Monument Hobbies, and Scale 75 paints (aside from Dave’s druid, which he designed himself!).

*Da notare, dall'ultima sessione, Lizzie ha rilanciato il suo Aaracokra Druid in un Aaracokra Rogue per avere una migliore diffusione delle classi nel gruppo.

How to Play Epic Encounters: Hive of the Ghoul-kin – The Venue

As ever, we’re back at The Games Table in Norwich for this week’s adventure.

Sede dell'equipaggio per la revisione dello spazio principale 1

We could sing the praises about this place to the highest of heavens (and we frequently do), but today we’ll suggest you head over to la loro pagina Facebook and have a look through their recent posts and pictures for a good sense of what they’re doing.

Se vivi vicino a Norwich, The Games Table vale sicuramente il viaggio. Se vieni da più lontano ma ti ritrovi a visitare, assicurati di fare un salto per una visita!

How to Play Epic Encounters: Hive of the Ghoul-kin – Playtesting

Ci sono due aspetti in ogni sessione di D&D: il set-up e il gioco. Entrambi richiedono cose molto diverse da un gruppo D&D e, in quanto tali, hanno esigenze molto diverse di qualsiasi prodotto associato. Pertanto, potresti voler familiarizzare con le varie parti di questo riquadro prima di continuare a leggere. Puoi farlo dando un'occhiata al nostro Recensione di Hive of the Ghoul-kin.

La prima parte, l'allestimento, è curata dal DM/GM. Pertanto, tutte le risorse dovranno essere facili da implementare nei loro giochi. La seconda parte, il gioco vero e proprio della sessione, deve essere facile per il DM/GM da gestire e adattarsi sul posto, e deve anche essere molto divertente per i giocatori. Il fatto che una sessione sia divertente o meno dipende in gran parte da come un DM/GM è in grado di utilizzare il proprio materiale e le proprie risorse, quindi le cose tornano al punto di partenza.

Quindi, come sono le risorse nella scatola dell'Alveare dei Ghoul-kin?

Playtesting – Set Up

If you’re a DM/GM, you’ll likely know that setting up for your D&D session comes in two parts.

First, there’s the pre-session bit, where you make sure you’ve got everything you need to run your session ahead of time. Whether you do this five days before your session and spend hours and hours doing it, or you quickly glance over your source material five minutes beforehand depends entirely on your style.

Next, there’s the on-the-day stuff: laying out maps, reading your miniatures, making sure you’ve got all your resources sequestered firmly away from your players’ eyes behind your DM screen, and so on. We’ll have a closer look at what Epic Encounters: Hive of the Ghoul-kin does for both these steps now.

I. Pre-sessione

Gran parte di qualsiasi sessione di Dungeons and Dragons si svolge spesso prima che tutti si incontrino e inizino a lanciare i dadi. Il Dungeon Master o il Game Master, qualunque sia il tuo titolo preferito (d'ora in poi DM/GM), dovrà fare almeno un po' di preparazione prima dell'inizio della sessione.

Depending on how you like to run your session will determine how you use the book. For those DMs/GMs who are comfortable turning up and ad-libbing the encounter, the Campaign Book has all the basic info you need. There are plenty of notes on setting, guides on using the maps in the box, and all the stats you need for the enemies. You’ll find it easy to get from one part of the encounter to the next using just the info in the book. You could rock up to game night having glanced over the Campaign Book once and be ready to go with no prior planning necessary.

Opuscolo della campagna di revisione dell'alveare dei Ghoul-kin Incontri epici 1

If, however, you’re a bit more pedante of a perfectionist like I am, you’ll likely want to have plenty of narrative fluff and other failsafes put in place in order to ensure your session goes off without a hitch. As such, I prepared a few sheets of notes to take with me, including some expanded loot (which on the day the party almost entirely missed all of). I also really wanted to give my players plenty of opportunities to really engage with their characters and build their personalities, which is, perhaps, the one thing that the Hive of the Ghoul-kin Epic Encounter doesn’t facilitate so well.

But that’s not necessarily a problem. Because the Campaign Book is so modular, it’s very easy to fit in other stuff around what is already written – which is what I was able to do, facilitating travel and exploration elements before arrival at the encounter. It’s pretty much a case of just plugging in the Campaign Book when you want it and unplugging it when you’re done with it. Looking over the notes I wrote, I have a few sides of my own writing, and then just a note to “use the Campaign Book from pages X to Y for this bit”.

II. Nel giorno

Poiché il set Hive of the Ghoul-kin viene fornito con tutte le mappe e le miniature di cui hai bisogno per condurre il tuo incontro, l'impostazione del giorno richiede semplicemente che ti ricordi di fare le valigie e di portare fuori la mappa e i mini al momento giusto .

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I mini in Hive of the Ghoul-kin sono superbi, anche non dipinti.

That the campaign booklet is quite small and slimline means it is easily tucked behind your DM screen, and can easily be kept open alongside your other notes. In addition to this, as we noted in our full product review, the Hive of the Ghoul-kin’s packaging is excellent: the box isn’t too large, and the clever packaging makes certain that everything is both safely stored yet easily accessible.

Playtesting – Playing the Encounter

Con la preparazione preliminare dell'incontro completa e tutti i nostri D&Ders presenti e spiegati, potremmo iniziare la sessione e giocare ad alcuni Dungeons and Dragons. Quindi, come andrebbe la sessione e cosa penserebbero i nostri giocatori dei prodotti?

I. Lasciando la Torre dell'Imperatrice Lich ed entrando nell'alveare dei Ghoul-kin

In order to ensure that our players had a sense of continuation from the last Epic Encounter they played – which was Torre dell'Imperatrice Lich – we were keen to create a continuing story that took them from the setting we had established during the last session and on to the Hive of the Ghoul-kin.

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The group tries to figure out how to escape the Lich Empress’ tower whilst Dave prepares to take a bite from an invisible orange.

Secondo l'opuscolo della campagna Hive of the Ghoul-kin, ai Ghoul-kin piace mangiare i cadaveri. Dato che i nostri giocatori avevano appena affrontato l'arcicriminale a capo di un intero esercito di non morti, è stato abbastanza facile stabilire una ragione per cui un gruppo di mostri mangiatori di cadaveri si aggirasse nelle vicinanze.

“These ghouls have grown fat and strong on the corpses of the dead abducted by the Lich Empress’ followers. A sick symbiosis has existed between the Lich Empress and the Ghoul-kin for centuries: powerful allies and savage killers, the Lich Empress has allowed the Ghoul-kin to take corpses – and even the occasional one of her followers – in order to keep themselves strong. The Lich Empress knew that should anything threaten her, the Ghoul-kin would come to her side to defend her home – as well as their own. But the Ghoul-kin know this balance has now been disrupted and are on the edge of a feeding frenzy. Suddenly afraid that their way of life is under threat, they are lashing out and taking what they can from the Old Kingdom whilst it is still plentiful.”

It didn’t take long for our players to stumble upon their first wandering ghoul, and shortly afterwards they found themselves at the entrance to the Ghoul-kin’s lair.

Incontri epici Playtest alveare dei Ghoul-kin 35
“Chapter 2: How to Play Barbarian. Step 1: hit fings real ‘ard. Step 2: repeat til it stops wrigglin’. Step 3: collect loots.”

From a DM’s perspective, linking our previous session to this one – literally a case of going from the Torre dell'Imperatrice Lich scatola il Alveare dei Ghoul-kin box – was actually very easy. Whilst there was no guide on how to do this in either box, neither set imposed any restrictions on what needed to come before or after each encounter. As such, putting one next to the other – and linking the two zones with a little travel and some roleplay – was very easy, and the players were none the wiser as to the disconnect between the two.

One thing I was sure to include, however, were a few tremors – earthquake-like movements beneath our players’ feet, perhaps hinting at something to come…

II. Gli incontri dei Ghoul-kin

Dopo aver collegato i due incontri con alcuni frammenti di narrativa e un po' di gioco di ruolo, siamo arrivati alla carne della scatola dell'Alveare dei Ghoul-kin.

The first part of the encounter begins with the players dropping face-first into the middle of the hive having happened upon an opening. The Campaign Booklet states players enter the chamber from a hole in its roof – that’s all. No restrictions, no prerequisites. Just a hole to fall through.

Sbadigliante, dai bordi frastagliati e sfumato dal tocco della luce del fuoco, l'ampio buco nel terreno si affaccia su quella che sembra essere una cripta. Puoi individuare una manciata di torce soffocate attorno al bordo dell'ampia camera rettangolare che ti aspetta forse dodici piedi più in basso. È possibile distinguere un pavimento di pietra tagliata e lavorata, una volta posata con cura ma ora screpolata e consumata dopo innumerevoli secoli di utilizzo e abbandono.

From a DM’s perspective, this super basic, easily replaceable entry into the encounter is fantastic, as it afford you a great deal of flexibility. It’s an easy part to remove and rework depending on your own campaign.

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In effetti, cadere a faccia in giù in mezzo ai ghoul è stato Esattamente cosa è successo al povero Dave. Sbuffando in modo spettacolare una prova di acrobazia, il suo Druido Elfo Silvano si tuffò a faccia in giù nelle grinfie dei Ghoul-kin affamati di carne, che decisero di provare a fargli il loro ultimo pasto. Il resto del gruppo lo seguì e l'incontro poté iniziare sul serio.

Incontri epici Playtest alveare dei Ghoul-kin 21
Dave, surrounded by Ghoul-kin Reavers, awaits the rescue of his companions who were, er, looting another room…

It’s up to the DM/GM how to run the encounter: have the Ghoul-kin arrive in small, wave-like groups or hurl everything at the players at once. Because our party are all level 10, I decided to empty the majority of the miniatures onto the table at the start of the encounter, then reinforce the Ghoul-kin with the worm-riding Hive Wardens half-way through.

Incontri epici Playtest alveare dei Ghoul-kin 13
Ollie e Lizzie affrontano un Guardiano dell'Alveare Ghoul-kin.

Don’t be afraid to really hurl these enemies at your party – none of them are particularly beefy, and higher level characters will be able to one-shot the smaller ones. Also, DMs/GMs, keep a close eye on the Ghoul-kin’s abilities: some have some dangerous (and very fun) things they can do to keep your party on their toes.

And don’t forget the “pustules” table. This is Un sacco di divertimento.

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Ci sono anche molti fattori ambientali opportunamente tristi di cui puoi trarre vantaggio: piscine acide, allevamenti di larve, blocchi di macelleria. Questi sono tutti progettati per incoraggiare i giocatori a pensare davvero alla loro posizione sul tabellone invece di saltare a capofitto in tutto ciò che appare. Ollie, ad esempio, si è quasi ritrovato a faccia in giù in una pozza di acido dopo essere saltato sul dorso di uno degli stalker Ghoul-kin nel bel mezzo di un combattimento per cercare di ucciderlo.

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Un Ghoul-kin Stalker tenta di scagliare Ollie in una pozza di acido mentre cerca di strappargli la testa a mani nude. Modellisti e pittori di miniature di tutto il mondo trattengono il respiro, il cuore in bocca, in questo tremendo atto di equilibrio.

With the room cleared, the Campaign Book then suggests players encounter either or both the Corpse-Chewer Corral and the Tunnels. These smaller transitory zones don’t have battlemaps like the first part of the encounter and the mini-boss that finishes it off. These are smaller, flexible additions to the module that can be inserted or left out as the DM/GM requires – depending on both how you may wish to run the encounter and any time constraints you have have.

Per cercare di velocizzare i giocatori, quello ricomparve un brontolio sospetto, simile a un terremoto, and as such they all fled into the Tunnels to avoid a rockfall. They then managed to silently sneak into the Brood-Sire’s Demesne, the second mapped part of the encounter.

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“Sssh, I don’t think they’ve seen us…”

The Brood-Sire is a mini-boss. He’s an intimidating foe, sure, especially when backed up by his ghouls, but he’s not an impossible task for an experienced adventure party. He’s also the perfect baddie to build some lore around, especially if you’re running a longer campaign.

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Alone, he’s tough. With two of his biggest, baddest buddies, he’s a nightmare. With an entire hive of nasties? Downright deadly.

Without spoiling too much for would-be parties, the battle with the Brood-Sire is about strength and endurance. He’s a monstrous, meaty meanie backed up by a near-infinite supply of smaller, but no less angry, minions.

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In the absence of a proper miniature, Dave’s Staff of the Python takes the form of a suitably green-coloured D4.

Il gruppo dovrà essere intelligente con il suo approccio e selettivo con i suoi incantesimi. Il Brood-Sire, lui stesso un nemico imponente in grado di strappare grumi dal gruppo di giocatori, è supportato dalla sua scorta quasi infinita di creazioni Ghoul-kin, che combatteranno fino all'ultimo per difenderlo.

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Se eseguito correttamente, l'incontro con il Brood-Sire ha il potenziale per essere un momento estremamente memorabile per qualsiasi campagna. La sua cripta-laboratorio piena di orrori, il chiacchiericcio dei suoi orribili ghoul, la sua stessa terrificante presenza: questa è la materia di cui sono fatte le leggende di D&D.

Our players prevailed against the Brood-Sire – by the skins of their collective teeth. As testimony to how tough the encounter can be, both Rich and Lizzie were brought to the very brink and were only saved by several timely heals from Dave (and Ollie kicking the living snot out of everything).

The laboratory falls still. The stench remains, as do the ghosts of the unspeakable horrors that took place here, but you finally have a way out. On the far side of the chamber is a heavy crypt door, slightly ajar, and beyond it a set of steps leading upwards. There is the faintest glimmer of light at the end of it – not weak, anaemic torchlight like that which fills the rest of the Ghoul-kin’s hive, but starlight: distant, faint. The world above beckons – not the ink-black, storm-scarred sky of the Old Kingdom, but the clear heavens of the rest of the world.

Whatever awaits them next? Surely it couldn’t be un enorme verme arrabbiato? No.

How to Play Epic Encounters: Hive of the Ghoul-kin – Summary

Ancora una volta, il verdetto del residente di D&Ders è stato unanime: Hive of the Ghoul-kin è davvero divertente. Le miniature sono eccellenti e meravigliosamente varie, e sono state fantastiche per aumentare l'eccitazione sul tabellone.

Once the players were familiar with each type of monster, their appearances in later parts of the encounter elicited the appropriate reactions you’d want as a DM/GM. The small Reavers drew eye-rolls and cries “not these guys again”, from the group. When the two hulking Ghoul-kin Bulwarks lumbered into view during the Brood-Sire fight, the colour visibly drained from some of the faces around the table. Ollie even described the sinewy, canine-like Ghoul-kin Stalker “truly cursed” for its twisted appearance. In fact, he hated the way it looked so much he made it his priority to kill them both when they first appeared.

Incontri epici Alveare dei Ghoul-kin Playtesting 3

From a DM/GM perspective, Hive of the Ghoul-kin is a fantastic resource that really helps bring a D&D session to life. It’s not restrictive in how it plays, and there’s plenty of flexibility afforded across the entire encounter (for example, we didn’t head to the Corpse-Chewer Corrals).

Potresti facilmente eseguire l'intera sessione dalle risorse in questa scatola da solo e non hai bisogno di usare nient'altro. Le mappe sono fantastiche, i mini sono fantastici e ci sono idee più che sufficienti nel libretto della campagna per farti andare avanti. Abbiamo riempito quattro ore con questa scatola, e questo è stato con me che affrettavo la festa a punti.

There’s a lot here, and all of it to like. Tons of fun for players, and easy to implement for DMs/GMs, Hive of the Ghoul-kin is a no-brainer. Grab yourself a copy, and plunge your D&D party into a horrific body-horror nightmare at your next session.

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If you haven’t already done so, now is the perfect time to check out our Recensione di Hive of the Ghoul-kin for a close look at the rest of the box. You won’t be disappointed.

Ancora una volta, un enorme grazie a Il tavolo dei giochi per averci ospitato!

Editor’s note: the flavour text that has been inserted throughout this article does not originate from within the Hive of the Ghoul-kin Campaign Booklet. This was written by Rob as part of his planning and was used throughout the live session.


  • VoltorRWH

    Rob has spent most of the last 20 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

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Rob has spent most of the last 20 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

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