Poor Shadowbrook. As if it’s not bad enough that this quaint hamlet is constantly under assault by evil Scarecrows, savage Werewolves, and Vampires that turn into mist, but now it has fallen under the enchanting spell of the Delion Dryad! The Delion Dryad scenario for Touch of Evil is available free from the Flying Frog website (get it here), which is pretty awesome. Touch Of Evil is not a particularly cheap game, usually going for around $50 so it’s very nice to see the designer encourage players to create their own scenarios and also to give away some free content. Well done.
Cris and I played a cooperative game the other night against the Dryad and we found her to be a pretty challenging opponent. The Dryad starts the game with a six combat and four wounds, unlike all the other villains who have five and five. But there are numerous ways for her to increase her wounds throughout the game, so don’t expect to fight a lightweight. The earlier a showdown can get started with the Dryad the better off the hero(es) is, but there are a couple of obstacles in the way. For starters the Dryad has the Sorceress ability which protects her from heroes who rely only on brute strength. If a hero has a Cunning and Spirit combined score of less than eight only sixes will hit the Dryad in a fight, so only a foolish hero will jump into an early showdown (the otherwise feeble Victor Danforth is the only one who meets this requirement at the onset of the game). Shadow of the Season grants the Dryad an extra wound marker every time the Shadow Track passes into a new stage, either back or forth so the players needs to be careful if they move it around or the Dryad will continue to grow in power. Additionally, the Dryad has the potential to lure town elders to her side for the showdown to protect her with the Enchantment ability. Whenever a “Murder” card is played or a one or two rolled on the minion chat there is a chance that multiple elders will have enchantment markers places on them, the more they have at the start of the showdown the better chance that they will join the evil nature spirit and crush Shadowbrook.
The minions following the Dryad are a mixed bunch. She has wolves, which are nothing special and usually pretty easy to deal with. However the Living Trees are another matter. They are automatically placed in a random location each mystery phase, which means that it does not take very long for evil plants to overrun the board. Pretty early in our game the other night all four corner locations had Living Trees, which made it very tough to get anything. I was Thomas the Courier and was knocked unconscious at least three times by them in the first several turns of the game, the fact that Thomas is sort of a wimp wasn’t helping. The Trees have four wounds and three fight dice, but they only hit on a six when attacking. But their blows are fierce and do two hits each. On the bright side any hero with a torch gets a +2 to their fight dice, making the torch a cost effective way to do battle. Plus, they are worth five investigation points.
Also on the minion chart is the Creeping Brambles event, which is sort of feast or famine for the players. When it comes up every hero has to make an Honor 6+ test or lose D6 investigation, however each success garners the hero a +1 Cunning, Spirit, or Honor marker. That certainly helps to get past the Sorceress power, but can completely sap a players investigation reserve and thus delay when the player can fight the Dryad.
I consider the Dryad to be a rather capable opponent. Cris and I were victorious against her, but by the time we won Thomas had been knocked unconscious in the showdown and the shadowtrack was down to one, so it’s not like we had an easy time of things. Honestly, if it was not for Isabella’s Manipulation ability we would have been done for. Strategy wise it’s hard to say who works best in this scenario. Because of the Dryad’s abilities and some of her minions all of the stats are needed, so a well rounded character probably works best. Especially if they can avoid fights early on and get an item or two to help out against the Living Trees which are going to be all over the place. The torch can be discarded against the Dryad for an extra four Fight Dice, which makes it almost a must have for this scenario.
I think that anyone who plays Touch of Evil should immediately go and download the Delion Dryad. It’s free and it will show Frying Frog that they should make more free scenarios. Sounds like a win win situation.