Old School DungeonCrawl: Advanced Heroquest
Tim, Terrence, Mattias and I dipped into the past last week with a try at the GW classic Advanced Heroquest. That none of us have Advanced Heroquest proved to be no barrier at all. PDF's of the rules are readily available and we already have plenty of figures, dice and a dry-erasable mat (to use in place of dungeon corridor card pieces).
These are the pre-made characters we used.
-Magnus the Bright (Wizard)
-Torallion Leafstar (Elf)
-Heinrich Löwen (Human Warrior)
-Sven Hammerhelm (Dwarf)
...and the miniatures we chose to represent those characters, positioned at the entrance to the first hallway.
The Advanced Heroquest rules contain a system whereby a party of adventurers can dungeoncrawl without need of a GM and we used those rules. A fairly simple set of charts determines the size of each room or corridor and it's doors, contents and denizens.
Opening the door to the first room we discovered a batch of Skaven Warriors (beastmen figures) and a prisoner (spearman).
We wisely choose to stay at the doorway and killed the ratmen one by one as they charged us.
The freed prisoner joined our troupe as a "henchman".
Things would not get any easier though as the second room contained even more including a commander. It also included a stairway to the next level (grate on the far left).
It was an difficult battle with these more dangerous enemies. Heinrich was taken out of action but after the defeat of the Skaven Commander, Magnus the Bright healed him up. The henchman also lost his life, but unfortunately we had no way to revive him.
Before heading into the unknown depths we opted to explore a bit more on this floor. Heading north up a corridor we found another room. This one had still more Skaven. Flush with confidence from healing Heinrich, Magnus tries an offensive spell for the first time. A fireball streams into the midst of the beasts dealing injury (red cubes) and death.
The rest of the party streamed in and wiped out the rest of the rats.
As the last Skaven was defeated we decided to wrap up for the evening.
We all enjoyed the game. There were a few delays at first since none of us had really read the rules, but this is a game where the rules all seem to make sense and we all quickly picked them up. There is a bit more statline checking than many current dungeoncrawl games but it's nowhere near the same level of chart-checking as the old editions of Warhammer and 40k.
Speaking of old GW games, the nostalgia appeal of this game cannot be understated and not just in the rules. The rulebook is chock full writing, art, and pictures of classic GW miniatures that will be immediately familiar to anyone who played GW games in the 80's or 90's.
Though the subtitle for Advanced Heroquest is "Rules for Heroic Roleplay" there's not much role-play going on here. Of course characters can choose to voluntarily role-play if they desire but there's no mechanic for rewarding such. This is really a straight-ahead hack-and-slash Dungeon Crawl. That suited us just fine, but folks looking for an actual RPG may want to look elsewhere.
This was only our first try and I haven't looked beyond the basic rules but if you want a solid, no-frills dungeon crawl that is playable with or without a GM, Advanced Heroquest is definitely worth looking into. It does exactly what you want a dungeoncrawl to do with a healthy dose of classic-GW nostalgia. Next month we're gong to give it a second go, possibly with dungeon tiles from the "Decent: Journey's in the Dark" game.