Quite some years ago I created the HeroQuest mod "Allied HeroQuest". Basically it was an amalgamation of HeroQuest, Advanced HeroQuest and Descent. This project was finished and delivered to the community and I didn't play much sessions of it in the past years.
So, time to pick up my rulebook again and start a game. It's weird to read a publication written by yourself. I forgot most of it but I suddenly remembered why I started this project long ago. Because it's my kind of game! Maybe dungeoncrawlers are not loved by the general public, but I like it. Especially if it's in GW's Old World, medieval and dark...
I choose to play the quest "Lair of the Orc Warlord" from the questbook "The Ragnar Saga". (Downloadable at www.tocoking.be/ahq .) The eight heroes I selected were the classics: Barbarian, Dwarf, Wizard, Elf, Battle Wizard (AHQ), Hammerer(AHQ), Knight(AHQ) and Wood Elf (AHQ).
Like the rules dictate, before reaching the main quest lay-out, the Heroes first have to go through 2 "mini quests" or "passages". In these passages the Heroes have the opportunity to find treasures and build up some gold reserves in order to buy equipment and henchmen. I managed to lose 5 of my brave heroes in the passages leaving me with only the Barbarian, Elf, Wood Elf and two henchmen.
With the Barbarian as party leader the heroes descent into the dark. The henchmen open the first door and position themselves into a strategic location, effectively blocking the spawnpoint. (Rulebook v1.8.1) So long as the room gets lit by the Barbarian's torch, no ambush party nor wandering monsters can threat the heroes inside the room. The game-master can only use Ambush Threat Tokens in the dark and Wandering Monster Tokens at free Spawnpoints.
Unless... the wandering monster is invoked by a treasure card
Wounded from some small skirmishes (not all action is represented in pictures here) I decided to let the strongest hero return to the village to heal all his wounds. The Barbarian leaves the dungeon at the stairs and returns fully healed 2 turns later. Meanwhile the game-master invoked an ambush party in the corridor* and attacked the Henchmen. Under the hatch-spawnpoint many Orcs are impatiently waiting to kill all intruders...
The heroes decided to push further and seek some treasure. What they found was a lit explosive barrel! After the explosion the rooms flooded with Orcs and Goblins emerging from the spawnpoint. The green swarm engulfed the heroes and one by one they fell...
Conclusion: The narrative part worked really well. All actions made sense and the pressure to advance quickly built up tension and exitement. The game-master had to use his threat tokens in a strategic way in order to surpass the heroes cunning tactic of blocking spawnpoint and doorways. After all these years I still believe in my ruleset and will continue to provide support and minor updates if neccesary. Play a session yourself I'd say.
* After re-reading the rules after the game I discovered that corridor sections adjacent to glyphs (stairs) are always illuminated. Ambush parties can only be placed in the dark. So I made a mistake here in favour of the game-master...