I played 3 Lantern Years in a row. It was mostly just more Gorm hunting to grind materials into gear and get some innovation going in the settlement. These 3 games are actually quite some time ago now, but I’ve been super sick with the flu. And then having to catch up that entire week lost.
Lantern Year 5 offered my first encounter with the Lonely Tree. Drew it as a terrain card if I remember correctly. So the settlement now has The Lonely Fruit. No one is gonna bite down on it just yet. Lantern Year 8 introduced the Sunstalker. So I am planning for a group of survivors to go fight him in Lantern Year 9. Had one loss (1st of March lost his head) and one new baby (Tonight). 1st of March became a dad just before his death. At some point I gotta make a weird ass family tree for the settlement. They’ve gained access to Scrap Smelting, the Weapon Crafter and the Barber Surgeon. And have one full set of Rawhide Leather. They’re lacking in weapons though.
She tends to the graves. 1st of March was last to the ground. Most of him anyway. Another mate laid to rest. Is it her that is cursed? Looking at the little one, playing with her big sister near the Barber Surgeons tent. At least 1st left her this. Another chance at motherhood. Maybe this is how she breaks the curse? Raising her children to be better, do better. Already they are better. Off. At least. These last few hunts have brought back prosperity to Clocktower 6s meagre lantern hoard. They’re smelting metal now. Crafting weapons. Eating well.
Should they eat better? Unconsciously she starts wandering towards the supply pile. There’s a strange fruit there. Something weird, pulsating, like it has a heartbeat. She’s been dreaming about it, ever since a small group of hunters brought it back. She wants to…no she yearns to…no that’s not it either…she needs to taste it. Bite into it. It’s calling her. Closer. Closer.
Scaled Back lay a hand on her shoulder. Her head clears. She’s holding the weird fruit in her hand. T almost looks lonely. How can a fruit look lonely? “Come. It’s time to go inside. A storm is coming.” Scaled Back takes her hand. She drops the fruit back into the pile and follows him and the rest of the settlers inside. They will hide here. Wait here. The storm will pass. It always does.
Butcher time! For those that don’t know, nemesis encounters happen back at the settlement, when the departing survivors return from their hunt. It’s kinda the norm that the 4 survivors, you pitch against the nemesis, will die. Cause these monsters are hardcore, with some really interesting AI mechanics. So I decided to send out Gale to meet the Butcher. At this time in life he was blind on one eye, and didn’t really have any good fighting arts or permanent increases to his stats. He seemed like the obvious canon fodder. And then I chose 3 lvl 0 hunters, another male (Bleeding Lines) and 2 females (Canvas and Bleach). Yeah, this naming convention of choosing random words from the music I’m listening to isn’t weird at all. cough cough
These 4 survivors are sent out to their certain doom. Spoiler, only 1 died. They actually downed the Butcher. Crazy times.
Just the day before this game, I received my Token Sesame gadget/thingy (no clue what such a thing is called). It’s a bit big, but a huge help really. Had everything within easy reach, and a nice place to throw my dice. This thing can be changed into so many different configurations, but for KD:M (solo) I think I’m just gonna keep it like this. Really happy with this puchase.
Runner 9 is still screaming. The song is eating away at their nerves. It’s a beautiful song. It’s a beautiful nightmare. They don’t sleep. They want to wake up. There is only the screams. The song. It takes up every space in their head. Until it doesn’t. Runner 9 falls silent. With empty eyes he stares out into the plains.
They feel his presence before they see him. A man too big of size. He’s dragging a dead body along with him. Leaving a gory trail of blood and pieces of skin and hair and bone. Slowly he comes closer to the lantern hoard of Clocktower 6. Slowly they realise the dead man, this creature is dragging, has no face. The face is adorning the monsters breastplate. Stretched across like cling film.
Cling film? Runner 9 remembers the word. He does not remember the meaning. The monster drops the dead body to the ground. Like a challenge. Come. Fight.
Gale looks back at Tuesday and Tomorrow. This monster. This man. This butcher is here to slaughter them all. The intent is clear. Gale won’t let that happen. He sees Tomorrow starting to gear up. Eager to meet this new challenge. To prove her worth. He slowly shakes his head. It will be him. And someone not of his family. Three others are chosen.
Bleeding Lines know his time is up. The axe in his hand feels wrong. Weird. He’s never held a weapon before. It’s the weight. Heavy. Too heavy. Together with Bleach and Canvas, it was his job to tend the lantern hoard. Now he’s here, on the battlefield. Blood dripping from a wound on his head. A nasty wound. Is this how brain smells?
The Butcher steps forward. Swinging a cleaver at Bleeding Line’s head. He dodges out of reach and desperately tries to emulate that move with his axe. It hits. It breaks. Not the monster. The monster just.won’t.break. But his frail bone axe. It crumbles to pieces on the dense armor of the Butcher. Bleeding Lines pulls the small knife out of his belt. It’s useless. But it’s all he has.
Gale looks down where his leg used to be. Now it’s lying a few meters behind him. Blood gushing out of him. Life gushing out of him. He’s dead. He knows it. His body seems to be a little more stubborn though. Not yet. Not dead yet. He throws himself at the Butcher. It’s all he can do. Use the rest of his battered body as a weapon. There’s a spark of light in the air, as the weak light of the lantern hoard reflects in one the Butchers cleavers. It’s coming down on Gale fast. Hard. He does hear the sound. Its a weird sound. Cause it’s both inside and outside of his head. A crack. Like eggshells breaking. Gale suddenly realise he’s missing the taste of eggs. Then he misses nothing anymore, as the cleaver continues through his skull and into his brain.
It could be a smile. That thing spreading across the Butchers face. A content and happy smile, as Gale slides off his cleaver and onto the ground. One more for his collection. One more to fulfil his purpose. One more. It could be a smile. But it freezes before it becomes anything real. Bleach buries her axe in the Butchers neck. And with all her strength, she wills her body to follow through. Push it in. Deeper. Further.
A sharp white light. No sound. No warning. Just a moment of brilliant white light. And the Butcher is gone. Blinked away from existence. They look down at Gales dead body. One more to bury. One more to mourn.
When all has settled. When their goodbyes have been song. When they rest for a moment. At the cold, dim light of the lantern hoard. They rebuild. They craft. They hold hands. Bleeding Lines and Bleach finding a moment just to themselves. A moment of hope. Of love. A baby boy is born. They name him Plastic Bubble.
I’ve removed the White Lion, Screaming Antelope and Phoenix from the timeline. The settlement is also a hunt less, since they never did the prologue. So a few resources behind. But I am not doing this campaign to ‘win’. But to see where the story goes. What KD:M has to offer Clocktower 6 and its settlers.
Squishing the hunts together, when they’re just grinding for materials. More Gorm has been downed. An incredible amount of crits rolled. I can’t imagine they’ll be this lucky against the Butcher.
Tomorrow can’t help wonder. Did Runner 9 hunt down an already weakened prey on purpose? When they met that man butchering a beast, and Runner 9 smeared the beasts blood all over his face and body. Was it on purpose? He must have known it would instantly make him a target. Was Runner 9 trying to teach her something? Protect her? Something don’t add up.
Doesn’t matter. She’ll show him. Creeping ahead of the group. She’s the first to spot the already limping creature. She rushes in, catching it by surprise. It pays off. It’s an easy kill. She feels ready for whatever the darkness will throw at her. Gripping the axe tighter.
Runner 9 knows the kill was too easy. Like the monster wanted them to bethere. At that moment. At that spot. Something don’t add up. The dead body already there, at the mammoths feet. A weird bone protruding from the thigh. The sound as he rips it free. Almost musical. He looks at his sleeping companions. The spoils piled up next to the camp fire. One more day of walking across the plains and they’re home. Dreams have them now. Dreams of warmth and meat and safety. They are mistaken. They are haunted. There is no doubt in Runner 9’s mind. Whatever lured them to kill the beast, is now haunting them. He knows no words to describe this. He only knows screams and songs. He scream the song.
Tuesday is proud of her daughter. Her first hunt. Her first spoils. Her first wounds. They grind the organs into pulp. Bone and skin is turned into axes and armor. They have to hurry. Runner 9 is still singing the song. Something in the dark. Something is coming. The meager light of Clocktower 6 is not enough to protect them.
A KD:M campaign featuring Gorm, The Lonely Tree, The Sunstalker and the Dragon King. Might change some of the nemesis encounters too. Haven’t decided yet. No naming convention. I’ve picked names from words in songs I’ve listened to, while creating the characters. Except Runner 9. Needed a Runner 9 in the campaign. No clue why I decided to name the settlement Clocktower 6. But there you go. Gonna go for story mode. Highlights of each lantern year.
The sun slowly sets over Clocktower 6. So very slowly. Like it has all the time in the world. Like time doesn’t matter. Tuesday is anxiously scouting across the plains. They should have been back by now, but there’s no sight of them. The dark clouds in the horizon adds to her nervousness. A storm is coming. What is taking them so long?
She lays her hands on her huge stomach. The child will be coming soon. “Come home to me Gale” she whispers, before turning back to the lantern hoard. The rest of the settlement is huddled around it. Dirty. Starving. Eyes carrying no hope. Hands idly scraping at the stone faces on the ground. If the hunting party doesn’t return home soon, all hope will be lost.
Gale finally sees the light of Clocktower 6. Even though he’s blind on one eye, he recognizes the faint warm glow of the lantern hoard in the distance. It is home after all. Next to him Runner 9 is carrying the dead body of Alright in his arms. She really isn’t. Alright. Anymore. They should have named her something else.
He still hears the echoes of her screams in his mind. He just can’t shake it. Over and over again, the scene is playing out. The tiny, misshapen arms next to the monsters mouth, reaching out, clawing at Alright’s face. Tearing. The horrid popping sound when one of the fingers slides into her left eye and yanks it out, just moments before the monsters big mouth closes around her neck and almost rips it off entirely.
They need to bring her home. To give her a proper burial. To say goodbye. Leaving her body behind was never an option. Even if her head is dangling in ways that isn’t…shouldn’t be possible. She is…no was, he corrects himself…she was one of Clocktower 6’s finest. So Runner 9 is carrying her.
Gale looks over at Accident. She was. Is. An accident in motion that is. The tiny redheaded girl is never thinking. Always doing. So they named her Accident, cause she sure is prone. Acci for short. Is just easier to say.And they don’t say much, if they can avoid it.
Runner 9 might be carrying their past, but Acci is carrying their future. Bundled in her arms are the spoils of the battle. Skins and organs and a weird little fly they found on their way to the monsters lair. All of this will be turned into food and weapons and clothes and tents and whatever else the members of Clocktower 6 can think off. Every little scrap helps.
They reach the tiny settlement just as Tuesday starts screaming. The baby will wait no longer. A life was lost. A life is now coming. A one eyed girl. Just like her father. They name her Tomorrow. It seems fitting.