Into a Gloom of Kilforth Adventure with a Vampire Bard

March 17, 2020 | Stories | 2 comments

Explore the harrowing journey of a rather unlikely hero, namely a vampire bard, in Gloom of Kilforth.

There are many solo board games that create deep narratives and memorable stories. Up until recently, I nearly forgot how Gloom of Kilforth also falls into this category! And it isn’t the source of small stories. This is a game that creates sweeping epics and interesting tales. Once again, I reset the world and prepared for another grand adventure!

Game Overview

Game Name: Gloom of Kilforth
Publication Year:
 2017
Designer:
 Tristan Hall
Artist:
 Ania Kryczkowska
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game

The mix of races and classes can create all sorts of unique characters. This time, I headed off with none other than this unusual vampire bard. They have to exist, right? Ha!

Now for another lengthy tale to show off the game, and also share something mildly to moderately entertaining…

Vertical Encounters

Wait… I lied. Just before getting into the story, I wanted to share something new I tried with this play!

Encounters are usually placed on locations. Even with the larger Tarot-sized cards, it can be tricky to see everything from afar. Locating keywords can be tough, too.

So with a ton of standee bases in my component organizer, I decided to try something new with the encounter cards. Voila! This was actually excellent.

Aside from a few domino-style topples every now and then, this made the information very easy to see.

The Fiercest of Storms

Nuccio Frescobaldi was a man of the shadows. Taverns welcomed his joyful lute by night. Yet it was on one such night that the bard faced a storm of his own.

He was transformed from mere mortal to terrifying vampiric monster. It twisted his thinking and changed him forever. His lute wove tales of horror and fear.

Nuccio looked out across Kilforth one night and sensed the growing gloom. This was his time to venture forth.

Under the cover of darkness from a fierce storm that whipped the land, the vampire bard began his tale.

Freeing an Ally

Outside of Sprawl City, Nuccio traveled northeast in search of the source of gloom. He stumbled across an abandoned castle whose donjon was being used by slavers.

Although he was hardly the ethical type, he sensed the evil behind the intentions. The orcs had to be stopped.

Armed with nothing but his lute, Nuccio gained entry into the den. Songs of death and destruction placated the orcs. Nuccio blended into the shadows, and then struck.

Upon freeing the slaves, a Wild Mage joined him. She held great knowledge and power if only she could return home.

The Undead vs. Undead

The Dead Swamps proved to be a trying place for Nuccio. Apart from the desolate dampness, there were things lurking in the shadows. Were they the cause of the gloom?

Not quite. One evening, while attempting to forage for something to quench his thirst, he met something.

His dim torch illuminated the undead beast before him. The mummy was like none he had ever heard of, and it struck at him with unnatural strength.

The bard nearly fell to the monster but was rewarded with a chance to use his life drain for survival. All was well.

A Gate to Nowhere

Elsewhere in Kilforth, the gloom created terrible tears between worlds. The darkness ushered forth all sorts of creatures, typically of the demonic variety.

Outside of Sprawl City, there was danger all around. Now, the brave homesteaders and inhabitants of small villagers felt fear crawling all about. These were dangerous times.

The Lost Forest itself saw a small gate twist and turn to allow denizens to venture forth and wreak havoc.

The time for a hero to save the world was at hand. No one, not even he himself, knew a cursed bard was the answer.

Placating a Ruffian

Not every region presented a danger, though. Nuccio left behind the swamps for somewhere a little drier. And, he hoped, a little less mummified.

He feared he had miscalculated when he came across Olvenskol the ruffian. He was quite formidable.

The bard recognized a certain pause in their initial exchange. Rather than reaching for a weapon, he quietly pulled out his lute and amazed his companion with a song.

Olvenskol was delighted. He shared some knowledge about an artefact of great power he had been seeking.

The First Part of a Saga

With enough information, Nuccio realized that there was a growing danger to Kilforth from this strange artefact. The orc had been wrong in some respects.

Namely, this was a quest for a vampire bard to undertake. The orc was a little less lively when Nuccio left him.

The pieces of the puzzle didn’t make a lot of sense to him, though. A mummy? And what was it about this incursion of orcs that was so conveniently timed?

Nuccio felt that there was more to learn. He turned his attention westward, towards the home of the Wild Mage.

In the Dark Mire

He wondered if there would ever be a way to escape from these cursed swamps. Nuccio was kneedeep in dreary water and darkness before he knew it.

His unknown wandering created opportunities, though. As he sunk further into the Dark Mire, he spotted something in the distance. An enormous enemy towering above?

Instead, this was the place of Maceo’s Grael. The old temple had been built on top of many other temples that had either sunk or fallen over in the swamp. It happens.

Nuccio took this knowledge with him as he pressed on.

Wild Rewards

Fortunately, the home of his ally proved to be a drier environment. Nuccio could finally care for his lute, which had suffered greatly from the damp environment.

Nanula introduced the bard to her clan and told of his brave deeds across Kilforth.

For returning her home, the others granted him forbidden knowledge in the realm of spells. A pair of powerful options would prepare him for the hardships to come.

The Wild Mages didn’t elaborate. Like a good tavern song, Nuccio knew that all the details were best left unsung.

The Transformation

No self-respecting vampire turned into some sort of hero. But Nuccio was different. Perhaps it was all those years singing sweeping tales of good, brave souls.

It was rather ironic that in the Endless Brackens, a desperate family implored him to locate their son.

Raphael was far too easy to turn into a meal. The thought certainly crossed his mind. Yet something held him back as he tore through the wilderness in search of the child.

Nuccio found Raphael and returned him unharmed. What was happening to his vampiric side? He pondered away.

Clearing the Gloom

The lute’s songs kept Nuccio company as he began to travel closer to the darkness. The color was wiped away from the land in some spots. It was all rather alarming.

Lava Canyon was rumored to suffer from some sort of awful pit. The sort of pit only known in nightmares.

The vampire bard inched closer. The heat was horrible and cracked his skin like pure sunlight often did. Still, he moved closer to see the awful demons.

True Sight, a powerful spell from the Wild Pages, was all he needed to close the pit for good.

Another Saga Chapter

Everything seemed to be coming together, though Nuccio still felt at a loss as to where he might find this powerful artefact. One evening, he tried to piece it together.

Magic swirled around the mystery. The Wild Mages must have known this truth when they taught him the spells.

The Spawning Pit was another worrying development. It was entirely separate from the orcs. And yet it was even more dangerous. Were there others around Kilforth?

Nuccio went back to Maceo’s Grael time and time again. There was something foul in the swamps. He knew it.

Close to Death

After traversing many regions of Kilforth, Nuccio felt a surge of strength. Nothing could stop him and his lute!

All that changed when he went snooping about the jungle near Sprawl City. This close to civilization, he was certain that there would be relative safety. He was undead wrong.

The blast of cold air was enough to chill his dead skin. A horrible ghost flew at him in a fit of pure rage.

Nuccio was utterly unprepared, and even a lute couldn’t calm this sort of monster. He crawled out of the jungle with barely enough life force to stay conscious.

A Fortunate Discovery

With luck perplexedly on his side, the vampire bard staggered into the warmth of Heskan’s Fall. In the daylight, there was no question as to what he was.

However, Nuccio was spared. Raphael’s family originally hailed from this small region, and word had spread of the daring rescue. Yet the bard remembered nothing else.

When he awoke, he was stronger than ever. Though not a citizen, the villagers were overjoyed to see him.

The lute sang throughout that night, fighting off the encroaching darkness and offering the villagers joy.

Revisiting the Past

Even though there were other places to visit, Nuccio felt an obligation to return to the Lush Jungle.

There was no sense in allowing the ghost to live. Or not live. Either way, it needed to be destroyed. Now that he was healthy and prepared, it would be a proper battle.

With his great sense of knowledge, the undead was put to rest with a minimal amount of effort. Victory, at last!

Yet the destruction brought even more questions. Why was a ghost this close to Sprawl City? Had it climbed through a gate, or come from somewhere else worse?

An Unusual Stranger

Back in the Verdant Fields, Nuccio’s spirits fell when he saw how gloom had invaded the land. Fear and terror reigned supreme while the land itself shriveled.

Yet all was not lost. He nearly slammed his lute into the head of a stranger who all but appeared from the mists.

She was a simple cleric by the name of Lady Emma. Her holiness was almost painful for him to be near. It was no secret what Nuccio was, yet she did not judge.

The cleric listened to his songs and strange life story. For unexplained reasons, she trusted him. But why?

Onward with a Saga

Midnight talks with Lady Emma revealed more about the Sceptre of Power. The ghost was most certainly involved with its existence, though she knew not how.

In all this time, Nuccio had failed to keep his vampiric nature a secret to most. Yet there was another secret.

From the very start, his journey had taken him further than many would have believed. Indeed, he traveled on the stealthiest of mounts that none would ever see.

Lady Emma warned that the road ahead would be deadly, but it was the only way to piece Kilforth back together.

The Dead Swamp

What was it about the swamps that captivated Nuccio? Before long, he found himself back in the Dead Swamp.

Not surprisingly, he was far from alone. A kobold attacked from the shadows. It was, however, unprepared for what it was going up against. This was a heroic vampire bard!

The beast fell before long. Although injured, it was simple to drain the remaining life from the kobold. Nuccio was back in fine form in no time.

There were no explanations for the arrival of these terrible foes, though. He dug deeper and journeyed on.

No More Orc Barracks

Nuccio couldn’t be certain if the orcs were behind the gloom, the Sceptre of Power, or possibly both. All he knew was that their presence in Kilforth was not welcome.

In the northeast region, he took his Stealthy Elephant to explore rumors of another orc incursion.

Sure enough, armies were amassing for some sort of major move. Nuccio studied them from afar, gathering whatever information he might.

Would this be the downfall of Sprawl City? He wasn’t certain if this was actually an offensive plan from the orcs.

A Farmer of the Moor

As travel continued to grow more difficult with the encroaching gloom, Nuccio turned his attention to those who would normally be his enemies.

Farmers far and wide despised vampires, particularly those of the slightly ethical nature. They often hunted farm animals rather than humans. A terrible farm crime.

Nonetheless, Nuccio tried his luck when he ran into Samwise at a tavern. The man was reserved, but kind.

A song was a simple way to placate him. Former enemies seemed bound together in these times.

Evil Arachnids

On his way to explore the gloom, Nuccio walked straight into the nest of a thousand terrible spiders.

He fought them off with nothing more than his torch and some carefully planned moves. It was far from simple, though night continued to creep closer and closer.

This was the first sign of something foul afoot within Kilforth. These spiders were not the product of the orcs, nor the undead controlled by the Spectre of Power.

Nuccio looked to his allies, including Lady Emma, though none spoke of anything more. This was his saga to live.

Uniting the Clans

With Kilforth undeniably in danger, Nuccio was unable to fight off every element of evil. He needed assistance, no matter where that might come from.

Far to the north, he met with the leaders of the Wild Claw tribes. Ages ago, they spread across the land. Now, they were completely splintered and separated.

Under a united banner, however, they would prove to be a nearly unstoppable force. Nuccio looked for a way to convince them of their worth and strength.

He accomplished it with none other than a song.

A Strange Chapter

Nuccio managed to pick up a useful ally in Evrin Vindale, a Paladin. Though he himself might be considered demonic, the brave man agreed to head deeper into the gloom.

Evrin revealed very little about his life, though he was certain he knew more of the Sceptre of Power than anyone.

The bard listened to the lengthy tales at night. Yet it was Lady Emma, the cleric, who made sense of it all.

She believed that the Paladin told the truth, and would guide Nuccio to the heart of the danger. Yet this was where she would part ways with him, for unknown reasons.

Fighting Off the Orcs

After making so many strides against the orcs, Nuccio became a marked target. It was hardly a position new to him, though. Vampire bards were typically disliked.

A surprise attack from an orc ravager was practically nothing to him. The lone aggressor was dispatched.

It was a rather messy affair, though. Nuccio’s lute required an extensive cleansing after coming in contact with the spittle and drool from the foul creature.

Despite another orc attack, he knew that these beasts were simply eyeing Kilforth for themselves. Nothing more.

The Learning Library

One element of the search for the Sceptre of Power centered around arcane knowledge. Nuccio felt he needed to locate and learn more spells. But from where?

The answer came to him almost too perfectly. While out for an evening walk, which usually entailed a hunt, he came upon a small door lit by a red torch.

Inside, he discovered a secret library filled with all manner of spells and arcane information.

Nuccio spent the night teaching himself a new spell that he hoped would make a difference against the gloom.

Using a Weakness

Not every region of Kilforth housed some terrible evil. There were small families and villages to explore.

While spending time in a tavern within the Windy Valley, Nuccio met a kind woman who was absolutely transfixed by his appearance. Indeed, it was his amulet.

He wanted to ask her for more information, yet there was no need to spend any time. She recognized Perdition’s Amulet and warned him of the worst places.

The evil was in the swamplands. Nuccio despised the damp for many reasons, including this new one.

The Lich of the Swamp

Without haste, Nuccio traveled back to the Dead Swamp to face a sinister enemy. The Lich was terrible and terrifying in its undead state. Yet he didn’t falter.

What once would have been a nearly impossible battle made the vampire bard nearly smirk. The world was falling into gloom. Narkarish was nothing.

Yet in the end, as he fed off of the life force, Nuccio wondered what had brought this monster forth.

There was something worse coming. He sensed it in the dark air, and even within himself.

The Power Struggle

It was here. In a moment of clarity, Nuccio knew where the Sceptre of Power was. The Dead Swamp held more secrets within its terrible depths than it knew.

He saw the demonic creature in the distance. This was his time to become the hero and leave his vampire title behind. Or was it too late to become something good?

This was not a battle of strength, though. All of the spells prepared Nuccio for a battle of the minds and the arcane.

The creature was forced to relinquish control of the artefact when the bard defeated him, in verse of course.

Wielding the Power

At long last, the Sceptre of Power was wrested from the hands of evil. Nuccio held it in awe before it suddenly glowed and bestowed arcane knowledge within him.

New spells become instinct. More than that, though, the source of the growing gloom became apparent.

It was she, the Abbess of Penance, who was attacking Kilforth. As punishment? Nuccio knew not, but he knew where she resided in a nearby swamp. Because… Swamps.

He questioned whether it would be enough. And if this was some sort of punishment, what of his vampiric ways?

The Final Battle

The Abbess of Penance was a frightening opponent in the Dark Mire. Nuccio approached her with his best assets: His knowledge, and his lute. This would be won with a song.

She was far from yielding, however. The night wore on as he battled and sang, only for her to fight back.

Nuccio used every ounce of strength he had to stay standing. Yet as dawn began to break, he started to stagger. Sunlight would certainly destroy him.

With one last effort, the Abbess of Penance disintegrated into nothingness. And Nuccio closed his eyes to the light…

A Final Epilogue

Days later, Nuccio regained consciousness. Little by little, feeling crept back over him. Only it was different. He was warm. And injured. Panic stole over him, but it was Lady Emma who calmed him. For Nuccio was no longer undead. Somehow, as the gloom disappeared, so too did his vampire characteristics. He was himself, though far from the same.

Session Overview

Play Number: 3
Expansion: Encounters Expansion Pack
Accessory: Pimp My Gloom Expansion Pack
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game
Play Details: Warrior Difficulty Level
Required Play Space: 44″ x 28″
Setup Time: 15 Minutes
Play Time: 2 Hours & 30 Minutes
Outcome: 45 Points (Win)

I don’t know. I guess I like this game? Ha ha! Just kidding! The stories are amazing, and I had a fantastic time again.

%

1 Play

Affordability

Price & Value

6

Functionality

Challenges & Mechanics

9

Originality

Design & Theme

7

Quality

Components & Rules

8

Reusability

Achievement & Enjoyment

8

Variability

Distinctness & Randomness

10

More Gloom of Kilforth

Explore related posts about Gloom of Kilforth: A Fantasy Quest Game!

Continue the Conversation

What a story! Have you played Gloom of Kilforth: A Fantasy Quest Game? What are some of your favorite aspects of it? Even with back-to-back plays, I think I may have seen a handful of repeated encounters and rewards. There is quite a lot of variety! I’m still far from done playing for now… I really like these mechanics, along with the amazing tales!

2 Comments

  1. Another fine tale, this one with a happier ending. You must be a member of the Bardic Guild yourself.

    Also, this is the first time I’ve seen the Stealthy Elephant card (Elephant Rider)!

    Planning on opening the Shadows of Kilforth in the next few weeks…seems as if we all have a lot more time on our hands for gaming. Are you going to eventually move into the Shadows or stay with the Gloom for a while? I’m curious as to your comparison between the two (similarities/differences) in the future.

    Reply
    • Thank you kindly! I was excited to see the Elephant Rider card. It actually ties into the start of the Stealthy Elephant phenomenon. It was inevitable that I would get this game… I need that card. Ha ha!

      I’m trying to stick with one game for the time being, with a few others in the rotation. I’m almost positive I’ll be moving onto Shadows of Kilforth in the near future, though, particularly so I can try to compare them both. It seems best to play them pretty close together to remember all the nuances. That should be coming up… Eventually and relatively soon!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

I accept the Privacy Policy