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Rise of the Dread Moon Enemies and Details Revealed

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Here’s my analysis of the newly revealed HeroQuest: Rise of the Dread Moon images, as well as a short playtesting of the newly teased Specter monster.

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What’s New in the World of HeroQuest

Thanks to this post from Avalon Hill earlier today, we have some more details for the upcoming HeroQuest expansion Rise of the Dread Moon.

First off, in this post we finally get an official size for the Barbarian. He’s 6’7″, that’s huge! No wonder he plows through goblins like they’re not even there!

The Avalon Hill post gives us some information about a new monster we will encounter in Rise of the Dread Moon. The Specter! (See monster card below)

In the post, we’re told that the Specter can move through Heroes, walls, and other solid objects, this makes them a pretty formidable adversary, especially with 3 Attack and Defend Dice. The one thing that the Heroes have going for them is that this Undead creature only has 1 Body Point. I emphasize Undead because I have a thought about this. The monster card specifically mentions Undead and Ethereal. I think HeroQuest is getting complex enough now that we need to have keywords on cards in order to describe effects and abilities. This would be similar to other games, such as Dungeons and Dragons or Magic the Gathering.

Personally I prefer my HeroQuest to be kept simple, but there is only so much that can be printed onto a card. This maybe was inevitable. Anyways, getting off topic a bit!

The Specter has the ability to cast the Dread Spell “Channel Dread” at will. At the very least, this means it can cast the spell once every turn. The “At Will” part may be a little confusing. Can this monster cast the spell outside of Zargon’s turn? I don’t think so, but we’ll have to wait to see if this is specified in the Quest Book.

Channel Dread appears to be a very deadly and “Dreadful” spell! Roll 1 read die, and add 1 to the result, for every monster adjacent to the caster. Played strategically, this spell will deal damage to a Hero more often than not! There is also no way to defend against this spell. As long as this spell is relying on line-of-sight, that means the caster could add as many as 3 to the dice roll, which is a guaranteed hit. If Ethereal means that the monster doesn’t block line of sight, then it could add 4 to the roll! When I playtest, I’ll assume that Ethereal monsters still block line-of-sight.

Finally, the last reveal, a set of cards representing potions, hopefully some new potions, and some rereleases of past potions. This creates the question, are we still going to get “Equipment” cards for the potions included in this expansion? In the past expansions, the “Alchemists Shop”, was both printed on the inside cover of the quest book, and included “Equipment” cards of the potions.

The past potions will also include new prices, so it will be up to Zargon to determine which price the Heroes should pay when it comes time to purchase potions.

Speculation Time

The Plastic Specter

I think there is already going to be a lot of plastic in this expansion. There’s the new Knight, Several new Elven characters, possible Cultists or Wizard type enemies, and we can’t forget Sir Ragnar. I doubt they’ll include more than one sculpt for the Specter. Any named specters, we’ll probably still have to use the Dread Sorcerer!

The Specter has some very Elven features. I think we might be dealing with undead risen Elves in the aftermath of The Mage of the Mirror Quest Pack. The post above mentions that Rise of the Dread Moon takes place directly after The Mage of the Mirror. Maybe Sir Ragnar has figured out how to raise the dead back to unlife and enlist them to his cause!? Maybe we’ll be seeing another undead villain again? Skulmar? Or maybe the Witch Lord back again for a third round?

I still believe that it would be a loss to everyone if they didn’t cast the Specter mini in a translucent plastic, like this one, which you’ll be seeing a bit later when I try to playtest this monster:

Homebrew Potion Deck

I find the potion deck reveal to be interesting. I’ve seen a few different ones homebrewed on Ye Olde Inn and other places in the HeroQuest Community.

I am now thoroughly convinced that, as HeroQuest Superfans, the Avalon Hill HeroQuest team are now just making their own homebrews official! Why wouldn’t they!? If I was a designer, working on HeroQuest, I would probably do that too!

There is very little information about what we’ll see in this deck. From what is shown, it looks like we’ll at least get a copy of the potions released in other Quest Packs, except altered so that there isn’t a hero limitation on some of them. We may get some new potions. We also don’t know for sure if these will be called “Potion” cards at all. This section of the post is called “Alchemical Experimentation”. So for all we know, they could be called “Alchemy” cards or something else.

I think that it would also be beneficial to have duplicates of each potion, and if there was a treasure card or two that allowed you to draw from the potion deck. Who knows what we’ll get, this is all purely speculation!

Doing a Little Playtesting

Alright, let’s test out a little scenario. We have a party consisting of:

  1. The Barbarian – Only because she was specifically called out in the post
  2. The Commander of the Guardian Knights – This makes sense because he’s featured on the front of the box
  3. The Rogue Heir of Elethorn – There are some enemies that resemble this character on the box
  4. The Dwarf – …because I needed a fourth Hero and I like the Dwarf!

Important Note: I realized after playing through this scenario that I misread the Channel Dread spell. The caster only gets the perk from adjacent monsters IF the adjacent monster is also capable of casting this spell. This actually makes the spell far less useful if there are fewer Specters on the board.

The heroes are just minding their own business, walking around a dungeon, all of a sudden, they open a door and encounter something they’ve never seen before! A Specter! Along with a host of other enemies that fit the apparent theme of this expansion.

Two Specters, plus two Elven Warriors, an Elven Archer, and a Dread Warrior wait on the other side of the door. You’ll notice one of the Specters sitting in a location that is often not utilized because it’s inaccessible. The two squares in the corner are blocked off by the alchemists table and the bookshelf, there is no way a regular Hero or Monster would be able to do anything from this spot, but Specters are far from normal, they are Ethereal and can pass through solid objects!

It’s the Barbarian’s turn, she is unsure what these new creatures are, but she knows that Dread Warriors pack a punch and need to be dealt with quickly. Rolling 7, she engages the Dread Warrior and attacks, but misses!

Next up is the Guardian Knight, also rolling a 7, he will engage the Dread Warrior as well. The Guardian Knight manages to land just one blow on the Dread Warrior.

Now the Rogue will move. Rolling 9, she can easily make it to the space on the other side of the Dread Warrior using her Combat Mobility. She will then make two dagger attacks with her Ambidextrous skill. The first Hit is defended, but the second make it through. The Dread Warrior is now down to 1 Body Point!

The Dwarf doesn’t have many options at this point, so he’ll move up to the door, hopefully blocking the enemy’s exit.

I can already see at this point that this will be a difficult encounter for the Heroes. Now it’s Zargon’s Turn!

The first Specter will cast Channel Dread on the Rogue Heir. There is 1 monster next to the Specter, so we’ll add 1 to the roll of 1, making that 2. The Rogue Heir is safe for now. The Specter will float through the bookshelf to safety on the other side.

The second Specter floats over the alchemist’s table, and through the wall, attacking the Dwarf on the other side of the door! It seems the Dwarf’s plan was not successful! The Specter attacks and hits twice, with both hits making their mark.

The Dread Warrior, angered at being hit by the Barbarian and the Rogue, focuses his attention on the bigger target. Making an attack, the Dread Warrior rolls 3 Skulls, the Barbarian can only defend 1! The Dread Warrior then retreats into the corner beside the Rogue.

The Elven Archer doesn’t have many options and makes a 1 Combat Die attack against the Barbarian, which is easily defended. As for the Elven Warriors, maybe they can do some more damage. The first, moves up and attacks the Barbarian, although rolling 2 skulls, both are defended against. The second attacks the Knight, then retreats beside the Dread Warrior, covering it’s flank. This Warrior’s attack is also deflected.

After the initial assault, the Heroes were able to injure the Elven Archer and Elven Warrior, and defeat the Dread Warrior. The monsters countered by dealing heavy blows to the Knight and finally having a successful Channel Dread spell against the Barbarian, dealing 2 Body Points of damage to her.

On their next turn, the Heroes managed something miraculous! All Heroes focused their attacks, and took out both Specters! The monsters, on the other hand, were not so lucky in their attacks. They whittled down the Knights Body Points a fair bit, but that’s about all.

On the fourth, round. The Barbarian rushed back, but not in time to make a significant contribution to her friends. The other Heroes managed to defeat the Elven Archer and one of the Elven Warriors. One Warior remained. The last remaining Warrior managed to make one final hit on the Knight, then perished at the hands of the Barbarian in 1 attack on the fifth and final round.

Maybe this encounter want as difficult as I had initially thought after the first round. I’ll need to try it out a few more times and with different configurations of enemies.

I was pretty surprised that the Specters were taken out so quickly, they have pretty beefy stats. Next time I think I’ll throw 3 of them into the mix.

I also realized that because of the close quarters in the fairly small HeroQuest rooms, it’s actually a bit more difficult than I originally thought to get the full perk from adjacent monsters when casting Channel Dread.

Check out my recent interview with 1992 Elf Quest Pack Designer, here.

Thanks for stopping by! How to see you again soon.

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4 months ago

coming in late with a tangential question: what ghost mini did you use as a stand-in for the specter here?

4 months ago
Reply to  Elvyler

thank you for the info; looks like they had a fantasy series 2 and a horror game

Maalicia Ironhoof
Maalicia Ironhoof
1 year ago

I should also point out that the new “potions deck” – which I hope is vast (20+ cards) potentially does a great job of officiating “sjeng’s” potion deck – which would be great if we also get a treasure card to “draw from the potions deck”

Maalicia Ironhoof
Maalicia Ironhoof
1 year ago

I think something to note is that the “current” rules don’t offer anything to counter the Ethereal/Channel Dread qualities, but I’d be certain as with previous additions, there is always a counterbalance somewhere in the mix. I’d bet we’ll get “artifacts” or “potions” which will assist in one way or another.

1 year ago

Also impressed with how quickly you managed not only to report on the news, but even do some play-testing. Kudos.

1 year ago

You are really fast, Elvyler!! Just today was published the news about Rise of the Dread Moon and you have already organized a play testing!! Awesome article, as always.

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