A Warm Welcome to my Blog

Tuesday 29 November 2022

Frostgrave - Dark Alchemy - Alchemical Monstrocity

It had all been going so well…. until the explosion rocked the factory. When the dust cleared they were no longer in it. The factory that is….

“We must have been blown through a worm hole in space or time” Rufina remarked conversationally to her 3 companions. She was a Wizards Apprentice and knew about these things.

“Right…. is that so….. well you can get us back through this damned hole of yours…… and do it now”, remarked Red Sonia, in a not so conversational tone.

Sonia was not known for her patience, so Rufina, thinking swiftly said “of course I can, just follow me”. That's when they heard the strangulated roar of an Alchemical Monster.

“And be careful” concluded Rufina.

‘Where the hell are we’ Rufina thought as she looked behind her at some sort of metal fence, ‘bugger that’ she concluded ‘I have to get us out of here before Sonia loses her temper. That might be an Alchemical Monster I can hear but it’s nor half as scary as Red Sonia losing her temper. She knew this from experience, -- bad experience.

They were in some sort of futuristic compound and you might be forgiven for thinking this is because I don’t have any Frostgrave scenery but you’d be wrong.

It’s because in 2017 I met Doug not EM4 and The Mad Lord Snapcase for the first time, Doug umpired a couple of Frostgrave games which I won convincingly. Well I was pretty convinced but it was late and we’d been to the Pub and sometimes we have selective memories and mine was that I won convincingly.

Be that as it may, I thoroughly enjoyed the games and recently Doug started to talk about Frostgrave again and we’ve been discussing how to expand the Frostgrave Universe into different time periods and well; yes…. you’re right I have no Frostgrave scenery but that’s not going to stop me.

He’d become enthusiastic about doing a 3 part campaign; Dark Alchemy and I’m tagging along in his footsteps.

This scenario has the adventurers trying to reach the far side of the factory and exiting through one of two doors in the far corners. You might be forgiven for thinking that the doors look suspiciously like a pair of wooden outhouses or Dunnies if you’re Australian but you should have your eyes tested because they are doors into the strange and wonderful world of Scungrave.

I can’t tell you any more than that because I haven’t read the 2nd scenario and I made such a mess of reading the conditions of the first that I just may re-play it. One final caveat is that this is my first solo game of Frostgrave and as mentioned, the previous game was 5 years ago so don’t expect my rules interpretations to be anything like correct.

The lass in the hat is my Apprentice Wizard, Rufina Grey Eye, Rufina has been apprenticed to the Sorceress Thanda the Grim for many years. Thanda chose Rufina because, whilst normally she has a pair of blue eyes, when she’s angry or crossed, one of them turns grey, this is a portent of a great Elementalist apparently and hence the sobriquet Grey Eye. Rufina is waiting patiently for this portent to become anything like a reality.

She is though, famed for her Commanding Right Hand, this has been known to subdue dogs, cats and small vermin and she’s hoping to extend this to larger animals and maybe even humans, at least the slow witted ones.

Red Sonia, in the red tunic is Thanda’s trusted Lieutenant, Warrior and Treasure Hunter, she has fought in many battles and has many scars but few enemies. They are all dead; some are even buried.

Her extraordinary strength allows her to use ‘Damage’ her famous axe either 1 or 2 handed with devastating results and she’s very adept with the throwing knife ‘Surprise’ that she keeps in a sheath strapped to her left leg.

Thanda sends Sonia on these missions to make sure that all the time she’s invested in training Rufina is not wasted by her being killed in some lonely, desolate, out of the way place. A little like the one she is in now.

The strangulated roar of the Alchemical Monster recedes a little as it makes its way towards one of the exit doorways.

As a Gollum rat appears from the open doorway of the Dunnie of Redemption, covered in slime, it lick’s itself clean before moving on towards the same doorway as the Monster.

Sonia ever the impetuous one, having given her orders to Ashara and Tina, rushes forward. Tending left to avoid the direction the Monster appeared to be heading she feels nothing as Rufina casts a strength spell on her, Rufina though does feel something, as a sharp jolt of negative energy flows up her arm and momentarily blinds her, damn, the spell failed.

Tina the Swift didn’t earn her nickname by being slow. She reaches a blue barrel and pushing it over, she’s happy to discover it’s full of gold, silver and gem’s, there’s a particularly nice Blue Sapphire that she quickly secretes in the lower half of her skimpy outfit.

Tina is small and exquisite; she makes you want to keep her safe, to hold her close, to protect her. Only later when your purse is missing do you wonder if maybe she could have taken it, but no, that couldn’t be – she is too fragile, too helpless and you are too much of a fool.

She is one of the greatest thieves of her age. Swift as a striking Cobra, daring as a Mongoose, bold as a Tiger she is a truly dangerous adversary. Armed only with a small but wickedly sharp knife, lock picks and feminine guile she should not be underestimated, or you might not see the sunset…. ever.

Sonia finds the barrel nearest to her is also full of treasure, her anger at their predicament dissolves a little. Thanda will be pleased if they return with something to show for their misadventure in the exploding factory.

Sonia isn’t sure how, or why but she’s fairly certain the Apprentice had something to do with the disaster and Thanda will look to Sonia as her trusted Lieutenant to explain it and to resolve the situation. She sighs with the inequity of it all before bending to collect the bounty at her feet.

The Alchemical Monster and the Gollem Rat get closer to their objective as a second Gollem emerges from the inky gloom of the dunnie and spots Rufina in the distance.

Rufina tried a second Enhance Strength spell on Sonia, and she felt the warm glow of a successful cast, wondered for a minute if she might be getting the hang of the spell then spotted the Gollem leave the Dunnie. As it cleaned itself she successfully cast a Mind Control spell on it, the poor creature could not resist and fell under her influence.

This was to be the last successful spell she cast, life is sometimes unfair or then again maybe she should spend less time in the public bar at the Frog and Parrot and more time studying her spell books.

Tina lost a little time collecting the treasure from her barrel, and so Ashara makes it to the next one first.

Ashara is the only Archer in Thanda’s Household, and she comes from the exotic hot plains of the southlands.

Learning to fire a bow before she could walk the Elders considered her proficient when she could bring down a running Gazelle at 100 paces.

Her father was famous for his armour piercing arrows but he also produced specialised howling arrows, ones that would put the fear of God into her enemies, and best of all, her Uncle made slightly bent arrows. They could, reputedly, shoot round corners. This just might be late night campfire talk, stories told after a few jars of Raki, that fiery southern drink, beloved of poets, skalds and other tall tale tellers or it might be because he wasn’t a very proficient Fletcher. Truth and myth are interchangeable in the Annals of Time but I prefer the former story.

Ashara discovers this barrel is also full of stones as Tina leapfrogs forward, encumbered by the big blue Sapphire.

At this point you will realise if you played this Frostgrave scenario that she shouldn’t be encumbered and slowed down, also that she could fight without dropping the treasure without a penalty. This mistake of mine was to have serious repercussions later.

The Gollem under Rufina’s influence attacks the one guarding the doorway and dies quickly.

Guard Gollem rolls 12, Influenced Gollem rolls 2, he dies.

An overall shot just to show Sonia on the left is close to one of the door’s, Rufina has discovered the last treasure but Tina and Ashara both encumbered by loot are making slow work of getting there.

The Alchemical Monstrosity and the victorious Gollem rat are off to the right of the picture.

Of course when Sonia tried the door it proved to be the wrong one and they have set off towards the other one. The door that’s guarded by the Monster and Gollem, they have seen the Adventurers and are moving in their direction.

Rufina has been trying to cast a Shield Spell on Sonia and failed twice taking damage each time, was the Demented Demon Best Bitter at the Frog and Duck worth it she thinks to herself.


Ashara is out on a limb; facing both opponents and because she can’t put the treasure down as well as fire her bow in the same turn she’s up S**t Creek.

She did the only thing a sensible archer could do….. she ran away. Then climbed onto the building and now has a commanding view of the enemy. They have rushed forward to attack our gallant band of adventurers but even though the Golem is in contact with Sonia it can’t initiate a fight.

Putting their loot on the ground and drawing their weapons, Rufina’s crew awaited the onslaught.

This is now the end of Turn 7

The Alchemical Monstrosity, a large, plant type monster with tendrils who will be called Planty in future, is attacking Rufina rather than Tina.

At the same time the Gollem attacks Sonia, which turned out to be the last thing it did and a new Gollem appears by the s**t house.

At this point if there’s anyone reading this and understands the rules I’d appreciate them looking over the fight stats and letting me know if I made any mistakes. Or just skip this bit ;)

Planty Rolls 4 Fight +4 = 8 Planty wins.

Rufina Rolls 4 Fight 0 + Tina Support + 2 = 6 Loses. Armour 10 – 8 No damage. Whooo.

Planty wins and remains in combat.

Gollem Rolls 20 Fight +0 = 20 Loses. Armour 6 – 24 = 18 Damage - Health 1 = Dead.

Sonia Rolls 18 Fight +4 Attack spell +2 = 24 Wins

The Girls go next and Sonia moves forward and attacks Planty

Sonia Rolls 3 Fight +4 Attack spell +2 Tina and Rufina in support +4 = 13 Loses. Armour 11 – 20 takes 9 damage.

Planty Rolls 16 Fight +4 = 20 Wins

Ashara shoots at Gollem.

Ashara Rolls 4 Shoot +2 = 6

Gollem Rolls 7 Fight +0 = 7 Wins = No Damage

Ashara decides that in spite of her famed archer skills she is better off climbing down and knocking seven bells out of the Gollem.

Which she does quite successfully.

Sonia continues to attack Planty.

She has some sucess but eventually Planty prevails…Oh NO not Sonia!!

Another Gollem erupts from the dark dank recesses of the spawning bog and attacks Ashara, she deals with it without compunction and it dies.

Planty now attacks Rufina, and if Sonia can’t beat it then this is going to end badly for Rufina, is she going to be an ex Apprentice!

Planty Rolls 19 Fight +4 = 23 Wins

Rufina Rolls 4 Fight 0 + Tina Support + 2 = 6 Loses. Armour 10 – 23 =-13 dead. WHAT!

Don’t you just hate it when you’re right.

With Rufina and Sonia down things are looking bleak and I was feeling quite disgruntled with the combat rules.

It seems that D20’s give far too wide a variable for my taste but let’s continue and see how it pans out.

Ashara turns and attacks Planty from behind as Tina supports her from the opposite side.

Ashara Rolls 14 Fight +2 Tina +2 = 18 wins

Planty Rolls 6 Fight +4 Loses. Armour 13 – 18 = - 5 hurt.

Ashara attacks again…. and Planty is dead.

Tina and Ashara pick up the treasure and rush to the exit door.

But only Tina made it.

Gollem rats kept up a constant flow from the Dunnie and Ashara was defeated in the fighting around that hell hole. Tina made a break for it and has won through. Somewhere along the way she has lost the big blue sapphire and gained an even larger white crystal.

Again, anyone who’s played the scenario will by shouting “you fool, she can carry any number of treasures in this game”

Well if you are, just hold your horses.

As Tina looked back on the mayhem around the Dunnie a strange thought occurred to her.

Bugger Joseph A. McCullough and his scenario, I’m one of the greatest thieves of my age. Swift as a striking Cobra, daring as a Mongoose, bold as a Tiger, I didn’t get that reputation by running off and leaving a mountain of treasure behind for some thief to take what’s rightfully mine, so she went back.

Three times she went back and collected all the gems, gold, silver and in fact anything that looked valuable, including some bits of parchment and phials of strange looking liquid and piled it up by the doorway ready to escape the place.

On her last trip she decided to check on her fallen companions and discovered that they were all hurt but not dead as she had supposed and indeed after rolling a few dice Rufina and Ashara recovered quite well but Sonia who had taken the brunt of the fighting with Planty was quite badly hurt and would need at least some time to recover her full strength. (One game apparently)

Tina also recovered what she considered her personal blue sapphire.

So they were all able to exit the futuristic compound through the doorway and into an unknown future.

Unknown because I haven’t read the next scenario yet and don’t know what I’ll have to do to fudge the landscape. I also need to re-roll on the treasure table 3 more times now that I know Tina should have carried all 4 tokens off the table.

You may feel Tina should have checked on her companions first before collecting the treasure but I did tell you that she’s one of the greatest Thieves of her age and that reputation is earned by Thievery not Nursery.

I’m going to try and do all 3 scenarios using the rules as written but will treat all characters the same as Wizards and they will gain experience etc as they go along, or not, if they don’t. Perhaps. Maybe.

My apology to any purists who may be aghast that I didn’t spend weeks building the perfect terrain for the scenario but I’m afraid life is too short for that at Vagabond Manor. C’est la vie.


Rufina and her sorry band of miscreants are only novices using the Frostgrave rules, they’ve appeared in a few adventures using my version of Frostgrave earlier on this Blog if you’re interested. Look for the tag that might read Sword and Sorcery or something similar.

If you got this far – Cheers.


  1. What a fun adventure John, do I mind that it was a modern compound not at all, it's your game after all and you play it how you want to, just thankful you shared with the rest of us. Look forward to reading where they end up next.
    Also was that an old Shambling mound produced by Grenadier in the denizens of the swamp box you were using as planty ?

    1. Hi Dave Shambling Mound, sorry I've no idea where Planty came from. I bought a number of blister packs from Games Workshop in a sale probably back in the 70's, maybe early 80's. Before all their figures became spikey and very expensive and I suspect that's where he came from, but I'm sure you probably know better than I do.
      Thanks for stopping by, I do appreciate you reading this stuff.

    2. Ha! "spikey and very expensive" is a great way of putting it. I have a lot of the older GW fantasy figures that came out before then myself.

    3. I'd stopped wargaming when Games Workshop changed and so missed that and then when I came back, it was as a solo gamer interested in small scale games. I did buy Necromunda, Space Crusader and Hero Quest for my kids but we never really got into them although I suspect Necromunda might have been good in retrospect.

  2. We ran this adventure just a couple weeks ago. I need to get up some pictures on my blog. I quite like the technofantasy set up. Lots of pretty photos. The 'gems' with the treasure chests work quite well too.

    1. Cheers Dave; what did you think to the scenario and indeed the campaign of 3 scenarios, I've played all 3 now and to be honest I'm underwhelmed. To be fair most of my scenarios are home brewed and so I'm obviously biased and I think I've only played out one other commercial campaign which was Nuts I think.
      Yes I've just looked and I posted 6 games set in the Ardennes WWll and I think they were the most exciting games I've ever played. My posts are picture less but I'd hope the writing portrays my enjoyment of these simple games.
      Anyway thanks for passing by,

    2. We've only done the first one so far. My buddy and I are running it as coop so we get used to the rules and can tinker with our starting warband before we start playing competitively. It seemed fine enough for that purpose. It might have quite a different feel with two players?

    3. I think it's a good way to learn the rules and you're right about the game playing differently with 2 players competitively, it's much better.
      For a solo game though there needs to be more suspense from the scenario to counteract the lack of a live opponent.

  3. No worries about the setting, as the other Dave said, it's your game.

    The d20 combat is one reason I didn't get into these rules. It does seem very swingy from various game reports I have seen/read.

    1. Hi Fitz Dave I agree entirely, D20's Boooo. I really like the idea of Fantasy or in my world Sword and Sorcery the sort of world based on the Robert Howard Conan books. Sorcery exists but isn't all powerful, a strong man with a sharp blade can cut through all that nonsense.
      I'm always a bit surprised that I don't use it more often on my table, but - there you go.

  4. Well that was a rollicking good read. I'd love to play Frostgrave one day, even given the wide range of rolls available with a d20 (I reckon I'd replace it with two d10s). Love the set-up too, looking very reminscent of a WW2 internment camp. Rufinaand the gang were unlucky, but survived and no doubt wll luahg about this adventure at a later date.

    1. Hi Joe I think with your imagination you could outdo the published work, to be fair I think most people could but we seem to be in a time of pre packaged everything, including game scenarios.

      I'm a bit surprised that you would think my scenery looks a bit like a WWll Internment Camp, after all the effort I went to disguise it. :)
      Take care

  5. Hello from the warp which is where I am lost John, as always with anything you do I really enjoyed it and the setting is fine, are we real going to be upset about where someone's little people play out their adventures?
    I played in a Frostgrave tournament when it was first released in the way back when, modesty prevents me from naming the winner 😉 but apart from that I never got into it.
    The true joy of solo gaming is we can do as we like, so you just keep doing what you do, because you do it very well old friend 😊

    1. Hi Frank, me old mucker, it's really good to hear from you, I was getting worried about you and Mrs Frank, hope you are both hale and heaty and getting ready for the Christmas cheer.

      "I played in a Frostgrave tournament when it was first released" ....... it doesn't surprise me at all, once a tournament player - always a tournament player. 😉 I was only thinking about you a few days ago for 2 reasons. One because I was trying to sort out the morass that is my Email account and our last mail was just about this time last year, we were away for Mrs V's birthday and we're off again next week for the same reason.
      The other was I thinking about the Sarisa Black Friday deals on the Brownstone Houses and wondering when we were going to see them on your blog again. I very nearly bought them but decided I could make them instead. That's probably a bad decision because I never will, even though I've a load of gangsters next to my paint station and some of them have even got paint on, although not much.

      Hope to see something from Nickle and Dime in the not so distant future.

    2. Hi John, yep we're both well and hope it's the same for yourself and Mrs V (wish her happy birthday from me) you might remember or more then likely not, that in that email I said I was working towards something that would be life changing, well sadly that didn't work out, not that I will stop trying.
      Anyway part of doing that involved getting rid of most of my stuff, so N&D in at this point only a shell of its former self, so sorry to say you won't be seeing them there again.
      Anyway that's enough on that from me, but I might relaunch N&D but it would only be in radio format for the time being.
      Enjoy your trip and if not in touch before hand have a very Merry Christmas 🎅🌲😊

    3. Hi Frank Bloody Blogger won't let me comment on my own blog using the tablet so I had to fire up the laptop to reply to you so sorry for the delay. Mrs V is in good health and keeping me in check as usual. we went out cycling today, the puddles were iced over, it was amazingly cold but clear and sunny. One of those cracking days that makes you glad to be alive.
      I know you mentioned life changing but not that you were closing down the Studio, that's desperate news for the guys like me who enjoy your posts so much. Besides how will you make a living as a Film Director without films to direct?
      I'm not sure that there's a mint of money in radio work, especially on a picture blog, maybe you should think about a podcast version of N&D
      Take care and Merry Christmas to you and Mrs Frank.

  6. Hi John, your a brave man as ice & 2 wheels don't go very well together in my experience :)
    Never said I was shutting down N&D it was more of a resizing for transit reasons & as said transit hasn't happened yet its in limbo.
    Glad to hear your both doing well & in my aspences keep the cameras rolling & the dancing girls dancing