Pack of the Pit – all the Demons

The Hortator

Ever seen a movie about ancient Rome featuring galley slaves? You may notice that at one end of the banks of oars sits a muscular shirtless guy pounding on two drums with mallets, keeping the time for the rowers. That dude was named the “Hortator” by the Romans. And yes, it’s root is the same as the English word “Exhort”.

The Hortator causes every demon group to add 1 die to their attack. Thus, a group of 4 Limbo minions will roll 5d6 instead of 4d6. A lone 2nd circle demon will roll 3d10 instead of 2d10, and so forth. At least the demons aren’t harder to kill – they just do more damage. Unfortunately, this is one of the few 4th circle demons whose effect does include the Lord – so most lords will now roll 7 dice instead of 6.

Fighting The Hortator

The Hortator takes a while to take down, with a Toughness of 3+3. His attack is weak, only 4d8, but he doesn’t really need a strong attack – his bonus is benefiting all the other demons on the map instead.

If your heroes are mean enough that you typically expect to kill all the demons in an area before they can attack, you needn’t sweat the Hortator. Of course, my own heroes have never proven to be quite THAT mean …

The Raparee

The word “Raparee” refers to a wild Irish robber or guerilla fighter. The figure is one of our creepiest, since it basically looks like an arachnid of some type (perhaps a vinegaroon) made out of human body parts. I love it.

The Raparee is sort of a companion horror to the Nuckelavee, except instead of stealing toughness, he steals courage. When the Raparee spawns, ALL the courage that every player has, plus ALL the courage in the courage pool, is placed on the Raparee’s card. This can be a lot of courage. You can get the courage back by killing the Raparee. Of course if it escapes the map, the courage is gone forever.

Like the Nuckelavee, you usually can’t afford to ignore the Raparee. The team needs that courage. His toughness of 5 isn’t encouraging, but at least his attack is only 4d8, which is far from the worst among 4th circle demons.

The Raparee’s menace is rather conditional. If you’ve been saving up Courage for a big purchase, he is really nasty. If you’ve been living hand-to-mouth, not so much.

Refreshing the Gift Panel

The Gift panel starts off with 10 gifts, face-up and visible to all players. As the players buy gifts, the panel depletes (it doesn’t refresh itself automatically). When the Lord track finally reaches 1 (minimum of 3 turns, and usually more), then any remaining gifts are discarded from the panel, and 10 new gifts are drawn.

It’s quite common for players near the time of the Lord track recycling to hold off on gift buying, hoping to see what the 10 new gifts look like. Particularly since the remaining gifts on the track have been picked over by the players and are normally those gifts that don’t seem useful at this time, or are too expensive, or unsuitable for the heroes in play. (All gifts are useful some of the time, but not all the time.)

Why bring this up now? Because the time the Gift panel refreshes is ALSO the same time the new 4th circle demon comes out. And if that’s the Raparee, he gets a windfall of courage that the players can ill-afford to lose.

The Gadarene

The Gadarene is the emblem of the biblical tale of the possessed swine, and so is a pig-monster. He may seem to stand somewhat awkwardly. This is intentional. If you have seen a dog, cat, or other trained animal walk on its front legs, you’ll note that the hind legs dangle uselessly, in a rather creepy manner. The Gadarene posture is supposed to reflect this.

The Gadarene’s special effect only happens when it spawns, but the effects echo on. Basically, every hero and every ambush has to move two areas towards the demon gate. Ambushes who enter Hell Time are killed. If a hero enters Hell Time, a lord battle starts.

This “panic run” is based on the tale in which the Gadarene swine ran recklessly over a cliff, and symbolizes this terror.

This totally messes up the player’s ambush structure, and leaves all the areas near the exit vacant besides. It’s a serious problem. Often players are forced to “use up” carefully set ambushes to absorb damage, rather than let them be overrun by the lord and killed.

Fighting The Gadarene

He’s pretty tough, with a Toughness 6 and an attack of 6d12. So players may want to avoid him, taking the 4-Doom hit. This is a particularly easy choice because the Gadarene has no ongoing effect (unlike the Hellhound) nor does he have a needed reward (unlike the Nuckelavee). Of course 4 Doom is nothing to sneer at, but at least you’re not forced into the fight, as you are with so many other demons.

It pretty much did the worst when it first spawned.

Lord Humbaba

Humbaba’s name comes from the legendary scorpion man of Sumerian myth. But he is no more a “man” than a “scorpion”. His “stinger” is a grimacing head. His “pinchers” are animal skulls. His legs are hooved and woolly- rather sheep-like.

Lord Humbaba’s gives the players Pestilence equal to their number. Of course, they could (and often do) divide this up 1 per player, but sometimes it’s wise for one hero to accept an extra Pestilence or two to spare one of the others. Humbaba’s attack, is a doozy – while only 6d8, it hits all heroes equally. Plus, each hero so hit gains 1 damage per pestilence.

Humbaba is Toughness 5 (not too bad) and has 20 hit points vs. 4 players, which is tough, but not unthinkably so. His real threat is the huge amount of damage he pumps out, forcing players to evacuate before they may wish to.

Battling Humbaba

With most bosses, it’s possible for a hero to go up to fight even if he’s wounded. After all, some other hero can intercept the hits for you, and you can simply participate by attacking and helping others with their attacks. When those other heroes have lost their health cushion, you simply retreat, having lost nothing.

Or, you can rotate who’s getting hit between rounds. This enables four heroes, each at ¬a good health level, to stay for four rounds (possibly more) before they need to evacuate – each hero taking 1 attack from the lord in turn. So you may be able to beat down that lord a few points with four rounds.

But with Humbaba, EVERYONE gets attacked EVERY time. So if you are low in health, you simply don’t want to enter his room. He could kill you. So Humbaba often only has to face a sub-set of the heroes, and they can’t stay nearly as long – no rotation of attacks is possible.

The only solution is you need to attack Humbaba more often than other lords, but you can’t stay as long. And after that attack, everyone has pestilence which you need to cure. Plus you’re taking more damage while IN Humbaba’s room because the pestilence adds to your damage. It’s bad.

Adding injury to insult, Humbaba’s reward only gives you courage after you retreat. On the plus side, you probably won’t need an influx of courage in Humbaba’s area, since you won’t stay long enough to use it all up.

Lord Orobas

Orobas’s name comes from an medieval demon, a lord who sits on a throne. I have made the throne thematic. If you look at the figure, you can see the withered figure, ensconced in the throne. But the throne itself is alive, with limbs and a head. So is Orobas the throne? Or the sitter? Or both? This is oen of my favorite figures, with its ambiguity, sense of impotence-yet-power, and arrogant nature.

Lord Orobas’s menace is simply an immediate attack. However, he is frightening not only because he rolls 6d12, but because his Toughness is an amazing 9 – the highest in the game. This means even a mighty 1d12 attack only hits Orobas 25% of the time, and d8s and less have no chance. This is serious business. He has plenty of hit points too, with 20 for a 4 player game.

Fortunately, Orobas’s abilities and rewards are actually weakness, representing his haughty and condescending nature. First, his Reward is that when you are Orobas’s target, you earn a Royal token. If you take 3 or more damage, you get a second Royal token. (That’s pretty common, because 6d12 packs a punch.)

You can spend these Royal tokens during the lord fight, either after Orobas attacks, or when you do. If you spend the token after Orobas attacks, you increase your toughness by 3 vs that attack only. If you spend the token after you attack, you can add and roll 1d12 more per token.

Battling Orobas

Orobas quite simply is really really hard to hit. It’s all about trying to hit him. The best way to do it is to save up those Lord tokens, and spend them each time you’ve failed to score a hit, giving you a 25% chance per token of hitting him. Also use lots of courage to help other players, and bring up their attacks to at least 1d12.

It’s a sucker’s game to use the Royal tokens too often to avoid damage from Orobas – for one thing, usually you WANT to take damage, to garner more Royal tokens. But of course if the attack would otherwise kill you, or bring you too far down, it’s a choice. It’s really nice that you get to increase the toughness after seeing the roll., so you know if it will work of not.

Remember that Orobas’s menace – his free attack – is actually beneficial in a sense, because it earns his target a Royal token right off the bat. I’ve seen players, desperate for Royal tokens, hop into Orobas’s area, take the menace hit, then immediately leave, happy with their token.