Friday, April 8, 2016

Four Against Darkness, part 1

Thanks to Aleksandar Battreps of the BattReps blog (all around awesome person and solo gamer extraordinaire), I became aware of Ganesha Games’ Four Against Darkness, a casual dungeon delve pen ’n paper game inspired by old school RPGs. I picked up the 66-page game today, gave it a read through and played a short game (actually not so short as I was busy navigating the tables in the book).

It’s a fun little invention, and I love little mapping exercises. Furthermore, 4AD’s creator, Andrea Sfiligoi is running a little contest:

4AD Competition! Win LIFETIME products. 
To enter, you must purchase a copy of 4AD through and write up one or more playthrough reports of the game, and publish them on social media (Facebook, Twitter, G+, etc) or on your gaming-related blog. The more reports you write, the more chances you get to win. Unleash your purple prose and tell us about the glorious victories or the rotten luck of your heroes. Post photos of your completed dungeons on Instagram! Use the #4AgainstDarkness hashtag and always add a link to the product page. 
Make sure that each report includes a link to the product on and send an email to to let us know of it. The competition ends on May 24th, Andrea's birthday. On the 25th, Andrea will put all names in a hat and draw a winner who will get a LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTION to all 4AD products (or a minimum value of $50 in other products should 4AD be discontinued). That's it: the winner will receive for free every new adventure or supplement we publish for 4AD.

Not too bad! So here is my first game...

  1. Voldor the Bold, Amblin the Righteous, Jed the Wiley, and Mira the lighthearted elf enter the dungeon! they see a wide to room with three north-facing doors. They choose the right passage.
  2. Upon entering, they see a square room. It is filled with eight fungi men! The group waits to see what the strange mushroom men will do. They attack! A furious battle ensues, with both Voldor and Jed getting hurt. However, the party prevails! Two of the monsters flee. On the bodies of the fallen, Mira finds a scroll. The group searches, finding nothing more, and then Amblin heals the injured ones. With no other ways to go, the group returns to the original entrance room.
  3. Next, the group tries the middle door. they encounter in empty twisting corridor.
  4. The corridor extends further north, appearing to dead-end. However, a door to the west and further on to the east appears to reveal more rooms ahead. The group tries the western doorway first.
  5. Another twisting passage appears. However, this one is not empty. Two lumbering trolls approach! Amblin slays one, while Mira shoots another. Voldor chops up the bits with his axe to prevent them from returning. the monsters carry 5 pieces of gold. The group moves on…
  6. The passage continues to switch back-and-forth. Around another bend, the group encounters eight goblins! the group finds their groove, soundly defeating the goblins and finding a pretty gem.
  7. The group takes a door that does into a short corridor containing two nasty trolls! Voldor takes a bit of a beating, but they hack up the trolls into diced bits of troll ready for canning. They also find a ring of teleportation!
  8. The group moves through at south door. This opens into a larger chamber. Suddenly, a bear trap snaps, nearly snagging Voldor’s foot. Fortunately, the warrior is quick. They find a hidden scroll under some rubble. the group continues south.
  9. More snaking of passageways here in an “H” pattern. However, an eerie glowing altar sits in its length Voldor is cursed! (But Amblin blesses him). The group decides to head north.
  10. The group comes to a small blessed temple and Amblin is imbued with greater divine power. Ahhhhh!
  11. The group heads south through a door to a room connecting with the entrance chamber. Two orcs threaten them. Voldor and Mira quickly dispatch them, finding a pretty gem.
  12. Moving on to the west, this passage circles back around to connect with the “H”. A door reveals a possible room.
  13. Instead of a room, they find another short corridor with doors on either side. More urgently, however, the group sees a hideous Medusa! Amblin and Mira are immediately petrified. Voldor and Jed fight valiantly, finally defeated the creature. Voldor gains a level. They also find a gorgeous necklace.
  14. Voldor and Jed attempt to carry Amblin and Mira’s stony forms and vacate the dungeon…which they do, luckily without further incident…
Returning to town, they hope to sell the new things and get blessings cast…do they have enough cash?


  1. Nice report and map! Sounds like a pen and paper version of some of the old dungeon games (like Heroquest and such). Fairly simple but fun?

  2. Simple but fun would be accurate. There's a fair number of tables and procedures dictated by the rules, but eventually this can be something run in 45 min.

  3. Nice report, thanks for sharing. I have just completed a 42 room dungeon (didn't read the part about playing on 20x28 hexes until after).

    What tool are you using to do the maps in? Or is it made by hand and scanned?

  4. Greetings, Claus!

    42 rooms is quite a feat. I think it might be fun to do it when first sketching an interesting shape that might form a unique boundary.

    My maps are hand-drawn, but not on paper. I use an awesome little app on my iPad called Inkflow. Works well for me...

  5. Hmmm perhaps I should get an iPad then ;) Thanks for the reply about the tool.

    And yes 42 rooms took quite a few days to go through (watching telly and working and stuff inbetween). I had fairly good luck with wandering monsters in the beginning, but at the end I felt they came more often. Luckily I had found an alternate exit so I only had to back track about 5 rooms. We got out alive, but I am glad I didn't try to fulfill my quest in the end - and that I didn't had to go all the way back through the dungeon ;)

  6. Just took a look at Inkflow, do you use some kind of pen to draw with? And if so which one?

  7. I just bought a generic stylus. Sometimes I just use my finger, but that's more of a pain...

    1. Ok, will need one of those as well I think ;-)

    2. Do you happening to have a picture og the type og stylist you have?

    3. I don't...I just bought a 3-pack of generic stylises. They weren't especially expensive, nor do they do much special other than replace my finger. ;)

    4. LOL I bought one too, but with a fairly round and large tip. NOT good, need to find one with a thinner tip.

      Did you draw it directly om the parchment background? ( I am SO new to this Apple stuff)

    5. Mine has a round tip too...I think that's the only one you can get...because a certain amount of surface area is required for the screen to read the tip. I've gotten used to it.

      I drew directly on the grid stationery. I then traced over the grid that I wanted to appear, then deleted the stationery. Then, I captured that parchment image into my photos, then imported the image into InkFlow. It automatically keeps the image in the background. Resize and move as desired.

    6. Sweet - will try that... thanks for helping out :)