Posted:  07. 01. 2021.


Past two weekends my BF and I played Rangers of Shadow Deep, a tabletop game by Joseph McCullough. A fairly easy to grasp system, and it’s also simple to transfer into a different setting, with any miniatures you have - same as his previous games Frostgrave and Ghost Archipelago. But, while those have players fighting each other over loot, this one is co-op. If you have no one to co-op with, the missions and enemies are pre-programmed so it can also be played solo. It's heavy on the narrative aspect, which is something that appeals to me greatly.

I set up the first mission (“The Missing”) for my BF to play through, while I essentially took the role of GM - explaining the rules, rolling dice for monsters, flipping event cards, etc. I like that the game doesn’t use the full poly set of dice (that was one of the little dislikes we had in case of Planet 28), but I was worried the d20 may make combat very unpredictable even for tough characters. Luckily I was wrong and it didn’t feel that way.


From the gallery of heroes he had on offer, BF chose his old friend Gordon the Vigilant, Redeemer of the Great Cities - the character he played in the Amfast campaign last spring. Gordon’s starting stat increases were +1 to Move, Fight and Shoot. He took three Heroic Abilities: Deadly Shot, Dash, and Focus; as well as two spells: Heal and Halt Undead. His last two build points were spent on adding +2 to the following skills: Acrobatics, Stealth, Perception, Traps, Track, Strength, Armoury and Pick Lock. The hero was equipped with Heavy Armour, a Shield, Crossbow with Quiver, and a Hand Weapon.


The Deserted Village



Now that we had our hero, we proceeded to the first scenario: The Deserted Village. After mission breafing, in which he learned that he would be investigating strange happenings in a remote village, he picked his team of Companions for the job.

  • Conjuror (Staff, Spells: Burning Light, Heal, Heal)
  • Knight
  • Rogue
  • Hound
  • Raptor


As per scenario script, the party started at the centre of the village, and then scattered around looking for clues and fighting off zombies and dogs. I couldn’t find my old giant rat miniatures anywhere, so I substituted them with feral hounds. I like that about the game, it’s really flexible that way.



The Raptor did a fantastic job, spending turn after turn making a group of braindead zombies chase it around the board, away from the other companions and the objectives. Gordon was pretty much a turret, firing crossbow bolts and seldom moving due to his weapon’s need for lengthy realoading. He did score some nice shots, though, finishing off a zombie and a dog during the game.



The Hound was a real fighter, at one point wounded and pinned between a pair of zombies next to a fence, it managed to push them both away and escape.



The Conjuror and knight almost had a collapsed house crush them, but they were fine and continued to take on the undead. Most of the clues were discovered by the Rogue, including the survivor who locked herself into a house. It was pretty close, as it was the final turn and the Rogue had only one chance to enter the dwelling. The Hound was sent to intercept the feral dog that had appered next to that very house thanks to an event card. An attack from the monster would have made it impossible for the Rogue to pick the lock.

The party scored 16XP for the kills, 36XP for all the clue markers, 12XP for discovering the body of Aventine, 15XP for discovering a survivor and 6 for identifying the spider bites on a mutilated body. The Conjuror retreived a treasure, which ended up being a Two-handed Weapon with three charges of Elemental damage. The Rogue found some Dremlocke Weed. Everyone happily survived the scenario, and it was quite a success. BF was excited to play more, so we continued with Scenario 2: The Infected Trees the next weekend.

The Infected Trees



Investigation of the abandoned village led Gordon to believe there are giant spiders running about, whose venom turns people into zombies. They were tracked to the nearby woods, so that was the place to go.

We reorganized Companions before this scenario, though now I’m not so sure now that we were supposed to do that. But anyway, this was the team for setting forest fires:

  • Conjuror (Staff, Spells: Heal, Heal)
  • Knight
  • Templar (Two-Handed Weapon, Elemental Strike (3))
  • Raptor

So, the Hound and Rogue were left at the camp, replaced with a Templar carrying the newly found magic weapon.



The party set off to the woods, and to digging through web cacoons and setting nest trees ablaze.



The mad lad Raptor once again flew into the fray and got most of the spiders on the table to surround it. It was lucky enough to avoid their attacks, and even at one point pushed a spider out of combat for it to be expressly shot dead by Gordon.



Gordon positioned himself on high ground early, and shot a total of five Giant Spiders and one Zombie from there during the course of the game. Sick. Three survivors were found and successfully rescued.



Mid game both Knight and Templar opened web caccoons to find Zombies inside. They were tough ones, but luckily the Conjuror was there to heal them. His healing work earned him the nickname Apotekar.

All the nest trees were burnt way before the end of turn ten, and the mission was a huge success. The Templar found a treasure: Potion of Healing. And Gordon earned a total of 103 XP in this scenario, meaning he is now ready to advance to level 1. That was the end of the two-scenario mission. We both had a good time and intend to play more RoSD in 2021!

Are you a fan of Rangers of Shadow Deep? Let me know what you think about the game.

If you want to have a collection of Companions and Monsters like mine made, or even a custom Ranger, I’m open for commissions. You can find my email in the bottom of the page, together with the Gardens of Hecate Facebook, Instagram and RSS links.

Leave your comment:



This writeup is absolutely brilliant and makes me want to get a load of terrain ready so that I can do this too! Your painting style reaaaally suits this game too! fantastic work and looking forward to seeing more in the future!

By Napwnleon on 2021 01 07

That’s some beautiful terrain! I would love to see your take on the Stairs scenario…

By Marc on 2021 01 08

@Napwnleon - Thank you! Building a collection of terrain is a worthwhile endeavour (provided you have the space to store it). It’s fun to use it both for gaming and photography.

@Marc - Thank you! That scenario looks interesting. We’ll get to it eventually.

By Ana Polanšćak    on 2021 01 08

A bunch of great pics! Good to see your pretty cottages again smile

By potsiat on 2021 01 12

Thank you potsiat!

By Ana Polanšćak    on 2021 01 14

These photos are such a joy to look at!  They really tell a story and have so much atmosphere. They would make perfect illustrations for a fantasy novel.

By Ivan (paintsquig1980) on 2021 02 07

Thank you very much Ivan!

By Ana Polanšćak    on 2021 02 11

Awesome setting and miniatures! Great work!

By Tom Helge Hennum on 2021 06 14

Fantastic work, as usual. So I spring - the setup, miniatures and write up are all top notch. Are you able to tell me where the raptor model is from please?

By HobbyHobbit on 2021 07 01

Thank you HobbyHobbit! The raptor is from a Razorwing Flock, a GW model from the 40k Dark Eldar range. I converted the head slightly to make it look more like a falcon.

By Ana Polanšćak    on 2021 07 05

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