Let’s Play Druidstone – Episode 01: Dawnstone Meadow

Lately my coworkers and I have been having a lot of conversation about the XCOM series. As a result I have been kind of craving a bit of tactical RPG of sorts. So when I was combing through the new releases on Steam, I was happy to find a game some of the reviewers were touting as a “Fantasy XCOM” of sorts! Even better, the game was developed by the creators of The Legends of Grimlock, so I new that the game would probably at least be decent.

So after a quick download, and an even quicker diagnostic play session, I set up OBS and recorded my first real attempt at the beginning of the game!

[G^G] Druidstone – Episode 01: Dawnstone Meadow

Stage 1 – Trufflecap Heaven

The level starts off with a diminutive hooded figure running through a grassy meadow, trying to load up on mushrooms. You know, just like those children’s books you used to read. Shortly after disclosing his love for mushrooms, a group of slugs descends upon him.

Fortunately for our red-hooded friend, the aptly-named “Green Cloak Man” and “Scout” are in hot pursuit, and make over just in time to bail them out of trouble.

The level itself is actually pretty straight-forward. You control the green man and the scout, while the little robed man is controlled by the AI.

Your objectives are as follows:

  • Defeat the enemies
  • (BONUS) Complete the mission without taking any damage

The first objective is pretty straight-forward. The green hooded man is able to take the slugs down in a single hit. Furthermore, his charge ability allows him to cover a lot of ground quickly, and ensure that he is dealing damage every round.

The Scout on the other-hand isn’t quite as adept in combat. While her bow gives her quite a bit of range, it takes two shots for her to kill a slug. She does have some healing abilities which are helpful if you are simply trying to complete the mission, but they are completely useless when it comes to completing the bonus objectives.

One important thing to note about this game before you find yourself chasing bonus objectives early on, is that you are allowed to replay levels. Furthermore, when you replay the levels you can carry your progression into them. So if you find yourself struggling to complete a bonus objective, progress in the game a bit and return when you are more powerful and you’ll have an easier time.

That all being said, while it is tricky, it is definitely possible to complete the Trufflecap Heaven bonus objective on your first try. Feel free to try it out on your own, but if you are having trouble then mouse over the paragraph below to see how I did it:

During the second turn the red hooded mage will be swarmed by slugs. Depending on where the other two characters are standing, they will likely all converge in a way that makes killing them off before a character(most likely the mage) is hit impossible. The way around this is to end the first turn with the characters you can control trailing behind the patch of trees at the bottom of the level.

This will draw both of the slugs on the bottom of the level to the left. Once they are drawn to the left, you can pick one off with the scout over the next two turns, while the green hooded man manages the slugs within striking distance of the mage.

Once you’ve successfully cleared the slugs, some more dialog ensues where we eventually learn that the green hooded man is actually a ranger(canon name Leonhard) that was just cut out of a cocoon! Also evidently the scout is some type of druid royalty whose father is the Arch Druid. Furthermore, there are cancerous cysts spread through the forest killing everything.

Every ends the conversation in agreement that cancer is bad, so without too much hesitation they team up and to do some floral oncology

Stage 2 – The Oak Shield’s Demand

The next stage actually has a couple of interesting wrinkles. For starters there is a 7 round count-down with an ominous description of “The Cancer Comes”. Also this time around, we are fighting more than just slugs. At the start of the level you can see wasps, and over time more enemies spawn in such as centipedes, Gelatinus jellyfish, skeletons, and plague rats.

The ranger has the ability to give the party advanced notice as to when new enemies will be joining the fight. When new enemies spawn a red circle indicator is automatically placed on the ground showing where they will appear. There is no warning as to what is going to spawn, but this information is extremely useful when determining how to position your party.

The objectives of The Oak Shield’s Demand are as follows:

  • Destroy the cysts (0/3)
  • (BONUS) Open all Chests(0/2)
  • (BONUS) Complete the mission without knock-outs

The cysts are represented as giant glowing purple things that are vulnerable to pretty much all types of damage. The chests are scattered throughout the level and are more or less your bog-standard fantasy wooden treasure chest.

Completing all of the bonus objectives is actually very possible on your first play through. There aren’t any real tricks to doing so, you just need to make sure you don’t accidentally over-extend yourself and get any of your party members in trouble.

If the timer ends up running out, you don’t actually fail the level outright. Instead, the level gets covered in “cancerous” growth, and some super-powered enemies spawn at the start of the level. Once that happens you pretty much have until the enemies run you down to finish the level. If you manage to kill the cysts, then the cancer is reversed and the level ends.

At the end of the level the party regroups. After some back-and-forward talking about how weird it is that a forest can get cancer, the scouts pendant starts glowing in a not-so-subtle display of foreshadowing. Before the pendant conversation can pick up, a strange bird like creature with a glowing antennae called a “Shido” pops out of nowhere an addresses the mage.

The shido is evidently how druids deliver their mail and as part of the mail delivery protocol it requires a name. This is where you are a chance to name the red hooded mage(canon name Oiko). The message itself is from a druid named “Vartan” who says the circle is under attack. The party collectively agrees that this is a bad development, and head that way together.

In Flames

When the party arrives Oiko assumes that everyone in the circle is dead. It turns out they are just hurt, but many of them are not in very good shape.

They speak to Vartan, and the after some back and forward it is determined that:

  1. The Circle is broken
  2. A powerful sorceress known as “The Seedless One” has returned
  3. The red priests and the oak shields have gone rogue
  4. The Archdruid is lost
  5. Some fellow named Rowlan is bad news

After some flavor text, the party decides that their best move is to of course join forces and go search for the Arch-Druid, never mind the fact that they all literally just met. Vartan offers his assistant Gaan to help relay messages to the team, and we finally get a chance to name the scout(canon name Aava).

When the level finally ends, you are brought to an over-world map, and you have two new levels to play!

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