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Subject: [SPOILERS] The Province of Mainframe, game 10 rss

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IN WHICH...
...We See In Colors
...Sympathy Is No More
...The Secrets Are Protected
...Our Will Is Bent
...The Temple Falls
...An Onyx Discovery
...Another Trinity Is Revealed
...What Could Not Be Reached Is Brought Forth
...The Temple Is Reborn
...One Is The Loneliest Number

Welcome to my 10th Seafall session report! This game was a lot of fun, with several new bits of SPOILERY information being revealed and some lesser-used mechanics shining. The Merchant/Builder strategy is finally starting to take off for one of our players, and we are starting to pay reputation for each others' abilities much more often than we used to.

To introduce our noble provinces:
Lady Jane (The Efficient) of Leicester (red)
Baron Hulk (The Industrious) of Arrakeen (purple)
Count Dexter (The Persuasive) of R'lyeh (blue)
Duchess Talina (The Vengeful) of Prenderthale (gray)
Princess Dot (The Adventurous) of Mainframe (green - me)

One last warning, I will not be making special effort to hide SPOILERS, so read on at your own risk!

During our first winter harvest, after seeing the initial advisors, we decided against activating our colony in hopes that we might instead be able to reach Arados first to claim one of their potent advisors.

The Restless Bones stirred again from beneath the waves. The Province of Prenderthale was able to flush the advisors by building a Guild Hall and using Drake (The Foreman) to hire an additional, so we sailed our ships out to the island of Stygios to purchase some Linen. The undead Bones attacked Prenderthale's ships, but their crew stood firm, completely repelling the invasion.

The council of advisors expressed their Sympathy for the defeated Pirate King, probably led by the traitorous Society hiding among us, but with the false emperor defeated, it would not last. Count Dexter's ships discovered a new Portal of the Ancients! Our Princess interrogated Colors of (the Windmaster), who revealed that our tablets would also contain secrets discoverable with the Light of Truth! We made hasty notes about those in our possession and began to covet those held by Prenderthale all the more! Our ships then utilized the Windmaster's power and the newly discovered portal to reach Innsmouth much sooner that would otherwise have been possible. Once there, we sent explorers into dangerous territory, and discovered a Gold Statue! Our captain wished to explore it further despite ominous warnings from his advisors, but his superstitious crew sailed away while he slept, running The Saucy Mare aground and suffering significant damage.

The Society members made it known that their explorers would go to great length to Protect their Secrets. Princess Dot sailed her ships to Arados and raised some tax revenue, while the Society sank Count Dexter's gunship.

The Society then attempted to Bend us to their Will. Princess Dot requested use of Prenderthale's Guild Hall, and with it was able to find and hire Maxine (The Walker of Paths). Employing her, we were able to recruit a few additional society members as well as identifying a few non-members. After interrogation, she revealed that we might find things the ancients left for us by gathering the "inscribed, cryptic, and ancient" - two of these descriptions matched tablets in our treasure room! Then we sailed to the Haunted Atoll and utilized Maxine's aid to recover the Lost Shroud of the Ancients. Finally, the Society revealed their soldiers' positions within Mainframe's ranks, disrupting our relations with the island of Amity.

Though the false emperor had fallen, still his scattered followers Demanded Gold. Lady Jane's ships were able to destroy the Temple of Arados with the aid of Hardboot (The Grizzled Veteran), earning herself the appelation of "The Lucky" as well as a heaping pile of glory. Duchess Talina's ships discovered a Temple of Onyx, and used the wonders within to upgrade her ships. Our Princess Employed Ferdinand (The Explorer's Patron) to perform some free research. The pirates raided Leicester's vault for half of the gold she had looted from the Temple.

Once again the Society pledged to Bend our Will! We employed Matrix (The Patriot) to raise some tax revenue in hopes of building a Museum in the following year, and when our ships set sail they were attacked by pirates! The SS Doyle defended the already-wounded Saucy Mare, taking a whopping FOUR damage cards! Fortune was with us, however, as we took two curses and two regular cards, keeping the Doyle's guns ready to defend the Mare against any would-be Relic thieves. Then once more our Society soldiers (including Matrix himself!) stirred up enmity with the island of Bermuda.

At the second winter's harvest, the Society once again pledged to Protect the Secrets. All the provinces looked with envy at Baron Hulk's stockpile of gold and glory, seeing that he would be able to end the game by rebuilding the temple in Arrakeen. After much discussion, we saw that we would be unable to stop him, however. So Prenderthale entered the Tomb on Arados, exploring the Dark Cellar and pulling up a stockpile of gold and goods disappointingly too late. Princess Dot once again requested use of Prenderthale's Guild Hall, this time using it to dig for Coldboot (The Ninth Initiate). While our ships were not at Arados to hire him, we were able instead to employ Maxine once more to claim this mysterious figure. Weighing the possibilities of sinking our weakened ships and exposing our relic to a possible raid, we decided to play it safe and perform some additional research rather than pursuing another Lost relic. Lady Jane employed Hardboot once more to conquer Tortosa itself, enabling us to eventually destroy the society's influence. And finally Lord Hulk re-employs Bob the Builder's Patron to construct the Temple and other improvements, pushing past the glory target and earning himself yet another +1 glory build site. As his win bonus he improved his garrison again.

Princess Dot kept Coldboot for next game, hoping to collect the Cryptic Tablet from Prenderthale.

This was an excellent game, and probably the first one where merchanting seemed powerful in its own right (as opposed to mostly good for acheiving specific milestones). Also, Baron Hulk is now the Count, and over the past 4 games has shrunk a 27-glory deficit down to 11. He was even able to keep a relatively strong advisor (The Bosun) since everyone else wanted to keep a great advisor as well. The game continues to evolve nicely and I am looking forward to the endgame struggle.

As always, thanks for reading
-Lactamaeon
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