The Gloomhaven Diaries – The Journeys of Larimar

In my previous articles on Gloomhaven I delved into the practical sides of the game mainly organisation and the teaching of the system. From here on in I’ll be taking a more narrative tone and I’ll also be spoiling elements of Personal Goals, City events, Road events and the scenarios themselves. At the top of each article I’ll post which scenarios, along with their number, I will be covering so if you wish to avoid spoilers you can. 

Spoilers for: Black Barrow (1), Barrow Lair (2), Clockwork Cove (66) and Inox Encampment (3).


Larimar’s Tale – The Early Days

I had failed and I knew it, the evidence carved into my chest for all to see. Although I still felt the affinity for the elements that all Savvas feel I had failed to maintain mastery over any single one and as such had been exiled from my clan. I had long held the belief that this was an unusually cruel and archaic form of punishment and that it cast aside those who could be useful to our society no matter their skills, but the elders of my clan felt differently.

It was with a bitter heart and an anger I could barely contain, that I found myself in the port city of Gloomhaven doing odd jobs around the docks that my strength lent itself to. There were Savvas in the city, though even they who are looked down upon for lending their powers to other races would look down upon me, seeing the scar in my chest as a sign of the pariah. I thought about covering it up, of concealing my nature, but that would not have led me on the adventures I sought.

The Sleeping Lion was a notorious pub for those seeking out the mercenary life and after a few months of trying to earn a coin shoving massive crates about I felt an urge to get out of the city. The connection to the world never leaves one of my kind, mastery or no, and so it was that I looked for a way to combine my desire to return to the wilds with the opportunity to earn a living.

I quickly fell in with an odd little group: Fraxinus, an Inox Warrior, Elythranthera (Ely to her friends) an Orchid magician, and Loinus a Quatryl Tinkerer who was always pouring over his latest design whilst supping a pint. An initial foray into robbery, which went spectacularly wrong, had not only put us in trouble with the city guard but got our names on the map as a group willing to take risks. Our unusual combination of skills attracted the attentions of a Valrath of obvious means, going by the name of Jekserah. She had what sounded like a simple job, a smash and grab retrieval just outside of town in the Black Barrow, ideal for our little group.


Entering the Black Barrow

Feeling buoyed from feasting on some birds we killed on the way we entered The Barrow and set about it’s denizens in short order. It was thrilling getting into the fray and I could feel my deep seated anger abating as I laid into the bandits in the lair. My compatriots seemed to be enjoying themselves as well: the Orchid letting rip with elemental power, the Tinkerer unleashing his gadgets and my Inox friend going toe to toe with these scum.

Barging our way through the doors we dispatched fighters and archers alike until the final room were we confronted something I never though I would see: the Living Dead. I had heard rumours that such magic existed but to come face to face with it was a shock to all of us. To the credit of myself and my fellows we laid into these creatures as much as we had the bandits we had already encountered, emerging scarred but victorious.

Although we had come across a map detailing an ancient mechanism somewhere down the coast from Gloomhaven we had not yet come across the information that Jekserah desired us to retrieve. We headed further into the Barrow hoping to find what we were looking for.

Confronting yet more bandits on the entrance to the Lair below, we burst into a room where their Commander was holding court. He spouted some rubbish about the Gloom, whatever that is, and then set about us in short order and we responded in kind. He swept around the room opening doors that held yet more undead horrors: flesh dripping from their frames and a murderous glint in their dead eyes.

After a hard fought battle we brought the commander to his knees and it was in that moment that I felt a connection back to my clan, to my early days when a great winged beast had destroyed so much of my village and killed my family. I finally knew what my purpose was and resolved to dedicate my life to taking down the bravest, biggest most dangerous foes I could find.

We made our way back to Gloomhaven and Jekserah rewarded us as promised. We had a patron of sorts and she had more work for us, tracking down some Inox that had stolen from her caravans. This along with the map we had found in the Barrow and some details about a crypt that the Bandit Commander had meant we had a good few leads to go on.

Taking a break from working for Jekserah, and needing some money after being fleeced by some gamblers, my Tinkerer friend suggested we go and check out the Ancient Technology promised from the ‘Clockwork Cove’ up the coast from Gloomhaven. Although I personally hold no belief in the advances that my friend goes on about I had to admit that his enthusiasm was infectious and that his various devices had been extremely helpful in dispatching the Undead horrors of the Black Barrow.


The Clockwork Cove proved troublesome

Unlocking the huge clockwork door to this place we were confronted by the drip of water and the slow, slimy noises of a group of gooey creatures. This kind of damp and wet sets my teeth on edge so I set about destroying them as quickly as possible, hoping to find dryer climates further into the complex.

Over the course of our investigations it turned out that this adventure was going to be a lot more complex than our first. We had to coordinate our efforts to all get us through the various doors, activating pressure plates under the instructions of Loinus whilst dealing with the dangerous yet miraculous entities that existed within: green Oozes, ancient cannons, spirits and huge stone golems! We quickly realised that we needed to shut down the clanking mechanisms that were somehow giving life to these creatures before we became completely overwhelmed. It was a close call but Ely managed to hit the final panel before the monsters closed in upon us.

Gloomhaven had become our home and it was to the bustling city we returned after our near miss in the Cove. We brought with us some blueprints for ‘Rocket Boots’ that we had found in a chest and a new understanding of the sophistication of the cultures that had come before. They had some strange ideas and amazing abilities and I had no doubt we would come across such devices again throughout our adventures.

Our jobs so far had taught me much about my own abilities and I could feel my understanding of my connection to the elements increasing with each journey out of Gloomhaven. A little practice hurling boxes round the docks didn’t hurt much either.


Dispatching some Inox scum

Jekserah’s goons came and reminded us to get on with the job she had set out, and so it was we found ourselves visiting the Sanctuary to receive some form of blessing I didn’t fully understand and then making our way to the Dagger Forest. A slight pitfall, literally, on the way saw us taking a diversion into some ruins but eventually we found the Inox Encampment and set about bringing these scum to their knees. Even our own Inox seemed to hold these members of their race in contempt and not even the crying of their children could dissuade us from the task at hand. We slaughtered many and set fire to the camp, teaching them a lesson they would soon not forget.

Jekserah was pleased with our work and offered us another job retrieving a diamond for her from a nearby mine, a job she said would be even more greatly rewarded than our previous work. One of the City Guard approached us shortly after this meeting, telling us that Jekserah was up to no good and that maybe we should come and help out the guard. Seeing how these ‘keepers of the peace’ had treated one of the city’s children earlier in the day, we decided to stick with our Patron and set out once more into the wilderness towards the Mine and the next stage in our adventures.


Iain McAllister

Tabletop games reviewer and podcaster based in Dalkeith, Scotland.

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