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TOPIC: Mining for Horrors (A Shadows of Brimstone Topic)

Mining for Horrors (A Shadows of Brimstone Topic) 10 Aug 2016 08:28 #231706

In which I will post my ramblings about this game. AAR style stuff and other whatnots. Maybe photos eventually, though that requires me to paint the figures and get a camera setup that works (do not buy HTC phones on that topic).

I'm currently in two campaigns (with the logistical problems that causes), most every Tuesday evening, myself (Lawman) and housemate (Preacher) play our two-player game- currently level 5. Once or twice a month I play with the larger group of four-five (Gunslinger, Bandida, Saloon Girl, Preacher, Rancher), currently level 3 (Rancher at 2 having missed the last adventure).

This report from the two player game.

Another relatively short foray into the mines of Brimstone last night. The two of us (level 5, so facing Brutal Enemies at this point) plunged into the depths to SEAL THE VOID GATE. This is a variation on the "Find two clues" basic mission setup with the usual big end fight. I started the game by rolling snake eyes for the Hold Back The Darkness roll- an ambush attack! This was the first game I switched to using my home made D66 tables for the enemy spawns, rather than the threat decks, and the dice brought out a Void Sorcerer to fling arcane bolts, and some choice insults. It didn't get the chance to cast any void magick, as we knocked it down in one turn, but it was an exciting start to the game.

The big fight at the end was versus six hellbats and six tentacles. In this mission, one character has to roll against a skill (Spirit in this case) to add tokens to the void gate- with five tokens the gate is sealed and you just mop up any enemies to win. Our preacher rolls six dice and gets 2/5 on the first combat turn. The hellbats do their best to chew on us while the tentacles flail helplessly, and the preacher lobs dynamite. Dynamite is always fun. The last time it was used in the five player game, it bounced back onto the character who threw it, blowing up the entire party and none of the monsters. This time the fizzing stick bounced, but into an equally advantageous spot, and wiped out most of the bats and half of the tentacles. By the end of the round after some more bible thumping, shooting and slashing, there was only one tentacle left, and it was swiftly dispatched in the next turn. The other 3/5 tokens needed were rolled and the mission was accomplished.

Observations: Brutal enemies are easier to deal with (logistically) than Elites (Elites are basic enemies with added powers, Brutal are just upgraded stats/abilities). Even though the mission was short (we found the second clue icon on the third exploration) it was still touch and go- I was down to 2/14 sanity at one point, the preacher down to 3/18 health, and we got a good bunch of xp. I'm really happy with the D66 tables for threat spawns, especially since as I had to go through the decks to itemize the enemies, I noticed how badly I had shuffled them. I am already thinking about some kind of database/app to generate these.

I've also been scanning, printing and laminating more cards. There are way too many cards required in the game, or else relying on spider crawl writing on the letter sized character sheets.

On the narrative side of things, the two player game is currently the better. Our characters have a real history of injuries still carried from the first adventures, when we didn't realize we could flee rather than be knocked out, and with the accumulation of skills, mutations, gear etc. Our preacher (Firebrand nun Jessica) gained the TRIBAL keyword at the Indian Trading Outpost, and now has this whole story arc of acceptance into the tribe, switching focus from purely Holy gear to now wielding a bow, war glyphs and suchlike. my lawman (Ex-sheriff Patsy) gave up the sheriff badge for the bounty hunter badge in order to gain a keyword (TRAVELER) needed for some gear. While it's purely a game mechanic in one sense, in another it really adds to the personal story of the character, a move away from the fresh ingenue who started the campaign.

The larger group is less about the character narrative, more about the experience and laughing at the hopeless die rolls of the preacher. It's fun but in a different, more boisterous way.
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Mining for Horrors (A Shadows of Brimstone Topic) 10 Aug 2016 09:38 #231711

Dude, you're making this game sound fantastic.

I don't have a dungeon crawler of any sort and I was thinking about eventually (year or two) getting Dungeon Saga. Imperial Assault is on my radar because of my son, but each one of your posts makes me feel like this could be a bit more fun.

Why are you scanning and printing cards? Increase size?
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Mining for Horrors (A Shadows of Brimstone Topic) 10 Aug 2016 10:18 #231717

A couple of reasons. Firstly, I'm playing two different campaigns concurrently, and the Otherworld Artifact decks in particular are very, very small (they sell extra packs separately, which perhaps KS backers got). So these decks run out very quickly, being shared effectively between seven characters. Also some starting gear is being used by two different people in different games.

Most of the best gear you can find outside of artifacts, is by purchasing them in the towns. No cards are included in the game for most of these items. Some appear in the Gear deck (eg, the Cavalry Sabre), but then of course if you take that card out of the Gear deck, it is no longer available to be drawn as loot.

So one of my evening projects right now is collating all the information I have on each player's character, and trying to put together packs that include gear and reference cards for all the stuff they have, including level up abilities. I bought a cheap $15 laminator off Amazon with 100 laminate sheets for another $10. I have access to a colour printer, but would just print B&W if I had to.

I could keep using just the downloaded RPG style character sheets but they are scrappy (I might scan/photo and upload one to show what a mess it looks.)

I started with the Swamps of Death base set, but rapidly expanded. Since then I got the City of the Ancients, Caverns of Cynder, Frontier Town, Masters of the Void, Hell Vermin, Harvesters, Trederran Raiders and Custodians of Targa. It all adds up, although some of those small enemy expansions are only $13-$16 online. Of course, I've also been buying a bunch of Army Painter and Vallejo paint sets and brushes...

Even so, I think if you have plenty of minis based games and projects going on, it may be better to wait for the new Japanese base set "Forbidden Fortress". It will be a new baseline to start from, and the mini quality has improved hugely over the original sets.
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Mining for Horrors (A Shadows of Brimstone Topic) 10 Aug 2016 11:29 #231720

I'm more interested in the Old West setting over Japan.

I'm ready to see some paint jobs...
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Mining for Horrors (A Shadows of Brimstone Topic) 10 Aug 2016 13:01 #231728

Waiting for my inks to arrive, which hopefully will be this week. I think I don't use any of the standard Brimstone figures for heroes at all- they're pretty shabby. I got some Reaper metal figures from their chronoscope series, like www.reapermini.com/Miniatures/Chronoscope/latest/50280 but even that makes me cringe when I see that compared to how my paint is going.
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Mining for Horrors (A Shadows of Brimstone Topic) 11 Aug 2016 07:59 #231789

I wouldn't mind seeing a character sheet.
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Mining for Horrors (A Shadows of Brimstone Topic) 11 Aug 2016 10:45 #231804

You can get as involved, or not, as you want when it comes to tracking your character. I started out with custom money and poker chips to track XP but now I'm down to just pencil and paper (on a user-made character sheet I modified to have larger spaces in which to record my info) where I track XP and money in the margins. Now, in addition to my hand-written character sheet, I have a custom PDF I made of the same sheet that has form fields that can be populated electronically so the sheet stays neat.

As for the Gear and Artifact cards, we've always just shuffled them back in the deck because even if you get doubles of an artifact they can still be worth quite a bit of coin in town and some of the higher level town-only items are very expensive.

If you’re thinking of getting into the system - and don't want to spend $200+ on everything - there are three ways to go, IMO. First, you could buy one core set ($66 at Coolstuff). There’s a tremendous amount of game in just one core set, though you’ll eventually get tired of seeing the same few enemies over and over.

Second, you could get both core sets. You’ll get double the tiles, double the heroes, etc., and there’s plenty to sink your teeth into. Unfortunately there aren’t any ranged enemies (other than the Targa Pylons, which show up rarely) which means that fights will lack variety.

Third, for only about $5 more than both core sets, you can get whichever core set strikes your fancy (I like Swamps of Death because the Preacher is easily my favorite character class), the Frontier Town expansion, a large enemy expansion that matches the other world of the core set you chose, and a smaller, matching enemy expansion. The Frontier Town has a town board and individual types of towns (River Towns, Mutant Town, etc.) to take the already-great, RPG-like town visits to the next level. It also comes with 6 outlaws. They’re ranged enemies and each time you fight them (whether in the town or in the mines) you draw a card to see what gang they belong to – each gang has different abilities – which increases the variety.

So if I was starting out with Swamps of Death my shopping list might be: Swamps of Death, Frontier Town, Serpentmen of Jargono and Swamps Slugs. Like the outlaws, you draw a card for the Serpentmens’ affiliation (“tribe”) each time you fight them, and they come with a Shaman boss who has cool abilities.

Or if you’re going with City of the Ancients: City of the Ancients, Frontier Town, Masters of the Void (comes with a Void Magus that casts various spells), Trun Hunters or Custodians of Targa.

If you don’t care about the other world enemies that much: Core Set, Frontier Town, Scafford Gang, Dark Stone Brutes/Harvesters/Hell Vermin/Trederran Raiders.

This is my old character sheet for my Preacher, Father Thoth. The “5/8” under the Strength stat is his carrying limit, so he’s carrying 5 weight out of a possible 8 he can hold. The symbols next to the stats are to remind me which Mutations, Injuries, Items or Abilities are affecting which stats. For instance, the asterisk next to the War Veteran’s Hat (under Items) is to show that the hat is boosting the Max Sanity stat – which has a matching asterisk - and to remind me to remove the buff if I ever get rid of it or otherwise lose it.

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Mining for Horrors (A Shadows of Brimstone Topic) 11 Aug 2016 11:37 #231820

Yeah, Frontier Town for definite as the second thing you buy and I do think the Swamps of Death, while the less loved of the two sets, is possibly the best with the mix of characters you get in it. City of the Ancients has artifacts more relevant to shooty players.

For the two player game at home I do use RPG style character sheets with most stuff scrawled on it- in fact the B&W 2 page version of the one you have there- but with the bigger group I'm trying to make it as little fuss as possible with guys who just play this once or twice a month. I have access to a colour printer and the rest goes from there. One of the guys has literally collected all of the useful artifacts from Jargono from spawny loot draws. There was nothing but fungus left.

For extra enemies, I initially focused on ones that could get the most use- Trederran Raiders for example, have threat cards to appear in any of the otherworlds (including ones not yet released). I was disappointed with the Hell Vermin not having otherworld threat cards (no Hell Vermin in Cynder!) - I should have looked for an unboxing video to confirm the contents of that box.

I think that Swamps of Death and Frontier Town could be got for somewhere around $100 complete. Combined with a lot of the fan-made stuff on BGG, there's a lot to delve into there.

As a total side-note, I started wondering if there's a relevant miniatures battle rules set that all these figures could be used in.
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Mining for Horrors (A Shadows of Brimstone Topic) 11 Aug 2016 11:57 #231826

JEM wrote:
For extra enemies, I initially focused on ones that could get the most use- Trederran Raiders for example, have threat cards to appear in any of the otherworlds (including ones not yet released).

That's a great point and it's definitely something to consider after weighing theme, ranged/not ranged, price, etc., when deciding what to get next.

JEM wrote:
I think that Swamps of Death and Frontier Town could be got for somewhere around $100 complete. Combined with a lot of the fan-made stuff on BGG, there's a lot to delve into there.

I think that a core and Frontier Town are the absolute bare minimum buy-in for this system and $100 for a dungeon crawler of this caliber isn't bad, even if the core set hero and zombie minis aren't good quality. After that, the sky's the limit - we haven't even mentioned additional heroes, other world expansions, the soon-to-be-released mission packs, or card expansions - but thanks to the KS they've been able to expand the game to the point where you can tailor your purchases to how you want to play the game.

In the last six months we've been listing our house and moving to a new one so I haven't had a chance to sort and integrate all of the Wave 1.5 stuff yet (though the minis are assembled and the cards are sleeved). Now that I think I finally have my game room sorted out I think we're going to start a new campaign since my oldest wants to play an Outlaw and I'm thinking of starting over with a Prospector. I'm going to hold on to our old characters in case we have to bring them in as ringers if we ever need to devise a side mission to resurrect or cure a dead/mutated character.
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Mining for Horrors (A Shadows of Brimstone Topic) 16 Aug 2016 12:40 #232147

I borrowed the City of Ancients set from a buddy of mine specifically for my kids (boys - ~14 and 10) after seeing this thread.

I'd been looking for something dungeoncrawly and not 1-vs-many as my younger son does not deal well with competition, and usually opts out. So pure co-op adventure was just the right thing.

Huge hit. They're obsessed with it now. The young two-gun Bandido, the US Marshal, and the old retired Gunslinger have been fighting through the mines for a few nights, and the kids can't get enough.

Key quote: "this game has EVERYTHING!", when we roll on the town tables, or we take corruption hits and I mention the Mutation Table.

So now I have to figure out how durable their interest is in terms of dollars I'm going to spend. I'm really interested in the different character types in Swamps, but my kids are getting pretty attached to their shooty guys from City.
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Mining for Horrors (A Shadows of Brimstone Topic) 16 Aug 2016 12:56 #232151

Still waiting for my inks to arrive. Hopefully this week sometime.

I think each base set has three shooters- actually Swamps can have four with the shotgun toting preacher. If you do take the plunge with either set, you may want to apply the errata/clarifications for the gunslinger's and/or the rancher's abilities.

Tongiht should/might be the continuing adventures of Jessica and Patsy. This Friday is penned in for the big five player group (level 3 posse). I'm giving the PDF sheet a shot for that game (the B&W version of the one posted above).
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Mining for Horrors (A Shadows of Brimstone Topic) 16 Aug 2016 15:49 #232183

Not Sure wrote:
So now I have to figure out how durable their interest is in terms of dollars I'm going to spend. I'm really interested in the different character types in Swamps, but my kids are getting pretty attached to their shooty guys from City.

Assuming you get the CotA core and the fact that you’re playing with kids, for an initial budget purchase I would lean toward the Scafford Gang enemy pack. They’re basically evil gunfighters to go up against the gunfighters in your posse, and you get to draw cards to determine which mutations gang members have so the fights are a little different each time. They also have really cool sculpts and Scafford himself is one of the coolest-looking minis in the game. Masters of the Void would also be a good choice as the Void Sorcerers are ranged and they’d present a new tactical challenge for your posse. The Sorcerers and Hounds also look really good.

The Frontier Town adds a lot but I think it’s not as good for new players (since enemy variety trumps buildings variety IMO), and the Cynder other world expansion is light on new enemies for me to consider it a good second purchase.

Last night my son and I finally got a chance to start a new campaign. He chose an Outlaw (“Cactus Jack”) and I chose two of the new character classes: a Prospector (“Ellsworth”) and the (male) orphan (“Will Munny”). It took about 45 min. to get our gear, choose starting abilities and shuffle the decks (since I only added the Wave 1.5 cards this weekend) but finally we were ready to begin.

Before we even started, in an effort to keep mission duration at a reasonable length I instituted a house rule that there can never be more than 2 total non-Clue tokens drawn than Clue tokens. That is, if we’ve drawn 3 non-Clue tokens and 1 Clue token, the next token has to be a Clue token. Any non-Clue tokens would just be thrown back into the bag. This would result in a maximum mission length – not counting passages – of seven rooms, which seems reasonable.

My son chose CotA Mission 1 where a Night Terror has abducted someone and you have to find it, kill it and rescue the kidnapped townperson. I chose the Cynder Mine Entrance tile because it looks more atmospheric than the ones from the core sets- it’s printed to look like it’s dark outside - and away we went.

The first room had an Encounter (no Clue token) where you choose one person to pass an attribute test or everyone has to pass a Luck test or else you fail. The Prospector easily passed it before we went through a short passage and were ambushed (Clue Token, Ambush Attack) by 8 Hungry Dead and 2 Corpse Piles.

A quick note about the Orphan: the Orphan comes with 6 Personal Mission cards and you draw 2 and choose 1 when starting out. It gives you a permanent buff when you first get the card, as well as a second permanent buff when you complete the number of Discoveries on the card. Each time a Clue token is revealed or when you first go to town you roll 3 dice and if you get triples then you’ve made a Discovery. Your Personal Mission is complete after you’ve made all your Discoveries or achieved Level 5, whichever comes first, and it’s a really neat touch for that character class.

The Orphan was Initiative 5 and the Outlaw was at 4, but the Prospector was only at a 2, which was less than the Hungry Deads’ Ambush-enhanced Initiative of 3. He spent a Grit to activate his “Speed of Greed” ability that allows him to double his Initiative for the turn (among other effects) so he could activate before the Dead. The Orphan always passes Escape tests so he was able to get away from the 3 Dead around him and despite the Piles spawning 3 more Dead the heroes made short work of the enemies.

The next room was a lava river and we didn’t want to chance any burning damage – not with the Orphan’s meager 8 Health – so we went the other way and encountered a pair of Trun Hunters in the next room. Since the Trun Hunters have Assault (free Ranged Attack at their Target before making a melee attack) the Orphan and Outlaw retreated out of the room and went around the corner. The Hunters both shot at the Prospector and missed, so on his Activation he ran up and started swinging. Thankfully, Trun Hunters’ Defense is equal to the posse level and they were dead in a couple turns.

The next room proved to be the objective, where we faced off against a Brutal Night Terror with 26 Health. It inflicts 2 Horror Hits if a Hero starts their turn on the same map tile where each hit does 3(!) Sanity Damage. The Outlaw and Prospector blocked the doorway and the Orphan had to spend a turn catching up because he was lagging behind. The Night Terror targeted the Outlaw and we immediately started taking a boat load of Sanity Damage.

The Prospector used his Miner’s Canteen to heal 2D6 Sanity Damage when he was low and rolled a 12 (yes!) and on his next attack he rolled an 8 on a d8 for his Pick Axe’s To Hit for double damage and rolled a 1 for damage (boo!). The Outlaw was within one Sanity of going down with the Night Terror at 18 of 26 wounds, so he passed his Escape Test and broke away, hoping the Night Terror would target someone else.

It worked; it went after the Orphan but mostly whiffed on its attack roll. The Outlaw and Orphan did some more damage to get it to 24 wounds, and the Prospector rolled an 8 To Hit followed by a 6 for damage, to finish it off. My son successfully made the roll to discover the captive alive so we netted some extra cash and an extra Loot Card per hero.

On the way back to town we rolled 2 travel hazards. The first one required a Spirit 6+ test or else suffer Sanity Damage carried over to the next mission; the Prospector passed (with 2 dice!) while the Orphan (1 damage) and the Outlaw (4 damage) failed. For the next hazard we discovered a massacred party and we each elected to sift through the remains (ew…) and roll for what we find on a successful Luck 4+ check or suffer a permanent -1 Sanity loss. Amazingly, we each passed. The Outlaw found a Fallen Gunslinger’s Pistol, the Prospector found Hellfire Bullets (which he already gave to the Outlaw), but the Orphan rolled a 6 and discovered a Survivor! If he visits the Doctor’s Office in town he’ll get +1 Max Grit, so that’s definitely going to be his first stop.

We’re just going to do a standard town visit this time – since we already used the old Travel Hazard chart - but next time we’re going to start using the Frontier Town Expansion Travel Hazards and towns. We’re also going to assign Town data and Mission locations to locations on the overland map that came with the game so we can have more of a living world to explore. I also can’t wait to play some missions from the deluxe enemy expansions.

He’s already itching to play another mission tonight so tonight we’re heading into the swamps of Jargono.
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Mining for Horrors (A Shadows of Brimstone Topic) 16 Aug 2016 17:25 #232191

Nice report. We've been playing the first few missions of the Mines portion of CotA (the "Few Darkstone more" and "Exploration" ones). I've been deliberately tuning the difficulty down a little bit (Using Low Threats even though we're a party of 3, and reducing Epics to Highs). I still got swarmed as the Gunslinger and KO'd on a mission, and earned an Initiative-reducing Chest Wound. The kids have mostly been okay, especially the Marshal. In the first adventure, I found the darkstone-powered Armor artifact, and swapped it to him for the pistol that uses Agility to determine how many dice. In retrospect, that may have been bad, because it made me a serious glass cannon. The Marshal is nearly indestructible, though.

I'll try to take some more detailed notes next session.

So I have a question... where are some of these character classes coming from? I gather that the Outlaw was a Kickstarter exclusive (booooooo), but what about stuff like the Prospector and the Orphan? Having more characters appeals to me, and is the main reason I was looking at the two core sets together.
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Mining for Horrors (A Shadows of Brimstone Topic) 16 Aug 2016 21:34 #232207

Not Sure wrote:
So I have a question... where are some of these character classes coming from? I gather that the Outlaw was a Kickstarter exclusive (booooooo), but what about stuff like the Prospector and the Orphan? Having more characters appeals to me, and is the main reason I was looking at the two core sets together.

The Prospector, Orphan and Drifter were included in the Kickstarter and will be sold at retail in hero packs that include two minis, one for each gender. FFP has said that they'll offer the Outlaw character sheet as a download from their website, only the miniature will be a KS exclusive.

There were a few other new hero classes available at Gencon this year: Jargono Tribal Warrior, Doctor and Cowboy. The Jargono native looks cool, but this Cowboy ability - that I saw in a preview on the SoB closed FB group - is ridiculous and awesome in equal measures:

Giddy Up
Once per fight, you may use a Grit to mount an adjacent enemy that is Large or bigger, then must pass a Strength 6+ test every turn to stay mounted. Enemy is -1 Defense while mounted, and you gain 25xp for every successful Strength 6+ test to stay mounted.
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Mining for Horrors (A Shadows of Brimstone Topic) 17 Aug 2016 08:07 #232224

The gunslinger is fragile, no doubt. Nothing that a "fused with rock" mutation couldn't fix, I'm sure...

That's good new about the outlaw- if it's true- it flies against FFP's attitude on anything IP related being available except in a shrink-wrapped box. I do wish they were more relaxed about it all. CMoN put almost everything for Zombicide up on their site for free, missions, characters etc and I don't think that's hurting their bottom line.

Sebastian, I like your policy around the [!] tokens and I might implement that.

Last night, I chose for the pair of us to enter the Swamps of Death because there's a 50/50 chance at the end of finding the wellspring of life, to cure something (maybe finally shake off this Soul Parasite). We got off to a great start by pulling a Darkness card on turn two- ambushed by tentacles in the mine entrance! We thwapped them pretty good in one round of combat* though.

The next enemies we found in the mines were two Trederran Raiders, who I guess got separated from their squad somewhere else. They hit hard with shooting as well as melee, but were taken down pretty quickly. At this point my friend admitted it was a good idea to keep the serpent skull helmet (5+ armor save) after rolling 10 armor dice and blocking eight wounds.

About four tiles in we found the gate to Jargono, and behind it...more tentacles (having spawned a Wandering Monster from the Jargono threat deck). This fight went the same way as the previous tentacle fight- some big hits from them, then cut down pretty swiftly. Our Firebrand Nun is pretty boss with the Smite sermons. Firing up Cures and Faith Healings during travel turns really helped us stay almost damage-free.

That first Jargono tile was also the first clue token in the other world, so we only needed one more. We found it two tiles later, and prepared to face up against a High threat. The threat turned out to be six elite bogbats which, even at brutal, are not that much of a problem (their elite ability only affected escape rolls). No harvesters or raiders this time around. We did our usual one-round clearance for the win.

The last thing to check was which of the two possible rewards we had found- success! We had found the wellspring. I had to think a bit about whether to get rid of the soul parasite (has some benefits) or the "open to the void" mutation (which denies corruption saves). I went with losing the parasite, because taking two sanity hits on move rolls of 1 (to gain grit) sucked more. The nun took a +1 health boost, having no problematic mutations or injuries.

We alternate between adventures and town visits so that's all we did for the night, which took about two hours.

*combat is pretty swingy now- monsters hit hard, then we hit hard right back. I have The Judge pistol, which is amazing (roll D8 to hit, 3 shots) and the Cavalry Sabre (can do combat as well as ranged, and combat stat is 4 due to level ups) so I roll 3D8+4D6 on every attack, with one D8 getting a Lawman reroll (and crits on 6,7,8). Combined with the Lawman level up skills that let me drop initiative to 1 for a better defence roll, and gaining +2 damage on enemies with higher initiative meant most enemy defence barely counted. The nun is only rolling 3D6 for combat, but with +1 to +3 damage depending on enemy type, and Smite sermons to finish, is also hitting hard. If we didn't have her healing sermons it would be a tougher game, I think.
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