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Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients» Forums » Sessions

Subject: The One Where We Saved the Town rss

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Mark T
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The local Marshal found me as I was making my way from the saloon back to my hotel for the evening. He said he needed some help with a small problem. As a fellow lawman, I agreed to do whatever I could and proceeded to follow him to the doc’s office. There he showed me several chunks of ice, each of which contained a rather unsavory looking beast that looked something like an overgrown roach. Each a foot long, at least with some nasty looking pincers and more legs than I wanted to think about. The doc was doing his best to keep them cold, but it looked like they would thaw out before too long.

The Marshal told me that the expedition that had brought these in had barely made it back to town, losing the scientist that had collected these things in the process along with his notes. The doc seemed to think the notes might hold some key to subduing these creatures if they were to thaw out completely. Since it looked like that was a sure thing at some point, I offered that we ought to get started if we were going to make it out to the mine and back in time. I hurried back to my hotel room to grab my saddle bags and rousted my friend Wes from his room where he was enjoying some much needed rest after out last adventure. I figured having a priest along would probably come in handy. I figured right.

We met the Marshal, whose name was George at the edge of town and got started. We arrived at the mine entrance without incident and found a swirling vortex of dark energy just inside the entrance. Figuring this must be the place, we plunged through without much thought to our safety. On the other side it was cold! So cold! Even though it was high summer outside the mine, this place had snow! Nothing for it but to plunge ahead and hope we didn’t freeze.

We found ourselves in a small passage that bent around to the left and then branched into 3 paths. I poked my head into the right-hand doorway and saw a long room with a row of large containers at the far end. As my eyes adjusted, I took note of a hulking form with glistening, black eyes staring back at me. I’d seen these things before, but that doesn’t mean I like ‘em. A soft chittering sound quickly grew to a loud keening and I knew bad things were about to happen.

The light from our lantern flickered briefly and I looked over at Wes to see what he was doing with it. He just shrugged to indicate it wasn’t his doing, which just made it all the more disconcerting. As I turned back to get another look at the beastie in the next room, suddenly a swarm of thrashing tentacles erupted from the ground all around us! It was an ambush! To make matters worse, I could hear the all too familiar shrieks of hellbats coming from one of the other branches of the passageway. To top it all off, out of the shadows behind us shambled one of those things that looks like a yeti’s creepy uncle. We’d dealt with his kind before, but that doesn’t mean it would be any easier this time around.

I started blasting away with my Peacekeeper and George covered the rear with his shotgun. Wes laid into the nearest foe with his bible in one hand and a cross in the other. Doing double duty as both basher and healer, Wes was busier than a one legged man in a, well you know how that one goes. He kept us sane and relatively whole while weakening the toughest of our foes to make our strikes more effective. I was glad to have him by my side that day.

The tentacles and hellbats were dealt with fairly quickly. The night terror couldn’t seem to hit much, but was terrifying enough that we needed to deal with him quickly lest he claim our sanity. The slashers were quite fearsome as well, so it was hard to decide what to focus on first. Ultimately though, we cleared everything out and then took a deep breath.

When the dust settled I looked at my watch and realized that the fight had taken a good deal of what little time we thought we might have before those things back in town thawed out. With that in mind, we left that first room quickly even with the temptation of those glowing chambers at the far end holding who-knows-what. The next branch we tried led us to a room with a long-abandoned well bore in the middle. The hole was flush with the floor so we had to be careful not to fall in. As we entered, we saw two stone pillars at the far end of the room light up and start firing blasts of light at us. We quickly back-tracked to get out of the line of fire and decided to try the final branch of the intersection instead.

Moving quickly up the passage we found ourselves in an area where the ground was covered in ice. As I stepped out onto it, I heard a loud cracking sound and saw cracks begin to spider web across the surface. Suddenly the stone pillars in the well room were looking pretty good.

Once again we reversed course and took the lunge back into the well room. We quickly closed the distance to the pillars and made short work of them, but not before they’d put a few holes in us as well. Wes did his thing as we moved on to the next area.

What came next became a bit of a blur as we made our way quickly from room to room trying not to waste time. We encountered no more living impediments to our progress and finally started to find some of the lost journal pages we were here to find.

As we stumbled onto the last of the missing pages I heard a rustling, as of leathery wings. That couldn’t be a good thing. Wes ran into the room before I could say anything, his eyes firmly fixed on the journal pages on the far side. As he passed me in the doorway another bunch of tentacles erupted from the floor! This must be what killed the scientist. Before I could react to the tentacles, another far more insidious presence made itself known. The hulking figure of a Harbinger stepped from the shadows and spread its wings as if to overshadow us with a cloak of fear. He was on us in a heartbeat and went for George first. I did my best to keep the tentacles from savaging him too badly while he turned to face the winged monstrosity. I don’t know too much about George apart from this: that man is an artist with a shotgun.

As Wes and I focused on the tentacles, George blasted that Harbinger with everything he had, shredding its wings and leaving it barely alive. It took a few swipes at George as well, though I think George got the better end of that exchange. Then it turned its attention to me.

Wes was laying about with bible and cross like a man consumed with battle fury. In addition to accounting for at least two of the tentacles, he managed to keep George and me from succumbing to our wounds too quickly. I kept blasting away at tentacles, partly because that’s what was in front of me and also to help keep them from overwhelming Wes. I was counting on George to cover me with that shotgun of his. That was faith well-placed indeed.

At some point in our adventure George had picked up a new skill – I guess all the fighting had given him enough familiarity with that shotgun of his to let him work it that much faster than before. Between his own talent and a darkstone grip, George could squeeze off three shots with that thing in same time it took me to get off three shots with my pistol! At this point in the fight, he spun toward the last tentacle still writhing about and put two shots into it, blowing it into a fine, red mist. Then he reeled back around to the harbinger and unloaded two more (I guess the tentacle kill invigorated him that much more). With a final shriek of pain and anguish, the harbinger slumped to the ground and we all breathed a sigh of relief. Wes grabbed the final page of the journal and we hightailed it back to town just in time to avert disaster.

Quite an adventure! As usual this game provides a great platform from which to tell a fun story – part of why I like it so much. By the end of this one Wes the priest was at level 4, Bart the lawman had gotten to level 4 and George the U.S. Marshal had made it to level 3. A few quick notes:
I used a few small house rules to help speed things up and to make it a bit more interesting.

1) Thanks to Philbarfly from BGG for suggesting an alternate placement strategy for enemies. I used his system where, after the first enemy type is placed as usual, further enemy types are placed in adjacent rooms. This requires you to place rooms at unexplored doorways behind the posse as though the doorway had been looked through. Then enemies are placed just inside these new rooms. I felt like this opened up the combat a bit and made things a bit more interesting.
2) After several games where the darkness just seems to move way too quickly due to poor rolling, I implemented a new rule for darkness rolls. In the first section of the track, roll 2D8. In the second section roll 1D8 + 1D6 and in the final section roll 2D6. It probably cuts down on the doubles rolls some too, which is part of what made it so tough. If I remember correctly, double 3s has you move the darkness 2 spaces. I played that this is in addition to the space moved for failing the darkness roll to begin with. So a roll of double 3s results in the darkness moving three spaces! That’s brutal! Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on this one. I implemented this rule about half way through the game.
3) When determining the number of exits off a newly explored room, if there were unexplored doorways elsewhere on the map, I subtracted one door from the symbols on the exploration marker. This forced me to explore a bit further than I might have otherwise as it wasn’t necessarily a linear path. There were a couple of rooms that ended up being dead ends which was fun. I thought it added nicely to the feeling of exploration and not really knowing where you were going.

Apologies for the lengthy report. Hope you enjoyed it.
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Tim de Groot
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Thanks for sharing your report, I really like reading it.
Good to see the house-rules working for you. So far I havn't really found the need for them, though I only played ~10 games so far. Placing monsters further away does seem to increase the tactical part of the fight, but might also make it last at least one turn longer thus playing into the Darkness problem?

Anyways, good read! Wonder how long it will take for one of the protagonists to grow a tentacle mustache zombie
 
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Adam Mitchell
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How did you end up facing so many non-Targa creatures in Targa? You were drawing all Threat cards except a single Epic Threat from the Targa Threat deck, right?
 
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Mark T
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I wondered the same thing at the time. Now I realize what I was doing wrong.blush

I was drawing off the regular medium threat deck. Whoops!
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J M
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Great session report. Seems like your posse made short work of that Harbinger. On the subject of HBTD rolls and doubles- any time you roll a double you resolve the Depth Event, and do not advance the darkness counter if the total was a fail. So a double 3 would be two moves, not three.

I think it's fine to use the regular threat decks if you like- the epic threats are never world specific, no reason they couldn't bring their own team along.
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David Griffin
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Solan wrote:
How did you end up facing so many non-Targa creatures in Targa? You were drawing all Threat cards except a single Epic Threat from the Targa Threat deck, right?


That brings up an interesting question for me too. I have the other world threat decks but they are not labeled with threat level. What are you supposed to do in the Targa plateau when you draw a medium threat? Do you draw the threat and then look through the other world cards to see if there is some Targa equivalent? How does that work?
 
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Mark T
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If you look at the other world threat cards they often indicate that the number of enemies to be placed varies with posse size. So the variation in threat level is accounted for on the card rather than making multiple decks for each other world.
 
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Mark T
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AceAceBaby wrote:
Great session report. Seems like your posse made short work of that Harbinger. On the subject of HBTD rolls and doubles- any time you roll a double you resolve the Depth Event, and do not advance the darkness counter if the total was a fail. So a double 3 would be two moves, not three.


Thank you! Apparently I missed that in the rule book. I actually had to go and confirm it for myself, but you are absolutely right on this. That should certainly change things at least a little. I always thought it was a little dire to have to move the darkness tracker AND suffer the consequences of a doubles roll.
 
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Adam Mitchell
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AceAceBaby wrote:
I think it's fine to use the regular threat decks if you like- the epic threats are never world specific, no reason they couldn't bring their own team along.


I always like using the threat decks specific for that other world, as it gives you much more of the flavor and feel of the world in question. Also, you're wrong about Epic Threats; SoB introduced world-specific Epic Threats with the Serpentmen, the Guardian and the Burrower.

 
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