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Subject: Our quick, first Forbidden Fortress game rss

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Tom Dean
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Forbidden Fortress Mission 1

Party Details: All level 1 fresh characters

Koryu - Kitsune
Tsubame - Assassin
Tsuruha - Geisha
“The Major” - Trederran Veteran
Kinnosuke - Soldier
“The Young Lord” - Daimyo

First few turns uneventful as we explored the castle. Within the second room, bad scavenges resulted in two growing dread cards being added to the stack. A darkness card required us to pull SIX darkness cards to play. One of them being a new darkness card,Spirit Swarm, required a spirit 6+ test, and if failed, characters take d6 sanity hits ignoring willpower. This was painful since most of the party was low spirit. Kinnosuke, hit hardest, took six sanity damage, a full 50% of his sanity. Cold Death sent him into madness. Tsuruha teetered on the brink of madness, with only four sanity remaining. Another added another growing dread to the our stack, the other two promised buffed enemies. We would not have long to wait to fight the new enemies, for as we entered the third room we faced off against six Tengu.

BATTLE:

The first tengu targeted Kinnosuke, however, his triple one’s resulted in no damage. The second one attacked Tsuruha, but she successfully rolled a defensive save against the monster. Koryu also succeeded in a defensive save against a 5-6 roll by a Tengu. The fourth Tengu found more success, rolling a 4-6, and the young lord, though succeeding in defending against the 6, failed his defensive save. Nevertheless, his samurai armor worked, and he avoided the two damage. Our luck couldn’t hold forever. One tengu scored three hits on an allied Ashigaru, who managed only a single save, suffering four damage. The Major also took two damage from the final Tengu. It was time to counterattack.

Koryu managed a single hit and scored three wounds on her aggressor. Tsubame, in a masterful stroke of luck, maneuvered to be adjacent to two enemies. With her critical hit she rolled a five, killing the Tengu outright, and her second hit was sufficient to finish off the wounded Tengu. Tsuruha, between her hidden blade and her open fists, placed two wounds on a Tengu. The Major finished off the wounded Tengu with her submachine gun. The young lord, however, had more mixed results. Despite rolling two critical hits, he rolled one damage for each roll, and on the grit, rolled snake eyes again. Two fury failed to appease him, who righteously felt there should have been a dead Tengu. Kinnosuke in combination with his Sharp Shooter ability one-shot a Tengu. The two Ashigaru successfully defended their lord, killing the wounded Tengu and the daimyo, using his Order to Charge tactic, ordered a second attack which inflicted a single wound on the remaining Tengu.

Holding back the darkness resulted in a double six throw, healing everyone wounded and recovering grit for the remaining party members. The Tengu attacked one of the Ashigaru, inflicting two wounds. He managed to avoid being hit by the Daimyo and Kinnosuke, though the Major inflicted two wounds on him. The Ashigaru themselves managed to finish off the final Tengu ending the encounter.

Before we could move on, we rolled snake eyes on holding back the darkness, and a hell cannon and eight lost army soldiers ambushed the party. We had barely recovered from the first encounter, so we were not prepared. Koryu managed to score two hits, but only a single wound on the soldier. Thus ending our plan to try to break the formation early. Tsubame managed only a two hits, including a critical, rolling only one damage for the critical roll, but still managed three wounds overall eliminating one solder. Tsuruha, wounding a soldier while moving, managed to roll two critical hits, resulting in the elimination of both wounded soldiers. Four soldiers failed to either connect with a melee hit (with Koryu avoiding the hit due to her innate ability). The Major threw a stun grenade, killing one soldier, and wounding the cannon crew and two more soldiers. Follow up shots only inflicted a single wound. The Hell Cannon attempted to fire grape shot at Koryu, but missed. The young lord fired his pistol, but failed to overcome the defense of the cannon. The Ashigaru managed to finish a wounded soldier and inflict two points of damage on the cannon crew.

Second round, Koryu once again inflicted minor damage, while Tsubame one shot another soldier. Tsuruha eliminated the wounded soldier, leaving the cannon crew as the only remaining target. The Daimyo was able to eliminate the cannon crew after the Major inflicted significant damage to them.

Upon entering the garden, we faced our final opponent. A Kosugi Ninja master and six ninjas, from the Order of Muto, led by Omisha. Koryu and Tsubame took two and four damage respectively from Omisha. Koryu counterattacked Omisha, but her trend of rolling critical hits for one wound continued. Kinnosuke, the Daimyo and one of his Ashigaru suffered wounds from the ninja attacks. While Tsubame’s shuriken attack failed to defeat Omisha’s armor, the Osaka Brotherhood attack inflicted damage on two figures and she managed ten wounds on Omisha. Tsuruha whiffed all her damage rolls, her single wound not withstanding. The Major inflicted a few wounds with a stun grenade before whiffing her gun attack. The Daimyo managed to one shot a ninja, while Kinnosuke managed to strip off 2\3 of the health of another ninja. One of the Ashigaru inflicted one wound on the ninja. The Ninja managed to inflict some wounds throughout the party, with Koryu dropping below 50% health and Tsuruha suffered four wounds and was poisoned. Tsubame used her smoke screen to reposition, and one shot a ninja. Tsuruha was unlucky to have six damage blocked by armor, leaving only two wounds on an otherwise wounded ninja, leaving it alive with one health. The Major, perennially unable to avoid corruption hits, managed a critical hit only to have the armor on Omisha to negate nearly all the damage. The Major used her special ability to gain a second activation, however, despite rolling double criticals, she rolled 1 for damage and armor blocked the hits, wasting three grit in the process. The Daimyo, using overwhelm inflicted ten damage and finished off Omisha, allowing everyone to breathe a collective sigh of relief. Kinnosuke finished off a wounded ninja with a roll of 6 on the P dice.

At the start of the next round of combat, Koryu eliminated a wounded ninja. The two remaining ninjas failed to do any damage, and were promptly dispatched by Tsubame and Tsuruha, thus winning the encounter.

Post - Encounter Thoughts

Going into the first mission there was some debate, trepidation and curiosity. Most of us present have two characters we alternate between, the weakest being level three, the strongest level five. Some of our characters have a lot of gear and going back to level one seemed alarming, because we just didn’t know how encounters would turn out.

We debated between mixing new enemies with old, or keeping them separated. We elected to mix because if we encountered an enemy that overwhelmed us that our other characters did not struggle against, we could analyze the difference. If we overcame them but found the new monsters too challenging, we would discern whether the new monsters simply posed a greater challenge.

Are the new characters overpowered, broken, etc? We would say no. In many respects, our results showed a bell curve of experience that is not shared normally. Typically we have one character who is the breakout damage dealer and experience collector, usually the drifter or saloon girl, sometimes orphan or priest. Rolls depending, of course.

Was there a breakout experience winner? Yes, the assassin earned enough to level up one level, no one else earned that much experience.

Are the new monsters too strong? No, of course fighting their level one versions in opposition to our higher level parties would not be a fair comparison, but for core monsters, we would say they were more challenging, but not overwhelmingly so. We suffered a single KO, that being our poor soldier Kinnosuke. Koryu, the Kitsune, also came close to biting the dust and probably would have bandaged if the Daimyo had not eliminated the ninja leader when he did. Also, armor was very annoying, and having ways to bypass it made the party progress faster than otherwise one might expect.

Is this new core\expansion worthwhile? YES! We enjoyed the ambiance and theme. Santa Anna’s army marching to ambush us after defeating Tengu? Who wouldn't enjoy that narrative convention?

Will any of these new characters enter into our posse rotation? Most assuredly.

A summary of the different players thoughts:

Kitsune - This was the only player who sort of felt underwhelmed. Ostensibly, there was no reason not to. High initiative, moving before enemies, automatic escape test, extra damage due to pounce for attacking enemies before activation. Even the ability to keep their defense at 2. And yet, they garnered less experience than everyone else despite going first. This was attributable to several factors, terrible dice rolls highest amongst them. Our Kitsune also took the most damage from monsters, despite the -1 roll to hit penalty. If I had to describe my personal observations, it was a character that was average that performed below average, and that made it sting all the more for this particular player. Nevertheless, she is going to give it another go and if she still doesn’t feel comfortable, she’s going to try sorceress instead (she really is WAAAAY too eager to melt something, haha). I also think she would benefit from having a second weapon to increase combat when initiative isn’t an issue.

Assassin - Whoa boy. Our assassin player loved her character. She enjoyed using smoke to move, and the +2 combat allowed her to eliminate monsters with ease. She only used her shuriken once and it failed to do damage (armor, geez). Her Osaka Brotherhood attack added some extra damage at the final boss that felt nice in ending the encounter in three turns (instead of probably four). Rolling critical hits on 5 or 6 landed some extra damage as well. Despite being squishy, she wasn’t prohibitively so, but that is more than likely a result of mostly not being targeted the entire game. She hopes adding a second weapon that either increases damage or adds additional combat dice will increase her damage. I think she has the potential for being the far and away strongest class in our new posse.

Geisha - Our Geisha player was rather surprised she didn’t do as well experience wise as she thought she did. The free attack for one wound actually eliminated our final ninja opponent, and that extra damage felt reliable. A few critical rolls for good damage helped cement that positive impression. Healing sanity here and there proved valuable. Picking up an axe from a loot drop provided a second weapon with additional damage. Even the parasol prevented some extra damage. She also feels as though the figure is the prettiest figure she’s ever seen…

Trederran Veteran - I must preface this by saying Trederra has been consistently my favorite expansion, and the thought of playing a Trederran soldier has been exciting. My personal experience was mixed, but the fun uninterrupted. I think I only managed to avoid one corruption, using my gas mask no less, having failed every willpower throw I made. I ended with six corruption (glad I had the boost from the gear). I avoided a mutation but I can see this character is going to have to worry about mutations. The submachine gun provided mostly reliable damage (the critical hit for 2 damage that I grit to 1 damage notwithstanding) and once I get a few extra shots, I think it’ll be a reliable character. I may pick up a gun that isn’t so corruption based. The stun grenades did reliable damage, and although I am the Union, I failed every roll to keep my grenades. The stunned marker provided degraded defense on some tougher monsters allowing for one wound hits that would have otherwise been avoided all together. I felt like I provided solid team support. I wasn’t a standout character, just a good soldier. It felt fitting.
Soldier - Our soldier player knew from the moment he saw the preview video he would play soldier. He was not disappointed. He loved sharpshooter ability when he had the need to use it, enjoys the consistency of the P dice for damage, and once he gets his first level up, fully intends to get the combat +2 skill with two handed ranged weapons. The armor and defense made him strong enough to withstand physical attacks. Rather amusingly, going mad on turn three resulted in some interesting consequences for our game, but he soldiered through (haha). As he went last with the lowest initiative, we mostly forgot about him, he would finish off wounded enemies or bag a full health one if he could plop down the grit to enhance a damage roll.

Daimyo - Our daimyo player going into this game was full of regret and concern. He was torn about abandoning personal damage for taking the skill to provide additional Ashigaru. I can somewhat understand, if they get wiped easily and early, it sort of feels like they were wasted. Our Ashigaru did good work, absorbing some damage and even finishing off or wounding some opponents. Our daimyo sort of felt like he should be entitled to half XP for bringing them, but this is not supported by the rules. He ultimately learned to think of them as movable combat dice without critical hits. He’s still not entirely sold on the package, but it worked out well enough. He occasionally used samurai tactics to force a second activation that resulted in extra damage or ending an encounter, and his overwhelm at the end netted solid damage vs the ninja. If our Geisha was surprised by how little XP she earned, and our kitsune feeling let down, our daimyo was surprised he did as well as he did and left feeling pleasantly surprised. He has decided to double down and get the skills to augment the ashigaru. He had initially considered playing an enforcer, but his good experience has caused him to leave such thoughts behind.

Final XP:

Kitsune - 250
Assassin - 545
Geisha - 280
Trederran Veteran - 280
Daimyo - 350 (standing behind me, he demands I point out he would have had 100 XP more if his Ashigaru would provide him XP)
Soldier - 390
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Philip Jelley
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I notice that the Assassin tends to run away with XP at the start, but slows down when confronted by more powerful enemies who do not die from D6 Damage, and therefore get to land a few hits on her.
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Max Caine
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Having played the core set quite a bit, as you've got the full pledge I'd suggest making sure you have more monsters in your threat deck which change targets than less, otherwise the assassin gets away with retargetting monsters on other heroes and not taking her share of the lumps.
 
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Adam Mitchell
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I was thinking recently that Forbidden Fortress really needed more Session Reports; thank you very much for providing such a comprehensive and detailed one!

A few questions:

How did Grapeshot from the Hell Cannon miss? It hits automatically, ignoring Defense.

You were kind enough not to directly spoil the powers of the Muto Clan and their leader, but the Clan and Omisha DO have a cool power or two, right?

I believe the Frogs said that you should only have eight models max in a posse, so when the Daiymo rolled three, he should have only gotten two Allies.

Incidentally, don't you find the game lacks challenge with six players?

Trederra is my favorite Other World as well, and I'm very much looking forward to playing such a character. I plan to do a Royal Foundry Veteran and a Frontier Doc, a match made in heaven.
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Tom Dean
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Having the two Ashigaru meant a few times by luck of the randomness, the assassin was not targeted. For instance, the six ninja did not target her.

For the grapeshot, we operated under the belief you still rolled the 5+ for a hit, and if it did hit, it then did p-damage ignoring defense. Nothing on the card or in the rules led us to believe it hits automatically adjacent enemies.

Omisha and the Muto clan do have an interesting ability\power. I obliquely referenced it, but it is vague enough for someone to miss. It does change the encounter vs generic ninja.

You are correct, and our daimyo rolled a 3 on the d3 dice, but we only placed two models. The third one was lost in the roll, so to speak.

As for lacking challenge, that's one of those difficult to quantify, because the challenge changes. We usually play two or six player games. In two player games, encounters scare us more than anything. In a six player games, it is mechanics and outside combat encounters that make it challenging. For instance, our darkness card that had us draw x more cards where x=number of players. Smaller posse would have made that easier. Also cards with "if more than half fail" tend to result in failure more often than success. Later monsters that scale with number of players tend to remain somewhat challenging. So, combat does get easier, but it doesn't scale as much as gear. Good gear drops trivializes fighting more than number of players, in my opinion. I would note, our only KO resulted from darkness cards, not combat.

But we six have a lot of fun. And we're debating whether to take an experienced posse into the forbidden fortress next week or continue with this posse.

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Adam Mitchell
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Obligatory123 wrote:

For the grapeshot, we operated under the belief you still rolled the 5+ for a hit, and if it did hit, it then did p-damage ignoring defense. Nothing on the card or in the rules led us to believe it hits automatically adjacent enemies.

I would disagree. The wording states that if there are adjacent Heroes, it fires grapeshot, "doing d6 wounds, ignoring defense, to each of them." It doesn't "if hitting", just "doing d6 wounds", hence leading to my belief that you don't have to roll to hit when using grapeshot. Hopefully Inspector Jee will be by to clarify.
 
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Gavin Downing
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I read it the same way, Adam. Grapeshot auto-hits. It sucks.
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Tom Dean
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If that was the case I would think it would say, it "automatically hits all adjacent enemies..." Firing to me implies rolling to hit, you may be right, but the wording seems ambiguous to me and your interpretation is not the one I would think of.

EDIT: It's also listed under ranged attack, and ranged attacks are normally rolled to see if it is a hit.
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Max Caine
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Out of the solider and the Trederran Vet, which do you think brought the most dakka to the table? I've always been a keen lover of more dakka.
 
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Tom Dean
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Maximillian_Caine wrote:
Out of the solider and the Trederran Vet, which do you think brought the most dakka to the table? I've always been a keen lover of more dakka.
I would say the Trederran Veteran, but with qualifications. Trederran Veteran due to my starting upgrade gets a free attack and some shatter grenades for free. The dark stone carbine rolls a d8 for damage but you have to take a corruption hit for damage.

The soldier's starting musket has one shot vs dark stone carbine's two, however, if the soldier doesn't move, he gains an extra shot. Damage is rolled on a peril dice and the starting musket has a +1 to damage. He cannot assign hits to adjacent enemies with his musket hits, but he's not restricted to targeting adjacent enemies.

They both need a 3+ for a ranged hit.

The d8 has a higher possible damage, as well as a lower possible damage. Guaranteeing two shots when you have to move at the cost of corruption and the grenades gives you the feeling of more dakka, but the consistent damage and some good deployment of the soldier gives you better average damage.

I personally prefer the veteran, but it can feel like it swings quite a bit, whereas the soldier feels very consistent. Looking at possible upgrades, they both have solid, complimentary upgrades. I think the veteran edges out honestly due to the higher initiative, and the ability to go sooner is something I value a lot.
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Neil Edmonds
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Quote:
If that was the case I would think it would say, it "automatically hits all adjacent enemies..."
That assumption will be wrong because

Jee Fu
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has documented many inconsistent wording problems with the game already. Sometimes Flying Frog may say "automatically hit" while other times they'll skip straight to term Wound. The key is understanding what "hit" and "wound" mean in the game.

Hits inflict wounds, and while the relationship is often 1 Hit = 1 Wound, as the enemies get tougher 1 Hit = n Wounds where n is a number higher than 1. A hero never loses health from hits, they lose health from wounds.

So when you see the word "wound" without any mention of hits, the hero suffered something akin to "automatic hit with no Defense roll" [or any other special defenses against hits]. Anything that defends against Wounds - like Armor - would still apply.

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Tom Dean
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Good to know, always learning something. I do wish there was a bit more consistency at times.
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Max Caine
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What mission did you play? Was it Lost Contact?
 
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Neil Edmonds
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Good to know, always learning something. I do wish there was a bit more consistency at times.
You're not alone on that point. We're fortunate that so many people take the time to ask, analyze, and answer questions to help make the game better for everyone.

Thank you for posting a session report for Forbidden Fortress. I thought it was well-written, and I was interested in learning more about this core set.
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Tom Dean
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Maximillian_Caine wrote:
What mission did you play? Was it Lost Contact?
Hunt for Dark Stone. We had finished assembling about forty models and decided to go for something quick. This Saturday we are probably going to a more challenging mission. I'll post a session afterwards. Tomorrow we are assembling the remaining models from the pledge.
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Scott Snyder
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Shared XP
It's interesting, but we must be one of the few groups that modified how XP works: all earned XP goes into a shared pool, and no one levels up until we all do. We've found that makes everyone focus more on their role within the group moreso than nabbing XP. What we love about Shadows is we can play it our way! We also always played against monsters one level higher than the party, but from what I'm reading that may not be wise this time around...
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Tom Dean
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We considered that, especially in some of our groups where we might have level 5 with level 2 characters. Ultimately we found we preferred it as written.

I agree, the game is nice that you can have flexibility with how you play.

We enjoy narrative gameplay, so we try to really role-play what is going on in the game. To that end, we each have pages of notes about our characters, simple thing from backgrounds and origins, what happened in adventures, and how that dictates what we do. We're such nerds, haha.
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Scott Snyder
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Obligatory123 wrote:

We enjoy narrative gameplay, so we try to really role-play what is going on in the game. To that end, we each have pages of notes about our characters, simple thing from backgrounds and origins, what happened in adventures, and how that dictates what we do. We're such nerds, haha.
No, you're awesome! =)
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