Tom Dean
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Our party was still all level 1, except for our assassin.

Tsubame the Assassin
Tsuruha the Geisha
The Major, our Trederran Veteran
Usesugi Kageyama, the Daimyo
Kinnosuke, a soldier
Ryuuji the Sumo wrestler

Game began normally. We opened up our first room a library, and encountered something under the floorboards. Our sumo successfully passed the strength test and ended up finding $200. A profitable beginning for him. As we entered the second room, a nasty encounter awaited us. Six scourge dead with burning blindness and the Red Ronin himself (he would withdraw at 50% or less health since he was an additional medium threat draw [thankfully]). Out little jaunt to collapse a fortress suddenly took a turn for the serious.

The Red Ronin targeted Tsubame, who suffered a single wound and three sanity damage from the resulting taunt. Tsubame, however, counterattacked. Tsubame managed a hefty five wounds in retaliation. Tsuruha simply moved closer to the action, but did not get into range to attack anything. The Major, however, in a coup, shredded three scourge dead with a stun grenade and added five more wounds to the Red Ronin. The scourge dead pushed towards Tsubame, who managed to avoid taking any damage from their attacks. Kageyama moved closer, and with his pistol, eliminated an undead scourge. Kinnosuke added one wound to the Red Ronin. Ryuuji, using his large size to an advantage, pushed his way forward and killed another scourge dead and added another wound to the Red Ronin. Unfortunately, the five corpse piles produced four new scourge dead, while the fifth disintegrated.

The Red Ronin targeted Kinnosuke in the second round, but some lucky armor saves prevented him from suffering any damage. Tsubame eliminated an undead scourge with her shurikens, though she failed to hit anything else during her movement. Tsuruha managed enough wounds on the Red Ronin to force his retreat. Her gentle laugh could be heard as she stood before the location where the once powerful ronin stood. The Major failed to wound anything during her turn (curse that burning blindness). Tsubame, Ryuuji, and Kinnosuke both suffered two wounds and were consequently set afire. Kageyama killed two scourge dead, and Kinnosuke added another to the tally. Ryuuji eliminated the fire scourge dead, ending the menace.

An unlucky double 3 after the fight moved darkness forward two steps, and a darkness card that granted regeneration to undead entered the battlefield. Considering what happened next, I am glad we elected to cancel it with an item. The very next room we found ourselves facing off against eight lost army soldiers and a hell cannon (Santa Anna’s army appears at lot in Japan).

We began the round by failing the darkness roll with a double 2. The growing dread card prevented us from retreating. We were in the mansion come hell or high water now. Tsubame and Tsuruha moved forward, but failed to get into melee range of the array of soldiers. The Major, with a lucky shatter grenade, managed to wound two and kill three soldiers, and added eight wounds to the cannon itself. Kageyama missed with his pistol, but elected to use his Hell Scroll artifact, finishing two soldiers and adding two additional wounds to the cannon. Kinnosuke moved into range, but rolled a one for a hit. He grit the roll, and scored a critical hit that ultimately finished off the cannon and allowed him to recover his expended grit. Now, the soldiers returned fire. Tsubame suffered two wounds, but the rest of the party emerged unscathed. Ryuuji was unable to get into range, but Taro, our armoured Ashigaru, killed one of the soldiers with an amazing double six damage roll.

The remaining two soldiers were dispatched with aplomb by Tsuruha and the major. We continued into the next room, and received a growing dread card that added one to the darkness level and an encounter which required a spirit test. Three of us passed it, for a cool 20 XP, the other three took corruption equal to their level. Since we are a low level party, it was manageable.

Another failed darkness roll pushed another growing dread card onto the table, which resulted in two darkness cards. One of them was a simple buff to void enemies, but the one that reduced maximum class tokens by one made our Daimyo sad. We finally found the end of one wing of the castle. Though we found plague bodies in the room, we had no additional threats, and began backtracking to the other wing of the cast.

The backtrack took several turns. Many hold back darkness rolls were failed. Sadly two growing dreads resulted in the next encounter having all enemies +3 health and the entire party suffered two sanity damage. With darkness sitting on 11 on the depth track, we found the final room. A threat was added, six Takobake spearman, in addition to the double encounter. Including one that resulted in the adding of corpse piles for dishonored dead. Thankfully, everyone passed the Luck 5+ test and our assassin was randomly selected for the dishonorable ambush, passing that encounter as well. Taro decided to try to cancel the growing dread card that would make the enemies stronger. This was amazingly successful.

A lucky double six darkness roll helped with some wounds and grit recovery. Tsubame struck first, wounding a spearmen (who would subsequently heal the wound), before using her teleportation ability to maneuver into a position to kill a spearman. She suffered two wounds in the counterattack by the spearman, but no one else suffered injuries. Tsubame casually shanked a spearman, whose armor managed a single save, but it was not enough. The Major had two wounds stick to a spearmen. Kageyama was able to use overwhelm to finish off a spearman. Kinnosuke used his sharpshooter ability to push enough damage through to finish a spearman. Ryuuji successfully pushed one of the spearman back, triggering his +1 damage ability. Unfortunately, he threw four misses, which was promptly grit to two hits, which resulted in a critical hit for one damage. This damage roll was also the subject of a grit roll, resulting in barely enough damage to finish off the wounded spearman.

Tsubame finished off the last spearman with a double critical hit. Our party then headed for the exit. Unfortunately, when we went to escape, we failed the special test, and this faced the epic threat: Onmorake with six scourge dead. Tsubame was completely out of position and unable to attack. Tsuruha, managed two wounds on the Onmorake, who in return, set Kageyama on fire and inflicted five wounds on him. The Major managed to stun three targets, inflicting one wound each, and kill two scourge dead with her shatter grenade. A quick follow up with the carbine netted an additional six wounds on the Onmorake. Using her medal, the Major followed up with another quick activation, and put three more wounds on the Onmorake, with the plauge causing one of her hits to miss that should have normally hit. Kageyama ended up healing a full six wounds on his turn, but both he and Kinnosuke missed their attacks due to plague. Scourge dead added another two wounds to Kageyama and once again set him on fire. Ryuuji got the last attack off, adding eight wounds to the Onmorake. At the end of the first round, we hadn’t even inflicted 50% health loss on the Onmorake.

Taro successfully canceled the growing dread card drawn from our double 2 roll at the beginning of round two. Tsubame used her special item to fully recover grit, moved closer to strike the Onmorake, but missed her shurikens. She tried her smoke bomb, but rolled a one for movement, but she needed a two or better. So, she used a grit, but rolled a one again. The Onmorake set Ryuuji on fire. Tsubame managed a single wound on the Onmorake, but the Major scored an impressive seven with a critical hit. Kageyama adds four wounds on a critical hit, and at this point we start considering we may yet survive, since the scourge dead failed to score any hits. Promptly after expressing this, Ryuuji and Kinnosuke fail to inflict any damage.

Next round, two scourge dead regenerate, but Tsubame finally gets into position to attack, but her melee hits fail to score any damage but her brotherhood attack does kill two scourge dead. Tsuruha manages to add another eight wounds to the Onmorake. The five wounds healed by the Onmorake made us more than a little sad. The major failed to scored a hit, but Kinnosuke rolled a critical hit and used his sharpshooter ability to tag ten wounds on the Onmorake, while his other hit added two more wounds. He was now four wounds from death. The scourge dead inflict two wounds and set Tsubame on fire. Ryuuji grits a combat roll, and rolls the critical hit needed to finally eliminate the Onmorake.

In the final round, the four scourge dead were put down without much ado and we won the scenario. We were exhausted, half of us near insane, and likely drunk from the amount of sake\whiskey we consumed to keep our sanity under control in that fight.

Closing Thoughts:

This was a challenging scenario, made worse by some bad dice throws that nearly ended us. Darkness was two steps away from escape when we completed the scenario(!) and we were running out of supplies. Tsuruha’s gentle laugh providing sanity recovery was a godsend. We consumed almost the entire party’s supply of sake\whiskey, and a lot of bandages were consumed too due to all the fire effects. Our sumo regretted buying bandages at the last village over sake. He thought that 20 health and the ability to wade into enemies would make him soak up a lot of damage (more on that later), but it was the sanity hits that nearly did him in. We enjoyed the scenario quite a bit, and we’ve decided collectively run our other, higher level characters through it to see how they will perform. So if there is an interest in an after action summary with our outlaw and law enforcement posse let me know.

Character Reflections:
Tsubame certainly felt like she carried her own weight, but she had issues getting into melee range this game, and it showed in her performance. She did reliable damage, but she was the target of monsters far more often, and she was nearly unconscious or insane several times throughout the dungeon run. A second weapon continue to elude her, however. She seeks a +1 combat single handed weapon to augment her damage. One she has that, I am quite confident she will be quite the little powerhouse.

Tsuruha performed much better compared to the first dungeon. Her gentle laugh recovered over the course of the dungeon close to 20 sanity, which certainly helped her XP generation. She provided consistent damage, and at times her 1 wound dagger was the difference between killing a monster and it surviving her activation. She nearly died once when she suffered a 5 wound hit, but bandages prevented a disaster. She picked up a cunning artifact, which just makes her stronger vs lower initiative enemies (she’s at 5 cunning) and all in all, her player continues to enjoy the consistency she brings.

The Major, the character who has my soft spot. She was, in a word, amazing! Her shatter grenades produced good kills, wounds, and compromised the defense of several high defense monsters. Her carbine proved more reliable this game, and scored some very high damage hits. Being a ranged character is always easier, and the issues plaguing most of the posse with insanity and wounds were not as much of a factor. The long range nature of the carbine meant I could engage with impunity against targets. I ended up running away with the XP from damage and kills, and I didn’t really expect to. I expected a middling game, so this result tickled me pink.

Kageyama’s performance continued to be middling, but this time with only a single ashigaru, the contribution of the allies felt more limited. They failed to score damage, and only once did they divert some damage. Taro was mostly there, however, he did successfully cancel several really annoying growing dread cards, so in that regard, one might argue that Taro actually potentially won us our game. Kageyama himself did a good mix of melee and ranged damage. He provided competent performance and really no one felt he was dragging the party down.

Kinnosuke’s player, however, found himself a little surprised at the outcome. Yes he had several rounds where due to plague and rolls he failed to score any damage, but he also finished off wounded enemies and on two occasions inflicted massive damage. We joked that he was like the old, retired man showing up when the party was in danger saving everyone then taking a nap. Everyone agreed his contributions felt much greater than his XP total showed. He, like the major, avoided taking major sanity hits or combat hits. He never really felt to be in any danger of dying.

Ryuuji’s results proved to be mixed. Going into the dungeon, we expected to have a human cannonball barreling into our enemies. Instead we got someone who did okay, and his ability to displace models was mostly used to get friendly models out of the way so he could enter melee range. Now, this in and of itself isn’t bad. If you’re going to go last, you had better have a trick up your sleeve. Otherwise, you’re going to be XP starved. The ability to displace everyone who has gone before you (and at two initiative, it is everyone) is useful. Ryuuji took the starting upgrade that improved push, and everytime he did have an opportunity to push, he succeeded. He did do good damage, but he seemed mediocre. This player previously played our kitsune, and her disappointment with the performance was apparent. Had she not passed an encounter test that provided a solid 40 XP, she would have gone from fourth highest XP gain to fifth, and would not have been far from it. I suspect some of it was due to the nature of the monsters, a lot of our melee characters this game had issues getting into melee range and the fact that if you’re at initiative 2, everyone’s gone before you at this point. I think the guaranteed wounds from the push upgrade will go far in giving the sumo have some greater feeling of reliability. Also, the plague really hurt our sumo, despite throwing four combat dice, a lot of hits evaporated into misses. Our sumo also considered playing a fire sorceress, and to be fair, this encounter would have heavily favored that with the corpse piles. The grass is always greener, I suppose. To summarize, if the kitsune was the class she wanted to like, but hated, the sumo is the class that seemed promising and sort-of delivered. Time will tell and perhaps by the time you read another write up she may have decided to keep sumo or will have swapped to sorceress.

Final XP

Tsubame - 390 XP
Tsuruha - 450 XP
The Major - 750 XP
Kageyama - 425 XP
Soldier - 340 XP
Ryuuji - 395 XP
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Max Caine
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That sound slike you had a tough game! A writeup from an Old West perspective wold be very interesting. Hope to see one!
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Leto K
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Nice write up! It's interesting to hear how large groups play (I've only played 3 max so far) and how the new classes perform/feel.
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