Saturday, October 18, 2014

Shadows of Brimstone: Fixed Map, Hellbats, and Fog Machines

Played another game of Shadows of Brimstone with the game crew the other day. This time I decided to try one of the 'fixed map' adventures, and utilize my recently-constructed mini dry ice fog machine. So before they came over I had the whole map set up and ready to go. I remember almost nothing from the game itself (too much creativity juice beforehand), but I got a few pretty cool pics of it on my phone, so it must've been a lot of fun.

Shadows of Brimstone: Stop the Ritual

  The game we played was 'Stop the Ritual', where a bunch of cultists have opened a portal to another dimension and are letting monsters through. You've got to find the summoning room and stop it.

There's a known map of the Mine with four open ends, and you've just got to find the right tunnel where the summoning is taking place. No traveling to other dimensions this time.

We played late into the night on the previous game, so we saved going to Town for the beginning of this one. I think I prefer starting in town before each game rather than ending in town after each game, because by the time you defeat the EPIC threat you have to face on (Every. Single.) adventure, you're kind of drained mentally and are just ready to be done playing and go to bed to be ready for work the next day. Therefore you don't really give the Town event the attention it demands. Most post-adventure evening Town visits go like this:

1) Sell Darkstone (and roll for Bounty)
2) Buy Dynamite
3) Cure Mutations
4) Leave Town and pack up your character cards for next game.

But when we started in Town at the beginning of the game session we squeezed out every day in Town, exploring all the establishments and generally having a really good time. I mean, we bought tons of dynamite first, sure, but we also had the Blacksmith forge darkstone weapons, hung out at the Saloon, got some Blessings at the Church, etc. Our posse even became a little attached to the Town, which we dubbed Townville, before heading out to the Mines.

Starting in Town rather than ending in Town might be the more fun way to go.
Finally we got on our horses and headed to the Mine entrance to stop these crazy monsters from bothering the good prostitutes of Townville. And thanks to a quick trip to the local Hy-Vee earlier in the day, fog roiled out from the Mine.
Maybe that's too much fog. How about we attenuate that down a little...
There we go.
With the mysterious Mines in front of us, we handed the Lantern to the Gunslinger and marched into the Mines. A few steps in we were immediately Ambushed by some Slashers, which was great because we had rolled the $200 Bounty on Slashers in Townville earlier that day.
When every Slasher is worth $200 each, you celebrate your good fortune at being Ambushed.
Continuing on, we moved around the Mines scavenging like crazy and checking all the passages for signs of cultist activities. Mostly we just found Tentacles.
This mine is lousy with Tentacles.
At the third entrance we explored we finally found the Summoning Circle! Of course that meant it was time to crank up the Dry Ice fog effects.

Here's a couple Sepia shots for the superfans.

One thing this game made me realize about dry ice fog is that its not all that impressive when all the terrain is flat and it can just roll over it. When you use dry ice for Mordheim games, or on tables with lots of three-dimensional terrain, fog looks cool as hell. But since all of Shadows of Brimstone's terrain are flat cardboard tiles, its not quite as cool as I thought it'd be. I threw a couple swampland tree terrain pieces on the board just for a little extra visual as the fog rolled by. But I might not waste time with fog in our next games.

The actual fight against the Harbinger and swarms of Hellbats was laughably short. Between all the dynamite and two lawmen flashing their badges (and guns) we made very short work of them. Pretty soon our level 2-3 posse might have to start facing Brutal monsters to make this more of a challenge.

Hellbats? We don't need no stinking Hellbats!
Mingo faces the Harbinger in hand-to-hand combat.
Final thoughts: The Fixed Map game was fun and quick because you save the whole 'Map Reveal' step, which adds up to a lot more time than you'd think (pull card, dig out map tile, place encounter events). If you want to play a game of Shadows of Brimstone but only have about an hour, the Fixed Map route is the way to go.
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