Monday, 12 September 2016

Shadows of Brimstone Heroes 01

Over the next few weeks I am going to be reviewing all of my 30mm scale figures from the Shadows of Brimstone game by Flying Frog Productions. So, saddle up and let's head back in time to an alternative Wild West where the supernatural is very real and demons and monsters threaten to spill out into the world unless they can be stopped. I'm going to start by looking at the four heroes from each of the two big boxed starter sets - City of the Ancients and Swamps of Death.
The first thing you should note is that I have designed a new backdrop to photograph all of my Wild West figures against. My Victorian style cobbled street scene that I used before didn't feel right. Incidentally, I have re-shot the pictures of my Wild West figures that I had taken for my three previous figure review posts and they all feature this new backdrop now. It is made up of walls and ground tiles from a couple of the  World Works Games TLX Deadfall sets - Building Essentials for the walls and Streets of Blood for the ground tiles.
I'll start with the four heroes from the City of the Ancients set beginning with the Bandido. With a healthy mix of stubbornness, a raging temper and a lust for life, Bandidos are unpredictable to say the least. Between blasting away at everything in sight with a hail of bullets and casually tossing dynamite across the room, there's never a dull moment when  a Bandido is in the group.
Bandidos are truly a wild card in that they can be played in so many different ways. Their built-in ability to recover Grit mixed with a low Ranged To Hit value means that the Bandido tends to roll a lot of dice and then Re-roll a lot of dice just to blow things up. This gives them a lot of swing in luck but makes for a fun adventure! It also means that they rarely have a shortage of Grit for activating abilities or using more powerful Grit-based items they find along the way.
In the comic strips in the two starter set Adventure Books, the Bandido is one of the four heroes featured. He is called Rico and I kept the name but gave him the surname of Jimenez.

Perhaps the most classic Old West archetype is the Gunslinger. Fast on the draw and deadly with a pistol, Gunslingers are the best shots in the West, though often they are more frail and gaunt than the more hearty frontier folk. Living a fast life of drinking and gambling, a Gunslinger knows that life is short and unforgiving; the only way to survive is to kill them before they kill you.
Gunslingers are one of the best Classes for the sheer amount of Damage they can deal out. They are also the fastest Class in the game! Of course this comes at a price in that they do not have a lot of Health or defence, and even as they go up in Hero Level, they are slow to earn more Health. This can be compensated for a bit with Clothing Items that add Health.
I have named my Gunslinger as Jackson Krieger.
U.S. Marshals are "tough as nails" bounty hunters, working for the government. No stranger to working alone, they travel the land looking for those who need a a little justice. When the need arises though, they step up to lead those around them, descending into the very depths of hell if necessary to get the job done.
U.S. Marshals are one of the toughest Hero Classes in the game. With a defence of 3+, they can easily be a frontline fighter, blocking a hall or wading into groups of Enemies, shrugging off most incoming Attacks. With their Shotgun and Double Shot ability, a U.S. Marshal can also deal out large amounts of damage as a virtual one man army. The Marshal's Badge makes them a solid team player, waiting until just the right time to flash the Badge and give every Hero a boost to their next Attack.
The U.S. Marshal also appears in the two comic strips, where he is known as Kane. Again, I have kept this name but this time made it his surname and so I christened him Wilbur.

No nonsense Saloon Girls dance, sing and perform while in town, but use those same skills to dodge, leap and kick when it comes to fighting down in the mines. Sassy and full of moxy, a Saloon Girl is just as good at using her charms to keep the posse going as she is at fighting dirty.
Saloon Girls (and male Piano Players) are extremely agile and fast moving. This gives them the edge in dodging Enemy Attacks and getting where they need to go, but leaves them something to be desired when it comes to absorbing damage. Be careful to not get yourself surrounded, or you may find yourself on the wrong end of a tentacle1 With built-in Healing, Saloon Girls are good at moving amongst the group and reinvigorating the party, and their Hold Out Pistol is a solid Free Attack that can be used in every Fight.
I named my Saloon Girl as Holly Anne Mercy, after the character portrayed on p.41 of the Swamps of Death Adventure Book. She looks just like the figure does.
Next up are the four Heroes from the Swamps of Death starter set, starting with the Indian Scout. It is not uncommon for Native Americans who openly trade with frontier settlers to become more westernised in their appearance and dealings. Often they become scouts for the local cavalry or fall in with bands of adventurers or even outlaws. The Indian Scout is a fast and spirited fighter that is light on his feet and an expert tracker.
The Indian Scout is probably the most versatile Hero Class to play. He starts out with a solid Ranged Attack in the form of the Carbine as well as a sturdy Hatchet to do extra damage if you are up close. With a built-in ability to re-draw an Encounter or Exploration Token, the Indian Scout is great at helping the posse find objectives quickly.
In the comic strips of the two Adventure Books, the Indian Scout is known as White Crow. I have kept this name for my own character.

Next in line is the Lawman. Protecting and serving in the lawless towns of the South-west is just about the hardest job there is on the frontier. Small town lawmen need to have the diplomacy skills to settle down rowdy ranchers and saloon folk without it turning bloody, while having the cold nerve to stare down a group of ruthless outlaws threatening to roll over the town. On the frontier, justice is swift and unforgiving.
Lawmen are a fantastic choice for a leadership role in the posse. They are well-rounded, have good damage dealing potential and several options for healing and boosting the group as they go up in Hero Level. The Sheriff's Badge also gives the whole team a solid bonus once per adventure and can really save you when things look grim.
I gave my Lawman the name of Tom Morgan.
The holy man on a mission is one of the most classic staples of the West, and in the blighted and shattered lands around Brimstone, there are countless people to save and demons to smite! Wielding Sermons as weapons in the never-ending war on evil, a Preacher deals out Blessings to the good and Judgements to the damned.
The Preacher has the powerful ability to cast Sermons (another name for spells) during the game, Blessing the Heroes in the posse and dealing out harsh Judgements to the wicked Enemies you find along the way. Though slow in Initiative and low in Defence, a Preacher has a high tolerance for sanity and can strike down foes up close with his trusty Holy Book.
My Preacher is called Father Marcus O'Sullivan.

Finally, here is the Rancher. Creating a life for yourself on the frontier is no small feat, and those who do are just about as tough as they come. On the open range, Ranchers favour long range rifles over smaller guns, allowing them to pick off their targets at a safe distance. They also tend to become adept at many different skills, as they do not have the support structure of living in a town.
Ranchers are a tough breed and tend to do well at a distance. Their ability to Rapid Fire with a Rifle can make them a killing machine if you get on a roll, and having a leg up can be a great advantage in a Fight. If they do get close up though, a Rancher has many options for frontier survival.
The fourth character to appear in the two comic strips was Annie the Rancher. No surprise that I kept the name Annie, but I have added the surname, Hatcher, to her.
Here is a group shot showing all eight heroes together. From left to right are Rico Jimenez the Bandido, Holly Anne Mercy the Saloon Girl, Jackson Krieger the Gunslinger, U.S. Marshal Wilbur Kane, Sheriff Tom Morgan, Father Marcus O'Sullivan, Annie Hatcher the Rancher and White Crow the Indian Scout. I will be splitting them into two groups. The most obvious split is to keep them together from their respective starter sets. I won't be doing this. A 4-4 split is not as good as a 3-5 split. This is because a posse of four starts off with no Revive Tokens. A Revive Token allows you to restore a KO'd character to full Health during an adventure. These Tokens are very useful but can not be found or purchased during a game. The only way to get them is to start with the requisite number of Heroes. 1, 2, 3 or 5 Heroes give you Revive Tokens. 4 and 6 Heroes get none.
Something else to note is that you can play male or female versions of the eight Hero Classes but figures are included for just one gender of each Class. This isn't that big a problem as alternative figures to represent the opposite sex can be found in the ranges of other companies. I may possibly find a female Bandido and start with an all female group of the Bandido, Rancher and Saloon Girl and a second all male group of the Gunslinger, Indian Scout, Lawman, Preacher and U.S. Marshal. These are just my initial thoughts and things may yet change once I start my campaign. I'm very much looking forward to getting started.

28 comments:

  1. A great introduction to a game you have (thanksfully) already previously convinced me to buy, Bryan. However this series might finally encourage me to take the cellophane off of the box!! ;-) I think my faves have to be Tom Morgan and Father O'Sullivan (and not just because I own that box!!). I also thought the gunslinger Jackson would make a super proxy for Sharon Stone's character in "The Quick And The Dead" if you simply cut off the moustache. I think the clothing is spot on and certainly the hair and pose resembles her character imho. Just a thought as I know you like your female groups. A great start to what looks like a terrific series my friend :-)

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    1. Much appreciated, Simon. Once you get into this game you will REALLY get into it. It has loads of options to keep you coming back to it again and again. This is a game with massive re-playability and one that I will be playing a lot of in the near future. This and Judge Dredd will be the two games I'll be concentrating on the most for the rest of this year.

      Good call on Jackson the Gunslinger. I do love "The Quick and the Dead". It is certainly one of my favourite Western films and who wouldn't want a Sharon Stone character in their games? I'd rather not convert Jackson now that he's fully painted but you've certainly given me food for thought for obtaining a female Gunfighter to represent "The Lady". By the way, were you the same Simon Moore who wrote the screenplay for this film? If so, I doff my hat to you, sir!

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    2. "The Quick and the Dead" has a place in my heart for a number of reasons. But one of them is indeed because for a split-second that name appears on the big screen. As to whether international stardom is indeed deserved or not I shall leave to your imagination ;-)

      I look forward to seeing your version of Sharon's gunslinger come to life. I'm sure she'll be excellent!!

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    3. Ha, ha! Good answer, Simon!

      As for finding a suitable alternative for "The Lady" I have found a few possible candidates on various websites. Watch this space!

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  2. Classic western characters Painted in a classical way. By that I mean all the colours just seem to be the best choices for colours.

    If I have to pick a favourite and I am not sure I should, but the marsal in the first photo fills the bill very nicely.

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    1. Many thanks, Clint. I know it's hard to pick a favourite but for me I like the Saloon Girl best of all. I'm very proud of how I painted her face.

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  3. Nice little set there Bryan, haven't played cowboys for many years, might have to go up to the loft and have a reminisce now!

    (Oh and the saloon girl is my fav too).

    Cheers Roger.

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    1. Thanks, Roger. "Shadows of Brimstone" is much more than Cowboys and Indians, as I will show you with my next posts.

      Good man on liking the Saloon Girl best!

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    2. I refuse to be tempted to create my own this time though, you've already done that to me once this month!

      "Get thee behind mew Satan" as they say.

      Cheers Roger.

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    3. That's it, Roger. Show some willpower!

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  4. very nice set for what i can only presume from your enthusiasm and reviews as a great game (i've not played it so don't know). Lovely brushwork on the figs Bryan, they look crisp and ready to jump into action at any point!

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    1. Thanks, Andy. I think it fair to say that "Shadows of Brimstone" is to me what "Bushido" is to you.

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  5. Nice paint jobs on them all Bryan. The sculpts are rather nice as well. I particularly like the Preacher and the Saloon girls. They have been captured rather nicely and have some good details. The Preachers book is well done as well it looks excellent.

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    1. Many thanks, Simon. They are all well sculpted, which made painting them such a joy.

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  6. I love that game, it is great fun and easily picked up by gamers of various skills I think. They do a great job on the campaign feel of it as well. Your painting looks great, very nicely done. Your rancher is just great! I love the design of the skirt and (kerchief?) they really add to the fig. Can't wait for some batreps to see them in action!

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    1. Thanks, Steve. For me it is the campaign rules that really makes this game so enjoyable. They make me want to come back again and again and see the Heroes develop. I hope to get some batreps up soon.

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  7. Good God I totally missed this. I completely forgot to check here this week.
    Wow I love what you are doing with your paint jobs Bryan, most atmospheric and conducive to a good old yeeehaaaa!!! wild west genre.

    Father Marcus is my favourite.... I can just imagine him in action shouting "I kick ass for the Lord!" his manic stare scaring away humans and undead alike hahaha.

    I like how you did his face, especially the cool side burns. Annie is painted exactly the same colours as you id yours (but I do think mine has a prettier, softer face and eyes) But yeah, yours look a bit of a tough nut. I guess she would living out there in those sometimes rough, terrible times.

    Very good Bryan, I r-e-a-l-l-y like what I see so far.

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    1. Better late than never, Steve. These were so much fun to paint - a real labour of love.

      I totally get the "I kick ass for the Lord" reference as "Brain Dead" is a firm favourite of mine. He does have long side-burns, but that's only because the illustration of him on his ID card does.

      Lots more to come for this game.

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  8. hehe, the "I Kick Ass for the Lord" reminded me oh a you tube video I watched, I laughed so loud when I saw it, and its repeated a number of times throughout. I just spent ages finding it so I cold give you the link (found it in the end) Give it a watch Bryan:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n_3wjPEJIA

    I enjoyed seeing the first of your SoB pieces. nicely rendered, and I think me too, the Preacher is my favourite. When I play I always take the rancher Annie with the big long rifle. Nice to see some of your collection painted up. This is a game that most definitely benefits aesthetically from playing with painted model. The whole game is highly attractive anyway, but painting them just enhances it so much. I think we were all so keen to play this game when Stevie got it and some of the expansions, he ended up not sleeping and sat and painted every single mini in one week end hehe. We supplied him with lots of food and mugs of tea while he worked *grins*

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    1. I actually have the film on DVD, Hil, but thanks for reminding me with the clip anyway. It is very funny, isn't it?

      I tried a few practice games with some of my unpainted minis and it didn't feel right. With some games, I don't mind using unpainted mins, but given a choice I much prefer using painted minis. My SOB collection is now 80% finished so there isn't much more to do. I'm saving the zombies until last. I dunno why, I just decided they'd be last.

      Steve is clearly a superhuman! :-)

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    2. Looks smug*

      Actually Bryan, that link leads to a batrep not the film lol.

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    3. So it is! My bad for not checking.

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  9. I've always had a soft spot for Bandidos. Funnily enough, they're all called "Rico", at least in games :-) . Little known fact...

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    1. I too have a soft spot for Bandidos, especially ones who like using dynamite! When I played my 54mm scale Wild West campaign in the 1970's and 80's, one of my players created a legendary Bandido known as "Fat Manuel". He was always throwing dynamite about! Great fun!

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  10. lol COlgar.. hehe.

    me like, me like a lot Bryan.

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  11. Very nice, Bryan. Another genre that I was tempted into at one point, but then sold on all my Foundry gunslingers - I think they had one outing using a very early version of the Way of the Crow rules. I seem to recall the 'injuns' ended up winning after the outlaws and lawmen had whittled down each other's sides. For some reason, the first Western that sprung to mind when reading this was "Quigley Down Under", closely followed by "Blazing Saddles"...

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    1. Thanks, Jez. Once you start thinking about Western films, you soon realise there were a lot of classics made. I loved both films you mentioned. Quigley is rather underrated but I thoroughly enjoyed watching it.

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