Zora First Mission advice

Hi everyone,

I will launch one of two BoB campaigns in a couple of weeks. I’m going with Zora for one of these campaigns. I will be playing with three experienced players, but it will be our first time playing a FitD game.

I’m excited to GM the First Mission, but I’m a bit concerned about the difficulty level.

In addition to other undead, the book tells us that – in the room with the Commander – there is a pale Inquisitor and two Cinder Guards. PI is Threat 2 and both CGs are Threat 3+Potent. If I understand correctly, that would ordinarily mean one 8-clock for the PI and 2 10-clocks for the CGs, and the latter can potentially inflict Harm 4 to a Specialist on a risky position, assuming no harm reduction.

I understand I can vary the situation as I please. Still, that feels like … a lot – at least more than the other two first missions at face value. I’d be really interested to hear how other GMs have managed the difficulty level for this mission.

For example, did you split up the undead or kept them in the room with the Commander? Did you handle the CGs and the PI with clocks or allowed the PCs to dispatch them more quickly? Did you add other undead squads on top of that?

On the one hand, I like the feeling of unsurmountable odds. All three players bought in on Zora’s theme of “mighty battles and clashing directly with terrifying powers” and I want to keep the game gritty and tough. On the other, I still want that First Mission to give the impression that BoB+FitD will be fair.

I also have a tendency as a GM to go easy on my players, which I might need to change for this game.

Thanks a lot!

1 Like

Well, my players dropped the whole keep on the Cinder Guards. And I mean that literally. They distracted the Guards and drew them off with gunfire at range, planted explosives to blow every support pillar in the dungeons, sniped the Inquisitor using blackshot, grabbed the Commander, set off the bombs, and ran like hell – escaping through the sewage tunnels just ahead of the chaos.

If the characters had tried to directly engage the Cinder Guards, they probably would have died. But since they chose to drop the ceiling (and everything else) on them instead, and most of the keep collapsed into the dungeon, burying the Guards, it pretty much negated/stymied the Guards’ advantages (and managing to stay at range until then kept the Guards from dealing out Harm as a consequence).

However, they did have to make excellent use of Set-up, Assist, and Group actions, plus Flashbacks and a lot of Stress, to pull it all off. There was a lot of “Are we all still alive? HOLY CRAP! WE’RE ALL STILL ALIVE!” at the end of the session.

Remember, Clocks aren’t hit points. If the fiction says “Well, that ought to do it.” That does it. (So how much Harm does a whole keep inflict? Enough.)

If your players decide to do something dumb, absolutely give them the consequences – be fair but don’t hold back. But what you can or should do (and everyone is new to FitD games) is explain the consequences beforehand

I usually do this when I set Position/Effect, so the players can say “Wait, no, that all sounds like it would be an obviously stupid idea. I’m not going to try that after all.”

As an example, “Alright, so you’re going to melee with the Cinder Guard? Sounds like a Desperate action. The risk here is you’re going to take Harm: a lethal amount if you don’t get a 6 or a crit, because it’s an armored giant with a sword as big as you are, and I don’t know if you could resist the Harm down enough to survive.”

And then your player(s) can go, “Um, yeah…maybe not…” or “I’m spending my use of Anchor, and I have Fine Weapons and Armor, which brings my Threat up. Can someone do a Set-up to improve my Position? What’s the potential damage look like now?”

Or however they decide to respond to the information about what will happen. And don’t forget: Harm isn’t the only consequence you can dish out.

1 Like

Hey Lor!

Here’s me running that mission: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNuXiEYyM4iu1ydhFaJun-5_r9AcpHSRD

Remember that the mission isn’t to kill Cinder Guard—it’s to rescue a commander or kill them. If you distract the CGs, lead them away, run right past their slow moving armored butts, etc … that’s fine.

Most groups I’ve seen usually go for a different strategy than trying to fill clocks. I’ve seen folks use giant 2H warhammers to try and smash them out a window, taking that L4 harm and testing/armoring it down enough to survive. I’ve seen folks fire off smoke flares and steal the commander in the confusion. I’ve seen grappling hook plans and climbing up the outside and handling the situation with the commander before the Cinder Guard bust in. At a con once they covered themselves in zombie guts and the commander tried pretending they were a Crow and Sway-ing their way in. There’s infinite ways to do it that doesn’t include outright going toe-to-toe and that… can also be an important lesson to learn. If the situation is too hard… find a different way. Fighting every enemy is not the Legion objective. If you try that, the Cinder King will no doubt win.

You’re right that this is more dangerous and hard than the other missions … but that’s also Zora’s way.

Good luck to your troops.


PS. There’s also mechanical tricks to learn like snipers stacking aim to burn clocks quickly, and heavies doing something like war-machine and anchor to gain scale, maybe and reduce their threat to make things like that more reasonable… but that’s part of being in the fire and trying to learn system mastery on mission one which can be a bit tricky to expect. ^_~ So there’s ways if you want to go head-to-head … so keep that in mind.