Blackstone fortress rules tweaks

Space Truckin

Gang Hero
Dec 16, 2015
Cruz Bay, St. John, USVI
Found this on BBGeek. Thanks to brennan for posting. Going to use this as a base to tweak difficulty in a series of 1 off plunges and an eventual new campaign.

Will be using this to catalog changes

Difficulty Tweaks and Modifications Version 3.0
Stronghold Bonus: D3 Bonus Archeotech Points rather than D6. (+Difficulty)
Grievous Wounds inflict only 2 wounds. Use appropriate counters. (+Difficulty) *1
Dahyak Grekh may Disarm one of his Traps for 4+. The trap is then exhausted. (Adjacent)
Dahyak Grekh maintains his D12 defense roll when targeted by an Aimed Attack. Enemies still have the benefit of ignoring cover. Does not apply to attacks which target multiple enemies, IE: Grenade Attack. (+Thematic)
Amallyn can move through empty space as "walls." One hex depth limit. (+Difficulty +Thematic)
'Psyker Disrupt' (Solo): Highest remaining Die, starting with Destiny Dice, is removed.
Bonus Attacks: (IE: "Take the same Weapon Action Again") Only grant one additional attack. If the initial attack was an Aimed attack the bonus will be as well. Any other abilities that allow to take the same weapon action again also only grant one additional action. (IE: Flurry of attacks, Sustained Fire) (+Difficulty)
Condition Cards: If a condition card is drawn, draw another encounter card for that slot in addition to the added condition. Effect can stack. (+Difficulty)
Call Maglev Transport: Roll D12, if failed, that port becomes locked from escape. (Last remaining is an automatic success.) (+Difficulty +Thematic) *2
Stunned Heroes: Can not use Defense Rolls, Covering Fire or Gambits. (+Difficulty)
Model Limits: If model limit is reached use proxies or redraw Encounter Card. (+Thematic +Functionality) *3
Exploration Cards: Shuffle the two sets of cards once and draw from their tops for entire campaign. Remove 'Isolated' Challenge Card if playing Dahyak Grekh. (+Thematic +Functionality) *4
Solo Play Exploration Cards: Remove all Challenge Cards that don't work for Solo Play. (+Functionality)
Character Ships: Only pull resources for ships that represent your current characters. Add +1 to each ship's cards for every lacking ship. (++Difficulty +Functionality for Expansions) *5
Behavior Roll N/A: If Behavior Roll is not applicable, reduce dice roll to the next applicable action, if any. (+Difficulty +Functionality)
Resource Storage (Solo): Store excess Clues and Archeotech 'at Precipice' between missions in case a hero is lost or if you want a 'do over' expedition.
Expansions: Group A plays Core Game. (Four Select Heroes) Group B plays The Dreaded Ambull, followed by Traitor Command. Mixing any applicable Secret Agenda Cards into the Discovery Deck, adding one per expedition.
Any Group may attempt a One-Off Dungeon Plunge if they need to bulk up on resources. (More coming to this rule) (+Difficulty +Thematic +Functionality) *6
Stronghold Order: Remove and save Deathmaze for last. Shuffle and draw from three remaining as per usual. This gives the experience of a final showdown with Malex right before taking on the Hidden Vault. (+Thematic)
Spindle Drones: Add +1 Drones to numbers on Encounter Cards. (+Difficulty +Thematic) *7
Changing Conditions: When rolling the event 'Changing Conditions' draw a card from the Abominable Intellect Card Expansion and apply the twist. (+Difficulty +Thematic) *8
Exploration Deck: Alternate between Combat and Challenge cards. (+Functionality) *9
Failed Expedition Yields No Treasure: If an expedition results in a Total Party Kill, return all newly found Discovery Cards to the deck. Draw Legacy Card for Countdown Timer as per usual. (+Difficulty) (Hidden Vault Campaign) *10
Stronghold Pull-Out: Between Exploration Cards party may pull out and return to Precipice. Party can make future attempt on that Stronghold by spending another 4 Clue Cards. (+Functionality) *11
AI Targeting: (NEW) If there are more than one valid targets for an AI roll (Ranged Attack) any targets which are not in cover will be first priority. (+Difficulty)
Chaos Space Marine Save Roll: (NEW) 17+ on D20 is a Save for Chaos Space Marines. (+Difficulty +Thematic)
Resource Card Restriction: (NEW) Only one Resource card can be utilized per Hero Action. (+Difficulty)
Explosive Ammunition (Type) Cards: (NEW) Follow rules for Cover when crossing over lines of Cover. (+Difficulty +Thematic)

Fixes and Clarifications
(Resource Card) Increase Action Die Value from 1D12 to 2D12
DEMIURG BLASTING CHARGE: (Resource Card) Decrease Price to 3
Enemy Save Rolls: Only apply against attacks. (IE; Not against Traps, Inferno Markers, Items)
The Hidden Vault: 'Reinforcements' follow normal Reinforcement Rules. 'New Deployments' activate normally as soon as they are deployed.
Enemy Save Rolls: Only roll for Attacks. No rolls for environments or direct damage. (Inferno, Traps, Resource Cards, Etc.)
Deadly Lure: Ambull treats egg-holder as closest enemy unless there is no line of sight.

I decided to remove this rule, even though it is the most popular and recommended rule by popular opinion. It turns out that with all of my other difficulty increases I was getting my butt kicked, especially when taking on the Strongholds. My party wiped 4 times, I had never had a party wipe ever before. I would suggest to the average player, either nerf crits to 2 wounds, or do a bunch of other stuff instead. I actually think certain expansions rely heavier than others that crits=3 wounds.
Regardless on how many points of damage they inflict, Wounds and Grievous Wounds are different things and the rules will effect them differently at times.
*2 I feel that this better represents, thematically, the unpredictability of the Fortress. When I roll a fail, I just pull the portal tile away about 1/4" to show that it has been searched. It still functions for reinforcements.
*3 My experience so far with using proxies has been great! I feel like it much more represents the theme of the Fortress and mirrors the corresponding fiction. In the stories there will often be large swarms of the same type of enemy such as Ur-Ghuls, Spindle Drones, Guardsmen and Negavolt Cultists. (I just ordered the Servants of the Abyss to flesh out my model count.) Or just swapping with a fresh card helps the challenge stay steady.
I have been using tokens for extra enemies then swapping them out as models become available, works great!
*4 The Blackstone is supposed to be an ever-shifting anomalous mass of twisting tunnels. Drawing the same card over and over is a real drag and takes me out of the theme. Isolated is removed for Grekh so he can easily visit it during Precipice step.
*5 This allows me to have individual dedicated teams and helps keep them from becoming overpowered. It also reflects the theme of several independent teams venturing into the fortress. It keeps the resource cards availability ready for multiple teams.
*6 It's important to start with an Expansion before a One-Off Dungeon Plunge, assuming you are starting with the Dreaded Ambull and Traitor Command, if you are taking a fresh group of explorers. These expansions only throw up to 3 Encounter Groups at you maximum, the core set, if you have completed the Quest for the Hidden Vault, will throw 4 Encounter Groups and all of the higher tier enemies at you.
Seeding the Discovery Deck with one Secret Agenda Card per Expedition allows the heroes to meet their inspire condition while keeping the ratio of cards on-par with that of the base game. The expansions have far less cards in their respective Discover Decks.
*7 All of the encounter card sets in the base game feature several with the full count of enemies except Spindle Drones. (And Traitor Guard, max is 8, but that is plenty in comparison.) In the literature the things some times come in huge swarms! Plus, I find them very fun with the escalating threat mechanic but they die way too easy and rarely hit their mark.
Originally I had written this rule to double their numbers. This week I pulled the Legacy Card which doubles the Spindle Drone numbers, (first time) so I changed this to +1 to their total. (After multiplication.)
*8 This guarantees that a twist happens every time this event is rolled and that there will be more unique conditions per campaign.
*9 This makes it easier to decide whether or not you have enough time to pull another Exploration Card, being that Challenges take around 5 minutes and Combats can take over an hour. It also keeps it from becoming exhausting.
*10 Keeping excess Discovery Cards 'at Precipice' allows this to be done easily. This also increases difficulty; As the rules are written, you would somehow maintain found treasures even if your party wiped. This is particularly important for me as I am play testing new rules all the time. I don't think I will be using the Permanent Death Rules either as it will screw up my game system in the long run. I may come up with an alternate rule such as adding a permanent grievous wound to the Hero who 'dies.'
*11 Legacy Card is still drawn in a retreat. Visit Precipice as per usual.
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Spyrer Superior
Honored Tribesman
May 24, 2017
Corvallis, Oregon
If I may make some recommendations of my own:

Replace card initiative draw with drawing numbered tokens out of a bag (it ends up being both more and less work, but it's a bit more random)

Once you unlock Traitor Command take two of the Traitor Guard cards out of the deck; you'll get more than enough Traitor Guard from the Traitor Command cards without yet more Traitor Guard.
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