Review: Frostgrave Mortal Enemies

With the release of “Mortal Enemies“, the latest supplement for Frostgrave by Joseph A.McCullough, I gladly return to my favorite game. And with the recent launch of our Wildwoods campaign, I am properly hooked (not that I need a lot of incentive to travel to Felstad).

I discovered my copy of the supplement in the mail after a recent vacation, read it at my leisure and now it’s time to dive into it.

The book

“Mortal Enemies” comes as a 95 pages book, including scenarios, a bestiary, new treasures and abilities etc.

The overall design is consitent with previous supplements and the pages have that nice Frostgravian-blue hue one might expect. Spanish artist aRu-Mor, whom we mentionned already in our Wildwoods-review, provided the artwork.

It comes with a set of new rules (obviously), a five scenario mini campaign to test them and a bestiary for our perpetualy growing menagerie of Frostgrave-critters.

mortal enemies cover art
Mortal Enemies – cover
published by Osprey, March 2024

New Rules

Like “the Wildwoods” and “Perilious Dark”, “Mortal Enemies” feels more like a traditional rules-supplement and less a story driven campaign book, like “the Maze of Malkor”, “the Red King” etc.

Mortal enemies

Mortal enemies are meant to be recurring non-player opponents in Frostgrave. They randomly pop up in your campaign and intend to seriously ruin your wizards day.

Using a step-by-step system, the player creates a bad guy based on a beefed up creature/enemy-NPC (refered to as base template) from the Frostgrave bestiary. Think of Wraiths (my go-to bad boys), Minotaurs, Lich or any other kind of sentient or semisentient humanoid. Their attributes, abilities and equipment are randomly determined by rolling on a series of tables. Additionally they know a series of spells, that will behurled at their prey. A similar aspect had already been introduced for special NPC’s in „The Maze of Malkor“ and “The Red King”.

Mortal enemies behave mostly like uncontrolled creatures, but have their own activation phase and their own priority sequence.

In order to emphasize the >mortal< aspect, Mortal enemies always succeed at spellcasting. This feature alone makes them a threat to take seriously.

The player never knows, when his nemesis appears or what his nefarious agenda might be. After setting up a scenario and deploying the warbands, a roll of the dice decides, if the mortal enemy of a wizard appears. Once on the board, the mortal enemy follows his own motives, which is also decided by a roll of a dice. This may be hunting the wizard or a member of his gang, or even acquiring treasure… anything that might mess up your plans.

For narrative purposes, the player should develop a back story for their mortal enemy. The back story has no real impact on the game, but adds some flair to it.

Mortal enemies are accompanied by their own gang of four to five henchman. These henchmen behave like uncontrolled creatures, but follow their boss’ whims and commands. I.e. they won‘t run mindlessly over the board, but, they will try to support their master.

Since the “AI” of uncontrolled creatures is far from flawless, players are invited to apply some common sense in order not to “cheat” and make the game too easy. Otherwise there would be no point in adding the extra challenge.

Mortal Enemy example

Behold! VERIDIS, the Everlasting. Since he woke from the grave, he stalks the ruins of old Felstad to h(a)unt those who disturbed his eternal slumber: Arthrose and his merry men… and women.
He enthralled a group of unsuspecting adventurers and marshalled them into his ungodly service.

I made my own Mortal enemy sheet, since I prefer extra space for notes and so on.

I fought repeatedly Veridis and his brother Carmine repeatedly in my Covid-Solo-Frostgrave days. For this example I chose the base template Wraith, and rolled the rest on the tables. The entire process took a few moments.

With „Destructive sphere“ and „Grenade“ as ranged spells, which automatically succeed, Veridis, a Wraith with immunity to non-magic weapons, suddenly is an unstoppable killing machine.

Base assaults

Bases are a part of Frostgrave since the early days. But until now, they only provided buffs or minor perks and only played a secondary role.

„Mortal enemies“ standardizes bases as a playable area. The supplement introduces rules to assault an opponents base and ,aside from a entertaining magical brawl, a wizard may loot items and gold from his enemies vault. And by this, we mean actual vault.
The supplement book includes also some basebuilding-rules and new base upgrades. These upgrades allowe wizards to add some defenses and other nice shenanigans to their precious base.

Furthermore it provides another opportunity to craft a fine piece of terrain 😉

Final thoughts

The author designed the new content to be used in regular or solo games. It is a toolkit, which adds an extra challenge for those spellcaster among us, who live one the arcane limit.

Furthermore, Mortal enemies-mechanics might also be used to create a „boss“-NPC in your campaign or one off games.

In my opinion, “Mortal Enemies” really shines when it comes to solo games. Especially in combination with “Perilious Dark”. The player is of course free, to adjust their Mortal enemy according to their narrative needs.

I am certain, many of us already dabbled with similar mechanics, especially during Covid. But with this supplement the community has a standardised set of rules, avoiding unnecessary rules-discussions.

I might have wished for a QR-sheet, since Mortal enemies don’t necessarily appear in a lot of games. Consequently, their rules are not applied on a regular basis and might occasionally be hard to remember. A QR-sheet or a flowchart, would allow the player to refer to said less familiar the rules without much leafing through the book.

“Mortal Enemies” has the potential to be a very entertaining supplement for Frostgrave.
I am looking forward/ dread to see my Mortal enemies in action and to the challenge to fend of both my regular opponent and my home-brew nemesis.

Stay frosty 🙂

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