In my group's first campaign (The Shadow Rune, 4 Heroes), I find myself at a seriously dilemma in that I'm winning too much as the Overlord. Sure, the Heroes won the heavily-biased first Quest, but since then, I have thus far won every Act I Quest (A Fat Goblin, The Cardinal's Plight, and the Masquerade Ball) quite thoroughly and yesterday just dominated in the Interlude (The Overlord Revealed). With Spiritspeaker Avric separated from the rest of the group to deal with the Runelock of Power in the north-east, getting himself cut off by Barghests, I managed to knocked down the other three Heroes all at once in the second turn using the right OL cards such as Word of Misery and Frenzy on the Master Shadow Dragon. Not only did this effectively waste the Heroes' entire third turn, but it also got my ball rolling in continuously drawing OL cards and keeping the heroes effectivelly paralyzed while Zachareth is able to bugger off with the Shadow Key using Dash. I had no idea how the Interlude was going to go, but on setup, I thought that the Heroes had a good chance of winning it, especially when considering Jain's shiny new crossbow and the Heroes all acquiring new damage-dealing 2 XP skills. I turned out to be very wrong.
Now heading into Act II, here's what we're looking at:
For the Heroes:
- 5 XP, No Relics, 850 Gold (including the sell value of their starting items)
- Disciple Ashrian
- Necromancer Leoric
- SpiritSpeaker Avric
- Wildlander Jain
Take note of no Warrior archetype and a weakness in the Might attribute.
As for the Overlord:
- 6 XP, allocating towards Sabateour
- Staff of Shadows, Bones of Woe, Shadow Rune
- 9 Threat Tokens for Queen Ariad's plot deck (which at this point I'll feel bad about ever using)
Now the Heroes have been positive for the most part, except for one cynical player who frequently takes issue with the game mechanics and declared early on that the game in general is bad ("Everything works in favor of the Overlord!"), but now I can see fatigue starting to set in on everyone after their latest loss. Even I'm getting worried as it seems like I've built up enough of an advantage to snowball through the rest of the campaign, further disappointing the Heroes.
So now I got a series of questions:
- Are my concerns of snowballing legit?
- Are we better off simply starting over rather than continuing this campaign?
- What can we do to ensure that the Heroes are able to perform better, particularly against my favorite hall-blocking Shadow Dragons?
- Should they pick up a Warrior and be more concerning with having all of their attributes covered?
- Having the Labrynth of Ruin expansion and a couple of lieutenant packs (Zachareth and Queen Ariad), should I also pick up the Lair of the Wyrm expansion and include the sub-campaign to give the Heroes more opprotunities to get gold?
- How should the heroes approach buying items between offense/defense and Act I/Act II?
I'm confident that the game is fairly balanced, having read plenty accounts here of Heroes doing well in the campaign. I just need to be able to show my fellow players that.