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Overlord Winning Before Heroes Can React?


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#21 lucaster

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 08:16 AM

I've been following this discussion an others with vivid interest, and it seems to me that most of the problems related to cheap rule exploiting are caused by an excess of metagaming.



#22 ExcelsiorH

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 08:23 AM

lucaster said:

I've been following this discussion an others with vivid interest, and it seems to me that most of the problems related to cheap rule exploiting are caused by an excess of metagaming.

 

Could you clarify what that means?

I'm assuming you mean, the drive to win the campaign/quest and get the rewards is causing both sides to try and over game it?  If so - I agree.

The OL having a seperate win condition from the heroes, along with their own rewards, puts both sides in to competition - over different things.

One of our hero players put it best.  "I want to dungeon crawl to kill monsters and fight bosses, not to watch the OL game the system, have no interest in combat, while running away with my tomatoes that I couldn't get to in time".

It is a serious change in play/style from D1.  Yes we made assumptions about the play that screwed us early on, while the OL caught on faster.  But at the end of the day, it sounds like this is how D2 plays now and it will take a few campaigns to figure out how to counter the 'block the hall' strategy.



#23 Losman2001

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 08:26 AM

 I wouldn't even consider it cheap rules exploit.  I think the overlord played very well, while the heroes didn't.  OP, if i were you  I would try all the problem scenarios again, play with the same heroes and have the overlord use the same tactics, except this time, make judicial use of two attacks plus fatigue move to kill off any would be blockers and have your more nimble ranged characers run past the hole made by your battling heroes to catch the objective runners of the overlord.  Also, make sure to use whatever heroic feats you can if it will give you the advantage.  I honestly just think that the heroes were outplayed by the overlord, and not that this is an unbeatable situation.  Use fatigue, make a hole, and RUN to catch the monsters threatening to win objectives.  If you guys still fail, then maybe there is an inherent flaw in the game.  



#24 ExcelsiorH

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 09:46 AM

Losman2001 said:

 I wouldn't even consider it cheap rules exploit.  I think the overlord played very well, while the heroes didn't.  OP, if i were you  I would try all the problem scenarios again, play with the same heroes and have the overlord use the same tactics, except this time, make judicial use of two attacks plus fatigue move to kill off any would be blockers and have your more nimble ranged characers run past the hole made by your battling heroes to catch the objective runners of the overlord.  Also, make sure to use whatever heroic feats you can if it will give you the advantage.  I honestly just think that the heroes were outplayed by the overlord, and not that this is an unbeatable situation.  Use fatigue, make a hole, and RUN to catch the monsters threatening to win objectives.  If you guys still fail, then maybe there is an inherent flaw in the game.  

We did make judicial use of two attacks and fatigue moves - the problem was damage output.

Class 1: Thief (hobbit) - very low damage with no tricks, lucky to damage/kill anything after 2 attacks.  Ended up not doing combat at all and just running around for treasures

Class 2: Knight (dwarf) - slow movement, kept getting trip lined.  Usually only effective using the triple attack feat for the first move to try and clear out the entrance.  Most of the time, just couldn't be in range to damage.

Class 3: Runemaster - effective ranged unit, was our damage dealer

Class 4: Spirit Mender - melee range (with reach), powerful skills though and got really effective once given a ranged weapon (3rd quest).


So which of our 'nimble ranged' units would you suggest run through to catch the OL runners?

 



#25 KristoffStark

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 09:56 AM

ExcelsiorH said:

 

Class 1: Thief (hobbit) - very low damage with no tricks, lucky to damage/kill anything after 2 attacks.  Ended up not doing combat at all and just running around for treasures

 

If you've taken the thief package, then you've got the knives, which do blue+yellow at range (same as Runemaster, I believe), and if he happens to be melee, he does +1 heart to any enemy he's adjacent to.  If he then picks up Sneaky with his first XP (which he has to have after First Blood), he'll do another +1 heart against any enemy who didn't have line of sight against him at the beginning of his turn.

Not to mention that if he get attacked while adjacent to another hero, he gets to add their defense pool to his own.

Frankly, he has the potential to be one of the more dangerous heroes.

 

Yes, the dwarf is very easy to hit with Tripwire.  There are two of those in the entire Overlord deck.  If he's getting hit with them first turn every Quest, that's just bad luck, not the fault of the game.



#26 Losman2001

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 10:08 AM

 Well your thief, instead of running for treasures as you stated, could be chasing down and killing the 2 hp goblin archers.  Surely he could put out enough damage for that.   If you were using fatigue to move grisban (who plenty of people stated is pretty awful due to his low movement speed), the overlord could not legally use tripwire, as that requires a move action, not just a move.  I would say use grisban and your runemaster as your top damage dealers to clear out the damage soaking blockers, and the thief and spiritspeaker to run around and chase the objective chasers.  I would also recommend killing the objective seekers instead of running around and wasting precious actions on searching if your party is having their tail end handed to them that quickly.  You don't have time to waste on a search, and can do that after you are no longer in danger of losing.  If you were to go back and change your party, I would recommend tossing grisban, use syndrael instead, toss your hobbit for jain, and use the wildlander class.  Switch runemaster for a necromancer for extra damage.  I think your party composition is pretty slow and it is hurting your overall movement, which may be contributing to the overlord winning anything that has to do with race to win.



#27 KristoffStark

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 10:20 AM

Losman2001 said:

 Well your thief, instead of running for treasures as you stated, could be chasing down and killing the 2 hp goblin archers.  Surely he could put out enough damage for that.   If you were using fatigue to move grisban (who plenty of people stated is pretty awful due to his low movement speed), the overlord could not legally use tripwire, as that requires a move action, not just a move.  I would say use grisban and your runemaster as your top damage dealers to clear out the damage soaking blockers, and the thief and spiritspeaker to run around and chase the objective chasers.  I would also recommend killing the objective seekers instead of running around and wasting precious actions on searching if your party is having their tail end handed to them that quickly.  You don't have time to waste on a search, and can do that after you are no longer in danger of losing.  If you were to go back and change your party, I would recommend tossing grisban, use syndrael instead, toss your hobbit for jain, and use the wildlander class.  Switch runemaster for a necromancer for extra damage.  I think your party composition is pretty slow and it is hurting your overall movement, which may be contributing to the overlord winning anything that has to do with race to win.

Unfortunately, if playing by the rules, characters/classes may not be swapped out once a campaign has started.

That being said, it may be worth going back to the beginning and redesigning the party.  I have seen Gisban be very effective, but the 3 movement can create more problems than his ability solves.



#28 Losman2001

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 10:24 AM

KristoffStark said:

 

 

Unfortunately, if playing by the rules, characters/classes may not be swapped out once a campaign has started.

 

Yeah, that's what I meant, if needs be, scrap the party and start anew.



#29 ExcelsiorH

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 10:27 AM

Losman2001 said:

 Well your thief, instead of running for treasures as you stated, could be chasing down and killing the 2 hp goblin archers.  Surely he could put out enough damage for that.   If you were using fatigue to move grisban (who plenty of people stated is pretty awful due to his low movement speed), the overlord could not legally use tripwire, as that requires a move action, not just a move.  I would say use grisban and your runemaster as your top damage dealers to clear out the damage soaking blockers, and the thief and spiritspeaker to run around and chase the objective chasers.  I would also recommend killing the objective seekers instead of running around and wasting precious actions on searching if your party is having their tail end handed to them that quickly.  You don't have time to waste on a search, and can do that after you are no longer in danger of losing.  If you were to go back and change your party, I would recommend tossing grisban, use syndrael instead, toss your hobbit for jain, and use the wildlander class.  Switch runemaster for a necromancer for extra damage.  I think your party composition is pretty slow and it is hurting your overall movement, which may be contributing to the overlord winning anything that has to do with race to win.

Well I would like to try out other class/party set ups - this was our first campaign so we were just winging it.  Just so much time investment to get up to speed and learn all the classes, compared to how often we can play.

Maybe my dice rolls suck, but I found even the goblins weren't worth going after with the thief because 1dmg was usually my average output - I very early on gave up on combat with my character after several rolls of no damage getting through.  So the strategy became run around and search to get the money to try and upgrade for the next quest and maybe catch up to the overlord in progress.

I'll stop complaining about the classes - since that's not really the point of this thread - until we try more of them.  But it does seem confirmed that with the right (or wrong) hero party make up choices and just a small number of bad dice rolls on combat, that the OL can pretty much just block and run to victory on the quests we played.  Guess I'm just not a fan of that play style so far - I don't feel like a hero conquering a dungeon.

I'm hoping there's more variety in the encounter design for act 2…

Certainly a change coming over from D1 of what dice rolls will mean, and how you progress through and encounter - still learning it all.  But boy has it been frustrating experience so far.  Surprisingly though, everyone seems willing to keep trying!



#30 Losman2001

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 10:35 AM

 I'll definitely agree that D2 feels very different than D1 (which I still prefer).  Hopefully you have better luck your next time around, and now you know the kind of nasty you are dealing with when it comes to the overlord and race objectives.  And hey, I'm also not saying that it isn't a difficult strategy to contend against.  I am very curious to see how your next roundabout goes.



#31 Ozymandias

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 01:27 PM

Can any other OL's attest to this strategy in a real game sense?  Is it really as bad as the OP says or was it just bad dice/char selection?  I play the OL in my group and while I agree with the OL a bit in that, this is a game I am trying to win… I can definitely see where it would stop being fun regardless of what anyone thought of the tactic.

Again, looking to see if any other OL's have used this to the same effect.



#32 Zcurator

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 04:36 PM

Might I suggest a few simple additions to the rules? 

For Heroes?
Solution to Monsters Blocking Spaces
Rolling (Cost a move action) - Attempt to sneak passed the monster. Make an Awareness check, but roll the two grey dice for 4 square monsters, roll brown and grey dice for 6 square monsters. If check succeeds place hero on any square adjacent to the monster.

For Overlords?
Solution to lack of Damage Output
If not enough damage is being dealt you could make a simple change such as auto damage based on size of monster. Size of 4 squares have Pierce 1 and Size of 6 squares have Pierce 2. If this still isn't enough make Pierce 3 for the 6 space monsters. 

This will make large monsters deal more damage but also be easier to avoid for the weaker heroes. The heroes taking the hits will feel that they are contributions to the group synergy and the OL should feel the power of larger monsters.



#33 Cyan_of_Doma

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 04:49 PM

KristoffStark said:

Losman2001 said:

 

 Well your thief, instead of running for treasures as you stated, could be chasing down and killing the 2 hp goblin archers.  Surely he could put out enough damage for that.   If you were using fatigue to move grisban (who plenty of people stated is pretty awful due to his low movement speed), the overlord could not legally use tripwire, as that requires a move action, not just a move.  I would say use grisban and your runemaster as your top damage dealers to clear out the damage soaking blockers, and the thief and spiritspeaker to run around and chase the objective chasers.  I would also recommend killing the objective seekers instead of running around and wasting precious actions on searching if your party is having their tail end handed to them that quickly.  You don't have time to waste on a search, and can do that after you are no longer in danger of losing.  If you were to go back and change your party, I would recommend tossing grisban, use syndrael instead, toss your hobbit for jain, and use the wildlander class.  Switch runemaster for a necromancer for extra damage.  I think your party composition is pretty slow and it is hurting your overall movement, which may be contributing to the overlord winning anything that has to do with race to win.

 

 

Unfortunately, if playing by the rules, characters/classes may not be swapped out once a campaign has started.

That being said, it may be worth going back to the beginning and redesigning the party.  I have seen Gisban be very effective, but the 3 movement can create more problems than his ability solves.

I can confirm Grisban is quite nasty when played effectively.  I played him the entire duration at Realms of Terrinoth, and did very well, and one of my hero players is currently using him in our campaign and consistently being a major thorn in my side.  Just saying.



#34 Losman2001

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 05:49 PM

 I believe ya, but unless the OP can put him on rollerskates, it won't help him much with his current situation.



#35 Mrbob0069

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 05:50 PM

I'd also like to add that not all the quests are "balanced".   Most quests are tilted in favor, one way or the other, towards OL/Heroes.

I'm sure this is by design, and entirely the reason the winner picks the next adventure to do.  9 times out of 10, the heroes should win the introduction, it is VERY slanted in heroes favor.  After the win, the heroes need to pick an adventure they are prepared to win, not just whatever has the best rewards.

Everything in the adventure book is public knowledge.  Use that to your advantage, you know the overlord will.



#36 MasterBeastman

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 06:09 PM

As I posted on the first page, I am an Overlord with the exact same experience.

As I said before, our solution to the problem of D2's lackluster combat was to house rule that monsters cannot take two move actions in the same turn (exception Dash cards).

This has forced me (the Overlord) to actually roll some attacks and makes it much harder to just block a hallway with a big beast.

HOWEVER, I still do manage to block hallways with big beasts (either ettin or shadow dragon due to the double gray defense die) and my smaller creatures still go for the objective above all else. Even with the house rule, I still have won every encounter (as Overlord).

 

Someone said something to the effect that the Overlord should pull punches to ensure the players have a good time. I couldn't disagree more. In fact, none of my group would play with me if they found out I was pulling punches as that ruins any concept of a fair competition (they don't want a pity win).

Descent is, and has always been, very much a competition between a group of four players and a single player (the Overlord). One side wins and the other side loses. It is not Dungeons & Dragons.

If the Overlord wins every time then there's a flaw in the rules of D2, not a flaw in the playstyle of the Overlord. My players agree with this sentiment, and for what it's worth, I don't think the heroes are doing anything wrong - the rules are flawed and we're thinking of returning to D1.



#37 Mrbob0069

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 06:17 PM

In the cardinals plight, the door doesn't open until they open it, using the key, not just finding it.   And if the heroes left enough space for a dragon to block them … that was tottaly on them.

Well played OL!



#38 MasterBeastman

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 06:20 PM

Mrbob0069 said:

In the cardinals plight, the door doesn't open until they open it, using the key, not just finding it.   And if the heroes left enough space for a dragon to block them … that was tottaly on them.

Well played OL!

Mrbob, I edited that part out about the Cardinal's Plight. But we played it as you said, the door was still closed. AND they had to kill a master shadow dragon before they could even open it.

But when the Shadow Dragon is in the room with two heroes trying to kill it and another at the altar trying to heal the priest there was still just enough room to scoot the dragon past the first two on one turn, blocking them in. Then on the second turn I was able to move again and block the door. Granted, there were only three heroes, but also granted, had there been four I would have had TWO dragons instead of just one.



#39 ced1106

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 06:38 PM

 Some thoughts:

* ROLL RED DICE. Yellow dice won't take down a 2-Grey dice monster unless you have a special ability to back it up. Pierce +2 cancels a white die, as does the Longsword's Surge. Stun is good!

* BLOW THROUGH YOUR SPECIAL ABILITIES ASAP. The more monsters you mow down or Stun during your first turn, the fewer units he has on the board to control the terrain. Oh, and he'll have fewer units to attack you with.

* BLOW THROUGH YOUR FATIGUE. After you engage the monsters, you should be attacking twice per turn!

* SPEED IS ESSENTIAL: Players need to move ASAP to control the board. 



#40 Mrbob0069

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 07:07 PM

We did this with 3 players as well, and on other side of door was shadow dragon.  We knew that the OL can't open the door AND the monsters can't act until the door is open.  So we used that to our advantage by NOT opening the door until we were all in place and had a full round of hero actions to use.  We then opend the door (thief had a skill to do it with out an action), picked up key and ran, stamina stamina to cardinals door. Waiting in hall was Ranger elf girl and familiar. with Necro at heal alter.  Once we saw the dragon the rest of the turn was spent NOT leaving a 2x3 space for him to stand in.

 

My point is, the heroes have the advantage of going first.  If they choose to open the door when they have no actions left to react to what comes out.  Thats jus poor playing on their part.  The heroes have to play stratigicly too. not just rush forward like a raving band of maurauding orcs hoping to overpower the OL.






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