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Dark Glyphs


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#1 Galvancito1

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 12:46 AM

I gess there is another topic fot this but I cannot find it (sorry). If this has already been discussed, pleas link me to the corresponding topic.

We have been playing the core game for quite a long now, and last 3 times we decided to use the dark glyphs. Now here is the problem: they are unbalanced. No, I don't mean that they are too powerful (they are, but that's not what I wanted to focus on). What I mean is that they are umbalanced among them.

All of them have the same treachery cost: 2 treachery (of the corresponding color). Treachery cannot be changed form a color to other, but at the end any remaining treachery is put together to get extra cards so we should assume that a red treachery point has the same value as a blue treachery point. (Am I wrong to think this? Is a treachery color more powerful that other just by its color?) However the effect of each glyph are very different.

After a couple of games I can tell that spending 2 treachery points in a blue glyph is a waste. They basically do nothing at all. I at least the OL could keep both cards that would be something, but he has to discard one of them. He can't even draw 2 cards mix them into his hand and discard 2 other cards, oh no, he has to discard one of the received cards. OK, at leas he gets something: his deck is running and he is getting good cards.

The red gplyph on the other hand is really powerful. It's probably more powerful thatn it appears at first glance. Any hero (usually a runner) who usually tries to get the treasure, activate the gplyph and escape will get the party in trouble if that glpyh is red. He will find 2 extra enemies when he activates the glyph and 2 more when escapes trhough it (if he does). Not escaping means his death, but doing so means his party's death at the hands of 4 sorceres. Let's face it, the OL will always choose sorceres when possible (why is the spider even an option)? Once all the sorceres are in play, the OL may decide that beastmen or skeletons are possible. He won't give beast any thought. Oddly enough there is no option to choose ferrox, apes or priests (probably to prevent the OL to spawn too many powerful monsters).

Finally the green glyph. Where do I begin with this one? 2 conquest out just by choosing it makes a better option than any green treachery card. OK, the binding spell on a map full of boulders may be better but you get the idea: There will always be 1 (sometimes 2) green glyphs on the map because they are just too good. But wait! that's not all they can do, they also don't work at all. With the other gplyphs the heroes could at least choose if they will take the risk, but here that's not an option. Not been able to use a glyph is worse than having a problem every time you use it, and 2 extra sorceres are not going to take 2 conquest tokens from the heroes without some effort. So even if the heroes chosed not to use a red glyph at all, it would not annoy them so much as a green one. Not to mention those maps where heroes need to return to the town at the end (buried alive for example) where a correctly placed green glyph means game over.

So the green glyph will always be more powerfull than the red glyph, which will always be more powerful than the blue gyph. With some irony the game designers called the least powerfull glyph "power glyph". And they all cost the same. If there was some random involved I would understand that (the OL could be luck enough to get a green one or unluck enough to get a blue one), but he is choosing them at will at the beggining of the game. "Hmmm, today I'm feeling pretty evil, let's add a green glyph wahahahaha".

Has anyone tried to fix this with some house rules. This is what I would do:

-Red: have the OL roll 3 (or 4, we'll have to playtest this) 12-sided dices. Each side is a kind of monster: 1for kobold, 2 for beastman, 3 for skeleton, 4 for spider, 5 for razorwing, 6 for shade, 7 for hellhound, 8 for beetle, 9 for sorcerer, 10 for priest, 11 for ferrox and 12 for ape. He chooses 2 of them and spawns them. This arrangement makes the glyph a bit less powerfull and allows for more different mosnters to be added. The OL must face some random (as so will the heroes who want to risk using the glyph). Another option would be to force to OL to pay some threat to spawn the monsters or to just let him play a spawn card (instead of just letting him spawn for free).

-Blue: A possibility is not to force the OL to discard one of the cards. Another is to allow him to discard a different card. Another possibility is to have him draw 3 cards, discard one, keep another and put the third on the top of his deck (so that it will be the next card he gets). The idea is to make this glyph a bit more powerful, so that it can be about the level of the red one.

-Green: (Uhg) The first idea is to let he heroes get the 3 conquest tokens and leave the rest as is. Another idea is to le the heroes use it by discarding (without effect) a feat card, this would be consistend with the original design, as there were no feat cards when AoD was released. Yet another possibility is to make it worth 3 treachery points instead of 2 (come on, it is too powerful for just 2).

Do you have any other ideas? The dark gkyphs are not the only unbalanced issues from AoD. The lone troll is another problem (compared to the lone oger and the lone golem) but let's go one step at a time.



#2 Steve-O

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 02:27 PM

Galvancito1 said:

as a green one. Not to mention those maps where heroes need to return to the town at the end (buried alive for example) where a correctly placed green glyph means game over.

There is a FAQ ruling that says the OL cannot do something that would make it completely impossible for the heroes to finish their quest objectives.  (The example given is standing an invincible monster on top of the chest containing the only thing that can hurt said monster, IIRC.)  I'd say putting a green glyph on the only way out (in a quest where "getting out" is an objective) would qualify as taboo under that ruling.

As far as whether the dark glyphs are broken or how to "fix" them, I can't help you very much.  To be honest, I never really used them much myself.  I've read some other commentary from people saying their primary use lies in denying the heroes easy access to a strategically placed glyph (either shutting it down or forcing them to pay a price every time they used it), but that would still be a highly situational application.  You'd need to be playing a quest where there's one or two glyphs the heroes really rely on, and then you'd need to know about that in advance to prepare the glyphs.  (It's not always obvious from looking at the map, so unless you play the same quests several times, you may not know which maps are good for these glyphs.)

Of course, if you don't like them, you don't need to use them.  There are plenty of other things you can spend your treachery on.



#3 Parathion

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 09:45 PM

The heroes can still move to town by being killed, so there are still ways to progress.

Unless you say the heros must always have a chance to win...

I agree that green glyphs are the most powerful when placed in the "wrong" place. In certain quests they can be a real killer.

But the same is somewhat valid for certain Feat cards in certain situations - I remember an Animate Weapons (most expensive card in the game) cancelled by a Disarm - the (first time) OL lost almost all his interest to continue...



#4 Digitality

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 01:58 AM

Parathion said:

The heroes can still move to town by being killed, so there are still ways to progress.

Unless you say the heros must always have a chance to win...

I agree that green glyphs are the most powerful when placed in the "wrong" place. In certain quests they can be a real killer.

But the same is somewhat valid for certain Feat cards in certain situations - I remember an Animate Weapons (most expensive card in the game) cancelled by a Disarm - the (first time) OL lost almost all his interest to continue...



Yes the heroes should always have to have a chance to win, in that the dungeon itself should not be manipulated to entirely prevent them from progressing.

"Q: Which map items count as obstacles for the Crushing
Block trap card?
A: Crushing Block may never be played in a space
adjacent to a pit or any token (or built-in map element)
that blocks movement. The reason for this is to prevent
the Overlord from sealing a hallway completely and
preventing the heroes from ever progressing.
This is a
list of all relevant obstacles, current through the Road to
Legend: Boulder, Crushing Wall, Rubble, Water. (Villagers
are figures, not map elements.)"

While part of the RTL section of the FAQ, it suggests that this is in the very spirit of the game, keeping with competitive yet fair play, and stressing that it has always been the intent to avoid such tactics via the very wording of the card itself. It is also supported by other related questions that have come up.

"Dungeon Level 14: The Fountain of Life
If an invulnerable monster blocks a path, the heroes may
move through that monster."

The example given with Buried Alive becomes unwinnable since the dungeon collapses behind the heroes as they progress through over a set amount of turns, and a sundered glyph held for the very last glyph in the very last room can make the scenario unwinnable if everything else behind them has become unreachable. The Duke in this scenario must be carried out through a glyph and a dying hero will actually drop him back to the board in the spot he or she died.

This quest actually predates the corrupted glyph mechanic so I'd say it's definitely an oversight, as the quest was not designed as being balanced against this tactic.

This doesn't really come up often because the design of the game has generally avoided the potential for such events to occur. Where it has occurred the rulings have been clear.

It's not strictly RAW (unless I've overlooked something) as this specific example is never clarified and nothing is ever suggested to disallow this. I would, however, argue against it's use at my table as related examples of preventing progress have been ruled against, showing designer intent, and as being against the spirit of fair play. While the latter is not an expressly written rule, it's definitely an unspoken one for many games if you want to maintain a healthy playing group.



#5 Corbon

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 11:20 AM

Digitality said:

Yes the heroes should always have to have a chance to win, in that the dungeon itself should not be manipulated to entirely prevent them from progressing.

"Q: Which map items count as obstacles for the Crushing
Block trap card?
A: Crushing Block may never be played in a space
adjacent to a pit or any token (or built-in map element)
that blocks movement. The reason for this is to prevent
the Overlord from sealing a hallway completely and
preventing the heroes from ever progressing.
This is a
list of all relevant obstacles, current through the Road to
Legend: Boulder, Crushing Wall, Rubble, Water. (Villagers
are figures, not map elements.)"

While part of the RTL section of the FAQ, it suggests that this is in the very spirit of the game, keeping with competitive yet fair play, and stressing that it has always been the intent to avoid such tactics via the very wording of the card itself. It is also supported by other related questions that have come up.

"Dungeon Level 14: The Fountain of Life
If an invulnerable monster blocks a path, the heroes may
move through that monster."

 

The example given with Buried Alive becomes unwinnable since the dungeon collapses behind the heroes as they progress through over a set amount of turns, and a sundered glyph held for the very last glyph in the very last room can make the scenario unwinnable if everything else behind them has become unreachable. The Duke in this scenario must be carried out through a glyph and a dying hero will actually drop him back to the board in the spot he or she died.

This quest actually predates the corrupted glyph mechanic so I'd say it's definitely an oversight, as the quest was not designed as being balanced against this tactic.

This doesn't really come up often because the design of the game has generally avoided the potential for such events to occur. Where it has occurred the rulings have been clear.

It's not strictly RAW (unless I've overlooked something) as this specific example is never clarified and nothing is ever suggested to disallow this. I would, however, argue against it's use at my table as related examples of preventing progress have been ruled against, showing designer intent, and as being against the spirit of fair play. While the latter is not an expressly written rule, it's definitely an unspoken one for many games if you want to maintain a healthy playing group.

I'd use the precedent set in the Fountain of life and simply allow the heroes to use that glyph to go to town anyway.



#6 Torin Negatia

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 12:42 PM

I'm pretty sure one of the balances in the rules for dark glyphs is that they are placed randomly. You place the starting glyph as normal and then place all other glyphs red side up and mix them around and choose a random one when a glyph is revealed in a particular quest.

in the advanced campaign this becomes a little harder being you don't know how many glyphs you will have in a particular dungeon so I use any dark glyphs (randomly) first and then place glyphs as normal. Also note that in the ac glyphs are per dungeon, not persumgeon level.



#7 Corbon

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 09:34 PM

Torin Negatia said:

I'm pretty sure one of the balances in the rules for dark glyphs is that they are placed randomly. You place the starting glyph as normal and then place all other glyphs red side up and mix them around and choose a random one when a glyph is revealed in a particular quest.

in the advanced campaign this becomes a little harder being you don't know how many glyphs you will have in a particular dungeon so I use any dark glyphs (randomly) first and then place glyphs as normal. Also note that in the ac glyphs are per dungeon, not persumgeon level.

No, it is not random. It specifies that the OL gets to look at all the glyphs and select which one he wants.



#8 Torin Negatia

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 08:42 AM

just now finally had time to look this up. I don't know how I overlooked the last line in the paragraph that you get to select which one you want. I really haven't been using dark glyphs because I hated doing that.

 

Glad this topic came up, I may start using glyphs again.






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