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#1 BuncyTheFrog

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 02:50 PM

 I've got a question pertaining to campaigns. I get that during a quest, the heroes get to know everything about that quest (I've only broken this rule on the interlude to make Zachareth's entrance dramatic; I'm OLing by the way), though I'm wondering how far that knowledge extends. I've started to dominate our campaign, so I've just given the campaign book to my players and they're scouring each quest to decide what one they want to do next, but it seems like this kind of takes out the fun of storytelling that comes with a campaign, especially the first time you go through it.

What have you all been doing with regards to this public information rule? The way I'd like it to work is that the heroes select a quest based on a short description of the quest, and then after the introduction text has been read they get the full knowledge of the encounter, but I'm just not sure of that.

I've been trying to determine why I'm doing so well against them (They have won a total of two quests so far and we're on to quest 2 of the second act), and in an effort to rein in the gap, I've given them full access to the campaign book (not just the current quest), tightened up my monster pool (I gave them an option at the start of the campaign: I use base + Descent 1st ed monsters if you all choose heroes from those games, otherwise I get to use all of the monsters), and now I'm considering just handing out xp to help even it up a bit more…

Obviously I can't go any further on the information front beyond declaring what monster sets I'd be using ahead of time when they're selecting the next quest, but I'm just interested in knowing if my original approach of "pick next quest based on short description of problem at hand" is totally totally wrong and I'm a bad person for being so mean that way.



#2 Nexx

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 07:04 AM

 Buncy, you're way too kind.

In our first play through I was the OL and won 1/3 in Act 1 and 2/3 in Act two and I won the Finale. Now, Act 1 was a little nuts since I wasn't reinforcing properly, reading things correctly and basically screwing up.

Now another friend is OL and he's ruining us. We went 1/3 in Act 1 and are now 0/2 in Act 2. He's ruthless, cruel, picks on me (He Hates my Reanimate 'Spencer') but is playing really well. We all use the Quest Guide once he's read it out so there's no secrets. We've all made errors by misinterpreting a rule here and there and having four sets of eyes really helps.

We pick the quest based on it's name, knowing nothing about it (or forgetting if we've played it before) and then he will read it out. Set up the board, place our figures and have at it.
 



#3 Steve-O

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 01:57 PM

BuncyTheFrog said:

 

 I've got a question pertaining to campaigns. I get that during a quest, the heroes get to know everything about that quest (I've only broken this rule on the interlude to make Zachareth's entrance dramatic; I'm OLing by the way), though I'm wondering how far that knowledge extends. I've started to dominate our campaign, so I've just given the campaign book to my players and they're scouring each quest to decide what one they want to do next, but it seems like this kind of takes out the fun of storytelling that comes with a campaign, especially the first time you go through it.

 

 

Descent is a competitive board game, it's not an RPG.  Granted it has a strong story element and is very "theme heavy", but the purpose of the game is not storytelling, it's dice rolling.  If this is your first time playing Descent, that might take some getting used to.  Newbie heroes often suffer in performance from trying to do "standard RPG things" like clear all the monsters from one room before moving to the next, or insisting on going for all the treasure on the board.  Once they learn to focus on their objectives, they get better.

The "Public Information" box at the start of the quest guide says that all quests are written with "the assumption that all players know all the rules and victory conditions" so if you wanted to be anal about it, you could just make a point of reading out all the rules for every quest that is currently available to them before asking them to pick one to play.  (ie: Tell them all the mechanics but keep the fluff text secret.)  I would be inclined to call that rules lawyering though (somewhat ironically.)

That said, other posters have made a very valid point about the fact that sometimes one person can misinterpret the rules that are written, and actually letting everyone see the quest guide does help to prevent that situation.  It's easier to let them read the guide than to read out everything aloud yourself, and at the end of the day there aren't really any "surprises" in 99% of the encounters.  Once the map is set up, everything that's known is known to all and anything that's hidden is hidden from all.  Looking at the quest guide won't really spoil much of anything.

 

Having gone through similar emotional experiences when getting into First Edition Descent, I find that it helps to draw a distinction between the story that is told in the fluff text and the story that unfolds in the actions of the players.  The former is static and quickly forgotten before the next play.  The latter is everlasting and it changes with every game



#4 BuncyTheFrog

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 04:24 PM

Steve-O said:

BuncyTheFrog said:

 

 I've got a question pertaining to campaigns. I get that during a quest, the heroes get to know everything about that quest (I've only broken this rule on the interlude to make Zachareth's entrance dramatic; I'm OLing by the way), though I'm wondering how far that knowledge extends. I've started to dominate our campaign, so I've just given the campaign book to my players and they're scouring each quest to decide what one they want to do next, but it seems like this kind of takes out the fun of storytelling that comes with a campaign, especially the first time you go through it.

 

 

Descent is a competitive board game, it's not an RPG.  Granted it has a strong story element and is very "theme heavy", but the purpose of the game is not storytelling, it's dice rolling.  If this is your first time playing Descent, that might take some getting used to.  Newbie heroes often suffer in performance from trying to do "standard RPG things" like clear all the monsters from one room before moving to the next, or insisting on going for all the treasure on the board.  Once they learn to focus on their objectives, they get better.

The "Public Information" box at the start of the quest guide says that all quests are written with "the assumption that all players know all the rules and victory conditions" so if you wanted to be anal about it, you could just make a point of reading out all the rules for every quest that is currently available to them before asking them to pick one to play.  (ie: Tell them all the mechanics but keep the fluff text secret.)  I would be inclined to call that rules lawyering though (somewhat ironically.)

That said, other posters have made a very valid point about the fact that sometimes one person can misinterpret the rules that are written, and actually letting everyone see the quest guide does help to prevent that situation.  It's easier to let them read the guide than to read out everything aloud yourself, and at the end of the day there aren't really any "surprises" in 99% of the encounters.  Once the map is set up, everything that's known is known to all and anything that's hidden is hidden from all.  Looking at the quest guide won't really spoil much of anything.

 

Having gone through similar emotional experiences when getting into First Edition Descent, I find that it helps to draw a distinction between the story that is told in the fluff text and the story that unfolds in the actions of the players.  The former is static and quickly forgotten before the next play.  The latter is everlasting and it changes with every game

 

Thanks for the feedback. I do own 1st edition, and I am being influenced as well by PnP-style thinking a little in my desire to have the games be competitive and well-informed, while also allowing the players to experience the story as it unfolds.

 

As I said, once a quest is selected, I don't have much trouble showing the players the quest guide, nor did I from the start. The only thing I changed recently was letting them see all the details for all the quests and pick the next one based on that (if it's a competitive game, why should I let them favour the ones they think they can win?).

Granted, they do have the problem of not having really adapted to the Descent mode of thinking, and until recently they've gotten skills that favour dealing large damage to single targets instead of board and condition management, and I've punished them for it.

 

I suppose I'm mainly looking here for when the public information box applies: pre-quest-selection or post-quest-selection, and I'm just complicating the discussion by bringing up the circumstances.

 

Steve-O is of the mind that everything is open ever, and that's probably what I should continue working with. I'm interested in seeing what others think though.



#5 Obi Wann82

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 10:12 PM

I always played it that the quest book is open to everyone from the start. My players were perusing the quest book while others were picking characters and classes, and/or while the first quest was being set up. It helped that everyone I played with at the start had all read the rules already.



#6 Steve-O

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 09:24 AM

BuncyTheFrog said:

As I said, once a quest is selected, I don't have much trouble showing the players the quest guide, nor did I from the start. The only thing I changed recently was letting them see all the details for all the quests and pick the next one based on that (if it's a competitive game, why should I let them favour the ones they think they can win?).

I do understand what you're saying here, there's a part of me that feels the same way.  The other side of that coin, though, is "if it's a competitive game, why should we [the heroes] be forced to pick quests blind if there's no rule that says we have to?"

The Overlord is not a DM.  As such, he does not let the heroes do anything.  It's the rules that allow things to be done either by the heroes or by the OL. Remember, the Overlord also gets to choose which quest will be played next sometimes (after he wins one), so if he's allowed to look at all the quests and the heroes aren't, then he has a distinctly unfair advantage in this regard.

You could institute a house rule to say that heroes must pick blind (if everyone is agreeable - and I know some people even as heroes might enjoy not knowing what's coming up.)  Of course, it's only going to make a difference until your hero players have played each quest at least once, and then they'll know everything anyway.

If you still feel like letting the heroes read everything will give them an unfair advantage, there is a house rule popping up that says the loser gets to pick the next quest, rather than the winner.  Some people like this as it prevents one side or the other from getting too far ahead with a chain of victories in quests that favour their side.



#7 BuncyTheFrog

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 01:34 PM

Steve-O said:

BuncyTheFrog said:

 

As I said, once a quest is selected, I don't have much trouble showing the players the quest guide, nor did I from the start. The only thing I changed recently was letting them see all the details for all the quests and pick the next one based on that (if it's a competitive game, why should I let them favour the ones they think they can win?).

 

I do understand what you're saying here, there's a part of me that feels the same way.  The other side of that coin, though, is "if it's a competitive game, why should we [the heroes] be forced to pick quests blind if there's no rule that says we have to?"

The Overlord is not a DM.  As such, he does not let the heroes do anything.  It's the rules that allow things to be done either by the heroes or by the OL. Remember, the Overlord also gets to choose which quest will be played next sometimes (after he wins one), so if he's allowed to look at all the quests and the heroes aren't, then he has a distinctly unfair advantage in this regard.

You could institute a house rule to say that heroes must pick blind (if everyone is agreeable - and I know some people even as heroes might enjoy not knowing what's coming up.)  Of course, it's only going to make a difference until your hero players have played each quest at least once, and then they'll know everything anyway.

If you still feel like letting the heroes read everything will give them an unfair advantage, there is a house rule popping up that says the loser gets to pick the next quest, rather than the winner.  Some people like this as it prevents one side or the other from getting too far ahead with a chain of victories in quests that favour their side.

 

Well, I've been letting them pick all the quests anyway in spite of my win streak, so I wasn't too concerned with the thematic/short description option unfairly giving me an advantage. In light of that rule though, I can certainly see the argument that everyone gets to peruse through the guide at their leisure and know all the details of every quest.






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