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House rule: Hero needs to be able to die!


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#1 Fonzarelli

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 11:20 AM

Hi there!

I recently bought Descent 2nd edition, and in a while, I will start my first campaign of this game. To be clear, me and my gaming group have absolutely no experience with this game. After reading and watching several reviews of the game and after reading the rulebook, there is 1 thing I find very disturbing! Hero's can't die! like ever! Me and my gaming group find this to be a bit wierd to say the least. So I am considering using a house rule on this matter. Since I have no experience at all, I would like the opinion on this matter of all you hardcore Descent players!

 



#2 Fonzarelli

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 11:33 AM

Hi there!

I recently bought Descent 2nd edition, and in a while, I will start my first campaign of this game. To be clear, me and my gaming group have absolutely no experience with this game. After reading and watching several reviews of the game and after reading the rulebook, there is 1 thing I find very disturbing! Hero's can't die! like ever! Me and my gaming group find this to be a bit wierd to say the least. So I am considering using a house rule on this matter. Since I have no experience at all, I would like the opinion on this matter of all you hardcore Descent players!

I am considering the following:

1. Hero's get life points at the start of a campaign. after each knockdown they will lose 1. after they have lost all points the will die. Lets say they start with 4 points. (since i have no experience in playing the game, I dont know is this is the right amount of life points! please give your opinions!)

2. After completing a quest players can buy life points, lets say 2 lifepoints per 25 gold with a  max of 4 points total? (again opinions plz!)

3.  AND/OR:When a hero does not have any life remaining, the other hero's in play can travel to a unique location on the campaignboard and go to a healer to revive the fallen hero for like 100 gold? The hero will be revived with start with 2 lifepoints.

4. AND/OR: When a hero has fallen, the other players can recruit a new hero at the city (not the fallen ones ofcourse!)? for like 100 gold? maybe starting with less xp and items, or just at the same level as the other hero's. Again opinions plz!

What do you guys think of these suggestions? wich ones are good and wich ones are bad? Furthermore, do you have any other suggestions on this matter  or maybe suggestions on changing my rules?

Please don't say just try the game with the normal rules, since I am sure on the fact that me and my group will dislike this! We love some good tention and we are not affraid to die in game! haha!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#3 MrRoza

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 12:39 PM

We use the following houserule to create the tension of being able to get killed or having a finite amount of lives:

 

- Your player tokens count as the amount of lives you have. When knocked out a hero replaces his figure with his hero token and when this hero is revived the token goes to the Overlord. When all tokens are owned by the Overlord and the hero is knocked out, the figure is removed from play until the current quest is over. The hero is revived and regains all it's player tokens when returning to Arhynn. Again a thematic choice, but this also makes being knocked out a lot more suspenseful. 
 
You could even decide that the heroes do not get their tokens back when returning to Arhynn. But that could also penalize your more vulnerable players too much.  
 


#4 MrRoza

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 12:40 PM

Double post :)



#5 Steve-O

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 12:58 PM

Fonzarelli said:

there is 1 thing I find very disturbing! Hero's can't die! like ever!

I can certainly understand your position.  Particularly if you come from an RPG background, the whole no dying thing might seem odd.  There's a reason for it, however, and the reason is because the game's balance is very swingy depending on the number of heroes playing.  2 heroes is hard on the heroes, 3 is better, 4 can sometimes be hard on the OL if he's inexperienced.  The reason heroes never die is to keep the number of heroes playing constant, so the number of monsters can also remain constant.

If you allow heroes to die and not be replaced, the game balance will quickly swing in the OL's favour, especially if you leave monster groups at the original hero count values.  So, whatever house rule you use, it would be best if it allowed for a constant number of heroes to be in play at a time.

 

Fonzarelli said:

1. Hero's get life points at the start of a campaign. after each knockdown they will lose 1. after they have lost all points the will die. Lets say they start with 4 points. (since i have no experience in playing the game, I dont know is this is the right amount of life points! please give your opinions!)

Hardcore mode.  The heroes probably won't make it to Act II, especially if this is their first time playing.  Newbie heroes tend to get KO'd A LOT, until they figure out how to play well.

Fonzarelli said:

2. After completing a quest players can buy life points, lets say 2 lifepoints per 25 gold with a  max of 4 points total? (again opinions plz!)

25 gold for 2 Life Points is pretty cheap.  The heroes probably wouldn't have too much difficulty keeping their Life Points topped off between quests, which means you're effectively playing by the Rules As Written (as long as heroes don't get KO'd 4 times per quest) and just syphoning off a little extra gold for no reason.  On the other hand, it also means that buying Life Points won't dig too much into their bankroll for buying gear, and that's probably a good thing.

Fonzarelli said:

3.  AND/OR:When a hero does not have any life remaining, the other hero's in play can travel to a unique location on the campaignboard and go to a healer to revive the fallen hero for like 100 gold? The hero will be revived with start with 2 lifepoints.

4. AND/OR: When a hero has fallen, the other players can recruit a new hero at the city (not the fallen ones ofcourse!)? for like 100 gold? maybe starting with less xp and items, or just at the same level as the other hero's. Again opinions plz!

The effectiveness of both of these house rules depends on whether or not the heroes are allowed to go resurrect/hire new heroes in the middle of a quest or not.

If they are allowed to go in the middle of a quest, you'll have to introduce more house rules concerning leaving the map and traveling on the campaign map in the middle of a quest.  The core rules don't really allow for that.  You'll also have to find a way to explain why heroes who are on the campaign map can cover ten times as much distance in the same amount of time as heroes on the map.  If you care about "logic" that is - and I'm assuming you do if the whole no death thing is that big of a deal.

If they aren't allowed to leave the map in the middle of a quest to replace fallen heroes then things will be very hard for them.  The quests that are already leaning in favour of the OL will be shut outs and the ones leaning in favour of the heroes will depend on how quickly they start losing members.  If the Overlord player is playing for keeps, he'll probably target the squishy heroes like there's no tomorrow.  The Overlord will end up winning more than his share of the quests in general, which means he'll be in the driver's seat for which quest to pick next most of the time.

Fonzarelli said:

What do you guys think of these suggestions? wich ones are good and wich ones are bad? Furthermore, do you have any other suggestions on this matter  or maybe suggestions on changing my rules?

I don't really have any better ideas, but I wish you all the best.  Let us know how your house rule experiments go in this regard, because I honestly wouldn't mind finding a good variant that allows for hero death without breaking the game.  I'm just too lazy to sit down and figure such a varaint out myself, since it involved messing with a number of the founding principles of the game engine.

Fonzarelli said:

Please don't say just try the game with the normal rules, since I am sure on the fact that me and my group will dislike this! We love some good tention and we are not affraid to die in game! haha!

Far be it from me to tell someone else how to play any game.  That said, if you ever decide to try playing it by RAW, you may find it's not as bad as you think.  Descent isn't an RPG, it's a tactical combat game in a fantasy setting.  The story is there, but it's secondary to the hack and slash mechanics.

Anyway, best of luck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#6 Zogwort

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 04:52 PM

I would say if it's you very first time playing the game, then don't worry about it and don't hinder yourself with house rules that are meant to counter an imagined imbalince in the game mechanics. Play the game as it was meant to be played at least once. Its fun!

Truth be told, the game is less about killing and more about completing the quest objectives. If the heroes can be "killed," than why should the Overlord player care about his objectives when he can just win by killing the heroes? The Overlord player would have a huge advantage if he can win without actually completing his objective IMO.

BTW the Finale quests of the campaign do have player death :)

But if you really must have player-death in every quest, I would say MrRoza has a good idea how to go about it! :)



#7 Fresy

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 07:59 AM

Zogwort said:

I would say if it's you very first time playing the game, then don't worry about it and don't hinder yourself with house rules that are meant to counter an imagined imbalince in the game mechanics. Play the game as it was meant to be played at least once. Its fun!

 

quote!

I played as OL in a 1vs1 game (first campaign) and I won w/o problems.

Played as heroes another 1vs1 game (second campaign) and lost w/o problems :P (the OL was the one that played as heroes in the first campaign).

Playng a 4vs1 game as OL and loosing as a newbye cuz imho you have to play the cards with caution and to plan every single move with your minions since they are 4 minds vs the your. 

Btw, I think that the approach to the game is slightly different with more players as heroes are involved. 

I can say that in a few heroes group, you can play a ton of "lord of the war" set cards, in a large group you have to play cards that tend to slow the game of the heroes and tryng to separate the group. You only win if you have cards in hand, more cards you can get, easily you can control the board, easily isn't need to see the heros dies, just KOs :)

 

PS: I'm sorry for my english, not really clear asustado



#8 Fonzarelli

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 10:00 AM

Im not looking for to balance the game more, since i dont know it enough to know if there is a imbalance. I just want to create some more tension for the hero's so they know the CAN die! I still want to hero's to be able to win etc etc. I just think its a lot more exciting when you know you can die.. Im not saying the hero's NEED to die at all.



#9 Zogwort

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 11:35 AM

Trust me, a good night with friends playing Descent can be intense enough without player death ;)

So far my group and I have played 3 1/2 quests and so far in every encounter it really came down to the wire, and twice the heroes were able to ****** victory from my grasp in a last ditch effor hail mary move that (even though I lost) was really exciting to see play out and its stuff like that the keeps us coming back :)

If you're not planning to play a full on campaign, I suggest you just play one of the two Finale scenarios that is included with the game. Both scenarios allow for permanent player death and is balanced with that taken into account.

If you're going to do the campaign, remember that each quest is objective based (for both the heroes and the overlord), and depending on who completes what objectives, the following quest can be affected in the heroes favor or the overlord's favor. If you allow player death in the campaign, then the overlord will have a HUGE advantage because he won't have to worry about completing his objectives when he can alternatively just kill the heroes, and concequently have the advantage in the following quest.

I know I thought at first that the lack of player death in this game seemed weird, but really you play it you will realize that its a non-issue.



#10 VorosRoka

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 02:03 AM

This game is all about objectives, and thus, heroes reviving themselves and each other all the time tend to focus more on clearing the board
(since support usually brings only a single monster per monster group), than doing the objective as top priority.

A rule that might work well for 4 hero-players games, could be that knocking out all players in a single turn is a secondary win objective for the OL.
He knocks out all 4 of them in his turn - bam, he wins. 

Seems too harsh? Then modify it like this:
if they are all knocked out, one of the players rolls a roll similar to an attribute test (black and gray die), if he passes he may stand up and pick a single person up. The one that stood up has no actions left, the one revived by his friend has a single action which in this particular case cannot be reviving.
So the next turn OL has to finally knock down two players and if he does that he wins this encounter.

It would propably work well for such scenarios as the one with Splig interrogating prisoners to find Frederic (2nd scenario, 2nd encounter IIRC).

 



#11 Robin

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 04:01 AM

Best house rule around : kill the hero players physically.
I am sure that they will play very seriously under such reality conditions.
And, each time the OL loses a monster, stab him (but not to death, just enough to have him suffer) and, if he loses the quest, cut his throat.

I mean, just killing the plastic heroes and monsters is short from your desire of changing Descent into a simulation.burla

I hope I was as much disturbing as the non dying heroes of this… game.sonreir


An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.
G. K. Chesterton

#12 Nimbus

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 06:04 AM

MrRoza said:

We use the following houserule to create the tension of being able to get killed or having a finite amount of lives:

 

- Your player tokens count as the amount of lives you have. When knocked out a hero replaces his figure with his hero token and when this hero is revived the token goes to the Overlord. When all tokens are owned by the Overlord and the hero is knocked out, the figure is removed from play until the current quest is over. The hero is revived and regains all it's player tokens when returning to Arhynn. Again a thematic choice, but this also makes being knocked out a lot more suspenseful. 
 
You could even decide that the heroes do not get their tokens back when returning to Arhynn. But that could also penalize your more vulnerable players too much.  
 

We agreed to do something like this, however in our games if a hero dies he won't come back, instead, the player has to pick up a new hero that will start with half the money his dead hero had (including items' value) and 1 PE less than the less experienced hero alive has.

I find unlikely that a hero dies, but just the possibility creates a good tension after you have fallen a couple of times that makes the game more intense and realistic in my opinion. It is true that this only benefits to the overlord, but again, I think it's unlikely to happen. Anyway, we are also allowing to loot everything after every scenario in case heroes win it, wich only benefits to heroes… although they don't know if they're going to win or not.



#13 Fonzarelli

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 07:26 AM

@ mr Roza,

 

I think I find your rule a good one! i will certainly use it when i begin my campaign with friends. I do find the 4 tokens in the game a bit on the low side, so maybe I'll make that 6 or something. Or 4 for lets say the warriors and 6 for the more flimsy classes… food for thought….

 

 



#14 MrRoza

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 10:17 AM

Good luck! Let me know how it goes. In my experience the 4 tokens have never completely been depleted, but that's also because players who lost a couple of tokens tend to be more cautious when attacking. Or they get healed faster.

Also the 4 tokens get replenished whenever they go back to Arhynn, which is at the end of every completed quest. So in my experience 4 tokens is more than enough, but if needed you can always add more of course :).






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