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  1. I don't much care about the theme / monsters / etc. All I really want are interesting hero characters and most of all, for them to finish the hybrid classes. In fact, I'd willingly pay $100 tomorrow for a tiny expansion that just finished off all the hybrid classes. I'd probably die happy.
  2. "First, let me state that I hope my previous posts did not come across as too aggressive, attacking, belligerent, etc. That was not the intent. I am only trying to provide some constructive thoughts ..." No, your post was perfectly fine. I knew that as soon as I said, "I think I found an optimal strategy" there was going to be a good bit of disagreement, and that's a good thing. If I came off as blunt in my reply it's because I was frustrated because I had a much more detailed reply I spent almost an hour on, and the forum ate it, so I was annoyed with that. "I must say that I didn't think the number of monster types with 3 or less health was so high. Still, the majority of monsters have at least 4 health, if not more. It is for this reason, even with skills/weapons that can add Pierce and/or additional damage, I find less value in AoE (Blast) skills/weapons in RTL/Delve." Agreed. I don't take Blast as mandatory because its usage is common. I agree its quite niche, and ineffective against things such as Reanimate. But in my testing, the only things sure to kill my party have been 3+ archer / imp / witcher types having free reign on the board to attack the same 1/2 characters, combined with unfortunate defense rolls. Everything else, I can generally plan around. So Blast, to me, feels like packing that one niche item against that one thing that can assuredly wreck your party, rare as it might be. What helps is that the rune master's "blast' attack only costs a single exp, so it doesn't go too far out of your way to build it. Admittedly I don't know how to efficiently get blast on anyone else, in which case, I hope their defense rolls are better than mine. "Now, one point in your favor is that typically, the less health a monster has, the more of them you generally get. If they happen to be of a type that has less than 4 health, and with the proper skills/weapons, I guess an argument can be made for making Blast somewhat of a priority. If you can get a lucky roll, you could do major damage (pun intended). At least within Act I. Once you get out of Act I, I think AoE skills/weapons fare even worse." True, once you get to act 2, the only thing that's going to reliably save you is having access to sufficient damage mitigation, which is precisely why I brought up the shop deck. Too many times I've gone rounds without any defensive items whatsoever, which means, even with +hp skills, you can get ripped to shreds out of the gate in act 2. Having access to both, to some degree, seems crucial to me. Maybe your party just has overall better defense rolls than mine, but I tell you, those witchers / archers / imps in act 2 can drop a tank in a single activation, and pick off another low hp character with the way we roll defense. It's truly awful, which is why I've taken to building parties as aggressively as I have. But it's kind of stale having such pre-determined slots, but I don't know of anything else that works on the Delve hard mode (almost anything else works on normal due to the health recovery between rounds, but normal is almost too easy) "If you are going to include expansions in your RTL/Delve selections, which will automatically include the appropriate tiles, monsters, heroes, etc., I feel you should include all of the Shop Items as well. It is all part of game balance." Two counterpoints I have to make to this. First is that the vast majority of expansions were created pre-Delve (Maybe Chains That Rust was after? Unsure, still fairly new to the game), and the vast majority of "power-creepy" weapons are balanced out by their gold costs in these expansions. So it makes sense, during classic Descent, to draw into a hand full of mostly weapons, because that gives your party more flexibility on what they can buy given how much gold they have and who needs what. In the Delve, where you can only ever have one weapon (which is why we generally go with 2 main damage dealers in the first place for Delve, campaign more flexible), you're just going to take the most powerful, and if you get all weapons or all but one is a weapon, you gain basically no benefit from that. Like the characters that affect overlord cards which have no effect in RtL, this too seems like a point of balance that wasn't carried through from the base game to the app, and as a result swings things in favor of heroes or monsters. Not because of the items, monster types, or new mechanics, but simply because you're messing with the proportions of item types in the shop deck. Which brings me to my second point. Some items in the shop deck simply have no effect in the Delve. The mapstone is one such, I'd argue the scroll that refunds experience points is another. Since you're not playing a human overlord that can change their strategy, requiring a change in yours, but are playing an AI, most people are going to have their build set in stone. In fact, I'd argue that the best purpose for the Delve is just stress testing builds in various combat situations. Another item acknowledged as virtually useless by the app is the Tival Crystal. In the main campaign, it's always grouped with act 1 items and costs WAY less than its gold value in the normal shop deck, because even the devs know that possibly healing one heart as an action is worthless. Another example would be belt of might. No one is going to take an action to move a monster outside the base game, where you can use them to get blockers out of your way for objectives and such. So I mean, tons of items that seem to have no purpose. While sure, you COULD leave them in to handicap yourself, you could also just put "blank" cards in the shop deck for the same effect, but I don't think you'd advocate for that, would you?Which brings me to my initial post. Given that certain shop cards have no effect in the Delve, and the game already has us get rid of some things like chest / X / secret room search cards, travel cards, skill cards, etc. that have no effect with the game, is it assumed that we'd get rid of some shop cards in the same vein? Which ones? Under what criteria? What about proportions as in my first point? What is your party supposed to do if it gets 5 weapons two rounds in a row? That about sums up my frustration. Also, about the Fire campaign, do you know of any database that links fame with what items are able to be bought?
  3. Thanks for the replies. I had a more thorough response made up but the forum ate it, but the summary is this: Shop cards: I'm not trying to ensure I get what I want, but am trying to return a proportion of offense / defense items in general closer to the levels of the classic shop deck (where I think delve was balanced around). Currently I have 12.5% armor in an act 1 shop deck that started with 21%. Something doesn't seem right about that. I was just inquiring about what model shop deck the rules had in mind of the Delve (Classic tweaked by expansions, or everything in your expansions stuffed into a single pile) to determine what kind of changes should be made to ensure we aren't drawing all weapons 2 rounds in a row. Blast: I never said blast should always go first, and never said blast should try to blast everything. I clearly stated the types of situations in which blast can be mandatory. Low hp enemies high in number, able to all attack you after one hero activates. Very niche, but something that has killed my party in the Delve before. Just 3 goblin witchers in Act 2 were enough to kill 2 party members in a single activation with good rolls / overlord ability against a couple 1's and 0's on defense. Blast rules: Yes, I'm aware of them. The Runemaster is largely the exception to them since his surge is 2 pierce which isn't wounds, thus unaffected by the halving mechanic. Thus all it takes is 3 wounds -> halved 1.5 -> rounded 2, to kill minion goblin archers / imps in one attack 5/6 of the time. Otherwise it acts as a single target damage dealer.
  4. Hi everyone. Been having fun with this app so far but some things have been nagging at me, so I figured I'd post here to see what people's thoughts are. General Questions (I've tried googling these, honest): How exactly does fame correlate to items you can purchase in the campaign? Suppose I want Iron Claws for a monk build I'm wanting to try. Has the community been able to examine the code or put together a database of known items corresponding to current fame so we could plan on how to get specific items? For The Delve, how many items should your shop decks have? My play group was running into an issue where we'd get 5-7 shop cards from Act 1 and 4 of them would be weapons, so we'd enter Act 2 with no armor and missing valuable trinkets like mana weave / etc. because we were inundated with weapons we couldn't use. Needless to say we got torn apart. So I was going to go through the Act 1 (and to a lesser extent act 2) shop decks and pull out redundant items and re-balance the categories to better ensure the heroes get a variety of gear, and not worthless gear either (looking at you sling). For the campaign (spoilers) there was a side quest where you can choose jewels, a scroll, or an idol as a reward. On one of my runs I grabbed the idol and it said I got an idol, but no item showed up in my inventory. Did I run into a bug and I was supposed to get a relic, or does the idol trigger an event that happens in a future quest? Balance Questions: Broadly, I'm just going to preface by saying that the change in turn structure for RtL has not been kind to all the classes. Blatant imbalances such as Marshal / Watchman cards having reduced or no effect aside, let's just talk basic turn order design here. Because the heroes don't go all at once, but have to wait for monsters to activate, consider a class like the Hexer. The Hexer is supposed to set up a bunch of hex tokens for either itself or another class to detonate. Where exactly in the turn order is the Hexer supposed to be? If it goes first, it spends a turn doing a minor amount of damage to a couple of monsters and populating some hex tokens. But then monsters get to go next, and in all probability, every monster the Hexer did''t kill, is a monster that's going to be doing damage to the party. A potentially lethal amount if your group is as awful at rolling defense dice as mine. OK, so given that, maybe the Hexer going first, until it gets its endgame set up where it becomes a full fledged damage dealer (i.e. when the game is almost over if you're playing Delve) isn't the best bet. I'd argue in a similar way that the Hexer going before any monster group is just asking for your group to take extra damage. In a similar boat are classes like Beast Master. As primary damage dealers, they're fine, and some threads such as: https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/233061-road-to-legend-class-balance/ rate them as very strong in that role. However if your party has primary damage dealers already and you'd like to play them as support, then you're going to have a hard time, despite some truly potent skill cards possessed by the class. The reason being that your ability to support revolves entirely on your wolf being alive. But after you and your wolf move up into position to buff people's damage, and you end your turn, the monsters immediately go. Often, they'll kill your wolf immediately, so your party members don't get to take advantage of it. You would think cards like Stalker would help, but that only works if you're adjacent to your wolf, and I've tried this, but what happens is that you and your wolf end up blocking line of sight for your allies, and so they end up trading actions positioning themselves to attack enemies for the green dice you offer them as support. Not good enough. My overall point isn't so much that classes are overpowered or underpowered as a result of this restructuring of the turn order, but rather certain class cards no longer have a design that makes sense given the new order. Because there is no "heroes turn", you can't have Hexer set up some bombs on enemies, then have them immediately detonated by a damage dealer that goes next, so many skills / strategies just feel needlessly out of place in this mode. At this point I don't know what would be a more difficult task for FFG, rebalancing the skills around the new turn order, or just returning the turn order to classic and making changes to the app accordingly, but something just feels... wrong. So, I've been broadly alluding to a "proper turn order". This is as far as I can piece it together, and this is where I'd love to know if I'm missing something. 1. Blast is mandatory in your group, especially for Delve hard mode. If there is a group of fire imps or goblin archers that can activate after your first hero, your immediate job should be to thin that herd as much as you can, because in a game where it's possible they can roll 2 5's and a 6, while you roll a 1 and two 0's for your defense score on your 12 hp hero, preemptive damage saves lives. 2. Have a hero specialized in doing single target damage. If the stage is full of big creatures, you need a hero with consistent damage, pierce, etc. to clear the way for your party. Whether you or the blast character goes first depends on the monster comp likely to do the most damage to you after the immediate activation, but one of the two will do the bulk of the initial damage and weaken the group, the other will do clean up while your group runs through. 3. Have an early game offdamage character. So what I mean by this, is have a character that scales hard early game, with minimal gear, to get your primary damage dealers into act 2. A great (godlike) example of this would be the Apothecary. Just using its starting weapon and concoction you have a skill that can potentially do: Blue, 2 wounds / surge; Green, 1 wound / surge; Concoction: Pierce 1, 1 wound, then we're using Monk / Apothecary with a scout that adds an extra wound when attacking monsters non adjacent to other heroes. So that's 8 damage with pierce 1 at the cost of 1 stamina. For reference, a Latari Longbow from Act 2 with an unmodified attack can get 8 and 1 pierce. Obviously you'd then throw in abilities and whatnot for comparison, but I think my point is made. A starting weapon and a level 1 skill is netting you raw damage of act 2 items. This is the kind of early game scaling I'm talking about. Another example would be a Necromancer rushing Vampiric Blood as a way of pumping its damage while funneling gear to primary damage dealers. 4. A heal / scout hybrid, in function not class necessarily. What I mean by this is that having a dedicated treasurehunter is less impactful in the Delve than in the standard campaign since you don't have access to the treasure chest card, nor can you horde gold to buy shop items quicker (more are revealed with more tokens searched in the Delve). Generally searching, in my experience, is for healing potions and stamina potions, and is usually performed by a character that can make efficient use out of the potions. In the fire campaign treasure hunters are still very much useful at helping you get extra gold and relics in some quests, however without the need to thin out the search deck ala Thief / Treasurehunter, you definitely want someone getting those tokens who can multitask in a similar fashion. To that end, we usually use Ulma (the chemist character) as the Prophet for this task. The Prophet can pump everyone with life and, more importantly, stamina while searching for treasure. Ulma's heroic ability ensures you always get a potion. After the party naturally pauses, such as at the end of a delve stage or after a long fight with monsters, so Ulma can catch up, she usually hands one stamina potion to 2 damage dealers and keeps a healing potion on hand for herself. When the time is right, she then uses her heroic feat to refresh both damage dealer's stamina potions and her healing potion, giving her a heroic feat that basically says: 2 characters may refill their stamina at any time on their turn, and as an action you may fully heal one character who's adjacent to you. There may be a better combination for this for the fire campaign, but for the Delve I'm convinced this is a pretty solid combination for this role. So yeah. Due to the turn order, the way the Delve handles the shop cards, LoS making it impractical for lots of classes to bunch up and fight in often tight corridors, etc. this is the result I've come up with for a generalized optimal party set up. Sorry for the wall of text, been playing for a couple weeks, and this is just me writing down all my observations for feedback. Thanks for reading.
  5. Oh, shadow dragons would actually be kind of hilarious to have in encounter 1. It's encounter 2 where they can be a nightmare to deal with. That movement tactic works well and is something we'll have to try. At the very least it will force the OL to put shadow dragons in the smaller room. I don't have the champion yet, since I only have the base game, but he seems pretty OP. For or group, to take down a shadow dragon, we usually need immolation, crossbow, manaweave for melee characters. Without those 3 things, it's miss after miss after zero damage, and by the end of it everyone is kind of burnt from sitting there just rolling dice. Due to the randomness of the shop, it's common to find one of the three items, it's rare to find two, and I've never, in 8-10 A1 campaigns found all 3. Anyone missing out on an item usually does such an infinitesimal amount of damage to the dragons they're just like, "Yeah I don't know why we don't just skip me. Here goes... zero... again." or "Woo got a damage + surge for 2 damage. Screw you dragon!" OL plays Dark Fortitude: (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻)
  6. I'm not too worried about Shadow Dragon damage. As Robin pointed out, I've been allowing all overlord monsters to attack twice, three times with frenzy, and still our group found the damage manageable to mildly frustrating when a fireball caught us all with bad defense rolls. I don't mind stalling tactics as a whole, and don't find them unfun by definition, I just think there should be a little more risk involved in using them. The overlord should have an "oh ****" moment when they fail too soon and have to scramble to fix their defenses. In reality, I won a game once with OL using shadow dragons and didn't even attack with the dragons. I just let them sit there while heroes rolled miss after miss and failed to meet defense rolls. By the time dragons were down, I had like 8 cards in my hand, and hit the group with tons of traps, then popped dark charm, frenzy, dark fortitude when they got to the next group and just destroyed them. That's not counting how easy they are to reinforce in maps such as the Dawnblade Encounter 1. As for weapons, crossbow is a tier 1 weapon for our group and something we make darn sure to have going into A2. In terms of pure damage output, my calculations show it's only beaten by immolation and only by a small amount, too small given the fact that a crossbow is a 1h weapon, and hence can be used with a shield. We managed to make brilliant use of the move mechanic in Death on the Wing encounter 1. The problem is we can't seem to find the crossbow in most campaigns until about the interlude when we just hold on to most bad shop items we loot just to keep the shop bare enough to draw it. I'm looking at the map for Masquerade Ball and am having trouble seeing how movement will help, however. If the OL sticks the dragons side by side with their tails against the door Eliza Farrow exits in the goblin cave, the only place it looks like you can move them is towards the heroes, which doesn't alleviate the blocking issue. Maybe I just don't understand the movement mechanic well enough. It's true that I could just not use shadow dragons or not use them to block hallways, but that just seems to gimp the OL way too far in the other direction. If the goal of the mission is to stall, and I take away the OL's best chance at stalling then I've done everyone a disservice. My hope is to encourage variety in options the OL can use to stall (Why not 4 Barghests, rather than always Shadow Dragons?). Does your OL use Dark Fortitude? If the OL tried to stall with dragons but went traps or magus, I could see dragons being easy to break through, but in our games, OL just stalls encounter 1 as long as possible to ensure dark charm, dark fortune, dark fortitude when they know they need to stall in encounter 2. Pre changes to dragons, this strategy is enough to stop all damage for a turn on dragons if the cards are played correctly. Post changes, since BY nonpierce weapons actually do 1-2 damage an attack on about 75% of rolls (rough guestimate from our tests) the OL can't block all the attacks and then we punch through. Before the changes, "lol miss, lol miss, didn't beat defense dice, hey this attack is about to do 2 damage to my dragon, lol no dark fortitude." That about sums up how our first turn goes.
  7. I rack my brain over everything always, the only thing that changes is the target. Keeping it simple is why I'm here, to make sure there wasn't something I was missing. Turns out I was missing one big thing that fixes the Cardinal's Plight all by itself, I scanned the section for the overlord several times, and every time my eye caught "monsters perform 2 actions" but never caught the 2 statements, "Monsters may only attack once". Thank for helping me catch that one. As for misunderstanding "simple" rules, you're right I did misunderstand the classes. It seemed to me that the guy that has throwing knives on his card picks the deck that starts with throwing knives. It was a surprise to my whole group. However, to be fair the quest guide says about open groups: "For each open monster group, the overlord may choose any unused monster type that matches at least one trait icon listed at the top of the page." The Masquerade Ball Encounter 2 has two open groups, and has BOTH matching symbols for the shadow dragons at the top of its page, so when you asked me about shadow dragons, I was doubly puzzled. I checked the updated FAQ on the website thinking they posted something later than the one I looked at the other day with an errata that gets rid of shadow dragon icons for that quest, and found none. Is there a resource that says I shouldn't be using shadow dragons the Masquerade Ball?
  8. Late game, the heroes may get some teeth, but I just got done playing an A1 campaign where, pre changes, the heroes wouldn't have been able to kill the first two shadow dragons in Cardinal's Plight 2nd encounter, but with them, the quest came down to a couple lucky dice rolls after an epic fight where everyone was running on empty. Hero abilities are great until you get 3 misses in a row, due to the finite number of stamina you get, and the infinite number of reinforcements an overlord usually gets, I as the OL can usually always wear down the heroes stamina to the point where a rest loses them the game, but without their hero ability, the shadow dragons / ettins end up with 1 or 2 health and they lose anyway, it's not that hard to do. The "moving into position to kill them" part I consider a wash because in order to fulfill objectives as heroes, you don't have to kill ALL the small monsters, and is usually a waste of time doing so 90% of the time. Kill 2 to make an opening for your archer, use hero ability to zip through and shoot a monster in the next halway, use a tank / healer to block LoS from the archers you just skipped and laugh as their damage doesn't beat your defense rolls 3 times in a row. It's been the meta game for every single quest we've played all week, and by that I mean over 30 hours of play, and it's getting old, so we're trying to change the stall game up a bit. As for the final comment about statistical information, Cardinals Plight was a loss for heroes 5 / 5 times pre-changes. Not only was it a "loss" it was a "We couldn't even kill the first two mobs while we watched the quest guy die" loss. Maybe we as a group are just INCREDIBLY unlucky with dice, but I think it's more than that. Masquerade Ball was a loss 3 / 3 times for the heroes, and when I say loss, I mean even winning encounter 1 still had heroes just killing the dragons and starting in on the ettins in the next open group zone by the time Eliza left the exit and won. That was first loss. After losing encounter 1, they just auto conceded encounter 2 and took their chest, because they knew they had a 0% chance of beating it before getting past the shadow dragons. After changes, the next time we did Masquerade Ball, OL won encounter 1, but Heroes still managed to win encounter 2, but it came down to ONE dice roll. The very next test roll, Eliza would have escaped (we tried it just for giggles). Quests that are well fought and come down to the wire, even when things seem hopeless in the beginning are the kind of moments my group plays for. Act II anything is currently unchanged except "maybe" the no miss rule. That still has to be tested once we try A2 with more of a 50 / 50 win / loss ratio and heroes get some good starting gear. If people are easily "one shotting" dragons, that's something I would tweak the other way, since I play both heroes and OL, and anything less than a well fought battle would be boring for all involved. There is no tactics to change when dealing with big monsters blocking halllways. Lady Farrow is escaping, to catch her we must get through these dragons. We miss 3 times in a row and now do 2 total damage to one of the dragons for a turn cycle. We change what about our tactics? Big creatures are mathematically binary, you kill them or you don't. In A1, most all the quests are unplayable with starting gear, so I'm not worried about the item and gear combinations throwing things off balance just yet. As of now our group was running into a problem where we'd have like 2 quests to choose from as our first quest because we had no gear and knew we didn't have a prayer of beating the others, all because they had shadow dragons involved. All I can say is from the campaign we just played last night, that was no longer the case, and the group said it felt like a breathe of fresh air. Once items start unbalancing things and we as a group start seeing more trends, we'll probably end up balancing things in the OL's favor just to keep battles interesting. These changes aren't about giving anyone an instant win, but about keeping the feeling that "This mission could be anyone's win" going throughout the quest, rather than it being over by turn 3 because we still haven't killed the Ettins / Shadow Dragons. 1. Every time we did Cardinal's plight, even when the OL got 2 zombies out in Encounter 1, the Cardinal was dead before the Shadow Dragons were. That's why I specifically opened with "I don't mind if heroes lose, but they need to be able to at least interact with the quest mechanics". Losing before we could even get the key and fight the boss of the quest just left a bad taste in everyone's mouths, and group consensus was that it was due to how easy it was for Shadow Dragons to stall the party indefinitely. 2. Again, I haven't touched A2 yet. My first design goals were to open up A1 for some group variety, and change the phenomenon of big monsters having everyone swinging at them for 2+ full turn cycles and still not dying if it's within the first two quests. If balance swings too far in the heroes' direction in A2, I'm more than happy to squash it back down based on the targeted problems we're seeing. Also, we found any weapons that roll BY dice to be down right useless on anything that rolls 2 grey dice in A1 unless it gets pierce for free ala crossbow, but that's just because pierce is awesome. When we tried the spear, we'd be seeing about 2-3 damage per turn after defense rolls, nothing if the OL used dark resilience, on dragons / ettins. After changes, we're consistently seeing 2-4 damage per turn with BY nonpierce weapons on dragons, so two heroes with BY dice that use abilities can usually use their turns to kill the dragon while the warrior / healer use their turns to get the red dragon to 1 or 2 remaining health. I looked at the errata on the FFG site. Since I just got the game this Christmas, my rule book came with the errata written into it already. I'd never heard of the FFG Sez posts before, I just looked at those. Unfortunately nothing in them had much to do with my specific concerns, but they are a great resource for me to check on in the future. Thanks for bringing it up! I'll look for the other math post, I had been reading the forums for a couple days now and something I was seeing from posters over and over again was that people who had some gripe or another were bringing up personal experiences to make judgments on the game rather than doing the math, which led me to believe that none was being done already so I didn't look for it. Yes, all my calculations thus far are about the early game. My goal is for heroes to be able to pick any quest after beating the training level and say, "You know, we haven't done Masqerade Ball in a while, let's do this one!" without the reply being, "We don't do this quest because it's basically an auto loss if it's the first quest." I'm not advocating for errata for the official rule book here, I'm attempting to see if there are more efficient ways to solve targeted early game problems that remove a lot of content for "non tournament" players, more or less. When I read "utilizing condition removal" I read that as "Disciple is mandatory", since I don't remember anyone else in the original game who can remove conditions from others. If that's the case, that's also another design that needs to be changed. Heroes should be able to do well enough with any party. There's a chasm between "not equally winnable" and "You don't interact with the quest ever unless you win the lottery on your first two turns and the overlord gets ridiculously unlucky with tests." The latter basically turns the game into, "Kill shadow dragons in X turns. Here's some flavor as to why you're bashing dice against shadow dragons, but yeah... that's all you're doing this quest." Grisban being a Knight and Syndrael being a Berserker was actually a rule I did not know about. While you "could" play them in opposite roles, that would be kind of silly, no? The knight's cards use shields, and / or have a lot of "target hero or monster within X adjacent spaces..." abilities that require decent mobility to pull off at the right time. I'll have to play with them more and see if I can come up with some interesting class synergies with them. Thanks for the heads up on that one. If I get the expansion, many of my rules may change. I don't know when I'll have the time or money to get the expansion and dig into it after holiday break (I should really be working on my Master's paper right now...) but I can see some rules changing as new monsters are added and more quest goals are added. The plot cards will definitely shake things up. All I can say is that for A1 for the base game, these rules so far have turned the quests from battles where we stand toe to toe with big creatures and bash their heads in before our timers run out, into epic battles of killing lots of monsters, and making the overlord really think about which cards to use. Most quests have come down to one good roll on either side, and regardless of outcome it at least feels like a quest well fought on either side. I was mainly questioning the efficiency of the changes (maybe I can get the same result changing less mechanics of the game?) or changes in gameplay (Iron spear suggestion was a good one. We already tried it and it didn't hit hard enough, but that's the kind of suggestions I'm thinking about). I would never add a rule just because it makes sense from a roleplay perspective. I showed the math every step of the way for every rule I added, paying careful attention to the "tme to kill formula" because since quests are on a timer, that's all that matters. The fact that it makes sense from a role play perspective is a bonus, and not completely irrelevant given how much role play flavor the devs attempted to add to each quest, (The Shadow Vault was exceptionally good). Believe me, I've been staying up till 1 to 3 in the morning for the last several nights looking at these problems. Anything in A1 with reach rolls BY dice, which from my simulations / play testing just doesn't do any damage to 2 grey defense dice for the majority of rolls. Making those weapons viable is the sole reason we switched to black defense dice, as I discussed with my math. Now iron spears with reach may be something I can try without getting rid of shadow aura, but it still doesn't sit right with me that Grisban, with the lowest mobility in the game, and most susceptible to traps, is the one singled out to play a pseudo ranged class, or go knight and do utility stuff every turn, just because of one mechanic. You mentioned better positioning and this isn't possible in any of the A1 quests. The Masquerade Ball, you open the door and there are two dragons in front of you. We have an archer with eagle eye, a necromancer with good LoS, and a melee character up front, with a healer in the back, all wailing on these dragons, all getting misses or not beating their defense dice turn after turn. Again, we can slip the thief through, but now we have ettins blocking the next door, so he's using all his stamina on tumble / hero abilities and hoping to kill the boss by himself while everyone catches up, or he's trying to help kill when he can get LoS. The Cardinal's Plight, block the opening hall off with two dragons, OL moves them back towards the hallway every turn they're alive to double block the hallway. We can't position around the dragons, they're right there at the beginning. For fixes within the game, that's why I came here. As for how the players got there, we're talking about the first and second quests in the game. There's not a lot of progression you can really mess with between those quests. To do optimal, archer should get eagle eye to help attack even in cramped hallways, knight should get challenge for the extra damage if you're on a timer, Berserker needs to save up for weapon mastery if the shadow dragon aura stays how it is, since you're not guaranteed to draw a mana weave from the shop, necromancer has many good options, thief has no damage scaling, so he gets appraisal to increase our gold gain, haven't tried the runemaster yet, disciple should save up for the thing that adds yellow dice to our rolls, best damage scaling they get until the thing that does guaranteed heart damage to monsters, spirit speaker stuns a lot, but little to speak for for damage, especially in the first two levels, maybe tempest? I'm racking my brain over it, and I really can't see many "progression" options to alleviate the problems. All the option are around the interlude, where I have no problems, or A2, which have quests that need individual tweaks such as Ritual of Shadows (Heroes skip their first turn AND the guy gets to move 3-4 guaranteed spaces? Yeah how about no.) but once we get there, you're right there are plenty of scaling options to deal with things as they come.
  9. Hello everyone! This is my first time posting on these forums as I just got Descent very recently for Christmas. I've spent the last 5 days extensively play testing the game and learning the rules, (about 8 - 16 hours a day) and I've come to find some minor problems. Let me preempt by saying I think this is one of the most fun games I've ever played! It really brings me back to the days of Final Fantasy Tactics, and the fine strategy games of that era, when my cousin and I would spend hours upon hours just breaking the game, (Leveling Cloud from 1 to 99 as a mime, or beating the game with only the main character as a Calculator). Unfortunately nothing is perfect for everyone though, and the group I play with has some very valid complaints, and I have some of my own. Rather than just changing up the game based on some math I've done, however, I'm posting this here with the hope that someone can set me straight on a few things, so maybe the pages of errata I have lined up aren't necessary. After all, I can't hope to think that after 60+ hours of play testing, (mainly A1, but a good chunk of A2 as well) that I'd know more than a community who's spent collectively years worth of time playing this game. So here goes: Preliminaries: How I'm calculating averages. Many of the results I've come to about damage vs defense calculations, hero abilities, etc. are coming from how I calculate the average value of the attack dice. If I'm doing this wrong, then most of what I say will probably be gibberish, so the more mathematically savvy might want to especially scrutinize this. How my group thinks of dice rolls in the game is that first you roll the blue dice. If you get a miss, no point in rolling the power dice. This model drives my calculations. I find a mean of the individual dice the standard way you'd normally do it, add up the symbols as they appear on the dice and divide by 6. Just to be explicit, I'll state my calculations: Blue: 1 1/3 damage, 1/3 surge Yellow: 1 damage, 1/2 surge Red: 2 damage, 1/6 surge Now to find the mean for 2 dice, what I did is listed every possible roll that a blue dice could get, then added to it the mean of the color(s) being rolled with it, with the exception that a miss always results in a 0, no matter what the mean is added, just like would happen in the game. From there, I took the "new" dice and found the average based on that. This is what I'm most unsure of as conditional probabilities weren't my strongest subject in statistics, so I don't know if my model fully accounts for the miss mechanic. Anyway, my averages for these calculations are: BY: 2 1/6 damage, 3/4 surge BR: 3 1/3 damage, 1/2 surge BYY: 3 damage, 1 1/6 surge BYR: 3 5/6 damage, 8/9 surge BRR: 4 2/3, 11/18 surge Next, I calculated average defenses for creatures, and since there's no miss mechanic there, you just calculate the means for each defense dice and add them together. Brown: 2/3 Grey: 1 1/3 Black: 2 1/6 Brown, Brown: 1 1/3 Brown, Gray: 2 Brown, Black: 2 5/6 Grey, Grey: 2 2/3 Grey, Black: 3 1/2 Now the formula I'm using with this information is what I call the Time to Kill formula, which is: Average Kill Time = Health / (Average Damage - Average Defense) From here I did all kinds of things like calculate average damage for weapons based on this information. That information is too vast to list here but I'll give you an example on my thinking on this, since weapon scaling is a HUGE part of the game. Lightning Strike: BYY -> Average Base Damage = 3 1 1/6 Average Surges -> +2 damage and + 1/6(2) damage Total Average Damage = 5 1/3 Grinding Axe: BRR -> Average Base Damage = 4 2/3 11/18 Average Surges -> + 11/18 (1) minimum Total Average Damage = 5 5/18 Average Base Damage = 4 2/3 11/18 Average Surge -> + 11/18 (5/2) maximum Total Average Damage = 6 7/36 Average total average damage is 5 53 / 72 The true average damage, if you do all the work and calculate it the hard way, is 5 65/72, so 1/6 of a damage point off my rough estimate, and the Grinding Axe is the weapon with the most variance in damage in the game, so I don't think this method of doing things is too far off the mark for what it is, and it saves me quite a few hours of work calculating each weapon the same way I calculated the axe (a big table with all the dice rolls, yay Kronecker Products!). Ok so with the preliminaries out of the way, my first issue with the game is how much more efficient the big creatures are for most of the missions in the game. If the objective involves killing things, there are some better candidates, however most of the A1 missions involve a timer and while looking at the book I can see at least half to 3/4 of the A2 quests involve some kind of stall mechanic as well in at least one of their rounds. As noted by posts I've been reading, a pack of little minions often has more HP than their bigger counterparts, and they have higher damage potential as well. For stall missions, this just doesn't matter. I don't want to kill heroes, and heroes don't have to kill ALL my goblin archers to get some quick heroes through the hallway they're guarding, they just have to kill a couple. And what of their health pool? Let's assume for sake of argument that the larger health pool is a good reason to pick little creatures. I will show that the bigger defense pool of the bigger creatures WAY more than makes up for the health of the little ones. Let's take a solid A1 weapon for example: Iron Spear does average damage of 2 11/12. Flesh Moulders have 17 hp and defend with one grey dice. Average time to kill all Flesh Moulders assuming LoS and everything works out is 17 / (2 11/12 - 1 1/3) which is 10.73 actions approximate. Now let's examine the time to kill for ONE MINION shadow dragon. 6 / (2 11/12 - 2 2/3) = 6 / (1/4) = 24 actions, and that's using a melee weapon with reach to get around shadow aura. Were you in a bad movement spot, you'd lose 3/4 of a point of damage on average and would roll on average less than the dragon would defend, hence would on average never kill a shadow dragon. I'll bring up the shadow aura specifically another time, for now I just find it interesting that it's quicker to kill a whole group of spiders than it is to kill one minion dragon, just due to how powerful 2 grey dice are. Specifically, it isn't that dragons and ettins are hard to kill that is the problem by itself, but the fact that you have no way of getting around them to reach your objective unless your thief wants to use his hero ability to skip the two dragons, then say hi to the two ettins in the next hallway all by himself. That usually doesn't end well for our friend the thief. This leads me to my first house rule: Attacks against creatures which occupy 2 or more spaces on the board perpendicular to your character are not allowed to roll "X". If an "X" would be rolled, simply re-roll the blue dice until you get something that isn't an X. From a role playing perspective, this rule makes sense. If the hallways in my house would occupy 1 space on the game board, and a big monster can take up double my hallway. That's pretty big. Clearly if I'm a hero that has any training at all with a bow or a blade, I'm going to hit SOMETHING if I swing in their general direction, add to that I can now sum up big monsters with a Professor Farnsworth-esque one liner. "Good news everyone! Big monsters are so big they block everything from going around them. Bad news everyone, big monsters are so big, they block everything from going around them". That's good fun and all, but what does it do to the time to kill on big creatures? Blue: 1 3/5 damage, 2/5 surge Yellow: 1 1/5 damage, 3/5 surge Red: 2 2/5 damage, 1/5 surge BY: 2 3/5 damage, 9/10 surge BR: 4 damage, 3/5 surge BYY: 3 3/5 damage, 1 3/5 surge BYR: 4 3/5 damage, 1 1/15 surge BRR: 5 3/5, 11/15 surge With this, let's do our time to kill calculation on the minion dragon again: Iron spear now does 3 1/2 damage against the big creatures on average, it's damage on little creatures is unchanged. 6 / (3 1/2 - 2 1/3) = 6 / (1 1/6) = 5 1/7 actions to kill a minion dragon. For a master dragon just scale everything by 1.5 to get: 7 5/7, add the two to get: 12 6/7. Pretty good, but we can do better. Let's try replacing the defense dice of the dragons with one black rather than 2 grey and see how the calculations add up. 6 / (3 1/2 - 2 1/6) = 6 / (1 1/3) = 4 1/2, 6 3/4 for red. 11 1/4 total. Still not even the same time to kill, especially considering how weak little monsters are to stuff like blast and whirlwind, but after playtesting, I'm finding the dragons do a lot less stalling heroes for 2 to 3 full turns than they did before and now they can both be killed in about one to two full hero cycles, which is just right for missions like the cardinal's plight, assuming other house rules I'll get to later. So the second house rule is: All A1 monsters which occupy 4 or more spaces on the board will have 1 black defense dice. No change to A2 monsters currently. Due to how powerful the weapon "Immolate" is in A1, I'm also adding in the house rule that: If Heroes ever loot immolate from a chest, the overlord gets 1 exp. I think that's only fair given how hard that thing hits, and how much of a thrashing the big monsters took. The next thing I want to talk about is the Berserker. He has the lowest movement out of all the standard heroes. His hero cards give him zero utility, the only thing he's really good at is running up to things and swinging at them. This gives the overlord one more advantage for putting shadow dragons on every map in A1 they can fit them in, since you're now making a character on average, useless just by them being on the map. What I mean by that is that the Berserker's starting weapon does an average of 4 3/5 damage after the no-miss nerf to big creatures. Remove a surge from his roll due to shadow dragon aura and you get an average damage of 4 but only a single surge every 3 out of 5 rolls on average. On those 2/5 rolls he doesn't get a surge, he can't even hit the dragon, so his damage is 0. (3/5) multiplied by 4 is 2 2/5. Average time to kill a dragon minion after nerfs is: 6 / (2 2/5 - 2 1/6) = 18. That's 18 actions just to kill one dragon, which wouldn't be a problem if we were talking about a healer, or a scout. But we're not. We're talking about a character with no other utility but to kill things, taking an absurdly long time to do it, which means a design change is in order. There are a few ways I can go about helping the Berserker out. The first way is I can change is hero ability, (His feat is fine). I can change it to something like, "After attack dice are rolled, you may pay X health to be granted a surge to your attack". That's a natural way for him to deal with dragons in act I before he has access to the charm in the shop (9 A1 clears and still never randomly got the mana weave) or his weapon mastery class card. Since it costs health for him to use his ability, it fits nicely into his class theme of actually being a Berserker. The next thing I could try is making his 1 stamina ability add a surge to his attack, rather than a single heart of damage. Then since it costs stamina to use it, and he'd have to use it before he attacks, it makes the Berserker more susceptible to disease and counterplay by the OL using cards like Dark Fortitude, which adds a nice synergy with his already existing class ability, and it makes it non spammable since he'll have to rest some time. The final thing I could try is just removing the Dragon's shadow aura until the the end of the first A2 quest. Until then they'd just be regular dragons with no aura, but no other changes except for the nerfs they've already been given. If the first A2 quest is Dawn Blade / Desecrated Tome, then obviously they'd be shadow dragons when they're supposed to be, since the story actually involves shadow dragons. All have their pros and cons. The first two solve the problem for specifically the Berserker, since IMO it's ok if the Disciple / Spirit Speaker / Knight have a harder time hitting things at the beginning since they actually have things they can be doing to benefit the party even if their damage isn't cutting it at that point in time. But for groups that get disheartened if their Disciple can't act like a Cleric and swing that big hammer, the third option is a nice way to fit that dynamic as well. What do you guys think? The final thing I want to talk about is some tweaks to the actual quests. My design philosophy for my groups games is that it's alright if the heroes lose, (I play at least one hero AND the OL at the same time during our campaigns, letting the other heroes strategise, so I don't make plans based on what I know is in the OL's hand) but they need to at least have a chance to interact with the quest mechanics. You'll see what I mean by this in a quest by quest basis. A Fat Goblin: Archers carrying bundles may only perform 1 move action, but may be affected by dash. Even with the big creature nerfs, it still takes the heroes 2 turns to kill the big creatures we have blocking the path, by then the archers are usually about ready to pick up the bundles. I know we aren't meant to stop the archers, what bugs me is that there's almost no OL interraction with the heroes on this quest, just stall build up cards and let the goblins do their thing for a win. The heroes don't even get to attempt to get chests beyond the first one most of the time. More interraction and pressure on the OL is necessary to keep encounter 1 more than just a guaranteed chest or two and nothing else. Encounter 2 is great the way it is. Castle Daeron Encounter 1: Since the nerfs to big creatures, the map is much more fun since you don't see hour long stale mates of heroes and big creatures swinging at each other for 4 turns in a row just waiting for something to die. The fact that the OL's minions can come through both doors makes it play kind of like a waves of survival + capture the flag game, we love it! Castle Daeron Encounter 2: The already made errata made this perfect, we always have fun playing this map, no matter who's getting lucky rolls. The Cardinal's Plight Encounter 1: The nerfs to big creatures solved the problem. The heroes, if they roll decent enough can actually stop the OL from getting more than 2 zombies out, which was head and shoulders above where it was before, where they'd finally kill the dragons just as the last zombie was raised. That was no fun for anyone. The Cardinal's Plight Encounter 2: Less zombies makes this map easier to manage, but even only 2 zombies out managed to get the cardinal down to 6 health on OL's turn 2, which made us come up with a house rule that might actually be a rule(?) and that is that the Thief can use his hero ability to teleport through the locked door. That way at least SOMEONE can interact with the cardinal / zombies and the heroes don't feel disjointed from the quest until they suddenly lose. The Masquerade Ball Encounters 1 and 2: Lady Eliza Farrow can only do one action a turn. That way if the OL wants to use her huge health pool to make sure she doesn't drop a guest, it costs her speed and heroes can actually react to it. Also if the heroes lose the roll at the end of encounter 1, OL victory is no longer obvious in encounter 2. Death on the Wing: Encounter 1 is great. Encounter 2, increase health of soldiers to 8. Some of my playtesting revealed scenarios where one unlucky roll by the heroes resulted in the soldiers being dead turn 3 before they could even attack Belethor once, and that was with them winning the first encounter, I shudder to think of what happens when they lose. The Shadow Vault: Probably the most fun quest out of the bunch so far, no changes. I haven't got to try the other interlude yet, nor many of the A2 quests. Every single one I tried so far, heroes got stomped, and not barely either, but that might be due to all the basically guaranteed losses they suffered in A1. I'm going to take another run at the campaign with some of these new rules and see how the new gear and stuff we get affects A2 for them. Anyway, sorry about the wall of text, but I'd love to know what you guys think about my interpretation of the game so far and if I'm missing anything major that makes these changes not necessary. Thanks for reading!
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