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  1. To all who came to this thread to discuss the original topic, I appreciate the helpful suggestions.
  2. I don't plan on using alternating turns. As I stated, I don't think it addresses the real issue anyway: multiple actions. I acknowledge that damage isn't always needed for mobility, but the exceptions are very few and generally not ideal for the players. I get a great deal of pleasure when a "mobile" hero goes off on his own. I can't be only OL who uses that opportunity to lay the hurt on the overzealous. Fact is, sticking together and taking out obstacles as a team is always safer. Furthermore, skills that apply conditions without doing damage are less common than general condition application, so this isn't really a core strategy. Unless you are implying a very small set of features actually balance and make up the core of the game. That in turn would make a vast majority of the options obsolete and would be a poor basis for balance. But you are free to make that assertion. Allow me to clarify. I just looked at the quest again "Beneath the Manor" and can describe events in better detail than my earlier description, which was entirely off of the top of my head. Skarn apparently had 6 tokens (rooms 7b, 26b, 18b, 73b, 21b and one from 71b) and while I could have picked up the one closest to the exit (74b) I didn't want to give the heroes time to get in line of sight and attack desperately from range. The risk was too great for the OL. There are 3 blue "OL win" tokens out of 10, which makes this less of a "stupid gamble" and more in the realm of "quite reasonable gamble." You also aren't giving the heroes credit for their strategy. They were in fact attempting to trap Skarn in 71b and 27b and there appeared to be nowhere for him to end a move. As OL it became clear to me after we all read the quest that two strategies present themselves. Either the players wait at the entrance/exit and block Skarn from leaving or they move in and attempt to stop him before he collects crystal fragments. As OL, my counter to option 1 is herd up my creatures and slam them hard with 2 monster groups simultaneously then slip past while they are knocked out. My counter for option 2 was more or less identical but force the showdown in 71b/27b. Only one hero had a clean shot at Skarn because I effectively flooded 27b and the cliff-edge of 4b, blocking off movement. I noticed the opportunity when I pulled Dash, 'shattered' and moved into 70b (basement) and blocked movement in 4b with all my remaining creatures. In retrospect I believe we were playing with the incorrect understanding that Skarn could 'shatter' out of the exit and while that seems to be the intuitive interpretation the exact wording of the 'shatter' action seems to contradict that. As such, option 1 (body-block the exit) seems like the only viable option for the heroes. I want to mention this is only one example of the ~35ish quests we've completed. Out of those, only about two or three felt "fair" and "balanced" from beginning to end, with most falling into either "too easy for the heroes" or "impossible short of a miracle." Some quests begin by appearing balanced but victory is snatched in a single turn with no ability to counterplay. That last circumstance was the entire center of discussion for this thread.
  3. I wasn't aware it was available to those choosing a new quest. That would be great if you made it transparent at all times. I also think It'd be great if at all times when percentiles were provided, the actual fractions were also displayed (60% won by heroes 40% won by overlord, 3/5) I notice this is sometimes the case, as on http://d2etracker.com/stats_quests.phpbut not on http://d2etracker.com/campaign_page.php?campaign=0
  4. I do not think such a resource exists. http://d2etracker.commight want to include this at some point but honestly I bet some folks play encounters very differently. Personally, encounters not found in the original Shadowrune campaign will be longer if players are careful and strategising to win, but faster if just "winging it" because of the increased difficulty. This is true across the board but I notice Shadowrune quests are easier so they rarely drag on and on, but have pretty regular "timers" that determine victory. The only drag with Shadowrune quests is two-part encounters. To speed things up my group sets up both encounters before starting part 1. Having a healthy sense of when to surrender is a good idea. I got caught in a 4-hour quest last Friday because the Overlord was trying to squeeze ~25 gold out of the win condition, dragging it out. Games like that make me frustrated at this game and want to institute changes.
  5. I like your reply. It opens up more discussion. To clarify, in my example that I describe, I believe a hero did have the ability to apply a condition but Skarn was only open to a single attack, and it wasn't from that hero. After Skarn's turn noone could reach him much less suppress him. Damage, movement and conditions as you have pointed out are all important factors. Movement is easily hindered with warm bodies, altering the movement problem to a damage one. Conditions largely rely on doing a single point in damage, which partially makes the condition issue a damage one. This trifecta is heavily weighted to damage, so much so that most players recognize damage trivializes most encounters. Were there more of a "puzzle" element, as you describe, this trivialization wouldn't occur quite so frequently, or even at all. Many here have mentioned alternating turns as a source of balance but I'm not actually convinced that is the issue. I see the problem more stemming from the fact that monsters and heroes take two actions on their turns, possibly even three. This makes for really swingy "activations" that cannot be countered by the opposing side. It would be like if, during a game of chess, each player was able to move a single piece two or sometimes three moves on their turn instead of one. Throw in a rule that if you manage to check the opponent and you still have a turn, that is checkmate. One solution might be reducing all turns to one action, but that slows the game down and increases the power of extra-turn effects. Another rule might simply be treating Descent more like D&D or other RPG's and requiring one action always be a Move action, but this hurts the players more than the Overlord. Quite frankly, I'm not certain there is a good way to solve this with such small maps and uncreative win-conditions.
  6. Glad to be of help. Hope your campaign is a fun one.
  7. I'll just make rather limited suggestions based on my proposed "dream team" but bear in mind your Overlord, quest routes and playskill matter. Play what you understand and like to play. Alvric as Disciple As I said, Cleansing Touch is a nice cheap skill that is useful all game. Removing conditions is very handy and while it shouldn't be necessary to win, it can prevent you from losing tempo with the Overlord. I'm fond of Divine Fury and Holy Power. You can't overlook the usefulness of more power dice and healing for no increased fatigue cost. Widow Tarha as Runemaster Exploding Rune is too useful not to get as soon as you can. It is damage multiplication that forces the Overlord to play carefully. Honestly, the rest of Runemaster is based on what you need. Like the Disciple's ability to remove Conditions, the Runemaster's ability to apply them with Runic Sorcery is handy, but for the exp and cost it is rather expensive. Don't overlook anything in the Runemaster kit. I've even seen heroes make good use of Break the Rune. Jain as Wildlander Danger Sense can determine an entire Campaign. Overlords will hate you for spamming it. You can actually starve an Overlord of cards and really ruin his day. It actually feels like cheating and you kind of feel dirty afterwards. Wildlanders have amazing bow synergy. Keep an eye on passive bow-enhancing effects like Accurate, Eagle Eyes, Bow Mastery and Running Shot. Syndrael as Knight Advance is too good not to take as soon as possible. It is movement and an extra attack when you get a kill. Challenge is also a useful 1-exp skill that lets to pump out more damage on a single target each turn. Both of Knight's 3-exp skills are quite good, Stalwart and Inspiration. All the skills I haven't mentioned are useful but will need your personal judgement if they will be of use that Chronicle.
  8. Certainly there are exceptions, but these aren't very frequent. I'm inclined to agree with your respawn idea if and only if reinforcements arrive at the start of the Overlord turn and if heroes are somewhere those reinforcements could be a threat or if you know with some degree of certainty the Overlord has a card like Rise Again. Even still, you are leaving a body in the room that is a lingering source of future damage and you don't know if the OL has a card that can capitalize on your "tactic" (Blinding Speed, Reinforce, Dark Remedy, Dark Resilience, Splig's Revenge, Exploit Weakness, Secrets of Flesh, Offertory Affliction, etc, etc). I guess I can see casting curse with a ⚡ surge if I had nothing better to spend one on, but I would almost always take 2 ❤ if I could get it instead. Dead monsters are the most convenient monsters.
  9. I'll chime in. I don't own Lair of the Wyrm yet so I can't say what is more useful for those quests, but for The Shadow Rune overall reliability with some mobility is most useful. Healer Character: Based on what's available to you, Avric Albright is the more useful of the healers. Class: Disciple heals a little better and removes conditions while Spiritspeaker can do damage decent damage and prevent lots of damage with Cloud of Mist. Both are good choices but expose different weaknesses. Mage Character: Widow Tarha and High Mage Quellen are both selfish Mages. If you just hate missing, go with Tarha. If you want to make big plays go with Quellen. Leoric of the Book's passive can be very powerful if utilized well. There isn't really a wrong choice. Class: Runemaster is arguably the easiest and most powerful. Geomancer is a good option too. Geomancer's high fatigue costs mean you probably want to synergize with Quellen. Scout Character: Jain Fairwood is arguably better than Tomble Burrowell. Class: Thief is just harder to use well compared to Wildlander. You cannot go wrong with Danger Sense. Warrior Character: If you didn't bring the Disciple, you may want Grisban the Thirsty since he can shrug off Conditions. Again, if you just hate missing Reynhart the Worthy is a good choice. Finally, Syndrael's Heroic Feat is arguably the best of the three. That mobility is game-changing. Class: Barbarian can break the game with his damage but is easily played around by the Overlord. The Knight is a mobile fighter with extra-attack mechanics which isn't bad. The Champion is more of a "team-player" that can enable other team members to shine but likely won't carry a game like either of the aforementioned warriors. None are a poor choice but pick one that suits your playstyle. My dreamteam with what is available to you would likely be: Alvric as Disciple Widow Tarha as Runemaster (I have issues with misses) Jain as Wildlander Syndrael as Knight
  10. My rationale that Conditions are designed mainly for the OL is that creatures come with conditions hard-wired. Zombies Immobilize. Wraiths Doom. Spiders ⚱ Poison. It's flavor and inconvenience for the players to play around. Most of the effects Heroes bring to the table far outweigh the benefits of applying conditions to monsters with the exception of Stun and Immobilize due to the inherent action and mobility limitations monsters suffer. You don't want to bother poisoning/disease/cursing a monster with a ⚡ if you can do 2 ❤ instead. Monsters die too easily so it is always more efficient long-term to maximize damage and just remove sources of incoming damage. Some exceptions are Doom or Weaken on bosses, but you still wouldn't do this to trash mobs. Disease/Curse don't even work as intended on monsters so it seems pretty clear they were designed to mess with the players, not monsters. Furthermore most characters just don't come with Condition application built in. The potential for heroes to apply certain conditions should make some encounters easier but they should never be required to win an encounter, ever, IMHO.
  11. I see my statement was controversial but that wasn't really my point. My point was that if encounters were balanced with status effects in mind, they need to be more accessible. I happen to be of the opinion that status effects aren't weighed when balancing an encounter: damage is. First of all, status effects seem to be designed mostly for the Overlord; their implementation for hero use seems like an afterthought. Status effects are complimentary so as to provide unexpected results. This is why the Runemaster is huge, too. A reliable Blast+2❤ that refunds the 2♩ (<-can I use that as fatigue?) is too good to not take. Unless you brought a Barbarian, the class just provides too much crowd-control. It is also why the Apothecary is heavy.
  12. The map tiles are the only thing I am struggling with. I put them in their original boxes so not everything is mixed up, but still. Even when the box only contains the tiles and rules for that particular expansion, it can be quite a pain to build your maps. Some tray that organizes them by number, much like an old archive folder would probably the best. But then the boxes would become obsolete, and I quite like them on my shelf:) So far, our group keeps popping the tiles back into their cardboard sheets to keep them organized. It takes a little more time but really helps keep them organized.
  13. Back on topic, I, too, look forward to a way to alternate or split turns. I was considering how one could re-balance the game around 1 action per turn instead of 2. As for the option to deal conditions, I agree it is very useful, though perhaps less useful than blast/whirlwind effects which give damage multiplicative scaling. The problem is very few classes can reliably bring this utility. A quick rundown: Beastmaster: --- Berserker: Immobilize Champion: --- Knight: Stun Marshal: Anything to the monster attacking the Marshal Skirmisher: Bleeding Conjuror: Stun only on the class weapon Geomancer: Stun, Burn, Immobilize on the class weapon Hexer: Anything Necromancer: --- Runemaster: Anything Bounty Hunter: Doom Shadow Walker: Bleed on the class weapon Stalker: Weaken, Poison, Immobilize on the class weapon Thief: Stun, Immobilize Treasure Hunter: --- Wildlander: --- Apothecary: Poison on the class weapon Bard: --- Disciple: Stun on the class weapon Prophet: Weaken on the class weapon Spiritspeaker: --- Now about that. Anything but Immobilize and Stun can pretty much be ignored, as these have the largest impact on the game. Stun or Immobilize on class weapons also come with a huge sacrifice to endgame damage potential, but can be worked around with the equip phase. I don't count Marshal here because conditions can only be applied as a reaction so the Overlord has real control over its application. So without a Berserker, Knight, Thief, Stalker or Disciple, the Mage hero is practically forced to take Runemaster, because who plays Hexer or Geomancer? And the Runemaster has to buy the rather expensive 2 exp Runic Sorcery and work around Rune weapons. If "the game includes these effects for a reason" why aren't they more ubiquitous? You cannot rely on buying/finding gear that provides these effects. The campaign tracker is a pretty unhelpful tool considering its very small amount of data. Considering the huge variance in play-skill and approaches to encounters it wouldn't be scientifically significant until each encounter had at least a thousand submissions.
  14. Interesting. For our group, victory (for one side or the other) rarely seems the fault of judgement. It seems to hinge entirely on equipment availability and Dash/Frenzy-like mechanics. Last campaign the heroes constantly received powerful weapons but never any armor. During the Finale only one person had chain mail but the players were so armed to the teeth with weapons, abilities and accessories that boosted damage output that every single one of them was one-shotting every Act 2 Creature. We all had a good laugh at the Scout that was doing 9 damage+penetration from 11 spaces without line-of-sight (Heartseeker). In the Finale, I tried my damnedest as OL to get as many players dead in one turn from Gryvorn with good use of OL cards, but it just didn't happen. Not like it would have mattered; one player took down Gryvorn in the finale in one turn. We all knew that campaign was weird because of damage, but that wasn't the first time that damage made entire encounters trivial. The OL who ran Manor of Ravens needed to play the entire game around my Barbarian or else the whole thing was a joke. This campaign we are having terrible luck with gear, which is only presenting the other problem: conservative play and focusing on the objective still cannot stop the OL in particular encounters (Which still happened in quests where heroes were overgeared). Most often these are mobility-related or "escort missions." I understand this and on some level you are right. Things could have gone differently. If I didn't have Dash and Phoenix or destroyed my win-condition-rune to move, that could have gone differently. But there are other cards that can do what Dash and Phoenix do; Blinding speed and Dark Resilience come to mind. I also didn't bother picking up runes on my way out, which I could have done to improve my chances of getting the one I needed to win. The OL was also not playing with a lieutenant pack that campaign, so he was generally weaker. The fact remains that there was nothing the players could do to avert the OL win once the stars aligned. Powerless, they could only watch in horror as the Overlord removed all possibility of winning in a single turn. In every roguelike there're gonna be moments that you just weren't prepared for and never could have been. In our particular game, no one in the group could Immobilize and I can say with some confidence that Stun wouldn't have mattered. One fewer move action would have only given the heroes hope, since I still had plenty of reinforcements to meat-shield and only one hero was in any position to do anything to Skarn. If an encounter necessitates the heroes bring a mechanic like Immobilize or lose, that doesn't really seem like a problem with judgement, but design. I'm looking for ideas to maybe present a less volatile, binary experience. Speaking of Death at the Wing, that second encounter is pretty clearly stacked for the OL. Only poor luck for the OL will result in a win for the heroes. Luck and not skill. Again, poor design. Oh totally. Gear makes a huge difference. That said, classes like Apothecary don't seem to bring much to the table skill-wise. Medium-high costs for low impact.
  15. Grats. I think the game has some huge potential with lots of room for growth. I got it for myself as a birthday present as a sort of D&Dlite since our lives are getting too busy as we age to plan campaigns. Nonetheless I keep daydreaming of making my own rules, campaigns, heroes and classes. Since I've been educated on the co op rules I've been contemplating creating my own expansive list of rooms and effects one could randomize for a real roguelike experience.
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