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Morten Smith

Ballance between heroes and the over lord

7 posts in this topic

Is there a feature in the quest vault that makes it possible to check the balance between the heroes and the over lord when constructing a quest? It would be nice to have an indicator during or after the creation of a quest, that tells you how well the game is balanced.


If no such thing exists, does anyone know of a (rouge) way to keep track on the balance?

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I doubt that would be possible to track something so esoteric without playtesting it to see. For one thing, you can't dictate the heroes, classes or open group monsters that will be used. (Well, you can, I suppose, but in general it isn't done.) That means two things:

1) you don't have all the information when trying to determine which side is "more powerful"

2) future expansions may introduce new options that can be retroactively included, so even if you assume the optimal choices are made for all variables, there may be other, "more optimal" options that get invented in the future.

3) assuming optimal choices would be bad form anyway, because that means players would have to make the optimal choices every time or risk an imbalanced experience.

Three. Three things!

Also, a large portion of a quest's balance hangs on the special quest rules. You can write literally anything you want for your special quest rules; how powerful they are for one side or the other would require a program that could first parse the language to determine the meaning (with allowances for people who don't spell properly or perhaps are not native English speakers), then evaluate the possible consequences in play and somehow rank the results in an objective, indisputable fashion.

There are entire fields of study devoted to this sort of thing in computer science.

Finally, there's the fact that even human beings only rarely agree on what "balanced" actually means. Some people will say a quest is OP while others think it's fine. Balance is a highly subjective thing, and computers don't generally do so well with subjective.

Edited by Steve-O
any2cards likes this

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Sorry to dig up this old thread, but I think my question fits to the title.


I am right now in the middle of creating a campaign and was wondering about the balance as well. I get it that this cannot be automated but are there any general rules some more experienced creators can provide?


I took a look at the official campaigns and it seems that the number of monster groups is more related to the size of the map than the number of players (since the monster limit per group scales automatically). But in general it seems that there are usually 2-3 monster groups where 1 group is an open group. A lieutenant seems to replace a group. More monster groups are used if they aren't active (or placed) at the beginning. This is often the case for epic end-fights. So in general, no more than 3 active groups at the same time.



Still, there are a number of questions I have:

1) If I use quests with 2 encounters, then there are up to 8 search tokens in the quest. Quests with only 1 encounter have only 4 tokens. Is it advisable to balance this by providing the heroes with more gold as a reward?

2) How much gold should the heroes be able to earn during the campaign? In Akt 1, Akt 2?  If it take the shadow rune it would be some 800-1600 gold only by search tokens during Akt1+Interlude+Intro (4+3*8+4)*25 or *50 to get min/max.

3) If you give a relic as a reward, how would you judge the value of such an item?  Some relics seem next to useless while others are extremely potent. Do you reduce the gold heroes can earn for granting a relic of does it come on top of that? Would you say that certain relics are so powerful that one has to make sure they appear only later in the game (if at all?)

4) XP: usually 4 XP in Act 1, 4 in Act 2 right? Are deviations from this general rule affecting the game balance much? Often the OL has the possibility to get and additional XP point if the wins a quest. How often would you use this mechanic during the whole campaign? In other words, what are the mins/maxes for OL and hero XP?

5) Is it advisable to disable to choice of a certain monster group for the rest of the campaign or enable it for all quests? I guess thats no issue if someone has a lot of expansions, but a big deal is someone plays only with the base game.

6) Are traveling steps affecting a quest a lot? In favor of the OL? Usually, there are 3-4 travel symbols before each quest. What would happen if you increase that to 5-6 (to give the travel step more emphasis)?

7) What about reinforcements? I know that this is extremely quest specific, but it seems logical to reinforce a little bit less than the heroes can kill each turn. So, usually 2 monsters per turn. Would you allow to make reinforcements monster-size dependent? For example, an open group: If you choose Ettins: only 1 per turn, Goblin archers: 2 per turn.

8) What about unique OL cards as quest rewards. How would you value these?

9) And most importantly: What measures would you introduce to avoid snowballing?


So in general, I think that some bounds have always to be met (for all campaigns) and that rewards different than gold or XP must account for that.

Per campaign:

Heroes: max 3000 Gold, min 1750, average 2250?

             max 9 XP, min 7 XP?

Overlord: max 11 XP, min 9XP? Or the same as the heroes?            


Would be thankful for any advice.

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You're asking important questions, and that's good.

Search deck =6*25+4*50+0+?. In Act 1, average resale is about 75. In Act 2, it's more like 125. The point is you can calculate the average gold reward of a search token in each act based on your expansions.

1)You could use a gold reward, if you want to offset fewer tokens. I chose to add more tokens (total of 5 or 6) to single encounter quests. I didn't like the OL strategy of picking single encounter quests simply to limit treasure chest potential.

2) D2e tracker might have this. If not, you can use that average search token value and quest rewards to calculate a min and max for each official campaign. I think your numbers are reasonable, 3000 is a lot of gold. Consider also what can be bought with certain amounts- epic play exprt level for example has 250 gold per hero at the "middle" of act 2.

3) I definitely judge relics in lieu of gold, espescially when it is a weapon or armor the heroes now don't need to buy. Some weapons (dawn blade) should definitely be reserved for act 2.

4) Official campaigns vary widely on this (look at Labyrinth for lots of XP). I try to be sparing with XP for the heroes- no more than 2 extra per campaign. You can have more quests with that reward, just make sure they cannot all be played. Extra XP for the OL is less of a big deal. Even 5 or 6 additional XP is reasonable (not balance killing). As "if you win" rewards, gold for heroes matches well with XP for OL.

5) Do this( monsters) sparingly if it makes sense. You can also enable a group regardless of trait.

6) Travel is generally bad or OK for the heroes. By making travel longer, you're just increasing the chance of pulling a cadd that will do damage (or pulling a treasure opportunity). In practice, my group would often skip travel alltogether to get to playing the main quest.

7) There is no general rule I can give, other than TEST. If you are finding it boring as heroes or OL because all the monsters are dead, add a group. If heroes are overwhelmed, take one out or slow reinforcements. I will say that starr vs end of turn can make a big difference. Also, I try to make the monsters that reinforce the ones the heroes kill right away. If the monster group near the entrance doesn't reinforce, sometimes they do NOTHING but die.

8) I love giving these as rewards- don't do it every quest.

9) Testing. Also, I try not to make the "if you win" prizes too big. You can use quest structure (quest tree) to force quest choices that alternate difficulty rather than allowing the winner to always pick the best choice for them. Also, testing!

Seriously, anything can look good on paper. You just plain don't know until you've played it. Ideally, until others have played it, too.

I just played through my Legacy of Timmorran with a full group this spring, and it caused me to look at a few of the quests completely differently. O e even had an entire encounter scrapped, another had a complete rework.

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Thanks for all the answers, Zaltyre. I will think about all that and do some testing once my mini-campaing is ready. Hopefully, I can publish it by the end of September. :)

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Hey, could you make a post with the links to each quest you make for your campaign, similar to Zaltyre's post, I would like to try it  :D

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