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Necrohexel

House Ruling Rumor Rewards

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I've been thinking about a way to bring the rumors into play and I've come up with an idea that might balance both rumors and the campaign they are played in.

 

So basically my idea is:

 

- Loosing side picks the next quest to be played

- No gold is gained from search cards in rumor quests

- For every quest/rumor the heroes loose, 50 gold is added to a "bounty" pool. For every quest/rumor the OL looses, 2 threat is added to the "bounty" pool. (Still unsure if 2 threat isn't too much, altho it is an incentive for the OL to play the rumors, since they depend on him to be played).

- After the completion of a rumor quest, the winning side can choose between taking the regular rumor reward or the amount that is in their bounty pool, gold for heroes or threat for the OL. The amounts on the bounty pool accumulate for each loss, hopefully providing a balance to the campaign through rumors, since the reward for the side with more losses will be greater.

 

What do you guys think of this? I'm starting a new campaign today and was thinking of trying this out and see how it works, but I would welcome any ideas to improve on this.

 

Cheers

Edited by Necrohexel

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If it ends up working for your group, by all means, house rule away. It's an involved system that aims to mitigate rewards for winners and also costs for losers- personally, I think it goes too far for my tastes. It makes picking a Rumor quest with the intent to win an effective forfeit of quest choice- which is a HUGE cost. Also, excess gold gained is one of the biggest incentives for the heroes venturing into Rumor quests- without the chance of treasure, I don't know that as I hero I'd even want the OL to put a rumor in play. My heroes skipped out on 1/2 potential rumors in the last campaign anyway (a third I didn't let them access by continuing to win, but they said they wouldn't have picked it given the choice.)

 

I like the rumors as they are- and I've most recently been an OL- but as I said earlier, if your play group likes it, then have fun.

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Thanks for you input, I really appreciate it.

Your opinion is very solid and your statement:

 

 

It makes picking a Rumor quest with the intent to win an effective forfeit of quest choice- which is a HUGE cost.

gave me smile because you got the point I'm going for. I want the rumors to actually matter and have an impact on the campaign. Letting the winner choose between a relic or the bounty I hope will tone down the reward a bit and not make it over the top rewarding if they got both.

As for the heroes incentive for choosing to play the rumors, you're right, there isn't much, unless they lost a lot of quests and want to mitigate losses with the bounty. But since it is the OL choice to play them, I feel there has to be some sort of front up advantage for him to want to play them, and it's the heroes role to trump him playing the quest.

Of course if the OL start winning from the start, he won't have much of an incentive himself to allow heroes to play a rumor and let the heroes get the bounty, so I would have to work on that still.

Edited by Necrohexel

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Remember (though the chance is small) that the heroes can draw a travel card which forces the OL to play a rumor card featuring a quest of the current act- it's not always the OL's decision (in fact, this happened to me in the last campaign I played, and I was forced to play a rumor which won the heroes the Aurium Mail. I never would have played it voluntarily because the reward was so big. In fact, I blame that item for not being able to defeat the healer (and therefore the rest of the party) in the final quest.

Edited by Zaltyre

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The problem I'm seeing is that you may be actively encouraging both sides to lose a Rumor quest. What if it comes out early enough that quest choice is more important than the reward for winning? The heroes can't even bother running around for search tokens because they don't get anything from them. Any time a game or system encourages a player to try to lose (especially both sides), then there's a flaw in the system.

 

Some might say that the current system of gold being more valuable than relics "encourages losing", but it doesn't. It just means that there is a different goal for the heroes than "winning", but is still something that they have to try for. Completing the quest objectives just becomes secondary to acquiring gold; if they can win AND collect all the search tokens, they would. This is different than saying "We would rather sit down and do nothing so that the OL gets an automatic win and we can choose the next quest."

 

Compensation for losing (for the sake of balance) should still always be less than the reward for winning.

Edited by griton

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IMO

 

* No adjustments need to be made for Trollfens. OL has sufficient reason to play it.

* Award OL 1 XP for playing Lair of the Wyrm.

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Here is a really simple fix for rumors.

Rumors count as campaign quests, they will offer 1 Xp to the heroes and overlord if they win or lose, this is on top of all the rewards listed.

That way they will add no extra quests/gold to the campaign.

The overlord would not gain threat tokens as usual for playing the rumor quest card into play.

The only downside to this is that it might slightly disrupt the story line.

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Yeah that wrecks the storyline pretty hard, and then you have to give up normal quests you want to play for the rumors.

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It's the most elegant solution technically speaking and balance wise.

Edit: It would not mess up the shadow rune too much. It would just be assumed the heroes lost that quest as per the usual shadow rune campaign rules. The act 2 rumor quest would then be available to make up for the lack of quest availability.

Edited by BentoSan

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Here is a really simple fix for rumors.

Rumors count as campaign quests, they will offer 1 Xp to the heroes and overlord if they win or lose, this is on top of all the rewards listed.

That way they will add no extra quests/gold to the campaign.

The overlord would not gain threat tokens as usual for playing the rumor quest card into play.

The only downside to this is that it might slightly disrupt the story line.

 

Definitely an interesting idea. I like it, especially for its simplicity.

Edited by griton

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Well, the Finale of the Shadow Rune campaign resolves the presence of Lieutenants based on the ones you've previously met (and killed). So in that regard the solution doesn't work well in that aspect, or at least gives an instant edge to the OL for the Finale (depending on which quest of the two obviously). 

Edited by Indalecio

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I can definitely see the issue that you are brining up here and i appreciate your feedback :) I have been giving this topic a lot of thought as i really like playing the extra quests in a campaign, but i hate the impact is has.

 

I really loathe adding house rules to games but i feel this rumor card issue is so out of control it makes rumors virtually unplayable in their current form.

 

Here is another solution: add a few new hopefully simple rules to the game, All players would agree to the house rules before beginning a campaign.

  1. The nothing card gets added to the search deck on top of the secret room card - increasing the search deck from 12 to 13 cards.
  2. If the overlord has not already put into play 2 rumor quest cards upon the completion of the third act 1 quest then the overlord must play any rumor quest cards available in his hand. If there are no rumor quest cards available in the overlords hand to play then the overlord must draw a card from the rumor deck, if the card is a rumor quest card that is able to be played then the overlord must play the card immediately otherwise the card is discarded to the bottom of the rumor deck and this process is repeated.
  3. The heroes are given the opportunity to play both quests before the interlude commences.

Summed up it basically assures the heroes have the opportunity to play 2 rumor quests to make up for the fact they will be picking up nothing cards in the campaign.

 

I would also still be tempted to add an extra 1xp overlord reward to lair of the wyrm quest act 1 quests as they generally suck for the overlord no matter what way you look at it.

 

 

Now that the heroes have a nothing card added to the deck their chance of winning all quests will be slightly reduced as they could pull the nothing card when they could have got a useful utility card instead.

 

The added nothing card adds more tension back into the search deck, you are not always 100% sure you will get something, in fact there is a 7.7% chance you will get nothing on the first draw.

 

However even with the added nothing card the heroes will still earn extra gold above and beyond what they would earn in a campaign that uses 12 cards including the treasure room card. This works out to be about 530g extra in a campaign, ill follow up with the maths i used below. On top of this massive advantage he rumours themselves i also believe are already skewed in favor of the heroes as the rewards are much much more useful to the heroes than they are the overlord.

 

The rumors however give the overlord extra opportunities to pick up threat tokens which are already well established to be incredibly useful for the overlord and a bane for the heroes. I do not believe however that the potential for threat tokens alone give the overlord a big enough incentive to play rumor quest cards.

 

 

The house rules will increase the allure to the heroes of using a treasure hunter or thief to circumvent the reduction in gold earned. It will put more pressure on these classes and the group as a whole on working the deck in this manor which is probably a good thing as the treasure hunter already has an easy enough time as it is working the deck to the heroes advantage.

 

 

The maths:

Lets make a couple quick assumptions: Between the treasure chest card and the secret room card across the coarse of the campaign we will presume that these cards average out to be worth about 50g per card. This is obviously debatable as its difficult to put a price on each of these cards.

 

Assuming that, this makes the normal 12 card search (with the secret room added) deck to be worth 450g and therefor each search token in a campaign to be worth an average of 37.5g to the heroes.

A normal campaign usually looks something like:

4 search tokens - introduction quest

24 search tokens from act 1 quests - 8 search tokens x 3 quests

4 search tokens - interlude

24 search tokens from act 2 quests - 8 search tokens x 3 quests

 

That gives the heroes 56 potential search tokens before heading to the finale.

56 tokens x 37.5g =  2100g

 

 

A campaign consisting of 2 rumors, 1 from lair of the wyrm, 1 from trollfens will usually look something like this:

4 search tokens - introduction quest

24 search tokens from act 1 quests - 8 search tokens x 3 quests

4 search tokens from act 1 lair of the wyrm quest

4 search tokens from act 1 trollfens quest

4 search tokens - interlude

24 search tokens from act 2 quests - 8 search tokens x 3 quests

8 search tokens from act 2 lair of the wyrm quest

4 search tokens from act 2 trollfens quest

76 tokens x 37.5g = 2850g

 

 

That adds up to be an additional 20 search tokens. Which is potentially about 750g or an extra 35.7% gold with the rules as they stand.

 

If we add in the nothing card however the average search token is then worth 34.6g.

A campaign with 2 rumors played then looks more like this:

76 tokens x 34.6 = 2630g

 

Even with the nothing card added in we are still looking at a significant difference of an additional 530g or 25% extra gold available in the course of the campaign. Which i believe is more than enough compensation for the inconvenience of having a nothing card added into the search deck.

Edited by BentoSan

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You could also choose to play 1 rumor quest with a slightly modified version of the above rules.

 

Lair of the Wyrm

Normal rules

68 tokens x 37.5g = 2550g (an extra 450g added to the campaign)

Modified rules

68 tokens x 34.6g = 2353g (an extra 253g added to the campaign)

 

Trollfens

Normal rules

64 tokens x 37.5g = 2400g (an extra 300g added to the campaign)

Modified rules

64 tokens x 34.6g = 2214g (an extra 114g added to the campaign)

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I really do respect the work you have put down to allow the comparison in terms of earnt gold, and I think your analysis proves that the addition of the Nothing card seems to help to mitigate the issue with the gold. You could extrapolate your maths to 3-heroes and see if the conclusion remains the same. This said, with the exception of your comment about the +1XP for the LoW quests, you have only considered the heroes' perspective. It doesn't invalidate your analysis at all, but I think something is still missing from your rules to make up for the original issue with rumor quests. To me the issue is not just the gold. It's an overall balance issue that does not have much to do with Rumor quests in such, but are highly exposed by them.

 

As the OL in all our campaigns (I have never played as a hero in this game), I feel like the incentive to play an extra quest [that is the Rumor quest] is close to nothing. Okay, bar theme, bar having-fun-tonight, bar give the heroes some air at the price of competitivity. There might be divergent opinions about what I'm going to say but hey please comment if you would. Feeling like I need to explain where I'm coming from first.

 

Bluntly put, there are a few quests in this game which are auto-wins for heroes. Fewer are auto-wins for the OL. Then my experience with my playgroups and campaigns is that quests are far from 50/50 sided. I really need to play well in order to pull out a win. I misroll this attack that keeps me in the game and I lose on the spot. There are too many of these moments in the game. Heroes can miss an attack or two, it doesn't matter as much, far from it. They groan a bit when it happens because their standard is to deal 10 damage per attack, then somebody else attacks instead and does 12. I for my part cry when it happens to me because I suddenly cannot pull out enough damage regardless of other monsters I am yet to activate, they will just be able to recover it all. Then of course you have the Immobilize issue. I have Merriods too, but the difference is that every hero can shoot.

 

I read some comments saying that some OLs have a high win ratio but I don't understand how. I win some quests, but might still lose the ones where I have good defense rolls because there are too many actions against me. This plus I am virtually instructed by the game NOT to play my plot deck because doing so gives away even more actions to my heroes and rerolls for these precious missed attacks from these heroes. Turn 1 mission accomplished and so on. So yeah, that's my situation and therefore adding a quest to the campaign has to be a HELL of a lot more interesting for me to even consider. I simply cannot afford it.

 

Plot cards are largely overestimated and almost entirely situational. That makes earning threat tokens much less of an incentive to play a quest. Yes, I do get the threat token 95% of the time whenever a hero falls but that's just to keep my heroes on their toes knowing that I have access to these plot cards lined up all shiny next to the map. They're shiny because I virtually never use them. Cannot afford to play them. Their presence is more political than anything else really. And if I go nuts and start playing them, then I get more pressure from getting back these threats and the game turns into Hardcore Mode because of the broken Fortune tokens mechanism. Let's take OL relic cards now: they are so situational, as opposed to Hero relics which can be wielded all the time. I like some of them, but there is no point if nobody can wield it/can only wield one at a time/the lieutenant gets one-shotted before you can activate him/her. 

 

My conclusion for rumor quests in particular: it always feels like you're not going for the reward at all, you're going for the heroes not getting their reward. 

 

My heroes often pull out this Travel card forcing me to play a Rumor quest. I hate this card.

 

My point is that this game is very challenging for the OL if your heroes know what they are doing. Therefore, you cannot afford to miss any opportunity to upgrade, and you cannot afford to play quests that will allow your heroes to kick your butt even harder. I am not playing games competitively normally, but I have to with this one. This aside, I am having a blast and wouldn't be here if I hadn't, but this game can be frustrating at times. How many times did I lose because of a dice roll? 

 

This is my take: the Act I rumor relics do a great deal helping the heroes smooth up the transition to Act II. I found that my heroes had good enough equipment to cope with the first Act II monsters and I did have a hell of a work to do during the interlude.

 

As the OL considering Rumor quests, I would make sure:

- the Heroes do not get out of control with the extra gold (you addressed that point)

- the Heroes do not get a shopping phase for this quest

- Everybody gets 1XP even if you lose

- I get more XP or a useful OL card reward if I win. Or "take a class II card of your choice and add it to your deck". THAT would be nice.

 

I have been toying with the idea of designing upgrade cards to monsters. Since people complain that only having act I and act II versions doesn't scale well enough with the heroes' constant upgrade process. Like, having a deck with cards with one-shot effects saying things like this: 

- This monsters gets 1 extra move point this turn.

- This monster starts the encounter with an additional +2 Health.

- This monsters gets 2 extra damage for the next attack.

- Name a condition and select a monster at the beginning of an encounter. Target monster is immune to this condition for the rest of the encounter.

- This monster heals up to 3 damage this turn.

- Select a monster adjacent to a hero. This monster steals 50 gold from the Heroes and is allowed to escape through the Entrance/Exit. If defeated, return the gold.

- Same as above with an unequipped item from the hero the monster steals from.

- Same as above with a search item/potion.

- This monster can attack with one additional green dice this turn. 

- This monster gains an additional brown dice for defense during this encounter.

 

Etc. Following this logic, I would be happy to get hold of some of these upgrades as part of rumor quests. Like XP, I get to draw one upgrade card regardless of who won, then maybe +1/+2 if I win.

 

Plot cards are messier to fix. They don't integrate well to the game and probably need to be addressed within their own mechanism. But maybe an emblem as a reward saying: "during an encounter, play any plot card for 0 threat cost and discard this emblem". That would be interesting.

 

But of course, we are looking at some much bigger changes compared to the ones you described. I just fear that only fixing the gold issue would give an excuse for the Heroes to force the playgroup to assimilate these quests, although the Overlord still has no good reason to play them even with your change taken into account.

Edited by Indalecio

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BentoSan- your solution is clearly very thorough- I like using the "Nothing" card to adjust the treasure deck. However, your solution only works if there is an LT expansion pack included in gameplay. Additionally, as I recall, the game creators decided purposefully to not have XP for rumor quests, because it resulted in too much total XP over the course of the campaign (which is now effectively 13 quests instead of 9, considering advanced quests- with extra XP from victories, that could result in heroes purchasing ALL of their skills by the finale.)

 

Indalecio- I also hate that travel card, it got my heroes the Aurium mail in the campaign we just finished. I'd propose removing that card as a fix, except there would then be virtually no reason for a rumor quest to come into play, unless the OL is a glutton for punishment. In terms of OL victory: I've only OL'd one campaign (Shadow Rune, 4 heroes, expansions through trollfens, no LT pack) and the heroes won every quest through the Interlude. I then won every Act 2 quest, but lost the Finale. Had things gone a little differently, I could have won that. However, you're right- the margin for error by the OL is very slim. I only did as well during Act 2 as I did because the heroes kept missing, and kept not. Strategy is key in defeating the heroes, and it falls on the player who has no one to bounce ideas off of. That being said, I don't mind this game being asymmetrical- I find there is enough balance present to keep it interesting and fun. If you don't think so, you could change up who plays OL in your group.

Edited by Zaltyre

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Frankly, in my games, we just have it houseruled to add 1 xp to the overlord rewards if he wins. XP for the overlord is less valuable than xp for the heroes (I can explain why if people don't want to take my word for it), and that compensates a little by providing incentive for the overlord to play the quests if he believes he can win it.

 

It also provides incentive for the heroes to not just say "well winning isn't that important here, let's just nab treasure".

Edited by Whitewing

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I totally agree with many of your points Indalecio.

 

- The addition of 2 rumor quests still is a 35.7% gold advantage no matter the number of players.

 

 - You are correct in saying that threat tokens are not as awesome as they are made out to be. They add a slight advantage for the overlord but the threat tokens can and do easily start to stack up as there are definite advantages for the heroes too. Often being able to re roll a dice is a much greater advantage for the heroes than the plot card gave the heroes in the first place, the advantage for the heroes is not to be overestimated. Thus the advantage that the rumor quests give you to get more threat tokens is only a drop in the ocean to the problem that is rumor quests. I seldom play my threat tokens for these reasons, i weigh up the advantage they would give me versus the advantage that it would give the heroes and the advantage for the heroes nearly always wins. You might want to consider a ruling that the first 2 threat an OL spends in a quest do not get given to the heroes, that changes their utility dramatically.

 

- Getting a relic as a reward for playing a rumor quest for the overlord is a joke. Often they sit there unused, provide little to no advantage for the overlord and just annoy the heroes that they do not get to use the shiney. The only real advantage of the relic is that the heroes did not get them.

 

- I also agree that the change i proposed still really does not give the overlord much incentive to play the rumor cards at all. They still get more out of a rumor than the players do. All it serves is to help balance the gold out a bit if the OL and Heroes want to play with rumors, but does not really address the fact that rewards are not fun for the overlord.

 

- In regards to helping to smooth out the transition to act 2 i found that playing 2 rumor quests according to the rules made my transition as a hero to act 2 way to easy. I had enough gold to buy whatever the hell i wanted from the act 1 deck and have enough gold to go nuts in the first act 2 shopping step after the first quest. The additional gold provided is way way way too much, it throws the game balance way far out for my liking.

 

- As far as fixing this issue goes, i prefer to stick to rules that we can house rule easily.

 

 

 

@Whitewing

- That ruling makes some sense. I do not think it addresses the fact that the risk for the heroes to play a rumor quest versus the risk for the overord to play the rumor quest is not at all even remotely equal. Again, the gold advantage is huge and is basically assured for the heroes, while the XP for the overlord is not assured and thus is incredibly risky. Win or lose, the overlord gains 1xp starts to make the rumors a lot more appealing for the OL and riskier for the heroes, but then doesnt address the fact that the heroes can gun for the search tokens, lose the quest and still basically win without winning anyway.

 

 

 

@Zal - The XP would only be for the overlord, not the heroes. The heroes really need no more incentive to play rumours. Sorry i did not make that clear enough.

 

 

 

 

Until i can come up with something solid i am just going to leave the rumor cards in the box and not play them at all. If the travel card comes up forcing a rumor quest to be played then i will just treat it as a nothing card or draw again. I think adding the nothing card to the deck does not completely solve the issues with rumors but it might just be part of the solution. The only reason i played my last rumor quest is because i was kicking the heroes ass (4 losses in a row) and wanted to make the game a bit easier for them.

Edited by BentoSan

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I totally agree with many of your points Indalecio.

 

 - You are correct in saying that threat tokens are not as awesome as they are made out to be. They add a slight advantage for the overlord but the threat tokens can and do easily start to stack up as there are definite advantages for the heroes too. Often being able to re roll a dice is a much greater advantage for the heroes than the plot card gave the heroes in the first place, the advantage for the heroes is not to be overestimated. Thus the advantage that the rumor quests give you to get more threat tokens is only a drop in the ocean to the problem that is rumor quests. I seldom play my threat tokens for these reasons, i weigh up the advantage they would give me versus the advantage that it would give the heroes and the advantage for the heroes nearly always wins. You might want to consider a ruling that the first 2 threat an OL spends in a quest do not get given to the heroes, that changes their utility dramatically.

 

- Getting a relic as a reward for playing a rumor quest for the overlord is a joke. Often they sit there unused, provide little to no advantage for the overlord and just annoy the heroes that they do not get to use the shiney. The only real advantage of the relic is that the heroes did not get them.

 

- I also agree that the change i proposed still really does not give the overlord much incentive to play the rumor cards at all. They still get more out of a rumor than the players do. All it serves is to help balance the gold out a bit if the OL and Heroes want to play with rumors, but does not really address the fact that rewards are not fun for the overlord.

 

- In regards to helping to smooth out the transition to act 2 i found that playing 2 rumor quests according to the rules made my transition as a hero to act 2 way to easy. I had enough gold to buy whatever the hell i wanted from the act 1 deck and have enough gold to go nuts in the first act 2 shopping step after the first quest. The additional gold provided is way way way too much, it throws the game balance way far out for my liking.

 

- As far as fixing this issue goes, i prefer to stick to rules that we can house rule easily.

 

 

 

@Whitewing

- That ruling makes some sense. I do not think it addresses the fact that the risk for the heroes to play a rumor quest versus the risk for the overord to play the rumor quest is not at all even remotely equal. Again, the gold advantage is huge and is basically assured for the heroes, while the XP for the overlord is not assured and thus is incredibly risky. Win or lose, the overlord gains 1xp starts to make the rumors a lot more appealing for the OL and riskier for the heroes, but then doesnt address the fact that the heroes can gun for the search tokens, lose the quest and still basically win without winning anyway.

 

 

 

@Zal - The XP would only be for the overlord, not the heroes. The heroes really need no more incentive to play rumours. Sorry i did not make that clear enough.

 

 

 

 

Until i can come up with something solid i am just going to leave the rumor cards in the box and not play them at all. If the travel card comes up forcing a rumor quest to be played then i will just treat it as a nothing card or draw again. I think adding the nothing card to the deck does not completely solve the issues with rumors but it might just be part of the solution.

 

It's not supposed to be balanced though. Rumor quests shouldn't be something you always play everytime. The decision to play them is nearly always in the overlord's hands (except when the rare card to force him to play one shows up). That means it needs to be a risk for the overlord to play them, or else they'll ALWAYS play it and then that mechanic is pointless. But it also needs to be enough of a potential reward for the overlord for him to want to play it sometimes.

Rewarding the overlord with an extra experience point if he wins means that it's worth it to play for the overlord if he believes he will win (especially if it's his quest choice), but if he's not sure of it, it's a gamble. In this way, it's no more a big deal for the overlord to play it than say, A Fat Goblin or Castle Daerion where the prize is extra gold for the heroes or extra xp for the overlord. Also, the extra XP might make the players less likely to spend time grabbing all the treasure on these rumor quests and instead try to guarantee a win, meaning even when you lose as overlord, you don't lose as much relatively.

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It's not supposed to be balanced though. Rumor quests shouldn't be something you always play everytime. The decision to play them is nearly always in the overlord's hands (except when the rare card to force him to play one shows up). That means it needs to be a risk for the overlord to play them, or else they'll ALWAYS play it and then that mechanic is pointless. But it also needs to be enough of a potential reward for the overlord for him to want to play it sometimes.

Rewarding the overlord with an extra experience point if he wins means that it's worth it to play for the overlord if he believes he will win (especially if it's his quest choice), but if he's not sure of it, it's a gamble. In this way, it's no more a big deal for the overlord to play it than say, A Fat Goblin or Castle Daerion where the prize is extra gold for the heroes or extra xp for the overlord. Also, the extra XP might make the players less likely to spend time grabbing all the treasure on these rumor quests and instead try to guarantee a win, meaning even when you lose as overlord, you don't lose as much relatively.

 

You say that it should be a risk for the OL to play it, yet a risk with little return is never going to be worth it. Then we get stuck back at the point where an OL is still not playing OL cards because the injection of gold into the game makes the heroes uber powerful - giving the heroes a 37% more gold is not a risk, its virtually handing them the game.

 

Sorry but i do not feel that just adding a 1xp to the quest rewards  for the OL alone fixes the problem, it might be part of a solution but i do not believe its the entire solution.

 

I am not trying to make things perfectly balanced, however the current rules are so skewed to the heroes that the OL would be insane to ever play a rumor quest if he wants to win a campaign.

Indalecio likes this

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It's not supposed to be balanced though. Rumor quests shouldn't be something you always play everytime. The decision to play them is nearly always in the overlord's hands (except when the rare card to force him to play one shows up). That means it needs to be a risk for the overlord to play them, or else they'll ALWAYS play it and then that mechanic is pointless. But it also needs to be enough of a potential reward for the overlord for him to want to play it sometimes.

Rewarding the overlord with an extra experience point if he wins means that it's worth it to play for the overlord if he believes he will win (especially if it's his quest choice), but if he's not sure of it, it's a gamble. In this way, it's no more a big deal for the overlord to play it than say, A Fat Goblin or Castle Daerion where the prize is extra gold for the heroes or extra xp for the overlord. Also, the extra XP might make the players less likely to spend time grabbing all the treasure on these rumor quests and instead try to guarantee a win, meaning even when you lose as overlord, you don't lose as much relatively.

 

You say that it should be a risk for the OL to play it, yet a risk with little return is never going to be worth it. Then we get stuck back at the point where an OL is still not playing OL cards because the injection of gold into the game makes the heroes uber powerful - giving the heroes a 37% more gold is not a risk, its virtually handing them the game.

 

Sorry but i do not feel that just adding a 1xp to the quest rewards  for the OL alone fixes the problem, it might be part of a solution but i do not believe its the entire solution.

 

I am not trying to make things perfectly balanced, however the current rules are so skewed to the heroes that the OL would be insane to ever play a rumor quest if he wants to win a campaign.

 

I disagree. I have had times where, knowing the party's weaknesses and layout, have chosen to play rumor cards when it was my quest pick to force us to do it immediately. The party got destroyed hard, I got my relic, they got almost no loot.

This was before we implemented that houserule too. Gold is helpful for the heroes, no doubt, but it's not nearly as big a deal as some people are making it out to be. There are already quests which have the rewards being 25 gold per hero vs. 1 xp for the overlord. Yeah they might get some loot (honestly though, it's not as if they're guaranteed to get all the loot. And if you asked me if I'd take Her Majesty's Malice and an experience point in exchange for letting the party have 3 or 4 search tokens, I'll almost always say yes to that.

The main issue is that the overlord isn't guaranteed a victory, so thus the risk.

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I am not trying to make things perfectly balanced, however the current rules are so skewed to the heroes that the OL would be insane to ever play a rumor quest if he wants to win a campaign.

Not true. Some of the Trollfens rewards are balanced or even skewed towards the OL. 

 

For Ghost Town, for instance, the Taskmaster's Ring is more useful than the Workman's Ring and the Secrets of the Flesh is a good OL card. Even with the extra gold, the quest is pretty even if even a little in the OL's favor.

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I am not trying to make things perfectly balanced, however the current rules are so skewed to the heroes that the OL would be insane to ever play a rumor quest if he wants to win a campaign.

Not true. Some of the Trollfens rewards are balanced or even skewed towards the OL. 

 

For Ghost Town, for instance, the Taskmaster's Ring is more useful than the Workman's Ring and the Secrets of the Flesh is a good OL card. Even with the extra gold, the quest is pretty even if even a little in the OL's favor.

 

 

I agree with that, the secrets of the flesh is a really good overlord card. Thats an example of a quest that would not need 1xp added to it for sure.

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Yeah but I mean, come on... Nobody is saying that there won't be any situation where the OL might still have an edge in a quest, or a situation where it might be worth the gamble because of factor X, Y and Z. There might still be good reasons to travel to North Korea for instance, although I'll probably have to work hard to think of one.

 

In terms of Relics, even a good one, it's still a piece of equipment you can't rely on, so it makes no relevance that said relic makes you roll a million dice when attacking or give your Lieutenant a hug every turn. People seem to miss the point that getting a OL relic does stone nothing unless a million conditions are fulfilled, one of them being that your Heroes are foolish enough to let you use it. As a comparison, how many conditions need to be met for heroes to play their cards? Frankly, there is no way the Heroes would engage Alric with the Duskblade in melee for instance. If your heroes do so, then good for you I guess. Bad decisions will always affect your win/lose ratio so that's not even remotely a point.

 

Then of course there will be this one quest where the OL reward is not "plain nothing" and could be worth considering depending on context. Of course to each its own metagame, if you can consistently crush your heroes then it gives you free hands to pick whatever quests you want and have a decent shot at the reward. Me, I can't, my heroes are clever persons, they decide carefully their course of actions as long as one of them is not completely drunk. I mean no offense to the good people in the world playing Descent where the OL is the undefeated mastermind, but if your heroes are experienced there is no reason why they wouldn't be able to put up a decent challenge. The game virtually hands over the keys to them! Then sure, bar all marginal situations you want like playing the game in a strip bar with the OL wearing a headset and turning his back to the scene. or let your girlfriend  win the game as a OL so you can get laid tonight. Of course if you have an angel besides you to grant you awesome rolls and draws every turn, alternatively your heroes are truly cursed, then you can virtually win any quest in any situation.

 

But in a vacuum:

 

- XP for the Overlord, while necessary are largely overestimated. 1 OL XP is not 1 Hero XP. These are purchases you may never be able to use, plus you are forced to purchase lower tier cards first, which is okay in such but do your heroes suffer the same limitation? The answer is no. But you know what folks, guess what, ANY OL card you purchase, and I really think every single of them without exception, is not going to be better than Dash or Frenzy anyway. These are the 4 cards you need to use in this game to do anything. I don't keep track of every detail on every quests but I'm fairly sure these have been the groundbreaking cards, the rest of the OL cards being more of a support or enablers to weaken the heroes and basically grant you time to draw these. So pushing the reasoning forward, there is almost no point in buying anything else than say Plan Ahead and the likes to just maximize your chance to draw these 4 cards in every encounter. The rest of the cards can be cool, but in general they will be very situational in comparison, or at least not as crucial.

 

- The heroes have nothing to lose in this game and everything to gain. Gold my friends IS a big deal and I am totally shocked to hear that people might be thinking otherwise. So in your games, shopping has no relevance? Drawing 1-2 great piece of equipment out of 5 cards every turn that the heroes can afford to buy is not game changing? Drawing the freaking search card allowing you to draw a random item in the shop deck is no big deal? Sounds liike you're playing in magical Christmas land and Santa is the OL. Again if you heroes deliberately dumb down their strategy and choices then it tells a lot about why you would think the game is more balanced than I do.

 

OL cards should all be placed face up similarly to class cards. You exhaust, you refresh, and so on. A separate deck with smaller/random upgrades should be what you draw each turn. Ultimately (inspired by a thread I saw on Blood Bowl TM for making it a LCG instead - for those who know the game), each monster group should have its own little deck where you draw one random effect each turn. Applying for FFG design team as we speak, lol.

 

This is a great game and also the most unbalanced I've ever played. EVERYTHING is made to satisfy the heroes. But this is also a very classic way to design a RPG-like fantasy game. I still believe this game does a fantastic job at making the OL role interesting, but I think there is still some work to do to make the challenge more even. At the moment, the tools the OL has at disposal seem great on paper but impossible to use in practice.

Edited by Indalecio
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While i agree that 1 extra xp for the OL is not nearly as useful for a hero, id just want to say that the addition of extra XP for the OL can be a good thing. There are a certain few very powerful combinations of cards that can be played with one another that require ALOT of xp which dulls their utility, the addition of XP makes these combinations much more viable play options and thus gives the OL more of a bite.

 

The extra shopping steps in combination with the extra gold however far outweigh any return from some extra XP even if it does make these OL card combinations more viable. In 2 rumor quests an extra 10 act 2 shopping cards are made available to the heroes before the finale - a 66% increase of act 2 shop item cards in combination with a 36% increase in gold is HUGE. Sure the heroes will not get all the extra gold in every quest, but if you make 36% more available search tokens in a campaign you are still going to get a roughly 36% increase in the amount of gold available for the heroes.

 

Its the state that the heroes and OL are in going into the finale which is the most important thing here. Its also worth mentioning that the utility of relics is increased in the finale because there is an increased amount of lieutenants on the board - that utility is not as great as it is for the heroes but it is important to factor into any house rule that could be made.

Edited by BentoSan
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