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Death on Wings 2nd encounter balancing idea

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I have not so far be in the position to play Death on Wing with the overlord losing the first encounter, but knowing the quest and reading about the dissatsifaction, I had been thinking of one way to make it less of a pointless exercise of set-up, one hero turn and then having to remove the parts form the board again.

 

The issue is that in a three or two player game, Beltir is potentially open to six (or four) attacks without the overlord being able to do much about it (with the basic overlord deck, all one can do is remove one action through stunning the heroes via pit trap and using dark fortune to reroll bad defence dices).

 

Thus, my suggestion would be, simply place a quest token as a bolder on the bridge so that the heroes need to go through the elemental (or possibly remove the boulder, if allowed).

That way, the quasi automatic victory for the heroes on turn 1 could be avoided and it also dodes not change anything if the overlord wins the first encounter as the heroes have to face the elemental then any way.

 

What would your thoughts be?

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In all seriousness, there are a variety of options for the overlord depending on the decisions you've made, and if you haven't made those decisions and don't have those options, then you should strive to avoid this quest. If you lose and the players choose it, and you haven't chosen any of those options, then that's well played by the heroes, and you need to bust your ass to win encounter 1.

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I played that quest as OL once, against a competent hero player controlling 4 heroes. And i won.

 

I assume that's after winning encounter 1 as the OL, which is a huge difference.

 

... you need to bust your ass to win encounter 1.

My view exactly. Otherwise you're screwed.

Edited by Indalecio

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I know, from experience, that you CAN win when winning encounter 1, you also likely can win if this is played as an advanced quest / part of a campaign where you can utilize cards like webtrap to stop the heroes.

 

Additionally, I do think with four heroes, where one elemental needs to be defeated before Belthir can be attacked (assuming the overlord places them to block, which should be self evident) it is less of a problem (Belthir has enough lifepoints then to bear the rest of the incoming attacks).

 

 

The problem is the sheer fact that mathematically speaking, a "vanilla" un-epic, single scenario Death on Wings Encounter II is extremely unlikely not to be a one turn victory for the heroes if the win encounter I.

 

From a game design point of view, this is stupid.

 

Of course, not all quests have equally important first encounters, it is okay to have victory in encounter 1 really mean something for once, it should NOT however lead to situations where 2/3 of all group sizes make encounter 2 an exercise in futility.

 

 

 

Lastly, is no one willing to even comment on the idea of placing an extra boulder on the bridge to allow the elemental to block access to Belthir in a 2 - 3 hero game?

Your opinions on that were after all the reason to open this threat, so, comments would be appreciated...

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The problem is the sheer fact that mathematically speaking, a "vanilla" un-epic, single scenario Death on Wings Encounter II is extremely unlikely not to be a one turn victory for the heroes if the win encounter I.

 

From a game design point of view, this is stupid.

 

I don't think the quest needs a boulder- the idea of adding an object to balance this quest in a standalone, certain hero count scenario seems unnecessary to me. The quest itself isn't really designed to be played (or balanced) in a vacuum- it's designed to be an Act 1 quest in a full campaign. In that context, if it's a 2 or 3 hero game, there are too many factors that affect overall campaign balance to say if this one encounter warrants adjustment- just like this quest is slanted toward the heroes, quests like "the ritual of shadows" are gimmes for the OL. 

 

If you're playing it as a standalone encounter and feel you need to adjust the quest for your group's enjoyment, go for it.

Edited by Zaltyre

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Honestly, there is no reason to house rule the 2nd encounter. This quest is very determined on the 1st encounter and winning it. After that, if the OL lost encounter 1, it's truely about monster placements and OL cards, as suggested a few posts above using Web Trap. That card is practically a staple of any OL deck due to it's possibly devastating power to stop heroes. After that, I feel it's just luck of the rolls and having a proper open group selection as well.

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I mean, every quest is going to be easier or harder for the heroes than normal depending on group make-up and overlord decisions. This encounter is fine as the overlord if the group isn't catered to it, and if they are, your goal is to never let this quest be played. If you can't avoid that, then win the first encounter. If you can't win the first encounter, have no recourse for the second part, and got forced into picking it, then you deserve to lose.

 

The strategy of the game is a lot more complex than "how do I win this encounter?" or "How do I win this quest?"

Edited by Whitewing

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The problem is the sheer fact that mathematically speaking, a "vanilla" un-epic, single scenario Death on Wings Encounter II is extremely unlikely not to be a one turn victory for the heroes if the win encounter I.

 

From a game design point of view, this is stupid.

 

I don't think the quest needs a boulder- the idea of adding an object to balance this quest in a standalone, certain hero count scenario seems unnecessary to me. The quest itself isn't really designed to be played (or balanced) in a vacuum- it's designed to be an Act 1 quest in a full campaign. In that context, if it's a 2 or 3 hero game, there are too many factors that affect overall campaign balance to say if this one encounter warrants adjustment- just like this quest is slanted toward the heroes, quests like "the ritual of shadows" are gimmes for the OL. 

 

If you're playing it as a standalone encounter and feel you need to adjust the quest for your group's enjoyment, go for it.

 

 

Sorry, but this is wrong, or at least it runs counter to what the game is sold as.

 

Every quest with the exception of the Interlude and Finale is designed to be playable as a standard standalone, an epic qquest or part of a campaign, read your own rulebook if you do not believe me.

 

So I think it is perfectly legit to point out that it does not work for the most basic mode of play (single not epic quest) with any number of heroes but 4.

 

 

 

I shall not address the recurring suggestion for the webtrap, as, as I said, it is not about campaign or epic play.

 

 

Again, the problem is that it makes for more set up time than playtime in the aforementioned setup.

 

While not perfect about it, usually, quests do take the number of players into account, this quest does not in a very fundamental way. So, while not unique in this regard, this quest definitely is in need of fixing as much as Castle Daerion apparently was.

 

Yes, in a campaign, the strategy is of course more complex than just winning ONE quest, but in the default setting of a single quest, that indeed IS the strategy, all of it, so pointing to all those things is, frankly, a bit of a waste when talking about this quest as a standalone.

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The quest itself isn't really designed to be played (or balanced) in a vacuum- it's designed to be an Act 1 quest in a full campaign. In that context, if it's a 2 or 3 hero game, there are too many factors that affect overall campaign balance to say if this one encounter warrants adjustment- just like this quest is slanted toward the heroes, quests like "the ritual of shadows" are gimmes for the OL. 

 

Sorry, but this is wrong, or at least it runs counter to what the game is sold as.

 

Every quest with the exception of the Interlude and Finale is designed to be playable as a standard standalone, an epic qquest or part of a campaign, read your own rulebook if you do not believe me.

 

So I think it is perfectly legit to point out that it does not work for the most basic mode of play (single not epic quest) with any number of heroes but 4.

"Playable" and "optimized" are two different things. I grant you that the quest is supposed to be "playable" as a standalone encounter- but I maintain that it is (that is, minis, cards, and rules exist to handle the functionality that you want,) it's just not "optimized" for your mode of play. I guess my issue is that you're saying that the quest is unbalanced in your particular playstyle, but refusing to take any of the suggestions for how to alleviate the situation- using a different number of heroes, playing in a story, or using almost any power level other than the one you insist on playing with would solve your problem, but those options are off the table. While it's legitimate to point out that the quest doesn't balance in that scenario, I maintain that it's unrealistic to expect that a quest will be balanced in every situation. You've just happened upon one combination of conditions which result in this quest being one-sided. Therefore, my conclusion is that the quest doesn't need changing, but that you may want to adjust how you're setting up the encounter. If the encounter were one-sided regardless of the hero count or the power level, that would be a different matter- and in several of those cases errata have come out changing those quests appropriately. 

 

The quests as written can't please everyone in every situation. Once more, if you must play the quest the way you are, and you can't deal with the imbalance, then house rule the boulder- it's entirely up to you.

Edited by Zaltyre
Whitewing and any2cards like this

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Every quest with the exception of the Interlude and Finale is designed to be playable as a standard standalone, an epic qquest or part of a campaign, read your own rulebook if you do not believe me.

...

Yes, in a campaign, the strategy is of course more complex than just winning ONE quest, but in the default setting of a single quest, that indeed IS the strategy, all of it, so pointing to all those things is, frankly, a bit of a waste when talking about this quest as a standalone.

 

I think you may have missed something and may want to tone down the animosity a notch and reread the rules yourself before telling other people that they need to. It looks like you've got a number of incorrect assumptions which are clouding your judgment.

 

1. Maybe I missed something, but I can't find anywhere that Interlude and Finale quests are designed differently (compared to Act I/II quests) with regards to being used as standalone (Epic Play) quests vs normal (Campaign) quests.

 

2. "Epic Play" IS playing just a single quest outside of a campaign setting. (Core Rulebook p. 19). It includes what I think you're referring to: the Basic Level of power (no extras), but also includes Advanced and Expert Level (more XP and gold). Playing any one-time quests outside of a campaign is considered "Epic Play".

 

3. Campaign Play is the default option, not single quests. This is why all Campaign quests mention granting XP (instead of it being as a footnote under "If playing as a campaign") and that "Epic Play" is listed as an "optional rule". (Same place as above, p. 19)

 

Also, try not to assume what designers intend or not, it usually just makes you look bad, especially if you start trying to argue it without anything to back you up. (Do you know for certain that the designers designed every quest around non-campaign play? I doubt it. Maybe they did, but none of us are one of them and can't be certain of that.)

 

Lastly, saying "Read the rules yourself" without either quoting them or pointing to specific locations in the rulebook just makes it worse, especially when someone does read the freely available rules (there really is no excuse when they publish all the PDFs on this very website) and points out where you were incorrect, because had you looked it up in the first place in search of that reference, you might have changed your mind on your own.

Edited by griton

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