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Magnum9

I'm murdering my players :(

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So we've done the interlude several times. Did Masquerade ball but scrapped the result and started the campaign over.

 

Have thus far done A Fat Goblin, Castle Daerion and encounter 1 of Death on the Wing.

 

The PCs have 3 xp each, I have 5. They only have one item "Lifedrain Scepter" but a decent stash of gold. I think 200+the scepter after 2 quests.

 

But I am just crushing them. I'm trying to maintain the spirit of the OL being an antagonist, not a story teller position... but it's exceedingly hard.

 

A lot of the problem seems to be that I'm doing a good job of choke pointing the poo out of them.

 

Example.

 

On Death on the Wing I parked a Master Giant on the "transition" between their entrance and the fire pit.

 

They weren't able to shoot him down on their first turn so I just pushed him up and started using sweep to basically stun lock their whole group. Then I put a few of them down and drew up several extra OL cards. Once they whittled him down on turn 3 I played ... blood frenzy...? and party wiped them w the giant having 1 hp left, attacking basically 3x in that round then keeling over dead.... with another giant right behind him to sustain the block.

 

I don't see this as any masterful tactics on my part, and I don't really see what they could have done due to LOS making it pretty much impossible to plink the guy (especially since he has reach). When I got to respawn him in a reinforcement wave we agreed to suspend the game. I don't know that I'll be able to get them to pick it back up unless I figure out a way to balance things out.

 

Do I just nerf myself and stop picking particularly "meta" monsters? Do I limit the amount of OL cards I can play a turn?

 

Sorry if this is a bit disjointed, long day at work :D

Edited by Magnum9

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There are many similar threads through this forum.  What surprises me is that some people simply never learn (directed at your heroes, not you).

 

I don't think you have done anything wrong.  If I was one of your heroes, I would be pissed if you went easy on me.

 

When the players are first picking their heroes, they need to give some consideration as to the types of heroes they pick, their various abilities, and their synergies they can bring to the battle.

 

By now, after having played quite a few encounters, they should know that many of the maps are relatively small, and often contain choke points in them.  So, one of the various tactics they can employ is to choose heroes that can move through enemy figures, or weapons (such as the crossbow) that can move enemy figures, they can choose heroes that allow them to bring PCs onto the board (stones, reanimate, etc.) that provide additional attacks, etc.

 

Now, I realize that you may or may not have all of the expansions, and thus this may limit some of their choices.  Further, I realize that all of this is not necessarily under their control, but the tactics they employ, the choices they make, etc. are under their control.

 

They can't keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results.

 

The heroes I play against win quite often; they have become skilled at selecting the correct hero makeup, and are especially good with matching a specific hero they choose to a class that provides significant synergy with their hero's abilities, heroic feats, etc.

 

Ok, I have rambled on a bit, and have probably started to sound like I am ranting ... which, I may be doing a little bit  :P .

 

It's just so frustrating to me when I read threads like "The heroes are way over powered ...", "The Overlord can't be beat ...", etc.

Magnum9 likes this

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Out of curiosity, what heroes and classes are your players using?

 

A rules clarification on Stun: a hero must use one action to recover from their condition, but after that they can still spend Fatigue to move and perform their second action. From the anecdote you used, it sounds like they believed Stun makes them lose their whole turn.

 

Monsters can only use one of their actions each turn to attack. If a card grants them another attack they may be able to perform more than one attack in a round, but under normal circumstances they only get one. Also, cards like Blood Frenzy don't let you make a special attack action like Sweep -- the extra attacks from these cards can only be basic attacks.

 

I apologize if I"m repeating rules you already know. A lot of times, players will find the game unbalanced because they don't know all the special rules, so I'm trying to clear things up :)

Edited by Covered in Weasels
Magnum9 likes this

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No it's fine I appreciate it.

 

I didn't really specify further that the "stun lock" was more they didn't have a chance to really pick everyone up/deal damage/heal. They were just stuck burning actions to pick people up or maybe take a pot shot.

 

And since I was knocking them down so often and have a pretty consolidated deck, I was getting a lot of frenzy cards/blood frenzy/dark fortune. So basically it was throw special attack as attack 1. Sometimes throw a card that adds a surge if no surge on the dice etc etc. I've def tried to find rules to slow me down

 

As far as who is playing what we have

 

Nara Beastmaster

Augur Prophet

Zyla Conjurer

Grey Ker Wildlander

 

So I've bought pretty much everything Descent 2nd Edition so we have a full range of options.

 

Thanks to both of you for the opinions. 

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As a minor point, it seems like they chose a VERY weak party. IMO Beastmaster is the weakest Warrior class, Conjurer might be tied with Hexer but they're both utterly terrible. Prophet I like, but doesn't have a ton of healing ability. Wildlander is okay - there are definitely some cool things you can do with it - but the only reason it's playable is because Scout classes are weak as a whole.

 

The character choices seem good, though - Nara seems like a good choice for beastmaster, Augur slightly shores up the Prophet's weaker healing, and Grey Ker is all around a pretty solid character. Zyla isn't one of my favorites, but she's playing Conjuror so that's pretty hopeless anyway :-)

 

I'm not saying that's why you're crushing them - but I find it hard to believe Knight, Geomancer, Disciple, and Treasure Hunter would have the same problems with a single giant.

any2cards likes this

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Not to mention the fact that with Zyla, it shouldn't matter that giant(s) are blocking the corridor, as she can move through them.  I am not saying that strategically it was the right move for the moment within your game, but that is a perfect example of a hero that can ignore other figures and terrain when moving.

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Yeah he specifically chose her thinking "I'll walk through everything, dropping mirror image as I go to have a large option of attack positions"

 

But I had gummed things up quite a bit with spiders by the second turn and the player would have had to stop in a few pretty precarious situations. I recall her health only being 8? or so and she'd already taken a bit of fatigue and damage from me popping a couple of said images

 

I guess I might have them restart if they are willing, or even have them swap out their classes, keep the gold/xp pool and restart the quest from there. If they're up for it of course.

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As a minor point, it seems like they chose a VERY weak party. IMO Beastmaster is the weakest Warrior class

 

The beast master is not that bad, the wolf provides a lot of defence, green attack dice and if uses correctly awards the beast-master a third attack per round. The wolf can also that un-missabe attack with 2 red, 2 yellow attack dice which can do a lot damage just when the heroes need it the most which can win games. There might be better choices but i hardly see the beast master as a bad choice.

 

The other things you mentioned though are pretty spot on.

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As a minor point, it seems like they chose a VERY weak party. IMO Beastmaster is the weakest Warrior class

 

The beast master is not that bad, the wolf provides a lot of defence, green attack dice and if uses correctly awards the beast-master a third attack per round. The wolf can also that un-missabe attack with 2 red, 2 yellow attack dice which can do a lot damage just when the heroes need it the most which can win games. There might be better choices but i hardly see the beast master as a bad choice.

 

The other things you mentioned though are pretty spot on.

 

 

I actually think the berserker is worse than the beastmaster, but the beastmaster is pretty bad compared to the others. I don't have manor of ravens yet (it's on order), so I can't comment on the Marshall, but for the others, I'd say Knight > Skirmisher > Champion > Beastmaster > Berserker

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 I'd say Knight > Skirmisher > Champion > Beastmaster > Berserker

 

That sort of ranking heavily depends on the rest of the party. I played against a party of Disciple, Runemaster, Beastmaster, Necromancer, and the extra attacking figure (wolf) who bolstered attack and defense when he was near heroes was exactly what they needed coupled with occasional extra yellow die from the Disciple. The synergy was absurd.

 

I'm confused by one thing in this thread- you say you stopped in the middle of death on the wing, but you've played the interlude? I'm assuming that's from multiple runs of the campaign, otherwise I'm not sure what you mean- did they every try a different party (also, has anyone else taken a shot at overlord?)

Edited by Zaltyre

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One thing I'd point out, since everyone's covered everything else is equipment.

 

Greed in Descent is NOT good.

Your Equipment can give you a great boost, or fail you miserably and if your players are hoarding their gold hoping to get that one mega-item, then that is why they fail.  Encourage them to buy items, even if they are weaker ones than the one they want and then sell their base items and new items when they need to upgrade.  It's no use keeping all the gold until the interlude just to get the one big item, if they end up giving you all the XP and relics you want. Plus, in Act II ythey won't get much gold if they can't push through the boosted monsters the OL puts out.

Covered in Weasels likes this

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One thing I'd point out, since everyone's covered everything else is equipment.

 

Greed in Descent is NOT good.

Your Equipment can give you a great boost, or fail you miserably and if your players are hoarding their gold hoping to get that one mega-item, then that is why they fail.  Encourage them to buy items, even if they are weaker ones than the one they want and then sell their base items and new items when they need to upgrade.  It's no use keeping all the gold until the interlude just to get the one big item, if they end up giving you all the XP and relics you want. Plus, in Act II ythey won't get much gold if they can't push through the boosted monsters the OL puts out.

 

This is absolutely true. Sure, you might rather have the Crossbow than the Oak Longbow, but if only the second one is available it's still much better than your starting bow.

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Ha yes a few mistakes. I meant I ran them through the INTRO several times. My bad.

And while I did mean I am murdering my players characters, I might be murdering the players themselves as well with all the junk food I end up throwing at them when they come by.

 

Hopefully I'll scrounge everyone up this weekend and give it another go. Considering they've been a little hung up on stand and fight and thus have missed a lot of search tokens, I've actually come up with a delightfully dorky way to make them RP a bit and gain an extra shop trip (since they've kind of ignored it except for the scepter)

Edited by Magnum9

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Granted I've only played one campaign of Descent, but the Overlord won _one_ mission (By Benny Hill pegging it for the exit) before we could kill his leutenant.

 

I was checking the forums to see which tactics he should be using to pose us a challange, so I guess YMMV based on how cheesy the players are? :)

 

We fought the 'Big bad' at the end of the Shadow rune campaign and litterally battered him inside a turn, it was quite the anti climax ;)

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so I guess YMMV based on how cheesy the players are? 

 

I fight cheese with a grater personally

 

The greater the grater, the more cheesed out the cheesy players are. :P

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They might need to take advantage of the fact that Sweep requires LoS, so just have 2 people in the front to absorb the blow (Wolf or images come to mind).  Then move/dismiss them on their turn to unload on the giant, they should be able to take him down in a turn or two.  Then move up to prevent the blockade.

 

Weapons would definitely be a factor though, starting weapons are usually pretty weak (barring the Arcane Bolt... iz nice)

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