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Grimmlock

Is the Quest Guide supposed to be hidden?

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Hey everyone!

 

I started a campaign (with 4 Players and me as the OL) and so far I'm loving the game.

Sometimes it is hard beeing the OL (especially since my players start high fiving each other when they killed a monster (no matter which)) but it's still fun.^^

 

But here comes my question: How do you handle the Quest Guide? Is everyone allowed to have a look inside? 

 

So far, I've kept it hidden behind a GM screen. I thought it might spoil the fun if the players would always knew what the next level look like and what kind if Items (Relics) they can win/loot.

 

But now that more and more special rules are beeing used in the missions I'm not sure anymore if that's the best choice.

 

Or maybe there are other options?

Just read the narative parts and only explain the special rules when the players ask about it? (But I guess that would be too hard)

 

Please let me know how you handle it. :)

 

 

Thanks guys!

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I think this was part of the reason that they introduced the Influence effect for the Shadow of Nerekhall campaign - it allows for some Overlord "hidden information" regarding the quest, without having to completely make the whole thing "no heroes allowed".  Granted, the influence bit isn't in every quest, and sometimes even the Overlord doesn't know what it is, but it can add some nice "unknowns" for the heroes.

 

For what it's worth Imperial Assault does have a "hidden" scenario structure, although it doesn't break that game for the heroes to know things (but may make it less of a surprise at times).

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On my first read-through of that rule, I thought I must be mistaken.  The GM in me just couldn't accept that the players had all of the same information as I did and I balked at allowing it.  The problem was that I was seeing Descent as D&D lite.  After I got thoroughly hosed in First Blood and Fat Goblin trying to make Descent a dungeon crawl, I realized that it's not.

 

As my understanding of the game has grown, I have come to appreciate what a great idea it was NOT having to keep those GM secrets.  No longer can the player whine about how hard a quest was because everything is hidden from them.  Nope, it is all out there for them to see and assess--the ONLY things they don't know are which open groups I will choose and what OL cards I have.  

 

So, there is no need for secrecy and no need for the GM screen.  Leave it all out there for the heroes to behold and still hand them their faces on a tarnished platter!   :D

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Well we had our session again yesterday and I just asked them.

 

I told them that - by the rules - they are allowed to check the guide and than I let them choose: Have all the access the Overlord has or keep it the way we have so far (some nice little surprises).

 

They chose the later option.  :)

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Well we had our session again yesterday and I just asked them.

 

I told them that - by the rules - they are allowed to check the guide and than I let them choose: Have all the access the Overlord has or keep it the way we have so far (some nice little surprises).

 

They chose the later option.  :)

I also come from a pure dungeon crawl background where each step taken by the heroes provides a new surprise for their group. The lack of unknown in Descent scared me at first but it is a big part of the game (Descent being more about strategy and tactics than dungeon crawling).

 

If your group agreed at playing "blind", it is all good. Just make sure that you (as the OL) have read and understand all the quest rules before starting the quest and that all the essential information has been provided to the heroes (quest mechanics and victory/defeat conditions).

 

Also, I want to point out that you will be putting aside the whole part about quest choosing. Heroes won't be able to adequately choose the next quest. This is not a big issue but it might unbalance the game slightly in favor of the OL. Just keep that in mind.

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Also, I want to point out that you will be putting aside the whole part about quest choosing. Heroes won't be able to adequately choose the next quest. This is not a big issue but it might unbalance the game slightly in favor of the OL. Just keep that in mind.

 

 

That came to my mind too, yes. I think (once they win their first Quest :D ) I'll if I could narrate them their possible Quest choices. Some NPC talking about some things that a going on. Rumors of possible loot and dangers or something special about the terrain or something.

 

After I narrated it for them I'll ask them one more time, if they want to continue the game this way.

 

I think this would be a very nice way to give Descent some more of that "Roleplay" and mystery factor.

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Well we had our session again yesterday and I just asked them.

 

I told them that - by the rules - they are allowed to check the guide and than I let them choose: Have all the access the Overlord has or keep it the way we have so far (some nice little surprises).

 

They chose the later option.  :)

 

Even if they don't want to read the quests themselves, I'd suggest they at least read about what the rewards for each quest will be.  Otherwise, they are just choosing blindly and randomly, and could just end up getting rewards that aren't suited towards their party.

 

I think not knowing the quests can also make things much harder for the heroes, as there are times when certain quests just aren't suited for certain parties.  If a group of heroes doesn't have high speed or ways to slow the OL down, the "chase" missions will be VERY difficult, for example.

 

As a thought, perhaps go through the quests yourself and at least write down brief descriptions of the "goal" and flavor - for the heroes to make a choice, they should know thematically why they are making a certain decision.

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If my heroes didn't get to read the questbook, or opted to not do so, I'd never lose, and I'd get bored fairly quickly with the game.

 

Yea well , no need to worry. This is the first time we play this game and so far it feels like I am the one struggling to keep up.

 

But I thank everyone for their imput. I will ask my group again and point out the things you guys have mentioned.

 

Have a nice weekend!

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Maybe read teh quest and give them all fairly short descriptors:

 

Race, Objective defence, Capture-the-Flag, Rescue

 

Something to tell them about the quest, without revealing too much detail about what the quest actually is

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If my heroes didn't get to read the questbook, or opted to not do so, I'd never lose, and I'd get bored fairly quickly with the game.

 

There is no unwinnable quest for either side, bar a couple of real broken ones that are not worth discussing here. What happens though - is that one reward will invariably be better than the other one, when comparing two quests, So if players have the choice, they might pick the same quest over and over through several playthroughs of the same campaign. Just because there is no reason not to pick the better alternative if the players are willing to try and win instead of playing 100% on casual level. But when it comes to actually winning the quest, I would still believe the odds are still open. They often lean towards one side or another, but that's not saying said side would invariably win it. It really depends on the heroes composition and your choices as the overlord. Luck is also a factor.

 

I would also get bored if the same quests were played all over again, but:

1- You would really have to play the game a lot to chain Shadow Rune campaigns like this. With three big campaigns (soon Heirs of Blood) and three mini campaigns, I don't think it's a huge issue that you happen to play the same quest with two months intervals.

2- Your take on the quest would be different anyway, because the heroes/skills are different, and unless you don't diversify your choices at all when you skill up, you have access to different tools for the job.

3- You may want to try a different strategy. You may want to use a monster group you didn't have access to last time you played the quest.

 

I don't have discussions like these with my group. We´re in competitively, BUT on the casual basis that we want to try out all the quests and try therefore to pick new ones even at the price of a bit of competitiveness. Then both side just throws everything we´ve got into winning the quest. As a consequence, we don't really see rewards as a real incentive for playing a particular quest, even if it should be the case. Once we´ve played everything we´ll certainly come back to the most interesting ones upon running the same campaign again, but for now one of the main excitements is trying to tackle new situations and see how both sides fare. 

 

I´m not really a RPGer but we sort of have this RPG mindset, which is that you don't decide which loot you will get from saving the girl from the big troll. You end up being in a situation and you try your best to sort it out, then you get whatever you get from the treasure chest. 

 

So in essence I don't think it's a problem that the heroes do not take part of the "choose the next quest" step. My group doesn't, and we´re still having a blast. I prepare everything for the group, so you need to step out of the overlord mindset for a minute to serve the greater good. You gain nothing from picking OL-favored quests all the time anyway, you can still lose them, and it will irritate your opposition. I personally choose to ignore reports of quests being OL or heroes favored. To me it makes no sense because of the sheer variability in the game. It's almost like I would pick heroes-favored quests just to see how I as the Overlord would try to invalidate that conclusion. I´m all in for the challenge. I get my ass kicked a lot too, but I love being pressed.

 

I pick up the quest book, I check what's available, I check for interesting wincons (if it's all about defeating one side, then that's a minus), I check the rewards as well (if the only reward is an extra XP for the OL or 100 gold to the heroes it's less interesting, for instance). Then I explain everything they need to know, and I start wearing my OL hat. Our games are quite even (bar bad luck and such). 

 

It's not only about picking quests. I also pick Basic II over Basic I because I don't really like starting the game with game winners in my hand (Dash mainly). Although I wish sometimes I had access to them. But resolving Blinding Speed is thousands times more thrilling than resolving Dash.

 

(But then we play with the wrong rules all the times, so yeah... . :D )

Edited by Indalecio

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If my heroes didn't get to read the questbook, or opted to not do so, I'd never lose, and I'd get bored fairly quickly with the game.

 

There is no unwinnable quest for either side, bar a couple of real broken ones that are not worth discussing here. What happens though - is that one reward will invariably be better than the other one, when comparing two quests, So if players have the choice, they might pick the same quest over and over through several playthroughs of the same campaign. Just because there is no reason not to pick the better alternative if the players are willing to try and win instead of playing 100% on casual level. But when it comes to actually winning the quest, I would still believe the odds are still open. They often lean towards one side or another, but that's not saying said side would invariably win it. It really depends on the heroes composition and your choices as the overlord. Luck is also a factor.

 

I would also get bored if the same quests were played all over again, but:

1- You would really have to play the game a lot to chain Shadow Rune campaigns like this. With three big campaigns (soon Heirs of Blood) and three mini campaigns, I don't think it's a huge issue that you happen to play the same quest with two months intervals.

2- Your take on the quest would be different anyway, because the heroes/skills are different, and unless you don't diversify your choices at all when you skill up, you have access to different tools for the job.

3- You may want to try a different strategy. You may want to use a monster group you didn't have access to last time you played the quest.

 

I don't have discussions like these with my group. We´re in competitively, BUT on the casual basis that we want to try out all the quests and try therefore to pick new ones even at the price of a bit of competitiveness. Then both side just throws everything we´ve got into winning the quest. As a consequence, we don't really see rewards as a real incentive for playing a particular quest, even if it should be the case. Once we´ve played everything we´ll certainly come back to the most interesting ones upon running the same campaign again, but for now one of the main excitements is trying to tackle new situations and see how both sides fare. 

 

I´m not really a RPGer but we sort of have this RPG mindset, which is that you don't decide which loot you will get from saving the girl from the big troll. You end up being in a situation and you try your best to sort it out, then you get whatever you get from the treasure chest. 

 

So in essence I don't think it's a problem that the heroes do not take part of the "choose the next quest" step. My group doesn't, and we´re still having a blast. I prepare everything for the group, so you need to step out of the overlord mindset for a minute to serve the greater good. You gain nothing from picking OL-favored quests all the time anyway, you can still lose them, and it will irritate your opposition. I personally choose to ignore reports of quests being OL or heroes favored. To me it makes no sense because of the sheer variability in the game. It's almost like I would pick heroes-favored quests just to see how I as the Overlord would try to invalidate that conclusion. I´m all in for the challenge. I get my ass kicked a lot too, but I love being pressed.

 

I pick up the quest book, I check what's available, I check for interesting wincons (if it's all about defeating one side, then that's a minus), I check the rewards as well (if the only reward is an extra XP for the OL or 100 gold to the heroes it's less interesting, for instance). Then I explain everything they need to know, and I start wearing my OL hat. Our games are quite even (bar bad luck and such). 

 

It's not only about picking quests. I also pick Basic II over Basic I because I don't really like starting the game with game winners in my hand (Dash mainly). Although I wish sometimes I had access to them. But resolving Blinding Speed is thousands times more thrilling than resolving Dash.

 

(But then we play with the wrong rules all the times, so yeah... . :D )

 

 

There are a variety of details that impact how players make decisions that are found in the quest guide. They simply cannot know them without having access to the book. Such examples range from special events that happen after a set number of turns or when a trigger (like a door opening) activates. From reinforcement rules for the encounter to special things monsters can do, they're supposed to know all of that from the get-go. If you hide that information from them, you hinder their chances and make their moves sub-optimal. With my group, every quest comes down to the wire as is.

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Oh I completely agree, maybe I wasn't clear enough but we definitely consider the quest book to be open information. We start the encounter by reading through everything, and maybe figure out a few things together before starting, then we refer to the book when required. I hand it over to the heroes so they can check whatever they need to know without having necessarly to ask me (as the OL). I always keep it visible in front of me since I´m the GM but anybody can grab it.

 

What we don't do however is spending time finding out what the next quest will be. If need be, while planning for the next session, I contact my hero players if there is any form of decision to make prior to playing, but that would have to be something special.

Edited by Indalecio

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I love the Descent Style and how the rules are open to the players, it helps as I'm usually the OL and some quests are nearly impossible to remember everything. Plus trying to keep my strategy in place. I have lost several quests due to forgetting about the cards in my hand and not playing them at the right time. Why? Cause I'm going over special rules and my monsters and my cards and watching the players move and trying to remember their special abilities and more stratigizing.... (breath,breath). Players are a great asset when they are talking about how to beat the quest and what each one has to do.

 

 We have played a full RPG style using the combat system and storyline. Objectives and specials are given during interaction with NPCs. My favorite thing about this style is they never know what going to hit them. Either way Descent is a powerful game with tons of material and content. It currently is my favorite collection.

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