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Shadow of Nerekhall finale

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We're about to start the Shadow of Nerekhall campaign with 5 players total (me as the OL). Since I won the Shadow Rune campaign the heroes are eager for revenge. :)

 

I've searched this and other forums for balance issues in SoN, and I'm a bit concerned about the finale. From what I've read, the Black Realm finale seems nearly impossible to win for the heroes, even if the odds seems to improve with a full party of 4 heroes. Of course I don't mind winning the campaign again, but it's going to feel cheap if we end up with the Black Realm as the finale and the heroes find it being unfairly hard.

 

To those of you who've played the Black Realm, how did you experience it? I'm especially interested in replies from those who played it with 4 heroes.

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The heroes won when we played it, and I thought I had a pretty good plan. After beating them up with a bunch of monsters and stalling the best I could, I ran Gargan down the center and over to the sewers area, using my remaining monsters to stall even more. They got to  him barely in time to not fall to corruption.

 

It was syndrael the knight, mok the bard,dezra the necromancer, and tinashi the shadow walker- a rather good hero party.

 

That map is a bit luck based as the corruption rolls are quite important.I loved playing that finale (even though I lost).

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This quest is pretty harsh for the heroes.

 

If I recall in Zaltyre's case, he only won 2 of the quests leading up to the finale, so the heroes were very powerful and he had very few corrupt citizens. He also used Alric's plot deck, which is one of the weaker ones in the game. He didn't even have his lieutenant summoned into battle. And even with all that going against him, he still almost won.

 

Honestly, because the only thing the Overlord has to do is stall in this quest, I really think it favors him if he just uses a few tools, such as traps. By my estimation, he only really has to survive on average about 10-12 turns before the heroes are all done. This isn't difficult considering the large number of forces he gets and the amount of ground the heroes have to cover. Throw Tristayne Olliven, a couple of Corrupt Citizen cards and a powerful Summon Agent into the mix and its even more grim for the heroes.

 

It also doesn't help that Act II Mirklace is the most powerful monster in the entire game and can wipe out the entire party in a single attack if he gets a little lucky.

 

I am coming up on the finale soon as the heroes myself, and I'm up against Baron Zachareth's plot deck, with the Overlord having won a lot of quests. I'm also starved for gold and items cause of Baron Z. I personally would much rather do The City Falls and am considering letting the Overlord win another quest in Act II just to make that happen.

Edited by Charmy

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When I played, as a hero, we found it difficult, but we were starting to trim back the monsters and get ourselves in a position to start attacking Mirklace when things went south because of a few bad Corruption roles. The last two combat effective heroes failed their rolls, and their rerolls (thanks, Bard!).

 

Although I found the quest interesting and challenging, I also found that the corruption rule basically gives the OL a randomized "I win" timer because depending on the heroes' rolls, he can win in 4 turns or he can win in 16 turns, if the heroes still haven't killed him

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Charmy- you are correct in your recollection- the heroes were strong and well equipped, and it was still close. I would like to clarify that I couldn't have summoned the agent into the finale even if I wanted to (for the sake of the original poster, not for you.)

This finale is tough for the heroes- I am certain, however, that it is winnable (as happened.)

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If the problem are the corruption rolls, maybe there is a way without rolling the dice and instead going for a statistical representive number of turns?

Edited by DAMaz

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If your overlord is willing, you could adjust the rules to prevent a 'cheezy' overlord win.

 

For example, you could have it so that heroes do not make a corruption roll until a given hero has X number of corruption on him (e.g. 3 corruption before beginning to roll).

 

It really sucks if the hero fails the corruption roll right off the bat. Too many of those is a guaranteed loss pretty much.

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I mean, the corruption test is already statistical. A hero has a defined chance to fall to corruption on check based on his current level:

 

1 = 11%

2 = 22%

3 = 53%

4 = 72%

5 = 92%

 

This means that he has a particular probability to have NOT fallen to corruption BY a certain level:

 

1 = 88%

2 = 69%

3 = 33%

4 = 9%

5 = 1%

 

That is, while a hero has a 47% chance of not falling to corruption on his level 3 check, he has a 33% chance of not falling on his 1st, 2nd, or 3rd checks. 

 

The point of the numbers is that unless you're killing the heroes, the quest will likely last at least 8 rounds. It may last 12 rounds. It probably won't last 16 rounds. By the time you get to 20 rounds, the four heroes have almost certainly all fallen to corruption. I don't think that's a bad timer to put on the quest- the reason it can take awhile to kill Mirklace is because he can move, and because he can summon monsters to distract the heroes. However, a skilled hero party CAN cut off his reinforcements effectively, and then it's just a matter of cornering him (stun/immobilize abilities make that a breeze.)

 

Before you consider making changes to the finale and giving the heroes a boost, I'd recommend waiting to see a few things first:

 

1) Do your heroes need the assist? They might be a mediocre party with poor gear, but they might also be a four-member monster obliteration machine by the end of act 2.

 

2) Will you even play that finale? There is another one.

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Thanks for all your comments. Of course it might very well happen that we will play the other finale instead, but I like to be prepared.

 

Depending on how powerful the heroes seem to be I might modify the corruption roll so that it has to be less than instead of less than or equal to the corruption level.

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Depending on how powerful the heroes seem to be I might modify the corruption roll so that it has to be less than instead of less than or equal to the corruption level.

That's an interesting idea- it would essentially give your heroes an extra round each. 

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Thread Necromancy FTW!

We finally got around to playing SoN this Easter, and while most of it was fun, this finale left a severely sour taste in my mouth.

One hero got corrupted immediately, the other after three or four cards. Would maybe be fine for a regular quest but not the - supposedly big - finale. All those quests and quite some time of placing tiles, and for what? For the finale to end already when it had barely even begun yet?

So we spontaneously houseruled that every hero had to fall to corruption twice. And it went exactly the same. Granted, the one player rolling so terribly twice in a row was funny in a way, but it was an utterly dissatisfying hollow victory when I didn't win at all because of my tactics or combat rolls (other than not deliberately playing abysmally) but only because of the heroes' bad die rolls completely unrelated to combat. And the thematic disconnect that this is the finale for when things have been going well for the heroes and the citizens of Nerekhall only exacerbates the issue.

But at least with that houserule the heroes had a fighting chance in sight. After seven to nine rounds we ended with two Barghests and one or two Flesh Moulders between the heroes and Mirklace on the top left tile and Rylan providing support from near the fountain. (Three stones activated, the - unactivated - bottom left one about to be destroyed.) If we play it again, I'll most definitely change it to a fixed limit! Probably 12 fatigue tokens in front of the Overlord? (One at the beginning of each round, one for every time a hero goes down, which happened once in case you're wondering.)

In fact I very much want to redo just the finale the next time we can squeeze it in (after finishing a Descent-sized campaign of board game quests or short RPG modules, which we only get the chance to thrice a year - for the couple of additional Saturdays throughout (half) the year as of yet unplayed shortish stuff (currently Aventuria adventures) takes precedence) to get rid of the smoldering disappointment whenever I think about this expansion.

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