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The Lost Realms - A Fan Expansion

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A little bit of news to keep people keen for the moment.

 

In addition to the 6 new cards for the expansion, I've been playing about with a little something that (I hope) will add a bit of an interesting bonus to user of the Realms expansions.

 

Back during the development of the Nether Realm, is was floated that some rules were included to use the Nether deck in a normal game of Talisman, and not being dependant on the use of Alternative Endings. Because of the space required in the rules for "repeated" items, like Endings, it was not possible however, as the budget at the time could not stretch to a third rulesheet. Something I'm glad happened in the Deep Realms!

 

So, I'm considering rejigging the Nether Realm rulesheets to include the optional rules.

 

Also, whilst Deep Realms was in progress, there was an Alternative Ending to be included, but again, due to space constraints it was left out. I've since rethemed it (very slightly), and will be making it available for download, along with a completely pointless bit of nonsense that I've come up with.

 

Given that the PoD expansions came in plastic "clam shell" packaging, I thought it would be nice to design a box for the expansions to go in. If only for your shelf! :)

 

So... the plan is, that when the Lost Realms is made available (no ETA as yet) there will be an small additional download to bulk out the other Realms expansions.

 

(I hope that made sense...) 

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We did our play testing last night, so here are our comments. Now, I've read through most of the comments in the thread but not all, so if I'm duplicating or mentioning something that's already been changed, please ignore it. We play tested with all the files available on Talisman Island yesterday morning, so I swapped out the Red Cap and updated the cards for typos/errata. And, as I'm an editor by trade, I'd also like to do a copyedit if I have time (and if you're interested), so let me know if that's something you'd like to discuss.

 

Only two of us made it to the Lost Realm. My friend went immediately as the game started because he wanted to try it out, and I went in mid-to-late game as I wanted to play it as I normally would. He entered from the Woodland side, and I entered from the Highland side each time.

  • My friend wanted to go to the Forge, and it took him 8-10 tries to even draw a Trail card, and he almost died.
  • I went in later mainly to try out the realm, and I went back several more times to grind. The big Craft/Strength stats on many of the enemies were awesome to bump up my C/S stats before I made my run to the Crown.
  • Neither of us went to the Elder Village. We both wanted items from the Forgotten Forge instead. There were better/other ways to gain the abilities from the EV, so something to keep in mind. We wanted stuff, not Destinies, spells, or stat increases.

Some random thoughts on objects, abilities, and mechanics both during play and then afterward with hubby when we were discussing the play testing:

 

Trails

  • There should be more Trail cards or some way to increase your chances of drawing one. It was really hard to get them at times, especially with the constant reshuffling of the Border deck.
  • The rules need to clarify the press on mechanic after you successfully navigate a Trail card. Do you move to another space immediately on that same turn, or do you press on your next turn? That wasn't clear to us at all, and we re-read the rules for that section several times.
  • It would be nice to have an ability to draw more Border deck cards to add to your stack like some of the Tunnel cards do in the Deep Realms. This can increase that chance of getting a Trail card.

Objects

  • The Iron Key wasn't as useful to us due to the way we play the game.
    • No one really even tries the Portal until they have a good chance to succeed in the Mines/Crypt, so we almost always have a minimum of 11-12 craft/strength by the time we try the Portal.
    • It could be useful in a few specific situations (you have a Warlock quest, someone has the Talisman of Censure, you have a Gnome or Shovel/Map), but my friend drew it randomly from the Forge and it was pretty useless to him early game since he wasn't strong enough to navigate the Inner Region yet, and by the time he was ready to make his run, he was already high enough in stats that it didn't matter.
    • Giving the Key an additional ability or two would make it much more useful, IMO.
      • Maybe you can use it on a space in the Highland or Woodland. 
      • Maybe it can be used to sneak in the back door of the Eyrie or Queen Mab's Lair and give you a rolling bonus when confronting them.
      • Maybe it will allow you to subtract from your die rolls on spaces in the Inner Region (not combat). You could subtract from your roll on the Crypt/Mines, subtract from your rolls to determine how many lives you lose, and subtract from determining NPC creature craft/strength or number of creatures before you battle. 
  • The Ring of Denial was awesome because my friend was the Gypsy and I was able to deny him reusing one of my spells on me and then he couldn't take the Ring because even though it's basically a Counterspell, it wasn't a spell itself.
  • I think the Forgotten Forge needs some additional items because only six cards seems a bit small and could get stale. In Deep Realms, because you draw random cards from the Shop and Treasure decks, you don't always have the same objects in the Tunnel spaces every time you play. Maybe make it an eight card deck to make it a bit more random? Some card ideas:
    • Pickaxe: Use as an axe (+1 Strength in battle) and it can also allow you to roll one fewer die in the Crypt. It's like a combo Axe and Shovel.
    • Karak's Map: You don't have to roll in the Crags, you can ignore the Chasm space (roll on Original board or don't have to discard an object/follower on the Cataclysm board) and roll one fewer die in the Mines. It's like a combo Map and some of the Dwarf character abilities. Plus an homage to the Karak Doom space maybe?
    • Runesword: Fits thematically and there's already the card in the regular Adventure Deck to use.
  • It would be nice to add a few additional cards to the Border deck.
    • At least two more Trails and a couple more objects would make a 40-card deck, with a 1:5 chance of drawing a Trail instead of a 1:6 chance.
    • Beef up the objects available without having to visit the Forge. Maybe add something like the Lucky Charm and Luckstone, which are from the Highland deck but use fate? Very border in flavor, IMO.
    • The Ruby and Emerald seem almost too low key for this deck, plus with Cataclysm, it's harder to turn in gems.
    • The Lodestone would be a cranky addition, but good for making people have to drop objects in the Border spaces so then they'd be shuffled in the Border deck. That mechanic is missing, or at least we didn't see much of that ability in our play testing.

Followers/Strangers/Events

  • I know you don't want to dilute the deck, but there weren't many followers at all. Maybe add some in or allow some of the enemies to be taken as followers if defeated (see Border Reivers comments below).
  • Maybe add some cards to match the Dryad and Forge Master for the corresponding side?
    • The Dryad drops you at the Forest, but there's no corresponding card for the Crags.
    • The Forge Master is a follower that helps you in the Forgotten Forge, but there's no corresponding card for the Elder Village.

Enemies

  • Border Reivers: At first I thought the "i before e" typo came into play here, but then I looked up Wikipedia and I got educated.  :lol: But, just a heads up that there might be some comments about a typo there from other people. Also, since they were the best light calvary in Europe at the time, maybe they can become a follower if you defeat them to give you a Riding Horse or Warhorse type ability? The Realm doesn't really have a mechanic to get some horse action, does it?
  • Outlaws and Fae: I think there should be more of them, personally. There are only three of each, so their additional C/S bonuses in the regions gets diluted a bit. Maybe adding one of each would increase the chances of drawing one.

Spaces

  • Forgotten Forge: For the die roll of 2-4, why do they have to draw a card randomly? Why can't they just draw the top card? The cards are shuffled and face down, so they should be random anyway.
  • I'm not sold on the Elder Village mechanic using the Destinies. I mentioned previously that my friend and I wanted stuff, not abilities, so it might be worth it to rethink this one some more. Totally just my opinion on the Destinies, because I know some people really like them, but I might tinker with a homebrew for the Elder Village space anyway. This might be a way to get some Woodland objects spread around, so adding an object deck with cards like the following might work as a homebrew or expansion booster down the road:
    • Nuadu's Torc
    • Lugh's Cloak
    • Book of Binding
    • Faerie Wand
    • New object that lets you do something with Destinies (allow characters to draw/force to discard based on fate alignment like Forge Destiny or lets you swap out a Destiny for some type of payment)
    • Something like the Scales of Balance (but not dependent on alignment) that lets players draw/cycle spells
  • Path cards vs the Dwarven Highway and Elven Labrynth: I get the reason for the region "bubble" for the Dwarven Highway and Elven Labrynth, but that exception for the regions for Path cards feels really convoluted. Also, I know it's a way for people to not constantly be able to cycle through Path cards on the Woodland side by popping into the Elven Labrynth and then back into the Thicket, but actually, I kind of like the option to do that. Sometimes you get really crappy Path card options, so it's actually nice to have another way to cycle through some of the Path options. Plus, would you then draw a Path card when you enter the Elven Labrynth from the Dwarven Highway space? That seems weird to me, because then if you go to the Elder Village, you'd drop the Destiny anyway.
Anyway, just some thoughts, suggestions, and ideas for expanding the realms. We really enjoyed playing last night, and I can't wait to see the final form!
Edited by bowlwoman

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Thanks very much for the detailed feedback bowlwoman! It's much appreciated :)

 

I will address some of your concerns below (I hope!), but if I don't cover something, please don't think I've ignored the issue. It is possible that some things are just going to have to stay a certain way, and can be addressed in the possible "expansion expansion", a bit like how I am hoping to add "value" to the Nether Realm and Deep Realms in the secondary download I have decided to make.

 

Firstly, I believe a couple of your concerns will be addressed with the extra 6 cards that will be added to the download (which I'll add at the bottom of the post). An additional Fae and Outlaw, and a single Trail. Although the trail will not alter the ratio of trails in the deck, it is skewed towards a favourable result.

 

On the subject of Trails and the problem of actually finding one, I would prefer not to add any more to the mix, but there is another way of dealing with the issue. Perhaps any Trail that is drawn should remain on the space, and any other cards get shuffled back into the deck?

 

As Trail is a keyword, it would be easy enough to add there, and you would still have to encounter other cards before you could actually try the trail again on another turn. The space text already covers a Trail being there as it states about drawing the 2 cards, even if there are cards there.

 

Pressing on from a Trail is immediate. I shall add a word in there to clarify this!

 

I take your point about the Gems and Cataclysm, but that's going to happen anyway with the Highland in use. I wanted to have some ordinary cards in there, and for theme the gems are better than just plain bags of gold.

 

What I might do is replace one of them with the Lodestone (as I like your thinking!), and replace the other with the Diamond to make it more valuable.

 

As for Paths, the restriction is to stop Path swapping on a whim as you suspect.

 

What I can do though is change the restriction so that the each realm forms part of the the adjacent region as a whole, and not just the "road" spaces.

 

Regarding Destinies etc in the Elder Village. It will suit some players, and not others. It will remain as is. Same with the Forge deck, at least there are more Forge items than there are Relics! :)

 

For the key, all I can say is that sometimes you find a bag of gold, and sometimes you find a crown :) It's the chance you take with a random draw.

 

So, can anyone see any issues with the following -

 

Making Trails remain on the space after they are drawn?

 

Making each realm a part of its adjacent region?

 

<edit> Oops! I forgot the updated extra cards!

 

TMxx-update-02a.jpg

Edited by talismanisland

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Thanks for the feedback on my feedback. :D As I mentioned, some of my comments were personal preferences that I can play around with on my own as a homebrew or with house rules. 

 

As for your comments:

 

Because this is a self-print expansion, I may add some extra cards to the Forge deck on my own just to play test it. I also thought about doing a new homebrew Relic deck anyway, as four cards is just too few IMO. We already house rule the Arknell to avoid a backdoor Crown option, so this may be the best option for our game in general.

 

I really like swapping out the Ruby and Emerald for a Lodestone and Diamond. Good call, I think. Adds a bit more "high risk, high reward" flair too. :D

 

Trails staying on the spaces: I actually thought about this last night as a comment/suggestion, especially since the Trails are the only Place cards and Places normally stay on the space until the end of the game. However, I wondered about how fair it was to the first player to find a trail vs subsequent players. Maybe if there isn't a trail already on the space and you draw one, you get to add +1 to your die roll on the Forge or Village? This gives the trailblazers who first find the trail a bit of a boost. Also, what happens if you draw a trail and there's already one in the space? Do they both stay? 

 

I really like making the realm halves to be part of their attached region. Plus, having the Path of Folly would reduce your die roll when rolling on the FF or EV, but it looks like that's the only Path card that would affect those spaces directly. The Paths that affect object carrying limit and the Lodestone might affect the FF space, though, so if people have to drop objects at the Forge, would those objects get shuffled into the Forge deck?

 

Also, would this affect Deep Realms as well in the new rules, to make the halves part of the Dungeon and City regions? Having these small boards as separate regions always messed us up when playing Harbinger, so I like having them all be little bump outs to their respective regions.

 

ETA: I love all the new cards. Are those going to be added straight out or do those swap out something else? I need to go back and read the comments I missed in the thread, so that might explain it. :)

Edited by bowlwoman

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The six cards are extras, so there will be 42 Border cards.

 

For the Trails, I don't see an issue with allowing others to use the Trail you just unearthed. There is no guarantee that you will even end up on the same space after you've encountered it, so it's not necessarily a bonus!

 

...and yes, both Trails would remain on the space and you would pick which one you wanted to encounter (first) as if you were still on the space after encountering the Trail you'd probably want to press on anyway, though you might fancy a trip down the second Trail.

 

I think any adjustment to the Deep Realms would have to be a house rule, though as I am adding some extended rules for the Nether Realm, I might as well as an adjustment for the Deep Realms on the same sheet.

 

I was just going to have the single page that would slot into the Nether rulesheets as 2a and 2b, but it could be a new sheet covering the previous two realm expansions.

 

I don't think any cards on the Forge would be added to the Forge deck. They would just be encountered like any other cards on a non draw card space, so it might make a nice bonus for the next person to visit the space.

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Regarding the Trails remaining on the space, I think that could work fine. One additional thing to consider would be in the wording for the Trails portion of the Rules, adding an amendment that Trails are discarded after they are encountered. So basically Trails that are drawn but not encountered remain on the space, but once encountered they go back into the Border deck.

 

Beyond that, part of the strategy for the Lost Realms in my opinion is to avoid turning in Trophies gained there until you have revealed a Trail. This helps thin the deck so to speak, and increases the chances of drawing a Trail in the first place.

 

I also like the Lodestone/Diamond better than the other gems, good call bowlwoman!

Edited by sanityismyvanity

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Rather than keeping Trails on the spaces indefinitely I agree that it is probably best to leave them there until they have been encountered (as in rolled on).

 

I've added the following to the Trail card entry, but I've had to lose the picture example, though it's no big loss as I think everyone is now familiar with what constitutes a keyword!

 

Trails remain on the space they were drawn until they have been encountered, after which they are shuffled back into the Border deck along with any other cards on the space.

 

Also, I've changed the paragraphs in the rules relating to the regions -

 

Together the two Realms form the long-forgotten Border Region, and can also be considered part of an adjacent Region, as detailed on page 5.

 

and

 

For the purposes of discarding Path cards only, the Iron Peaks is classed as being part of both the Highland Region and the Border Region, and the Greenwood Spires is classed as being part of both the Woodland Region and the Border Region.

 

Clear enough?

Edited by talismanisland

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