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NewKevlar

Another house rule on "X"

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I have a friend who worked in the game industry in Sweden for a decade or so, and said he heard this house rule from a friend at FFG. I have suggested it to my game group and they loved it immediately. No more frustration over misses. What do we do? Instead of interpreting the X as a miss, we use it as a multiplier.

We felt it worked well without altering present mechanics or theme. The defender doubles their shields rolled when the attacker rolls an X. Pierce is counted only after shields are doubled. If a poorly executed attack comes against and equally poorly made block, someone could still get hurt ...

In 3 or 4 quests played this way, I think damage has been dealt on X's 5 or 6 times, and on one particular roll, a full health monster, a minion zombie, was killed with an X roll. Even the OL felt like the zombie deserved it after the power dice were rolled so well.

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Well yeah, doing it this way is a big nerf to monsters with brown defense dice, so here you go.

Also there's quite a few effects triggered by the X from hero abilities or feats that you need to house rule if these characters are played. Same goes for a few OL abilities.

I was about to read your other thread regarding OL strategy but after reading this I cannot comment to it because you basically are playing the game on a **** of a house rule. No offense meant, it's just that the X is such a core rule to the game.

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Hmm, that is a fair point, and maybe the reason it has worked so well for us is because we haven't got any heroes with stuff that trigger off the X. Obviously, either they won't get picked in future campaigns (plenty of choices anyhow) or we will just revert back.

4/5 probably it is still a miss, but just the odds of it not being autofail boosted morale significantly. 

I couldn't say whether the OL or heroes got any advantage, we all assume it is a complete wash, just seems to move the game along ever-so-slightly faster.

Not offended and highly respect your opinion. I am here to learn.

 

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One thing worth considering ESPECIALLY with an "X" house rule is the definition of "miss" in Descent. It means to roll the "X" or to roll insufficient range. It DOES NOT mean dealing no damage due to too many shields or not enough wounds.

This is important because you'd have to consider what you want to call a "miss" as (like Indalecio said) there are card abilities on both sides which relate to misses.

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Right. Is it true that it is possible to play a campaign where those abilities, cards, effects are never used? I dont recall anything in the OL cards I have relating to an X, and Mok Bard, Astarra Runemaster, Trenloe Knight, and Logan Treasure Hunter all seem untouched by the ruling. I will certianly explain to my group the issue of making it a universal house rule spanning campaigns.

Like I said, it seems like a wash in our situation, but there is a lot of content of which I remain unfamiliar. Are there ever quest rules that say anything about a miss? 

Edited by NewKevlar

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It seems like this rule changes the gameplay pretty significantly.

 The heroes generally have much higher per-attack damage output than the monsters do, so each miss represents a bigger pile of hearts, and (at least when there's more than one monster group on the board) often have fewer attacks overall than the monsters do, too, so a single miss is relatively speaking a bigger chunk of their overall damage. Said another way, the hero's damage output is inherently more "swingy" than the overlord's, fewer rolls with bigger dice. 

To an extent this is removing a big part of the random element from the game, and turning it into a purer strategy game. Without the random elements -- without the occasional string of misses at a critically bad time -- I feel like you'd be removing a lot of the drama and tension from a play session; you'll end up with a more mathematical, less emotional experience, I'd suspect. 

You're mitigating that a bit with the extra defense dice rule, but late game heroes can stack a LOT of offense in each swing -- for example, with your listed team, Logan with Finder's Keepers and the Repeating Crossbow could roll a blue. red, green, and yellow die on a single attack; Astarra with Many Friends and the Staff of the Wild could roll a blue, yellow, and three green dice with each attack (not even counting Prismatic Spray).  Presuming you can work everything else out, you might want to move up to tripling the defense dice in Act II. 

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6 hours ago, NewKevlar said:

Right. Is it true that it is possible to play a campaign where those abilities, cards, effects are never used? I dont recall anything in the OL cards I have relating to an X, and Mok Bard, Astarra Runemaster, Trenloe Knight, and Logan Treasure Hunter all seem untouched by the ruling. I will certianly explain to my group the issue of making it a universal house rule spanning campaigns.

Like I said, it seems like a wash in our situation, but there is a lot of content of which I remain unfamiliar. Are there ever quest rules that say anything about a miss? 

There are plenty of quests in which misses being a factor are very important. Just off the top of my head I can think of 3 quests in Heirs of Blood campaign alone where attackers on both the hero and/or overlord side may spend surges during an attack to perform some quest-critical effect (e.g. remove or reveal an objective token, get points towards a quest goal etc.).

With your house rule, since attacks can't miss, even botched 'X' attacks which deal no damage can still spend surges to trigger these effects. The bonus defense doesn't matter if dealing damage wasn't the goal of the attack.

This shifts the balance of the quest considerably, as they were balanced with the additional '1/6' chance that any given attempt to advance the quest objective can fail.

This relates to a big consequence in general of removing misses that really favors heroes. If an attack misses you can't spend surges to recover fatigue or trigger other effects, such as Avric Albright's hero ability, or powerful non-damage related weapon effects such as the Crossbow movement effect. With this change, heroes will be able to use beneficial surges significantly more frequently - making any attack with a surge have a guaranteed payout, regardless of enemy defense results.

Not to mention just general, more subtle balance shifts. Even in your specific party setup alone the house rule reduces the importance of the Bard's Rehearsal Harmony ability, which is otherwise incredibly powerful for its party-wide reduction to missing.

There is a reason abilities that prevent misses are heavily costed in the game (usually rare Act 2 items or 3-xp class abilities). There are also several abilities explicitly designed to deal damage without requiring attacks that are weakened by this change (e.g. Spiritspeaker Tempest becomes even less useful on an already hurting class)

Edited by Charmy

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Your suggestions and warnings are taken to heart, I really appreciate how well thought out they are. 

We were intending to significantly change the game, and I think the assertion that the game is now slightly less random and more strategic is at least what we hoped would happen, and so far, feel we have accomplished. 

I am definitely going to look up the references to things we may have broken and explain to the heroes the impacts, but I doubt we would change anything at this point in the campaign.

It sounds like you are implying the heroes have more advantage from this ruling than the OL, correct? I realize their swings are bigger and more likely to have an impact on an X, but I roll a lot more Xs than they do, and I am dealing over all the same amount of damage to them that they deal to me over the course of a quest, or so it seems. In other words, even if I do 4 or 5 heart over 4 or 5 attacks on X rolls over the course of the quest, they will probably do the same amount over 1 or 2 X rolls in the same quest. I will keep track our next quest to see if that is accurate, but that example doesn't seem imbalanced to me.

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Yeah, on average it'll just be bigger damage numbers for everyone across the board, so the ratio of hero damage to OL damage will remain the same (except of course for surges, which will disproportionately favor the heroes due to gear; heroes get better surge effects.

Reducing the variability is still a big change though in gameplay terms even if the average ratio remains proportional. Variability is a big part of the game; specifically, low-end variability -- the chance that you'll sometimes whiff an attack or two -- is an important gameplay consideration, both because 1) the players have to plan and account for the possibility of missing an important attack, and 2) sometimes a string of bad luck will mean bad things happen to the heroes that they have to recover from, even when they've done everything "correctly." In a lot of ways you'll be playing a very different game.

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I like the overall idea and the discussion here.

I think it's highly group dependent.

My group really likes these times where victory or defeat is dependent on this one dice throw (attack/attribute test):

the tension is rising to the limits and afterwards where is relief, cheering, frustration or everything together. My poor neighbors...

Everyone would severely miss something with the suggested workaround.

 

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"The heroes get more advantage than the OL from this" - In most OL class choices, yes I agree with that

I would add also that certain quests become [even more] broken if you do this. I.E. those quests where monsters or heroes have only one or two turns to deal some damage to an objective.. If that objective has a gray diefor example you are heavily putting the odds against it.  Maybe the attacker just needs to use one of his surge abilities to say, immobilize? game over.

Those quests are generally design as in 'the heroes/OL will make it here in 2/3 turns so the target has taken X/Y damage by then". The Quests feel very unbalanced because all those variables are very variant depending on the huge amount of skills, cards and of course rolls. This kind of house rule tips more the cases to one extreme.


My observation with the X dilemma is that it can become very exciting - very frustrating. So people even though getting to memorable fun moments would say "that's broken needs fix".  Personally I like it :) we just need more items and cards that work with it (i.e. rerolls)

Edited by GralQ

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The X is part of the game and offers many things, even if unlucky times could be frustrating

My last game with a friend, each of us rolled a X almost half of the time, and even if it was very fustrating, we had fun

I remember another game with an unkillable hero and I was on a nightmare ! Jaes as a runemaster with runeplate and , hammer of doom, mana tithe and golden mask, so on each of his attacks, he is assured to do between 4 and 12 damage. Even the X doesn't offer me a chance !!!

The only "house rule" that I would accept is that heroic feats should not fail, so treating the X as a blank during feats could be a good choice.

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On 11/19/2017 at 3:12 PM, rugal said:



The only "house rule" that I would accept is that heroic feats should not fail, so treating the X as a blank during feats could be a good choice.

I feel like there's probably room for a house rule as to how conditions propagate from area of effect attacks, just because the existing rule is so complicated. But I'm not sure what that house rule should be.

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That brings up a question (in my weird brain). I was recently reminded that you cannot play the same card twice off the same trigger, however, what about fortune tokens? If you reroll an X, can you reroll again, assuming you had 2 tokens? 

I would guess yes, but it is that kind of one-way thinking that gets me confused on target and affected stuff i.e. stun propogates on sweep, conditions propogate on surges on blast, and I assume fire breath, cry of havoc etc, however, shield of zoreks favor doesnt? Defend, protect? Seems like the defensive side of things is TOO consistent, and never says affected, so it ends up not getting rulings in favor because it is too clear. 

Not an easy question, and probably the most difficult/confusing topic in Descent, afaik. 

Not trying to rant, I hope to help with the clarity by asking questions that expose one more dusty corner of the room.

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1 hour ago, NewKevlar said:

That brings up a question (in my weird brain). I was recently reminded that you cannot play the same card twice off the same trigger, however, what about fortune tokens? If you reroll an X, can you reroll again, assuming you had 2 tokens? 

I would guess yes, but it is that kind of one-way thinking that gets me confused on target and affected stuff i.e. stun propogates on sweep, conditions propogate on surges on blast, and I assume fire breath, cry of havoc etc, however, shield of zoreks favor doesnt? Defend, protect? Seems like the defensive side of things is TOO consistent, and never says affected, so it ends up not getting rulings in favor because it is too clear. 

Not an easy question, and probably the most difficult/confusing topic in Descent, afaik. 

Not trying to rant, I hope to help with the clarity by asking questions that expose one more dusty corner of the room.

From the CRRG

Quote

Reroll

Reroll abilities can be played in response to other reroll abilities (e.g. Lucky Charm may be used after the overlord played Befuddle).

Fortune

1 fortune token: After dice are rolled, a hero may reroll 1 of his dice. Notably, a hero may use the fortune token he just received to re-roll a failed test triggered by the Plot card the overlord paid for with the corresponding threat token.

I'd say you can reroll as many times as you can pay for it, since the trigger is not rerolling a test or attack, but just generically rerolling your dice.

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I don't think that ruling implied you could use a fortune token to reroll a fortune token. The specific card that brought about my knowledge of that ruling was in reference to playing 2 befuddled (incorrectly). A lucky charm,  then a befuddle, then fortune, then another players fortune, then another player's and so on, for sure, but two of the same response to the same trigger by the same player seems to be what was suggested as rule breaking. Still uncertain about 2 fortune though.

Edited by NewKevlar

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There is no rule or uFAQ that prevents a hero to spend two of his Fortune tokens to reroll one of his dice two times in sequence.  Heroes cannot spend Fortune tokens to reroll dice of other heroes.

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