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LeiserLers

Undimensioned and unseen: opinions?

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A question to those who have completed the Dunwich Legacy. 

In the setup, you make the game easy if you failed to rescue people in Blood on the Altar. On the contrary, if you played well in the previous scenario, this one gets a lot harder. 

Could be a typo. They ask you to check number of names under "sacrificed to Yog-Sothot", but would be more logical if you checked names under "survived the Dunwich Legacy" -listing. It feels somewhat illogical that the campaign rewards failure in previous mission.

Or it could be intentional. But it's difficult to asses, as we have not yet completed the campaign, and we don't yet know the severity of the consequences (We got 1 brood of Yog Sothoth down, and left 4 roaming the wildernes. After rescuing 4 out of 5 in Bood on the Altar). 

Now the question:

In your opinion, considering the whole campaign, and the choices you would make if you played it through a second time, is the setup:

a) a typo

b) intentional

Thank you for your insight,

 

 

Edited by LeiserLers

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The game is "correcting the difficulty level" on the fly.  If you crushed the previous scenario, it makes the next one harder.  If you failed horribly, it makes the next one easier.  It happens a few times throughout the campaign.  It's a pretty solid effort by the game designer to make sure that the game doesn't keep getting easier as you succeed or harder as you fail.  It should get harder when you're doing well and easier when you're doing poorly to make you want to keep playing.

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It's also worth noting that while it's easier in the short-term, it's not helpful in the long term.  If I remember right, the Brood are the only source of XP for Undimensioned.  So while it might be easier to clear, you're also going to come out with far less XP for the group.

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It's actually a really smart game mechanic.  Without some system for steering the difficulty back towards the middle, some groups of investigators would get frustrated as things get harder and harder OR get bored as things get easier and easier.  My buddy runs a DnD campaign.  I know that after every session, he tweaks things to make sure the next session won't be too hard or too easy.

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Ok, so I'm going to go ahead and come down on the other side of this one.    I don't think it's particularly good design.

It definitely feels like you're being punished for doing well.   And when I replay the Blood on the Altar scenario, I quite intentionally wait until 2 sacrifices have been made to win the scenario, even if I have the ability to win it earlier.  It's like we get to the hidden chamber and Prof. Rice is already dead, Earl Sawyer is strapped to the table screaming "FOR THE LOVE  OF GOD, HELP ME!"  and we're just like "****,  there was nothing we could do!" 

"KILL THIS RAVING LUNATIC!!!!" 

    "....so,  I'm going to draw for one,   hm...  I'll drop some Painkillers and...  gain a resource.   Go ahead." 

  
"Kay.   Hm..   draw for one.   Eh.    Draw for two.    OOoooohhh....     Action 3:  Delve to Deep."

   "AIEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"   

 "Such a shame he had to go out like that.   Should we stop the ritual now?"

"  -Yeah I guess so."



The other thing is that Blood on the Altar is a fairly straightforward scenario,  with Combat and Investigation being lynchpin stats.   U&U is very unusual, with Willpower and Agility being the most important stats.  That is to say:  Investigators who are strong at Blood on the Altar are not the same investigators that are strong against U&U.  I think this makes it a lot more swingy, as if you do well in Blood then all of a sudden, U&U set  up is more brutal, AND you find your investigators ill equipped to deal with the situation in general -where as if you did poorly at blood, you might have just the kind of team necessary to tackle U&U well... and you'll get an easier set up to boot.

 

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3 hours ago, awp832 said:

It's like we get to the hidden chamber and Prof. Rice is already dead, Earl Sawyer is strapped to the table screaming "FOR THE LOVE  OF GOD, HELP ME!"  and we're just like "****,  there was nothing we could do!" 

"What are you doing, Daisy? We need to hurry!"

"No. We don't."

"...What are you saying?"

"The sacrifices keep the Brood placated. If we stop the ritual now, they'll go berserk, and we'll have half a dozen half-starved monsters rampaging around New England."

"But the Professor--"

"The Professor risked his own life to keep the world safe from those things years ago. He'd understand."

"And what about Earl and Zeb?"

"...Just two men. If we save them, far more innocents will die."

"I can't believe what I'm hearing. Do you honestly expect me to go along with this?"

"I don't, and, frankly, I don't need to. I just need to stall you."

*cries of the whippoorwills*

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In my opinion it is definitely intentional, as others have mentioned, to try to balance the overall campaign. Just like how “worse” resolutions sometimes lead to extra XP being awarded.

Whether it is good design or not is a fair question, although again as already pointed out, while Undimensioned and Unseen does become harder if you do well at Blood on the Altar there is also more XP available. Personally I have no problem with the decision the designers made.

We also found that (spoiler for Where Doom Awaits setup)

the extra doom added by Broods of Yog-Sothoth escaping didn’t really matter and we had plenty of time. However, we have only played the scenario once so our experience may not be representative.

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4 hours ago, awp832 said:

That is to say:  Investigators who are strong at Blood on the Altar are not the same investigators that are strong against U&U.
 

This not only isn't bad design, it's GOOD design.  I'd even argue that it's essential design.

The worst possible thing for this game would be if you could pick the "perfect" investigators and trust that they would always be the perfect investigators.  There are already several scenarios which screw with that perfect balance - Essex is one, U&U is another.  These are GOOD things for the game, making it more interesting than "Rex hoovers, Zoey kills".

 

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I agree, but that's not the point of what I was saying.  

Sure, absolutely design scenarios where different skill sets are more or less valuable.    That's not the issue.  The issue is that the investigators who are going to do well on Blood get a Double-whammy on U&U,  and the investigators who are going to do well on U&U already are going to have a walk in the park if they also did poorly on the previous BotA.     I wasn't saying that everything should be only books and combat, -far from it....    only that the swing between BotA and U&U is too drastic,   a problem which was created by this well-intended "catch up mechanic" idea.  

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4 hours ago, awp832 said:

The issue is that the investigators who are going to do well on Blood get a Double-whammy on U&U,  and the investigators who are going to do well on U&U already are going to have a walk in the park if they also did poorly on the previous BotA.

I don't think this is true at all.  There's a lot more than just a single axis. My own group has dominated both of this pair every time we've played it.  If a group does badly on Blood, nothing says they must have the tools to deal with UnU. 

But if it is true, it's because the investigator group is too one dimensional.  Or, to put it another way, the group composition determines how bad the swing is, not just the scenarios.  If you've got a good balanced investigator/group, any outcome can be adapted to.

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1 hour ago, BD Flory said:

Also, tanking Blood, whether intentionally, partially, or otherwise, risks or guarantees the loss of the Powder of Ibn-Ghazi, which makes life a lot easier in UU (and therefore, WDA).

A lot easier??

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It's been a little while since I played this one, but doesn't doing better in the prior scenario mean more Brood start in play, and less in reserve? IIRC, to get the "best" ending of UU, you have to defeat all the Brood, even the ones in reserve, so having fewer sitting out means less waiting for them to randomly spawn.

I might be wrong. As I said, it's been a little while.

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2 minutes ago, Ryric said:

It's been a little while since I played this one, but doesn't doing better in the prior scenario mean more Brood start in play, and less in reserve? IIRC, to get the "best" ending of UU, you have to defeat all the Brood, even the ones in reserve, so having fewer sitting out means less waiting for them to randomly spawn.

I might be wrong. As I said, it's been a little while.

More start in play, but there are also more total in the game.

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On ‎10‎/‎31‎/‎2017 at 8:33 AM, awp832 said:

Ok, so I'm going to go ahead and come down on the other side of this one.    I don't think it's particularly good design.

It definitely feels like you're being punished for doing well.

That's one way to look at the equation (and as someone who did well against BotA and as a result got thoroughly wrecked by U&U) and I agree it feels like that, but you can also look at it like being rewarded for failure (or maybe treated more gently for it).

There is a gambling experiment which holds something like:

  • Pay and you'll get 1, then we flip a coin.  If it comes down heads, you get another 1.  If it comes down tails, nothing else happens.

OR

  • Pay and you'll get 2, then we flip a coin.  If it comes down tails, we take 1 away.  If it comes down heads, nothing else happens.

Both are a 50%/50% that you'll get 2, however, one feels like a punishment where the other feels like a gift.  Even looking at the math, it's hard to see them as the same.  In the book Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, they reference a study on this in capuchin monkeys.  Here is a Ted Talk discussing it: https://www.ted.com/talks/laurie_santos

 

Edited by Duciris

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