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Allonym

Finally got to play The Eternal Slumber... (spoilers)

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...and I utterly loved it! We scraped through with a victory on the last turn (granted, we were playing on Standard at the location Invocation event, but the other two players were less experienced and had only brought level 0 decks - I had a 29 exp Akachi deck, alongside a Roland Banks and a Rex Murphy), and I thought that it was absolutely amazing. The mechanics and the flavour they brought were superb - a lot of it felt like "The Forgotten Age", but done right, if that makes sense. For instance, the Explore mechanic is there, but it's part of a larger scenario that includes a number of pre-existing locations, rather than being the entire scenario, so it felt a lot more interesting and a lot less samey and overbearing; likewise, Strength of the Abyss felt a lot like Vengeance, with a lot of choices between the easy way now or keeping the number low, but it also felt a lot more involving and nuanced, and mechanics that let you reduce and increase it as the game went on added a lot more agency than Vengeance/Yig's Fury, which mostly is either a binary "we don't want any" or "we don't care all that much" decision at the start.

The find-the-cultists theme and mechanics of Midnight Masks was there, and Midnight Masks is still one of the best scenarios released, but it again tied into a larger whole. Story cards from Carcosa were there and were a welcome addition. I absolutely loved what they did with the final boss, where you can fight her normally or fight her by using Intellect/Willpower on locations - I hope we see that concept again because it was an extremely elegant way to keep investigation and support characters relevant in boss fights, rather than just hanging back and maybe throwing cards in to the Guardian's check. Also a fan of the roleplaying decision at the end of the scenario, be interesting to see where that leads. Punishing abilities on locations to help advance the plot reminded me of Rougarou, as did the choice at the end, but they felt a little less rough around the edges than Rougarou. With so many mechanics adapted from previous scenarios and campaigns I'm genuinely surprised at how smoothly it all fit together - it could so easily have been a jumbled mess. Finally, I really liked little details, like how sabotaging the railway also prevents you Resigning.

Anyone else got any thoughts on the scenario, anecdotes from Invocation, and so on? I'd also like to know if the Night's Usurper has similarly well-thought-out mechanics - but I don't have my copy of Guardians of the Abyss yet so please keep any spoilers general (I don't mind knowing general information, but I can't speak for anyone else reading this...)

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Essentially I want to echo a lot of what you said. Eternal Slumber felt to me like the perfect 'highlight' or 'event' scenario: the flavour and challenges of Midnight Masks, a long story and winding, diverse challenges. And then some explore, some desert challenges... essentially I love how the scenario seems to be a campaign unto itself and evolves as you play. I don't have much more to say than that! It also rewards revisiting, as the cultists each pose their own problems and learning the desert means you can explore strategically, which I really like. 

The Night's Usurper to my mind is similarly strong - it's probably at an equivalent or slightly higher difficulty, and if you hate the abyss mechanic you'll not have the happiest time in it. BUT there are plenty of choices and it also feels grand and winding, which I love. Anyway, don't want to say too much more without spoiling but I think I'll try to play them live as a little paired mini-campaign (not that such rules exist: it's play both standalone, or add both to a campaign, paying 2xp for each scenario) for listeners of Drawn to the Flame. Fun times ahead! 

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On 12/18/2018 at 5:13 PM, Allonym said:

For instance, the Explore mechanic is there, but it's part of a larger scenario that includes a number of pre-existing locations...

The find-the-cultists theme and mechanics of Midnight Masks was there

This was probably my only complaint.  It honestly felt like two completely separate scenarios jammed together, which wasn't bad in itself but made for a VERY long scenario, especially if you were trying to handle new players.

 

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I would love a few more campaigns with 2-5 scenarios to allow you to go from one to the other instead of one big campaign.

It is one of my favorite scenarios. You get a small area to explore, then you expand, and finally you have to go back to the beginning to finish it.

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Oh boy @Radix2309 don't get me started on the ways the '8 scenario' structure we've so far (mostly) seen could be played with in future releases. How about a deluxe where each of the 2 scenarios starts a separate 4 part campaign, with the remaining 3 parts provided by subsequent mythos packs? Lesser gods handled in a non-8-scenario style! 

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One I thought of that I'd really like to see tackled sometime would a non-linear campaign. Something like House ALways Wins/Extracurricular activity, but on a larger scale. 

The Deluxe has a two scenario campaign starter that ends with "We need to do these five things", then the five next mythos packs can be played in any order, then you get a finale. 

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17 hours ago, Buhallin said:

This was probably my only complaint.  It honestly felt like two completely separate scenarios jammed together, which wasn't bad in itself but made for a VERY long scenario, especially if you were trying to handle new players.

 

I can see that being a problem in comparison to other scenarios, certainly; Rougarou and Carnevale are about normal length so they're more like any other scenario and therefore align with established expectations. But the extra length and complexity are things I like about Eternal Slumber as a side scenario, as it feels like the perfect opportunity to bend the rules of how much a scenario should cover. I hope it's something we see more of. 

25 minutes ago, zooeyglass said:

Oh boy @Radix2309 don't get me started on the ways the '8 scenario' structure we've so far (mostly) seen could be played with in future releases. How about a deluxe where each of the 2 scenarios starts a separate 4 part campaign, with the remaining 3 parts provided by subsequent mythos packs? Lesser gods handled in a non-8-scenario style! 

 

8 minutes ago, Eldan985 said:

One I thought of that I'd really like to see tackled sometime would a non-linear campaign. Something like House ALways Wins/Extracurricular activity, but on a larger scale. 

Sounds like the perfect opportunity for some kind of Masks of Nyarlathotep-esque campaign, with sub-scenarios set in various parts of the world that don't need to be handled linearly...!

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Posted (edited)

Can Guardians of the Abyss be played as a two part standalone?  I own it, but I've only played Eternal Slumber.  I got the impression from the setup instructions that, while they can be related side stories in a full campaign, it somehow didn't work to play them together in standalone mode. 

I don't have it with me right now or I'd explain my confusion better.

Edit: just saw Frank's comment

On 1/7/2019 at 6:15 AM, zooeyglass said:

I think I'll try to play them live as a little paired mini-campaign (not that such rules exist: it's play both standalone, or add both to a campaign, paying 2xp for each scenario) for listeners of Drawn to the Flame. Fun times ahead! 

Okay, I thought so.  I'm not sure why they didn't add rules to play it that way.

Edited by CSerpent

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1 hour ago, CSerpent said:

Can Guardians of the Abyss be played as a two part standalone?  I own it, but I've only played Eternal Slumber.  I got the impression from the setup instructions that, while they can be related side stories in a full campaign, it somehow didn't work to play them together in standalone mode. 

I don't have it with me right now or I'd explain my confusion better.

Edit: just saw Frank's comment

Okay, I thought so.  I'm not sure why they didn't add rules to play it that way.

What added rules do you require?

You play the first scenario, upgrade with the victory points earned and play the second scenario.

It's a fun way to play the scenarios.

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Absolutely you can, @cheapmate. I'd say that Guardians of the Abyss has a pretty tough chaos bag for standalone, so I'd prefer to approach Eternal Slumber with some xp. At that point, I'm not playing standard campaign rules, and if I'm not playing standard campaign rules (or indeed if I'm not paying 2xp to play Eternal Slumber, as one should, in campaign mode), then taking the xp from its resolutions and/or spending xp to play Night's Usurper doesn't quite make sense! But: I reckon it's perfectly feasible to do it that way. It's just not provided as a possible mini-campaign... or rather, it's not really balanced as such, just given the scope of each scenario. 

So, to take this a step further: if it were to be played as a 2-part mini campaign I'd like to have adjusted a) the bag b) the difficulty of Slumber as a 0xp scenario c) the amount of xp one might harvest. Only small tweaks would be necessary, though... :D

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12 hours ago, Eldan985 said:

One I thought of that I'd really like to see tackled sometime would a non-linear campaign. Something like House ALways Wins/Extracurricular activity, but on a larger scale. 

The Deluxe has a two scenario campaign starter that ends with "We need to do these five things", then the five next mythos packs can be played in any order, then you get a finale. 

The problem is that there is still a release order. Unless of course they mess with the formula. Like Heart of the Elders, or Turn Back Time.

They could have a new format where they just create a series of 2 or 3 boxes. Or packs with no player cards like the standalones, but as part of a larger campaign.

Smaller campaigns would also make slotting in standalones feel more natural.

 

In 5 or so years we will get through all the investigators. What happens then?

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22 minutes ago, Radix2309 said:

In 5 or so years we will get through all the investigators. What happens then?

Investigators are like Cthulhu's Dorito's: Crunch all you want, we'll make more.

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9 hours ago, Radix2309 said:

The problem is that there is still a release order.

Sure, but a lot of people already wait to play a cycle until everything is released. Playing everything in release order would then just be the "default" way to order the scenarios, but not a requirement. 

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