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Ranged weapon vs. adjacent opponents?

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Just that they have to have range to the target (unlike Melee)... doesn't seem like much, but if the target is elevated or in shrub then they could possibly have a range of 2, making it possible to miss.

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Nakarashi said:

Just that they have to have range to the target (unlike Melee)... doesn't seem like much, but if the target is elevated or in shrub then they could possibly have a range of 2, making it possible to miss.

Also, it IS possible to roll 0 range on some attacks, IIRC (don't have my dice in front of me.)

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Steve-O said:

Nakarashi said:

 

Just that they have to have range to the target (unlike Melee)... doesn't seem like much, but if the target is elevated or in shrub then they could possibly have a range of 2, making it possible to miss.

 

 

Also, it IS possible to roll 0 range on some attacks, IIRC (don't have my dice in front of me.)

The only die (of red/white/blue) with a 0-range side is the melee die. The ranged die does have a 0-damage side though.

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erdbeerchen said:

yes it would be legal - but we decided to not allow this - but to compensate for this we use both the range and the damage icons on power dices.

this way it seems more like a real ranged weapon.

And also vastly increases the power of ranged weapons since you've basically given everyone doing a ranged attack the Lucky skill.

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Big Remy said:

erdbeerchen said:

 

yes it would be legal - but we decided to not allow this - but to compensate for this we use both the range and the damage icons on power dices.

this way it seems more like a real ranged weapon.

 

 

And also vastly increases the power of ranged weapons since you've basically given everyone doing a ranged attack the Lucky skill.

Hardly!

I'm not actually advocating the suggestion, but "vastly increases" is a *GROSS* exaggeration: Lucky is an abysmally-awful skill in the first place.

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Compared to ranged attacks normal power level, I think "vastly" fits just fine.   And I'm sorry, but Lucky is a great skill on a number of ranged heroes.

An example of why counting both sides is strong/Lucky is good.

Someone does a ranged attack rolling a shop Crossbow (Blue, Green with 2 surges for 1 damage/3 surges for one range) and three Black dice at a target that is 5 squares away.  Monster is a Beatman (4 wounds, 2 Armor). 

Without Lucky/counting both sides: Blue: 3 Range, 1 heart, 1 surge.  Green: 0 range, 2 hearts, 1 surge.  Black: All three show enhancement. (Those are pretty close to the averages for the Blue and Green)

In this case, you'd need to use 2 of the enhancements for range to hit it, reducing your potential damage by two right there.  So you have the range, convert the two surges for damage and do 5 damage.  You are one short.  So you spend a fatigue to roll a dice, with only a 50/50 chance of getting something useful.  You get a blank.  Spend another fatigue, roll and get a surge.  Still have the range, but you still only do 5 damage which isn't enough to kill the target and spent 2 fatigue.

With Lucky/counting both sides: Same situation, same dice results.

You have 6 range (3 from the Blue die, and the range from the three enhancements) and you cause 7 damage total.  No need to spend fatigue for more dice to kill the Beastmen, its dead.

That is a big difference in terms of power when using a Shop weapon, going from having to spend 1-2 fatigue to maybe or maybe not kill the Beastman with that roll to killing it with one attack with a Shop item because you are counting both the range and damage on enhancements.

 

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Of course you can create an example situation in which the skill helps.  That doesn't tell us anything.  Especially when you're assuming extreme range (I can't remember the last time I even attempted to hit something from 5 squares away with a Crossbow) and a highly favorable roll for the skill (all power enhancements on a hero with a high trait).

Let's compare Lucky to some other skills, instead.

 

For example, the Marksman skill gives you +3 range.  If you're rolling 3 black dice, and all of them come up as power enhancements, and +3 range is enough to hit the target, they're equally good.  Marksman is better if you need more than +3 range, because you still have the option to sacrifice damage for even more range, whereas Lucky removes that option.  Marksman is also better if you rolled less than 3 power enhancements...and 3 power enhancements is more than average even if you roll all 5 black dice, which is extremely uncommon.  Marksman is guaranteed to be better on any roll with fewer than 3 black dice, which is a pretty common situation since many heroes' highest trait is lower than 3.  The effects of Marksman are also more predictable, allowing you to plan around them; with Marksman, you can always safely attack from 3 spaces further away than normal, but with Lucky that's a significant gamble.

Excepting Laurel's ability, the only time Lucky is better than Marksman is when you roll 4+ power enhancements and you need range from all of them in order to hit.  In order to have even a chance of seeing that, you need to invest a lot of resources (to roll 4-5 power dice) on an attack that has a high risk of missing due to range even after you spend them.  And the net result of taking those substantial and highly specific risks is that you might do 1-2 more damage than a hero with Marksman, if you're very lucky.

So I think we can safely rate Marksman as being "much better" than Lucky.  How would you rate Marksman compared to other skills?  Comments I've seen from various forumers put it somewhere between "moderately good" and "automatic redraw".  And Lucky is "much worse" than that.

 

As another example, let's consider the Eagle Eye skill, which gives +1 range, and Pierce 2 on Ranged dattacks.  In fact, let's ignore the +1 range part and just look at Pierce 2.  Pierce 2 is sometimes worth +2 damage, but sometimes only worth +1 or +0, depending on the target's armor and your other sources of Pierce.  Pierce 2 will never cause an attack to hit when it would otherwise miss.  However, Lucky will never cause an attack to hit when it would otherwise miss, either; you would've spent those enhancements on range if you had to.  So Lucky just gives you +1 damage for each power enhancement that you would have had to spend on range.  If you attack from a distance with a low chance of missing due to range (which heroes usually do, in my experience), that has a high probability of not helping you at all.  Even if you need to spend every enhancement on range (which is highly unusual, and probably means you were at high risk of missing entirely), it only gives you +1 damage for each enhancement; that doesn't rise to an average of +2 damage until you're rolling 4 power dice, which no hero can do without training or fatigue boosts.

I think it would be reasonable to say that Lucky will almost always increase your damage by less than Eagle Eye, even ignoring the +1 range that Eagle Eye grants.  And Lucky doesn't increase your damage at all unless that +1 range from Eagle Eye is as good as an additional +1 damage.  So again, I think Eagle Eye easily rates as "much better" than Lucky.  Is Eagle Eye one of your favorite skills?  I'd tend to rate it as mediocre.

 

The magnitude of the bonus due to Lucky isn't as large (on average) as the magnitude of the bonus from other attack-boosting skills unless you've boosted the number of power dice you're rolling up to 4-5 (even then, it's smaller than some), and I'd argue that a random bonus is weaker than a deterministic one since you can't plan around it as easily.  But on top of that, the boost from Lucky is only useful when you need both range and damage, and always adds whichever one you didn't need as much (since you would otherwise choose which you wanted).  Which makes it strictly and significantly worse than something that just gives a flat bonus to one or the other.  It's probably not the worst skill in the entire game, but it's on the short list.  I'd be willing to exchange it for a flat +1 damage OR for a flat +1 range most of the time.

I wouldn't advocate house-ruling ranged weapons to prevent them from targeting adjacent squares, but if you're going to do so, giving out Lucky in exchange doesn't strike me as excessive compensation.  It will occasionally save you a movement because you can reasonably attack from maybe 1 square farther away, but the house rule occasionally costs you 2 movement by forcing you to back up before you attack and then resume your advance.

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I'm of the opinion the Lucky is a pretty good skill to have.  I'm also of the opinion that forcing ranged/magic heroes to attack from non-adjacent spaces is a big limitation.  In our games (with no such house rule) the ranged and magic heroes are the one who carry the party forward and the melee tank types mostly just try to get in between the squishies and any incoming damage.  Occasionally they "pwn" something with an attack, but that only takes out one monster here and there.  Forcing the ranged/magic heroes to be non-adjacent means they have to spend more time moving if a horde of monsters gets in close, and that's not uncommon in my experience.

Basically, I'm inclined to agree with Remy that Lucky is a significant skill and that giving it out to everyone by default is a big advantage for the heroes.  But I also think that forcing non-adjacent ranged/magic attacks is a bigger limitation than might be apparent at first glance.  I'd have to play with this house rule to say if it's fair or not, but if it is unbalanced I don't think it's wildly so.  It's probably a bigger imbalance for the OL than for the heroes (assuming the rule is applied to the OL as well) since he has more minions and it would be harder for only 4 heroes to hedge in all the ranged/magic monsters that might be attacking them at any given moment.

Also, since monsters can't take a battle action anyway, being forced to step back a space or two isn't as big a penalty for them - they have the MPs anyway, whether they need them or not.

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Interestingly, Remy selected a scenario where it's impossible to roll an attack that will kill the monster without spending fatigue (or having bonuses from skills, etc.) If an enhancement is counted as range and damage, though, I believe the attack has a 19% chance of killing the monster.

So in that particular case, the crossbow is rather significantly improved. However, as Antistone pointed out, that's just one hand-picked scenario. If we look at attacks from a shorter range or against weaker targets, counting both range and damage won't matter nearly so often. And once the heroes get some better weapons and start over-killing monsters, it will matter even less.

Counting both range and damage does increase the weapon's effective range, but remember that this is offset by the fact that those weapons cannot be used against adjacent targets. You'd better hope your ranged hero doesn't get grappled or trapped in a corridor or he'll be forced to punch his way out.

(That being said, ranged/magic heroes were probably already trying to avoid melee combat, since they tend to be somewhat squishy. I'm not sure the weapons really need any boost to compensate for not being able to attack adjacent targets. And if they do need a boost, I'd consider just a flat +1 range instead of making enhancements count for both. But I haven't play-tested any of these ideas, and as Steve-O mentions, that's what is really necessary to evaluate the rules. I think these rule changes would change the tactics of the game enough to make me question my own first impressions.)

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Whether a skill like Lucky is good or not depends on the environment.

In Road to Legend, skills that add only range and no damage are mediocre except at the very beginning of the game (and I am speaking Marksman here, not Lucky because at the beginning of the game, Lucky adds on average only 1.5 range for a 3-diced hero, which is even less than mediocre). Not only are dungeons small, but ranged heroes soon get enough range through stuff (Archer's Charm, later Scorpion Helmet) and through skills that add both damage and range like Eagle Eye, Inner Fire, Blessing... All of which add up. For magic heroes it would be more useful because many of the more powerful runes do not add range with surges, but... They have Spiritwalker, with which they need almost no range at all anymore.

In Road to Legend, Lucky is on the low side of mediocre.

In Sea of Blood however...

In Sea of Blood, range is way more useful than in Road to Legend. I would even say its importance is paramount! We just started our campaign (leading 41-31 against the OL, yay! cool.gif), and we discovered that there are lots of new elements that make range an issue:

- cannons

- the hugeness of the sea and island maps

- Scrub

- The fact that most heroes have to stay on the ship during sea battles, so that they can't get close to enemies.

In SoB, I think Lucky is actually good. It gets even more useful later in the game, when heroes have upgraded their dice and you actually start to be able to hit enemies from your ship or farther on the islands, whereas in RtL, any range-only adding skill becomes useless in the late game for the reasons I listed above.

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I was going to say (though I got beaten to the punch), Lucky really shines in the Advanced Campaign when you can have Silver and Gold dice (i.e. +2/3 range and dmg). But I can see why it's a mediocre skill in the base game.

-shnar

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I still think that calling it medicore in vanilla Descent is an insult to mediocre skills.  It's awful.

Even if range is important.  Lucky doesn't add range except when you don't need it.  Not ever.  There is no circumstance in which Lucky changes an attack from a miss to a hit, due to range or any other factor.  It only adds damage on attacks that require a lot of range, and the amount it adds is small and unpredictable.

If you're rolling mountains of power dice on all attacks in an extended campaign, AND you need huge amounts of range, then it might become good.

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Antistone said:

I still think that calling it medicore in vanilla Descent is an insult to mediocre skills.  It's awful.

Even if range is important.  Lucky doesn't add range except when you don't need it.  Not ever.  There is no circumstance in which Lucky changes an attack from a miss to a hit, due to range or any other factor.  It only adds damage on attacks that require a lot of range, and the amount it adds is small and unpredictable.

If you're rolling mountains of power dice on all attacks in an extended campaign, AND you need huge amounts of range, then it might become good.

Blast Runes.

They have low range and limited damage bonuses. Enhancements are often critical extra damage, yet also often critical extra range.

More than once, Lucky has been the difference for me between a Blast attack hitting (and still killing monsters) or missing entirely.

Still not a very good skill though.

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Antistone said:

I still think that calling it medicore in vanilla Descent is an insult to mediocre skills.  It's awful.

Even if range is important.  Lucky doesn't add range except when you don't need it.  Not ever.  There is no circumstance in which Lucky changes an attack from a miss to a hit, due to range or any other factor.  It only adds damage on attacks that require a lot of range, and the amount it adds is small and unpredictable.

If you're rolling mountains of power dice on all attacks in an extended campaign, AND you need huge amounts of range, then it might become good.

Antistone keenly pointed out how misleading Lucky is: factually, it adds damage when you need the range from the power dice, not range as written on the card.

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Kirga has Lucky in our Sea of Blood campaign and he's been happy with it despite us not having had a sea battle since he got it and only one island level. I haven't paid close attention, so couldn't say how often it's actually mattered.

Ispher said:

Antistone keenly pointed out how misleading Lucky is: factually, it adds damage when you need the range from the power dice, not range as written on the card.

Lucky doesn't say it adds range on the card, nor does it say it adds damage. It says you get to use both on power enhancements instead of choosing. I don't see how that could be construed as misleading.

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James McMurray said:

 

Lucky doesn't say it adds range on the card, nor does it say it adds damage. It says you get to use both on power enhancements instead of choosing. I don't see how that could be construed as misleading.

My mistake. Lucky is a skill I did not know well before this discussion. On second thought, I probably wouldn't want it even in SoB, as it is a conditional damage enhancer, not a range enhancer.

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James McMurray said:

I'll try to remember to pay more attention at the table and see if I can tell how often it's actually useful for our party's archer.

Thanks. Could indeed be interesting to know how often Lucky allows the killing of a monster (i.e. the monster wouldn't have been killed if the Hero hadn't had Lucky), or how often the heroes need one less attack to kill a monster thanks to Lucky.

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Shortly after I posted that our group started emailing back and forth lots of chagrin that we'd been playing too many board games lately, so we'll probably be RPGing for a while, which means it'll be a while before I get a chance to see the skill in action again.

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We had one player not show up and another that had t leave early, so our RPG-ing got postponed a week. the player of Lucky Kirga wasn't there so I played him instead. Out of around 40 attacks there were 6 which would have missed without Lucky. There were at least 5 or 6 others that hit without it but that I would not have even tried if he hadn't had Lucky. This was a Sea of Blood campaign and he had 2 silver and 2 black dice base, +1 range from Eagle Eye, and the Scythe of Reaping (BGG, Sorcery 2, 1 surge for range, 1 surge for damage).

Based on that very small sampling of anecdotal data, Lucky is not a worthless skill. It's usefulness was increased by being in the hands of Kirga, since it meant he could hang back farther and use his anti-spawn abilities while still being in the fight. That said, there were some dungeon maps where it was completely useless because the rooms and corridors were angled or too tight to make long range shots possible.

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James McMurray said:

Out of around 40 attacks there were 6 which would have missed without Lucky.

Then I can only assume there were also precisely 6 attacks that missed WITH Lucky, because (as we've already discussed at length) there is no possible circumstance in which the Lucky skill can ever change a miss into a hit.

James McMurray said:

Based on that very small sampling of anecdotal data, Lucky is not a worthless skill.

Welcome to the thread.  We're discussing how strong Lucky is compared to other hero skills.

Not whether it's value is equal to zero or not.  Because, for some reason, no one has suggested zero might be a sane estimate of its value (until now).

If you wanted to collect useful data, you might tell us (in each instance) how much extra damage the attack caused due to the attacker having the Lucky skill, and if you're very ambitious, how much of that extra damage was needed in order for the monster to die in the same number of attacks that it actually took, and how many times Lucky didn't help but a skill like Marksman or Master Archer would have.  That will still probably overestimate the skill's value, since Lucky requires greater tactical adjustments to get maximum effectiveness than a flat bonus would, but it might at least be close to an accurate measurement.

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