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andrew.b.jones

A balance question - what are we doing wrong?

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 I recently started a RtL campaign with 3 other experienced players. We're all very experienced with RPGs and all felt comfortable with the rules.

The overlord chose The Spider Queen avatar. Party composition seemed good (Varikas the Dead, Laughin Buldar, Shiver and Red Scorpion) and we started off positively smashing the OL. In the first dungeon we played through the top two levels within 2 hours with only a single party death due to a poor player choice (Shiver ended his turn adjacent to Laughin, OL played a Dark Charm)

On the third level the OL got incredibly lucky - he was able to spawn a red troll and (going from memory here) Rage and Aim. In a single attack he was able to kill 3 players - two of which were at almost full health. At the end of the dungeon the overall score was 17 conquest to the party, 25 to the OL. The party was able to loot only 2 pieces of copper treasure but tons of gold (several thousand in all). The OL was able to immediately upgrade beasts to Silver.

The following dungeons and encounters all proved to be too difficult for us to even get a little bit of treasure out - in the following 2 encounters and 1 dungeon we haven't found anything even approaching a close fight. Most are beast heavy and it seems as though the OL has a huge power advantage that will only become more extreme the longer we play.

What are we as a party doing wrong? Obviously when we saw the troll we should have scattered - let the ranged characters pelt him and fall back, but is there any way we can come back from such a big early-game victory? While we can afford any treasure in the market we want to pick up we only get to see 2 per week. The OL already has his Lieutenant sieging Frostgate and if we stop to train for a week he will almost certainly take it over before we have a chance to pick up Eagle Eye for Red Scorpion (who is pretty mediocre at range without some help). If we can't pick up some treasure between Grayhaven and Frostgate I'm afraid it won't matter - we'll be clobbered by the Lieutenant.

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You let the OL get too much conquest too early. Your heroes should only be traversing the first level of dungeons and only the second if they're confident the OL won't get too much conquest from it.  The third level of dungeons will come when your heroes have built a solid foundation.

So, I guess I'm saying, your heroes tackled too much too early and thus paid for it by making the OL too strong too early.

 

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 I guess it just seems strange - I've never played a game where part of the balance is not playing. If that's really just the way the game's meant to be played I guess that's something we'll have to deal with. In D&D part of the game (in most cases) is not building any encounters that the party has to run from. In computer games there's always a winning situation. It really seems odd that after 2 very successful dungeon levels a single bit of crappy luck would lose the game for us (and really, that's what it looks like - unless there's some mechanic that can swing things back in our favor that I'm missing?)

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You have to go into it with a different mindset than "not playing". The heroes simply start off very weak. They need to rush through a few level 1 dungeons and get themselves some loot before taking on level 2 dungeons. That way the OL can't upgrade until your heroes have equipped themselves high enough to take on his upgraded monsters and what not. :)

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Mythgarr said:

 

 I recently started a RtL campaign with 3 other experienced players. We're all very experienced with RPGs and all felt comfortable with the rules.

The overlord chose The Spider Queen avatar. Party composition seemed good (Varikas the Dead, Laughin Buldar, Shiver and Red Scorpion) and we started off positively smashing the OL.

 

Actually, that is a quite bad party - probably the worst I've ever seen.
Two melee heroes works well in vanilla, but is dangerous (not suicidal, but dangerous) in Advanced Campaigns where the critical battles are outdoors and Soaring monsters are almost invulnerable to melee heroes. The two melee heroes you have are quite good heroes though.
Shiver is a good hero in vanilla where his Aura effect makes him invulnerable to beastmen. In ACs he is a major liability. His aura effect won't save him from many monsters - if the OL uses melee monsters a lot they will surely be upgraded and thus the aura effect won't kill them. That means he is simply overpriced in CT. Further, he actually has nothing positive going for him. He is no stronger as a mage than Thorn or Astarra, both of who are cheaper in CT and have excellent stats and abilities. He is worse in combat that Andira, Landrec or Carthos. Even Sahla, with his ability to remove curse tokens, is a better mage (provided you have the cursed items from... AoD? - the Staff of the Grave is probably the single best item in the game before gold level).
Red Scorpion is simply the worst hero there is. She is not even averagely good at anything. She has no fighting power in any of the three categories and is a terrible runner, with barely average speed, fatigue and a relatively high CT value.

Skills chosen are also an important part of a starting party.

Mythgarr said:

At the end of the dungeon the overall score was 17 conquest to the party, 25 to the OL. The party was able to loot only 2 pieces of copper treasure but tons of gold (several thousand in all). The OL was able to immediately upgrade beasts to Silver.

 

Critical point number 1. NEVER let the OL get to 24CT in the first dungeon. Silver monsters are a big upgrade early.

Mythgarr said:

The following dungeons and encounters all proved to be too difficult for us to even get a little bit of treasure out - in the following 2 encounters and 1 dungeon we haven't found anything even approaching a close fight. Most are beast heavy and it seems as though the OL has a huge power advantage that will only become more extreme the longer we play.

 

Dunegons are actually slightly eldritch heavy in general, but the OL can (and will) use his choices to increase the frequency of his best monsters. However this power advantage does not increase significantly for some time. The heroes should get 1-2 trainings and increased treasures over time before the OL gets another major powerboost.

Mythgarr said:

What are we as a party doing wrong?

 

There are so many possibilities here, and your comments provide clues to quite a few points, but there are undoubtedly more.
1. Get a better party.
2. Figure out when to flee a dungeon - you are not supposed to go through every dungeon all three levels. The heroes are given the ability to flee a dungeon for a reason...
3. Do some research (even just of the stuff in the box). This is an Advanced Campaign - if you treat it lightly it will punish you, as you have found out. Both sides should have some basic understanding of the options and upgrade paths available to the other (and it's own of course) and what critical points or values are that they should try to avoid or delay (25CT for the first monster upgrade is the first and most obvious one). Both sides should have long term aims and strategies, and short term (4-8 weeks) plans and strategies. The short term plans define the in-dungeon tactics.

Mythgarr said:

Obviously when we saw the troll we should have scattered - let the ranged characters pelt him and fall back, but is there any way we can come back from such a big early-game victory?

 

Yes, but it will be long and painful. You are probably best off continuing this campaign as a 'learning' campaign (maybe swap in another hero for the abysmal Red Scorpion) and with both sides agreement be ready to restart a new campaign at any stage.
Note that CT score is not actually a good definer of who is winning. The game is won and lost by Lt battles and CT has only a little relevance to strength. In fact 17-25 is not a bad early start in terms of ratio, it's just that you let the OL get to 25 too quickly.

Mythgarr said:

While we can afford any treasure in the market we want to pick up we only get to see 2 per week.

 

Tamalir's maket can and should be improved fairly early through Tamalir Upgrades.


Mythgarr said:

The OL already has his Lieutenant sieging Frostgate and if we stop to train for a week he will almost certainly take it over before we have a chance to pick up Eagle Eye for Red Scorpion (who is pretty mediocre at range without some help). If we can't pick up some treasure between Grayhaven and Frostgate I'm afraid it won't matter - we'll be clobbered by the Lieutenant.

 

Yes, you will probably get clobbered by the Lt. Eagle Eye isn't a particularly great skill to be worrying about though...
It is the OL's job to be seiging and razing cities precisely to make the heroes have difficult choices like this. If the heroes do as they please they will seriously trash the OL in any final battle.
But losing cities (Tamalir aside obviously) isn't critical. It isn't good for the heroes, but only razing Tamalir or fulfilling the plot actually stop the heroes from winning. Besides, there is no guarantee the Lt will roll a surge on the raze attempt anyway - he could easily sit there for an extra month or more failing to raze the city. Or raze it at the first attempt, you just don't know.

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Nephrinn said:

You have to go into it with a different mindset than "not playing". The heroes simply start off very weak. They need to rush through a few level 1 dungeons and get themselves some loot before taking on level 2 dungeons. That way the OL can't upgrade until your heroes have equipped themselves high enough to take on his upgraded monsters and what not. :)

Quite right.

The heroes are not heroes yet - real heroes have three skills at least!

What you have is a bunch of wanna-be heroes. They want to save the world, but lets face it, they simply don't have the capabilities, in skills, traits, experience or equipment, to save the world just yet.
So what they have to do is travel around for a bit trying to get themselves strong enough to save the world. They have to improve themselves, and at the same time stop the OL's lesser minions (Lts) from overrunning their support base completely. But they aren't strong enough to stop the Lts entirely - they have to pick and choose their fights carefully.
They also are not the savior's of the people yet. Their job is not to travel the countryside clearing troublespots of bad guys. Doing that focuses on the little picture and loses sight of the big picture which is stopping the evil OL from taking over the world.
Their little picture is gathering experience, skills (and trait dice upgrade) and equipment that will together enable them to take on the Avatar and kill it - that is the only way they can win. They have to balance boosting themselves with stopping the OL winning through plots/tamalir raze.

It is a tricky job.

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Corbon said:

Their little picture is gathering experience, skills (and trait dice upgrade) and equipment that will together enable them to take on the Avatar and kill it - that is the only way they can win. They have to balance boosting themselves with stopping the OL winning through plots/tamalir raze.

It is a tricky job.

But if they don't go across the countryside taking care of the trouble spots how do they gain experience and treasure? Encounters don't offer much compensation for the difficulty (If you're lucky you get 2XP and 100gp each), so how other than dungeons can you acquire what you need to defeat the OL? You obviously can't just turtle down - the OL could just walk right around you and raze 5 cities.

All in all the picture I'm getting is a game that's can be lost by the players at every turn but can only be won by making the right choice every time. Oh yeah - and also with a considerable amount of luck. If just once early in the game you stay when you should flee the OL gets a lead that I get the impression from the previous two posts is near impossible to catch up with. Honestly, if that description is accurate I'm probably better off just walking away to choose a different game. I can appreciate a challenge, but to face several month's worth of challenges with a chance to lose at every session but only a chance to win at the very end just isn't my cup of tea.

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Mythgarr said:

Corbon said:

 

Their little picture is gathering experience, skills (and trait dice upgrade) and equipment that will together enable them to take on the Avatar and kill it - that is the only way they can win. They have to balance boosting themselves with stopping the OL winning through plots/tamalir raze.

It is a tricky job.

 

 

But if they don't go across the countryside taking care of the trouble spots how do they gain experience and treasure? Encounters don't offer much compensation for the difficulty (If you're lucky you get 2XP and 100gp each), so how other than dungeons can you acquire what you need to defeat the OL? You obviously can't just turtle down - the OL could just walk right around you and raze 5 cities.

You completely miss the point.
They still go to the dungeons, but their purpose there is to gather resources (treasures, cash, experience) to improve themselves so that they will, in the future, be able to stop the OL. Their secondary function in the dungeons is to limit the resources (CT) that the OL gathers. Their purpose is not to 'clean up' the countryside and make it safe for old ladies to go on country walks. Clearing every dungeon is a major mistake.
 

Mythgarr said:

All in all the picture I'm getting is a game that's can be lost by the players at every turn but can only be won by making the right choice every time. Oh yeah - and also with a considerable amount of luck. If just once early in the game you stay when you should flee the OL gets a lead that I get the impression from the previous two posts is near impossible to catch up with. Honestly, if that description is accurate I'm probably better off just walking away to choose a different game.

No. It can be made more difficult for themselves at every turn. It can be made easier for the heroes if the OL makes poor choices, but his choices are fewer (which upgrades to buy when and when/where to move Lts) and generally more straitforward.
It is and Advanced game.
It is not at all impossible to catch up from an early mistake. You just pay for it for quite a while.
The OL has a relatively early big boost, but very little after that for a long time. That means that the heroes are up against it a bit early, but if they hang in there things turn, even if it feels like they will not. You would expect, after all, that their would be ebbs and flows in a long game, and having the greatest struggle time for the heroes when they are at their weakest point is fairly appropriate. There are much more dangerous points in the game for the heroes in terms of losing, but the early battles against silver monsters are the most 'struggle' time.
Also, this isn't a 'make nice' game where the DM's job is to provide a smooth experience for the heroes. It is competitive. The OL wins, roughly half the time (different groups have very greatly different proportions*) overall. His job is to screw the heroes as much as he can, and beat them in the end. Experience shows that if the OL does not mess the heroes around as much as possible, the heroes will cream him in the final battle - he has to try to beat them earlier if possible, and force them to make difficult choices and miss out on good options if he can;t beat them outright.

*we lost our first campaigns as heroes each (playing 1v1), though having learned from my opponents mistake mine was very close, and won our second as heroes each and now feel that played well, the heroes have the advantage, slightly. Other groups never win as heroes and think it is impossible, because they never adapted their style from vanilla, got discouraged far to easily when apparently 'behind', simply weren't good enough at an advanced level or some other reason.
Other groups (more rarely) think that the OL can never win if the heroes play well. Given that the heroes actually control the game engine, these groups is more likely to be right than the 'heroes can't win' groups, though the truth is in the middle.

Mythgarr said:

I can appreciate a challenge, but to face several month's worth of challenges with a chance to lose at every session but only a chance to win at the very end just isn't my cup of tea.

Well, to be fair, the heroes can only win at the end, via the final battle. But if they make it there, they are very very likely to win overall.
So the OL's real job is to try and win early.
However, getting behind is very much different from losing. This game is never over until the fat lady sings. Far too many people give up too easily.

The reason I suggested you treat this game as a training game ready to abandon at some stage is that you have don't seem to have treated it with much respect as an Advanced game and have made several major early blunders. You haven't mentioned any short term or long term strategy, don't appear to even know what general plans are possible. You sound like you basically picked up an Advanced 60-100 hr game, said 'lets play' and want to learn by doing, while expecting things to work out for you. I don't really find that a realistic attitude, so I suggest you conciously acknowledge what you are actually doing, which is playing a learning game. You can still have fun doing so, and indeed with the 'pressure off' might actually have more fun.

It is of course possible that this simply isn't the game for you.
But there really is a massive amount of depth in this game and a huge number of hours of rewarding play time available - how many boardgames would you expect to get 300-500hrs of game time from and still be exploring interesting new options?

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You say– 

 "All in all the picture I'm getting is a game that's can be lost by the players at every turn but can only be won by making the right choice every time. Oh yeah - and also with a considerable amount of luck."

   This is a actually pretty good description of Descent in general, both Vanilla and Road to Legend. In Vanilla, for example, one Crushing Block at the wrong time can be the difference between activating a glyph and making it to town, and being walled off and killed– easily a swing of 6 conquest. If you miss with a hero that you expect to kill a Master Beastman, you will probably lose that hero next turn– another 4 conquest gone. Pretty much everything the heroes do in Descent is very powerful, but very susceptible to upset. The Heroes can dispatch most monsters in one turn, but can screw it up in any number of ways– with or without the Overlord's help. And it's made more difficult by the fact that the Overlord is the one who knows what to expect, while the heroes know nothing. In RtL, if the Overlord is holding Danger, Black Order, and Dark Charm at the beginning of a dungeon, then they will get clobbered, end of story. You just have to hope he doesn't have them. Mechanically speaking, the goal of the hero players is trying to decrease the randomness, by controlling what happens on (only) the very next Overlord turn. The goal of the Overlord is to make the most use out of whatever hole the heroes have left in their attempt. If everything was constant (weapon damage, treasure draws, monster spawns) then the heroes would be at too great an advantage. The silver lining of RtL is that, while the Heroes can get seriously screwed in any dungeon, it's only in the first ~15 turns (weeks) of the campaign that the Heroes really risk irrevocably tipping the scales. After that, resources aren't so short for either player, and it's not worth it to cry over a few deaths. (At the beginning of the campaign, a total-party-kill may ruin the game, but at the Silver level, it definitely won't.)  Either way, RtL is almost always frustrating, and rewards playing in the (more or less) the same way every game. This is one of its failings. What it does provide is a crazy, rollicking ride. My suggestion to you would be to think less about the 'future' or the 'balance' of the campaign. Have fun, try things out, learn what's good and what's not. Even if the heroes fail (which, honestly, a 17-25 loss doesn't really entail) it probably won't happen for a while. If you do a campaign again, you will play better. You will still probably lose, but it will be more fun.

  One thing you should know though, is that going through every level of every dungeon is a pretty bad idea. In lots of other games (e.g. D+D, Dragon Warrior) there are often "beginner dungeons" close to home, that are within the heroes' grasp of completing very early on. This game is different, though, so warp your mind around.  Every dungeon is potentially an "expert-level" dungeon. It's just that the Overlord's available resources-for-showing-you-how-nasty-it-is are very low in the first level, and very high in the third. If you could fight a game's hardest boss at the beginning of the game, would you? No. So don't do the hardest dungeon levels either.

  In the Tomb of Ice expansion, the heroes are given a mechanic by which they can better control some of the randomness that is typical in Descent– they get a hand of cards, each of which, when played, allows them to overcome a weak attack, a missed spawn-point, a debilitating trap, or the lack of a few movement points. This goes a long way in tempering the insanity, and if you continue, I would suggest trying to acquire this. 

-pw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Don't give up!

My group is in a similar postion yourselves - all new players, we are playing RTL with all the base expansions. (if you don't have I recommend them.. they are great for rounding out the game, and the game feels 'balanced' to us)

I am OL, playing the Spider Queen (started with Into My Parlour). The hero party is very similar to yours -  We have:

Laughin Baulder (starting skill - Cleaving)

Varikas (starting skill - Acrobat(!), has learned Leadership)

Runewitch Astarra (starting skill - Inner Fire, has learned Spiritwalker)

Laurel of Bloodwood (starting skill - Born To The Bow)

The heroes have completed the copper training at Shika's Tree and all of them went for health upgrades apart fom Laughin who got +2 Stamina.

As a group we've done a lot of D&D roleplaying, so the players are all good at combat tactics. Also, like your group they didn't understand the potential implications of early conquest, and I gained silver beasts after their second dungeon. Also, like your group I went for Frostgate early. They tried to stop Alric before they had any upgrades and I had silver beasts, and before comprehending the power of Power potions - they failed and Frostgate is razed.

They felt disillusioned too. However, we discussed it and I explained the concept of 'blitzing' the first few dungeons to them (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/325622/rtl-the-art-of-blitz - this really should be included in the RTL rules as 'A Guide For New Heroes') and they got it but we decided to press on regardless, treating the game as a learning game.

Then something magical happened - I'm not sure what exactly...  The heroes started getting it.

The next 2 Lt encounters I have had to run away squeeling like a pig on honeymoon!

Upgrading the market at Tamalir as quickly as possible seems sound. At the start of the game heroes have xp but no cash for training, so those market upgrades are cheap! The temple upgarde is well worth it next on the list. Money is tight at first, but you will find that once you have the Enchanted Boat and the Staff Of The Wild you will much quicker be able to react to the Lts, and your 'short-term plans' will become more viable.

After 8 4-hour sessions we are now almost at silver - I am winning (hurray!) - 99 conquest to the heroes 96! The game has been pretty neck and neck all the way so far... There was a point where the heroes were about 15 CQ ahead of me, but I made them pay during a rumour dungeon cool.gif We agreed to use the divine favour rule from Sea of Blood, but it's never come into play.

What we have noticed is there's a great ebb and flow to the game. Sure it starts off in the OL favour, but as we near the end of copper the heroes are pretty much a match for most things I can throw at them (Varikas has 20HP, 6 AC - platemail and ring of protection, and a cursed shield he can tap to prevent ANY damage!) Even Laurel, who I could always count on for some free xp, hasn't died in aaages...

But now silver is coming... my Lts will all upgrade for free, and I am saving xp for monster upgrades. Hopefully the game will swing back in my favour a while.. but it won't be permanently. We can see that now. We've realised that just because you may a lose a battle, you have to keep focused on the war.

And we're all new. As OL I feel I've made some mistakes - I think I've chosen the wrong plot for a start! (I went for brother against brother, wish I had chosen ascension) So far I have upgraded Silver beasts, have all the Farrows in play, got Focused, and 2 points of Trap Treachery. I've no real idea if this is a good upgrade path for me or not. There's plenty more stuff to buy but it all seems so expensive. (what does anyone else think?) Remember your OL is learning too.

It's a great and finely balanced game, but it's not immediately obvious. Give it a chance like we did and you may just find you love it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The "Blitz" tactic that Nephrinn and others are promoting is certainly a powerful hero strategy, but I don't think its absolutely required to play the advanced campaign if you don't like it.  It might be required for this particular party, because as Corbon points out you've got two melee heroes in a game that favours ranged ability, and the two ranged attackers you've got are not necessarily ideal (Red Scorpion is widely considered to be one of the worst heroes in the game.)  With a weak hero party you need every advantage you can find to survive the early game.

However, there is another side to this coin which I don't think should be ignored.  The OL got extremely lucky with his Troll-Rage-Aim TPK combo there.  Things are already hard on the heroes in copper and him pulling off that combo so early is a serious boost (which he made the most of by upgrading to a category of Silver monsters ASAP.)

I see a lot of new players coming on here and saying "Me and mine are all experienced gamers, we've played all sorts of RPGs and stuff but we just don't get Descent."  For better or for worse, Descent is not like other games.  Having experience with other games might even hurt you because you have expectations which Descent may or may not live up to.  In particular, the thing you need to remember is that the overlord is allowed to win.  And the way things are going in this particular campaign, it looks like he probably will.  Weak hero party, early OL CT boost, silver monsters before the heroes have a chance to get gear.  Not looking good.

The Blitz tactic is definitely something to consider, but if you don't like it then at least take comfort in the fact that not all hero parties will be as bad as this one.  The game gets easier for the heroes in Silver and Gold, to the point where most people agree that IF the heroes make it to the final showdown, the odds of them losing it is slim to nil.  It's a rough start, but it gets easier later.

Playing the AC game is all about looking at the big picture.  You have the option to run away, you can either manipulate that to best advantage or (at least) keep it in mind for when things get really hairy.  But you need to focus on larger things than just taking it one dungeon at a time.  Once you have enough money to buy whatever you want, spend a few weeks in town somewhere trolling the market for good stuff.  If you really need armor, try hitting Forge for the redraw ability its market has.  Sure the OL might raze some other city while you do this, but you have to decide whether its worthwhile saving Frostgate at the expense of taking longer to gear up.  If you insist on saving the entire world without suffering any losses, the OL can run you around in circles threatening one place after another while he builds up to his ultimate goal and you spin your wheels.

This isn't your average fantasy story where the heroes are expected to win in the end.  It's an honest to goodness battle between good and evil, and either side has a decent chance of winning, particularly if the other side leaves an opening.  The OL can throw the game and "play like a GM" if he wants to, but that will require deliberately passing up chances to get ahead on his part.  The game is designed to give him a fair shot at killing the heroes and destroying the world, if he wants it.

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 I should have also listed the skills and gear for each hero:

Laughin Buldar (Knight), Axe, Morning Star, Chain Mail, Ring of Protection

Varikas (Leadership), Sword, Crystal Shield

Shiver (Boggs the Rat), Sunburst (going to switch to something else very soon), Leather Armor

Red Scorpion (Born to the Bow), Ripper, Gauntlets of Power, Chain Mail, Iron Shield

We've been playing Red Scorpion's hero ability more powerful than it's listed, allowing him to use any number of fatigue each turn to recover wounds at a rate of 1 fatigue for 1 wound. This seems to make her near unkillable, as a rest action (granted by Varikas) basically amounts to a big healing potion. As for Shiver, he was the only caster drawn during party creation so was definitely the best caster. We could have possibly chosen a ranged hero instead (I don't recall the other options that player had), but then we couldn't take any advantage of any Runes we found. Even if he is the worst caster it doesn't seem like there's a whole lot of choice involved - you don't get free pick of all the heroes, you have to choose from the 3 you draw, right?

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Mythgarr said:

 I recently started a RtL campaign with 3 other experienced players. We're all very experienced with RPGs and all felt comfortable with the rules.

 

That would be the first point. Descent is nothing like a RPGs, Descent is a tactical wargame in a medieval fantasy world setting.

Second point, Descent RTL is outrageously unbalanced against the heroes at copper level. If the Overlord manage to upgrade eldritch to silver fast you are enarly doomed.

You can totally forget about ranged weapon, really, except perhaps outdoor.

You NEED the last expansion that give heroes Feats if you want to have a chance.

Frankly, after several try I just forget entirely about RtL, it was a nice idea but it just dont work for us as it just lengthen the game without providing an interesting or valid environment. SoB is far better and more balanced/interesting except than the sea encounter need major tweaking to avoid auto-OL win.

Basically RtL campaign is the heroes getting hurt for the whole copper and part or whole of silver before crushing opposition in gold (if they manage to get some experience). The campaign is far too long for this kind of balance.

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Also you are playing Brother against Brother who can be one of the tougher campaign, especially as the OL dont really have a way to win early but have serious way to harm you and especially by cancelling ability to use special training early on. One of the worst trick he can play is to concentrate on razing city he dont have cards to raze. Then just keep enough CT to be able to play the cards you have that can raze/close a city to the heroes. Let them waste time, turn and move to get there than destroy the city before they have a chance to train. It is especially nasty at the secret trainer in the south that is not quite easy to reach and could be really frustrating to lose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 how was the OL able to spawn a red troll in the first dungeon  ?? The Master troll spawn card cost monster treachery and where did he get that treachery ...

 

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so to answer your question, "what are we doing wrong", pretty much everything.

as corbon said, this is an advanced campaign, and you just opened a box and said, yeah, lets try this out.  no planning went into this decision at all, which will more than likely cause you to fail.

your heroes suck, your gear sucks, and boggs, and heck even born to the bow sucks because red scorpion has 1 attack dice, which totally negates what the ripper does btw (you already get to reroll with an aim action).

your experience as a "gamer" hinders you playing descent, because you have this idea that things should be balanced for the hero to win.  well this is not that game.  the OL can and will win.  i play with 2 D&D'ers and a lot of the time, the rulings don't make "sense" to them, but they are balanced for THIS game alone. 

i don't want to sound all doom and gloom, but in the end i would take corbon's advice.  play this out a couple more weeks, maybe try a LT battle, just to see what happens and other gear possibilities and just start over.  we pretty much did this our first time because our heroes had no clue what they were doing. 

last hint would be to focus on the overland map and a strategy for upgrades/skills before making decisions on where to go.  the first 3-4 weeks will be blitzing the dungeons that are 1 road away.  come to the realization that you control the CT flow for the OL.  we went 4 dungeons without giving the OL any CT but their beginning their week.  if done correctly, after 3-4 weeks, the OL will have 4+2/3 kills on heroes limiting to below 15 CT.  where the heroes can pick up 1 treasure chest and 2 coin piles, as well as a leader kill and a glyph.  heck, you don't even need to kill the leader on the first level if you want to completely negate the OL from getting any CT at all.  just grab the loot and run. 

 how did you come to pick the heroes?  did you just give 1 to each player or deal out 3 per player and let them choose 1?  you can tell your lack of planning based on your hero choices.  melee, ranged, magic and runner should be your selection if you can do it.  the only hero i would want in my party would be laughin.   who knows, maybe you got the worst deal ever of heroes and you were stuck with what you got.  when you restart, choose your heroes based on that.  also look at board game geek and check out the strategy section.  there are a few write ups on hero selection, whether it be in the RtL or SoB forums.  they give you a good break down on why or why not to choose the character. 

at the beginning of the campaign, damage is king.  if you can kill all the monsters before the OL even gets a turn, then you are in for a pleasant surprise.

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 And as many as your character as possible should bring Axes. There is not a lot of weapons as much efficient as the basic Axe, even in Bronze Treasure cards.

Even a ranged oriented character usually do more damage with an Axe than a Bronze Bow... (of course a bit closer but if there is no more opponent alive...).

I would suggest you take the time to look closely at the dices and count the hearts and number on the facing, make some quick calculation and when you will have figured the 'amazing' :P damage average of the basic bow you will understand part of your trouble.

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  Well, the one glaring thing you did wrong was give up too many CT early.  That coupled with 2 fairly week heros(Shiver and Red Scorpion) put youbehind the eight ball quick.

   I agree completely with Corbon.. these guys aren't heros yet!  Gonna take some time to get them there. I would suggest that you learn the art of the blitz. There are several threads on here that discuss it, so i won't go into detail . Will help your wanna-be-heros gain the gold and CT to be able too upgrade. 

 

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 I thought I had posted a reply to this thread - I guess it got lost.

During character selection Siver was the ONLY magic hero dealt, making him the best magic option by default. The only other option would have been a pretty crumby melee character and we wouldn't have had any casters.

The player who was dealt Red Scorpion was originally going to toss it. Half-jokingly he asked the OL if she could spend multiple fatigue at the start of her turn on her hero ability. After a brief look-over (and realizing what everybody else knows - that Red Scorpion as written is HORRIBLE) he okayed the house rule. Under these rules and with a hero with leadership in the group if the OL doesn't kill her she just keeps coming back. Yes, there are better heroes out there - but with the house rule she really was the best one he drew (and was one of two ranged options). I'm having an ongoing discussion with the OL to see if we can't use a version of her from the character builder - using the point buy system she ends up with 1 more armor and 9 remaining BPs to max out whatever ability. In keeping with what I think her strength is supposed to be (flexibility) I suggested the power that gives her +3 (or +2 and 1 upgrade) dice to either melee, range, or magic. She has to pick this at the start, but it would do a lot to make her a stronger hero.

I'll look over some of the blitz threads. What I don't understand about that tactic is that if the OL is even half intelligent about it, he'll start spawning everything possible on top of the chests, glyphs, and coins. In every dungeon we've had thus far this would cut off all easy loot, and would force the players to either leave empty handed or to confront SOMETHING.

As for the master troll I got some clarification from the OL - that particular dungeon offered him as one of the minion options. He just got ridiculously lucky with his hand and the dungeon. If we were smart we would have run straight to the boss, taken him down (he was a fairly squishy mob - don't recall exactly what anymore), and left the dungeon with a little loot. The main thing I've taken from this thread is that it's okay to ignore some of the monsters in a dungeon (and in fact, if it's usually best to ignore as many as possible). Yes, the OL could have opened the door to the troll's room, but with only 3 movement we could have easily outpaced him.

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it is a common tactic to place monsters on chests and glyphs.  still if that is the case, then the OL is playing preventative and in your hand.  if the OL is doing that, then that has the possibility of doing damage or blocking a path to the leader.

that is what is so nice having a runner.

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Your OL will probably do as you said and put monsters on you loot.  Best way around that is too have a runner with the acrobat skill.. first skill i would get for your runner.   Then you can ignore the enemy figures and possibly make him quit doing that all together.

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