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thitan

overlord so weak and errata beat up in a dead body

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By the way, Masquerade Ball/encounter1 with Kobalds as your back open group, and Ogres as your front makes this quest  very easy to win as OL.

 

-Cursain

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nothing survive 4 hero atacking 2 times. and the other using hero feat to cure all.

 

I sat down on Monday and started a campaign, by myself, using Silhouette/TH and Steelhorns/Knight, Avric/DS and Widow Tarha/RuneMage to get familiar with the Shadow Rune campaign that's starting for my gaming group on the 21st.  I played through Firstblood, Masquerade Ball, and Fat goblin.

 

So far as OL I'm 1W 2L.

 

I have all expansions + CK and am using secret rooms, and wyrm quests.

 

Honestly, with some of the CK monsters + a couple blood frenzys + Basic 2 deck, it's easy to drop heroes when and where I want.

 

I haven't cheated on one roll.

 

I lost Firstblood, and Fatgoblin.  Fat Goblin was lost barely.  Now that I own the bones from Masquerade Ball watch out heroes.

 

 

How's the money situation going?

 

 

Until Masquerade Ball, heroes were making a killing.

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By the way, Masquerade Ball/encounter1 with Kobalds as your back open group, and Ogres as your front makes this quest  very easy to win as OL.

 

-Cursain

Shades are my goto for missions like that.  Fast, flying, numerous and can put a hard shot in if they need to.  Try them as the villager killers in Castle Daerion if you play that one.

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Shades are my goto for missions like that.  Fast, flying, numerous and can put a hard shot in if they need to.  Try them as the villager killers in Castle Daerion if you play that one.

 

 

I might try that during the actual campaign against my friends.  I chose the Ogres because of undying, + the knock back is easy to surge on, and moving heroes three spaces away was good for clearing holes.  My Kobalds start as nine and have scamper.  It's easy to run past any would-be hero blockers.  Midway through turn two, the six nearest tokens were easily revealed.

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Masquerade Ball has to be one of the most OL-friendly encounters in the entire game (unless Heart of the Wilds has that laughably easy encounter 1 that leads to a one-turn wincon for the OL in encounter 2). Even if the heroes manage to make off with as many guests as they can, they can STILL fail the attribute roll at the end of the quest by having rotten luck; All the OL has to do at that point is block the first room with Shadow Dragons (or something equally nasty with the CK) and it's free sailing, free Bones of Woe.

If you're losing this encounter as the OL, you're either rolling terribly on the book tests to get through the door (which really isn't your fault) or you're just not grasping the OL basics, which doesn't justify crying that the OL is weak.

If you're that worried about heroes and their rampant acclimation of gold, make it so they have to choose between getting the gold and winning the encounter. Knock 'em down, make them waste turns picking each other up, while you scurry off to completing your goal, leaving traps behind you as your heroes burn fatigue and actions trying to make up for lost time.

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Masquerade Ball has to be one of the most OL-friendly encounters in the entire game (unless Heart of the Wilds has that laughably easy encounter 1 that leads to a one-turn wincon for the OL in encounter 2). Even if the heroes manage to make off with as many guests as they can, they can STILL fail the attribute roll at the end of the quest by having rotten luck; All the OL has to do at that point is block the first room with Shadow Dragons (or something equally nasty with the CK) and it's free sailing, free Bones of Woe.

If you're losing this encounter as the OL, you're either rolling terribly on the book tests to get through the door (which really isn't your fault) or you're just not grasping the OL basics, which doesn't justify crying that the OL is weak.

If you're that worried about heroes and their rampant acclimation of gold, make it so they have to choose between getting the gold and winning the encounter. Knock 'em down, make them waste turns picking each other up, while you scurry off to completing your goal, leaving traps behind you as your heroes burn fatigue and actions trying to make up for lost time.

 

The party doesn't lose a turn when they get knocked down.  They lose an action.  It's about as affective as a stun, except you get another card (and they get two red dice of healing).

 

Also, I don't agree with your implication that OLs who don't win this encounter are rolling poorly or not grasping the basics.  I'm sure their are many party combinations that can give them an edge.  In addition, we were discussing a certain party who a) can't be blocked at the entrance by Shadow Dragons and b) do not need to use large amounts of time to gather all the treasures, as it usually takes only one action.

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Your job as the OL is to ensure that 'picking them up' costs more than just one action. While yes, the rules say that picking up the hero costs only one action, keeping him alive can cost many more actions. Leaving even just ONE of your monsters within striking distance -- or even on top of the downed hero -- will mean someone else has to spend actions defeat that monster first; A hero may stand up on his own as his only action that turn, meaning he's a sitting duck for any monsters that happen to be lurking nearby.

As a note, If a hero is defeated by a monster, he's not restored to full like your monsters are; He's at 2-6 HP and has full fatigue unless he rolls a surge on those two red power dice. Whatever monster that killed him is more than likely still within attacking distance. If the heroes just spend the one action to revive the hero, he's still fairly weak, having (on average) 1/4 to 1/2 of his HP (depending on how much HP the hero has) and maybe has a fatigue to spend. If he chooses to stay and fight, you can easily knock him back down if your monster lives. If he chooses to run, give chase; He'll only die tired. In the event your monster does die... You do have more than one monster, don't you? Anyone who chooses to fight off the monsters for him so he can rest and recover is spending their actions to do so, thus my initial statement of 'ensuring picking them up costs more than just one action'.

If you're having problems with heroes moving monsters, you have to capitalize on how they're doing it. Steelhorns' Heroic Feat -- as I said before, you have to deal with it the same way heroes have to deal with you playing your cards -- can only be done once per encounter. Knowing that, why don't you force him to use it early? After burning his feat on that initial blockade, regroup and form another one. Then what is he going to do?

As for Silhouette -- or any Treasure Hunter class -- the starting whip, while it has reach, it is still a melee weapon. Shadow Dragons require at least one surge to even hit in the first place; The Treasure Hunter has to roll two surges on a Blue/Yellow die to force it to move. While yes, Blue/Yellow rolls more surges than say, Blue/Red, it still has to happen first. If you're using Basic II, the Uncontrolled Power card allows you to spend her surges, one of which you can make her take a fatigue, then spend the other on the move ability; the attack will miss because she didn't spend the surge to hit the dragon in the first place. Also, she isn't going to have a weapon with that move ability forever, as there are a LOT of tempting options in the shop decks that will have her selling her starter weapon. Blue/Yellow won't take her very far in Act II.

And for Pete's sake, sometimes these things just happen. There's a reason characters like Steelhorns and Silhouette are 'beginner' heroes; they're really good! I just went on a HUGE tirade about how the Warlord OL deck makes the others look less appealing by comparison; If they're going to play OP characters with you, play the OP Overlord deck. Even Silhouette or Steelhorns can't feat if they're dead, and even when revived, they probably won't want to end up separated from the group at low health and full fatigue.

Ask anyone, hero or OL, who usually wins the Masquerade Ball; Odds are likely you'll be told the OL usually wins. The few instances I've heard of the OL actually losing this encounter was because they didn't have the 'easy way' through the attribute-test doors, and kept failing at the door for several turns before the heroes caught up. My own experiences with this quest fell along the common line; The OL won encounter 1 because all the guests were far away from the heroes to start, plus we failed the roll at the end of the encounter, and because of that she was able to shove Shadow Dragons and Cave Spiders in our path to allow Eliza the insurmountable lead she needed to win.

Edited by PlainWhiteBread

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So Steelhorns moves the monsters for Silhouette.  I don't know why you're counting her surges.  If you're playing in a group where Silhouette actually needs to attack to get around the board, maybe your heroes haven't grasped the basics.

 

As for knocking heroes down again as soon as they stand up, what monster are you using that does 3 reds worth of damage a turn in one attack?  Because that's what a raising hero usually gets.  Disciple stands them up, then prayer of healing.  3 red dice.  Is your monster attacking twice every round?  Because I don't know where you're getting 8-9 damage after defense rolls.  And yeah, Silhouette and Steelhorns can use their feats when dead.  Avric just stands them up first.  Then they use their feat.  Knocking players down really isn't that effective.  Especially when you get a tripwire from it and they're basically immune.  And if not, they probably get a skill check anyways.

 

As for your comments about Warlord cards Reinforce and Bloodlust, we're talking about an Act 1 quest here.  Where are you getting 6 xp from?

 

 

-----

 

Anyways...  The thing OP was actually discussing in this thread is how only the OL seems to be getting nerfed by the FAQs.  All this talk about heroes' feats are just helping to show off other things that could be nerfed concerning the party, which have not been addressed.  I feels that the OL is being stripped of what advantages he has.

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One small detail about shadow dragons "shadow" ability. It ONLY works on adjacent models. Models with reach or range are not affected by it one bit, unless they are adjacent to the shadow dragon they are attacking....unless it's been FAQ'd.

Cursain

Edited by Cursain
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One small detail about shadow dragons "shadow" ability.  It ONLY works on adjacent models.  Models with reach or range are not affected by it one bit....unless it's been FAQ'd.

 

Cursain

 

Good point and thank you.

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Okay, so we're not seeing eye to eye on this. I'm willing to concede on the whole mess with Shadow Dragons and being moved by a weapon with Reach. I still say she's probably not going to keep that weapon forever, but you have to be willing to actually play the rest of the game to find out if she will.

My first lengthy article was about the OL in general, that the cards Bloodlust, Reinforce and Unholy Ritual were being nerfed in the sense of game balance; As it stood per the base game with four heroes -- the standard that most people play Descent -- Bloodlust gave the OL five cards for defeating a hero; One per hero in the game, plus the standard one for defeating a hero. Unholy Ritual gives the OL, stuck with Zombies or a group with 4+ monsters four additional cards, at the cost of that group receiving one less action. That's nine cards total, or 3/5ths of their entire deck. Considering the OL starts their first turn with five cards, it is possible to draw 14 of the OL's deck of 15 cards. Reinforce simply dropped an entire monster group within 3 spaces of the heroes, who can activate that turn and wreak havoc. The heroes can do nothing to stop any of this from happening. With the OL holding most of their cards, they cycle through the ones they use very quickly, meaning they will always have these cards in their hand. Do you see now, why they applied the errata to these cards?

Then you come in here complaining you can't stop Steelhorns and Silhouette -- two VERY SPECIFIC HEROES -- from moving your monsters; to which I tried to explain to you to tough it out and think about the long-term game. Your initial losses here mean little once you get your big-boy OL cards, and you can still win the campaign by defeating all the heroes in the finale even if you never win a single encounter. No matter how many goodies they have, no matter what they blow their gold on, you will always have the tools to make sure they die. You cited the Disciple's healing ability as a problem you face routinely; The Disciple's heal in Act II still only rolls one red power die for healing. Sure, it gets a bunch of other bonuses for that turn only, but when you're rolling Blue/Red/Red or Blue/Red/Yellow, that little red die won't amount to much, especially when surges are added.

Also, since you're dealing with Conversion Kit heroes, how about you make better use of your Conversion Kit monsters? Even early in Act I, Monsters with Sorcery X (Sorcerors, Chaos Beasts) turn excess range into FREE DAMAGE, monsters with Stealthy (Deep Elves, Wendigos) need three extra range to be hit by an attack at all, and anything with Pierce 2, 3 or even 4 (Shades, Ferroxes, Deep Elves) will nullify most of the heroes' defense rolls, and these abilities only get better (or worse if you're a hero) in Act II. As an action, those Shades and Ferroxes can use leech; Targeting a hero with low Might (Avric only has a might of 2!), you can roll a yellow die and sap his health and fatigue. If Steelhorns and Silhouette are that much of a problem, you need the Golems. The Golems are immune to pierce and conditions and the Master Golem cannot be moved unless you allow it to move. Coupled that they have a lot of health, good defense dice and roll decent attack dice, you can stick them in the way and watch these so-called 'unstoppable forces' meet the immovable object.

You're selling yourself unbelivably short by throwing in the towel and crying foul because you're being bushwacked by heroes who are using their potential abilities better than you are. Read your OL cards, look at your monsters' abilities and adapt to what your heroes are doing. If you're not having fun being the OL, stick someone else with the job. Be a hero and see it from the other side; Stare down a Blood Raged monster with Frenzy or Flurry rolling Blue/Red/Red three times while only rolling a gray defense die. Then after you and the monster die, watch it reappear during the reinforcement phase at full health while someone else has to stand you up at significantly less health than the monster that killed you. You'll see just how "fair" the game can get if you're willing to stick it out.

Edited by PlainWhiteBread
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I am not questioning why these cards have been errataed.  I am pointing out that the OP feels only the OL gets nerfed in errata and I agree this is the case.  My complains about Steelhorns are warranted, as they allow his party to complete a quest before the OL can have a turn.  This should be repaired and never be the case.  There should be no scenario in which a player can lose before they get to play.  If you disagree with that point then you are right; if you believe a player should lose before having a turn, we will never see eye to eye.

 

Silhouette is actually a character another OL (as in, not me) had a problem with and posted asking for strategies dealing with her (which no one has been able to present).  However many of us can see the issues she creates and another poster is working on his own set of rules to handle it in another thread.  We showed how she can be used to get 250 gold a map with very little effort when played in the base game.

 

For my monster chooses, I enjoy monsters that can survive the initial round a lot more than the pile of corpses Shades and Ferroxes become (not that they don't have their uses, see me comments about Castle Daerion above)  Sorcerers too are a little fragile.  A quick blast can finish them off easily (and let me stop you right there before you say don't stand them beside each other.  They're being herded together by the same characters we've been discussing.)

 

One thing that never came into our play-sessions was stealthy, and that's because the party had no ranged characters.  Now, I do believe I've seen some talk about stealthy actually requiring a melee attack to roll 3 range to hit as well.  If that's true, it plays to the exact reason I stopped playing.  This game is about discovering the newest exploit each time the group meets, be it moving while Immobilized, teleporting figures because of adjacency problems, heroic feats vastly outpowering the other characters in their archetype, figures shooting through walls due to the strangest LOS rules in history, familiars not giving bonuses when a monster stands on them because "that's not adjacent" or rulings handed down from FFG to forums the go completely against what is written in the manuals.  It contains encounters that boil down to a single die-roll or two, and will punish a failure with hours of play that you know you have no chance of turning into a victory.  Every expansion and new product offer the potential to provide a more balanced experience, but all they do is steadily raise the level of power available, making older resources obsolete, in an attempt to get players to purchase the newest addition.  It has led to an unenjoyable experience for my group.

 

Believe me, I wish I could share in your experiences, and play in a game where everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.  I probably would enjoy being a hero more, but I'm the only one in my group willing to be OL.  Another player would do it, but he's said flat out he'd rather be a hero, and I don't mind losing, I just don't like sitting in place for hours doing nothing.  Also, we've had a campaign where I crushed the heroes.  Don't know if you noticed that with all your talk of me complaining about being beaten by the heroes.  I think you're misunderstanding the issues I'm having.  Not that it matters.

 

(I wanted to try bolding a bunch of stuff too this post.  Is fun.)

Edited by AltWren

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I had another lengthy post on this, but if all this culminates in the fact that the game's not your group's cup of tea, I'll save my words.

Try Arkham Horror if you haven't already. That's a blast with a group, and you all get to work together against the board. It's honestly a ton of fun.

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In the case of Descent, it seems to be a quasi-obsessional topic, that takes a place that I don't remember I  ever have seen with other games (e.g. RuneAge, Arkham Horror, SmallWorld, Starcraft, Talisman, Advanced Squad Leader, which are among the games I that I play and with which forums I interact).

I am still interested about the deep reasons of the phenomenon. I now have nearly made my mind that the (recurrent) debates about Descent being unbalanced are more about players venting their frustrations than about reaching to serious conclusions.

 

Could the fact that, in comparison to RuneAge, Arkham Horror, SmallWorld, Starcraft, Talisman and Advanced Squad Leader, this conversation takes place so often and so many people come to vent frustration not indicate there may indeed be some global problem?

I really don't think so.

One could criticize the "balance" of all those other games with about the same arguments brought up here.

There are debates, in all those games, about more or less powerfull combos, more or less balanced specific scenarios, etc.

But the players have the common sense not slam on the table global judgements about those games' alledged unbalance.

They also are reasonable enough to understand that games involving luck (usually dice and card draws) simply cannot offer a perfect global balance. Skill helps attenuate the effects of randomness, but cannot prevent bad luck.

 

When I see Descent players complain that the game is unbalanced because their heroes (or monsters) rolled three successive "X" results, I am wondering if they integrated the fact that there are many luck factors involved.

 

In addition, if there were a global problem, there would be a global consensus.

But there is none. None.

Some people are vocal that the OL is OP, others that the heroes are OP and others don't see any dramatical unbalance in the game.

I really think that the phenomenon is a strange twist of the mind of some Descent players - or perhaps do pre-existing complaints about balance lead to some imitation threads ?

So, if you put aside all opinions which rely upon belief or which are based on partial data, you simply find nothing that can give you a clear answer about the game's global unbalance.

And that would seem to me an indication that there is no global problem of a global unbalance leaning towards only one direction.

 

Looking for global balance is an illusion.

Wanting global balance is forgetting that luck and multiple factors make the endeavour impossible to reach.

 

Balance is a myth.

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I had another lengthy post on this, but if all this culminates in the fact that the game's not your group's cup of tea, I'll save my words.

Try Arkham Horror if you haven't already. That's a blast with a group, and you all get to work together against the board. It's honestly a ton of fun.

I fully agree with you: the problem is much more about the subjective expectations than about hard facts.

 

BTW, Arkham Horror is a blast (I am fond of that game too)... but would people who are so worried about "balance" suffer the fact that some games can depend on crucial dice rolls? You know, when Ithaqa, at the moment of the big confrontation, eliminates your Machine Gun and other essential items, reaping victory with a couple of nasty die rolls?

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the power of overlord is in expansions.

in the core game (without convertion kit). I only won 2 first quests after this. I lose all quests. the heroes are very strong with itens and heroic feat. if all player knew how play they will use all heroic feat in all encounter. and will stay together using fatigue all the turn to gain movement. because some cards of the overlord don't break the movement he can stay use fatigue in one by one. and attacking all the time 2 times.

Edited by thitan
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As for knocking heroes down again as soon as they stand up, what monster are you using that does 3 reds worth of damage a turn in one attack?  Because that's what a raising hero usually gets.  Disciple stands them up, then prayer of healing.  3 red dice.  Is your monster attacking twice every round?  Because I don't know where you're getting 8-9 damage after defense rolls.  And yeah, Silhouette and Steelhorns can use their feats when dead.  Avric just stands them up first.  Then they use their feat.  Knocking players down really isn't that effective.  Especially when you get a tripwire from it and they're basically immune.  And if not, they probably get a skill check anyways

 

Act II there are a number of monsters with the CK that can roll blue, red, red. You have to roll pretty good to get your health up to nine to make the OL then work super hard to knock a hero down. Blue, red, yellow can provide you with surges you need to do nine damage, but the hero being at nine damage after a KO is really unusual. (On a side note, any of my LT roll another green dice. Ariad currently rolls Blue, Green, Green, Green. two surges = +3 heart. She can hit hard if rolled well).

 

But if you are talking about Act I, still, the monsters do their job with a blood rage. By the end of act I and the OL has no wins, you still have four exp. If you go warlord, two blood rages and bloodlust by the interlude means you have a possibility to drawing FIVE cards when a hero hits the dirt. Congrats, you have 1/4 of your deck in your hand with one, if not both of your dashs or blinding speed to get Zacherith down that waterfall (runaway quests are ALWAYS highly favoring the OL. the Interlude is NO exception).

 

When I did Shadow Ruin, I played Magus and still was making my heroes pay for anything they wanted to do. I also won two of the quests before the interlude. I would have won two in act II was well had I not made a dumb move in one of the quests (don't show off. Just go for the gold x.x).

 

And if you are fussing about gold, my group got away with 500+ gold once with two useable act II shop items. And I'm GLAD they did! With this crazy I am able to pull off (Bread has been very good about talking about there) they need ALL of the toys.

 

If you guys have Labyrinth of Ruin, play that with a really witty OL. The wins for the OL are astronomical, but the wins will not be easy. Kiddy gloves are off. This is where it becomes real.

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New relics in expansion do more strong heroes... and more quest give more gold heroes...

 

For balance they have thought to add Lieutenant Pack and is a step forward... (like me, they understand OL's relics are unused for large part of the campaign)

 

If this changed nothing necessarily have to add the possibility to equip the monsters ...

 

I don't want more attack for monster, i don't want more OL card... i love this system... but OL < 4 Heroes (don't believe in the fable "OL > 2 Heroes - OL < 3 Heroes - OL = Heroes", [a person woke up in the morning, and he told this story, and the world believed him])

 

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We just finished a campaign with me as the OL using the new expansion.  I won in the end but it was incredibly close and came down to one roll where if I didn't kill a hero, the rest would have been in range to get to the objective and win.  However I definitely benefited from winning the unplayable, broken Heart of the Wild quest so that may have been the slight edge and a few very important rolls ended up as misses for the heroes since prior the heroes were walking through the finale with no difficulty and that swung it immensely.  Additionally I had the excellent reinforcement card which just gives monsters that the heroes can't expect and plan around which is a huge power swing in the overlord's favor that other decks just can't compete with.  I almost think that card is a requirement.  Lastly I realized late how good hell hounds were.  With pierce 3-4 they and the nagas with sorcery were the only things that could consistently get through the gray+black+brown dice that all the heroes (including the mages and scouts) were throwing.  

 

I think the problem with balance is related to several issues.  Quests are not really well thought out in regards to the incredible amount of hero abilities that can trivialize them.  In addition some are just not tested with people that are familiar enough with the game mechanics to exploit rules.  For instance in the quest where if heroes step next to spider webs and there is a chance spiders will spawn, as the rules are written you can walk familiars like geomancer stones or the reanimate onto those spaces (since they are not heroes for the effects of quest objectives, only for monster abilities or overlord cards) and the spider will not spawn and then when a hero is adjacent to the now occupied web square the spider has no place to go and the quest doesn't say that it goes to the closest space.  Even if they DID spawn the spiders are easy enough to kill it doesn't really matter.

 

That leads to the next issue in that monsters are too flimsy.  The overlord has to hope for hero misses since by the end of an act, most monsters are able to be one shot if the hero is tailored correctly.  If the quest has a reinforcement at the end of the turn you can assume that the monsters just won't get attacks at all.  The new treasure hunter was consistently putting out over 8 hearts worth of damage with pierce 2-3 so certain monsters just couldn't be taken.  The only limit to that is the 1 in 6 chance of missing which makes damage incredibly swingy in attacks that either result in dead or totally untouched monsters.  Many monsters also just have no way to break through hero defenses.  There are few things that limit heavy armor other than a few that don't allow runes, but still allow magic ranged staffs and none that affect bows.  Some have movement penalties but when a character already has a movement of 3 and 5 fatigue and maybe the +1 movement per turn out of action item this doesn't really matter.

 

Another issue is the skill check system.  With the new expansion and access to gear that increases stats along with re-rolls, using cards that require heroes to fail skill checks just can't be counted on.  In this game usually there is a situation where one turn makes the difference and having to rely on a 25% chance that something will happen just doesn't cut it. As the game continues the heroes become better at passing tests, but the overlord can't affect those odds outside of a few situations.  Additionally it's always better to have the sure thing (cards that buff monsters or spawn them) than ones that require the hero to fail in order for a complicated plan to succeed.  One of the ways I think I was able to win was ditching those cards entirely with the exception of dark charm (which didn't work once in the entire game).  An additional problem with the skill check system is that most parties contain heroes that have wildly different stats.  So a card will typically only be usable on one hero so if that player isn't the one you absolutely need to stop that turn you have a dead card that could have been something better like critical blow, dash or blood rage.  

 

I believe an errata change that needs to be made is that when a hero is down the ONLY way they can interact with the game at all is to be revived using an action.  Downing heroes only to have them all stand up when a healer gives them 1 heart with an ability that affects multiple heroes makes the penalty for death meaningless other than a card draw.  This is a big deal when in some cases the overlord only gets one monster a turn or none at all.

 

Certain characters are also just totally busted and ruin games.  Silhouette is one such character as several recent threads have noticed.  I played as her in a campaign a while ago as a thief type and it totally trivialized certain maps to the point where they made the overlord obviously frustrated with his inability to have any agency in stopping her.  

 

I don't think the overall problems are as simple as one side is overpowered.  I think most of the problems stem from the fact that with the Decent 1 ed character and monster compatibility pack there are just way too many variables introduced and no way to adequately test them all.  Even without that there are quests that have obvious holes that playing strictly by the rules can seriously exploit.

 

Overall if I had to make changes to "fix" the game they would be:

 

1. Remove the extra characters and monster entirely.  I think this is huge and probably the easiest thing for players just to house rule.  They add just way too many variables in a game where there are so many ways to exploit the rule system.  This also removes a lot of the "oh I didn't realize that character/monster did that in this situation" which happens a lot the first time an encounter is played and frankly the first time something is done is probably when the game is most fresh and fun.

2. Make heroes that are down not count as being on the board in any way.  The only way they can be revived is if another character uses a revive action on the token that is left on the board in the square they were downed in.  This removes a lot of weird exploits and makes character death a penalty.

3. Play test through every quest with each character archetype at least once with people intentionally trying to break every rule possible in order to notice holes.  Additionally fix broken quests like Heart of the Wilds.

4. Remove ALL abilities, items, etc that allow characters to increase stats or gain access to rerolls for skill tests.  The penalties for these are never really worth the difficulty and in a average group at least one character will have a stat high enough to be able to competently achieve quest objectives so it shouldn't result in heroes unable to complete quests.  Heroes SHOULD be failing tests fairly regularly, otherwise why even include a mechanic that by the end of the game is practically ignored.  If this requires certain cards to be rebalanced (such as web trap) that is fine.

5. Increase monster health, defense dice or something to allow them to take a hit.

6. Remove certain overlord cards ONLY if monster survivability is fixed (such as reinforce)

7. Monsters and heroes should only have access to massive (2-4) pierce OR additional hearts on weapons and abilities.  Sometimes this is hard to stop but I think it's manageable.  Pierce should be a way to consistently do a small bit of damage not as a way of adding an extra 2-3 damage points on top of 8-10 hearts worth of health.

8. Make weapons and armor somewhat class specific.  For instance mages with heavy armor in addition to damage mitigation abilities makes them better tanks than knights.

9. Take familiars much more strongly into account.  They are somewhat outside the game's rules as heroes in some situations and not in others so in many cases they break rules and it's unclear how the quests handle them or make certain quests where having an extra body to clog lanes or sit in certain areas makes the game incredibly lopsided in terms of balance.  

 

A lot of that stuff is way outside the scope of a simple errata but we have players that really like the game but everyone gets frustrated with how often encounters turn into either a blowout in terms of heroes just walking through monsters, the overlord completing a quest without any work because an expansion monster was able to get around a quest's rules, hero abilities not being considered for a quest and making it trivial, etc.  A lot of my proposed changes also hit heroes more harshly but as the op noted the overlord has already been tweaked down in several instances in regards to both cards and quest objectives so I think this brings everything more in line.

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Looking for global balance is an illusion.

Wanting global balance is forgetting that luck and multiple factors make the endeavour impossible to reach.

 

Balance is a myth.

 

 

If balance is just a myth, why were the OL cards errataed?  Why was Castle Daerion changed?  I assumed it was because they were unbalancing.  Should they have been left alone and people having issues been told to be luckier?

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Radish, I'm calling shenanigans on your claims: A lot of the game boils down to relying on luck, and knowing that should explain a lot of what you're seeing. As the OL, you also need to know when to play your cards and who to play them on; Trying to Dark Charm a hero with 4 willpower is a fool's errand, as is trying to trap a scout with 5 awareness and a lucky charm; using Befuddle, which forces them to reroll and add a shield to their result will help, but the game boils down to luck of the dice anyway. The items that buff the testing attributes are few and far between, and your heroes need to either pull them in the shop, or pull the treasure chest out of the search deck AND pull the item out of the shop deck.

I'm curious: How do all four of your heroes roll Black/Gray/Brown defense dice? What heroes are they, what are their equipments, and how did they afford all of that?

Looking through your lengthy list of fixes tells me you almost want to play another game entirely; Maybe the amount of luck rolled in this game isn't your group's cup of tea either?


AltWren, I've explained why the OL cards were subject to the errata, but here it is again since you've asked: With the combination of Bloodlust and Unholy Ritual, the OL is capable of holding their entire deck in their hand. How is that bad, you ask? Imagine a game where moving was pointless because the OL always had trap cards in his hand. Or imagine being killed by an Uthuk Demon Trap every time you searched or opened a door, because the OL always had it in their hand. Reinforce is an extremely powerful card that defies the reinforcement rules and drops an entire monster group, that can move and attack that same turn, within three spaces of the heroes. Imagine if the OL could do that every turn. None of what I said is encounter-specific, either; it runs hot all the time.

Can the heroes do anything that unbalancing for the majority of every quest? Even if the Treasure Hunter manages to pull the treasure chest and a bunch of gold every time, they're still at the mercy of the shop deck. You're not allowing them to rummage the shop deck for what they want when the chest pops up or between encounters, are you?

Castle Daerion was given, as others have mentioned, too much errata; The only thing that needed to be changed was when the militia spawned; The original reading of the campaign allowed the Overlord to intentionally fail the first encounter to get the first turn on the second encounter, which went against the spirit of the game. How does this work? When the militia start in front of the heroes during the encounter, they block hero movement and line of sight. They are also activated last per the rules, meaning that their activation forces all four heroes to pass their initial turn. Giving Palamon four movement points and a gray defense die was just overkill.

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If you're using Basic II, the Uncontrolled Power card allows you to spend her surges, one of which you can make her take a fatigue, then spend the other on the move ability; the attack will miss because she didn't spend the surge to hit the dragon in the first place. 

If you don't spend surges on range, then the attack is a miss, and all of the results (including the surges you spent) are ignored, which means you couldn't have spent those surges anyway, and since with Uncontrolled Power, you HAVE to spend all of the surges, that means you first have to spend surges on range to make it count as a hit (if possible), and then you can spend the others however you want.

 

This was confirmed in an email from FFG.

 

 

One small detail about shadow dragons "shadow" ability. It ONLY works on adjacent models. Models with reach or range are not affected by it one bit, unless they are adjacent to the shadow dragon they are attacking....unless it's been FAQ'd.

Note that the Shadow Dragons' "Shadow" ability doesn't only affect attacks against itself. Any attack from a hero (or familiar treated as a figure) declared from a space adjacent to the Shadow Dragon requires the extra surge, even if it is a ranged attack targeting a goblin in the opposite direction. (I couldn't tell from this post if that was understood or not, so I figure it's best to clarify just in case.)

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Note that the Shadow Dragons' "Shadow" ability doesn't only affect attacks against itself. Any attack from a hero (or familiar treated as a figure) declared from a space adjacent to the Shadow Dragon requires the extra surge, even if it is a ranged attack targeting a goblin in the opposite direction. (I couldn't tell from this post if that was understood or not, so I figure it's best to clarify just in case.)

 

 

You rock griton.  Thanks for pointing that out.  It's a major detail I missed and will exploit during my next game.

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Looking for global balance is an illusion.

Wanting global balance is forgetting that luck and multiple factors make the endeavour impossible to reach.

 

Balance is a myth.

 

If balance is just a myth, why were the OL cards errataed?  Why was Castle Daerion changed?  I assumed it was because they were unbalancing.  Should they have been left alone and people having issues been told to be luckier?

Those are modifications of some punctual elements of the game.

My point is not about balance issues in some details, but about the claim that Descent is globally unbalanced in favour of one side (OL or heroes).

Again, global balance is a myth, which has no serious basis.

No one can say that the game is broken and be credible.

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Of course I'm not trying to use Dark Charm on a character with a stat of 4, that's just stupid.  However try using it on characters that have a stat of 3 and re-rolls.  Or using cards that require failures after characters with 2 and 3 stats on their cards are now 3 and 4s due to getting new items.  Just like you say certain cards are useful against certain characters which is why they aren't that great when players learn to just play around that.  When you want your deck to be a lean 15 cards, you don't want to waste one on the card that forces a re-roll.  So now you have two out of your 15 cards devoted to something and you have to have exactly those two cards in your hand when the specific time is right.  I'm sorry but that just isn't worth the simplicity of having a card that adds two damage to monster attacks (and lets you replay it with a surge) or just two attacks straight up or having a whole extra group of monsters, sometimes on a map that was designed around monster scarcity.  

 

 

Black + Grey + Brown is not difficult to get.  For instance most characters start with grey.  By the second half there are plenty of opportunities for black dice armor, sometimes with negatives but mostly this can be worked around by giving certain stuff to the guy with movement 3 and some to the one who wasn't going to use runes.  Lots of abilities add brown dice such as the beast master ability and I believe that the dragon armor allows it once per turn.  On top of that there are accessories that give +shield if a blank is rolled which is amazing with a brown dice.  Getting high defense is not hard at all and monsters do not scale with this outside abusing ones with high pierce. 

 

We've played campaigns with this game multiple times with different heroes and overlords and the results are the same, someone ends up running away with it during the map instead of having a fight that is close a great deal of the time.  The idea of the game is awesome and when it works it's really fun.  However there is almost always a point when the heroes start increasing too much in power and the overlord has to go all in on monster buff cards and ditch stuff that hits their stats in order to have a chance and then it is usually up to the heroes to whiff attacks at important times.

 

Luck isn't an issue.  When a character can roll moderately and as long as they don't roll the X on the blue die will one shot most single square monsters and some 4 square ones that is a constant not luck.  In regards to skill checks look at these statistics here:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/837489/probabilities-of-succeeding-an-attribute-test

At an average of 3 there is a 50% chance of passing which is not something to be counted on when the cards are in a deck of fifteen instead of an ability to be used semi consistently (such as zombie grab or whatever).  However that is still not terrible and within the realm of luck making the game more dynamic.

However once you look at re-rolls that jumps to almost an 80% success rate.  Using a card in that situation is either a waste or a Hell Mary play and not so much luck as it is a shot in the dark.  Wicked laughter plummets the hero success chance but as stated earlier requires the card to be in hand and is a one time use as opposed to re-rolls that are either once a turn or on every check.  So lets say the 3 party members have stats in the category for the card you bought with experience at 2, 3 and 4.  The players are smart and once they see you use that card they shift gear and now the player with a 3 has the re-roll item.  Your card is now only a better than 28% chance of working on one player versus any other card that buffs a monster and is effective against all three.  My beef is that luck ISN'T a factor, not that I don't like it.  Players are able to mitigate luck in many different areas so that sometimes rolling dice is just for show.  When players can combine abilities so that pierce 2-4 is on everyone along with lots of damage bonuses, the grey defense dice that most act 2 monsters share is meaningless.  Hero parties can get gear and re-rolls that buff their skill checks to about 75% for 3 of their 4 characteristics.  It ends up that success is the norm except for 1/6 or 1/5 chances for total failure.  In the last few levels of our last campaign, once the Treasure Hunter player rolled a hit on a monster the only reason to look at the surges and hearts was to see if he could use one of the surges to recover fatigue.

 

As I said I don't think this is simply a matter of heroes being broken since we've had games where the overlord just chain killed heroes.  I think it's a problem with abilities and item combinations that are untested and I think removing the character kit is a step in the direction of fixing this.  Next time we play (probably when Troll Fens comes out) I think I think I will suggest removing all extra monsters and heroes that aren't designed specifically for 2nd edition and see how it works out.

Edited by Radish
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