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 Playtesting Super Dungeon Legends 
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Denizen
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lucern wrote:
This is an outright beautiful setup Holy Cross, between the digital tiles, the brightly adorned minis, and the finest furniture in all the realm. :D

I'm a little sad that a coop/arcade legends seems more like a homebrew or secondary way of playing Legends. My standard gaming group size is 2, and coop is our favorite way to play boardgames.


...and everyone who owns this furniture and doesn’t use it every chance they get, even in unrelated games, is a fool!

Haha! Thanks @Lucern!

I plan on making an arcade mode for this campaign once I’m done with the full 6 chapters. There’s a good possibility I’ll publish it officially, under license. (A little bird may have told me that ND/SPM are open to me doing that ;) )


April 6th, 2018, 9:54 pm
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I'm still in the middle of my second Consul Handbook readthrough and trying to wrap my head around the terminology.

Please let me know if I'm getting this right:

Encounter is the smallest unit of 'experience' -- generally a single tile within an adventure with victory/loss conditions that control whether the heroes move on to the next encounter *in the adventure* and with what benefits/conditions. The last encounter in an adventure generally includes the victory/loss conditions for the entire adventure.

Adventure is a collection of encounters that tell a single story? And they recommend 3+ encounters per adventure for Act I > Act II > Act III. Generally an Adventure should be tuned to be completed in a single play session, yes?

Campaign is a collection of Adventures that tell an overarching story and generally must be completed in order (depending on how the campaign is built). This is the Broken Horn material they included.

The part I'm struggling with is b/c the expectation is that heroes rank up between Adventures and they include the option to rank up after a set # of adventures (so you can do harder ones) or after a story milestone (so you can artificially gate adventures/campaign adventures). So that means the progression should maybe focus more on story and loot/equipment/treasure/crafting.

So in my mind, your heroes basically go around and pick between campaign and standalone adventures, as they rank up they can do more standalones and/or proceed in the campaign and it's just up to the Consul to decide the pacing and/or adjust for which players show up. New players can roll new heroes that 'start' at the predetermined rank level so they can catch up or they can maybe repeat adventures to level up new heroes and 'power level' them.

The part I'm struggling with is the pacing of rank level up in conjunction with Campaigns. Like if you finish a campaign, do you just rank up and what do you do at XS rank aside from farm equipment/crafting materials/loot? I know/like how dsdrew addressed this with the MMO model - the heroes must farm/repeat the Adventures to gain the tangible equipment rewards/xp/increase guild rank, etc. and they have multiple heroes to focus on and they don't technically rank up the same in legends b/c they start with the hero cards.

My thought was to create a campaign of linked adventures and heroes would only rank up as they completed campaign adventures, but once they finished the campaign that was the end of that story and those heroes would be retired (similar to gloomhaven). They could maybe return as NPCs in the next campaign as the world evolved under the Consul's control, but we'd pick new heroes to start over to reset the rank so as to avoid the power creep. Is that being too close minded? I don't actually know how attached people get to their characters and if it'd be better to focus on generating non-rank based progression rewards (since the beta has very little) so folks can keep their heroes longer or focus more on creating one shot campaigns that tell a story and focus less on equipment/loot accrual.


April 6th, 2018, 10:09 pm
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Holy Cross - maybe you already mentioned this (or I'll find out when I read your material) - is each Chapter an Adventure or a collection of Adventures (so you're like doing a mega campaign?)

Do you have an exit strategy for when the heroes finish all 6 chapters? Is that it or do they continue adventuring in Crystalia?


April 6th, 2018, 10:11 pm
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sleepy_laughter wrote:
Holy Cross - maybe you already mentioned this (or I'll find out when I read your material) - is each Chapter an Adventure or a collection of Adventures (so you're like doing a mega campaign?)

Do you have an exit strategy for when the heroes finish all 6 chapters? Is that it or do they continue adventuring in Crystalia?


Each chapter is an adventure with 4-7 encounters each. Chapter 5 will give an ‘ending’. Chapter 6 gives the true-ending. Beyond that I want to add 2 or 3 optional dungeons so the players can take their XS level characters for one or two more adventures before they retire them. I do want a Gloomhaven effect in that this campaign will leave a mark on Crystalia that will be apparent when a new party arrives to take on my next campaign.

Also I set a phone reminder to go over your longer question tonight after work. It looks mostly right, but I don’t wanna shortchange you :D


April 6th, 2018, 10:21 pm
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sleepy_laughter wrote:
Encounter is the smallest unit of 'experience' -- generally a single tile within an adventure with victory/loss conditions that control whether the heroes move on to the next encounter *in the adventure* and with what benefits/conditions. The last encounter in an adventure generally includes the victory/loss conditions for the entire adventure.
Adventure is a collection of encounters that tell a single story? And they recommend 3+ encounters per adventure for Act I > Act II > Act III. Generally an Adventure should be tuned to be completed in a single play session, yes?
Campaign is a collection of Adventures that tell an overarching story and generally must be completed in order (depending on how the campaign is built). This is the Broken Horn material they included.


This all seems about right.


sleepy_laughter wrote:
The part I'm struggling with is b/c the expectation is that heroes rank up between Adventures and they include the option to rank up after a set # of adventures (so you can do harder ones) or after a story milestone (so you can artificially gate adventures/campaign adventures). So that means the progression should maybe focus more on story and loot/equipment/treasure/crafting.
So in my mind, your heroes basically go around and pick between campaign and standalone adventures, as they rank up they can do more standalones and/or proceed in the campaign and it's just up to the Consul to decide the pacing and/or adjust for which players show up. New players can roll new heroes that 'start' at the predetermined rank level so they can catch up or they can maybe repeat adventures to level up new heroes and 'power level' them.
The part I'm struggling with is the pacing of rank level up in conjunction with Campaigns. Like if you finish a campaign, do you just rank up and what do you do at XS rank aside from farm equipment/crafting materials/loot? I know/like how dsdrew addressed this with the MMO model - the heroes must farm/repeat the Adventures to gain the tangible equipment rewards/xp/increase guild rank, etc. and they have multiple heroes to focus on and they don't technically rank up the same in legends b/c they start with the hero cards.


I think the key things here is the Consul player has to keep the party honest. DM's pregame house rule. Is this more about immersion? Are you ok with the players meta-gaming? If not, make that clear up front.

sleepy_laughter wrote:
My thought was to create a campaign of linked adventures and heroes would only rank up as they completed campaign adventures, but once they finished the campaign that was the end of that story and those heroes would be retired (similar to gloomhaven). They could maybe return as NPCs in the next campaign as the world evolved under the Consul's control, but we'd pick new heroes to start over to reset the rank so as to avoid the power creep. Is that being too close minded? I don't actually know how attached people get to their characters and if it'd be better to focus on generating non-rank based progression rewards (since the beta has very little) so folks can keep their heroes longer or focus more on creating one shot campaigns that tell a story and focus less on equipment/loot accrual.
[/quote]

I like this approach. As far as reaching the XS rank, I think players should get to play with their shiny new demi-god for a bit. If the main arc is over, make a multilevel dungeon with a 'Boss of Legend' at the bottom so they can push their legendary hero to his or her limits one last time before retirement. If people are attached to their characters, the NPC idea isn't a bad one either. I hope this helps! :D


April 7th, 2018, 2:18 am
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My draft of chapter 4 is complete. I snapped a few preview shots from the draft module. A battle report covering the completion of chapter 2 should be up either tonight or tomorrow. Once again, if you'd like copies of the materials, comment below or IM me.

With 4 chapters down, I have 2 more to go and this is a complete Legends campaign module. :mrgreen:

Image

A secluded village before and after the villain corrupts it.

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The heroes find an unmarked grave in a small forest clearing outside Dust Village.

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A flashback encounter from before the villain was corrupted.


April 8th, 2018, 5:26 pm
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Good afternoon all. My wife played through the 3 remaining encounters in Chapter 2 of my campaign module. 1 noncombat encounter, 2 combat encounters. Before I launch into the pics, here are my observations:

Regarding Legends itself (as it currently exists)

-My wife is really enjoying the character progression system. 'Leveling up' alleviates the heavy dependency on loot that Classic and Arcade rely on to power-up the heroes. Becoming 'A-Rank' gave each hero some customization options too since each hero can add a blue-die to any stat and choose from the a-rank ability charts. This definitely added to her attachment to the characters as well.

-Additionally she felt levels ups didn't require too much thought. For each character level up she'd level up the character stat that made sense (WILL for her Lightning Mage, STR for her fighter etc), gained the fixed A-Rank ability, then rolled the D20 to determine her optional ability, re-rolling it if it didn't fit her character.


Regarding my campaign

-Bite sized encounters that last 30-45 mins and move quickly continue to hold my wife's attention span more than slogging through 3 dungeon tiles for 3 hours.

-The module is a bit easy in some places. Fortunately as the Consul/DM I can always buff the monsters as needed, or add more reinforcements. Chapter 3 has (what should be) a challenging multi level dungeon so I'll see how that plays out.

That's all I can think of right now. The campaign is almost complete. 1 main chapter and 1 prologue chapter to go. Now for the highlights:

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The Heroes continue from where we left off in the ruined sanctuary. Some old records lead the party to the Sunken Tower.

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Hidden stairs lead the heroes to a secret study filled with scrolls, tomes and a stash of Heroquest furniture. :lol:

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Fell Knight Asche and his undead legions rush the sunken tower.

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Ark and Asche face off while the party struggle to fend off the endless hoard.

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Just as the party loses all hope of survival, Ark summons the strength to shunt them north of the moors, to some old ruins.

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The heroes venture deeper, hoping to hole-up.

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Asche's legions catch up, but help arrives from an unlikely ally.


April 10th, 2018, 1:46 am
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Ooooh, yay SDE:L Playtest goodness :)

Your tiles seem to have power creep and keep looking nicer and nicer. You might have to go back to your earlier tiles and beef them up so they/the art is consistent (especially if you're looking to license).

If you are licensing, then I wonder how much of the tile art you've used you can use since I think you said you got some from rpgmaker modules or how that whole publishing thing works out.

In the heroquest furniture is everywhere pic -- it looks like your tiles are much larger than the heroes? This might be covered in your encounter notes I haven't gotten to yet.

I'm actually a bit surprised you used Bonepile tokens. I would've assumed you'd put graphics in the tiles for those unless those were actually used as part of combat we didn't see.

For your monsters, I assume you've largely been using Legend style combat with Classic style stats or are you using Arcade style stats to speed up the rolls? I'm just thinking about the tile with Asche. It's kind of lame for the heroes if they get 4 activations and then the Consul has 13 when unlike Classic, the heroes get multiple actions to balance it out, but Legends they only have 1. I haven't actually played Legends combat so maybe it's not so bad if the monsters are just blowing up left and right. That's one of the things I'm worried about is that the big, Epic fights in Legends will be very frustrating/taxing for the heroes unless one uses Arcade style Gangs to speed up the attacks.

For your tiles, are you using any tile effects? I assume the sewer should maybe have water and that sand tile could potentially have some. I figure they'd be more punishing in Legends given the lower base movement and higher difficulty to come by Hearts (outside of potions).

Also glad to see some of your new models on the board :). And wow, that Asche conversion is nice!


April 10th, 2018, 2:02 am
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sleepy_laughter wrote:
Your tiles seem to have power creep and keep looking nicer and nicer. You might have to go back to your earlier tiles and beef them up so they/the art is consistent (especially if you're looking to license).


Definitely planning to do this. The goal is to keep pushing to the finish line (Chapter 5 and the epilogue to go then I'm done) then make a second pass for quality control and consistency.

sleepy_laughter wrote:
If you are licensing, then I wonder how much of the tile art you've used you can use since I think you said you got some from rpgmaker modules or how that whole publishing thing works out.


At this point I consider everything 'prototype' in terms of tiles. I want something of good enough quality to showcase it right now. If licensed I'd considering going up a quality level.

sleepy_laughter wrote:
In the heroquest furniture is everywhere pic -- it looks like your tiles are much larger than the heroes? This might be covered in your encounter notes I haven't gotten to yet.


Good catch. I usually scale the pics in the viewer for the squares to match the hero base size. This was a non-combat encounter so I didn't bother.

sleepy_laughter wrote:
I'm actually a bit surprised you used Bonepile tokens. I would've assumed you'd put graphics in the tiles for those unless those were actually used as part of combat we didn't see.


It was gameplay indeed. Those skeletal buggers were getting back up :lol:

sleepy_laughter wrote:
For your monsters, I assume you've largely been using Legend style combat with Classic style stats or are you using Arcade style stats to speed up the rolls? I'm just thinking about the tile with Asche. It's kind of lame for the heroes if they get 4 activations and then the Consul has 13 when unlike Classic, the heroes get multiple actions to balance it out, but Legends they only have 1. I haven't actually played Legends combat so maybe it's not so bad if the monsters are just blowing up left and right. That's one of the things I'm worried about is that the big, Epic fights in Legends will be very frustrating/taxing for the heroes unless one uses Arcade style Gangs to speed up the attacks.


I've been using Legends Stats that I've eyeballed based on the difficulty of the encounter. You'll see it as you pick through my modules. The encounters balance out, and some abilities can hit multiple monsters. If you keep in mind your role as Consul is to keep the encounter balanced, you can adjust monster behavior. For instance, I didn't have the skeletal hoard rush the heroes all at once. Also there were enough choke points that my wife played tactical and kept from getting overrun all at once.

sleepy_laughter wrote:
For your tiles, are you using any tile effects? I assume the sewer should maybe have water and that sand tile could potentially have some. I figure they'd be more punishing in Legends given the lower base movement and higher difficulty to come by Hearts (outside of potions).


No tile effects for the reason you just mentioned.

sleepy_laughter wrote:
Also glad to see some of your new models on the board :). And wow, that Asche conversion is nice!


Thanks! The real Asche model is being worked on by Marcus Blackman. He's finishing up Ark, and Ashce is coming up next. I'll post pics once they're done. :D


April 10th, 2018, 2:24 am
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I'm a little frightened to see what your hobby budget is ;). I am satisfied to live vicariously through other folk's awesome painted and converted models!

I'm interested to hear what your wife thinks of the power level disparity b/w her heroes during the campaign once she finishes your campaign. I've been looking through the Hero Handbook and the heroes seem to be relatively balanced stat wise at XS, but they do not gain skills/rank abilities (RA) at consistent levels. Different abilities are also not balanced/consistent or heavily depend on your party so relying on RNG to dictate rank abilities may be ok in a larger, balanced party, but maybe not in a small/specialized party.


April 10th, 2018, 5:32 am
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Holy Cross wrote:
I've been using Legends Stats that I've eyeballed based on the difficulty of the encounter. You'll see it as you pick through my modules. The encounters balance out, and some abilities can hit multiple monsters. If you keep in mind your role as Consul is to keep the encounter balanced, you can adjust monster behavior. For instance, I didn't have the skeletal hoard rush the heroes all at once. Also there were enough choke points that my wife played tactical and kept from getting overrun all at once.
This was the major issue with me in early Legends (current beta rules are still the same). You're not just allowed to do your worst and if doing so, it kind of leads "eliminating" one of the players during first turn. There would be ways around this if balance is thought differently, but I assume it won't change. So Legends kind of requires a fair Game Master instead of a ruthless Consul.


April 10th, 2018, 9:33 pm
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nakano wrote:
Holy Cross wrote:
I've been using Legends Stats that I've eyeballed based on the difficulty of the encounter. You'll see it as you pick through my modules. The encounters balance out, and some abilities can hit multiple monsters. If you keep in mind your role as Consul is to keep the encounter balanced, you can adjust monster behavior. For instance, I didn't have the skeletal hoard rush the heroes all at once. Also there were enough choke points that my wife played tactical and kept from getting overrun all at once.
This was the major issue with me in early Legends (current beta rules are still the same). You're not just allowed to do your worst and if doing so, it kind of leads "eliminating" one of the players during first turn. There would be ways around this if balance is thought differently, but I assume it won't change. So Legends kind of requires a fair Game Master instead of a ruthless Consul.


It’s all in how you write the encounters. You could write a brutal, slaughterfest adventure/campaign but you’d have to be very responsible about balancing it, and you’d have to be absolutely transparent with your group about what is was.

“Welcome to Witch Queen Beatrix’s house of nightmares! Some enter, few leave, but for the hardy heroes who survive these horrors, the rewards are great!” That would be a fun campaign so long as the Consul pitches it honestly to the group. :mrgreen:


April 10th, 2018, 10:18 pm
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nakano wrote:
You're not just allowed to do your worst and if doing so, it kind of leads "eliminating" one of the players during first turn. There would be ways around this if balance is thought differently, but I assume it won't change. So Legends kind of requires a fair Game Master instead of a ruthless Consul.

That's actually exactly what I want from Legends. I understand why other people don't want that, but I was seriously looking for an RPG-lite that I could play with my wife. To me, it was what was always missing from Super Dungeon.


April 10th, 2018, 10:27 pm
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InfinityMax wrote:
nakano wrote:
You're not just allowed to do your worst and if doing so, it kind of leads "eliminating" one of the players during first turn. There would be ways around this if balance is thought differently, but I assume it won't change. So Legends kind of requires a fair Game Master instead of a ruthless Consul.

That's actually exactly what I want from Legends. I understand why other people don't want that, but I was seriously looking for an RPG-lite that I could play with my wife. To me, it was what was always missing from Super Dungeon.


I’m with you on this one InfinityMax. My wife loves this campaign/platform. Maybe I can DM it you 3 (my wife, you, your wife) once I’m in Texas. I’ve already told Katie she can’t give anything away when we play with a group. ;)

Back in 1.0 we had a Consul player who was all about “CRUSH THE HEROES!!!” even though half the group was our wives. He made things pretty hostile, was an angry rules lawyer and an even angrier loser. I don’t have anything against people who want to do their worst to the players, but I was put off based on that experience.

That said, Classic 2.0 is supposed to be great for that! I’ll probably post a Classic 2.0 Battle Report as soon as I can get a worthy Dark Consul player lined up. I have someone in mind as soon as we can line up our schedules :mrgreen:


April 10th, 2018, 11:07 pm
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A Consul to crush the heroes is perfect maybe for Classic or Arena. For SDE:L i think they absolutely could if they decided to build scenarios that gave the heroes a fighting chance.

After all, Rocks can always fall and everyone dies.

The thing that can make SDE:L tough, imo, is the RNG inherent in the dice when the heroes are at C/B Rank. In most cases, heroes have 1B1R offense and 1B defense. Rarely 2B defense. They typically won't increase their defense to 2B or 3B until after they get 1R, in which case their offense goes from 2B1R to 1B2R unless they go full glass cannon.

So difficulty will primarily be higher defense monsters or more monsters rather than higher offense/additional attacks. I mean, on 1B defense vs 1W attack, it's only a 50% chance you save.

However, I think a well balanced adventure is the best so it's not obvious to the heroes that the monsters aren't even trying unless it leads to a plot hook. But this will vary from party to party and also just RNG.

Like you get a hero to 1 wound and all of a sudden you stop attacking them? What if the heroes just keep sucking, the monsters just stand around?

Anyways, your Chapter 1 is very long, Holy Cross, so I'm still reviewing it.


April 10th, 2018, 11:48 pm
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Yeah it’s about 3 hours of gameplay give or take. Looking forward to your feedback!


April 11th, 2018, 12:08 am
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For balance, it's of course related to how I write my scenarios, but I don't plan to write any. I wish the standard scenarios were balanced in the way that s a consul I don't need to give obvious handicap (I don't need to do that e.g. in Imperial Assault, something similar I hoped Legends to be with non-battle encounters). I wouldn't mind if scenarios were balanced to favor heroes, though.

Anyway Holy Cross your maps are pretty nice. Hopefully we will get nice, colorful maps as well for pre-made scenarios.


April 11th, 2018, 5:40 am
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i will probably spend more time reviewing it than it'd take to play it ;). Two encounters left to review o.O.

Take a peek at Broken Horn they included in the Beta and see how you think the stats stack up? I think it's reasonably tuned assuming a 3-4 hero party. There isn't a slider on number of monsters/difficulty to adjust for more/less heroes, which I think needs to be included rather than just wing it b/c # of heroes is closely tied to # of actions/attacks and hearts/potions available to the party.

Dont' want a gloomhaven situation where the last hero to activate never has anything to do b/c everything's dead.


April 11th, 2018, 6:24 am
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Good morning everyone! Yesterday my wife played through Chapter 4 of my campaign in a single 3 hour sitting (factoring in breaks and distractions it was probably 2-2.5 hours of solid gaming, though if played with 3 individual players, I'm sure table talk would take it back up to a solid 3 hours) comprised of 5 combat encounters and 2 non-combat encounters. The chapter saw the heroes head northwest to the Dragonback Peaks for a good old traditional kobold scrap (SDE 1.0 nostalgia anyone?)

Before I go into the highlights, here are my brief observations:

Regarding Legends itself (as it currently exists)

-My wife continues to grow attached to her characters and is enjoying their progression as she writes all over their character sheets.

-The roleplaying/non-combat aspects are taking some getting used to since my wife has had zero exposure to traditional D&D style RPGs. Despite that, she's having fun.

-Legends remains more fast paced than classic/arcade as the heroes tend to cycle through each encounter quickly. As such it remains vastly preferred over Classic/Arcade by my wife. In about the time it would take to play through 3 dungeon tiles in Arcade, the heroes interacted with a riftling spirit, fought trolls on the Mistmourn Coast, sought the counsel of a sanctioned witch in a hut in Fae Wood, fought their way through 3 levels of kobold infested lava caves and fought a climactic boss fight among ancient Celestian ruins on a mountain plateau.

-Legends simply lets you do more stuff in the same time it takes to play Classic/Arcade. Meanwhile if you're on the opposite side of the DM/Consul screen there's the constant hook of "What's next?" driving you forward.


Regarding my campaign

-Chapter 3 played out very well balanced compared to 1 and 2. I didn't have to do anything to ramp up the difficulty.

-The 3 levels of lava caves transitioned really smoothly, keeping the game focused.

-I haven't thrown out a whole ton of loot. The level up system handles advancement well enough that loot can be passed out in moderation. That said if I did throw out more loot, I'd have to toughen up some of the encounters.

I think this sums up chapter 3 pretty well. The campaign draft draws even closer to completion with chapter 5 about two thirds complete. Chapter 6 will likely go even faster once I finish 5. Now for the highlights:

Image

The heroes start in the ruins where they question Ark and the Riftling Spirit Ziggi.

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The trolls return to the Mistmourn Coast in force. (down the line I want to make these non-story encounters random)

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The heroes enter level 1 of the lava caves, only to run afoul of a kobold infestation.

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Advancing deeper, the heroes ascend to level 2 of the caverns.

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What are all these Gougers guarding? Kobold moonshine?

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Ser Snapjaw awaits the heroes on level 3. These caves seem to house ancient ruins.

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A locked door gives way to ancient Celestian ruins. The heroes must be close.

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Upon reaching the sacred plateau Ark has an unexpected reaction...

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Erm.... spoiler alert?! :o

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Kat the Drowned Isle Corsair (my wife is having a lot of fun with these characters)

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Slawomir, the Brave Mode Warrior (Katie decided she wanted her dwarf to be prone to sugar rushes)+

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Katie decided her party would have a Pirate named Kat and a cat named Meow. I can make DMing confusing at times :P


April 16th, 2018, 5:14 pm
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I think it's interesting that Meow has more ARM than Kat or Stawomir (sp?)

Have you been keeping track how many hero/consul activations each encounter requires? That can largely dictate movement. In Classic/Arcade 2.0, with the timer, you generally need to move AND deal wounds to stay on track /w MMC. I'm wondering if there is more/less tactical play with SDE:L.

Like, are the heroes forced to hole up at a choke point and use ranged attacks at monsters to pick them off at range?

I know you have the Ark NPC to help 'even up' the playing field/make sure the heroes aren't immediately blown up, but how often has Ark needed to 'step in' and raise knocked out heroes/heal them?

Would combat play out the same w/o the benefit of a NPC?


April 16th, 2018, 6:43 pm
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