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Myth» Forums » Variants

Subject: Thought Experiment: What if there was no treasure rss

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David Griffin
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We have these arguments in a lot of games about getting too little or too much treasure and in this game there is the pick up problem etc. But what if there were no treasure? Consider the following.

Suppose there were Myth adventures which were BROWN, GREEN, and BLUE (and possibly GOLD later on). Brown was novice, Green was regular, Blue was advanced (or maybe Journeyman).

Suppose further that you started off in a brown game with the conventional brown equipment. In a regular game you went through the green deck and picked whatever green or brown equipment you wanted to fill out the slots in your character. In a blue game, you did the same with the blue (or green) decks. In a Gold game you use whatever you want from any source (including stuff like the Twilight Sword) and after you equip, be sure to pack a few pairs of spare underwear.

In such games you would never pull new equipment. You could start off with 2 potions free of charge and wouldn't use money. With Merchants you could buy any one item from the merchant or any 2 potions if you wished again without using money.

I know it would be weird game, but the question is how would the game be different?
 
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Ben Locke
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The game would be different in that there would be no sense of "gaining" as you worked your way through an adventure. If the goal is to win the adventure, then this way might be fine. But I find the challenge in the game comes from starting out with very little, and as you progress, you get access to better and better items and equipment. In this regard, the players can choose to up the difficulty as they kit themselves out over a series of playthroughs.

I think your way would make jumping into any given adventure easier, where the focus was on combat, and the choices become a bit narrowed down in choosing what difficulty you encounter.

Your suggestion does, however, remind me of video games where you can't progress to the next region of encounters until you've unlocked a magical item, or equipped the magic sword, or whatever. So your suggestion might align with that kind of gameplay.

The only thing I'd change is that I'd possibly do a drafting of equipment at the start, instead of just looting through the item decks. I'd have everyone draw a number of cards, pick one and pass to the left. You can do this socially, sharing information, or secretly.
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David Griffin
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So you're saying you'd lose the sense of making progress in the sense of acquisition but really that is mostly temporary anyway right? Note I'm not planning to do this I just think it's useful to think about treasure in terms of what it does with the game (positive or negative).

Also it WOULD give us a useful way to "grade" the adventures and understand how to equip prior to having them. Right now we don't have that. The only thing we have now is "near journeyman" whatever that means. If you're trying to play one of their modules or story quests you're never quite sure how to equip the characters.

The only real progression they intended (I've been told) is the treasure bag (for progression WITHIN the act/quest) right? The titles allowing you to keep a gear card and/or the advanced cards are a more recent development and you still can't keep money or potions (unless you choose to, it's our choice of course). The concept of progression as a character outside playing the game is shaky at best. I'm just demonstrating what NO progression would look like.

In this alternate universe, there is no character progression at all. You just play it as a board game (like Castle of Ravenloft). I think their attempts to add progression to the game is a good thing but it's not quite there yet and it's not really clear what their vision is.

Admittedly, the additional duty of picking up treasure makes the game more challenging. Most "stories," like Lord of the Rings for instance, do have some gear acquisition (Mithril shirt, Sting, Glamdring, Anduril) but it happens only once in a while and once done, there is little further gear acquisition (except for food and the continual light thing).

When I suggested in Shadows of Brimstone that you should be able to loot the outlaw bodies in town adventures, people told me that would be unseemly -- that it isn't something they could see their characters doing (kind of a standard in D&D). But there is a contradiction between the idea of a story of a character with his own "treasured" gear, maybe inherited from a parent or acquired on an adventure, but still not changing much over his whole life; and the idea of constant upgrade of equipment the way RPGs do it. Here you have the constant upgrade followed by starting from (near) scratch every time. Wouldn't you rather not acquire so much but be able to keep what you get? I'm having fun but it just seems odd.

I don't honestly know what the "right" thing to do is but I wonder if they should just give you a new piece of gear after clearing each tile (or after each act) but let you keep it.
 
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Ben Locke
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carbon_dragon wrote:
So you're saying you'd lose the sense of making progress in the sense of acquisition but really that is mostly temporary anyway right?


Yes, progress is temporary, if you abide by the rules as written, meaning, unless you hold a title, you return all items after an adventure. I don't follow those rules, as I keep my items between sessions - so there is a sense of progression.

carbon_dragon wrote:
Also it WOULD give us a useful way to "grade" the adventures and understand how to equip prior to having them. Right now we don't have that. The only thing we have now is "near journeyman" whatever that means. If you're trying to play one of their modules or story quests you're never quite sure how to equip the characters.


Agreed. A "difficulty" scale, with a corresponding "character power level" that is based on equipment and upgrades, would be nice to know prior to choosing an adventure.

carbon_dragon wrote:
The only real progression they intended (I've been told) is the treasure bag (for progression WITHIN the act/quest) right? The titles allowing you to keep a gear card and/or the advanced cards are a more recent development and you still can't keep money or potions (unless you choose to, it's our choice of course). The concept of progression as a character outside playing the game is shaky at best. I'm just demonstrating what NO progression would look like.


There is progression through "upgrading" the treasure bag, as well as progression through deck manipulation. These have been there from the beginning (IIRC). The titles, as well as keeping an item per title, was also there in the beginning. I feel like progression, through playing adventures, has been there. It hasn't seemed "shaky" to me - but it is a bit "fiddly". Fiddly, because you have to maintain that character layout. There were character sheets here on BGG to help keep track of your progression, in case you were playing between different groups. Frankly, I see this aspect of the game not being much different than the progression seen in games like Descent or Imperial Assault. The one difference being that you don't find awesome weapons through questing as often as you might in Myth, but can purchase them between sessions.

carbon_dragon wrote:
In this alternate universe, there is no character progression at all. You just play it as a board game (like Castle of Ravenloft). I think their attempts to add progression to the game is a good thing but it's not quite there yet and it's not really clear what their vision is.


I agree with this point, and I like it. It actually makes me think the game would play much faster for new players, where they could focus on the different interactions of equipment to their cards. The really innovative thing in Myth (in my opinion) is the card play. Getting the loot and upgrading your character are the necessary "add-ons" for any fantasy themed boardgame (again, in my opinion). They don't feel tacked on, but do clunk up the game a bit. Your solution would definitely speed up the gameplay, and allow for more efficient questing.


carbon_dragon wrote:
Admittedly, the additional duty of picking up treasure makes the game more challenging. Most "stories," like Lord of the Rings for instance, do have some gear acquisition (Mithril shirt, Sting, Glamdring, Anduril) but it happens only once in a while and once done, there is little further gear acquisition (except for food and the continual light thing).


I agree. This is why I like your suggestion for new players, or for quick "skirmish" type of games. With this one change, you wouldn't have to worry about hitting three monsters, or saving move points for picking up treasure, or saving an enemy on the board so you can collect all the loot before it turns to gold. All of these are very fiddly in the game as it now stands.


carbon_dragon wrote:
When I suggested in Shadows of Brimstone that you should be able to loot the outlaw bodies in town adventures, people told me that would be unseemly -- that it isn't something they could see their characters doing (kind of a standard in D&D). But there is a contradiction between the idea of a story of a character with his own "treasured" gear, maybe inherited from a parent or acquired on an adventure, but still not changing much over his whole life; and the idea of constant upgrade of equipment the way RPGs do it. Here you have the constant upgrade followed by starting from (near) scratch every time. Wouldn't you rather not acquire so much but be able to keep what you get? I'm having fun but it just seems odd.


When I play Myth, I play it like Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I'm trying to accomplish a grand adventure, where I'll need to defeat many different beasts and bosses. When I start out, I don't have much - just what I inherited. But as I adventure, I gain money and sometimes found items, to help me along the way. The money and visiting a merchant fit with the Zelda theme, but finding items like swords, etc, on a random map do not. But I just go with it. Most times, what I find for my characters isn't useful for them, so I inventory it, sell it later, and buy what I really wanted. Very rarely do I actually find something that fits the character. In this regard, I'm defeating enemies and "gaining XP" in the form of money or goods to sell/trade, and leveling up. I'm also inching towards defeating a boss or two, gaining titles (which, in my Zelda theme, is just basically proof that I defeated a certain boss or stage) and upgrading my cards. When I'm powerful enough, I venture into deeper, darker stages, where I fight more powerful and more plentiful foes.

In this regards, I make the theme match the motivation and play style.

carbon_dragon wrote:

Wouldn't you rather not acquire so much but be able to keep what you get?


Again, I play that I DO keep things, because I just bag up where I'm at in between quests, and between acts, I don't scale down to whatever the titles I have allow.

Here's what the 2.0 rules state a hero does between adventures (from page 29):
1. Each hero keeps his hero deck. This includes any modifications made through completing previous story quests or defeating agents.
2. Each hero keeps all earned titles.
3. Each hero may choose and keep 1 item card for each of his earned titles.
4. Keep track of the ongoing consequences of any completed or failed quests.
5. Keep the contents of the treasure bag, including any modifications made.
6. Keep the quest deck. This includes any unlocked quest chains.
7. Each hero must shuffle any items not chosen to keep into their corresponding item decks.
8. Each hero discards all potion tokens.
9. Discard all gold, status effects, and serendipity.

The rules I choose to disregard outright are 8 and 9. I keep "equipped" between sessions 1 item card per title, but I keep my "loot bag" of various equipment found. If, perchance, there's something there I want to equip, I do so in the first round of play the next time I adventure. This is the primary "glitch" in the game for me. Why would my Apprentice throw away a perfectly good Chalice, just because he only has one title and wants to keep something else? So, he stores it, hoping to be able to keep it equipped later, but doesn't throw it back on the ground.

Granted, this play style fits me, as I progress these characters through the game. If I were playing with new players, I think I would definitely adopt your strategy. Which, to summarize, would be: start out loaded out with equipment better than the current brown stuff, and eliminate treasure drops and drawing from the treasure bag.

The only thing now is trying to figure out if there is a way to create a character power chart based on equipment and deck manipulations, and an "encounter chart" that scales accordingly (so you can determine difficulty levels based upon your characters strength).
 
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David Griffin
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I like that idea -- a Character "power level" chart. What you need to know is if you are properly prepared to play a particular story quest or module. Can you handle that boss or agent or set of special rules?

Presumably, that would include a bunch of possible issues.
1) Playing experience of the actual humans playing the game
2) Equipment (brown, green, blue, etc.)
3) Treasure bag contents
4) Number of advanced cards shuffled into the deck
5) Number of characters playing (and maybe which ones)
 
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Ben Locke
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carbon_dragon wrote:
I like that idea -- a Character "power level" chart. What you need to know is if you are properly prepared to play a particular story quest or module. Can you handle that boss or agent or set of special rules?

Presumably, that would include a bunch of possible issues.
1) Playing experience of the actual humans playing the game
2) Equipment (brown, green, blue, etc.)
3) Treasure bag contents
4) Number of advanced cards shuffled into the deck
5) Number of characters playing (and maybe which ones)


I agree with 2, 4 and 5. Following your suggestion, #3 isn't necessary, or wouldn't have bearing on difficulty. #1 should be altered to "the level of difficulty" or some such. Meaning, for every encounter there is a "beginner", "novice", "expert" level. Or, more appropriately, "beginner", "journeyman", and "master" level.
 
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David Griffin
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12from1 wrote:
carbon_dragon wrote:
I like that idea -- a Character "power level" chart. What you need to know is if you are properly prepared to play a particular story quest or module. Can you handle that boss or agent or set of special rules?

Presumably, that would include a bunch of possible issues.
1) Playing experience of the actual humans playing the game
2) Equipment (brown, green, blue, etc.)
3) Treasure bag contents
4) Number of advanced cards shuffled into the deck
5) Number of characters playing (and maybe which ones)


I agree with 2, 4 and 5. Following your suggestion, #3 isn't necessary, or wouldn't have bearing on difficulty. #1 should be altered to "the level of difficulty" or some such. Meaning, for every encounter there is a "beginner", "novice", "expert" level. Or, more appropriately, "beginner", "journeyman", and "master" level.


In some ways, the treasure bag is in fact the most dependable progression mechanic, but within the game. if you think about the game as being composed of a single session with a number of tiles, then the treasure bag controls the steepness of the ramp up toward a higher party power level.

That's why I think it has a bearing on difficulty. If the "scenario/quest/adventure/module" had multiple tiles, then the steepness of the ramp controls the power level the party will have on the last (or at least later) tiles.
 
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