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Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Feonix's custom Descent class #1 - the Shadowdancer rss

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Aidyn Newman
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Hey guys.

Like I mentioned in a separate thread, I plan on making my own custom campaign, complete with four new classes. I figured I'd throw one of my classes in the mix here just to see what you guys think.

My Scout class is the Shadowdancer. Using a combination of stealth and mobility, the Shadowdancer is an assassin-style class that deals heavy damage to single targets. They start with a Dagger (a card I haven't made quite yet), and can be specialized to use Daggers exclusively, or fight well enough with any melee or ranged weapon, depending on which skills you purchase.

Shadowdancer Imgur Album


Shout out to Leira for making the artwork for the Shadowdancer's equipment.
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His core mechanic is Enshroud. Like the 4E D&D Assassin, once per turn the Shadowdancer can throw one of his hero tokens on an enemy (who can't see him) as a "shroud token". In addition to providing some extra damage, these shroud tokens serve as a modifier for a lot of the Shadowdancer's other skills. The Enshroud ability costs one fatigue, which becomes the main balancing factor for a lot of the Shadowdancer's other abilities, many of which are free, but require a lot of shroud tokens to be present.


Artwork by Leira42

The Shadowdancer's starting equipment is this meager rusty dagger. While not the most formidable weapon, in the Shadowdancer's capable hands, it can be very useful, allowing her to jump in and out of combat to use Enshroud more reliably.





By using a Dagger, a free hand, and a Cloak, the Shadowdancer can become very well-rounded. He's fair at defense, especially when combined with Dark Rift, which lets him hide from enemies who has his Shroud tokens.





Conversely, the Shadowdancer can become an offensive powerhouse, using Grasping Ichor to Immobilize enemies, Envenom to Poison them, and Shadowdancer to get to them no matter where they try to hide.




Finally, the Shadowdancer can stand toe-to-toe with the damage of the Runemaster or Beserker by attacking many times with Whirling Edge, or by simply negating one of an enemy's defense die with Execution.

Let me know what you guys think! I haven't playtested this class yet (except in my head), but overall I don't think any skill in particular is too powerful. I tried to play it on the safe side, I'd rather custom classes be less powerful than have them be broken. If you think any particular card is too powerful or not powerful enough, let me know.

One particular note: it might seem like Whirling Edge is incredibly powerful, but keeping in mind that Enshroud costs one fatigue and can only be used once per turn, I think it will be rather difficult and/or expensive to set up. I'm not sure it'll be a problem. Conversely, Execution might be a little on the weak side. It'll be hard to tell until its properly playtested.

Edit: I changed the experience values of some of the abilities around, thanks to suggestions from friends and BGG users. (1) I made Dark Rift a three experience ability. I still believe its built-in limitations make it a less powerful ability than it looks, but it probably should not have been a one experience ability either way, so my bad on that one. (2) I made Envenom a one experience ability. In addition to being very core to the Shadowdancer, it's also fairly weak - one damage per turn is gnarly when dealt to a hero, but against a monster it's not very dramatic, especially if you're spending a surge to do it. I feel it works fine as a one experience ability. (3) I made Execution a two experience ability. It's a powerful ability, to be sure, but its two fatigue cost coupled with the cost of the shroud token, plus the fact that it's only really useful when the Overlord rolls well on defense, make it less powerful than it could be. I think it works better as a two experience ability, the weaker counterpart to Whirling Edge.

Edit: Here's two new shop cards for the Shadowdancer. Although anybody can wield these daggers, and they are especially useful for any Scout class, the Shadowdancer will get the most value from them. Be sure to include these in any game where you use the Shadowdancer!


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Nate Parkes
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Looks cool; I'd also be interested in seeing what the starting equipment is for this class.
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Chris Ferejohn
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I'm not sure I like the equipment-specific things - maybe they are OK if you are planning to also create several cloaks and daggers and include them in the shop decks.
 
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William Smith
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Looks really good.....nice work and thought you've put into this.
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Michael Wheal
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You can only mark one monster per turn with a shroud token ? How about adding a 2nd token at the cost of 2 fatigue etc ?

Seems like building up enough to attack a room or area full will take a lot of preparation..?

Interesting idea though - looking forwards to seeing this develop.

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Aidyn Newman
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cferejohn wrote:
I'm not sure I like the equipment-specific things - maybe they are OK if you are planning to also create several cloaks and daggers and include them in the shop decks.


I actually do plan on including at least one new cloak and two new daggers for the shop deck.
 
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Aidyn Newman
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MWAlbion wrote:
You can only mark one monster per turn with a shroud token ? How about adding a 2nd token at the cost of 2 fatigue etc ?

Seems like building up enough to attack a room or area full will take a lot of preparation..?

Interesting idea though - looking forwards to seeing this develop.


Yeah, depending on how playtesting goes, the first thing I might do is remove the "Exhaust" text from Enshroud, which would allow the Shadowdancer to just throw shroud tokens around for fatigue, essentially. We'll see. My group is planning on playtesting the Shadowdancer soon; I'll let you know how it goes!
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Charles Barchuk
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I really like this class. Look forward to trying it out. Are you adding starting equipment I assume?
 
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Giacomo Leoni
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I am normally very skeptic about any fan-made variation, yet this seems balanced and, most importantly, mechanically fitting.

Congrats!
Geki
 
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Clinton Paris
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This thread is giving me the bigger picture on Descent 2.0--I cannot wait to see what the community can come up with for this game!!

meeple

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Tristan Angeles

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I honestly think this class is overpowered. Here are some sugestions for balance:

1) Put an awareness check on enshroud
2) Dark Rift is WAAAAY too cheap for what it does. No LOS from boss monsters for 1 xp and 2 actions (enshroud plus dark rift) is ridiculous. It really needs to be 3 xp. You are essentially invincible
3) Furthermore, at least have a check to Dark Rift. A generous one at that. Maybe put bonuses to make it easier with stacking amounts of enshroud tokens
3) Take out the or on Whirling death. I don't think any other class has an or ability. Just make it the second attack
4) Limit the number of enshroud tokens you can use. I'd say 4 is fair. This change would also make it more tactical. Do you want to use up all 4 to make sure your invisible to a big baddie (combied with the bonus suggestion from dark rift - suggestion 2) or spread it out against more things.
 
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Aidyn Newman
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Hey guys.

I finished my Item Template for Photoshop and made the starting equipment for the Shadowdancer, a Rusty Dagger.

While not the most formidable weapon, in the Shadowdancer's capable hands, it can be very useful, allowing her to jump in and out of combat to use Enshroud more reliably.

I've updated the thread with the image.
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Aidyn Newman
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Thank you for your input! I understand your concerns. Since I haven't playtested the class yet, this is all theory, but I'll address my choices for each skill.

The RedEye wrote:
1) Put an awareness check on enshroud


I feel like adding a luck factor to Enshroud would make it much weaker. As it is, it is like the Beserker's Rage ability (essentially trading a fatigue for one damage), only with the condition that you use it when the enemy can't see you. With an awareness check mitigating your success it would probably be too weak.

The RedEye wrote:
2) Dark Rift is WAAAAY too cheap for what it does. No LOS from boss monsters for 1 xp and 2 actions (enshroud plus dark rift) is ridiculous. It really needs to be 3 xp. You are essentially invincible


Keep in mind that every shroud token costs one fatigue, and that they go away when you attack the monster. In this way, Dark Rift costs two fatigue total when used on a single enemy, and becomes unusable the second you attack the monster. If you're fighting a single 'boss' enemy and you want to use Dark Rift every turn, you would need to either spend two fatigue, then one fatigue on subsequent turns while *never* attacking the monster, or you would need to spend two fatigue every turn. That's expensive! Also, many boss monsters have Blast, Fire Breath, or other keywords that allow you to still be attacked even while Dark Rift is on. You also need to not have line of sight to use Enshroud, making it even more difficult to time Dark Rift appropriately.

The RedEye wrote:
3) Furthermore, at least have a check to Dark Rift. A generous one at that. Maybe put bonuses to make it easier with stacking amounts of enshroud tokens


This is a possibility, but I still feel like the ability has enough built in limitations that it's a lot harder to use than it sounds. Even if you manage to use it, it only affects you, the Overlord can always just attack your pals.

The RedEye wrote:
3) Take out the or on Whirling death. I don't think any other class has an or ability. Just make it the second attack


Yeah, I couldn't tell which version I liked better, and both were equally useful IMO, so I just kept both. I think it's kind of neat that way. If I had to keep one of them, it would probably be the top version - it's more balanced.

The RedEye wrote:
4) Limit the number of enshroud tokens you can use. I'd say 4 is fair. This change would also make it more tactical. Do you want to use up all 4 to make sure your invisible to a big baddie (combied with the bonus suggestion from dark rift - suggestion 2) or spread it out against more things.


Considering you only have four hero tokens, this is pretty much the intention. Also I doubt you're really ever going to have the chance to have more than a couple out at any given time unless you really plan it well, which is my hope.

Thanks for your advice! I'll keep it in mind when I playtest the class.
 
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Charles Barchuk
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I'm going to play test this class tonight. Looks a good fit for Bogran the Shadow.ninja
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Aidyn Newman
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cbarchuk wrote:
I'm going to play test this class tonight. Looks a good fit for Bogran the Shadow.ninja


Let me know how it goes! laugh
 
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Tristan Angeles

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I don't think that the hero tokens are supposed to be divided by class. I just always assumed they are hero tokens, hence interchangeable. If two scouts die, do people really forget which was which? Besides if a hero dies when you used up all your scout tokens, what happens then?

Yes, you may spend fatigue to get enshroud for dark rift, but that's still really not enough. Let's compare it to the ghost hero zyna? Zyla? Whatever. Her feat is essentially dark rift, but you can continue to do dark rift more than once. Yes, it's a weaker version, yes you spend fatigue, but the fact is it's comparable to a heroic feat and no two xp card should do that, IMO. Maybe a three point card, but not two. In some instances, its actually better than the heroic feat. Most especially in carry objective scenarios. Yes, the OL can target others, but that's not really an option in those cases.

Whirling deaths first ability is rarer to take advantage of and isn't worth the 3 xp, IMO. Maybe if it was two it would work. That might be better if you switch it with dark rift. The second ability is a bit much. Maybe a happy compromise would be to essentially turn it into a leap attack towards someone that is enshrouded., attacking everyone on the way to your target.

I forgot that enshroud adds fatigue. I concede that the stacking fatigue makes things weaker, and the awareness is overkill. but dark rift still needs work, IMO.
 
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Aidyn Newman
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The RedEye wrote:
I don't think that the hero tokens are supposed to be divided by class. I just always assumed they are hero tokens, hence interchangeable. If two scouts die, do people really forget which was which? Besides if a hero dies when you used up all your scout tokens, what happens then?


I'm really not sure what you mean here. The hero tokens are just there to mark certain situations, like when somebody is knocked out, or when using certain abilities, like the Knight's Challenge. They're not split up by archetypes. There's no such thing as a "scout token". Each hero has their own pile and their colors and symbols are totally different from anything else used in the game.
 
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Tristan Angeles

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forget everything i said about the tokens. It sems I'm wrong. Just checked the manual. We've been treating the tokens as a bank of shared resouce.
 
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Aidyn Newman
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Hey everyone!

Quick update here. I've changed a few things about the abilities, since this is still in playtesting and not yet "finished" per se, there'll probably be a couple changes like this along the line.

First off, since there's no room on the card to compensate artists for their work (something I'm big on when I do LOTR scenarios), and since she graciously offered, my girlfriend Leira will be doing the artwork for the Shadowdancer's equipment (and all of my other new classes, as well). Here's that Rusty Dagger again, with some new art!



As for other changes, mostly, I changed the experience values of some of the abilities around, thanks to suggestions from friends and BGG users.



(1) I made Dark Rift a three experience ability. I still believe its built-in limitations make it a less powerful ability than it looks, but it probably should not have been a one experience ability either way, so my bad on that one.



(2) I made Envenom a one experience ability. In addition to being very core to the Shadowdancer, it's also fairly weak - one damage per turn is gnarly when dealt to a hero, but against a monster it's not very dramatic, especially if you're spending a surge to do it. I feel it works fine as a one experience ability.



(3) I made Execution a two experience ability. It's a powerful ability, to be sure, but its two fatigue cost coupled with the cost of the shroud token, plus the fact that it's only really useful when the Overlord rolls well on defense, make it less powerful than it could be. I think it works better as a two experience ability, the weaker counterpart to Whirling Edge.

I've updated the original post with all of these changes.
 
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Charles Barchuk
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I'll add these changes to my current game. I want to play through several encounters before I give my opinion. So far, this class is a blast. I'll give more details this weekend. Peace.

P.S. I'm playing a test game using epic play rules so I can try out all the skills. Are you planning on adding an ACT 1 and 2 dagger?
 
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Aidyn Newman
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cbarchuk wrote:
I'll add these changes to my current game. I want to play through several encounters before I give my opinion. So far, this class is a blast. I'll give more details this weekend. Peace.

P.S. I'm playing a test game using epic play rules so I can try out all the skills. Are you planning on adding an ACT 1 and 2 dagger?


Yeah. I actually have the stats done for the Act 1 Dagger (as well as a new Act 1 Cloak), but I was waiting to get Leira's artwork for all of the new items before I post them. That said, since you're being awesome and playtesting them now, I'll give you the rundown on their stats as of right now:

Steel Dagger
Act I
100 gold
Dagger
Melee - 1 Blue, 1 Yellow
If you roll at least 4 range, deal +1 damage.
Surge: Move two spaces
Surge: Pierce 2

Dragonglass Dagger
Act II
200 gold
Dagger
Melee - 1 Blue, 2 Yellow
After this attack, move 1 space for every 3 range rolled.
Surge: Pierce 2
Surge: +2 Damage

Assassin's Cloak
Act I
100 gold
Cloak
Armor
Exhaust this card after the dice are rolled on a ranged attack that targets you. This attack requires 2 additional range.

Cloak of Shadows
Act II
225 gold
Cloak
Armor
Exhaust this card when you are targeted by an attack, but before dice are rolled. Move 2 spaces. The monster can attack a different target or perform a different action.
 
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Charles Barchuk
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Wow. Very creative on the items. Looking forward to it. Thanks again.
 
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Reid Miles Chapman
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Neat, nice to see more people out there making classes, when I'm done the kennelmaster I'll post my 4 classes (mage -alchemist, healer - bloodmage, scout - duelist, and warrior - kennelmaster)
 
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Aidyn Newman
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reidmc wrote:
Neat, nice to see more people out there making classes, when I'm done the kennelmaster I'll post my 4 classes (mage -alchemist, healer - bloodmage, scout - duelist, and warrior - kennelmaster)


Awesome! I can't wait! Feel free to use the Templates I posted in the files section for the cards. If you wait a few days I'll have the Item template there, as well!
 
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Aidyn Newman
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I have the artwork for the Act I and Act II daggers, thanks to Leira, so here are the cards for them:




I have updated the original post to include these, as well.
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