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Descent: Journeys in the Dark» Forums » Variants

Subject: Prototype Solo Rules rss

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Mark Bigney
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Hello, all. Here are the solitaire rules I came up with.
I've playtested them enough to believe the following:
a) They work;
b) They have lots of die rolls and tables (just the way I like Descent);
c) They have serious problems, which are outlined at the end of the rules themselves.

Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Solitaire Rules

One player plays as two heroes, in an attempt to find and kill a boss monster. Everything that would have been handled by the Overlord is automated.

Setup

Sort the Overlord deck into three piles: Powers, door and chest-based traps, and everything else. Discard the powers. The traps make the traps deck, everything else forms the OL deck.
Draw two random heroes. You may re-draw one of the two, but only one, and only once. They begin with skills, money and equipment as usual.

Game Mechanics

The heroes move first, followed by the pseudo-OL turn. Starting on the second turn, the top card of the OL deck is turned over, and its effects applied. The next OL card is turned over X turns later, where X is the number on the lower-right of the card (so, if on turn 2 you draw “Sorcerer Circle,” you’ll draw another card not on the next turn, but the turn after). If one of your heroes is the shaman, add 1 to that number.
Here is how you apply card effects:

Spawning: Spawn the monsters as close as possible to the heroes, following the standard rules for line-of-sight.

Traps (non door/chest-based): During the next hero’s turn, after moving a hero one square, roll a d6: 1-3, the trap takes effect immediately on that hero. These rolls continue until the trap takes effect and then the card is discarded.

Events: take place normally. Monster-modifying cards (Rage et al) are used on the most powerful monster on the board; if there are no monsters, it is only discarded after a monster can activate the card.

Opening a chest might trigger a trap; on a 5-6, draw a card from the door/chest-based traps deck and apply the effects immediately (yes, door traps are now more chest traps).

Monster Behaviour

In general, control the monsters in good faith; try to make them attack as effectively as possible. Use the following rules:
-Have a monster attack whenever possible.
-If a monster can attack multiple targets, have it attack the one that is easier to kill. (Alternately, if you prefer, monsters can attack a random target, or the one that can do he most damage)
-The monster’s excess movement capacity (after attacking) or movement in general (if it cannot attack this turn) is determined according to the following table:






d6 result Melee Monster Ranged/Magic Monster
1 Stay close to target Stay close to target
2 Stay close to target Block exits
3 Stay close to target Block exits
4 Block exits Withdraw
5 Block exits Withdraw
6 Withdraw Withdraw

With these rules, you can play scenarios over and over, if you like; you can lower the number of starting conquest tokens to compensate for the decreased difficulty.

But, if you are truly hardcore, you can try these rules for randomly building dungeons.

Random Dungeon Rules

(note: you are called on to do a lot of rolling in these rules, but a lot of them only have special results on a six. You can roll a the red Descent die and count an X as a six, as you roll a standard d6)
Try to find and then kill the boss. Before beginning, declare what kind of monster your boss will be (a Naga, Manticore or Ogre makes for quicker and easier dungeons, whereas a Giant, Demon or Dragon makes for tougher and longer ones).
Take one two-square tile and one four-square tile, connect them, and place them on the table. Place a white glyph on the two-square tile. The heroes also start out on the two-square tile.
Whenever a hero is within two squares of an unconnected edge, he/she may spend one movement point to “explore” and reveal more of the dungeon. If there are more than one unexplored edges, roll a die (if there is only one, skip this next step). Add a two-square dead end on a 1-3. Proceed to the next step on 4-6.
Dead ends might have treasure on them, if a 6 rolled. If there is treasure, 1-2 means a vitality potion, 3-4 a healing potion, 5-6 coins.

Roll a die. If you are building on a room tile, you will add a hallway tile unless you roll a six. If you are building on a hall, you will add a room unless you roll a six. After determining what you will be adding, roll on the following table:

D6 result Hall Tile Room Tile
1 2x2 Hall 4x4 Room
2 2x4 Hall 6x6 Room
3 2x6 Hall Rectangular room
4 T juncture T juncture
5 Cross Cross
6 Corner Corner

Note that if you place a T juncture, Cross or Corner tile while rolling on the Hall table, it is considered a hall for future rolls, and vice-versa. If you are told to add a tile when there are no more instances of that tile, roll again.
If you are told to add a piece that will not fit on the dungeon at all (it will intersect with other tiles, for example) either roll again (if another piece might fit) or add a 2 square dead end tile.
If there are multiple ways in which the tile could be added, roll randomly to determine how to add it.

Populating the Dungeon
Important: A new red glyph of transport will be added for every three rooms placed.
First, roll to see if the piece you added contains treasure. Rooms have treasure on a 1-5, halls only on a 6. Place the treasure as far away from the heroes as possible.
Then, roll to see if the piece has monsters. Rooms have monsters on a 1-5, halls only on a 6. Place the monsters in the middle of the piece; they can be within line of sight of the heroes.
Next to every result on the table, there is a modifier. These modifiers stack from turn to turn. To every roll on the random treasure/monster table, add the modifier/2 (i.e., the average of your modifiers from treasure results and your modifiers from your monster results); round down. Note also that the modifiers apply immediately, so the result of your treasure roll will modify your monster roll.

Result Monster (modifier) Treasure (modifier)
(d6 + modifier)
1 Beastman* x3 (+1) Coins (+1)
2 Beastman* x3 (+1) Coins (+1)
3 Beastman* x3 (+1) Coins, 1 vitality potion (+1)
4 Skeleton* x3 (+1) Coins, 1 healing potion (+1)
5 Skeleton* x3 (+1) Bronze (+2)
6 Bane Spider* x3 (+1) Bronze, coins (+2)
7 Hell Hound x2 (+1) Bronze, 1 vitality potion (+2)
8 Razorwing x2 (+1) Bronze, 1 healing potion (+2)
9 Sorceror x2 (+2) Silver, coins (+3)
10 Naga x1 (+3) Silver, 1 vitality potion (+3)
11 Manticore x1 (+3) Silver, 1 healing potion (+3)
12 Ogre x1 (+3) Gold, 1 vitality potion (+4)
13 Giant x1 (+4) Gold, 1 healing potion
14 Demon x1 (+4)
15 Dragon x1 (+4)
* one of them is a master of the appropriate type.

The maximum modifier when rolling on the monster table is +11, on the treasure table +9.

The monsters also might get an “upgrade;” they get upgraded on a 5-6, 4-6 after a silver treasure has been placed, 3-6 after a gold treasure has been placed. An upgrade either means half again as many monsters rounded up (1-3) or one of the normal monsters being upgraded to a master (4-6).

The chests each contain one treasure (per hero, as normal) of the appropriate type; that’s it.

The goal is to kill a “boss.” Once get a result of your boss type or higher on the monster table (i.e., if your boss is a giant, once you get a result of a giant, demon or dragon), the boss appears. The boss will be an upgraded master type, with +2 armour and +4 wounds (more or less if you like). You win when you kill it.

That’s all.


I have play-tested these rules, and they work; just not well. Here are the biggest problems:

-There are never enough monsters to give the heroes a hard time, and there are never enough monsters in a room to counter the tremendous advantage of the heroes getting a free turn to whale on them. There are a number of possible solutions, such as beefing up the monster table (though that would crowd rooms to no end), revealing more of the dungeon at once than just one room (though that would mean extensive dungeon-creation sessions in spurts, which would be no fun).
-The dungeons are bland—no water, rubble, pits, etc. As a result, spawning monsters is tougher, since there are so few obstructions to block LOS)
-I would very much like a better way to implement traps and events (especially events like Rage et al).


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Dexblair .
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Desa Petaling
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hi,
great work here.

i'm confuse or don't understand

1)the step:SETUP
- confuse on how to setup the OL deck?
- when to draw trap/event card?

2)what to do during the pseudo-OL turn?

thanks in advance.
 
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Mark Bigney
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Yeah, they're a bit of a monster, aren't they?
Here's how you sort the deck: Powers get discarded. All door and chest-based traps form a "Trap" deck. Everything else (spawns and events) forms the OL deck.

During a "pseudo-OL" phase, the following two things happen:
-a card is drawn from the OL deck (assuming X turns have passed since the last card being drawn, where X is the number on the lower right-hand corner of the card). Take care of the effects now if it's a spawn or non-monster-based event (gust of wind, for example); the effects take place later for monster-based events (like rage, which takes place when activating monsters) or other traps (like spiked pit, which will eventually take place when a hero is activated during the "player" phase)
-then, activate monsters one by one.

That's that.
 
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Fred Methot
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Suggestion: Instead of eliminating all the power cards, you should put one or two of them in each pile of traps. So once in a while, the hero may pick one which is automatically put in play...
 
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The Mighty Greedo
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Nice work! I'll give your solo rules a try myself.
 
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Mark Gee
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Awesome! That is at least a good foundation to start on. My players and I have noticed that it is more fun to play the Heroes and the OL seems to get shafted. I like Descent for all the toys, which is why I picked up the game.

I was dissapointed, when I first heard about the game, that it was a "dungeon master"-type versus other players. My friends and I liked to play Talisman, which is a great multi-adventure, random characters with different abilities and each-game-is-different style of game. Its a free for all game, but the players are not in direct confrontation with each other. I really like that game.

So, I think that your "solo" rules can be modified for a "group" of heroes to play the quests in Descent without an Overlord. I like your idea of how/when to play Overlord and trap cards.
 
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Rob Lyon
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Hello all! I, as well, am interested in the work done on some kind of automated engine to run the Overlord. Any ideas of late on this matter?

Robbage
 
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Ed Collins
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Sign me up as well, I would very much like ot see if anyone has come up with anything.

~ Ed
 
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Sean
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I don't want happiness by halves, nor is half of sorrow what I want. Yet there's a pillow I would share, where gently pressed against a cheek like a helpless star, a falling star, a ring glimmers on the finger of a hand.
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And me too. Hopefully somebody has new stuff for this post, especially with all the current and future expansions.
 
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Michael Powell
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Some ideas:

1) Rather then having traps only apply to chests, have traps apply to both doors AND chests, but have them only occur if the card is the right type.

Example A: A hero opens a door. They immediately draw a trap card. The card is "Curse of the Monkey God". Since this is a chest trap, it doesn't go off, and is discarded.

Example B: A hero opens a chest. They immediately draw a trap card. The card is "Mimic". Since this is a chest trap, and they opened a chest, it goes off as normal.

This properly mimics the fact that the Overlord doesn't ALWAYS have a trap to play on every chest or door.

2) When a monster enhancer is played, it effects the "strongest" monster. How is "strongest" determined? There needs to be a hierarchy of monster strength. Also, there needs to be a way to resolve ties, if there are multiple monsters of the "strongest" type, probably with multiple tie-resolution methods, ultimately falling back to a die roll, if all methods are tied.

3) How a monster moves and attacks leaves a lot of room for player discretion, which means potentially player abuse. I think they need to be as deterministic as possible. As such, somewhat different rules are needed for melee monsters as for ranged/magic monsters.

Say melee monsters must always move toward the nearest player, or in the case of ties, toward the player with the lowest sum of current health and armor, or roll a die if it's still tied.

Ranged monsters do the same, except they stop at a certain range, determined by the average range they would achieve on an attack (you can pre-calculate this based on their dice and bonuses), rounded down. If a ranged monster starts closer to a hero then it's average range, it will first move away from the hero to it's average range (if it can). When a monster is done moving, it will attack, if it can.

If a melee monster has extra movement after it attacks, it goes to waste. If a ranged monster has extra movement, it is spent moving away from the heroes as much as it is able.

Of course, this makes the monsters very predictable, which works to the advantage of the heroes, but it also removes the hero player's ability to fudge their actions in his favor.

4) For the delay in OL cards, I can see what you're describing, and I like it, but it's not explained very clearly. The way I would handle it: During the OL's turn, the player either removes a threat token from on top of the OL deck, or if there are no threat tokens, he draws an OL card. That OL card goes into effect immediately, and it's threat trade-in value is placed on top of the OL deck, in threat tokens.

5) Consider using the 5-player version of the monsters, despite the fact that there are only two heroes. The heroes are getting a boost since the OL is playing deterministically, instead of strategically, so things should be balanced a bit more against them.
 
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Martin Karlsson
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Not to hijack this thread since its about solo (or generic OL) play but has anyone any new comment regarding this. Im struggling to decide if im suppose to go Runebound or Descent in my next board-game-buy. I will probably have some time playing with friends but also some time alone and I would like to know if the rules in this thread are actually working and gives a pleasant time playing.

Anyone have any extra help in this matter. I would gladly help with the solo rules in the future but for now I dont have the game nor the experience which gives me a hard time judging if the above rules actually works.

Im also interested in how the rules works with the expansions, if anyone has any information about them and solo play.
 
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