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Subject: Mage Knight Campaign rss

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Simon Quinn
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I haven't trawled the forums so apologies if this has been brought up elsewhere...

But upon playing and enjoying the heck out of the Pathfinder Adventure Game lately I was wondering if anything similar exists for MK?

A campaign system where you kept your purchased cards and levels while progressively fighting tougher scenarios would be awesome (but very difficult to balance). Perhaps each scenario victory would let you start the next scenario with 2 purchased cards added to your starting 16 and maybe starting with 1 character skill you obtained as well?

Thoughts would be welcome!
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Michael Bishop
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I've also played and enjoyed PACG. It would be neat to have a Mage Knight campaign, but you'd have to tweak a lot. By the end of an average scenario, you have access to the best stuff the game has to offer. You'd have to save stuff like Elite Units for later scenarios. Probably could be done if it was all planned out.
 
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I haven't seen any campaign mode for MKBG either, for the reason Michael has mentioned. Unlike the items, weapons, armor and so on in PACG which have a relatively small effect that adds to what your character can already do, the effects of MKBG's AAs, artifacts and spells on gameplay can be quite dramatic, and carrying them over between games would destroy the balance.

That being said I could see a limited form of campaign play work by having to play the same scenario at increasing level of difficulty and being allowed to keep a limited number of your cards from previous plays. I think, however, any effect on the overall feel of the game from a mode like this would be quite limited.
 
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Alison Mandible
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I wonder if there's a way to do it so that you barely get *stronger* over multiple scenarios (maybe a little bit), but you do get more distinctive. Maybe something like, after each game you can keep one AA as part of your starting deck for the rest of the campaign, but you have to throw away a card that provides a different resource (i.e. no straight upgrades-- if you want Heroic Tale in your starting deck, you can't drop Threaten).

Or you can 'pin' a skill so that it's always one of your first two options? Hm, that seems too strong. Maybe pinning a skill to your third level-up instead of your first?

Or, you get to pick two units that you hired, and permanently reduce the cost of one of them by 1 (for you) while permanently INCREASING the cost of the other by 1.

But anyway, that kind of thing, instead of letting you just pick up where you left off.
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Michael Bishop
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I'm relatively new to Mage Knight having only played a few games. I don't think there are tiers or rankings for things such as spells, artifacts, or advanced actions. You'd have to design cards that get more powerful as the campaign progresses.

That or you don't keep your cards gained between scenarios. You get a reward (based on fame maybe?) that lets you dip into the unit/spell/action offers or take a random artifact.
 
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Chris Berry
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Each Mage Knight game is a mini campaign where you gain power through out. The engine/balance is based around each Mage Knight starting from a common point and powering up from there. You'll find the early game less of a challenge with starting AAs. Unless your playing with the expansion and Volkore is out there. Then you need as much cheese as you can get your hands on.
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Andy Kerrison
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For a start, consider halving (or more) the amount of fame you get for your actions. This would dramatically reduce the rate at which your power grows and enable you to stretch things out over multiple missions. Limit how many new cards you can carry over too and you've restricted most forms of progression. See how it goes.
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Tom Rojas
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The only thing i really miss after a good game are artifacts, and not all of them. When in a given game i find an awesome artifact, i kindda want to keep it forever for maybe the next game i wont get it, but it is part of the history, those artifacts can exist Or not, no one knows for sure


- tom
 
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IMO grasa_total has the right idea.

In most RPG's when you level the only *real* difference is the character's abilities and monster trappings. Increasingly powerful options are illusory since the enemies also become more powerful.

However, I think the better way to customize characters is to change their available skill pool. That way you can have relatively small incremental changes each session without significantly changing the game balance.

If you like, each game could also have a "quest level" to represent the character's growing power. The quest level has no mechanical bearing on the game but informs the player of what sort of enemy they should think of roaming the map. Perhaps those "Orc Diggers" become "Orc Tunnelers" and then "Orc Wyrm Riders" or something like that.

Thematically the void lords take all relics and the Mage Knight's personal powers are spent after three days of endless campaigning.
 
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Yaakov Simon
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slacks wrote:

In most RPG's when you level the only *real* difference is the character's abilities and monster trappings. Increasingly powerful options are illusory since the enemies also become more powerful.


I disagree with this statement a bit. For me, an advantage of a solo campaign would be a reason to "do better" at the game instead of just trying to beat my score. In addition, another advantage of leveling up is that you have more interesting choices/spells. In D&D terms - how much cooler is a fireball than a magic missile! However, I agree that the balance of the game is key, because even starting with an AA could skew the game.

I have been thinking about making a series of smaller adventures that finally lead up to an epic battle against Volkare. You would have to get a certain score in order to go on to the next adventure, and a high score would give you advantages.

Now that I have played Pathfinder the Card Game, I like the idea of applying that model to Mage Knight. If only I could quit my job and work on this full time devil
 
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slacks wrote:
In most RPG's when you level the only *real* difference is the character's abilities and monster trappings. Increasingly powerful options are illusory since the enemies also become more powerful.


I don't play table top RPGs, but IMO this is the hallmark of a bad computer RPG. There are few things that break immersion more than enemies scaling to your level.

What makes an RPG great and having a sense of progression is if you start weak which limits your options at the beginning of the game severely. You can't attempt certain quests or locations, but you are free to explore them and try. Then, as you get more powerful, you are able to revisit these locations or quests you weren't equipped to take on earlier.

Thank goodness for GOG and RPGs like Fallout.

slacks wrote:

If you like, each game could also have a "quest level" to represent the character's growing power. The quest level has no mechanical bearing on the game but informs the player of what sort of enemy they should think of roaming the map. Perhaps those "Orc Diggers" become "Orc Tunnelers" and then "Orc Wyrm Riders" or something like that.


IMO, this is a little heavy handed. If it doesn't contribute to the game mechanically at least in a small way, then it's redundant. I am also wary of very abstract tracks that go up or down and represent your fame, military strength or what not. Ideally, such higher level concepts would emerge from the interactions of lower level, less abstract game elements. It's not always possible, but it's a worthy goal. And of course, they will have an actual effect on the game.
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honeyralmond wrote:

What makes an RPG great and having a sense of progression is if you start weak which limits your options at the beginning of the game severely. You can't attempt certain quests or locations, but you are free to explore them and try. Then, as you get more powerful, you are able to revisit these locations or quests you weren't equipped to take on earlier.


To elaborate on this a little bit in a board game context, I think one way to implement this is with:

1) Items and skills whose effects are more cumulative. This doesn't preclude game changing items and skills, but such should be rare. 50% or less chance to get one in a single game rare, let's say, to throw a random number out there.

2) Characters who are more differentiated when they start. If the character is already reasonably good at something that allows them to tackle at least some of the encounters -- such as combat, stealth, magic, whatever -- leveling up could represent acquiring the skills they lack so they are able to explore locations and quests that their starting abilities prevent them from exploring at the beginning.

3) Allies that have an entirely different skillset compared to your main character and who can help you explore some of the locations and quest that would otherwise not be available to your character.

4) A big board that you simply can't explore fully or even halfway in a single game with a single character. But one that will offer you opportunities to achieve your objectives for a particular scenario.

Most of this is, I think, is pulling further away from MKBG which is at its core a strategy game, not an adventure IMO.
 
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honeyralmond wrote:
slacks wrote:
In most RPG's when you level the only *real* difference is the character's abilities and monster trappings. Increasingly powerful options are illusory since the enemies also become more powerful.


I don't play table top RPGs, but IMO this is the hallmark of a bad computer RPG. There are few things that break immersion more than enemies scaling to your level.

Fallout does this as well, at the start you are fighting Powder Gangers and at the end you are fighting Deathclaws. Immersion is only a problem when the same enemy scales too strongly. This is why I suggested that the enemies you face at level 1 should be viewed as *different* enemies, than later enemies (despite having the same mechanics). This is not substantially different than any other RPG I've seen, but it is more overt than in good RPGs.

honeyralmond wrote:
What makes an RPG great and having a sense of progression is if you start weak which limits your options at the beginning of the game severely. You can't attempt certain quests or locations, but you are free to explore them and try. Then, as you get more powerful, you are able to revisit these locations or quests you weren't equipped to take on earlier.

The game already does this at the session level, so we are actually talking about over multiple sessions. So how does that look?

Are you suggesting that there would be game setups that would be too difficult for the player to complete? What is the point of that?

IMO there is no meaningful difference between an area that does not exist and an area that will kill you because your level isn't high enough. There is a perception difference, but not a mechanical difference.

However, if you give up on the idea that the player must get stronger across multiple sessions, then any session is playable at a given time. You wouldn't run into the problem that PACG has where you cannot run a fan made scenario without disrupting the offical campaign, for example.

honeyralmond wrote:
slacks wrote:

If you like, each game could also have a "quest level" to represent the character's growing power. The quest level has no mechanical bearing on the game but informs the player of what sort of enemy they should think of roaming the map. Perhaps those "Orc Diggers" become "Orc Tunnelers" and then "Orc Wyrm Riders" or something like that.


IMO, this is a little heavy handed. If it doesn't contribute to the game mechanically at least in a small way, then it's redundant.

Again, this is a problem of perception, not mechanics, so I suggested a non-mechanics solution. In Fallout they could have reskinned all the enemies to look like Powder Gangers, but that would have made immersion more difficult despite there being no mechanical difference.
 
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slacks wrote:
Fallout does this as well, at the start you are fighting Powder Gangers ...


I was referring to Fallout 1 & 2. I've never played Bethesda's Fallout (to the extent that it can be called a Fallout game, but that's a different discussion), so can't comment on it, although I remember Bethesda got a lot of flak from the Fallout community for planning to include this very feature (level scaling) in their game. In any case, in the first two Fallout games you can go anywhere on the map that you choose, there is no level scaling of enemies, and you can approach the game in different ways (diplomacy, big guns, small guns, energy guns, thieving skills, etc.) depending on your character's strengths.

To be clear, there are two types of scaling one could talk about. In the first, the game world is already populated with NPCs that are a fixed level, but those in the starting areas of the game tend to be lower level/easier to fight than those in areas near the end of the game. This can't be done away with, since you want the player to be able to engage the world at the beginning, and pretty much all games have this. The more clever ones allow you to solve quests in more than one way, and give you plenty of side quests, which allow you to develop your character and don't necessarily follow the same pattern of difficulty as the main quest. They don't simply give you the illusion of a nonlinear world, but give you one.

In a board game context, this kind of scaling is akin to the green and brown tiles in MKBG. The point though is, none of the NPCs actually scale their level (or change their name) in response to your character's experience level.

In the second case, which is what I meant by level scaling, the abilities of enemies you encounter are scaled *dynamically* depending on your character's level. In a board game context, this would be like the encounters in PACG where the cards say "add the scenario number to the check" or something to that effect.

slacks wrote:
This is why I suggested that the enemies you face at level 1 should be viewed as *different* enemies, than later enemies (despite having the same mechanics). This is not substantially different than any other RPG I've seen, but it is more overt than in good RPGs.

slacks wrote:
IMO there is no meaningful difference between an area that does not exist and an area that will kill you because your level isn't high enough. There is a perception difference, but not a mechanical difference.

slacks wrote:
Again, this is a problem of perception, not mechanics, so I suggested a non-mechanics solution. In Fallout they could have reskinned all the enemies to look like Powder Gangers, but that would have made immersion more difficult despite there being no mechanical difference.


These statements get at the main point on which we differ. It seems like to you progression is something that is only perceived in a subjective way, in name only, but in the end the game progresses linearly and the challenge remains roughly the same.

I would argue that there is a huge difference to immersion between a game world that is independent of the player and has its own logic (however rudimentary and stylized) -- areas you can choose to visit or not and get slaughtered if you do it at the wrong time, NPCs whose level doesn't change, and so on -- versus one that is simply being created around the player. The first world can offer surprises and a more believable narrative. The second, is shallow and easy to see through.

slacks wrote:
The game already does this at the session level, so we are actually talking about over multiple sessions. So how does that look?

Are you suggesting that there would be game setups that would be too difficult for the player to complete? What is the point of that?


I listed some ways this can be achieved in my other response to this thread. But in short, I don't think MKBG lends itself to having a campaign mode. An individual play session is already epic enough, the scenarios don't have a narrative to speak of (although I can see the game engine being used for story based scenarios akin to those in PACG, LotR LCG or Robinson Crusoe), and the game balance that makes a play session so engaging will be broken. IMO, it really comes down to MKBG being more of a strategy game than an adventure.
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This pretty much mirrors my thoughts on "sandbox" versus "railroad" styles of play, which seems to be where we differ.

http://angrydm.com/2010/06/setting-the-pcs-up-to-fail/

Linear play and balanced play are not on the same spectrum, they are independent of one another. Many games do not give the players the option of outright losing for picking the wrong fight, but still provide many options.
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