Scott Rogganbuck
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My wife, daughter, and I have again completed the final scenario in the Rise of the Runelords adventure path. We really enjoyed the diversity the new group of characters brought to the table. Because we each played two characters, we added the promo Ranzak to the mix.



Seelah, the Stoic Leader (played by my wife)



Functionally and flavor-wise, this character was awesome. Her ability to appeal to her diety was very similar to Lini's use of her animal companions - on steroids. Seelah was almost sure to pass her checks, even with her low dexterity and intelligence (though we usually put other characters to these tasks). Seelah was one of our preferred finishers given her fine assortment of weapons and excellent prayer ability.



Kyra, the War Priestess (played by my wife)



With a powerful assortment of blessings, weapons, and spells, Kyra possessed the ability to crush her enemies and aid her allies, as needed, in equal amounts. The ability to put Blessing of Sarenrae on top of her deck proved incredibly useful as the scenarios became tougher. Her versatility had Kyra batting 6th in this lineup. By that time, based on her remaining hand, we knew whether or not we were able to send her in to battle or somewhere to heal others.



Amiri, Destroyer of (insert random bane name here)-(played by my daughter)



When mass amounts of damage needed to be liberally applied to anything, Amiri happily answered that call. While not able to provide the help to others at her location as Valeros did, Amiri is as streamlined a character that you will find.



Ranzak, Amiri's Raiding Buddy (played by my daughter)



Starting with almost half of his deck in hand, we were almost certain that Ranzak was not going to last very long. Thus, we kept him under Amiri's wing for many adventures. To our surprise, Ranzak actually began to thrive and became our acquirer of "things". His ability to clean out the Temple in one turn was the stuff of legend. Eventually, he even began to effectively fight his own battles. The one drawback to having Ranzak in the group was that we were never able to go into the box to select boons if we had banished them because Ranzak had already picked some up - no matter what it was you needed.



Ezren, Arcane Recharging Machine (played by me)



By the end of the adventure path, Ezren felt very powerful compared to Seoni in our first run through. While his early inability to explore multiple times hampered him at times, he eventually had a decent balance of allies and spells that allowed him to progress through a stack. In this particular group, he was the sole recipient of arcane boons - including loot. He could have used a few more item slots along the way.



Sajan, the Inebriated and Confused (played by me)



Sajan is probably the weakest of all characters in the base set and add-on. He did have some positive aspects to him, such as his ability to supply a blessing for those who needed it and his incredibly high dexterity. No one was hurt more by the greedy Ranzak than Sajan. After becoming a Drunken Master, if he ever lost a potion, he was never able to go back into the box to replace it because Ranzak had already picked-up some less useful item for him. Sajan did defeat the occasional villain with a huge burst of blessings. Overall, it felt like he never reached his full potential.




The general consensus between us was that we enjoyed this group of characters more than our first group. In a simple comparison of the characters in similar roles, this would be my analysis:

The Primary Finisher
Valeros > Amiri
While this one is nearly a wash, Valeros' ability to give others at his location a helping hand was often significant.

The Thief
Ranzak > Merisiel
While Merisiel was a far more potent combatant with an insane evasion ability, Ranzak provided a "fun factor" that was irreplaceable. Aside from providing the group with all the supplies they could use, Ranzak brought a huge degree of humor to our games. Furthermore, it was more of a challenge to make him survive - shaping him was more rewarding.

The Healer
Kyra > Lini
After Sajan, Lini was probably the next weakest of the characters. Kyra was better at everything Lini tried to do. Don't get me wrong. We loved Lini. Lini was better at all around checks. Kyra had the ability to finish the occasional villain. Lini rarely did that.

The Dexterous Specialist
Harsk > Sajan
Harsk was always a very capable combatant with the ability to help others by recharging arrows. Sajan was a sometimes capable combatant who had to discard blessings to help others.

The Magic-User
Ezren > Seoni
Early on, Seoni was probably better. As the story progressed, Ezren recharged almost everything, including arcane items, with great efficiency. Seoni always recharged spells, and sometimes items. Over time, Seoni's fireball seemed to lose a bit of its punch while Ezren's spellbook increased greatly in power.

The Pseudo-Healer/"Other"
Seelah > Lem
Both of these characters brought certain intangibles to the group that proved quite valuable. I felt these two had incredibly diverse potential in the way in which they could be shaped. While Lem was very helpful for others (and extremely entertaining on a Ranzak level), Seelah's combat ability gives her the edge.


Were we to start a new Runelords adventure, I would likely choose a character from the Class Decks. We are presently in adventure 4 of the Skull and Shackles adventure path.

A chronicle of our first run through the Rise of the Runelords adventure path can be found here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1202242/all-good-things-...
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Kevin B. Smith
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I'm intrigued by your comparison of Kyra to Lini. I happen to be playing both, in separate campaigns, and Lini seems more powerful to me. I'm in box 4 with Kyra, and have finished box 6 with Lini. Part of the difference may be that both of my campaigns are with just 2 heroes, not large parties like yours.

My Kyra is paired with Valeros. Early on, Kyra seemed tough in battle, but in box 4, she seems pretty weak. She has also had a terrible time picking up Holy Light spells, which hasn't helped. I haven't boosted her strength because Valeros fills that role, and instead have improved her wisdom. She only has one blessing of Sarenrae so far...hopefully she'll get more so that power will really shine.

Lini was paired with Merisiel. She has been a bit more of a roller coaster, seeming weak for a while, then strong, then weak, but then strong. I almost never used her melee power, mostly relying on attack spells. Her ability to close locations was hugely valuable near the end, and her holy light with d10+2d6+9 was pretty potent. It was great that Merisiel could find cool stuff, evade them and leave them on top, where Lini could easily acquire them. If Lini could have gotten stronger animal allies earlier, she would have been even more awesome.

Kyra's healing is helpful, but Valeros rarely needs it. Merisiel was also rarely in need of Lini's cures. Each of them cures themselves more than the other party member.

Anyway, if I were picking one of them for a new campaign, I would choose Lini in a heartbeat. She seems both more fun and more powerful...at least within the contexts of the parties I have played.
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Scott Rogganbuck
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peakhope wrote:
I'm intrigued by your comparison of Kyra to Lini. I happen to be playing both, in separate campaigns, and Lini seems more powerful to me. I'm in box 4 with Kyra, and have finished box 6 with Lini. Part of the difference may be that both of my campaigns are with just 2 heroes, not large parties like yours.


This is what I love about this game. Depending on who you pair up, the game takes on a new dynamic. Characters fill different roles as necessary.

peakhope wrote:
My Kyra is paired with Valeros. Early on, Kyra seemed tough in battle, but in box 4, she seems pretty weak. She has also had a terrible time picking up Holy Light spells, which hasn't helped. I haven't boosted her strength because Valeros fills that role, and instead have improved her wisdom. She only has one blessing of Sarenrae so far...hopefully she'll get more so that power will really shine.


Could just be because we had more stacks. If there was a blessing-filled temple, Ranzak was cleaning it out.

peakhope wrote:
Lini was paired with Merisiel. She has been a bit more of a roller coaster, seeming weak for a while, then strong, then weak, but then strong. I almost never used her melee power, mostly relying on attack spells. Her ability to close locations was hugely valuable near the end, and her holy light with d10+2d6+9 was pretty potent. It was great that Merisiel could find cool stuff, evade them and leave them on top, where Lini could easily acquire them. If Lini could have gotten stronger animal allies earlier, she would have been even more awesome.


Lini was the star of our group for this, as well. If there was a tough location to close, Lini would be there attempting it - especially in the Death Zone. I feel that Seelah was also comparable to Lini, in this sense.

peakhope wrote:
Kyra's healing is helpful, but Valeros rarely needs it. Merisiel was also rarely in need of Lini's cures. Each of them cures themselves more than the other party member.


Makes sense paired up with Valeros and Merisiel. Kyra had much tending of wounds to do with the wreckless Amiri and Ranzak. Sajan quite a bit, as well.

peakhope wrote:
Anyway, if I were picking one of them for a new campaign, I would choose Lini in a heartbeat. She seems both more fun and more powerful...at least within the contexts of the parties I have played.


I agree about the fun factor and believe she could be very powerful. Flavor-wise, Lini is sweet. In the Skull and Shackles set, she turns into a shark instead of a bear, getting a D12 for her strength and dex!

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Robert Ahearne
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Thanks for all the images. It was interesting to see how your group configured these characters.

In my group of 3 players, 6 characters, Sajan more than holds his own in combat. It helps that our set has 5 Blessing of Zarongels (+2 dice on Fire attacks), of which Sajan ended up with 3, along with his 3 Erastils. If the cards fall right, we may have Sajan take a check against Karzoug (we're just about to enter the Death Zone).

Harsk, on the other hand, was the weakest fighter in my Merisiel-Ezren-Amiri-Harsk playgroup. Sure, he had a +7, but with that he'd only be rolling two dice, which were often d8s. Even if you add a blessing, you're adding d8s. It didn't help that we never found a Venomous crossbow. And, the other players had the benefit of Harsks d4+4 most of the time.
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Scott Rogganbuck
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elcoderdude wrote:
In my group of 3 players, 6 characters, Sajan more than holds his own in combat. It helps that our set has 5 Blessing of Zarongels (+2 dice on Fire attacks), of which Sajan ended up with 3, along with his 3 Erastils.


Nice. I suppose this blessing would excel in the hands of Sajan (pun absolutely intended ). Only the one promo for us. Did your group pool them or simply order extras? If so, I would be curious as to what they go for.

elcoderdude wrote:
Harsk, on the other hand, was the weakest fighter in my Merisiel-Ezren-Amiri-Harsk playgroup. Sure, he had a +7, but with that he'd only be rolling two dice, which were often d8s. Even if you add a blessing, you're adding d8s. It didn't help that we never found a Venomous crossbow. And, the other players had the benefit of Harsks d4+4 most of the time.


If your name is not Valeros, you probably do pale to the likes of Ezren, Merisiel, and Amiri. In my opinion, Harsk is definitely a specialist. For us, he was good at the high low-end rolls and helping others achieve them. Lem snagged our Venomous Crossbow. Harsk ran with a Shock Longbow from early on until the end.

Thank you for sharing, Robert. I also enjoy hearing the different paths people take when it comes to these games.

I may have to give RotR a solo try (with probably two characters). Not sure which two I would choose together. Maybe some class deck characters or Skull and Shackles ones? There are a lot of good ones floating around.
 
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Michael Van Biesbrouck
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Your Lini was weak because you went the melee plus healing route and didn't even give her a good weapon.



Great spells for Lini: attack spells, Augury/Scrying, Restoration and Find Traps (plus a couple healing).

Lini is the most powerful character in the first set if you concentrate on spells and allies. She can solo 8 locations.

Strangely, with Lini, Seelah, Ezren and Valeros in the Death Zone, Ezren closed all the locations (helped by blessings). This despite him having a 50% chance of not being able to use spells against the henchmen.
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Scott Rogganbuck
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mlvanbie wrote:
Your Lini was weak because you went the melee plus healing route and didn't even give her a good weapon.


No doubt. She was filling a role - healing is needed in a 6 character group if you want the party to survive in tact. We did not need her to fight too much by the end. She was getting the weapon scraps behind Valeros, Merisiel, and Harsk.

mlvanbie wrote:
Great spells for Lini: attack spells, Augury/Scrying, Restoration and Find Traps (plus a couple healing).


We did not come across too many Restoration the first time through. Seoni and Lem did most of the Scrying for us.

mlvanbie wrote:
Lini is the most powerful character in the first set if you concentrate on spells and allies.


Perhaps, under the right circumstances.

mlvanbie wrote:
Strangely, with Lini, Seelah, Ezren and Valeros in the Death Zone, Ezren closed all the locations (helped by blessings). This despite him having a 50% chance of not being able to use spells against the henchmen.


That is very surprising (and impressive - I salute you). Valeros and Ezren, in their respective campaigns, had a rough time in the Death Zone. I believe we played it 3 times with each group.

I appreciate the input, Michael. With that group you mentioned, how did Valeros and Seelah stack up against one another?
 
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Michael Van Biesbrouck
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Seelah was by far the weakest character as she often ended up without weapons in hand and wasn't as good with spells as either Lini or Ezren. She could add 1d6+1 to most rolls through her ability, but Lini added 1d4+4. Valeros would play several weapons on every check so he had no trouble killing anything susceptible to weapons.

I assume that you upgraded Lini's Strength right away. Lini can start of really strong with attack spells due to her animals and not miss recharges. She can cycle through her deck really quickly.

We only repeated two or three scenarios (once each). Nothing was repeated in box 6; the last three scenarios were played through in 3 hours. When we had more characters (Merisiel left the game and Seoni made a brief appearance) we needed less healing but were concerned about the blessings deck. Healing was important in the final scenario, but everyone other than Ezren had armor or defensive items. Maybe Ezren had a Medallion.

I should point out that Ezren was a real monster in the last couple decks. He often closed a location in his first round (Haste, Detect Magic, allies and encountering magic items). If he had gotten the Boots of Teleportation before the second to last scenario there would have been no stopping him.
 
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Robert Ahearne
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Finkelstein wrote:
Only the one promo for us. Did your group pool them or simply order extras? If so, I would be curious as to what they go for.


I bought them on EBay. Sorry, I don't recall the price. But they were cheaper than I expected and the seller had 10 available, so I thought, why not five? At the time I didn't realize this was not the "recommended" practice, according to the Paizo FAQ, which says you should only use 1 of each promo.
 
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Andrew Warner
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elcoderdude wrote:
Finkelstein wrote:
Only the one promo for us. Did your group pool them or simply order extras? If so, I would be curious as to what they go for.


I bought them on EBay. Sorry, I don't recall the price. But they were cheaper than I expected and the seller had 10 available, so I thought, why not five? At the time I didn't realize this was not the "recommended" practice, according to the Paizo FAQ, which says you should only use 1 of each promo.


I'd say Zarongel might be the only one I'd be willing to go against the guidelines for. But then, as you point out, having 5 of it basically means you can give Sajan enough Zarongels and Erastils to make him get 2 dice on every combat check he makes with his power via those blessings. So maybe it is overpowering just for that reason.
 
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Scott Rogganbuck
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269Hawkmoon wrote:
I'd say Zarongel might be the only one I'd be willing to go against the guidelines for. But then, as you point out, having 5 of it basically means you can give Sajan enough Zarongels and Erastils to make him get 2 dice on every combat check he makes with his power via those blessings. So maybe it is overpowering just for that reason.


It seems very feasible for blessings. Makes them better, but not necessarily overpowered. I have been getting a promo blessing each month with my Skull and Shackles subscription. Four of them so far.

 
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Robert Ahearne
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elcoderdude wrote:
In my group of 3 players, 6 characters, Sajan more than holds his own in combat. It helps that our set has 5 Blessing of Zarongels (+2 dice on Fire attacks), of which Sajan ended up with 3, along with his 3 Erastils. If the cards fall right, we may have Sajan take a check against Karzoug (we're just about to enter the Death Zone).


We fought Karzoug tonight. Sure enough, on the turn before we faced Karzoug, Sajan drew into a strong hand, with the Sihedron Medallion to take Karzoug's damage. Sajan took the final check against Karzoug and rolled 102 (15 d10 + 4d4 + 10)

It is a bit feast or famine with him, admittedly.
 
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Scott Rogganbuck
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That is quite a punch. I think Sajan would be very good in the Skull and Shackles setting. As a Drunken Master, he could do well with some of the bomb cards from the set.
 
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