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Subject: Sir Alric Farrow, king of the Marsh rss

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Richard C
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I’d (accidentally) forced my hero players hand in our current RtL game. The other two players were bringing their heroes back to Tamalir as Sir Alric Farrow had begun his siege during the 2nd Week of the Silver stage of the campaign.
I’ve got no Treachery (don’t own AoD or WoD), but have upgraded Eldritch to Gold, and Beasts and Humanoids to Silver.

PLAYER 1 controls:
Mordrog (Leadership, Mighty), armed with a basic Sword + Shield of Light or basic Axe, Chain Mail, Ring of Quickness.
Spirit-speaker Mok (Boggs, Cautious, Marksman), armed with Staff of Fire or Ice Storm Rune, Cloak of Deception, Mana Weave.

PLAYER 2 controls:
Steelhorns (Enduring, Unmoveable), armed with Dragontooth Hammer, Chain Mail, Belt of Strength.
The Grey Kerr (Wild Talent, Inner Fire, Master Archer), armed with Bow of Bone, Leather + Ghost Armour, Scorpion Helmet.

We were using Jeff Long’s “Hometown Advantage” house rule for encounters with Lieutenants in Tamalir – the heroes draw 3 locations and select the battleground that suits them best. They drew:
* Corrupted Forest (heroes suffer 2 wounds every time they place an order)
* Peaceful Glade (Nobody rolls more than 3 Power dice per attack)
* Marshy Valley (it costs +1 move to enter a square adjacent to a water square)
The first one was right out as they make regular use of orders. The Peaceful Glade was considered but rejected as they thought they’d need to burn Fatigue for extra damage. Which left Marshy Valley, which seemed to inconvenience heroes and the Overlord equally. I had my doubts and voiced them, but it was their choice.

---


They’d killed Eliza in a previous game so I put Farrow in a tree 3 spaces from an exit with a stretch of water (and thus marshy ground) between him and the heroes, and left him there for the whole encounter (the exit furthest to the South, if you'd like to play at home). My minions lurked and took pot-shots and retreated, but happily died doing whatever damage they could.

The Razorwings were the only things that could get to The Grey Kerr and PLAYER 2 knew this, and was able to take one out before it even got close (cocky sod didn’t even wait for the swoop!).
The rest attacked the advancing melee guys, messing Steelhorns up pretty good before getting destroyed in turn – as is right and proper.

Then came a bizarre kind of siege. They stopped at the junction south of their starting map tile and just launched hit-and-run attacks with Mok (using Blast) against whatever I’d spawned the previous round.
PLAYER 2 tried to use some junior psychology, telling me the most dangerous thing they’d seen in the game was hiding in a tree (like Evil was ever going to behave honourably!), but PLAYER 1 reminded him that that was exactly what the “heroes” were doing, too.
Anyway, their tactic was working great for me – I got to test which minions were best for the environment. Sorcerers were really tough, but too slow to launch a counter attack through the marshy ground against heroes hiding in/behind trees, especially with the Grey Kerr on Guard the whole time. Hellhounds looked like they could work, if I used threat to get them into position but the Grey Kerr refused to miss and could easily one-shot them. Razorwings, likewise, looked like great one-shot missiles, if GK would miss – but hey, this costing me nothing but Threat so why not try, eh?

Eventually PLAYER 2 was wound up enough to finally push forward. He’d tried to explain to PLAYER 1 that sitting around only benefited the Overlord as for every minion they killed another would appear the very next round (or the turn after) to replace it. So in he charged with the Grey Kerr (needing to burn pretty much all his life-saving Fatigue to do so) managing to put an empty square between him and Farrow after his attack. Steelhorns used his special ability to charge directly at Farrow doing a little more damage… but at that point there was nowhere anybody could get to and still attack.

Farrow Battled, taking down Steelhorns down (the minions had been concentrating on him beforehand). A Sorcerer walked up and did serious damage to the Grey Kerr.
The battle lasted three more rounds – GK, then Mordrog, then Mok.

---


Now, that was interesting and all, but it wasn’t fun. As soon as they got settled in at that junction their morale plummeted. They snipped at each other and stalled and when they eventually did act they didn’t think it through. At that point victory for me didn’t feel worthwhile – beating players who are already beaten doesn’t feel like an achievement.

After the encounter PLAYER 1 looked at Sir Alric Farrow’s card again and declared him “unbeatable”. His special abilities negating any of the toys they’d acquired, which resulted in his armour, wounds and regeneration being too high. I called BS on this as other people have defeated him before.

Me, I blamed the map.
I’ve always seen games like this as largely being won by on who controls the tempo*. When they’ve taken the initiative, when they’ve done the unexpected, when they’ve attacked before I’m ready I’ve flailed and struggled to regain control. Marshy ground – the battleground they’d picked – killed that. They couldn’t strike as a team and I couldn’t have assaulted them, even if I’d been inclined or could be goaded into doing so. As it was, because they were burning Fatigue to get to me they were never able to get extra power dice on their attacks, anyway.


* Learned by entire summers lost playing Space Hulk.
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duhtch
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I think it is that your players are inexperienced with a game like this, trying to play either a different game that they are used to playing and using similar tactics or they are just bad at the game in general and don't learn from their mistakes. That said, nearly every first FEW campaigns end with the OL winning.

Col_Orange_1 wrote:
For the love of...!

4th Dungeon
Collapsed Columns O:3, H:9
The Gauntlet O:11, H:15
Mask of the Monster O:33, H:20

[bashes head against wall]

And the next campaign week they attacked Sir Alric Farrow (needed to be done - Tamalir, naturally).


As you see here, they gave up another 33CT, which I am not sure if you told them or not, but generally you don't have to go through all three levels... At some point in the game, you have to go through all three levels though.

Col_Orange_1 wrote:

PLAYER 1 controls:
Mordrog (Leadership, Mighty), armed with a basic Sword + Shield of Light or basic Axe, Chain Mail, Ring of Quickness.
Spirit-speaker Mok (Boggs, Cautious, Marksman), armed with Staff of Fire or Ice Storm Rune, Cloak of Deception, Mana Weave.

PLAYER 2 controls:
Steelhorns (Enduring, Unmoveable), armed with Dragontooth Hammer, Chain Mail, Belt of Strength.
The Grey Kerr (Wild Talent, Inner Fire, Master Archer), armed with Bow of Bone, Leather + Ghost Armour, Scorpion Helmet.



I am not sure which game week you are in, but this party seems terrible (especially against the best Avatar in the game) the weapons and skills seem terrible too. It just goes to show the lack of experience. Having two melee heroes is generally a bad idea in an AC. Coupled with it is Silver and Mordrog doesn't even have a copper weapon to attack with.

Quote:
We were using Jeff Long’s “Home Town Advantage” house rule for encounters with Lieutenants in Tamalir – the heroes draw 3 locations and select the battleground that suits them best. They drew:
* Corrupted Forest (heroes suffer 2 wounds every time they place an order)
* Peaceful Glade (Nobody rolls more than 3 Power dice per attack)
* Marshy Valley (it costs +1 move to enter a square adjacent to a water square)
The first one was right out as they make regular use of orders. The Peaceful Glade was considered but rejected as they thought they’d need to burn Fatigue for extra damage. Which left Marshy Valley, which seemed to inconvenience heroes and the Overlord equally. I had my doubts and voiced them, but it was their choice.

---


Peaceful Glade was the choice here, and this might have been partly your fault too for not knowing. You can roll 3 power dice, but they can be upgraded. So for instance, if you wanted to drink a power potion with a hero that has 3 black dice, you can roll 2 gold dice and 1 silver. Add to the fact that there are good choke points for the heroes.

Player 2 was right, you have to move forward and you can't just sit there and do nothing. But have a plan at least. Then again, it is also at a point in the campaign, where you have passed the point of no return. You are getting 20+CT a game week, you have maximum monster upgrades and they are still in partial shop weapons with mediocre skills and have a severe lack of understanding of the rules and how to play the game from a strategy standpoint.

All this said, it is perfectly okay. We were ALL new at one point and this is how you learn, from your mistakes. I would continue with the rest of the campaign, winning in the next few weeks, then probably go through some overland map scenarios and play a couple more LT. encounters. For instance, I would try a battle with Alric in the copper level and 1 monster upgrade vs heroes with potions, and a couple of copper items (note that I don't think you can win the game if you aren't playing with power potions, or unless you have some extreme luck with party/skill). Once the three of you have gone through that a bit more, then I think you should be one of the hero players and have one be the OL and start all over.

I myself had many similar scenarios that you are suffering through. I know the rules better than anyone in my group. I try to help them out as much as possible, but they don't take the time investment to figure things out, they just play as they go (which is fine, but it leads to blow outs).

If they REALLY want to learn good strategy I would look at PBF games of Corbon, Immortal, Kartigan or myself. These are top players who know what they are doing and have a plan multiple weeks in advance. They have made me a better player all around.

It is worth it to have the full game. I understand that finding out of print expansions can be tough. If you can't get them, then I would encourage you to just print out your own cards of Feats/Treachery/Weapons. I would sleeve up my cards (for the OL deck) and just put a piece of paper in there with the card, telling you which card it is that you don't have.

Feats can be added very simply. Use your printer to make the cards for you. They don't have to have fancy pictures or designs, just text. Heck, you can put them on 3x5 cards if you want.

Good luck, keep posting here and we can try to help as best as we can. If your hero players want you to be OL again, feel free to message me and I can help them with their initial hero/skill picks via skype or phone. Maybe go over the first 5 week strategy.
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Richard C
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duhtch wrote:
Col_Orange_1 wrote:
For the love of...!

4th Dungeon
Collapsed Columns O:3, H:9
The Gauntlet O:11, H:15
Mask of the Monster O:33, H:20

[bashes head against wall]

And the next campaign week they attacked Sir Alric Farrow (needed to be done - Tamalir, naturally).


As you see here, they gave up another 33CT, which I am not sure if you told them or not, but generally you don't have to go through all three levels... At some point in the game, you have to go through all three levels though.


Yeah, I've told them. I put it in a spreadsheet. I highlighted it. The pattern is painfully clear - 1st level, heroes rule; 2nd level, even or OL edges ahead; 3rd they get crucified. Every time.
Silver looked like it was going to buck the trend but... nope, there it is again.

duhtch wrote:
Col_Orange_1 wrote:
PLAYER 1 controls:
Mordrog (Leadership, Mighty), armed with a basic Sword + Shield of Light or basic Axe, Chain Mail, Ring of Quickness.
Spirit-speaker Mok (Boggs, Cautious, Marksman), armed with Staff of Fire or Ice Storm Rune, Cloak of Deception, Mana Weave.

PLAYER 2 controls:
Steelhorns (Enduring, Unmoveable), armed with Dragontooth Hammer, Chain Mail, Belt of Strength.
The Grey Kerr (Wild Talent, Inner Fire, Master Archer), armed with Bow of Bone, Leather + Ghost Armour, Scorpion Helmet.


I am not sure which game week you are in, but this party seems terrible (especially against the best Avatar in the game) the weapons and skills seem terrible too. It just goes to show the lack of experience. Having two melee heroes is generally a bad idea in an AC. Coupled with it is Silver and Mordrog doesn't even have a copper weapon to attack with.


I worry about this. They pull a lot of Wizard-type treasure. I've explained with our base game only there's only one 1-handed and one 2-handed melee weapon in each deck. [shrug]

duhtch wrote:
Col_Orange_1 wrote:
We were using Jeff Long’s “Home Town Advantage” house rule for encounters with Lieutenants in Tamalir – the heroes draw 3 locations and select the battleground that suits them best. They drew:
* Corrupted Forest (heroes suffer 2 wounds every time they place an order)
* Peaceful Glade (Nobody rolls more than 3 Power dice per attack)
* Marshy Valley (it costs +1 move to enter a square adjacent to a water square)
The first one was right out as they make regular use of orders. The Peaceful Glade was considered but rejected as they thought they’d need to burn Fatigue for extra damage. Which left Marshy Valley, which seemed to inconvenience heroes and the Overlord equally. I had my doubts and voiced them, but it was their choice.


Peaceful Glade was the choice here, and this might have been partly your fault too for not knowing. You can roll 3 power dice, but they can be upgraded. So for instance, if you wanted to drink a power potion with a hero that has 3 black dice, you can roll 2 gold dice and 1 silver. Add to the fact that there are good choke points for the heroes.


No, they know about upgrading dice. I didn't explicitly remind them while they were making their choice. Hmm. I don't really feel guilty about that. I try to tell them their options as often as possible, but I had my own guys and tactics to think about at the time.

duhtch wrote:
Player 2 was right, you have to move forward and you can't just sit there and do nothing. But have a plan at least. Then again, it is also at a point in the campaign, where you have passed the point of no return. You are getting 20+CT a game week, you have maximum monster upgrades and they are still in partial shop weapons with mediocre skills and have a severe lack of understanding of the rules and how to play the game from a strategy standpoint.


A terrifying observation, there.

duhtch wrote:
All this said, it is perfectly okay. We were ALL new at one point and this is how you learn, from your mistakes. I would continue with the rest of the campaign, winning in the next few weeks, then probably go through some overland map scenarios and play a couple more LT. encounters. For instance, I would try a battle with Alric in the copper level and 1 monster upgrade vs heroes with potions, and a couple of copper items (note that I don't think you can win the game if you aren't playing with power potions, or unless you have some extreme luck with party/skill). Once the three of you have gone through that a bit more, then I think you should be one of the hero players and have one be the OL and start all over.

I myself had many similar scenarios that you are suffering through. I know the rules better than anyone in my group. I try to help them out as much as possible, but they don't take the time investment to figure things out, they just play as they go (which is fine, but it leads to blow outs).


I'm just worried they'll lose interest entirely. It wouldn't be the end of the world - we've had a lot of fun, I've remembered that I like painting minis (though am sadly not as precise as I was) - but I love the game and it'd be a shame to stop playing it.

duhtch wrote:
If they REALLY want to learn good strategy I would look at PBF games of Corbon, Immortal, Kartigan or myself. These are top players who know what they are doing and have a plan multiple weeks in advance. They have made me a better player all around.


I doubt they would, but I'll certainly have a read.
[Dumb look on face. Also known as normal look.] Huh, where would I find that?

duhtch wrote:
It is worth it to have the full game. I understand that finding out of print expansions can be tough. If you can't get them, then I would encourage you to just print out your own cards of Feats/Treachery/Weapons. I would sleeve up my cards (for the OL deck) and just put a piece of paper in there with the card, telling you which card it is that you don't have.

Feats can be added very simply. Use your printer to make the cards for you. They don't have to have fancy pictures or designs, just text. Heck, you can put them on 3x5 cards if you want.


I printed up the Feats for them. Lots of fun there for all of us (it's all badness for the Overlord, but I still enjoy the surprise).

duhtch wrote:
Good luck, keep posting here and we can try to help as best as we can. If your hero players want you to be OL again, feel free to message me and I can help them with their initial hero/skill picks via skype or phone. Maybe go over the first 5 week strategy.


Thank you. Much appreciated.
 
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Many of the players in the PBF games will generally give an explanation of why they picked a specific hero group and the skills.

In the vanilla game, I think it is generally a good idea to have 2 melee heroes, but in the advanced campaign it is usually the opposite. You basically want a melee, ranged, magic, then a runner type. The hero party of Mordrog, Grey Ker, Mok isn't bad, but not great. Steelhorns just makes an average group into a piss poor group. Again, these are things that take a bit of experience and research.

Having said that, in my most recent PBF, I have:

Astarra-Pretty much the best magic player in the game. Not only does she have 5 fatigue and speed and has an amazing runner ability, she also starts with 3 magic dice, so she hits like a truck too.

Sil-Another 5F/5S with 3 dice. She is probably one of my favorite ranged characters because I like to have a lot of variance and her ability is fun. I use Orders quite often.

Nara-I have used her before, but the game ended quickly, so I wanted to give her a try again. Depending on the playstyle of the group, having a 4 armor character is really nice. If you put the Ring of Protection on the hero, that is 5A and you can really start mitigating wounds. There aren't very many copper monsters that hit hard enough to hit for 6D or more.

Jonas-He has 2 melee and 1 magic dice, so there is some flexibility there of purchasing dice to a magic user. I have never played with him (primarily because he is a promotional character and I don't have him in my RL games). At early game, the Axe is the best shop weapon in the game, and the sweet spot for copper minions is 6D. If you can one shot minions that is what you want to be doing at the start. That and having 4F/5S is always attractive to me. Finally, the actual reason I chose him was based on his special. Having a way around Undying is important to me.

We will see how it works out. I think it is a very strong group, but my skills were lackluster.

~~~
As far as strategy goes, not knowing the end game is a significant hindrance to the heroes. Since they don't understand it, how can they plan for it? Things like knowing that the overland map and choking the OL of CT is more important than the dungeons themselves is key.


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Col_Orange_1 wrote:
duhtch wrote:
If they REALLY want to learn good strategy I would look at PBF games of Corbon, Immortal, Kartigan or myself. These are top players who know what they are doing and have a plan multiple weeks in advance. They have made me a better player all around.


I doubt they would, but I'll certainly have a read.
[Dumb look on face. Also known as normal look.] Huh, where would I find that?



http://boardgamegeek.com/forum/388217/descent-journeys-dark/...

It is a really neat concept where you get to play with other really good players from around the world. They have definitely made me into a much better player and more understanding of the rules. Heck, we get into 8 page long discussions on how "start of the turn" works for the OL.
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Richard C
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Thanks again!
 
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I also wanted to add, that although I mentioned fatigue and speed is important to me, damage is king. If you can't one shot copper minions, then you will be having to be spending more fatigue or more actions to kill things.

You should be completing the first level in 5 turns or less (in most instances, some will take longer). This is something that newer players do not understand too well. They go slow and steady, but the slower they are, the better it is for the OL. I am not saying it is good practice to overextend, but sometimes it is needed. For instance, if the OL has already spawned, the eyes are closed he has 2 cards in hand and is on 0 threat, then you probably don't have to worry about covering line of sight this turn. The reason is, the best you can do is have 4 cards, if one of them is a spawn card, then the OL has 3 cards to get a minimum of 15T, which is highly unlikely. It is little things like that to be thinking about.

When it comes to the second and third levels, the OL has amassed a horde of threat and cards and can just devastate the heroes. One thing I like doing as the hero party is understanding your OL habits (and vice versa). Usually an OL won't go all out wasting all his cards and threat on the first level, because if he does, then it will make the second level a lot easier. As a rule of thumb, if the OL has a power card, 20+ threat and 6+ cards going into the 2nd or 3rd levels, it is basically an automatic flee (unless the level is super easy, or the rewards outweigh the cost).
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Well, this week Frostgate fell to Lord and Lady Farrow and Greyhaven finally fell to Kar-Amag-Atoth. Everyone started marching to Tamalir to join Sir Alric.

Instead of attacking immediately the heroes trained up (getting some silver in their pools) or went shoping. Still no weapon for Mordrog, but some Golden Armour, the Drain Life rune weapon, the Amulet of Healing and the Cloak of Mists. They also upgraded the walls to 7 (so 6 with engines).

They elected to test themselves against KAA - partly because they wanted to see how he compared with Alric, partly because I'd just painted up the demons ... and they didn't do too badly. Of the three locations they pulled they chose the Great Oak (is that right? it was the one where trees blocked movement, anyway.).

The Grey Kerr was lethal as ever, Mok now had so much magic gear he could hit at extreme range, bust armour or burst clusters for significant damage. Mordrog... hmm, with his wounds, armour and shield they probably should have used him to block LoS a little more, but he did his part anyway. Steelhorns was able to get close before he messed chaps up and managed to hand off all his gear to Mordrog before he was killed.

On my side... well, the sorcerers were as tough and lethal (and disposable) as ever. The demon - first time I've played with one - was fun (the Aura of Pain upgrade is very mean - love it), BUT they managed to take it down. It seemed just as dangerous as it should be and no more, to be honest. I spawned another one, naturally.
KAA managed to get one weak (compared to his minions) attack in, before retreating behind a screen of sorcerers near the exit. It feels weird holding back when you've got 80 wounds. But he's not there to fight, just to order spawns, I think.

One by one the heroes fell, trapped in that forest, but it was a far better attempt than against Alric. Their mood was far better, but they conceded the campaign at that point.


Next week we'll start again and I've asked to play on the hero side. Lookin' forward to it.
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