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

Subject: RedJak's Automated Monster Variant rss

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Paul Reney
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I am no longer updating this variant. Please see the thread at https://boardgamegeek.com/article/24912796

Version 1.2.5 Changes

- Appendix A: Agents: Removed text that stated Agent AI cards will be implemented at a later date.
- Added Stewards of the Secret Monster AI cards: Blood Ape, Ferrox, and Naga.
- Added Stewards of the Secret EO cards.

--------------------------------------------------------


RedJak's Automated Monster Variant (RAMV) is a less complicated version of RedJak's Automated Overlord Variant (RAOV). It combines elements from both RAOV and the DelvenDeep expansion to create an experience similar to games like Temple of Elemental Evil.

RAMV is designed to be used with existing Descent campaigns. Unlike RAOV, it is not meant to simulate a real Overlord. Instead, the focus is on simulating how the monsters react to their surroundings. For those that may have found RAOV cumbersome, RAMV will provide a more streamlined experience for solo or cooperative play.

The Overlord is more of a background influence in RAMV. Since Overlord and Plot cards are not used, the presence of the Overlord is represented by the play of Event and Dark Influence cards. These cards apply effects to the map that will hinder, and occasionally help, the heroes.

Monster actions are determined by the use of AI cards. Each monster and lieutenant has an easy to follow set of scripted actions they will use during their activation. These scripted actions are also supplemented by Encounter Objective cards for each encounter. Encounter Objective cards will indicate specific targets for the Overlord's forces.

RAMV also introduces alternating turns in the style of Imperial Assault. This means that players will have to alter their strategies from what they have been used to in the past.

The 386 card set includes:

Note that the card count is going to look a bit wonky for a bit. I'm changing how I store the files, and am going to be keeping track of card count by expansion going forward. So, this list is going to look inaccurate, but the total card count should be correct. The list before the break is the new one, which will get updated over time.

20 Agent AI cards
25 Conversion Kit Monster AI cards
24 Mists of Bilehall cards
25 Chains that Rust cards

----------------------

60 Dark Influence cards
21 Heirs of Blood Encounter Objective cards
21 The Shadow Rune Encounter Objective cards
20 Labyrinth of Ruin Encounter Objective cards
20 Shadow of Nerekhall Encounter Objective cards
6 The Trollfens Encounter Objective cards
6 Lair of the Wyrm Encounter Objective cards
7 Manor of Ravens Encounter Objective cards
9 Hero and Monster Pack Encounter Objective double-sided cards
57 Event cards
20 Lieutenant AI cards
78 Monster AI cards
3 Summary cards
4 Team double-sided cards

The card set is available on lo-res sheets for printing at home. There are also individual hi-res images for professional printing. When setting up a professional print job for the Encounter Objective cards, use the lo-res sheets as a guide for which fronts and backs go together.

Rules and cards can be found on my Google Drive at:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzpR1-5sN2wAflhzeHNvaGxmQn...

Printers Studio links for full V1.2.1 card set by Maartend:

Links to the card sets have been temporarily removed. They had been altered and Maartend is rebuilding them. They will be back soon. Apologies for any inconvenience.
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Paul Reney
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And to answer the first question that I know is going to be asked:

RAMV had a more thorough playtest beta than my previous variants. Many of the kinks have already been worked out. This means I don't expect to have to make any major changes to the hi-res cards soon (though I'm not saying it couldn't happen).

So, go ahead and print 'em.

If anything changes, I imagine it will be some adjustments to the Encounter Objective cards.
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Dion Collins
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Hey Paul,

First, thanks for your efforts in overlord/descent automation. I've been using your automated overlord cards for awhile now and just recently received the professionally printed version you linked on printerstudio. Awesome and anyone else reading this, go order them, they are beautiful.

Couple of questions. Are there changes to RAMV from 0.9 to 1.0. You tipically highlite your changes in red but I didn't see any in the 1.0 doc.

Are you going to upload your design for RAMV to printerstudio, I would purchase them immediately. I understand that you may still want to make changes to them, particularly you mentioned the objective cards, so that question might be a little premature.

Anyway thanks again and keep up the amazing work.
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Paul Reney
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Dicol3 wrote:

Couple of questions. Are there changes to RAMV from 0.9 to 1.0. You tipically highlite your changes in red but I didn't see any in the 1.0 doc.


The only change was an easier turn order method when the Overlord takes the first turn in an encounter. The heroes will skip their turns during the first round in this case.

Dicol3 wrote:

Are you going to upload your design for RAMV to printerstudio, I would purchase them immediately. I understand that you may still want to make changes to them, particularly you mentioned the objective cards, so that question might be a little premature.


I have yet to order my own PrinterStudio set. My gaming budget is very tight at the moment. When I do order a set, I'll post a link. I would not be surprised if someone else posted a link as well.

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joel siragher
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i think we should all chip in and send redjak some help so he can get his cards printed. Any one want to help? ill send $10
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Doakes WD
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I finished the first quest for Labyrinth of Ruin with ROMV, perfect run. Played with two heroes and gameplay was very fluid!

I have to admit that the prepping (200+ cards pfew ) took some time, but the playing itself was very smooth and almost perfect!! I was a bit skeptical when cutting the huge amount of cards, but the diversity in event cards seems to be a very nice replacement for the overlord deck. So ROMV is well worth getting into if anyone is wondering :-)

For me this is the new standard in coop & solo play.

The rules were easy to follow and didn't hold me back. But the real speed is in the gameplay itself, so mission accomplished RedJak :-)

On a side note, I even hesitate on leaving two things out (keeping in mind that this is supposed to be the simplest/quickest automation):

- the new alternating turn system is very fresh and nice to play, but slows things down getting used to/keeping track of turns and interpreting start & end effects => heavy on the brain atm as it 'changes' the game quite a bit so I can't help but wonder if this "simple" variant is the best home for it? (i wonder if it's needed for balancing or more of an extra tweak? maybe use it as a standalone/optional variant?)

- the threat system during gameplay needs the same kind of (extra?) tracking, probably needed to keep things balanced? Maybe this should be moved to inbetween quests? (somehow expanding the "completing a quest" mechanism with it?) Or simply make the deck hard-mode from the start?

I have the "Honor amongst thieves" quest setup before me and am tempted to scrap both mentioned points to see what gives ... The game would be incredably close to the normal version, but simply with automated monsters and the (harder?) event deck replacing the overlord deck.

Just some thoughts in case you are still tweaking as well ;-) As i said at the start of the beta - my personal aim with using your RAMV is mainly simple/smooth gameplay.

But in short: awesome work!
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pilum pilum
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Hello from france.
It is a good work.:thumbsup:
Making a good AI system is very very difficult.

I'm interested in a AI variant which changes a minimum of things, so only the Monster AI cards are interesting for me.

I will use these Monster AI cards, and I will also use the method found in the RAOV variant in order to play the Overlord cards.

Question 1. The Surges priority in the RAMV variant and the Surges priority in the RAOV variant are different. Why ?

Question 2. In the Volucrix Reaver Monster AI card you wrote :
" If within 3 spaces of any target : use Skirmish ability on furthest target within 3 spaces" .
Imho, the good text should be :
" If within 4 spaces of any target : use Skirmish ability on furthest target within 4 spaces" .
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Paul Reney
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DoakesWD wrote:


- the new alternating turn system is very fresh and nice to play, but slows things down getting used to/keeping track of turns and interpreting start & end effects => it 'changes' the game quite a bit so I can't help but wonder if this "simple" variant is the best home for it? (i wonder if it's needed for balancing or more of an extra tweak?)


The simple answer: I did alternating turns because I wanted to see if it could be done.

I've never been a fan of the "everyone on this side go, then everyone on that side go" mechanic. It feels like both sides are just zerging each other.

I feel the alternating turns makes you think more about your strategy. I found out the hard way that sending one hero out ahead of the group can be dangerous. And I like that.

The alternating turns make the game a little more dangerous, which is needed to compensate for the lack of a real player behind the monsters.

During my playtesting it was tricky at first. But once I got used to it, keeping track of the turns was not that bad.

You don't have to play using alternating turns. Like any game, I encourage house rules. If you are going to play with standard turn rules, I would only draw Event cards at the start of the OL turn. The RAMV rules are very modular, so making a change like this should not throw anything else out of whack.

If I see a majority of negative feedback about the alternating turns, I have no problem removing it. I just ask that everyone give it a good chance first.

DoakesWD wrote:

- the threat system during gameplay needs the same kind of (extra?) tracking, probably needed to keep things balanced? Maybe this should be moved to inbetween quests? (somehow expanding the "completing a quest" mechanism with it?)


The point of the threat system is to draw extra Event cards in order to increase difficulty during an encounter. The longer an encounter runs, the more chance there is to bring out extra Events. I prefer this over a static increase that would happen between quests.
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Paul Reney
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pilum2008 wrote:

I will use these Monster AI cards, and I will also use the method found in the RAOV variant in order to play the Overlord cards.


This is excellent. I'm curious to hear how this plays out for you.

You can also use the Monster AI cards in my DelvenDeep variant.

pilum2008 wrote:

Question 1. The Surges priority in the RAMV variant and the Surges priority in the RAOV variant are different. Why ?


RAOV uses the surge order from the official co-op variants. I plugged this in because I thought it would be something people were familiar with. However, I've never been quite all that happy with it.

With RAMV, I wanted to try something a little different, while keeping it easy to follow. Ranged figures should always check for range first; it just makes sense. I also had to include a check for surges from Event cards.

And the left-to-right check is easy to follow once you get the hang of it.

pilum2008 wrote:

Question 2. In the Volucrix Reaver Monster AI card you wrote :
" If within 3 spaces of any target : use Skirmish ability on furthest target within 3 spaces" .
Imho, the good text should be :
" If within 4 spaces of any target : use Skirmish ability on furthest target within 4 spaces" .


You're right. The Skirmish ability allows the Volucrix Reaver to move 3 spaces, which would put it in range to attack a target that is 4 spaces away. I'll get that one fixed.
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Doakes WD
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Ok Paul, very clear, as you say the novelties just need some time settling in. I liked the alternating turns as well, more dynamic/realistic, so will give it another go for sure.

The RAMV system itself is so easy, the events, the encounter objective cards and monster ai cards will really open up solo/coop campaigns.


 
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Paul Reney
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You have no idea how thrilled I am at the response to RAMV from all of you.

It started out as a "What the hell, why not?" idea that seems to have worked out pretty good.

I know that I am enjoying playing using RAMV. I actually prefer it over RAOV.

If it helps, DoakesWD, we use hero tokens to keep track of which heroes have taken their turn during a round. We place one on the archetype icon on the hero's sheet when they're done. Then at the end of the round, during the reset phase, we take them all off.
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Paul Reney
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Adjusted Volucrix Reaver AI card. Changed Skirmish to check for a target 4 spaces away instead of 3. Updated files are uploading now.
 
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Dion Collins
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I have continued to use the hero summary cards and flip them when a hero takes a turn. I use play mats for my heroes that I found on this site so they have a space for the card anyway.

I have been playing RAMV for a few days now and I am having a great time with it.

You can add my vote to the alternating turns as well. I agree with Paul that it adds more stragety and I also got burned by sending one guy out alone to hunt for treasure. Which of course raises the threat level quickly. Made for a very long and challenging encounter hehe. I find that with each side moving all figures at once, I don't pay as much attention to turn order. With alternating turns, positioning becomes so much more important.

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Paul Reney
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V1.0.1 is up. The hi-res card zip file is taking some time to upload so please be patient.

Clarified that a Team with no monster groups, or inactive monster groups will still activate. The monsters just don't do anything.

The Labyrinth of Ruin and Shadow of Nerkhall Lieutenant EO cards were incorrectly stating that they were for The Shadow Rune campaign. Fixed 'em.

Added Encounter Objective cards for The Trollfens mini-campaign.
 
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Paul Reney
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Grrr...I just found a typo in the rulebook (it's instead of its). It will be fixed in the next update.
 
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pilum pilum
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One remark on the AI card of the Shadow Dragon :

I can read :
"If not adjacent to any target :
Engage a target"

Imho, this should be :
"If not adjacent to any target :
Engage a target which has a max number of adjacent heroes"

Why ? Because of the Fire Ability of the Shadow Dragon.
 
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Paul Reney
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pilum2008 wrote:
One remark on the AI card of the Shadow Dragon :

I can read :
"If not adjacent to any target :
Engage a target"

Imho, this should be :
"If not adjacent to any target :
Engage a target which has a max number of adjacent heroes"

Why ? Because of the Fire Ability of the Shadow Dragon.


I had always played the Fire Breath as being in a straight line. After checking the FAQ, I see that I was wrong.

I don't think I will change the card at this time. The heroes could break the targeting simply by splitting up and not being adjacent. And I like to keep the targeting as simple as possible.

I will keep it mind though. Thanks for the suggestion.
 
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Paul Reney
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V1.0.2 is up.

Added the Encounter Objective cards for the Lair of the Wyrm mini-campaign.

There are no rules changes in this version. I just removed the Lair of the Wyrm quests from the Encounter Objectives Appendix.
 
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Paul Reney
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V1.0.3 is up.

Added the Manor of Ravens, Crown of Destiny HMP, and Oath of the Outcast HMP Encounter Objective cards.

Removed Appendix D: Encounter Objectives because it was no longer necessary.

Added a note to use your best judgment when playing a campaign or quest that does not have an Encounter Objective card.

The EO cards are complete for all the expansions I have. I am looking at getting Heirs of Blood and the remaining HMPs. I just don't know how soon that will be.

The only thing left is the Agent AI cards. I'm not itching to get them out immediately, as the Lieutenant AI cards can sort of be used for the Agents for now. And, I need a break.
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Tommy Rayburn
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Redjak, Are you adding in any of the Heroes and Monster monsters?
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joel siragher
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I was hoping you could make an AI card for every single person on the east coast in your spare time but, if your busy... dont worry.
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Paul Reney
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revel911 wrote:
Redjak, Are you adding in any of the Heroes and Monster monsters?


The Oath of the Outcast and Crown of Destiny HMP monsters are already in.

I'll update the other monster cards as needed when I get the other HMPs.
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Paul Reney
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runescience wrote:
I was hoping you could make an AI card for every single person on the east coast in your spare time but, if your busy... dont worry.


RedJak's Automated People Variant?
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Marc N
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Great work!

Has anyone set up the cards in printerstudio yet? I've loved playing RAOV, and cant wait to test out RAMV.

Redjack, if you need a printerstudio copy of your cards I'd buy you a pack if you set it up and post the link. pm me your address (I assume you're in the US?)
 
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joel siragher
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RedJak7 wrote:
runescience wrote:
I was hoping you could make an AI card for every single person on the east coast in your spare time but, if your busy... dont worry.


RedJak's Automated People Variant?


Yes, it improves the predictability of knuckleheads/monsters in the workplace.
 
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