Ken H.
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There is a recent thread about losing the final battle due to darkness running out: Link here.

I was thinking about a possible house rule, or variant rule, or even a mission-specific special rule that changes the result of failing to HBtD during the final battle.

It's very annoying and anti-climactic to reach the objective and then have darkness run out because of the Growing Dread cards. Even more anti-climactic is to survive the Growing Dread, set up the final battle, and then lose on the first turn before anybody moves.

What I want is a rule that still penalizes you, but doesn't give you an auto-loss. If you fail to Hold Back during the final battle, darkness would move up as normal if there is room. But if it would escape and cause an auto-loss, then you do ____ instead.

So the question is, what is ___?

I thought of maybe drawing a Darkness card every time Darkness moves up past the limit, or maybe a Growing Dread card. Other options are extra horror hits, extra Elite abilities on the monsters, loss of Grit, or maybe just increased risk (like any KO gets a -1 on the injury roll for each time you failed to HBtD.) However, I'm also leery about making victory too easy, since Darkness escaping is the main way you will lose after about 2nd level. So, I think there should still be a significant chance for the auto-loss to still happen. Basically the heroes have to make a choice -- avoid the auto-loss but accept high risk on themselves along with the possibility the auto-loss might still occur.

Of course, if Darkness escapes before the final battle, then you lose as normal. This idea only applies once you have arrived at the objective room.

Any thoughts? Which penalty would be best? Maybe the heroes should also stop gaining XP once the roll is failed beyond the limit.
 
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Big Willy's Taxidermy
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I think what you are really trying to do here is still fight the final battle despite the darkness having escaped right? I think the simplest hack to get that result would be to allow the fight to happen/continue with the normal end result of loot and such but the mission is still a failure. You could also walk the darkness marker backwards with each failure as well.

Interesting idea though, I agree that it's kinda anti-climatic to setup for the fight and the darkness escapes so the heroes just hang there head and scoot out of the mine.

- John
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Darrell Jones
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I've had this happen and it is a bit disappointing. A couple of ideas:

1. All heroes are penalized during combat. -1 to hit, etc. For each failed Darkness roll after, make it more difficult.
2. All heroes only receive X% of Loot after defeat of villain(s).
3. Heroes take damage or sanity hits for each failed roll.
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Ken H.
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Ychor wrote:
I think what you are really trying to do here is still fight the final battle despite the darkness having escaped right? I think the simplest hack to get that result would be to allow the fight to happen/continue with the normal end result of loot and such but the mission is still a failure.
Yes, that's definitely simpler, but I don't feel satisfied with it. I want to be able to push my luck -- undertake greater risk in order to not lose.

What you're saying is to just take the auto-loss, but keep playing. This somewhat solves the anti-climax problem, but I'd be concerned it would just all feel pointless. The rules already say you can flee the mines at any time and accept an automatic loss. So what would be the purpose of continuing to play? I guess it gets the heroes some more XP, but that's not really my goal. XP shortage is not an issue in this game.

Quote:
You could also walk the darkness marker backwards with each failure as well.
I'm not sure what you mean...? Is this just to count the blood spots and growing dread spaces?



dermaestro wrote:
I've had this happen and it is a bit disappointing. A couple of ideas:

1. All heroes are penalized during combat. -1 to hit, etc. For each failed Darkness roll after, make it more difficult.
2. All heroes only receive X% of Loot after defeat of villain(s).
3. Heroes take damage or sanity hits for each failed roll.
Yep, this is the kind of thing I'm thinking about. -1 to hit is rough by itself, but would not really be a "stackable" penalty.

I do like the idea of sanity hits, escalating in intensity with each missed roll. Or even physical hits too. You can picture the heroes desperately trying to defeat the Goliath as an evil howling wind blows through the chamber and dark spirits zip back and forth -- the walls start to crack and crumble, the ground becomes unstable, gouts of blood shoot up from the holes, and the air is filled with the horrifying sound of time and space ripping apart.

Maybe this: you take X horror hits and X physical hits, where X is the number of times you have missed the roll that would otherwise allow darkness to escape. (So, 1 horror and 1 physical hit the first time, 2 each the second time, 3 each next, etc.) And let's make the hits d6 damage each (instead of the usual 1 damage). Defense/willpower rolls would apply as normal.

Is that sufficiently threatening? I would also expect the heroes to commit to NOT running away at that point. When darkness would escape, either admit defeat and end the game, or accept the ever-increasing hits (and related risk of KO) but you are now forced to fight to the finish.
 
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Darrell Jones
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Rubric wrote:
[q="Ychor"]

Maybe this: you take X horror hits and X physical hits, where X is the number of times you have missed the roll that would otherwise allow darkness to escape. (So, 1 horror and 1 physical hit the first time, 2 each the second time, 3 each next, etc.) And let's make the hits d6 damage each (instead of the usual 1 damage). Defense/willpower rolls would apply as normal.

Is that sufficiently threatening? I would also expect the heroes to commit to NOT running away at that point. When darkness would escape, either admit defeat and end the game, or accept the ever-increasing hits (and related risk of KO) but you are now forced to fight to the finish.
I like this but fear the D6 damage might be too much. What about X horror hits + corruption? Seems to fit better thematically to me. Risk of going insane and getting knocked out plus corruption leading to long-term mutation.
 
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Philip Jelley
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How about extinguishing the lamp so you have Voices in the Dark and draw a Darkness card each turn? Regardless of the result the mission ends in failure.

Phil
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Ken H.
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dermaestro wrote:
I like this but fear the D6 damage might be too much. What about X horror hits + corruption? Seems to fit better thematically to me. Risk of going insane and getting knocked out plus corruption leading to long-term mutation.
I forgot about corruption hits. That would be a good addition.

As for increasing d6, then 2d6, then 3d6 etc., yes it might be too much, but the idea is that there needs to be massive risk in exchange for the heroes gaining a chance to avoid losing the mission.


Philip Jelley wrote:
I like this but fear the D6 damage might be too much. What about X horror hits + corruption? Seems to fit better thematically to me. Risk of going insane and getting knocked out plus corruption leading to long-term mutation.
That's a nice thematic idea also. If Darkness is actually "escaping", it makes sense that your lantern goes out. And the Darkness card every turn is more impactful than only drawing one when the HBtD roll fails. It's likely that many of the darkness cards will have no effect anyway, due to not having the right type of monster in play.

I sort of want to add some physical hits too, however. This is mainly to make sure certain high-sanity classes don't have an advantage over other classes in this respect.

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Regardless of the result the mission ends in failure.
Well, like I said above, this makes the whole discussion pointless for me. I want the heroes to still be able to win, though at increased risk.

Don't you think it's an acceptable trade off to say the heroes can no longer run away if they decide to stay and fight after darkness has escaped? That way, you are getting a chance to win a game that should have been lost, but you're also getting an increased risk of injury or madness (or mutation, given the idea of adding corruption hits).
 
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Nick Hughes
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How about once the Heroes reach the end battle you still roll to Hold Back the Darkness as usual however if failed the Posse can attempt to stop the movement track by taking a penalty I'd say a Growing Dread, card immediately resolved and unable to be countered (so no Artifact, or ability shenanigans).

This allows you to either decide to cop the penalty or advance the track, still includes an element of will we succeed in time, ramps up the difficulty each time you fail and if you draw the wrong card the Darkness may move anyway and all is lost.

Alternatively once you reach the end of the track you continue to roll and if failed you draw a number of Darkness cards equal to how much you failed by plus 1 e.g. You are in the "9" section of the board to hold back the Darkness you roll an 11 therefore you draw 3 cards - which will increase the likelihood of drawing something that will have an impact on the fight.
 
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Boiko Boichev
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How about: every time when the darkness would escape instead draw a growing darkness car and resolve it immediately. If this would lead to the darkness marker moving, draw a new darkness card for every space moved.

When the Growing darkness stack is depleted, you lose the mission.
 
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K G
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ya , i really got to agree , it SUCKS GOLIATH ***'s when the final battle starts and you get it set up , and the mission fails before a shot is fired because of the darkness cards .
 
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David Griffin
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Hey I know this is an old thread, but I had a thought on this very subject. Now that we have the Frontier Towns Expansion. What if, when you're in the final battle and you lose on darkness, or if you flee, you just do the town overrun adventure. If you win, you win both. If you lose, you lose both. Double or nothing.
 
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Philippe Franck
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I d suggest the epic monster just turns berserk: roll for a new elite skill every turn after the marker leaves the mine. Reroll if the elite skill has been obtained before and end the fight once the monster has no elite ability left. Gives a couple of turns more but the fight gets more and more bloody.epic threat + 6 elite skills sounds like quick death to me.
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quinn ortmeyer
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I haven't played a whole lot yet, but I have been playing with this minor variant: at the start of the game I set aside a room tile, that is randomly placed via dice roll ( assigning open exits on tiles clockwise numerically) once all the clue tiles are found, so usually involves some backtracking to get to the final battle/boss room, and once reached I stop rolling for the HBTD during the last battle. the backtracking to final battle extends the game a few turns, so the pressure is still on to get the job done, but removes the anti climax of failing the mission during or just before the last battle.
 
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David Griffin
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pfranck wrote:
I d suggest the epic monster just turns berserk: roll for a new elite skill every turn after the marker leaves the mine. Reroll if the elite skill has been obtained before and end the fight once the monster has no elite ability left. Gives a couple of turns more but the fight gets more and more bloody.epic threat + 6 elite skills sounds like quick death to me.
There are a few flaws in your plan, which seems to be to make the heroes lose by K/O if they have only thus far lost by darkness marker. Problem 1 -- the epic monster may not exist or it might be dead. Problem 2, there are only so many elite talents so there is no infinite progression. Problem 3 if the players support the idea of losing from the darkness roll, why play longer to achieve the same result? What would you be gaining? If the heros DON'T like losing just because they have some bad luck rolling darkness and they are well on their way to killing the last monsters in the last room, then I suspect they will think your solution is a bit petty.

In the case of a "technical" loss (darkness track) rather than a K/O, I would rather give the players the opportunity to "fix" the problem (as I would do if this were a rpg and I was the DM). Use the opportunity to create more fun. Give them a town defense adventure to try to save the situation. If they lose, they might be more injured and they have perhaps wasted time. If they win, they might be more injured but they avoid negative consequences to the town.
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Philippe Franck
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Let's agree we disagree.

There has to be at least one monster alive, otherwise the mission would have been won and we wouldn't be talking.

If the group doesn' want to lose when the marker exits the mine, why even keep track of progression ? And there needs to be a risk of the marker exiting the mine otherwise there's no time pressure in the game.

The way I see it :

Posse is in the middle of the final fight, and all of the sudden, bad dice rolls and the epic boss leaves and the fight ends. That sounds really anti climatic to me. The posse stands in the middle of a mine, blood all over the place and the monster left, The End sign floating in the air. No Hollywood movie would end that way. It's either a Horror movie and everyone dies at the end, or a heroe movie and they win at the last second. There's no middle ground here.


The idea is to give the group the choice :

If the posse is currently fighting the final epic threat and the marker is leaving the mines, the group may either choose to either

1 - end the game, it's lost (pussies !)
2 - retain the monsters. All the surviving monsters immediately gain one new random elite ability and a new one every turn after that one until they have all elite abilities. One turn after that they leave the mines anyway.

This adds a couple of turns (up to 6 max, less if the enemies already have elite abilities) to finish the beast off, but at additional risk of getting more injuries in doing so. The group can weight the risk like when the really big guy has already fallen and there are a couple of tentacles surviving. It's really frustrating when you lose because of a stupid tentacle you forgot to kill.

If the Posse has not yet met the epic threat, mission is failed when the mine entrance is reached by the marker.
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David Griffin
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Well in one sense we agree -- that the players could be given an option to still win (or at least not lose) when they have a "technical loss" (defined by a darkness "escape" when they are not in fact losing the actual battle). Presumably we're talking about the darkness "escaping" (whatever that means) on the final fight. We have some different ideas about what that option is.

Now there is no "overlord" player in this game. So the only people to satisfy are the players. So if that is the option you prefer for you, then go for it. For me, I like the idea of actually defending the town from the "escaping darkness," again whatever that means. Since the consequences usually involve some town buildings being destroyed, a town overrun defense mission seems pretty appropriate and thematic.

Now if you get K/O'd or lose deep in the mine or another world that is probably a different issue. I'd have to wonder if you could actually get to town in time to prevent the damage. Might still be fun but less plausible. I just don't like this "darkness escapes" stuff because they don't explain it and it can be deeply implausible when you lose with 1 void spider still on the board. It smacks more of a game mechanic rather than something that actually is happening in the world.

Also remember your way might be a LOT easier. If there is only a couple of weak monsters left, they could have all 6 elite abilities and they would still probably die horribly in the next turn. So in some cases you might prefer your way to mine. You are creating your own experience here so in the end the only one you have to please is yourself and whoever is playing with you.
 
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Neil Edmonds
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The Darkness track is the game's built-in mechanism to prevent turtling. I've played the game 14 times and I only lost once during the final showdown because the Darkness escaped (and the track was pretty low when I started the encounter.) I am only using one deck of corridor cards, the Darkness escapes more often when using double room event decks.

Is it possible the real problem with the Darkness escaping is getting permanent attribute penalties to your character? Those penalties add up if your character requires several attempts to complete a mission because poor latern rolls or bad card draws (leading to protracted combats with more latern rolls) happen. You could always house rule that characters don't suffer attribute/ability losses when the Darkness Escapes. That would limit the attribute penalties to scenarios where the heroes voluntarily leave the mines or get knocked out.
 
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