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Kingdom Death: Monster» Forums » Variants

Subject: Kingdom Less Death, More Monsters rss

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Can Bud
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After playing KDM for a while, I got frustrated by dumb luck killing off my survivors. When people die to random rolls on settlement and hunt events, it feels unfair. I take many hours to complete showdown phases, where I have to make many tactical decisions to keep people alive. But during the settlement and hunt phases there is nothing I can do to mitigate the results of die rolls.

So I hit this variants forums on BGG for ideas and then I came up with my own variant. Please note that I have only played up to the Kingsman nemesis encounter after restarting two or three settlements. I know that some of you will dislike my ideas because my variant reduces the difficulty of the game and waters down the experience. But seeing some of the other threads in this forum, I understand that there are many people who share my frustration. Like the others I don't feel like I have the time to restart again and again until luck and experience allows me to experience the end game.

Two particular threads have been sources of inspiration for my variant, so I wish to give credit to their authors:

Moon glaive (Mogg): Of Hunters and Gatherers (variant)

Mathew Howell (Dipree): Hope (New survival action)

I welcome all feedback and criticism. The rules of the variant will follow in the next post. I will detail my reasoning behind each modification in a third post.
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Can Bud
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KINGDOM LESS DEATH,
MORE MONSTERS




More Monsters

- Two hunts per lantern year. The survivors go on a hunt twice each lantern
year. The settlement phase is interrupted by an extra set of hunt and
showdown phases. The structure of the whole lantern year is modified
as follows:
+ Survivors return. Heal injuries and remove tokens. Returning survivors
always skip the next hunt.
+ Gain endeavors. Gain ½ endeavor for each returning survivor.
+ Update the timeline. A new lantern year begins. This is for my personal
bookkeeping flavor. Do not resolve timeline events yet.
+ Settlement event. Draw and resolve one settlement event.
+ Update the death count.
+ Timeline events. Resolve any events marked on the current lantern year.
+ Develop. Spend endeavors and craft gear. Note that abilities that can be
triggered once per settlement phase can only be triggered once per lantern
year, unless stated otherwise.
+ Archive resources. Keep unspent endeavors.
+ Depart on a hunt. Choose and prepare departing survivors. Choose a quarry.
Resolve a set of hunt and showdown phases.
+ Survivors return. Heal injuries and remove tokens. Remember that returning
survivors always skip the next hunt.
+ Gain endeavors. Once again gain ½ endeavors for each returning survivor.
+ Update the death count.
+ Develop. Continue developing your settlement.
+ Archive resources. Unspent endeavors are lost at this point.
+ Depart on a hunt or face a nemesis encounter.


- ½ endeavors add up to full endeavors. They cannot be used otherwise. If
a ½ endeavor remains at the end of the second development phase, it is lost
along with other unspent endeavors.
- Returning hunters skip the next hunt. This includes the prologue, any hunts,
special showdowns and nemesis encounters.
- You cannot hunt the same monster back to back. When choosing a quarry for the
first hunt of a lantern year, you cannot choose the type of monster that you
fought in the second hunt of the last lantern year. If you had a nemesis
encounter instead of your second hunt last year, then you can choose any quarry.
If you are using the gorm expansion, you cannot hunt a white lion for the first
hunt of the first lantern year. When choosing a quarry for the second hunt of a
lantern year, you cannot choose the type of monster that you fought in the first
hunt of the current lantern year.
- If a special showdown is triggered before the first hunt of a lantern year,
then survivors must depart for that showdown before they depart for a hunt.


- Tinker: When you are a returning survivor, gain +½ endeavor.
- Graves
When a survivor is named, they gain +1 understanding.
Whenever a survivor dies, gain +1 endeavor.
- Cannibalize
Survival Limit +1
Whenever a survivor dies, nominate a survivor to consume the corpse.
Roll the hit location die.
Head: Gain +1 permanent accuracy.
Body: Gain +1 courage.
Waist: Gain +1 permanent speed.
Arms: Gain +1 permanent strength.
Legs: Gain +1 permanent movement.


Less Death

- Augury: An augury is gained by the settlement and can be spent for the
following effect by any survivor. Once per dice roll, you may spend your augury
to reroll the same dice twice. Ignore the original result and choose one of
the new results to apply.
- You cannot use augury during a showdown. You can never have more than 1 augury.

- Organ Grinder - Augury
(1 endeavor, 1 organ) Augury - roll 1d10
The survivor endeavors to glean the meaning of existence. Roll on the table.
Add +1 to your roll result if your understanding is 3 or higher.
1-3: Gain +1 understanding.
4-7: Gain +1 survival.
8+: Gain +1 augury.

- Hovel
Survival Limit +1
The settlement accepts this nightmarish landscape as their home.
Departing survivors gain +1 survival.
Once per lantern year, you may spend 1 endeavor to trigger Intimacy.

- Intimacy table is modified as follows:
1: The female survivor perishes with her child during birth. The settlement
is cast in gloom. The male survivor mourns gaining a random disorder
and +3 insanity.
2-3: The child perishes in childbirth and the female survivor is forever
changed. She suffers the destroyed genitals severe waist injury.

- Survival of the Fittest
Survival Limit +1
All newborn survivors gain +1 strength.

- Fate (new innovation)
faith, inner lantern consequence
All survivors gain the Fated ability.
Fated: When you suffer an instant death result on a severe injury table,
ignore it and gain 3 bleeding tokens instead.

- Fighting arts are less random. Whenever you are instructed to gain a random
fighting art, draw two fighting arts and pick one.


PS: Indention sure is tricky on BGG.
Here is my original google doc.
 
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Can Bud
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And here are my comments and rationalizations for each bullet point in the variant.

+ More hunts so that you can hunt more varied monsters (expansions) and acquire different gear. This change can really affect the difficulty of the game by providing double the amount of resources per lantern year. Moon glaive's Of Hunters and Gatherers variant forbids the sharing of gear between hunting parties. I only prevented the same hunting party from going out twice in the same year. It remains to be seen whether this will actually make things far too easy.

+ The half endeavor rule merely keeps the rate of endeavors per lantern year constant.
+ Returning survivors have to skip the next hunt so that you will invest in a larger number of survivors. It also ensures that the rate of aging and weapon training per year remains constant.

+ Tinker is changed to keep the rate of endeavor gain constant.
+ Graves is changed in two ways. The change with the understanding gain is there to clarify what a new survivor is. Please note that I do not use unnamed survivors. If you do, this wording can be abused. Please don't. The change to endeavor gains once again makes the endeavor rate constant.
+ Cannibalize is changed because resources should be more plentiful in this variant and one basic resource per death would be underpowered compared to graves.

+ Augury is my way of dealing with bad luck. It will allow me to cheat in a controlled way and with a cost. Currently you get to cheat once per year and you have to spend potentially a few endeavors to do so. Auguries do not expire at the end of the year, so after a few uneventful years you might bank a few. But then again two hunts and showdowns per year means you might be tempted to use them more often. Those rerolls should let you avoid some deaths so this change should be somewhat neutral towards population. Note that, I do not restrict what you can reroll, but you cannot change drawn cards with auguries.

+ Auguring at the organ grinder is the only way you get auguries. With the expectation that resources will be more plentiful I moved the cost to the start of the augury action. I also restricted the resource cost to organs. I feel that auguring for rerolls is more thematic than auguring to make matches.

+ With the change to auguring, love potions and match makers are the only remaining ways to trigger intimacy. So, I added the ability to trigger intimacy once a year to hovels.

+ I changed the intimacy table because it scared me. Without these changes I would almost always prefer to use unnamed breeders or at most one actual hunter with family. This way I can let my favorite survivors have children.

+ Survival of the Fittest was buffed because it was terrible.

+ Fate is the part that was inspired by Mathew Howell's Hope. Unless stuff changes drastically at the mid and end game, additional monster damage is way too scary for me. Because even though severe injuries kill only about 20% of the time, it is too high of a risk. I feel like I have to avoid severe injuries at all costs. Having maimed survivors is part of the fun and story, so I felt like this change would make them more tactically manageable.

+ The change to gaining fighting arts is a straight buff to the player. But there are quite a lot of fighting arts and it seemed quite common to have unused/inapplicable arts on my hunters. With this change it should become more possible to build some combos.


So here are my rationalizations. I know this might make for a much easier campaign. Still, I will give it a go, starting today. Please take a look and let me know what you think.
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Looks very interesting. I'm on my first playthrought so I play with original rules for now but I will definitely look for some kind of more balanced play next time, because I don't have a lot of time to play this game and would like to experience full story before I will get bored with it.

Don't get me wrong - the whole Dark Souls hardcore vibe was one of the things that got me interested into investing into this game, but I'm quite old (34) and have a very demanding job and me and my brother have time maybe once a month for a session, so... you know. I can't restart campaign 5 times before we will win or I will die of old age before we will face the Watcher.

Please post some update after a few latern years
 
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Nick Wirtz
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More monsters- so... super-easy mode? You're talking about getting more for two basic level 1 hunts than one legendary.

With the disadvantage of losing some basics if choosing cannibalism (which you've more than replaced by adding a second hunt) or fewer endeavors, but with added stat ups? So, probably about the same.

Less death... so, everything's more reliable and easier?



Sorry, I really don't think your mod does anything productive, it just makes the game really easy.

If you're tired of dying, play hero mode. I've done about half a campaign in it, and it basically keeps all the flavor without losing your favorite guys.

Most of what you're doing is effectively doubling your resource output, so you're pushing the timer back so all the nemesis fights are super-easy and you have no incentive to fight higher-level things.

If you want to make the game more fun with a mod, make the parts you don't like easier or less chancey, and make the parts you do like more challenging so they're more of the focus. Otherwise, there's already a difficulty modification.
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Can Bud
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Hmm, I do realize that this will effectively double the settlement's resource input, but I didn't think that it would completely trivialize the game. I suspected that it would make things easier, but my intention was to allow pursuing different monsters hence different gear builds.

I still wish to try out my variant as it is, but please note that the two halves of it don't require each other. So, if the first part indeed trivializes the game, the second part can still be of use. Also, the "more monsters" part can be nerfed by reducing resource yields of monsters. Reducing by one half to keep the resource balance as similar to vanilla as possible, or maybe by a quarter if you wish to enjoy some abundance of resources.
 
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Nick Wirtz
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If you just want more variety, I get that, but that's why we've played the game multiple times, each time playing with some stuff we're familiar with and mixing up the rest.

My concern with that approach would be the beginning and end: the beginning, you're fighting for each scrap and decisions around innovating are really rough. By the end, you have everything you need, and it's a question of how much you can push.

I think that your reduced yield would probably work well, though going all the way to half the output means you're just risking more proportional to what you get back- I think 3/4 would probably end up with a bit easier but similar return.

The "less death" section is still kinda' crazy-reliable. I mean, in a regular game, you're not really risking all that much at any of those places. Well, except SotF- IDK what it needs, but it sure needs something.

 
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Matt Onyx
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canisin wrote:
Hmm, I do realize that this will effectively double the settlement's resource input, but I didn't think that it would completely trivialize the game. I suspected that it would make things easier, but my intention was to allow pursuing different monsters hence different gear builds.

I still wish to try out my variant as it is, but please note that the two halves of it don't require each other. So, if the first part indeed trivializes the game, the second part can still be of use. Also, the "more monsters" part can be nerfed by reducing resource yields of monsters. Reducing by one half to keep the resource balance as similar to vanilla as possible, or maybe by a quarter if you wish to enjoy some abundance of resources.

With half resources and half endeavors, having monsters at full strength means you're significantly more likely to lose survivors early on. And if you don't get Hovel, that can absolutely ruin a campaign. Either half the strength of the monsters (effectively making the game just take twice as long with no real benefits) or... I don't really know what else you could do.
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Can Bud
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I have thought about the double resources problem and decided to go ahead and try the game as such. Please don't mind me, but I came up with this variant to make the game easier I wasn't exactly looking to keep the difficulty level the same But if it indeed proves to be too easy, I have thought about some alterations:

a) 3/4 resources from each hunt except the prologue.
b) You start the game normally, but some early event or innovation that allows a secondary hunt with 1/2 resources.
c) You start the game as described in this variant, but some mid game event takes away the additional hunt.
d) More similar to Mathew's Of Hunters and Gatherers (variant) treat the two hunts as simultaneous, and require two sets of gear for the two sets of departing survivors. In this alteration, returning survivors don't miss their next hunt, but they still contribute 1/2 endeavors.

While thinking about resources, I have decided to add a rule that forbids you from hunting the same monster twice. This should normalize the acquisition rate of monster specific gear. You can already quickly equip all 4 hunters with basic weapons, so the greatest effect of the variant will be on basic armor. With this variant you should be able to rather quickly have a raw hide set for each of your hunters. Yes, it will make things easier.

Finally, I have added some clarification to special showdowns.
 
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Jonahdel
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As Nick said, the variant makes it too easy.

The amount of resources you gain trivializes the decisions you have to make early on that will either make or break your settlement.

By LY5-7, it's pretty much guaranteed that you'll have at least 2 leather sets and 2 rawhide sets, and whatever weapon you want.

Try the hero variant, it might be right up your alley if you just want to avoid survivors dying left and right in events.
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Henry Akeley
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This mode would also completely invalidate several principles (Cannibalism, SotF, Romantic). I also feel like it breaks the milieu of Kingdom Death. The universe in which your survivors exist is fickle and death is around every corner.

This variant makes them into more.....Descent-like dungeon delvers who are a challenge to kill/bowl over/knock down.

For me, take the full force blunt trauma this game wants to give you, then get back up and try again.
 
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Nick Wirtz
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Yeah, I've been working on a few house rules that change the emphases in the game (the short version: more-controllable hunts; less-controllable monsters), but I think that the game balance is perfectly fine (actually, generally a bit easy for my group at this point), it's just a matter of flavor, so I don't think making the game dramatically easier will be interesting in the long run- you won't have the same sense of accomplishment (at least I wouldn't) if you're cheating to accomplish it.
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Henry Akeley
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spiralingcadaver wrote:
Yeah, I've been working on a few house rules that change the emphases in the game (the short version: more-controllable hunts; less-controllable monsters), but I think that the game balance is perfectly fine (actually, generally a bit easy for my group at this point), it's just a matter of flavor, so I don't think making the game dramatically easier will be interesting in the long run- you won't have the same sense of accomplishment (at least I wouldn't) if you're cheating to accomplish it.


My concern is the breaking of the theme. I like what the game is trying to portray in its rather show not tell MO. You're supposed to have arbitrary deaths around every corner. We are just so rooted in these individualistic notions that we are pained to see a survivor die/become useless/etc.

The game is actually pretty easy once you have an understanding of the system. Probably takes you 1-2 campaigns of failure before decoding it. After that.......I've been cruising.
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Nick Wirtz
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Yeah, our group had one bad campaign and were then fine.

Re: difficulty, I'm looking to pysh the fight because it's just gotten pretty easy.

I'm actually thinking about doing death mode as not horribly difficult at this point, with slightly better gear retention, like new survivors all come with a rock/cloth and/or 50/50 chance of retaining each piece of gear off someone who died.
 
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Drake Coker
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For a simpler approach to moderate the randomness, my variant Throwing Rocks at the Gods is easy to implement, tested, and does not change the basic difficulty by much. You can find it in the variants section.
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kurczaczekx wrote:
Looks very interesting. I'm on my first playthrought so I play with original rules for now but I will definitely look for some kind of more balanced play next time, because I don't have a lot of time to play this game and would like to experience full story before I will get bored with it.

Don't get me wrong - the whole Dark Souls hardcore vibe was one of the things that got me interested into investing into this game, but I'm quite old (34) and have a very demanding job and me and my brother have time maybe once a month for a session, so... you know. I can't restart campaign 5 times before we will win or I will die of old age before we will face the Watcher.

Please post some update after a few latern years


Not only old, but QUITE old at 34? wow
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Can Bud
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Limited auguries to 1 and disallowed their use during showdowns.
This variant is still not play tested.
 
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Nick Wirtz
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canisin wrote:
Limited auguries to 1 and disallowed their use during showdowns.
This variant is still not play tested.
Way better.
 
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Can Bud
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I have just realized that my Cannibalize principle is not exactly based on deaths! I have changed it into something similar to scarification.

Edit: @Nick, thanks
 
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