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Subject: Comments on how to use your Alternative Heroes rss

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anthony dybacz
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Preamble
There has been a lot of people asking how to include all the Heroes they have in the existing scenarios. Monolith provides no rules or guidelines for doing so. They have stated there will be some guidelines published but, based on what they said, it seems this might only be which starting equipment the characters should have.

I have previously said that the only barrier to using your alternative heroes in any given scenario is the skills; either a scenario really needs a certain skill present or a certain skill will break the scenario by making it too trivial.

I make the following comments to show that you should not be too afraid of using your alternative heroes and overly unbalancing the scenarios. However, you should be aware of some of the pitfalls.

These are my opinions and, though based on actual experience and analysis, are not definitive; you may have a slightly different opinion.
My comments apply to Core game and Stretch Goals; I do not possess any other expansions (though you can extrapolate these comments to help with any additional heroes). Note: I have not included the ‘evil’ heroes in my comparison (Zaporavo, Thak, Zogar Sag, Constantius, Olgerd Vladislav and Skuthus).


Which Equipment to use?
I will link the excellent thread by Patrick Reynolds which will help you:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1664168/suggestions-startin...

Or you can simply keep the equipment from whichever scenario you are using (but you might miss out on the flavour of some of the alternative heroes if you do that).



Skills that can unbalance a scenario
The main ‘problem’ skills to watch for are Evade and Elite Shooter; both can potentially upset a scenario.

Evade (Shevatas and Savage Belit)
I would include no more than 1 character with Evade; as so many of the OLs victory conditions rely on running out the clock or slowing heroes down, any more than 1 would be problematic.

Something should be said here about Feline Grace which, effectively, ignores 1 enemy model when moving (due to hindering). This does not ignore Block, like Evade does, so is not as powerful and not as problematic.

In the Clutches of the Picts and Savage Belit
This situation deserves further comment because Savage Belit does not lose Evade until she hits encumbrance 7. This means that she can carry the Princess and still use her Evade skill; this would be a major boost to the Heroes.

Elite Shooter (Balthus and N’Gora)
These heroes should not be taken in any scenario where the objective is to kill a character that relies upon the Protected skill (Currently Skuthus) as it would make those scenarios too easy. These scenarios are:
In the Heart of Darkness
In the Name of Ibis
However, having said that, if you have a particularly skilled OL then taking an Elite Shooter can be an extra challenge for him as he must try to constantly plan to break Line of Sight.




Skills that should be considered for most scenarios

Lockpick
Should be considered in scenarios where opening chests or doors is required, for example:
For All of Ophir’s Gold
The Key of Kuthchemes

Wall Wrecker
Consider this on the Pict Village to help get into huts or the Inn map to go from room to room

Spell Casting
I would always take a spell casting character in scenarios that include Hadrathus (just swop them out and keep his spell list).
You can switch out some spells if you wish, but be wary of 2 points:

1. that you keep a spell that is important to the scenario (like Teleport for In the Clutches of the Picts)
2. that any other spell you use is not going to unbalance the scenario overly one way or another

The spells issue is one that would require you to use judgement. It is fine, for example, to swop Lightning Storm for a more direct ranged attack spell (like Bori’s Rage) for In the Clutches of the Picts, as that spell is not too great in that scenario.

Climb/Leap
These skills are useful in scenarios on the Inn map or the Ruined Fort.
I would say that the Leap skill is essential for the Ship map (to be able to board the OLs boat).

Evade/Feline Grace
I would always include someone with Evade or, at the least, Feline Grace.
Evade is important for In the Clutches of the Picts due to the number of Blocking enemy there are in that scenario.




Possible Hero substitutions

Some alternative heroes are a better swap for the base heroes than others. I have split the base heroes into generalised ‘roles’ that they fulfil in order to better categorise the alternative heroes that could replace them in scenarios.

Conan (Frontline Fighter)
Conan is a frontline fighter and should get stuck in and crack heads, allowing his team mates to pull the fancy tricks (though Wall Wrecker is a neat trick). As such, all the other fighting characters with decent survivability can fill his role.

Conan (any flavour) can fill the role of Conan pretty well.



Shevatas (Rogue)
Fills the role of moving around the board, opening chests and manoeuvring through enemy to get where he needs to be. To be frank, there is no character better in this role than Shevatas, but there are some substitutes if you want to emphasise certain aspects of the role over others.

Taurus comes with Lockpick and a red die in Manipulation, making him a good choice if you want to open things. He is also a decent second line fighter dur to his Precision Strike skill. He also comes with Feline Grace so can move about reasonably (but is stopped by Blocking enemy).

Savage Belit has Evade and movement 3 and so can move around easily. She is a great assassin character because she can get to where she needs to be and hit hard when she gets there.




Hadrathus (Spell Caster)
As a spell caster, Hadrathus does not have any other skills of note. He is fairly robust as he rolls an orange die for defence (other spell casters roll yellow).

Pelias is a necromancer (in the REH story) and his skills Attack from Beyond and Jinx testify to his dealings in dark magic. Pelias also has Leadership but I am uncertain what ally he is meant to use (skeletons?).

Zelata is a much better character than Hadrathus so would be a significant boost to the heroes (other than the defence die); she has an ally, the Support skill, can carry more items and put more gems in movement.




Belit (Support)
She fills the support character role (usually bringing her guards with her) as well as having the Support skill. She excels at no task but can do them all if needed.

Amboola is the only real alternative here; he can fight much better than Belit and has Leadership. He lacks the Support skill though.



Valeria (Secondary Fighter)
Her lack of survivability makes her a secondary fighter character. She can dish out a fair amount of damage if she has 2 weapons but cannot take much punishment back.

Kerim Shah makes a decent secondary fighting character, though he focuses on ranged with his skills; Precision Shot, Concentration (shoot without hindering) and Untouchable.




Others
There are some characters I have not mentioned and it is because they do not substitute any of the base Heroes easily (due to strange skill sets and stat mixes). That is not to say that they cannot be used, of course, but that to do so might increase/decrease the Heroes in some way, depending on which character you swop out.

Balthus can move about well and strike where he needs to with excellent ranged skills. He can fit secondary fighter or rogue but would be a bit of a damage boost in either.

N’Gora is an Elite Shooter that also has the Bodyguard skill to protect his team mates. Probably best in the secondary fighter role.

Amra most easily fits the frontline fighter role (especially being able to support his Lion) but he does lack some specific Conan skills (like Circular Strike or Wall Wrecker).

Pallantides has a strange skill set having Precision Strike for ranged attacks as well as Bodyguard and Sacrifice to protect team mates. He has Leadership too to fight alongside the Black Dragons (with General Conan; excellent scenario idea). This means he could fill the secondary fighter or support role (he would be a boost in the support role, though).





Increasing Hero count

The scenarios have set player counts that can limit the playability for some groups; you can increase the number of heroes that can be used in a scenario. Be wary about doing this as it can obviously unbalance a scenario, but it is not impossible to do (and better to do it than have people sitting out or you being forced to only play a few scenarios).
If you are going to increase the number of heroes, then follow these general guidelines:

Increase total Overlord gems by 2

Increase Overlord gem recovery by 2

Move 2 extra gems into each hero fatigue box at scenario start



Specific Scenario Changes
On top of this, certain Overlord characters in some scenarios should probably have their wounds increased (especially if they are the objective):

Hunting the Tigress: increase Skuthus and Zaporavo wounds by 1

In the Heart of Darkness: increase Skuthus’ wounds by 2

Infernal Pursuit part II: increase Zaporavo wounds by 2

In the Name of Ibis: increase Skuthus wounds by 2

The Crawling Shadow: increase Thog wounds by 2


EDIT: additionally, you may find that adding a few more minions to alteady existing groups can help offset the heroes additional 'killing power'. If a group of minions is under 5 then add an additional figure to that group (place the additional figure in the same space as an existing figure of that colour).

I hope you find something that helps/is interesting in here.

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D S
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Great!
 
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Tom Shydler
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Interesting and useful analysis.
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Zachary Ruiz
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This is wonderful. Thanks for sharing. I'll try some of the swaps this week and see how it goes.
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J P
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This is excellent!! I've been thinking along these lines for a couple weeks but have been too busy/lazy to actually write it out. Kudos to you for putting this together!

One thing I would mention is about how you were wondering what possible allies Pelias could have. Well, the Demon of the Earth was advertised as being usable by both the heroes and the Overlord, so that could be a fun one to bring along if you're doing some custom scenarios or something. That might break any released scenarios, though.
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Albert Lukan
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I also have been thinking along these lines but like J P was too lazy/busy to write it up. I think this is the right way to go. Instead of worrying about point values for everything, a better solution is what you propose - an agreed upon list of substitutions that offer variety but don't break the mission.

This could even be mission specific, such as "Instead of Conan and a sword, you can use Valeria with this gear or Palantines with this gear", etc.

Great job!
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Aditya C
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Great list. I would add circular strike into the list of potentially gam breaking skills and as a necessary one in some levels.
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anthony dybacz
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Thanks for the comments and glad people find it interesting.

Caibre wrote:
Great list. I would add circular strike into the list of potentially gam breaking skills and as a necessary one in some levels.


I did not include circular strike because, when you think about it, it is not as powerful as it first seems.
Any character can attack multiple times and kill multiple models. Circular strike is really a gem efficiency skill where additional hits are not wasted.
As such, though it is a good skill, I dont consider it a game changer.

Hope that helps.
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Aditya C
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I more or less agree. However, in the Hunting the Tigress scenario, they specifically don't give conan an axe because he can eliminate all the Pirates on Belit's ship rapidly and make her invulnerable.
 
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Zachary Ruiz
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Caibre wrote:
I more or less agree. However, in the Hunting the Tigress scenario, they specifically don't give conan an axe because he can eliminate all the Pirates on Belit's ship rapidly and make her invulnerable.


I've read this several times and don't see how circular strike itself helps. The pirates are grouped 4 per zone and you need two hits to eliminate one. So 8 hits total. Expected value of a red die is 1.5, Red with Reroll is 1.92, Orange (sword is orange right?) is 1.

Let's say Conan with the axe puts 3 gems into 1 attack. Expected result of 6.42 hits. Enough to eliminate 3 of the 4 in a given zone via circular strike. He then moves to the next zone and attacks with 2 gems. Expected result of 4.92, enough to kill 2 more. So there are three of the original eight remaining.

Now let's do Conan with the sword. Here he is attacking in 1 gem increments to spread damage around. Expected value of 2.5, enough to kill 1 pirate. He does this 3 times in the first zone, moves to the second, and does it 2 more times. Same result. 3 remaining pirates.

While circular strike with the axe is more consistent and more fun, for this particular case people keep bringing up, it's about a wash.
 
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Donato
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Do you also factor in free rerolls and the free Melee attack dice?
 
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anthony dybacz
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The pirates on the heroes' ship in Hunting the Tigress (in my experience) should all die in turn 1 anyway with all the heroes activations (certainly by turn 2).

I agree that having circular strike here will save a gem or two, but imagine not having lockpick on a map with doors or chests? How many more gems will that cost? And what about Precision Shot or Precision Strike? What is their gem efficiancy over the course of a game vs circular strike?

I do think circular strike us a good and useful skill. But a game changer like Evade? Or Elite Shooter against Skuthus?

It is not a skill to worry about including or not, but it is a skill you might desire on certain maps.

I hope that helps
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Trent Y.
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I've made some swaps and added some heroes to scenarios. Nothing breaks the game so far.

I did allow 2 characters with evade in the first Pict scenario. While I lost as the overlord, I didn't feel it was due to the fact that they could run around the map. Yes, Savage Belit was there and could technically run off the map with the princess. This certainly gave them an advantage in the scenario but not an insurmountable one. (Swapping Savage Belit instead of regular Belit for the heroes, I upgraded by gems by 2 and my recovery to 7. I also gave myself another Pict warrior).

We also added a hero to the All the gold in opher (or whatever it was called). The heroes won, but on the last turn after losing one of their own. Overall, it'll take some adjustments but it wasn't hard to do. I would, in retrospect add a bit more to the overlord side to compensate. Add a few more individuals to a group, where possible.
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Axel Sejour
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You forgot one important thing Zachary : OL's defence. Use 1 gem to attack a pirate, do 2,5 damage and you're sure the OL will use a gem to defend his pirate. Doing a lot of damage in one blow allows you to make sure you kill a few. Use only 1 gem and you're sure to be countered by the OL.
 
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Stephan Beal
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Elkaiir wrote:
You forgot one important thing Zachary : OL's defence. Use 1 gem to attack a pirate, do 2,5 damage and you're sure the OL will use a gem to defend his pirate. Doing a lot of damage in one blow allows you to make sure you kill a few. Use only 1 gem and you're sure to be countered by the OL.


That assumes the OL will defend Minions, though. In my games (solo/left-vs-right) the OL never spends gems to defend Minions because they're rarely worth defending and there's always something better to save them up for.
 
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Claus Appel
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sgbeal wrote:
Elkaiir wrote:
You forgot one important thing Zachary : OL's defence. Use 1 gem to attack a pirate, do 2,5 damage and you're sure the OL will use a gem to defend his pirate. Doing a lot of damage in one blow allows you to make sure you kill a few. Use only 1 gem and you're sure to be countered by the OL.


That assumes the OL will defend Minions, though. In my games (solo/left-vs-right) the OL never spends gems to defend Minions because they're rarely worth defending and there's always something better to save them up for.

I agree with Stephen Beal. When I play Overlord, I virtually never defend my minions.
 
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amanwing
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I agree that circular strike should be included in the observations.
How about we create a list in a nice to find place for every basic scenario?
It should contain swappable heroes, equipment and monsters.
Since it may be hard to balance single swaps I would be ok with a complete alternative list for OL and heroes for each scenario. So you could swap out the heroes side or the OL side.
Let’s take clutches of the Picts. It is already a hard scenario for the heroes so for example:
Alternative heroes:
Taurus with Yuetshi Knife and Throwing Knives
Zelata with Wolf (ally), Sacrificial Dagger and Spells (Lightning Storm, Teleportation, Mitra's Halo)
Conan with battle Axe, Leather Armor, Shield
with 4 heroes add: Amboola with Sword, Scale Mail
OL: gains 12 gems with 4 players. Rest will remain unchained.
Alternative OL: to be continued...

Is there a complete list somewhere with all the item, monster and spell stats?
 
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Frank Feldmann SoFrankly
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Just a picky note. Amra is actually another version of Conan. "Amra" was the name his pirates called him.
 
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anthony dybacz
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I'm aware of that, but he does lack 'Conan' skills and so was included in the extras section.
His name and backstory have no impact on his gameplay assessment

As for Circular Strike: it is really not as powerful as new players believe. You can have all the circular strike Conans in the world but many scenarios the heroes would be high and dry without a Shevatas to make the plays...
 
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