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Subject: Biggest miss for me in Gloomhaven is the theme. . .( spoilers obviously) rss

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Alexander Corzo
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I'll just mention the starting races/classes. ( there's more)
1. Brute ( Beastmen) - no morals or ethics.
2. Mindthief ( Skaven with a bad attitude)- seems like a nasty piece of work, also seems like a good villain.
3. Spellweaver (some kind of Plant Elf?)- Lives for thousands of years, and meditates for long periods of time, and yet is hanging out with Brutes and mindthieves.
4. Scoundrel ( Human, but looks more alien than the other non-humans!)- This character refuses to do good.
5. Cragheart ( Savaas, rockmonster/warforged)Thing-like character but impossible for me to tell how to roleplay.
6. Tinkerer ( Gnomes with class)- this is the only class I like. Original and seems worthy of trying to roleplay.

My main gripe is that I don't like any of the characters and can't relate to them in any way. The intro has us all in the Sleeping Lion Inn, in a human dominated city, but we're all not human. Apparently all these "interesting" non-human like characters act just like human characters would. Getting drunk in a bar. ( but I thought the Orchid was meditative and ...) Why not give us standard classes and then add the non-standard races as we progress and learn about the world a little more. Instead, I feel like I'm starting a ludicrous new 4th edition Eberron campaign. ( I hated 4thed and Eberron)

For an oldschool roleplayer, like myself, there's seems to be nothing heroic about the characters I'm being asked to play. Anyways, all that being said, this game has a fantastic combat engine, and is very fun to play and I know I'll be playing it for years to come. I hope that one day, a re-theme or re- implementation of this type of game can be made in a recognizable fantasy setting akin to Lord of the Rings or the Old World ( Warhammer). A riveting game plus a riveting story was probably too much to ask.

Oh, I would still give this game a ten, and it will definitely be in my top 5 dungeon crawls of all time. ( along with Warhammer Quest, Shadows of Brimstone, Kingdom Death Monster, and Doom/Descent)

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I think you missed the part where we've all failed out of our respective cultures and become mercenaries.
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Freelance Police
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Oh, stop making want to buy this game. laugh

We've had a few threads about characters not sharing loot, and these blokes sure look like they wouldn't do that! Pretty much every dungeoncrawler and roleplaying game has heroic characters, so throw a dart and see what you hit.

Too bad the game doesn't go a step further, with original Warhammer Quest's Dark Secrets (or does it?). Basically, these were cards dealt to each character, giving each a secret objective. Arkham Horror had Personal Stories (?) which were optional objectives each character had in the game.

Pic's hard to read, but here's the only examples I could find of Dark Secrets: http://chaosorc.com/images/Warhammer%20Quest%20Dark%20Secret...
https://boardgamegeek.com/image/1033664/warhammer-quest
https://boardgamegeek.com/image/1033663/warhammer-quest
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Nico Buffing
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Each character gets a personal quest during creation, also during every scenario everyone has a hidden battle goal which might make it look like your fellow players are not playing very efficiently sometimes.
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Tom Heath
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I can only speak for the Cragheart, my starting class, but I loved his backstory and it's the reason I picked him. From a race defined by their mastery of elements, cast out because he couldn't achieve mastery and had his chest smashed as a permanent reminder of his failure. Plus the personal quest I picked from the two (not sure if spoiler tags are necessary but I'll put them on anyway)

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Find a Cure (or something like that), people in your village have been dying of a disease and you have to kill creatures to get their essences to find a cure. It led me to think after he'd been cast out by the Savvas he'd been taken in by these people in the village and accepted. Now they're dying and finding a way to stop this is now the only thing he cares about achieving in life. He'll take any kind of help along the way.


It's reading more into it than is on the card sure, but I was completely drawn in by it
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Justin N
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Your list of things you dislike is actually a list of pluses for me. I'm so tired of bog-standard Tolkien-esque fantasy, elves, dwarves, halflings and whatnot. Even the minor shakeups are good for me (Orchids and Inox instead of elves and ogres).

I'm also super happy with the initial assumption that you aren't goody-two-shoes Heroes out to save the world, and can move down the quest lines for your own reasons. Kind of reminds me of Mass Effect- you're going down this story line whether you like it or not, but your reasons (and methods) for doing it may differ.

Oh, and Sam, the game has both Personal goals (long-term things your character is working towards) and Battle Goals- secret things you're trying to achieve in each scenario which may put you are odds with the other players. The later aren't as detailed (fluff) as in WQ, but they're there.
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Justin N
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slickerdrips wrote:


It's reading more into it than is on the card sure, but I was completely drawn in by it


And this is the way I've played it, too. My Tinker has a Personal Quest to kill a bunch of Undead through a particular method, so I wrote that into his thinking and backstor:

"Charlie is a pretty no-nonsense sort of guy. That's why he went into the Tinker trade - parts fit together just so, you put them together how you want them, they do what they're designed to do. It all makes sense.

That's why his first encounter with the Undead threw him for such a loop. They're just all *wrong*. They shouldn't work like that.

So, they need to be destroyed..."

Pretty fun stuff.
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Moose Detective
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I don't believe you're an old school roleplayer. I believe you're an old school hack-and-slasher.

You're saying the game "isn't telling you how to roleplay" which is a giant WTF. Why would they be in a bar? Why would these mercenaries be anything other than evil?

Take your character sheet, take your personal quest and FIGURE IT OUT.

Why is the non-human Orchid Spellweaver sitting in a bar "getting drunk". Maybe she's trying to "fit in with" or "research" humans in their natural habitat. Its hard to meditate on your place in the world when you don't know much about the community you're part of. Why would she hang out with "brutes" or "mindthieves"? Maybe because she's not close-minded. Her life-span gives her a completely different set of ethics/morals than humans - something D&D almost completely fails to deliver in every incarnation. (Eberron's regional/cultural/racial differences were actually pretty strong but the less we discuss your hatred of the best campaign setting ever the better.)

The brute has no morals or ethics? Says who? Drow were all evil before Driztt right? Make your brute into the Driztt of the Inox. Maybe he DIDN'T have morals or ethics until he entered human society. How does he deal with that? Does he grow/change for the better?

The mindthief seems nasty because it controls rats? Your character probably eats cows and pigs and rides horses right? Humanoids have dominance over animals, what makes the mindthief different? Do you think human bards are all evil because they can temporarily mindcontrol people?

Yes, a lot of these character cards and some of the personal quests are a bit darker than usual. But lots of RPG characters in the history of RPGs have been "criminals with a heart of gold" or "ex-criminals/deserters/etc". If you INSIST on playing them all as heroes... turn them into heroeS!!!

The first mission is "retrieve stolen documents for gold". Maybe by the time you're done you will have more information about evils you want to stop or wrongs you want to right. Maybe you won't and you'll accidentally do something wrong. Then you have a built-in redemption arc.

If you want to roleplay, ROLEPLAY. The game doesn't stop you and puts in more things that encourage it (personal quests, battle goals, decisions with consequence) than most board games.

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Alexander Corzo
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Ok,so the game is going for something different and not the same with it's ridiculous "races" and then starts off with the most common trope of RPG's since they were invented?

The problem with the Personal goals, is they don't line up with what the character seems to represent and many of them are so generic. Complete X scenarios, OK isn't that what we're doing anyways? Kill X bosses, OK what else would we be doing? Become exhausted X amount, really? be a bad player then? Earn X check marks? Everyone is always trying to earn as many check marks as possible. So . . .

There are other goals that I think are cool but many of them are obviously just mechanics to open up more envelopes. Some of the goals would be like saying, survive 5 rpg sessions, the problem is that you can't die anyways! Or acquire 4 feats, OK we are all going to have 4 feats eventually right?

I guess it's the mix of the cliche with an attempt at something new that's the most jarring. Like I said before, why not start with standard human type characters and then as we learn more about the world and its new races, then we unlock these unusual beings. Maybe a world book would've been cool, to give us some background of the setting?

Just because it's edgy and new doesn't make it better. D&D went through that phase with 4th edition and failed miserably. If you look at 5th edition, it went back to its roots and Forgotten Realms with great success. So, back to Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Half-Orcs, etc. . .good versus evil, heroic characters. Being heroic doesn't make you a goody two shoes ( or whatever), it just means you want to smack down evil. Would you rather just be out for number one or destroy an ancient evil that's plaguing society?
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Moose Detective
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You've moved the goalposts so far we're in a different stadium.

You're spending a lot of time hating on the Gloomhaven races, but that's completely different from your original argument of not being able to roleplay or your new argument of bland/obvious goals. It doesn't matter for Gloomhaven but just as an aside, D&D4E failed for lots of reasons but Tieflings and Dragonborn weren't one of them. Eberron was 3rd edition and DID have all the standard races in addition to four new ones. Warforged get a ton of hate as being "robots" but they're really just Iron Golems with world lore.

As for wanting more info about the world and races, I think you're not alone in saying a world book of some sort could have been very helpful. I even said it myself in the "how do you pronounce Aesther" thread.

Personal quests being generic might be an issue. I've played 23 sessions and I can tell you partially why that's the case. If four players all had goals of killing four different bosses, one whole quest line would have to take precedence all the time. By splitting it to certain types of scenarios, or by turning it into killing certain monsters, you can have multiple personal goals active and possible to be completed simultaneously. Even if I want to go the woods and you want to go to the swamp, we can alternate without having to finish entire questlines.

I don't think Gloomhaven is "edgy" at all and Isaac doesn't come across like an edgelord so I'm not sure why mercenaries seem so edgy to you. The characters have a slightly more selfish tint to them purely to help people like you who want roleplaying directions deal with the issues of prioritizng battle goals/ personal quests / loot over the scenario success. That's all. If you choose the play them less selfishly, you will probably be more successful but gain new things at a slower pace.

Which is also why "acquire X gold or X checkmarks" are goals, because its giving you direction on what should make you selfish.

The whole retirement is also encouraged by giving you new unlocks and prosperity. Otherwise people wouldn't WANT to retire.

Sometimes you have to say "yes, I'm playing a game, and the game has limitations and mechanics" Just like playing very old characters in d&D comes with stat penalties, just like humans can't fly or defy gravity, just like you can't explore all of Tamriel when playing Skyrim and the playable world has "edges". Anything other than tabletop RPG will always have some limits, and even they will have limits unless your DM is amazing or insane.

A bigger mechanics issue than "the goal exist to make me retire and unlock stuff" is simply "there's no point in leveling up if the monsters level with me" except that you get cool new items/abilities and that's enough for most people. I've personally always been irked by auto-leveled monsters and would prefer the ability to get curbstomped by a high level dragon at low level.

And as for "would you rather be out for number one or destroy an ancient evil" I'm pretty sure Gloomhaven gives you both of those options.
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Mark Blasco

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Blustar wrote:
. Like I said before, why not start with standard human type characters and then as we learn more about the world and its new races, then we unlock these unusual beings.


Well, for starters, many of us would much rather NOT be standard human type characters. The theme and world of this game is wonderful, and if it was based around traditional fantasy tropes, I would be far less interested in the game. I find it refreshing when someone creates a world which feels different, and doesn't keep doing the same thing over and over again.

Also, this is a board game, not a role playing game, which for many of us is a great thing. I love how the game has enough going on to tell an interesting story, where I can make some decisions, but I don't need to do any role playing. It sounds like you aren't in the same camp.
 
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markblasco wrote:
...

Well, for starters, many of us would much rather NOT be standard human type characters. The theme and world of this game is wonderful, and if it was based around traditional fantasy tropes, I would be far less interested in the game. I find it refreshing when someone creates a world which feels different, and doesn't keep doing the same thing over and over again.
...

I love world creation in fantasy settings, if it is in books or games alike, as long it is done well. For me, the races don't have enough meat on their back story to be really relevant at this point. In part it's because of the game delivering story pieces bit by bit and hard linking races to classes, where most game interaction is done on class basis, at least as far as I have seen.
That might change, don't know yet.

For me it is not a problem, it's a board game and with its long term campaign the world and story fit quite well as it is more about discovering its elements on the way without requiring to finish it in one go.
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Wes Holland

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Maybe a world book would've been cool, to give us some background of the setting?

I strongly suggest you aim for retiring a character as soon as possible.

(Wink, wink, nudge nudge spoiler...)
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Yeah, I'm sure that there isn't anything within the entire Town of gloomhaven that will have Records of the history of the setting...
(really, actual spoiler)
Spoiler (click to reveal)
The Town Records book contains more information on the history of the setting. Retiring a character opens this book.



As for whether the Theme is good... I'd prefer a game with rock-solid mechanics and watery theme to a really thematic game with annoying mechanics. (See Also: Firefly boardgame. Dripping with theme, but oh dear lord I hate the mechanics behind Illegal mission completion.)

(I think one of the only games I've played where theme and mechanics dovetailed nicely in most instances was Netrunner, because you could build a story behind every game. In recent times, it's gotten thinner because they released location-specific cards, and, well, it's kinda weird to be talking about a Beach Party near the Earthrise Hotel on the Moon.)
 
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Mark Blasco

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asgorn wrote:
markblasco wrote:
...

Well, for starters, many of us would much rather NOT be standard human type characters. The theme and world of this game is wonderful, and if it was based around traditional fantasy tropes, I would be far less interested in the game. I find it refreshing when someone creates a world which feels different, and doesn't keep doing the same thing over and over again.
...

I love world creation in fantasy settings, if it is in books or games alike, as long it is done well. For me, the races don't have enough meat on their back story to be really relevant at this point. In part it's because of the game delivering story pieces bit by bit and hard linking races to classes, where most game interaction is done on class basis, at least as far as I have seen.
That might change, don't know yet.

For me it is not a problem, it's a board game and with its long term campaign the world and story fit quite well as it is more about discovering its elements on the way without requiring to finish it in one go.


I agree that I'd like to have more story about the races and whatnot, but for a board game, I think it's got a ton of info and theme. I can't think of another board game that has a totally original setting which gives more info, without having supplemental materials (Such as the art book for The Others, which has a bunch of short stories detailing the history of the characters and the backstory of the game).

Star Realms came out with a novel, which told a story based on that world. If Isaac paired up with a good writer, I could see Gloomhaven being the basis for a whole series of books.
 
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Eamon Burke
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I agree. I'd like some more heroic characters. That's not a bad idea for a few fan-made classes and adventures!
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Alex Russo
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Starting by the fact they are not heroes, but mercenaries, that decided to band together momentarily for mutual benefit including money, fame, equipment, excitement and revenge.... there is nothing heroic about them, actually not sharing loot / equipment is so awesome, gives that little bit of competition in a truly cooperative game.

The back story on each class is quite rich, but it is not as rich as elf, dwarf, orc etc simply because Isaac is one person that had to come up with everything within 2-3 years, and not 20-30 years by multiple authors.

I agree with the fact that should have more humans as playable classes.

I really like Shadow of Brimstone and Descent, but for my taste GH is so much better than both that I can't even put them in the same sentence without feeling uncomfortable, and I've invested uncountable hours painting both core sets of SoB and about 150 minis of Descent.
 
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Marcel Cwertetschka
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calling the main party heroes instead of mercenaries would totally not make thematic sense as you can go down a quite evil route aswell.devil
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