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Dark Souls: The Board Game» Forums » Variants

Subject: Another Dark Souls House Rule Set rss

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Nick Stoppiello
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Update as of 9/22/17: J D brought up a good point that the exhaustion rule as originally written makes things far too easy for people that actually have friends, or play multi-handed. Made a small tweak to fix that.

This is my personal variant that I like to play with. I've only had the game for a few days so it is entirely possible that I'll change these as I go. That said, the rules are simple enough that they're easy to modify... if this entire board is any indicator.

I am in the minority that believes that the game is honestly fine as is at its core, but the game length can be artificially inflated by RNG at exponential rates. These rules aim to minimize that, and add a few options to give players more tactical decisions.

These rules are fully compatible with campaign play, but they're untested. I don't foresee them being an issue, though.

Setup

1. You may opt to place one fewer, or one more tile during setup.

If you place one fewer tile, you must, in order: remove one of the lowest level encounters from the chosen boss/campaign encounter pool, THEN replace the remaining lowest level encounter with one of the next tier. If all encounters are tier 3, simply remove an encounter.

If you place one more tile, simply add one encounter of the highest tier listed on the boss card/campaign area to the additional tile.

This is both a change for the sake of variety, and to act as a form of game length adjustment. Having one fewer tile means a shorter trip to the boss; especially good if you're already well geared by the time you kill the mini-boss, and also helpful during campaigns.

Having an additional tile, on the other hand, can give more farming opportunities in a single spark as well as increase your rewards for fully clearing the dungeon (see below.)


2. Solo players start with 10 souls.

With the changes to the rules, 16 souls is excessive. It is EXTREMELY easy to get even 'decent' gear, and stat up enough to wear it. I think even 10 souls is a bit much, but bad luck also exists.

Encounter Rewards and the Soul Cache

1. The Soul Cache is no longer shared by all players. All players gain souls separately. If a player dies, only they drop their souls. The party is still warped back to the bonfire and they still lose a spark.

This one might be considered harsh if not played with the other rules in this set; especially for a three or four player game. It's truer to the spirit of the game, though: everyone has their own souls. This also helps even out the experience for players across all player counts. Note that your inventory is still shared between players, so you can still use your souls to purchase items that may be better for another, but you can't easily funnel all of your souls to a person for stat upgrades.

2. Normal encounters reward 2+1 souls per encounter tier to each player.

This is a grind-speed change. You should be doing less grinding, and also be rewarded more for completing harder encounters.

3. Completing all set encounters in a single spark rewards an additional soul per encounter cleared to each player.

Another grind reducer, and also encourages players to plow through the entire dungeon. Doing this should keep the game relatively lengthy to feel 'satisfying' without just loading you with so many souls as to feel broken.

The Bonfire/Firelink Shrine/What Is This Place Supposed To Be Again?

1. Andre presents two items per purchase now instead of one. You must choose one to take. The other is removed from the game. In the event you draw an Ember card while everyone is already Embered, shuffle the card back into the deck and draw a new card as per the rules.

Another grind reducer, but also one that presents a potentially very tough choice knowing that you can't easily just filter the deck without consequence. Note that the cost is still dependent on whether you're playing the campaign mode, and you can still sell the one you 'keep' resulting in both items being removed from the game.

2. If you've successfully cleared all of the set encounters in a single spark, you may burn a Bonfire Ascetic when resting at the bonfire. You can only do this once per (mini)boss/area. You get the normal benefits of resting at a bonfire with the following changes:

All encounters are replaced with an encounter that is one tier greater than what was originally on that tile. If there was already a tier 3 encounter, place two tier 3 encounters instead. The player must fight these encounters back-to-back, similar to the Gargoyles in the campaign, without healing between each one. They may choose which encounter they will attempt first. For the purpose of rewards, these are considered 'tier 5' encounters.

A grind reducer, but also a difficulty switch if you've gotten lucky draws. Combined with the earlier option to lay down one fewer tile, this can make for short, but very intense runs to the boss, and it also represents both a late-game area that is conducive to grinding as well as the NG+ish mechanic they added to Dark Souls 2.

Combat

1. If you have no dodge dice, you may spend two stamina per dodge attempt to roll a black die.

Similar to other proposed rules of similar type, but this better represents the 'fat roll,' without giving options to break the game.

2. You may attack multiple times per turn, but each attack after the first costs an additional two stamina. Normal stamina costs for attacks remain. Note that you still only get one movement phase per turn, and the movement phase must be taken either before or after your first attack only as per the rules. If you opt for a second attack right after the first, you forfeit your movement phase.

You can attack multiple times in succession in the actual game, but doing so, of course, puts you at risk of exhaustion (see below.)

3. If your Endurance Bar is filled (either through damage or stamina use,) first remove all black cubes. You are Exhausted. Skip your next round, and do not gain any defense dice of any sort from your weapons. After this, continue to apply any damage that was taken. If your Endurance Bar fills with red cubes at any point, you are dead. Note that you cannot spend more stamina than is available as per the regular rules, and you cannot dodge while Exhausted.

Enemies will ignore normal threat rules and focus purely on Exhausted characters. If multiple characters are Exhausted, enemies will focus on them in threat order as printed on the character cards.

This retains the punishing aspect of the game without completely ruining your tactical options. You still need to manage your stamina, but bad rolls don't automatically result in a You Died; you will still get the opportunity to let your armor potentially save you.

Misc

1. Passing through the fog gate the first time opens a shortcut. After resting at the bonfire, and doing any character management, you may opt to move directly to the tile before boss room on the node furthest from the fog gate. Encounters spawn as normal.

Another often proposed change, this better reflects the game's placement of bonfires before boss rooms. You can opt to just run through the room during normal play or Dash Through during campaign play if you'd like to skip the tile.

Any feedback on these rules are welcomed! My intention was to keep both the spirit of the source material as well as the spirit of the board game itself, 'fixing' the rules to provide more options, and speed up the game, while also helping to mitigate some of the luck aspects of the game while retaining its punishing nature. The idea is that, on average, you should only have to run through the dungeon twice before being ready for the boss, cutting play time significantly; only once if you're particularly lucky with purchases.
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J D
United States
Charlotte
North Carolina
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I think your exhaustion rule coupled with the extra attack option will significantly decrease difficulty. A player may fully exert themselves in the first turn, filling up their stamina before taking any damage, then safely let the remaining monsters hit him while he has aggro. He will face almost no threat as the aggro shift to other players who will clean up before the penalty comes into effect. Maybe in a single player game it would be more punishing.

Other than that, I recommend playing the game unaltered a few times.

I do like the hard choices of your treasure deck varient!
 
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Alex Russo
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Craigie
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from my take most of your house rules are about doing the grunt encounters before the boss less of a burden.

in this aspect my house rule is easier and simpler: collect and spend 8 souls per player and try fighting the boss, if you fail, collect / spend another 8 souls and try it again... rinse and repeat until you kill the boss.

write down how many tries / sparks were required and try to beat your best score next time.

the encounter are just fun the very first few times, after a few play troughs they are just boring.
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Roger Wicki
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I found your take at exhaustion very interesting. I had a similar idea, that may not be as overpowered in starting situations as stated in the comments (with multiple attacks going for exhaustion).

I would suggest that whenever the bar is filled and you have both black and red cubes, you can replace stamina cubes with health cubes in a ratio 2:1. In other words: if you would need to place a red cube over a black, put two red ones instead (removing the 2nd black one for free). In a way for all stamina cubes, you would get an exhaustion double damage penalty.

Example:
- 6 black cubes and 2 red cubes are already on your bar.
- You take 4 damage
- You place 2 red cubes on the empty two spots
- The 3rd red cube would meet a black cube. 2 black cubes are replaced by red cubes
- The 4th red cube would meet a black cube and results in another 2 black cubes replaced by red cubes
- As a result your end bar would be 2 black cubes and 8 red cubes.

It is more forgiving than death but makes you really vulnerable. In this state you need to hope the fight is almost over or you have a good healer in your party going next.
 
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Roger Wicki
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To your rules about soul gaining, my house rule is more oriented the dark souls way.

As you proposed, players get souls independently. The player who moves in with aggro is the main player. If he is killed, everybody is dead (summoning mechanics in the video game). If another player is killed, he will respawn at the bonfire after the fight, not dropping souls.
Each enemy has their soul value:
Hollow soldier & Hollow crossbowman: 1 soul
Silver knight & silver knight bowman: 2 souls
Large hollow: 3 souls
Sentinel: 5 souls

Souls are gained 1:1 by the main player as defined above. All other players will get 50% of the souls as income (rounded up). This balances out the mechanic that the party is only defeated after the main player dies, so the main player is not always the tank as to level up the other players too at an equal pace. This makes it also more interesting to figure out, which encounters can also be safely started by e.g. an Assassin or a warrior.
 
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Nick Stoppiello
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Jacob Dryearth wrote:
I think your exhaustion rule coupled with the extra attack option will significantly decrease difficulty. A player may fully exert themselves in the first turn, filling up their stamina before taking any damage, then safely let the remaining monsters hit him while he has aggro. He will face almost no threat as the aggro shift to other players who will clean up before the penalty comes into effect. Maybe in a single player game it would be more punishing.


I didn't think of that. I play primarily solo, so I didn't think about the rotating aggro. I might have to add a caveat - enemies ignoring threat to focus on exhausted players first, perhaps. Considering that one player dying means everyone getting warped back, you'd go no where in a hurry if one person is just getting beat on for a full four turns without being able to answer.

Zazhut wrote:
I found your take at exhaustion very interesting. I had a similar idea, that may not be as overpowered in starting situations as stated in the comments (with multiple attacks going for exhaustion)...


I like this idea, but it feels clunky to put into practical play. The idea behind the rule set was to not really need a cheat-sheet, and to have to memorize few things for a better experience. See the above response; that might add the needed danger.

carkara wrote:
from my take most of your house rules are about doing the grunt encounters before the boss less of a burden.


The grunt encounters are actually dangerous at the beginning of the game, though, and sometimes it's fun to chuck dice. I don't want to remove an entire aspect of the game that can still be fun with a few tweaks.

Zazhut wrote:
To your rules about soul gaining, my house rule is more oriented the dark souls way...


See above post about adding too many numbers to remember/keep track of being clunky. These house rules aren't intended to make the game heavier; just removing bloat.
 
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