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Kingdom Death: Monster» Forums » Variants

Subject: Any variant to avoid restarting the whole game? rss

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Michael Oak
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Hello everyone!

So, I just wanna say I love this game and how crazily brutal it can be.

When I play with my friends, we play by the book. If we lose, we lose, let's start over.

But the variant I'm asking for is not for me or for when I play with my friends, but for my wife.

You see, my wife recently decided to start playing with me. We beat the prologue, and she REALLY enjoyed the showdown (she wasn't as interested in the settlement part, so we decided that I'd deal with the settlement phase on my own and give her a summary of what happened before the next showdown), but she told me she wouldn't really be willing to restart the whole game if our settlement died in the middle of the campaign.

Now I'm trying to figure out a way to keep character deaths but to avoid settlement wipeouts.

I know a lot of people aren't fans of variants that make the game "easier" or "less punishing", but put yourself in my shoes ;D

I was thinking of maybe magically adding more survivors to the settlement if we start running out (maybe rolling some dice to give them some stats so they don't start out as zeroes)? The good thing is that she doesn't even play the settlement phase, she just plays showdowns and wants to see the story progress, so this gives me some leeway on how to deal with this.

Anyway, if any of you have had a situation like this and found out a good way to play it, let me know!
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Fen Batten
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Semi-hero variant

Pick X survivors to be your heroes, if any of these survivors die - reduce population by one and 'knock out' these survivors instead (they skip the next hunt and you promote a new hero to come out).

Make sure you take Graves as your death principle and if you take Survival of the Fittest as your birth Principle prioritise innovating Face Paint. Maintain an approximate ratio of 2 or 3 women per 1 man - Amazonian Strategies are best in People of the Lantern.

You shouldn't run out of population if you make sure that 2-3 endeavors a year are spent on trying to make new babies, especially with the additional endeavors gained via Graves. Tbh, as long as you're not getting TPKs on showdowns over and over it's almost impossible to run out of population with Graves and Protect the Young (or the SotF/Face Paint combo).
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Erik Honn
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If you don't play the settlement phase together anyway the easiest method might just be to not activate settlement events. And if she also doesn't want to do the hunt, skip the hunt events as well.

Then the game changes to just kill monsters, craft gear, which should make things a lot easier since no random effects will kill a bunch of people. You will stand and fall on the showdown alone.
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Jeroen van Loon
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Happy wife > RAW rules

Assuming the above statement is leading in your game play, you could also just design specific showdown scenarios, or skirmishes if you please.

Since losing a few fights, even if your magical appearance of survivors replenishes the people, you'll fall behind in gear, resources and innovations for mid and late game encounters and only become food each year for whatever monster.

So why not bypass this entirely. You could go for a set of points per showdown, maybe even slightly increasing it per LY you can spend on gear, character stats, fighting arts etc. You can balance it by also adding disorders and penalties. So you can design a character with +2 strength, but he also has a disorder and -1 accuracy. The combinations are endless as long as you stick to the number of points you'd like to spend per encounter.

It'll require a bit of preparation and balancing, as well as decisions to not unlock certain gear until specific timelines or LY progress.

The downside could be predictability. You can tailor your characters to any challenge you might face. While on the hunt phase a good dose of RNG could severely gimp your build with all the adventurous accidents that might occur. Coping with this random factor is part of the challenge for me.
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Pietro Pomella
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As others have said, the most dangerous/random/swingy things are settlement events (and hunt events, but to a lesser extent), so by keeping those in check (read "cheating offscreen when necessary") you should never risk a settlement wipeout.

Regardless of settlement event tampering, following Fen's advice above should already be a nice foundation


Showdowns should be left untouched imho, as they can have a delicate balance and are really not that punishing in general (and much more controllable).
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Sum
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I think if I had to do this, I would ignore any settlement event that did anything bad to her survivors. As Jeroen says, "Happy wife > RAW rules".

If you tell her that her favorite character was murdered by your character while you were playing the game by yourself, she is probably not going to play with you again since it sounds like she already has one foot out the door (won't play settlement and won't restart campaign). So, I think not frustrating her is probably your top priority.

To keep the campaign from failing, just add survivors as needed. I mean, if the goal is to keep the campaign from failing, then any variant you consider must include this.
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Nick Wirtz
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I don't think many people have played Hero Mode (or w/e it's called). As someone who's extensively played the game on its standard difficulty, Hero is one of the best easy modes I've played. A few things are easy to game, but over all you still can have all sorts of setbacks, and IMHO these are somewhat balanced by your never getting the consolation prize of death principles. I highly recommend it if you want most of the experience.
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Matt
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What I did was create a "save" point. I fought a monster that was new to me, and due to not knowing how to handle things, it was a TPK. Rather than take additional punishments for that happening, I just reset it, like that year never happened. I don't want to play 7 sessions and have things go bad because of me having to learn the new monster.
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J Doe
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freudianslip27 wrote:
What I did was create a "save" point. I fought a monster that was new to me, and due to not knowing how to handle things, it was a TPK. Rather than take additional punishments for that happening, I just reset it, like that year never happened. I don't want to play 7 sessions and have things go bad because of me having to learn the new monster.


I'd be curious to hear the take on this from folks who have played the game (I haven't yet, but hope to soon). I generally play games with the Rules As Written, but this seems like a way to experience more of the game given a constrained amount of time to play.

A downside is, I suspect this would dramatically cut back on the tension / focus of encounters.

I suppose a lot of it comes down to how repetitious the "opening game" part is (i.e., how much fun it is to go through that again each time).

Thoughts from those that have actually played?
 
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Nick Wirtz
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If you're not running back to back campaigns, I think the beginning is fine, esp. if you have expansion quarries.

I've done a few take-backs where it really messed up a campaign to the point where we expected it wouldn't be fun any more, or we made a really dumb mistake, but I don't think that a broader safety net really improve anything to improve the game, There's a difference between fighting to see if you can really salvage something and deciding you can't, vs. always having the option to reset. Favorite characters dying and bad rolls messing everything up are inherent to the game and not having them really takes something away from it.
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Sum
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PlayerZ wrote:
freudianslip27 wrote:
What I did was create a "save" point. I fought a monster that was new to me, and due to not knowing how to handle things, it was a TPK. Rather than take additional punishments for that happening, I just reset it, like that year never happened. I don't want to play 7 sessions and have things go bad because of me having to learn the new monster.


I'd be curious to hear the take on this from folks who have played the game (I haven't yet, but hope to soon). I generally play games with the Rules As Written, but this seems like a way to experience more of the game given a constrained amount of time to play.

A downside is, I suspect this would dramatically cut back on the tension / focus of encounters.

I suppose a lot of it comes down to how repetitious the "opening game" part is (i.e., how much fun it is to go through that again each time).

Thoughts from those that have actually played?


My thoughts are that this is mostly unnecessary and would probably drain life out of the game. A TPK is just not really that big of a deal and is likely not going to end a campaign unless you keep doing it, and if you do keep doing it, it's probably time to start over anyway.

I also think it takes the drama away. Our first fight against the King's Man was epic because we sent out our best knowing they might not come back (3 died and the last survived...) and I feel like that fight was incredibly memorable and exciting. I guess what I'm saying is, if you save scum every new fight, at a certain point you're just rolling dice at a table and writing down numbers.

If you really just don't want to start the campaign over, add more survivors when you run out or play that hero mode variant that was mentioned.

Just my opinion
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sam newman

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if you roll an instant death on the injury table you may re-roll it, but must keep your second roll.
 
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Riff Conner
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Exo Desta wrote:
A save variant is a pretty cool idea, but for myself, the TPKs I can swallow. Even those due to still having to learn a monster's mechanics.

It's the mindless deaths outside of the Showdown that drain my spirit.


You could just make deaths outside of the Serious Injury table into "miss the next d5 hunts" or something.
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Michael Oak
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Thank you all for the tips! I really appreciate that you understood my situation and gave some interesting ways to keep the game going.

I've been reading all your replies and yesterday we continued playing our campaign.

I've decided to cheat as little as possible, but yeah, if a settlement event is too brutal I may tamper with it (it's different to say "hey, this guy is starting the fight with these disadvantages" than to say "btw, this guy died offscreen"). I won't cheat during showdowns, so that should keep things interesting.

I'll keep deaths from the injury table (in fact, yesterday we lost our first person, lol, my wife rolled a 1 when getting a brain trauma injury), but outside of showdowns I may have to cheat a bit depending on the situation.

I'll try to keep up the survivor count up with @fenpaints's tips, but yeah, if for some reason we start running out of survivors I'll just add some more so we can keep the campaign running.

Again, thank you all for the tips! Hopefully this will keep the wife happy while still keeping the game interesting.
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Bannister Nicholas
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Remember when you first started a group? and after taking out the first lion, you came across a huddled group of people around a lantern hoard?

Is that not just another group that 'failed' and their 'leaders and fighters' just never returned?

My House rule is this:

If At any time, I have gone below 6 people left in camp, and at least three have the "cannot hunt" so my hunt party would be less than 4..

I record a year, discard half of their gear (randomly) and have 4 new ink stained survivors arrive with their fresh lion, and reset the lantern calender.. the new survivors pick a new language, so half of the existing innovations are now useless, half of the buildings gone from disrepair, and all resources decayed or consumed..

It gives my new village a slight boost over a complete restart, but slightly balanced by a starting pop of 6 + the 4 new survivors.
---

You could, as another variant, roll a d10 every lantern year, and when you get a 10, d5(max 4) survivors turn up to your current camp with a fresh beginner lion and join your camp..
 
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