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Subject: Sands of the Past - Preview #3 rss

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Guido Hansen
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Hi everyone!
In the last couple of weeks we have received several requests to preview the new coop mode that will be included in the upcoming community expansion Sands of the Past. Here it is now.

Road to Peril provides a cooperative mode of play for Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition and its expansions. In Road to Peril 1 to 4 players must work together to overcome the challenges presented to them by a card-driven artificial intelligence. No electronic device is needed when playing Road to Peril. This mode has been developed by Erik (Painkeeper) and myself and includes many ideas present in RAMV, which can be regarded as its spiritual predecessor.

Road to Peril uses the general rule-set of Road to Legend as given in the “Road to Legend - Rules of Play” book. Notably, both play modes feature:

Alternating hero turns and monster activations
Identical monster activation lists
Identical penalties when attacking multiple monsters
Identical morale counter


Additional goals that we set when designing Road to Peril:

1. Scale-able difficulty (4 levels: easy, normal, heroic, legendary) with the highest levels being still challenging for experienced players with optimized heroes
2. Clear, intuitive rules that do not leave any room to cheese things.
3. Immersive texts and descriptions.
4. Coop components for the standard "Heirs of Blood" campaign and the new community mini-campaign "Sands of the Past" included in the expansion.
5. High-quality design and layout of all components.
6. Thorough play-testing before release.


Here are the links to Preview #1 and Preview #2 just in case you missed those.





What Lurks in the Dark ...


Although the overlord himself is not present, he left detailed instructions and imbued his minions with unnatural powers.

At the core of Road to Peril two types of cards instruct players how to activate monsters and approach decisions that are usually made by a human overlord.

Agenda cards provide encounter-specific information on Peril deck assembly (see below), monster placement and behavior, reinforcements and special quest rules. There is one Agenda card for every individual encounter. The Command section on the back of many Agenda cards can provide encounter-specific action lists for certain monster groups that need to complete special tasks during the encounter.

Monster Activation cards show players how to activate all monsters that do not have special tasks to fulfill. Monster Activation cards include activation boxes on front and back that display instructions identical to those used by the Road to Legend app. A monster activation box consists of a special effect and an action list. Each time a monster group activates, players roll a standard six-sided die (D6) to determine which monster activation box is used. Then the special effect is resolved and each monster performs 2 actions from the action list. In addition, Monster Activation cards show information on surge usage, special monster abilities, etc.



Perils and Traps


To make life even harder, two decks of cards provide deadly surprises for the heroes.

Peril cards display effects the represent the lingering influence of the overlord and special powers of his minions that will take effect every second round. Depending on the difficulty level chosen at the start of the campaign, the Peril deck for the encounter may contain color-coded Minor, Major, Deadly and Quest Perils. At the same time, the Peril deck acts as a timer for the heroes to encourage them to hurry up - when a Deadly Peril is revealed the quest is lost.

The heroes must be careful when exploring uncharted territory. Trap cards describe carefully laid-out traps of the overlord. Whenever a hero performs a search action to reveal a search token or opens a door, he must test for traps. A trap test is an attribute test against a trap value between 1 and 6, that depends on the success of the heroes during the campaign: Each time the heroes win a quest, the trap value is decreased by 1; each time the overlord wins a quest the trap value is increased by 1. Only if the hero passes the Trap test he or she can successfully dismantle the trap and avoid its effects.




And, as always... stay tuned!
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Erik Burigo
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And as always, Sadgit is way too humble.
The bulk of the Road to Peril system has been envisioned, designed, developed and edited by him, and I'm quite envious of that feat of design.
I've only tossed a suggestion here and there and designed some cards.
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Julian Leite
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What was the design decision between putting 2 activations on a card and rolling a d6? Did you just want to conserve space and card clutter?

Also, why did you feel the "Trap" mechanic was something that needed to be implemented? Did you feel like they were really an important part of Overlord Style Descent and you missed their presence in RtL? That's where I'm leaning, at least.

EDIT: Or, seeing as search tokens give small amounts of Gold in RtL, you needed to make them much less worth it seeing as, I'm assuming, we will get full value of Gold like in Overlord Descent. This could deter players from "farming" the map.
 
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Marco Ronci
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looks fantastic!

Question (mainly for PainKeeper): is an Italian localization planned?
 
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Guido Hansen
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jubez187 wrote:
What was the design decision between putting 2 activations on a card and rolling a d6? Did you just want to conserve space and card clutter?

In Road to Peril monsters have between 3-6 different activation boxes printed on face and back of the Monster Activation card. At the moment, there are 58 different standard monster groups and additional lieutenants available in the game. We decided to go for this system to reduce the number of cards that players have to print. One card per activation box would have led to more than 300 cards to be printed for players who have the entire collection.

Quote:
Also, why did you feel the "Trap" mechanic was something that needed to be implemented? Did you feel like they were really an important part of Overlord Style Descent and you missed their presence in RtL? That's where I'm leaning, at least.

The Trap deck serves several purposes: First, we needed a way to increase difficulty by a lot. From my experience RAMV usually is no challenge for players that know Descent a bit. The traps together with the effects in activation boxes help a lot here. Second, Trap cards let us scale difficulty independent from the chosen difficulty level (easy, normal, heroic, legendary). If heroes lose quests, the traps will be easier to overcome and the other way around. Third, Trap cards are a great way to deal with certain Travel events.
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Erik Burigo
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marcogpl wrote:
[...]Question (mainly for PainKeeper): is an Italian localization planned?


Not at the moment, unless this expansion attracts enough interest from the Italian community.

I'll encounter some difficulties in localizing anything but the fluff text because my Descent game collection is in English and thus I lack the correct lingo. (For example, I've discovered only recently that "master monster" has been translated to "mostro evoluto").
 
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Carlo Tibaldi
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Thanks a lot for the preview :-)

Any plan for the release date?
Any plan to add other campaign or will the system already "usable" with other campaigns/encounters?

Thank you :-)
 
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Balazs K
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Which campaigns will be covered by the Agenda cards?
 
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Guido Hansen
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Currently we do not have a final release date. We still need to do some final polishing and proofreading steps and then set up cards for printing.

At the moment Sands of the Past and Heirs of Blood will be supported by Road to Peril. As the system is based on Agenda and Quest Peril cards that provide specific instructions for monsters and trigger quest specific events other campaigns cannot be played with the system at the moment.

Please understand that we need to finish this project before thinking about further steps. And who knows if people will like it
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Carlo Tibaldi
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Thank you Sadgit :-)
 
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Loud
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Only for the fact "no electronic equipment is required" and there is an AI involved I am super interested plus I love Descent ... so thank you !
Sadgit You deserve :
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WD Yoga
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Thank you very much for working on this! I am really interested and looking forward to playing with your system.
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Julian Leite
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Sadgit wrote:

The Trap deck serves several purposes: First, we needed a way to increase difficulty by a lot. From my experience RAMV usually is no challenge for players that know Descent a bit. The traps together with the effects in activation boxes help a lot here. Second, Trap cards let us scale difficulty independent from the chosen difficulty level (easy, normal, heroic, legendary). If heroes lose quests, the traps will be easier to overcome and the other way around. Third, Trap cards are a great way to deal with certain Travel events.


I see, I mixed up how they scale. I though they got easier when you WON and harder when you LOST. Which seemed silly.

I'm definitely interested in playing this and seeing how it all comes together. I do agree that the Redjak variants are way too easy. They lack both of the things that "balance" descent (either the mind of a real overlord, or the buffed up activations of an AI overlord). However, we've never seen Descent with Overlord-style objective encounters WITH the beefed up monsters (cause let's face it, RtL doesn't ask too much of us besides moving to the next room. The objectives in the traditional campaigns are much more intense).

Side question, what's stopping you from just reskinning this, making some changes, and just making your own game? You seem more than capable of doing it! Lots of popular video games started as mods. League of Legends was a Warcraft 3 "mod" and even the entire Battle Royale genre stemmed from H1Z1, which stemmed from the Arma Mod. Just wondering!
 
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Brendan Bruno
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Will there be new map tiles? If so, will they be printable or purchasable?
 
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Erik Burigo
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yavin24 wrote:
Will there be new map tiles? If so, will they be printable or purchasable?


No new map tiles.
The encounters of the Sands of the Past mini-campaign (designed by Zaltyre) use map tiles from the base game and from Labyrinth of Ruin.
 
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Carlo Tibaldi
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Painkeeper wrote:
yavin24 wrote:
Will there be new map tiles? If so, will they be printable or purchasable?


No new map tiles.
The encounters of the Sands of the Past mini-campaign (designed by Zaltyre) use map tiles from the base game and from Labyrinth of Ruin.


Will there be a way to use Road to Peril for us owning just the base game with The Shadow Rune campaign?

Thank you :-)
 
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Marco Ronci
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just in case, I have the Italian version. No idea how much commitment it will takes, but if you want I can try to translate key words.

Anyhow I can understand it's not a high priority at this stage, let's first see the English version

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Erik Burigo
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tibia wrote:
Will there be a way to use Road to Peril for us owning just the base game with The Shadow Rune campaign?

Thank you :-)
Not at the moment.
The only campaigns Road to Peril will support right out of the gate will be Sands of the Past and Heirs of Blood.

Other campaigns might be implemented in an unforeseen future according to the amount of players who enjoyed the system and their feedback.
Ask your local Prophet for a better insight.

Anyhow, for early-printings owners like us, the Heirs of Blood campaign stand-alone book is - in my opinion - a good product to purchase in any case.
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Guido Hansen
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jubez187 wrote:

Side question, what's stopping you from just reskinning this, making some changes, and just making your own game? You seem more than capable of doing it! Lots of popular video games started as mods. League of Legends was a Warcraft 3 "mod" and even the entire Battle Royale genre stemmed from H1Z1, which stemmed from the Arma Mod. Just wondering!

Thanks for the credits
This project required a huge amount of work, effort and dedication from everybody involved. But in essence, it is just an expansion sitting on top of a core system with countless moving nuts and bolts that was been developed by FFG over years. Simply re-skinning it might not be that easy. But I think we learned a lot on the way and we might take the plunge and develop something new and unique in a future project.
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David Binkley
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I realize I've asked this question before in different words but I'm still a little confused. The monster activation cards are taken from the app. Obviously the app has several special activation options for each group and that is why you have multiple activation boxes for each monster group. Also, you have the agenda card which is unique to each encounter I assume which gives special directions and lists the peril card order etc.

But it seems to me from what I've read that you don't have special activations for a monster group specifically for a certain encounter. For example, the barghests have the special rule on the agenda card that the master doesn't move off the lair, but other than that we will be using a random activation each turn during the encounter. If we use the barghests again later in the campaign, we will still be using the same random activations?

The reason I'm asking all this is because you guys keep saying that these materials are only for HoB and the homebrew campaign but it seems to me that the only thing that is missing is the agenda cards.

I suppose the perils are probably specific to the encounter, but your traps look pretty standard to the traps in RtL.

Of course, it probably sounds like I'm minimizing the scope of your accomplishment which isn't my intention. I mostly play solo and I want to be able to play all the boxed content which has mostly just collected dust. This project of yours opens up so many possibilities and has the gears in my head turning.

Thanks for your efforts.
 
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Guido Hansen
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Essentially you are right. The generic activation lists on the Monster Activation cards are the same for every encounter. This is what monster usually do when activating. What I did not show in this preview is the back of the Agenda card where you can find another set of action lists that are encounter specific. These specific action lists are called Command action lists and help certain monster groups to accomplish quest objectives. Obviously, these action lists are unique for each encounter.

To be able to play RtP with different campaigns we need to develop 1-3 encounter-specific Agenda cards and 3 Quest Peril cards for each quest. Balancing and playtesting is crucial here. As it is quite common to get weird interactions that you did not think of when designing the Agenda and Peril cards. The rest or the RtP system is not quest specific and can be used for any campaign.
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David Binkley
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Haha. It seems like I keep thinking ahead of the information you are releasing. Sorry.

I look forward to getting my hands on the printed cards when you are finished. That way I could try to adapt your agenda cards and peril cards to some of the other expansions. I don’t presume to understand the game as well as you, so I would most likely be in over my head but I would be interested in trying to create content for the other expansions. At the very least it would allow ME to play through the boxed content. Since I would just be playing against myself, if I screw up the balance it won’t matter too much.
 
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Guido Hansen
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Sorry for not coming back to that sooner.
I would love the community helping to develop and balance Agenda cards and Quest Perils for other campaigns. Let's see if you guys like the system and then think about further steps.
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I would buy this expansion if it was ever picked up by FFG. Is this something you will be offering the complete files for Download once you are done? Great work btw. I will try and think of anything else that could be added to this as well.
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Guido Hansen
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We will offer several options for obtaining components including easy print at home files with instructions and a setup at a professional printing service that will allow you to order all cards with just a few clicks.
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