Julian Leite
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So a few years ago, someone had the genius idea (not being sarcastic) to make a modable Road to Legend app. It's called Valkyrie and can be checked out here:

https://github.com/NPBruce/valkyrie/wiki

It seems this kinda laid dormant/had slow progress (which is completely understandable) for a few years while some "big names" got together to try to RtL-i-fy The Shadow Rune campaign, and therefore was dubbed the "Shadow Rune Project."

It fully launched on 8/12 with the complete co-op campaign being fully playable. I've done up to Act II (so yes, I had to go through the agony of setting up The Shadow Vault encounter on my small table) and wanted to share my thoughts and also bring some attention to the app.

Before I get into it more, I just wanna say that sometimes I kind of equate the campaign to the app. That's not necessarily the case as I don't know how much the app maker had to do with any of these campaign encounters. I just sort of lump them together because SR seems to be the only thing that's fully fleshed out.

The Software

Installation is actually a breeze and if you're someone who doesn't know anything about modding or going into deep files and changing stuff, have no fear. You literally just download RtL off steam, and the Valkyrie from the link above and just click the "import option" when you run Valkyrie. Done. That's it.

As far as how the app works, it's practically identical to RtL for all intents and purposes. The activations seem to be taken from the RtL itself and mostly all other functions are there. The shop screen isn't as pretty (again, I don't know if this is campaign dependent or app dependent), but it looks like the artwork used is still some sort of Terrinoth licensed artwork so, it works.

The app (or maybe the campaign, again, who knows), has a cool feature where if you are asked to reinforce a monster group, there is a "group limit reached button" and it'll reinforce a different group. That's not present in RtL so it was cool to see RtL being a little "outdone."

Also, there is a hard-save feature where you just go into the menu and save your game like a normal game.

I encountered a bug first thing when playing the campaign, and it was immediately resolved so I'm grateful for that. Another minor issue I've had with the app (or campaign) is the main theme plays a lot. I know the sound of rushing waterfalls and cave-water dripping isn't great, but hearing that 30 second main theme loop can get a little grating.

Overall, the creators did a great job with the app. There's a way to make a quest inside the app, but I would assume you need to know more about raw coding to make something compared to the official quest vault. I may mess around with it because the quest vault has pretty much been abandoned by FFG. This is a welcome addition to the homebrew/variant community.

The Campaign

Now for the actual campaign. The creators tried to fuse parts of RtL (morale, alternating turns, unrevealed map), but blend it with the encounters in SR. I did not expect this. I expected it to be more like RAOV (which is closer to playing vs overlord). I actually applaud the creators for taking on a more daunting task than already attempted. The problem with most of the variants (and to an extent, RtL) is the matter of "how do we get AI monsters to complete objectives." It was janky in RAOV because sometimes "Dash"s got used on sub-optimal monsters, and RtL just doesn't even try for monster objectives (more on that soon). This campaign definitely makes the best attempt at giving the monsters actual encounter-specific AI activations. I don't know if the likelihood they show up is equal to the other basic ones or not, but they're definitely there. The monsters are fully aware of what the heroes' objective is, that's cool.

Unfortunately, it also has it's negatives. Firstly, a lot of the "bite" has been taken out of the monsters. In RtL, there may be 3 monster groups all throwing the kitchen sink at you. In this campaign, 2 of those same 3 monster groups are probably just going to engage exits or villager/objective tokens. In 5 quests, I've had no deaths. I actually have too much healing in my party to even make use of. I'm currently sitting at 6 morale, my starting 4 and I got 2 more from a travel event. I don't think perils exist in this campaign as well. It seems that "wasting" time on Encounter 1 can lead to you having a disadvantage in Encounter 2, but none of the perils from RtL have made any sort of appearance.

Speaking of encounters, can I just say I loathe the 2-encounter system of the book campaigns. Setting up the map only for it to end in 3 rounds is such a headache. That, however, is just a byproduct of them trying to replicate the SR campaign (which is fine and understandable). One complaint I have is that it never tells you what/how you did in Encounter 1 affects Encounter 2. Not that it would make it much different, but I guess it would be cool for the player to know their efforts were rewarded.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm all on board for monsters having quest specific activations, but some don't work all too well. In Death on a Wing, Zombies were called on to "Grab" one of the villagers...but villagers (per the app's rules) were immune to conditions. Just a minor slip-up by the creator I suppose, but it makes the players decide what to do. There have been some other oversights too. Zachareth had no surge priorities (subdue for Immobilize would be nice), he also didn't respawn. So when he died in round 3, I just walked the casket down to the exit.

All of this combined has kinda made me feel like playing is just a formality at this point. Act II is a big power spike for the monsters, so I'll stick it out; but, half-way through the interlude I was thinking "I can't really lose without perils, should I just click my way to victory?"

No matter what, the software has some amazing potential, but maybe the barrier to entry for quest creation is too high for obvious reasons. Regardless, if you have never played the Shadow Rune campaign, this is still a good way to enjoy it. I would say it's more enjoyable than RAOV and you have to use less cards and table space. I still implore everyone to check out Valkyrie, whether you're going to make your own quests or play through this campaign.


EDIT: I just remembered one thing I wanted to add. In RtL, monsters don't open doors. So, with the blending of RtL/Traditional being at play here, it leads to some oddities. For example, sometimes monsters spawn behind a door (the door is there to keep the integrity of the original campaign). But monsters don't open doors. And you can't count through doors, so spot and engage are out of the question. This would lead to to all monsters just standing still, doing nothing until you open the door. The creators tried to remedy this by throwing Portcullises everywhere, but never go into explaining that heroes treat them as normal doors and monsters treat them as Portcullis (in fact, the word Portcullis is never mentioned. But they are denoted by grey bars instead of the traditional yellow). And if you never played Nerekhall you wouldn't even know what is going on. A smart workaround to "spot" and "engage' rules, but a little better explanation would have been super welcomed.
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Graeme Groom
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I was briefly involved in the Shadow Rune project (without contributing much), but I've also done other work with Valkyrie and I can answer some of your questions

jubez187 wrote:
So a few years ago, someone had the genius idea (not being sarcastic) to make a modable Road to Legend app. It's called Valkyrie and can be checked out here:

https://github.com/NPBruce/valkyrie/wiki

It seems this kinda laid dormant/had slow progress (which is completely understandable) for a few years while some "big names" got together to try to RtL-i-fy The Shadow Rune campaign, and therefore was dubbed the "Shadow Rune Project."

It fully launched on 8/12 with the complete co-op campaign being fully playable. I've done up to Act II (so yes, I had to go through the agony of setting up The Shadow Vault encounter on my small table) and wanted to share my thoughts and also bring some attention to the app.

Before I get into it more, I just wanna say that sometimes I kind of equate the campaign to the app. That's not necessarily the case as I don't know how much the app maker had to do with any of these campaign encounters. I just sort of lump them together because SR seems to be the only thing that's fully fleshed out.
Valkyrie is much more than just the Shadow Rune Project

The Shadow Rune is the only major campaign that has been completed on Valkyrie for Descent, however the Valkyrie app also supports Mansions of Madness (since the official app for that was based off the Road to Legend app for Descent) and there is a large amount of content created for that game.
This means that much of the Valkyrie app development (bugfixes etc) has been driven by Mansions of Madness content creators, and that's partly why it took so long to get the Shadow Rune Project completed.
The Valkyrie developers have had no direct input into the Shadow Rune campaign/quest creation.

jubez187 wrote:
The Software

Installation is actually a breeze and if you're someone who doesn't know anything about modding or going into deep files and changing stuff, have no fear. You literally just download RtL off steam, and the Valkyrie from the link above and just click the "import option" when you run Valkyrie. Done. That's it.
Since The Shadow Rune Campaign has been officially released, it's packaged into the Valkyrie download directly which is pretty neat

jubez187 wrote:
As far as how the app works, it's practically identical to RtL for all intents and purposes. The activations seem to be taken from the RtL itself and mostly all other functions are there. The shop screen isn't as pretty (again, I don't know if this is campaign dependent or app dependent), but it looks like the artwork used is still some sort of Terrinoth licensed artwork so, it works.
Valkyrie replicates the default monster activation instructions from Road to Legend, and quest creators also have the ability to create custom activations.
The Shop itself is largely built-in in Valkyrie (the basic display of the items to buy and sell, the position of the buttons etc), but the background image and the black-market options are made by the campaign creators.

jubez187 wrote:
The app (or maybe the campaign, again, who knows), has a cool feature where if you are asked to reinforce a monster group, there is a "group limit reached button" and it'll reinforce a different group. That's not present in RtL so it was cool to see RtL being a little "outdone."
That's not something Valkyrie supports, that's been coded by the campaign creators
It's not something that would typically be necessary in a fully app-driven quest/campaign, but obviously replicating an overlord campaign requires specific reinforcement mechanics.

jubez187 wrote:
Also, there is a hard-save feature where you just go into the menu and save your game like a normal game.
That's a Valkyrie thing, it's useful

jubez187 wrote:
I encountered a bug first thing when playing the campaign, and it was immediately resolved so I'm grateful for that. Another minor issue I've had with the app (or campaign) is the main theme plays a lot. I know the sound of rushing waterfalls and cave-water dripping isn't great, but hearing that 30 second main theme loop can get a little grating.
Audio tracks are set by the campaign creators, but it's probably not been a high priority so I'm not surprised there's some oddities there

jubez187 wrote:
Overall, the creators did a great job with the app. There's a way to make a quest inside the app, but I would assume you need to know more about raw coding to make something compared to the official quest vault. I may mess around with it because the quest vault has pretty much been abandoned by FFG. This is a welcome addition to the homebrew/variant community.
Valkyrie is indeed a very clever app, and the inbuilt quest editor tool is very powerful. All quests are created and saved as text files so you can do most (or indeed, all) of the editing manually if you prefer - that's how most of the Shadow Rune was actually created.

Don't forget that creating an App quest/campaign is different to creating an overlord quest in the Quest Vault - there's a lot of mechanics which don't directly transfer...
Especially the campaign stuff - the map and quest selection is all custom code, the Travel Events alone for the TSR campaign are over 3,000 lines of code...


I haven't played through either version of the Shadow Rune campaign so I'm not going to comment on specific things from your campaign feedback, but that level of play-testing is exactly what the campaign needs to find stuff like this and to try and sort out the balance
Perils are vaguely built-in in Valkyrie, but you still have to trigger them manually and there's only a limited selection... That's perhaps something that can be added based on additional play-testing.


Valkyrie is awesome, and I recommend anyone who's interested in creating App-based content for Descent to check it out
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Guido Hansen
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Thanks for your feedback. Really appreciated.

jubez187 wrote:

EDIT: I just remembered one thing I wanted to add. In RtL, monsters don't open doors.
This is indeed a problem when recreating standard quests for cooperative play. In the Sands of the Past coop mode Road to Peril, we solved this issue by allowing monsters to move through doors by spending an additional movement point. They just know each and every shortcut and hidden mechanism
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Julian Leite
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Sadgit wrote:

This is indeed a problem when recreating standard quests for cooperative play. In the Sands of the Past coop mode Road to Peril, we solved this issue by allowing monsters to move through doors by spending an additional movement point. They just know each and every shortcut and hidden mechanism

That's a good workaround/idea! I will say though, the existence of a workaround is fine (and necessary) by me. It was more of the quest creators not bringing that up. As I said, if you have never played Nerekhall content, then you wouldn't even recognize the gray door symbol.

And any time for the feedback! I'm just trying to do my part in keeping Descent afloat, even if FFG stops supporting it and we have to rely on content creators.
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Tan tum
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Hey jubez187,

thanks again for the feedback. Most of the stuff has already been discussed in the GitHub Thread (https://github.com/NPBruce/valkyrie/issues/1202).

For the "monster don't open doors" problem you mention. Do you remeber in which encounter you had this problem? Normally it should not be possible to close a door after it once has been opened (indicated by the text "Remove the door."). Therefore monsters should not have any problems.

I'm furthermore planning to add Perils to all missions. I'm not sure though if I add custom perils for each mission or will go for a general random system just like the Road to Peril rules.
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Sebastian H.
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Thanks for the extensive Feedback Jubez. I'm with you regarding the criticism about the difficulty. The current release of the campaign is our first all around complete campaign, which came to be due to the hard work of a lot of contributors. Due to the scope of the campaign (and a lack of playtesters) there wasn't a lot of balancing work just yet.

Also, due to some limitations of Valkyrie when we started the project, many of the older quests don't make use of new functionality of newer versions.

I'm currently no longer actively developing in the project, as the timeframe to get the campaign done has been far too long (for a number of reasons). However, I'm still updating the campaign when new things are developed.

The best way to improve the campaign currently is to leave feedback about the scenarios, so that the developers or new contributors can work on them. I wouldn't expect a lot of progress though, as only Tantum seems to be actively working on it at the moment.

I might restart developing the campaign at some point in the future, but I'm currently unable to commit my time to fine tune the scenarios myself.

I still hope that the campaign will at least allow players to experience "The Shadow Rune" campaign, if they happened to get the revised core set with the "Heirs of Blood" campaign.

Thanks again. And any additional feedback is very welcome
 
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