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Descent: Journeys in the Dark» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Hero Strategy: Shop Outfitting rss

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Jeff Long
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The process of selecting the initial equipment for a team of heroes is more complex than I would have given it credit at first glance. In this article, I will endeavor to lay out some guiding principles for outfitting a party, along with the pros and cons of specific equipment choices.

The first portion of this analysis will assume that the heroes are being outfitted with the shop items from the vanilla Journeys in the Dark, without expansion. In so doing, I may occasionally refer to heroes or skills found in the Well of Darkness, but the focus is on the original game. I will later consider how the shop items from the Well of Darkness affect the strategic mix. Altar of Despair will not be considered at all at this point.

Now, before discussing the different options available, it is important to first lay out some of the guiding principles behind proper equipment selection. Understanding the mindset necessary to make the right decision is, in my opinion, more important than the details.

1) Fatigue Potions: In buying a Hero's initial equipment, it is important to understand that Fatigue Potions are incredibly valuable. Every bit of gold you spend should always be measured in how many fatigue potions you are losing as a result. Money should never be 'saved' - at least, not until all 9 Fatigue Potions have been bought from the shop. Because normally the heroes start clumped together and need to quickly spread out to cover spawn points and assault the first area, most of the time every single hero is going to drink a fatigue potion on the very first turn of the game. And if you only start with one, that means you're going to be out by the game's second turn. You definitely want to start with as many fatigue potions as you can to avoid this.

1-b) Fatigue, not Healing: It bears saying that Fatigue potions are far, far superior to Healing potions in the vast majority of circumstances. If, for example, you could consume a Fatigue potion every turn, then you are essentially increasing your Hero's action-output by 50% (since most Heroes have a fatigue score similar to their speed). This additional ovement lets you activate glyphs, advance quickly and kill monsters before they can strike back, and reach critical anti-spawn positions to cover Line of Sight. Healing, on the other hand, restores a measly 3 wounds after the fact (in our group, we play that Healing restores 4 wounds, and even so they are still far inferior to Fatigue potions). Therefore, in general, focus on fatigue potions, particularly with your starting money, when nobody is yet injured. The best use of healing potions is when a Hero needs to reach a mission-critical objective and is afraid of being trapped to death by the Overlord. In these circumstances, having one healing potion in reserve can serve as a buffer against the Overlord's plans.

2) Beastmen: A second key consideration is: how tough are Beastmen? Any hero who can't reliably kill a Beastman or anything weaker in one swing isn't going to do a lot of good attacking. Not every hero needs to be able to take out an ogre in one swing, but spending two swings on a Beastman is just unacceptable. Not only that, but there are just so many monsters that have the same general toughness as Beastmen. Skeletons might be weak, but each spawn comes with a Master who has the exact same toughness as a Beastman, which means if you have Readied a Guard against Skeletons, the Master can come first and take off your guard before his cronies come into range. So, if the hero is going to be attacking at all (which may not always be the case, but we'll come to that!) you must ensure that the hero can reliably defeat a Beastman in one blow. Note that monsters increase in toughness as the number of heroes increases, so equipment that might be sufficient in a 3-Hero game may no longer cut it with 4.

3) Multiple Attack Types: For Descent beginners, it seems tempting to have melee characters carry some kind of ranged weapon as a 'backup,' particularly if the melee character has maybe 1 trait in ranged or magic attacks. This is in fact almost always a bad idea, mainly because it violates points 1 and 2 above. Weapons are expensive; in vanilla JitD, every non-melee weapon will cost you at least TWO fatigue potions. Furthermore, without skills that boost the effectiveness of a weapon type, heroes are generally unable to take out Beastman-level creatures, and if you can't do that, then what's the point?

4) Skills, not Traits: Another common pitfall of Descent outfitting is to automatically assume a hero will be using the attack type in which they have the highest trait (black power dice). While it's true that a super-focused character with 3 traits in one attack type should probably use them, characters that are split 2/1 should not always use the higher trait off the bat. In reality, a hero's skill draw is far more important than their traits. A Spiritspeaker Mok with Weapon Master, Wild Talent and Boggs the Rat should not use a Magic weapon just because he has 2 traits in magic and his artwork looks like a spellcaster; he should use an Axe. The 'balanced' 1-1-1 characters (which of the original set, comprise only Red Scorpion and Lyssa) should usually favor melee weapons, all else being equal, because melee weapons do the most damage, are the cheapest and can most readily get you to Beastman-killing level. Ranged weapons will have trouble satisfying point 2 above, and magic weapons are too expensive, conflicting with point 1.

5) Party Composition and Planning: Finally, characters cannot be equipped in isolation; the composition of the entire party needs to be considered. This is important both for rationing items of limited stock (most notably the ever-valuable chainmail), but also for planning ahead for treasure draws. Bad players complain about their luck; good players make their own. You need to plan so that nearly any treasure draw can be useful to the party.

Now with some guiding principles laid down, it's time to delve into the specifics of different equipment.

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Armor

Selecting a character's armor is usually the easiest choice, largely because in JitD there are only 2 options. However, it is still possible to make a mistake, and since armor is so important, this can have a big impact on your game.

Leather Armor: This is the fallback choice for any hero. Except in the rarest circumstances, no hero should really consider going about unarmored. Therefore, there's not much to say about leather armor; the main decision is whether to take chain, and if you don't, then you take leather.

Chainmail: The +2 armor offered by chainmail opposed to leather's +1 is a significant benefit. The drawbacks are that your speed is limited to 4, and you can't use runes. If you were already slow and didn't plan to use runes to begin with, then chainmail is definitely the way to go. However, a third drawback is that there are only TWO suits of chainmail, and sometimes, you will get a party where everyone could actually wear it without penalty. In such cases, it's usually better to go with the perhaps unintuitive choice of making the toughest characters even tougher, rather than trying to even everyone out. This is so that you have tough tank-characters to stand in the most dangerous spots and protect the rest of the party from spawns. Another difficult choice is when many of the characters have Speed 5; in these instances, characters who drew fighting-heavy skills should strongly consider taking the chainmail even though it slows them down. On the other hand, if the character drew running-heavy skills (Swift, Acrobat, Telekinesis, etc...), it is probably better to stick with Leather and keep your speed at its maximum.


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Weapons

Axe: The axe can, in my opinion, almost be described as a staple weapon in Descent. It is a strong opening choice for a large number of characters and skill draws. It does the most damage of any starting weapon combination, and gets better the more Melee Traits the character has. Even with just 1 Trait, however, the axe is sufficient to take out beastmen in a single blow. Furthermore, the axe is pretty much the only shop weapon which, in the face of a bad treasure draw, can really last the entire game if it needs to.

The axe's major drawback is its lack of versatility in the face of treasure. If your first treasure draw is a Crystal shield, well, you can't really use it with your 2-handed axe. Similarly, the Bone Blade copper sword does precisely the same damage as an axe, but lets you use something in your off-hand - something which, if you started with the axe, you don't have. Furthermore, against creatures in the opening area, the extra damage of the axe is largely going to be overkill.

Therefore, you should strongly consider the axe if: the treasure on the map is sparse and/or long in coming; there is a tough-to-kill creature early in the map; there are other characters who could make use of a shield if you draw one; your skills are attack-gaining skills (cleaving, knight, etc...) rather than damage-boosting skills (particularly mighty).

Sword+Shield: The sword costs only 75 gold, and the only items that cost 25 are the shield and the dagger; therefore, if you buy the sword, you will always buy one of those two along with it, because you don't lose a fatigue potion in doing so. The sword and shield combo is the main alternative to the axe; it sacrifices hitting power for some extra defense and increased treasure versatility. You should consider going sword+shield particularly if you are Mighty and therefore don't need the extra damage, if you are ambidexterous and therefore get excellent use out of a shield, if you anticipate early and abundant copper treasure, or if the other melee character in your party is using an axe.

Sword+Dagger: Sword+Dagger is certainly the least common of the principle Melee-variations, but it should not be discarded out of hand. In particular, if the hero rolls only a single black die with melee weapons, then this combo does very nearly as much damage as the axe, and gives you greater treasure versatility. Particularly in 4-Hero games where the monsters are at their toughest, sword+shield may well not do enough damage to take out Beastmen, and so for a 1-Melee-trait character, this is probably the equipment of choice. Ambidexterity makes this choice slightly more attractive, although generally I think ambidexterity is better used with a shield.

Dagger+Shield: This is a bit of a risky opening, but it is still sometimes viable. The main advantage of the Dagger+Shield choice is that you save 50 gold, allowing you to buy another Fatigue potion off the bat (not an option to be scoffed at). However, the dagger will not cut it as a weapon for very long, so you are really banking on some early treasure with this opening. You should consider this choice mainly if you are Mighty and can therefore easily take out Beastmen with just a dagger, and if you know there is treasure available very early in the map, possibly the first turn. Map 5 of JitD is a prime example of where this is sometimes an option.

Sword+Sword: This isn't really a viable choice. For every melee weapon BUT the shop sword, the dagger is as good or better an off-hand weapon so you don't gain any versatility with this choice, and for pure damage the axe is still better. Given that this costs you 150 gold and therefore a fatigue potion, I can't see any circumstance where it's worth it.

Dagger+Dagger: Again, not a real choice in my opinion, I include it for completeness. This combo just seems to be less versatile than the Dagger+Shield combo, which was already risky to begin with.

Shield+Shield: Ahhh...now contrary to what you might think, this is a VERY viable starting choice! First of all, yes, it is completely legal, nothing in the rules prevents you from using 2 shield. Secondly, it is as cheap as dagger+shield above, which really lets you buy a lot of fatigue potions. And thirdly, remember that not every character actually needs to attack at all. For a fast character who draws nothing but running-related skills, attacking is generally extremely inefficient, at least with shop weapons. Without a single attack-boosting skill and particularly with split traits, Shield+Shield is definitely something to consider.

Bow: First of all, I will assume you are using the 'updated' Bow stats, with Pierce 1. Without it, the Bow is a very weak choice indeed. Even with it, the Bow is still quite weak. It's not at all uncommon to roll no damage at all on Blue+Yellow dice. Furthermore, the 'cheap' price of 75 gold actually isn't as cheap as it appears, because there's very little to do with the extra 25 gold. There is, however, one thing you can do with it, and that is to buy a shield for an ally who started with a crossbow. In fact, a shield is probably still a useful buy even for yourself, as you can equip it on turns when you're only running. Finally, there are very few Subterfuge skills that add a straight bonus to damage, which is what the bow really needs. The closest is Master Archer, but with 3 surges for a damage, even that doesn't go very far. Indeed, the bow's only strong point is its excellent range, but range without damage isn't much good at all. Therefore, the only real times to consider the bow are when you can overcome the damage deficiency. This is best done by simply being the character Bogran the Shadow, for whom the extra range makes it very easy to use his damage-boosting special ability, or Laurel of Bloodwood who can convert surplus range to damage when need be. You should also consider the bow in 2-Hero games, where the monsters have the same armor but reduced health. Otherwise, give the bow a pass.

Crossbow: For most ranged characters, the crossbow is the only viable weapon choice (with the best alternative usually being not the bow, but double shield). However, while the crossbow will normally be enough to give your hero the necessary hitting power, its range is in fact quite abysmal, which is a major drawback for a 'ranged' weapon. The main impetus for selecting the crossbow is if you draw range-boosting skills, such as Marksman or Inner Fire, which allow you to deal decent damage considerably farther than melee distance. Because the crossbow is one-handed, it is tempting to pair it with a shield; however, most of the time, this is a mistake!! This is because the crossbow's price is 150 gold; a shield costs only 25, but this still effectively denies you a fatigue potion. If you consider the benefits of a shield, it will save you at most 3 wounds over the first 3 turns (and possibly less if you don't get attacked). This sounds an awful lot like a Healing potion, and a Fatigue potion is much better than a healing potion. Therefore, the crossbow being one-handed should NOT cause you to buy a shield; rather, it is cause for the melee character to buy an axe, because if you find a shield in the treasure draw, there is already someone who can make good use of it. You should therefore never buy a shield yourself when you buy a crossbow, but it's possible that someone who bought a bow, a walking stick, or the Sunburst rune can buy one for you. Therefore, take the crossbow if you have ranged-combat skills and some ranged traits; otherwise, consider double shield or even no weapon at all.

Mage Staff: Somewhat analogous to the bow, this is the magic-user's cheaper, higher range but lower damage option. However, the mage staff has some advantages not posssessed by the bow; mainly, it allows the magic user to wear chainmail, whereas its alternative, the immolation rune, does not. Furthermore, numerous mages have significant damage boosting abilities, and the Spellcasting skills contain more direct damage-boosters than the Subterfuge deck. In general, Mad Carthos, Landrec the Wise and Andira Runehand should strongly consider the mage staff, as not only will they usually do enough damage anyway, but they are all slow enough that they can use chainmail with no speed penalty. A more subtle consideration, however, is considering who will use any runes that the party finds. If the party has 2 mages, and one is going to take leather armor, then the other can safely take chain and the mage staff. If there is only one mage, on the other hand, he will probably need to take leather so that he can use runes later in the game. This weakens the mage staff considerably, although particularly for Mad Carthos, it may still be an option nonetheless simply for the reduced price.

Immolation Rune: As the most expensive weapon in the game (200 gold), this is not an item to be purchased lightly. However, most magic-users suffer from the problem of not being terribly fast, which means being a 'runner' and going with double shield isn't often a great option for them (the exception to this is Runewitch Astarra, which is one of the reasons she is such a powerful character). A big mistake is taking the immolation rune instead of the axe for characters with 2 magic traits and 1 melee trait, such as Mok or Battlemage Jaes. Immolation is powerful enough, but the axe is significantly stronger, and without range-boosters, immolation's range is even worse than the crossbow's - so if you're going to be attacking at point-blank anyway, why not take the axe and get 2 fatigue potions out of the deal? You should mainly consider the immolation rune if you have some combination of range-boosting skills, such as Inner Fire or Blessing, and perhaps Quick Casting.


Ghost Armor: This one's kind of an oddity, as it is neither a weapon nor an armor in spite of the name. Most importantly, however, it costs 150 gold, which in my opinion makes it too much to consider as an initial buy. This is one that you might consider a little later when you have more money, not as an initial equipment choice.


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Well of Darkness Equipment

From what I've gathered, most people think the Overlord got the bulk of the power increase in the Well of Darkness. This may be true, but I think that the new shop equipment is not to be underestimated; it is a substantial increase in the heroes' opening strategic options. I will list it now in a rough order of significance in terms of changes to strategy.

Sunburst: The ability to START the game with the power of blast on their side is an enormous upgrade for the heroes. Requiring 3 surges to trigger the blast, it is unreliable at best most of the time; but simply having it as an option puts great pressure on the Overlord and his monster placement. What's more, Sunburst has very few drawbacks compared with immolation. Curiously, it even has a damage bonus with surges, something no other blast rune has, and it only requires 1 more surge to trigger than immolation's. It is cheaper as well, not significantly, but enough for you to buy a shield for a crossbow-wielding ally, or just to carry for those turns when you're not attacking. The only thing you give up is the ability to convert surges to range, but given that a successful blast effectively extends your range by 1 anyway, this seems a moot point. In fact, I would say that with Sunburst as an option, there is very little reason for any hero to select immolation. With either Landrec the Wise, or any mage with the Prodigy skill, taking it is a certainty. Otherwise, most of the same factors as the mage staff/immolation dilemma apply.

Sling: The sling is an excellent option for ranged characters; I dare say that it is fact their staple weapon. Its main benefit over the crossbow is its reduced price, which means an extra fatigue potion. Since I consider Crossbow+shield a poor choice, the fact that the sling is 2-handed is of little issue, and is in fact an advantage if you draw the Born to the Bow skill. The bow-style surges are the only real annoyance, particularly if you draw Master Archer. Still, for most ranged characters who actually want to do some damage, the sling is the way to go. I would consider taking the crossbow over the sling mainly if you have Master Archer, and/or no other character is in a good position to use a shield should one be found in an early treasure.

Walking Stick: Unlike the sling, the walking stick is certainly no replacement for the staple melee weapon of the axe. Nevertheless, it is a powerful option in the right circumstances. The reduced price over the axe allows you to take a shield in case your copper treasure is the Bone Blade or another one-handed weapon or to pass to a crossbow-wielding ally, but more importantly Reach is a great ability. With axe-style 1 surge = 1 damage, it's particularly good for Heroes who roll a lot of black dice, or who have Weapon Mastery. The most compelling reason to consider the Walking Stick, however, is if you draw the Cleaving skill. Reach combined with cleaving increases your options immensely. Mighty and/or Weapon Master also encourage the Stick; combine either of these with Cleaving, and you've got a done deal. Steelhorns in particular loves the Walking Stick, as he rolls 3 black dice, and it makes his charging attack ability significantly easier to use. The only problem is that it's a little strange imagining a giant bull-man running around with a sophisticated cane rather than the axe he has in his artwork. Lord Hawthorne, on the other hand, should of course not give this a second glance.

Tunic: With +0 armor and cancelling only 1/6th of all wounds, the tunic is a pretty weak option. However, it does have one specific purpose, and that is that it works against traps, something no other shop armor does. As best I can see, the best way to use it is to put it on an 8-Wound, 5-speed runner who doesn't plan to do a lot of fighting. The reason this is useful is because against an 8-wound hero, a pair of Spiked Pits with Trapmaster in play is an instant kill; with the tunic, however, it is extremely likely that the 2 pits are no longer enough (10 black dice to roll a blank). Still, this isn't an item that should see a lot of action; keep it in mind only in the instance just described.

Blinding Light: I've always had trouble finding a great use for the Stunning weapons. The main advantage over Sunburst is that it gets you a Fatigue Potion, but so does the Mage Staff. There is one specific instance, however, in which Blinding Light may be the right choice; if you want the extra Fatigue Potion, but want to take Leather Armor anyway to preserve your magic-user's speed and keep your options open for using Runes later in the quest. In this case, there is no reason not to take Blinding Light over the Mage Staff. Otherwise, give it a pass.

Throwing Knives: I have yet to find a place for the Throwing Knives. Priced at 50 gold, they suffer from the same issue as the crossbow in that the fact they give you a free hand doesn't really matter. They do give you a fatigue potion over the bow, but the bow is already quite a weak option. Since they do get Crossbow-style surges, they might work in the hands of Laurel of Bloodwood with the Master Archer skill, or maybe Bogran the Shadow, but beyond that I don't see much general-purpose use.

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Altar of Despair/Tomb of Ice

Wizard's Robe: This is an extremely strong option for mages, and especially so if you own the Well of Darkness, which puts the Sunburst rune into the game. The 75 GP cost pairs perfectly with the Sunburst's 175. Keeping melee creatures off the backs of your mages shouldn't be very difficult in most cases; it is much more important to reduce the damage your mages take from speedy skeletons. A 12-0 mage in leather armor can be killed with reasonable probability by a single Skeleton patrol spawn card; with this, the kill becomes extremely unlikely.

Ring of Protection: Extremely overpowered in Road to Legend/Sea of Blood, far too expensive to even consider as an opening buy in a normal quest. Definitely pick it up the first time you have a spare 250 coins though.

Morning Star: In my opinion, this weapon was an over-reaction on the designer's part to people thinking that dual-wielding was worthless. That said, I'm still not sure I would take it as starting equipment in most quests. The Axe is just such a good weapon that it doesn't seem worth giving up a fatigue potion in order to NOT take an Axe. It only really shines if you find the Bone Blade (or maybe Shadow blade) in a copper chest, and by the time you add Tomb of Ice, you probably already have all the other expansions and your treasure decks are getting quite bloated. I would probably recommend waiting on this one and spending 100 coins to pick it up along with a shield later in the game IF you find a one-handed sword.

Hammer: In my opinion, the introduction of this simple item to the store might be stronger than all the feats in Tomb of Ice put together. The key to unlocking this weapon's true power though is in realizing that it is NOT a replacement for the Axe in ANY way; rather, it is a replacement for double-shield! This weapon is great in the hands of that fast support character who can't kill anything no matter what weapon you give him. Now, he doesn't NEED to kill that undying skeleton that's blocking the glyph, he just knocks it out of the way. Also, much of the time, you should be attacking the other Heroes with this weapon as well to give them extra movement (although this is more true in Road to Legend/Sea of Blood than the regular game). The flexibility that this weapon offers makes it an absolute bargain for a mere 100 coins.

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Jens Kreutzer
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Very insightful. Great article!
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Tokelau
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Excellent post. Most of your evaluation makes sense. I am still up in the air about the stun effect. It seemed to work well for the heroes the one time they used it.

Looking forward to a review of the altar of despair equipment.
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Andrew Colvin
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Some good points, especially on the subject of extra money being useful for potions and the general superiority of melee weapons even for the likes of Mok and Red Scorpion.

A couple of thoughts:

Tunic: These are more useful than you give them credit for in the case of heroes with armour 0. Leather armour does not give any protection to such heroes against anything with pierce including ALL ranged monsters.

On average, a tunic will give the same protecion as leather armour (-1 wounds) to an armour 0 character against any monster which averages 6 damage and should be better than leather if the damage caused is greater than 6. This includes normal Beastmen and Sorcerers, all high level monsters and most masters. In fact the only monsters against which leather is likely to be superior are Kobalds, Razorwings, normal Spiders and normal Ferrox.

When you add in the, admittedly minor, protection against traps, aura and lingering effects like burn etc, they're not so bad. But only for Armour 0 characters.

Throwing knives:
Yes, they are fairly pointless, but consider a melee character with a ranged trait and skills, such as One-fist or Corbin. They might find some kind of ranged weapon useful (and they have very good range) against skeletons and spiders which they can't reach, especially if they've been webbed by one, and especially if their skills give them ranged bonuses. Whether they're better than another potion is another question given that they might not even kill anything, but they might be.

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Casey Rogers
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Nice analysis! Might cause me to think a little harder than the usual item selections I take.
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M P
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The_Immortal wrote:
The process of selecting the initial equipment for a team of heroes is more complex than I would have given it credit at first glance. In this article, I will endeavor to lay out some guiding principles for outfitting a party, along with the pros and cons of specific equipment choices.


Fantastic overview Immortal. I'd never considered two Shields. Myself and probably others would really like to hear your opinion on the the AoD gear as well.


~J

P.S. Where in SK are you located?
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Casey Rogers
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Well, AoD doesn't really have a whole lot of store goods. What is it? 2? There's a ring of protection which if memory serves me correctly costs 300 gold (or is it 200 or 250? something high anyways) and a robe that gives +0 on melee but +1 on magic or ranged and lets you equip extra Other items. I would say the robe defintely increases your chance of being able to use more Other items. I don't remember how much it costs though.
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Andrew Colvin
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Ring of Protection x1: 250 (other: +1 Armour)
Curse Doll x 2: 250 (other: discard at start of turn to remove 3 lingering effects)

Since this thread is for starting equipment, I think the first two can be ruled out.

Wizard's Robe x 2: 75

Armour.
+0 against melee attacks
+2 against ranged and magic attacks.
You may also equip one extra Other item.


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Casey Rogers
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Thanks for the actual stats.
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What a great post! THanks for this, I learned a lot. laugh
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Jeff Long
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I have made some edits to my initial post concerning some new insights. Most notably, I felt it necessary to state how Fatigue potions are better than Healing potions, and how the reduced price on the '25-increment' weapons (Bow, Walking Stick, Sunburst) is in fact more useful than I originally thought, mainly in that it lets you take a shield anyway to either pass off to another character (say one with a crossbow) or to increase your own treasure versatility, or simply to equip while running.

Concerning Mr. Badger's comments on the Throwing Knives...I remain convinced that 'backup weapons' are still poor. Basically, if characters like One-Fist can do enough damage with Throwing Knives to take out Beastmen-level creatures, I think he should take the knives as his ONLY weapon; if he can't, I don't think they're of any use, or at least, less useful than a fatigue potion. It's possible, though, that there are specific scenarios where you have a plan for the opening room that could make knocking a specific kobold or skeleton out of the way with a knife important, depending on your character and skill permutation (WoD Quest 4: A Small Problem, which we played last night, could be a good example of this). But I think this will be rare.

As to Mr. Jake, in fact I am at the moment living in Edmonton, AB, most of the time for my studies, but I return to my hometown Saskatoon quite regularly, especially on weekends. If you wanted to play Descent on some such weekend, I'd be most happy to do so.
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Justin Ziegler
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very nice, i'll have to ask my friend to at least try sheild plus sheild, nice idea! however, i disagree with the ghost armor not being a good starter rune, cause i always try to buy it. my buying combination is sword + sheild, leather armor, and ghost armor. this is actually for my tanks, beleive it or not, cause they usually have good fatigue to power ghost armor, and can still use a good weapon. they can actually ignore plate mail, for example, for something like the cloak of mist. reason is, it may not be great at armor, but with ghost armor, you'll almost never take a hit!
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Scott Roberts
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How can you tell if your character can kill a beastman with one blow? What dice combinations are needed for that?
 
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Bryann Turner
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A normal Beastman against a 3 hero team takes 5 damage minimum to kill (assuming you don't have a weapon with Pierce).

The red and green die would, on average, roll 4.333 damage, not accounting for surges. If you had the axe and used 1 surge, an average roll would kill a beastman.

The blue and green die, on average, would roll 3.166 damage, not accounting for surges. A cross bow with a good roll and/or some surges would kill a beastman with a single blow, maybe.

The green and white die, on average, would roll 3.833 damage, not accounting for surges. Immolation with some surges would kill a beastman in a single blow much more consistently than a crossbow, but less than an Axe.


I don't doubt that my math is quick and dirty, so please feel free to correct any/all of it...

EDIT: For clarification, I treated the X as a "0" damage. Please note that all attacks have a 1/6 chance of missing and doing NO damage whatsoever.
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Scott Roberts
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Thanks, Bryan, very helpful!
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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btizo wrote:
EDIT: For clarification, I treated the X as a "0" damage. Please note that all attacks have a 1/6 chance of missing and doing NO damage whatsoever.

Unfortunately, that's not really a useful heuristic. You should either calculate the average damage on a hit (pretending that the X never comes up), or calculate the average damage per swing (which means the X makes the entire attack inflict zero damage, not just the die it was rolled on).

This is also kind of complicated because the results change based on the number of trait dice you have and the number of heroes in the game.

This tool will calculate for you the average number of attacks required to kill a given monster with a given attack. So you can determine, for example, what weapons will allow you to kill a beastman on the first hit with X% reliability.
 
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Bryann Turner
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Portland
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Antistone wrote:
btizo wrote:
EDIT: For clarification, I treated the X as a "0" damage. Please note that all attacks have a 1/6 chance of missing and doing NO damage whatsoever.

Unfortunately, that's not really a useful heuristic. You should either calculate the average damage on a hit (pretending that the X never comes up), or calculate the average damage per swing (which means the X makes the entire attack inflict zero damage, not just the die it was rolled on).

This is also kind of complicated because the results change based on the number of trait dice you have and the number of heroes in the game.

This tool will calculate for you the average number of attacks required to kill a given monster with a given attack. So you can determine, for example, what weapons will allow you to kill a beastman on the first hit with X% reliability.


Yeah, I know that it messes with the numbers a lot, which is why I put my quick and dirty caveat in there... devil

I did forget about that tool, though. Thanks for bringing it up.
 
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Daniel Francis
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The_Immortal wrote:

Therefore, you should strongly consider the axe if: the treasure on the map is sparse and/or long in coming; there is a tough-to-kill creature early in the map


I know this is just nitpicking but for a first time player of a quest this isnt an option.

Great post though will definatly be using your advice in future games and the two shield idea is so hilarious but brilliant!
 
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Andrew Clarke
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Excellent post.
I think you overstate Sunburst slightly (good though it is), because I don't think you appreciate how much easier is to roll 2 surges on white+green+black*3 than it is to roll 3. The chance of 2 (or more) surges is around 70%; that of 3 is only 40%, not much more than half. While I would certainly take Sunburst with Landrec or Prodigy, and I would consider it depending on other skills for any magic character, I think Immolation has its place if you need extra damage.
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we are always buying a ring of protection at the start.. maybe its a failure but +1 armor is helping out in the long run
 
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Andrew Clarke
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Ring of Protection as a starting buy makes pretty much no sense.

If your goal is to get the highest armour possible, sacrificing all weapon-capability, you're better off buying Chain+Shield+Sheild (2 armour+2 shield) than buying RoP plus Leather (2 armour), which is all you can afford. The former also gives you spare cash for Fatigue potions. Granted, it reduces your speed by 1, but the extra Fatigue potions and massively increased protection more than make up for that. Even Leather+Shield+Shield is arguably better than Leather+RoP, *and* it's *much* cheaper.

If you actually want to afford weapons, it's even more clear-cut. If you buy a weapon, RoP is basically strictly worse than leather armour, because you can't afford both.
 
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ofc you can. we dont sacrifice weapon capabilitys nor armor. however the group is lacking fatigue potions then. may be a bad deal in the end but is currently working out.

1.) axe, immolation
2.) rop, leather
3.) crossbow, chainmail, fatigue
4.) axe, chainmail, fatigue, leather

ofc depending on skills. maybe a bow or staff would be better..
 
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Andrew Clarke
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I still think leather plus two shields is a better buy. That leaves you plenty of money for fatigue potions and gives you almost as good (and in some cases better) protection. Assuming your weaponless hero is a Runner, which seems obvious because if they have no weapon that's all they're good for, fatigue potions would seem to be critical.

But you have admittedly presented a situation where RoP is arguably correct, in the sense that nothing else would be obviously better in *all* circumstances.
 
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Doug File
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Our runner often starts with Leather + Ghost Armor + Shield + Shield + Fatigue....

 
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Simon Auger
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Manningtree
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Yes, I've done that one too, even better if you draw Swift and the skill that gives you 2 extra fatigue (sorry, forgotten its name) - max range of 25 squares (assuming Speed 5 and Fatigue 4).
 
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