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Subject: The Enduring Evil - Descent, Rebalanced rss

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Jeremy Lennert
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Well, I've been promising it for a long time, and it's finally ready...

The Enduring Evil is a rebalancing of Descent: Journeys in the Dark featuring improved player scaling (2-5 heroes), tougher monsters, 10 original quests and over 300 print-and-play cards. It is designed to take advantage of components from the Well of Darkness, Altar of Despair, and Tomb of Ice expansions, but you can play the first quest with only the base game components and the new cards.

Want to play with two heroes (or five) without the game breaking? Want to see monsters that don't all die before they get a turn? Want ranged weapons that keep up with melee and magic ones? Area weapons that don't quadruple a hero's effectiveness? Skill cards that look like someone actually tried to balance them?

The Enduring Evil has entirely new item, skill, and overlord decks, as well as new monster stats.

You can get it now!
(or from the Geek)
(formatted to fit on A4 paper)

You can also get preliminary versions of some "Short Quests", including several that are playable without any expansions.


Please let me know if you have any questions or problems using The Enduring Evil, if you discover any errors, or if I can make it available in a more convenient format.
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Mark Thomas
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I know you have worked on this for a long time. Congratulations on finally getting it out there! I've downloaded it and will take a look.
 
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Peter Folke
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Even though I don't think I'll want to play this variant, I'll definitely check it out.

Congratulations on finishing your mod. Everybody who has seen your endurance calculator (which I guess is only a small part of the project)will know that quite a lot of work went into this.
 
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Nick Short
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This looks like a really interesting rebalance. I'm looking forward to trying this out, if I can find another group willing to play more Descent.
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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Falke wrote:
your endurance calculator (which I guess is only a small part of the project)

A small part if you're taking about creating the spreadsheet itself; a substantial part if you count the time spent using it to analyze one possible stat block after another for each weapon, armor, and monster in the game until I liked the results.

But yes, I have a giant spreadsheet that calculates the effectiveness of every weapon in the game against every monster in the game at every game size. Including around 100 rows dedicated purely to the Unknowable (gold morph weapon) attacking with various dice combinations at various distances. It takes hours to do a complete recalc.

And a second giant spreadsheet that calculates the effectiveness of every monster in the game attacking every armor in the game.


FFG isn't allowed to make any more expansions with new monsters--I'm already at the maximum number of columns allowed in an Excel spreadsheet.
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Dale Quimpo
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Daggertooth Shark and Bloodsquid would ruin your day then. :p
 
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Cthulhu Dreams
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Nah, the new version of excel has unlimited cols/rows

 
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Peter Folke
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CthulhuDreams wrote:
Nah, the new version of excel has unlimited cols/rows

Yeah and as we all know you can always convert files from an older format to a newer one without any kind of trouble
 
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Juha Linnanen
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Will take a look - thanks for your efforts. Will you please do the same for Road to Legends!
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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pillar wrote:
Will take a look - thanks for your efforts. Will you please do the same for Road to Legends!

Sorry, I have no plans to do a Road to Legend (or any extended campaign) version of The Enduring Evil.

Someone else is welcome to try if they want. The monsters and spawn cards are already deliberately calibrated to different treasure levels (see scaling.pdf), so you could probably just substitute stronger monsters into higher campaign levels rather than having 3-4 different stat blocks for every monster type.

Some items and skills might break if heroes get mountains of fatigue or if they're doing a smash-and-grab for conquest instead of trying to complete a quest goal, though.
 
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Nite Wolf
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congratulations on getting it out at last. i will check it out and let you know what i'm thinking.
 
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Joe Rickard
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This looks great. Now I just have to print and cut out all those cards.
 
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Paul Newby
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Fantastic job!! I stopped working on the cards for 'Descent Quest' as Gelatinouscube released a great update to his work..

I'll release all the cards for this (pdf format) in the files forum, if thats ok with you?
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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The Enduring Evil is now posted as a BGG file as well.

Feel free to give it lots of thumbs up.
 
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Chris J Davis
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Haven't even got halfway through reading it all yet, but looks amazing. Really what Descent needed. If only the guys at FFG would take notice and see how a fun, thematic game can be both immersive AND balanced! Well done, sir!
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Jeremy Lennert
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I've discovered that I neglected to include definitions for Cold-Immune and Heat-Immune (they're just shorthands for freeze/ice immunity and burn/lava immunity). I didn't even use them on the monster stat cards (I wrote them out instead), but I ran out of space on the reference sheet and had to improvise. I've updated the changes document and reference sheet with the definitions.

I expect it will take a while before interested players actually put together Enduring Evil games, but be sure to post a session report when you do! Also if anyone has read over the cards or quest guide and has any questions or comments, feel free. I'm mildly surprised no one has mentioned the hexes yet.
 
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Corbon Loughnan
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Antistone wrote:
I've discovered that I neglected to include definitions for Cold-Immune and Heat-Immune (they're just shorthands for freeze/ice immunity and burn/lava immunity). I didn't even use them on the monster stat cards (I wrote them out instead), but I ran out of space on the reference sheet and had to improvise. I've updated the changes document and reference sheet with the definitions.

I expect it will take a while before interested players actually put together Enduring Evil games, but be sure to post a session report when you do! Also if anyone has read over the cards or quest guide and has any questions or comments, feel free. I'm mildly surprised no one has mentioned the hexes yet.


I have about half the cards cut and sleeved already, the rest printed off (although I screwed up gluing fronts and backs of a couple of sheets and need to do a few reprints.
Local printshop didn't have 11"x17" paper/card so I had to print on A3. Because of the slight variation in size front and backs didn't match so had to be printed separated, carefully cut to size and then glued together before cutting.
The amount of work involved just in preparing the cards helps one to appreciate, just a little bit, how much has gotten into designing this. Big ups!

I have a EE game day planned on the weekend of 17th Oct (assuming I can get the cards finished). Final day to be confirmed and possibly holding off a week to enable an extra player to get home from holiday. I promise a full session report (though it may take some time to write up).

I have to say, just reading the cards is exciting. I am really looking forward to playing (hopefully we can get the first two quests done).

And the Hexes - way cool! Way way waaaay cool!

Quick question...

The shop items and training cards: Are they supposed to be double sided (different stuff on each side)? That enables flexibility in use, more than when they are the same of both sides, but present a number of minor issues. Particularly, that seems to leave the training cards restricted to 3 total (with a max of two the same)?


 
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Jeremy Lennert
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Yes, the shop items and training cards are intentionally different on the backs than the fronts. That's not as useful as printing them separately with twice as many cards, but it's strictly better than printing the same number of cards and having all the backs match the fronts.

There's extra copies of several cards (including the training) in the second item set, which should give you a total of 6 training cards (max 4 of the same type) if you print both sets. If you (or someone else) want help formatting a custom page of extras, I'm happy to oblige; rearranging the cards on a page is really easy in the original .doc files.

If you're printing the fronts and backs separately and gluing them together, though, you might as well just leave them separate for the shop items (and relics, if you want).
 
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Corbon Loughnan
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Antistone wrote:
Yes, the shop items and training cards are intentionally different on the backs than the fronts. That's not as useful as printing them separately with twice as many cards, but it's strictly better than printing the same number of cards and having all the backs match the fronts.

There's extra copies of several cards (including the training) in the second item set, which should give you a total of 6 training cards (max 4 of the same type) if you print both sets. If you (or someone else) want help formatting a custom page of extras, I'm happy to oblige; rearranging the cards on a page is really easy in the original .doc files.

If you're printing the fronts and backs separately and gluing them together, though, you might as well just leave them separate for the shop items (and relics, if you want).


Cheers.
It might be that the second pdf of items just didn't get printed - I'll have to check it out properly when I get home.

Or I just didn't look through the stuff I haven't trimmed properly!
TV sport does provide useful mental distraction for such mundane tasks, but 4am finishes don't make for the most coherent of checking - for several days worth of recovery time now that wisdom has purportedly replaced youth.
 
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Mykel McCarthy
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If you want I could possibly do some better-looking cards for you.

Two I cooked up, a crappy copper and a grandiose gold:



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Jeremy Lennert
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Those could certainly be nice to have, though it looks like with the approach you're taking, they'll be unusable unless printed in color.

I'd suggest that the green and yellow dice should look more different from each other, and the yellow dice should stand out more from the background. The equip slot (e.g. 1 hand/2 hands) and item type (weapon, shield, rune, etc.) also need to be specified somewhere. You'll also need to find room for substantially more text for many of the cards, which will probably necessitate smaller fonts and/or cutting back on the elaborate borders.

Is that your artwork? It looks nice (not that I'm much of a judge). If it's not yours, though, there could be copyright issues to consider.
 
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Mykel McCarthy
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Yeah, I've got a folder full of equipment images so I just pulled them from that. More than likely they are copyrighted; I forgot I can't use such things outside of my personal gaming group :0 Oh well.
 
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Ian
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I'd also be willing to whip up some new cards for this. Let me know if you want some help with them.

When I make homemade cards, I either aim to make them low-color or black-and-white on colored paper. Works pretty well, and saves on ink.
 
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Corbon Loughnan
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We played a 3 player, 5 hero, game on Sunday. I'll write a full report later but that probably won't happen for maybe up to a month as I have a pretty full schedule coming up and my brief notes alone run to two pages over 19 (IIRC) turns.

The brief report... (and I'll post this to BGG as well If I can find it)

Heroes won the first (proper) quest with two CT left, using their last attack of the round (so a single extra miss would have left a huge horde of major monsters requiring only to kill a single hero with two weakened heroes right in their midst and another weakened hero within easy reach of many...). Further, the last attack used a potion, giving the OL an extra card from a power. If that potion had of been used on any previous attack then the extra card would have given the OL enough threat to play a nasty space trap on that last hero before he moved in and the result would have killed them (as OL I mysteriously asked them to roll the dice just so I would know whether the hero would have died or not, before he attacked).

All players agreed the game was awesome! Much more interesting and varied than Descent, though part of that would be having 5 heroes and having everything new (skills, equipment, OL cards etc).

Facing the much tougher monsters gave the heroes some pause at first but they quickly found that although it took longer timewise to kill the monsters, there was little danger to the heroes during that time and until quite late no hero was in any significant danger of dying. Of course, that partly related to the heroes picked (one player drew 3 and kept 2, the other player drew 5 and kept 3) and skill combo's they got as well.

The game took a loooong time, 7.5 hours, but that was not unexpected. Firstly, it was like a first game of Descent all over again, where everything takes ages because you don't know or remember all of the skills and effects. Secondly we were running 5 heroes with two players, with all new stuff, so it wasn;t a smooth or fast process sorting out everything that could happen. Thirdly, there are a lot more useful option with shop equipment and one player in particular took a very long time sorting out his heroes. Alas, it was time well spent for the most part and his off hand whip (Entrap 2) nicely complemented his Brawler skill (Entrap 3 + other stuff). Fourthly it took a long time to assess the skills drawn, hwo they interacted and which should be discarded out. They wanted to check out the other possible draws too so they were effectively skimming through the entire skill sets, which takes a long time. But since it was a learning exercise for everyone, and an exciting new thing, there was much fun to be had just oohing and aahing over possibilities.
We did find that the game takes a bit longer as well simply because there are more options for interactions and more possibilities for the heroes. I don;t think (after only one playtest that's somewhat dubiously subjective at best) that this was due to having 5 heroes but I think that a lot of the skills are very interactive or have a wide number of possibilities. Fortunately, Mimicry was used almost exclusively to mimic Spiritwalker, which was very nasty for the OL but made for a lot of simplification of possibilities!

We did discover a bunch of nasty combos, some of which I think could probably be addressed with minor changes and may not (or may) have come up during playtesting.
The most significant of those that I can remember now was the new version of Ghost Armour (Ghost Charm?). Although happily dropping the 'armour' name, it has also lost the 'Rune' designation. This, disturbingly, allows it to be used by heavily armoured tanks who can't use runes. That makes it very much more effective, in particular with the Combat skill Exhuberance!!!! Maybe you (Antistone) have looked at this already, but it was really an impossibly good combo, and requires only 1 random draw to achieve. Making Ghost Charm a rune again would at least restrict it's use by the heavy tanks, who are also the most li9kely to draw Exhuberance.

We are also a bit worried about seeing Critical Shot combine with Focus or Wild Talent. Scary! But we didn't see those combos and it is more theoretical fear at the moment (at least focus has an exhaust function, so it can't Aim both attacks).

We also have a new Rule.
All heroes shall carry a Salve whenever possible.



Big thanks Antistone, awesome work.
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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Thanks for posting; I'm glad you enjoyed it. I assume that story is from the "Avarice" quest? How many chests did they open?


Regarding the combos, I did consider the interaction of Critical Shot and Focus, and I don't think it will be much of a problem; I figure that battling with Focus is like aiming without it, except that you spend 1 fatigue for an extra attack (which doesn't benefit from Critical Shot at all)--that's good, but not wildly out of line with other skills.

I didn't consider Critical Shot and Wild Talent; I didn't really intend for them to interact. Critical Shot works specifically on dice that roll surges so that you don't get weird combos with free surges and the like. However, even if you allow them to interact, I don't think it would be overpowered; even with 5 black dice, each comes up as an enhancement about a third of the time (assuming you're using that aim to reroll for surges already), giving you an average of about 3 free surges and some extra range on the final attack due to Wild Talent's conversion (bonus damage cancels with the lost enhancement)--and since it takes a full action to do, rather than a half action, that seems roughly in line with Duelist/Assassin/Prodigy. Again, it's a good combo, but I doubt it's game-breaking.

Exuberance is perhaps the most likely skill to require further revision, because its effectiveness depends so much on interaction with a bunch of other effects (armor, shields, stealth, dodging, blood charms, ghost charms, etc.), which makes it hard to predict. Keep in mind, though, you can always focus your attacks (especially the weaker ones) on the other heroes, or even just not attack with the monsters that are more likely to heal him than hurt him.

I had one game where Brother Glyr drew Exuberance and Taunt. The heroes were all newbies, though (to Descent, not just Enduring Evil), so they lost the intro quest anyway.
 
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