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Subject: Concerned with unkillable avatars rss

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Jacob Massey
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What's the problem?

I was preparing for our first SoB campaign session this coming weekend and I looked at the final avatar battles to help me choose which one to play. Is it just me or did FFG take the criticism that the OL can't win the final battle in RtL and completely reverse it so that the heroes have absolutely no chance now?

A quick summary of each of the avatar battles and why, IMO they are/may be impossible to win.

Captain Bones:

The Danse Macabre (Captain Bones' (CB's) ship) has 113 wounds, any set of cannons that the OL decides upon, the +1 damage and +2 range benefit on the CB Avatar card, and will most likely be able to outmaneuver the heroes' ship since CB rolls two gold, two silver, and a black die for manning any station on the ship, which he can do every turn, and he gets the benefits of an extra raised sail. The heroes might have slightly better trait dice, but CB's ship is obviously better even if the heroes have every possible upgrade for their ship. The wound advantage alone seems to be insurmountable.

I don't even think that Spirit Fog is a major problem, aside from the obvious technical difficulties that it introduces (what if the hero ship is in the way when it comes back onto the map from the other side?). The heroes can anticipate where the ship will come back on and ready guard orders to fire when it does. It does give some extra advantage, though, and any advantage seems like overkill.

So, why not board his ship and kill CB himself? Well, assuming that the OL has gotten 300 conquest, CB will have over 600 wounds and Unstoppable as long as he doesn't leave his organ. Good luck whittling that down before he sinks your unmanned ship. He'll just sit there and play his organ while you slap at him ineffectually, blowing huge holes in the side of your ship until it sinks and you lose.

Master of the Hunt

This seems like it could be the most unbalanced fight ever. If the MotH opens up with a run action, and simply stands in the way, there's nothing that the heroes can really do except be run down by the Wild Hunt and autokilled. If you buy the Helm of Night upgrade, he's Unstoppable and immune to Knockback. If you buy the Sound the Horn upgrade, he comes back with 200 wounds after he's been killed the first time. He can even move through heroes (but they can't move through him), so getting by them to block their progress is trivial.

So, the battle could go like this:
MotH runs, blocking the heroes in with a maximum of seven spaces between them and the Wild Hunt.
The Wild Hunt moves up to four spaces towards the heroes.
The heroes go, every one of them battling desperately to do 600+ damage (and then another 200 afterwards) to the MotH before they are run down.
The MotH simply stands there, yawning.
The Wild Hunt moves again, possibly covering the remaining three spaces and killing all of the heroes in one shot.

Am I missing something here or could that actually happen? If it could, there is no chance whatsoever for the heroes in this fight.

The Count
This is a hard, but potentially winable fight, unlike the first two. If you buy his upgrades, the Count will force heroes to discard skills, become immune to all attacks on the roll of a blank each round, heal himself when he kills a hero, and have diamond master Razorwing henchmen to help him whenever he kills a hero. The fact that it gets worse for the heroes every time he kills one of them leads me to believe that the battle could easily snowball if the Count gets any sort of foothold.

And that doesn't even take into consideration his autokill lightning power for the unlucky hero that is designated to go out on the walkway and ring the bells. Granted, a fast hero could cover the distance in two turns, but that still gives the Count a chance at at least one autokill roll. The chances are not great that he will be successful (no misses or blanks on red, white, blue, and 5 power dice), but it's still another nail in the coffin, so to speak.

Mistress of Serpents
This one could be a pretty even fight, but it's the only battle that seems that way to me. The MoS still has pretty strong regeneration and the potential to paralyze the heroes every round, but nothing jumps out at me as cheap or insurmountable.

For this reason alone, I'd be tempted to take this avatar if I liked Nagas and I wasn't enamored with the idea of Captain Bones.

Summary:
In Road to Legend, I think that I was one of the few Overlords who actually won in the final battle. I was the Sorcerer King, fully powered up except for one or two of the weaker "Any Avatar" upgrades, I got somewhere on the order of 80 conquest in the final dungeon, and I was up against a fairly weak hero party that had only done one Secret Master Training and did not have an ideal weapon/skill kit. I dominated the whole way through the campaign and it still came down to less than twenty wounds.

So, there were a lot of complaints that the final battle was almost impossible for the heroes to lose. Or course, this happens every time there is a new expansion for Descent. One side or the other complains that it is unbalanced. It's the nature of the game, unfortunately. Now, with the most recent expansion, Sea of Blood, I'm jumping on the bandwagon, throwing my hat in the ring, standing on my soapbox and crying foul with all the others.

In Sea of Blood, it seems impossible that the OL could lose the final battle with two of the four avatars, unlikely with the third, and the odds seem to be about even with the last. So, by taking away the heroes' only victory condition, the game becomes a bit futile.

I will continue to play and enjoy the game, but I'm also going to continue to house rule the crap out of it in order to extract maximum enjoyment for me and my hero players, on the fly where necessary.

Agree? Disagree? If you agree and have any suggestions for balancing the final battles, particularly the Captain Bones battle, please post! If you disagree, please suggest a scenario in which the heroes could win any of the above that does not involve the Overlord throwing the game. There is a lot in this game. It's filled with special powers and rules exceptions, so it is entirely possible that I'm overlooking something that could swing the game in the complete opposite direction.

Thanks for reading.
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Erik Honn
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Hm, they are a lot harder than in RtL for sure, but I am not so sure about the whole unbeatable thing.

Bones
This fight will probably depend a lot on if you allow the characters to use skills with cannons or not. You can do it if you go by RAW, but I am not sure thats how they intended it. If the characters can use skills they will do far to much damage for the Captain to keep up. If not, the smart group will have concentrated on dice uppgrades and will do more damage that way. Is it enough? I have no idea.

Master of the Hunt
As far as I understand it the heroes start standing in a square just otside the door, meaning they block the path of compleatly. The Master of the Hunt cant get in front of them unless they leave an opening, in which case they deserve what they get

The Count
The random instand death is stupid and boring, but I don't think it will help him much. Beat him down really low, someone runs out and rings the last bells and then you kill him. The amount of damage a well equiped party can do at the end is astounding. This will of course depend a lot on the conquest (as it should).

Mistress
Hard but fair I would say.

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Jacob Massey
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Honn wrote:

Bones
This fight will probably depend a lot on if you allow the characters to use skills with cannons or not. You can do it if you go by RAW, but I am not sure thats how they intended it. If the characters can use skills they will do far to much damage for the Captain to keep up. If not, the smart group will have concentrated on dice uppgrades and will do more damage that way. Is it enough? I have no idea.


Good point about the skills. I haven't had a chance to look through the skill decks yet. I'll have to do that tonight. I hope that it evens out. If so, I think I've chosen my avatar. Thanks!

Honn wrote:

Master of the Hunt
As far as I understand it the heroes start standing in a square just otside the door, meaning they block the path of compleatly. The Master of the Hunt cant get in front of them unless they leave an opening, in which case they deserve what they get


It says that the heroes are placed in squares adjacent to the door, which to me means lined up along the edge of the corridor, adjacent to the door. This point is rendered moot, however, by the additional rule in the dungeon level description that says the MotH can move through heroes. It never says that they can move through him.

Honn wrote:

The Count
The random instand death is stupid and boring, but I don't think it will help him much. Beat him down really low, someone runs out and rings the last bells and then you kill him. The amount of damage a well equiped party can do at the end is astounding. This will of course depend a lot on the conquest (as it should).

Mistress
Hard but fair I would say.


Agreed on both. The Count is definitely tough, the Mistress a bit less so.
 
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Erik Honn
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Huh, I missed that the Master of the Hunt could run through heroes. That gives the heroes around 3 turns to attack before they die, and with some uppgrades he should have about 900 hp or so. So 300hp a turn. That doesn't really sound doable no...

Unfortunatly my impression of SoB so far is that its very sloppy. Yes with this many expantions there are bound to be some misstakes, but in places it seems they havn't even done the most basic kinds of playtesting
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Josiah Leis
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I spent 100 GG and all I got was this stupid overtext.....
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I agree with Erik that the Captain Bones fight is pretty winnable for the heroes, since their ranged\magic skills with affect their cannons. On a side note, I'm sure if he comes through the fog he'll just push the heroes ship along (just like the rules say when two ships collide side by side). Also, I think one of Bones' biggest weaknesses is his cannons overheating. I think that's why they put in Spirit Fog really, so he could switch which side of his ship he was firing, if he tries to press his luck, he risks damaging his own ship and permanently losing a cannon. The heroes OTOH can Aim their cannons, thus firing them even while overheated and not really risk destroying them. Even though Avatars can take Ready actions and aim, he can't do it while playing the organ. I think this fight is winnable if the heroes have upgraded their ship appropriately, but it may only be fair to warn them that the final battle is a sea fight (which they may guess anyway).

The Master of the Hunt's fight seems broken to me, and will probably be errata-ed to say that the heroes can move through the Count, that is all that I can imagine, but then that makes the fight kinda un-special in a way. I don't know, maybe there's something I'm missing here, but that does seem kinda broken and odd.

The Count and The Mistress both seem pretty balanced, either side stands a good chance of winning depending on conquest\upgrades that they've gotten (as it should be).
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Jacob Massey
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Another thing to note is that, even if FFG erratas the MotH fight and allows heroes to move through the avatar, he still has Aura. And a lot of it. I'm not sure what the Aura of a Diamond Master Hellhound is (still don't have the game in front of me), but I believe his is equal to that +1 for an upgrade card. So the heroes are going to be taking a LOT of damage moving through him. Still probably a broken fight.
 
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Erik Honn
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He can get aura 5, so if he positions himself correctly that would be 20 damage to run clear past him. You probably only need to do that 2 times or so as the hunt is not that fast, but its still a lot of damage considering the heroes will probably have something around 100 if the campaign has been even.

Hard to know just what the characters can do in gold with all the new skills, but if almost half their lives goes to just his aura its not hard to imagine him being a tad overpowered

I'll stick to the Mistress. A nice last level, some interesting abilities and boatloads of trechery.
 
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Josiah Leis
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I spent 100 GG and all I got was this stupid overtext.....
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Just fyi, the Master of the Hunt has been FAQed so heroes can move through him. Also, how can the MoTH position himself so the heroes take 20 damage moving through him? Even with Aura rank 5 he would still only deal 10 damage since they only take damage stepping next to him, not when they go through him.
 
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