never enough time
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Hello all,

A few of us are just about to start a new SOB campaign, and as we're going to be committing quite a few hours to this, it seems sensible to do a bit of homework first and try to make sure it will start out (and stay!) as balanced as possible for the campaign.

Reading through the forums, it sounds like balance issues are a bit of a nightmare for SOB. So I'd appreciate some tips, for both OL and heroes play.

What is the best hero team 'split' to start out with? is 2 melee characters a bit heavy given the larger 'open' spaces and sea encounters? would we have a more fun & balanced experience with 2 ranged or 2 magic characters in the mix?

It sounds like some characters (e.g. Tobin) are essentially 'broken' for this campaign. Are there any other characters we should avoid, starting skills to avoid (is swim as a starting skill too powerful?), or indeed for the OL any avatar or starting avatar abilities we should restrict?

For the OL, which has proven to be the most 'fun' avatar/lt/plot combo to play, in terms of having flexibility and options to 'reign in' the heroes, without necessarily out-and-out crushing them? Are any plot cards (for the OL) or rumour cards (for the heroes) a bit awry and worth removing from the deck up-front?

We're already planning to remove feat cards to tone down some of the worse offences you can get when a hero party plays every feat in their hands and wipes out leaders without them even getting a turn; good call for SOB dungeons?

Is Gafford a good starting-point, or would we be better to house-rule and start somewhere else; we'd thought about Garnott, for the sake of having more starting options; good or bad call?

Are there particular elements of the game the OL needs to essentially GM, and when is it safe for the OL to just let rip and have fun smashing up the heroes without fear of wrecking the campaign balance? similarly, are there any points when the heroes need to hold back to keep the game enjoyable for the OL and give him a good chance of notching up some conquest?

basically we all want to enjoy this game right the way through on both sides, and don't mind GM-ing a bit if it makes for a more enjoyable game, but it would be much nicer to house-rule up-front to address balance so we don't have to worry about GM these details later... hence the benefit of other players' experience would be very helpful!

final question - anyone know when the updated 'official' FAQ is due out from FFG?

Thanks!
 
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Corbon Loughnan
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neverenoughtime wrote:
Hello all,

A few of us are just about to start a new SOB campaign, and as we're going to be committing quite a few hours to this, it seems sensible to do a bit of homework first and try to make sure it will start out (and stay!) as balanced as possible for the campaign.


Congratulations, you already acted on my first advice to most Advanced Campaign players.

Quote:
Reading through the forums, it sounds like balance issues are a bit of a nightmare for SOB. So I'd appreciate some tips, for both OL and heroes play.

What is the best hero team 'split' to start out with? is 2 melee characters a bit heavy given the larger 'open' spaces and sea encounters? would we have a more fun & balanced experience with 2 ranged or 2 magic characters in the mix?


2 melee heroes is, as you already perhaps concluded, very foolish.
I melee, 1 ranged, 1 magic is pretty important. The fourth is generally best as a multiskilled hero - usually primarily a runner but preferably with another string to its bow as a mage or ranged hero - eg Astarra or Silhouette, or a 'tough-runner' mage eg Jaes.

Quote:
It sounds like some characters (e.g. Tobin) are essentially 'broken' for this campaign. Are there any other characters we should avoid, starting skills to avoid (is swim as a starting skill too powerful?), or indeed for the OL any avatar or starting avatar abilities we should restrict?


There are a bunch of pretty rubbish skills actually, but they've been covered elsewhere. In general, keeping it as simple as "go for damage boosting skills (and/or Koll's Mark on the right hero)" for a start.

Quote:
For the OL, which has proven to be the most 'fun' avatar/lt/plot combo to play, in terms of having flexibility and options to 'reign in' the heroes, without necessarily out-and-out crushing them? Are any plot cards (for the OL) or rumour cards (for the heroes) a bit awry and worth removing from the deck up-front?


Hard to say. If you want to self-limit, just restrict to one Lt in copper.

Quote:
We're already planning to remove feat cards to tone down some of the worse offences you can get when a hero party plays every feat in their hands and wipes out leaders without them even getting a turn; good call for SOB dungeons?


I'd advise against this. Feats are important for the heroes who need all the help they can get - most of the best ones should be saved for Lt encounters anyway rather than 'wasted' in dungeons.

Quote:
Is Gafford a good starting-point, or would we be better to house-rule and start somewhere else; we'd thought about Garnott, for the sake of having more starting options; good or bad call?


Not sure about good or bad. Unnecessary? Gafford does create a relatively rigid start, but even there there are 3-4 early options available if the heroes will take some lowish risks.

Quote:
Are there particular elements of the game the OL needs to essentially GM, and when is it safe for the OL to just let rip and have fun smashing up the heroes without fear of wrecking the campaign balance? similarly, are there any points when the heroes need to hold back to keep the game enjoyable for the OL and give him a good chance of notching up some conquest?


What is this hold back thing? :yuk:

Quote:
basically we all want to enjoy this game right the way through on both sides, and don't mind GM-ing a bit if it makes for a more enjoyable game, but it would be much nicer to house-rule up-front to address balance so we don't have to worry about GM these details later... hence the benefit of other players' experience would be very helpful!


The problem is balance is very variable in this sort of game. If you 'hold back' in any way you have removed the basis on which any attempted 'balance' has been devised.
Better I think to pick a couple of house rules (things like Lts returning to base when fleeing, Revenge nosing off the map = Lt Flee result etc, discussed in other threads) and then play 'hard' using those.

Quote:
final question - anyone know when the updated 'official' FAQ is due out from FFG?

Thanks!

Probably by end of March (guess, not knowledge). If later than that I suspect it will be due to discussions over SoB balance related changes.
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never enough time
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Okay, thanks Corbon - I think we'll hold off until that official FAQ comes out, and then work out how best to house-rule. I'll talk with our potential OL about how we might include feats without him feeling nerfed - maybe limit when/how we can use them beyond the usual rules (I would like to see them in there, as they add a bit of extra potential for the heroes to work with). You are right, having to hold back and GM it isn't really in the spirit of descent, you want a level playing field between heroes and OL, but only (of course) to permit maximum carnage on both sides ;o)

Fingers crossed, we'll get some good balance suggests in the Faq...
 
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duhtch
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if this is your first advanced campaign, why not just try a RtL on its own playing by the rules... once you get a feel for how things go after a few weeks, if you want you can start over and adjust it to how you feel.

the OL is weak if he thinks feats are overpowered. i think the heroes have zero chance of winning unless they have feats.
 
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never enough time
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Fortunately, I'm not on my lonesome, my fellow hero teammate has done RtL before - and I've played enough of vanilla descent + expansions to know a few tricks ;o)

saying that, we've deliberately 'eased in' to the campaign by starting with an overland map, to find our feet; we started out play with solace mountain at the weekend.

I've got to say a word in defence of our OL, he's not weak, his style of play is just that he prefers to GM things a bit, and only pull out the evil tricks when he's slipping behind on conquest (TBH, he's actually far too nice a fellow to be an evil overlord!!!) we're deliberately house-ruling a few things re: lieutenants as well, so I don't think we've got zero chance of victory (I hope not!)

(were it up to me personally, I'm a greeeeeedy hero player, and would always rather have all the goodies I can get!!!! devil so I'd have lashings of feat cards, thank-you kindly; but I'm happy to roll with the team consensus on this one!)

Actually, to be fair we've rather got rather lucky with starting skills and early treasure draws; our party had 3/4/4/5 armour after the first level of the first dungeon, and we've got both shark tattoo on a melee hero (varikas) and keen sight on a ranged (silhouette), so that should give us a good fighting chance when the island levels come up... but we're trying to hold off going out to sea until:
1) we've saved some coins and XP for upgrades,
and perhaps more importantly:
2) the new FAQ comes out to clear some issues up!!!
 
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