Rob Misner
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Seems I'm just catching up with the whole initiative debate that's been ongoing since the game first came out.

I've tried to read all the posts about initiative variants I could find and didn't see one like this so figured I'd post it and see what people think.

I've been using a Surprise Check Roll at the end of the Exploration Phase for a few adventures and think it works pretty well and isn't to complicated.

I was looking at the Red Die from WOA alongside the Black Die from Ravenloft and thought ... "wouldn't it be fun to have a VS. roll to see if "whatever" is on the newly explored tile is surprised and flatfooted on the turn you explore it?

sidenote: I like the idea of using the Red d20 for all monster Rolls and the Black Die for all Player rolls in general.

When you place a mob you roll both dice and if the red is higher, the monster activates this villain phase..if the black value is higher, its not active till next turn.
Since this would just happen for when your adding mobs to the game an easy way to keep track of this would be to turn the monster card sideways(tap it) if it fails its Vs. roll when adding it . Then when the turn has moved on to the next player untap any Creatures you still control.

Thematically, I really like the idea of when you layout the tile and place the mobs on it you have a chance of sneaking or hiding, of startling or simply scaring them, so that the Creature(s) you find there might be surprised or oblivious of you and not be able to react initially with a free attack.

Mechanically the place a tile..get hit..place a tile , get hit can become predictable and having a Vs roll in there, to just give you a chance of not getting attacked every-time, seems fun to me and seems like it will add some more tactical options to the game.


I realize this change has make the game easier, since alot of hits you normally take before reacting won't happen.


One option I've been thinking about is to just go with Monster Toughness +1 HP to all mobs

Or

I'm wondering if adjusting Ninjadorg's Campaign Rules Monster Toughness up a notch will be enough to balance it out.(adding in the Legend of Drizzt "4 monster Card")

Monster Toughness(use CR monster tokens)
1-2 monster for Adventures starting with Hero's level 1 max
1-3 monsters for Adventures starting with Hero's Level 2 Max
2-3 monsters for Adventures Starting with Hero's level 3 Max
2-4 Monsters for Adventures Starting with Hero's level 4 Max(include Level 5 Villains tokens)
3-4 Monsters for Adventures Starting with Hero's Level 5 Max.(include Level 5 and 6 Villains tokens)

I'm gonna try using the Ravenloft Campaign rules with the above changes to monster toughness and see how it pans out.
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Rob Misner
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First test using modified Ravenloft campaign Monster Toughness

Ravenloft Adventure#2.

Using a team of 3 adventures We won this adventure.

At the end all 3 characters leveled up to level 2.
0 Healing Surges remained.
Vistra had 5hps left,Tarak had 3hps, and Heskan has 4hp.

Got lucky at the end with Rolls and finished off the 3 Monsters in the Chapel in two characters attacks.

Gonna try adventure 3 next
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Elk Ridge
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I don't like that every hero/monster combo has the same chance of being surprised. It'd be nice if some Heroess (like the rogue) are harder to surprise, or some monsters (like snakes) have a bonus to surprise (or penalty for the big lumbering ones).

-shnar
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Rob Misner
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I get where your coming from..but I'm not sure how that kind of variable could be implemented without a table for every mob in the games..which would make things more complicated then I was hoping for.

I was thinking movement speed or HP but neither of those correspond to awareness very well.

Perhaps using the Exp value as the bonus and player level as their bonus could work?
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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AC is usually a good indicator of a stealthy person, maybe combined with movement?

-shnar
 
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Rob Misner
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Second Test results
Ravenloft Adventure #3

used 1-3 monsters

Hero's won
1 Healing Surge remaining
Vistra has 2hps left and remained at level 2
Tarak had 2hps left and leveled to 3rd
Heskan had 3hps left and leveled to 3rd as well

Overall it felt very close..one more bad encounter card that did more then 1 damage could have wiped the party out.


gonna skip adventure 4 and move to Adventure 5 to continue campaign and try 2-3 monster toughness.
 
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Rob Misner
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shnar wrote:
AC is usually a good indicator of a stealthy person, maybe combined with movement?

-shnar


AC modifier for Creatures and Movement modifier for PC's maybe?

 
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Bob
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Here's an idea I'm working on. To determine if a monster is surprised, roll a d20 and a monster is surprised on a 15+. This roll is modified by -1 for every movement point "not" spent during a heroes movement (ie. moving slower increases your chance to surprise).

For example: if a hero can move 6 but only moves 2 squares during his movement, the die roll is reduced by 4. In this case a monster is surprised on an 11+ result. A surprised monster is placed in the normal fashion; however, its card is placed face down (in normal order) to reflect its surprised status (meaning it cannot act this turn). When that player's turn comes around again, turn the card right side up and proceed as normal...

We don't use this house rule for chambers nor does it apply to Villians otherwise.


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Rob Misner
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I like that alot Ashitaka.Its simple and straightforward, the slower you move the better your chances..very cool!
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Tom Howard
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Just a thought...

When you win initiative, instead of a Monster skipping his turn altogether, what if you just pass the Monster card to the player on your left? That way the Monster still won't attack this turn, but won't simply sit there twiddling his thumbs for an entire round, letting the rest of the party take shots at him.

(If the player to your left already has a copy of that Monster Card, then keep the Monster Card yourself, but skip it's activation for this turn only)
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Rob Misner
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GeckoTH wrote:
Just a thought...

When you win initiative, instead of a Monster skipping his turn altogether, what if you just pass the Monster card to the player on your left? That way the Monster still won't attack this turn, but won't simply sit there twiddling his thumbs for an entire round, letting the rest of the party take shots at him.

(If the player to your left already has a copy of that Monster Card, then keep the Monster Card yourself, but skip it's activation for this turn only)


I like this Idea as well.
I think if the next player to your left already has one of those monsters,then keep going around the table to the left till a player doesn't have that card and stop it there.

Gonna try that and see how it plays.

 
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Bob
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GeckoTH wrote:
Just a thought...

When you win initiative, instead of a Monster skipping his turn altogether, what if you just pass the Monster card to the player on your left? That way the Monster still won't attack this turn, but won't simply sit there twiddling his thumbs for an entire round, letting the rest of the party take shots at him.

(If the player to your left already has a copy of that Monster Card, then keep the Monster Card yourself, but skip it's activation for this turn only)


We had a similar idea; however, we opted not to use it because being surprised is the exception rather than the norm and we wanted something meaningful to happen when it occurs. For us, passing the monster to the left wasn't meaningful enough to create a house rule. In addition, there are cards that already create "monster passing" situations and we wanted to minimize the impact this house rule might have on them as well. We're still playing with this, but if we find surprise happens too often or has unforeseen consequences, we can increase the TN/modifiers accordingly.

Thanks for the great discussion! thumbsup

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Rob Misner
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For Adventure 5 I tried using the original Vs Roll idea with the pass the mob to the left if player wins the Vs roll.

I was using Monster toughness of 2-3 (2 3rd level Characters and 1 still 2nd in party) so each monster on an exploration independently rolls.

In the End If I understand the rules of the adventure properly we barely won.

Vistra finally leveled to 3rd and Heskan leveled to 4th.

We had no healing surges left,Vista had 4hp's left, Tarak and Heskan had 2hp.

I'm not sure if this is right but, I played this adventure that once you discovered the Dark Fountain and Hero's and Kavan are on the tile each turn your curing him he doesn't turn into a vampire if there was a monster on the tile.

I had 3 encounter cards bubbling cauldron, Patrina Velikovna, and Frenzy all hit in a row without enough exp to cancel..if Kavan is ment to transform during the finale as well, those last 3 rounds would have had creatures on the dark fountain tile, and would have had him transfer to vampire and not curing..which I can safely say we wouldn't have survived.

I find that it is pretty even if a creature gets delayed till the next players turn..tho I didn't end up in a situation where the creature moved more then one player to the left.

 
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Steve Briscoe
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I really like the idea of the two dice, and also the modifier of 15+,then deduct a number equal to the amount of spaces that your hero has not used up. The thematic idea is great. If we take the present rules literally, then imagine...we are quietly exploring in the dark dank dungeon, and enter an area that we have not explored before. Thus begins, the 'exploration phase'. Would we go into the unknown whistling a pleasant tune, or humming a relaxing melody or simply shout..."hello, is anybody there?". Well, none of these really.
These two dice systems seems so simple, yet so logical. We quietly enter the unknown, and, yes sometimes the creature will hear us, sometimes maybe not.
I personally like the 15+ to see if they are surprised, cause that alters the strategy of how fast we move, and where we move, and by how much, so we don't keep racing to the edge of a tile just to explore and reach the end game quicker.
Both are good though and so simple.
 
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Rob Misner
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Since the 15+ isn't really a vs. roll,What I was thinking was, what if for the players you simply add +1 to your roll per movement point remaining.

For creatures add 2X their exp value to their roll.
This might work out being pretty easy to keep track of and combining the benifit of the 15+ idea.(maybe 3x would be better..will have to see)

The harder the mob, the harder to beat its' roll without being very cautious..aka only move 1 or 2.


So I think for the next test I'll do Adventure 6
and Do Vs Rolls,with Passing failed Surprise roll mobs to the player on the left, as well +1 bonus for each movement point left and 2X the mobs exp bonus added to their rolls.

 
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K.Y. Wong
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Great discussion here. Gave me a great idea how to put more decision into using movement points. I'll put it up as a separate variant since it's more about being on "guard" rather than "surprise".

Edit: Here it is - [Variants] Heroes on GUARD.
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Rob Misner
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finished testing Ravenloft Adventure 6

Vistra leveled to 4th tarak was still 3rd and Heskan stayed at 4th.

Our brave Hero's succumbed to the Dracolich and Both Vistra and Tarak were knocked unconscious from a Blast of lightning with no Healing Surges left.
It was a close fight having gotten Gravestorm down to 2HP before dieing.


Overall it seemed that less mobs were surprised. Tho this is probably since most exploration was done via the wizards eye spell which I left as having no bonus and most of the monsters beat the wizards vs roll against it.
Having minor villans in the mix really burns thru the groups daily powers tho..after a werewolf and Kobold Sorcerer I didn't have any good abilities left to face Gravestorm.
Never did get a 4 monster draw from the cup tho..

Definitely didn't feel too fiddly doubling exp of mobs and adding to their Vs. Roll.
Passing to the left when they did fail is very fluid and doesn't require you to keep track of anything once its done..overall seems to work well.

Think I'll start a new 3 player group with no wizard and test using the Wrath of Ashardalon adventures next.

 
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Rob Misner
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chromaticdragon wrote:
Great discussion here. Gave me a great idea how to put more decision into using movement points. I'll put it up as a separate variant since it's more about being on "guard" rather than "surprise".

Edit: Here it is - [Variants] Heroes on GUARD.


very cool idea as well
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