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Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Masquerade Ball: Unwinnable as the heroes? rss

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Paul Barylski
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Well, we've played Masquerade Ball three times, and the overlord trounced the heroes every single time. And even if they do win, the overlord needs to get really bad luck for the heroes to keep up with Eliza.

We've come to the point where we've forbidden anyone to select this quest. So now my question is: have any of you ever won this quest as the heroes? And if so, how did you pull it off?

We played once with three heroes, and twice with four heroes.
 
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Adam Rouse
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Played once with four heroes. The heroes barely got passed the first door when Eliza was approaching the last door. Don't see how they could have done much better. Had Ettins behind the first door and Shadow Dragons behind the next.
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Bionic Hamster wrote:
In the first encounter, it is possible for the heroes to lose even if they rescue every guest.

It is?

Quote:
roll a gray defense
die fot a 2-hero or 3-hero game, or roll a black defense
die fot a 4-hero game. If the number of {shields} rolled is equal
to or less than the guests they successfully rescued, then
the heroes managed to save Lord Theodir.


It's only possible to lose in a 2 player game, where you would rescue 2 guests and could roll a 3. In a 3 player game, if you rescue all three guests, you won. In a 4 player game, if you rescue all 4 guests, you've won.

-shnar
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Ken Marley
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Sure get through the door the first turn and stun or better immobilize the leutenaunt.

To get through the door you need to have the right skills and once per encounters.

For some heroes it is an easy quest and some it is impossible.

One other hint find stamina potions in the first encounter that helps a lot. Find two and it is a cake walk.

This quest all comes downtown the first turn of the second encounter.


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Kevin Walsh
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The heroes have better stats than Eliza so if they win the first half they should be able to get through doors more quickly than Eliza, and there are doors which don't have monsters behind them. It's tough but having won it I can't agree that it's unwinnable.
 
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Justin Goolsby
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In my 4 hero game, the heroes rescued 2 and ended up winning the roll (2 is a 2/3 chance on the black die). For the second half, the dwarf character destroyed all but one door with strength checks, another was lock-picked by the halfling. Eliza only missed 1 check and they caught up with her with two doors left. One round of beating on her later, and they win.

goolsnut
 
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Paul Barylski
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shnar wrote:
Bionic Hamster wrote:
In the first encounter, it is possible for the heroes to lose even if they rescue every guest.

It is?

Quote:
roll a gray defense
die fot a 2-hero or 3-hero game, or roll a black defense
die fot a 4-hero game. If the number of {shields} rolled is equal
to or less than the guests they successfully rescued, then
the heroes managed to save Lord Theodir.


It's only possible to lose in a 2 player game, where you would rescue 2 guests and could roll a 3. In a 3 player game, if you rescue all three guests, you won. In a 4 player game, if you rescue all 4 guests, you've won.

-shnar

Ah, now that I have my head on straight again, I see I did my calculations in the wrong order. The heroes can still win even if they fail to rescue any guests at all. OP edited.

youperguy wrote:
Sure get through the door the first turn and stun or better immobilize the leutenaunt.

To get through the door you need to have the right skills and once per encounters.

For some heroes it is an easy quest and some it is impossible.

One other hint find stamina potions in the first encounter that helps a lot. Find two and it is a cake walk.

This quest all comes downtown the first turn of the second encounter.

These are some pretty good insights here. Thanks!
 
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Ingólfur Valsson
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My players lost the first encounter but still managed to win this one in the second turn. Halfling opened the door and managed to kill a minion blocking. This gave the healer chance to get through and stun and the warrior could use his teleport ability to close of Eliza's escape and the had already dealt her 8 damage on first round.

She was stunned and had to take a extra route to not walk into the warrior attack of opportunity range so she could barely get anywhere and was killed before she got through the first door.

So what is going on here, Am I playing wrong or are the players just great planners?
 
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Ken Marley
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KronikAlkoholik wrote:
My players lost the first encounter but still managed to win this one in the second turn. Halfling opened the door and managed to kill a minion blocking. This gave the healer chance to get through and stun and the warrior could use his teleport ability to close of Eliza's escape and the had already dealt her 8 damage on first round.

She was stunned and had to take a extra route to not walk into the warrior attack of opportunity range so she could barely get anywhere and was killed before she got through the first door.

So what is going on here, Am I playing wrong or are the players just great planners?


This is what I typically see happen here. The thief is great in this scenario if they can open the door without an action.

I think what happens is that some hero groups don't get that you have to use everything you have, skills, items, feats, stamina, potions and luck to get through that door and stun/immobilize Eliza on the first turn. A good group that has picked the correct skills will have no problem. If the groups doesn't have skills that help get through the door the first turn they have likely lost.

On the OL end you can fight this with webtraps against the thief or door opener. And dash can help get around stun. Which is of course why immobilize is better.

Note if the hero going through the door can answer the riddle, they are placed next to Eliza, otherwise they need to one shot a monster then stun/immobilize her. This is not easy, but what you need to do.
 
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Josh A
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OP may I ask what the party setup was for the 3 hero game?

The last time I played this as 3-hero game, the heroes won (albeit very close). I found the first encounter the most difficult for the heroes out of the two, but you can still win it with a lucky dice roll.
 
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Michael Powell
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We just played this last night, as our second quest in the campaign (after the Intro quest), and the heroes won.

The heroes won the 1st encounter by basically completely blocking up the doorway. While my goblins can move past heroes, in order to open a door they need to stop on a space adjacent to the door. The heroes did their best to leave no such space. I did manage to seduce one of the heroes away one turn, and jumped two guests through, but they quickly stepped back into place and finished off my goblins, so I didn't get another chance. And despite me having kidnapped 2 of the 4 guests, it turns out neither of them were Lord Theodir, so they won the 1st encounter.

The second encounter was more trying. They got bogged down for a turn in the spiders. Then they opened the first door to find two Shadow Dragons. They basically gave up the quest for lost at that point, as Eliza was already halfway to the exit. However, we played on. It took them 2 turns to kill one of the dragon, and the second couldn't block the door by itself. Eliza failed her first attempt on the second-to-last door, and the heroes booked it. The encountered 4 barghests behind the 3rd door, but only needed to kill one to clear the path. Eliza was now in front of the last door, when the mage riddled her way through the second-to-last and stunned her. The stun gave everybody else the chance to catch up and kill her.

They just BARELY pulled out a victory, and our general consensus is that it was only possible because they won the first encounter. In retrospect, I think with some more careful utilization of all of their resources, they'd still have a reasonable shot at it.

My main problem with the quest as it stands is that it involves too much luck. It's all riding on the skill rolls to get through the doors. Especially if the heroes win the first encounter, the difficulty will vary wildly based on how well the overlord rolls for Eliza's riddling.
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Josh A
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Are you guys playing that stun only effects one action? See here for discussion

One strategy for the OL is to stall on the first encounter - take as much time and stack up on as many cards as possible. Particularly dash and the card that lets you reroll dice (which is useful when Eliza fails a skill check). Then the second encounter is a breeze for the OL.

Also one rule I got wrong is that when opening door by Awareness skill check, the figure is moved to the other side but the door stays shut. This makes it even harder for the heroes.
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Unless you had a particularly lucky/unlucky set of rolls you really should be attacking Eliza on the first turn in encounter 2. If you are not doing that then I suspect the party is very suboptimal or underequipped.

Also remember that no figure may open more than one of the doors in encounter 2 in a turn and monsters may not open those doors either. That means Eliza has an upper limit on how fast she can move through the level while the heroes can move much faster by having one person open a door, using perception or strength, and have the other heroes move through after them.

Stun is particularly strong in this level since it means Eliza cannot move and open a door without a Dash card.
 
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Michael Powell
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slacks wrote:
Unless you had a particularly lucky/unlucky set of rolls you really should be attacking Eliza on the first turn in encounter 2. If you are not doing that then I suspect the party is very suboptimal or underequipped.


Given the way I played as OL, they could have been hitting Eliza on the first turn if they were really on the ball. But that's only because I was also not fully on the ball, and didn't block up the doorway nearly as well as I could have. If I properly clustered the starting spiders, and used barghests in the second room to put extra obstacles between them and Eliza, they would have had a hell of a time getting to Eliza in the first turn.

slacks wrote:
Also remember that no figure may open more than one of the doors in encounter 2 in a turn and monsters may not open those doors either. That means Eliza has an upper limit on how fast she can move through the level while the heroes can move much faster by having one person open a door, using perception or strength, and have the other heroes move through after them.


There is some validity to this, but it's countered by the heroes having to deal with monsters in their way, while Eliza can blithely skip past them.

slacks wrote:
Stun is particularly strong in this level since it means Eliza cannot move and open a door without a Dash card.


Stronger than that, actually. You might want to re-read the Stun card (unless, of course, you've house ruled it to function like 1st Edition stun on heroes or named monsters, in which case this point still doesn't apply to those playing by the official rules). It's explicit that removing the stun condition is the ONLY action that figure can take that turn. Without a dash, the stunned figure gets no actions at all. They effectively skip their entire turn. With a dash... Well, that's an interesting question. My initial gut reaction would be that a dash (or frenzy) wouldn't do anything, but I could easily argue that it would.
 
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Kevin Walsh
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herufeanor wrote:

Stronger than that, actually. You might want to re-read the Stun card (unless, of course, you've house ruled it to function like 1st Edition stun on heroes or named monsters, in which case this point still doesn't apply to those playing by the official rules). It's explicit that removing the stun condition is the ONLY action that figure can take that turn.

I suggest reading one of the umpteen threads about how the stun rule works. There is some debate, but I think there's mostly a consensus that once someone has removed the Stun condition card/token, they're no longer affected by it, and can use their second action for whatever they want.
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Tom Dekarr
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Hey guys, I was playing this last night and ALMOST won playing as 2 heros (Ashrian discple) and Tarha(necro) but I have a question. After Eliza opens a door and spawns the monsters in a room, can those monsters activate and close the door? Must I then make a test to open the door at this point or can it open normally?

My OL ruled the tests must be repassed to reopen the door.

 
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Ken Marley
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Eliza always answers the question which doesn't open the door.
 
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Ken Marley
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jauggy wrote:
Are you guys playing that stun only effects one action? See here for discussion

One strategy for the OL is to stall on the first encounter - take as much time and stack up on as many cards as possible. Particularly dash and the card that lets you reroll dice (which is useful when Eliza fails a skill check). Then the second encounter is a breeze for the OL.

Also one rule I got wrong is that when opening door by Awareness skill check, the figure is moved to the other side but the door stays shut. This makes it even harder for the heroes.


Yes, 1 action for stun, that is of course why immobilize is better.

Also one key to this quest is in encounter 1 the goal of the heroes should be to kill monsters not unmask the guests. As always heroes should try to end the encounter quickly.

The advantage of the awareness skill is that it puts you right next to Eliza, so the OL can not protect her with monsters.
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Hugh Grotius
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Why kill monsters in the first encounter? To end the encounter fast so that the OL doesn't build up a big hand?

How in the world does a party of two heroes attack Eliza in turn 1 of the second encounter? Can someone outline the steps for me? In our case, we have a berserker and a necromancer. Our OL put spiders in front of the door, and as I recall, we had to clear at least one spider before we could get someone adjacent to the door. (I assume that one must be adjacent to a door to knock it down or solve its riddle.) My tank could do that in two actions, in theory: move to spider (possibly using stamina), then attack spider. But even if this plan succeeded, how would the necro reach Eliza in time? It's one action to move to the door, a second action to teleport through it (if successful); leaving no more actions to attack her. I just don't get it.

If the OL has won encounter 1, can't Eliza just scamper out of the first room on her turn 1, and keep scampering? That's what happened to us. It wasn't even close.
 
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The Berserker goes first,
3x Fatigue to be adjacent to blocking spider
Kill blocking spider
1x Fatigue to door
Knock down door

Then the Necromancer,
1x Fatigue move
Move to Eliza
Attack with Stun weapon or Create Reanimate

Then Reanimate,
Attack Eliza

If your OL is smart the Master Spider will not be blocking the door but will be adjacent to the heroes to force the heroes to kill it or lose fatigue. You should be able to overcome this strategy or get more attacks by using heroic feats and/or skills.
 
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Hugh Grotius
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Hmm, I suppose that strategy could get my partner next to Eliza, but it depends on my downing the spider in one swipe AND breaking down the door in one swipe. I don't know what the odds of either event are, but in general I'm surprised when my Berserker "wins" two things in a row like that.

That said, I didn't think of using my heroic feat, which would at least give my partner an extra move action. But he doesn't have a stun weapon, so Eliza would still be off to the races, even if he did manage to reach her in time.

Still, it's worth a try if we play this encounter again.
 
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Craig Hogan
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I was OL in this scenario the other night (four heroes). It was our second game of the campaign (after First Blood) and I smashed them so hard it was no fun for anyone involved.

I looked over the scenario from a Hero's point of view and my conclusions were:

In encounter 1, you want to have two heroes blocking the overlord's exit door at the end of turn 1. Probably just murder all the monsters instead of unmasking guests.

In encounter 2, you want to make sure you open the first door on turn 1. My heroes delayed in this (killing spiders instead), so by the time they opened the door, I was able to completely block it with shadow dragons. If they had opened the door, I would not have been able to place the shadow dragons in that orientation.

I'm not sure that either of those would guarantee a win for the heroes, but it seems to make it much more possible.

But I could be wrong ...
 
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Josh A
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Doomjester wrote:
I was OL in this scenario the other night (four heroes). It was our second game of the campaign (after First Blood) and I smashed them so hard it was no fun for anyone involved.

I looked over the scenario from a Hero's point of view and my conclusions were:

In encounter 1, you want to have two heroes blocking the overlord's exit door at the end of turn 1. Probably just murder all the monsters instead of unmasking guests.

In encounter 2, you want to make sure you open the first door on turn 1. My heroes delayed in this (killing spiders instead), so by the time they opened the door, I was able to completely block it with shadow dragons. If they had opened the door, I would not have been able to place the shadow dragons in that orientation.

I'm not sure that either of those would guarantee a win for the heroes, but it seems to make it much more possible.

But I could be wrong ...
Blocking the exit door on Encounter 1 won't work because of Eliza's ability Seduce, which can move someone. Once that person is moved the door can be opened. Goblins are able to move past heroes due to one of their abilities. They move 10 spaces per turn too.

For scenario 2, what happens if the OL plays web trap (OL Magus card 1 -heroes test strength and if failed you are immobilized)? You are really fucked because web trap effects the targeted hero and all adjacent heroes.

Also for Encounter 2, the OL should place the red spider right in front of the heroes (blocking line of sight) and two white spiders blocking the door. In order for a ranged unit to hit the white spiders blocking the door he must move first. The red spider costs fatigue to move around. One miss and its game over for the heroes.

Its a badly designed quest. (Note: this is my experience for the the 3-hero game)
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Craig Hogan
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jauggy wrote:
Doomjester wrote:
I was OL in this scenario the other night (four heroes). It was our second game of the campaign (after First Blood) and I smashed them so hard it was no fun for anyone involved.

I looked over the scenario from a Hero's point of view and my conclusions were:

In encounter 1, you want to have two heroes blocking the overlord's exit door at the end of turn 1. Probably just murder all the monsters instead of unmasking guests.

In encounter 2, you want to make sure you open the first door on turn 1. My heroes delayed in this (killing spiders instead), so by the time they opened the door, I was able to completely block it with shadow dragons. If they had opened the door, I would not have been able to place the shadow dragons in that orientation.

I'm not sure that either of those would guarantee a win for the heroes, but it seems to make it much more possible.

But I could be wrong ...
Blocking the exit door on Encounter 1 won't work because of Eliza's ability Seduce, which can move someone. Once that person is moved the door can be opened. Goblins are able to move past heroes due to one of their abilities. They move 10 spaces per turn too.

For scenario 2, what happens if the OL plays web trap (OL Magus card 1 -heroes test strength and if failed you are immobilized)? You are really fucked because web trap effects the targeted hero and all adjacent heroes.

Also for Encounter 2, the OL should place the red spider right in front of the heroes (blocking line of sight) and two white spiders blocking the door. In order for a ranged unit to hit the white spiders blocking the door he must move first. The red spider costs fatigue to move around. One miss and its game over for the heroes.

Its a badly designed quest. (Note: this is my experience for the the 3-hero game)


Like I said, it's not a perfect strategy, but I still think that the heroes' only chance lies in attempting to contest the control over the doorways. I totally see that this game is much more forgiving on the OL for less optimal play and this scenario may also have balance issues.
 
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jauggy wrote:
Blocking the exit door on Encounter 1 won't work because of Eliza's ability Seduce, which can move someone. Once that person is moved the door can be opened. Goblins are able to move past heroes due to one of their abilities. They move 10 spaces per turn too.

Goblins move 10 spaces per turn if they use both actions to move, which they cannot if they are checking guests.
Eliza can Seduce on any turn, but again that takes an action which means she isn't checking guests. If Eliza isn't checking guests then goblins are checking guests, and they are easily killed.

jauggy wrote:
For scenario 2, what happens if the OL plays web trap (OL Magus card 1 -heroes test strength and if failed you are immobilized)? You are really fucked because web trap effects the targeted hero and all adjacent heroes.

Web trap is really strong, particularly at the start, and particularly in this setup. If Web Trap hits someone then the heroes will have a very rough time, and if it hits everyone they probably lose.

jauggy wrote:
Also for Encounter 2, the OL should place the red spider right in front of the heroes (blocking line of sight) and two white spiders blocking the door. In order for a ranged unit to hit the white spiders blocking the door he must move first. The red spider costs fatigue to move around. One miss and its game over for the heroes.

First, this cannot happen in a 2 hero game since there are only 3 spiders. Second, you can move past the spiders with fatigue or move and then attack people. With 3 and 4 players this encounter becomes much easier because you can get to Eliza faster. In a 3 player game you still only have to kill one spider and you get 6 actions instead of 4. In a 4 player game you will likely want to kill 2, but now you have 8 actions to do it.

It also isn't over for the heroes if you miss a spider once. In the above scenario (with two heroes even!) the Necromancer could use an action to answer the riddle instead of moving to get to the other side of the door instead of the warrior attacking and then opening the door (so he could attack twice). That is still with 2 heroes, with 3 the encounter is easier.
 
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