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

Subject: Does Descent have much of a story? rss

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Chris
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Maybe a dumb question. I have never played Descent, either 1st or 2nd ed. Is there a story or role playing in this game? Or is it just kind of a narrative setup like the Heroscape scenarios had? I guess put another way, is it role-playing-lite (I understand the limitations in character customization, but that seems mostly a stat management issue than role ply) or miniatures-combat-lite?
 
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Scott Lewis
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Vegas King wrote:
Maybe a dumb question. I have never played Descent, either 1st or 2nd ed. Is there a story or role playing in this game? Or is it just kind of a narrative setup like the Heroscape scenarios had? I guess put another way, is it role-playing-lite (I understand the limitations in character customization, but that seems mostly a stat management issue than role ply) or miniatures-combat-lite?

It's definitely not very RPG-ish, more tactical skirmish style play (especially 2nd Edition). However, in 2E especially the quests are scenario-driven, and in the campaign setting there is some loose narrative tying them together.

But if you are looking for an RPG-lite, this probably won't scratch that itch.
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Athos
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Descent 2e is probably as close to RPG lite you are going to get in a board game. The scenarios are all tied together by an overarching campaign that has a story to it. Each character is unique and has simple stats that represent non-combat related abilities in addition to combat related ones.

But keep in mind this is still a board game and I am not sure what your definition of RPG is. If you are looking to actually role-play and get in character, I am not sure any board game will satisfy that. You might want to look into a simpler indie storytelling type game like Fiasco.
 
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Strange that you asked this. D&D 4th edition battles is also like Descent but with added plots to string it up. If anyone considers D&D 4th edition as a rpg game, then why not descent? Just create your hooks and apply the stories/camapign to the descent game
 
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Regarding the story, the only choices that the players make are what quest to do next (if they won the last quest) and tactical choices in combat. There is a story and it does change if the heroes win/lose quests.

There is no inherent push to roleplay your character, but you do have a character that you could roleplay if you wanted. This is also true of many RPG games.

One of the main things Descent is missing that most RPG's have is the ability to ad lib a situation. The game is not really setup to handle swinging from chandeliers, or improvising a weapon, etc.
 
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Mike Em
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While you could change the way you play Descent, its seems to be more meant as a Overload vs the players, whereas while in most RPG scenarios the game master is not "against" the pc's but a facilitator of the story...that said, i guess there are some who live for the tpk.
 
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Brian M
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Quote:
Or is it just kind of a narrative setup like the Heroscape scenarios had?

Very much like Heroscape. Just some stray flavor text (often really stupid flavor text) to provide some explanation about the quests. You could ignore it if you wanted.

On the other hand, it wouldn't take a ton of adaption to use the core of the game for an RPG style game, if that's what you wanted. You'd probably have to re-work some rules though.

Quote:
D&D 4th edition battles is also like Descent but with added plots to string it up. If anyone considers D&D 4th edition as a rpg game, then why not descent?

Descent is designed as a direct competition between two sides. As such, it doesn't allow for the neutral referee that gives freedom in an RPG, and the win/lose conditions don't give you any room to actually roleplay a character.
As said though, you could use it as the foundation for an RPG.
When I've played HeroQuest or Warhammer Quest, we usually roleplayed our characters a lot. With Descent, not at all (ok, we make comments in character, but that's just for fun - it doesn't affect what the characters do). The difference? First, the highly competitive setup of Descent. Second, we're using someone else's characters instead of having our own.
 
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When I run D&D/Pathfinder I make the encounter "balanced" and then run it (more or less) competitively. If I've obviously misjudged things then I'll back off or add a few more monsters, but that is because I've misjudged the balance to begin with. In Descent I assume the encounters are already balanced, so there is no need to adjust on the fly.

Descent could easily be used as the combat ruleset for an RPG, in fact I think it would work pretty well with something like FUDGE or Mouseguard non-combat mechanics tacked on since they encourage roleplay and do not have XP points (so no confusion between combat/non-combat progression).
 
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Chris
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Thanks for the info, guys. In hindsight, I guess what I meant by role playing lite was the exploration and discovery involved in an RPG more than the specific character role playing. It came up again in this thread: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/847737/claustrophobia, which answers a similar question in pretty much the same way you all did here.
 
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