Thaddeus Griebel
United States
Waunakee
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I really like the way stories unfold in games, particularly in Mansions of Madness. I'm considering getting Descent, but I tend to get bored if a three hour game session is mostly just dice rolling, without any emphasis on exploration or events.

I've never played Descent, so I'm wondering if there is any story involved. The campaign idea seems interesting, but again, does that suggest that a story unfolds during those 20+ hours, or do players just get a snippet of flavor text before commencing a long battle-filled encounter each session?
 
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Darren Nakamura
United States
Columbus
Mississippi
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Re: Is there any storytelling element in this game? Or is all fighting?
There is a bit of story in there, but it is much more of a tactical combat game than a storytelling game. For a three hour game session, you could probably play a quest or two, and there are about 3-5 paragraphs of introductory flavor text, plus a paragraph here or there triggered by various events, per quest.
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Thaddeus Griebel
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Re: Is there any storytelling element in this game? Or is all fighting?
So there are event cards in each quest?

Do the quests' stories continue throughout the campaign, or are they independent stories linked together?
 
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Ken Marley
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Re: Is there any storytelling element in this game? Or is all fighting?
No event cards.

The quests do run together and there is a story.
 
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Brian Cwikla

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Re: Is there any storytelling element in this game? Or is all fighting?
[q="griethad"The campaign idea seems interesting, but again, does that suggest that a story unfolds during those 20+ hours, or do players just get a snippet of flavor text before commencing a long battle-filled encounter each session?[/q]

As it is, there might not be enough story for you, but you can certainly add that in yourself, much like a regular role playing game. You could write out more story ahead of time or improvise on the spot. There is some story already in there, but the system is flexible enough to allow for much more.
 
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Stephen Williams
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Re: Is there any storytelling element in this game? Or is all fighting?
griethad wrote:
So there are event cards in each quest?


There are no event cards, but there are events that happen during some quests, usually triggered by a player action (ie: opening the door to a particular room.)

Each quest has an introduction that gets read aloud, and a victory passage that gets read aloud (usually two different victory passages, depending on whether the OL or the heroes won.)

Quests that have the aforementioned events triggered in the middle often have a short blurb associated that gets read when the event is triggered.

griethad wrote:

Do the quests' stories continue throughout the campaign, or are they independent stories linked together?


Yes, the story unfolds as the campaign continues. The campaign is divided into two Acts (I and II), and the quests that are available to pick in Act II generally depend on the outcome of an earlier quest in Act I.

For example, one of the Act I quests has you trying to rescue a guy from a bunch on monsters. If the heroes succeed, they can access a quest in Act II where this guy leads them to a treasure he knows about. If they fail, they have access to an Act II quest to rescue this guy (again) from the stronghold where the monsters took him.

The bulk of the game play is tactical combat (ie "dice rolling") because at the end of the day, Descent is trying to be a competitive board game, not an RPG. However, there is an element of story to it. Second edition is much better at the story thing than first edition was, and the system is much easier to work with as far as making your own homebrew quests (IMHO.)

If you're looking a pre-packaged, out-of-the-box role-playing experience, Descent may or may not live up to your expectations. I think the campaign is at least as good as most pre-packaged D&D adventures, from what little experience I have with such things (I always preferred to write my own adventures.) On the other hand, most pre-packaged D&D adventures I'm familiar with are really more focused on combat than story anyway.
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Risto R
Finland
Hämeenlinna
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Players in my game have complained that they are missing the story elements even when I try to be a nice little Overlord and read them out loud and clear.. I think the problem specially arises with gaps between sessions, but I've figured to do a lil "recap at the ale house" at start of each session.. It will also tie together past events since there certainly is a story on the background.
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Darren Nakamura
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One other thing I'd add about the story is that the game essentially spoils the "big twist" when you're punching out the components. It's a pretty predictable event even without the components spoiling it, so it's probably not a big deal. Read on for specifics.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Baron Zachareth is introduced as Baron Greigory's ally at the beginning of the story, but it turns out he was the evil overlord the whole time! Unfortunately, when you're unpacking the box, you punch the Zachareth Lieutenant token, you may see the Zachareth Lieutenant cards, and you may glimple the overlord side of the Shadow Rune, which says "Zachareth only" on it. Also, the artwork for Zachareth in the rule book and/or quest guide has him looking particularly devious.
 
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