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Descent: Journeys in the Dark (second edition) – Conversion Kit» Forums » General

Subject: Blood Apes over-powered? rss

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Chris J Davis
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Title says it all, really. First time I used the Blood Apes, I stomped all over the heroes - they didn't stand a chance. Has anyone else had this experience when using them?

My experience happened at the beginning of Act II, if that makes any difference.
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Geki
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They look indeed very powerful, mainly because they can practically move twice and attack, since their special attack includes a movement. Moreover, they can move+attack (leap) and then attack regularly (since they are allowed two attacks per round).
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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A lot of the conversion kit monsters are pretty powerful, and I wonder how much they were playtested. Kobolds are insane, Giants really strong, Blood Apes amazing, etc.

Not sure how to house-rule it though, to bring things back into perspective. Maybe drop a red die to a yellow die?

-shnar
 
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Alexander Einich
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shnar wrote:
A lot of the conversion kit monsters are pretty powerful, and I wonder how much they were playtested. Kobolds are insane, Giants really strong, Blood Apes amazing, etc.

Not sure how to house-rule it though, to bring things back into perspective. Maybe drop a red die to a yellow die?

-shnar


One possibility of house-rule would be to label a small number of monsters (like those you mention for instance) "Late Act Monsters" and allow them to be played only in the 2nd or even 3rd quests of each act, when heroes already have some of that Act's equipment and better skills.
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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That's not a bad idea. I still wish they would have made the Overlord upgrade path a little more interesting, like give him MonsterXP in addition to CardXP, and then he has to buy certain monsters to have them even available

Actually, I think that's a good idea. Something like

0XP Monsters:
- Bane Spider
- Beastman
- Dark Priest
- Deep Elf
- Lava Beetle
- Medusa
- Naga
- Razorwing
- Skeleton Archer
- Goblin Archer
- Zombie
- Cave Spider

1XP Monsters:
- Ferrox
- Blood Ape
- Demon Lord
- Hellhound
- Kobold
- Manticore
- Ogre
- Shade
- Sorcerer
- Wendigo
- Barhgest
- Flesh Moulder
- Merriod

2XP Monsters:
- Chaos Beast
- Crypt Dragon
- Giant
- Golem
- Ice Wrym
- Troll
- Ettin
- Elemental
- Shadow Dragon

The variant would be any time the Overlord earns an XP, he also earns equivalent Monster XP. Monster XP can be used to purchase a monster group from the above list. Whenever a quest has an Open Monster Group, they can only be chosen from the purchased monster groups (this variant has no effect on specified monster groups in quests, only open groups).

This at least makes the Overlord upgrade path a little more interesting. Does he by those Kobolds right away? Or does he save for a Shadow Dragon? And should he buy something from a City type? etc.

No clue if the above list is properly 'balanced', or even if there should be a 3XP group for the really powerful ones. That will require some playtesting. Any volunteers?

-shnar
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Alexander Einich
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It is a good idea with, I think, a slight flaw: it prevents variability, since all the monster the OL won't buy have no chance of appearing in the campaign. The couple of monsters the OL buys will always be the ones to appear.

With the Conversion Kit, to maximize the use of monsters and to have the most varied experience possible, I like the idea that when you take a monster for an open group, it is gone for the rest of the campaign as choice for an open group. Heroes will always have to fight different monsters, which is, in my opinion, more fun than fighting Shadow Dragons Giants Kobolds the same monsters over and over again.

It also gives the OL the interest of having to develop a planning strategy. When do I put my most powerful monsters on the map? Do I use them now or do I keep them for later?
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Stephen Williams
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Ispher wrote:

It also gives the OL the interest of having to develop a planning strategy. When do I put my most powerful monsters on the map? Do I use them now or do I keep them for later?


I think both propositions increase the strategic planning required for the Overlord, in different ways. Shnar's rule provides a method of character growth that slowly defines the Overlord's abilities over the course of the campaign, yours gives him everything but limits how often any single one can be used. Both ideas have merit.

Personally, I don't feel the need to see EVERY monster in a single campaign, so I think I prefer Shnar's idea. It increases replayability to have some monsters left in the wings for future games. I think it would be neat if each Overlord class had a handful of monsters that he could buy at discounted prices though. (Say, -1 XP to buy monsters X, Y and Z, minimum free of course.)

Another option to tweak Shnar's point-buy system for more variety might be to allow the OL to "swap out" one monster for another of the same XP cost every so often. It couldn't be too often, though, otherwise the whole system is pointless (no pun intended =P) Maybe a single total rebuy after the interlude or something.
 
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Jim Ant
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bleached_lizard wrote:
Title says it all, really. First time I used the Blood Apes, I stomped all over the heroes - they didn't stand a chance. Has anyone else had this experience when using them?

My experience happened at the beginning of Act II, if that makes any difference.


That makes all the difference based on our group's three campaigns. We haven't seen Blood Apes yet but we probably will during our 4th campaign, just starting. They look scary. Also I was reading some of the Silken Thread PBF campaigns recently and I seem to recall one group being wiped out by stampeding Blood Apes -- although it seems there's a lot of bodies on the floor in that campaign (which our group just started playing this week).

BTW, Shnar's idea in this thread (about Monster XP for the OL) and the responses to his idea are quite interesting. I'll discuss them with our OL who really wants to mix things up this time. He's determined not to bring out the "same old same old" all over again.

 
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Chris J Davis
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shnar wrote:
That's not a bad idea. I still wish they would have made the Overlord upgrade path a little more interesting, like give him MonsterXP in addition to CardXP, and then he has to buy certain monsters to have them even available

Actually, I think that's a good idea. Something like

0XP Monsters:
- Bane Spider
- Beastman
- Dark Priest
- Deep Elf
- Lava Beetle
- Medusa
- Naga
- Razorwing
- Skeleton Archer
- Goblin Archer
- Zombie
- Cave Spider

1XP Monsters:
- Ferrox
- Blood Ape
- Demon Lord
- Hellhound
- Kobold
- Manticore
- Ogre
- Shade
- Sorcerer
- Wendigo
- Barhgest
- Flesh Moulder
- Merriod

2XP Monsters:
- Chaos Beast
- Crypt Dragon
- Giant
- Golem
- Ice Wrym
- Troll
- Ettin
- Elemental
- Shadow Dragon

The variant would be any time the Overlord earns an XP, he also earns equivalent Monster XP. Monster XP can be used to purchase a monster group from the above list. Whenever a quest has an Open Monster Group, they can only be chosen from the purchased monster groups (this variant has no effect on specified monster groups in quests, only open groups).

This at least makes the Overlord upgrade path a little more interesting. Does he by those Kobolds right away? Or does he save for a Shadow Dragon? And should he buy something from a City type? etc.

No clue if the above list is properly 'balanced', or even if there should be a 3XP group for the really powerful ones. That will require some playtesting. Any volunteers?

-shnar


I've actually been warming to this idea more and more as our campaign has progressed, along with the idea of only using each monster type once per campaign.

However, I might have identified a bit of a flaw in the idea: what motivation does the OL have to ever buy 1XP monsters? Seeing as purchasing extra monsters doesn't allow him to use more in each quest (it just increases the available pool to choose from), and the OL would always want to fill out the open groups with the most powerful monsters, what reason would he have to buy 1XP monsters?
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Well, as I said, it's not a final idea. I would think an OL would buy 1XP monsters because he has 1XP. Chances are he's only going to get 4XP per Act, so if he buys a 3XP, he'll have 1 left over.

We could also add in the requirements that the Cards have, i.e. cannot buy a 2XP monster until you've boughten a 1XP monster, and can't buy a 3XP monster until you have any 2 lower monsters. Maybe limit it to the Monster Trait? (i.e. cannot buy a Ruin 3XP monster until you have 2 Ruin XP monsters)

We might also want to consider upping the Monster XP earned, allowing the Overlord to buy a little more than what 1XP-per-quest would allow...

-shnar
 
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Jim Ant
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Shnar's idea is also interesting w/r/t difficulty balance of encounters. For example, our group just finished the Intro of The Silken Threads and we decided to play the first encounter (Into the Woods?) because we don't know anything about Morthai's campaign. In the PBF sessions, this encounter has been brutally difficult; one group succeeded because the OL more or less handed it to them at the last moment.

But difficulty is partly based on setup rules. Morthai recently revised that encounter to exclude Giants in the second half. Even so, the Open Group now allowed could be anything from Kobolds to Blood Apes. The OL can balance difficulty by choice of Open Group.

So I guess my question to Shnar and others is: can you combine this Monster XP idea with some possible limitations on Open Group choices by the OL? I wouldn't want to tie the hands of the OL because some OLs enjoy destroying the players while others take a kinder gentler approach, but the whole idea of "buy-in" for monsters is intriguing. It's interesting that a "killer OL" might have to stock up on XP before buying the true beasts -- but can he then use them over and over?

BTW, our OL has a copy of Shnar's original idea and is pondering it.

 
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Christopher Gnech
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Ispher wrote:
It is a good idea with, I think, a slight flaw: it prevents variability, since all the monster the OL won't buy have no chance of appearing in the campaign. The couple of monsters the OL buys will always be the ones to appear.

With the Conversion Kit, to maximize the use of monsters and to have the most varied experience possible, I like the idea that when you take a monster for an open group, it is gone for the rest of the campaign as choice for an open group. Heroes will always have to fight different monsters, which is, in my opinion, more fun than fighting Shadow Dragons Giants Kobolds the same monsters over and over again.


Is the bolded an actual rule or just a house rule that you play with?

I definitely agree with that paragraph - we ended up calling our campaign short because the OL was bringing the same monsters every time, making it somewhat boring as heroes (if I wanted a dice fest, I'd play yahtzee).
 
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Alexander Einich
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DiceGods wrote:
Ispher wrote:
It is a good idea with, I think, a slight flaw: it prevents variability, since all the monster the OL won't buy have no chance of appearing in the campaign. The couple of monsters the OL buys will always be the ones to appear.

With the Conversion Kit, to maximize the use of monsters and to have the most varied experience possible, I like the idea that when you take a monster for an open group, it is gone for the rest of the campaign as choice for an open group. Heroes will always have to fight different monsters, which is, in my opinion, more fun than fighting Shadow Dragons Giants Kobolds the same monsters over and over again.


Is the bolded an actual rule or just a house rule that you play with?

I definitely agree with that paragraph - we ended up calling our campaign short because the OL was bringing the same monsters every time, making it somewhat boring as heroes (if I wanted a dice fest, I'd play yahtzee).


It is a house rule we don't play with. laugh

I proposed it to our group, and the heroes agreed, but our OL preferred another house rule: draw 3 monsters per open group available and choose among the draw (we play with the Conversion Kit, so there are lots of monsters available). Works fine, too, although a little on the weaker side for the OL.
 
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