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

Subject: Silken Threads Balance - Characters rss

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Amish Cow

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I've been chatting with Morthai for a couple weeks and I wanted to start a balance thread on the custom campaign. I've been following the PBF campaigns and there is a lot of good coming out of tweaking the quests.

Today I want to talk about how the characters balance against themselves, characters from the base game, and characters in the CK. Before I begin, I would like to mention I have A TON of respect for Morthai; he clearly has put in countless hours into this campaign. Saying that, I don't want anyone to think I'm pulling apart his work, or nit-picking this and that. I am hoping this thread provides constructive criticism to make his already great campaign even better.

I am pulling all my Silken Threads info from this thread:
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/870319/the-silken-threads-su...
Lets dive in.

Character Stats
The base stats vary greatly, so lets take a step back and get an overall value for each character (adding speed, health and stamina)
Ethertracker - 18 (4+10+4)
Ilena - 19 (4+10+5)
Raduin - 16 (3+10+3)
Kisena - 17 (5+8+4)

How does this compare to the base game? Very well! The 8 base characters range from 17-20 points, so the only one out of the range is Radiun, and only by 1. And how does he make up for this? He receives a black defense, perfect.

How does this compare to the CK? Very well! A quick calc shows a CK range of 13-22 points. (Okaluk & Rak get 4 movement points a turn so that 13 is arguably a 15).

Character Secondary Stats
How do they look? All add up to 11, which is equal to just about every other character base and CK. I believe only Arvel, Red Scorpion, Lindel, and Varikas have more than 11, and three of whom are Scouts with 3s across the board.

Hero Abilities
Ethertracker - can trace line of sight along any path.
At first glance, WOW! This seems quite the powerful ability! Overlord hiding the quest objective behind a Shadow Dragon? No problem! Overlord have the Rune Objective surrounded on 6 sides? Who cares! I believe what is happening, thematically, is this girl has such amazing awareness, she can shoot an arrow and have it ricochet off boulders and trees to hit the target. The con? You have to add up the total range. Given the wonky LOS rules, I think this ability needs a little more explaining. Is it still corner to corner? Can the LOS 'bend/turn' infinitely? Lets compare to other scout Hero Abilities. Some examples:
*When you fail an attribute test, you may reroll it. Limit once per round.
*Each time you roll an X on your attack roll, you may deal 1 Wound to 1 monster adjacent to you.
*Each of your attacks that targets a monster that is at least 3 spaces away from you gains: Surge: +2 Wounds

I think in order to balance this hero ability, you need to limit the number of "bend/turns" to one, or add a penalty, such as add +1 to the range for each "bend/turn". What do other people think?

Ilena - gain pierce 2 when a monster is 4 spaces or more from you.
Seems like a tweak to Tobin's ability Surge: if at least 3 spaces away, gain +2 hearts. Tobin's is less range and gives you hearts (over pierce), but requires a surge. I like Ilena's ability, and gains in value in Act 2 where most rolls have some armor.

Raduin - gain 2 movement points when you suffer 1 fatigue.
This seems like a great hero ability! It seems to balance with only receiving 3 stamina and 3 movement. And stamina aint cheap! I think this is balanced.

Kisena - when you rest, adjacent heros recover 1 stam, 1 health.
Love it! Very creative, seems like a good ability.

Hero Feats
Ethertracker - action - perform an attack targeting a wounded monster, does not require LOS or range.
I think this feat is overly strong. NO line of sight, NO range, with ANY weapon? Laurel gets a similar attack but needs line of sight, and it has to be a ranged weapon. This feat needs to be toned down.

Ilena - action, use at start of turn to pull in monsters within 3 spaces of you to adjacent, then move them 3 spaces.
Very unique ability! Definitely thinking outside the box. On the technical side, i would change the wording to add "you may move any" in there, only because there may be a situation where there are more than 9 monsters within 3 spaces, or when you are in a corner and only have 3 adjacent spaces available.
How does this ability compare to others? Ashrian can choose only 1 monster within 3 spaces, and only stun it. Steelhorns essentially gets to move 4 monsters 1 space each (out of his way). The best case for Ilena is she can move a wall of 24 monsters out of the way. Thinking a little more practically, she can break just about any blockade. Throw countless monsters into Lava/pits/whatnot.
I think this ability needs to be limited to a certain # of monsters, or less spaces.

Raduin - action, move up to twice your speed ignoring figures and terrain.
I like the thematics of this ability... he jumps in the air and lands ready to take names! Unfortunately, this seems to best many similar heroic feats. Steelhorns has a similar ability but is limited to spaces with other figures (no terrain), and only moves 4. Tomble does nearly the same thing, but its a placement (instead of move), only goes a distance of 4 (verses 6), and needs to wait until his next turn to benefit. Raiduin has an extra 2 distance on Tomble, and can use his feat as his first action and still have a second immediate action. For the price of it being a "move" instead of "re-appearing". I dont think this even makes a difference because it doesnt specify "move action" that some of the trip/web whatnots require.
I would suggest this be lowered to just up to your speed, or change something else to balance.

Kisena - use when you kill a monster. an adjacent hero recovers wounds up to his health.
I would REALLY like this ability if the adjacent hero recovered wounds up to the monsters health (limit to hero's health). Thematically she is sucking the life out of one guy and giving an equal amount to a hero. How does this rate against other healing Feats? Andira requires an action to heal a hero within 3 spaces the amount of wounds dealt by an attack. Avric requires an action to heal heros within 3 spaces 2 red die (so max 6 health each). Ispher requires an action to recover all his wounds. The common denominator here is they all require actions. I think all healing in the game requires an action. This feat seems to stand out as very powerful, as it doesnt require an action.

I look forward to a healthy discussion on your thoughts about these characters. I think all the Heroic Feats in Silken Thread characters are better than similarly themed Feats of the base and CK characters and therefore should be toned down. I don't want folks to think these new character's Feats should be the same as the other characters... because then whats the difference? I'm just comparing these abilities to the old ones to point out if all characters are supposed to be different, but still balanced, these may need to be hit gently with the nerf bat. What do you think?

Again, kudos to Morthai for coming up with some creative out-of-the-box thinking with these characters!

Next up, we'll take a look at the exciting new classes!
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Rafal Areinu
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Just compare Ilena's ability to that of Astarra:
"Use at the start of your turn to move each monster adjacent to you up to 2 spaces in any direction"

Not only Ilena's ability gets 3 spaces instead of 2. She also doesn't have to target adjacent monsters, but any monster in range of 3 spaces. The only thing Ilena's ability does worse is need of action.

Actually when put next to Astarra's ability it doesn't look that unique and thinking outside the box - just buffed up version of what Astarra has.

Ilena's ability is completely overpowered, IMHO. She can move monsters by 7 spaces in total! Look at the map below:

[code]MXXI1XX2[/code]
First Ilena(I) can move monster(M) to adjacent space on oposite side of where it was standing(1), then another 3 spaces up to space (2). Then she can still move 4-9 spaces(depending on fatigue use) potentially putting 8-13 spaces between them and monsters that just have been a blockade. Many monsters can't even travel 13 spaces in a turn let alone attack. I see just too many situations where heroes would use that ability to break blockade and then rush for the objective without monsters catching up to them...

This ability might work with something like:
"Action: Use at the start of your turn to move each monster within 3 spaces of you up to 2 spaces in any direction"
I think Action is only enough to counterbalance for added range. Barely enough. You still can potentially move up to 24 monsters, while Astarra's ability has only up to 9...
 
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David Puldon
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Areinu wrote:
Just compare Ilena's ability to that of Astarra:
"Use at the start of your turn to move each monster adjacent to you up to 2 spaces in any direction"

Not only Ilena's ability gets 3 spaces instead of 2. She also doesn't have to target adjacent monsters, but any monster in range of 3 spaces. The only thing Ilena's ability does worse is need of action.

Actually when put next to Astarra's ability it doesn't look that unique and thinking outside the box - just buffed up version of what Astarra has.

Ilena's ability is completely overpowered, IMHO. She can move monsters by 7 spaces in total! Look at the map below:

[code]MXXI1XX2[/code]
First Ilena(I) can move monster(M) to adjacent space on oposite side of where it was standing(1), then another 3 spaces up to space (2). Then she can still move 4-9 spaces(depending on fatigue use) potentially putting 8-13 spaces between them and monsters that just have been a blockade. Many monsters can't even travel 13 spaces in a turn let alone attack. I see just too many situations where heroes would use that ability to break blockade and then rush for the objective without monsters catching up to them...

This ability might work with something like:
"Action: Use at the start of your turn to move each monster within 3 spaces of you up to 2 spaces in any direction"
I think Action is only enough to counterbalance for added range. Barely enough. You still can potentially move up to 24 monsters, while Astarra's ability has only up to 9...


I play Ilena in the TST PBF campaign 4 and I think you are giving this ability way too much credit. First off, there will never be a situation where you are surrounded by 24 monsters, so really no point in talking about that. The OPE is very powerful in breaking blockades and moving monsters away strategically but that is about it. It's more of an ability that does well in effecting 2+ monsters, taking 1 and throwing it towards your heros while the other is thrown in the opposite direction.

In our campaign we just started the 2nd Act I quest, but I think an OL can compensate for this ability, it really just means you can't depend on blockades when Ilena still has her OPE. Losing an action to use this in most cases is a huge deal and this means that it won't be used that often.
 
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Morthai Saichor
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hey guys - it seems the OP using a bit older version of the feats:

Ilena:
Use at the start of your turn to move every monster within 3 spaces adjacent to you OR move all monsters adjacent to you up to 3 spaces in any direction. This counts as an action.
Althou I am thinking about to change it back to "during your turn"

Gesa:
Gesa has also the limitation of only targeting wounded monsters with her feat.
Her ability is surely worded for 1. ed. but can be interpreted also in the second edition as not only straight lines but multiple straight lines - I have to clarify this a bit.

Kisena:
Your suggestion is quite nice for the feat - I will defenitely work that into.
 
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Morthai Saichor
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Thanks for your feetback for sure!

maybe a more updated version:



 
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Morthai Saichor
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Just a quick illustration of Gesas ability
That would be a range 20 shot:


 
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Darren Nakamura
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I realize this is absurd because it's impossible either way, but I count 20 range for that.
 
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David Puldon
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Morthai wrote:
hey guys - it seems the OP using a bit older version of the feats:

Ilena:
Use at the start of your turn to move every monster within 3 spaces adjacent to you OR move all monsters adjacent to you up to 3 spaces in any direction. This counts as an action.
Althou I am thinking about to change it back to "during your turn"

Gesa:
Gesa has also the limitation of only targeting wounded monsters with her feat.
Her ability is surely worded for 1. ed. but can be interpreted also in the second edition as not only straight lines but multiple straight lines - I have to clarify this a bit.

Kisena:
Your suggestion is quite nice for the feat - I will defenitely work that into.


Damn, I just realized I got nerfed again... sad day for me
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Amish Cow

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dpuldon wrote:
I play Ilena in the TST PBF campaign 4 and I think you are giving this ability way too much credit. First off, there will never be a situation where you are surrounded by 24 monsters, so really no point in talking about that. The OPE is very powerful in breaking blockades and moving monsters away strategically but that is about it. It's more of an ability that does well in effecting 2+ monsters, taking 1 and throwing it towards your heros while the other is thrown in the opposite direction.

In our campaign we just started the 2nd Act I quest, but I think an OL can compensate for this ability, it really just means you can't depend on blockades when Ilena still has her OPE. Losing an action to use this in most cases is a huge deal and this means that it won't be used that often.


These are some good points! You are right, there will never be 24 monsters she can throw. At best, probably 14ish. However, the Overlord can easily deal with Astarra's Feat because she has to use it at the start of her turn. The OL can simply position his monsters to not be adjacent.

I think in normal situations the Feat is fine. But Feats arent used in normal situations, they are used in game-changing moments. Most encounters have narrow hallways limiting where the OL can place his monsters. Here are some real-life examples borrowed from the PBF campaigns.

PBF Campaign III.

The red square shows the total area of the Feat. In this situation the Feat could throw every monster but one onto the other side of the level like this:

Thats 10 monsters that can be moved! What other feat comes close? What would Astarra's Feat look like?


I think limiting Ilena's Feat to LOS, or only minion monsters, or only 2 spaces, or add "at the start of the hero's turn", or some text like that would make the Feat far more balanced. Imagine the Finale where Ilena pokes her head into the throne room and tosses Gryvorn half way across the map (literally, she can throw him 8 spaces and the map is 16 spaces across) into the other room to be smashed to bits by the heros.
 
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Amish Cow

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dpuldon wrote:
Morthai wrote:
hey guys - it seems the OP using a bit older version of the feats:

Ilena:
Use at the start of your turn to move every monster within 3 spaces adjacent to you OR move all monsters adjacent to you up to 3 spaces in any direction. This counts as an action.
Althou I am thinking about to change it back to "during your turn"

Gesa:
Gesa has also the limitation of only targeting wounded monsters with her feat.
Her ability is surely worded for 1. ed. but can be interpreted also in the second edition as not only straight lines but multiple straight lines - I have to clarify this a bit.

Kisena:
Your suggestion is quite nice for the feat - I will defenitely work that into.


Damn, I just realized I got nerfed again... sad day for me


Haha, I should have seen this before my last post... since it pretty much satisfies everything I said
 
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Amish Cow

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Morthai wrote:
Just a quick illustration of Gesas ability
That would be a range 19 shot:




Right, Gesa can use her Feat to shoot this monster. Say he is the quest objective running off the map with 5 health left and all the other heros are knocked out or getting a beer at the pub. Her Feat makes this IMPOSSIBLE shot a reality since it doesnt require range or normal LOS. The overlord could have a wall of Ettins in the chokes, and the Feat would still hit. I can't think of another Feat that comes close. With the correct weapon it is a nearly automatic Immobilize or kill.

Some Ideas to balance:
Double the range rolled and use that?
Require some form of LOS?
Let her LOS only turn/bend two times?
Require surges?
 
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Morthai Saichor
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Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) » Forums » Variants
Re: Silken Threads Balance - Characters
dont forget I talked about the ability not the feat. The feat is like she has a vision beyond normal and can see through another dimension. Requireing LOS is defenitely out of question(due to her ability) but range could be measured as a straight line maybe?

 
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