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Jonathan Neufeld
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Permanent Death Variation:

- Hero's have 4 more HP for 2 player, 3 more HP for 3 player, 2 more HP for 4 player
- After a hero has been knocked down any adjacent monster can use an action to 'kill the hero'. The hero's only chance of survival is on a successful attribute pass of the hero's choice. Monsters are limited to only one chance per turn.

- If the hero passes the test they may perform a stand up action (though it is not their turn), and would proceed to recover health and/or fatigue as per the normal 1 red die roll.

- If the hero fails they are dead and a player token is put in the place of the figure.
- This token can be 'looted' by other heros for the fallen heros items at the cost of an action. Shop / Class items = 2 per action spent ; Search cards = all cards per action spent.
- This token can also be looted by master monsters or lieutenants for relic items only. Note: For the duration of the quest if a steal is successful and the master monster or lieutenant carrying it is killed that relic is dropped (on their last square occupied) and is free to be picked up again by heros, master monsters, or lieutenants. At the conclusion of the quest whoever has the relic keeps it for the start of the next quest.
- A healer can revive the fallen hero with two successful attribute rolls. This counts as two actions and the healer must be adjacent (the healer may move up to their speed as apart of the two actions). Attribute is the heros choice. If this is not done by the end of the next hero round in which the hero fell, that hero is dead with no chance of revival.
- Successful revival allows the hero to roll one red and one yellow die to recover HP and fatigue.

- After the conclusion of the current quest and the heros are in town, the player with the dead hero may select a new hero. This hero is given the same xp as the fallen hero, and must not use the class of the fallen hero.

Notes:
- The reason for the extra HP is so that the heros have a bit more of a buffer. 2 player obviously having more because of the difficulty and lack of support from having more heros.
- Looting I think is an essential element to the theme and that is why it's included. This also adds a whole new element of strategy for all players.
- I added reviving with a heavy cost because I originally did not want to include it, but later thought the option should be there for those who are feeling lucky!
- Not being able to use the class after a hero is killed I think intensifies things for everybody.

I'm hoping to have some feedback from the wealth of knowledge out there in order to further refine these rules and fix any gaps that may be there. Hopefully after a revision or two I will be able to play test this more in detail.
Thanks!
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Jonathan Neufeld
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This is partially in response to Teeka's latest post as he was looking for death. devil
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/900859/please-push-me-of...

But I have been thinking of this variation for some time now.
 
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Darren Nakamura
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If I were the Overlord while playing with this variant, I would almost never try it. While the reward could be great, unless I had spare actions to waste, the chance of it working is too low. Most heroes have at least one Attribute at level 4, which gives them a 72% chance of success, and among those whose highest attribute is 3 (Lindel, Red Scorpion, Arvel World Walker), two of them have Hero Abilities that make attribute tests easier to pass (Lindel has a 71% chance of passing, Arvel has a 78% chance of passing), and any of the three of them could be a Thief, whose Lucky Charm would increase their chances even more.

So unless I had a monster next to a fallen hero and I had literally nothing else I could possibly do with it, I probably wouldn't try.

Or perhaps if I had a swarm of Kobolds, then I may.
 
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Dustin Whitmire
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If that is true, you could just choose a set value for the attribute test; say, 3 or whatever.

But let me say, I personally have zero interest in a hero death variant. The game is difficult enough for the heroes, and I have plenty of motivation as it is not to get knocked down, if at all possible. I don't think it ultimately adds anything to the game; aren't the encounters already challenging and tense? Why be frustrated by loosing some equipment or having to finish an encounter one hero short? Or trying to make the next character jive with the other party members?

But I won't steal your fun. Here, I'll help.

My recommendation would take away the looting component; just have the equipment recoverable by a Move action (just like trading). That way you keep the thematic, and don't frustate yourself.

Also, instead of having to finish the encounter (or the next for that matter) one hero short, allow your replacement hero to come onto the Entrance tile (or wherever) the next turn. Give the Overlord an additional card for actually killing the hero (beyond the one for knocking him down). Treat the hero that showed up on the Entrance thematically however you like; decide if you want to just let him have a normal turn or start with a penaly. I say just let 'em go.

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Dexter345 wrote:

So unless I had a monster next to a fallen hero and I had literally nothing else I could possibly do with it, I probably wouldn't try.


But that may precisely be a good thing! Remember this thread: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/890119/hardcore-ironman-mode...

One of the topics of discussion was the inherent problem of the OL ignoring quest objectives and going for kills. I think the fact that this variant makes a "kill" difficult makes sense both thematically and mechanically. Thematically, these are tough heroes, who more often than not will be knocked out, not killed in action. But, the risk is always there. Mechanically, it keeps the OL primarily focused on the objectives, but this is always a side diversion s/he may take.

You might also want to think about letting not only heroes loot, but also monsters. This gives the OL a sort of overarching strategic decision to sacrifice an action towards fulfilling a quest objective in favor of removing an item/weapon from play. Any shop/class item a monster loots is permanently removed from play for the duration of the campaign, and any search card is returned to the bottom of the deck.

So, I think this variant along with this minor tweak to your looting rule can introduce some interesting considerations for players on both sides. I think I might try this out next campaign I play.


EDIT: if the item removal seems too harsh, you can also play that monster looting of items simply return to the Shop deck and Class deck (assume that the item from the Class deck now costs 1 XP to re=purchase)


 
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Just for the record, I wasn't able to get a playable version of the hardcore/ironman mode down. It didn't work out so well. Ah well
 
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Jonathan Neufeld
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golbeeze wrote:
Just for the record, I wasn't able to get a playable version of the hardcore/ironman mode down. It didn't work out so well. Ah well


Sorry golbeeze I had forgotten about that forum post. I was quite interested in that because this topic seems to creep up every now and then. That is why I'm bringing it up again, to iron out at least a death variant. Perhaps after some play testing it could be applied to a more 'hardcore' style of play, where the heros are not the only one affected by an increase of difficulty.
 
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Jonathan Neufeld
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Dexter345 wrote:
If I were the Overlord while playing with this variant, I would almost never try it. While the reward could be great, unless I had spare actions to waste, the chance of it working is too low. Most heroes have at least one Attribute at level 4, which gives them a 72% chance of success...

Or perhaps if I had a swarm of Kobolds, then I may.


I had thought of lowering it, but I wanted to make sure the heros had a good chance of surviving while at the same time 'tempting' the overlord to spend those precious actions. Don't forget that even though you have a 72% chance of passing doesn't mean you will roll it. If the heros seem to be having a bad 'roll' night you would definitely want to take advantage of it.

demonhanz wrote:
I think the fact that this variant makes a "kill" difficult makes sense both thematically and mechanically. Thematically, these are tough heroes, who more often than not will be knocked out, not killed in action. But, the risk is always there. Mechanically, it keeps the OL primarily focused on the objectives, but this is always a side diversion s/he may take.


Thanks demonhanz for elaborating on what I'm going for here. I probably should have waited until I had more sleep before posting shake

dustwhit wrote:
But I won't steal your fun. Here, I'll help.

My recommendation would take away the looting component; just have the equipment recoverable by a Move action (just like trading). That way you keep the thematic, and don't frustate yourself.

Also, instead of having to finish the encounter (or the next for that matter) one hero short, allow your replacement hero to come onto the Entrance tile (or wherever) the next turn. Give the Overlord an additional card for actually killing the hero (beyond the one for knocking him down). Treat the hero that showed up on the Entrance thematically however you like; decide if you want to just let him have a normal turn or start with a penaly. I say just let 'em go.


Thanks dustwhit for not stealing my fun

I think your right about simplifying the looting aspect I will definitely make that change. I will also include demonhanz idea about monsters being able to loot to a certain degree. One thing I can't quite figure out from your comment is how a hero shows up to replace the fallen hero in the same encounter. Thematically speaking if a hero was to leave the board 'running back to town to get more help' then it would work, but I don't think that would be easy to setup up mechanically speaking. I know the idea of a player not being able to do anything is not appealing, but I still think that between deciding which hero to use next, and helping the heros complete the current quest there will be lots to do.

One potential problem I foresee with this variant is on a quest like Castle Daerion where the odds are already stacked against the heros, this may lead to the slaughter of them all. Which I suppose would be game over. Although the heros could counter by focusing on drawing the monsters away towards them and allowing for more reinforcements... hmm...

Nobody commented on having the class 'closed' to further use... any objections?

Thanks again for the great comments so far, this has been very helpful.
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Dustin Whitmire
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jonny18 wrote:
One thing I can't quite figure out from your comment is how a hero shows up to replace the fallen hero in the same encounter. Thematically speaking if a hero was to leave the board 'running back to town to get more help' then it would work, but I don't think that would be easy to setup up mechanically speaking.


One must simply blow the Horn of Gondor, thereby opening a transdimensional portal to Aryhn. I believe it may be possible to transmit a message to Baron Greigory using a subspace frequency through the portal.

Of course, Greigory would have to use the displaced energy of the portal to create a temporal anomaly, much like for Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator. He could conceivably send another hero back through the anomaly precisely at the moment when the first hero died. The hero would have to transport completely stark naked though.
 
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Jonathan Neufeld
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dustwhit wrote:
jonny18 wrote:
One thing I can't quite figure out from your comment is how a hero shows up to replace the fallen hero in the same encounter. Thematically speaking if a hero was to leave the board 'running back to town to get more help' then it would work, but I don't think that would be easy to setup up mechanically speaking.


One must simply blow the Horn of Gondor, thereby opening a transdimensional portal to Aryhn. I believe it may be possible to transmit a message to Baron Greigory using a subspace frequency through the portal.

Of course, Greigory would have to use the displaced energy of the portal to create a temporal anomaly, much like for Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator. He could conceivably send another hero back through the anomaly precisely at the moment when the first hero died. The hero would have to transport completely stark naked though.


I stand (or rather sit at my computer) corrected

I guess naked because its more entertaining?... or maybe more so because of the quickness in which the help was needed.

So how would you 'blow the horn' in Descent?

Could you get Chuck Norris to come through the gate instead of Arnold? whistle Game over for OL then... ninja
 
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Dustin Whitmire
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Jonathan, clearly you are uncultured in the great art form of American cinema. If you knew your Terminator, you would realize that only organic matter can withstand a temporal displacement. This makes it often convenient to teleport to a location near a biker bar.

In regards to the Horn of Gondor, it's probably best that Gehazi, the keeper of the luggage, should blow the horn. In the Special Rules section under Gehazi, it should include:

Special Rules, Gehazi subsection wrote:
At any point that a hero is killed by the Overlord, Gehazi, the keeper of the heroes' luggage, will instantaneously blow the Horn of Gondor. This does not cost the heroes an action. The Horn of Gondor opens a transdimensional portal to Aryhn. Gehazi muts pass an attribute test of Quantum Physics in order to send the subspace message.
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Jonathan Neufeld
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dustwhit wrote:
Jonathan, clearly you are uncultured in the great art form of American cinema. If you knew your Terminator, you would realize that only organic matter can withstand a temporal displacement. This makes it often convenient to teleport to a location near a biker bar.


Sadly I am probably the one person in N.A. that has not seen Terminator blush

To actually apply this too Descent though, I suppose you could create a 'horn of Gondor' like item to summon a helper (would cost an action). If I were the OL that is who I would kill first the bearer of the horn.
 
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Triu Greykith
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jonny18 wrote:
If I were the OL that is who I would kill first the bearer of the horn.

All of the heroes are equipped with an Air Horn of Gondor, with optional dead man's switch (patent pending). As soon as one hits the deck, that sucker blasts an ear-piercing screech (-1 {heart} to all adjacent figures each round; use an action to smash it). I recommend adding the Enchanted Earplugs to the shop deck.
 
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Stephen Williams
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Personally, I'd be inclined to have new heroes join the party in between quests (the heroes go recruiting during their down-time.) I'm aware that this would alter the balance of a quest in progress - perhaps the rules should scale down as the number of living heroes decreases. Although honestly, I'd be inclined to say this is just a consequence of wanting permadeath in the game: the quest gets harder as heroes die.

I'd also want to add in a rule allowing the heroes to flee any given quest if they realize they can't win, rather than forcing them to keep trying and suffer a TPK. If permanent death is to be a serious threat in the game, then running for your life should also be a serious option for heroes to employ. After all, there's heroism and then there's stupidity.

Obviously, the OL wins any quest that the heroes concede in this manner.
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Rafal Areinu
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OL choses Castle Daerion. OL sets up the stage. Players:
"We surrender."

Probably best choice of action (well, they could first aim for some search counters)

I don't think permadeath is needed in this game, but what it seriously lacks are rules for changing heroes during campaign. I don't have dedicated enough team for board games so I have at least one person changing every Saturday we play. We didn't want new people to play old characters so we invented our houserules for changing heroes between quests, but I believe we messed up balance a bit because of them being too much in favor of heroes.
 
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Dustin Whitmire
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I just got off the phone with Adam Sadler. He liked the idea of Gehazi, keeper of the heroes' luggage. He sent it off to design and they emailed me the familiar card. Any hero may use Gehazi in a Hero Death variant. Congratulations, Jonathan. It's coming together.

 
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John "Omega" Williams
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To answer the "How does a replacement hero show up?" question.

One simple answer is. "They were part of a previous expedition that failed and have been tailing the heroes looking to join up."

Or "They were lost."

Or "They showed up late to the party gathering and only just caught up!" I used this one in my own RPG book fairly often when a player would join in late in the campaign.
 
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Jonathan Neufeld
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Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) » Forums » Variants
Re: Need opinions on a potential death variation
Permanent Death Variation: v1.1

- Hero's have 4 more HP for 2 player, 3 more HP for 3 player, 2 more HP for 4 player
- After a hero has been knocked down, any adjacent monster can use one action to 'kill the hero'. The hero's only chance of survival is on a successful attribute pass of the hero's choice. Monsters are limited to only one chance per turn. No skills or OL cards can affect this attribute test; for example, no re-rolls.
- If the hero passes the test they may perform a stand up action (though it is not their turn), and would proceed to recover health and/or fatigue as per the normal 1 red die roll. They can then proceed after the overlords turn has ended as per usual.
- If the hero fails they are dead and a player token is put in the place of the figure.
- This token can be 'looted' by other heros by the normal trading means. This token can also be looted by any monster or lieutenant for relic items only, and this costs one action. Note: For the duration of the quest if a steal is successful and the master monster or lieutenant carrying it is killed that relic is dropped (on their last square occupied) and is free to be picked up again by heros, master monsters, or lieutenants. At the conclusion of the quest whoever has the relic keeps it for the start of the next quest.
- A healer can revive the fallen hero with two successful attribute rolls. This counts as two actions and the healer must be adjacent (the healer may move up to their speed as apart of the two actions). Attribute is the heros choice. If this is not done by the end of the next hero round in which the hero fell, that hero is dead with no chance of revival.
- Successful revival allows the hero to roll one red and one yellow die to recover HP and fatigue.
- After the conclusion of the current quest and the heros are in town, the player with the dead hero may select a new hero. This hero is given the same xp as the fallen hero, and must not use the class of the fallen hero. Although the new hero may use the same archetype.
- Hero's can choose to concede any given quest by running through the entrance/exit (quest dependant).


A few changes made (major ones in bold) based on your suggestions. Sorry Dustin no Gehazi or horn of Gondor... if your that set on it then you'll need to variant my variant.

Please let me know if the new 'looting' rules, and 'hero conceding' sounds good in theory. If nobody else has any suggestions then I'm moving to testing.
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