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

Subject: Bleached Lizard's Revised Descent 2nd Edition rss

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Chris J Davis
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From the beginning of our first "real" campaign we've been playing with the rules below that were implemented to address a few issues we'd observed from the few standalone quests we had played previously. Namely:

- Unintuitive line of sight rules.
- Abusive large monster movement (and preference of using large monsters in general).
- The monster "trait" mechanic not really keeping monsters tied thematically together nearly tight enough.
- Lack of tactics in board positioning.
- Too much range for such small maps.
- Bad pacing of quests.

This last one was one of particular importance that I wanted to address. It always felt as if the quests were over too soon, and that they were often won or lost based on the first couple of turns - often with a large luck factor involved - with little opportunity for tactics to have any significant effect, and with little or no "to and fro" between the heroes and overlord.

We have now played though about half a campaign with these rules (six quests) and they seem to be working perfectly. They *do*, however, almost double the time it takes to complete a single quest (so about 1.5-2 hours per encounter), but this is fine for us as it feels like you are actually accomplishing something. Note also that these rules are intended to be used with a few revisions to some hero skills and monster traits, which I will post below.

So, the rules...

Overlord Rule Changes

Monsters may not perform Move actions twice in a single turn.

Lieutenants and named monsters may perform both Attack and Move actions twice in a single turn.

At the end of an encounter, if the Overlord has more cards in hand than there are heroes in the game, he must discard down until he holds Overlord cards equal to the number of heroes.

Open Groups

Each monster trait icon in an encounter has an Overlord card penalty associated with it. When the Overlord chooses monsters for his Open Groups, he first chooses one trait only. If the trait has an Overlord card penalty, the Overlord must first discard Overlord cards corresponding to the penalty. He may not choose that trait if he does not have enough Overlord cards to pay the penalty. He then separates out all monster cards with that trait icon, shuffles them, and deals out a number of them equal to the number of Open Groups listed in the encounter, plus 2. The Overlord may then choose to fill any number of his Open Groups with monsters from this selection.

After he has chosen, if there are any Open Groups still remaining to be filled, the Overlord may repeat this process by choosing a different trait. Any monsters that were rejected from the first selection are discarded and not included in any subsequent selections. The Overlord must pay the card penalty for each trait he chooses and may not choose the same trait twice.

Large Monster Movement

When moving large monsters, the Overlord chooses 1 square on the figure’s base. The monster is then considered to “shrink” down to this one square. The Overlord then moves the figure as if it were a small monster. When the monster stops moving, it is placed on the board in such a way so that the square the Overlord chose on the figure’s base sits on the square that its shrunken version finished its movement in.

At any point during its movement, the monster may spend 1MP to rotate the figure about the chosen square by 90 degrees.

Hero Rule Changes

Heroes must have performed a Move action during their turn in order to spend fatigue for extra movement (this movement is considered part of the Move action).

A hero may perform a single Rest action on his turn to immediately remove half of his fatigue (rounded up), or perform two Rest actions to immediately remove all of his fatigue.

Knocked-out heroes may not be affected by any abilities (even healing abilities); they must always be revived first.

Choosing Quests

The loser of the previous quest chooses the next quest (with the single exception of the Intro quest – the winner still gets to choose the next quest).

Attribute Tests

Use a standard D6 for all attribute tests.

Line-of-Sight

Line-of-sight is now measured centre-to-centre, and may be traced through all figures (but not obstacles). Any skill or ability that requires a figure to have line-of-sight is assumed to mean clear line-of-sight (i.e, with no Partial Cover penalty).

Blocking Penalties

• Figures moving diagonally across a blocking obstacle, wall or enemy figure suffer a +1MP movement penalty (for each such obstacle they are moving between).

Partial Cover Penalties

• A ranged attack tracing line-of-sight through a friendly figure suffers a -1 Range penalty to the attack.

• A ranged attack tracing line-of-sight through an enemy figure suffers a -2 Range penalty to the attack.

• A ranged attack tracing line-of-sight past the corner of a blocking obstacle or wall suffers a -1 Range penalty to the attack (for each such obstacle).

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Chris J Davis
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To clarify:

Dispel and Spiritwalker replace Inscribe Rune and Exploding Rune in the Runemaster deck.

Raise Golem replaces Army of Death in the Necromancer deck.
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Chris J Davis
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krunsH himself
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that's a lot of rule changes!
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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The game needs it...

-shnar
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Jeff Butler
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I'm liking these so far, based simply upon reading them, but I have a couple of questions...

If the overlord must discard down to the number of heroes between encounters, does he likewise get to draw up to the number of heroes?
Do you have a list of "card costs" for the different monster traits?
Between encounters, can the overlord use cards in excess of the number of heroes to purchase monster traits, prior to discarding down?
 
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Chris J Davis
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carnagecjb wrote:
I'm liking these so far, based simply upon reading them, but I have a couple of questions...

If the overlord must discard down to the number of heroes between encounters, does he likewise get to draw up to the number of heroes?


No.

Quote:
Do you have a list of "card costs" for the different monster traits?


Not easily available on hand (only as little stickers in my Quest Guide), but I may copy them out in a bit.

Quote:
Between encounters, can the overlord use cards in excess of the number of heroes to purchase monster traits, prior to discarding down?


No - he must discard down first, then choose monsters.
 
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Rick Blaha
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Subscribed. Very interested in seeing where this goes...
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Chris J Davis
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Here are the Overlord card encounter trait modifier thingies (that's their actual name) when using the variant rules:

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Frank La Terra
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shnar wrote:
The game needs it...

-shnar


Maybe, but I don't like any of these proposals.
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Chris J Davis
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Mr Skeletor wrote:
shnar wrote:
The game needs it...

-shnar


Maybe, but I don't like any of these proposals.


Not that I care, but out of curiosity, why not?
 
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Frank La Terra
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If you didn't care you wouldn't ask.
I'll do a breakdown of what I don't like later when I have more time. In short though I don't like that you are stripping out peoples options left right and centre.
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Jacob Søgaard
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I might have missed something, but you don't allow monsters to move twice in a row, however heroes are still allowed to do so?
 
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Ken Marley
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I don't like any of the changes, but if they let your group have more fun go for it.
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Chris J Davis
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Mr Skeletor wrote:
If you didn't care you wouldn't ask.


You can be curious about something without caring about it or it affecting your opinion in any way. So ner.

Quote:
I'll do a breakdown of what I don't like later when I have more time. In short though I don't like that you are stripping out peoples options left right and centre.


That's fair enough. For us it makes a better game though (apart from myself, two of the four hero players had played the previous standalone quests, and they both say it's a vast improvement).
 
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Chris J Davis
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Oh, and also: the current win rate is exactly 50/50. Three quests to the OL, three to the heroes.
 
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Tim Chase
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Your changes look interesting. I haven't played the game yet, so I can't really comment on whether I think they would improve the experience for me. I have a few questions though.

Why do you think your games are taking twice as long now? Is it primarily due to the LOS and cover changes taking more time?

Why change the attribute tests to a d6?

Do you find that your score is 3-3 because you are alternating wins between heroes and OL (due to the choosing quest change)?
 
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Scott M.
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Although i can appreciate the effort you put into these rules changes for your group, the game does not need them.

I don't understand the reason for many of your changes and the reason behind the changes are not explained. So they seem arbitrary simply to make the game balanced or how you want the game to be.

Descent is not a balanced game, its asymmetric from the get go and modifying it to be otherwise is ... meh.
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Chris J Davis
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torva wrote:
Your changes look interesting. I haven't played the game yet, so I can't really comment on whether I think they would improve the experience for me. I have a few questions though.

Why do you think your games are taking twice as long now? Is it primarily due to the LOS and cover changes taking more time?


No, not at all (I've never thought the corner-to-corner LoS method significantly sped up the game in any way at all). It's mostly due to the fact that the monsters move at half speed, and the heroes move slower too.

Quote:
Why change the attribute tests to a d6?


The distribution when using the grey and black dice is wonky, with a spike when an attribute reaches 3. I just wanted the distribution to be flat, so that there is no "obvious" threshold as to when an attribute check becomes worth making.

Quote:
Do you find that your score is 3-3 because you are alternating wins between heroes and OL (due to the choosing quest change)?


No. The heroes do not know anything about any of the quests, and I am choosing quests based only on how interesting the quest is, not on how likely I am to win it.
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Chadwick VonVeederVeld
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I'm curious to see if the OL even has a chance in act II...not epic play...but a regular campaign where they have worked together through the interlude...with these rules, from a cursory glance's perspective, I think the heroes will dominate without even trying...
 
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Chris J Davis
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VonVeederVeld wrote:
I'm curious to see if the OL even has a chance in act II...


So am I!

Quote:
not epic play...but a regular campaign where they have worked together through the interlude...


Though interestingly, they lost the interlude (it was extremely tight).

Quote:
with these rules, from a cursory glance's perspective, I think the heroes will dominate without even trying...


Why do you think it will be particularly easy after the interlude?
 
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Chadwick VonVeederVeld
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just my experience with the campaign, act II items are way better, and after acquiring that much XP, they tend to have some pretty amazing skill combos...so add that in with restricting monster movement so much and many of the quest being a race...ouchers....
 
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krunsH himself
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Even though i would not implement the changes you made to the game into our campaign, i like the fact a lot that someone tries to develop houserules that squeeze Descent 2 in a shape where the game feels as awesome for both players and the overlord like Descent 1 did (even if it was not balanced at all).

As for I don't like your rule changes in general, i just hope as many people as possible give it a shot and try them for their campaign and come up with how your rule changes could be improved so that in the end we will get the rules that Descent 2 deserves.

So even though i don't like the rule changes i appreciate your work and i think that's what we need - someone had to start it somewhere. thumbsup

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Bob Holmstrom
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If those rules work for your group that's great.

I wonder why you wouldn't just play 1st edition Descent instead though as your house rules remove the main positive aspects of 2nd ed. which are: simple rules and quick playtime.
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Chris J Davis
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Strategery21 wrote:
If those rules work for your group that's great.

I wonder why you wouldn't just play 1st edition Descent instead though as your house rules remove the main positive aspects of 2nd ed. which are: simple rules and quick playtime.


I think we have different opinions of what the main positive aspects of the 2nd Edition are.
 
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