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

Subject: How to make the heroes win rss

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Theek Eelmach
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I have played 2 Descent campaigns and both times the heroes didn't seem to stand a chance. I want people's advice on how to maximise the heroes to win in the basic second edition game (core set only no upgrade or expansion). I want to know what heroes to pick which classes and how many 2, 3, or 4 heroes. I want to know how should I spend their xp on what skills and in what order. I want to know how to spend my money. Whats worth buying when and for who? Which quests should I pick? Lastly what tactics and stratagies should I keep in mind? I want to start a new quest tonight or tomorow and I want the heroes to win. Please help me ensure that good triumphs over evil.

Thank you
 
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Dustin Whitmire
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The following are some factors that can cause this game to go heavily for the overlord:

- 2 Hero setups
- No healer class
- Killing monster groups at the expense of quest objectives; this is more a game of movement and spatial tactics, not combat primarily
- Poor quest choice by Heroes; not understanding some quests strongly favor one side over the other
- Losing the First Blood quest; Overlord chooses Castle Daerion/Cardinal's Plight
- Not searching periodically; not acquiring gold for equipment
- Not coordinating the hero actions as a group
- Selecting sub par characters
- Not using fatigue for movement
- Not having high attributes between the heroes
- Forsaking skills that help protect NPCs
- Failing to use abilities, feats, and skills opportunely
- Misapplication of the rules
- Amongst widely skilled players, the Overlord is played by the most highly skilled
- Losing the majority or breaking even in Act 1 (and Introduction/Interlude) quests; being unprepared for the Act 2 transition (monsters substantially upgrade)

I'd take a look at these and see if any of them have been a part of your experience.
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Raphael Pigulla
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That is an extremely broad question, let me just throw in a couple of thoughts for you (also, I resent your statement that the OL is evil! ;)

The concensus among BGG folks seems to be that the more heroes are in play, the easier it gets for them. So to maximize their chance of success, go for a full set of four heroes.
Also, when picking heroes, look for synergies. In particular, look for Hero Abilities and/or Heroic Feats that scale with the number of heroes and the progression of the game.

As far as classes are concerned, the Disciple's Cleansing Touch as well as the Wildlander's Danger Sense are incredibly powerful. Also make sure you havr someone that can deal AoE damage (e.g., a Berserker with Whirlwind or a Runemaster with Exploding Rune), although this is much less critical if you're not playing with the Conversion Kit.

Despite the time-critical nature of most quests, the heroes should always try to search as much as possible. Acquiring enough gold to purchase more powerful weapons and armor is key. A Thief with Lurk and Greedy is incredibly useful.

Make sure the heroes Always focus on their objective(s). This is so much easier said then done as it is very tempting to just hack away at the monsters instead of running past towards the objective, especially at the very beginning of an encounter and during quests in which the OL can reinforce with multiple monsters.

Heroes should not hesitate to use their Heroic Feats as early as possible. Saving them generally is not the best strategy.

If the heroes can afford it, make sure each one has a melee and a ranged weapon in case they get immobilized. For quests that require you to carry a token, equipping a hero with two shields can be helpful (as silly as that may look).

Watch the OL's every step. E.g., make sure he activates monsters group-wise and plays his cards at the right points in time. Especially for a less experienced OL this can become incredibly annoying.


So much for general tips. HIH :)
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D P
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First, it would be helpful to know the setups you've already used, and why, specifically, you felt the heroes had no chance.

Without that knowledge, only general help can be given, but if you tell us what happened, we could perhaps give you much more helpful advice. Sometimes, having trouble could be because rules were forgotten or ignored entirely by the heroes or the OL.

General reminders:

Death is not permanent until the final quest.

Kinda on that same note, heroes can be revived with an action from another hero, thus allowing said hero to use an action on his/her turn instead of having to use the Stand Up action (which uses the entire turn).

Quests have objectives, usually not to kill all monsters, so make sure you're actually aiming for the objectives.

Search tokens = extra money and items (if you get a treasure chest), so searching is good, as long as you can search and still achieve the objective. If it's a timed quest, searching may be difficult but still doable, so weigh your options against the time limit.

A little general help...

After reading the forums for a while, it seems people in general think 2 heroes is hard, 4 heroes is normal, and 3 heroes is easy. It also seems that it's recommended (purely what I've gained from the forums, so may not be right) to have Grisban as a Knight (though people complain about his movement speed), Jain as a Wildlander, Avric as a Disciple, and then either Tarha or Leoric as a Necromancer. If you're using 3 heros, that'd be Necro, Knight, and Disciple. No clue about 2 heroes, because it seems so many people have trouble with it, there's no real recommendations, though I'd assume it'd pay off to have a Necro, since the Reanimate would essentially give you extra attacks like a 3rd hero.

Skills are iffy, because different people have different preferences and playstyles, so I've no clue about those, even after reading the forums.

Buying items depends on your hero choices, though apparently the Crossbow and the Mana Weave are big recommendations from the Act 1 shop.

Tactics and strategies are difficult because they're dependent upon how the OL plays, what heroes and classes you choose, and what quests you play. Knowing what you've already tried would be helpful.
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Dawid
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I just want to say...
I think that the best fun comes from figuring those things for your self and from trying different things.
I wouldn't like anybody to tell my what to do.
Besides I just saw one response already (another are showing as I write this), and if I was to answer all this questions as well, I would have to disagree with previous poster in many points.
So I'm guessing, that you won't get clear-cut answer.
Look, you have just finished one game and you want to play again.
If you just want to win, then if you do, will you still want to play this game(?)
But then, whole strategy forum wouldn't make sense, so I guess it's not for me.
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Darren Nakamura
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Three Heroes
Syndrael as a Knight
Avric Albright as a Disciple
Leoric of the Book as a Runemaster OR Jain Fairwood as a Wildlander

After First Blood, buy:
Advance for Syndrael
Cleansing Touch for Avric
Exploding Rune for Leoric OR save your XP for Jain

Choose A Fat Goblin or Death on the Wing first.

If the following show up in the shop, buy them (with the following priority):
Mana Weave
Chainmail
Ring of Power
Crossbow
Iron Shield
Leather Armor

After the next quest, buy:
Defend for Syndrael
Save your XP for Avric
Save your XP for Leoric OR First Strike for Jain

Choose A Fat Goblin or Death on the Wing (whichever quest you didn't just finish)

After the next quest, buy:
Save your XP for Syndrael
Divine Fury for Avric
Runic Sorcery for Leoric OR save your XP for Jain

Choose Masquerade Ball or Cardinal's Plight

After the next quest, buy:
Shield Slam for Syndrael
Armor of Faith for Avric
Save your XP for Leoric OR save your XP for Jain

After the Interlude, buy:
Save your XP for Syndrael
Save your XP for Avric
Rune Mastery for Leoric OR Black Arrow for Jain

If the following show up in the Act II shop deck, buy them:
Demonhide Leather
Any Act II weapon, but the following are best suited to this party
Dragontooth Hammer for Syndrael
Dwarven Firebomb for Avric
Ice Storm for Leoric OR Latari Longbow for Jain

For the next quest, choose The Wyrm Turns, if available (you must have won Death on the Wing in Act I) otherwise, choose whichever quest is available whose penalty for failure is least severe (Ritual of Shadows, perhaps)

After that quest, buy:
Guard for Syndrael
Save your XP for Avric
Save your XP for Leoric OR save your XP for Jain

After the next quest, buy:
Save your XP for Syndrael
Holy Power for Avric
Save your XP for Leoric OR save your XP for Jain

After the last Act II quest, buy:
Defense Training for Syndrael
Blessed Strike for Avric
Quick Casting for Leoric OR Running Shot for Jain
Except, if at any point during Act II you won a quest that awarded extra XP, then buy:
Inspiration for Syndrael
Time of Need for Avric
Quick Casting AND Ghost Armor for Leoric OR Running Shot AND Accurate for Jain
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Darren Nakamura
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firedale2002 wrote:
Kinda on that same note, heroes can be revived with an action from another hero (or for free using a health potion), thus allowing said hero to use an action on his/her turn instead of having to use the Stand Up action (which uses the entire turn).


Just to note, using a Health Potion costs an action as well. It's better than using the Revive action in that it brings the player up to full health, but there is also no chance that the player will recover fatigue from it.
 
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D P
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You're quite right, for some reason I was thinking heal potions didn't use an action, heh, still had stamina potions on my mind from another forum thread, lol. I fixed my post.
 
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Darren Nakamura
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Also, to the OP:
Ken Marley
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wrote some good strategy articles awhile back. You can find them at the links below.

Hero Strategy Tips (Part 1) – Picking the Team
Hero Strategy Tips (Part 2) – Playing the Game
Hero Strategy Tips (Part 3) – Campaign Help
Hero Equipment Tips (Part 1) – Relics
Hero Equipment Tips (Part 2) – Search Deck
Hero Equipment Tips (Part 3) – Act 1 Shop Deck
Hero Equipment Tips (Part 4) – Act 2 Shop Deck
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Kasuya Meshima
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Quote:
Hero Strategy Tips (Part 2) – Playing the Game


In addiction to the stun and immobilize tips related to reinforcement rules from some quests, you can always use some AoE skills so you can kill lots of enemies and the OL can only respawn 1 monster.

Even if the quest allows the OL to respawn monsters at the start of his turn, this is a quite good alternative. And keep in mind that most of the stun and immobilize skills can target only one monster and/or only happens with a well spent surge. Simple damage attacks affects more monsters and kill more easily than you can stun/immobilize the same number of monsters.
 
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Theek Eelmach
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Thanks for the help. So 3 heroes is the most in favor of the heroes then. Definatly going to take avric the desciple along and I want tomble the thief for searching and support but im not sure still. I was planing to choose 4 heroes but if 3 has an advantage I want to use that but who to take with Avric?
 
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Alexander Einich
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Theek wrote:
Thanks for the help. So 3 heroes is the most in favor of the heroes then. Definatly going to take avric the desciple along and I want tomble the thief for searching and support but im not sure still. I was planing to choose 4 heroes but if 3 has an advantage I want to use that but who to take with Avric?


My advice for 3 heroes would be Avric as Disciple, Syndrael as Knight and Widow Tarha as Runemaster.

Quite a few quests seem to feature a Lieutenant fleeing somewhere. If you can immobilize him, you win, if you don't, you lose. A Runemaster with Runic Sorcery who can reroll his X's is really powerful, the more so if Syndrael can get him quicker near the Lieutenant.

Other quests feature people who need to be protected. Put a Knight with Defend near them, and they won't die easily, at least not without the help of some OL tricks. Conveniently, Syndrael gets to the people that need protection real fast.

I agree that the Necromancer is very tempting for the 4th body, but the Runemaster just does the job of winning better. ninja
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Kasuya Meshima
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Well, I'd go with:

- Avric as Disciple;

- Jain Fairwood as Wildlander;

- Grisban the Thirsty, as Berserker OR Tarha as Runemaster;

Avric is great, because you can have one additional surge power to spend (1 surge for recover 1 HP). Although this can look not that great, this is awesome. 1 little HP makes a great difference in the game, trust me.
Disciple is the unquestionable way of easy healing.

Jain as Wildlander makes the best mobility combo of the game (and mobility is incredibly useful). Searching at 3 spaces distance is not bad at all, but it feels useless wen you can travel almost all the board to search the distant search token and easily take all search tokens, even in a running quest, because she can do ranged attacks, after all.

Grisban as Berserker, make no mistake, is a huge damage dealer and has many excellent skills. His lack of mobility is compensated by his huge HP (+2 related to Syndrael is a HUGE bonus although it may not seems like that) and by Charge Ability that increases a little his mobility. He makes a great combo with a Disciple: give him a Prayer of Healing + Divine Fury (+ Armor of Faith) and he's gonna kill every red huge monster with a single strike. And, if it not kill it, the second blow will do the work (that's why charge is here). If your OL likes putting lots of little monster, he can have whirlwind attack to kill a lot of than. His weapon Mastery is also obligatory (specially with Mana Weavy), so you can have a lot of surges to spend in damage, fatigue recovering or damage recovering (Avric). Just great.

But, if you like a more obvious way of killing a lot, runemaster is Awesome. He can do lots of damage, but I'd say not to invest in the blast skill in a campaign: wen you buy a rune with a blast surge and rune mastery skill, you will never use the blast skill, so it's a waste of XP. Tarha as runemaster is awesome because she can reroll attack (aka. no missed attacks, what is great for a damage dealer) and her heroic feat is perfect, especially wen she has a rune with a blast surge (holy crap, you can do TWO BLASTS at once!).

I hope I could help with some more strategies. =)
 
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Dustin Whitmire
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Kasuya wrote:
His weapon Mastery is also obligatory (specially with Mana Weavy), so you can have a lot of surges to spend in damage, fatigue recovering or damage recovering (Avric).


I've heard the Mana Weave mentioned with the Warrior class before, and while that is true that they can equip it, it's not usual that they do, because that class tends to wear the Chainmail, etc that prevents the use of Mana Weave (Runes). I guess you are going with Berserker and don't care about the Defense dice as much.
 
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Dustin Whitmire
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Dexter345 wrote:


This is a great thing that you did here. It should be remembered and copied and pasted from the quote code when someone else has a 'Why Am I Dying' post.

I reread through a lot of them, and I disagree here and there on the Relics and Items analysis, but its pretty solid, and frankly, I think its pretty amazing that Ken put some Strategy and Equipment Tips together so soon after the game's release and to have such an accurate perception of the game as he did.
 
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Darren Nakamura
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dustwhit wrote:
Dexter345 wrote:


This is a great thing that you did here. It should be remembered and copied and pasted from the quote code when someone else has a 'Why Am I Dying' post.

I reread through a lot of them, and I disagree here and there on the Relics and Items analysis, but its pretty solid, and frankly, I think its pretty amazing that Ken put some Strategy and Equipment Tips together so soon after the game's release and to have such an accurate perception of the game as he did.


I agree, there are debatable bits in there, now that we have more experience with the game, but overall it's pretty impressive that he got it together so early on in the game's lifetime.

As far as the Mana Weave on a Berserker, my group did that when I was Overlording, and it was terrifying. Berserker with Grinding Axe + Weapon Mastery + Mana Weave meant she was doing a minimum of 8 damage on an attack, with an average closer to 10 or 11 (barring the dreaded/coveted X). She didn't need Heavy Armor since she bought Brute, and since she would kill everything by just glancing at it anyway. For the last quest she finally bought Whirlwind and at that point I knew there was nothing that could stop her.
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Risto R
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Dexter345 wrote:
As far as the Mana Weave on a Berserker, my group did that when I was Overlording, and it was terrifying. Berserker with Grinding Axe + Weapon Mastery + Mana Weave meant she was doing a minimum of 8 damage on an attack, with an average closer to 10 or 11 (barring the dreaded/coveted X). She didn't need Heavy Armor since she bought Brute, and since she would kill everything by just glancing at it anyway. For the last quest she finally bought Whirlwind and at that point I knew there was nothing that could stop her.


Umm.. Going off topic, but you just sold Berserker to me. I'm sorry if I ever doubted you on it at an other discussion

My opposition never bought Mana Weave on our first campaign even if I tried to advice them to do so, so I never got to see it in action, but I can totally imagine how itemisation can also make some classes more than others and I do se Berserker (or Runemaster) being one.
 
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Dustin Whitmire
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likelyrooster wrote:
Umm.. Going off topic, but you just sold Berserker to me. I'm sorry if I ever doubted you on it at an other discussion ;)

My opposition never bought Mana Weave on our first campaign even if I tried to advice them to do so, so I never got to see it in action, but I can totally imagine how itemisation can also make some classes more than others and I do se Berserker (or Runemaster) being one.


Not to keep us going much further off topic in this thread, but I reemphasize that I would probably only do this with a Berserker (not Knight) because the reduced Defense can actually work in your favor; Brute (+4 Health), Weapon Mastery (+1 surge with Exhaust card), and Death Rage (Attack with surge= +1 damage for ever 2 damage on your hero).
 
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Kasuya Meshima
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Quote:
I've heard the Mana Weave mentioned with the Warrior class before, and while that is true that they can equip it, it's not usual that they do, because that class tends to wear the Chainmail, etc that prevents the use of Mana Weave (Runes). I guess you are going with Berserker and don't care about the Defense dice as much.


Yes, is better killing enemies and reducing the number of attacks you must endure than endure more attacks with a better defense. Give the berserker a light armor, maybe the Demonhide Leather. =)

Also, giving him a Leather Armor (+1 brow dice) and a lot of cure sessions (with divine fury and armor of faith) makes him a lot durable. Last quest we played, the OL needed to kill one of your heroes to steal her quest item (objective token). Just giving her one leather armor, combined with some defensive skills (such as Stoneskin and Nature’s Bounty) just made a HUGE difference.

Quote:
As far as the Mana Weave on a Berserker, my group did that when I was Overlording, and it was terrifying. Berserker with Grinding Axe + Weapon Mastery + Mana Weave meant she was doing a minimum of 8 damage on an attack, with an average closer to 10 or 11 (barring the dreaded/coveted X). She didn't need Heavy Armor since she bought Brute, and since she would kill everything by just glancing at it anyway. For the last quest she finally bought Whirlwind and at that point I knew there was nothing that could stop her.


I'd go with Whirlwind as soon as I can. Imagine the lot of damage you can do with two free surges (Mana Weave and Weapon Mastery), a Grinding Axe and a Whirlwind attack! Such a beautiful strike!

My chosen abilities for a Berserker Dwarf (or a Berserker with speed 3) in order to buy:

1-Whirlwind(you will use a lot, if you can be adjacent to two or more monsters, you can trade one extra damage from rage for hitting more enemies);
2- Weapon Mastery (now you are kicking asses);
3- Brute (you will need protection as your OL are now going to focus on killing you xD);
4- Death Rage (now the OL pays for focusing on you devil);
5- If you have 1 additional XP by some quests, Cripple is a good option (don't go with Counter Attack because you WANT be attacked and immobilize key enemies is a huge more useful and you may not need walk to hit him again, what means 2 more heavy strikes coming next turn);
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