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I appreciate and accept the apology, thanks. I do understand that things in WotR are more frustrating early-on for many people than we'd thought (and wanted, planned, hoped, etc) - and I appreciate that we're all trying to make it better.
Also, I can't fault anyone who references Paranoia, although I certainly don't know what you're talking about, because the Computer is my Friend. :-)
Using the B scenarios for the opportunity to introduce new and returning players is exactly what I am hoping for.
We certainly want to do this with some of the B scenarios. I'm curious if people think that this should be the main function of all 5 B scenarios, or not?
These obviously aren't mutually exclusive, and to some degree we try to do all of them (and other things) with the B scenarios. My questions on this topic are mostly about trying to figure out what's the best balance for future sets.
Thanks again for playing, and thanks for all the feedback!
Wait, so the knee jerk reaction to these B scenarios are pretty tough and not that fun for new players is to lessen the possible rewards and disincentivize them to play them?
I'm not sure how you took the last of several posts over several pages as a "knee jerk reaction" to anything. :-)
As I said above, we're also looking at the function of B in sets. If you think it serves just one function, that's great, but I assure you it serves a different function for different groups, as well as for different sets.
Thanks for playing!
Jason S wrote:
Anyway, those were tough scenarios in the RPG (in particular Elven Entanglement was a killer) and it seems like they are the same in the card game.
Without putting too big a spotlight on it, yeah, these scenarios turned out to be a little tougher than we had intended for the "natural second" scenario. In our playtesting it went fine, but that's always a risk in playtesting - at some point, the playtesters (especially our internal playtesters) are pretty good at the set (I assure you, there's an overlapping but different skillset for each AP), and so even on a fresh play-through, things end up balanced harder for the real players than we intended.
Like I said before, we're still looking at this to see if we need to take some sort of action (which would presumably errata of some sort), but in the meantime, I strongly encourage people who are feeling the fun flagging to press on past those scenarios for now, and come back later (or just leave them for a potential future).
We're also looking closely at the role of the B scenarios in teaching the game to brand new players, teaching the specifics of the AP to people who've have some other PACG experience, and also to providing an interesting on-ramp for people who've played PACG a lot (maybe this AP, maybe many others) and are looking to get into the story in an easy and fun way.
This ties deeply into the nature of the B scenario construction and the B scenario rewards. As a hypothetical example: if the WotR B adventure reward was something like "Each character chooses a type of boon other than loot and draws a random non-Basic boon of that type from the box." instead of "Each character gains a card feat.", would that be better? Probably, people would feel more inclined to just skip over B scenarios that they didn't like, but that's not obviously an improvement - we made those scenarios to be fun to play (remembering that there are many different kinds of fun and many different kinds of player), so maybe it's better to help people skip over the "intro", but maybe it's better to get people to complete the on-ramp instead.
It's a tricky question, and my exposure to board games, card games, video games, and demos of all of the above tells me that there's not yet One Right Answer. For my part, I'm sorry that some people aren't having fun with WotR, ecstatic that others are, and trying to figure out how to get more of the latter and fewer of the former. Thanks again for all your help, and thanks for playing!
To add to what Vic said above (especially "It won't cause any problems at home"), I'll say this: the Iconic Heroes promo cards are meant to represent things that are important to that specific character (while still being playable cards for anyone who gets them). I mean, sure, Enora could wear a Splendiferous Hat, but it's Balazar's Hat, so it's not like it's the sort of thing that she should start with (i.e. it wouldn't be Basic her her).
pH unbalanced wrote:
I had always thought that the reason the B scenarios for RotR got so much replay was because of the lack of other play options. With so many other scenarios existing now, I wouldn't think that would happen nearly as much.
Yeah, that's our hope, also. It's hard for us to predict ahead of time how such behavior will turn out, though. Remember that when we were designing WotR we didn't really know how (well) the new release schedule would work, nor how (well) the PFSACG OP seasons would work, nor how much people would replay earlier APs with new characters, nor how (well) custom scenarios would work in the era of DriveThruCards.
Put another way: we guessed that there would be less crazypants insane replaying of B and AD1 than happened with RotR, but we didn't know how much less.
I agree strongly with Longshot that weakening boons to thwart grinders seems like backward thinking.
This came up a few places, so please don't think I'm picking on you - yours was just the post at hand when I was ready to reply. :-)
In general, there seems to be some sentiment that Viper Strike is designed to be less potent than it should be; that is incorrect. Viper Strike follows exactly the normal progression for the spells of it's type - casting skill + 2d4 and a type of damage. Compared to, say, Fireblade, Viper Strike gets a little extra boost, in that it is easier to acquire and recharge. Sure, you don't care about the CtA very much, but the check to recharge is a real boon -- so says Ezren's "Add 2 to your checks to recharge" feat, anyway.
When I'm talking about planning for a bit more replay, I am not talking even a little bit about designing cards that are intentionally weaker than other cards; what I am talking about is how we allocate the cards that go into a set, and that go into a character's starting deck list. Specifically, if we expect that you'll have a large number of opportunities to upgrade a card, then we're likely allocate the starting deck lists differently than we would if we expected you to have a very few chances to upgrade cards. Because this is inherently a group process, larger groups have a generaly easier time at these upgrades, especially in earlier adventures (why? Because in the earliest adventures, almost any sort of extra resource expenditure will siginificantly increase the odds of acquiring the boon, whereas in later adventures, the gaps are large enough that it's far more common for a boon to just be out of reach. Put another way: many B boons can be acquired 2d4, and 3d4 gives good odds, while in AD6, 5d4 is still worse than a craps-shoot on the shinies).
Or, to approach it from a completely different angle: does anyone want to see a reprint of Guidance?
Yes but it doesn't give the Magic trait to Crowe... so doesn't help for B4.
I might be jumping in after too big a gap, but I'm confused -- if Crowe uses an Attack spell, it'll add its traits to his check (because it says "For your combat check..."), and it will have the Magic trait (and thus can defeat Karsos).
Altogether I agree with all your comments, but it still feels B4 isn't well tuned for 6p.
Yeah, you clearly had a bad experience, and you aren't alone. I'm certainly not trying to deny that, and we're still looking at the situation to see if we need to take any further action. In that post, I was just trying to address the specific point about the nasty location appearing at 6 players -- not trying to say that the total over-all effect is working correctly.
Thanks again for playing, and for your feedback!
Because the terminology might be confusing to someone who doesn't liveinside it at work every day, this is a reasonable thing to think, but it's not actually correct. B4 is the next to last scenario in the adventure; B5 is the last.
I said Adventure instead of Adventure Path intentionally. We increase the difficulty at the end of each "story step" for a large number of reasons, including pacing, narrative, and gameplay. Of course, we also generally increase the difficulty of later Adventures over earlier Adventures, as part of the difficulty/power curve design that I discussed in the post.
If you're talking about 1-2
Yep, I either typo'ed or thinko'ed that one.
that paragraph helped most characters and surprisingly hurt Seoni a bit due to it disrupting her best combat-readiness option.
Interesting! I know that we tested that scenario with Seoni, and I don't remember that problem, but it totally makes sense to me.
With Crowe, forgot about his rage. >.<
If you read his backstory, you'll find that that is excellent roleplaying. :-)
...I feel that the difficulty of Wrath is also a result of some generally underwhelming boons...
This is actually a really deep issue, and one that I will probably talk about in a separate, future blog post. The short (ish) answer is that we really didn't correctly predict how much people would play the B scenarios in Rise of the Runelords, and it had a big impact on the game (probably bigger than most people realize, since it's the first AP.
Frankly, people replayed RotR-B and RotR-1 a lot more than we had expected. This was an amazing problem to have, and we certainly weren't unhappy about it over all, but it did mean that people were going into the earlier scenarios in the adventure with decks that were more upgraded and more refined than we had expected. This was one of the factors (just one, but a real one) that made the start of RotR feel a little too easy for some players. In Skull & Shackles, we adjusted the B adventure, both increasing the number of scenarios from 3 to 5, and also making the scenarios later in S&S-B a little tougher, while keeping to the intentional power curve changes I discussed in the blog post.
I'm getting a little long here, so let me jump to the end, and I'll dig into more detail in a future post. The this-time-for-sure short answer is "We want to give you cards that you can use, but you want to replace. When you play/replay the early scenarios a bunch, then you get more chances to replace cards." One consequence of planning for people to play and especially replay early scenarios a lot is that we need to create a bigger range of desirability of those starting cards.
It's possible that we've gone too far in WotR -- it's a tough balancing act in the best of cases, and WotR already has a steeper power curve (being the mythic-epic-goes-to-11 set), so it's entirely possible that we over-corrected on some of the starting boons. Like my advice on playing WotR-B and WotR-1, I can only apologize and assure you that there is a method to our madness -- and you will absolutely catch up. This does suggest an alternative, for those hardcore players that don't like the idea of skipping B until after 1 -- if you find an adventure-B scenario that you like, you could always replay it a couple times to get some more deck upgrades before heading deeper into the adventure.
Thanks for playing!
The armies don't have the Demon trait (weird, I know).
There are multiple armies in the adventure, broken roughly into three different types for variety and strategy: the mostly-undead group, the mostly-demonic group, and the mostly-cultists-and-soliders group. As it turns out, the art for the Worldwound Cadre ended up more Demon-looking than we expected, and that is a little jarring. We might do something with errata on that, but it will not be a functional change -- it's intentional that there is an army with Undead, one with Demon, and one with neither.
4. I can't think of a single same-location synergy character in WotR, so if you're using characters from the set, being at the same location doesn't help.
FWIW, before Role cards are added, Kyra, Seelah, Adowyn, and Shardra all have same-location helping powers. (Once Roles are added, most of the characters have at least one, but you're not there in AD2, of course.)
Shardra, in particular, came out of development with the subtitle "Everyone wants a Shardra."
Aside: It's a little surprising to me that all 4 of the pre-role "helper" characters are female. I'm definitely going to keep an eye on that for the future.
And now I see that Keith and Mike already addressed the army-traits question. That'll teach me to not read all of the thread before replying! :-)
Thanks for playing!
Thanks, I'll take a look at that. I do much prefer feedback based on experience, as the playtesters can surely tell you. :-) If anyone happens to find one, send it my way or post it here. Thanks!
Don't forget that Crowe can "rage" on his Attack spells, and gets to recharge the card rather than burying it. It's not something you'll want to do every fight, of course, but banishing a basic spell + recharging a second card for 1d10+3d4 or 1d10+1d4+2d6 is pretty potent -- roughly as good or better than Balazar in the same circumstances.
Thanks for playing!
...B-4 having the Abattoir only for 6p is suspect...
We've always been open about the fact that the tougher effects are generally weighted towards larger groups (which have way more potential synergy) and towards the end of the adventures (when the characters are potentially much more refined and advanced), so this shouldn't be a surprise.
This is not to say that the specific combination of party, scenario, villain, henchmen, and locations is or is not too hard -- just that you should generally expect the nastier stuff to come in with more players, and later in the adventure.
Also: I won't break the spoiler tag, but I don't expect that you'll find 1-4 especially difficult. Maybe you haven't seen the third paragraph on that scenario yet?
various people wrote:
...much hate for Viper's Strike...
I'm going to have to look at this one a little closer, because it seems like the negative opinion is relatively widespread, but it performed reasonably well in our testing. Is there a forum thread someone can suggest where I can get up to speed on the thoughts on this spell quickly? (I apologize for not doing my own legwork first; I'm catching up from several days out of touch).
pH unbalanced wrote:
Well, as I said above, the biggest problem for us was lack of any Cure spells, despite having half our party being Divine casters (Imrijka and Adowyn). I can see Adowyn being without, but surely Imrijka should have had one.
The pre-gen character sheet we got for Imrijka didn't have Cure Light Wounds at 1st or 2nd level, so we opted for something different for her. Certainly, you should feel free to swap out a basic card for another basic card if it makes the game more fun!
(sorry about the delay in replying; I was out of town until this morning).
Thanks for playing!
While we're not jumping in too often at this point, I assure you that we're all looking at the feedback on this blog post, and on the forums in general. Part of the reason that my difficulty vs power post came now is that I hoped it would help answer some questions about the set.
In general, I will say this: if your group is finding that part of B is not to your liking, consider just jumping up to AD1 and then either coming back or not, depending on how much time and interest you have. If you're playing with a new group and really want the introduction, then play the first scenario in B (i.e. "B1") and jump to AD1.
Also, if you're coming to WotR from RotR or S&S, and finding that you're having more trouble than you expect, consider if a change of strategy and tactics will help get you through a rough spot. The main point of my post was that we intend the experience to be different (and also fun, of course).
Thanks for playing!
pH unbalanced wrote:
I assure you, they have all been "do"ed, as it were. I'm curious what specifically people find troublesome with the starting decks, given that all 7 characters are built from one source.
I mean, sure, you could build more customized decks by only building a few characters and making the others unworkable -- as it turns out, there's rules for that in the rulebook. :-)
I think my solo game will be a three-character run of Imrijka, Alain, and Enora. I did Kyra through Runelords and would prefer not to use her again, even though Imrijka's divine is weak (seems like you kind of need divine in this set - at least one). I'm tempted to pull in Tarlin; Blessing of Iomedae's in the mix.
That's a solid group, going with the splitting-up-specialties plan. I'd recommend that you give WotR Kyra a spin for a bit, though, and see what you think - she has a very different play-style than RotR Kyra. Shardra is also a good Divine option, if you need one.
And, of course, don't overlook Seelah.
The other Sharks have suggested that I tell you all that there will be some dissenting opinions (theirs) on which is the Best Character in the weeks to come. I'm sure that their posts will be witty, eloquent, well-reasoned, and incorrect. I'm looking forward to it already.
Further, it is my sad duty to report that the Paizo.com tech team, awesome though they are, was unable to accommodate my request to title the post "Seelah: You're the Best", and have it play this song after the page loaded.
Luckily, you're all singing it now.
To elaborate on what Mike said: sometimes we want an effect like "the monster you hit with this spell is less effective at dealing damage", and sometimes we want an effect like "the character you hit with this spell is protected from damage". These often produce a similar outcome, but not always. Thus, sometimes we prevent damage dealt by a bane, and other times we prevent damage dealt to a character. The first stops Structural damage, and the second doesn't. This is intentional.
It's not an accident that we put some cards that *can* reduce Structural damage in the set with Ships. It might be an accident if we put cards in RotR that effectively reduce Structural damage, and we'd like to hear about those.
Thanks for playing!
Ron Lundeen wrote:
I'm Ron! And I thought you could seize any ol' ship you encounter, unless it specifically says you can't seize it--but now I know better.
Ron has the misfortune to have learned a few of the playtest ship rules, and to be caught in the confusion over the several versions that we tried. I have a lot of sympathy for this pain, especially when someone asks me a detailed question and I have to say "I think I know the answer, but let's check the rulebook to see what got printed."
Thanks again to Ron and all of our awesome playtesters.
Casey Weston wrote:
Don't think of it as "piloting" the ship. On each character's turn, they are commanding the ship - that is, they are giving the orders, and the crew of the ship are carrying out those orders. A typical ship will have more crew than even the largest PACg game, and they're busy doing crew/ship things, not adventurer/exploration things. These things include sailing from location to location between turns.
This is also why many of the Task barriers let characters use as many allies as they have at hand - those specific barriers are the sorts of things where you benefit from having as many people as possible helping. Put another way: you don't want 6 people navigating, because no matter how many courses you get from those 6 people, the ship can only go in one direction. If you're swabbing the decks, though, the more the merrier (or at least, more effective-ier).
Casey Weston wrote:
So essentially the ships during movement only allow for extra movement on other players turns if you are in the same location an active player is when they move, you can move with them ... and that is it? Did I get that right?
All ships have a power that they give to the commander, and they collect plunder. They also allow the commander to bring characters along when they move. They don't allow characters at other locations to move anywhere, because those people aren't where the ship is. If you want to know why you can't "swing by and pick people up", the answer is "the same reason that you can't do that in RotR without a ship." During your turn you don't have time to run grab other people on your way hither and fro -- unless you do, in which case a power will tell you that you do.
The Attack trait is added to spells that directly target an opponent, like lighting them on fire or making them glow so it's easier to shoot them. Guidance and Magic Weapon empower your friends/stuff. Black Spot is the classic "alter the surroundings and circumstances, but not directly the enemy" ability to indirectly hinder your opponent.
For those with an RPG background, Attack works more or less like "should spell resistance or immunity apply to this spell?". As with RPG design, there are some effects specifically designed to avoid the issue (i.e. Black Spot), although they generally have a reduced effectiveness compared to Attack effects at the same level.
Robert Moncrief wrote:
If that is the case, then Flenta is very hobbled when playing Rise of the Runelords ....
Flenta never becomes a wizard; she's always a pretender. She casts spells from scrolls, and then gets more spells (on scrolls), and that's her schtick. If you want give her more spells in deck, she'll have more scrolls "ready" before she has to start rummaging around in the "what have I got handy" bag o' scrolls. It's not for everyone, but for many people, it's tremendous fun - she was very popular at the GenCon launch.
There are cards (including cards in the Fighter Class Deck) that have Arcane checks to recharge, and Flenta can be better at them. These cards aren't spells, though - those she's still going to banish - and then replace, with something.
If that's not the sort of game you want to play, you have a large number of options. Rather than adding a "house rule" to remove a character's schtick, might I recommend that you instead play one of the other fighters, or wizards, or bards, or sorcerers, or Seltyiel, or... well, there are about 50 options available right now.
Orbis Orboros wrote:
I'm curious why you think the order isn't:
These sorts of loops are still possible with multiple copies of the relevant spells, of course. There's a (large) degree to which my gut reaction to a character's investment into finding boons can reasonably be rewarded, especially if it doesn't actually make the game easier to win.
Joshua Birk 898 wrote:
I have to say, I like the new Merisiel WAAAAAAYYY better than the old one. Hard to see myself ever going back to RotR version.
Great! She's a little more about the swashbuckling combat, and a little less about dealing with traps and barriers. The Rogue Class Deck Merisiel is different yet again.
It's my fervent hope that some people believe that the S&S Merisiel is obviously better than the RotR Merisiel, while others are sure that the RotR Merisiel is clearly superior, and still others know that the Rogue Deck Merisiel is the only true Merisiel.
KL Sanchez wrote:
You're going to find that tricky to pull off when you're burying a card every turn. Good luck!
Ken Liou wrote:
Yes, indeed. It's a powerful feat combination, for leaving behind presents (both boons and banes) for your friends.
You don't need to be at the same location to play Strength or Speed. We tried that restriction early on, and it just wasn't much fun, so we changed it. Sometimes we bend the edges of the RPG guidelines to make the game more fun, and sometimes we use creative explantations.
If you prefer to have RPG-compatible explanations, in this case just assume that the duration of Strength was enough for one of you to duck over, cast the spell, and then duck back before anyone noticed.
The combination which I would avoid to start: Lem and Merisiel. For whatever reason, this combo was commonly picked during playtesting, and while it can work, it ends up being troublesome for most new players, because Lem usually wants to be with another character, and Merisiel usually wants to be alone.
After that, I'd avoid any combination of characters that seem very similar (Seoni and Ezren, Valeros and Amiri) at first, and Lini can be tricky to figure out (but is very good once you do).
My #1 suggestion for new people, though, is this: we (intentionally) designed the characters to have very different play-styles, and some characters are just a poor fit for some players. If you're playing through and not having much fun, seriously consider trying a new character.
Thanks for playing! I hope you enjoy it.
1. Yes, they should do the Henchman thing. Absolutely. You know why they won't? That's a very good percentage of each AP meaning you'd be getting way less cards for the same price, or more likely, they'd have to drop the price.
I almost never get involved in monetary discussions (because it's not my part of the game at all), but I will bend a little to say this: almost everything you said in here seems pretty intuitive, but is wrong. The costs don't actually work the way you (quite reasonably!) assume, and neither price nor cost were part of that decision - it has everything to do with complexity.
To elaborate on that point: you and I understand how to play the game, having played it many, many times. We spent quite a long time playtesting almost exactly "the henchman thing", and it was a barrier to learning the game far more often than you'd think (certainly, it was a bigger barrier than I thought it would be).
I hope this helps. Thanks for playing!
I see animals able to help just as much as humans, after all they are allies, not wild animals
I don't usually comment on homebrew designs, but this one caught my eye, and makes me ask a question:
What about being an assassin suggests that this character would get a better benefit from allies?
As a simple card power, you could make it mechanically balanced, but I'm not seeing the flavorful, thematic element. I understand why an abstract character might want a bigger bonus from allies, but that seems (to me) more like a guild master, ringleader, of Captain of the Guard sort of character.
This is just my opinion, but I would recommend thinking about the sort of things that you want a theoretical assassin-type character to do first, then try to figure out how those things might map into the card game.
Good luck, and thanks for sharing your ideas!
As others have mentioned, hand size can be both a benefit and a liability. In general, a "tough" character will have a smaller hand size, leaving them less exposed to damage. An extremely versatile character will have a larger hand size, giving them access to more tools.
On the other size of the coin, you really want to look at the expected play patterns of the character. An early version of Valeros tended to `lock up' with a good hand, which made many people happy (once he reached a steady state, he was at least competent at the things he should be good at until something bad happened). It also felt a little too static to other people, so Valeros got a power that let him `cycle' his weapons into his deck if he wanted - giving him a chance to see more of his deck (and just more variety), without sacrificing his long-term longevity. This lets him stay tough without also making him too static.
At the other end of the spectrum, we have Ranzak... but you haven't seen Ranzak yet. :-)
Thanks all for your feedback. Bottom line the verdict is that indeed the base rules may be missing something to handle that but that's OK, we can do without with whatever suits you best.
There are a number of ways to handle character death in a cooperative game, just like there are a number of ways to handle it in a tabletop RPG. I doubt that we'll change the rulebook, since a single clear answer there has a lot of upside, and the answer we chose is both intuitive and matches the 'default' answer of the tabletop pathfinder RPG. That said, we've used different rules ourselves sometimes, and so long as they don't break your group, they don't break the game, either.
The suggestion I usually give people who hit an accidental death is basically what Orbis said above: build a new character with the same number of feats as the old character, but with a starting deck (using the rules in the book). This is good for covering truly exceptional situations, I believe. That said, it's important for some groups (I would say "most") that character death not become part of a strategy, and so I recommend caution and deliberation when using this lighter death penalty.
I hope that helps, and thanks for playing!
If you make/maintain a list of cards that you've removed from the game, then you can use that list to implement something like Mike's original suggestion, and leave all the cards in then box. It changes things in that removing one card removes all copies of them, but that's probably livable, with one caveat.
The trickiest part is he blessings, since you want to account for the blessings deck and Blessing of the Gods. There are a few decent approaches there:
Of those, the first two are my favorite. We've played quite a few AP's through without culling BotG with no ill effects.
Another good guideline for character design: you're obviously not restricted to things that can fit on a physical card, but it's a good constraint nonetheless. The 'no more than 11 skills' guideline is related: if you had the 6 standard skills and then 6 more, that's a lot of complexity, and a lot of vertical space on a card. Similarly, the more skills you put on a card, the fewer/shorter powers you want. If you build a character and think "there's no way this would fit on a card", then it's likely (not certain) that the result is too complex in addition to being too long.
Put another way: if we can get the ranger, bard, and rogue down to 11 or fewer total skills, your concept can probably fit in that same constraint.
To these guidelines, I would add "No individual bonus higher than +3, and only those in specific circumstances, including but not limited to 'not with a d12'."
The iconics should be good guidance for most skills, especially if you're familiar with the characters or their iconic-trope nature. For example, Valeros and Amiri are each both strong and good with melee weapons. Valeros relies more on training, while Amiri relies more on raw ability. A custom character that is also very good with melee weapons could have an effective Melee skill like Valeros's 1d10+3 or Amiri's 1d12+2, but should not have 1d12+3. Similar for Ezren and Seoni's Arcane, or Merisiel's suite of roguey goodness.
Interesting character skills design is usually more about where you want to put the weaknesses than the strengths, and making each character feel distinct. It's certainly not impossible to make a fun character with 3 d6's and 3 d8's, but it's not where I'd recommend you start.
Hope that helps!