Siege of Drezen with 6


Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion


Seriously

Has anyone come anywhere even close to passing this one? It just seems impossible.

Armies are hideously bad news for a group of 6 anyway - you have to do all six checks, and you're bound to have at least one where you don't really have a character who can deal with it. We typically burn at least 6 blessings between us every time an army comes out, because a single failed check means you might as well start over again.

On top of that, this scenario has the locations all lined up, 1-by-1. Sounds like an interesting twist, until you realise that all the leftover cards from the previous location follow you, so even if you manage to get that bit of much-needed luck, and close it early, you're just going to be facing. 20 or 30-card location at the next stage (without even considering the thematic logic behind a pile of armours and items following you deeper into the city)

The fact that everyone is at the same location takes away most of the interesting decision-making. You can't match characters against the balance of card/start of turn checks/closing checks, because everyone is there, and you can hold off exploring, because somehow you've got to get through 60 cards including 6 6-checks barriers, a henchman and allegedly a villain, all within 30 turns.

We've played this four or five times now, and never got past the 5th location.

Our 6-character group really enjoyed Runelords. We gave up on S&S at the last scenario of adventure 5, because it just felt like a waste of our lives to be sat playing a scenario we were never going to complete. It looks like we may be packing in Wrath a lot earlier.

I feel like if a game says "1-6 characters" it should be playable by by 1-6 characters, not "1-4, and maybe 5 or 6 if you have a PhD in card-gaming, and a set of loaded dice...


Erm... Split the party?


totally had the same problem.
even with deliberately losing to the cadre the first time if it would get rid of a lot of cards, we only got to the 6th location.
both times when we ran out of time there, we saw the cadre was within 1 card of the bottom.
you need to use all allies and all blessings as explores, but you really need blessings to make 6 checks in a row, especially when some of them are crowe making a survival check.

the "solution": split the party into 2 groups of 3. it is ridiculously easy then, you'll be hanging around in the last location after the cadre to vacuum up boons.


I did it with 6, but it took a few attempts and came down to the wire. I was fortunate enough that I could at least make all the checks without anybody rolling d4s, but it was horribly hard.


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There is only ever one location in this scenario at a time. I don't understand the suggestion of splitting the party.


I did it with six, and actually had a d4 roll (because ranged and survival were both anchored by Harsk.) I also had Chuffy Lickwound (on Balazar) and Shardra though, which helped.


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Mogloth wrote:
There is only ever one location in this scenario at a time. I don't understand the suggestion of splitting the party.

Only way I can see splitting the party working here is to actually play it twice; the first 3 people play it as a 3p scenario, then the next 3 people play it as a 3p scenario. You then continue on with the next scenario as a full 6p.

If people are having a lot of difficulty completing it with 5-6p, I'd suggest doing just that and running it twice with smaller groups.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

We did this twice in S&S when our 6-player party ran into scenarios we just couldn't handle; drastically lowered the difficulty. This is why our next run will only have 4 chars - less stress for us!


Yeah, I had to houserule there was a third combat 18 choice. Still took a few tries with even that as a fudge

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I have to admit, even with a party of three, these "Armies henchmen" scenarios aren't very fun at all - plodding slogs of bane-checks for which one has to keep numerous blessings on-hand, while the boons have to go back in the box. I think I'm going to set aside Wrath of the Righteous for now and pick it back up in a while. Already play Runelords at work and S&S with some friends. Those sets are much better (gimmicks like a new character mid-stream don't quite make up for the erratic quality of the scenarios), and in the interim I will try some new and different games with my other gaming time.


While I'm not really a fan of this idea, I suppose splitting the party will be the way to go. We played this with a four player group and blew right through it like nothing. However, that being said, in a six player game, you should also have a but load of blessings to burn on defeating those armies. We've always maintained that each time we gain card feats, at least one character must increase their blessings. In a six player game, at least two.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Well I definitively don't like splitting the game in two because when we meet with my friends it is to play all 6 TOGETHER.

This said I fully agree that this scenario is very frustrating for a 6p group. Actually we were very excited when we first read the rules...
And then discovered that (after 6 attempts), it's just like "spend the evening pretending you play then roll a D20 and unless you get a 20 you lost your evening" as someone said in my group.

Problem isn't the army issue in itself. It's very hard (very hard because we miss 2 skills out of 6) but that could be OK if... If the rule wasn't that if you failed once you are pretty much dead.
Because you need to spend most if not all of your blessings and buffs to try. So everyone is already around 2 cards below hand size when you roll the last dice. And failure means an additional average discard of 2,5 cards more. With that, you just won't have a chance to retry until all 6 have reset their hand... Meaning that one failure cost you 6 turns out of 30.

Yes that get you rid of many boons cards (and as much turns), but once you factor the maths, it just doesn't add up.

Let's say you encounter the army in the middle of each deck.

And let's say you can ensure 50% chance of winning each time you face the army (which is the case if you have to do the required 6 checks, unless maybe you totally farmed and optimized all your characters and play solo so your global strategy is the best one ever).

Since you cannot use blessings to explore (you burn them to face armies), each of on the average can explore twice per turn (I wonder if it's not ecen less).

To close a location with X cards, it will then take

X/4 turns 50% of time (success first army facing)
6 more turns 25% of time
6 more turns 12% of time...
And so on because you need 6 turns between attempts
Total is X/4+3 turns
... and X/2 cards will be carried on so next location has Y=10+X/2 cards

So math gives you
10/4+3=22/4 turns for loc 1
15/4+3=27/4 turns for loc 2
18/4+3=30/4 turns for loc 3
19/4+3=31/4 turns for loc 4
20/4+3=32/4 turns for loc 5

Total 142/4=35 turns before even building the last 1+6+10=17 cards last location.
Doomed. Something is a bit broken...
Agreed this is average and you may end up encountering an army early or late or have a chance in defeating, but the number of random variables included is such that at the end, you won't be far from the average. But I feel it could be OK if the average was to reach Citadel in 27-28 turns (then you would have to be lucky enough to be below that and get the villain fast to get a good chance). 35 is just too far away in the Poisson's law.

Not complaining. Just wondering how to handle that for my group without upsetting erveryone. Or is there an hidden strategy for 6 players?

Typical example : Alain, Balazar, Crowe, Enora, Kyra, Shardra... Just the Range check is enough to bury most of our blessings.


Your variables also don't consider getting more explores out of your explores (eg, Imrijka's random chance, or getting explore cards out of your explores - which is a likely outcome because many of the locations tend toward boons.)

However... being down two skills is pretty much screwed. One you can get away with, with smart choices for your Knights of Kenabres out of the first two scenarios; but I don't see two as being feasible. It's technically possible, but so is a dwarf battle-rager getting instantly killed by a massive damage save after a critical backstab from a charmed elf while distracted by the paladin who failed a saving throw vs. instant alignment reversal and the cleric who failed vs. becoming a Shambling Mound. In second edition.


The Knights don't do jack for skills you lack

They boost base stats only, for the skills you don't have you're still on a d4

I fully recommend adding another combat 18 check. Still really hard, but at least it's doable


The boons in this scenario do very little to boost your explorations, because they're mostly weapons and armours.

We did split the party. Although we do each AP with 4, 6 and sometimes 2, it's only actually my wife and I who play, so having it a bit lop-sided for one scenario wasn't the end of the world.
It's almost stupid how much easier this was with 3 - we fought one ordinary monster 4 or 5 times because people kept running in to it with only non-magic blessings, and still managed it first time with multiple groups.

There are also lots of little awkward things with 6 that you just can't mitigate - play 6 blessings to defeat an army? Great, now Seelah just needs to acquire a heavy crossbow to close the location.


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Troymk1 wrote:

The Knights don't do jack for skills you lack

They boost base stats only, for the skills you don't have you're still on a d4

I fully recommend adding another combat 18 check. Still really hard, but at least it's doable

I know. But on the skills that benefit from Knights, you're throwing fewer boons for insurance on them; that's what I mean.


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Sandslice wrote:
Your variables also don't consider getting more explores ...

Well I also didn't considerate the case you fail to close location, which immediately means the secanrio is dead.

As MightyJim perfectly mentioned, once you killed all your blessings to battle the army, it's not at all obvious you can ensure to close...


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Another interestning way of looking at it with maths :

6 players will play only 5 turns each.
There are at least 5 armies to defeat to win the scenario. Meaning you will have to defeat one every turn (or before your turn, which usually means you will have played all your valuable cards before your turn and your turn is pretty much over before it started).

Now where do you find the capacity left to go through 10 more cards per player?
Oh and by the way, you still have find even more in order to close locations, kill a Brimorak and a Villain...

Point is as soon as you are only 5 players the odds are much better, and if only 4 they start to be good.

I feel that since there is so many cards improving the difficulty with the number of players (horde barriers, abbatoir, armies... ), we are missing some beneficial powers that would also scale with the number of players.


Frencois wrote:
Sandslice wrote:
Your variables also don't consider getting more explores ...

Well I also didn't considerate the case you fail to close location, which immediately means the secanrio is dead.

As MightyJim perfectly mentioned, once you killed all your blessings to battle the army, it's not at all obvious you can ensure to close...

"If defeated you may immediately close the location this henchman came from"

note the lack of the word 'attempt' which appears on the text of most henchmen.


Joshua Birk 898 wrote:
Frencois wrote:
Sandslice wrote:
Your variables also don't consider getting more explores ...

Well I also didn't considerate the case you fail to close location, which immediately means the secanrio is dead.

As MightyJim perfectly mentioned, once you killed all your blessings to battle the army, it's not at all obvious you can ensure to close...

"If defeated you may immediately close the location this henchman came from"

note the lack of the word 'attempt' which appears on the text of most henchmen.

Yes, I was puzzled by this conversation. I didn't think you needed to make a closing check after defeating an army.


Joshua Birk 898 wrote:
Frencois wrote:
Sandslice wrote:
Your variables also don't consider getting more explores ...

Well I also didn't considerate the case you fail to close location, which immediately means the secanrio is dead.

As MightyJim perfectly mentioned, once you killed all your blessings to battle the army, it's not at all obvious you can ensure to close...

"If defeated you may immediately close the location this henchman came from"

note the lack of the word 'attempt' which appears on the text of most henchmen.

Oops.

I guess that's the trade-off for assuming that defeating a Tangle Trap allowed you to close a location...


It's easy to miss since we are so used to assuming it is there.


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ОК, I just had another group go "Screw this" on that scenario, and since as Frencois mentioned, we're getting TOGETHER to play no one wants to split the party just to 'fix' this atrocity of a scenario. My group is pretty experienced, but try as we might, we cannot come up with a strategy different from 'hope for lucky Henchman placement' and "throw all the Blessings and pray to the appropriate gods".

I notice the suspicious lack of designer input in this thread, but still, discarding for a moment the distinct feeling this scenario was never tested with 6 players, can I ask for some designer's thoughts on how it's *supposed* to work with 6 players?

Pathfinder ACG Developer

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I think it's clear that Siege of Drezen, and army-centric scenarios in general, could have used more testing with 6 players. It's less clear what the best approach is now. I joined the team in the middle of Wrath development, so I missed the bulk of the army design and testing discussion, so I can't speak to intent there. That's also one reason I've avoided posting in this thread before now.

When designing Season of the Righteous 6 and P, after observing the trials and tribulations large parties experienced with armies, I tried to use armies more sparingly. If they're 1 of the henchman, but not all of them, then you can treat it more like a special villain that you burn resources on. If you have other options than closing every location, you feel a lot less resentment. For 1P, the special army has 6 non-combat checks (no Combat), but if you fail you then get to try a Combat check, and only if someone in the group fails both checks is the bane undefeated. In my experience, those steps resulted in fun scenarios (YMMV).

So, back to Siege of Drezen. Part of the problem is not just that you have to defeat that many armies that many times, while you don't have at least one of the skills, but that you can't avoid them and have to headbutt them over and over, since you don't build locations until you move to the next and you shuffle in the other cards. That's demoralizing, as this thread shows.

If folks are houseruling things to make things fun (which is totally what I'd do), I'd consider any number of things, some of which might not work in the card space constraints normally.

In terms of addressing the scenario itself, I think I'd try changing "shuffle any remaining cards from the previous location into the new one." to "Undefeated banes are shuffled into the Citadel" (along with slightly more wording to clean up the building step since the Citadel's not out yet). It might make that last location even more painful, but it'd make it much easier to get there, and you'd have some options for making progress at least.

In terms of general army changes, switching it from if any fail to if half+ fail, allowing characters to double up on checks but increasing the difficulty by the # of characters doing that check if you do, adding a couple more options to each card, changing combat to not be 1 check but that half (min 1) of the characters can do the combat check. The Pazuzu's Host (6 non-combats, if you fail then make a combat) style fix could also work, but I'm not sure I'd want to use quite so liberally.


We got through it with a team of five, although only on about the fifth attempt, and even that took a rather remarkable series of rolls on the villain fight

I thought the concept was really good, but the execution did turn out to be brutal


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Thanks for the input keith!

Is there a chance you could discuss this with your team and maybe post some variants in the FAQ, just as Vic already did for the B adventure?

I guess all those good suggestions will get buried here in the forum otherwise.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Thanks for the input and suggestion, Keith. We can end up using one of those, particularly the Pazuzu Host option - as I can negotiate with my group that this is more a 'official' mod to the army rules.

Originally, I was interested if there were some particular designer consideration like:
'In a 6-player Siege of Drezen, we estimate that:
- an average of X explores will be needed
- a player group will have at least one d4 check to make
- an average of Y cards will be expended to defeat each army
- an average of Z army encounters will be failed
-etc, etc..

We consider all of the above should be regularly achievable if player applies A,B and C actions/tactics during the game (strings of bad luck notwithstanding)"

So, I was wondering what hypothetical A, B and C actions are expected from the player that maybe didn't occur to my group.

Also, if such actions *don't* actually exist - I strongly support Doppelschwert's suggestion for a FAQ, as this scenario cannot be viewed as anything else but broken (for 6 players specifically)


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Keith Richmond wrote:
I think it's clear that Siege of Drezen, and army-centric scenarios in general, could have used more testing with 6 players. ...

MAJOR THANKS Keith for saying it. As the vast majority of PACG veterans playing large groups pointed out when WotR went out (and as I did summarize a year ago), the army concept was great but the "average turn cost" of it wasn't scaling properly with 6 players. I'm 100% sure the return of experience was taken into account by you guys and we will have a better balance in the tricky harder-but-not-less-fun-with-6-players road when we enter the pyramids.

If it did push you guys to do a little bit more 6p-testing this time, then our very-little-humble-fan-job was done. Forgive us, but I think it helped.

Anyway, as soon as my Goblins decks arrive in France in the mail, 99% of everything will be forgotten.
And at Xmas, when Vic will issue a banes-only add-on deck (forget scenarios, locations, villains and henchmen, just plain banes with new tricky powers), we'll reach perfection.
:-)


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Frencois wrote:
Well I definitively don't like splitting the game in two because when we meet with my friends it is to play all 6 TOGETHER.

On this matter, I came up with a possible variant to suggest to my players:

- you start the scenario with the first TWO locations open
- you can place your characters on either one; characters may move between the two locations as normal
- when an Army is encountered - only the 'at this location' characters count towards making its checks
- characters at the opposite location of the Army cannot play cards and powers on the Army location checks
- when either location is closed, the next location in the list is summoned and built, and the leftover cards shuffled inside

I basically view it as two player parties storming a hill from both sides: they are too far to affect each other's checks, but so are the Armies. They still have to make the same number of explorations, and defeat the same number of Armies as a standard 6-player game but they get the fighting chance of lesser parties, without benefiting from 6-man party resources. One possible 'exploit' in player's favor could be the ability to move between locations at will, but I'm not sure how much impact that will have (and without it, the players who finish first with their 'hillside' will have to make empty turns while waiting for the other party to finish theirs and summon Soltengrebbe's location)


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I think the armies that have an All test must pass to be defeated are the killers that dont scale well. I like the suggestion of two tests mentioned above and then only undefeated if both tests failed
This keeps the armies nail biting however not a total game over


I know I'm late, but we just played the Siege for the first time today. We lost, but I realized something at the end: If you fail to defeat the army, all boons in the location are removed.
Looking over all the locations, that can be up to two-thirds of the cards. It won't make it easy (you have to tank 1d4 on each characters, and you still have to fight the army again), but it's the best plan I can think of.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I have little recollection of our first pass through this scenario, which was over a year ago. I imagine that since we had Imrika, Adowyn, Kyra (who is perfect against any undead or demon army), and two others that we did okay against the Cadre.

And our very recent run with a different group was successful despite the pain of a couple failed rolls, because they came in the second and fourth location and thus burned out a ton of cards.
This is only a four-character team, though, and includes Varril.

It'll be interesting to see what happens with another group of 5 that just started the campaign. We won't hit deck two for another month or two at the rate we play, and we tried to make sure we have a broad number of skills covered (Seelah, Seoni, Imrika, Grazzle, and Alase), but we'll see.
If it takes more than two tries, I might suggest the "if you fail a non-combat check, attempt the combat 18 to still succeed" option, but only one character can use it.


Ok, so if I've done the maths right, it takes a six person party an average of 54.1 explores in total to complete this scenario.

To compare, the expected number of explores for various scenarios (assuming no failures of course):
* Typical scenario
< 44 (I haven't worked it out exactly)
* WotR 1.1 (where there's no villain you just close each location
= 44
* Siege of Drezen
= 54.1
* Bizarre Love Triangle, with the best strategy that I simulated
= 55.6 (or 57.4 with the more popular, less villain-encountering approach)

Compared to BLT:
- You need slightly less explores on average, but...
- The variance of SoD explores is half as much (~5.7 compared to ~11.3), which means you've got a much better shot at getting lucky with BLT when you try it a few times.
- You have to deal with 6 armies and a villain, compared to ~6.2 villain encounters in BLT (or 4.7 with the more popular approach).
- The BLT villains are tough, with their BYA non-combat damage, but armies are much tougher.
- The locations are friendlier on average in SoD (I think).
- In SoD you might get lucky and get the opportunity to save a bunch of turns by failing an army and banishing a lot of boons.
- In SoD you spend the whole time stacked on the one location. Which is usually a helpful thing, but can certainly hurt in some situations.

On an unrelated note, why did they provide so many copies of the army henchman card when you only need 1? It's not even convenient having more, since the one you just defeated is always handy when you need to shuffle it back in.


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Irgy wrote:
On an unrelated note, why did they provide so many copies of the army henchman card when you only need 1? It's not even convenient having more, since the one you just defeated is always handy when you need to shuffle it back in.

Organized play, possibly. Also in at least one later scenario, more than one copy of them is used.


skizzerz wrote:
Irgy wrote:
On an unrelated note, why did they provide so many copies of the army henchman card when you only need 1? It's not even convenient having more, since the one you just defeated is always handy when you need to shuffle it back in.
Organized play, possibly. Also in at least one later scenario, more than one copy of them is used.

It's AD2 though, I thought they had a rule that they never reused anything from AD2+ in another adventure deck?


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For some reason I thought Siege of Drezen was AD5, which would then be re-used in Justifiable Deicide. Whoops.

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