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Checked for mail today, and there was a box from Paizo on my step. Welp, I had a couple hours before my regular PACG session (another trip through Skull & Shackles, using the Ultimate decks), so I started sleeving. Finished just in time... or so I thought.
Meeting with my friend, I suggested we put our current campaign on hold and try this out. I chose Valeros and Seoni, he went with Mersiel and Lini (there's a quick-start in the box, sealed separate from the rest of cards, but we're of the jump in the deep end mindset). I've been following the previews and skimmed the rules, so I realized I needed to watch my preconceptions. There's a lot that looks like the game I've been playing, but a little different.
One change I appreciated was that so many boons had wider applications. The Sleep spell was one I never cared for, preferring to remove a monster to just evading. Now, Sleep can aid a check on a monster or ally.
Various banes have also changed. Ambush now has the Trigger keyword, with the result being it's easier if examined (you knew it was coming). The Bandit can now be bought off with a boon.
The storybanes and proxies are very nice- something I liked the sound of, but, when putting cards away and there's just a single Bandit and just a single Ancient Skeleton- I appreciate the more efficient use of cards.
One change that almost tripped me up- I was expecting that the Vault of available cards was going to be the level 0 and level 1 cards. I was half right- the banes were pulled from 0 and 1, but the Dragon's Demand set up said to use ALL the rest of the core cards. So, more hurried sleeving. But leave out the Loot cards, right? Nope (although I was in a hurry and might have misread), it looked like those got shuffled right into their categories, to be pulled out later on.
We made it through the first two scenarios, mostly successful (first scenario almost ran out of time, but we pulled it out). I noticed some playstyle changes when we couldn't just pile blessings on a check. The blessings were still getting used, but we were watching for other ways to assist.
I think our only real mistake was when we encountered a card that had us summon a Random Undead Story Bane. I recalled seeing a chart in a preview, but could not find it in the Rules or Story book. I thought maybe it was left out, maybe things had changed since the preview was written- but no, it's just on the back of the Wildcard (maybe the only non-character card that is double sided).
My only complaint, I did like the plastic insets of the previous sets. I knew where everything went. The new box has foam blocks and dividers, which work, but it's a little annoying flopping dividers back and forth to access card groups. So, not a big deal, just different from what I've grown used to.
Overall, I'm happy with the way the game has been updated. I haven't opened Crimson Throne yet, but think it will be equally good.
One change that almost tripped me up- I was expecting that the Vault of available cards was going to be the level 0 and level 1 cards. I was half right- the banes were pulled from 0 and 1, but the Dragon's Demand set up said to use ALL the rest of the core cards.
From context, I think you played this correctly, but just to be clear: in adventure 1 of Dragon's Demand you play with the 0-1 banes, but all of the boons (not cards).
Scott Hall wrote:One change that almost tripped me up- I was expecting that the Vault of available cards was going to be the level 0 and level 1 cards. I was half right- the banes were pulled from 0 and 1, but the Dragon's Demand set up said to use ALL the rest of the core cards.From context, I think you played this correctly, but just to be clear: in adventure 1 of Dragon's Demand you play with the 0-1 banes, but all of the boons (not cards).
That, if true, strikes me as very odd. On one hand, you're not allowed to keep cards with Level higher than # (Rebuilding your deck in the Rulebook). On the other, in Building the Vault you're also instructed to keep cards with L># in a 'future adventures' section.
If Crimson Throne starts with only L0/1 boons, and Class Deck character should only add their L0/1 boons - are we to assume this here is an omission, or perhaps just a 'Dragon's Demand'-specific variation rule?
If the latter, the only reasoning I see is: since DD is a "short" AP - they want you to have a greater chance to take L2/3 boons for a "test ride'(during a lower-tier scenario), at the expense of forfeiting the opportunity for a permanent deck upgrade. Which is an interesting approach, seemingly more targeted to newbie players, so I'd e interested to hear how that all plays out.
"in adventure 1 of Dragon's Demand you play with the 0-1 banes, but all of the boons (not cards)."
Right, I meant we had the 0-1 banes, then everything else that wasn't a higher level bane.
I'd missed the rule about not keeping cards higher than the current adventure #- it's never been an issue before. I think the only boon we gained higher than 1 was a level 3 blessing.
I guess, as Longshot points out, it may be to try out some of the higher level boons that the shortened campaign might not allow; without looking, I think Dragon's Demand is 3 adventures of 3 scenarios each.
Having looked in Crimson Throne now, the Vault there matches my expectation- all 0-1 cards to start. Though Dragon's Demand does have the option of serving as the prequel to an adventure, adding in 0-3 cards right from the start and treating the adventure # as 3.
So, Valeros has always been my Pathfinder connection- I got to play him at GenCon when Pathfinder debuted. When I bought PACG, he was my first character. So with the new set, I decided to grab him again. He was a useful character, but also slow as my hand would get cluttered up with weapons. I didn't want to throw them away since I could recharge them in combat, but if I didn't find any monsters...
This new Valeros has a little wider skill use, gaining Fortitude in addition to Melee and Diplomacy.
For powers, RotR Valeros could add 1d4 to another character's combat check- useful if you were grouped up, but since I played in a team of 6 we were usually spread out. That ability now is recharging/reloading a weapon or armor, to add 1d4 to a local combat check. So Valeros can both cycle through his hand AND improve his combat check. Additionally, Valeros can recharge a weapon or armor from hand or discard at the end of each turn- so again, cycling through the cards instead of all the weapons just staying in your hand.
For the boons, armors have largely followed the Ultimate deck armors, where they're displayed instead of staying in your hand. The long sword, a staple of fighters, let's you reload for an additional d4 instead of discarding for the same.
I'm not totally sure, but I think the Finesse keyword has been altered. Previously, Finesse was a power a character would have, usually granting Melee of Dex+X when using a Finesse weapon. Instead, Finesse weapons look like they allow a character to fight with Strength, Melee, or Acrobatics- so Merisiel with Acrobatics can fight effectively with a Finesse weapon.
The core set covers the 12 iconic characters. Curse of the Crimson Throne adds four more: Hakon the skald, Kess the brawler, Quinn the investigator, and Varian the wizard. I've given these just a quick glance, but I'm looking forward to trying them out. I think skald is a combination bard/barbarian in the RPG, and aspects that we've seen in Amiri and Lem show up in Hakon. Kess gets no weapons, no spells, but can still make a decent combat roll. Varian, I'm very intrigued with- he's a wizard who's terrible at memorizing spells, so fails every Recharge roll, but gets to recharge a spell from his Discards each turn.