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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Underpowered Belkar?

    Having played about half a dozen four player games - our group is having a lot of fun with OotS: Dungeon of Dorukan game. One of our worries is what will happen when people come home for the holidays and we have six players.

    From our experience, Belkar has some performance issues. As an example:

    Belkar has: 3x Leaping Attack + Leaping Attack Loot Boost + 1x Twin Daggers of Doom + 1x Deep-Seated Emotional Problems
    Roy has: 1x Logic
    VS Roy: Despite Belkar using five shticks and a loot equip to maximize his static attack bonus against other players, and he only has an advantage of 3, with Roy using a single shtick to defend himself. If given a second logic, that comes down to a difference of 1. I'll admit I might be missing something here, but Belkar is supposed to excel at attack players. Roy is extremely powerful before using logic and simply doesn't give up enough to defend against PvP combat with it. If Roy pulls a few Greenhilt Swords quickly, he's got his massive offense and a good defense to boot without giving up too much.

    VS Durkon: Durkon's Big Heavy Armor (+6 defense) provides excellent defense against this, and can counteract easily with healing. This isn't too much of a problem. Durkon can struggle offensively and is primarily a defensive character.

    VS Elan: Elan isn't generally a character that you want to piss off considering his drool cards are worth a lot in helping take down monsters. Elan can, however, be powerful defensively. Assuming equal shtick progression - it is possible for him to progress defensively faster than Belkar can offensively. Elan, like Durkan, has troubles offensively however and this is one of the balancing factors.

    VS Haley: I haven't seen Belkar take on Haley, but she's almost as much trouble as Roy as far as I can tell. Defensively she can use Ridiculous Bluff or Hide, the former spelling lots of trouble for Belkar if he loses. It gets even worse when she counter-attacks with Sneak Attack or Swipe, both of which spell lots of trouble for Belkar.

    VS Vaarsuvius: Probably the easiest target for Belkar. In the early game, Vaarsuvius can have trouble wandering into rooms without getting his/her butt kicked. If you wait for groups to build for fireball-ing or magic missile, your experience gain suffers and you won't get too many shticks. With that in mind, people in our group tend to play Vaarsuvius aggressively so as not to fall behind. Wait for a few hits, finish with Belkar, profit! I haven't played Vaarsuvius personally, so I'll have to test the waters myself, but this seems to be a problem.

    VS The Order: One of the defining issues - Belkar is the only character that "excels" at attacking players, so anyone playing Belkar might as well paint a target on their forehead. The moment you spot the sickly gazelle and pounce - the game seems to effectively end for Belkar. Others in my group playing Belkar notice this as well. The wagons circle and all of a sudden, you have trouble getting help and Belkar's weak PvP defenses get him slaughtered. By late game, Roy's attack will rival or beat your own, but his defense will beat Belkar's three fold minimum. Durkon's relatively weak offense can beat Belkar's defense fairly handily mid-to-late game. Hell, even Elan can provide problems in the endgame.

    VS Monsters: This wouldn't be as much of an issue if Belkar's PvP wasn't so weak, but Belkar frankly has some issues when fighting monsters. The first of which being, if he explores a new room, he's gotta hide (and have Hide, for one) or get eaten. If Vaarsuvius or Roy gets their hands on the pile, you can kiss a round of stabby-stabby goodbye pretty quickly. While Verbal Abuse allows Belkar to do something offensive against Impervious creatures or something in the case of a flipped Twin Daggers of Doom, it fails to shine compared to say Roy's Bag of Tricks which scales better and isn't subject to the Mindless monster ability. Considering the balance we've observed, our group has loosely agreed that Belkar would be well-served by two flip cards of Charge (like Roy's) or a flip card that allows him to use his attack roll in place of his defensive roll (and Roy's should be likewise removed, he doesn't need it).

    Teams: One of the easier fixes our group has come up with has been to use the variant rule of having teams. This allows Belkar to use his PvP abilities but doesn't suffer from the circling wagons effect of attacking the players. Since Belkar is weak to counter-attacks, he can get help from his teammates. Since he has a hard time fighting against monsters, his focus on PvP forces the other team (in theory) to pick their shticks defensively and save their loot to fight defensively, meaning the risks they take against monsters have to be higher. However, uneven amount of players makes teams impossible to play and Belkar becomes extremely difficult to play in smaller size games.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Giant in the Playground Administrator
    The Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Philadelphia, PA

    Default Re: Underpowered Belkar?

    The thing to remember is that cards like Logic are not useful for anything BUT defense against PvP, which means that not all players are going to choose to select them when they come up. In our playtest games, Logic is usually one of the last cards chosen by Roy's player, simply because it is better to improve offense against Monsters than defense against players. If Roy chooses to take Logic, then yes, he will be quite good at defending against Belkar. But that's the point. There is an opportunity cost in selecting the Logic shtick that is not being taken into account in a strict numerical comparison.

    Effectively, the characters are balanced for PvP based on the source material: Belkar messes with Vaarsuvius constantly, occasionally with Elan and Durkon, and usually gets put in his place by Haley or Roy. If the whole Order "circles the wagons" then yes, they are going to beat him down. That is consistent with Life As Belkar. It should be noted, however, that not all play groups have that reaction to PvP. In many groups, it's considered part of the game and not a violation that must be punished.

    All that being said, you will be happy to know that Belkar gets the strongest numerical boost of any player from the new shticks found in the Shortening. Three out of the six shticks for him make him better at fighting monsters, one allows him to heal himself when he kills a monster, and the other two are "utility" shticks that increase his ability to move and use Screw This! cards, respectively. There are also rules for taking the 26 shticks cards and selecting only 20 of them, allowing you to weed out much of Belkar's PvP focus if you don't like it and use him as a straight Monster-killer.
    Rich Burlew

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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Pixie in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Re: Underpowered Belkar?

    I wouldn't say my group sees PvP as a violation but circles the wagons as a means of defending themselves. My group is actually thinking about trying to play in teams for a change of pace which should help the largest of Belkar's issues. In either case, it's nice to hear that Belkar is getting some love in the expansion.

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