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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Homebrew shortening

    A straightforward way to speed up the game is to give everyone more shticks and loot to start with. But drawing shticks randomly doesn't give a very good balance. I came up with some sets of extra shticks - two sets of three for each character. In addition to three of the four standard starting shticks, each player chooses one set of three extra shticks, depending on their preferred style of play with their assigned character. I haven't playtested these yet, but I tried to make each set useful as a combination, and roughly equal in power. Each character has one set containing a wound-preventing or -restoring shtick, and one set (possibly the same set) that gives them enough wound-inflicting shticks to fight any Impervious/Mindless/Enchanted/Flying monster.

    Belkar can rig monster battles in his favor (Hated Enemy, Poor Tracking Skills, and Keen Nose) or make biting remarks at his comrades (Doesn't Play Well With Others, Verbal Abuse, and Schadenfreude).

    Vaarsuvius can try to go deep quickly and fight big stacks (Fireball, Blackwing the Raven, and Elven Senses... Tingling!) or be more well-rounded (Lightning Bolt, Seldom-Used Quarterstaff, and Protective Spell).

    Elan can be a tragic loner (Conscience Angel, Conscience Demon, and Lute) or, like any good storyteller, he can include some mindless sex and violence (Dumb as Mud, Gratuitous Nudity, and Rapier).

    Haley can go for loot (Disarm Traps, Swipe!, and Come To Me, My Pretties) or shticks (Obscure Alchemical Arrows, Double Shot, and Good Reflexes).

    Durkon can be a being of light (Divine Intervention Of Thor, Awfully Lawful, and Dark Vision) or a tank (Thor's Lightning, Dwarven Toughness, and Sturdy Shield). Durkon's shticks were the toughtest to find good mechanical combinations for.

    Roy can be a well-rounded fighter (Bag of Tricks, Master of Battle Administration, and Plate Mail And Boots) or more gung-ho (Greenhilt Sword, Charge!, and Meat Shield).

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Male

    Default Re: Homebrew shortening

    some friends and i decided to speed up a late game by just skipping the short-game loot and shtick requirements for xykon's layer. we ended up with nothing more than a few big, untouched stacks and a too many wounds. Roy had a good shot but it's because he alone did (and so early) that he was ...discouraged. now i'm starting to wonder if 3-5man games wouldnt be faster without Belkar. heh, but then what, Roy = win?

    you could always try stacking the top half of the battle deck with easier monsters and speeding past the first floor. but, even then, who would love you more: roy or var? and them alone. poor belkar thrives on stacks that others failed with, haley won't have the good loot shticks to poach with yet, fewer wounds to need curing, noone requiring bard songs... its awefully hard to tweak it faster for everyone.

    i wonder if maybe there might be a variant someone can work on for people that want quicker games. like, say for a two player quick match lay down eight room cards face down between two character cards and a xykon lair card in the very middle. for battle size, treat each room as a floor leading up to xykon lair and deal appropriate number of battle cards face down on each, xykon boss on the middle. move one room per turn, double loot drops, Screw This cards flipped are discarded for a shtick draw as if it were three xp.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PePe QuiCoSE's Avatar

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    Apr 2006
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    Argentina
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    Default Re: Homebrew shortening

    Quote Originally Posted by prj View Post
    I tried to make each set useful as a combination, and roughly equal in power. Each character has one set containing a wound-preventing or -restoring shtick, and one set (possibly the same set) that gives them enough wound-inflicting shticks to fight any Impervious/Mindless/Enchanted/Flying monster.
    I like what you did here, i was thinking of something similar for a short 2 player game i was planning. Though my pool of shticks was geared in 2 different sets: bonus against monsters or bonus against players.
    The only thing i don't like of you shtick of choice, is the ones that can get boost. For example, Roy or Vaarsuvius can get with their first drawn shtick their max boost to their trademark shtick (Greenhilt Sword and Fireball).
    Though i have to see how it works to comment on it (and have all the shticks in sight), my pick would be to choose all the shticks that doesn't get/give direct bonus and that players usually wouldn't pick.
    solo tú sabes bien quien soy y por eso es tuyo mi corazón
    AKA Yakkul

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Re: Homebrew shortening

    Quote Originally Posted by PePe_QuiCoSE View Post
    The only thing i don't like of you shtick of choice, is the ones that can get boost. For example, Roy or Vaarsuvius can get with their first drawn shtick their max boost to their trademark shtick (Greenhilt Sword and Fireball).
    Yes. I tried to avoid doing too much of that, but it's tough, since I was trying to find sets that work together mechanically and thematically. At least for Vaarsuvius, the extra Fireball isn't very useful at the beginning of the game, so it's not as powerful as it might seem.

    Which leads to another idea - if you start with extra shticks, you might also start deeper in the dungeon to speed things up even more. Skip the first floor or two, and let the stairs from the Dungeon Entrance lead directly to the second or third floor. Or, for pretty much the same effect, increase the battle size on each floor by 1 or 2.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PePe QuiCoSE's Avatar

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    Default Re: Homebrew shortening

    If you increase the Battle Size of the first dungeon level, you should do that only until you find the 3rd level. Sometimes players need to go up and fight weaker stacks (or get advantage of players with few battle cards in hand).

    I think that you should keep the dungeon's structure of monsters stacks, so another approach is to increase the chances of finding stairs, with a +1 per level from bottom to top. That is, Xykon's Lair will always have the same roll (1-3) .

    For example, for a dungeon of 3 levels + Xykon's Lair (total of 4) you would have to roll:

    1-5 to find stairs to Dungeon Level 2
    1-4 to find stairs to Dungeon Level 3
    1-3 to find stairs to Xykon's Lair


    This hurts Durkon and Belkar and favors V. To compensate you can start with the first 3 rooms of level 1 as already explored as standard dungeon rooms. This way, they can try to locate stairs at a moderate distance (maximum for first turn) of the Dungeon Entrance.
    The 3 rooms should be the one directly below the Dungeon Entrance and both beside it.
    solo tú sabes bien quien soy y por eso es tuyo mi corazón
    AKA Yakkul

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PePe QuiCoSE's Avatar

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    Default Re: Homebrew shortening

    As i outlined above, i´d make the player start without shticks that boost their main shticks and also those that don't synergize

    The selection of your now 6 starting shticks is: the first 3 as outlined in the rules (choose 3 out of the 4 starting shticks) and you get at random 3 more out of the following lists.

    Roy's Shticks

    4th Starting Shtick
    Sigh
    Meat Shield
    Master of Battle Administration
    Party Leader Veto
    Creative Motivation
    It's Called Foreshadowning

    Remaining Shticks:

    4th Starting Shtick (if not chosen)
    Greenhilt Sword (x2)
    Great Cleavage
    No Rest for the Weary
    Bag of Tricks (x2)
    Charge
    Logic (x2)
    Plate Mail and Boots


    Durkon's Shticks

    4th Starting Shtick
    Awfully Lawful
    Dark Vision
    Clank Clank Clank
    Dwarven Toughness
    Incomprehensible Accent
    Sturdy Shield

    Remaining Shticks:

    4th Starting Shtick (if not chosen)
    Big Heavy Armor
    Cure Assorted Wounds (x2)
    Thor's Hammer (x2)
    Thor's Lightning (x3)
    Turn Undead
    Divine Intervention

    Haley's Shticks

    4th Starting Shtick
    Double Shot
    Good Reflexes
    Obscure Alchemical Arrows
    Ridiculous Bluff
    Second in Command
    Secret Crush

    Remaining Shticks:

    4th Starting Shtick (if not chosen)
    Come to Me, My Pretties
    Disarm Traps
    Swipe (x2)
    Sneak Attack (x2)
    Longbow
    Hide (x2)
    Ridiculous Bluff

    Elan's Shticks

    4th Starting Shtick
    Chain Shirt
    Conscience Angel
    Conscience Demon
    Dumb as Mud
    Wacky Hijinks
    Lute

    Remaining Shticks:

    4th Starting Shtick (if not chosen)
    Banjo the Clown
    Poorly-Planned Illusion (x2)
    X-Treme Diplomacy
    Bard's Song (x3)
    Gratuitous Nudity
    Hide
    Rapier

    V's Shticks

    4th Starting Shtick
    Buff Spell
    Elven Senses... Tingling
    Penultimate Arcane Power
    Protective Spell
    Secrets That Will Drive You MAD!
    Evan's Spiked Tentacles of Forced Intrusion

    Remaining Shticks:

    4th Starting Shtick (if not chosen)
    Fireball (x2)
    Lightning Bolt (x3)
    Magic Missle
    Penultimate Arcane Power
    Blackwing the Raven
    Seldom-Used Quarterstaff
    Protective Spell

    Belkar's Shticks

    4th Starting Shtick
    Doesn't Play Well With Others
    Joy of Killing
    Keen Nose
    Poor Tracking Skills
    Schadenfreude
    Victory Taunt

    Remaining Shticks:

    4th Starting Shtick (if not chosen)
    Halfling Rage (x2)
    Verbal Abuse (x2)
    Twin Daggers of Doom
    Hide
    Leaping Attack (x2)
    Deep-Seated Emotional Problems
    Hated Enemy


    Though some combinations are still strong for each character (like Elan getting Chain Shirt and Conscience Angel together) the randomness should make it up. Still, the shticks you get speed you up in the game for the different bonus that you get that let's you go faster in the beginning.
    solo tú sabes bien quien soy y por eso es tuyo mi corazón
    AKA Yakkul

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

    Join Date
    May 2008

    Default Re: Homebrew shortening

    In my experience, any PvP action slows the game to a crawl- even if you don't actually attack each other being forced to draw a pvp schtick "wastes a level"- all PvP only schticks are best removed from the deck to make schtick drawing a more reliable powerup. I am not above always forcing Belkar to be an NPC since at his very best boosted leaping attack he's a 5 attack 1 Defense making him awful for exploring new combats. Getting a strong Verbal abuse makes him a more rounded character but he can't start with it.

    On another note- there's a strong desire to "level up" especially when "easy monster" or "bonus to rest" rooms appear. While removing pvp abilities makes this go faster- I've also found it reasonable to limit enemy "respawns" in old but empty rooms- to compensate I also let them take 1 boost of their primary attack schtick to start (Magic missle (fireball increases targets not power), Diplomacy, Greenhilt sword, Thor's Hammer, Sneak attack or Longbow, and Leaping attack(daggers increases wounds))

    One last behavior to watch out for is the "strong guys kills something, other players do a rest fest to get the loot"- this results in the gap between the killer and the looters growing since they are too busy looting to get xp. Perhaps this is just a common mistake of beginner players or a product of characters being too weak from getting pvp schticks to succeed- I'd remind players of the dangerousness of this behavior.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PePe QuiCoSE's Avatar

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    Default Re: Homebrew shortening

    Quote Originally Posted by Kletian999 View Post
    In my experience, any PvP action slows the game to a crawl
    Well, in the games i have been in lately having Elan and Roy as players reduces the amount of time significantly (when played correctly).
    Roy because he pushes the game forward, trying to go low in the dungeon to get the most of his great cleavage and killing Xykon fast. Even if he doesn't get to kill the monsters in the dungeon, he reveals them for others to fight them in Attack.
    Elan makes everyone else better at fighting monsters and is a good PvP target for Belkar. In general he gets the party going.
    solo tú sabes bien quien soy y por eso es tuyo mi corazón
    AKA Yakkul

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Orc in the Playground
     
    paladin_carvin's Avatar

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    Apr 2007
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    Default Re: Homebrew shortening

    It's interesting to see other responses to PvP in the game. I can never get anyone to do PvP just because it's not enjoyable for our group (I think there was only one such battle ever, and neither player liked the result). But, here I'm seeing just a dislike for it because it is slow. I can imagine it would be slow.

    We always have the Belkar problem since no one is interested in playing him. We mostly choose Haley, Elan and Durkon though Roy gets some play too. The upkeep keeps most of us from playing V.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    May 2008

    Default Re: Homebrew shortening

    Quote Originally Posted by paladin_carvin View Post
    It's interesting to see other responses to PvP in the game. I can never get anyone to do PvP just because it's not enjoyable for our group (I think there was only one such battle ever, and neither player liked the result). But, here I'm seeing just a dislike for it because it is slow. I can imagine it would be slow.

    We always have the Belkar problem since no one is interested in playing him. We mostly choose Haley, Elan and Durkon though Roy gets some play too. The upkeep keeps most of us from playing V.
    V's upkeep isn't too bad once you've boosted Magic Missle. You don't get a lot of chances to use fireballs unless the other players spawn rooms that don't get cleared before your turn. Even when you do find yourself needing to rest for spells, you've probably lost 1 wound and are sitting in a row with 2 or more treasures to pick up, so you'd want to rest anyway.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Orc in the Playground
     
    paladin_carvin's Avatar

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    Apr 2007
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    Default Re: Homebrew shortening

    Ah yes, we just played a shortening game two nights ago and my lil' brother in law used V and got 2nd place. Though, many of his points came from droll factors.

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