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Difficulty and Wildcards


StormbringerGT

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Have you tried the harder difficulties yet? You should!

What do you think of the wildcards? Which ones seemed balanced? Which ones were too hard or punishing? Keep in mind these are supposed to be like Dark Souls hard for Pathfinder. Especially Legendary, this is something you should feel proud of when you beat it. If you are beating everything on Legendary on your first try we probably made it too easy, or you had a pretty good pull on Wildcards. Or you are a pro at Pathfinder.

Also ideas! Lets hear some of your ideas on wildcards! Toss some out there and let me judge you and your ideas behind the safety of my computer monitor and lets discuss them!

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I have tried harder difficulties and really like them!

Normal Rice of the rune lords is too easy to my taste. (Have played all physical games Many times including season games, so I really like those more difficult options.)

Most punishing has been the redusing of the blessing deck. Those that makes obtacles or boon more difficult have not been any problems. But They improve the game considerably. IMHO There is some kind of challenge when using them. The reduced blessing deck can hurt big croups considerably. 6 character game with 25 blessing can become impossible.

Edited by Hannibal_PJV
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I have tried harder difficulties and really like them!

Normal Rice of the rune lords is too easy to my taste. (Have played all physical games Many times including season games, so I really like those more difficult options.

Most punaisina has been the redusing of the blessing deck. Those that makes obtacles or boon more difficult have not been any problems. But They improve the game considerably. There is some kind of challenge when using them. The reduced blessing deck can hurt big croups considerably. 6 character game with 25 blessing can become impossible.

I really like the idea of losing 5 blessings right off the bat, but it's something we are considering to moving to later scenarios. It might be too punishing to come across that in earlier scenarios like the base set or AD1.

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Idea1 : dynamic difficulty based on relative player deck power level

 

Some general difficulty increase to the checks based on how Many and what level cards you have in the deck. So for example if you Are running level 5 scenario and you have only level 5 cards in you deck, would give you biggest increase in difficulty. And if you Are running level 5 scenario with only b level cards, you would not have any penalty.

So this would be dynamic penalty based on your deck relative powerlevel.

It would be really usefull with " grind best card you can get tactic. " offering good increase to the difficulty and not hunting those that Are behind the powerlevel.

Edited by Hannibal_PJV
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I love the heroic and legendary difficulty settings with the wildcards.  The -5 to blessings definitely affects large groups more than small groups.  When I see it with a party of 2 or 3, I sigh in relief.  Bigger parties I groan.  Difficulty check increases for banes are the opposite.  Much harder with smaller groups.  I like that these wildcards aren't even.  Part of the challenge is pulling off a win in a legendary game with difficult wildcards.  If you decide to implement an achievement system, you could even give out achievements for some of these hard mixes.

 

Not sure I have seen all the wildcards but here are some suggestions.  I went reading through the various scenario rules from Organized Play for ideas.  Some of these might be too mean.   ;)  Please note these are not really original ideas, rather they are borrowed from cards or organized play scenarios. 

 

1.  At the start of your turn, recharge a random card from your hand.

2.  After you discard cards as xxx damage, bury a card.    xxx standing for a random damage type

3.  Blessings played on checks against cards that have the xxx trait add d4 instead of the normal die.  xxx standing for a random bane trait

4.  When a character fails to defeat a bane that has the xxx trait, that character buries a card from her discard pile.  xxx standing for a random bane trait

5.  When a barrier is undefeated, discard the top card of the blessings deck.

6.  All damage dealt by the henchman is xxx damage.  xxx standing for a random damage type (this could be a lot of fun paired with number one, evil cackle)

7.  When xxx is defeated, shuffle it into a random other open location.  xxx standing for a random monster type (wouldn't it be fun to keep shuffling sirens or werewolves?  Teehee)

8.  During the first exploration of each turn, damage is increased by 1.

9.  Once the villain is cornered, summon and build xxx location.  Shuffle the villain into this location.  xxx standing for a random location.

Edited by Katlyn99
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Here are my thoughts on wildcards after beating all of the prologue and Burnt Offerings on legendary difficulty:

 

I like them. I like that they are simple; I hope they don't become "frilly" and overly "clever" or specific. Harder checks, less time, more damage -- nice and straightforward. The wildcards add a dash of extra challenge without any wackiness or too much to think about.

 

I do not think they up the difficulty of the game to Dark Souls levels, but that's because Rise of the Runelords was a relatively easy set. (Something which, by the way, I don't consider a criticism -- it was smart to make the first base set a little too easy rather than a little too hard.) I imagine that Skull and Shackles with these wildcards would get pretty intense, and Wrath of the Righteous would be downright nasty. Thus, I think it's up to the core adventure, not to the wildcards, to set the tone for the difficulty of the game.

 

As a long-time player of the game, I'm not sure that raising the difficulty to Dark Souls levels is necessarily the right objective to shoot for. The thing is, a great player can beat Dark Souls whatever the difficulty. By contrast, if you push the difficulty too much in Pathfinder Adventures, you end up with scenarios that a player sometimes can't win, regardless of how skillfully they play. This is bad, and historically, it's what has caused the most disappointment among PACG fans. Anyone who is a longtime frequenter of the Paizo forums has probably seen certain Skull & Shackles scenario names come up over and over again -- Best Served Cold, Bizarre Love Triangle, Free Captains' Regatta. These are hated, infamous scenarios because they make players feel (rightly or not) that they cannot win unless they get a lucky draw.

 

My worry is that if the difficulty is pushed too far in an effort to produce Dark Souls, we're going to end up with Solitaire instead. Failing over and over until you get lucky works for solitaire, but it alienates players in Pathfinder Adventures. This is why I think the wildcards and restricted movement are in a nearly perfect place right now, and I hope they don't change much.

Edited by Borissimo
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Yes the balance is guite good now, but Have play more with legendanry level to see how those more difficult scenarios works out.

Into the eye can be brutal in legendanry level,

Even here comes the Flood can be real pain with harder difficulty. Even Runelords there Are some scenarios that Are somewhat harder even in normal mode.

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One thing I could easily see adding to the current pool is a wildcard that increases the difficulty of checks to close locations. +1 would be a pain; +2 would be brutal. As it stands, it's quite common, especially in smaller games, for a character to have to hit a 6 on a d6. Make that 6 into an 8 and things get really scary.

Edited by Borissimo
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I dunno, I think it's a bit worse than "solved with one more blessing." Most places, you need to hit a 6 to close. If your character has a d6 die, then you're already going to be playing a blessing, if not 2. The difference between shooting for a 6 and shooting for a 7 when you're rolling 2d6 is big!

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What makes this harder to balance is that we are not just looking at a player's skill. There are a few huge random factors here that can really skew a game one way or another.

Deck draw. A skilled player can manipulate their deck a little and hone their deck to a more efficient machine. But a random draw is still a random draw. This is not Magic the Gathering and their is little in the way of finding a specific card in your deck or windmilling. If the only weapon Lem has is on the on the bottom of the deck and you need a weapon, well....

Dice rolls. This is the swingy-est of all factors. You can have two people play with the same exact decks and the same exact cards and the dice rolls will ensure they have two completely different experiences. Bad rolls will stop you dead in your tracks and a good rolls will make you think that perhaps it was too easy.

Character Party. Number of characters and who is in your team. Another difficult thing to balance wildcards around. If you play one character and that one character is Ezren we can't stop you, but the game is not balanced properly for a solo Ezren play through

That is why the wildcards are fairly simple in their execution. So Dark Souls was a bad comparison. With Dark Souls player skill will eventually see you through the game. Here we have to worry about player skill and dice rolls.

Dice Rolls.... sigh... it is why we all love this hobby though right? I mean we could always only play Euros. I know those little wooden cubes and meeples are much more kind to me that plastic shapes with numbers on them. But like a moth to a flame I find myself "rolling dem bones" time and time again.

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