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Monday, 27 July 2015

Myth Campaign Diary: The House Rules Edition

No Flavour text this update but we've just cleared everything except the Terror in act 3 so plenty of that to come in the next update "The Song of the Spider"

The Monty Haul Problem
Thus begins the final push towards the end of story two act three. And I’m beginning to feel that there might be a treasure problem. I fact I’m having  a bit of an existential Myth crisis about a few things.

Number One – the Loot
I’m a tabletop GM by nature and one of the maxim’s I’ve learned to live by is “Keep ‘em poor and hungry for more”. The acquisition of material stuff is a primary driver for adventuring. A paucity of said stuff also means that the players and their characters are challenged more strongly by circumstances and are therefore forced to become more inventive in their problem solving. This always leads to a good story.
We’re into our 6th act in total and most of us are carrying one or two pieces of blue gear and the rest is green.
Being an experienced bunch we are also very good at maximising our opportunities for gaining loot. This has resulted in us being both very well equipped and fantastically rich.
The upshot is that the current batch of antagonists is proving less challenging that I though they would.

Number Two - Faffing About (or the loss of urgency)
Mechanically if the perceived danger is low then there is no incentive to gain threat. Realistically this means that the only threat thresholds that we meet on the darkness deck are the occasional 8, and that’s only the case when we’ve needed to do a high threat action for a specific quest gain, such as in the epic mega kill episode last post.
It also means that once the lairs are done we can faff about for ages using movement cards to meet the “must act” anti loitering criteria while picking up all the treasure tokens.

Number Three – Bum Scratching
This has happened to both the trickster, where I think this is a larger defect, and most recently to the spriggan. You draw a hand and there’s no useful contribution you can make, repeat until at the end of your deck. By this point everyone else has been sticking the boot in and you’ve sat about scratching your bum for an hour or more. This is about the least fun you can have playing Myth.
The problem for the Spriggan is that she is very fragile until geared up which does apply some urgency pressure, but in a larger group context just leaves her hanging about at the back doing nothing and feeling like a third wheel.

Number Four – Follow the Leader
Minion clumping is a thing. Especially with the instinct enemies they all rush the heroes and effectively block the captains from doing anything apart from wandering up and down the back row like a heavily armoured football coach. Not so much of a problem at setup but after a few spawns makes the tile a turgid swamp of slowly shuffling minions. Captains are also slow to emerge in the Terror deck which means that there are usually a lot of crawlers on the tile before they put in an appearance.

House Rules
We’ve had a bunch of great Myth sessions but we’ve put in a whole heap of hours and that’s drawing out some underlying issues, non of which can’t be overcome with a house rule or two. And it’s also possible that the chaps at Myth HQ will have already thought of these for Journeyman.

Changes to enemy movement
We’ve already been playing these house rules as they are mainly clarifications to the existing movement rules.

Proximity
Proximity attackers will do their best to move next to the closest target. If they are obviously blocked then then will move towards the next nearest, based on their priority and so on.

Threat
When calculating which target to attack based on threat subtract the distance the enemy unit would have to travel from the calculation. This reduces clustering as it means that enemies will close with heroes as targets of opportunity first unless given a compelling threat and gives a reason for the soldier to keep his threat high to draw fire from other heroes.

Changes to card draw
Before anyone plays a card in the hero cycle you may discard a card, search your deck for a replacement card and place it in your hand. To do this you must pay the AP cost of the card plus one as the Darkness becomes aware of your manipulation of the fates. The may spend 1 serendipity to reduce the AP cost by one. You may not spend more than one serendipity.

New Mechanics for the Acolyte
You may play a card face down to heal a hero by one point of vitality. The range of this ability is equal to your Faith. This operates in a similar way to the Soldier’s rage mechanic

Changes to lair spawn
If there are eight or more minions on the tile then the lair will automatically spawn a Captain during the Darkness cycle in addition to the spawn on the Darkness card.

Changes to treasure
Intelligent creatures moving over a treasure token will expend a point of movement to pick it up, returning it to the treasure pool for the tile.

All of these will be reviewed once we introduce new darkness decks as some of these issues may be caused by just playing the stories for the Terror.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Myth Campaign Diary: Whoa! That's way too much threat.

Act 1 ends with Pete the Thief sending us off into the woods, which are of course, cursed. We also need to kill 12 minions in a single hero cycle to fulfil our additional quest objective and oh, we can’t use any move cards or we’ll be stuck in the woods forever.
It’s a pretty straightforward dodge through the first tile, loading it with a massive hunting pack tied up the Avatar of Winter long enough to put out all four torches before having to engage him and so it was on to the main 12x12 and our epic kill challenge.
...
“Hold the line!” shouted the Acolyte, his hammer’s head quivering in anticipation as he gripped the shaft more tightly.
Fenwick shuffled nervously, mentally marking her targets as she checked her quiver for the fourth time.
As usual the Spriggan looked on impassively, impossible to read.
“Where the hell is the Brigand?” muttered Fenwick, scanning the shadows for any sign of him.
Crawlers surged forward.
With a sound like a dozen doors being kicked in at once a huge Elder tree spirit infused a young sapling and crushed the entrance to the crawler lair like a beam falling on an egg.
Bark thickening, the Spriggan strode forward, blackwood buckler a staunch barrier against the oncoming mob of grubbers and crawlers.
...
Even without the movement restriction we would have taken our time entering the tile. To meet the quest criteria we needed the minions to bunch up and maximise our chances to make a big kill.
...
“AAAAAAAH!” Hot white flames danced out from the Acolyte at the climax of his prayer, burning away five minions in rush of holy power.
With perfect timing Fenwick loosed the pent up energy bound up in her taught bowstring and a rain of arrows left another six dead.
Whirling from the shadows the Brigand, a dark reaver armed with razor sharp talons, swept three more aside. Crossing the short distance in less than the blink of an eye, slashing to either side of him, the two mucker captains slumped at his feet. Both fell, stupefied as if their bodies had been left no time to tell their brains that they were dead.
...
With the Spriggan and its Elder ally acting as vanguard, blocking the minions from attacking that freed the other party members up to go all out against the minion horde.
The final death toll was sixteen in a single hero cycle. The drawback of course was that our threat was through the roof and we spent the rest of the session trying to manage it down to avoid triggering more than two threat events.
As it was we had to face the razorfiend again and it was only the fact that the Spriggan was fully geared that enabled us to survive long enough to mount a counter attack.
The treasure bag now contained two blue tokens and by a massive stroke of luck I pulled both of them on a single draw.
All the party members bar the Spriggan now have at least one blue item which bodes well for completing the story. If anything I think we’re a bit over powered now but we’ll see when we have to face Yardu and The Terror if that’s the case.
In any event, I’m going to try out the Apprentice next week, as that’s the only character I have left to play and I’d like to have played through at least one 12x12 with each one before I run any demo games at my FLGS.

The second part of act 2 should be a cakewalk now and then it’s on to our encounter with our first proper boss.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Myth Campaign Diary: The long overdue Story 2, Act 1 parts 1 and 2 update

“I’m not really sure. Anyway, this is Jeff, he says he’s good with traps so we probably don’t need the ROUS anyway.”
“And what bar, pray tell, did you find Jeff in, priest?”
“I’ll have you know that was devotional.”
“Yes, the last one said that too. Just before the razorfiend gutted him, as I recall.”
The Spriggan looked impassively on as the Acolyte and Archer engaged in their usual arguing. All human fleshlings looked alike to her anyway.
Nearby, the Trickster, whose name was not Jeff, fiddled with his pack, desperately trying to organise the bits and bobs therein into some kind of useful order. The Brigand had slunk out of the bar while the Acolyte’s holy gaze was eyeing up a serving wench to attend to some personal business. The Trickster was simply unlucky and naïve enough to make eye contact during the subsequent fracas and eviction.
To compound matters, a travelling minstrel had attached himself the band as they crossed the last ford claiming that a wise woman had foreseen great deeds in their future.
“Maybe for the Archer”, thought the Trickster, “but a tree and a ‘devine’ of Boabeh? Unlikely, still maybe I can pick up some easy loot and then head back to civilisation with him when he realises the wise woman was just a mad old crone.”
“So all we have to do is talk to the miscreant and ask nicely where the gem is.” Stated the Acolyte confidently.
As usual the Spriggan said nothing and the Archer simply threw a withering stare.
“Let’s get on with it then.” She said brusquely.
Crossing the courtyard towards the palace the ground suddenly gave way and belched forth half a dozen crawlers.
“Aha!” Shouted the Trickster, “I have just the thing.”
Rummaging in the top of his pack he grabbed a collection of bolts, cogs and an old saw blade. Moments later a whirring, clockwork, wheeled saw contraption lurched towards the surprised crawlers, cutting half of them down.
Stunned by the effectiveness of their newest companion the other adventurers bold took a while to organise themselves but within short order the Archer and a cloud of very angry bees had made short work of the rest.
“See, easy.” Said the Acolyte, only slightly disappointed that a prayer had not been necessary.
This proved to be a masterstroke of understatement as the jolly band strode confidently into the main hall.
So far Story 2 Act 1 has taken two sessions, early confidence proved to be misplaced as bad luck poor lair management and the appearance of two mini bosses have slowed progress to a crawl.
The first section was cleared easily enough, but the big tile with two lairs rapidly filled up with minions, blocking access to the lairs.
While on tile one the Trickster looked quite impressive it soon became clear that he is not a great complement to the other three characters and is very heavily reliant on the right draw of cards to do much of anything. I spent the majority of the first session watching from the side-lines, never managing to do much of anything, bar a single grenade. Perhaps a well geared Journeyman will be better but due to this, the trickster is my least favourite class to play so far.
My favourite, I think, remains the soldier and as a group we are a little light on threat management, although against a mainly crawler opposition that’s not as important as they are a proximity based attacker.
There are two lairs on the main tile and the grubber lair was taken out pretty quickly. The crawler lair was slightly further away from the entrance though and had time to spawn a lot of minions before the party was in range, effectively blocking it.
Staying on top of the crawlers was proving a major undertaking as we basically hit a stalemate. The Spriggan’s draw was suboptimal and so she powered up quite slowly on this tile. This makes things tricks as she is fulfilling the role of the soldier due to her effective regeneration.
The dead weight of the Trickster left it to the Archer to deal out the majority of the damage. Once again the value of the endless quiver can’t be understated here. Neither can the value of the Harbinger title in reducing the damage potential of the darkness by forcing a courage test.
“Razorfiend! It must be the mate of the one that slew the last Acolyte, where’s this one?”
Unluckily at the start of session 2 the Acolyte drew a threat 8 event and a mini boss showed up, we went with the razorfiend and attendants again as that seemed to fit with the scenario. Closely following that the Darkness spawned a second mini boss and feeling risky we put Etrus on the board. Luckily the mass of crawlers boxed him in giving us time to plan our next move.
I had given up on the Trickster by this point and we agreed to bring in the Brigand again starting at the back of the 6x4 tile entrance to the 12x12.
“By the Holy Rod! The mucker’s exploded!” exclaimed the Acolyte, as the razorfiend’s mucker attendant burst apart in a shower of entrails.
Suddenly in a blur of black fur and blades four crawlers lay in cracked, bleeding heaps. The crawler pack burst apart as the spitters tried to escape the whirlwind of steel.
“I leave for an hour to take care of a personal matter and this is what I come back to? Amateurs.”
Fantastic draw for the Bandit, into shadows straight away and a massive attack to finish off the mucker in one go. Then back into the shadows and a suicide run to follow up. The mobility of the Brigand really seems to bring something to the group so I think that he’ll stick around as a permanent feature if I’m not playing the Soldier.
Etrus looked like a massive challenge but the mob of crawlers really penned him in an let the Archer pick him off from long range while the Brigand moved across the tile to take out the lair.
Our only casualty was the Acolyte who dodged the bullet via serendipity so what looked like it was shaping up for a TPK ended with us bloodied but unbowed.

Bring on Act 1 part 3.