A DS Snippet

Yesterday was another 14 hours at my desk on DS, and today looks like being busy too. Still, the end is very much in sight. The last week’s not been much different. Hopefully that should explain why I’ve not been posting as much as I’d hoped to, but even a good reason doesn’t tell you anything interesting. So, I thought I’d just drop a small morsel in your laps to show you the kind of detail tweak I’ve been making, and the improvements such subtleties can make.

Today, we’re all about wizards.

These magic-manipulators have power crystals to help boost the potency of their spells. That’s been in for a fair while. However, it seemed that there was more to be had from this idea. So, power crystals have been rather expanded.

Now wizards can create additional crystals whenever they have a quiet moment. They also have two new uses:

1) Allow you to cast a currently recharging spell.

2) Allow you to cast a spell that’s too high a level for you.

A wizard can still only use one crystal per spell, so if you use it to cast a recharging one its number of dice cannot also be boosted. Similarly, if you’re using the crystal to even allow you to cast a higher level spell, you cannot boost its dice too.

In the Adventurer’s Companion, all spells have a level. A wizard can freely cast a spell of his level or below, but higher levels are restricted. This change allows him to use a high level spell he has found, though only every now and again. That limitation adds another element of tactics and resource management to using magic

Overall, these changes to the use of power crystals allow a wizard to manipulate his available spells far more fluidly, which is both more interesting and more potent in play.

Posted in Dungeon Sagas | 1 Comment

Signs & Portents

solar-eclipse-152834_640I write this in a world dimmed by an eclipse, and very dramatic it is too. Even though I have seen them before, it’s easy to see why less scientific cultures thought this a great omen.

And, if we want to see omens, then we can see it as a portent of the end of my current work on Dungeon Saga. Print deadline is coming up fast, which is why I’ve not been on here much. The time I was going to spend writing articles about it has been spent working on it instead. Mainly not writing as that’s already done, but tweaking, replaying and checking details raised by playtesters and other feedback.

Next week, when it’s largely out of my hands, I’ll be back with more posts. Till then, watch the skies…

Posted in Dungeon Sagas, Random Thoughts | 12 Comments

Teaser Trailer

Posted in Deadzone | 12 Comments

We’re All Dead

I’m sorry to have to be the one to break the news, but we’re all dead. Along with some other brave Heroes I’ve been down in the depths, fighting against the Necromancer’s horde. There were zombies and skeletons, revenants and trolls. Oh my! Not to put too fine a point on it – we were slaughtered. The upshot is that he gets to summon the largest army the world has ever seen and you’re all dead.


It’s not entirely my fault. Honest. The Wizard kept forgetting his spells, and mumbling the few he could remember didn’t help their effectiveness any: Burn performed more like Fizzle. The Elf was using the joke arrows with the suckers on the end, which was very witty. Didn’t reduce the bad guys though. The Barbarian was on form in terms of fighting, and even had the measure of the doors. However, his timing was all over the place and he kept being a turn late to help here, a turn early to be in position there. The Dwarf, meanwhile, had no luck at all, and despite the best magical armour ever made, was the first to die.

Of course, it’s not all down to our ineptitude. The Necromancer himself was on especially cunning form. In one particularly deft move he shuffled round a bunch of zombies into a conga line. And, while we were laughing at him and making jokes at his expense, all the time getting ready to pounce. Curse him for fighting well! How dare he have a genuinely cunning plan!

The things I have to put up with!

Posted in Dungeon Sagas | 4 Comments

New Painting Books

painting booksLast week was quite a good one for swag. Among the many things I acquired were two different painting books, both of which look really good. Just had a quick flick through so far, and they seem to be taking quite a different approach, which is also good as they don’t just repeat each other.

And in case I hadn’t enough models already, they came with some more :)

Posted in Kickstarter, Painting & Modelling | 8 Comments

Little And Large

Yesterday’s Dungeon Saga playtest day went well, with lots of happy faces and people having fun – which is what it’s about.

We’d divided the group into those who had played before and those who were new to it. The new group found hardly any things to change, which was good. They did have the desired reactions to the various scenarios they played though, noting the ramping of difficulty and the varying designed balance of different missions. Of course, as any designer will tell you, you can carry on tweaking and finessing almost indefinitely if you’re allowed to. Luckily this will be put to bed reasonably soon.

The veteran group were playing the expansion scenarios, and having been less tested there were more issues here to contend with. Mostly these were small balancing issues of timing and exact numbers in specific rooms. Some scenarios worked fine from the off, where others needed more help. Again, as expected. Lots of useful feedback though, and well worth the test day in itself.

One of the most enjoyable moments came when I happened to be watching a play through of the final scenario in the Tyrant of Halpi pack. This is the showdown between the Heroes and the Tyrant (a Dragon). In previous scenarios the Dragon has turned up briefly, but never stayed to fight it out to the last. Now it will.

Dragons aren’t to be messed with lightly, and this went right down to the wire. Finally, with the Dragon on a single wound, 3 Heroes dead, and the Halfling Thief wounded and surrounded by incoming Thralls, a lucky cast with a throwing knife killed the beast. With that, the Dragon’s Thralls collapsed, and the lone Hero was left alone in an ancient tomb filled with blood and gold…

Posted in Dungeon Sagas | 21 Comments

Incoming Playtest Day

I’ve got a bunch of helpful comments to reply to on the latest threads. However, today I’ve been busy getting stuff ready for tomorrow’s DS playtest day. For that, we’re going to be splitting the group so that we can play both the core adventures and the expansions at the same time.

If it works like I hope it will, there’s going to be a great deal going on at once. I’m sure I’ll get very confused, dealing with queries across 5 campaigns simultaneously. Still, it’s the deep end where things happen, so might as well get chucked in there :)

Individual playtesters wil have a much more straightforward time as they’ll be focussing on a specific campaign. After all, that’s the gamer experience we’re testing. I have a rather unusual viewpoint.

I don’t know whether anything happened about the idea of streaming a live feed. I did pass the idea on, and we all agreed it was a fun thought. I just don’t know whether we have the people who know how to do this on hand or not.

We’ll all find out tomorrow :)

Posted in Dungeon Sagas | 8 Comments