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.

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43 Responses to A DS Snippet

  1. Tyr says:

    Thanks for the info! I thought you were done with DS though? Or did you decide the game still needed some tweaking? 🙂

    • Quirkworthy says:

      With something as involved and elaborate as DS you don’t finish until the last possible moment. There are so many things to get right in the time allowed, and the more I can finesse it the happier I am. I’m sure it would all work if I did nothing more to it, but if I can make it better with a few small tweaks (and the time is there to make them) then why not?

  2. Danny says:

    Thanks for sharing this new info/change on the Wizard, Jake.

    I have a feeling that the 2) additional use, the casting of a spell level currently unavailable to you by “Normal” means seems like a step too far in my opinion. Firstly, it takes the mystique away from those spells and the desire to gain levels to attain them and the enjoyment one gains from using their newly gained spell power for the first time…it kind of detracts a little from the enjoyment of gaining levels…and secondly, doesn’t it make the Wizard a little too powerful? I guess if there was a restriction placed upon how many spell levels the wizard could jump ahead by way of power crystal use, then it would possibly be ok…I’m going to have to go and heat up some of last nights curried beef with steamed rice and mull this over…

    • Quazai says:

      Well it sounds like you still have to find the spell to cast it. So it’s not like using a power crystal suddenly gives you access to any high level spell you want (which is good). And as long as power crystals aren’t super common, this sounds like a fun additional power to me.

      • Danny says:

        Power crystals are indeed super common as the wizard can create his own power crystals;

        “if the Wizard is not in an enemy front arc he can use an action to create a new power 1 energy crystal.”

    • Quirkworthy says:

      As Quazai says, you still have to get the spelling the first place.

      It has effects in the experience rules too, because this changes the relative values of different spells you may be offered. It makes the decision of which spell to learn less likely to be a foregone conclusion (depending on your random draw of options).

      I was a little concerned that it would be too powerful too, but I don’t think it is. Sure, it allows a wizard to cast some awesomely potent spells on occasion. But he has to have learned them, and has to have a crystal saved for that moment. By limiting it to one crystal per spell, he can’t cast recharging spells of a higher level, nor can he boost their dice. This means that when he does get to the right level they will still be better than they were when he was paying the extra crystal to cast them. It forms a nice middle ground between not being able to use it at all and being able to use it freely.

      • Tyr says:

        Does the level of the crystal influence what spells you can cast? Ie, a level three crystal gives you three additional levels, while a level one only allows acces to spells one level higher?

        (also bit offtopic, but are there any activatable combat skills for fighters? Stuff that functions similarly to spells for instance. Or are there just feats?)

        • Quirkworthy says:

          No. That was suggested, but I thought it was an unnecessary complication.

          There are a number of different combat abilities which are always on, and if a Hero has access to several of them he may have to pick which one(s) apply.

        • Tyr says:

          Hm, okay… couldve been an additional balancing mechanism, considering you can only create level one crystals yourself. 🙂

          Thanks, thats almost as good. 🙂
          I was just worried fighters might get a bit boring to play if they didnt have any tactical choices beside positioning to make. 🙂

      • Danny says:

        Understood, and I do see how the spells will be more useful when he reaches the level/experience required to cast them without the aid of power crystals…I just don’t feel a middle ground is required at all for spell casting…he can already cast spells currently recharging and boost spell power with crystals, I just don’t see the need to give them a third use, especially one that kind of steals the thunder of the level gaining experience and possibly throws in some weird power shifts with powerful spells creeping in earlier than they otherwise would. Does he actually have to “Find” a higher level spell, or can he also purchase them from the village/town/city locations between adventures?

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Generally, a wizard will learn a new spell as part of his experience level gain. It would be instead of learning a new ability or getting a stat bump, so it needs to be worthwhile. If he ends up with a higher level spell then he needs to be able to use it at least some of the time.

      • Danny says:

        …I mean, I’ve got this mental picture of a level one wizard walking into a room full of Orcs, pulling out the power crystal he made just before entering the room, absorbing its energy through his left ear and whipping up a massive level 10 lighting tsunami and frying a small tribe of Orcs…simply because he was lucky enough to find (or buy) a spell he would not normally be capable of casting…is my imagination running a bit wild there? I hope so…

        • Danny says:

          …lightning with an ‘n’ 🙂

        • Quirkworthy says:

          I suppose that it’s possible to do something like that. However, there are very few spells which are capable of that level of destruction. By very few I mean 3 or 4 out of 70+.

          Most of the time the gross lethality of high level wizards comes not from a single spell, but from their ability to cast many spells at once.

        • Danny says:

          So as a low level wizard who is lucky enough to find a powerful spell high above his current level and normally unattainable, or to purchase one in town, its possible to enter a dungeon and, using your free crystal to begin with, cast a super destructive spell and kill a heap/all of the 1st room occupants, spend a turn or two recharging/creating another power crystal…have your sidekicks Barbarian, Dwarf and Elf open the door to room 2 and cast your super destructive spell and kill a heap/all of the 2nd room occupants and so on and so on? I hope not, this doesn’t sound like much fun at all…not for the other Hero players, not for the Overlord and probably not for very long for the Wizard player either…

        • Quazai says:

          Good points Daniel. I will try it and if it seems too powerful for my liking I will simply nerf it. It sounds like an Advanced Rule anyway, and that whole system is supposed to be modular. Either not use the rule at all, or make it only allow use of a spell a single level higher for example. Or maybe make crystal generation harder. Or give a chance of the spell failing/being lost. Plenty of options.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          @Danny – I don’t think it’s a problem. There are three main reasons why not.

          Firstly, you’ve got to have a spell which would be able to do that much damage in a single cast. As I said above, there are very, very few of them. Actually, thinking about it, I’m not sure there are any which could wipe out a whole room full of enemies with a single cast. Not without extremely convenient circumstances. Most really potent spells are very damaging to a single target rather than many.

          Following on (secondly), you’ve got to be facing a group of enemies that are placed in such a manner as to be vulnerable to your particular spell. Again, this isn’t very likely. Probably the most plausible situation is one where all of the enemy models were standing adjacent to your wizard. However, in order to be in this situation your wizard has to have survived all their attacks…

          Finally, all adventures have a built-in time limit. Hanging around, bring turns making crystals rather than going for the objective, will lose adventures.

          @Quazai – absolutely. It’s your game to play with, expand, create variant of and so on.

        • Danny says:

          The circumstance I’m describing is one in which the Heroes are low level, and would be facing a couple/few weak monsters,..and where the Wizard is gifted with a power, and the means to constantly fuel it, from far above his level and the power levels and numbers of monsters he is facing. It is a situation where it might tie the group of low level Heroes up for a couple/few turns fighting the monsters with bow and blade anyway, much like it would for the Wizard to cast his high powered spell and recharge it/create a new crystal. It just seems like a possible danger for throwing the game out of balance in some weird and magical way 🙂

          If you say it’s not a problem though, and that the game mechanics have it covered off, then I believe you…thanks for the explanations and info 🙂

        • Quirkworthy says:

          I understand your concern, I just don’t share it 🙂

          We will see wizards bringing out the big guns occasionally – otherwise there’d be no point in having the rule to let them do it. I just don’t see this a being a major balance issue. As ever, a far more likely cause of imbalance is the relative skill of the opposing players.

  3. Smud says:

    Wow, more stuff to do for the wizard? I’m curious how complex he is compared to the rest of the team.

    One short question to the Crystal making, is it a full action or what lies behind the “quiet moment”? 🙂

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Spellcasters are by far the most involved types of heroes, and wizards the most involved spell casters (because they do nothing else). I think that’s a common situation in this genre.

      Some people love that, and others hate it. That’s down to the temperament of the individual player. People that have played wizard in DS, and who like that style of play, have said more than once that they want more…

  4. mastertugunegb says:

    A Barbarian or Dwarf isn’t out of tactical depth, they’re -rather- in their element. They know they’re good at what they do, and that’s what their appeal is. Leave the fancy stuff to the more cerebral characters/players.

    Just get the enemy to line up and take a number. The Dwarf and Barbarian will get to you soon enough with the skull kicking.

  5. Tyr says:

    Just wondering… will we be seeing a rundown of the other classes any time soon? Just a quick list of the role, some of the available builds… no more than 2 or 3 sentences per class? Im just really curious how they work, what they do, etc. 🙂

    • crimsonsun says:

      I would be interested to know what the difference mechanically is between the function of a Shaman and a Wizard, thematically this is easy with one being tribal in nature and the other being studious but in game terms I’m wondering how this is defined.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        The difference between the various spell casting professions lies with their spells. There are many different types of magic, and most casters focus on a small number of these families of spells. The flavour of each family varies, and whilst there are some general sorts of thing that can be done by most casters (direct damage at range being the most obvious), all the decks have unique twists and combinations to make them work differently in game.

        To differentiate one caster from another of the same profession you have a partly random spell location, which means that they won’t be the same in what they can do, and will become increasingly disparate as they level up.

  6. S. says:

    Hi Jake,

    I am so in need for some news on DS that are not pledgemanager related and some discussions about mechanics and gamplay and fluff. If you could find some time to provied that it’d be super special awsome 😉
    Have a nice day,

  7. Jake Are you happy with the AI for solo play?

  8. Been messing around a bit with DS lately I just wanted to ask 1 query regards the rules. Does a natural 6 always beat armour or is ther a rule to limit armour to 5? Or is it possible with magic items to be immune to mundane weapons? (I prefer the first option for simplicity)
    Also I really really want to know how progress with the AI cards is going, are you happy with them?, are they functioning but need tuning, or still settling on the card vs chart ratio? And how to integrate them with scenario requirements. I desperately want to give them a go as part of what I sold the game to my wife was the co-operative mode. And I want them to be as simple, effective and fun as possible. (Against others I look forward to out smarting them be I good or evil 🙂 ) look forward to alpha or beta with the cards.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      The best armour you can get should be 5.

      AI cards are, as I said below, fairly involved because they have to replicate an involved decision process with a huge number of decision points.

  9. S. says:

    Hey Jake,
    I know you have moved on from DS, but perhaps you could answer to some concerns people are having.
    Since mantic revealed the gamebox a few days ago people are getting worried about the suggested numbers of players: 2-5
    I know you have been working on AI-rules but I remember you mentioning that there was some ‘clunky-ness’ about it that you did not like. I hope Solo-rules or fully-Coop were not abandoned?
    Mantic is awefully silent when people ask about it in the comments.
    Can you give us something?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Yes, there are solo rules.

      They are included in the Adventurer’s Companion rather than the core box, and I think this is where the confusion lies. Most if not all the KS backers will be getting both the core and AC, so that’s all fine. But as a product you might buy from your local game store, they are two separate things. So, the core game (designed to be something you just take down off the shelf and play) is 2-5 players. The Adventurer’s Companion is for people who want to go further down the rabbit hole and allows all the more in-depth stuff like building your own characters, bespoke campaigns, and solo play.

      The clunkiness I was talking about is simply down to there being so many options, so many choices, so many different types of creature, trap, spell, etc, all at once, that is makes it very difficult to do this automatically. As it stands, the AI cards manage a lot, though there are still some times when it may need a hand. It actually works fine, I’m just a perfectionist 🙂

  10. Another question that came up yesterday (easily solvable by taking rules as written) if a large based model is to one side of another model such that one of its base squares is in the models front arc and one in the rear I assume the model gets the attack from behind bonus. Correct?

  11. Having seen some of the sample art, in particular the text on the spells
    When cast rotate 90 degrees anticlockwise
    At end of round rotate 90 degree clockwise”
    I assume for major spells it would be
    When cast rotate 180 degrees anticlockwise
    At end of round rotate 90 degree clockwise”
    And the crystals work by rotating spells 90 clockwise

    Now my question is when a spell ability or feat allows you to cast a spell that is recharging (Danors focus being an obvious example) is the card rotated back to normal before casting or is it rotated from its current posisition such that if you cast burn, when it was recharging (90 ccw from the ready position), you add the 180ccw to make it 270 degree ccw [90cw] at the end of the round roting it 90cw makes it 180, the end of next round 90, and then you can cast it, so the recharge time is added rather than reset
    Hope my question makes sense.

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