Automated Overlord for RTL

By Colwynn Darr, in Descent: Journeys in the Dark

Hi All.

I only started playing Descent back in January of this year so i'm a complete noob, though i'm loving it all the same, got all the expansions for this bar TOI...still waiting for it to ship over to England. Anyhoo..

My situation is that me and my girlfriend are the only people who play this and as i'm into it more than she is and she hasn't read all the rules...i end up being the fun as it is getting punched in the arm everytime i kill one of her heroes...I thought i really want to be a hero and play coop along side her.

So the following is my contribution of a solo/coop game with a Automated overlord. Now i can image that many of you will think it's not workable or unbalanced...but because we are not as hard core when it comes to knowledge of skills hat weapons best and different strategies and we just want a great dungeon crawler with a the levelling up of your hero character i think this works.

Now i think most of this is about the best you can get away with having a game of RTL without a Overlord...but i'm happy for you guys and gals to be as critical as you like...thats another reason for posting the following. Another thing to bear in mind when reading this is that i have borrowed from numerous ideas and sources that other games do and what other fans of the game of tried to do...i found many half heated attempts, so i did my own using their ideas and my own. I also wanted to play the game as it was meant to be played...trying not to change anything or take anything out of the game like cards etc...anyway i'm rambling so here it is:

ps: font went a bit mad when i pasted this in not sure what it's going to look like.

Terrinoth and Game Weeks
Each game week the overlord rolls one D6 and consults the chart below followed by a power dice if an overlord upgrade is rolled and then another to determine the specific upgrade. The overlord will always upgrade the cheapest of the generated upgrades or are randomly chosen if cards. If the overlord cannot afford any of the randomly generated upgrades in the game week it will move forward with no upgrades being applied. (Even if this meant he could afford an upgrade from another category).
Avatar personalities should be used where possible. Upgrading based on the cost for treachery on the card. E.g. the beastman avatar would place a greater emphasis on upgrading humanoid creatures, increasing monster treachery and spawning monsters in battle.

Dice Roll
Overlord upgrade
Avatar upgrade
Generic Upgrade
Specific Upgrade
Treachery upgrade
Events (Green)
Traps (Purple)
Monsters (Red)
Monster upgrade
Plot upgrade
A lieutenant will always pursue a plot element before rolling on the orders table. If the lieutenant already has orders he will continue to follow them until he or it is destroyed he will then follow the next available plot element if it is available or roll on the orders table. The first lieutenant that is given new orders will pursue a plot objective. If a second plot objective is available the second lieutenant will pursue this and so on. Otherwise roll on the orders table.
When deciding on the objectives of any lieutenants roll 2D6 to determine their orders and again for an objective / destination if it is not to pursue and destroy the Heroes. Keep a note of each lieutenant’s orders. Lieutenants will always take the most direct route to their destination.
Lieutenants will follow their orders until they are either killed the heroes, raised the city or they themselves are killed after which the following week they will be given new orders/objectives unless of course they have been killed.
Re-roll any duplicate results for Lieutenants. No, two Lieutenant’s will be given the same orders.

Dice Roll
Dice Roll
Lieutenants Objective / Destination
Raise / Move to
Pursue / Destroy the heroes
Rumour location (otherwise re-roll)
During Dungeons and Encounters
Any choice that is available in the dungeon level as described on the dungeon card should be chosen at random using a D6
Threat, Treachery and the Overlord Deck
The overlord will always spend treachery though this will be determined randomly.
The overlord will always reset the reinforcement marker before spending any other threat.
In encounters threat will be spent on extra power dice or movement points for any master or named monsters only, if necessary and if available when activating monsters. The overlord will collect threat as normal. The overlord will draw one card which is paid for and automatically resolved, if the overlord cannot afford the drawn card it is discarded for threat.
Power cards in play will only be replaced when new power cards are drawn, the weakest (threat price) of the ‘in play’ power cards being replaced before others and the newest being played and paid for in the usual manor. (Unless it is a treachery card then this will remain in play). If more than two are the same threat price then the oldest will be replaced.
A played trap card will affect the first hero to roll a blank but following the normal conditions for activating traps. Only one chest and one door trap can be kept face up at any one time if another door trap or chest trap is drawn, it will replace the relative trap card that is already face up, unless it is being discarded for threat. If there are no chests or doors to open these will be immediately discarded for threat.
- Normal traps (boulders and pits) are played normally (though regardless of whether or not the hero moves).
- Chest traps are paid for in the usual fashion as soon as they are drawn. Though their effects are not played out until a hero opens a chest. (keep face up) A power dice is rolled when a hero opens a chest on a blank the card affects the hero.
- Door traps are paid for in the usual fashion as soon as they are drawn. Though their effects are not played out until a hero opens a door. (keep face up) A power dice is rolled when a hero opens a door on a blank the card affects the hero.
Any cards concerning monsters are applied when the card conditions are met and are played on the first monster on a roll of a blank on a power dice. Suitability of the card will take precedence on whether or not the dice roll is made.
Avatar, Lieutenants and Monsters
Avatars, lieutenants and monsters will always attack the hero closest to them and with the lowest health until they are dead. If there is a tie then those with the lowest armour is used. If there is still a tie then roll a D6 to pick at random. (Lowest roll is targeted)
If there are no melee monsters blocking line of sight of ranged monsters, then move and fight with the ranged monsters first. If melee is engaged already move and fight with them first otherwise m onsters with the highest number of movement points will move first. Monsters will stop ‘3 counted spaces’ away if they are ranged or adjacent when melee monsters. Small monsters will always make room for big monsters in melee and ranged conditions.
Spawned monsters are normally placed at the closest point to the hero but following normal rules for spawning and ‘3 counted space’ rule. If line of sight prevents all the large monsters on the card to be spawned go with a smaller group if there is a choice. Monster abilities will be utilised when they can and in their best possible way.

Any monster that cannot attack a hero on their turn and is not in a hero's LOS must move as close to the nearest hero as possible, without coming in line of sight of the hero. If a monster was already in LOS of a hero and cannot attack, they must move as close as possible to the nearest hero.

Sorry about the font and the terrible grammer/spelling. :(

Impressive amount of labor there.

Some thoughts: Add "pursue plot objective" to the Lt. options. Admittedly there is currently ony one plot where that makes a difference, but it could end up being signigicant in that plotline. With that thought in mind, you may want to tailor your LT/OL options to specific plots, since the overall objectives would be a bit different.

It might be wise to dump treachery altogether in the solo mode. It adds a level of variance that you could proably do without when you already have to manage so much else.

Somewhere on the old forums, there was discussion of a campaign that was hero driven. Something about Arkenspell. A hero driven solo campaign might be easier to manage, since the OL would be reactive instead of proactive.

Monsters could also be given the option to "lurk". In this they would hang back out of advance range or out of LOS to shooters in order to attempt a blitz or ambush when the players drew closer. I think this would add a bit more tactical option to the bad guys, and add a bit of tension for the players.

This is very interesting,and I've been hoping to find a way to do this myself,but have just been too slack to get round to it in any detail.

I've yet to study your ideas at length,but my initial impression seems promising.

Keep up the good work.

Very cool, although, I would just assume play both sides of the equation. Why not just make the most beneficial move for the OL each round/week? I guess the random rolling would allow you to take some risks hoping that the OL doesn't pursuit a particular path that would mess you up.

Thankyou all for your feedback.

I think trying to play both sides would be like playing a game of chess against yourself. Trying to outwit yourself soon becomes predictable and you soon start too get into a position where your more favourable to one side than the other. So trying to randomise as much as possible and drawing a line on the options stops this kind of conflict i think.

As for pursuing plot objectives, I have that listed down as a default order/objective for Lts if they are not currently following any order. The thought here was that the overlord perhaps can't get a message to the Lts as quickly as he'd like and that the Lts are head strong and determined to finish their initial order before anything else, so they would pursue their intial objective until it's completed and then actively seek out another objective that they deem important.

My thoughts that ran through my mind when creating these solo/coop rules were to include everything. Personally i like the treachery upgrades and as you put the variety is nice. when upgrading i find it's easy enough to randomly select these and swap them in the overlords deck.

I think that you have to give the monsters straight forward rules (they see a hero, they think kill, but they attack in pehaps the most devastaing way they can think of and that's perhaps the extent of their thoughts and tactics.) otherwise you can over complicate things, which was another aspect on my mind when putting these rules together, 'keep it as simple as possible while using every aspect of the board game while adding a small amount of new aspects'. I don't think you could incorparate a random 'lurk aspect. Although i do like the idea.

I like the look of that Arkenspell campaign thanks for the heads up.

Understandable i think there is always going to be some pot holes in creating rules, perhaps even with the rules as they come out of the box. (i think that is clear with the many questions and FAQ's that are on these forums) All you can do is come on these forums and iron them out...which is part of the fun.