TDE - Revelations from Heaven

Lanir
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Re: TDE - Revelations from Heaven

Postby Lanir » Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:10 pm

Julianwolfe has moslty summarized things pretty well. I'll just add a few bits so you can see what was going on from my side of the table as well. I don't know if this is particularly useful to anyone but it may give some context at least.

Overall I found parts of the module interesting but a lot of it was rather frustrating as well. I decided to trust the description and run three new 900 point characters through it that we created just to play this. No one had too big of a problem with that but while we largely went off of the recommendations on the back, I didn't try to stack the deck by suggesting the players make choices about their character builds that would specifically shortcut encounters.

I didn't read the whole module before I began running it. I was always just a bit ahead of where I needed to be in the plot to run the game that night. Although i've run games in other systems I think this is only the second or third thing i've run in TDE. I chose every option that allowed for going "easy" on the PCs.

► Show Spoiler


I think what really didn't work for me was having to switch between the fairly rules heavy TDE situations and then having to back out of that and come up with something on the fly to keep the setup that was provided from overwhelming my group. I don't mind doing that for more rules light systems because they don't take as much effort to craft a situation and run a story. More mechanically heavy systems I expect to be more balanced in general.

For this module to work better for someone else than it did for me I think would require a group more specifically tuned for it (ie, terrifically combat heavy and with a couple very specific tricks on tap, not what the back of the module says). Also more people. And even with that I think you'd want to be Experienced characters, possibly with a couple other adventures under your belts.

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julianwolfe
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Re: TDE - Revelations from Heaven

Postby julianwolfe » Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:32 pm

Lambert wrote:I have read the adventure and am using it as the Corner of my campaign. I.E. this village is important in some of the ongoing plots and PCs will visit here from time to time. I was surprised by your dislike for it and I have a couple of comments.

1) The adventure asks for 3-5 heroes with 900-1200 AP
So if you are playing it at the very bottom power level 3 character with 900 points then it is the same as playing a computer game on hard setting. As the Games Master you might wish to slightly turn down the stats of encounters and the like. In the adventure there are often suggestions on how to make key scenes harder, if your party is breezing through them, or easier if the party is struggling.


I'd like to see a quote from the module explaining this, because in all the things Lanir and I pointed out, the module specifically doesn't give this kind of guidance, and that's exactly what Lanir complained about.

2) Not everything needs to be fought
A hungry animal could be placated with say a killed sheep, scared away with flames, be evaded to an area where it cannot follow. People can generally be reasoned with, intimidated, convinced or bribed. Of course you can stand in front of everything and have a straight up fight if you must, but that option is only suitable if you have a party that is particularly good at that sort of thing.


Dude, I feel like you didn't even read my post completely, or maybe just didn't understand it. We had no choice. First, the descriptive text says:
► Show Spoiler

I don't see how we were supposed to interpret this any other way than that we have to fight it from that information given.

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MadBeard
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Re: TDE - Revelations from Heaven

Postby MadBeard » Wed Feb 22, 2017 6:37 pm

I agree with Lambert here.
Who said that you couldn't lure it away or try with some dead sheep to distract it while in combat?
Bear is faster than humans! So what. Throw a dead sheep at his feet and there is a good chance that bear will not follow you.
People tend to forget that you can do non combat stuff while in combat. Especially those used to D&D and pathfinder.

I'm running this adventure and we didn't finish it yet, but my group stomped through that bear. By looking at bear stats, I though that fight will be harder but they kill it in couple of rounds.
Group is made of three sample characters (Blessed of Boron, Dwarven warrior and Kosh mage) plus warlock that one player created (1100 AP). I presume that sample characters are 1100 AP also. I didn't check.

Blessed of Boron didn't participated in fight because he immediately run to the girl and tried to protect her and calm her. Kosh Mage was quite useless because his choice for casting spells was awful. Warlock is specialized for bow and made a shot every 2 rounds. Only one who was fighting and getting his ass kicked was dwarf. And bear also got one critical hit on dwarf. Dwarf was only one that was wounded and brought to about half his LP.
And they didn't used single Fate point because they forgot about them.

But yeah. I agree that maybe that bear fight right on the beginning is maybe just too much for new players.

We didn't run through last fight with cultist but I presume that there will be no problems either. Although I'm running my first TDE adventure, I'm quite experienced in GM-ing to know how to improvise and balance thing on the fly. I think that this adventure is very nicely written and put together with lots of tips and tricks for beginning GMs.
Expect for those couple of inconsistencies I already reported, but that can be easily remedied by GM.
I'd have to be a warrior, a slave I couldn't be.
A soldier and a conqueror, fighting to be free.

"Warrior" - Wishbone Ash

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julianwolfe
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Re: TDE - Revelations from Heaven

Postby julianwolfe » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:43 am

MadBeard wrote:I agree with Lambert here.
Who said that you couldn't lure it away or try with some dead sheep to distract it while in combat?
Bear is faster than humans! So what. Throw a dead sheep at his feet and there is a good chance that bear will not follow you.
People tend to forget that you can do non combat stuff while in combat. Especially those used to D&D and pathfinder.

I'm running this adventure and we didn't finish it yet, but my group stomped through that bear. By looking at bear stats, I though that fight will be harder but they kill it in couple of rounds.
Group is made of three sample characters (Blessed of Boron, Dwarven warrior and Kosh mage) plus warlock that one player created (1100 AP). I presume that sample characters are 1100 AP also. I didn't check.

Blessed of Boron didn't participated in fight because he immediately run to the girl and tried to protect her and calm her. Kosh Mage was quite useless because his choice for casting spells was awful. Warlock is specialized for bow and made a shot every 2 rounds. Only one who was fighting and getting his ass kicked was dwarf. And bear also got one critical hit on dwarf. Dwarf was only one that was wounded and brought to about half his LP.
And they didn't used single Fate point because they forgot about them.

But yeah. I agree that maybe that bear fight right on the beginning is maybe just too much for new players.

We didn't run through last fight with cultist but I presume that there will be no problems either. Although I'm running my first TDE adventure, I'm quite experienced in GM-ing to know how to improvise and balance thing on the fly. I think that this adventure is very nicely written and put together with lots of tips and tricks for beginning GMs.
Expect for those couple of inconsistencies I already reported, but that can be easily remedied by GM.


Okay, now I'm starting to get a bit cheesed off here. We aren't new players. We've played through maybe 3 of these adventures before and never had a problem like this.

Our witch didn't really participate in the fight until the very end, and she got immediately whacked by the bear for significant damage. The only ones fighting it really were myself and the hunter. When you see the girl coming out of the forest holding a lamb, that makes it doubly difficult to just grab it and sacrifice it to the bear. There were no convenient dead sheep lying around.

It's the way the bear is presented with it being (a) pissed off (b) faster than us, and (c) very closeby to where we can't avoid it that makes it an issue.

The designer did not provide any guidelines for making this fight easier or harder, or alternate strategies for running it. We have to assume, if they give a guideline on the back of the module, that we can trust that guideline. It should have read 4-5 Experienced characters with significant combat abilities. (this especially applies near the end with the mobs of enemies) And it definitely should have 4 dots in Combat. This is a really short module for how much combat is there.

Everything but the town is junk, to be sure.

Eric USNA
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Re: TDE - Revelations from Heaven

Postby Eric USNA » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:16 am

Just gonna step in for a second here, not to defend or attack either side, but just to say that this seems to be a difference of interpretation and expectation, not a difference in understanding.

Play experience at the table can be a huge factor in determining how you view a particular adventure. That's your first impression, and it matters. This is especially true (in any game, not just TDE) when there's a combat encounter where things escalate quickly. Depending on what happens in those first few moments, it can be surprisingly smooth or distressingly painful.

I will never fault anyone for their opinions about a particular adventure. I think The Dark Eye has a lot of room for different styles and preferences (more so than certain other fantasy RPGs), so if some people really love a thing and other people really don't I'm not too terribly worried. That's going to happen.

I will say that I would love to see more discussion (perhaps in the Rules forum) about how people approach adjusting encounters in prep or on the fly. That would be great advice to have available to newer GMs (like myself).

Flash
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Re: TDE - Revelations from Heaven

Postby Flash » Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:21 pm

julianwolfe wrote:We have to assume, if they give a guideline on the back of the module, that we can trust that guideline. It should have read 4-5 Experienced characters with significant combat abilities. (this especially applies near the end with the mobs of enemies) And it definitely should have 4 dots in Combat. This is a really short module for how much combat is there.


My advice would be to treat the guidelines at the back as rough guestimates. Very rough guestimates when it comes to the combat dots.

The build-whatever-you-want-as-character system of TDE is a boon and a bane at the same time. While you can build exactly the character you want to have it also means that combat difficulties are totally up in the air. TDE lacks the rigid base combat competence framework characters in a class and level based system have.

In TDE your 2100 AP legendary wise sage character concept can go down like a punk to a 1100 AP character whose player's character concept is to stab people in the face with a sword.

That makes the job of balancing combat encounter for authors of official adventures well lets say "interesting" job... :lol:
I don't envy them.

To the defense of Relevations of Heaven: The author seem to be aware of that and offers that More Difficult/Easier option quite often during the adventure which I consider a good thing. It is just puzzling that he forgot to do it for the Bear encounter at the beginning. :?
That one should really have one as it has the potential to be quite dangerous. Your groups experience is a testament to that.

A DM that writes his own adventures knows his personal group and and can balance that much better because he knows what his group can do and what it cannot. I always tweak official adventures heavily.

If I understand you correctly you played this with three 900 AP characters. That is definitely hard mode in my TDE play experience. It can work fine in detective adventure with next to no combat (TDE has these surprisingly often) but with combat it will be hard. Personally with only three players I would start at 1100 AP like the core book advises. That will in most cases give you a larger buffer before things go sideways.

I came back to game mastering TDE after a very long abstinence. Played a lot of D&D 4E with its precise like a clock encounter building system before that. Let's just say the first few combats where a rather rough experience for my players before I got back may TDE touch. So I can totally sympathize with your experience... :lol:

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MadBeard
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Re: TDE - Revelations from Heaven

Postby MadBeard » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:05 pm

julianwolfe wrote:Okay, now I'm starting to get a bit cheesed off here. We aren't new players. We've played through maybe 3 of these adventures before and never had a problem like this.


I'm sorry if I did sound to harsh or if I offended you. That was not my intention. I was trying to say that people who got used to D&D and PF usually have this kind of problem. Because in those system you always know what to expect (encounter are balanced). And that is especially true with experienced players. PCs are powerhouses in those system and also when players know how encounters are built, they tend to get comfortable numb as Pink Floyd would say ;).
At least that's what happened in my experience with people I know. And that happened so many times that I grew tired of repeating myself to them to forget that style of play. So that is why I drew parallel with that. Not to offend anyone. I was trying to offer some different solution to what you could have done instead of combat it directly. I get that players feel frustration when something like that happened but is not always adventure author fault for that. Bad rolls, bad decision in wrong moment and so on can very much effect player experience and view of particular adventure.
And that is what is really great about roleplaying games. Same scenario - countless user experience :)

And yeah that encounter is very deadly for characters who aren't suited for combat. But is also GMs job to compensate for that. While I agree that author should anticipate an "easier" and "harder" mode for different groups he can't predict what characters players are going to play. There is too many combinations. And there is many ways to scare the bear or do something else that fight it directly. Like Lambert said scare it with torch, scare it with bright flash with somekind of spell, create loud sound that will scare it and so on. But all these solutions depend on GMs acceptance and improvisation, because these are not written in adventure. So GM is huuuge factor in these situations. At least that is how I see it.

Hope that you'll have more luck and fun in next adventures.
I'd have to be a warrior, a slave I couldn't be.
A soldier and a conqueror, fighting to be free.

"Warrior" - Wishbone Ash

Lanir
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Re: TDE - Revelations from Heaven

Postby Lanir » Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:42 pm

I think Eric is correct. This sounds like a style difference.

I don't think it's reasonable to expect my players to come up with some creative outside-the-box solution every time things get difficult. It's great when it happens but I don't need a system this rules heavy to run a game where that's the standard means of solving problems. Lots of rules just means lots of barriers to creative thinking. As julianwolfe mentioned the setups here tended to discourage creative problem solving as well and then went pretty hard on the group for not having a creative solution.

As a GM, I tend to feel out new systems for what they are before I modify them. TDE had quite a bit to learn. I'm familiar with skill-based systems and adjusting rolls to fit but the TDE mechanics are rather unusual. I was using the modules as a way to get a feel for the game before I began tinkering. I don't think that part has quite worked out for me but I'm not sure I'd want to purchase a module just to change it extensively. So I'm at an impasse and I probably won't run TDE for awhile.

That's my style and the starting point for my previous comments here. Sorry if there was any confusion.


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