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TOPIC: Normal difficulty and sealed 10 pack runs

Normal difficulty and sealed 10 pack runs 2 months 1 week ago #1

Since VTD started, I've been participating in sealed pack runs just using 10 packs then adding another 10 pack along with 4 treasures and the respective completion tokens.

We've seen a pattern forming that is concerning and seems to confirm feedback about TD we've heard from people who tried it then didn't return.

It appears virtually all runs are set up so that, on normal, barring terrible luck or badly bumbling your way through the dungeon, that you make it to room 7.

However, if it is a combat room in room 7, the pattern of late is that there is very little chance to actually win regardless of how skilled you are as players.

The feedback you hear sometimes from new players is that getting crushed in room 7 where it seems like you didn't dent the opponent left a bad taste in their mouth resulting in them likely not returning.

Take V6 as an example (stop scrolling if you don't want spoilers here.)

Assume a typical 10 pack party will average about +4 to +5 to hit and +5 to +8 damage for melee (these would be unusually lucky 10 packs that worked out that neatly.) With a +4.5 to hit, melee players would hit about 10% of the time. Average damage would be 10-15 per attack (including rage, sneak, etc..). With DR 10 (I recall the beast's being higher), that gives you 0-5 damage per hit. Let's assume 5 net damage and 20% of attacks hit. Each attack would average 1 damage per attack. 8 melee attacks would yield 8 total melee damage per round.

OK - so this isn't a great creature for killing in melee - your spellcasters have to save you. That happens sometimes. The problem this time is that it has DR against almost all spells. Assume no spells were cast to reach room 7 and you make 100% of your skill checks (not terribly realistic but helps for the model.) Your elf wizard uses the spell the creature is vulnerable to but will only have a +2 to +3 damage bonus. Best case, that caster does 9 damage a round. Your other casters (assume another 2 more and the cleric is extending everyone by 1-2 rounds to get to round 5) are doing partial damage. Let's assume 8 damage a round for them as well. Total caster damage would be around 25/round for a net of 33.

The party then averages taking 8-10 damage each (taking into account misses.) Even with healing assuming zero healing spells cast previously, that means a TPK in 5 rounds if the battle isn't won.

Assuming everyone makes their saves and everything lines up nearly perfectly, the party, in 5 rounds could do 165 damage.

The challenge is, with the stars aligning near perfectly, the party gets wiped.

A more realistic scenario doesn't go 5 full rounds and only goes 3. We saw it multiple times - you get crushed at normal difficulty and it wasn't from bad rolls or bad tactics. That has happened in at least 3 of the 5 virtual dungeons so far and had become more common in in-person events previously.

It is completely ok to lose and should probably happen the majority of the time. We are likely pushing new players away when they get obliterated and it seemed like they didn't have a chance.

I would recommend never having a final boss on normal have DR above 5 or an AC above 20 (if it has normal hp - high AC is fine for low hp creatures) so you can have it competitive with an average 10 pack. If it has high hp - give clues for things that any character could have to do much higher damage (sharp versus blunt attacks, etc..) As a creature is wounded, have it display it is somewhat injured (maybe losing a leg or (multiple in the beast's case) when you hit 50% of its hp.)

My suggestion is to have it work out where 20% of groups with 10 packs can win a room 7 combat if they play well and that virtually all of them "bloody" the monster where it was visible that they had a shot to win.

Fred
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Normal difficulty and sealed 10 pack runs 2 months 1 week ago #2

I’m not clear - are you using the pregenerated characters + a 10 pack, or just the 10 pack?

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Normal difficulty and sealed 10 pack runs 2 months 1 week ago #3

This described my very first TD run at GenCon a few years ago. It was a PUG and the entire group consisted of first time or low xp players. We all sat in the muster room with our tiny piles of tokens and built the best characters we could. We worked our way through the first 6 rooms, doing pretty well, and entered the final room with most of hit points and but only a few spells left. And there we got demolished.

Overall we had fun and were glad we had tried TD, but we had exactly the reaction you describe. We felt the room was unbeatable and it really dampened our enthusiasm for playing again. It was only after playing VTD, which making borrowing tokens much easier because you can use character builders while playing, that I really caught the TD bug.

I agree that a starting party should feel competitive on Normal. The whole party doesn't have to survive the final room, but it shouldn't feel like the module was written to guarantee a TPK either.

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Normal difficulty and sealed 10 pack runs 2 months 1 week ago #4

I think perhaps on Normal DR and AC could be adaptive somewhat in VTD.

Build the monster with reasonable stats for the pregen characters to beat with tactics and luck (e.g. assume bardsong, Prayer, ~3 high level damage spells remaining per caster, etc.).

Then, add to monster AC 1/2 the difference between the pregen stat and the actual character stat. For example:

Monster has AC 18.

Pregen barbarian has +4 to hit.

Actual barbarian has +10 to hit.

Monster AC, for barbarian, in the app is treated as: 18 + half the difference between +10 and +4 = 18 + 6/2 = 21.

Similar things could be done with DR. If the base DR is 3, and the character has a +damage that is X greater than the pregen, then for that character DR is 3 + X/2.

This sort of approach would still show benefits in gearing up, without making the monster undamageable by some party members, or one shottable by others.

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Normal difficulty and sealed 10 pack runs 2 months 1 week ago #5

DR is not 10 at Normal. But, any DR is incredibly sketchy for Normal boss monster. Much like how highest AC is better in earlier room for variety, use DR for golem earlier on.

I thought the beholder was unwinnable at my level of play at the time. Suppose I could try to find its stats.

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Normal difficulty and sealed 10 pack runs 2 months 1 week ago #6

Ian Lee wrote: DR is not 10 at Normal. But, any DR is incredibly sketchy for Normal boss monster.


this. The motto for Normal difficulty combat should be "every little bit helps" even if you have zero damage bonus and your weapon ends up with the 1 facing the dot.
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Normal difficulty and sealed 10 pack runs 2 months 1 week ago #7

I ran normal 6b with my group. We had a level 5 bard and 3 combat focused classes with damage and to hit over +10, as well as a HC druid, a wizard with +6 spell damage, and a starter dwarf. I boosted everyone's health to the point that dying wasn't a problem. We didn't even come close to dealing enough damage to beat the boss.

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Normal difficulty and sealed 10 pack runs 2 months 1 week ago #8

That's brutal. I'm interested in some testing lower difficulty levels except I'm not due to completion token loss. 6A was worth Normal, which was the only reason I ran it then.

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Normal difficulty and sealed 10 pack runs 2 months 1 week ago #9

Endgame wrote: I’m not clear - are you using the pregenerated characters + a 10 pack, or just the 10 pack?


Normal with 10 pack - the pre-gens include URs and aren't representative of in-person.

Fred
What do we want? Evidence based science! When do we want it? After peer review!

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Normal difficulty and sealed 10 pack runs 2 months 1 week ago #10

Josh M. wrote: I ran normal 6b with my group. We had a level 5 bard and 3 combat focused classes with damage and to hit over +10, as well as a HC druid, a wizard with +6 spell damage, and a starter dwarf. I boosted everyone's health to the point that dying wasn't a problem. We didn't even come close to dealing enough damage to beat the boss.


The DR and AC for normal were just too high for parties without substantial token investments. I'm fairly certain that it would be mathematically impossible to win that combat with a 10 pack without URs appearing in the 10 packs or non-stop crits (and even with all crits, it would be close.)
What do we want? Evidence based science! When do we want it? After peer review!

Wizard build
truedungeon.com/forum?view=topic&catid=570&id=247398

Rogue build
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Items for Sale or Trade
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Items needed to complete my collection
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Normal difficulty and sealed 10 pack runs 2 months 1 week ago #11

Fred K wrote:

Endgame wrote: I’m not clear - are you using the pregenerated characters + a 10 pack, or just the 10 pack?


Normal with 10 pack - the pre-gens include URs and aren't representative of in-person.

Fred

If the expectation and balancing is that you would run normal difficulty VTD with the pregen characters, then wouldn’t it also figure that it couldn’t be completed with just a 10 pack?

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Normal difficulty and sealed 10 pack runs 2 months 1 week ago #12

Endgame wrote:

Fred K wrote:

Endgame wrote: I’m not clear - are you using the pregenerated characters + a 10 pack, or just the 10 pack?


Normal with 10 pack - the pre-gens include URs and aren't representative of in-person.

Fred

If the expectation and balancing is that you would run normal difficulty VTD with the pregen characters, then wouldn’t it also figure that it couldn’t be completed with just a 10 pack?


Not if the pre gens include URs.
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