Friday, August 07, 2015

Return to the Dungeon Crawl

Last week I bought the Warhammer Quest video game on Steam. While it's plagued with the actrocious idea that everything from characters to monsters to tilesets needs to be its own DLC pack, it is a fairly faithful translation of the classic (dare I say "ultimate") dungeon crawling boardgame. I've been battling my way through dungeon after dungeon in a quest for loot and levels and thoroughly enjoying every second. It got me in the mood again to look at both my own collection of dungeon crawler board games and what is coming on the horizon, not to mention the idea of putting together a dungeon crawler of my own as well.

On the horizon is Dungeon Saga from Mantic Games. It looks a lot like Warhammer Quest, which isn't surprising since Mantic makes a lot of games that are similar to many Games Workshop titles from Blood Bowl to Warhammer 40K and Fantasy. (Seriously, check them out at Mantic Games. They are the anti-Games Workshop with good games, great minis, and a company that really seems to care about their customers.) What really interests me with this game is the Adventurer's Companion that is going to contain rules for creating heroes based on figs from your own collection, no matter who made the mini. You'd never see Games Workshop do that! I'm eagerly awaiting Dungeon Saga's release next month, and I hope that it's quickly carried by a retailer stateside.

I've got a lot of these kind of games from the well known (Heroquest, Castle Ravenloft, and Descent) to the obscure (Dragonfire to an older D&D board game from the early 90's whose name escapes me at the moment) and a ton of minis from those game as well as a vast assortment of other figures from Reaper to Mage Knight to the D&D prepainted minis line. It would be great to draw up on that vast store of figures and dust them off for some crawling action. However, as it's been with deciding on what rules to use for my Mythic Space setting, deciding on which system to adapt my collection to has been tough. With Dungeon Saga still a month away, I think what I'm going to do is adapt the Warhammer Quest system into my own game.

Warhammer Quest hits the sweet spot for me in terms of crunch and ease of play. However, I am going to make a few changes to how the system works. I'm going to D20-ify it a bit. Gone will be thw WS charts. Instead, characters will have a base bonus. The bonus will be rolled against the opponent's Melee bonus +10. Much of the game still runs very much the same, however. I'm also changing up character creation a bit. I'm going with a race/class set up. That way I can have elven rogues alongside halfling clerics and dwarven warriors. Classes have set stats with the races adding in possible modifiers and a racial ability or two. Classes will have a selection of abilties to choose from at start and others for when the characters level up. The Winds of Magic still plays a huge part in both keeping spellcasters in check and adding an extra element of danger to the dungeon.

Monster stats will run in much the same way as well. Opponent spellcasters will often roll on a random table of spells to determine what spell is cast (for co-op or solo games). Many of the monster special abilities will be standardized to make the game flow faster.

I'm still knocking around ideas for how I'm going to handle treasure. I'm thinking I may simplify the charts I use to randomize magic items in S&W (which is modified from the Diablo II rpg sets). However, the idea of having a set of cards to just draw treasure from has a lot of appeal as well, even if is would mean more work on my part.

As for the dungeon creation system, I'm going to largely use my Warhammer Quest sets since that's the rules base as well, but I do have some ideas for using D&D Adventure games tiles as well.

Unlike many other projects, this one seems to be going really fast. It's a nice change of pace to work on a light-hearted, really simple game for a while. That said, I'm starting to feel the itch to get back to Mythic Space. We'll see. If I keep playing Warhammer Quest, I may stick with this for a while...

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