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Playtesting Lord Narran's Battles

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Playtesting Lord Narran's Battles

Postby lucasdp » Wednesday December 9th, 2015 6:54pm

I recently got Dragon Strike for a pretty good deal on eBay and I've been excited to use the boards and minis, so I figured we'd play Lord Narran's Battles between the regular quests whenever the mood strikes me or my heroes request it.
(Mods, I figured the Dragon Strike room was appropriate for this thread, but feel free to move it if there's a better place)

We've tried Quest 1: Rescue of Griz and here's what we thought: Boooooring. Especially when the heroes have to trek across the entire upper and left corridors with no monsters, doors, anything.
Image
(This bit could probably be improved, however, by moving those last two rooms to the upper left section, instead of the lower left section)

The "old lady with the crossbow" situation didn't really play well within the mechanics of HeroQuest, but I'll admit part of that may have been my GMing. I basically presented the situation to the hero who opened her door and asked, "How do you interact with her?" He stepped one space into the room and asked if she had anything for him. I responded with the "Leave my stuff be" and that was it. Again, boooooring.

The heroes eventually schlepped their way to Griz's room, where the Manscorpion laid waste to all of them. I felt bad about slaughtering my heroes in an "unofficial quest" so I decided to let them keep their characters in the official storyline and that "this quest had all been a dream."

Additionally, I don't like having both the Gargoyle and the Manscorpion in this quest. The reveal of the first big monster makes the reveal of the second big monster much less dramatic. I tried to come up with a thematic reason for them to both be there, but I cannot. I imagine the only reason for the Gargoyle is because there was a Dragon Strike gargoyle in the original adventure.

So, that's my take on the Rescue of Griz. Frankly, I could tell just by looking at the map and the quest notes that this would not be the most exciting adventure, but I still wanted to give it a try. Hopefully the others are more fun.


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Re: Playtesting Lord Narran's Battles

Postby StratosVX » Wednesday December 9th, 2015 7:35pm

I had Dragon Strike growing up and while I don't remember a lot about the game, I do remember I had a lot more fun playing HQ.


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Re: Playtesting Lord Narran's Battles

Postby lucasdp » Thursday December 10th, 2015 11:31am

Right. I never played Dragon Strike as a kid, and I gleaned from discussions here that it was not as good as HQ. But the ads for Dragon Strike in my comic books have stuck in my mind over the years and I had to get it when I found it for a good price. Looking through the rulebooks, I could see why most people preferred HQ. Then I found Lord Narran's Battles here, so I thought, "Great! Let's put that stuff to use, but still be playing HeroQuest."
Stratos, thanks for the beautiful conversion of the quests. I had actually spent about two days working on my own conversion before finding yours! :lol: It may be many months down the road, but I hope I get a chance to play some of your other conversions as well. Are there any that you particularly recommend?


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Re: Playtesting Lord Narran's Battles

Postby lucasdp » Wednesday December 23rd, 2015 1:07pm

Well, I got some feedback from Tangerine the barbarian on the heroes' view of Rescue of Griz and she didn't think it was as boring as I thought. Or that is to say, she didn't think the situation with the old lady with the crossbow was as boring and pointless as I did. She said it was kind of neat to see an NPC that wasn't a baddie and didn't need to be rescued. That doesn't happen in HeroQuest very often, she pointed out. They didn't know if she was going to use the crossbow or not, she said, so at least to her, it was kinda fun.
However, I would still recommend skipping that one, because...

We played Quest 2: Against the Giant, and this was much more fun. For starters, the heroes were excited to finally use the Dragon Strike board I've been carrying in my HQ box for the last month or so. This quest had a really good "exploration" factor, which may have been partially due to the new board, but definitely made this quest feel more like HeroQuest than the Rescue of Griz did. For us, Against the Giant was a good dungeon-crawling adventure that felt like HQ, but had some new and different elements from Dragon Strike.
Which is exactly what I wanted from the Lord Narran's Battles quest pack! :D
Image
Miranda the elf slays Grunt the giant!

One thing to note, I homebrewed the adventure to include the "dragon counter" from the original Dragon Strike adventure, which definitely changed the game a bit. (After 15 turns, the dragon shows up, basically. I also added that "the dragon storms into the cavern so powerfully that the walls at the end of the five outgoing hallways crumble, creating five new exits")
This is obviously an optional mechanic, and I'm not sure I would recommend it across the board (no pun intended). It depends what kind of game you want...
With fifteen turns, there was enough time for my heroes to go the wrong way and fight the Bugbears; then go back to find and slay Grunt the Giant; then make it almost to the start/exit before the dragon appeared. Tangerine :barbarian: and Blasto, our new wizard, basically ran around the dragon to escape, while the elves, Miranda and Sparky, had to fight their way out. Sparky fell in battle, but Miranda was able to use her Timestop spell to move twice and escape.
This worked nicely for us, because we wanted a relatively quick game; some of us had work in the morning. But the heroes did not get a chance to explore the other side of the cave and find out what Grunt's key would open.
So, with my homebrew, there are two options: use the dragon counter to keep the game quick; or play without it to have a longer, more exploratory game. Take it or leave it. ;)
Last edited by lucasdp on Wednesday December 23rd, 2015 11:51pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Playtesting Lord Narran's Battles

Postby knightkrawler » Wednesday December 23rd, 2015 1:35pm

Nice read. I think I'm gonna write some quests for the Dragonstrike boards and sprinkle them into my campaigns.
A rough outline stands, but why not re-write original HQ quests for these four boards...
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Re: Playtesting Lord Narran's Battles

Postby lucasdp » Wednesday December 23rd, 2015 2:06pm

knightkrawler wrote:A rough outline stands, but why not re-write original HQ quests for these four boards...


Not a bad idea, and probably wouldn't be very difficult |_P


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Re: Playtesting Lord Narran's Battles

Postby lucasdp » Friday January 22nd, 2016 8:06pm

Last weekend, I subjected my heroes to the Castle of Mystery from the original questbook and they weren't too happy about it. They hated getting split up and not being able to use teamwork as they have grown accustomed to doing. So, when it was over and they insisted on playing a "normal" quest, I thought, "Let's bring out Lord Narran's Battles again!" We played Quest 3: Narran's Seal and it was a fun, if not somewhat predictable, adventure.

There are only a couple unique mechanics to this quest: some locked doors that can be picked or forced open (usually there are negative consequences to forcing the door open), and the hallway at note B with the "murder holes." I didn't see it stated anywhere in the quest pack notes, so I made picking a lock work the same as disarming a trap. My heroes can be overly cautious sometimes, so no way would they be forcing any doors open. Since they played it safe, I didn't really get to use the murder holes at all. Sure, they landed on those spaces a couple times, but never rolled a 5 or 6 to alert the monsters. Oh well.

One interesting thing is that you've got a couple mini-bosses in this quest: the Chaos Mage and the Dragon. I think it works nicely here, as opposed to the Gargoyle and Manscorpion that I complained about in Rescue of Griz. Perhaps this is because, in Rescue of Griz, it's just two big generic monsters; in this quest, the Mage and the Dragon are meatier characters, so the presence of both adds to the story, in my opinion. I considered declaring one of the Bugbears in the final room to be Brutus (the character mentioned in the quest introduction) and beefing him up a bit, but this seemed unnecessary after facing a Chaos Sorcerer and a Dragon.

Anyway, the heroes made it past the murder holes and the hobgoblins in the center room to find the Chaos Mage. I had a little fun with this one. :twisted: The Mage cast Summon Orcs and rolled a 6! You can see how Miranda the Elf felt about that in the pic below. :lol:
Image

But they eventually took out the orcs and the Mage himself, then continued exploring. Again, they picked the lock at the door to the Dragon's room, so they discovered him without waking him up, then surrounded him and managed to do a lot of damage. I may have gotten one or two dragon attacks in, but it didn't take long for them to dispatch him.

From there, they found the last couple rooms, killed the last few monsters, retrieved the seal, and skipped past the murder holes again on their way out.

This quest was fun, even if it did feel a little, for lack of a better word, basic. I think it was just what my heroes wanted after the weirdness of Castle of Mystery.


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Re: Playtesting Lord Narran's Battles

Postby sajungzak » Friday January 22nd, 2016 8:44pm

That's a nice ring on the right hand... is that jade?
this is where I've been posting my painting progress so far:
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Re: Playtesting Lord Narran's Battles

Postby lucasdp » Monday January 25th, 2016 2:43pm

Not jade, turquoise from New Mexico. It is one of her favorites.


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Re: Playtesting Lord Narran's Battles

Postby StratosVX » Tuesday January 26th, 2016 2:46am

lucasdp wrote:Stratos, thanks for the beautiful conversion of the quests. I had actually spent about two days working on my own conversion before finding yours! :lol: It may be many months down the road, but I hope I get a chance to play some of your other conversions as well. Are there any that you particularly recommend?


My apologies, I just noticed this message to me. Thank you for the comments on the conversion. I haven't played any of them, so I can't say which ones are good and which ones aren't. I just saw all of them in the archives and thought it was a pain to have jpg files and text documents to reference. Plus, the jpg's weren't too pretty and it gave me something to do. I still have a couple left to do but my time is much more limited now than it was then so I'm not sure when I will get to them.


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