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Problems with Durrag-Dol as written

Discuss Halls of Durrag-Dol, published in White Dwarf Magazine #134.

Problems with Durrag-Dol as written

Postby Zenithfleet » Friday October 30th, 2020 7:33am

I've been sprucing up Durrag-Dol in HeroScribe (EU style) because the original map makes my eyes bleed, and a few things are bothering me. It's a lot less messy than The Eyes of Chaos, and quite a nice design overall, but...

First, no entrance door! I suppose it's meant to go on the edge of the board at the top-right.

Second, no arrows for the falling block traps. I'm pretty sure the one in the Rat Ogre room is meant to fall at the door, trapping any rash Hero who charges in. There's another route around it via secret doors that otherwise doesn't serve much purpose.

Third, the Rat Ogre and Troll are strangely weedy. You could pretty much just replace them with a Fimir and Chaos Warrior rather than track down expensive GW models. That would make this Quest easier for people to play, and also do away with hassles regarding models with oversized bases. Hmm. The Skaven are infamous for experimenting on their slaves and creating Frankensteinian horrors. Maybe the 'Rat Ogre' is a Fimir that's been, ahem, improved? And the 'Troll' Chaos Warrior is an automaton driven by the brain of some poor dissected Orc?

Fourth, and this is the big one: The Quest Treasure, the magic hammer, seems a bit feeble. It only gives you two dice. You can throw it, which in the EU game is pretty nifty since there's only one Crossbow card and a lot of people played that you could only buy something if there was a card for it, but you have to go pick it up from the square afterward, which is unusually fiddly for the EU game. And it makes you immune to all elemental magic, which could be very very bad when you need healing...

Because the players find the hammer early in the Quest, I feel like it should be more impressive, so they'll be tempted to exit and finish the adventure early rather than take the time to find the Altar (and hence will be cursed for their thieving ways).

So how about this for a revamped Sognirstane:

"This magic hammer allows you to roll four combat dice when you attack. You may also throw Sognirstane. It flies back to your hand after you throw it. Sognirstane makes you immune to Earth, Water, Fire and Air spells, even helpful ones! You also cannot cast spells while carrying Sognirstane."

Overpowered? Probably. I figure I'll start at the upper limit (THOR'S HAMMER) and tone it down as needed.

Maybe three dice instead? That feels a bit low to me, though. Just a crossbow really, with a hefty penalty due to lack of healing spells. There are only five Quest Treasures (Artifacts) in the EU game and each one of them should feel extra-special.

In practice only the Barb or Dwarf will carry it, since the Elf or Wizard would lose spellcasting if they held it. And three-dice attacks aren't all that hard for the B and D to get. On the other hand, four dice (ranged!) would be devastatingly strong in the base game. Would the forced immunity to healing spells and the like be enough of a tradeoff?

It probably comes down to how early in the campaign players will get hold of the hammer. A three-dice ranged attack is nothing to be sneezed at when hardly anyone can afford a crossbow. But it will have to be a bit more spesh than that if it's found later on.

The other thing that worries me about the hammer is the possibility of players getting 'gamey' by passing Sognirstane around like a hot potato whenever they need a spell cast on them. "Hey Elfy, could you hold this for a second? I need some healing from the Wiz. OK, now give it back."

Incidentally, although the difficulty of this Quest looks fairly low--roughly EU base game rather than expansions--it would make a pretty cool surprise bonus quest during Kellar's Keep. Just assume Durrag-Dol is a minor offshoot of Karak Varn. Running into some ratmen in a forgotten area of the complex would make a nice change from the endless Orc and Gobbo parade. But it would need beefing up to fit the higher difficulty of KK.

Just thinking aloud... don't mind me...
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Re: Problems with Durrag-Dol as written

Postby Zenithfleet » Tuesday November 3rd, 2020 11:09am

Update: I've given this one a playtest (controlling both sides). Apart from the few issues noted, it works quite well. It's on par with the base game Quests in terms of difficulty.

I'll have to tweak my ideas for Sognirstane, though.
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Re: Problems with Durrag-Dol as written

Postby Daedalus » Sunday February 21st, 2021 2:25pm

Sognistane means "roaring stone" in Khazalid, the language of the Dwarfs from the Old World. I'd say 2 AD, 3 AD against Gargoyles is a good fit, given right after the first 14 Quests. That way it will have better value when there aren't many crossbows. I'd also drop the the unnecessary bit about retrieving it after it kills a monster--who needs the complication?

Seeing how Sognistane is soon overtaken by purchased gear, I can see why you want 3 AD with it. How about a belt or gloves that adds one combat die exclusively for attacks with Sognistane? By awarding the complimentary artifact later in Kellar's Keep, you can supply a power-up when it is most approriate.

One other minor ability of Sognistane to mention: it can't be affected by Warp Wood or the Chaos spell Rust.

To avoid the "gamey" issue of swapping the hammer for healing breaks and buffs, I'd say once set aside for a spell, Sognistane can't be handled again until it is dedicated to the Dwarven Gods at the start of a new day.
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Re: Problems with Durrag-Dol as written

Postby lestodante » Monday February 22nd, 2021 4:16pm

Daedalus wrote:How about a belt or gloves that adds one combat die exclusively for attacks with Sognistane?


A Growl of Thunder features them!! :D
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Re: Problems with Durrag-Dol as written

Postby Daedalus » Monday February 22nd, 2021 7:00pm

Yeah, I recalled that Quest and referenced it. Thor's hammer and belt were also inspiration, of course.
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