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Hey all, Just played my first hand the other night and really enjoyed the grief and failure. Just like the game I thought it would be great to have an area where everyone interested can meet around the bonfire and discuss STRATEGY. My first lesson: Bosses need good hands, I am talking equipment with more then 2 dmg to get through armour, crazy! RULEBOOK - PDF PRAISE THE SUN!
Preamble Steamforged have done a pretty good job with the game, but there are two areas I find a bit lacking in the official ruleset (first edition). Firstly, Treasure drawing is really important to progressing but really hit and miss in terms of getting anything you can skill up to. Secondly, the fixed stat levels (while a necessary simplification) together with the Treasure deck really don't reflect the artful pacing of item drops and the flexibility players had to work towards those items in the videogame series. These are the problems I aim to solve with this (and other House Rules). Note: Merchants & the Tiered Treasure Deck The Tiered Treasure Deck house rule can be used on its own or can also be paired with another house rule: Merchants. The Merchants house rule adds a 'Merchant Shop' that, once discovered, contains a persistent Treasure mini-deck with items that are within reach of your current level. This smooths out the progression during a playthrough and makes the experience more rewarding, less repetitive and ultimately more satisfying for everyone playing. It also brings in a thematic element from the Dark Souls world. Terminology House Rule = A non-official rule (or subset of rules) for a boardgame that you may adopt to shape your gameplay experience to your tastes DSTVG = Dark Souls the videogame DSTBG = Dark Souls the boardgame Chest = a box on an encounter tile that can be opened once all enemies within the encounter have been defeated Tier 1 = items that cater for good early game progression towards the Mini Boss Tier 2 = items that cater for good late game progression towards the Final Boss Chest deck = unique, often magical items that can only be found in chests Firekeeper deck = spells that they'll only trade to virtuous adventurers Merchant = another 'house rule' that works well with this one (read on for a link to its own House Rule thread) Merchant deck = the deck used for determining which items are for sale in the Merchant Shop Tiered Treasure Deck Tiered Treasure Deck Overview In the early part of a playthrough, DSTBG suffers from an Treasure deck bloated with items that may never be accessible to the player classes in use or that are unusable until much later in the game. This is especially unenjoyable when playing with fewer than 4 player characters because you have to cycle through loot that you cannot build towards. I consider that bad gameplay design in terms of pacing and I have created this set of rules to help towards resolving this. This house rule makes some key changes to improve the experience: Tiers items so you'll only pick up items you can make use of early on. This has the benefits of guiding build paths, providing a consistent sense of progression, reducing the need to grind to beat the game (this was never really a feature of DSTVG) and rewarding the player with the cool items in the second half of the game. That said, there are a couple of unique gameplay items that can be found early on. Restricts more exotic items to Treasure chests. This makes the one-shot chest interactions more unique and rewarding, and is much more thematic. Ties spell availability to an 'event' with the Firekeeper. This incorporates a risk-reward mechanic for the spells and adds a little to the thematicism. If you spend too many of your Souls with the Merchant, you won't be able to get spells from the Firekeeper. Ties in, optionally, with the 'Merchant' house rule (explained in its own thread, and linked below). Essentially Merchants sell equipment, the Firekeeper grants spells and Chests contain 'rare' items. Purchasing items at the Bonfire In this house rule you have two options: EITHER purchase items from the Bonfire as per the official rules OR purchase items from the Merchants as per the 'Merchants' house rule Both options use the same Tier 1 & Tier 2 decks, so it's completely up to you how you make use of it. The Firekeeper The Firekeeper helps virtuous travellers who rid this world of horrors. If the party has twice the number of Souls in its Soul Pool as their are members, the Firekeeper will teach you about magical invocations, restorative salves and poisonous concoctions. If the party has fewer than this many Souls, spells are not available for sale. Each spell costs 4 Souls. Firekeeper Tier 1 Spells Force Heal Aid Poison Mist Soul Arrow Firekeeper Tier 2 Spells Heal Aid Fireball Soulstream Chests Nothing of value is kept in plain sight. Chest Tier 1 Create a deck from the following cards and shuffle it. In the first half of the game, Chest items are drawn from this deck. Upgrades 2 x Ember 2 x Titanite Shard Poison Gem Lightning Gem Simple Gem Blood Gem Weapons Great Magic Weapon Silver Knight Sword Shields & Armour Pierce Shield Effigy Shield Sunless Armour Drang Armour Court Sorcerer Robes Deacon Robes Rings Chloranthy Ring Chest Tier 2 Create a deck from the following cards and shuffle it. In the second half of the game, Chest items are drawn from this deck. Upgrades Heavy Gem Sharp Gem Crystal Gem Blessed Gem Rings & Spells All 'transposed' character ring and spell cards Legendary Shuffle the legendary items and draw 5 to add to the Chest deck Merchants / Bonfire If you do not wish to play with the Merchants house rule, simply keep this deck as the Bonfire deck and use the normal Souls trading rules from the official ruleset (pay one Soul to draw one card). Full details on the Merchants house rule can be found in this thread: Merchant Tier 1 Create a deck from the following cards and shuffle it. In the first half of the game, the Merchant Shop inventory is drawn from this deck. Weapons Firebombs Thrall Axe Kukris Morning Star Scimitar Shortsword Brigand Axe Reinforced Club Rapier Winged Spear Shields & Armour Silver Eagle Kite Shield Dragon Crest Shield Worker Armour Exile Armour Black Armour Firelink Armour Sunset Armour Merchant Tier 2 Create a deck from the following cards and shuffle it. In the second half of the game, the Merchant Shop inventory is drawn from this deck. Upgrades 2 x Ember 2 x Titanite Shard Weapons All 'transposed' character weapon cards Claymore Murakamo Great Mace Great Axe Halberd Sorcerer's Staff Zweihander Shields & Armour All 'transposed' character shield & armour cards Hard Leather Armour Master's Attire East-West Shield Eastern Iron Shield --- Rule Clarifications For clarity and posterity, I'll post any rule clarifications here, in addition to editing the rules above.
While it is very "video game," I've noticed a lot of reviewers do not enjoy the grind aspect of the Dark Souls board game, where you have to keep reseting the encounters and fighting the same enemies in order to build up your power for the boss. My group felt similarly, partially because the game was taking too long, when the real fun is in finding and fighting those bosses.For my group, and for anyone else who is finding it hard to make it through the more mundane opening of the game, I came up with a house rule that has nicely solved the problem without lowering the difficulty of the game (the difficulty we all enjoy, we are sadists). Quote: HOUSE RULE: GRIND At any time outside of an encounter (so not during combat), the group can spend one spark to "Grind." Doing so resets all of their tokens (estus flasks, luck tokens, heroic action) and gives the group experience again for all DEFEATED encounters. Doing this does NOT reset defeated encounters. Aside from spending sparks, there is no limit to the number of times you may subsequently Grind. Boss rooms are never affected by Grinding. Note: You could argue (legitimately) there is a slight decrease in challenge due to the luck factor of just making bad rolls, but after several games, we found that during our reset grinds we very rarely died on a second attempt at an encounter. Just having the preknowledge of what was coming and being better equipped the second time around meant that mostly we were just do routine die rolling. And the few times where bad treasure draws meant we WEREN'T better equipped pretty much ended our games anyway... this meant that we were able to circumvent that a little and get to the fun part: getting our asses kicked by the bosses. There is a nice tactical addition to this as well, in that you have to decide when it is time to "push it." The longer you wait without grinding, the bigger your reward, but the risk is higher, too, as you are heading deeper into the dungeon without better treasure.