News for October 2013
Potent Parts of the Master Plan
Preview More of the Overlord's Options Coming with Descent Lieutenant Packs

In our last preview of the new Lieutenant Packs coming soon to Descent: Journeys in the Dark, we explored the ways in which the Overlord might use three of his agents to his advantage.

  • Splig, the self-proclaimed “King of All Goblins,” adds to the efficiency of many different monster groups by enhancing any hit-and-run tactics the Overlord might choose to employ.
  • Alric Farrow increases the resilience of master monsters and helps the Overlord force heroes into making difficult tactical decisions.
  • Finally, the treacherous Baron Zachareth allows the Overlord to strike at the heroes outside the bounds of combat, weakening them by increments and setting them up for ultimate failure.

Because the Overlord player can only choose one agent’s Plot deck to use throughout a campaign, it’s best to understand how all its cards might fit into your master plan.

Today, we’ll explore more of the Overlord’s options, taking a closer look at the agents and Plot decks in the Belthir, Merick Farrow, and Eliza Farrow Lieutenant Packs. Just as with the other Lieutenant Packs, each of these comes with a ten-card Plot deck themed to the agent’s strengths that offers the Overlord some unique strategic and tactical considerations.

Belthir – Hybrid Loyalty

Belthir is a dragon hybrid and a mercenary who adheres to his own strange sense of honor as he works to support the Overlord’s ambitions. Accordingly, his Plot deck, Hybrid Loyalty, focuses less on Belthir’s personal goals than on how his talents can bolster the Overlord’s position.

When the Overlord spends threat to buy a Plot card from any of the Lieutenant Packs, he keeps that card face-up in front of him throughout the remainder of the campaign. Then, throughout a quest, he can spend threat tokens to trigger any of the effects from his face-up Plot cards as he wishes.

This means that Lieutenant Pack Plot decks provide the Overlord the option to build coherent, reusable strategies that rely less upon the luck of the draw than his Overlord deck. However, even if the Overlord chooses to trade all of his experience for threat tokens to buy more Plot cards, he’ll still have an Overlord deck. That means he’ll always face important decisions about how to best use its cards, as well as which, if any, cards he wishes to buy with his experience.

Many of Belthir’s Plot cards will suit the Overlord who wishes to blend the reliability of his Plot cards with the most potent abilities of his Overlord deck. On the whole, Belthir’s Plot cards, like Dual Training, require very little threat to activate and create synergies with the Overlord deck.

Fight With Honor allows the Overlord to discard a Trap Overlord card to reduce the threat cost of another Plot card by one, and if discarding an Overlord card seems a hefty price to pay just to reduce the threat cost of a Plot card, then it’s worth noting that Belthir’s Show of Force can help the Overlord draw back into his cards in a hurry.

And with the Resourceful ability to pull Overlord cards out of the discard pile, you may find that Belthir’s Plot deck generates a lot of threat in a hurry, albeit indirectly. Of course, if the heroes aren’t troubled by the threat of an enhanced Overlord deck and Belthir’s Bribery, Belthir can make a personal appearance as an agent in any quest that doesn’t use the Belthir lieutenant.

Merick – Cursed by Power

Merick Farrow’s desire to raise his brother from the dead led to his exploration of magic, and his necromantic experiments eventually led to his downfall. Corrupted by the power he was able to harness, Merick Farrow now serves as one of the Overlord’s most sinister agents.

Much like Belthir’s, Merick Farrow’s Plot deck, Cursed by Power, plays well with different cards from the Overlord deck, but to a lesser extent. More specifically, Merick’s Plot deck greatly enhances the potency of any Overlord deck full of Magic cards.

Greater Power adds two damage to an attack after the dice are rolled, or three damage if the Overlord card it discards is a Magic card. Merick’s Mystic Might allows the Overlord to accrue fatigue tokens as he plays Magic cards, then spend those tokens to add extra damage to an attack against a hero, or to help one of his monsters avoid damage. Finally, Thaumaturgy allows the Overlord to swap one Magic card from hand for one from the discard pile, ensuring that if the heroes are hit hard by a specific Magic card, they’ll be sure to face that card again and again.

However, just as Merick Farrow is certainly no echo of Belthir, his Plot deck isn’t an echo of the dragon hybrid’s. In addition to the synergies it provides with an Overlord deck focused on Magic cards, Cursed by Power allows the Overlord to lead the heroes to darkness with a Dark Pact and The Dark Mark.

Dark Pact may cause strife among the heroes as the target hero may elect to give the Overlord threat in order to prevent his wounds, but that threat can quickly be put to use against other members of the party. In fact, any hero targeted by The Dark Mark is likely to be upset by any decision to give the Overlord threat since he may not only find himself the target of a master monster’s attacks, but he may also suffer the wounds dealt by another monster and meant for another hero. Facing multiple sources of damage, the hero targeted by The Dark Mark isn’t likely to want the Overlord further bolstering his attacks with effects such as Cabal.

Eliza – Endless Thirst

Whereas her husband found a way to cheat death through the use of his necromantic magic, Lady Eliza Farrow has found immortality as a vampire. By feeding off the blood of others, Eliza can exist forever in a state between life and death, possessed of undiminished intellect and beauty, but perpetually driven by her boundless hunger. With her Lieutenant Pack, the Overlord can put her hunger to good use, directing it against the heroes and hounding them at every turn.

Eliza’s Plot deck, Endless Thirst, translates this balance of hunger and power to your games of Descent with a number of Plot cards, like Bloodline and Fangs in the Dark, that allow Dark monsters to regain health by damaging others.

Of course, since most of the Plot cards in Endless Thirst work best with Dark monsters, you’ll likely want to purchase Night’s Embrace as early in the campaign as possible, in order to give the Dark monster trait to a monster group of your choice.

Then it’s time to hunt! When his Dark monsters go on a Nighttime Hunt, the Overlord can choose to spend a threat to either add to their offensive prowess or have them slip into the shadows, making them harder to find and hit and adding an additional black die to their defense. And when a hero is hounded by bloodthirsty monsters, he’ll find no mercy. Indeed, his wounds only make his attackers more ferocious as they catch the Scent of Blood. While the Plot card works with any monster, it’s particularly deadly when used to enhance a Dark monster’s attack, as the card then allows the Overlord to reroll any one attack die.

New Strategies Will Emerge

When these Descent Lieutenant Packs arrive at retailers, they’ll open a range of all-new strategies for the Overlord to pursue. However, they’ll also lead to new tactics for hero players since every threat token the Overlord spends turns into a fortune token that the heroes can use for any of a number of effects.


When the overlord spends a threat token during a quest, it becomes a fortune token and is awarded to the heroes.

We’ll look at these options that the heroes gain in our next preview of the first six Descent Lieutenant Packs.

Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition is a story-driven board game for 2-5 players that takes a party of adventurers deep into the dungeons of Terrinoth for adventure, treasure, and glory. Players will embark on a campaign of linked quests as they develop characters based on four fantasy archetypes.

    
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