So there has been an increase in traffic to my page the last few days. I believe this is because of my mentioning of Rangers of Shadow Deep. I thought I should write up what I’d like to read myself whenever I’m searching the web for info on a new game. My motivation for doing this is purely egotistical, mind you. I want to nurture interest in a game I intend to play alot of to help the community grow and in turn find other player’s postings that inspire ME. Also, I am actually a goldfish so I want to write down my basic understanding of the rules so far just to create some order up there and make it stick.
Here is my summary of the game mechanics:
Every ranger starts out with 10 build points and 100 recruitment points. In coop the recruitment points are reduced, but the build points remain the same.
Build points are used to give your ranger stat increase, skill bonuses, abilities or spells. It is also possible to increase the recruitment points up to 130 by using 3 build points. How many points you can use for each is specified in the rules. There is no cost involved in kitting out your ranger with weapons.
Recruitment points are used to add companions to your crew. Some companions are more expensive than others. A knight, for instance, is 35 points while a hound is only 5. You can switch out your companions between missions, but still keep those you dismiss and use them again later. Companions also get progression points for surviving and those will be kept even if they sit out a game.
In my case I play cooperatively with a friend. There is a specific formula for how to split the recruitment points when playing coop. We both increased our recruitment points to the maximum and after calculating it with the formula we both got 55 each. Each ranger can only recruit up to 3 companions when playing coop. We could only afford two companions each of what we wanted from the list so we are a total crew of 6 at the moment. These points refresh between missions so next time we can use other companions (still max 3) if we so desire.
Once this process is completed you are ready to start doing missions. Every mission consists of scenarios. Some missions have two scenarios, others have more. There is a storyline to these missions and how successful you are in one scenario usually has some effect on the next.
The combat system uses 20 sided dice (d20). In combat the attacker rolls and adds his bonus, then the defender rols and adds his in the same way. The lowest roll loses the fight and may or may not take damage depending on how high armor value the losing figure has. The same goes for shooting, but then there is no risk of the attacker being struck back.
Each figure has an activation. The figure can take two actions per activation, one of which has to be movement with a few exceptions like reloading a crossbow. The other action can be combat, spellthrowing or other tasks such as searching a point of interest referred to as clues. Often these clues prompts you to roll a d20 and add any skill points you might have. For instance, avoiding a fall you have to roll against a target number (TNx) and if you have increased your acrobatic skill you can add that to the roll. Rolling equal or higher grants success.
The game is split into four phases; ranger phase, creature phase, companion phase and event phase. You can group activate up to two figures in the ranger phase if they are within 3 inches to your ranger. If there are no companions within 3″ they have to wait until after the creature phase to activate.
The creatures have a simple, but effective AI system based mostly on line of sight. Ranged weapon creatures usually stay where they are and shoot the closest target. Other creatures move for the closest figure or the figure with the lowest health if in multiple combat. If there is no los they will move towards a target point specified in each scenario or a random move if not.
The event phase is when you draw an event card represented by a deck using normal playing cards. There is a table in each scenario specifying what event each card triggers. Sometimes its a monster, sometimes a certain event. The number of cards per scenario is also specified here. Usually there is a deck of 9 cards from ace to 9. You don’t really need a card deck to be honest. Just cut out paper scraps and note them with a number corresponding to the table (or, even better, make your own sexy cards!). These cards also dictates when the game ends in most cases. When the deck is empty, the scenario is over.
Heroic abilities can be used once per scenario. The abilities can be used when any figure is activating so you do not need an action for those. Spells are slightly different. They have to be used as an action and you can use a spell for as many times as you have purchased it. For instance, if your ranger has used his build points to aquire two heal spells, you can cast two heal spells per scenario.
Skills can help increase your change to meet a certain target number as described above.
There are several ways to find Treasure. It can be a token that you pick up and roll on a a table after the scenario, or it can be specified in the clues that you find a magic sword or something. A magic item or weapon usually has a finite number of uses. Once used it becomes mundane. Each ranger has six item slots and most of the companions have two. you don’t have room for the item/weapon it has to be left behind or you can make room by throwing away other items you already carry.
Thats about it I think…
Please keep in mind that this is my simple understanding of the game so far based on playing three scenarios. I encourage readers to get the game and see for themselves, and check the forums and the authors own blog, but this might help if you are new to it/interested and need an overview. Hopefully it convinces you to get in on it because it is simply awesome.
Sorry about the long post and only one lousy pic!