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How to investigate sightings?
Per the setup, Red Dragon groups may not investigate Unusual Sightings (boo), and gain no benefit from weapon artifacts (boo-ish).

From what I understand, we can USE artifacts (outside of weapons), but we have no way of actually getting them other than stealing (not the greatest agents) or beating up on groups/pop centers. Sure, that's fun, but one thing I enjoy is reading the unusual encounters.
-The Deliverer
(05-13-2013, 01:30 PM)kevindusi Wrote: one thing I enjoy is reading the unusual encounters.

I thought that's why you subscribed to Penthouse Forum?
Dear Penthouse Forum,
I never thought I would be writing you, but... this bar in Meridon...turned out to be the Queen! I was so surprised and...confessed that she was a shocking sexual deviant...and the next time, the princess would be there as well!
Name And Address Withheld.
(05-13-2013, 03:31 PM)DuPont Wrote: Dear Penthouse Forum,
I never thought I would be writing you, but... this bar in Meridon...turned out to be the Queen! I was so surprised and...confessed that she was a shocking sexual deviant...and the next time, the princess would be there as well!
Name And Address Withheld.

Needs more trollbutt.
(05-13-2013, 01:14 AM)Jumbie Wrote: I read somewhere that dragons can't investigate sightings? Does this mean that they don't receive a sightings report if their group lands on one? Or do they still see the sightings?

I'm still interested in if Dragons actually get a sightings report despite not being able to investigate. Does it show up when their agents recon or their groups stop in that area?
They can find sightings. They just can't search them.

I want to know if they can utilize portals once someone else identifies them..
 Lord Diamond

Please do not take any of my comments as a personal insult or as a criticism of the game 'Alamaze', which I very much enjoy. Rather, I hope that my personal insight and unique perspective may, in some way, help make 'Alamaze' more fun, a more successful financial venture, or simply more sustainable as a long-term project. Anyone who reads this post should feel completely free to ignore, disregard, scorn, implement, improve, dispute, or otherwise comment upon its content.

To answer an earlier question, when failing an unusual sighting, it does not give any indication of the potential reward. (or at least that has been the case so far with my experiences)
Silent One
Reading this thread through, I had a mental question come up ... What would be your minimum group to investigate a sighting, say using a "1" tactic if you weren't confident in the leaders' strength. For example if you are moving randomly early and land on one, had a Captain II, Captain, P-1, and an adept - would you investigate, or move a stronger force there later?

Also, can a location with a PC also have an Unusual Sighting?
You won't find an unusual sighting at a PC, but some of the artifacts start out in PCs (palantirs and rings of protection).

If I had your captain II and captain, I'd investigate at a 3 and leave the wizards in the camp. Often, even if you fail, you will have leaders survive and get a bump in leadership (captain II to general), making it a better chance to succeed next time. Of course, they could die as well, but I won't shed many tears over a lost captain II. I'd say the rewards far outweigh the risks in that example.
-The Deliverer
The best answer I can think of:

Rick McDowell

Sooner or later one or more of your proud groups will encounter something very strange. Not a known adversary, for which you can draw on your experience, like a town's defenses or an enemy army, but something completely unknown. Now, as their ruler, you must decide whether to order your heroic leaders and expensively developed wizards, along with a handful of their best troops, forward into the unfathomable. Here they will be at their greatest risk; each life threatened like a candle in the wind. Perhaps none will return. However, there is also the potential reward to consider for the risks taken. Imagine vast treasures and a powerful artifact! Do you risk their loss, or leave the exploration to those more bold or foolish?
The above may have startled some among you, who may have assumed encounters with the unusual involved little more than stooping to gather gems and magical items. Be forewarned: more than one Power 5 wizard or warlord has met his end in mortal combat with the paranormal. The important point is that any of these unfortunate deaths could have been avoided with better tactics and planning on the part of the king who ordered the mission.
Some unusual sighting may not lead to combat for the patrol dispatched to investigate. Instead, there may be a meeting with a wandering wizard, the discovery of a flock of giant eagles who might be befriended, a riddle or clue to an artifact's location, or a gateway to another world, among other possibilities. The result of these encounters could depend on a number of factors. These factors would include the race of the patrol, its composition (number and levels of heroes and wizards), and the tactical selection chosen for the encounter. These same factors will be important for combat resolved encounters as well, but for different reasons. For example, the wizard might be frightened off by too aggressive an approach, or may choose not to join a group already laden with magical talent. The eagles may allow the Rangers to ride, but not those heavy Giants!
A Peek Inside the Black Box. Normally of greater risk are those encounters which result in deadly combat. First, let's take a look at how the struggle will be decided. When battle is imminent, the patrol will be evaluated for its prowess and this will be compared with that of its foe. The dozen troops in the patrol are assigned a value based on their kingdom and their morale. The strong military powers will enjoy the same sort of advantage they do in other battles. If we assume each veteran has a value of 1, each giant may have a value of, say, 3. Most kingdoms then will range in value somewhere between 1.0 and 1.7 per soldier. The per troop value is multiplied by 12 for the 12 soldiers in the patrol, and further multiplied by the group morale. Next, the value of its heroes is added. Wizards are then added to the total, with a multiplier added to their power level of somewhere between 5 and 10 depending on their kingdom. (Since a Power 2 Warlock wizard knows considerably more magic than a Power 2 Dwarven, he receives a correspondingly higher multiplier.) Thus, a Power 2 will have a value of somewhere between 10 and 20. Finally, if the group is in possession of an artifact which would aid its attack in combat, this will add a significant amount, say 25, to the total. Most, not all, opponents in these encounters will have a value between 50 and 100.
The combat value of the patrol is now compared to that of the foe, to yield a percentage chance of defeating the foe prior to modification for tactical selection. Regardless of the superiority of the patrol, there is always a minimum 5% chance of failure. The tactical modification is important and works as follows. A tactical selection of 1 (Probe) reduces the chance of succeeding by 25% of what it would be normally. (Example: if the chance of success was 70%, a tactical selection of 1 would reduce it to 45%. Conversely, a tactical selection of 3 (Determined Attack) increases the likelihood of overcoming the adversary by 25%.
So why not choose the determined attack always? Here's where the other foot falls. Remember, the tactical selection in combat determines the casualty acceptance level and the level of risk taken. These are your heroes, not your common troops. when you tell them to risk it all to achieve an objective, they don't need much coercion. A tactical selection of 3 increases the net chance of any figure being killed by 50%; a selection of 1 reduces the chance by 50%. Here are two examples. If the chance of success in overcoming the foe before tactical modification was 40%, use of Tac 3 would increase the chance of being slain by 21% over its former level. If the unmodified chance of success was 80%, the increase to fatality probability per leader or wizard under Tac 3 would be 11% over the former level. Equivalent reductions would occur with Tac 1.
In addition, regardless of tactic being used, all heroes and wizards begin with a base chance of being killed in a reconnaissance of unusual sighting that is three times as high as they would in any other type of battle. Thus, if a captain in a group to group combat normally faces a 14% chance of perishing, his base risk is 42% with an unusual sighting. This risk would be modified by the strength of the patrol vs. its opponent from a 70% starting point. Let's assume a patrol whose formula, prior to tactical modification, sows a 80% chance of succeeding. The following shows the modification to both the chance of success in overcoming the foe, and the resultant likelihood of the captain perishing. Shortcutting through formulas we arrive at:
Tactic % Success % Cpt Slain
1 55 19
2 80 38
3 95 57
Each leader and wizard is individually "tested" to determine their survival. Note that each figure adds to the strength of the group and so diminishes the chance of all individuals being killed, since the group is stronger by their presence and so better able to quickly overcome the foe.
What can be learned from this confusing mess? Well, for one, hopefully the above illustrates the detail the computer searches through in determining the outcome of the Order #140 battles. These "Unusual Encounters" battles and sea battles are magnitudes less data-intensive that are group to group battles or population center engagements. We would never attempt to explain the computer's gyrations and acrobatics in an article for these battles.
Second, the player should appreciate the significant risk his figures are at in their quest to recover artifacts. It should be clear that a powerful patrol is much more likely to recover an artifact with fewer losses than is a weak patrol. Third, greater attention should be devoted to tactics in these encounters than might first have been assumed. For example, if a group chances upon an unusual sighting without knowing what may lay within, it might be best to attempt a probe (Tac 1) first, to glean a better insight into the dangers within, rather than risking all for something which might be so little importance to the kingdom. The probe may end up being the best tactic anyway. On the other hand, if the group has a good idea that a particularly useful artifact is within, and speed is of the essence, then a Tac 3 approach may be called for, especially if the patrol is not particularly powerful and so would need the advantage this tactic provides, while accepting the increased risk to its heroes and leaders.
Next time you encounter the unknown, maybe there will be a trace of familiarity after all.

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