Lasting Tales Design Diary #5: Adversaries



Enemy Mine

In the final Lasting Tales design diary, we take a look at the many and varied enemies that will oppose your bold party of adventurers. We call these ‘Adversaries’, and they’re out to get you…


The Bestiary

As a miniatures-agnostic game, it’s really important to us that Lasting Tales covers as many types of Adversaries as possible. For this reason, we’re including an extensive chapter in the rulebook covering stat-blocks and special rules for lots (and lots) of bad guys – this chapter is called the ‘Bestiary’.


The Bestiary contains everything from Kobolds to Treants, from Cultists to Rogue Wizards, and Dire Wolves to Dragons. There are groups of lesser foes, single elite foes, characters, monsters, you name it!


If you’re short on variety in your collection, Blacklist Games has you covered – every Adversary in Fantasy Series 1 & 2 has rules in the core book, so if you pick up the rules alongside the Fantasy Series minis in the Kickstarter, you’ll have everything you need for an epic adventure!



Adversary Forces

Players have the freedom to use whatever bad guys they have in their miniatures collection – it can be a seemingly random mix, or the Adversary force can be themed around particular races or narratives if you like. The system allows players to pick an Adversary Force any way they like, as long as it roughly balances to the power level of the Party. There are a few restrictions when choosing the force – for instance a percentage have to be Minions (low-level foot-soldiers, such as Orc warriors or Skeleton archers), and all the Adversaries must be suitable for use in the Environment you’ve chosen (Wolves are more likely to be found in Wilderness settings, while Troglodytes are Dungeon-dwellers).


Freedom to choose obviously means players can tweak the difficulty of a game by virtue of their chosen enemies. The Levels system means you’ll always find a rough balance, but as a solo and co-op game, it’s really up to the players to decide how challenging they want things to be. And that’s not as obvious as it sounds – the weaker the enemies, the more of them there are, and sometimes swamping the board with puny critters such as Spiders and Rats just slows you down and prevents you from achieving your objectives. Every Adversary has its merits…


In addition to the Adversary Force, some adventures specify the use of Lurkers, which enter play randomly. Usually a single model (although it can be a group), Lurkers are an opportunity to incorporate cool ‘wandering monsters’ into your games. They tend to be a higher level than most of the other Adversaries in play, so in early games a Lurker might be a Troll or Dire Bear, but when the Party is at higher levels, it could be a Giant or Hydra!


We’ve tried to keep the Adversaries fairly generic, but in the narrative Tales there’s a great opportunity to include adversary characters. Now the Necromancer has a name, or the Demon Lord possesses an artifact of great power, or you reveal a ‘big bad’ that might serve as the Party’s nemesis. Tales are where the story comes alive!



Activate!

When Adversaries activate, they follow a simple sequence depending on their broad type – either Melee or Ranged. Melee Adversaries try to charge the nearest member of the Party, while Ranged Adversaries move to a vantage point and shoot them instead. Pretty self-explanatory, right?


This system is deliberately simple, because it allows us to modify Adversary behaviors in special circumstances. So an adventure rule might have Adversaries always target the closest Hero to an objective, while a special Adversary might make other Adversaries nearby move towards them to protect them. I’ve worked on many ‘AI’ systems over the years, and my preference is very much for a simple and direct core with a few surprises, rather than something very complex that can feel a bit too random – the Adversaries in Lasting Tales very much feel like a team of hostiles with a broad plan, rather than a disparate horde of individuals.


Respawn!

Speaking of hordes, we always assume in Lasting Tales that the Adversaries in play are part of a larger force, waiting in the wings. For this reason, we have the Spawn mechanic.


When an Adversary of the Minion type is removed as a casualty, it’s placed to one side of the gaming area in the Spawn pool. This pool is split into two halves – the Graveyard, and the Reserve pool. A model is first placed in the Graveyard. In the Adversaries phase, you roll a die to see if it moves across to the Reserve pool (if the D6 score equals or beats the model’s Spawn Value, it’s a success). You also roll a die for any model already in the Reserve pool – if that roll is successful, the model enters play at one of several pre-ordained Spawn Points.


Elite Adversaries don’t respawn – this rule is purely to represent hordes of lesser foes streaming into battle, whereas the Elites are rare monsters and characters. Spawning also maintains focus on objectives – you’re never guaranteed to destroy every single Adversary, because there’s always a chance, however slim, that more can spawn. The only way to win the game, therefore, is to meet the victory conditions, and that’s true whether you’re fighting a pair of Cyclopes or thirty Giant Rats.



Conclusion

So that’s all from this series – we hope it’s been illuminating and given you a flavor for the adventures to come!


Remember, Lasting Tales is NOW on Kickstarter and is already fully funded! Click here to join the adventure!



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