March 18, 2016 by Jake
No they aren’t, a good Dungeon Master can make two dimensional characters into novels of detail. A good game master can take lead your heroes to personal destinies that even their original creators couldn’t have foreseen. This post isn’t about those fantastic storywinders, so more on them later. I am starting to notice more and more artificial intelligence has been working its way into some of my favorite dungeon crawlers lately. Just last year Super Dungeon Explore received Arcade Mode, which prevented the need for a single player to control all the monsters and gave players the choice to play a longer, albeit cooperative brawl. Masmorra: Dungeons of Arcadia was not originally pitched as a cooperative dungeon crawl, but through feedback and public demand CoolMiniOrNot was willing to design a set of rules without the cut-throat shenanigans of human nature. Just this morning I stumbled on a news post about a new upcoming app, that is a digital application for all you pipe smoking English time-travelers, that will turn one of my new favorite dungeon crawlers; “Descent” into a game my father and I can play without the underlying tones of wanting to strangle each other via fantasy miniatures.
Now Jake, what is this Descent? Why haven’t you talked about it before? Well you rakishly handsome, but interrupting chimney sweep, the reason I haven’t written about Descent is because I have only played it a few times and wanted to avoid gushing about another dungeon crawler for a period of time. Someday I will probably write a waxing post about why it truly is so awesome, but for now I will give you the slimmy while you look into it yourself. The slimmy is this; Descent is a breath-taking Fantasy Flight game that has been around over a decade. It is separated from other fantasy miniature combat games in my eyes by having juicy flavor text, unique but not over the top monster designs (as well as well sculpted classics), a plethora of heroes and classes, quests with diverse goals for good and evil, and the raw fact that orcs are not treated as token bad guys, but show up frequently as heroes. Fucking refreshing.
Anyways, the preview article reveals that the new app features a way to play the game without the need of a game master, one of the only draw-backs preventing me from investing in the game previously. The program, called Road to Legend allows players to control their intrepid band through blind dungeons that will be randomized and revealed as they are explored. Monsters will be controlled by what appear to be prompts from the program itself, and I infer a hint of variable strategy coded in to prevent foes from being too predictable. The app also promises to integrate with any products in the Descent lines to add more diverse game play, includes a built in campaign system so players can escalate their games against the AI, and will provide future downloadable content. Color me thrilled.