8 September 2009

On the Campaign Trail

An overview of the advanced campaign system for Descent

Sea of Blood, the much-anticipated advanced campaign expansion for Descent: Journeys in the Dark, will hit shelves later this year. But what exactly is a campaign? How is this expansion different from other Descent expansions? If you’ve played Descent: the Road to Legend, then you probably already have a firm grasp of the fundamentals outlined below. If so, set sail for other waters. If, on the other hand, you’ve never played Road to Legend, then perhaps you’re wondering what precisely Sea of Blood will do for your Descent experience. If that’s you, drop anchor and read on!

The upcoming Sea of Blood expansion, an advanced campaign, is the latest installment in the long-running Descent family. It features new dungeons to explore, new skills, new rumors (15 of them to be exact), new monsters (the Bloodsquids make their triumphant debut alongside the vicious Daggertooth Sharks), a massive 33” x 27” sea/island map, and much more. It’s important to note that Road to Legend is not compatible with Sea of Blood and they are not intended to be used together, however every other currently available expansion can be used.

So what is a campaign?

In standard Descent, up to four heroes explore dungeons, fight vile monsters, and recover treasure. While these heroes are attempting to pillage the dungeon, another player plays as the Overlord, a malicious force that controls the monsters, traps and other obstacles that will face the heroes. After this one-time dungeon is completed, the players reset their characters and start over again.

An advanced campaign takes your game of Descent further. Instead of traveling through a single dungeon, the advanced campaign consists of several dungeons. In addition to the dungeons, heroes track their movement across the lands of Terrinoth on a separate map. Each level of the dungeon is guarded by a master monster that will provide the heroes a means to test their skills, and the deepest level is guarded by an especially fierce creature!

As the heroes complete dungeons, defeat monsters, and acquire treasure, they gain experience, which is used to purchase new skills and improvements to their attack, armor, movement, and health. The heroes need to be wary, however! As they gain experience, so to does the Overlord. The Overlord is able to upgrade his monsters, summon powerful lieutenants to aid his quest, and gain terrifying new powers to unleash on the heroes in the dungeons.

Throughout this lengthy campaign, the Overlord is attempting to complete a quest. This quest is chosen at the start of the game and made public knowledge. The heroes are attempting to thwart this scheme. The game ends when the Overlord enacts his final plot, or the heroes venture deep into the Overlord’s lair and defeat his avatar, a physical manifestation of his awesome power. An advanced campaign takes many sessions to complete, and gives the players more of a role-playing experience. They get to see their hero or Overlord powers grow, and they get to shape the development of their character.

Extending these ideas, Sea of Blood lets you take your party of heroes on an epic quest across the oceans. You will travel to the corners of the map onboard the Revenge, your mighty galleon. This ship is as much a member of your party as any of the heroes, and can be improved with upgrades like runic cannons and an extended deck. As you travel the oceans, you will face outdoor encounters in which you engage in ship-to-ship combat on the expansion’s versatile 33” x 27” sea map, all on your way to island dungeons, where you must first fight your way into the entrance before descending into dangerous catacombs.

Once your entire hero party has entered the dungeon, you need to complete two different levels in order to gain the reward for completion. These levels are drawn at random (from a deck of 30 different dungeons), and are where the heroes get to showcase their skills, gain treasure, battle terrifying enemies, and attempt to overcome the schemes of the Overlord. As the heroes complete these dungeons, the experience they gain will allow them to purchase new skills from certain ports, upgrade their ship, acquire weapons and armor, and improve their attributes.

The Overlord will also be getting more powerful. In Sea of Blood, the Overlord has four different avatars to potentially represent him. Each avatar can control a handful of lieutenants, who will be attempting to attack the heroes, raze cities to the ground, and further advance the evil plot the Overlord chose at the start of the game. As monsters are upgraded, lieutenants gain abilities, and new powers are granted to the Overlord, the game maintains the challenge for the heroes to overcome.

Over the following weeks, we will be showcasing a number of the new additions to Descent: Journeys in the Dark found in Sea of Blood. Keep checking back!

Descent: Journeys in the Dark is a scenario-driven board game that takes a party of adventurers deep into the dungeons of Terrinoth for adventure, treasure, and glory, but beware: the Overlord and his minions stand poised to oppose any heroes foolhardy enough to enter the dungeon. Descent: Sea of Blood takes the game to the next level, introducing campaigns and long-term character development for both the heroes and the Overlord. Cross the dungeon's threshold and step into a world of adventure today!

Discuss this article
in our forums!

Back to all news