Dungeons of Doria: Current status
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Dungeons of Doria is nearly ready to go – and still so far away. This week, the last of the character illustrations was finished (see all characters at the bottom of the page). The rules are mostly done (only small corrections needed), playtests are mostly done (the blind playtest groups need to finish their campaigns, which just takes time – especially when you cannot meet in person) and the digital releases are ready to be published (both Tabletopia and Tabletop Simulator). So, what is still missing?

Character Standees for the digital releases

Just the artwork for monsters (starting this week) and the artwork for weapon- and armor-items. All of the monsters and items have a silhouette representation already in the game for the prototype (see pictures below). This means there is some representation to recognize the monster or item – but it does not look great. Getting 18 Monsters and 240 items illustrated just will take some more time. I do expect most of these to be ready for the Kickstarter, but the next steps have to work without the finished artwork.

All standees within the game (Tabletop Simulator) as of now

The main task ahead: a nice looking prototype has to be printed that can be sent to reviewers. The main files are ready for printing, but obviously I just want to wait on a bit more artwork for additional monsters to come in (currently 18 out of 19 have a black silhouette, see above picture). Most likely the printing process will start within the next 2 months, as soon as a nice looking box (another action item) has been designed and I have a decision on the printing manufacturer.

Unfinished (left) vs. finished (right) item artwork

As soon as a few prototypes are ready to be sent out, I will send them out to reviewers as a Kickstarter preview game. Before any of these reviews/previews (which will also take some time due to the type of the game) can go online, the Kickstarter page also needs to be prepared and approved by Kickstarter. When all of the above are ready, the digital releases will go online for EVERYONE to test the game – including a few single scenarios and a campaign sample, all available within Tabletopia and Tabletop Simulator.

Full Game in Tabletopia

At the same time I will use the digital releases or one of the prototypes to create some small learning videos to show off the features in more detail.

There is still a lot to do, but I already have a few people on board helping out with smaller things. Still, this is mainly work on my shoulders. Most of this will be work “behind the scenes” and nothing major besides some artwork to show off for the next months. But I am still working on it and the road map is getting closer to the finish line!

Here is an overview of all the 8 characters:

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Tabletopia vs. Tabletop Simulator
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Even before the ongoing pandemic I already used Tabletop Simulator (TTS) quite a lot, as I thought that this is a great way to quickly start a game with friends that are not local and still sit a round a table. After porting Dungeons of Doria into TTS I realized, that this is a great tool for prototyping and selecting the right components for your board game. If it is not a component in TTS already, do not use it – as a printer/manufacturer will also have problems with it…!

But up until then, I used TTS just for a bit of playing with remote friends and for quickly showing new designs. Shortly after, Tabletopia showed up, and I also started playing around with this tool and created my game there too. But since the pandemic started, all my game rounds (except for the ones with my wife and son) completely transferred to TTS. Why TTS and not Tabletopia? And why do I still update both TTS and Tabletopia, even though I like TTS more? Here is why:

First of all, TTS is (in my eyes) the better tool. It has more features, there is no limit in where or how much you upload and you can play anything you like with your group. But TTS has one bit downside: It is a program for Steam that you have to buy for around 20 USD. And that is a high hurdle for people that just want to play a game from time to time – or even worse, just want to test your game design quickly. That is definitely the biggest plus for Tabletopia: Anyone with a browser can use it, and as long as you publish your game design not as a premium setup, everyone can use it without any cost. To use premium game setups, Tabletopia users have to pay around 5 USD a month. So, very roughly, let’s say the cost is roughly comparable if you want to use it more often and with more games – though Tabletopia is a subscription model and that might end up higher than TTS quickly.

But what about the other features?

Games offering

For the players the main differences will be how many games you can play. TTS for sure has a lot more games than Tabletopia, but most of them are created by fans as mostly unofficial mods. This does not have to be a bad thing in general. But there are two problems: If you search for a game, you might find 10 different versions from different people with different features or in different quality. And when you found a good version, it would be best to quickly save it to your local saves, as this Mod might get pulled from the Steam Workshop as soon as a company does not like people playing the game on TTS. My personal opinion on this: Let people play and test it remotely – if they like it, they will also buy the real version. TTS also has nicer releases of some board games from some publishers, but on that front, TTS will get more expensive really fast. This only is worth it, if you really like a specific game and therefore play it a lot also in TTS. My recommendation to the makers of TTS – for these games, maybe an option like Tabletopias to pay a small monthly fee for all “professional made games” is better?

So you can see where this leads: Tabletopia has better games, often professionally made by the authors or publishers themselves. You don’t have to search for the correct version, you don’t have to upload it yourself and if it is a premium setup, each creator/publisher will also receive a bit of money from Tabletopia (if you play it and have also a premium subscription). That might be the general reason, why Tabletopia is more preferred by bigger publishers. That leads us to creating games in general.

Steam Workshop vs. Tabletopia Workshop

TTS uses the Steam Workshop by default. While Steam is a downside for many people, it is a BIG plus for TTS creators: Just upload all of your designs files to the Steam Cloud of your account – you have a few Gigabytes at minimum (I believe 20 GB). That is a lot, even if you used some of that space already for game saves or video uploads in Steam. And if you don’t want to use Steam Cloud, just use your own webhosting space!

Tabletopia limits you in size on the free account with only 200 MB. If you only have very small card games, this should be enough to publish maybe 2 games easily including a few setups. But if you have a bigger game with a lot of cards, figurines and tiles, these 200 MB will get small fast. And setups also apparently cost you some space. I say apparently, as Tabletopia is very limited in showing you how much space you have used. You will get a warning when you approach or went over the 200 MB, but there is no way to find out, what the big parts are at the moment. You can easily extend this to 1 or even 5 GB, but that will cost you monthly subscription money. Money that you most likely don’t have before your game is published.

An then there is the publishing time in Tabletopia. Whenever you upload something, it goes into a queue. In general that is fine, and premium users are preferred. But sometimes, especially weekends, this queue is overwhelmed, and this one small update of one card in your game can take a lot of time until it is really included in your game setup. Definitely make sure to update everything a few days before a playtesting session and do not make any last minute changes! TTS is much better and faster about these things.

Card creation differences

Card deck creation has its downsides on both tools. I think Tabletopia is much better, if you only need to change single cards from time to time, as you can update the card, publish it and update all setups – done! But if you need to exchange the whole deck? This is a nightmare!

Therefore I still tend to like the TTS Deck creation a bit more. Yes, you have to create a big picture with all your cards first. But changing one or all cards in this picture is up to you, and you can just easily create new decks with a new picture. But having this “update item in all your mods” feature from Taletopia would be a dream in TTS.

Things that Tabletopia does right

Standees in Tabletopia alwaysface the users eye. While it can be distracting and unusual at first, it allows you to see figurines always from the front. But apparently there is no feature to turn it off. So if you need figurines facing a direction, you’ll have a problem in Tabletopia. I also like how Tabletopia handles adding cards back to a card deck: When you hover over the deck, it will highlight the deck in orange to show you the card will now be added on top. TTS also does this, but does not show it. Throwing a card in TTS between two piles you will never know where it ends up – and in the virtual world, it is harder to aim…

I absolutely love the Magnetic Maps feature in Tabletopia a lot. Whit this you can create tiles, boards or anything else and influence the location and orientation of items on top of it. TTS has a very similar feature, but there you have to create it on the tile itself within the game. In Tabletopia this is a much better process by creating it in your graphic tool one time and then upload it as many times you want. TTS asks you to redo it every time you update your tiles or re-create them.

Naming of items and other virtual tools

Tabletopia allows naming of items when you upload them – but this is never shown again. This is due to the fact that Tabletopia calls itself a “Gaming Sandbox” – play like in real life! TTS on the other hand (sometimes also called a sandbox) is much more an extension of a real table into the virtual world. TTS allows naming items, so when you hover over them, you see the name. You can even name all the cards in your deck and then search the deck to find a specific item easily. Tabletopia leaves you with exactly what you would do in real life: Search through the whole deck until you find the item. Even if you did not name the cards, going through a whole deck with TTS search is so much easier…

The only thing I am missing here in TTS too: Bulk naming cards or items while importing them. There are a few options with scripting, but this should be somehow included in the base import functionality (through a text file or similar).

Speaking of scripting: This is the one big point for TTS. Tabletopia does not offer anything to script. In TTS, you can create your own dice rollers, character sheets, even automate game setup and anything can be influenced. You could even create a game that basically plays itself (but who would want that?). And yes, while the scripting language is horrible and you need to be a programmer to really create something nice, it is a cool add on that Tabletopia does not offer and is really helpful in creating more advanced game functionality.

But there are more things that you can do in TTS: Make a item more transparent quickly to see what is underneath? Change the color? Or simply copy and paste items to get more of the same type if you run out? All possible in TTS and Tabletopia leaves you hanging with the “feeling like a real game”.

User interface – easy vs. overwhelming

But all of that also has a (for me minimal) cost: The user interface of Tabletopia is much more tidy and has a lot less distractions than TTS. You can do less in Tabletopia – but what it can do, it can do in a good way. For example counters: Right click it and select how much you want to add or subtract from the counter. Cards: Draw 1, 3 or 10? Right click and select the amount. All of these things are also possible in TTS, but less out of the box and Games must implement a few of these via scripting themselves. I am missing this radial right click tool from Tabletopia in TTS – but the advanced tool and features I miss much more in Tabletopia.

The conclusion

For me as a designer, TTS is the much better solution, allowing a lot more flexibility in designing components and even uploading as much content as you like. As a publisher, I can understand why Tabletopia is preferred, but would recommend for all the publishers out there: Also create your game for TTS and ask Berserk (the TTS makers) to change their model so you like it more (I imagine something like a category “Games created by the publishers/designers for 2 USD a month” or similar).

As a gamer: I still prefer TTS for all the content I made myself. And I love checking out games in the workshop before I buy them. For me this is like hearing a song on the radio: If I like it, I will buy the CD. So let players test it out and make sure the best version is out there (instead of the multiple copies by several users created to just be able to play the game remotely).

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Dungeons of Doria: Kickstarter für Dungeon Tiles
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Der erste Kickstarter für Dungeons of Doria ist nun freigeschaltet und live: Kickstarter: Dungeon Tiles for P&P and VTT

Man kann im Kickstarter 48 Dungeon Room Tiles erwerben, die man entweder für offline Dungeons selbst ausdrucken kann (Print&Play) oder in virtuellen Tabletop-Systemen nutzen kann (z.B. Roll20 oder Astral-Tabletop).

Man kann die einzelnen Room-Tiles entweder direkt als einen fertigen Dungeon “zusammenpuzzeln” oder einfach als zufälligen Dungeon nutzen, indem man das ganze als Random-Deck nutzt.

Alternativ kann man auch die Map-Assets erwerben, um komplett eigene Räume und Dungeons zu erstellen:

Mehr Informationen findet ihr im Kickstarter-Projekt.

Der Kickstarter richtet sich vor allem an Fantasy-Rollenspieler, die oft in Dungeons unterwegs sind. Dennoch unterstützt man dabei auch das bald kommende Brettspiel Dungeons of Doria, denn alle erreichten Ziele und Fundings gehen direkt in neues passendes Artwork!

Das ganze kann außerdem als Auftakt gesehen werden, denn mindestens ein weiterer Kickstarter mit passenden Print&Play Helden und Monstern wird folgen – mit der Möglichkeit, das aussehen der Helden und Monster zu bestimmen, die später in das Brettspiel übernommen werden.

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Dungeons of Doria: Zeitungsartikel Offenbach-Post 18 Nov 2019
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Leider komme ich erst jetzt dazu, endlich mal alles zu sortieren und einzupflegen. Im letzten November (2019) war DreieichCon und ich war vor Ort mit zwei Spielrunden “Dungeons of Doria”. Während einer der Spielrunden hat die Offenbach Post ein paar Fragen gestellt, aber dass wir dann gleich als Aufhänger an den Anfang des Artikels und auf die Titelseite kommen hätte ich nicht gedacht!

Titelseite der Offenbach Post vom Montag, 18. November 2019

Die Situation wird brenzlig im dunklen Verlies: Die Monster werden gefährlich, aber die Gruppe rund um den Tisch in der Stadtbücherei will sich den Schatz nicht durch die Lappen gehen lassen.

Magier Julian Menz (13) nutzt seine Zauberkräfte und wirft einen Feuerball: Gefahr gebannt. Leider hat er dabei den Barbaren von Kevin Pelikan verletzt. „Das macht nichts, ich habe noch 13 Leben“, sagt dieser.

Schon seit dreieinhalb Stunden brütet die siebenköpfige Spielgruppe über den Abenteuern der „Dungeons of Doria“ von Spielleiter Viktor Ahrens. Mit Julian Menz und Jonas Rein (15) sitzen zwei Teenager aus Gießen am Tisch, der Spielleiter kommt aus dem Rodgau und ist seit vielen Jahren aktiver Besucher der Dreieichcon. Für den Offenbacher Kevin Pelikan ist das Rollenspieltreffen in Dreieich hingegen eine Premiere: „Es ist großartig, hier zusammen zu sitzen. Wir wissen nie, was passiert, decken zufällig Karten auf und entwickeln die nächste Strategie, um die Schätze zu heben und die Monster zu bekämpfen“, erläutert er seine Begeisterung am Rollenspiel.

Aus dem Artikel der Offenbach Post, auch online verfügbar (op-online)

Ich hatte sehr viel Spass beim “leiten” der beiden Runden und zuzusehen, wie die Gruppen die Szenarien lösen ist immer wieder faszinierend. Jede Gruppe geht etwas anders vor, und es ist immer wieder spannend, ob sie es rechtzeitig und heil schaffen. Vor allem fand ich es toll, auch mal jüngere Spieler dabei zu haben. Dungeons of Doria bekommt damit die Altersfreigabe 12+ von mir 😉 Wer jetzt Lust hat, das ganze auch mal zu testen oder das Spiel irgendwann haben möchte, kann hier aktuelle Runden und Möglichkeiten finden und sich unter dungeonsofdoria.de in den Newsletter eintragen.

Ausserdem hier noch ein Foto mit freundlicher Genehmigung aus der Galerie des DreieichCon-Fotografen Roger Murmann.

Foto von Roger Murmann

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Dungeons of Doria: Stand 04/2020
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Initiative Board

Dungeons of Doria entwickelt sich zur Zeit gerade wieder prächtig weiter. Es werden aktuell noch alle Karten auf englisch übersetzt und mit Platzhalter-Icons für noch fehlendes Artwork versehen. Danach könnte das Spiel zumindest als Prototyp veröffentlicht werden – wenn da nicht die fehlenden Monster- und Charakterbilder wären. Alle hier angezeigten Bilder sind übrigens aus dem Tabletop-Simulator.

One Here fighting two Slimecrawlers

Und genau für diesen Zweck wird es in naher Zukunft einen kleinen Kickstarter geben, in dem ihr einen Charakter oder ein Monster mit-designen könnt. Ihr wollt einen kräftigen Barbaren mit langen Haaren und Tattoos auf der Brust? Oder einen Ork-Krieger mit Breitschwert? Oder doch lieber einen dunklen Schwarzmagier der Blitze schleudern kann? Kein Problem, ihr dürft entscheiden, wie die Figur aussehen soll – solange man sich an ein paar Vorgaben hält.

Character sheet with cards equipped

Aber auch alle Personen, die sich einfach nur beteiligen wollen oder nur die Ergebnisse der Charaktere und Monster als Artwork haben wollen, bekommen die Chance, nette digitale Kickstarter-Belohnungen zu erwerben (Artwork, Raumplatten oder Print&Play Figuren, um bei beliebigen Fantasy RPGs oder z.B. in Roll20 damit zu spielen). Wird der Kickstarter erfolgreich, wird Dungeons of Doria anschliessend für alle im Tabletop Simulator freigegeben – eine Möglichkeit, das Spiel auch vor dem Release schon zu spielen.

Tragt euch im Newsletter ein oder folgt mir auf Kickstarter, um zu sehen sobald es mit dem Kickstarter los geht.

Monster with Mods
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Dungeons of Doria – Features Part 4: Characters – Unique and still the same
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This part of the #DungeonsOfDoria features series will concentrate on the characters and things related to that.

In #DoD, you have two possibilities to create a character. Either choose an existing archetype (ranging from the heavily built barbarian to the magical powerful mage and anything in between) or create your own character.

Even if you choose to create your own character, you can start playing in 5 minutes – pick an empty character sheet, draw a few loot cards and distribute 50 points onto 6 attributes (see below, add 1 minute to calculate the derived values HitPoints HP, Initiative points IP and Psi points PP). This is when you recognize that the standard archetypes are pretty much the same as a pre-generated character – these also simply have 50 character-points. There is no difference in these archetypes besides a nice picture on the character sheet.

The 6 attributes

The attributes Strength (STR), Constitution (CON), Agility (AGI), Perception (PER), Wisdom (WIS), Psi (PSI) are the building blocks of every character and can range from 1 to 20.
The “Mage” character sheet with some cards equipped.

So, why do you need these 50 points? Every equipment card in the game uses 2 of the 6 attributes as minimum requirements. A sword might have the requirements of STR 12 and AGI 10 and a fireball spell requires WIS 11 and PSI 11. Any character fulfilling these requirements can use the equipment.

This means, even the barbarian can use magic and the wizard can use swords. There is nothing prohibiting the character to use any equipment – besides his attributes. Even if a character cannot wield a sword yet – it might be possible later, if the player improves the necessary attributes. It might be hard for a barbarian starting with PSI 1 to be able to also wield a magic spell that requires PSI 6, but it is possible.

While every character builds up the same amount of experience at the same time, each player chooses which attributes he will improve. So every character will go into exactly the direction each player wants – depending only on the loot the group has acquired.

After some time (after every second scenario in campaigns or at specific rounds in single scenarios), each character will also gain a “talent” or bonus. Each of these 9 possible bonuses will improve the character in some way (see below). The possibilities are exactly the same for all characters, there are no specials for barbarians or wizards or any other archetype. This means, characters will specialize more depending on their current weapons, but at the same time, the balancing of the whole game stays intact. No players will argue that one character is better than another one – as they are all exactly the same, based on the choices each player has made.

The 9 bonuses

+1 dice for melee attacks, +1 dice for ranged attacks, +1 dice for magic attacks,
+1 damage point on all attacks, +1 dice on each parry, regenerate 1 point each round,
+1 dice on initiative, -3 action points on any action, range x2

Other articles on the Dungeons of Doria feature-series (planned or published):
Part 1: The modular dungeon
Part 2: Time is precious: The initiative-system
Part 3: Random Monsters
Part 4: Characters – Unique and still the same

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Dungeons of Doria: Con-Ausblick 2020
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Das Jahr 2020 hat begonnen und mit ihm auch die Con-Saison. Dungeons of Doria wird daher auf folgenden Cons in näherer Zukunft vertreten sein:

Ganz generell: Wer Lust hat, Dungeons of Doria einmal zu spielen, kann dies aktuell mit Hilfe des Tabletop Simulators und Discord. Kommt dazu einfach auf den Dungeons of Doria-Discord-Server und macht mit mir einen Termin aus.

Wer also mal wieder Lust auf ein wenig Dungeon-Crawling hat und gemeinsam einen zufälligen Dungeon entdecken, Monster verhauen und Schätze bergen möchte, kann das an den oben genannten Terminen einfach mal ausprobieren. Dungeons of Doria basiert auf einem stark vereinfachten Rollenspiel-System (LootERPS) und bietet dir massenhaft vorgefertigte Ausrüstung mit Karten, einen zufälligen Dungeon in Brettspielform, jede Menge Monster und eine Aufgabe, die ihr nur zusammen lösen könnt – gemeinsam gegen das Spiel ohne Spielleiter.

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Karneval der Rollenspielblogs: Fallen
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In diesem Monat wurde der Karneval der Rollenspielblogs zum Thema Fallen ausgerufen.

Und daher gibt es einfach spontan alle 48 Fallen aus “Dungeons of Doria” in Kartenform hier zum Download als PDF:

Ja, die Karten sind natürlich an das Spiel angepasst. Und die meisten der Fallen sind natürlich klassische Fallen, wie diese überall zu finden sind. Das ist der Sinn und Zweck dieser Fallen: Dungeons of Doria ist immerhin ein klassischer Dungeon Crawler, der das Feeling alter Spiele wie Hero Quest rüberbringen soll.

Aber vielleicht fühlt sich jemand trotzdem inspiriert oder angesprochen und baut die ein oder andere Falle in seine Dungeons mit ein. Und gerne nehme ich natürlich auch Vorschläge für weitere passende Fallen entgegen, um “Dungeons of Doria” irgendwann zu erweitern.

Die Beschreibung der Fallen ist ausgelegt auf die Auswirkungen im Brettspiel-Dungeon und die Lösungswürfe angepasst an die 6 Attribute aus Dungeons of Doria (Stärke, Konstitution, Beweglichkeit, Wahrnehmung, Wissen, Psi), dürfen aber natürlich auch verändert, angepasst und ausgedruckt werden. Die Icons zu den Fallen stammen allesamt von https://game-icons.net/.

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Dungeons of Doria auf der DreieichCon
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Ich werde wie eigentlich jedes Jahr auch 2019 auf der DreieichCon sein. Dieses Jahr habe ich mich dazu entschlossen, 3 Runden Dungeons of Doria anzubieten (exakte Zeiten hier einzusehen, filtert nach Doria oder Viktor).

Unter anderem aus folgendem Grund: Endlich sind die neuen Karten da – professionell geprintet und im neuen Design!

Zusammen mit der letzten Lieferung, die bereits vor ein paar Wochen eingetroffen ist, bedeutet das: Dungeons of Doria ist nun fast vollständig. Einzig und allein die Figuren und ein professionelles Layout und Lektorat für das Regelwerk müssen nun noch her – alle anderen Spielteile sind nahezu Print-Ready (bis auf ein paar fehlende Bildchen):

Ein kompletter Kartensatz für Dungeons of Doria
Tokens für Dungeons of Doria
Raumplatten für Dungeons of Doria
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Dungeons of Doria – Features Part 3: Random Monsters
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Welcome back to the features of Dungeons of Doria. In the last 2 parts we learned how room tiles lead to a (mostly) random dungeon with each play and how the initiative system works.

This time, we want to concentrate on another random game mechanic: As Dungeons of Doria is played cooperatively and there is no dungeon master, the game also needs to deal monsters automatically. At a first glance, the game has a pretty standard deck of fantasy type monsters: Orcs, Goblins, Ogers, Trolls, undead hordes like Zombies, Mummies and Vampires, some ranged fighters like Archers and Troll-Spearthrowers and the occasional dark wizards and shamans. The only exception might be the centipede-like Slimecrawler, that is native in Doria (the fantasy world of ERPS).

Normally, each monster moves automatically to the closest hero to attack on the fastest possible way. However, the rules make an exception whenever the Monster can hit more than one hero at the same time, so some of the monsters might already walk a different path than expected. Additionally, each monster has its own unique skill. These skills might be something simple and passive (like Skeletons, which cannot be attacked with ranged weapons) or might be a bit more complex (for example with archers, who will not attack the nearest character, but the one with the lowest Agility-value).

But on top of all that, there is the mod-system: The basic monster deck consists of around 100 monster cards. Depending on the rarity of each monster, there is a higher or lower number of cards for the monster in the deck – for example, the mighty Troll is available 2 times and the Slimecrawler 10 times. In addition to these simple random monster selections, the deck contains 50 monster-modifications. These mods give the monster more abilities, something from additional elemental damage or doubled attack range to 4 hands that allow for multiple attacks.

The mod system is what makes the random monsters fun. You never know, what will happen with the next monster. Sometimes the game knows exactly how to hit you at the right spot, sometimes there is this absurd combination of two heads and 4 hands or the really ancient Goblin with additional armor that is REALLY hard to kill… Sure, there might also be mods that have nearly no effect at all – but in most cases they trigger the heroes to at least kill this specific monster faster – and might do something dangerous and go out of their way of normal play and do something more rushed.

Based on the rough 100 to 50 card ratio, every second monster might get a mod – if fate decides to do so. In many cases, there will be 4 or 5 monsters without any mods. And then there is this ultimate monster, that has 4 hands, an additional shield, is running faster and is resistant to magic attacks…

Many play testers have stated, that having random monsters with these additional random modifications is one of the key features of Dungeons of Doria. It is just fun to see, how monsters can evolve to be more than a standard fantasy type monster – even if they still are.

Other articles on the Dungeons of Doria feature-series (planned or published):
Part 1: The modular dungeon
Part 2: Time is precious: The initiative-system
Part 3: Random Monsters
Part 4: Characters – Unique and still the same

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