Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Knight of Destiny

My Initial Thoughts

When Ganesha Games released Four Against Darkness a few months ago, I bemoaned the lack of a paladin character class. Well, Ganesha has rectified that oversight with its new 4AD adventure, known as The Knight of Destiny.

KOD is an adventure set in Arthurian England. You play one of the King's knights questing for the Holy Grail. The game's random tables generate a variety of encounters that your character will need to overcome. I haven't finished a game yet but I assume that your character will either finish the quest and save Camelot or else rebellion shall destroy the kingdom.

KOD uses the base rules for 4AD. Encounters are determined randomly, based on a series of tables (although KOD has its own tables). To attack or defend requires a modified roll vs. the opponent's level. Minions typically have 1 life point so your character will usually steamroll through them. "Bosses" will require greater exertion to defeat.

There are a number of differences. First, you only play a single character instead of a party of 4. Your character may hire retainers during his or her quest, but they will likely only be temporary additions. Also, you are not exploring a dungeon; instead you are meandering through the English countryside. Finally, your goal is not the accumulation of wealth. Rather, you are shooting for something more noble - finding the Holy Grail and saving the kingdom.

So far, I am enjoying the game. I like having a single character instead of keeping tabs on an entire party. I also like the theme - I'm a fan of the legends of Arthur, the Round Table, etc. I also prefer the objective of saving the kingdom vs. naked acquisition (a point I discussed a couple of years ago).

One weakness of the 4AD staple of games is the randomness of the encounter tables. It is possible to get nonsensical or overly repetitive results. So far in KOD, I've been experiencing the latter, which has resulted in my feeling that my character is not getting anywhere. To be fair, though, the random tables are also a strength, as they create "fog of war" that make the game interesting. I must add that the tables seem to make more sense with KOD. I always found it a bit unnatural that a contained environment like a dungeon would house so many disparate creatures. A wide variety of encounters seems more realistic when your character is roaming through the countryside. While I have been a bit frustrated so far by the random encounters in my KOD adventure, I am not ready to eschew them altogether. In the long run, I believe that they'll work out fine.

I have started an adventure, which I am recording on my Tales of the Templars blog, As I progress through it, I will share more impressions of KOD.

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