Friday, November 6, 2015

Building Your First Dungeon Saga Hero

Making your first hero for the Dungeon Saga boardgame is really easy.  It is pretty much just choose your race and your profession.  This is a fun dungeon crawl and not a mini max type of thing so just find the mini you want to use and match him to those two parameters.  That is almost it.  When you look at the races and profession pages in Adventurers Companion there is both the starting information and the advancement information which makes it appear slightly more complicated than it is.

For the races the listings so you a stat bar with your movement, combat dice, armor, and how many wounds before you are injured.  Some also have a red box that has an ability.  These are what you need for your starter hero. All of them also list a racial feat and a table labeled 1 through 10 with skills and stat boosts options.  These are for advancement.  Starting Heroes are Level 0 so they are pre table.  Starting characters also do not have a feat.  This is a little surprise if you look at the Heroes for the campaigns who all seem to have one at the start.  I have Bolded abilities and Italicized Schools of Magic.

The Base Stats for All Heroes Are:

Move: 7      Combat Dice: 2       Armor: 1    Wounds to Injury: 1

The Racial Modifiers and Abilities:

Dwarf: -1 Move, +1 Wound to Injury
Human: Versatile (Bonus Die for Downtime Rolls)
Elf: +1 Move
Halfling: -1 Move  (Balance Adjustment: Nimble Ability Added)
Gladewalker: -1 Move, +1 Wound to Injury, Earth
Naiad: +1 Move, Water
Salamander: -1 Move, +1 Combat Die, Fire (Balance Adjustment: Replace +1 Combat Die with +1 Armor)
Sylph: +1 Move, Air
Abyssal Lord: -1 Move, +1 Wound to Injury, Essence of Flame, Fire 
Abyssal Dwarf: -1 Move, +1 Wound to Injury
Ogre: -1 Move, +1 Combat Die, +1 Wound to Injury, Large 
Goblin: Nothing
Orc: -2 Move, +1 Wound to Injury

The elemental aligned Heroes all have an elemental ability that allows them to reroll 3 defense dice that do not beat their armor against the magic school aligned with their element, causes a -1 armor for attacks from the opposing element, and gives them a 2 die short range line of sight magical attack with their aligned elemental schools.

Next You need to choose a Profession, the professions show modifiers to the base racial stats and some have additional abilities as listed in the same box, then comes a 3 column table from 1 to 10 with 2 options available during level advancement.  Since characters start at Level 0 these are not used at this point.

Here are the Professions and associated stat modifiers and abilities:

Barbarian: +3 Combat Dice, +1 Armor, +2 Wounds to Injury
Bard: +1 Move, +1 Combat Die, +1 Armor, +1 Wound to Injury; Singer of Songs , 2 Songs
Cleric: +1 Combat Die, +1 Armor, +1 Wound to Injury; Holy, Spell Caster, Divinity, Petty Magic, 3 Divinity Spells
Demonhunter: +2 Combat Dice, +1 Armor, +2 Wounds to Injury; Null ( RAI Modification +2 Shooting Dice (Short))
Druid: Spellcaster, Druidism, Petty Magic, 3 Druidism Spells, 2 Power 1 Crystals
Warrior: -1 Move, +2 Combat Dice, +3 Armor, +2 Wounds to Injury  
Ranger: +1 Combat Die, +3 Ranged Dice (Long), +1 Armor, +1 Wound to Injury
Dervish: +1 Combat Die, +2 Armor, +2 Wounds to Injury; Frenzy (2)
Paladin: -1 Move, +2 Combat Dice, +3 Armor, +2 Wounds to Injury; Holy, Spellcaster, Divinity, 
              Petty Magic, Minor Spell Healing
Thief: +1 Combat Die, +2 Shooting Dice (Short), +1 Armor, +1 Wound to Injury; Lockpicking
Wizard: Spellcaster, One Initial School (Sorcery, Necromancy, Aeromancy, Geomancy, Hydromancy, Pyromancy), 
             Petty Magic, Minor Spell Crystallize, 3 Petty Magic/Initial Schools Spells, 2 Power 1 Crystals

If you do not have spells or songs to choose you are almost done but if you do  The rules for choosing spells and songs are all very similar.  First you take all the spells of the school(s) that the spells are from (or all the songs), you then draw 6 at random and choose 2.  If you have another spell to learn you can then choose it from all the unlearned spells in the school(s).  Note that for Clerics and Druids they are only able to learn Divinity and Druidism spells during this selection process while Wizards are drawing and choosing from the combination of their initial school and petty magic. (RAI Modification Clerics and Druids may pick their one free choice spell from their primary school or Petty Magic)

The final rule step is to pick your bonus from +1 Move, +3 Gold, 1 Random Magic Item, 1 Random Spell chosen from all the spells in the schools you know, or 1 Random Song. 

Name him and you are done.  When picking things at random it is important to remember that spells, song, and magic items have minimum levels to use so you could end up with something you cannot use for a few levels but learning a spell or song is worth essentially a whole level if you get one you want at some point. If you do a race plus class that yields a -2 Move the +1 Move is the best choice and a good choice overall.

That is all there is to do.  Now You are ready to go and slay some minions as you are only Zeroth level.  Probably takes longer to pick the mini than make the character.


Salamander Barbarian 
Move: 7      Combat Dice: 2       Armor: 1    Wounds to Injury: 1
Salamander: -1 Move, +1 Combat Die, Fire Ability
Barbarian: +3 Combat Dice, +1 Armor, +2 Wounds to Injury
Bonus: Move 

Final Results
Move: 7    Combat Dice: 6      Armor: 2    Wounds to Injury: 3  
Abilities: Fire

Elf Paladin:
Move: 7      Combat Dice: 2       Armor: 1    Wounds to Injury: 1
Elf: +1 Move
Paladin: -1 Move, +2 Combat Dice, +3 Armor, +2 Wounds to Injury;
Holy, Spellcaster, Divinity, Petty Magic, Minor Spell Healing
Bonus: 1 Random Spell from Petty Magic + Divinity Combined Decks

Final Results:
Move: 7    Combat Dice: 4      Armor: 4    Wounds to Injury: 3 
Holy, Spellcaster, Divinity, Petty Magic
Spells:  Healing (Minor), 1 Random Spell from Petty Magic + Divinity Combined Decks

If anyone has any more things they want me to try to go through from Dungeon Saga let me know.


  1. It quite sad that you can start with spells you cannot use until a certain level. That's not good design, and leaves heroes creation only for long campaigns. Feels so lame. The only explanation for this is that this rules were very rushed and with no playtesting at all, because that's the only explanation for designer that is so good at anything he does has ending up with this.

    1. You can use crystal to cast higher level spells and any crystal appears to work for any level gap so that opens a new issue about people intention picking very high power spells to cast that way.

  2. I'm not really sure what this is supposed to fixed. For example the Demon Hunter is still broken ...

    1. Thanks for coming by Eric. The purpose of this post was to help people with making an initial hero. When I read the text in the AC I found that it was poorly presented and could lead to confusion for people who were not as deeply knowledgable as you. It is not that hard to figure it out if people read all 30 pages about creation and advancement but I thought maybe that should not be required. Here you have to read at most one page and everything is there. This of it as the character creation quickstart guide.

      I am not sure how the process of creating a starting Demon Hunter is broken. Unless Null totally messes up the game, which I could imagine it might be a damper if it stops the heroes fell wizard from breaking a ward causing you to loose a mission. Obvious you do not want him hanging out with your spellcasters. Maybe you mean that you cannot make the provided Hero of Mantica with these rules.

      I think you might be referring to the issues that appear at third level over sure shot and such. Since this is focused on 0th level that is getting ahead of ourselves. The AC is 100 pages of questions, and I can only fix it one part at a time. I really have no idea why they give the her an option for an ability that works when shooting when she had no shooting attack available at that point. The core issue though is how do the +1 Shooting Dice advancements work for any character who is not the thief or ranger since they start with no dice so +1 is 1 which is less than the minimum attack number and as per the rules you can only take a specific advancement once over all your levels if it is not one of the three ranked skills which give you rerolls to dice that do not exceed armor in Combat, Defense, and Shooting. If I had to make a guess, about the more general question of the ranged weapon bonus that when they eliminated the Marksman and Deft Throw abilities (which were ranked and hence would allow multiple selections) they forget to fix the tables. It is equally possible that it is a typo and the Demonhunter should have a 2 dice attack but as Arriaya does not have one in her listing either the book does not contradict itself (only the crypts expansion) so I have no reason to award it to her. I actually guess that what should happen is the first choice of ranged attack grants a 2 die attack and you can take this specific one more than once and that the demon hunter is supposed to start with one but that is a lot of changings to make in the published rules for a quickstart guide before the real Errata and FAQ come out.

      The only real rule change that I implemented was granting all spellcasters access to petty magic since Jake said this was the case in the past on his blog and it specifically says it on the Magic page but I did not push that change onto their basic spell choices as that is a major change while mine is more a change for proper completeness.

  3. I suspect that Arianya's short range dice are ment to be from her water ability rather than shooting as such. With respect to 1 die (or dice) attacks, note that the Salamander's racial feat explicitly causes a one die attack to anyone 3 squares away. Maybe the two dice minimum is just for combat dice, not shooting or magic?

    1. Well the Salamander character does not have a shooting dice. The shooting dice part of the advancement is clearly broken when the switched from Marksman and Deft Throw after the beta rules. Probably did some type of find and replace without thinking about it. Some tables/combinations are full of +1 shooting dice (like 6) but according to the rules you cannot take it twice so while other things might appear a few times this is overkill. It shows up like spells or songs. Since taking it once gives you an attack with below the minimum attack dice I am not sure what happens. My guess is the first gets you a 2 die attack and then you can take more up to I have no idea. The thief for example has 4 in his table and he already starts with 2 while most of the other items that can be taken only once appear 2 places. Since he starts with 2 and taking it all the way up to 6 is pretty good. Maybe better than should be possible.

    2. I am certainly not suggesting that the Adventurers Companion is not a seriously flawed product, and there are plenty of contradictions, both with itself, and with the heroes of the campaigns. I was speculating on what might have been intended - those are my thoughts on why Arianya has 2 short range dice despite being a Demon Hunter rather than, say, a Thief, and on whether a 1 die attack is intended to be possible. But yes, there is a desperate need for some official clarification here.

    3. A lot of answers to questions on BGG are no one knows. At best people are asking easy questions or I am pointing out rules that do not seem to work the way they are written but there is a lot of look at page XXX jokes.

    4. Yeah, I'm pretty happy with the base game and the main expansions, but black fortress is a disappointment, especially since it turns out that the Adventurers Companion is so obviously lacking, and that I didn't actually need to spend $200 to get it. I do feel silly for not having listened to you earlier, since you pretty much predicted this. I'm still hoping mantic will move to make things right, but I'm looking for solutions in case they abandon us to focus on new kickstarters.

    5. I did not listen to me so I can fault no one else for not listening either. I think I described the Hardback AC specifically as a triple dick punch(Typos/Missing Dungeon Journal/Content Quality) on the mantic forum. One of those problems would have just been an annoyance even I know mistakes happen. Two is a major issue. Three is an embarrassment that makes me have no trust for mantic at all.

  4. So having just run through all the named characters, from what I can tell at any rate, they are all either:
    Level 1, with Ally the Thief and Arianya the Demon Hunter having both taken Deft Throw instead of +1 move etc. (and the deft throw/ +1 shooting dice working as you believe RAI) and everyone else getting screwed on the +1 move,
    Level 0, and they all have a feat instead of the +1 move etc., with Ally and Arianya getting a 2nd Feat (for some reason).
    And in either scenario Ibrahim the Paladin and Madriga the Ranger get screwed on Armour.
    Does this gel with what every one else is seeing?

  5. I must admit that at this point I am regretting pledging for Warpath. I think I should have just waited for retail release. TBH, having been somewhat of a Mantic kickstarter junkie, and to be fair there is a lot to be happy about on this release (better than expected one piece models for instance - a vast improvement on the Loka pieces!) However, I shall be a lot more cautious in future.

    Saying as Mantic seem to be in denial over the AC issues, I think our best hope is Jake, once he gets the time to look at it. If it turns out Mantic dropped the ball and messed the game up by poorly rewriting and cutting down his original design, we may get something.

    I paid $25 in upgrades (as it turns out for the terribly molded traps, the critters, and a superfluous number of doors) mainly for the rules for AI dungeons. I don't feel ripped off, just a bit sad.

  6. Hello. what do you think about:
    Halfling: -1 Move (Balance Adjustment: +1 Shooting dice(short)), not nimble.

    Because in section Heroes of Mantica Ally McSween, Halfling Thief has Shooting(short) 3. And model, and halfling art is with throwing knifes.

    1. Jake had a tendency to buff the premade characters shooting attacks. The ranger and thief both have an additional die and the demonhunter has it when normally they appear not to.

      Nimble I think is more interesting in that if you are successful you find yourself no longer in a front arc and free to move. Essentially dodging past on the missed attack.

  7. Morning,

    With the launch of Star Saga and the subsequent discussion of Dungeon Saga’s pro’s and con’s the game has again caught my attention.

    Flicking through notes I made an age ago there are a number of things I wanted to get your take on.

    1st, adventure design, I’ve started to try and break down the content of the published adventures to try and find a structure behind the adventure design and start assigning values to levels of monsters, number of overlord cards and activations pet turn, traps etc. to use as a framework for my own adventure design.

    2nd, d6’s. Are they enough or should the game move to d10’s or 12’s etc. what are your thoughts either way.

    PM me at if you want to discuss.