Each character has a unique set of statistics that determine its effectiveness in each situation.
A character's wound rating is his starting and maximum number of wound tokens. Wound tokens are lost as the character suffers wounds and eventually dies. For example, Sir Valadir has a wound rating of 16. Thus, if he loses all 16 wound tokens, he dies. Wound tokens can be regained by drinking Healing Potions.
A character's fatigue is his starting and maximum number of fatigue tokens. Fatigue tokens may be spent to gain more Movement Points, roll more Power Dice, or activate some special abilities. Fatigue tokens can be regained by drinking Vitality Potions or Resting.
A character's armor reduces the damage from most attacks by a number of wounds equal to his armor rating. Armor can be increased by equipping a suit of armor. Traps and harmful Obstacles usually ignore armor, and attacks with Pierce can also ignore armor.
A character's speed determines how many Movement Points he receives each turn.
A character has three attack traits: melee, ranged, and magic. The number of dice shown for each type indicates the base number of Power Dice the character rolls for that type of attack. An attack trait can be increased for 500 Coins while shopping.
Each character receives a number of skill cards of each type: melee, ranged, and magic. Skill cards usually provide numeric bonuses or allow the hero to use special abilities. Additional skill cards may be purchased for 1000 Coins while shopping.
A character's conquest rating is the number of Conquest Tokens that are lost if the character dies. More resilient characters usually have higher conquest ratings.
The player's turn is divided into the steps discussed below.
At the start of a player's turn, he must resolve the effects of any tokens he has gained. For example, if the player's hero has a Web token, he must first roll a Power Die and attempt to remove it before doing anything else on his turn.
Some cards are exhausted (turned sideways) when they are used. For example, a shield card is exhausted when it is used to absorb damage. During this step, the player refreshes all of his cards.
During this step, the player may rearrange his hero's equipment. A hero may equip two one-handed items or one two-handed item, one suit of armor, two miscellaneous items, and three potions. In addition, he may also carry up to three items (including potions) in his pack. If the hero cannot carry all of his items, he must drop some accordingly. Dropped items are destroyed and cannot be picked up again. Coins do not count towards a hero's limit on carried items.
The hero may also decide to equip himself later in his turn at the cost of 2 Movement Points.
Before a hero can do anything else, he must first declare his action for the turn. He cannot change his action later in the turn.
When advancing, a hero gains Movement Points equal to his Speed and may make a single attack. The hero may spend Movement Points both before and after the attack.
When battling, a hero gains no Movement Points but may make two attacks. The hero can still gain movement points from items or special abilities. The first attack must be resolved completely before making a second attack. If a hero is wielding two one-handed weapons, he need not use the same weapon for both attacks.
When running, a hero gains Movement Points equal to twice his Speed but may not make any attacks.
When readying, a hero may either gain Movement Points equal to his Speed or make one attack, but not both. He also chooses an order token (discussed below) at any point during his turn.
When a hero has an aim order, on his next attack he may choose to reroll any number of dice (including the red, blue, or white die). The hero must use the second result. If a hero makes an aimed attack against an enemy that is Dodging, the orders cancel each other out. If a hero moves, suffers wounds, changes equipment, or attacks, the aim order is removed, however, the aim order is not necessarily removed at the start of the hero's next turn like other orders.
When a hero has a dodge order, he may force any creature making an attack against him to reroll any number of dice (including the red, blue, or white die). If an Aimed attack is made against a hero with a dodge order, the orders cancel each other out. The dodge order remains until the hero's next turn, allowing the hero to dodge multiple attacks during the overlord's turn.
A hero with a guard order may make a single interrupt attack. This allows the player to "interrupt" the overlord's turn at any point to make an attack against a legal target. The overlord must allow the player to make the attack even if he moved too quickly for the hero to declare the attack. The interrupt attack must be resolved before the overlord's turn continues. If a hero suffers wounds, attacks, or starts a new turn, the guard order is removed.
If a hero begins his turn with a rest order, he regains all of his Fatigue tokens and the rest order is removed. If a hero suffers wounds at any point, the rest order is immediately removed.
A hero receives Movement Points based on his Speed, his Declared Action, and any items or special abilities he has. A hero may spend Movement Points both before and after making attacks. In addition, a hero may spend 1 Fatigue token to gain an additional Movement Point as many times as he possesses the Fatigue tokens for.
Movement Points may be spent on a variety of actions.
Activating a Glyph costs 0 Movement Points and usually awards 3 Conquest Tokens. A hero must be standing in the same square as the Glyph to activate it.
Activating an Encounter usually costs 0 Movement Points begins an event as described by the Quest Book.
Looting an item such as a Potion or Coins costs 0 Movement Points and requires that the hero be standing in the same square as the token.
Dropping an item costs 0 Movement Points. Dropped items are destroyed and cannot be picked up again.
Using a Staircase to travel to another section of the dungeon costs 1 Movement Point.
Using a Glyph to travel to or from Town costs 1 Movement Point. A hero may only travel using a Glyph once per turn.
Moving costs 1 Movement Point per square moved.
Drinking any kind of Potion costs 1 Movement Point. A Potion must be equipped before it can be used. A hero may only drink one Potion per turn.
Giving an item to an adjacent hero costs 1 Movement Point per item given. A hero that has been given an item may equip it immediately. Items cannot be "taken" from another hero, even if he is willing. Coins may never be given to another hero.
A hero may equip himself at the cost of 2 Movement Points.
Opening or closing a Door costs 2 Movement Points and requires that the hero be standing adjacent to the Door.
Opening a Chest costs 2 Movement Points and requires that the hero be standing in the same square as the Chest.
While in Town, a hero may spend 3 Movement Points to take care of all Shopping needs.
A hero may spend 3 Movement Points to jump over some Obstacles. The cost is 3 Movement Points per square jumped, and the hero is placed on the opposite side.
When a hero makes an attack against an enemy, he must declare the space that he is attacking, rather than a specific enemy. This is important when making attacks with the Blast effect. After declaring a target space, the hero rolls Dice according to his weapon and adds Power Dice equivalent to the applicable Attack Trait. If an 'X' is rolled, the attack misses.
After the Dice are rolled, the Damage, Range, and Surges are totalled. If the hero rolls less total range than his distance from his target square, his attack misses. Melee attacks can only target adjacent squares regardless of the rolled range total. However, melee weapons with Reach may target a space two squares away. Surges may be used to add additional effects to the attack, based on the weapon used. In addition, the player may spend 1 Fatigue token to roll another Power Die, up to a maximum of 5 (including Power Dice gained from other abilities). Finally, the damage is totalled with any effects from surges, skills, items, or special abilities and the enemy's armor is subtracted. The result is the total wounds applied to the enemy. If the enemy has accumulated enough wounds to surpass its base wound value, it dies, unless protected by a special ability such as Undying.
Each attack is composed of one or more dice, which are examined below. The number shown is the die's contribution to the attack's total range, while the hearts indicate damage and the lightning bolt indicates a surge. Surges are used to power each weapon's special ability. For example, an axe allows the wielder to spend 1 surge to add +1 damage to the attack.
The red die is always used for melee attacks. It averages low range, low surges, and high damage.
Average Range: 1.2 Average Surges: 0.4 Average Damage: 2.6
The blue die is always used for ranged attacks. It averages high range, medium surges, and low damage.
Average Range: 2.6 Average Surges: 0.6 Average Damage: 1.2
The white die is always used for magic attacks. It averages medium range, high surges, and medium damage.
Average Range: 2 Average Surges: 0.8 Average Damage: 2
The green die is sometimes used by high damage weapons. It averages very low range, low surges, and medium damage.
Average Range: 0.33 Average Surges: 0.33 Average Damage: 2
The yellow die is sometimes used by high range weapons. It averages medium range, very low surges, and very low damage.
Average Range: 2 Average Surges: 0.17 Average Damage: 0.5
The black "Power" die is used differently from the others. Each black die consists of a blank, a surge, and a damage/range. A blank indicates that the die adds nothing to the attack, while a surge obviously contributes 1 surge value. However, the damage/range face contributes either 1 damage or 1 range, but not both. This is decided by the attacker. An attack may never include more than 5 power dice even if the attacker's abilities could allow for more.
Average Range: 0.5 Average Surges: 0.33 Average Damage: 0.5
There are a multitude of special abilities which can alter the effectiveness of attacks.
When an enemy figure moves adjacent to a figure with Aura, it suffers 1 wound that ignores armor. When a figure with Aura moves adjacent to an enemy figure, this effect is not triggered.
A Blast attack targets all squares within X distance from the targeted square, where X is the attack's Blast rating. Squares that do not have Line of Sight to the Blast's origin are not affected. If a Blast attack is Dodged by multiple enemies, only one reroll may be made. Friendly units can be hit with Blast attacks.
An attack with Bleed that inflicts at least 1 wound before armor causes the target to acquire a Bleed token. At the start of the target's next turn, he must roll a White Die for each Bleed token he has and suffer the corresponding number of wounds, ignoring armor. All Bleed tokens are then removed.
A breath attack uses the breath template (rather than range) to determine which enemies are targeted. The breath template must originate on a square adjacent to the attacker. When determining Line of Sight, the rule is that if a creature with Fly can travel along the breath template and reach the target, then it is affected. If a Breath atttack is Dodged by multiple enemies, only one reroll may be made. Friendly units can be hit with Breath attacks.
An attack with Burn that inflicts at least 1 wound before armor causes the target to acquire a Burn token. At the start of each of the target's turns, he must roll a Power Die for each Burn token he has. For each Surge rolled, he removes a Burn token. Then, the character suffers 1 wound that ignores armor for each remaining Burn token.
A creature with Command causes all friendly characters within 3 spaces (including iteself), ignoring Line of Sight, to deal 1 extra damage with each attack. If multiple creatures have Command, the effects stack.
A creature with Daze that inflicts at least 1 wound before armor causes the target to acquire a Daze token. At the start of each of the target's turns, he must roll a Power Die for each Daze token he has. For each Surge rolled, he removes a Daze token. When a character with one or more Daze tokens makes an attack, he must remove one black, green, or yellow die from the attack for each Daze token he has. If the character has more Daze tokens than attack dice, he rolls only the base attack die (red, blue, or white) for the attack.
A creature with a Fear rating forces all attacks against it to spend Surges equal to its Fear rating or miss. The Surges spent to overcome the Fear rating cannot be spent on anything else for the attack.
A creature with Fly can move through most Obstacles without penalty. However, a creature with Fly may not end its movement on an obstacle that prevents movement. Creatures with Fly may also move through enemy figures.
Enemies adjacent to a figure with Grapple may not spend any movement points. Enemies can still be moved by other means, such as Knockback.
A creature with Knockback that inflicts at least 1 wound before armor may immediately move the target up to 3 squares away from its current position. The target may be knocked through Obstacles and other figures, but must end on a legal square. In addition, figures cannot be knocked through walls or closed doors. A figure can be knocked back in any direction, not necessarily away from the attacker.
When a creature with Leech makes an attack, determine its final damage (after subtracting armor). For each damage, the target of the attack loses 1 Fatigue token and the attacker regains one wound token. If the target runs out of Fatigue tokens, he instead loses an additional wound token for each damage.
A creature with Pierce may ignore points of armor equivalent to its Pierce rating when making attacks.
A creature with Poison that inflicts at least 1 wound before armor causes the target to acquire a Poison token. When a creature with Poison tokens regains wound tokens, he must instead remove 1 Poison token for each wound token that would have been regained. If the creature regains more wound tokens than his total Poison tokens, he may regain the leftover wound tokens normally.
A creature with Reach may make melee attacks against squares up to 2 spaces away from him instead of 1. Range is not required on the attack roll, but the attacker must have Line of Sight to the target square.
A creature with Quick Shot may attack twice for each attack it makes during its turn.
A creature with Sorcery may add its Sorcery rating to each attack's damage or range (or split it between both) after rolling the attack.
A creature with Stun that inflicts at least 1 wound before armor causes the target to acquire a Stun token. When a creature starts its turn with one or more Stun tokens, it removes one of them and may not declare any action this turn. In the case of a hero, the hero may gain Movement Points equal to his Speed, make one attack, or ready one Order. He may not use any ability that requires him to declare a certain action, such as Advancing. A Stunned normal monster cannot do anything on its turn. A Stunned master (red) monster may either move its speed or make one attack, similar to a Stunned hero. A named (boss) monster cannot be Stunned.
When attacking, a creature with Swarm may roll an additional Power Die for every other enemy figure adjacent to its target.
A creature with Sweep targets all enemy figures within its melee range. If a creature has both Reach and Sweep, it must have Line of Sight to target each square. If a Sweep attack is Dodged by multiple enemies, only one reroll may be made.
If a hero has been transformed into a monkey, his turn immediately ends. He cannot use any items or make any attacks, nor can he declare actions. A monkey can only move 5 squares on its turn. While transformed, a monkey has 0 total armor, but the same wounds and fatigue as the hero. After two full turns have passed, the hero returns to normal.
When a creature with Undying runs out of wound tokens, instead of immediately dying, it rolls a Power Die. On anything but a Surge, the creature is killed. On a Surge, however, the creature is immediately restored to full health and does not count as having been killed. If the attack inflicted more wounds than the creature's remaining life, the leftover damage "carries over" and is applied after the creature is restored. Thus, an Undying creature can be "killed" more than once in a single attack. If a master (red) monster is Undying, it does not reward any Coins until it is killed and does not regenerate.
A creature with Web that inflicts at least 1 wound before armor causes the target to acquire a Web token. At the start of each of the target's turns, he must roll a Power Die for each Web token he has. For each Surge rolled, he removes a Web token. A character with one or more Web tokens cannot spend any Movement Points. However, he can still be moved by other means, such as Knockback.
When making an attack, the attacker must have line of sight to the targeted square. This is determined by drawing an imaginary line from the center of the attacker's square to the center of the targeted square. If the line crosses anything that blocks line of sight, then the square cannot be targeted. Objects that block line of sight are: walls, closed Doors, some Obstacles, and all other figures (including friendly units). Some line of sight examples are shown below.
The heroes will find treasure in several forms while exploring each dungeon. In all cases, looting treasure requires the hero to be standing on the same square as the token.
Chests cost 2 Movement Points to open. When a chest is opened, each hero immediately receives at least one Treasure Card that can be immediately equipped. In addition, each hero will usually receive a combination of Coins and/or Conquest Tokens. The overlord might gain Threat Tokens when a chest is opened. There are three types of chests: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. The Chest's type determines what rank of Treasure Cards it contains.
A Bronze Chest always contains at least one Bronze Treasure Card for each hero. Bronze Treasure Cards are the lowest rank of treasure, but are still usually better than starting equipment. Heroes may purchase Bronze Treasure Cards for 250 Coins each from the Shop once a Bronze Chest has been opened.
A Silver Chest always contains at least one Silver Treasure Card for each hero. Silver Treasure Cards are the middle rank of treasure, better than Bronze but worse than Gold. Heroes may purchase Silver Treasure Cards for 500 Coins each from the Shop once a Silver Chest has been opened.
A Gold Chest always contains at least one Gold Treasure Card for each hero. Gold Treasure Cards are the highest rank of treasure. Heroes may purchase Gold Treasure Cards for 750 Coins each from the Shop once a Gold Chest has been opened.
Coins are the currency in Descent. They can be found within Chests, on the ground in the form of a Coins token (costing 0 Movement Points to loot), or as a reward for defeating master (red) monsters. Chests contain varying amounts of Coins, while Coins tokens usually provide 100 Coins for each hero. Killing a master monster rewards the hero that struck the killing blow with 50 Coins. If a master monster comes back to life via the Undying ability, the hero does not gain any Coins because the monster does not count as having been killed. If a hero is killed by any means, he immediately loses half of his Coins. Coins do not count towards a hero's carried item limit and there is no limit to the number of Coins a hero can carry at one time, but Coins may never be given to another hero. Coins can be spent while Shopping.
Potions can be found on the floors of dungeons and can be looted for 0 Movement Points. When a potion is looted, it can be immediately equipped. A hero can equip three potions and carry up to three more in his pack, although potions kept in a pack occupy the same slots as carried equipment. A potion must be equipped before it can be drunk. Drinking a potion costs 1 Movement Point. A hero may only drink one potion each turn.
Healing Potions restore 3 Wound tokens when drunk. Heroes cannot exceed their maximum Wound rating when healing.
Vitality Potions restore all Fatigue tokens when drunk.
Power Potions allow a hero to roll 5 Power Dice on his next attack. A hero is still limited to a maximum of 5 Power Dice on any attack roll.
Conquest Tokens are a measure of the heroes' success while exploring the dungeon and are shared. The heroes usually start with 3 Conquest Tokens. Conquest Tokens are gained from activating Glyphs and opening Chests, but are lost whenever a hero dies (equivalent to his Conquest Rating). If the heroes ever run out of Conquest Tokens, then they have been defeated and the Overlord wins the game.
Artifacts are extremely powerful items, surpassing even Gold Treasure Cards. Artifacts are usually found according to events described in the Quest Book.
Does not block Line of Sight. If a hero or monster moves so that the figure is only occupying lava squares, the figure suffers 2 wounds that ignore armor and receives 2 Burn tokens. Lava may jumped across in the same manner as a Pit (3 Movement Points per square, placed on opposite side). Creatures with Fly may move though lava without penalty.
Does not block Line of Sight. Moving so that a figure is only occupying mud squares (i. e. moving into a pit square) costs 2 Movement Points instead of the normal 1. Moving out of a mud square onto other ground costs the normal amount of MP. If a creature only has 1 Movement Point remaining, it may not move into a mud square. Mud may jumped across in the same manner as a Pit (3 Movement Points per square, placed on opposite side). Creatures with Fly may move through mud without penalty.
Does not block Line of Sight. If a hero or monster moves so that the figure is only occupying pit squares, the figure falls into the pit. The figure suffers 1 wound that ignores armor. The figure can climb out, costing 2 Movement Points, and moves to an adjacent, legal square. While inside a pit, the figure has no Line of Sight to any other spaces except those directly adjacent. Other figures trace Line of Sight into a pit normally. Figures may jump over pits for 3 Movement Points per square. The figure is placed on the opposite side of the pit. Creatures with Fly may move through pits without penalty. Pits can protect figures from the Boulder trap.
Blocks Line of Sight and movement. Rubble cannot be jumped over. Creatures with Fly may move through rubble without penalty, but may not end movement over rubble tiles.
Blocks movement only. Water cannot be jumped over. Creatures with Fly may move through water without penalty, but may not end movement over water tiles.
At the start of the Overlord's turn before doing anything else, he must move all boulders. He selects each boulder and rolls 1 red and 1 yellow die, moving the boulder the total range shown in the dirction of the arrow on the boulder tile. Any figure that a boulder moves into is instantly killed, regardless of wounds, fatigue, armor, or even special abilities such as Fly and Undying. However, figures can be safe when inside Pits (see below). Boulders are treated as walls for purposes of Line of Sight, attacks, and movement.
As a boulder moves, it kills heroes and monsters, removes Rubble tiles, and does not affect other Obstacles. If a creature is inside a Pit when a boulder moves into its square, it is unaffected by the boulder, but cannot climb out. However, if a boulder fully moves into a Pit large enough to contain the boulder (usually 2x2 tiles) then the boulder falls into the Pit, killing any creatures within and destroying the boulder. If a boulder moves into a wall or closed Door, the boulder is destroyed.
Boulder ramps do not affect creatures. Instead, boulders that come into contact with a boulder ramp turn to face the direction the in which boulder ramp points.
Dart fields do not block movement or Line of Sight, but may cause injury to any creature that moves into its square. Each time a creature moves so that any part of it is within the dart field, it must roll 1 power die. On a surge, nothing happens; on any other result, the creaure suffers 1 wound that ignores armor and receives 1 Daze token. Dart fields cannot be jumped over. Creatures with Fly may move through dart fields without penalty.
Scything blades do not block movement or Line of Sight, but may cause injury to any creature that moves into its square. Each time a creature moves so that any part of it is within the scything blades, it must roll 1 power die. On a surge, nothing happens; on any other result, the creaure suffers 2 wounds that ignore armor and receives 1 Bleed token. Scything blades cannot be jumped over. Creatures with Fly may move through scything blades without penalty.
Doors block Line of Sight and must be opened before they can be moved through. Opening or closing a door costs 2 Movement Points. Each time door is opened to a new room, the room is populated with all of its contents, regardless of Line of Sight. Some doors are Runelocked and require a Rune Key of the same color to open or close. All monsters may open and close normal doors, and named (boss) monsters may open and close Runelocked doors. However, no monster may ever open a door leading to an unexplored area.
Glyphs allow heroes to travel instantly between the dungeon and town, costing 1 Movement Point. Each hero may only travel using a Glyph once per turn, and monsters may never use Glyphs. A hero must activate a Glyph by moving onto it before it can be used. Activating a Glyph costs 0 Movement Points and usually awards 3 Conquest Tokens. Monsters may not end their movement on an activated Glyph. If a Glyph becomes activated underneath a monster, that monster must move off of it on its next turn.
A Rune Key allows the heroes to open and close a Runelocked Door of the same color. Looting a Rune Key costs 0 Movement Points and requires that the hero be on the same square.
When a hero ends his movement on an encounter marker, it triggers a special event as described in the corresponding entry in the Quest Guide.
A hero can use a staircase to travel to another square containing a staircase of the same color, costing 1 Movement Point. If the heroes have not yet discovered the other side of the staircase, the room containing it is revealed upon its first use. When standing on a staircase, a figure is considered to be adjacent to all other squares on the other side of the staircase and has Line of Sight to the other staircase and all squares adjacent to it. Monsters may not use staircases unless both sides have been discovered. Large monsters may never use staircases.
The town is the only safe place for the heroes. It can be reached by using an activated Glyph for 1 Movement Point. While in town, a hero may shop for 3 Movement Points. Heroes in town are considered to be adjacent. Leaving town costs 1 Movement Point and the player may place his hero on any activated Glyph. If a hero dies, he reappears in town.
While in town, a hero may shop for 3 Movement Points. While shopping, a hero may sell any equipment he has for half of its value, rounded down and to the nearest 25 Coins. A hero may also purchase the following items: