I made a spreadsheet for gold and special treasure.

Because we’re replacing (cross-quest disposable items) with reusable items, the only thing that can vary across quests (in terms of Heroes “leveling up”) is gold.  I’m enthused about creating a challenge mode where you can warp to a particular quest and try to beat it, with an increased difficulty mode, as an isolated challenge/puzzle (aside StarCraft 2’s campaign has this).  So even getting a variable amount of gold per quest, that you carry cross-quest, doesn’t necessarily mesh well with challenge mode.

We could have two modes – a campaign mode (where you save gold across quests) and a challenge mode (where you get a pre-determined amount of gold at the start of a particular quest).  And if we go that route, then I ‘m tempted to reinstate (cross-quest disposable items) for campaign mode.  But I find that idea kind of messy.

I also have concerns about the fact that your theoretical max gold (for each quest) is an absurdly rare occurrence.  The idea of someone playing through each quest ad nauseam (to get the max gold for that quest) makes me cringe.

I prefer to only tweak rules when it’s fixing a design bug (using the term “bug” rather loosely).  And I’d like to make challenge mode a core focus.  But even within those parameters, my latest design tweak is…   Each quest gives you a predetermined amount of gold.  Treasure card gold only lasts until the end of the current quest, and it can be used (when there are no monsters in line of sight) to buy treasure card potions (that last until the end of the quest).

As the heroes progress through each quest, they “level up” by finding new perma-items and by getting gold (which they can use to buy perma-items).  So I created a spreadsheet to analyze gold earned relative to maxing out what you can purchase.  The general idea is to make “leveling up” gradual.

With 70 quests (65 if we count: Dark Company as one instead of four, Mage 9 & 10 as one instead of two, Frozen 9 & 10 as one instead of two), it got a bit tedious, but the spreadsheet is useful to help balance the progression of (Heroes “leveling up”) versus (quests increasing in difficulty).

One thing that stands out is that the cross-expansion balance doesn’t seem well thought out.  For example, Mage in the Mirror has enough gold (8200 special + up to 2325 from treasure cards) + special treasure, that if you started from scratch, you’d still have maxed out armory gear by about Quest 5, and plenty of one time use potions.  As another example, The Frozen Horror Quest 1 gives the Barbarian (crossbow, longsword, shield) which suggests that you’re starting from scratch.  Yet the expansions don’t seem to be designed for you to start from scratch, because some of them give you gold rewards at the end of the last quest.  So I feel very justified in using the term “design bug” in describing my progression balancing concerns.  As much as I am aiming for authentic/nostalgia, I also want to fix these design flaws.

Another design idea this gives me is to have a campaign mode where you start each questbook from scratch (with starting equipment).  In that case, a more vanilla rules interpretations would be okay, such as…  Allow heroes to keep special treasure healing potions across quests.  Allow heroes to have multiple copies of a weapon (including the crossbow) (if they can afford the gold).  Looking at the spreadsheet, I don’t think the difficulty would be too high…  At first glance, Wizards of Morcar Quest 1 looks impossible (13 chaos warriors, a gargoyle, a boss), but not if you use European stats (monsters have 1 body).

Here’s the spreadsheet: gold