Contemplating Victory

  • Excerpt from the article "Which Way the Witch King? A MAGIC REALM Seminary" by Paul R. Bolduc

WiKi Note Although the original article was talking specifically in terms of Witch King victory goals, large parts of it deal in generalities that can apply to any character. It definitely makes an interesting read. The brackets [] show where bits have been deleted or changed that were specific to the Witch King.

Keep in mind that whatever victory conditions you might select will largely determine the strategy you'll need to employ.

GREAT TREASURES:

Seventeen of the 74 treasure cards (22.97 % ) are Great Treasures. This breaks down to seven of 45 small treasures (15.56%), ten of 23 large treasures (43.48%), and none of the six Treasures within Treasures (0% but four of these contain large treasures). Thus the chances that [...] any particular Native group , have exactly none, one or two Great Treasures are 71.01 %, 26.87% and 2.12% respectively; thus, better than two in seven that at least one starts the game at the Inn. [...] Clearly one shouldn't expect to immediately acquire a Great Treasure in this way, especially with the other characters also in the bidding. [Although it is highly probable that at least some of the Great Treasures will be in the possession of Natives, which makes them very accessible].

[So] Given that you'll want to Loot, the question becomes where. A close inspection of the Treasure Troves and the odds discussed so far shows that the Hoard, the Vault, and the Altar are the sites of choice.
The Hoard (or the Pool for that matter) has a 50% chance of being in a cave. [Good for the Dwarf. Bad for most others.] There's also a 50.06% chance of at least one Great Treasure amongst the four small treasures there. The Pool suffers the disadvantage of causing [characters] to fatigue a counter for each Loot Phase and isn't recommended unless you have some hired leader to do the looting since he can't fatigue.
The Vault Unless you have the Lost Keys [or Tremendous strength], the Vault has to be broken into to be looted, but Melt into Mist or a lucky Fiery Blast (25% ) can handle that; Unleash Power can't. Lightning Bolt can (44.44%) when the Vault is in Mountain or Crag (20% of the time). [...] On the average, it should take four Search Phases to find the counter, and seven more for each treasure [when using Magic Sight. For 'normal' searching, see this probability table ]. With one Hide phase a day, that's 39 days in a cave or 13 days in the open. Start early.
The Altar with four large treasures [and two spells] has odds of 16.33%, 40.91 %, 32.38%, 9.52%, and 0.89% of exactly zero through four Great Treasures being there. [...]
The Shrine has only two large and two small treasures [and two spells]. Odds are 57.82% that there is at least one Great Treasure among the large and 28.99% for at least one among the small. Overall that's 29.95%, 44.57%, 21.39%, 3.95% and 0.23% for there being from zero to four Great Treasures respectively. Not the most favorable; but since there is a Type V spell there, you can save some time and search for both simultaneously [with Magic Sight].

To sum up, if Great Treasures are among your victory conditions, expect to spend a lot of time searching at a treasure location. The Vault and the Hoard offer the best chances for large treasures and also a good, strong defending monster [to absorb]. The Phantom Glass would be a useful acquisition since combined with the superior "Find Counter" chances offered on the Magic Sight Table, it would make looting truly efficient. You must also be able to transport your booty, so [Light characters are going to have some difficulty with this].

USABLE SPELLS:

There is always a temptation to take several VPs in this category [seeing as how some characters have three or four spell] types to draw from. Resist the temptation.
First of all, even if all the treasure location counters have been revealed, you would only know with certainty where one spell would be the Type V spell at the Shrine (double that with Elemental Spirit and include the Type VIII at the Statue). All the others must be looted or traded for. [The Shaman has a Type II and a Type III spell to sell and possibly some expended potions. The Crone and Warlock have Type V and VIII and Type IV and VI spells respectively for sale. The Scholar has three small treasures; one of them might be a spell book. On the negative side the visitors] may never appear if they are. These visitors are prohibitively expensive anyhow, at least in the early stages of the game. [But for a base price of ten gold; an excess of gold can theoretically be turned Into "Usable Spells" by seeking out these Visitors and trading with them. In practice, it's very tough. Thus] the bulk of the Type IV and VI spells are in the two spell books somewhere out there (forget them if [they are owned by an unfriendly Visitor]). They are worth killing for. Thus all the available Type IV through VI spells are restricted to the Shrine, three spellbooks, three artifacts, and two visitors. Adding the Type VIII spells increases it to only two sites, three books, four artifacts, and the same two visitors. Thus out of the 74 treasures only six (or seven, 8.11% or 9.46%) are what you seek. You may be able to work a deal with another character [to read their spell book]. At most, take one point unless a really long game is contemplated.

FAME:

Fame is gained only by killing monsters, returning lost treasures to their proper owners, and by possessing certain treasures, but most treasures carry negative Fame (if any). This is especially true of those [treasures that players] covet most. [Having your player Character deal the killing blow to multiple monsters in a single combat is a good way to boost your accrued fame, and in some cases involving large monster stacks this can a game winner.]

NOTORIETY:

Gained like Fame, but also from killing natives and other characters. [Quite a few] treasures [..] have positive Notoriety so at least one point and probably two should be taken here. Remember that Notoriety gained from killing a character is his recorded Notoriety at the time of his demise. [One nice thing about relying on Notoriety is you know the Natives will always be there... killing Natives can potentially pile up huge amounts of Notoriety.]

GOLD:

There are only four ways to augment that ten Gold you start with: sell treasures or items, conduct certain missions, loot certain treasures within treasures, or kill characters for what they have (or natives if the "Pocket Change" optional rule is in effect). In practice only the first two options are practical, as most players seem to use any gold they have for new armor or weapons or to hire natives. That leaves looting and missions. Looting, as we've seen, can take a long time and presumes a carrying capacity to haul the loot back to a dwelling to sell. A mission merely requires being where the counter is likely to turn up and waiting for the "Monster Roll", of six, then picking it up and getting it to its destination. [...]

Conclusion

No one set of victory conditions can or should succeed every time. Nor would we really want them to. Someone planning to aggressively [slaughter lots of Monsters] may split the VPs between Fame and Notoriety, while another might emphasize Treasures, and yet a third may prefer a more balanced approach. Just remember that you'll be stuck with these goals for the rest of the game. Try to make them attainable.