Curse! Persistent debuff effects

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Curse! Persistent debuff effects

Postby Count Mohawk » Sunday May 1st, 2016 1:54am

So, in between working on my many other projects I had a couple of bathroom thoughts (the best kind of thoughts, obviously) regarding my next Quest Pack, to come after Heralds of Chaos. Although the specifics are very much WIP atm, the overarching theme of this Quest Pack is going to be "Curses", much like "Recurring villain" was the subtext that led to the creation of Heralds. Unlike the temporary debuffs that come from Chaos Spells such as Fear, Curses will be capable of persisting beyond the Quest in which they appear.

I have a couple of ideas already laid out for this sort of thing. For example:
  • The Ur Example of this sort of thing is the Werewolf's Curse from the Elf Quest Pack, which will randomly change the afflicted Hero into a Werewolf under the control of Morcar for a turn at a time. As I recall, this Curse was particularly nasty in that not only would it never wear off on its own, but the only way to cure said lycanthropy was to drink a Wolfsbane Extract, which was not a terribly common find.
  • Saiyaforthelight's rewrite of the seven original Quest Packs (nice job, guy!) featured a Curse of Ice during the Frozen Horror, which slows a Hero down by 2 squares and can occasionally cause him or her to miss a turn. This seemed like such a unique and good idea that I felt obligated to steal it.
  • The Orc Shaman Necromancer spell Skulls of Doom (thanks, Gold Bearer!) is a really bad spell, so I decided to buff it. In addition to increasing its damage from two combat dice to three, I have also added a Curse effect lowering its victim's maximum Body Points by the amount of damage the spell deals. Look out, Wizard!
  • Naturally, the Heroes need some way to cure themselves of any Curses they may pick up. In addition to a new Potion of Uncurse, I may buff the spell scroll Mystic Recovery and the lesser artifact Holy Water to also have the power to remove Curses.

I'm hoping to end up with a decent array of eight or nine Curse options available when I eventually lay out the Quests. I could probably come up with more effects on my own, but I thought I'd share the idea first and see what the forum's collective wisdom had to offer.
Last edited by Count Mohawk on Monday May 2nd, 2016 7:47am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Curse! Persistent debuff effects

Postby Goblin-King » Sunday May 1st, 2016 2:40am

Good ideas all around and it's all in the vein of traditional HQ.
I particularly like the idea of Holy Water also being a de-curser. Makes sense.
Curses seem like a good way to counter maxed out heroes steamrolling your dungeons without power creeping.

Weakness - Always roll one less die in an attack
Fragility - Always roll one less die when you defend
Bad Luck - Each black shield rolled in an attack negates one skull
Confusion - Each time you roll a 7 for movement you may not move at all. Instead the Evil Wizard player may move you up to 3 squares.


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Re: Curse! Persistent debuff effects

Postby Gold Bearer » Monday May 2nd, 2016 4:42am

Count Mohawk wrote:The Orc Shaman spell Skulls of Doom is a really bad spell, so I decided to buff it. In addition to increasing its damage from two combat dice to three, I have also added a Curse effect lowering its victim's maximum Body Points by the amount of damage the spell deals. Look out, Wizard!
Nice upgrade. It's a necromancer spell though. ;)

Count Mohawk wrote:Naturally, the Heroes need some way to cure themselves of any Curses they may pick up. In addition to a new Potion of Uncurse, I may buff the spell scroll Mystic Recovery and the lesser artifact Holy Water to also have the power to remove Curses.
I did that for mine. Here's the undead section of my monster rules. Zombies and mummies have a curse but I'll include the rest in case you want it.

Undead
When an Undead Monster is reduced to 0BP, place them lying down on their square. Downed Monsters don't block LOS or movement but you can't end a turn on their square unless you're attacking them. The EWP rolls a dice for each Downed Monster at the start of their turn. On a skull it gets back up but can't take a turn that round, on a white shield it stays down and on a black shield it gets back and can take a turn that round. Downed Monsters always get back up with 1BP. An Adventurer can finish off a Downed Monster by moving onto their square and using their attacking action.

Skeletons Bony: Defend on black shields against crushing weapons, white shields and skulls against piercing weapons and skulls only against other weapons.

Zombies Infection: A target wounded by a zombie rolls a combat dice, on a skull they are infected and roll a combat dice at the start of each of the turns, loosing 1BP on a black shield. A hero killed by infection becomes a zombie. Can be cured by drinking holy water, which is then discarded.

Mummies Tomb Curse: If a mummy scores more black shields when it attacks than the target rolls white shields, the target is cursed and from then on ignores one skull for every black shield rolled when attacking and one white shield for every black shield rolled when defending. Can be cured by drinking holy water, which is then discarded. Mummies die automatically if they lose any BP to a fire based attack.
:goblin: 1BP, :orc: 2BP, :fimir: 3BP, :skeleton: 1BP, :zombie: 2BP, :mummy: 3BP, :chaoswarrior: 4BP, :gargoyle: 5BP. US :chaoswarrior: 3BP, US :gargoyle: 4BP.

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Re: Curse! Persistent debuff effects

Postby Saiyaforthelight » Tuesday May 3rd, 2016 11:27am

Some great ideas. I'd be very interested in what you come up with. Mechanics like this are great for giving overpowered heroes new challenges, building tension and giving the Evil Wizard some interesting tools to hurt the player. I'm pretty certain that I allow Holy Water to heal curses in my most recent update (as it already heals poisons and disease). Makes it a more interesting item to find in dungeons or in random quests.

So my main curses are:
Curse (Enfeeblement): Target must roll a shield on one die to resist. If unsuccessful, the figure is cursed, using Black shields to defend and may not use any abilities.
Curse (Transform): Target must roll a shield on one die to resist. If unsuccessful, the figure is turned into monster of caster’s choice, using that creature’s attributes to move, attack and defend (uses original Body and Mind). Curse broken by killing the figure that cast.
Curse (Lycanthropy): Target must roll a shield on one die to resist. If unsuccessful afflicted figures roll a die every turn. A black shield turns them into a Werewolf under control of Evil Wizard for that turn.
Curse (Weakness): Same effect as Weakness spell from my ruleset (effectively the Fear spell from US rules). Main difference is that it affects the player permanently, unless removed by Holy Water.
Curse of Ice: Any figures suffering with the Curse of Ice move 2 fewer spaces and must roll a die at the start of their turn. If a black shield is rolled, they miss their turn. (Also ultimately turns the victim into an Ice Revenant in the story)

I also have disease, which causes Body, Mind, Attack and Defence to be reduced by 1 and Movement reduced by 2. Could make for a good curse effect.

Thanks for the mention Count Mohawk, looking forward to seeing your ideas and then shamelessly stealing them from you!
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Re: Curse! Persistent debuff effects

Postby cynthialee » Tuesday May 3rd, 2016 11:34am

Debuffs are an ok way to go about things if you only affect 1 or 2 players and don't over do it. Debuffs can become very demoralizing. Makes you want to throw the character in the trash and start over if the debuff is permanent or the player can see no way of removing the curse.

Tread lightly you are in game killer territory.
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If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
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Re: Curse! Persistent debuff effects

Postby Count Mohawk » Tuesday May 3rd, 2016 1:08pm

Thanks for the overall positive response. I shall address each of your thoughts individually:

Goblin King wrote:Good ideas all around and it's all in the vein of traditional HQ.
I particularly like the idea of Holy Water also being a de-curser. Makes sense.
Curses seem like a good way to counter maxed out heroes steamrolling your dungeons without power creeping.

Like Heralds before it, the Curse Quest Pack is intended to be played only by experienced Heroes. While such Heroes have less to look forward to in the area of upgrades, at least I'll have an easier job setting a difficulty curve for them.
Of the curses you suggested, Bad Luck and Weakness share the same design space, but the others seem acceptable - not so heavy as to be debilitating, but potent enough that the afflicted Hero will definitely want for some Holy Water.

Gold Bearer wrote:Zombies Infection: A target wounded by a zombie rolls a combat dice, on a skull they are infected and roll a combat dice at the start of each of the turns, loosing 1BP on a black shield. A hero killed by infection becomes a zombie. Can be cured by drinking holy water, which is then discarded.

Mummies Tomb Curse: If a mummy scores more black shields when it attacks than the target rolls white shields, the target is cursed and from then on ignores one skull for every black shield rolled when attacking and one white shield for every black shield rolled when defending. Can be cured by drinking holy water, which is then discarded. Mummies die automatically if they lose any BP to a fire based attack.

There will definitely be some curse-bearing Undead featuring in at least a couple of these Quests. Your Mummies' Tomb Curse is similar to some of the stuff GK suggested, although yours is more powerful I think. Of the various types of Undead, Mummies are best suited to carrying curses and other sorts of nasty surprises.
The Zombies' Infection deserves its own paragraph: I am currently on the fence as to whether or not I want to include a BP-draining effect in my selection of Curses. Although your particular variation on this effect is very slow to take action, if the Heroes get caught without any means to cure it and have yet to traverse the lion's share of the current Quest, it's basically a death sentence. On the other hand, the average Quest probably doesn't take much longer than 30 turns, which would average a loss of just 5 BP, barely costing a single Potion of Healing.

Saiyaforthelight wrote:Thanks for the mention Count Mohawk, looking forward to seeing your ideas and then shamelessly stealing them from you!

By all means use my ideas! If I didn't want them re-used and repurposed, I wouldn't post them. Gotta promote Fair Use whenever possible, y'know?

cynthialee wrote:Debuffs are an ok way to go about things if you only affect 1 or 2 players and don't over do it. Debuffs can become very demoralizing. Makes you want to throw the character in the trash and start over if the debuff is permanent or the player can see no way of removing the curse.

Tread lightly you are in game killer territory.

Thank you for the word of caution. Persistent debuffs are one of the worst feel-bad effects available to a game designer. Used well, they can certainly add to a dungeon experience, but caution must definitely be taken so that a Hero doesn't end up in a situation where suiciding his character to get rid of the curses actually makes tactical sense.
I have some precautions in mind to minimize the above risks. Holy Water will be in greater abundance than usual throughout the Quest Pack. I will try to keep the maximum number of Curse hazards in each Quest close to the number of anti-Curse effects the Heroes will have access to, although if the Heroes fall victim to too many they will certainly run short for a while. And if necessary, I may shorten the duration of the Curses such that they don't always persist beyond the Quest in which they were applied.

There's also the Protection spell Dispel, if you guys play with those groups. I am ruling that Dispel can be used to break one Curse.

Now for a little bit of new information pertaining to what I plan to actually do: The Curse Quest Pack (name pending; "Heir of the Cursemaster"?) is currently planned to be an 11-Quest adventure. The first two Quests will set the tone for the experience. Quests 3 through 8 will be divided into three pairs, which can be completed in any order. After those plot threads are resolved, the Big Bad will show up, and the last three Quests will detail the Heroes' trip into his lair to kill him off.

Holy Water sure is getting useful, isn't it? Kills the Undead, breaks Curses, heals the Heroes... is there anything a vial of the stuff can't do?


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Re: Curse! Persistent debuff effects

Postby Gold Bearer » Tuesday May 3rd, 2016 1:19pm

Count Mohawk wrote:The Zombies' Infection deserves its own paragraph: I am currently on the fence as to whether or not I want to include a BP-draining effect in my selection of Curses. Although your particular variation on this effect is very slow to take action, if the Heroes get caught without any means to cure it and have yet to traverse the lion's share of the current Quest, it's basically a death sentence. On the other hand, the average Quest probably doesn't take much longer than 30 turns, which would average a loss of just 5 BP, barely costing a single Potion of Healing.
I did rule that anything that heals BP or MP curse infection and curses but I thought that would make them to weak. I've just decided now that water of healing will cure them. It makes the two spells that are the same unique and I think water is weaker than earth. It also nicely mirrors holy water, perfect. :)

Count Mohawk wrote:There's also the Protection spell Dispel, if you guys play with those groups. I am ruling that Dispel can be used to break one Curse.
Yes! Consider that stolen. Dispel is extremely weak because you have to use a spell to make the target discard a random one (although handy for the common house rule that fimirs get one spell each).
:goblin: 1BP, :orc: 2BP, :fimir: 3BP, :skeleton: 1BP, :zombie: 2BP, :mummy: 3BP, :chaoswarrior: 4BP, :gargoyle: 5BP. US :chaoswarrior: 3BP, US :gargoyle: 4BP.

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Wanna learn martial arts? Check out my youtube channel, tutorials coming soon. By far my most popular video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ie6BkN-3E

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Re: Curse! Persistent debuff effects

Postby QorDaq » Tuesday May 3rd, 2016 4:47pm

Others have already covered most of the things I was thinking, so I won't go into a lot of detail other than touching on the last bullet point in your list, Count Mohawk.

Count Mohawk wrote:Naturally, the Heroes need some way to cure themselves of any Curses they may pick up. In addition to a new Potion of Uncurse, I may buff the spell scroll Mystic Recovery and the lesser artifact Holy Water to also have the power to remove Curses.


I would consider renaming the "Potion of Uncurse" to something like "Purify X", so you could have various Potions, "Purify Body", "Purify Mind", "Purify Spirit", or what-have-you, with the different Potion types covering different types of curses depending on what they affect. Purify Spirit might be for Lycanthropy or Vampirism for example.

Other methods for changing up how curses may be lifted...

Ancient Tome -- Basically as the title implies, the Heroes find a strange book [in a bookcase?] which has the cure to one curse hidden within the text. Perhaps a Mind Check of some sort to decipher? Once read, the magical text vanishes in a flash of light as one Hero has their curse lifted.

Sacred Spring -- Tiny trickle of [Holy?] water trickling into a font/ basin, possibly allows Heroes to cure one Curse and refill one phial of Holy Water? This could actually be woven into one of the side quests, where the Big Bad has their Minions trying to destroy an ancient shrine or similar?

Captive Sage -- Somewhere within one of the Dungeons is an old Man/ Woman, who is being held prisoner. As a reward for escorting them to safety, they can lift one Curse. Perhaps once freed, this Sage then makes their home in a Cave/ Forrest, whatever, near to town and can be visited once per quest (between quests), to lift an additional [but only one] Curse per adventure for X Gold, or similar.

Scroll -- Obviously.

A Talisman -- In this case, you could actually get creative and have the item (Ring, Earring, Bracelet, Squirrel Foot, Wolves Ear, Frog's Nads, or what-have-you), only temporarily alleviate the effects of the curse until another more permanent solution can be found--And, does it have charges or some other kind of timer on it perhaps?

Anyway, the point being, with a Curse-focused set of quests, it would probably be worth thinking about a variety of options instead of relying on one potion type, a super potent Holy Water Panacea, or similar single item solutions, otherwise it may start becoming routine--especially if there are lots of X Potions in the Treasure Deck, Chests, and so on.

Conceptually I really like the idea that strange magics are the prevailing threat, as this approach could really change up the "Open door, kite the Baddies, search the room, rinse and repeat" routines that high-level Heroes can potentially otherwise face.

In fact, I'd take all of it a step further, and have certain rooms/ areas, perhaps whole quests, cursed in their own right, requiring the Heroes to Puzzle-solve to lift the curse(s)...

Success to you Count Mohawk, I look forward to seeing how this progresses.

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Re: Curse! Persistent debuff effects

Postby cynthialee » Tuesday May 3rd, 2016 6:42pm

I just remembered a fun curse I use and the anti-dote.

{This comes from a couple of cards in my EWP deck.}
Stinky Hero
The hero this is played against smells so terrible no other hero may end their turn near this hero. {Adjacent or diagonal.} The only way to remove this cursed stench from the hero is for a water spell to be sacrificed to remove the funk.

Also I have a stinky room. Same thing, no one may end their turn in the room and must leave if in the room when the effect takes hold. The stench is removed by any water spell.
So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
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Re: Curse! Persistent debuff effects

Postby QorDaq » Tuesday May 3rd, 2016 7:07pm

cynthialee wrote:...Also I have a stinky room. Same thing, no one may end their turn in the room and must leave if in the room when the effect takes hold. The stench is removed by any water spell.


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Heh, nice...
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