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Dwarf Solo Quests (pack of 3) - homebrew

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Dwarf Solo Quests (pack of 3) - homebrew

Postby Kurgan » Sunday December 19th, 2021 6:14pm

So I was working on these around the time I was on the CovertNerd podcast and planning to release them shortly (after some testing thanks to Anderas). Then it turns out somebody locates the lost quests from the actual, official Dwarf Quest pack (even if it's only in an early stage of development and not complete)!

Well, in any case, I still want to share my creations, and it may not be all fancied up and pretty at this point but it should still give you some challenge (while not being completely impossible).

It uses basic assets you'll have from the Game System and Kellar's Keep + Return of the Witch Lord and assumes a base level Dwarf hero using the NA rules. You are sent to infiltrate a Chaos stronghold which holds Borin's lost artifacts. Lots of traps and monsters to deal with, but big rewards if you can survive!

I should really call it a 2 player quest, because you still need someone to be Zargon while the other controls the Dwarf!

Instructions are included on how to use it. Constructive feedback is always welcome.

version 1.2 (now with bonus artifacts!)

version 1.3 - a few small corrections (mostly to formatting), with special thanks to the forum's own Drakk, who put it into a nice pretty PDF for me and added a nice pic of the Dwarf for added flavor. The new file is below!
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Last edited by Kurgan on Thursday January 20th, 2022 12:39pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Dwarf Solo Quests (pack of 3) - homebrew

Postby Drakk » Sunday December 26th, 2021 6:23pm

I really like the dwarf characters. Very good quest series. :)
Congratulations on your work!
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Re: Dwarf Solo Quests (pack of 3) - homebrew

Postby Kurgan » Sunday December 26th, 2021 6:24pm

Thanks for the kind words.


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Re: Dwarf Solo Quests (pack of 3) - homebrew

Postby Kurgan » Thursday January 20th, 2022 12:40pm

Thanks for your help Drakk once again. I'm putting up the new file and please, anyone who play-tests this who has further feedback, let me know!


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Re: Dwarf Solo Quests (pack of 3) - homebrew

Postby Kurgan » Friday February 4th, 2022 6:52pm

Thanks to Lee over at CovertNerd podcast for linking us! He has done some cool episodes on tabletop gaming and in fact his first episode was devoted to his memories of HeroQuest. |_P


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Re: Dwarf Solo Quests (pack of 3) - homebrew

Postby Bareheaded Warrior » Wednesday December 28th, 2022 6:44am

Firstly, I hold those who create Quests and share them on the Inn, in the highest regard, so thumbs up for your contribution.

In the spirit of constructive criticism, allow me to pick up on a few points on your Quests, based on a read-through only as I haven’t yet had the chance to play them as my gaming group is diverse and meets infrequently so these days, so we generally only get the chance to run a single quest with a particular group of Heroes and then some time later another one-off Quest with a slightly different group.

I’ve posted elsewhere that one of the often perceived flaws in HeroQuest is the lack of an advancement system, however HeroQuest does in fact have an advancement system but it has a few flaws and isn’t particularly well balanced. That said, one of the things that helps within that system is the potential for all gold and equipment to be lost when a Hero dies, so much so that I’m considering returning to a harsher early version of those rules (but need to consider how that’ll work with the Elixir of Life) so for me the idea of a catch-up quest or series of quests that allows a single Hero to receive a massive cash injection in a relatively short space of time really does sound a death knell for the advancement system (although this criticism can be levelled at some official quests too, so you are in good company there) and this series of Quests results in around 2500 gold coins worth of weapons and armour, some really generous Quest rewards, tons of special treasure along with 4 permanent artefacts all to a single Hero across only three quests, roughly this is equivalent to the whole 14 quests of the Game System!

Onto the Quest Book itself

The Introduction

“for HeroQuest classic” – I assume here that classic refers to any edition other than the current “US 2nd Edition” if so then it would be useful if you could be more specific around the edition that your Quests have been built for / play tested in UK/EU 1st or 2nd Edition, US 1st Edition, Japanese Edition etc

You mention that some components from KK and ROTWL might be needed to play but it would be more useful if you listed them out - Artefact Card, Spell Scrolls (and on the subject of spell scrolls and the Alchemists Shop it would be useful to know which spell scrolls and potions are available for these Quests is it all of them from KK and ROTWL only or any and all that a player might have access to from these and any other official expansions?

The use of a slash “/” usually implies an “or” but in the context here I assume it is an “&”/”and” it might be worth amending this.

“It is a series that should be played in order. Body/Mind Points restore between quests as normal.

Harder version: Dwarf cannot visit Armory/Alchemist Shop between quests.

Easier version: Dwarf starts with three Potions of Healing (restores Body Points equivalent to the roll of 1 Red Die each).”

In light of the great debate around the ‘playing the Quests as a series’ in ATOH, I think the section above could be reworded for a little more clarity. Do you mean that players have the option to play this as a series or as individual quests (but in sequence)? If they choose to play as a series does that mean that they get to choose the harder version and don’t get to visit the Armory and/or the Alchemists Shop (which makes sense as that is common rules for playing as a series) or they get to choose the easier version of playing as a series, which means they get 3 Healing Potions but they can visit the Armory and/or Alchemists Shop between quests which seems strange for playing as a series or is the easier version just to play them as individual quests in order (standard) in which case do they still get the potions?

“for their quality and unique qualities” repetition of the word quality/ies there, perhaps ‘unique properties’ might be better (although having Borin’s Armour available in this Quest Pack in addition to the Game System / Gathering Storm does undermine the uniqueness a little as your group could end up with same artefact twice!

Quest 1: “The Hidden Lab.”

I dread stretched out quests, like the infamously drawn out ending of Prince Magnus’s Gold aka The Long Walk and I found that this stretched out property can be caused by a few different things that might be alright on their own and in small doses but in excess or in combination which each other inevitably causes loads of back-tracking for Heroes and groans from players
1. Too many rooms that don’t further the plot, just another room with a monster that you kill and move on
2. Too many secret doors on the critical path, either means that you have to meticulously search every single room for secret doors, which is dull, or risk missing one and later, possibly much later, having to backtrack and re-search areas to locate a secret door that you missed on the first pass.
3. The overuse of keys or other devices that again, force players to search everywhere meticulously or risk having to back track and retrace your steps again through rooms that you have already cleared once but missed something somewhere

In this first Quest almost the entire board is used every room bar two making it a whopper of a quest for starters, combined with a huge 11 secret doors (I think), plus on top of all that there are 3 keys needed to get passed certain points – one of which, failure to find it will force players to backtrack to the previous quest! - this combination I suspect has a great risk of this being a very time-consuming quest to complete possibly having to back-track across the huge board over and over again.

Goblins with Crossbows - I prefer arming Goblins with Bows (as a Crossbow but 2AD) and Orcs with Crossbows so that they keep the same Attack Dice in close and ranged combat keeps things simpler (it also ties into the logic that Goblins like Wizards lack the physical strength required to load a crossbow hence the Wizards inability to use one)

Monster drops an item when killed – this mechanism is in the official quests but I was never clear on whether the Hero killing the Monster got the item automatically as a free pick up, whether that item became the room treasure recovered when the room was searched for treasure or whether it depended on how the monster was killed, close combat – free pickup or ranged attack – room search – it would be good to clarify.

I really like the ‘moving bookcase’ reveals a secret room mechanism, but felt that it was used twice and on neither occasion was there anything special in the secret room which was a shame. The addition of a clarification that the new area was a distinct room combined with the need to add notation to explain the mechanism did make me wonder whether a secret door placed behind a bookcase on a 4 square wall, so that the bookcase could just slide 1 square to the side in order to reveal the standard secret door, might work better.

The Potion of Restoration giving (presumably restoring) +6 BP will, in almost every circumstance, take a Hero to their starting BP, wouldn’t it be easier to just state restores to full or starting BP.

Could this potion be used in the ‘saving yourself from death by potion’ rules – assuming you are using those, which might depend on your answer to the earlier edition rules question?

Can doors that require keys to open by broken down by force or opened using the Genie spell – I assume not for the former and maybe for the latter but it would be good to clarify in the Quest Notes

Quest Note H & F – presumably the Dwarf opening the chest in Room marked “H” would be unable to see the secret door in Room marked “F” as it is outside his line of sight, do you still place the secret door and reveal the room contents and monsters at this point?

Quest Note F – how is the Dwarf player expected to work out that they need to turn the White key (from chest “H”) in the Tomb's lock, there needs to be a clue or similar at this point or an alternative path to avoid them just getting stuck at this point unable to exit the quest

Quest Note G – the poison needle on the trap is effectively instantly neutralised by the anti-poison quill, it might be better to have the quill found separately and earlier as otherwise this feels like a zero-sum game, open chest, get poisoned, get healed by contents of chest, net result zero, then move on

This first Quest contains 10 items of special treasure (excluding permanent Artefacts and anything drawn from the treasure deck) which is really very generous and perhaps defeats the object of having a Treasure Deck and certainly means that the Dwarf’s expectations and pockets are going to get seriously inflated (I hope he gets the chance to hire some porters!)

Quest 2: “Relics of a Genius”

Quest Note B (and G): Searching for Treasure reveals two vials of medicine (each will restore up to 6 lost body points).
Does this statement “each will restore up to 6 lost body points” mean that these medicine vials work in the same way as the Potion of Restoration from the previous Quest - the equivalent to Quest Note E in the previous Quest “Potion of Restoration (+6 BP)” OR that they work in an equivalent way to the three Potions of Healing given away from free at the start (restores Body Points equivalent to the roll of 1 Red Die each).”

Quest 3: “Barracks – Escape!”
I found the preponderance of the same Quest Note indicators on the board here a little confusing, I think it might benefit from a little rework, not broken but a little confusing

Using the same Quest Note indicator for both the trigger and the effect and having multiple triggers and effects using the same Quest Note indicator is confusing, for example if I step on a square marked ‘A’ does this open all the trapdoors marked A or just those on the corresponding side?

The Quest Note indicators for A & B trapdoors are placed directly by the corresponding trapdoor but those for C are not, this wouldn’t usually be a problem as they just indicate the room, but as you are using the same indicator ‘A’ for both trigger and effects this can be confusing, what would happen if I were to step onto the square marked C in either of the rooms containing the Chaos Warriors – nothing I think

If I were to keep to my right when entering this Quest I could bypass all the monsters and rooms and simply exit the quest in minutes without a scratch, is that your intention, it certainly seems to be unbalanced compared to the first Quest that is likely to entail the players let alone the Hero having to bring at least 3 days worth of iron rations?
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Re: Dwarf Solo Quests (pack of 3) - homebrew

Postby Kurgan » Wednesday December 28th, 2022 5:56pm

At last! I appreciate feedback and will read this over when I have more time... thanks in advance! |_P

Update #1:

A couple of quick things, while this wasn't to excuse it being too difficult or buggy, I was patterning this off of the idea of a trio of Solo Quests for a "new hero" under the NA rules (same as the remake rules) following the pattern of the Elf and Barbarian quest packs of 1992. "Classic HeroQuest" to some may mean one of the EU editions, so I can revise that and a few small things easily enough. I did use the icons and mapping color conventions of the NA system from 1990 (minus the yellowed background added by my editor!). One interesting thing about the 1st edition is that you could search corridors for treasure (guaranteed treasure deck draw), but this virtually guarantees that most quests will allow you to get all the "good" cards out of the deck, and there's more potential gold to be found in the EU (up to 390; vs. 250 for NA, though MOTM adds an extra 300 gold card to the list). Playing under the Japanese rules would make the experience very different indeed!

Some of the conventions I used, like repeating the letter at the start trigger and result end, or putting a poison cure inside a chest trapped with a poison trap are also tropes borrowed from official quests (disarming the trap prevents you losing it).

I did make great use of notes in one quest but I don't consider that an error as the Treasure Deck is still usable in a couple of rooms at least.

Potions of restoration & medicine are just label changes of the same thing for the sake of variety.

The "instant potion use to save from death" thing is an uncontroversial part of the basic NA rules (the only "controversy" was whether or not this is a "good" thing, and the related topic of whether an unused healing SPELL should save the dying hero when death occurs on Zargon's turn).

Listing precisely what extra components not found in the GS that are needed is a good point. The Anti-Poison Quill comes from Return of the Witch Lord. The Random Spell Scrolls are something introduced in earlier packs, and they indicate whatever Scroll Artifacts you have can be used to buff out that pile. So any number of Spell Scrolls could be added here (they appear in KK, ROTWL, but also in the Frozen Horror... Mage of the Mirror has only one, making it impossible to draw a "random" one from a pile that consists of only one card!). To get 12 secret doors, one would need to own ROTWL and add EQP, it's true as none of the other official NA packs come with additional tiles of this kind, another good point. Monster wise, I went heavy on the greenskins, and asked for 4 Fimir at a time, which would require Kellar's Keep.

More later... and again thanks, not trying to shoot down everything. To make the quests shorter and easier I'd probably have to remove a lot of stuff, because I do kind of assume the Hero will carefully pick his way through the quest rather than running through and forgetting to search for things... which a beginner might do without Zargon's hint-dropping (which shouldn't be necessary).


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Re: Dwarf Solo Quests (pack of 3) - homebrew

Postby Bareheaded Warrior » Monday January 2nd, 2023 5:13am

Kurgan wrote:I did make great use of notes in one quest but I don't consider that an error as the Treasure Deck is still usable in a couple of rooms at least.


I don't consider it an error either, I just felt that making so many exceptions to the standard in this instance makes the exception feel like the standard!
Generally I only "overrule" the Treasure Deck for exceptional reasons like something specific that is needed within the Quest (especially when the something is like "Dust Of Disappearance" that you can't get any other way as it isn't in the Treasure Deck)

Kurgan wrote:Potions of restoration & medicine are just label changes of the same thing for the sake of variety.


I understand, it was just I think there is a risk of confusion, especially for new players, around these three items that are similarly worded but subtley different

Potion of Healing (given away at the start and via the Treasure Cards) = "restoring the number of Body Points equal to a roll of one red die." (i.e. up to 6 BPs)

Your Potion of Restoration = "+6 BP" which really restores a number of lost Body Points up to 6

Your Medicine Vial = "restore up to 6 lost body points"

I think that it would be simpler to change the text of your Potion of Restoration and Medicine Vial to "restores all lost Body Points" as that is simpler and in virtually all situations amounts to the same thing

Kurgan wrote:The "instant potion use to save from death" thing is an uncontroversial part of the basic NA rules (the only "controversy" was whether or not this is a "good" thing, and the related topic of whether an unused healing SPELL should save the dying hero when death occurs on Zargon's turn).


Agreed, but under your rules can you save yourself from death by drinking a Potion of Restoration or a Medicine Vial or is it only the Healing Potion as per the official rules?

Kurgan wrote:To get 12 secret doors, one would need to own ROTWL and add EQP, it's true as none of the other official NA packs come with additional tiles of this kind

To make the quests shorter and easier I'd probably have to remove a lot of stuff, because I do kind of assume the Hero will carefully pick his way through the quest rather than running through and forgetting to search for things... which a beginner might do without Zargon's hint-dropping (which shouldn't be necessary).


I wasn't commenting on the difficulty, nor was I complaining about the size of the first Quest. My concern was more about how a combination of factors, any of which are probably fine on their own, actually play out.

Yes the first quest is big, not a problem in itself (although the 3 Quests appear to get shorter as you go through the sequence which is unusual, typically the last Quest of a set is the bigger one, but not a problem)

1. Your use of keys is an example of a mechanism that isn't a problem but does come with a risk of forcing players to have to do a dull back-track if they have missed something that later turns out to be essential (again not a reason not to use this mechanism but something to bear in mind)

2. Your use of secret doors that are on the critical path (by which I mean you have to use them to complete the Quest), again not necessarily a problem in its own right but it does have the risk of causing undue back-tracking

However if you combine the key mechanism with the very large number of secret doors then the risk of back-tracking becomes a high risk, combine that with the fact that if you do end up back-tracking, then you are doing so with only 1 Hero in a very large dungeon and there I think lies the problem.

I would suggest dropping a few rooms out of the first Quest and converting many, if not most, of the secret doors into regular ones (especially where they are on the critical path).

I've started a topic around Dungeon Design: Creating Your Own Quests which, assuming you are not already familiar with concepts like the "critical path", may help you get what I'm talking about. The first article linked to in that topic is a really great primer that explains some of these concepts a lot better than I am doing!
Last edited by Bareheaded Warrior on Tuesday January 3rd, 2023 6:15am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dwarf Solo Quests (pack of 3) - homebrew

Postby Kurgan » Tuesday January 3rd, 2023 12:31am

Bareheaded Warrior wrote:Potion of Healing (given away at the start and via the Treasure Cards) = "restoring the number of Body Points equal to a roll of one red die." (i.e. up to 6 BPs)

Your Potion of Restoration = "+6 BP" which really restores a number of lost Body Points up to 6

Your Medicine Vial = "restore up to 6 lost body points"

I think that it would be simpler to change the text of your Potion of Restoration and Medicine Vial to "restores all lost Body Points" as that is simpler and in virtually all situations amounts to the same thing


The classic healing potions (NA edition) specifically indicate the "1-6" comes from the roll of one red die. By not mentioning the red die Or the "1-___" I am implying that they do just what it says. You can't go over your maximum, so the Dwarf dying and drinking one comes back with 6. If he has one missing only, he goes to 7.

Agreed, but under your rules can you save yourself from death by drinking a Potion of Restoration or a Medicine Vial or is it only the Healing Potion as per the official rules?
[

The official rules include literally anything that can heal you above zero to be a healing potion so long as its something you have in your possession (not reliant upon another hero working it on your or giving it to you on THEIR next turn). The controversy over the SPELLS was that it uses an action and "can you use the action when it's not your turn as an exception?" I say "Yes" to the latter. But the Potion thing is really no house rule at all. You literally can come back from zero body points on your turn if you have any kind of "potion" that restores life, not just "Potion of Healing." Potion of Restoration for example is a "healing potion" even though it has a different name. So is Potion of Superior Restoration. Since I introduced new potions that heal you under a different name, all of them count. I get what you're saying but I think it's kind of nitpicking and I don't think anyone really is confused by this. Again, appreciate the feedback!


I wasn't commenting on the difficulty, nor was I complaining about the size of the first Quest. My concern was more about how a combination of factors, any of which are probably fine on their own, actually play out.


Agreed. I'm particularly sensitive to long quests. There are lots of players out there that to them the gold standard is a simple quest that can be completed in an hour or less. I didn't set out to please those folks, because I was imitating some of the conventions of other official quests that typically take much longer, even if the person got very lucky (conversely a quest could be very short because they DIED but that's not typically what people are talking about, they mean how long to victory if everyone was reasonably trying).

Yes the first quest is big, not a problem in itself (although the 3 Quests appear to get shorter as you go through the sequence which is unusual, typically the last Quest of a set is the bigger one, but not a problem)


Yeah I did that on purpose. One could see the final quest as a weak-point like it was thrown together because I didn't really know how to end it (a common problem among writers). I have since come up with a final puzzle to make it more interesting, but I'm not quite sure yet how to balance it with the "ever growing horde in pursuit" mechanic I've already based it around.

1. Your use of keys is an example of a mechanism that isn't a problem but does come with a risk of forcing players to have to do a dull back-track if they have missed something that later turns out to be essential (again not a reason not to use this mechanism but something to bear in mind)


I could remind them that they need to have the key before they leave the area (even do role playing type stuff like mention the walls are painted with symbols of the new color, or the uniforms of the monsters match the color, etc). Why have the keys at all? I'm wanting to make it more challenging by requiring those things before they move on. Why keys at all? Why not a one time breaking of a seal that grants access to the next area? Why not kill another monster that grants another key? I wanted it to feel like they were in a kind of high security installation (at least for the setting) rather than just a random dungeon that some monsters happened to be wandering through at the same time as the Dwarf).


2. Your use of secret doors that are on the critical path (by which I mean you have to use them to complete the Quest), again not necessarily a problem in its own right but it does have the risk of causing undue back-tracking

However if you combine the key mechanism with the very large number of secret doors then the risk of back-tracking becomes a high risk, combine that with the fact that if you do end up back-tracking, then you are doing so with only 1 Hero in a very large dungeon and there I think lies the problem.


I will keep thinking about this. I thought one solution would be to take each layer and turn it into its own quest. Maybe that would make it easier to complete in multiple sessions (without feeling like a giant, multi-session quest after another!). If I give the keys too easily then it's more like window dressing rather than an actual difficulty mechanic. Maybe in the easy mode a "skeleton key" just gets you everywhere?

I would suggest dropping a few rooms out of the first Quest and converting many, if not most, of the secret doors into regular ones (especially where they are on the critical path).


There are several empty "breather" rooms I could get rid of, and cram the quest into the remaining rooms. That would save some secret doors too. There's no shortage of treasure.

I've started a topic around [url=http://forum.yeoldeinn.com/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=6338]Dungeon Design: Creating Your Own Quests
which, assuming you are not already familiar with concepts like the "critical path", may help you get what I'm talking about. The first article linked to in that topic is a really great primer that explains some of these concepts a lot better than I am doing![/quote]

I've written very few quests in my career, so I'm happy for the feedback and suggestions. Not all official quests are "well designed" either so I could be copying the wrong things!


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