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combat house rules - counterattack and barbarian berserk

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combat house rules - counterattack and barbarian berserk

Postby naf » Monday March 4th, 2013 3:36pm

I've been brainstorming some ideas to make combat in HQ a little more interesting without having to add complicated rules, extra chits/tokens, etc. I want to keep the simplistic spirit of the game intact.

1) Both monsters and heroes defend using the white shield :whiteshield: - I've always hated that the monsters defend on the black shield, it's almost not fair. I feel like the dice odds should be equal for heroes and monsters, it's the amount of dice thrown that determines how well you defend.

2) When attacking, throwing a black shield :blackshield: denotes a critical miss - you automatically miss and do no damage, plus the monster you're attacking gets a free counterattack. Hero can defend the counterattack as normal.

I've been thinking about giving a special combat related rule to the barbarian, since out of the 4 hero's the only thing he has going for him is an extra body point.

3) Berserker rage: When attacking, if you kill a monster, and roll a black shield :blackshield: , you trigger the barbarians berserker rage. He immediately makes another attack on an adjacent monster of the barbarian's choosing. The attack proceeds as normal. He can continue making berserker attacks as long as he kills the monster, rolls the black shield, and has adjacent targets.

My original idea was to have a berserker attack triggered when you roll all skulls (massive damage triggers the rage!) However, that approach would favor lower quality weapons, as they throw less dice and would have a greater chance to get all skulls. This didn't make sense thematically, a barbarian with a battle axe should go on the rampage more than if he was armed with a lowly dagger. With the black shield being the trigger, it won't activate every combat, and the better the weapon used, the greater chance you have to go berserk - barbarian feels a lot more cocky with better weapons. The rule encourages the barbarian player to charge into the thick of battle (as I think he would), so that there are plenty of adjacent targets to attack if he rages.

I welcome any and all comments. I haven't tested any of these rules out, they are just the results of my brainstorming in order to make combat a bit more interesting. I like the idea of combat potentially going back and forth with the counterattacks. I'm going to play my next couple of games using these new rules, and will report how it plays out.
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Re: combat house rules - counterattack and barbarian berserk

Postby Blackthorn » Tuesday March 5th, 2013 1:13pm

Here are my initial impressions:

1) This would make the game much more difficult. Imagine trying to kill a Chaos warrior or one of the powerful monsters from the Quest Packs if they could defend with white shields. It could be a good option for ramping up the challenge, if that's what you want to do.

2) I don't like this idea because it punishes heroes will stronger weapons. The more attack dice you roll, the greater the odds of a critical miss.

3) I like this idea best of all, especially since the Barbarians built in advantage goes away once the heroes obtain more powerful weapons and artifacts.
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Re: combat house rules - counterattack and barbarian berserk

Postby naf » Tuesday March 5th, 2013 2:35pm

Blackthorn wrote:Here are my initial impressions:

1) This would make the game much more difficult. Imagine trying to kill a Chaos warrior or one of the powerful monsters from the Quest Packs if they could defend with white shields. It could be a good option for ramping up the challenge, if that's what you want to do.


I'm indeed looking to ramp up the challenge, but perhaps this would make it too hard. I will need to play a few games with this rule in place and see how it goes.

Blackthorn wrote:2) I don't like this idea because it punishes heroes will stronger weapons. The more attack dice you roll, the greater the odds of a critical miss.


Yeah, I kind of thought about this last night as well. Another idea would be to have the heroes roll a red movement die with their combat roll. A roll of 6 gives you a critical hit, perhaps add an automatic unblockable point of damage. A roll of 1 gives a critical miss, where you do no damage and the monster can counterattack. If a 1/6 chance still ends up being too high, I could use a d10 or something, but I'd like to stick to the materials that come with the game. I'm trying to make it so that even though you're sporting the 4 combat dice battle axe, there is still some risk in attacking that group of lowly goblins. In my experience many of the 1 body point monsters barely get a chance to attack the heroes before they're killed, or only get in a single attack. Having an opportunity to counterattack gives them a bit more of a chance, and an added challenge for the heroes.

Blackthorn wrote:3) I like this idea best of all, especially since the Barbarians built in advantage goes away once the heroes obtain more powerful weapons and artifacts.


I like it too, I don't think it's overly powerful, and fits in well with the theme of an barbarian warrior.
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Re: combat house rules - counterattack and barbarian berserk

Postby torilen » Tuesday March 5th, 2013 7:45pm

If you were going to use the idea of rolling a red die along with the combat dice...might I suggest:
1 = -2 damage
2 = -1 damage
3/4 = +/- 0
5 = +1 damage (automatic, no block)
6 = +2 damage (automatic, no block)

For differently powered creatures, you could change this up. Maybe have a wider range for more powerful
creatures, so there would be more automatic damage, and a more narrow range for less powerful creatures.


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Re: combat house rules - counterattack and barbarian berserk

Postby Daedalus » Wednesday March 6th, 2013 4:30pm

If you use a 1-in-6 :blackshield: for a critical hit or miss, you'll be assingning a 1-in-3 chance of either event for every attack. This is just for Heroes, right? That means a combat with three or more Heroes will likely see a critical hit or fumble every turn. If that's the kind of swing you're looking for, there you go. Let us know how it works out. If that is too often, go with the odds of Advanced Heroquest, 1 in 12 for a critical hit or miss. You can get the same odds with two red dice by assigning a critical hit range of 11-12 and a miss range of 2-3.

Another way to model the Barbarian's rage would to be to give him an extended critical range. His critical hits could gain an extra, unblockable hit as with other Heroes, but he'd get that critical hit on a roll of 10-12. That's double the chance. You could also optionally assign him double the chance for a fumble with a roll of 2-4. While raging, he'd not only be more dangerous to monsters, but to himself as well. Double ranges could also work with a single red die. However, the swings would be kinda crazy. If you instead went with just a critical hit range of 5-6 and a critical miss range of just 1, then I'd leave the rage as is, without further benefit.

If the critical miss range is also doubled, then go ahead with the extra attack against an adjacent monster after a kill to maintain an edge for the Barbarian. The red dice/die will continue to work for further criticals. The Barbarian will be more fearsome with a large weapon anyway, but he'll also enjoy his doubled critical range. Those two factors should result in more kills to combine with criticals for even more extra attacks.

    :fimir: :barbarian: :fimir: RAURRGH! :skull: :skull: :whiteshield: + :skull:
    :skeleton: :barbarian: :fimir: RAURRGH again! :skull: :skull: :blackshield: + :skull:
    :skeleton: :barbarian: :skeleton: Oooo yeahhh!
Finally, simply allowing an extra attack with a critical hit worked in Advanced Heroquest. I imagine that would work eqully well in Hero Quest as an alternative to the extra, unblockable hit. Kills would be a little less certain, especially if monsters defend with a :whiteshield: , but Heroes gain an extra attack. Citing the Barbarian example again:

    :fimir: :barbarian: :fimir: RAURRGH! :skull: :whiteshield: :whiteshield:
    :fimir: :barbarian: :fimir: and RAURRGH! :skull: :skull: :whiteshield:
    :skeleton: :barbarian: :fimir: RAURRGH again! :skull: :skull: :blackshield:
    :skeleton: :barbarian: :fimir: GARN!
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Re: combat house rules - counterattack and barbarian berserk

Postby Bareheaded Warrior » Sunday April 2nd, 2023 5:06am

This is a mixed topic covering 3 distinct threads, the first one around Monster Defend Dice is covered more fully here
Monster's defend dice although that is a later topic it is a 'pure' one in that it covers just that single thread, so I would suggest that aspect of this topic continues there and I'll respond on this one around the Barbarian Berserk aspect, point (3) only.

My proposal is:

Special Ability: Battle Rage: As you attack a foe you fall into a berserk rage, sacrificing your own safety to press home frenzied attacks. Whilst in this state your attack dice are increased by one, but your defend dice are reduced by one. This state ends when, at the start of your turn, there are no opponents visible to you.


And I'm toying with the idea of banning the use of missile weapons (but not throwing weapons) whilst under the influence.

Introducing this rule would give the Barbarian a special ability like the dwarf's traps and the Wizard and Elf spell casting, would decouple the Barbarian's enhanced combat ability from any weapon choice which gives 2 benefits. The first being that it restores his advancement/upgrade path, so that he can start with a shortsword like everyone else, and gain benefits from upgrading to a Spear or Broadsword and so on like everyone else, the second being that his combat ability would not be lost when the other Heroes upgraded their equipment, he would retain an edge.
:skull: = white skull, one "hit"
:blackshield: = black skull, one "hit"
:whiteshield: = shield, cancels out one "hit"

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Re: combat house rules - counterattack and barbarian berserk

Postby Bareheaded Warrior » Saturday June 10th, 2023 11:50am

Another opinion that is relevant to the Barbarian "Battle Rage" aspect of this discussion from Carl Forhan published in Vindicator Volume 1 Number 4

HeroQuest Variants - Barbarian

The Barbarian starts off strong due to his high Body Points and broadsword. However, after several Quests it readily becomes apparent that the other Heroes possess advantages that can outweigh those of the Barbarian, especially once quantities of armour and weapons become available.

Therefore, the Barbarian is awarded one extra die for all attacks with a hand-to-hand weapon (swords, axes, etc). The starting weapon for the Barbarian is changed to a shortsword, since the bonus die will still allow three attack dice for the novice Hero. This bonus does not apply to any thrown or fired weapon such as a thrown dagger or crossbow.


This suggests a simple solution to the problem by giving the Barbarian a special ability to roll an extra combat die in attack (at least when attacking with hand-to-hand weapons), whilst I like this and its simplicity, I'm still tempted to offset this with one less combat die in defence, partly to represent the Barbarian wild and unrestrained style of combat, partly as one extra combat die in attack on its own seems a little too strong, and finally because a weaker defence plays balances nicely with his higher Body point total and improves the distinction between heroes.
:skull: = white skull, one "hit"
:blackshield: = black skull, one "hit"
:whiteshield: = shield, cancels out one "hit"

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