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An Improving Wizard (magic rules rewrite)

Discuss new Rules for HeroQuest.

An Improving Wizard (magic rules rewrite)

Postby cornixt » Wednesday February 4th, 2015 3:43pm

I mentioned this on another thread, but I'm going to flesh it out a bit more here to avoid flooding that with two different discussions. Thanks for the positive comments so far. I think this fixes all the issues there are with the wizard - being hard to use effectively throughout a quest and advancement after. Still in draft form though.

Instead of the current magic system, make magic effectiveness be based on combat dice rolls. Then the wizard can upgrade by buying items that increase the number of dice rolled, so he actually improves at magic as the game progresses exactly like the other adventurers do with combat. The elf gets to join in with the same magic system too, but he has to choose between magic and combat weapons. Since each spell is effectively weaker than before, or at least not a guarantee, multiple castings aren't a big deal. It also means that the wizard doesn't need to "save" any spells for a better moment and will never "waste" any. The healing spell is going to be hardest to balance, so that one will need a lot more thinking about. Still plenty of room for adjustment before all spells are finalized, can add spells back in that I removed. Not sure if a fully-tooled-up wizard will actually be too good. With this system you could get away with only one card for each lore, assuming you can fit all the spells on it.

Here's a rough idea for item progression:
Wand - starting weapon - 1 combat die to attack, 1 combat die for spells
Staff - 200 - 2 combat dice to attack, diagonal attacks, two handed, 1 combat die for spells
Orb - 300 - +1 combat die for spells
Battle Staff - 500 - As staff, 2 combat dice for spells. Cannot be used with other weapons.
Power Staff - 1000 - As staff, 3 combat dice for spells. Cannot be used with other weapons.
[I'm not sure what anyone is doing about equipment limitations, since the official rules don't bar a single hero from carrying everything and switching when convenient - you need to prevent the elf from flipping between battleaxe/crossbow and then getting awesome magic powers]


Rules for Casting
Roll combat dice to determine the effectiveness of the spell. Each skull rolled is a success, so if you roll two skulls then you have scored two successes for that spell. Each spell may be used as many times as you like during a quest, unless specified.


The Spells

Fire
Fire of Wrath - This spell may be cast on any one monster, blasting it into flames. It will inflict 1 Body Point of damage for each success.

Courage - This spell may be cast on any one Hero, including yourself. Until the end of his turn, that Hero may roll 1 extra combat dice to attack for each success.

Air
Swift Wind - This spell may be cast on any one Hero, including yourself. Its powerful burst of energy enables that Hero to roll an additional red die the next time he moves for each success.

Tempest - This spell creates a small whirlwind that envelops one monster of your choice. For each success, that monster loses one combat die to attack until the end of his next turn.

Water
Veil of Mist - This spell may be cast on any one Hero, including yourself. If you roll at least once success, the hero may move unseen through spaces that are occupied by monsters on his next move.

Water of Healing - This spell may be cast on any one Hero, including yourself. Roll combat dice to determine effectiveness. Contact with this revitalizing water will restore one Body Point per success, for up to 4 lost Body Points, but will not give a Hero more than his starting number. Only one use per hero per quest.

Earth
Rock Skin - This spell may be cast on any one Hero, including yourself. Until the end of his turn, that Hero may roll 1 extra combat dice to defend for each success.

Pass Through Rock - This spell may be cast on any one Hero, including yourself. If you roll at least once success, that hero may then move through walls on his next move. He may move through as many walls as his dice roll allows. Caution! If a Hero ends his move in solid rock he is trapped forever!


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Re: An Improving Wizard (magic rules rewrite)

Postby slev » Thursday February 5th, 2015 5:16am

With Pass Through Rock, it is a high untility spell, so you may want to make it a little more difficult to cast. One success on self, two (or three) on another figure.

With Water of Healing, you should probably skip the 4BP limit to make things easier. If the wizard is invested enough and lucky enough (1 in 32) to do 5BP healing, let them.

To combat the "Item switching", I'd make the Power and Battle Staff "Wizard Only".
Further, while making the items double-up as melee weapons is useful, their equivilents appear in the game already, so you may want to switch these to magic-only spell-buff items.

Here's how I'd put it
Ring of Power - 100 - one white die for spells. Starting item for Elf & Wizard.
Energy Jewel - 125 - +1 combat dice for spells. Starting Item for Wizard.
Wizard's Orb - 200 - +1 combat die for spells, Wizard Only.
Wand of Focus - 400 - +1 combat dice for spells.
Rod of Mastery - 500 - +1 combat dice for spells.
Scroll of Magic - 25 - One use only, +1 combat dice for one spell.
Power Staff - 500 - 2 combat dice for melee, may attack diagonally, two-handed weapon.


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Re: An Improving Wizard (magic rules rewrite)

Postby torilen » Thursday February 5th, 2015 9:54am

I'm intrigued. Very interesting idea, and it allows for the wizard to be much more
useful throughout the entire game.


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Re: An Improving Wizard (magic rules rewrite)

Postby cornixt » Thursday February 5th, 2015 12:42pm

Here's something I wrote offline last night, so I haven't taken into account the responses since then:
I removed spells because the existing ones were often too powerful re-usable or just duplicated another one. I may have been a bit hasty, since I had been thinking about getting rid of the lores completely and just having a spell list, so I left it at what I had rather than adding them back in since it would leave some lores with more spells than others. I'm going to try adding in one "one use only" spell per lore, thereby allowing me to keep the healing spells and have some more powerful spells without changing everything too much. There needs to be a balance so that the starting wizard isn't too weak and the experienced wizard isn't too strong. I worry that some of the spells might be very rarely used if others are just that much better.

I wanted all the spells to be re-usable in some capacity. Here are my opinions on the regular HQ spells when it comes to re-usability:

Fire of Wrath - combat spell. No issues with making this re-usable since it is no better than a thrown knife.
Courage - combat booster. If it only lasted one turn then it is re-usable, otherwise overpowered
Ball of Flame - better version of Fire of Wrath. Too strong and would make that spell pointless if this was re-usable.

Swift Wind - Few quests are decided by one guy running around quickly, re-usable is fine
Tempest - A bit too good to be re-usable, should be reduced in power for that.
Genie - Only ever used for combat, too strong to be re-usable.

Water of Healing - Far too good to be re-usable. Difficult to reconcile.
Sleep - Same as Tempest
Veil of Mist - Sneaking around is rarely as good as killing things, so re-usable.

Heal Body - Same as Water of Healing.
Rock Skin - Too good to be re-usable, should be reduced in power/duration for that.
Pass Through Rock - Allows the user to sidestep any traps, so probably too good to be re-usable.


So here is an updated version:

Fire
Fire of Wrath - This spell may be cast on any one monster, blasting it into flames. It will inflict 1 Body Point of damage for each success, which may be defended as normal.

Courage - This spell may be cast on any one Hero, including yourself. Until the end of his turn, that Hero may roll 1 extra combat dice to attack for each success.

Ball of Flame - [completely new] One use only. This spell may only be cast on yourself. It will inflict 2 Body Points of damage on each adjacent monster or hero, for each success.

Air
Swift Wind - This spell may be cast on any one Hero, including yourself. Its powerful burst of energy enables that Hero to roll an additional red die the next time he moves for each success.

Tempest - This spell creates a small whirlwind that envelops one monster of your choice. For each success, that monster loses one combat die to attack until the end of his next turn.

Genie - One use only. This spell conjures up a Genie who will do one of the following: open any door revealing what lies beyond, OR use 5 combat dice to attack any monster within your line of sight.


Water
Veil of Mist - This spell may be cast on any one Hero, including yourself. If you roll at least one success, the hero may move unseen through spaces that are occupied by monsters on his next move.

Sleepy - For each success, that monster loses one combat die to defend until the end of his next turn. May not be used against Mummies, Zombies, or Skeletons.

Water of Healing - One use only. This spell may be cast on any one Hero, including yourself. Contact with this relitalizing water will restore up to 4 lost Body Points, but will not give a Hero more than his starting number.


Earth
Rock Skin - This spell may be cast on any one Hero, including yourself. Until the end of his turn, that Hero may roll 1 extra combat dice to defend for each success.

Pass Through Rock - This spell may be cast on any one Hero, including yourself. If you roll at least two successes, that hero may then move through walls on his next move. He may move through one wall. Caution! If a Hero ends his move in solid rock he is trapped forever!

Heal Body - One use only. This spell may be cast on any one Hero, including yourself. Its magical power will immediately restore up to 4 lost Body Points, but does not give a hero more than his starting number.


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Re: An Improving Wizard (magic rules rewrite)

Postby cynthialee » Thursday February 5th, 2015 1:29pm

How about a diminishing spell?
Like Genie:
The first time cast it inflicts 5 dice, the second 4 dice, the next 3 and so on until it goes down to 0. Doors may only be opened if the Genie has at least 2 dice.
Could do the same with the fire spells...
The pass through Rock spell could be limited to one time per hero in a 24 hour period. {which would pretty much be 1 time per quest for each hero.}
Healing: Once per hero per quest or... diminishing heals. First heal is 5 dice next 4 dice...
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.
~Sun Tsu The art of War~


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Re: An Improving Wizard (magic rules rewrite)

Postby slev » Thursday February 5th, 2015 1:35pm

cynthialee wrote:How about a diminishing spell?
Like Genie:
The first time cast it inflicts 5 dice, the second 4 dice, the next 3 and so on until it goes down to 0. Doors may only be opened if the Genie has at least 2 dice.
Could do the same with the fire spells...
The pass through Rock spell could be limited to one time per hero in a 24 hour period. {which would pretty much be 1 time per quest for each hero.}
Healing: Once per hero per quest or... diminishing heals. First heal is 5 dice next 4 dice...


The easier way to represent that would be to expand the number of spells in the group, so your exampleGenie becomes five slightly different spells.


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Re: An Improving Wizard (magic rules rewrite)

Postby torilen » Thursday February 5th, 2015 2:28pm

I don't see any of the spells becoming really overpowered, if the roll of combat dice is
used to determine if it even goes off or not. As for some of those spells that last "until
no monsters are visible" - perhaps change those to a number of turns equal to successes.
For Genie - if it attacks, it could simply attack with a number of AD equal to successes,
up to a total of 5.


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Re: An Improving Wizard (magic rules rewrite)

Postby cynthialee » Thursday February 5th, 2015 3:38pm

I am kind of opposed to the idea of a chance of spell failure. I know the luck of my players, a string of botches is not uncommon for them. Start introducing a chance for spell failure and I could see the Wizard go through the dungeon and not once get a spell to work. That would be so frustrating I wouldn't want to play the Wizard again.
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.
~Sun Tsu The art of War~


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Re: An Improving Wizard (magic rules rewrite)

Postby cornixt » Thursday February 5th, 2015 3:58pm

In theory, combat attacks can fail just as much. While I like the idea of diminishing returns for some spells, the extra book-keeping would drive me mad. At least with one-use spells you can flip the card over when you use it. Having to stack a number of tokens or dice on the card gets to a level of hassle that I don't think suits HQ.

I think I'm happy with the general mechanism. Still not 100% sure on the one-use spells, but their tie to the original spells makes them seem a lot better. The items and spells need a bit more work. I can already see some killer combos (wizard casts combat booster on barbarian, barbarian slaughters, repeat). At least the 50% success rate for each dice makes probabilities easy to work out.


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Re: An Improving Wizard (magic rules rewrite)

Postby torilen » Thursday February 5th, 2015 7:52pm

I was going to say the same thing - any combat-oriented character would have the same chance of
complete failure and get discouraged. If the spells are reusable, the chance of failure is not so horrible.
And, really, since a lot of spells can be cast at a good distance, the returns are better than hand-to-hand
combat.

As for diminishing use spells - it is a fine balance of a great idea and something that WOULD be loads of fun
to use...and the horrible reality of book keeping that bogs down the mind and dulls the senses.

I like to keep things are just two or three uses per quest, and use homemade tokens to keep track. Give the
tokens to the player at the start, and take one when they make use of it. You can make more uses, but it
starts to get crowded on the table with 5-10 tokens for several different spells or magic items.


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