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Strength of Body/Mind Tests

Discuss new Rules for HeroQuest.

Strength of Body/Mind Tests

Postby Bareheaded Warrior » Monday May 23rd, 2022 4:58am

At various points in the rules (specifically the spell cards) we have, what I will refer to as, a “Strength of Mind” test using an existing value in the game Mind Points (although it isn’t stated whether it is starting Mind value or current Mind value – it doesn’t state ‘starting’ so I assume the reference is to ‘current’)

For example

“The spell can be broken immediately or on a future turn by the victim rolling one red die for each of his (current) Mind Points. If a 6 is rolled, the spell is broken.”


That got me thinking, so I want to discuss to several separate but related points,

1) Do we have a need for (or can the gameplay be enhanced by having…) an equivalent “Strength of Body” test?

2) If so, what form should it take (as presumably the two should be consistent) and are we happy with the “Strength of Mind” test as above
So in number order

1) Do we have a need for (or can the gameplay be enhanced by having…) an equivalent “Strength of Body” test?

This could be used in situations like … raising a portcullis, breaking down a door, lifting a particularly heavy tomb lid, escaping from a bear trap, or a bear hug…and so on

Note: A “Strength of Body” test unlike a “Strength of Mind” test cannot be applicable for Monsters as their Body points are not representative of their strength unlike Heroes, this isn’t an issue provided that we remember that a “Strength of Body” test can only be applicable to situations that a monster cannot be in!

2) What form should it take

The generic logical form for a “Strength of Body” test, echoing the existing “Strength of Mind” format would be

“… by the victim rolling one red die for each of his (current) Body Points. If a 6 is rolled, the effect is broken”

Pros –

No guaranteed success or failure
Law of diminishing returns applies
Easily extensible – if you get an extra Mind or Body starting point or two then nothing breaks and easy to handle

Cons - one minor issue I have with the current Mind mechanism and even more so for the Body equivalent is that you are potentially rolling 6,7,8,9 standard dice but there is only 2 in the game, not a serious issue, but not elegant

"Strength of Body/Mind" Test Percentages

Strength of Body

For stronger heroes at top or near to top condition – B, D, E the odds are 67-77% so 2/3 the equivalent to 3+ on a single red die which seems fair

For stronger heroes around the middle of their range and the Wizard at peak 42-52% so broadly 50-50 which again seems fair

Once we scrape the barrel, then things get hard as they should (and this provides another situation for using a Healing Potion rather than keeping it for your death save which is a minor benefit)

Strength of Mind

For the Wizard at or near to top condition – the odds are 67% so 2/3 the equivalent to 3+ on a single red die which seems fair

For average minded heroes at or near top condition and the Wizard around the middle of his range 42-52% so broadly 50-50 which again seems fair

% of success

1 – 17% - Minimum
2 – 31% - Barbarian MP full, Wizard BP half
3 – 42% - Dwarf MP full, Elf BP half
4 – 52% - Elf MP full, Wizard BP full, Barbarian BP half
5 – 60% - Alt Wizard MP full, Alt Wizard BP full
6 – 67% - Wizard MP full, Elf BP full
7 – 72% - Dwarf BP full
8 – 77% - Barbarian BP full
9 - 81%

Alternatives

Roll one red die, add your current Mind/Body point total, if 7 or more then pass otherwise fail

1 – 17% - Minimum
2 – 34% - Barbarian MP full, Wizard BP half
3 – 50% - Dwarf MP full, Elf BP half
4 – 66% - Elf MP full, Wizard BP full, Barbarian BP half
5 – 83% - Alt Wizard MP full, Alt Wizard BP full
6 – 100% - Wizard MP full, Elf BP full
7 – 100% - Dwarf BP full
8 – 100% - Barbarian BP full
9 - 100%

Not wildly different odds, at the lower end but your chances are definitely higher as you scale up and then you get auto-passes from 6 M/BP and above. It resolves the issue of rolling so many dice- but if you have multiple Heroes involved, such as lifting a portcullis, I guess you would just total the BP and probably get an automatic pass, but is that a bad thing, better or worse than having to roll potentially a dozen red dice just to see if you get at least one “six”.

One other advantage of the “one red die and add your M/BP” approach would be that you could easily increase the difficulty, for example if it is a particularly heavy portcullis you could make it 8+ or 9+ to lift, or if the caster of the “Control” spell had a MP value greater than 4, you could add one to the total for each excess MP, so against a MP=5 caster the roll would need to be 8+, MP=6 -> 9+ etc, this would lead to some impossible outcomes like a standard Barbarian with MP = 2 would never pass a “Strength of Mind” test against an opponent with a Mind Point score of 6 or more but perhaps we could add a condition that you automatically pass a Mind/Body test if you roll a natural 6 and automatically fail if you roll a natural 1?

Any thoughts / preferences?
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Re: Strength of Body/Mind Tests

Postby QorDaq » Monday May 23rd, 2022 12:43pm

This concept is a good one for discussion--in my opinion anyway.

"Back in the day", (1990-91), when I was running HQ frequently (Mostly homebrew Quests), I had decided to do something similar, but I cannot recall if it was a system I came up with or found elsewhere.

Regardless, I started out calling these Body or Mind Saves, though I think Test is better.

Initially, I had characters roll their stat (Body or Mind as appropriate) on 2D6 with a target # of their stat or less. It didn't take long to realize that with two dice, there was a significant bell curve on results, which did not accurately reflect a linear progression. I'm not a math guy, but that became obvious quickly. It may have been the first time I really started to grok the notion that multiple dice added together resulted in such patterns.

Next, I swapped out the 2D6 for 1D12. Much better, though not everyone has D12s and the like, so this wouldn't work for everyone. This worked pretty well, for us though, but I wasn't entirely satisfied with the high end 9-12 results and the overall increased failure rates.

Ultimately, I switched to a D10, with Hero stats roughly equating to percentages (by 10s). So a Barbarian would have a 20% chance to pass a "Mind Save" but an 80% to pass a "Body Save". For our games it worked fine, and was essentially a new mechanic (and die type). It also keeps the number of dice being rolled down--for good or ill.

In your proposal above, there is a clear advantage to having everything based on D6 results, regardless of how many dice the players have access to. With this in mind, and keeping the discussion focused on your ideas; I think maintaining consistency between the Body and Mind Tests is a preferred method. In other words, if the whole idea is being built around the existing Mental saves extant in the core system rules, then Body and Mind should work the same way.

Thus, within the keeping it simple realm, I'd argue for not adding a stat to the roll, and instead just using the existing methods for Mind while expanding it to include the Body variant.

However, as a personal preference, I do like the notion of adding the stat to a roll. but it is creating a whole new mechanic. New mechanics don't bother me, but I know there are purists out there who might shun such things.

Which brings us to your question; Do we "Need" a Body test in HQ? No, not RAW anyway, but I do think it's a potentially useful tool for homebrew content.

As an example: For several years I have gone back and forth on a Lock-picking system I have been (very casually) working on, built more or less around a Yahtzee like mechanic utilizing the CDs. If a lock-pick attempt fails, a Strength/ Body test would be the last resort.

Your own examples of lifting portcullis, breaking down doors, or lifting a tomb lid are also solid instances for using such a system.

In short, I do like the ideas you present, and look forward to seeing where this goes.
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Re: Strength of Body/Mind Tests

Postby cornixt » Monday May 23rd, 2022 1:51pm

I came up with something quite similar and stuck it on BGG, with the idea being that you could make a very light RPG:
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/277481 ... est/page/1
I set myself some pretty strict restrictions (only use the dice supplied in the set, no assigning new stats to characters) but the thread got a bit overwhelmed by one guy who wanted everyone to use his own system. Then Christmas hit and I didn't really have time to work on it, so it fell by the wayside.

It's a difficult thing to balance, it seems that everyone works out a different system of their own and no one else uses it.


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Re: Strength of Body/Mind Tests

Postby Bareheaded Warrior » Tuesday May 24th, 2022 5:20am

Some good points to consider

Whilst I agree this sits firmly in the homebrew camp, I am definitely restricting myself to the principles that you have indicated cornixt

[*]Only use the dice supplied in the set

[*]No assigning new stats to characters

[*]Strength of Body and Mind test to be consistent with each other

So sticking to using the dice types included in the game is a given for me, as is using the existing Mind and Body point stats as opposed to any new stats

QorDaq - I think you have hit on the crux of the matter, introducing "Strength of Body" tests that follow the same process as the existing "Strength of Mind" tests, whilst still homebrewing, meets all the criteria laid out above and could be considered as 'extending' the existing rules rather than bringing in a new mechanism (extension rather than a change) and if I'm honest that was my preference right up to the point when I was putting my notes in order to publish the first post!

However the more I think about this the more I dislike the inelegance of the existing approach and prefer the D6+current Mind/Body points approach, just imagining a Barbarian with 9BP or a Wizard with 7MP or worse, and having to roll the pair of red dice up to 4.5, 3.5 or more until they get an almost inevitable "6" doesn't sit right with me as it isn't quick and punchy in the flavour of HeroQuest, a roll should be a simple grab the appropriate number of dice and roll to get the result.

This may just be me clutching at straws to justify my gut feeling, but the existing "roll a die for each Mind point and try to get a six" does stand out in the game rules already, it is the only place, I think, where there is a test that uses the Mind points (and Body & Mind points are a unique pair of stats) and that mechanism is already unique.

In my "official rules" I've tried to keep homebrewing to a minimum and only changed things where I thought there was a definite need for clarification or to fix something that is clearly broken, or failing that on occasion to 'extend' rather than change and in these cases I have generally added an "alternative" or an "optional" rule but that said there is at least one occasion around search rules where I have broken that principle already. I'll mull over this a little more but I'm inclined, at the moment, to go with the D6+ Current Mind/Body approach...I think...
Last edited by Bareheaded Warrior on Saturday October 8th, 2022 12:53pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Strength of Body/Mind Tests

Postby gaeryth » Tuesday May 24th, 2022 10:47am

You can replicate a 1 in 6 chance with the combat die, and limit the number of dice rolled to 6 or less. That limits the number of dice rolled at once to what comes in the base game. This would limit the dwarf and barbarian to have the same chance to succeed in SoB rolls as the elf, but they can take a point or two of body damage before their strength is lowered.
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Re: Strength of Body/Mind Tests

Postby Agente Cooper » Tuesday May 24th, 2022 12:58pm

In Kellar there is an official test of strength and a test of knowledge. To beat it, simply roll two dice and roll a number equal to or less than your starting Body or Mind points.
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Re: Strength of Body/Mind Tests

Postby Bareheaded Warrior » Tuesday May 24th, 2022 3:10pm

Very good point gaeryth.

And the first version of my house rules did indeed use that, but I changed them, and for the life of me I now don’t remember any good reason why I did it…

Note to self: I really should implement version control / history of changes for the document but I just can’t be bothered!

The spell can be broken at once or on a future turn by the target rolling one combat die for each of his current Mind Points, the spell is broken if at least one black shield is rolled.


I didn’t limit the number of dice to six as you have suggested because I figured that occasions where you needed to take a Strength of Body/Mind test AND your current B/MPs were greater than six were infrequent enough not to worry about (especially as on rare occasions you actually need to roll more than six combat dice in actual combat so same applies)

You may have cracked it, let me dig out my original document and review (and possibly even add some version control…or not…)

Agente Cooper – you are right (although I don't have it to hand but I think it is current rather than starting MP) but I’m not a fan of that mechanism for several reasons.

1) It is a new mechanism that doesn’t exist elsewhere (although I have diluted that reason enough in this thread alone)
2) As QorDaq pointed out earlier 2D6 is not linear so you get an unbalanced result an extra M/BP either way has a non-linear effect which isn’t great*
3) The discrepancy between BP and MP makes the test seem unbalanced*
4) Rolling equal to or less than your current M/BP on 2 dice runs into problems when that value hits one (and becomes vanishingly small as you approach that number)
5) The odds for ‘lower’ end Heroes is really too low

*Points (2) and (3) may benefit from examples

The effect on the odds of a one-point difference in M/BPs varies in a non-linear fashion so for example a step up from 3 to 4 increases your odds by 3/36, however a step up from 6 to 7 increases your odds by twice as much 6/36. This feels odd in gameplay and also makes the differences between starting Mind and starting Body points stand out when using these tests because the highest starting Mind points is the Wizard at 6, then you have a 4/3/2 so average of 3 for the other Heroes so the odds of passing the official “Test Of Knowledge” for the Wizard is 15/36 (less than 50% for the best of the Heroes) and for the other Heroes, an average 3/36 which is very poor odds (and for the poor Barbarian a mere 1/36 which is almost no chance at all) and if you then compare that to the equivalent “Test of Strength”– the Barbarian gets an 26/36 meaning that the strongest (bodied) Hero has far greater chance of passing his equivalent test than the strongest (minded) Hero – so it seems unbalanced

That said I do quite like the terminology perhaps "Strength of Body Test" and "Strength of Mind Test" could be condensed into "Test of Strength" and "Test of Mind", or perhaps "Test of Will" ...
Last edited by Bareheaded Warrior on Tuesday May 24th, 2022 4:19pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Strength of Body/Mind Tests

Postby Agente Cooper » Tuesday May 24th, 2022 3:28pm

Everything in Heroquest is very simple, but it exists. Note that there are also modifiers. for example, the Dwarf only rolls one die on the knowledge check because he knows the ancient writings.
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Re: Strength of Body/Mind Tests

Postby Bareheaded Warrior » Wednesday May 25th, 2022 4:34am

I’ve now had a chance to refresh my brain on these rules in KK and it confirms what I suspected.

I think we are all agreed that Body and Mind Points are two sides of the same coin, complimentary stats, they are both pools of points with a starting and a current value, they can both be lost and restored in-quest, they are both restored to their starting value between quests, reduction to zero of either results in death (generally), for Heroes in the base game at least the starting values total to ten. These properties and I’m sure there are others are common to both and apply only to this pair of stats and not for example attack or defend characteristics

So it seems fair to assume that any test that uses these stats, whilst it may be different in structure to tests that apply to other stats, it should be consistent with each other

Everything in Heroquest is very simple, but it exists


A test that uses Mind Points already exists in the base game and is simple

“The spell can be broken immediately or on a future turn by the victim rolling one red die for each of his (current) Mind Points. If a 6 is rolled, the spell is broken.”

A test that uses Mind Points already exists in KK and is simple

“Roll two red dice. Pass if the total number rolled is equal to or less than his current number of mind points”

A test that uses Body Points already exists in KK and is simple

“Roll two red dice. Pass if the total number rolled is equal to or less than his starting number of body points”

However the fact that this gives us two different mechanisms of testing against the Mind Point stat and a third mechanism for testing against the Body Point stat that is subtlety different in text (but significantly difference in actual game play) than the other two test results in a situation that is NOT very simple, in fact I would say that this situation is potentially confusing and counter-intuitive.

Far simpler in my opinion would be to state something like the following

Test of Mind

To carry out this test, roll a combat die for each current Mind Point, if at least one black shield is rolled you have passed.

Test of Strength

To carry out this test, roll a combat die for each current Body Point, if at least one black shield is rolled you have passed.


You could then just update the relevant spell cards to state something like (note: there are a couple of minor differences on spell cards so check the exact wording)

“The spell can be broken immediately or on a future turn by the victim passing a Test of Mind.”

And for KK to get through the East Gate the Heroes need to pass a Test of Mind, the Dwarf getting an advantage in that he counts any White Shield as a pass rather than a Black Shield due to him having some knowledge of the magic used to lock the door

And to force open the long-locked door in The Great Citadel any Hero just needs to pass a Test of Strength
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Re: Strength of Body/Mind Tests

Postby Agente Cooper » Wednesday May 25th, 2022 11:50am

This is another genius of Heroquest, it is very easy to add new rules. Let's not forget also another test of strength in the Ogre Horde, to break down a stone door, you must get two skulls, rolling as many dice as your initial attack value.
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