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Torch Tiles - Don't be Afraid of the Dark

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Torch Tiles - Don't be Afraid of the Dark

Postby Kurgan » Tuesday December 15th, 2020 8:41am

So, I was gleefully printing out cards and adding them to my Treasure deck for variety. I saw all kinds of great ones and then I realized something, there are too many Hazards!

Now I'm not saying I want to go too easy on the Heroes, but I also noticed a trend of certain players being way too afraid to EVER search for Treasure and risk getting something "bad." You end up with more boring quest where nobody searches, and runs away when I want them to find some of that loot!

Looking over the "bad" cards, I see I had put in several Hazard type cards that took away Mind Points instead of Body Points. Okay, I thought, but this means that theoretically a Barbarian could search twice and be either removed from the Quest entirely, or go into Shock.

This early on in the quests, I haven't introduced a lot of ways to get your Mind Points back (my Holy Water can restore 1, but it's rare when you're not using a Paladin), this could be a real problem. So rather than ditching the wonderful cards, I came up with yet another use for the Torch (from my expanded Armory).

Previously my version of the "Torch" Equipment is that sure, it's a weak weapon (1 Combat Die, and if it hits, roll once more to see if you can add extra Fire damage), but I also gave it the ability to cancel out Hazard cards when you're holding a lit Torch. Lighting it isn't an action and it lasts for one quest. Of course you're holding it in your hand the whole time...

The logic being that the Torch let's you notice the hidden mechanism of the Hazard (suspicious weaknesses in the floor, trip wires or triggers). Not that it would reveal regular Traps, but while holding it and searching for Treasure, you're going to be careful enough to avoid them. In the case of a Wandering Monster, well, just imagine you coming face to face with a Monster and his face lit up like a jump scare in a horror movie, you're on your own for this one!

Now without worrying about "burning down the dungeon" (perhaps you wedge it in there or it has its own stand?) I decided that you can also "set the Torch down." It's like dropping a weapon, so in theory a Monster could come and claim it but it would continue to illuminate the room and prevent other Hazards from being triggered.

So I whipped up a quick little tile image that you can place next to your character indicating you've "set down" the Torch. I don't want this to be abused by players but I figure it could give them another reason not to avoid searching. The Torches cost 250 gold each and last for one Quest once lit. If you're going to use it, you should plan to do a lot of searching to make it worthwhile!

But another Hero could enter the room, pick up the Torch and Search without fear of a Hazard card knocking them out (again, Wandering Monsters can still get them). And I'm sticking to the "each room can be searched for Treasure once by each Hero" thing, as well as houseruling that corridors (passages) can be searched as well.

Ah, the subtle balancing of perceived risk and reward...!
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Re: Torch Tiles - Don't be Afraid of the Dark

Postby Kurgan » Tuesday January 5th, 2021 2:05am

I may toss in a couple extra Holy Water cards in there too, now that I think about it.
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Re: Torch Tiles - Don't be Afraid of the Dark

Postby Kurgan » Friday January 8th, 2021 6:31pm

I'm getting these professionally printed, I'll let you know how they turn out!
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Re: Torch Tiles - Don't be Afraid of the Dark

Postby Pancho » Saturday January 9th, 2021 1:29pm

Have you had a chance to playtest these rules yet Kurgan?


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Re: Torch Tiles - Don't be Afraid of the Dark

Postby Anderas » Saturday January 9th, 2021 3:51pm

Interesting torch! Reducing your combat mit increasing your search. I like it.

Did you test it already?


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Re: Torch Tiles - Don't be Afraid of the Dark

Postby Oftkilted » Saturday January 9th, 2021 6:22pm

I’d think that a “re-pick” or a “die roll” to avoid in combination would give it a better flavor.

Something like “after drawing a treasure card, roll one combat die, if the hero rolls any white or black shield they avoid the hazard. If they roll a skull they missed the hazard and are affected as usual”

When holding a torch a hero is unable to use two-handed weapons and cannot use a shield.
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Re: Torch Tiles - Don't be Afraid of the Dark

Postby Sotiris » Sunday January 10th, 2021 3:30am

Instead of placing the torch on the floor have you tried to place it on the wall using a door base? Just an idea for the effect.


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Re: Torch Tiles - Don't be Afraid of the Dark

Postby Davane » Sunday January 10th, 2021 3:58am

The Torch should be a handy weapon to use against Mummies - perhaps all Skulls count as two when attacking them? That means a Mummy has to roll 2 or 4 black shields to defend against the Torch...
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Re: Torch Tiles - Don't be Afraid of the Dark

Postby Kurgan » Sunday January 10th, 2021 2:02pm

I've replaced Mummies with Sasquatches... but then you could say instead of dry bandages, it's the fur! I tried not to make things too complicated.

Thanks for the suggestions though and I have tested it, one player purchased a torch and avoided hazards when searching for treasure. He was playing a solo quest though. Most of the time nobody thinks to buy anything, I guess because they don't realize the benefits of things. I have to break down and explain why each item is useful, otherwise people just save their gold waiting for... something. I should tell them a good strategy is to start buying stuff as soon as you can afford it, even if it's just a helmet to boost their defense slightly. A worse way is to blow all your gold on one big item when you have nothing else (guilty of that myself).

I mainly thought of the torch as a tool, rather than an effective weapon, much like my interpretation of the Horn... (a way to boost movement, not attack).
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Re: Torch Tiles - Don't be Afraid of the Dark

Postby Kurgan » Sunday January 10th, 2021 8:05pm

So my take in it (and the problem) was this...

Hazards are NASTY. If there's anything that scares Heroes away from searching for treasure its these. They're unblockable! You have no defense against them, period... it's an instant body point loss. You could have searched the room for traps and STILL it hits you! I know, it's always been in the game, but my players react to them by never searching for treasure!

Now I figured, a torch is expensive... 250 gold and it lasts one quest. Yes, you can stockpile them, but think about all the times you're going to have to search (and STILL risk getting a wandering monster). I figured you get to "ignore" the hazard cards when you have a lit torch (and yes, it prevents you from holding a two handed weapon, I didn't think it prevented a shield, as it's still only a one handed thing). You can USE it as a weapon, but it's weak, the point is for the protection it gives you. Each Hero can search each room (and in my house rules, each corridor) ONCE. How much gold can they reasonably get that way? Yes, I am using an expanded treasure deck, but I'm estimating if they're lucky, in a whole quest you'd get 250 (with just the NA deck), so you'd break even! Add in the extra cards and yes, you could clean up and get up to 390 gold beyond that, but you're going to have to search high and low, every possible chance you get, not every Quest features every single room and corridor, after all! And yes, you have four heroes, so that its 4x the searches, but only the one who is hold the torch gets the protection when searching. I figure even if you get to carefully hand it off (and not screw up and leave it in a room with a monster who will "put it out"), you still have to work at it. So if you're using the NA deck, it would probably be more fair to lower the price of the Torch (200?). The EU version gives you 390 so it could stay the same. Of course neither version allows you to search corridors ("Passages") except the 1st/premiere edition of the EU. Of course gold isn't the only reason to search for treasure, there are valuable potions to find!

Side note: would holding a lit torch negate any "stealth" type spells (like in the EQP)? I would think so. What good is it to be invisible if there's a big glowing sphere or smoke trail following you around? So drop the torch or the spell is pointless at that point (the torch itself may turn invisible just like your other weapons, but the flame and smoke still give off their effects).

The Torch doesn't neutralize the Hazard completely, because the card gets shuffled back into the Treasure pile and could come up in a future search.

The end goal is to get the Heroes to not be afraid of searching again... but at a price. Some of the Hazards I've sprinkled in there are some of the custom ones that risk taking away MIND points (very deadly for the Barbarian but at least you get to roll... so 50% chance it will steal a MP). All the more reason to buy at least one Torch per quest (more than that if the Heroes split up... I'm using the Evil Wizard cards.. so its not like they have "all the time in the world"). My torches only prevent Hazards, they don't have anything to do with normal traps and have nothing to do with Wandering Monsters. So those risks still remain.

I am trying to balance the risks and rewards here. I could also see making a Torch a quest treasure as well. Now having an actual model that you can affix to the door would be cool, but I didn't want to limit torch usage to doorways only. I guess it would only be symbolic... as every room is entered by a door, unless it was a magical passage or trapdoor that lead you there as in some of the later quests.

I have a plan for Wandering Monsters as well (untested), where the Emperor has issued special bounties specifically for killing "Wandering Monsters." So yeah it sucks that you got an Orc, but you could collect a small sum of gold (if you survive the quest!) for putting him on ice.
Last edited by Kurgan on Thursday January 21st, 2021 10:08pm, edited 1 time in total.
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