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Rescue of Sir Ragnar: The anti-climax ??

Discuss Quests, Cards, Monsters etc, from HeroQuest Game Systems.

How do you fix the ending?

Respawn the Monsters and Force the Heroes to Flee!
2
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Just agree to end the quest, everybody is tired anyway.
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Evil Wizard Cards to make them hate you even more.
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Other solution.
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Total votes : 8

Rescue of Sir Ragnar: The anti-climax ??

Postby Kurgan » Tuesday December 1st, 2020 7:46am

So I've played this Game System quest many times in the NA edition (who hasn't?) but I notice this often happens:

The Heroes scour the dungeon looking for the lost Imperial Knight, killing every single monster and exploring every room, and the last room they discover is his cell. The quest notes say that the alarm sounds and the rest of the monsters are activated and so the quest becomes a race to the stairs with Sir Ragnar alive. Sounds really exciting, right?

But with all the monsters dead and everything accomplished, we end up just agreeing to end the quest, instead of just rolling and rolling until they get to the stairs in an empty dungeon. Yes, I have the Evil Wizard deck, so I could have Zargon keep chipping away at their Body Points and inserting random traps or monsters every so often, but it seems cheap and annoying.

How many of you would just respawn a bunch of monsters to make it more interesting and force the final act? Reinforcements!


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Re: Rescue of Sir Ragnar: The anti-climax ??

Postby j_dean80 » Tuesday December 1st, 2020 8:24am

I added a room with a secret door to the hall just beyond the cell. When the alarm went off the secret door opened. Each turn I rolled a red die and placed that number of Goblins. At first they were easily killing them off. Eventually there were so many flooding the halls and rooms, they had to flee. Giving that sense of urgency.

That’s how I countered all the monsters being defeated prior. I felt it was boring to have such a trigger and not actually do anything. We had a lot of fun and excitement with it. I had even managed to split up the party and they had to fight their way to the stairs.
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Re: Rescue of Sir Ragnar: The anti-climax ??

Postby Davane » Tuesday December 1st, 2020 10:23am

Rescuing Sir Ragnar after clearing out the dungeon isn't exactly anti-climactic. It's just that the mystery of the adventure is gone once you've played it a few times, so you know where Sir Ragnar's cell is, in relation to everything else. This is a problem with all the official quests though - once you know the quest, most of the mysteries are gone so there's little reason to replay it unless you are returning to HQ after some time.

Of course, you have the problem that The Trial is the hardest adventure in the Game System, and going from The Trial to The Rescue of Sir Ragnar is always going to be a bit of a let down. There's no getting around that fact. Going from The Maze to The Rescue of Sir Ragnar made sense, but the urge to have a demo mode where you got to play everything right up front just breaks the flow of the game, in my experience...
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Re: Rescue of Sir Ragnar: The anti-climax ??

Postby Cael Darkhollow » Wednesday December 2nd, 2020 12:31pm

i use the map as is, but add the following changes:
the door to the cell is locked and I use a metal door from KK. the key I place in the trapped empty chest. this makes them look for the door if they haven't found it yet, or look for the key if they have.

seems like that secret door is often missed by new players and it is tedious to re-search the entire dungeon, so I say you hear faint cries for help if anyone searches anything (traps, secret doors, or treasure) in the hallway above, the chest room or the table room, anything directly adjacent to Ragnar's cell.

when the alarm goes off I do start sending fimir and orcs to investigate from the blind corners in the center hallways around the stairroom. I add a new monster on both corners every turn making it a running fight to the exit with no possibility of clearing the level of monsters.
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Re: Rescue of Sir Ragnar: The anti-climax ??

Postby Cael Darkhollow » Wednesday December 2nd, 2020 12:38pm

nothing really stops the players from healing Sir Ragnar with a spell or potion either, or giving him a spare weapon. I interpret that he cannot attack only defend in the book notes because he is weakened and wounded from his captivity and torture and is unarmed. I give him barbarian stats/health if healed and weapon damage based on type of course so he can fight if the players think of healing and arming him.
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Re: Rescue of Sir Ragnar: The anti-climax ??

Postby Oftkilted » Wednesday December 2nd, 2020 1:26pm

There isn’t a rule that allows them to heal him either. As there are no stats (other than his injury stats) provided.
Your choice is an interesting house rule, but I’ve never seen anything in the game or quest that would allow you to do what you’re describing. You’re proposing that it’s okay to heal someone over their starting body points? And as an NPC he has no proper stats. He’s 2 Body, 0 attack, 2 Defend 1 die move. He doesn’t even have a mind stat value. (Which could imply that he is at 0 mind ... which is why his stats are so bad.)

“Mind Points
When a Hero reaches zero Mind Points, he is not dead but in “shock”. (A Hero cannot go below zero Mind Points.) He rolls only 1 red die to move, attacks with only 1 combat die, and defends with only 2 combat dice. (Armor, weapons and most artifacts do “not” increase the attack or defend dice when a Hero is in Shock.) The Hero's attack and defend dice can be temporarily increased by some spells and spell scrolls.”
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Re: Rescue of Sir Ragnar: The anti-climax ??

Postby Cael Darkhollow » Wednesday December 2nd, 2020 2:22pm

Oftkilted wrote:There isn’t a rule that allows them to heal him either. As there are no stats (other than his injury stats) provided.
Your choice is an interesting house rule, but I’ve never seen anything in the game or quest that would allow you to do what you’re describing. You’re proposing that it’s okay to heal someone over their starting body points? And as an NPC he has no proper stats. He’s 2 Body, 0 attack, 2 Defend 1 die move. He doesn’t even have a mind stat value. (Which could imply that he is at 0 mind ... which is why his stats are so bad.)

“Mind Points
When a Hero reaches zero Mind Points, he is not dead but in “shock”. (A Hero cannot go below zero Mind Points.) He rolls only 1 red die to move, attacks with only 1 combat die, and defends with only 2 combat dice. (Armor, weapons and most artifacts do “not” increase the attack or defend dice when a Hero is in Shock.) The Hero's attack and defend dice can be temporarily increased by some spells and spell scrolls.”


yes of course it is a house "rules"judgement, as commonly comes up in any game where players have discovered a situation not explicitly covered in the text. I can't be the only DM who's heard "can we heal Ragnar?" from the players. What would you say to them?

it is assumed that the 2 body points are NOT his starting points because it clearly says he is wounded. Not to mention making a knight of the empire and a fighter class weaker than the wizards starting body points doesn't make sense. A Barbarian as a similar fighter class to knight makes sense for estimating his starting stats.

Naturally some player is going to ask if they can heal him, at which point you as zargon/mentor/Morcar/DM say it isnt against the rules because such a rule wasn't written or specified in this case.

a written rule "allowing you" something is backwards thinking in gaming, instead usually rules prohibit or more narrowly define possible play. So the most common interpretation is "well, it isn't against the rules (as written)...so okay, I guess you can." instead of "there is no rule that says you can, so no." which would necessitate making rules books tediously encyclopedic attempting to cover every possible scenario and largely remove the need for a DM or judge. Much better to have the game judge make a logical or appropriate judgement call in a gray area of lack of written rules.
In this case friendly allied prisoner who is wounded that you specifically were quested to rescue, why wouldn't you heal him if able? You literally fail the quest mission if he dies. Realistically that is what anyone would do if it were real life, and they could heal him by spells or potions or at least apply first aid to improve his condition.

I think the authors intention was he wasnt allowed attack because then who gets to control him issue arrises. Simple enough, that answer would automatically be as an npc the dm controls Ragnar not the players.
Last edited by Cael Darkhollow on Wednesday December 2nd, 2020 2:46pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rescue of Sir Ragnar: The anti-climax ??

Postby whitebeard » Wednesday December 2nd, 2020 2:41pm

I believe the problem here is that there is only a random chance that the quest goes according to the design and the alarm has a cool / potentially epic effect.

You could mitigate this if the heroes could hear a few intermittent shouts from Sir Ragnar cell AND see him through the door to his cell... This would give the the heroes a general idea of which way to go in the dungeon (roll a die in secret for each hero when there is a choice of direction?) to find him and typically only a random fraction of the dungeon is cleared before he is freed.
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Re: Rescue of Sir Ragnar: The anti-climax ??

Postby cynthialee » Wednesday December 2nd, 2020 2:43pm

I must agree with sentiments allowing Sir Ragnar to be healed. If the man is wounded and only at 2 Body Points he must have more than 2. Fine make it only 3 Body Points if you must. And if the players have the ability to heal Mind Points then that should be allowed and once the dude has Mind Points and some healing it is ridiculous to rule he can not use a donated weapon to fight and defend.

Now most hero groups are going to play in order and will not likely have access to Mind Point healing items so there is all that. So Sir Ragnar can't be turned into a combatant. But where there is ability to do so, to deny that is cheese really.

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Re: Rescue of Sir Ragnar: The anti-climax ??

Postby Kurgan » Wednesday December 2nd, 2020 10:18pm

The player who freed Ragnar controls him... (it specifically says the Hero who opened the door to his cell) . If that Hero dies, I presume the player can continue controlling Ragnar (as long as HE lives). If you want to say he had a higher BP maximum, then you're powering up, potentially the Hero who freed him and if you're okay with that, so be it. Playing the quests in order without any special house rules or addons means they won't have a way to heal his MP at this point anyway, but they could heal his body points. He still moves with 1 red die, but you could cast Swift Wind on him.

In the past I've allow the Heroes to heal Ragnar to a total of 3 Body Points, attributing his inability to fight based on "Mind Point damage" suffered during his imprisonment. I do like Oftkilted's suggestion that he is "in shock" according to that later rule (EQP/BQP). Otherwise, the rule for a player character with MP reduced to zero is knocked unconscious (not dead, but out of the Quest unless he can have his MP healed with say the Elixir of Life). Since Ragnar is able to move and defend (rather than having to be hauled around like a sack of potatoes, as some npcs in later quest packs are), this seems like a logical fit even if it wasn't thought of at the time it was first released.

Rather than allowing Ragnar to fight, I have allowed them to place a spare helmet on his head to increase his defense. If the Heroes are forced to carve a path through a revived dungeon full of angry monsters to get him to safety, I figured they needed all the help they can get... but using the above suggestion of Oftkilted with the "shock" rule means "(Armor, weapons and most artifacts do not increase the attack or defend dice when a Hero is in shock.)" If you can pass a certain potion to him, he could theoretically heal Mind Points, or the Elixir of Life of course.

If you were going to allow his Mind Points to be healed, you'd want to set a hard limit as to what he can be healed up to. I would say 2 would be fair (equivalent to the Barbarian or any of the Mercenaries from the other expansions). If you have Mind Point healing, then you're probably playing the Quests out of order or using house rules anyway. So for instance if I were using my Paladin homebrew character, and he had stockpiled his Holy Water, he could use two of them on Ragnar, restoring him to his old self. Then after a healing spell from the Wizard or Elf to restore his Body Points to 3, at that point I would have no objection if the Heroes handed him some gear. Can he now move with full dice? If we're going with the "he was in shock" idea, it would make sense. At this point, we're essentially got another Hero (albeit a weak one), so I would say waking up the entire dungeon (even if you killed every last one of them earlier) is fully warranted to keep things balanced. But then, why else would you want to do that, if all you had left was to just waltz to the stairwell, unopposed? If you're Zargon, it's your call! I can imagine some clever players negotiating the whole thing. A healing spell used on him might be needed to save a Hero later on, so they have to weigh the cost/benefit.

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of using the "shock" rule (IF the heroes start to haggle). Good call! Otherwise Zargon is just going to be saying "he's so badly tortured and wounded that he simply can't be any more use than he is already." The players need to respect your decision to play as written.

Davane wrote:Rescuing Sir Ragnar after clearing out the dungeon isn't exactly anti-climactic. It's just that the mystery of the adventure is gone once you've played it a few times, so you know where Sir Ragnar's cell is, in relation to everything else. This is a problem with all the official quests though - once you know the quest, most of the mysteries are gone so there's little reason to replay it unless you are returning to HQ after some time.

Of course, you have the problem that The Trial is the hardest adventure in the Game System, and going from The Trial to The Rescue of Sir Ragnar is always going to be a bit of a let down. There's no getting around that fact. Going from The Maze to The Rescue of Sir Ragnar made sense, but the urge to have a demo mode where you got to play everything right up front just breaks the flow of the game, in my experience...



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