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Searching: Mind Points, False Negatives, Threat Tokens

Discuss new Rules for HeroQuest.

Searching: Mind Points, False Negatives, Threat Tokens

Postby Stig » Saturday October 12th, 2019 3:39pm

A Hero may Search for Traps and Secret Doors as one action.

To search for traps and secret doors:

1) The Hero nominates the search area. This could be one piece of furniture, a SINGLE SQUARE, a selected group of squares, or maximum the whole room/corridor as normal.
2) The EWP then rolls one :skull: for each Mind Point the Hero has, behind the EWP screen. For each :whiteshield: rolled, the Hero has found one trap/secret door. For the Dwarf each :skull: finds one trap/secret door.
3) It is up to Zargon to select which trap or secret door has been discovered by the Hero.
4) For each Search action, the EWP receives one Threat Counter.

This creates the possibility of Heroes not finding traps or secret doors, and makes Heroes with low Mind Points the worst at finding well-hidden objects, as they should be! It also discourages meticulous searching, as the EWP will amass Threat Tokens (more on them below).

EXAMPLE 1

2019-10-12 Searching Uncertainty 1.png


The Barbarian searches the room for traps and secret doors. Behind the screen, the EWP rolls two :skull: for the Barbarian's two Mind Points. The roll is a :blackshield: , :whiteshield: . The Barbarian finds only one of the two traps as they only rolled one :whiteshield: . The EWP chooses to reveal the falling block trap, but not the spear trap.

Following the Barbarian is the Elf. Knowing the Barbarian has few Mind Points and isn't very good at finding things, the Elf declares they are searching for traps and secret doors. The EWP rolls four :skull: behind the screen for the Elf's four Mind Points. They roll :skull: :skull: :whiteshield: :whiteshield: . This forces the EWP to reveal the spear trap in front of the door. "Phew!" the Heroes think - good thing the Elf searched after the Barbarian. As a Hero carried out another Search action, the EWP draws another Threat Token.

EXAMPLE 2

2019-10-12 Searching Uncertainty 2.png


The Elf thinks there might be something interesting on the shelf, and that it might be trapped. They move through the room without searching, and declare that they will search only the bookcase for traps and secret doors. The Elf luckily moves along the arrows, avoiding the pit trap. Behind the screen, the EWP rolls four :skull: for the Elf's four Mind Points. They roll :skull: , :skull: , :whiteshield: , :blackshield: . This forces the EWP to declare that the shelf contained a poisoned dart trap. Had the Elf searched the room for traps, the EWP would have had the choice of revealing the pit trap OR the poisoned dart trap on the shelf. Narrowing the search made it more likely that the Elf will find a trap on the shelf. In any event, the EWP collects one threat counter.

EXAMPLE 3

2019-10-12 Searching Uncertainty 3.png


The Barbarian finds a treasure chest. They walk up to it, and declare they are searching for traps/secret doors. The EWP rolls two :skull: behind the screen for the Barbarian's two Mind Points. They roll :blackshield: , :skull: , and tell the Barbarian they have found no traps. Hoping there are no traps, the Barbarian opens the treasure chest, but succumbs to a poisoned dart trap. This was a false negative. The EWP collects a Threat Token. The Elf looks disapprovingly at the Barbarian.

EXAMPLE 4

2019-10-12 Searching Uncertainty 4.png


The Wizard searches this room. The EWP rolls five :skull: behind the screen for the Wizard's five Mind Points. They roll :skull: , :skull: , :whiteshield: , :whiteshield: , :blackshield: . The EWP has a choice of what to reveal to the Wizard, and chooses to reveal the highlighted spear trap and secret door, hoping the Wizard will be somewhat overconfident and stumble into the teleport trap. Alternatively, the EWP might choose to not reveal the secret door, which might cause the Heroes some serious problems.

Threat Counters

The EWP collects one Threat Counter every time a Hero:

Makes a Search Action
Springs a Trap
Reaches Zero Body Points
Opens a Secret Door
Shouts down a corridor (If the Heroes are not in reasonable speaking distance, and one player suggests something to another relevant to the game eg "I think you should look in the bookcase" they are deemed to have shouted, and give the EWP one Threat Counter)

The Threat Counters are used to play cards in the EWP Deck:

Every 10 minutes the EWP draws one card from the EWP Deck. Each card has an associated number of Threat with it that's required to play it. Better cards need more Threat. The Threat is shown in the lower right corner:

2019-10-12 Searching Uncertainty 5.png


The above EWP Card would cost 5 Threat Tokens for example.

This gives the EWP a choice - to collect Threat until one nasty card comes form the EWP deck, or to play lots of smaller threats along the way; or even to bluff a big threat by not playing small cards!

The Sand Timer creates a clock that adds to the tension - can the Heroes escape the Dungeon before bad stuff happens?
The Threat Counters discourage meticulous searching and wasting time - the more extravagance the Heroes engage in the Dungeon, the more likely it will be that bad stuff happens!

DISCLAIMER - Haven't playtested the Threat levels of each EWP card to work out the right number!

:blueorb:

Overall, the above seems to add a lot of flavour to searching:

Have we missed a trap?
Have we missed a secret door?
Shall we search the room AGAIN even though the Barbarian said there was nothing interesting?
How close is the EWP to playing a card? Might one more search give them the counter they need to play something horrible?
Do we need to go back and look for more secret doors? (As the EWP rolls behind the screen, they can play the role of a good DM and reveal a crucial secret door in order to improve the experience of the players - their choice!)

Other positives:
The Talisman of Lore a huge artefact for the Barbarian.
Mind Points are more interesting, and encourages the Wizard to preserve them and not engage in spellcasting additions that cost Mind Points.
The Dwarf is better at finding traps and secret doors, in addition to disarming traps.
The Heroes are more different to each other in an appropriate way.
Quests are just a bit harder, but in a flavourful way.

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Re: Searching: Mind Points, False Negatives, Threat Tokens

Postby Anderas » Saturday October 12th, 2019 4:24pm

I like the idea with EWP card threat levels. It's the best benefit of the EWP cards that they give Morcar a more active role in the game, you're doing this quite fine.

How do you avoid that the Wizard becomes the trapsearcher of the group? He can find two traps per turn, the dwarf finds one and a half, nearly like the Elf. Or is it the intention, to give him this role?


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Re: Searching: Mind Points, False Negatives, Threat Tokens

Postby Stig » Sunday October 13th, 2019 2:20am

Yes that’s the intention, higher MP characters should be better at searching in my opinion. The other intention was to have the Barbarian localise his search more and play the role of a brute who slowly and carefully searches only a couple of squares, whilst leaving the wizard/dwarf to expertly comb the room. it makes searching more characterful.

The consequence of the above is that players have an incentive to guess where traps might be - just declaring that whole rooms will be searched allows the possibility of missing one; considering where traps might be located adds greater realism, and gives players another decision to make as they put themselves in the mind of the Dungeon architect. This also brings furniture into the game a bit more, as it’s hinting that something is located in the furniture and might make the players search just the furniture.

To avoid missing something, the incentive is to search the area multiple times, but that allows the EWP to draw more Threat Tokens - a trade off, and another decision for the players to consider.

I had found searching to be a bit robotic, where empty rooms were searched as a matter of course. Searching Uncertainty provides real decisions and character.
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Re: Searching: Mind Points, False Negatives, Threat Tokens

Postby Anderas » Sunday October 13th, 2019 5:16am

Yes indeed. Having any kind if time pressure in the quest makes the heroes miss secret doors or traps more frequently, and EWP cards do that quite well.

I wanted to argue first that searching traps is one of the more boring parts of the game. But that refers of course to those robotic searches. I was not writing that comment because I can see the possible change in behaviour. It needs testing of course, I see potential on both directions - more boredom due to more searches, or more excitedness due to more uncertain searches. Only tests will tell.

You could even let the heroes roll the search tests. So they roll two shields and find two traps. Now they have to decide: Is there more to search or not? Hidden rolls always have conflict potential.

The Talisman of Lore will be best placed in the Dwarfs hands then.


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Re: Searching: Mind Points, False Negatives, Threat Tokens

Postby j_dean80 » Sunday October 13th, 2019 6:44am

I see one of the more pressing issues is (Zargon/Morcar) trying to keep track of which spaces have been searched successfully.
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Re: Searching: Mind Points, False Negatives, Threat Tokens

Postby lestodante » Sunday October 13th, 2019 8:24am

some interesting idea here, because I also think the search is too much generic and easy, but I am afraid it will become a continuos research..
A wizard can also roll a :skull: :skull: :blackshield: :blackshield: :skull: :skull:
So better be sure and search once more!


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Re: Searching: Mind Points, False Negatives, Threat Tokens

Postby Stig » Sunday October 13th, 2019 9:05am

lestodante wrote:some interesting idea here, because I also think the search is too much generic and easy, but I am afraid it will become a continuos research..
A wizard can also roll a :skull: :skull: :blackshield: :blackshield: :skull: :skull:
So better be sure and search once more!


Exactly! And give the EWP another threat token...? Decisions...
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Re: Searching: Mind Points, False Negatives, Threat Tokens

Postby mitchiemasha » Sunday October 13th, 2019 3:10pm

For the barbarian...

Oh look i found a... twangs it with is fingers, ooops!

Check this out guys a... picks it up with his hands, ohhhh!

The dwarf should always have the best disarming skill. Although the wizard might be intelligent, his intelligence is based in the arcane, where as the dwarf is mechanical. However, it's the avoidance of dumb actions that they both trump on.


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Re: Searching: Mind Points, False Negatives, Threat Tokens

Postby Stig » Monday October 14th, 2019 12:23pm

Anderas wrote:It needs testing of course, I see potential on both directions - more boredom due to more searches, or more excitedness due to more uncertain searches. Only tests will tell.


Absolutely, nothing like lots of testing. I've found that the Threat Tokens doesn't make the actual number of searches go up a huge amount as it adds a deterrent, but it makes every search feel costly, adding to the atmosphere. In addition, the Heroes are always worried they've missed something but plough on regardless. I can imagine this might appeal to some but not others.

Anderas wrote: You could even let the heroes roll the search tests. So they roll two shields and find two traps. Now they have to decide: Is there more to search or not? Hidden rolls always have conflict potential.


The reason I decided against this is that it will provide the Heroes with a definitive "no" answer to traps. If they roll two :whiteshield: :whiteshield: and the EWP says "you have found no traps or secret doors" then the Heroes will know with 100% certainty that there are no traps or secret doors.

By rolling behind the screen, the dice roll is not available to them - so when the EWP states "you have found no traps or secret doors" the Heroes will not know whether

a) there actually are no traps or secret doors
b) their search has missed them, ie they didn't roll enough :whiteshield: to reveal the traps/secret doors.

This provided the extra tension I was after.

Anderas wrote: The Talisman of Lore will be best placed in the Dwarfs hands then.


mitchiemasha wrote: Although the wizard might be intelligent, his intelligence is based in the arcane, where as the dwarf is mechanical. However, it's the avoidance of dumb actions that they both trump on.


This is something I'm still not sure of, for these reasons I did want the Dwarf to be the best at finding traps/secret doors but perhaps having him discover them on a :skull: is not enough - maybe on a :skull: or :blackshield: ie anything OTHER than a :whiteshield: ?

mitchiemasha wrote:For the barbarian...

Oh look i found a... twangs it with is fingers, ooops!

Check this out guys a... picks it up with his hands, ohhhh!


I was thinking of also adding a rule that on the roll of all :blackshield: then they spring a trap in the process of searching. For the Barbarian that would be 1/36 times, the others almost never.
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Re: Searching: Mind Points, False Negatives, Threat Tokens

Postby mitchiemasha » Tuesday October 15th, 2019 8:41am

Stig wrote:I was thinking of also adding a rule that on the roll of all :blackshield: then they spring a trap in the process of searching. For the Barbarian that would be 1/36 times, the others almost never.


That has to be the best part... include it! Yeah!!!


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