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The Gate of Bellthor, boss room question

Discuss Quests, Cards, Monsters etc, from the Return of the Witch Lord Quest Pack.

The Gate of Bellthor, boss room question

Postby Jalapenotrellis » Wednesday April 14th, 2021 11:09pm

Can the heroes search and disarm traps in this room, or is Bellthor considered a monster before he activates? This is never clear in the game rules in such a situation. For example, in the Silent Passages, quest 3, I allowed traps to be searched and disarmed with the Death Mist because it technically isn't a monster and no real way to know you could kill it. With Bellthor, they likely will attack him once from the doorway, realize he is immune, then enter, then other heroes will try to search. I think difficulty is higher without allowing search and trap disarm and lower with allowing it. Even if they do get to disarm, eventually all the heroes will be inside the room, and Bellthor activates. But they could get through all the traps if they had split up. I'm leaning towards not allowing searches. How did y'all run this?
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Re: The Gate of Bellthor, boss room question

Postby Davane » Thursday April 15th, 2021 1:42am

Bellthor is still a monster - he just doesn't start attacking until all the Heroes are in the room. Thus, the Heroes CANNOT search in the room, as a monster is present. Compare this to Gargoyle "traps" which state that the Gargoyle is a statue (and thus, NOT a monster) until it is activated. Even then, searching for traps just reveals what the Gargoyle "statue" does and what activates it - the trap CANNOT be disarmed...
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Re: The Gate of Bellthor, boss room question

Postby wallydubbs » Thursday April 15th, 2021 12:36pm

In my opinion, if a hero enters the room, Bellthor is acknowledged as a threat and cannot search. But if that same hero chooses to run in and attack Bellthor and find that the gargoyle is stone and cannot be hurt; the threat is diminished and the next hero CAN search. However until the gargoyle is acknowledged as a statue, I wouldn't let the heroes search.
But as soon as all heroes have entered the room Bellthor is active and trap disarms are no longer allowed.
I extend the same rule to the Gargoyle in Melar's Maze, the Gargoyle statue in Eastern Passage, and the Frozen Undead in Avenger Returns.

However, since the Heroes are meant to lose this quest, I add 2 spawn points for undead in this room (the corners on the entrance side) much like there are in Forbidden Caverns. 2 Undead will spawn at the beginning of each of Zargon's turn. This prevents the heroes from disarming all the traps before the battle had even begun, and helps Bellthor from getting overran before he can breathe toxic breath.
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Re: The Gate of Bellthor, boss room question

Postby iKarith » Friday April 16th, 2021 10:16am

Davane wrote:Bellthor is still a monster - he just doesn't start attacking until all the Heroes are in the room. Thus, the Heroes CANNOT search in the room, as a monster is present. Compare this to Gargoyle "traps" which state that the Gargoyle is a statue (and thus, NOT a monster) until it is activated. Even then, searching for traps just reveals what the Gargoyle "statue" does and what activates it - the trap CANNOT be disarmed...


Chekhov's Gun reveals to me that if Morcar sticks a gargoyle in the room and it's not moving … it's a trap. Which causes me to believe that many quests should exist where a gargoyle is just a gargoyle.

I think I agree with the interpretation that Bellthor is a monster and no, heroes may not search.
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Re: The Gate of Bellthor, boss room question

Postby Davane » Friday April 16th, 2021 11:59am

iKarith wrote:
Davane wrote:Bellthor is still a monster - he just doesn't start attacking until all the Heroes are in the room. Thus, the Heroes CANNOT search in the room, as a monster is present. Compare this to Gargoyle "traps" which state that the Gargoyle is a statue (and thus, NOT a monster) until it is activated. Even then, searching for traps just reveals what the Gargoyle "statue" does and what activates it - the trap CANNOT be disarmed...


Chekhov's Gun reveals to me that if Morcar sticks a gargoyle in the room and it's not moving … it's a trap. Which causes me to believe that many quests should exist where a gargoyle is just a gargoyle.

I think I agree with the interpretation that Bellthor is a monster and no, heroes may not search.


The Gargoyle as a statue idea works because the Gargoyle is supposed to be seen as a monster, not a trap, normally. There are quests where a Gargoyle is just a Gargoyle, including the ever famous The Trial. I haven't done a full count, but I think the Gargoyle "traps" may be are a bit overused...

There are other "monsters as statues" which aren't necessarily traps - for example, the Orc statues in The Court of the Witch Lord. They work in the same way - they are a "trap" because the player is supposed to think that they are a threat until they find out otherwise. Bear in mind, that this kind of "trap" isn't actually a trap, and cannot be detected as such.

When it comes to traps, you are basically looking at the D&D approach to anything - it is what the GM says it is. So, anything defined as a trap is a trap, and anything not defined as a trap isn't a trap. D&D is famous for its Objective Reasoning, and that things work because they are stated to work, or they don't because they are stated not to work, and it ultimately comes down to the GM, because of Magic...

In this case, the Quest book doesn't state that Bellthor is a Trap, therefore, he's not a Trap. He's a monster, like every other Gargoyle, who just happens to be invulnerable until all heroes enter the room, because of Magic...
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