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Quest objectives that can be failed

Discuss general topics relating to HeroQuest that don't fit well in the categories below.

Quest objectives that can be failed

Postby Anderas » Monday January 5th, 2015 1:38pm

I thought a lot about the missions of HQ.

For me, most of them have a core problem:

You can kill the entire group (or experienced players will flee when they reach 1 or 2 BP)
Or if not, then they will achieve the mission objective, sooner or later.

There is nothing in between, today.

I think, the dungeons of Hero Quest could be a lot more interesting if there is something else. The Rescue of Sir Ragnar shows the principle: It is possible to lose Sir Ragnar and the mission, without dying. It adds a lot to the gameplay, and makes the game more difficult. Sadly the original game designer missed the opportunity to write a side quest for the negative outcome.

Here we have the first mission that can be failed: Rescue a captive.

Another idea would be a time limit: Find or kill or achieve or leave or do X, before Turn Y has passed. Prerequisite here would be that the average hero can achieve this with average dice rolls; plus maybe there should be more than one way to cross the game board so the ingame decisions are not so easy. A hint which way to take could come from a predecessor quest.
The stopwatch could also start when a certain condition is met: You open the door to the central room; counting from now in 2 turns the evil necromancer master will disappear with a teleport spell – and the heroes missed their goal to kill him. If you tell the players sometimes that there is a time limit, and sometimes not, they will start to always feel the pressure. Even if there is a quest without it. Of course it has to be a storyline time limit - just to put a counter on the table would destroy a lot of "feeling".

A third type of objective maybe could be prevented by a monster doing things with it – move next to it and then roll a black shield or such things. This last thing is very difficult to implement in a quest. Imagine giving the Heroes the task to activate a machine with a lever deep down in the dwarven city, and the monsters could switch it back off. Difficult about it is how to give the heroes a chance of success without coming back to the initial state (die or win) if the DM knows beforehand about this? I think the mission to kill the Witch Lord is one good example: If he manages to control the Hero with the Spirit Blade (and if you accept a little bit freedom in Gameplay - The rules do not exactly allow this), then he could remove the Spirit Blade from Game (for example by giving it to a fast running Goblin or by taking it himself) and therefore the Heroes would lose without dying. And it is a thing that the Monster could achieve.

I would like to gather more ideas in this thread: What kind of mission can be failed, without killing the heroes; but with added possibilities to tell a story or to start a new quest side branch?


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Re: Quest objectives that can be failed

Postby Goblin-King » Monday January 5th, 2015 3:15pm

Great topic!

Immortal Guardian
A different take could be to put an invincible monster into the game.
The problem with find X is that there's no pressure. You go from room to room, kill everything, take some damage, search for gold and secrets.
But if there was a persistent enemy that kept attacking, but couldn't be killed itself, the heroes would be forced to move on at a certain point.
This demands that Morcar isn't a dick that just uses the guardian to block the exit...

Fragile Artifact
Another idea could be a "glass" artifact. If the hero carrying it takes damage there's a chance it breaks, making the heroes fail the objective.
If the hero carrying the artifact looses at least 1 BP from an attack roll a D6. On a 1 or 2 the artifact breaks.
OR if the hero loose 2 BP from the same attack it breaks (e.g. goblins can't break it).

The Tough Choice
Maybe a little more dick'ish, but offer the heroes a choice between 3 magical chests. One of the contains the quest objective.
Only ONE can be opened - Choose... wisely...
Of course clues can be left throughout the dungeon.


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Re: Quest objectives that can be failed

Postby The Road Warrior » Monday January 5th, 2015 4:44pm

Goblin-King wrote:Great topic!


I second that. This is a subject close to my heart.

Here's a few projects/Quests/Quest Packs from around the Inn that may be of interest to you...

  • The Chronicles of Sir Ragnar - a Quest Pack project unlike any other...a story-driven Quest Pack following the destiny of one of the Empire‘s most powerful Knights, Sir Ragnar. Each Quest may contain multiple exits, and decision—making scenarios that will lead Hero players onto totally different paths.
  • Dealing with Death - shameless self promotion of my own contribution to The Chronicles of Sir Ragnar. It builds on the missed opportunity you mentioned of Sir Ragnar dying in Quest 2 of the Game System and includes a few quests with multiple exits.
  • Secret of the Stone Temple - a quest by Goblin King that implements a time limit in an original way. One of my personal favourites.
  • Champions of the Empire - I'd have to re-read this one but I'm pretty sure that the consequences of the players' decisions are played out during the quests.
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Re: Quest objectives that can be failed

Postby Jafazo » Monday January 5th, 2015 4:45pm

I like the fragile artifact idea with taken damage as the indicator for possible failure. One way I played with the idea of deviating from the quests original objective is by giving the Heroes a choice as to whether to complete the quest or not or to complete it a different way. The original quest could call for that they clear an old castle of undead but they discover the undead were servants transformed by magic and the Heroes learn a way to cure them. They decide, kill or save? Stuff like that.
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Re: Quest objectives that can be failed

Postby Anderas » Monday January 5th, 2015 5:08pm

I loved the chronicles of Ragnar as far as they have come.
I was a little bit taken aback when i saw that the project is stopped.

The "time limit" of Goblin King is a little bit too tight. It is a great way of implementing it; i must admit. I was laughing when i was reading the mechanic. After 5 or 6 turns the Heros have to return fast or they are trapped... except the wizard if he has Pass Through Rock, plus one (1) other Hero who can get PTR during the quest. I like it! Thank you for that link!


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Re: Quest objectives that can be failed

Postby The Road Warrior » Monday January 5th, 2015 5:13pm

Anderas wrote:I loved the chronicles of Ragnar as far as they have come.
I was a little bit taken aback when i saw that the project is stopped.


It's just sitting there waiting for someone to pick it up and run with it ;)
I have ideas for another 2 quest packs but haven't got around to creating them yet...

Anderas wrote:The "time limit" of Goblin King is a little bit too tight. It is a great way of implementing it; i must admit. I was laughing when i was reading the mechanic. After 5 or 6 turns the Heros have to return fast or they are trapped... except the wizard if he has Pass Through Rock, plus one (1) other Hero who can get PTR during the quest. I like it! Thank you for that link!


I think the alternative rule is more realistic. This is one I'm looking forward to playtesting but I think my kids are still a little bit too young for it. (This is another QP I must get around to finishing off :? )
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Re: Quest objectives that can be failed

Postby whitebeard » Monday January 5th, 2015 8:23pm

Another thing to consider are multi-objective quests. In the traditional quest packs, the objective can be completed, but an artifact may be left behind (Fire Mage quest has the wand on magic in a remote treasure chest). I have seen this one missed.

I do dislike the empty dungeon with only one room left to explore… everyone regroups (with the objective achieved) only to assault a group of 2 goblins :goblin: :goblin: . It would be cool to allow hiding / stalking / wandering monsters to regroup in an empty (visible) chamber of argon's choice, rolling 1 die for every 2 or 3 empty rooms and spawn a wandering monster on a black shield. This rule could take effect only after the primary objective is achieved (or as otherwise specified in the quest notes). The monsters may kill successful heroes on their way out!

Anything that keeps the heroes moving is great. It breaks up the ordered assault on each room and really makes things interesting. I like the immortal idea, but dealing damage should at least knock it around (so as to avoid the phallic DM blocking doors).

And for the record, I have witnessed the Barbarian with only one body point remaining continue to search for treasure (alone) in empty rooms and stick around for two turns to kill the wandering fimir :fimir: ! My players are great!

I wonder if the falling rock trap can be used in another way here as well. Perhaps a dwarven halls must be protected as part of your reward. Or if something is damaged, a deity is irreprably offended. Triggering a fallen rock trap would be a very bad thing. Along these lines, perhaps the deity is offended by the presence of an orc in the sacred hall. The later idea works for any offensive monster in any sacred chamber/site. Perhaps it is something of a race to the site? Then defense.

Great thread!!!


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Re: Quest objectives that can be failed

Postby cynthialee » Monday January 5th, 2015 9:19pm

Been thinking on this all day...
I am a big fan of changing the script and making things go for unexpected turns. A failed mission is a prime chance to really twist the story up.
One twist that I have used on occasion and it fits in the current topic:

A second band of heroes have taken up the way of the quest are making a name for themselves in the local community. They are the pride of the empire and his lordships newest darlings. Heroes have a limited amount of time to meet a quest objective or the other heroes will steal the glory and they will be the ones hearing minstrels pen sonnets in their names.
But how to pull this off in HQ comes to mind?
Perhaps...
After the heroes are clear of the main entrance (or after two turns around the board) a second band of heroes are placed on the map. Zargon moves them on his turn and rooms they enter are considered cleared. As the Zargon player knows exactly where the quest objectives are, giving the players heroes a head start is vital to them having a chance to win. Just an idea.....I am sure I can come up with some others.
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If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
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Re: Quest objectives that can be failed

Postby Goblin-King » Tuesday January 6th, 2015 5:50am

Can the heroes kill the other heroes? I know for a fact that my players will ask that! :D

Ideally the rooms the other heroes enters should also have monsters and they would have to kill them as well, but I don't think that makes for a very exciting game though...


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Re: Quest objectives that can be failed

Postby Anderas » Tuesday January 6th, 2015 8:49am

You can just script that. No Necessity to roll dices.

Further: Yes you could kill them but if you do so it does not please the emperor.
And even further: After they have searched half the rooms for treasure, they could send somebody pleading for help as they are in difficulties. Because one of them is the fat son of high nobility, this is from now on your new quest objective. Surprise surprise. :)


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