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Running the Japanese Quests (and others)

PostPosted: Sunday March 3rd, 2013 9:04pm
by bastianbux
This thread was originally about me running the base game and part of Keller's Keep with one group. When that group disbanded (presumably because of how boring Keller's Keep is) I decided to run my "localization" of the Japanese Quests with a different group; that begins on page six.]

So I finally found a reasonably priced copy of HeroQuest to replace the one I had as a kid but my friend lost.

I gathered together a group of mostly newbies (only one of the five has played the game before, that same friend who lost my copy ((along with his own copy)) more than a decade and a half ago).

Since we were going to have a fifth hero, I invented two new Heroes (Cleric and Ranger). A sixth guy then said he wanted to play with us but he couldn't make it after all, so it was the four usual Heroes and a Ranger. The Ranger took it upon herself to use her extra movement (three red dice for Rangers) to explore every corridor and open all of the doors, letting out a flood of monsters! Then running away and finding another door to open, and so on.

The Elf died first. Then the ill-fated Wizard--whose every spell seemed to fail--died. Every time he'd cast a powerful spell, his rolls or Zargon/Morcar's (me) rolls would negate it. The Dwarf died soon thereafter.

The Barbarian and the Ranger were both low on Body Points and two things were clear. 1) They were all going to die and we'd have to replay the first quest all over and that might just kill their interest all together and then I would have spent $90 for nothing, and 2) Had the guy playing the Cleric showed up, they would probably have won. So I made an offer: one of those playing a dead character can instead play the Cleric and use the Cleric's "Resurrection" spell to bring back someone else's dead character. The guy playing the Elf opted to play the Cleric. The Cleric entered from the stairwell and cast Resurrect on the Dwarf (the Wizard said that he'd used up all of his good spells so suggested the Dwarf come back instead). With that turn of the tide, they easily finished up that brutal first quest.

Something that struck me as odd was just how underpowered the Wizard is. Even though I gave him all four elemental groups (the Elf got to choose four spells from the Elf Spell cards) his bad luck with rolling dice made him completely useless. :( Poor guy. I think I might try to give him some more powerful spells maybe mid-campaign. Or at least by the time we get to RotWL.

Re: Friday Night Dungeon (and snacks)

PostPosted: Sunday March 3rd, 2013 9:38pm
by torilen
I used to play D&D with some friends (never could get them to try HQ, for some reason) - I had the same problem.
Whether I was the DM (evil wizard of the D&D game) or a player, I always lost - I simply cannot roll dice. I don't
know what the problem is, or how to fix it...I've tried many types of dice, many sets of dice, many varieties...I
just cannot roll dice well.

So, don't feel too bad. Sometimes it just happens, and sometimes it just happens over and over and over...well,
you get the idea.

Re: Friday Night Dungeon (and snacks)

PostPosted: Monday March 4th, 2013 3:04am
by knightkrawler
I have the same problem.
Many of my houserules for HQ are written under the assumption that I will be the Dungeon Master.

Re: Friday Night Dungeon (and snacks)

PostPosted: Tuesday March 5th, 2013 2:55pm
by Blackthorn
It sounds like your problem may have been compounded by the fact that the first quest is actually the hardest one (I'm assuming you played "The Trial"). The actions of the Ranger just made things worse. If I were a Wizard in a party where someone did that, I'd sick the Genie on them :skull: :skull: :skull: :skull: :skull:

Re: Friday Night Dungeon (and snacks)

PostPosted: Wednesday March 6th, 2013 10:00am
by el_flesh
Yup. The ranger was a NOOB! A newbie who didn't know how to play it, and the DM was also nub in giving the first quest the trial!?! That quest itself was put as the first one in the quest book by an utter idiot at MB!

So next time go on to The Rescue of Sir Fagnar!

You might also decide that some furniture contains healing potions instead of a treasure card, or the low rewards some of the quests give. You could also decide how much healing each potion gives, rather then rolling for it.

Re: Friday Night Dungeon (and snacks)

PostPosted: Sunday March 10th, 2013 4:28am
by bastianbux
Blackthorn wrote:It sounds like your problem may have been compounded by the fact that the first quest is actually the hardest one (I'm assuming you played "The Trial"). The actions of the Ranger just made things worse. If I were a Wizard in a party where someone did that, I'd sick the Genie on them :skull: :skull: :skull: :skull: :skull:

Unfortunately the Wizard is married to the Ranger, so that wouldn't happen.

The Ranger was sick this week, so neither the Wizard nor the Ranger could make it. It made Quest 2 a bit interesting. But even with two people gone, they didn't do nearly as poorly as last week. That first (NA) quest really is quite difficult. It was clear that they weren't going to remember to search for secret doors at any point and had entered and exited the room that contained the secret door to Ragnar's cell, so I made a point of reminding that that they can search for treasure and traps and secret doors. The Cleric caught on and on his turn he searched for secret doors. Opening all the doors on the other side of the board with all of those monsters was sort of negated by the fact that the Cleric has a "Warp Jump" spell (from Warhammer Quest) that lets him and any adjacent Heroes transport to any previously discovered room. I shouldn't have allowed them to transport with Ragnar since he's not exactly a Hero, but I did anyway. By the time that had grouped up and were ready to transport, the monsters had already made their way to the central room... so I wonder how the Heroes are expected to win that one with so many monsters acting to separate them from the exit. Ah well.

We only did one quest again, but I think next week we'll start doing two quests a week.

Re: Friday Night Dungeon (and snacks)

PostPosted: Monday March 25th, 2013 3:05pm
by bastianbux
Well, Friday Night Dungeons have been interesting. Quest 3's Friday night had to be rescheduled to the following Monday because of a birthday. The female Ranger could again not make it, and the Wizard arrived fifteen minutes late and said that he had to leave in another 45 minutes, so we zoomed through Quest 3 super quickly.

It turned out that due to schedule conflicts there was no longer a single day that could work each week for all the players, and the Wizard said that he couldn't make it at all until a little less than a month later. So... we had to drop the Ranger and Wizard for the time being.

I was worried that the quests would destroy them without a fourth (let alone a fifth) player, but the Elf/Barbarian/Cleric team actually cleared out Quest 4 (Prince Magnus' Gold) so well and so easily that the entire gimmick of that quest was made moot: they're supposed to gather those three chests from the central room and then make their way back to the stairs with only one red die... well... our house rules state that after the final objective if there are no monsters or other such obstacles in the way they can choose to either continue exploring and make their way back to the stairs or we can just assume that they make it back just fine. Well, with this rule in place there was no reason whatsoever to force them to play out the return to the stairs with only one red die since there were no monsters, it would have just been endless dice rolling.

I don't remember playing that quest all that well when I was a kid, but I could have sworn that there were monsters chasing my friend and me. I feel like the quest could have been slightly better designed so that there was a sealed door somewhere secretly housing a bunch of greenskins, and an alarm triggers when the chests are moved, allowing those greenskins to chase the Heroes. Or, better yet, maybe like some statues of Chaos Warriors which are impervious to damage which become animated after the chests are moved and chase down the Heroes. I wish I would have thought of that ahead of time. I just hadn't anticipated them clearing out all of the rooms first. :P

Re: Friday Night Dungeon (and snacks)

PostPosted: Tuesday March 26th, 2013 9:23am
by el_flesh
Sounds like Wiz and Ranger aren't too keen on playing HQ. Mebbe you need replacements....

Also, if monsters are too tough on heros, you could role play them: Goblins are rather stupid, therefore chaotic, will viciously attack any hero alone, but run off for a bit OR switch targets once hit. A Zombie, being essentially brainless, targets the nearest hero relentlessly, walking right into open spear traps etc and taking full dmg from them. The idea of blocking an exit or co-ordinating simply doesn't apply to these groups. Skeletons are vicious and also relentlessly attack, although they can coordinate somewhat - roll a die to determine if they follow orders 50-50. Mummies, Fimirs and Orcs have normal intelligence and will generally follow orders, though for us Orcs make more mistakes and are harder to control than Fimirs. Orcs and Fimirs can both get battle lust and will foolishly attack, or they might run if most of their party is killed; which can set off panic among goblins. Think up some % probabilities and roll for them!
Your Chaos Warriors and Wizards would be the ones who plan and strategize entirely; as the chaos version of a hero. We also make Mummies pretty intelligent, and leaving poison from a physical attack. Zombie fumes can also overcome a hero with vomiting if he rolls bad. The wizard and elf have lousy rolls for this and often are overcome with barfing for a turn, but the Dwarf is made of stronger stuff, and the Barb has almost no problem at all!

You might find your players feel more immersive when you give the monsters some personality!

Re: Friday Night Dungeon (and snacks)

PostPosted: Tuesday May 14th, 2013 4:07pm
by bastianbux
Well, I've done a terrible job at keeping you guys updated, I'm sorry. :(

We've managed to play every week, only one quest a week. They are finally about to get into the real meat of the game: the final three quests. And it's only just now occurred to me just how disjointed and episodic the majority of the game actually is. Remembering playing it as a kid, I thought for sure it was much more epic and interconnected. Ah well.

We dropped the Wizard and the Ranger, so now we have only a party of three (Female Barbarian, Elf (using Elf Spells), and a Cleric (using my invented Cleric Spells). They were dominating the quests even without the other two players, so I tightened up my strategies a bit and made sure to try to kill them enough that they'd have to use up the Cleric's spells and their Potions of Healing in each quest. This meant that sometimes I'd swap out some Goblins for Orcs or some Orcs for Fimirs for the most part.

They've gotten to the point by quest 10 where they've purchased all they want/need from the Armory and so now just give all their gold to the Cleric so he can buy and endless supply of daggers to throw instead of having to rely on his staff.

They were NOT amused with Melar's Maze. :P Having to trust to luck to transport them through the correct door became irksome and boring for them, and then to find out that the 5000 gold was fools gold... just about did them in, the poor guys. I'm very excited to see them play through these final three quests, and I can't help wishing that rest of the game was as well interconnected as those final three quests are. The quests are fun, but I wonder why there really wasn't more of a through-line with the Witch Lord right from the beginning?

Re: Friday Night Dungeon (and snacks)

PostPosted: Tuesday May 21st, 2013 5:08pm
by bastianbux
Here I am bragging that we never miss a week... and then that very week we had to miss a week. Due to some lame drama. :( But when we play again, I'll post a more detailed report and even finally try to take some pics! :D