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Healing: How A Hero Escapes Death

Discuss the Rules of HeroQuest as set out by Milton Bradley Game Systems and Quest Packs.

Re: Healing: How A Hero Escapes Death

Postby Markus Darwath » Monday December 5th, 2022 3:36pm

Bareheaded Warrior wrote:I would agree with Markus but it is (as usual) a little ambiguous.

2) If you are a spellcaster with a Healing Spell, and you have not already performed an action on your turn, you can be healed by casting the spell on yourself.


Some would argue that the line above could be taken to mean that if you are reduced to zero BP in Zargon's turn but you didn't take an action on your own (last) turn, then you have an action 'in the bank' that could be used to cast a healing spell on yourself. However I disagree due to the line that follows below


I could maybe see that, but also, how often does one move on their turn and decline to take any action? It would still be an exception with a rather narrow range of application.
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Re: Healing: How A Hero Escapes Death

Postby wallydubbs » Monday December 5th, 2022 3:43pm

cornixt wrote:The thing that I don't like about the auto-drinking of a potion on death is that it takes a decision away from the player. Deciding whether to drink it beforehand might waste it if you don't take much damage. It's a calculated risk that adds a bit more depth to the game.


I don't necessarily think it's automatic. if the hero is comfortable with death and chooses not to waste the potion: like if he doesn't have any items and it's the end of a quest and he wants to save it for the next one, then I guess he could choose to die and give it to the respawn. However, dying might disqualify him from a quest reward and it's really not thematically sound for a hero to be replaced by a carbon-copy.


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Re: Healing: How A Hero Escapes Death

Postby cornixt » Tuesday December 6th, 2022 12:37pm

It seems so oddly out of character to die for that reason that I never would have considered it. It's metagaming, I don't like it.


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Re: Healing: How A Hero Escapes Death

Postby Kurgan » Tuesday December 6th, 2022 9:39pm

Not taking an action (or not doing anything) on a turn comes up often in quests when there are lulls in the action. Room searches are finite, after all. And yes, I agree that "may" means "can" rather than "has to." A dead hero is a perfect opportunity for a player who is done, to make their exist from the play session like a kid walking away from the arcade machine even though it says "insert coin to continue."

The reluctance to use healing before death in my experience takes a number of predictable forms... (1) inexperience (or they weren't paying attention)... (2) they didn't want to "waste" any points (wanted to heal the maximum amount)... or as mentioned before (3) pride (didn't want Zargon to have the "satisfaction" of having killed them ever.

Markus Darwath wrote:Could you be so kind as to cite where the rules specify an exception to allow casting the healing spell on Zargon's turn?


No, because it doesn't exist. However, the rule makes a lot less sense if it only works on the Hero's own turn. I think it's perfectly acceptable to assume that it works any time a Hero dies, under any circumstances so long as the requirement is fulfilled that the turns' action not already have been performed... so a treasure search that reveals a wandering monster that kills with its attack (or a hazard card draw) that reduces to zero couldn't be avoided with the Spell (only the Potion).

I did not catch that in my reading (note that I currently only possess the remake rules version) and thus assumed that casting a healing spell to save from death could only occur in those rare cases that the hero dies on their own turn and without having taken an action. But I did notice the specific statement that a healing potion can be taken at -any-time.


The limiting factor is IF the Hero has already performed an action on their turn. Anything else is speculation and someone who wants it to be rarely used could interpret it a different way. I think the intent of the rules is clear, that they wanted Heroes to be able to have a chance to survive death, much like they intended Heroes to block doors to maximize attacks against monsters, even if many dislike these rules and deliberately change them to improve the gameplay (in their view). I get it, I just don't think it's a problem and I'll say that even if Avalon Hill clarified their view of it on their Twitter or Discord.

If anyone is curious, the Companion App operates on the honor system (when it comes to using healing abilities and subtracting hero body points) and so there's no way to tease the solution out of it, it's still left up to Zargon's interpretation of the rules. The official PC game (oddball that it is) gives no clue either, predictably since it was based upon the 1st EU edition which lacked the escape death mechanic.

As Zargon you're going to have to make the call. Personally I interpret it in favor of the Hero.
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Last edited by Kurgan on Tuesday December 6th, 2022 9:59pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Healing: How A Hero Escapes Death

Postby Kurgan » Tuesday December 6th, 2022 9:57pm

Bareheaded Warrior wrote:Whilst you may be correct, I haven't checked, but if that is the case then I think it is an error/omission, the rules quoted from the rulebook above 'You will have died by the time it is your fellow Hero's turn - the only time when he can cast a spell or give you a potion' rule out being passed anything when it isn't your turn


If we were hairsplitting, we could point out that the "only time he can" refers to the would-be helper, not the victim here.

b) On a Hero's turn, he springs a trap but hasn't yet taken his action, does the trap really 'end his turn' or just end the movement part of his turn, leaving him with the chance to use his action. Using that action would include the usual attack/cast and other actions AND if the trap effects reduced his BP to zero and he was a spellcaster with a Healing Spell then he could use his action for that


I always read it as "ends his turn" not just the movement part of it, but here I'd say the whole death save thing is a special exception and he can still save himself even after being killed by such a trap, so long as he hasn't done an action yet. But you could read it to mean that a turn ending trap also prevents usage of the spell, sorry, you're really dead!

Never fear though, even if you retain all of these interpretations, the ultimate nerf for death still exists, the Elixir of Life, and the card is so vague, the thing itself can also be nerfed to make sure the game is the precise level of difficulty you desire, for the sake of argument. |_P


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Re: Healing: How A Hero Escapes Death

Postby Markus Darwath » Wednesday December 7th, 2022 7:34am

[quote="Kurgan"][/quote]

Couldn't include the image you posted in a quote. Anyway, the text you showed from the app actually supports your interpretation of casting during Zargon's turn better than the wording in the rule book does. It's a subtle shift in word ordering but, "...have not performed their turn's action..." goes much farther to support the implication that it may no longer be their turn than does, "...have not already performed an action on your turn..."

But I am also at this point noticing that the sub-heading "how a hero escapes death" does fall within the section of the rules that is headed "the evil sorcerer Zargon's turn." So yeah, on further reflection it does seem to be meant as a specific exception within the rules, they just failed to clearly label it as such.

Personally, I do still find it a bit clunky to specify an exception within the rules vs. using an alternate rule which stays consistent. But likely I will ask whatever group I play with which way they prefer to handle it.
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Re: Healing: How A Hero Escapes Death

Postby Kurgan » Wednesday December 7th, 2022 12:37pm

Interesting. So I might actually be right? I was prepared to cue up the clip of me (with tears in my eyes) saying "He's still Zargon to me, dammit!"

Or maybe it's too soon to celebrate, let me know what I've missed...

Avalon Hill's modern clarifications of course could be seen as an after the fact rationalization (like Disney making tweaks to Star Wars lore). The people working on the remake are not the same people who did the 1990 edition (I could be wrong, but even Stephen Baker, who was brought on as a freelance advisor and guest writer for the remake I don't think had much to do with the old NA edition). So a person could always reject whatever they say in favor of how they read the original works if they wished.

Usually the rules are pretty straight forward and consistent, with the flat out contradicting exceptions appearing on the cards or in the quest notes... and treated in kind as exceptions.

Then again there are some oddities in the American rulebook as we all know, like the shuffling of the treasure deck (which selective reading has lead me to do it wrong to this very day and I don't care) which in one place says to do it once then later to do it every time (so reading the whole book leads you to realize that's what they always intended), or giving a strategy for the Wizard (save your gold for future big magic items) that assumed they were going to release another expansion that never came out (Wizard: once you've got what you need, share the wealth!). The Remake has tweaked this only slightly.


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Re: Healing: How A Hero Escapes Death

Postby Bareheaded Warrior » Wednesday December 7th, 2022 3:04pm

Kurgan - you are correct the New Beginning Quest 'Rule Recap' on passing items does omit the on your turn condition of that rule, good spot, but I consider that an error as it contradicts the rulebook, for the reasons given previously (and even taking into account hairsplitting, yes that rule applies to the 'giver' but it is the giver that we are talking about when passing potions on your turn)

Whilst I agree that not taking an action on your turn can happen often, I would echo Markus's point earlier that for the Healing Spell Death Save rule to be effected you would need to (1) Be a spellcaster (2) Have a Healing Spell (3) Not taken an action on your turn (4) Have tripped a trap (5) Have been reduced to zero BP

The odds of all that being true is low.

If you combine that with the fact that most (but not all) traps inflict no more than 2BP it would mean all of the above conditions would have to be true AND you would have to be on less than 3BP and would have chosen to go wandering around an unexplored dungeon in that state without first using your action to heal yourself. In which case I would consider your death to be a well-earned learning opportunity.

It is for that reason that I'm going to scrap the Healing Spell Save from Death option from my own House Rules.

And in the US Instruction Manual due to the formatting it is difficult to work out where these rules sit, under 'Dead Heroes' section which may or may not be under Zargon's rules or may be separate, who knows...I for one don't fancy having the mid-game argument when I kill the Elf and he says "I'm using my healing spell" save, but no one can remember whether he did or didn't take an action on his last turn before the 7 monsters, 2 others Heroes, 3 Henchman and an NPC have taken turns in the interim period!
:skull: = white skull, lose 1BP unless blocked by shield
:blackshield: = black skull, as white skull + activates push back
:whiteshield: = shield, blocks a skull

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Re: Healing: How A Hero Escapes Death

Postby Kurgan » Thursday December 8th, 2022 9:57pm

Does this mean that possessing a Heal Body Spell Scroll makes one (at least temporarily) a "spellcastor"?


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Re: Healing: How A Hero Escapes Death

Postby Bareheaded Warrior » Friday December 9th, 2022 2:37am

Yes that would combine my (1) and (2) above
:skull: = white skull, lose 1BP unless blocked by shield
:blackshield: = black skull, as white skull + activates push back
:whiteshield: = shield, blocks a skull

Editions: FE = European and Australasian First Edition, SE = European and Australasian Second Edition, NA = North American Edition, GE = Gold Edition

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