Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Development Log: HeroQuest Monthathon #9 - Final PDF

So the new rules and levels have been compiled into a PDF which you can download here.

I've ordered things into a logical fashion.  The level pages are meant to be easy to read and fit all on one page so you don't have to keep flipping pages during a game.

Since the month of October is almost over, that brings and end to the Monthathon.  However, I think the story in the mod has barely started, so in the future I may expand on it and make a few more levels to the mod, and perhaps add more Spell Scrolls, change more rules, modify the current levels, etc.  But for now, it works.

Now go play!

Back of the HeroQuest box with kids playing
I wonder how much these kids got paid to pose for this.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Development Log: HeroQuest Monthathon #8 - Level 5

Level 5 builds upon the previous levels' story, introduces a little more furniture, and some Chaos Spells.  It caps off the story of the mod, and has ending text common to Quest Books.

By the way, I've been using Rinkwork's Fantasy Name Generator for most of the names in this mod.

Click to Enlarge.
Quest Book text:

Quest 5 - Roon, the Orc Den

Wandering Monster in this Quest: Orc

"The Emperor is glad the Gargoyle has been slain, though it seems to have been a red herring.  Fortunately, the truth is revealed: Zargon is teaching greenskins magic!  We cannot have this.  Reports are that magical lights are coming from the Orc Dens of Roon.  Enter, and clear out the Orcs.  We must prevent them from spreading their knowledge!  Defeat any spellcasting Orcs that you find, as well as their commander, Sneezefoot."

A: Place an Orc here.  The orc knows the Chaos Spell "Summon Undead."

B: Place an Orc here.  The orc knows the Chaos Spell "Summon Orcs."  The first hero who searches for treasure in this room will find the Artifact "Orc's Bane."

C: Place an Orc here.  The Orc knows the Chaos Spell "Ball of Flame."

D: Place an Orc here.  The Orc knows the Chaos Spell "Tempest."

E: Place an Orc here.  The Orc knows the Chaos Spell "Sleep."

F: Place an Orc here.  The Orc knows the Chaos Spell "Lightning Bolt."

G: Place an Orc with a large blade here.  This is Sneezefoot.  He has the following stats:

Movement: 9
Attack: 4
Defend: 3
Body: 3
Mind: 4

In addition, Sneezefoot knows the following Chaos Spells:  Sleep, Tempest, and Ball of Flame.

The first Hero to search for treasure in this room will find 200 Gold Coins and a Treasure Revealed Spell Scroll.

After the Heroes complete this Quest, read the following text:

"You have done exceedingly well, and the Emperor is pleased.  For a job well done, he grants each Hero a bounty of 250 Gold Coins.  You have struck down Zargon's orc spellcasters before they could learn too much.  Hopefully Zargon has learned a powerful lesson here: that you are more powerful than even his Greenskin mages.  The Emperor gives his thanks, and will have need of you again in the near future, but as of now this chapter is closed."

Next log will cap off this Monthathon with a PDF containing all that has been made for this Month for easy download.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Development Log: HeroQuest Monthathon #7 - Level 4

I decided to go with a little bit of misdirection on this level, both in the level's labyrinthine layout and in the quest text itself.  The players are initially intended to find a Gargoyle, but it's the Orc Gobfob that is their ultimate (hidden) goal.

Click to Enlarge.
Quest Book text:

Quest 4 - The Maze of Rak'roth

"The clues you have found point to one thing: Zargon has enlisted the help of greenskins, and he is training them.  Scouts have reported greenskins coming and going in the maze of Rak'roth.  Rak'roth the Gargoyle is a dangerous beast, and if greenskins are using the maze as a base, Zargon must have tamed him.  Enter the maze and defeat Rak'roth before he can be unleashed."

Wandering Monster in this Quest: Orc

A. Place an Orc with a large sword here.  This is Gobfob.  Gobfob has the following stats:

Movement: 8
Attack: 4
Defend: 3
Body: 2
Mind: 3

In addition, Gobfob knows the following Chaos Spells: Summon Undead, Tempest

B. Place the Gargoyle here.  The Gargoyle cannot move, attack, defend, or die.  It is a stone statue.  When this room is entered, read the following text: "So!  It seems the Gargoyle has not been touched!  The Emperor will be glad to hear it."  If the Heroes have not yet found and defeated Gobfob (A), also read the following text: "But what are orcs doing here?  Perhaps you should investigate further."  If a Hero searches for treasure, the Gargoyle will awake!  It will IMMEDIATELY attack any hero within range.  It is now a normal Gargoyle.  After the Gargoyle is defeated, Heroes may search for treasure in the room again.  If a Hero does, they will find 300 Gold Coins in the treasure chest.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Development Log: HeroQuest Monthathon #6 - Level 3

Here, the undead have disappeared in favor of greenskins.  With the introduction of Goblins last time, players follow the lead and discover Orcs.  Also introduced are some new furniture pieces, as well as the last two types of traps.  I have also decided that, rather than a few small stories between the levels, this mod with have one through-line.

This also follows a slightly different format than a generic level, which I think keeps both heroes and DM interested and engaged.  I often found that, while playing the original, many levels blended together, unless there was something unique about it.

Click to Enlarge.
Quest Book text:

Quest 3 - The Caves of Inatur

"Goblins are not normally a threat, but as evidenced by the kidnap of Atryn, Goblins have become brazen.  Something is awry.  Go to the caves of Inatur, where a Goblin tribe makes its home, and see what clues you can find.  Beware, for Goblins are crafty and protective of their homes."

Wandering Monster in this Quest: Goblin

Note: in this quest, all regular doors are revealed as open.  Use line of sight to determine what Heroes can see.  Also, the Heroes may leave the level at any time, by using the stairwell as usual, but will be rewarded 60 Gold Coins (to be split between the heroes) for each of the five clues they find (for a possible total of 300 Gold Coins).

ORCS: Clue #1 - When the heroes discover their first Orc(s), read the following text: "So!  The Goblins are in league with the Orcs!  This will be valuable information for the Emperor!"

A: Clue #2 - When a hero searches for treasure in this room, read the following text: "The Goblins have stolen gold!  They have no use for such things.  What must they want it for?"  There are 100 Gold Coins in the chest.

B: Clue #3 - When a hero searches for treasure in this room, read the following text: "The Goblins have stolen magic scrolls!  What could they want such things for?"  There is an Extra Oomph Spell Scroll in the cupboard, but nothing else understandable to the heroes.

C: Clue #4 - When a hero steps into this room, read the following text: "The Goblins are hoarding weapons!  What could they be preparing for?"  (However, there are no weapons useful to the heroes; a search for treasure will reveal a treasure card.)

D: Clue #5 - When a hero enters this room, read the following text: "Goblins are not ordinarily ones for torture.  What devious scheme is afoot?"  (However, a search for treasure reveals only a treasure card).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Development Log: HeroQuest Monthathon #5 - Level 2

Level 2 is also similar to the second level of the original game, in that it's a rescue mission, and that there are now traps and secret doors in the level.

Here, I'm also slowly introducing new enemies.  Unlike the shambling undead, Goblins are quick, smart, and come in larger groups.  Goblins are the weakest enemy, but their numbers make them powerful.

I have also started making multiple paths, which could split the heroes up with traps (see the Falling Block Trap near the upper right corner of the map).  Splitting up the party makes things far more dangerous, so players have to think carefully before choosing to do so.

Click to Enlarge.
Quest Book text:

Quest 2 - The Catacombs of Beliss

"With your last quest successful, the Emperor thinks you have proven yourself a worthy band of Heroes, and is in need of a small rescue mission.  Atryn, one of the Emperor's old but most distinguished councilmen, has been kidnapped in the night by a band of Goblins, and taken down to the Catacombs of Beliss.  Enter, rescue, and be rewarded with 200 Gold Coins each."

Wandering Monster in this Quest: Goblin

A: Atryn is on the square marked "A".  Use the Chaos Warlock to represent him.  Atryn cannot attack, but defends with one Combat Die.  He moves 9 squares per turn.  Let the player who discovers Atryn control him, after his Hero's turn.  Atryn has four Body Points.  If Atryn dies, the Heroes will not be rewarded.

B: The Mummy in this room is Beliss.  If the Heroes search for Treasure in this room, they will find a Double Down Spell Scroll.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Development Log: HeroQuest Monthathon #4 - Level 1

Much like the first quest in the original game, this one is a test before the real fun begins, takes place in a tomb, and has no traps or secret doors for the Heroes to worry about.

However, I decided to change a few things.  First, I decided to give the first level an Undead theme, rather than showing off every enemy there is.  I also only have seven pieces of furniture. 

I always felt the first level spoiled the surprises of the game by putting every monster and every piece of furniture in the game in the first level.  Here, I have only five unique pieces, and three monsters.  I have also significantly reduced the difficulty of the first level, since, in the original, the first level is the most difficult, which of course should not be the case.

Click to enlarge.
Quest Book text:

Quest 1 - The Test

"Before you are deemed worthy of facing Zargon, you must first past a test.  You are to enter the Crypt of Omgar, and steal the ring from his tomb.  It is of immense value to the Emperor, for Clerical study of the ring will reveal the secrets of Zargon's Necromancy.  Bring back the ring, and you will be accepted as true heroes."

Wandering Monster in this Quest: Skeleton

A. The Mummy in this room is Omgar.  If a Hero searches for treasure in this room, he will find the Ring of Omgar.  There is no other treasure in this room.

B. This is a library of spells.  If a Hero searches for treasure in this room, he will find an Extra Oomph Spell Scroll.

C. This is a room of Omgar's personal heirlooms.  Within the chests are coins and collectors' items totaling 200 Gold Coins.  If a hero searches for treasure in this room, he will find them.

D. This room contains Omgar's internal organs and other mummification apparatuses.  The antique jars they are kept in can fetch a price of 100 Gold Coins.  The first hero who searches for treasure will find them.  However, if the door to Omgar's tomb has not yet been opened, and a hero searches for treasure, he gets the treasure, but then the door will immediately open.  Tell the heroes that they have awoken Omgar, and his is angry.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Development Log: HeroQuest Monthathon #3 - Spells

Because the Elf and Wizard can now purchase spells, a few new categories of spells need to be created.

So to go along with Earth, Air, Water, and Fire elemental packs, I thought I should add a few more, which should fit right in with the nature/elemental theme.

Animal Spells

Lion's Roar:  All Enemies in line of sight a frightened and will move away from the caster to the full extent of their movement on their next turn, unless backed into a corner.

Phantom Beast:  Target Enemy within line of sight is immediately attacked by an ephemeral animal.  The Phantom Beast attacks with the number of combat dice equal to the caster's mind points.

Phantom Bird:  Target Hero within line of sight is lifted off the ground by an ephemeral avian.  The Hero cannot be hit except by ranged attacks/spells for the enemy's next turn.  However, on the Hero's next turn, he may not do anything except use ranged attacks/spells.

Night Spells:

Cover of Darkness: All Enemies in line of sight attack and defend with one fewer combat dice, to a minimum of one, up to and through the spellcaster's next turn.

Fear of the Dark:  Target Enemy cannot attack, and is reduced in defense to one combat die.  The Enemy may roll combat dice equal to its mind points on each of its turns until the spell is broken.  If a Black Shield is rolled, the spell is broken.  Not effective against creatures with zero Mind Points.

Light of the Moon:  All Secret Doors in the level are immediately placed on the board.  Also, all unsprung traps are immediately placed on the board, however, place a skull token on each unsprung trap square to indicate where the unsprung trap is; do not place the trap itself.

Plant Spells

Healing Herbs: Target Hero is immediately healed 3 body points.  If the Hero was dead, the Hero is revived, but is only healed 2 Body points.

Poison Thorns: Target Enemy is attacked by poisonous thorns, and receives three points of damage.  The Enemy rolls one combat die for each of its Mind Points.  For every Black Shield rolled, damage is reduced by one point.

Root:  Target Hero within line of sight gains 3 additional Defend Dice on their next turn.  However, the Hero cannot move, search for treasure, search for traps, or disarm a trap during that turn.

Sun Spells:

Healing Rays:  Target Hero is healed the number of Body Points equal to his Mind Points (up to his maximum number of Body Points).

Light of the Sun:  Spellcaster may immediately disarm any trap the Heroes are aware of, revealed or sprung.  If a sprung trap is chosen, the trap is removed from the board.

Sun Blisters:  Targets one Enemy.  If Enemy is... Green: loses 1 Body Point.  White: loses 2 Body Points.  Gray: rolls Defense Dice.  If a Black Shield is rolled, it is unaffected. Otherwise, loses 1 Body Point.  Gargoyle: immediately turns to stone.  Its figure stays on the board, but it cannot move, attack, defend, or be killed.  It is effectively dead, but takes up space.

Spell Scrolls:

These are Scrolls which can be cast by anyone, not just the Elf and Wizard.  They have different prices than normal spells, but can only be used once per scroll.  There are an unlimited quantity of Scrolls, so unlike Elemental Spells, any number of heroes can have any number of these spells.  They are not limited to only one per game which gets recharged between levels.

Spells Scrolls may also be found as a specified treasure during a quest.

Double Down: If Spellcaster searches for treasure, and must draw from the treasure deck, he may immediately use this spell.  Whatever is revealed is doubled.  CAUTION!  This includes Wandering Monsters and Hazards!
Price: 100 Gold Coins

Extra Oomph:  May be used to increase combat dice by one in any instance on any Hero.  Spellcaster may call to use the spell any time combat dice are to be rolled by a Hero.  However, the Spellcaster must decide to use it BEFORE the Hero rolls.
Price: 200 Gold Coins

Treasure Revealed:  If Spellcaster searches for treasure, and must draw from the treasure deck, he may immediately use this spell.  He flips cards until a Treasure is revealed, skipping over Wandering Monsters and Hazards unaffected.
Price: 100 Gold Coins

Also not always worth it, considering the possible payback.
I will come up with more later, and perhaps adjust the prices as I go, but for now I think these are decent additions.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Development Log: HeroQuest Monthathon #2 - Items

Between levels in HeroQuest, players may take a trip to the Armory to buy new weapons and armor.  In expansions, players may also stop at an Alchemist's Shop to purchase potions. But because these items are so cheap, players become war machines too quickly.  Here is a fix for the weapons and armor (with the addition of a shortbow):

Dagger (Wizard starts with this)
Attack Dice: 1
Can be thrown at an enemy, picked up when out of combat; Wizard can use
Price: 50 Gold Coins

Shortsword (Dwarf and Elf start with this)
Attack Dice: 2
Price: 250 Gold Coins

Broadsword (Barbarian starts with this)
Attack Dice: 3
Price: 500 Gold Coins

Long Sword
Attack Dice: 3
Two-handed; can attack diagonally
Price: 1000 Gold Coins

Battle Axe
Attack Dice: 4
Price: 1000 Gold Coins

Attack Dice: 1
Two-handed; Wizard can use; can attack diagonally
Price: 250 Gold Coins

Attack Dice: 2
Two-handed; ranged
Price: 250 Gold Coins
Ammo Price: 25 Gold Coins Each

Attack Dice: 3
Two-handed; ranged
Price: 500 Gold Coins
Ammo Price: 50 Gold Coins Each

Defend Dice: +1
Price: 500 Gold Coins

Defend Dice: +1
Cannot be used with two-handed weapons
Price: 250 Gold Coins

Chain Mail
Defend Dice: +1
May not be combined with Plate Mail
Price: 1000 Gold Coins

Plate Mail
Defend Dice: +2
May not be combined with Chain Mail
Price: 2000 Gold Coins

I also have eliminated some odd restraints from the original game, such as not being able to combine Chain Mail or Plate Mail with a Helmet or Shield.  I understand they did it mechanically to keep things from getting too crazy, but physically it seems silly.

But I have added restraints to balance things out, such as by having more weapons be two-handed, so they cannot be used with the Shield.  I have also made the Shield a lower price than the helmet for this reason.  Oddly enough, the game comes unbalanced by making the Shield empirically less useful than the Helmet, but it costs more.

As for the Tool Kit:  in the original game, the Dwarf's special power is that he can disarm a trap without a Tool Kit, at a chance of greater than 80%.  A Hero with a Tool Kit has 50% chance of success.  So it is completely unnecessary to ever purchase a Tool Kit unless the Dwarf is out of commission.  A Tool Kit is ordinarily 250 Gold Coins, and that seems a fair price then, considering it's a backup plan, and considering I've sufficiently raised the price of every other item.

As far as other items go: I think that the Alchemist's Shop in expansions are not particularly useful, since the potions found when searching for treasure are common enough.

I think his "Heroic Brew" has a 100 proof.
But that doesn't mean there are no additional items besides weapons.  To give the Wizard ways to become more powerful as time goes on, he can purchase spells.  Because the Wizard starts with three categories of Spells, and there are categories left over, he can train a Spell at the cost of 1000 coins a Spell, or 2500 for the whole category.  The Elf can similarly purchase spells, since he has one category to begin with.

But because there is only one card for each spell, the Wizard and Elf cannot purchase the same spell.

I'll create new spell categories for next time, but for now some more spells in game need to be altered for consistency.

Most spells that use dice rely on "red dice", which are standard 6-sided dice with Domino pips.  However, there are "combat dice", also 6-sided, which have three skulls, two white shields, and one black shield.  These should be used for spells, so to correct the text of each (not to copy down all the text, this is just what must be altered, so you need to follow along at home):

Water/Chaos Spell "Sleep":

"...The spell can be broken at once or on a future turn by a monster/Hero rolling one Combat Die for each of its Mind Points.  If a Black Shield is rolled, the spell is broken...."

Fire/Chaos Spell "Ball of Flame":

"...The monster/Hero then rolls two Combat Dice.  For each White Shield rolled, the damage is reduced by 1 point."

Fire Spell "Fire of Wrath":

"...unless the monster can immediately roll a White Shield using one Combat Die."

Chaos Spell "Summon Undead":

"...Roll one Combat Die:
Roll a Skull: 4 Skeletons
Roll a White Shield: 3 Skeletons, 2 Zombies
Roll a Black Shield: 2 Zombies, 2 Mummies"

Colors not included.
Chaos Spell "Summon Orcs":

"...Roll one Combat Die:
Roll a Skull: 4 Orcs
Roll a White Shield: 5 Orcs
Roll a Black Shield: 6 Orcs"

Chaos Spells "Fear" & "Command":

"...The spell can be broken by the Hero on a future turn by rolling one Combat Die for each of his Mind Points.  If a Black Shield is rolled, the spell is broken...."

Chaos Spell "Firestorm":

"...All victims immediately roll two Combat Dice.  For each White Shield rolled, the damage is reduced by 1 point...."

Chaos Spell "Cloud of Chaos":

"...The spell can be broken at once or on a future turn by each victim rolling one Combat Die for each of his Mind Points.  By rolling a Black Shield, the Hero frees himself."

Now that all the major corrections are out of the way, next log will be some inventions.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Development Log: HeroQuest Monthathon #1 - Rules Changes

HeroQuest seems to have been a game that was primarily designed as a baby step between traditional family board games like Clue and Sorry!, and fantasy tabletop RPGs like D&D.  Because of this, the rules are much simpler than you might expect.  The problem is that dungeon crawlers are complex by necessity, because there will often be questions that come up that need minor rules to figure out.

For instance, the rules do not specify whether a player can hold more than one weapon at a time.  This can lead to a player having both the most powerful ranged and melee weapons, and becoming nearly unstoppable.

So for the sake of fixing a few broken rules in the game, here are some changes I would make to the game:

1. A single character can only hold one weapon per quest, however if they have purchased more than one, they can switch weapons between quests freely.

1A. If a player picks up a weapon in the middle of a quest, they may immediately switch to that weapon, at the cost of leaving the other behind.

See?  Already making exceptions!

2. A player without a weapon in hand is reduced to one attack die.  If a player has a ranged weapon, such as a crossbow, but no ammo, the player is reduced to one combat die, and can only attack melee, just as if they had no weapon.

2A. There is now ammo for ranged weapons, which can be purchased at the armory.

I'm adding this rule because I always thought it was a little silly that ranged weapons in HeroQuest had no ammo.  Of course, the ammoless crossbow was intended for the purpose of simplifying battle, but I don't think ammo adds too much complexity.  It does, however, make ranged weapons much more costly, with having to buy ammo between every level, and chancing running out of ammo mid-level.

The reason I am making ranged weapons such a high cost is because, through experience, I have discovered that ranged weapons can make players practically invincible.  This will make players seriously consider whether it's worth it to use ranged weapons.

Also, I will have to alter the armory later to incorporate ammo and potentially other ranged weapons.

3. Treasure:  Each hero can only search for treasure once per room.  Once one treasure is found, no more heroes may search for treasure in that room.

Originally, the rules were that all four heroes could search once per room, regardless of outcome.  However, this has led to an overabundance of money and potions, leading, once again, to near invincibility quickly.  With this rule in place, treasure becomes more limited.

4. Monster Cards are not used.

"For collectors only."
There is a set of cards that hero players may look at which give the stats of all of the basic monsters in the game.  Part of the fun of D&D is discovering how tough monsters are through battle, so the cards are a detriment to the experience, rather than being helpful as one might assume.

Now, beyond basic rule changes that can be summed up in a sentence, I will make a major change to Mind Points.  Typically, Mind Points are designed to be used to break spell holds.  However, in the actual game, there is only one hero spell that effects monsters' mind points (out of twelve total spells), rendering the stat on monsters mostly useless.  There are only four out of twelve Chaos Spells (enemy spells) that effect hero mind points.

I'll accept one third of spells using mind points as a decent percentage, so I'll fix three hero spells to compensate:

The Earth Spell "Pass Through Rock" will have altered text (in bold):

"This spell can be cast on any one Hero, including yourself.  That Hero may then move through walls on his next move.  He may move through as many walls as his dice roll allows.  If a Hero ends his turn in solid rock, he must roll one combat die for each of his mind points.  For each White Shield rolled, the Hero may move an extra square in an attempt to exit the solid rock.  Caution!  If a Hero ends his turn in solid rock, he is trapped forever!"

The Air Spell "Tempest" will have altered text:

"This spell creates a small whirlwind that envelopes one monster of your choice.  That monster may roll combat dice immediately and on future turns equal to its mind points.  If a Black Shield is rolled, the spell is broken.  If the spell is not broken, the monster can do nothing else on its turn.  If used against a monster with Zero mind points, the monster only misses one turn."

The Fire Spell "Courage" will have altered text:

"This spell may be cast on any one Hero, including yourself.  The next time that Hero attacks, he may roll combat dice equal to its Mind Points, instead of Attack Dice."

With these fixes, each of the four Elemental Spell Categories have one spell that uses Mind Points, whether it is the players' or the monsters'.  I think I will also be adding another category or two of spells, which completely utilize Mind Points with every spell.

This brings up a new rule that alters play:

5. Only the Elf and Wizard may use Spells.  At the beginning of the game, the Wizard may pick one category of Spells to use for the duration of the game (not just the quest, but the entire game).  The Elf may then pick one category to use.  The Wizard may then pick two more categories to use.  The other categories will not be used during the game.

This is similar to what the rules already state, except that it specifies to ignore the other categories of spells.  Also, the instructions are unclear as to whether the spell selection is only for the duration of a quest, and between quests the Elf and Wizard may reselect spells, or if the spells are permanent.  I have decided to make them permanent.  However, throughout the campaign I may decide to offer opportunities for replacing spells, or adding new spells (this will probably help for the Wizard, as he rarely gets upgrades to armor or weapons).

Next log will be some new specific items, such as armory items or spells.