Saturday, April 30, 2011

Stairway

I find it fun to add little twists to the different Dungeon rooms that the Warriors encounter in their dangerous explorations under the World's Edge Mountains.  When they come across the Stairway, I employ the following twist:






Stairway - Special Rules
  • The Stairway is treated as a multi-level room, as described on page 11 of the Lair of the Orc Lord book.  Basically, Warriors attacking from a higher level gain +1 on their to-hit rolls, and those attacking from a lower level suffer -1.  Also, models cannot be pinned by models on a different level.  For the Stairway, each staircase is treated as its own level.
  • The Stairway leads down to a forboding area of the dungeon that is even more dangerous than what the Warriors have experienced so far.  To represent this, add 1 to the number of Monsters encountered in rooms beyond the Stairway.

Tomb Chamber

Continuing my series of posts on using the Objective Room Dungeon cards in a basic game of Warhammer Quest, we come to the Tomb Chamber.  When this room comes up during a dungeon exploration, I use the following rules:








Tomb Chamber - Special Rules
  • Roll 1d6, on a 1-3 there is one exit door, on a 4-6 there are 2 exit doors in the room.  All exit doors should be placed along the last row of squares in the room.
  • The Tomb Chamber Pre-Objective Room will trigger an Event on a 1-3 on 1d6.
  • The tomb squares themselves are impassible.
  • The tomb is sealed with a massive stone lid, and the Warriors can try to remove it if they dare.  Most likely there are foul gasses inside the ancient tomb that might debilitate the Warriors, but there is also the chance of great riches inside.  To open the lid, two Warriors must try, and they must both be adjacent to the tomb, but at opposite ends.  Each Warrior must do nothing else that Turn, and each must pass a Strength Check (roll 1d6 and add Strength, 7 or higher is successful).
  • If the Warriors manage to open the tomb, roll on the table below for traps:
    1. Lethal gasses escape the ancient tomb - each Warrior must pass a Toughness Check or is killed!
    2. A fetid gas seeps from the tomb - each Warrior will lose 1 Wound per Turn until they pass a Toughness Check at the beginning of the Warriors' Phase.
    3. A choking, stifling gas escapes the tomb, each Warrior will suffer from a fit of coughing until they pass a Toughness Check at the beginning of the Warriors' Phase, and suffer -1 on all to-hit rolls.
    4. The tomb smells incredibly stale, but there are no adverse effects from breaking the seal.
    5. 2d6 Giant Spider immediately spring from the tomb to attack the Warriors.
    6. The spirits of those interned in the tomb are not happy with the desecration!  The Warriors must face 1d3 Ghosts.
  • Should the Warriors survive the tomb's effects, each one can then roll 1d6.  On a 4, 5, or 6 that Warrior finds something of value inside and can take a Treasure card.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Skeleton?

In Warhammer Quest, certain Monsters have a Fear or a Terror value.  For example, Skeletons have "Fear 5".  Each Warrior must roll 1D6 and add their Battle Level.  If they score equal to or less than the Monster's Fear value, they are afraid of that Monster type that turn, and fight against it at -1, and Spells even cost 1 more Power point when cast against that Monster type!

In my games, I always like to play up the influence of the Warriors' Ability Scores, as I think it adds flavor, making each Warrior more unique.  I think it makes sense to do this for the "Psychology" rules.  Therefore, in my games the following house rule applies:

Fear/Terror
  • To determine if a Warrior is affected, they roll 1d6 and add their Willpower.  If this value is greater than or equal to the Fear/Terror value, then they are not afraid of that Monster type during this combat.  Remember the Rule of 1 and 6, a 1 is always a failure.
Note: This considerably reduces the frequency that Fear and Terror affects Warriors in my games, but I think this is in keeping with the idea that the Warriors are heroic, larger-than-life figures.

Gaol

In my games, I take the Gaol Dungeon card and shuffle it into the Dungeon deck, using the following special rule when it comes up during play.







Gaol - Special Rules
  • The Warriors have entered from a secret door opposite the locked gate, and there is a Prisoner inside!  Take a figure to represent the Prisoner and place it in one of the squares of the Gaol cell as soon as the room is revealed in the Exploration Phase.  (Note: if the Goal happens to be the first room in the Dungeon, and there are not enough spaces to place the Warriors, the Warriors with the lowest Initiative must start outside of the board section.)
  • Place one exit door along the cell gate.  The gate is locked, and a Warrior must pass a Strength check to force it open (1d6+Strength, 7 or more).  Up to 2 Warriors standing adjacent to the door can try each turn.  Attempting to force the gate takes an entire Warrior Phase.
  • If the Warriors can keep the Prisoner alive by the time they leave the dungeon, they each collect a reward of 1d6x50 Gold when they reach the next Settlement.
  • The Monsters in the dungeon don't like their prisoners escaping!  Treat the Prisoner as a Warrior when placing and controlling Monsters using the One-on-one Rule.
  • The Prisoner can move and attack like a Warrior during the Warrior phase.  One of the players should control the Prisoner, and they can alternate on a turn by turn basis.
Prisoner

Wounds: 1d6
Move: 4
Weapon Skill: 1
Ballistic Skill: -
Strength: 1
Toughness: 1
Initiative: 2
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d6

Warriors can give the Prisoner Weapons, Armour, Equipment, or Treasure, but if the Prisoner is killed these items are lost.

Fountain of Light

Continuing in the series where I describe an idea of how to use the Objective Room Dungeon cards in the normal Dungeon deck, we come to the Fountain of Light.  WHQ can be so relentless for the poor Warriors, I thought it would be nice to provide a room where they actually feel some hope for a change.  Of course, not completely without risk!







Fountain of Light - Special Rules
  • Roll 1d6, on a 1-3 there is one exit door, on a 4-6 there are 2 exit doors in the room.  All exit doors should be placed in the last row of squares in the room.
  • The Fountain of Light Pre-Objective Room will trigger an Event on 1-3 on 1d6.
  • The central 4 Fountain squares are impassible.
  • A Warrior can drink from the Fountain of Light if they are standing next to it, once per adventure.  Roll 1d6 on the table below:
    1. A dark secret from the Warrior's past comes back to haunt them, as the Powers of Light deem the Warrior unworthy.  The Warrior loses 1 Starting Wound.
    2-5. The Warrior has 1d6 Wounds healed.
    6. The Powers of Light shine brightly on the Warrior.  They have 1d6 Wounds healed, and have their Starting Wounds increased by 1.

Fire Chasm

Continuing my series of Special Rules to use for Pre-Objective Rooms, we come next to the Fire Chasm.  The Adventure Book contains some good rules for Warriors who attempt to cross the Fire Chasm, and my rules are based largely on them.  However, as I often do, I try and integrate the Warriors' Ability Scores into the equation.  After all, we can't expect the clumsy Dwarf to cross the rope bridge with equal ease as the graceful Elf, can we?








Fire Chasm - Special Rules
  • Roll 1d6, on a 1-3 there is one exit door, on a 4-6 there are 2 exit doors in the room.  All doors should be placed along the last row of squares in the room, across from the Chasm.
  • The Fire Chasm Pre-Objective Room will trigger an Event on a 1-3 on 1d6.
  • Crossing the rope bridge takes two squares, after which the figure should roll 1d6 and add their Initiative score, then consult the following table:
    3 or less. The hapless figure cannot maintain their footing and falls to their death in the fiery abyss.
    4, 5. The figure slips, but manages to catch the rope, dangling above the flames and takes 1d6 unmodified Wounds.  If they survive, they make it across and can continue their movement.
    6. The figure loses its footing and loses one item (discard an Equipment, Treasure, or Weapon), but they do make it across the bridge and can continue their movement.
    7. The figure slips, swinging wildly from side to side.  Roll 1d6, on a 1-3 place them in a square next to the bridge on the side they entered from and their movement ends, on a 4-6 they wind up in one of the squares next to the bridge at the other end of the Chasm, and they can continue their movement.
    8+. The figure makes it across and can continue their movement normally.
  • Monsters follow the same rules as Warriors when attempting to cross the Chasm, they are not as well trained as the Monsters in the Fire Chasm Objective Room ;)

Leave no Dungeon Card Unused - Fighting Pit

Warhammer Quest can be played in one of two modes.  In the Basic Game, we use the Dungeon Cards to generate a random dungeon on the fly for the Warriors to explore.  In the Roleplay Game, the dungeon layout is usually pre-planned (created by the GamesMaster).  Originally, I was a bit of a snob in my preference for the Roleplay Game.  However, more recently, I've become a convert to the Basic Game, as it provides a unique and fresh experience each time it's played, even if played with a GamesMaster, and the randomization functions of the Dungeon and Event Cards produce quite interesting results.

But, I think we can make it even more interesting ...

As I was playing through a few games, and composing the initial Dungeon deck, it struck me that the process of building the deck results in almost all of the most interesting cards (the Objective Rooms) being discarded.  The variant described here is a way to keep these interesting rooms in the running as your dungeon gets generated!

To try this out, first select a random Objective Room card as usual, and determine your adventure from the Adventure Book like normal.  Next, shuffle the other Objective Room cards back into the deck before you continue to build out the Dungeon Deck.

Now, as the Warriors explore the dungeon, they might come across one or more Objective Rooms before they reach their ultimate Objective Room.  I've outlined a few simple rules to use when the Warriors encounter these "Pre-Objective Rooms".

The first consideration is whether or not these rooms should generate an event.  A normal Dungeon deck is carefully balanced with corridors that don't generate Events, and rooms that do generate events.  To keep this balance, a Pre-Objective Room will normally generate an Event on a die roll of 1-3.

The second consideration is how many doors that the Pre-Objective Rooms should contain.  Unless otherwise specified in the room's Special Rules, roll 1d6.  On a 1-3 the room has 1 exit door, and on a 4-6 it has 2 exit doors (in this case, split the Dungeon deck into 2 piles, just like you do with a T-Junction).

Finally, I created some Special Rules that come into play for each of the Pre-Objective Rooms.  This gives these rooms flavor, and can add a great tension to the game.  These Special Rules were crafted carefully to keep them simple.  Since these rooms might also trigger an Event, it was important to keep any Special Rules to a minimum to avoid an explosion of complexity.

I will publish the Special Rules for each Pre-Objective Room in separate posts, but for now here is the Fighting Pit:








Fighting Pit - Special Rules
  • Place 1 exit door in the pit, opposite the entry door (unlike other Pre-Objective Rooms, the Fighting Pit always has only 1 exit door.)
  • The Fighting Pit Pre-Objective Room will trigger an Event on a 1-3 on 1d6.
  • A figure can move from the upper level down to the pit or vice versa with the Rope (roll to break as usual).  A figure can use the Rope of any friendly figure adjacent.
  • The Fighting Pit is considered a Multi-Level room, and uses all the Rules for Multi-Level Rooms specified in the blog.  However, it does not contain stairs, meaning the only way to get down into the Pit (or up out of the Pit) is to use the Rope, or to climb.  However, since the Fighting Pit is not as deep as other Multi-Level Rooms, the Initiative Check to climb up is a 7 difficulty, and to jump down is a 5 difficulty.
  • A figure that began its turn on the Trap Door square can attempt to force it open by passing a Strength Check, and doing nothing else that turn.  If successful, the Warrior should roll 1d6:
    1. Poison Needle Trap!  2d6 Wounds unmodified.
    2. Spike Trap! 1d6 Wounds unmodified.
    3. Sleeping Gas Trap!  Warrior falls asleep 1d6 turns unless they pass a Toughness Check.
    4. No trap, but the revealed compartment is empty.
    5. The Warrior discovers a pouch containing 1d6x100 Gold.
    6. The Warrior discovers a hidden cache, and can take 1 Treasure Card.

The World's Greatest Dungeon Crawl

It seems like every time I turn around these days there is a new dungeon crawl board game coming out.  There have been many strong games in this genre, HeroQuest, Descent, Castle Ravenloft, just click here to see hundreds more.  But, in my opinion, none of them reach the level of perfection that Warhammer Quest does.

Here are some of the reasons why WHQ is the best dungeon crawler out there:
  • A plethora of Warrior types available, both "official" and fan-made.  This results in a limitless variety in the composition of the adventuring party.
  • A dungeon-generation system that splits the physical layout (Dungeon cards) from the events that occur in the dungeon (Event cards).
  • Prolific random tables that abstract what happens when travelling to a Settlement, and what can happen when you get there.  Although, this is also a current limitation of the experience, but one I hope we can rectify by pooling our resources into dynamic, online tables.
  • An advancement system that allows you to keep your Warriors that happen to survive, and lead them from Battle Level One to Battle Level Ten.
All of these elements are inherently expandable.  Want to add new dungeon tiles?  No problem, just mock up some new Dungeon cards that contain any special rules for the tiles, deal them into the Dungeon deck, and you're off.  The same goes for Events.  The basic Warhammer Quest box even came with empty Event Cards so you could add your own Monsters and Events to the mix.

The end result is a game that's never the same twice, but is consistently brutal.  If you manage to beat the Objective Room and survive a dungeon, you can be rightly proud of the accomplishment!  More often than not you'll be rolling up a new Warrior for the next attempt.

The purpose of this blog will be to provide new content that can be easily folded into the game to increase the variety and the fun.  Although WHQ might be out of print, it is still alive and well ... thriving in fact!  So, roll your to-hit die and hope for some Deathblows!  Here we go!