Home Forums Gaming in Glorantha HeroQuest Gaining new items and abilities

This topic contains 11 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Phil Nicholls Phil Nicholls 3 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #10947
    Profile photo of Paul
    Paul
    Spectator

    Heya.

    Just mulling over an issue I’ve had for a while now pertaining to the gaining of new items and abilities. One of the ‘humps’ that I and my players have had to get over is that Heroquest is fairly divorced from the old school style of ‘kill the monsters – loot their treasure’ type of gaming that we probably all grew up with.

    This is not a criticism. It’s just different and that creates a hurdle I have to pass.

    Now while HQ does allow for the gaining of new items in the form of cemented benefits and new ‘abilities’, they all start off at the same base ability rating of 13. This just doesn’t ring right to me since certain items should be more powerful than others. The leaden maul dragged from the fallen body of a Zorani battlelord should be more potent than the stick the players picked up on the way to the battle.

    Question. Is there any good reason not to award players with new abilities (assuming they pay the HP cost) above the base 13?

    Related to this. Over time, as players improve and as the games base resistance increases, new abilities gained at a base of 13 become less and less relevant. What point is a new ability of a rating of 13 when you’re routinely facing challenges of 20 or more?

    Question. Is it reasonable to assign new abilities at a rating relative to the games base resistance value? Maybe “Current Base Value -1” for new abilities? Assuming they gain is relevant/justifiable to the current story and not just plucked out of thin air? So after 13 sessions, when the base resistance is 20, new abilities relevant to the players past actions start at 19?

    Cheers all.

    #10948
    Profile photo of Charles
    Charles
    Keymaster

    In my Glorantha, magical items are not automatic, heroes have to learn to use them. Very magical items are often a minor god, spirit or essense and the hero must develop an appropriate relationship and, as they develop the relationship, more of the powers become available. A HeroQuest is an often appropriate way to gain access to the full powers of an item.
    On a more rules based note, there see Catch-Ups (p57) that as players gain masteries, allow some other abilities to be brought back to relevance. And, of course, as HeroQuest is meant to be a toolkit rather than straitjacket rules, feel free to have your own house rules that cover these situations in a way that feels comfortable to you and your players

    #10952
    Profile photo of David Scott
    David Scott
    Keymaster

    I allow items as breakouts of relevant keywords. I’m strict with this and don’t allow odd combinations. Weapons and armour are obvious breakouts from warrior keywords, but I wouldn’t allow a hunter to breakout armour from his hunter keyword. I recently allowed bag of magic coins as a breakout from spirit-talker, for use as magic, not money. If they can’t give a good case, it’s an ability at 13.

    I also reward players with occasional breakouts.

    On the other hand, some new abilities at 13 often provide the fun parts of the game as players struggle to master them.

    #10953
    Profile photo of Robin Mitra
    Robin Mitra
    Spectator

    1. Remember that while an object might always stay the same your ability to overcome obstacles with it may increase over time. So your family could have an old sword that had been passed down over generations. You father could wield it at 11W. But when he died in battle the sword was handed over to you and you have to start at 13. Given time and effort you may still surpass your father’s ability eventually. The same goes for other abilities like your horse, money, or the relation to your clan chief.

    2. If you still think that 13 is not enough for whatever reasons, feel free to increase the rating. E.g. you could link it to the base difficulty that goes up by one every other session.

    3. Last but not least it is worth mentioning that ratings in HeroQuest are always relative numbers not absolute. That means you can always drop masteries to make contests easier to handle. After some 90+ game sessions our group completed Ernalsulva’s last task from the Sartar book. Most characters had abilities between W2 and W4. We simply created all characters again according to rule set for beginners, essentially dropping all ratings down between 13 to 7W. The characters were still as powerful as before, we simply got rid of some masteries on the character sheet.

    #10954
    Profile photo of David Scott
    David Scott
    Keymaster

    @robin-mitra, that last point was very interesting:

    “Most characters had abilities between W2 and W4. We simply created all characters again according to rule set for beginners, essentially dropping all ratings down between 13 to 7W. The characters were still as powerful as before, we simply got rid of some masteries on the character sheet.”

    I’d certainly consider that an option in my games.

    #10963
    Profile photo of boztakang
    boztakang
    Participant

    Another thing to consider is awarding “lingering benefit” bonuses as “loot” – so instead of an abstract +3 lingering benefit from a successful combat, they might claim the Magic Sword of their foe.

    Many players are made unreasonably happy by having a “+3 sword” to swing around, and assigning the bonuses to a concrete item can help in visualizing when or why they would apply (or not) to a particular contest.

    Make sure that the players are aware that such items are commonly lost, stolen, or broken, and that if they want to “keep” them for more than a few sessions, they will need to cement the item as an ability using Hero points.

    #10972
    Profile photo of David Scott
    David Scott
    Keymaster

    @boztakang, I don’t tend to use Benefits of Victory (BoV – formally lingering benefits) for weapons in the way you describe. Although from the outset it seems like a good idea.

  • They have to be used, there’s no picking when.
    When you fail, you loose them, not so bad – should of cemented them.
    They occur in step values, +3, +6, etc, so when cementing they become just 13 (unless using my house breakout rule)
  • I’d keep “things” and fighty stuff separate. Fighty stuff – never a BoV, always a cement. Things can be either.

    Just my experience in playing HeroQuest 2, your experiences may of course be different.

    PS – BoV is from HeroQuest Glorantha in case you were wondering, along with Consequences of Failure. They’ve are much more prominant in the examples and character sheet.

#10982
Profile photo of David Cake
David Cake
Spectator

I think an item as a lingering benefit works well. It makes an item seem very useful and effective, but makes it easy to write it out of the story – of course your defeat in combat may be accompanied by a weapon being taken or destroyed, etc. Which makes them seem a useful and meaningful part of the story, but without having them accumulate. Of course, characters can cement it if they’d rather.

I also like the idea of powerful magic items as companions, the way the sword Wrath is done in Sartar: KoH, but I find my players tend to get overexcited about this option and want to use it a little too much!

#10998
Profile photo of Roko Joko
Roko Joko
Spectator

The leaden maul is more powerful, but the hardcore HQ2 model is that every character gets the same number of storytelling points, so if somebody wants an important stick they get an important stick.

You could say items modify abilities rather than being abilities.

You could just never increase the base resistance, and instead have rules for character growth by way of adding abilities and reallocating points between them. Rules like that should have been designed for HQ2 and they should have been the default.

#11056
Profile photo of Phil Nicholls
Phil Nicholls
Spectator

Hi Paul,

First of all, I have found the same difficulty as you with needing to adjust Players’ expectations of what a HeroQuest game is like. The mindset of f20 games is hard to shift for some people. Indeed, the big inter-Player confrontation that blew apart our last cycle of tales probably had its root in this issue.

I have also dealt with your main question in my game. New Abilities are linked to the current Augment Resistance, starting at one less than the current value.

I chose this instead of the Base value for several reasons. Firstly, Augment does rise, but at a slower rate. Thus, any new ability will still be relevant to the game, as it will serve as a good Augment ability. There is then scope for a Player to raise the Ability further, but even at its starting rating, there will always be the option to use it for an Augment.

Secondly, the changes to the Hero are less. I have found that Base rises very quickly, and can soon outstrip many of the Abilities of a Hero. Allowing a new Ability to be linked to Base opens up the possibility of Players simply buying new Abilities every time, rather than trying to improve existing ones. If a new Ability were linked to Base, then it does not make sense for a Hero to suddenly be able to do something so well just by buying a new Ability. I want to see more of a story from my Heroes, and thus want to chart a gradual increase in their power.

Every game will vary, but I hope I have given you something else to consider.

Happy Gaming
Phil

#14456
Profile photo of Paul
Paul
Spectator

A little late but thank you all for your helpful replies.

#14467
Profile photo of Phil Nicholls
Phil Nicholls
Spectator

Hi Paul,

How have you solved your issue? Or was it one of those things which solved itself?

All the best
Phil

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