Home Forums Gaming in Glorantha HeroQuest Group contests in H:G


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    Profile photo of Paul


    Trying to get my head around some of the game mechanics. Specifically Group contests and tracking results.

    To set the background:
    Group Simple Contests – Pg 70 “the two results are compared … to get a numerical value that the winner adds to his side’s total” Simple enough. Matches the example.
    Single Extended Contests – Pg74 “The winning hero scores a number of RP to his tally … The first hero to accumulate 5 points wins”. Simple enough too. But doesn’t matches the example. The example tallies points against the looser. Frst person to 5 points looses.
    Group Extended Contests – Pg 79 “As in a single extended contests, each member … is trying to be the first to score 5 points against another. When a participant has 5 points scored against him … he is eliminated”. The example would seem to indicate that the RP tally mechanics tally points against the looser.

    Am I understanding it correctly that the mechanics for tallying RP scores are reversed over simple vs extended contests? Is the Single extended contest description possibly incorrect?

    Profile photo of Paul

    Peripherially related – Example “Confronting the firewitch”. Pg 76.

    Christine say that she will cast “trappings of divinity” in the contest.
    Claudia says “that sounds like a new spell”
    Christine says ‘Yes. So I’ll spend a HP on it”

    Is that an example of gaining a new ability – or using one of your 5 abilities deferred from character creation? Or is there some other reason for spending a hero point at that point?

    Profile photo of David Scott
    David Scott

    The wording has more to do with my style of playing than the rules in this case. I always say to my players “First to five points is knocked put of the contest”. It sounds way better than “First to five points opponent is knock out of the contest”. I don’t know if this reversal affects the outcome mechanics. I’ll get the team to check.

    The Trappings of Divinity is a new ability. In my group players will often spend a hero point rather immediately rather than work out what they’ve got left to spend from character generation. Hero Points need spending anyway.

    Profile photo of Paul


    Not certain if it does affect anything but running one contest one way and another the reverse is confusing to the reader.

    More questions coming up.

    Profile photo of Paul

    Related to that is contests in general. 20 is a fumble, 1 a critical. so lower is better. EXCEPT when it’s a tie. Then higher is better. Also confusing to the reader.

    Profile photo of Harald Smith
    Harald Smith

    In the extended conflicts, resolution points score against the loser (true for both Single and Group Extended contests). The first with 5 RP’s against them is out. The examples, I think, show this fairly well with the tallies marked against the loser of that round.

    Re: contests. 1 is always a critical, 20 always a fumble (excluding bumps).
    Otherwise you want to roll under or equal to your ability value.
    If both contestants roll under the respective ability values, then the higher value (excluding crits and fumbles) is better (this was a change from original HQ2 where the lower value was better – change made due to most people having the ‘higher is better’ mentality, I believe).

    Profile photo of Phil Nicholls
    Phil Nicholls

    Hi Paul,

    “Related to that is contests in general. 20 is a fumble, 1 a critical. so lower is better. EXCEPT when it’s a tie. Then higher is better. Also confusing to the reader.”

    As a simple statement, the highest roll winning a tie does seem to complicate matters.

    However, it does make sense and favours the more experienced contestant. Let me illustrate with an extreme example. Arthax the Amateur has Clumsy Spear Combat at 4. Brunhild the Bold has Shining Sword at 18.

    Just by looking at those ratings, it is clear that Brunhild should win a combat with Arthax. The principle of “high roll wins ties” helps to make this outcome happen. A sample round of combat should illustrate this principle.

    Arthax rolls a 2, a Pass. Brunhild rolls a 10, also a Pass. The contestants have tied their outcomes, so the high roll rule is invoked, giving Brunhild a Marginal Victory. The high roll principle gives Brunhild a much higher chance of winning any tied outcome, which seems appropriate given she has the higher overall rating.

    This method does not prevent Arthax from ever hitting Brunhild with his clumsy spear, but his best chance lies with rolling an outright better outcome, ie Pass vs Fail.

    Yes, the high roll wins rule does make it harder to sum up what Players need to roll to succeed. “Roll as low as you can” is a better phrase. However, it does not make for better gameplay. If it were the case that low roll wins ties, then in the example above, it would be very difficult for Brunhilde to score a Marginal Victory against clumsy Arthax. Such an outcome runs counter to their respective ability ratings.

    I hope this makes sense.

    All the best

    Profile photo of Steve Hammatt
    Steve Hammatt

    Thanks for that explanation Phil, I didn’t “get” that either, but you’ve made it very clear and obvious.

    Profile photo of Paul

    Thanks Phil. Nice clear example. I knew there was a statistical difference between high roll wins and low roll. But when I worked through a sample scenario like you did, I think I was working on comparing 2 failures rather than 2 successes. Slightly different situation.
    Understood though. Thanks again.

      With the change from low-roll-wins-ties to high-roll-wins-ties, the probabilities in the How Good are Masteries? section p. 33 are no longer accurate.
      With high-roll-wins-ties, a one mastery advantage wins about 95% of the time rather than 75%. To illustrate this, consider the example of cottar 10 vs. thane 10w1.
      With low-roll-wins-ties, cottar wins when cottar succeeds (50%) and thane fails (50%) = 25%, because the roll that gave the cottar success also gives him the low roll.
      With high-roll-wins-ties, all of those cases go to the thane: the roll that gave the thane failure also gives him the high roll. So the cottar only wins if:
      (a) cottar crits (5%) and thane fails (50%) = 2.5%
      or (b) cottar succeeds (50%) and thane fumbles (5%) = 2.5%
      = 5%.
      The “all but certain to win” text then applies to a 2-mastery advantage rather than a 3-mastery advantage.
      Likewise, the “will always be victorious, although” text then applies to a 3-mastery advantage rather than 4.
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