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House Rules from Veterans

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1 hour ago, Archivist said:

For those of you that use HeroQuest 2e / HeroQuest (2e) Glorantha, what house rules or cool conversions have you used?

Very little!

I expanded the range of difficulties.  I found that in many Extended Contests (e.g. combat, use of certain runes/magics), the heroes would use a specific ability starting at W+, add in the specific ability bonus of +6, and add in an augment (almost always use quick augments) of +4/5. That put them at a level where they regularly came out without a scratch vs. High Difficulty, but a Very High Difficulty was often too much (unless they were able to apply multiple opponent benefits).  The Quite High/Extremely High levels seem to address these where the conflict should be in doubt to the end, or clearly a challenge to overcome (without being impossible).

For those I use:

  • Low = Base - 6
  • Moderate = Base
  • High = Base + 6
  • Quite High = Base + 12
  • Very High = Base + W
  • Extremely High = Base + 6W
  • Nearly Impossible = Base + W2
Edited by jajagappa
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To be honest - none. It's more about what I leave out. I never use any of the fancy stuff, only simple and extended contests. Occasionally group simple contests, but that's it. 

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This thread contains the major 'house variant'. It's less of a rules change than a admonition to remember that any victory means you get the stakes, not something less.

But I also moved to critical on the TN, rather than a 1. Once you adopt highest roll that is a success wins, it makes more sense.

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Critical on rolling your rating exactly, rather than on a one. In the case of a 20 rating, they still crit on 19, and 20 becomes a regular fail rather than a fumble.

Makes for fewer ties, and lets someone who crits occasionally pull off a marginal victory when at a mastery disadvantage, e.g. Someone with a 17 rating who rolls a 17 scores marginal victory against 10w2 opposition rolling 12, as a critical at 17 beats a critical at 12.

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Not house rules exactly, as they're in HeroQuest Gateway Licenced products, but...

Chained Simple Contests from Mythic Russia: Used as an alternative to Extended Contests when zooming in to blow-by-blow exchanges. Results of each roll are applied immediately, and bonusses & penalties stack up throughout the conflict. It makes for more open ended conflicts compared to the Extended Contest rules in the core books, but also has a bit more bloody grind/death-spiral feel for combats. That can be a pro or con depending on the situation and your goals. Chained Simple Contests are also a little easier to grasp for players new to the idea of conflict rather than task resolution. I have used both approaches in the same session.

 

Nameless Streets (sadly now out of print) introduced the idea of deliberately failing a Flaw contest to gain a Hero Point, similar to compells in Fate, along with several alternate advancement schemes that are very nice.

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Thanks JonL. I actually have both of those products (they get recommended frequently). 

I really really wish the people that own the Heroquest II licence would get things straightened up in a way that the company that made Nameless Streets would work with them on that product line. They really nailed it in showing what you could do with Heroquest II.

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36 minutes ago, Archivist said:

I really really wish the people that own the Heroquest II licence would get things straightened up in a way that the company that made Nameless Streets would work with them on that product line. They really nailed it in showing what you could do with Heroquest II.

The issue doesn't appear to be with the HeroQuest licence, but in the agreement between the author Charles Green and Alphetar Games.. 

https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/5963-nameless-streets-out-of-print/

Chaosium changed the licensing for HeroQuest making it really easy to do

https://www.chaosium.com/heroquest-gateway-license/

 

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16 hours ago, David Scott said:

Chaosium changed the licensing for HeroQuest making it really easy to do

https://www.chaosium.com/heroquest-gateway-license/

 

The link to the license on that page is still to v1.1 dated 2009, and the license text contains dead link to an old glorantha.com page for the acceptance agreement. (The link to the acceptance agreement from the page you linked to above does work). It also doesn't seem to include the right of the licensor to incorporate rules innovations arising in licensed products in future products, as mentioned by Pablo in the above-linked Nameless Streets thread. HGL v1.1, § 4.1 also confusingly contains the following: 

Quote

Licensee will not define, redefine, or alter HeroQuest rules in a Licensed Product. Without limiting the foregoing, Licensee may create original material that adds to the applicability of the HeroQuest rules, so long as this original material complies with the preceding sentence. 

That certainly seems like it would forbid things like the variants in chapter three of Nameless Streets, or at least could be reasonably read as doing so.

Is there a newer version? 

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39 minutes ago, David Scott said:

Perhaps @MOB clarify the above license issues.

Stay tuned. We've got some big things to announce re licensing (and specifically for HQ) coming up once we've ironed out some details...

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I had never heard of the Chained Simple Contest variant. I strongly suspect that it, or some variant of it, will solve one of my long standing issues with RQ (which is that essentially all Extended Contest combats feel a bit samey and arbitrary). 

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I had a moment of inspiration while discussing The Colymar Campaign over on RPG.net.

Quote

I like the Colymar Campaign, but it does have an a definite path it expects you to follow, at least in the broad strokes. You'll want to discuss that with your players and make sure that everyone is on board for that style of campaign. 

While the plarty buy-in also needs to include the dynamic that one particular player's character gets to be the romantic embodiment of Orlanth Adventurous for the over-arching meta-Heroquest, sharing the spotlight among the heroes isn't impossible in that context. Consider that if the Romantic Lead's character is mythically embodying Orlanth, the rest of the party can thus embody the roles of Orlanth's companions (Yinkin, Humakt, Vinga, Eurmal, etc.) in that character's saga. There are plenty of templates in the tales for times when Orlanth's cocky & direct approach ends up being ineffective or making a problem worse, providing an opportunity for an ally to step up and present a different solution to the problem, and for Orlanth to learn from their example and be wiser the next time. So to for the supporting characters.

You could even mechanize that dynamic. Imagine giving the Romantic Lead's player the option to deliberately fail a contest, with the compensation of gaining a bonus Hero Point and allowing any Lingering Penalty he incurs to also be inverted into an Augment for a Companion trying to demonstrate that "there is always another way" to solve a problem. Conversely, give the Companions' players a Plot Augment on any attempts to Assist or Augment the Romantic Lead, and the option of passing a Lingering Benefit from victories on their own contests to the Romantic Lead in exchange for a bonus Hero Point. Now you've baked in incentives such that the optimal path is for the Romantic Lead to make room for his Companions to shine and for them in turn to lift him to greater heights.

The bold section could be used in any sort of story where you've got a PC in the "Main Character" role, even temporarily. If you're following a Star Trek:TNG or superhero-team-comic style pattern where different members of the ensemble come to the forefront from one story to the next, you could rotate the Main Character status accordingly, perhaps in concert with adventures that prick at that character's Flaws. 

I've been toying with similar ideas for use in running superhero games where two players decide that one's character is the other's side-kick, or where it's super-effective for characters to switch opponents or help one another in team-battles. I'll share those once they solidify some more.

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I was reading the Genesys rules and like the Advantage/Threat stuff. I've added some Advantage/Disadvantage(Threat) rules to the HeroQuest rules. I haven't tried them out yet.

I need to test it and develop what works or not. For instance I think the Advantage and Disadvantage dice cancel each other out. So if you rolled 2 Adv dice and 1 Disadv die you would end up with a total of 1 Advantage.

Also, if you have more than one type of Adv/Disadv they just become one larger Advantage or Disadvantage. Or I will see if it makes sense to use them separately. 

I don't use the Genesys dice, but was inspired by them:

Narrative Dice

Rolled after finding out the Contest Result. (Marginal/Minor/Major/Complete)

Only player characters roll Narrative Dice.

  • Use 4 x d2(red) and 4 x d1(white) Ubiquity dice. You can get away with 3 of each since the largest pool would have a max of 3 of one or the other.
  • Red d2s are designated for Advantages and the white d1s are for Disadvantages.
  • Look for 1 or 2 on red d2s for +1 Advantage. (75% chance for an Advantage per die)
  • Look for 1 on white d1s for +1 Disadvantage. (50% chance for a Disadvantage per die)

-OR-

  • Use 8 x d6 of two different colors. You can get away with 3 of each since the largest pool would have a max of 3 of one or the other.
  • One color is designated as Advantages dice and the other color is designated for Disadvantage dice.
  • Look for 3, 4, 5, or 6  on Advantage dice for +1 Advantage. (75% chance for an Advantage per die)
  • Look for 4, 5, or 6 on Disadvantage dice for +1 Disadvantage. (66.6% chance for a Disadvantage per die)


Advantage

An Advantage indicates an opportunity for a positive consequence or side effect, regardless of whether your character fails or succeeds at the task they attempt. Examples of these positive side effects include your character remaining unnoticed when hacking a computer network, finding unexpected cover during a firefight, or recovering from strain during a stressful situation.

It’s possible for a task to fail while generating a number of Advantages, allowing something good to come out of the failure. Likewise, Advantages can occur alongside success, allowing for significantly positive outcomes. Remember, Advantages do not have a direct impact on success or failure; they only affect the potential side effects of the roll.

Disadvantage

A Disadvantage is fuel for negative consequences or side effects, regardless of whether your check succeeds or fails. Examples of these negative side effects include your character taking far longer than expected to pick a lock on a door, or dropping their weapon as they sprint for cover.

It’s possible for a task to succeed while generating a number of Disadvantages, which can cause some minor or serious complications! Likewise, Disadvantages can occur alongside failure, which can worsen an already bad situation with some unforeseen headaches. You should remember, however, that Disadvantages don’t directly impact success or failure, only their magnitudes or potential side effects.

Your GM/Narrator generally resolves Disadvantage effects (although when a non-player character generates some Disadvantages, you and your fellow players can and should suggest to your GM/Narrator some creative ways to spend the Disadvantages!) Disadvantages may trigger a wide variety of possible effects. These could include your character being knocked flat on their back, losing the advantage of cover, taking more time than anticipated to complete a task, or giving an enemy an new opportunity.

HQ Results Interpretation

Result                    | Narrative Dice To Roll*
Complete Defeat | D-D-D (3D)
Major Defeat        | D-D-D-A (3D+1A)
Minor Defeat        | D-D-A (2D+1A)
Marginal Defeat   | D-A (1D+1A)
Marginal Victory  | A-D (1A+1D)
Minor Victory       | A-A-D (2A+1D)
Major Victory       | A-A-A-D (3A+1D)
Complete Victory | A-A-A (3A)

*D = Disadvantage Die. A = Advantage Die.

Ubiquity Dice Distribution

| Ubiquity Die                  | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7  | 8  |
|---------------------|--|--|--|---|--|--|-- |---|
| Disadvantage d1(white) | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0  | 1 | 1 | 1  | 1  |
| Advantage d2(red)         | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1  | 1 | 1 | 2* | 2*|

*Equal to 1 Advantage

Edited by Telen666gard
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I'm definitely thinking in my next game of dropping the increase in base resistance by number of sessions played. This actually gives the PCs the ability to succeed more often. I would be more inclined to increase the resistance at the beginning of a new 'season' of the campaign (we play about 12 sessions in a run, and I think of it as a season in a TV show). That feels more like how stories work, new season is new opposition who are a match for our heroes. I might bump by the same amount, at that point i.e. 12 sessions worth, it's just during a season I feel that fiction shows our heroes becoming more competent, within a season.

I'm also inclined to borrow from PbTA by making failure what grants you experience. So instead of handing out three hero points at the start of a session, I would give you a hero point every time you failed at a 'plot obstacle' contest (so no failing just to gain experience). The main reason is to encourage players to accept failure, instead of buying it off with a hero point, so that the story branches in a different direction.

 

 

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On 2/17/2018 at 12:10 PM, Ian Cooper said:

I'm definitely thinking in my next game of dropping the increase in base resistance by number of sessions played.

I think that particular bit is one of the warts on HQ as written. It carries an implicit assumption about how many Hero Points get spent for advancement vs how many get spent in play.  If your players' behavior is our of step with the assumed expenditure balance, the base resistance will be out of whack. A thoughtful GM can compensate, but it's still a pitfall.

I haven't run a long-running campaign yet, but when I do, I might look at having the base resistance reflect the median ability rating of the PCs in the party. Something like that would work with whatever sort of advancement scheme one might be using.

Edited by JonL

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32 minutes ago, Archivist said:

Has anyone ever house-ruled a split between HeroPoints as HeroPoints vs XP?

In my PbF HQG game (now over 3.5 years running), sessions are a bit more abstracted as having completed a specific climactic event.  Nominally I'm into my 8th session now and have increased the resistance once (after the 6th session concluded).

Per session, characters get 3 Hero Points.  I encourage use - odds are that if you don't use at least some, you won't survive the session's conclusion.  Of course, that means you don't have many/any left for experience.

My approach for experience:

  • if you still have Hero Points left, you can apply those to experience.
  • if you used Hero Points in play, you get options for experience in either: something related to use of the Hero Points (usually based on how you narrated whatever ability or augment was applied), or something where you achieved a Complete victory, or something where you achieved a Critical and some level of victory.  If the ability was a breakout, usually it's a +1 bonus.  If it was based on a new use of a rune or keyword, that usually prompts a new breakout at +1.  Occasionally they get a new ability at 13 - most commonly a new Relationship.

As a result, the players are encouraged to use their Hero Points when needed and see what options they get for experience based on how they played/narrated the session.

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On 2/19/2018 at 5:08 PM, Archivist said:

Hi JonL. Can you explain how that would actually work?

I imagine making a spreadsheet with all the characters abilities on it at the start of play. If the median rating is close to 14, I might just say "Great -that's our base difficulty" and keep the spreadsheet up to date as advancement takes place. If the initial value is too far off from 14, I would probably keep track of the %-change from baseline and apply that as a coefficient to 14. This is more complicated than just following the session count, but it would reflect the actual pace of your players advancement rather than the designers' educated guess (and once it's built the spreadsheet does all the work).

It still doesn't address the case where you have Alice spending all her points in play and Bob spending all his on advancement. In a short run, Alice's approach is actually more impactful, but in a long campaign, Bob's character will gradually become more effectual relative to Alice's. I don't think that the extreme case (which admittedly may never arise for many play groups) can be solved without taking away the resource trade-off between in-play boosts and advancement resource.

On 2/19/2018 at 5:08 PM, Archivist said:

Has anyone ever house-ruled a split between HeroPoints as HeroPoints vs XP?

The now-sadly-out-of-print Nameless Streets presented a few alternate advancement schemes, including RuneQuest/Pendragon-style use-it-to-raise-it approaches, along with a Fate-esque Flaws-as-Hero-Point-Generators option.

I really like the approach jajagappa laid out above, and will probably try it out at some point.

In the game I'm running for my kids & their friends, they start each session with a minimum of one Hero Point, and can gain more in play through deliberately failing Flaw rolls (as in NS) or through particularly good roleplaying.
 

For advancement, I simply give them the opportunity at the end of each adventure to do one of the following:

  • Raise a keyword rating by 1
  • Raise two different ability ratings or breakout bonuses by 1
  • Raise one ability/breakout by 1 and add a new ability at 13 or a new+1 breakout. 

With more experienced gamers, I might add some more options/permutations to that, but for the kids (ages 6-10) I like to keep it simple.

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On 2/19/2018 at 3:58 PM, JonL said:

I think that particular bit is one of the warts on HQ as written. It carries an implicit assumption about how many Hero Points get spent for advancement vs how many get spent in play.  If your players' behavior is our of step with the assumed expenditure balance, the base resistance will be out of whack. A thoughtful GM can compensate, but it's still a pitfall.

I haven't run a long-running campaign yet, but when I do, I might look at having the base resistance reflect the median ability rating of the PCs in the party. Something like that would work with whatever sort of advancement scheme one might be using.

TBH we tried to calculate advancement based on the premise that you spent 2 hp a session on advancement, and benefited from catch-ups. But its hard to get right that way. My leaning towards upping the resistance at the end of each season, is that is how fiction works - our heroes get better until they can take on the big bad, but next series effectively resets. But you could figure the new season base resistance by any range of techniques.

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20 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

TBH we tried to calculate advancement based on the premise that you spent 2 hp a session on advancement, and benefited from catch-ups.

That's good to know. Understanding the baseline can let us judge where our games are relative to it.

 

20 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

My leaning towards upping the resistance at the end of each season, is that is how fiction works - our heroes get better until they can take on the big bad, but next series effectively resets. But you could figure the new season base resistance by any range of techniques.

What I like about your approach is that it lets the advancement get ahead of the resistance for a while before correcting. I worry that keeping them in balance all he time would make the players feel like they're treading water. 

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Unrated Flaws

Instead of assigning ratings to Flaws, Players simply note them on the character sheet. The GM then chooses the Resistance for any Flaw challenges that present themselves in the game just like any other contest. This adds a bit more flexibility, such that the same Flaw might be a mere inconvenience one situation yet a major challenge in another. 

The downside of this approach is that it removes the Players' ability to express how big or small a problem they want a Flaw to be over the course of the campaign by tying it to a high or low rated Ability. 

Flaws Rated with Resistances

Instead of having Flaws ratings tied to a character's other abilities, they get rated with a Resistance level (Moderate, Hard, etc.) that describes how hard it is for the character to overcome that particular Flaw. This produces similar results over time to tying them to ability ratings, while simplifying character creation and bookeeping. 

Flaws Rated with Penalties

Essentially a combination of the above two approaches. Characters' Flaws are rated with a penalty describing their severity (-3, -6, -9, -w). The GM sets Resistance for a Flaw challenge based on the situation/narrative/etc. The character then applies the Flaw's penalty to whatever Ability they're using for the contest. It's functionally similar to a Consequence of Defeat, and long-term Consequences like loosing a limb or public disgrace can easily be integrated into the Flaw framework.

Dynamic Flaws

Building on the above, lingering Benefits of Victory or Consequences of Defeat from Flaw challenges could be applied to the Flaws themselves. This could either be done in a direct fashion, such that Victory in a Flaw challenge makes it easier to overcome the next time while Defeat makes the next flaw challenge harder - or - in an inverse fashion, such that overcoming your Flaw today means that it will be a bigger challenge the next time. The latter approach somewhat parallels the Pass/Fail cycle dynamic. Which approach one chooses would impact the tone of the game through the nature of the Characters' personal struggles. 

Extended Flaws 

A long term struggle with addiction, a vendetta, outlawry, poverty, societal acceptence, curses, and so on can be modeled as an extremely Extended Contest with one's Flaw.  Keep track or Result Points from any Flaw challenge, and whenever the Player or the Flaw hit 5RP, assess the degree of Victory or Defeat based on the spread. Depending upon that result the nature of the Flaw and its severity (rating, penalty, however you're doing it) will change. A vendetta might escalate to a blood feud or calm to a respectful rivalry. An addict might become more regularly functional or fall off the wagon. A Complete Victory might resolve the Flaw entirely, while a Complete Defeat might add a Mastery to the Flaw's severity or add a new Flaw.

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