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Spamming Highest Keyword / Ability


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Why should a player ' use anything other than their highest rated attribute? I understand if you have a keyward /attribute thatgives you a specific supernatural power that isn't your highest rated then that makes sense, but otherwise you would always just use the highest. As a GM you cant use the technique of asking players to describe what they're doing and then call for the "skill", since there is no standard skill list .

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There are certain magical activities that reqire the use of a different, quite specific ability. Other than that, the GM adjusts the difficulty of the opposed roll by how appropriate the ability is. Using Sword-and-Shield style to manipulate a complex mechanism in a way that doesn't render it un-reusable is a quite impossible stretch.

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As Joerg says, Narrators can impose penalties, if they wish, for using keywords that are not appropriate.

So, for example. if I have Warrior as a keyword, then I could just use that when fighting with a Sword without a penalty. However, I could be trying to jump across a ditch and could claim that Warriors are trained to jump across ditches, so I should be able to use it without a penalty. If I wanted to row a boat across a lake, then claiming that Warriors can row boats is a bit of a stretch, but I might have an Upland Marsh breakout of my Homeland Keyword, so could argue for that instead.

Part of the joy of HeroQuest is bargaining with the Narrator as to which skills you can use in inventive ways. Sometimes the Narrator will agree, sometimes they will need persuading, sometimes they will assign a penalty and sometimes they'll say no. 

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On 5/19/2019 at 3:49 AM, Archivist said:

Why should a player ' use anything other than their highest rated attribute? I understand if you have a keyward /attribute thatgives you a specific supernatural power that isn't your highest rated then that makes sense, but otherwise you would always just use the highest.

It is also quite boring if the character's only action is their "main" action. Think of a TV episode. We want to find different aspects of the main characters. This is why the GM defines the resistance after the player selects the ability to use. This way (as with the penalties and such) the GM can control the up/down beats even if the players use their lower abilities by adjusting the resistance.

This way you can encourage players to use their minor abilities. One exception, though. In the final climactic extended contest you could tell the resistance first and let the players then gather up their main abilities with augments and benefits to build up the tension.

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I’m pretty new to HQG, but I try to take a view of what other abilities might apply and then rule accordingly.

To use soltakss’ example of trying to row, I’d say:

  • If the character had an ability or Profession breakout like Rows Like A Machine or Magic Oar of Tungten, that could be used with a +6 for specific ability.
  • If the character had a Profession keyword of Sailor, Pirate or Fisherman, that could be used at its regular rating.
  • Other non-nautical Profession keywords (like Warrior) feel at best a stretch with -6, if I’m feeling generous.  If the player has been spamming their Profession keyword, trying to exploit the letter of the rules rather than embracing the spirit of the rules, I’d say the keyword doesn’t apply here, what else have you got?

HQG is a storytelling game with a loose, fairly vague ruleset to encourage player and GM creativity.  Players who min/max to try to exploit the letter of that ruleset deserve to be stymied at every turn, IMO.

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On 5/22/2019 at 4:11 AM, Nebuchadnezzar said:

HQG is a storytelling game with a loose, fairly vague ruleset to encourage player and GM creativity.  Players who min/max to try to exploit the letter of that ruleset deserve to be stymied at every turn, IMO.

Exactly.

HeroQuest isn't about the rules, or shouldn't be.

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On 5/19/2019 at 1:49 AM, Archivist said:

Why should a player ' use anything other than their highest rated attribute? I understand if you have a keyward /attribute thatgives you a specific supernatural power that isn't your highest rated then that makes sense, but otherwise you would always just use the highest. As a GM you cant use the technique of asking players to describe what they're doing and then call for the "skill", since there is no standard skill list .

You can apply stretch penalties, if you need to. The major problem though is only if a player really starts stealing everyone else's limelight with their jack-of-all-trades skill. Otherwise, if you think about the heroes of fiction, like Star Wars, they seem to be able to use their narrow keywords in a lot of situations. Luke has Farmboy as a keyword but seems to be have breakouts for Blaster and Pilot underneath 🙂

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