The Designer’s Comments

The Designer’s Comments

Stephen McKnight Richard Hamblen
1. Wounds

Rule 11.2 (2nd ed.) states that a character “must remove an active action chit from play and turn it face down to show it is a wound.” Presumably a fatigued chit is not active, so cannot be wounded. (Opinions differ on magic chits converted to color.) On the other hand, Rule 11.7 says that “when all a character’s chits are wounded, he is killed. When all of a character’s chits are fatigued and/or wounded, he can do only the rest activity.”

So the question is what happens when a character receives a wound when all his unwounded chits are fatigued? The fatigued chits can’t be wounded according to 11.2, but all the chits are not wounded so the character isn’t killed yet according to 11.7. (Also, can magic chits converted to color be wounded?)

The accepted interpretation is that a character dies when he receives a wound after all his chits are either wounded, fatigued, or converted to color. This is certainly reasonable and provides an incentive for characters to rest their fatigue frequently. It also increases character’s vulnerability which is reduced when playing the “serious wound” optional rule. But it seems like there may have been an intent for something else to happen since there the rules provide for a character to do rest phases if all his chits are fatigued and/or wounded.

This is the only question that, as far as I can tell, can’t be resolved by a single-word correction of the rules, and I’d appreciate your ideas on the subject.

Answer

You have hit upon something that has two answers, which requires a bit of explanation. When I was writing the second edition rules, length became a serious consideration. In several cases I wrote a rule one way, and then to save space either I or some editor rewrote the rule to save space. In some cases, the rewrite corrupted some part of the rule. This is such a case.

My original intent was to say: When you get a wound, you must wound one(unwounded) chit. It must be an active chit, if possible; you cannot wound a fatigued or enchanted chit until all of your active chits have been wounded. If you get a wound when all of your active chits have already been wounded, you can wound a fatigued or enchanted chit. When all of your chits are wounded, you die.

That was my original intent, but then the rules were shortened and published. Once a rulebook has been published I feel obliged to follow the published rules, so I now say that you have it right: if you get a wound when you have no active (unfatigued, unenchanted) chits, you die.

That is what the rules as published mean to imply.

2. Dwarf’s Capabilities when Following

Rule 27.7 says that “notice that by following a guide who has extra phases, followers can do more activities and can move farther than they could move on their own.” On the other hand, in the description of the Dwarf’s Short Legs, it states “The Dwarf can never use ‘sunlight’ phases–he is always limited to two phases per day (plus any extra phases due to his belongings or spells.)” So, can the Dwarf follow the Amazon and move, for example, five clearings?

The interpretation that I favor is that the Dwarf is only doing one thing, following the Amazon, and that 27.7 specifically says he can move more clearings by following. The description of the Dwarf could be read that “The Dwarf can never [record] sunlight phases…” This “put the little fellow in the rucksack and go” interpretation encourages inter-player diplomacy, which always improves the game.

I also recall playing Magic Realm in Northern Virginia with Jim Stahler in 1979 or 1980 and discussing the advantage for the Dwarf of hiring a native leader to follow. (And the Dwarf can use the advantage, heaven knows!)

Complicating the question is a ruling attributed to the General magazine that the Dwarf can use at most one sunlight phase while following. This doesn’t make anyone very happy because it requires the leader to specify which are sunlight phases and which are basic phases, and the rules aren’t very specific what happens to a follower when he doesn’t do the guide’s activity (except when he stops following.)

Any light (no pun intended) you can give on this would be useful.

Answer

You are correct–the Dwarf’s sunlight limitation applies only to the phases he can record, not those he can do while following. To be explicit: When a Dwarf follows, he can do any sunlight activities his leader does (picture him hurrying along clumsily behind everyone else, grumbling continuously and creatively). Someone else made that ruling, long after I was no longer responsible for answering MR questions. When I learned of it, I told them to correct it, but I don’t think they ever did. In my opinion, they were and are very wrong! Being unable to keep up with a group is a very serious flaw in the game.

Incidentally, I remember Jim telling me about your discussion. Glad to hear from you!

3. Casting a Spell on Yourself While Hidden

In the 2nd edition, Rule 41.3/2 says: “When the spellcaster specifies a character or denizen as his target, he and his target are instantly unhidden; if he specifies anything else as his target, he remains hidden. He can specify a hidden target only if he found “Hidden Enemies” that day.”

I had always assumed that there was an implied “another” in the rule, as in the first edition rules: “When the spellcaster specifies [another] character…”. Clearly the idea that a hidden character would have to have found Hidden Enemies to cast a spell on himself is silly.

Nevertheless, for a number of players, the spellcaster is a character (and the target), so he should become unhidden when casting a spell on himself. This is most often used with the Ambush optional rule, so the character must pass a hide roll to remain hidden when he casts a spell on himself (despite the fact that he is also the target, and so should become unhidden for that reason.)

I would be interested in knowing if the dropping of the “another” between the 1st and 2nd edition rules was deliberate or an oversight.

Answer

It was deliberate, after much thought. You have been misled by a different error in the rules. There is a sentence missing at the end of 41.3/2. The sentence:

“Of course, a hidden character can specify himself as target whether he has found hidden enemies or not, but if does so he becomes unhidden.” This sentence was another casualty of the shortening frenzy. I distinctly remember being told that “it’s obvious you can always pick yourself as target, and you already say that you become unhidden”. I disagreed then (to no avail), and I disagree now. The sentence belongs in there, and I must say I am delighted to hear from someone who (presumably) agrees with me.

As to why I changed this from the first edition: I disliked having the spellcaster jump out in the clearing to cast a spell on himself, but I also disliked having him hide behind a bush while he chants and gestures, and then call up magic with its associated light, sound, and other manifestations, all in perfect privacy. I greatly prefer using the AMBUSH rule, to make things unpredictable.

4. Flowers of Rest (1)

I don’t know if you have seen the debate on the Magic Realm list-serve about the Flowers of Rest, what one person calls the “most questionable item.”

I’m not sure I should call it a debate because nearly everyone is in agreement except me. But I thought that I should talk to an expert to see what another reasoned response would be.

The question involves the effect of the Flowers of Rest on:
1) A character with the Wither Curse
2) A transmorphized character who also has a fatigued chit.

In the case of the Wither curse, there are those who believe that the Flowers don’t put the character to sleep since the chits can’t be rested, those who say that the character sleeps and his chits are rested (but the curse isn’t broken), and then there’s me. I subscribe to the “bad mattress” theory. I think that the character sleeps, because the first effect of the Flowers is to put to sleep any character with fatigued chits, but because of the curse, the chits aren’t rested. The character wakes up at Sunset with a “not quite rested” feeling, like he slept on a bad mattress and then falls asleep the next day (unless he runs out of the clearing).

Answer

In the case you post, the character cannot rest, so the flowers of rest do not affect him.

Generally, I mean the rules to be taken exactly as they are written. No exception stating that the flowers of rest breaks the wither curse, so it does not. The explanation of the Flowers of Rest on page 70 (section 7) states that it is the resting of the asterisk chit that puts him to sleep. Thus, no rest, so no sleep.

Generally I find rules-niggling distasteful, but in the second Magic Realm rulebook I tried to make my language as precise as possible in the very very very vain hope of diminishing the questions. Sigh. Of course, I also tried to make the rules intuitive, but that hope was even vainer, especially in a fantasy game where everybody is imagining their own reality.

5. Flowers of Rest (2)

If someone falls asleep and misses their turn, they can’t block or be blocked. But do they attract monsters? Some have suggested that they attract monsters only if they have completed at least one phase before falling asleep. The description does say that if they haven’t moved, the “skip their turn.” Again, I’m in the minority here. I think they had a turn even if they didn’t have a chance to do anything.

Answer

When a player is put asleep by the Flowers of Rest, he loses the rest of his turn, including the finishing of his turn. Thus, he does not cause any chits to turn up, he does not cause monsters to appear in his tile, and he does not cause monsters to move to his clearing.

In a sense, he is One With the Daisies. He is not really there, until Sunset.

I will resist the temptation to comment on all the implications for play, and just ask: Does that answer your question?

Hope so.

6. Stacking Order of Native Items (1)

Rule 35.7 says, “When an unhired leader is killed, his groups belongings are abandoned in the clearing, in the same order they are stacked in the group’s box.”
The problem is there is no agreement on the order in which they should be stacked in the box.

Answer

They are stacked in the box in the same order they were set up there. When you trade with the natives, do not disturb the order of the goods. When you sell things to the natives, put the things sold at the bottom of their layer of goods.

7. Stacking Order of Native Items (2)

I made an argument based on the rules and some fundamental principles (most valuable things are hardest to get) that they should go into the box with the horses on the top and the treasures on the bottom.
Briefly, when I look at the set-up description in the “Prepare for Play” section, Rule P1.3/4 and P1.3/5 say “put the Small Treasures, weapons, armor, and round horse counter in the box where they are listed” presumably in that order.
But does the one listed first go on top or on bottom?

Answer

The first one listed goes into the box first, and is thus on the bottom. Etc.

8. Stacking Order of Native Items (3)

Comparing with the previous rule P1.3/3 where it describes the Large and Small treasures, it says: “Put the small Treasures and large Treasure in the boxes where they are listed. Put the small Treasures in the box first, so the large Treasures are on the top.” Note the order: those on the bottom are listed first.

On this basis, this would say that the Small Treasures are on the bottom, then the weapons, then armor, with the horses on top. This is exactly opposite what most e-mail game masters are doing now.

There are actually two other arguments for this order as well.

a) If you are playing on a board, it is almost impossible to balance the treasures on top of a pile of horses, weapon, and armor. (Something like balancing a mattress on top of a Coke bottle.) The treasures go much easier underneath with the armor, weapons, and horse counters on top.

b) The average gold value of the 44 Small Treasures is 6.1
The average gold value of the 13 weapons is 6.5.
The average gold value of the 14 pieces of armor is 7.9
The average gold value of the 15 horses is 13.7
So putting the Treasures on the bottom, then the weapons, then the armor, with the horses on top puts the most valuable things on the top and the least on the bottom, making the more valuable stuff harder to get.

Teresa Michelsen pointed out that if you follow the order as printed in the boxes on the setup card, you get an even more ergonomic arrangement: treasures on bottom, followed by horses, armor, and weapons in order of counter size.

Answer

You’re both right. The items should be stacked as you say; I did it that way to make the most valuable items the hardest to get, and also so that they stack comfortably.

9. Stacking Order of Native Items (4)

Also, what about new acquisitions. If the Order buy one treasure and two weapons from a character, does the treasure go under the treasure card and the weapons under their other weapons?

Answer

Exactly, although this is an area where house rules should be specified to avoid misunderstandings. As the rules are written, purchased weapons might easily go under Small Treasures that are already there, and I have seen it played both ways. My preference is to keep the weapons together, and the Small Treasures together.

10. Enchanted Cards Owned by Hired Native Groups (1)

An enchanted treasure is held by a native group, and it has been turned up by a character looking at it. I assume from the rules that it would have to be revealed and be active, giving color magic to the native leader’s clearing, even if a character just examined the treasures during a trade roll.

Answer

You assume right. Looking at an enchanted card during a TRADE phase turns it on.

11. Enchanted Cards Owned by Hired Native Groups (2)

Now what happens if that native group is hired? Rule 32.2/1 says that when hired “the leader’s own belongings are left on the SET UP CARD, out of play.” But 3.4/3 says that “when a character finds [an enchanted card] he must turn it face up, and it stays face up for the rest of the game, even if is put back on the SET UP CARD or on the map. It cannot be inactivated.”

So can you use your hired leader as a source of color magic, or is the card simply not used at all?

Answer

As long as the leader has the face-up Enchanted card, he is a source of its color magic for everyone in his clearing, whether he is hired or not.

12. Enchanted Cards Owned by Hired Native Groups (3)

If the hired leader is killed, Rule 35.7 says that his belonging remain out of play on the SET UP CARD until he regenerates. In this case the color of the enchanted cards must be inactive, because there’s no clearing defined for it to affect!

Answer

It is not inactive, it is just unusable. It remains on the set-up card, radiating color magic into some unknown dimension, until a new leader for that group pops up.

You’ve put your finger on a hole in the game, not just a hole in the rules. My problem was that I didn’t want the players to hire a native group just so they could send it off and then loot its home base, so I wanted the group’s belongings to move with its leader. However, I also did not want the players to hire a native leader just to take him out and kill him for his group’s treasures (e.g. “hey, native leader, go and kill that Tremendous Octopus for me”). So I am stuck with this rule, and this hole in the game.

Of course, the caching rule (Advanced Rule 1) would solve the problem adequately by leaving the goods behind (with a new rule or two to cover all of the variations), but I was unwilling to add another complex rule to the game, particularly in the early encounters. In fact, this is a perfect example of how the game changed because of breaking the rules into encounters.

If you’d like a rationalization of the rule as it is, imagine the hired leader hiding his group’s goods in the woods as he travels. While he lives he keeps an eye on them, and scares off any bears or squirrels that might try to carry them off. When he dies, the squirrels carry off his group’s goods, and only his successor as leader is determined enough to comb the woods to get back what is rightfully his (stubborn folk, these natives).

13. Running Away from Transformed Monsters (1)

The example here is a magic character faces two monsters and transforms the faster one into a bird (or frog, or squirrel).
Is the bird assigned to his sheet even though the transform table says that the bird “doesn’t attack”?
If so, does the bird prevent the character from running away?

Answer

Yes, it is assigned to his sheet, and yes, it interferes with the action chits he can play.

14. Running Away from Transformed Monsters (2)

We always played that the bird (or frog) keeps trying to attack until it is killed (or combat ends due to two rounds without wounds or fatigue, etc.)
It makes the Transform spell useful (although risky) as an offensive spell to transform monsters into (hopefully) less dangerous ones.
My guideline to transmorphize questions is Rule 46.1 which says that characters/denizens behave like they were untransmorphized with the limited exceptions listed in the rules. Would you like to cast some light?

Answer

Trust me: treat the bird (or frog) just like a non-attacking (light-side up) spear Goblin (rule 24.2).
Rule 46.4/3b says that the creature can use its move factor to charge (during the encounter step), which means its move factor limits the time chits that the target can play.
Rule 46.4/3a says MELT INTO MIST can only run away. If I had wanted birds and frogs to run away, I would have said so right there.
I always liked the idea of a bird or frog charging into battle. It also enables some interesting uses of the Spell-breaking Spells. Adds punch to exorcisms.

15. Transmorphized Characters

What are the attributes in daytime of transmorphized characters? Does the Dwarf still have only two phases if he is a Troll? Does the Witch King still have to use Magic Sight to search if he is an Eagle?

The rule book [46.1/1] seems to say yes, but this is an issue of controversy.

Answer

Yes, a transformed Dwarf still has only two phases, and a transformed Witch King still uses Magic Sight.

16. Enchanted Cards and Wish for Vision

When a player examines a treasure pile due to a “Wish for Vision” and finds an enchanted card, does the card turn face up and start radiating color magic? Generally this is played that the answer is no, since the Wishes table says, “Return the cards to their box without turning them up or changing their order.”

Answer

Exactly right. When you look at an Enchanted card as a result of a “Wish for Vision”, you do not turn the Enchanted card face up.

17. Do Head/Club Hits Turn Monsters Red-Side-Up?

When the head or club of a Tremendous monsters hits (but not the body), does the monster flip? I would have said no, except for the note in the Missile Table: “If the result is Negligible or less, the hit inflicts no harm but it still counts as a hit: if a weapon attacks it is unalerted, if a Tremendous monster attacks it turns red side up.” The reference to the Tremendous monster could only apply to the head of a Dragon using the Advanced Rule 4.6 where dragon heads breathe fire and rolls on the missile table. This suggests that if the head hits, the body flips red-side-up.

Answer

Right again. A Tremendous monster that hits with its head or club turns red side up. I think this is a change from the first edition rulebook.

18. Do Followers Attract Monsters? (1)

Rule 27.8 says, “When the guide’s turn ends, the following stops and all of the followers are put back on the map in the clearing. They cause monsters to move and summon denizens normally.”

The antecedent of “They” in the second sentence is vague, but it seems that it must refer to followers and not the group as a whole. So the Guide and the Follower *each* cause monsters to move and summon denizens normally.

Answer

Exactly so. To be explicit, when a monster on the SET UP CARD is triggered by a sound chit, the guide causes the monster to appear in the clearing specified by the sound chit, and the follower(s) cause the monster to move to the guide/follower(s) clearing.The pronoun “They” requires a plural referent, and the only plural noun in that sentence is “followers”. “Group” is a singular noun and requires a singular pronoun “it”. I’m not trying to be snotty here–I know that poor English creeps into everyone’s rules, mine very definitely included, but in this case I meant exactly what I said.

19. Do Followers Attract Monsters? (2)

This is what happens, according to 27.5, when a follower stops following in the middle of a turn: “Each time the guide starts an activity, each follower has the option to stop following. If he stops following then he does not do the activity, his turn ends and he is put in the guide’s on the map; when the guide finishes the phase the game pieces in the ex-follower’s tile summon denizens in the normal manner, and the ex-follower can block and be blocked normally.”

Example 1: The Amazon follows the Berserker who does M / M / S / R* / M. At the beginning of the Search phase, the Amazon stops following. At the end of the Berserker’s Search phase, the Amazon’s turn ends. She draws monsters to the clearing who block her and her former guide, the Berserker.

Example 2: The Amazon follows the Druid. At the end of the Druid’s turn, the tile chits are turned face down again and don’t attract monsters. Then his follower, the Amazon, is put back on the board. Her turn ends, the chits are turned face up again and monsters come to the clearing to block her and the Druid.

Example 3: Amazon follows Berserker. Dragons are prowling. When Berserker ends turn in BL1, he turns up the Lair chit and a Dragon appears in at the Lair in BL3. Then the Amazon finishes her turn and is put back on the map. She attracts denizens normally at the end of her turn, so the Dragon at the Lair moves to BL3 and blocks her and the Berserker.

Answer

Quite right. Each follower has his own end of turn.
I will comment (in example 2) that I tried to design the Druid as the sort of character who could go off alone in peace, not as a tour guide for an army.

I am of the opinion that regardless of whether the monster is tracking its prey by sight, sound, or smell, he would find a crowd quicker than an individual, so the rule specifies that the followers summon monsters when they stop following.
At this point let’s clarify exactly what is at stake. The point is whether a monster called from the SET UP CARD ends up in the clearing specified by the site chit, or the clearing containing the group. The followers do NOT summon any additional monsters to that tile that turn–each chit can summon only one box of monsters per turn.

Case 1: One intruder steps softly into the clearing. The monster at the site wakes up and says “What’s That?!”. He gets up and looks out at the other clearings in the distance, sniffs the air, and listens, but he sees, hears, and smells nothing more, so he stays at his site, looking around suspiciously.

Case 2: A group steps softly into the clearing, many times. The monster at the site wakes up and says “Wheee! A party!” And, of course, he doesn’t want to miss the party, so he goes looking for it. Speaking versimilitudinously, the demons pinpoint the clearing due to the increased number of bodies they can see, smell, and/or hear. It certainly works that way with deer–you can sneak up on a deer when you’re alone, but I’ve never seen or heard of a crowd doing it. (I don’t hunt, but I do walk the woods.)

In any case, the rules say the followers do summon the monsters to their clearing. The added safety [of following] is due to having more people with which to fight the monsters.

20. Harm greater than Tremendous

Is there Harm Greater than Tremendous? The 2nd Edition rules do not seem to have any provision for harm that exceeds Tremendous; at least Rule 23.1 does not list any such harm. The Maximum damage in the First Edition is gone.
Red-side-up monsters that hit just kill automatically without harming armor or horses.

Ordinarily there is no need to consider harm greater than Tremendous, but when playing the “Serious Wounds” advanced rule, Tremendous harm does not kill the Berserker when he has played his Berserk chit. The way I read the rules, a T* blow from a Guard Great Swordsman or a M** + 3 level hit from the Medium Bow can only create Tremendous harm, which only gives the Berserker a serious wound. So the berserk Scandinavian is invulnerable to a single-hit kill!

This may be an oversight in the rules, but it does seem to read that way.

Answer

Yup, it’s an oversight–I missed the interaction of Advanced rule 4.5 and the Berserk chit. The rule does work the way it is, but it makes the Berserker too powerful.
I suggest adding a “Special:” rule to Advanced rule 4.5: When damage exceeding Tremendous is inflicted on a Tremendous target, the target is killed.

Stephen McKnight Richard Hamblen
21. Woodfolk HQ bow

Does the Woodfolk HQ Have a Medium Bow? The Woodfolk HQ has an M** on his counter rather than an L**, which looks like a medium bow.
Nevertheless, he is an Archer, and the “List of Natives” clearly says that Archers have a length of 14 (Light Bow). Should the WHQ be played to have a length of 16 (Medium Bow) instead?

Answer

The Woodfolk HQ has a Medium bow, with a length of 16. He was just left off the list of characters.

22. Sense Danger and Color Magic chit

Can “Sense Danger” Be Activated by a Color Magic Chit? “Sense Danger” is a permanent spell that gives a character an extra alert spell in purple. I assume that the spell must be active when moves are recorded at Birdsong and also when the phase is taken during Daylight.

As a permanent spell, it falls inert at midnight and can be activated in any following day by color present in the clearing at Daybreak from the tile, from an artifact, or from the day of the month. Bit what about color from a character’s enchanted chits?

Color chits can be played to activate a permanent spell during Daylight at the beginning of any phase of the character’s or any other character’s turn or during combat (Rule 42.9/2b). But this is after Birdsong when moves are recorded. There seems to be no way that “Sense Danger” can be activated at Birdsong through the use of a color magic counter, and therefore “Sense Danger” can’t be used with color magic chits. Is this right?

Answer

Bad assumption. See rule 43.3 for specifics. You may fairly ask, what’s that rule doing there, of all places? Didn’t know where else to put it, with the rules structured as they are.

23. Duplicated Curses

The Remedy spell says it removes one spell or Curse in the spellcasters clearing, and adds, “Duplicates of the spell or Curse are not affected.” This implies, I believe, that if a character has received the same Curse twice (two instances of DISGUST, for example), “Remedy” must be cast twice to remove the Curse and its duplicate.

I was not accustomed to even recording duplicate Curses, since the according to Rule 15.2 “[If a character] gets a Curse that he already has, he suffers no additional effects–repetitions of the same Curse have no effect.” Additionally, the Curse table says, “Duplicates of the same Curse have no additional effect. If a character gets a Curse that duplicates a Curse he already has, the additional Curse is ignored.”

But although the effects of the duplicate Curse are ignored, these passages don’t say that the duplicate Curse doesn’t exist. This doesn’t usually come up because Curses are usually removed by spending a night at the Chapel that removes all Curses, not just one. The “Exorcise” spell also removes all Curses in effect. But “Remedy” seems to be more limited and requires that duplicate Curses be kept track of and removed one at a time.

Is this right, or is there some other meaning to the reference to “duplicate” Curses in Remedy?

Answer

You might be right about the implication, but the fact is that the rule is WRONG in referring to “duplicates of Curses”. I don’t know how this happened–I never caught it in the second edition rulebook–but my reference edition of the first edition rulebook clearly indicates that one remedy removes one curse completely, not matter how many times the target has been hit with that curse. My original longhand of the Spell description say “Duplicates of the spell are not affected”, with no reference to Curses. My guess is that someone at Avalon Hill decided to be helpful and added the reference to Curses, and I never caught it.
Actually, I am pretty sure this came up in a General question box, while I was still answering the questions (i.e. first edition).

The rules lawyer in me wants to say something like “OK, then, the duplicate Curse exists, but the rules make clear that it has no effect on play–so treat it as a ghost Curse, without effect”. Those rule lawyer instincts getcha into trouble every time. When Remedy removes a specific curse, it also removes all duplicates of that curse, whether they exist or not.

I have no idea of what the reference to duplicates curses in Remedy means, because it doesn’t belong there! I didn’t put it there! It’s wrong!

24. Permanent control spells

In the pink boxed summary at the beginning of the Fourth Encounter section of the Second Edition rules, the entry for Sunset under the Daily Sequence of Play states that an attention chit is taken from clearings containing, among others, a controlled monster. Since controlled monsters behave like hired leaders, this seems reasonable enough. However, the three monster controlling spells (Control Bats, Guide Spider or Octopus, Dragonfang Necklace) are all day spells, which means that they expire at Sunset. So, technically, at this point in time, there cannot be a single controlled monster on the map. Is this simply an oversight, or am I missing something?

Answer

Well, the fact is…there are permanent control spells. In the Expansion kits. I just wanted to be ready, in case the expansion kits ever actually happened.

25. Deal with Goblins and Black magic

Here is a straightforward question, the answer to which, to my deep surprise, I have never seen mentioned in any FAQ, Q&A, or errata: the List of Spells states that Deal with Goblins requires Grey magic, whereas the spell card has Black. So, which is it? Since I see no reason why pacifying goblins should involve Demonic Power, I assume that the card is wrong.

Answer

AHA! This is simply a mistake that crept into the second edition rulebook. The card is right–it should be Black Magic, as specified in the First Edition rulebook.
As for the verisimilitude argument (why Black?), it is terror that drags the Goblins to the bargaining table. “Deal with Goblins” doesn’t bedazzle the Goblins, it intimidates them.

26. Free flying denizens

When a character, hired leader, or controlled monster flies away from combat, he has to record a Fly phase as his first activity on the next turn, which he uses to land. If the spell is cast on an uncontrolled monster or unhired leader, when does the denizen land (since he does not get a turn)?

I would say that end of combat is not a good idea, since the denizen might land in a clearing where combat has not yet been resolved this turn; that would be undesirable, since the same cannot happen when the spell is cast on a character, hired leader, or controlled monster.

This suggests that a better time would be either Daylight (i.e. before the first character moves), or Sunset (i.e. after the last character moves). Another possibility would be immediately before or after the spellcaster’s next turn.

Answer

Free flying denizens should land as the very first thing during Sunrise, after the attention chits are mixed together but before any are picked (i.e. as the first thing in step 4 in the Daily Sequence of Play on page 43). Oddly enough, I can recall this coming up only once, during a tournament.

The idea is to have free denizens land at roughly the same time as flying characters, i.e. during Daylight.

Daylight, right. At the start of the day so they can affect play that day–I find it hard to visualize them floating around in the air all day, out of action.

27. Repositioning denizens

This is not a question, but an error which I have not seen mentioned in any FAQ, Q&A, or errata. All three tables for repositioning denizens are wrong. This error is very minor, since I doubt anyone actually uses the tables when figuring out where to place denizens, but it has always bothered me.

In all three tables, the entries for 5 (shift down and right) and 6 (shift up and left) are switched. Just compare with the textual description in Rule 22.5/2.

Answer

Hah! You’re right. I even have the correction noted in my correction copy of the second edition rulebook. I had completely forgotten this error existed! I presume I told someone about it…?

28. Pack Horses

Here is something that has always puzzled me: advanced rule 2 (Pack Horses) seems no do nothing but re-state at great length what is already in rule 3.6/4. I am guessing that this redundancy may have been introduced in the transition to the second edition rules?

Answer

Good question. Good answer, too–“transition to the second edition rules” is exactly right, and I won’t burden either of us with the details. Unless you ask for them.

29 Demon’ spell attack

When a Demon’s Power of the Pit attack is nullified by a spell (either Exorcise or Protection from Magic), is he still deemed to have hit (i.e. does he turn red side up)? I would assume so, but just checking…

Answer

NO! The spell’s got to hit for him to turn red side up.

30 Spells order

When placing spells in boxes that hold multiple spells (Spell Books and Sites) what is the order that they are placed, is it as written, so the first spells listed are on the bottom, or the other way around?

For example, are the Good Book spells from TOP of the pile to BOTTOM of
the pile:
Type VII Spell
Type VII Spell
Type I Spell
Type I Spell

So, for example, if the White Knight wants to Learn the Type I spells, he would have to cycle through the two Type VII spells first?

Answer

Yes, the idea was to put them in the box in the order listed, with first listed first in the box, i.e. on the bottom. It was indeed intended to put the lowest-numbered Spells on the bottom, to encourage characters to read the whole book. It was also intended to give the Magician a bit of an advantage, since he can read and use the high-numbered spells.

Of course, the players are free to make a house rule to shuffle the cards, if they prefer. Some players have always seemed to prefer this, and I have played the game that way myself. I suppose they envision themselves opening the book to a random page and reading what is there. I, on the other hand, feel that magic books would have a strong sense of protocol and would resist being read out of order. And then there’s the point that the characters would have to start at the beginning in order to learn the simpler spells before they could learn the more powerful spells at the back of the book. Sort of like a testbook.

31. Regenerating Bewitched Denizens

If a monster/native is bewitched by a spell (Transform, for example) and regenerates to the Setup Card, does it remain bewitched?

So if a Dragon has been Transformed to a bird and the Dragon returns to the Setup Card on Day 14 because Dragons are prowling, is it still under the influence of the spell when it returns to the board?

I don’t see anywhere in the rules that the spell is broken when the monster returns to the Setup Card, and I wouldn’t expect a prowling garrison native who returns to his dwelling to lose the spell. So I assume that the denizen stays bewitched even on the Setup Card, the Magic chit is still committed to the spell, and the spell-casting character can’t use the spell again.

Answer

No. Regenerating releases all spells. When a denizen goes back onto the Appearance Chart, all Spells on it are broken. This is hinted at in note 2 of the WISHES table, and it supposed to be somewhere else in the rules, but I can’t find it–maybe it got excised without me noticing?

32. Battling Hired Underlings/Random Assignment to Natives (1)

If a character and his unhired underlings are in a clearing with monsters/unhired natives and the character runs away, do the underlings continue to fight to the death? When does combat stop?

Rule 32.7 says: “Underlings cannot start a fight by themselves, but once combat begins they fight just like hired leaders.”

When combat begins, it’s pretty clear that monsters and unhired natives are assigned to attack the underlings even if the character is not in the clearing:

Rule 34.3/2 (Random Assignment) says: “a. … A character must roll only if he is unhidden and in the clearing, or if he has an unhidden native in the clearing… b. The character who rolls highest must assign the attacker to himself, if he is unhidden and in the clearing; otherwise he must assign it to one of his unhidden hired natives.”

Finally, in the question of when combat ends, Rule 34.9 is pretty explicit: “Combat ends in the clearing when no characters or hired natives are left in the clearing. When a character or hired native remains, rounds of combat are repeated until nothing is killed, damaged, wounded, or fatigued for two consecutive rounds.”

So it sounds as if a character is in the clearing and causes combat to start, even if he runs his hired underlings have to fight until they kill or are killed, or until 2 rounds of combat go by with nothing killed.

However, the turn summary in 26.1 says, under Resolving Combat in a Clearing: “3. The individuals in the clearing do rounds of combat until there are no characters or *hired leaders* in the clearing, or until there are two consecutive rounds in which nothing is killed, no action chits are inactivated and no tremendous monsters are red-side-up.”

I think the “hired leaders” in 26.1 is in error. Any comment?

Answer

The above is correct and you’re right. There’s a story about the “hired leaders” in 26.1, but who cares.

33. Battling Hired Underlings/Random Assignment to Natives (2)

If a character is not in the clearing or is hidden, and he rolls for random assignment, he can assign the monster/unhired native to any of his hired natives in the clearing.

So could he assign all the monsters/unhired natives to only one of his hirelings by random assignment and leave the others without an attacker? Even though each native could only lure *one* monster or hired native?

Rule 34.3/2b seems to say so: “The character who rolls highest must assign the attacker to himself, if he is unhidden and in the clearing; otherwise, he must assign it to one of his unhidden hired natives. There is no limit to the attackers that can be assigned to a hired native randomly.”

Answer

Okay, what these rules are supposed to mean is that:
1. The character must roll for each unassigned denizen who wants to attack him.
2. When he “wins” an attacking denizen, he can assign it to any of his forces in the clearing, including himself. However:
a. If he is in the clearing, he can assign no more than one attacking denizen to each of his hired natives. The character himself gets all the remaining attackers.
b. If he is NOT in the clearing, he must assign the attacking denizens to his hired natives, one per hireling. If there are more attackers than hirelings, he still must assign the remaining attackers to his hirelings, until all of the attackers are assigned. Necessarily, then, in this case some hireling(s) will get more than one attacker.
Which raises the question, is he free to assign them as he chooses, assigning one attacker to each hireling and then massing all of the remaining attackers against one unfortunate hireling? Yes, he can do this. When the character is not in the clearing himself, he must assign each attacker to a different hireling until he runs out of attackers or hirelings. Once each of his hirelings has an attacker, the character is allowed to assign additional attackers to his hirelings as he chooses.

Jim Stahler once raised this issue, and made a good case that the attackers should be spread among the hirelings as much as possible. This does seem more fair, and I accept it as a house rule, but I prefer the character get the unfair advantage of deploying his attackers to his advantage–one of the perks of being a character, I guess.

34. Dragon Essence in Valley and Woods Tiles

Does the Dragon Essence treasure only attracts Dragons in Cave tiles or Mountain tiles (including Deep Woods)? Dragon Essence doesn’t attract Dragons in valley or woods tiles, does it?

I have always assumed this was the case. The Setup Card has SMOKE(M) and SMOKE(C) on it, so I figured that Dragon Essence in an M tile attracted the SMOKE(M) dragons and in a C tile it attracts the SMOKE(C) dragons. The reason I ask is because if you look at the treasure definitions for Dragon
Essence under 3. DAYLIGHT Cards, it says: “In a tile with a cave clearing it counts like a SMOKE C chit; otherwise it counts like SMOKE M chit.”

If I read this literally, it sounds like Dragon Essence would attract Dragons to valley and woods tiles! The definition on the card (“Treat like Smoke Chit”) is much more what I had always played: in a “C” tile it attracts SMOKE C dragons, in an “M” tile it attracts the SMOKE M monsters, and in a V or W tile it doesn’t attract anything.

Answer

Sigh. Dragon Essence is supposed to work the way you think it does–it is supposed to attract Dragons only to Caves and Mountains, not Woods and Valleys. In the rule you quoted about “other clearings”, the general phrasing was just to include the Deep Woods, not all the other tiles. I assumed that the reader would realize that Dragons appear only in the Caves and Mountains, which of course you did. In fact, that’s they way it has to be. Dragons cannot be summoned to a clearing that contains unhired natives–the rules are just not there to cover what to do.
So the rule should be “In any treasure tile without a cave, it summons Dragons like a SMOKE M chit”.

35. Hired Natives “Wished Elsewhere”

On the Wish Table, if you wish a hired native is elsewhere, he goes back to the setup card. Is he considered to be unhired for regeneration purposes?

Since hired natives don’t regenerate, do you have to wait until his term of hire runs out before he’s eligible to regenerate on the 7th, 14th, 21st, or 28th of the month. Or does he automatically become unhired when he gets wished back to the Setup Card?

Answer

When he hits the APPEARANCE CHART, he instantly becomes unhired.

36. Magic Sight (1)

When using Magic Sight and receiving a roll of 3, assuming one has discovered the Cairns or Pool, is it necessary to fatigue a chit to draw the treasure?

Answer

Yes, you must fatigue in both cases. The Pool treasure location displays the message “fatigue each draw”; there is nothing in the rules to indicate that what caused the draw makes any difference. Similarly, the Cairns display “fatigue each SEARCH”, and both LOOT and MAGIC SIGHT spring from the SEARCH activity, so both get fatigued.

37. Magic Sight (2)

When using Magic Sight and receiving a roll of 3 or 2, assuming one has discovered the Vault or Crypt of the Knight, must a T chit be fatigued to draw a treasure or horse/weapon counter?

Our interpretation so far has been “no” to both questions. The fatiguing and use of T chits is only described under the Loot table section, which doesn’t apply to a character using Magic Sight. No such restrictions are discussed in the Magic Sight section. Just as the character is immune to curses when learning spells using Magic Sight, we figure there could be similar differences when drawing treasures. However, this could be just another oversight in the rules, and some players have argued otherwise.

Answer

The short answer is yes, you must fatigue a T chit (or use the lost keys, of course) to draw treasures from the Vault or Crypt. The long answer is, not exactly. There are differences between the Vault and Crypt. See rule 9.3/3b.

1. The Vault. The T penalty (or lost keys) is used once per game, to open the Vault. Thereafter treasures are taken from it normally, by everyone. Magic Sight can be used to search it. No, you cannot use the keys to lock up the Vault again.

2. The Crypt: The T penalty (or lost keys) are needed each time you try to take a treasure from the site. You cannot use the Magic Sight table or the Loot table–you must use the “Crypt of the Knight” table on the Set Up card. You must use T strength or the lost keys each time you roll on this table.

This is actually an example of the dangers of trying to write rules that are both precise and concise. On the setup card, the penalties are described as “each SEARCH” or “each draw”. The implication is that the search table you use does not matter, since it is not specified. If I had wanted the penalty to apply only to the LOOT table, I would have said so on the Set Up card or in the rules, or both.

I agree that rule 9.3 can be misleading, because it uses the word “loot” in two ways. When “loot” is printed in lowercase, it refers to taking (or trying to take) a treasure, regardless of the table being used. When “LOOT” is printed in
uppercase, it refers only to the LOOT table. Obviously, I spent too much time looking for a decent synonym for loot, when I should have just given up and explained what the uppercase meant. When you’re trying to be concise everywhere, sometimes a baby goes out with the bathwater. Oops.

38. Spells and Hired Natives

Can you cast spells on hired natives or do they “rebel” when they are selected as a target for a spell? Below is a more complete description of the question (from a posting on www.magicrealm.net):

I’ve been going through various scenarios, and I’ve come up with this question for the group. Rule 32.7/6 says “When a character specifies one of his own hired natives as a target for himself or one of his hired natives, all members of the target’s group that are currently under hire to that character instantly rebel“.

What if you target them with a benevolent spell? How strictly do people play this? Do they allow the Druid to hire a Rogue swordsman and cast “Poison” on him? Or the Elf to cast “Elvin Grace” on his hired natives?

I was wondering if a character with Dissolve Spell and Transform could transform one of his hirelings. If so, the Sorcerer could hire a Rogue then turn him into a dragon.

I suppose a strict reading of the rules would make them rebel (I guess they don’t like mucking about with magic).

I would like to see that as a strategy though. So is there any leeway here? If not, I guess you could cast “Peace” on your hirelings in order to “fire” them.

Answer

Spell targets hireling, hireling rebels. Longstanding official ruling that must be continued for the sake of uniformity.

Unfortunately, there was a controversy over this sort of thing at Avalon Hill, and I was (rightfully) obliged to answer such questions in accordance with the Second Edition written rules. In this case, since no exceptions to magic-induced treachery were specified, none could be allowed. From that time on, the official ruling was that any Spell aimed at a hireling triggers treachery. And of course I was not allowed to change the rule in the Second Edition. I would have included it as an optional rule, if I’d had the space in the rulebook.

To cut to the quick: the official ruling is that any Spell cast on a hireling causes rebellion. Now, you don’t like this, and I don’t like it (you can see from the list of Spells that I designed some Spells for friendly use with natives). Since you are now adding more optional rules, it is the perfect time to change it. That’s why I proposed the optional rule allowing Day Spells, Combat Spells, and Peace with Nature to be cast without triggering rebellion (or battling, for that matter). Transform, Melt into Mist, Hurricane Winds, and Power of the Pit should not be used without rebellion. From the verisimilitude point of view, I think the natives would neither like it nor consider it what they were hired for. From a play-balance point of view, it gives too much power to the magic users. (Actually, when I was writing the first edition rulebook I would have allowed them, but when I had time to think it over, after the game came out, I realized it would have been a mistake).

39. Combat with Tranmorphized Characters

I wanted to make sure that I was correct about this:

Q: Can a character transformed (or absorbed) into a monster play different maneuvers (e.g. Fight in Thrust and Maneuver in Swing) or must the monster match attack and maneuver directions? I’d always played the latter, but upon looking at the rules (46.4/3b) I see I am probably mistaken. Can you verify?

A: Absolutely! Look at 46.4/3: “Instead of playing his own chits, a transmorphized character plays unused chits [note the plural] symbol side up a dummies, and *each* [emphasis added] chit has the value defined by the spell.”
Also, 46.4/3b says, he uses the move values to maneuver and the attack values to attack. But they are in the direction as given by the dummy chits.
This makes a character transmorphized into a monster *much* tougher than a monster!

So, Richard, what say you? Can a character transformed as a monster play a Fight in Thrust and a Move in Dodge?

Answer

Yes, he can. You have it precisely correct.

However, I cannot resist commenting that there is a similar spell in the Expansion kits (aka the complete game) which does require the target to fight precisely like a monster. It is viewed as an unfortunate Spell to be hit with, but it does have some interestingly perverse tactical/diplomatic uses. It is of course a different Spell (hight “Become”) with its own (more potent) table of transformations, and it is not clear whether it will make the final cut in the supergame.

However, in MR you are correct, there is no such spell. Monstrous players play chits to define the directions of their attacks and maneuvers.

40. Dragon Essence and Transfomed Characters

A player with a tranmorphizing spell cast on him loots the Dragon Essence. The rules say that when he loots an object a character has the choice of activating, deactivating, or abandoning/dropping the objects. On the other hand, items that a character is carrying when he is transmorphized transmorphize with him and can’t be used or abandoned.

There is a question of timing here: a character gets to choose what he wants to do with item as soon as he loots it, but he is transmorphized immediately when the Dragon Essence is uncovered. Which happens first?

So there are three possibilities that I see:

1. Player loots Dragon Essence, gets transformed before he has a chance to abandon/drop it, plays entire game as Bird.

2. Player loots Dragon Essence, abandons item, gets transformed after the item is abandoned, can exit clearing leaving the Dragon Essence behind (or loot to see if he can pick it up).

3. Player loots Dragon Essence, gets transformed, gets to treat the Dragon Essence as an item that the transformed creature can carry (unless he is transformed into Mist that can’t carry items). Can carry the Dragon Essence out of clearing and abandon it anytime he wants in the future.

Answer

The untransformed character must complete his LOOT before he can transform. Completing his LOOT includes defining what he does with the item. Therefore:

A. He draws the item, looks at it, and then decides what to do with it. He can keep it or drop it.
B. Then he transforms.

1. Only if he chooses to hang on to the Dragon Essence. This actually happened in an early MR tournament, when the question first arose. The player was intrigued and chose to be a bird, but he got bored quickly and suicided out. Of course, you don’t have to suicide if you have a friend handy who can break spells.
I discussed the tactic thoroughly with one of my playtesters (maybe Jim Stahler), and our conclusion was that the tactic was intriguing, but probably not worthwhile. The best use is to become a bird, fly to explore remote areas and attract monsters, then fly back to rendezvous with your spellbreaker. This might actually be worthwhile, with some board/treasure configurations.

2. Perfectly legal.

3. Nope. Not allowed.

Stephen McKnight Richard Hamblen
41. Wish You Were Elsewhere

1. On the Wish Table, if you wish a hired native is elsewhere, he goes back to the setup card. Is he considered to be unhired for regeneration purposes?

2. But not if it’s a garrison native and gets sent to a dwelling on the board, right? So if a hired Order HQ gets Wished elsewhere, he stays hired, but if a hired Lancer HQ gets Wished elsewhere his term of hire ends.

Answer

1. When he hits the APPEARANCE CHART, he instantly becomes unhired.

2. Quite right. Exactly so.

42. Melt into Mist and Blocking
The question has been raised about whether a character transmorphized into Mist can block or be block. In the General, Vol.16 #4 (Magic Realm, First Edition) there was a Q&A as below:Q. Exactly how does MELT INTO MIST affect a character?
A. He cannot do any activities except MOVE (with Tremendous carrying capacity), he cannot Block or be Blocked, and he cannot attack nor be attacked with weapons or Spells. He can use hidden paths and secret passages freely as he moves (without discovering them). Otherwise, he plays normally.

Yet in the Second Edition rules, this point seems to be specifically addressed to the contrary:

“46.1 …Unless the spell specifies otherwise, when an individual is transmorphized he moves, blocks and selects targets normally, as if he were not transmorphized.” The description of Melt into Mist says nothing about blocking or being blocked–implying that the character transmorphized into Mist blocks (and is blocked) normally “as if he were not transmorphized.”

Is this a difference between the First and Second Edition, a mistaken Q&A for the First Edition, or a correction that was supposed to get into the Second Edition, but didn’t?

Answer

Apparently it’s a correction that didn’t get into the second edition. In any case, he/she who is melted into mist cannot block nor be blocked.

43. Optional Commerce Rule
The Optional Commerce Rules are rarely played, but here’s a question:Each group of natives have their own special price for objects, for example the gold natives’ special price is the objects gold value plus the Fame value (with negative Fame subtracting from the objects value as in the example). Is this special price used just for *selling* the item to the native group (like the Optional Commerce Table) or is it used in buying an object from the natives as well?

If it’s used in buying, what do you do with an object which has a greater negative fame than its gold price? For example, the Black Book has a gold value of 10 and a Fame value of -15. If you are buying the Black Book, do they just give it to you and pay you 5 gold to take it?

Answer

It is definitely used in buying, as well.

In the example, you roll on the meeting table normally. If you roll a purchase, they give it to you and indeed pay you 5 gold to take it. In other words, when the item has a negative cost they pay you just so they can be rid of it, but they pay only the basic cost, without multiplication.

This is another little rule that got lost somewhere in the preparation of the 2nd edition rulebook, probably due to space constraints. You know, you phrase questions exactly the way Jim Stahler does. Jim spotted this and asked about it. As I recall, he didn’t like my answer much.

44. Followers and Spell Phases
The rules state that followers can use an Alert or a Rest phase that their leader records. What about Spell phases? If the Witch is Following the Sorcerer and the Sorcerer uses his extra spell phase and one other to enchant one of his purple chits, can the Witch enchant her black one using the same spell turns?I know it doesn’t say so, but I’m wondering if it was because Spell phases aren’t introduced until the Fourth Encounter. (Then again, what happens if they both try to enchant the tile?)
Answer

No, followers cannot use SPELL phases. There are two reasons for this:

1) Such a rule would either require too many rules, or give certain magic users too much power, or both. How would it work? Would the followers have to specify which chits they are enchanting? How many? In what order? Do they get to see the leader’s move? Are they forced to enchant chits, even if they don’t want to? Presumably they are free to stop following and thus cancel the SPELL phases without warning. Following is a special activity with unique powers and penalties, and I think magic is too powerful to combine with it.

2) I want to encourage magic-users to operate independently, especially when they are hostile to each other. We tried allowing followers to enchant. It immediately led to long periods of intricate treasonous planning, followed by turns that someone bollixed up every time. Disgusted, the players stopped following entirely, and that hurt their ability to cooperate. To save following, I had to outlaw enchanting by followers.

45. Blocking and Trading
There was a Q&A on the First Edition rules that got me thinking.
Q: If a character is Blocked before he takes his turn, can he still activate, inactivate, abandon and/or sell items he is carrying?
A: No.This is right in the Second Edition as well since you can only activate, abandon, or sell at the beginning of a phase, and if you’re blocked before your move, you don’t have a phase. But what if someone comes into the clearing later (hidden, say)? Can the new character trade with the blocked character before a phase of his turn? I can’t see any prohibition in the rules, but it would be easy to add one in the Third Edition.
Answer

No. The hidden character can trade with other hidden characters in the clearing, but not with the blocked character (opinion: he cannot trade because, until sunset, he is presumably being chased around the clearing by whatever blocked him).

46. HQ and dice rolls
Captain hires a Rogue at the Inn and then moves out of the clearing, leaving the Rogue behind (a common mistake!) The Company are unhired and in the clearing. There are also other characters in the clearing, so Combat will start and the Captain has to roll to see if his hired Rogue is battling the Company.1) The Cloven Hoof is active at the Inn. (A player activated it but didn’t buy it.) Does it affect the Captain’s roll on the Meeting Table to see if his hired Rogue battles the Company? The text under the Cloven Hoof says it only affects characters, and Rule 32.1/1 state that hired natives don’t use character’s die modifiers. On the other hand, the description of finding if hired natives are battling unhired natives says the character rolls “just as if he were in the clearing” (Rule 32.7/5).

2) I assume the Captain can’t buy drinks to affect his Rogue hireling’s Block/Battle roll, since the Captain isn’t in the clearing.

3) Does anything change if the Captain was carrying the Cloven Hoof (i.e., the Cloven Hoof was in the Captain’s clearing but not at the Inn with the hired Rogue).

Answer
1) The Cloven Hoof does not affect the die roll. For the cloven hoof to take effect, it and the character must be in the same clearing, and it affects only that clearing. The rules about affecting only characters and about modifiers not affecting natives have precedence, since they explicitly address the issue. It takes some stretching to interpret “just as if he were in the clearing” to cover this case.2) A very good assumption, indeed. No drinks.

3) Nope. The lonely native rolls on his own, so to speak, with no die roll modifiers.

47. Tremendous monsters and horses
The following question appeared on the MagicRealm.net forum:”This one is not really a question (since I believe that there is no room for argument), but rather an observation: does anyone else find it strange how the rules treat mounted characters and natives differently when it comes to red side up tremendous monsters?

Rule 24.5/2: A mounted character who is in the grasp of a tremendous monster cannot play a horse
Rule 24.5: The character is killed, but the horse is unharmed.

Rule 34.7/7: If a native’s horse survives, he continues to play it. Eventually, both native and horse are killed.

This seems very clear, and yet puzzling: why do tremendous monsters pick characters off their horse, but grab native horses along with the rider? Very puzzling…

It may simply be that the designer wanted to avoid the possibility of riderless
native horses wandering around, but still…”

The same question occurred to me–why a different treatment of horses for natives and characters? If the problem of riderless horses is the concern, someone suggested that a condition that native horses whose riders are killed run away and are removed from the game solves the problem. Is there something else that I am not seeing here that explains this discrepancy?

Answer
Your question is clearly about intent, so rather than insert comments, I’ll just schmooze about it a little here.There are actually two questions: why is the character plucked from the saddle, and why is the hired native not plucked. The discussion you sent seems to be asking the second question, but to be safe I’ll answer both.

First, plucking characters. Allowing heavy characters to play a warhorse allows them to play a killing attack and a decent maneuver at the same time, which is too strong. At the same time, characters riding a workhorse are forced to play a much worse maneuver than they could dismounted, which would encourage bizarre tactics of dismounting. And in both cases, having the monster pick up and kill both horse and rider at the same time seemed poor verisimilitude.

So I made the monsters pluck the characters out of the saddle. It also had the added benefit of leaving the horse behind to be rounded up by other characters, which is desirable for several reasons.

So why not pluck the natives, too? Well, basically to give the Order a chance against the Tremendous monsters. Against Tremendous monsters, a dismounted Knight fights like a can of tuna fish. There’s also a problem with the lighter mounted natives. They maneuver better dismounted, so plucking them just leads to a lot of pointless wriggling before the inevitable crunch. I deem it better to leave them mounted, allowing the Tremendous monsters to finish them quickly and move on to better targets.

In both cases I wanted a simple rule, so I made each rule cover all cases of that type. I didn’t want the players to choose whether to play the horse–that seems bogus to me, from a verisimilitude point of view. The point about my not wanting characters riding native horses is of course correct, but it did not affect the decision because, as the fellow points out below, the horses run away. So I was left with an inconsistent rule: characters are plucked, but natives aren’t. Now, I value consistency and strive for it (for lots of reasons), but when I have to choose between consistency and play value, I consistently try for play value.

48. Boots Cards limitations
Here is Richard Hamblen’s comments on whether you can use a Boots card in both the Encounter Step to charge and the Melee Step to maneuver.
Answer
You can use a Boots card only once per round, either in the encounter step or the Melee step, but not both in the same round. See rule 22.4/2c, second sentence:
“He cannot play a chit or card he already used in the encounter step…”
Also, on page 70 the writeup under 8. BOOTS cards says each Boots card
“can be used as a Move chit”, implying the one-use limitation.
49. Flying vs. Walking the Woods

This is from Teresa Michelsen:

“One of our GMs is wondering why characters transmorphized into flying monsters can fly, but characters transmorphized into non-flying monsters can’t walk the woods, only beasts can walk the woods (at least, that’s how the rules appear) – even though non-flying monsters walk the woods when they prowl, so they must be able to do it. Or so the theory goes 🙂

Answer
The theory is this: Only the Transform Spell transmorphizes the character so completely that he gains the instincts of the beast enough to walk through the forest. Other Spells (e.g. Absorb Essence) allow him to occupy the body of the monster but not its mind, so when he tries to walk through the forest he keeps bumping into trees and gets lost.
50. Buying drinks
A question has come up about buying drinks. Somehow most of us had mentally inserted an “unhired” into Rule 10.5: “Buying drinks costs one gold point for each member of the group in the clearing.”But looking closely there isn’t any such qualifier there–perhaps because there are no hired natives in the First Encounter. But it’s not qualified in 31.2/2 where hired natives are introduced, either.

The reason for the question is that when hiring or trading with the Rogues or the Order, it seems strange that you would have to buy drinks for those natives that are already hired by another character.

Or that you would have to buy drinks for the Rogues you’ve already hired to trade or hire with the remaining unhired Rouges.

Answer
This is one of those rare cases where the rule means exactly what it says. When you buy drinks for a group, you must buy for every member of the group in the clearing, including those that are already hired (by anyone!).This is not as strange as it seems. Why do you have to buy drinks for the whole group in the first place? Because the group is sort of like a family, and you want the whole family to feel kindly towards your efforts, rather than stir resentments that could interfere with you hiring. Hired members of the group are still loyal members of the group, and need to be humored. So to speak.

From a game design point of view, I did not want the hiring of the Rogues to get cheaper as you got closer to the leader, so he was the cheapest hire of all. That would be strange!

It would certainly be helpful to explicitly state that you
have to buy drinks for all the members of the group in the clearing, including any who are currently under hire.

51. Hurricane Winds
The spell description says:
HURRICANE WINDS (IV/PURPLE), one character, monster or native, Move: This spell can be cast only in a mountain clearing. It creates a FLY chit with Tremendous strength and a time number of “1”. The target must use this chit to run away at the start of the next encounter step; the FLY chit overrules the target’s normal behavior. When the target flies out of the clearing, all of his belongings, including his horses, fly and land with him. The spellcaster chooses which adjacent tile the target flies to. See rule 47.The questions are:

1. The spell description states that the target runs away at the beginning of the next Encounter Step, not during the Action phase when characters would ordinarily run away. Does this apply to characters as well as denizens?

2. If so, I assume that this means that a character with Hurricane Winds cast on them cannot be prevented from running away by another player charging with, for example, a Broomstick Fly 1 chit, because the character with the spell cast on him would be removed from the clearing before another character has a chance to charge him with Broomstick.

3. If the target has a red-side-up monster on his sheet, does 47.4/2a “a. When he flies away, he ignores non-flying move times. The only denizens and ATTENTION chits on his MELEE SECTION that can stop him from flying away are those that fly (and red-side-up Tremendous monsters).” imply here that Hurricane Winds has no effect on an individual in the clutches of a red-side-up Tremendous monster?

4. What if the target is a red-side-up Tremendous monster? Does the monster get flown away and its victim stay in the clearing? Or do both stay in the clearing? Or both fly away? (That would be difficult to handle since there would have to be rules in effect for what happens when a character/denizen is in the clutches of the red-side-up Tremendous monster during the day when they land.)

5. If the target is a character or hired leaders, I assume they execute a Fly phase as their first phase the following day and land as usual when flying away. The spell description suggests that the spellcaster determines which tile they land in, instead of having a choice to land in the hex they flew from or the adjacent hex. Is this the case?

Answer
1. Yes2. Yes, exactly so. This is the exact intent of the rule. After all, how to you stop something being carried off by a Hurricane Wind?

3. No, the reference applies only to regular flying, not Hurricane Winds. An individual cannot just fly away while he is being held by a Tremendous Monster. Except for Hurricane Winds, of course. When Hurricane Winds hit an individual being held by a Tremendous Monster, the individual is ripped from the monster’s grasp and flies away (and the Monster turns red-side down). This exception is sort of implied by the clause “the FLY chit overrides the target’s normal behavior”, which is located in the Hurricane Winds spell description. Of course, the rule should have been stated explicitly. The rule: “When the Hurricane Winds FLY chit is played on a red-side Tremendous monster, or his target, the monster immediately drops his target and turns red-side down, and the target of the Hurricane Winds is blown away.” A sentence much like this one was one of the first sentences edited out of the 2nd Edition rules in order to shorten them.

4. The monster flies, the victim stays. See my answer to question 3, above. You make a nice point about the lack of rules. If the monster and victim were blown away, surely I would have made some reference to how to handle the situation. Unfortunately, the “surely” doesn’t work because you can’t be sure what was edited out!

5. Yes

52. Optional Missile Table

I am just about to finish my first PBEM game that I have run using the Optional Combat Rules. This is the first time that I have used the Option Combat Rules and one thing that has struck me is how much more powerful attack spells and bows appear to be than in the base rules. This is a combination of two effects:

1. the Optional Missile Table increases the harm by one level (die roll=3 gives no change in the base Missile Table, but increases the harm by one level in the Optional Missile Table)

2. the speed differential for bows and, particularly, prepared attack spells is enormous. Since bows will almost always be alerted with speed=1, they will have a -3 roll modifier against a move speed 4 opponent if directions match and a +1 roll modifier (equivalent to the original Missile Table) for an undercut. Prepared attack spells with speed=0 are powerful beyond anything imaginable. Nothing stands up to them if they match directions: a prepared Fiery Blast that matches directions automatically takes out any Tremendous monster or, if it matches direction with either the horse or the rider, an armored Knight of the Order on their armored mount. Even if it only undercuts, a prepared attack spell exceeds the base combat results against a speed=4 target. Any target faster than speed=4 is typically going to be more vulnerable. A prepared Fiery Blast is powerful beyond anything in the basic game, and it makes characters who can cast Fiery Blast way more powerful.

I am contemplating trying out a variant where the speed differentials are applied to the Fumble Table, but not to the Optional Missile Table. Any comment?

Answer
I surely do have some comments. The rule is correct, except as noted below. (This is one of those “Horror Tales from the Second Edition”, but I won’t bore you with the yarn unless you’re interested.)1. The typesetters set the wrong Optional Missile Table. It should look like this:

Net die roll: Effect on damage caused:
-2 or less = plus 3 levels
-1 = plus 2 levels
0, 1 = plus 1 level
2, 3, 4 = no change
5, 6 = minus 1 level
7 = minus 2 levels
8 or more = minus 3 levels

Explanation: The old Missile table provides 6 levels of results (from gaining 2 levels to losing 3 levels). This covers the range of results for all possible missile attacks, but I think it is too much variability for any particular attack. I wanted to differentiate better attacks from worse attacks, reserve the best results for the best attacks and reserve the worst results for the worst attacks. This necessarily implied fewer levels of variability, forcing me to repeat some results on the table. The result is a table where any given shot’s results can vary by only 3 or 4 levels, with the best results reserved for hits that match direction and the worst results reserved for the hits that merely undercut.

2. When rolling for a prepared (i.e. time zero) Fiery Blast or Lightning Bolt Spell, subtract one sharpness star (in addition to any sharpness lost due to armor). Explanation: This is strictly a play balance adjustment, to keep Fiery Blast and Lightning (especially Fiery Blast!) from being too strong. This adjustment need not be made for Stones Fly–I don’t mind beefing that Spell up a bit.
Explanation: This part of the rule was cut to save space, but I didn’t fight for it because a) it was such a kludge I was ashamed of it, and b) I wasn’t sure it was needed, given the other effects of the Optional Missile Table. Now I think it is needed, even if it is a kludge.
Incidentally, a “kludge” (aka “klooge”) is a clumsy patch to fix a flaw in a system (as opposed to designing a flawless system). I first encountered the term in engineering, but we game designers also use it to describe an arbitrary, artificial rule to patch a malfunctioning game interaction.

53. Pilgrim’s Heavenly Protection and Hired Natives

The Pilgrim can not lure the Demons or the Imp and does not roll when they are randomly assigned. What about the Pilgrim’s hired natives?

1. Can the Pilgrim lure a Demon with a hired native or deploy a hired native against a Demon? I would assume yes since it doesn’t say they can’t.

2. Can a Demon be Randomly Assigned to one of the Pilgrim’s hirelings?

Answer
Groan. The 2nd Edition rulebook spits up another hairball.
My intention was (and is) that the “Special Advantages” apply only to the characters themselves, not to their hirelings.
The problem is with rule 32.1/1, I think. This rule intended to imply that hirelings were attacked like their owners, using the owners’ friendship values when dealing with natives. It was *not* intended that the hirelings should benefit from their owners’ Special Advantages.
Jim Stahler pointed the problem, so I put an additional sentence in the exception to rule 32.1/1, to the effect that the hirelings cannot use their owners’ special advantages. Unfortunately, the powers that be (or the powers that were) edited the extra sentence out, in order to save space (remember, the rules were too long). In justification, they pointed out that the issue had never actually arisen, and that the players seemed to automatically assume that hirelings cannot use the special advantages; in other words, the “powers that were” felt that the exception was not needed.
So here we are, with me not knowing what to say except that the hirelings should not be allowed to use the Special Advantages, period. To allow hirelings to use any of the special advantages raises the question, can all of the hirelings use them? This opens a real can of worms. Can the Rogue choose different times for his hired leaders to take their turns? When the Berserker plays his Berserk chit, do all of his hirelings gain Tremendous vulnerability? Do the Amazon’s hired leaders get to move an extra space when she is not with them? Do the Wizard’s hired leaders know all the secret passages and hidden paths in the game? And so on.
So I say again, the hired natives should not get the benefit of special advantages, ever.1. Yes.

2. Yes, whether the Pilgrim is in the same clearing or not.

54. Vial of Healing

Consider the Vial of Healing. I generally thought of it as just being a fairly worthless Potent, worth 2 gold or so. Then while gamemastering the BIMR6 game, I actually read the description:

“VIAL OF HEALING: This card converts its owner’s wounds into fatigue instantaneously, at no cost. While a character has this card active, all of his wounded action chits are instantly converted into fatigued chits,and any new wounds he receives are also converted to fatigued chits. This card does not affect fatigued chits. This Potion is reusable and can be transferred while active, but it expires at Midnight and is returned to the Chapel.”

The question is what happens if your wounded chit doesn’t have any asterisks? It can’t be fatigued – there’s no provision in the rules for a fatigued chit without an asterisk. It seems like there are only two choices: either a) if you wound a non-asterisk chit while the Vial of Healing is active, it immediately comes back as an active chit, or b) the Vial of Healing doesn’t apply to a wounded chit without an asterisk.
The language “all of his wounded action chits are instantly converted” seems to invalidate b). On the other hand, if a) is correct, this is a very valuable item. It seems that you can’t be wounded to death if you have the Vial of Healing active. With the Vial of Healing active, the White Knight is invulnerable to Wolves or Axe Goblins. In fact, he can just keep wounding his non-asterisk chits and getting them back instantly. No wonder it goes back to the Order when it expires – it’s another little advantagefor the White Knight.

Answer
You’re right, the Vial of Healing converts wounded non-asterisk chits into healthy chits.