Brace yourselves, this will be a long one. TLDR below.
I came across an issue last night which highlighted a problem with the way some errata is currently handled for Descent.
Now, I'm sure when I mention the name Castle Daerion, it will have both heroes and overlords twitching from the memories of their overwhelming defeats (depending on the version played). This quest seems to have had more balancing errata added than any other I've seen so far, and for good reason.
The issue, however, relates to the errata instruction to add this line to the special rules section for encounter 2: "After testing to marshal defenders, Sir Palamon may perform 1 move action."
Seems clear enough. After a test, regardless of result, Palamon may move his speed of 4.
The problem was, that this one addition made it all but impossible for the Overlord to win, or at the very least heavily balancing it in the heroes favour.
That said, I happen to have been lucky enough to get one of the updated quest books in my copy of the base game and this special rules section currently reads like this:
"At the end of the last hero turn each round, after all militiamen activate, Sir Palamon tests will to marshal more defenders. If he fails, there is no effect. After testing to marshal defenders, Sir Palamon may perform 1 move action. If he passes, place 1 fatigue token on him and place 1 militiaman on the Entrance tile. He cannot perform other actions."
Now to me, that errata'd line, placed there after the fail condition is specified, but before the pass condition, suggests a very different meaning. I interpret this paragraph to suggest the following steps to Palamons turn:
- After militiamen have all activated, Sir Palamon tests willpower to marshal more defenders.
If he fails:
- There is no effect,
- He may perform 1 move action.
If he passes:
- Place 1 fatigue token on him and place 1 militiaman on the entrance tile.
- He cannot perform other actions.
Naturally this is a very different interpretation from just the errata'd line added in the FAQ, and since updated quest books are not supplied as pdf's, there is no way anyone who didn't already have the updated book, could know to try the rules like this.
After playing this quest yesterday, as Overlord I happened to win this encounter, but it really felt much more balanced than if Palamon had been allowed to move every turn. I even told the heroes about this idea of Palamon moving like that and they agreed that that would have been ridiculously in their favour. The way we played it, they never felt like they didn't have a chance, and were discussing what went wrong and how they could have done better next time.
I'd call that a successful quest and encourage everyone to try playing it like this, however, do note that the updated questbook also gives Palamon two grey dice for defence, instead of one. A change that may have been made owing to the ambiguity of the placement of Palamon's movement errata.
So to the point I'm trying to make.
Would it be possible for FFG to change any errata that involves adding lines, to something like this?
Page 7, "Castle Daerion," Special Rules: Add the sentence, "After testing to marshal defenders, Sir Palamon may perform 1 move action" after the words: "If he fails, there is no effect."
I think then, and in other instances where this can also happen, specific placement of the errata will help to provide intended context to the addition, and as I pointed out above, really can change quite dramatically how a quest plays out.
Well, that's it, apologies for the long post, but I really think this could be a major help for those of us that have out of date quest books and no way to see the updated quests as they are intended.
Feel free to add your comments below.
TLDR: Can FFG please add a specific, detailing where errata'd lines be placed? Such as saying, "Add this sentence "insert errata here" after the words "what's currently printed in the questbook."