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A request to FFG to make errate placement more specific


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#1 cinos

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 01:48 AM

Brace yourselves, this will be a long one. TLDR below. :P

 

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. :P

 

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."



#2 cinos

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 01:50 AM

Bah, I misspelled "errata" in the thread title. :P

 

I don't suppose a mod can correct this for me?


Edited by cinos, 18 August 2014 - 01:53 AM.


#3 Zaltyre

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 06:44 AM

I have the "new" quest guide, and that was not at all how anyone in my group read those rules. Palamon was allowed to move regardless of whether or not he passed the test. Testing to marshal defenders isn't defined as an action, therefore the word "other" in "cannot perform other actions" can only refer to "other actions than the moving." The order of the sentence could be rearranged, but I think the meaning is clear that he can perform 1 and only 1 move action, regardless of what happens with the militiamen. That does indeed slant the encounter toward the heroes, but that doesn't mean it's not how it's written.



#4 any2cards

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 07:59 AM

I agree with Zaltyre.



#5 amoshias

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 09:52 AM

Sigh. So what you guys are saying is that after 3 rounds of errata, how the quest is supposed to work is still unclear?

 

Bravo, FFG. Bravo.



#6 any2cards

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 10:53 AM

It is not unclear to me.



#7 Zaltyre

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 10:56 AM

It is not unclear to me.

Nor to me. I say this in the nicest way possible- I don't find cinos' interpretation of Sir Palamon's rules valid in this case.



#8 cinos

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 10:57 AM

I have the "new" quest guide, and that was not at all how anyone in my group read those rules. Palamon was allowed to move regardless of whether or not he passed the test. Testing to marshal defenders isn't defined as an action, therefore the word "other" in "cannot perform other actions" can only refer to "other actions than the moving." The order of the sentence could be rearranged, but I think the meaning is clear that he can perform 1 and only 1 move action, regardless of what happens with the militiamen. That does indeed slant the encounter toward the heroes, but that doesn't mean it's not how it's written.

 

Consider this paragraph preceding the one mentioned in the OP:

 

"Sir Palamon also blocks movement and line of sight. Treat him as a hero figure except that he cannot perform any actions and cannot recover health by any means."

 

It would seem to me that the subsequent statement regarding other actions is then superfluous, and an odd addition to have to clarify twice.

 

You have, quite correctly, assumed that because it's not mentioned as such, that his marshalling defenders is not in fact an action, so the second mention of this limitation has to be referring to how he can move, but can't do anything else.

 

That would make sense if the next paragraph had read as:

 

"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. If he passes, place 1 fatigue token on him and place 1 militiaman on the Entrance tile. After testing to marshal defenders, Sir Palamon may perform 1 move action. He cannot perform other actions."

 

But it doesn't, which I think leaves it open to the interpretation I have laid out in the OP. Whilst your group didn't interpret it that way, mine did.

 

It's also a bit strange that the extra grey dice for Palamon is still not included in the errata, and if I were to hazard a completely unfounded and likely incorrect guess, I might lean towards the idea that the second dice is not included because the errata by itself (suggesting he can move every turn) already gives Palamon too much of a buff.

 

In the "new" questbook, however, with the sentence placed after failure but before success, suggesting that perhaps he's only meant to move on a fail, he needs that extra dice to make up for the fact he's not moving out of harms way on every turn.

 

I can only speak from my personal experience, but perhaps try it this way. We all enjoyed playing it this way, some even saying it's the best encounter they'd done so far, and they lost. :P



#9 cinos

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 11:07 AM

Ultimately I have no issue if I am in fact wrong here, and he is supposed to move every turn. I've sent in a question to FFG to get a definitive answer on this and if they rule that he moves every turn regardless, then so be it.

 

Main purpose of this thread, however, is to highlight that in certain circumstances the placement of where precisely to put an errata can greatly affect the interpretation of the corrected paragraph. Be it at the start, middle or end. The order can be quite important depending on the wording and surely it couldn't hurt for them to specify where precisely they want the text added within a paragraph.


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#10 Zaltyre

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 11:22 AM

Ultimately I have no issue if I am in fact wrong here, and he is supposed to move every turn. I've sent in a question to FFG to get a definitive answer on this and if they rule that he moves every turn regardless, then so be it.

 

Main purpose of this thread, however, is to highlight that in certain circumstances the placement of where precisely to put an errata can greatly affect the interpretation of the corrected paragraph. Be it at the start, middle or end. The order can be quite important depending on the wording and surely it couldn't hurt for them to specify where precisely they want the text added within a paragraph.

We are not in disagreement that the structure of the sentences in rules/errata is important, or even that Palamon moving only when he fails to marshal defenders is more balanced. What we disagree on is the meaning of the current wording in the errata/ new quest guide.

 

What I have found in looking over the updated core set is that all of the changes in the rulebook, quest guide, and cards (like Reinforce) reflect the changes found in the FAQ. From what I have seen, nothing is intended to be a novel change from what is found in the FAQ. That is, a group playing with old set + FAQ has the same rules as a group playing with the new set.

 

I think FFG's use of "Palamon can't perform any actions" and "Palamon can perform 1 move action, but no other actions" is overly wordy, but not confusing. The first sentence (I'm pretty sure) is left over from the old quest guide where he could not perform any actions whatsoever, and should have probably been taken out.

 

However, the sentence says, "After testing to marshal defenders, Palamon may perform 1 move action." It doesn't say "After failing to marshal..." I argue that the wording is clear in that testing has occurred whether he passed or not. The order of the sentences is just not ideal. 

 

I agree with you that wording must be precise in the errata. For example, in encounter 1 of "The Man Who Would Be King." Splig originally started on the side of the door closest to the heroes. It was errata'd to say "Splig starts on the other side of the door." However, in the new quest guide, that change is incorporated and he is shown on the far side of the door. However, if you read the errata and look at the new quest guide, you get the impression that Splig should start on the side of the door closest to the heroes (that is, the other side from where is is newly pictured.) Rather than "the other side of the door," the errata should clearly say "the side of the door opposite the heroes" or something like that.



#11 cinos

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 11:35 AM

However, the sentence says, "After testing to marshal defenders, Palamon may perform 1 move action." It doesn't say "After failing to marshal..." I argue that the wording is clear in that testing has occurred whether he passed or not. The order of the sentences is just not ideal. 

 

I agree with you that wording must be precise in the errata. For example, in encounter 1 of "The Man Who Would Be King." Splig originally started on the side of the door closest to the heroes. It was errata'd to say "Splig starts on the other side of the door." However, in the new quest guide, that change is incorporated and he is shown on the far side of the door. However, if you read the errata and look at the new quest guide, you get the impression that Splig should start on the side of the door closest to the heroes (that is, the other side from where is is newly pictured.) Rather than "the other side of the door," the errata should clearly say "the side of the door opposite the heroes" or something like that.

 

 

I agree with you to a point. Except in order to get your interpretation of the sentence you are having to take it out of the context of the paragraph it's placed in. Basically reading it, outside the paragraph, like specified in the errata.

 

By including the proceeding sentence, though, you have:

 

"If he fails, there is no effect. After testing to marshall defenders, Sir palamon may perform 1 move action. If he passes..."

 

So there's the fail condition you are looking for. Whilst the wording is clear, as you say, the ordering makes it less so.

 

Ultimately, you're probably right, perhaps FFG accidentally placed the sentence before the pass condition when it was meant to go after and everything got a bit jumbled. I personally, think it's better in my interpretation and feels more balanced, but as said, I will settle for whatever FFG's final judgement is.

 

Glad, though, that you agree on the main point, in that there is a need for more precision in the errata. The Splig example you mention is a perfect example of why it needs to be so. :P


Edited by cinos, 18 August 2014 - 11:48 AM.

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#12 cinos

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 08:20 AM

Just had this response from Nathan, asked him two questions, one regarding Palamon moving and another just a simple one regarding using Dark Charm on him to make him move. Answer below:

 

 

Easy question first: yes, you can play Dark Charm on Sir Palamon.

 
In regards to Sir Palamon, I agree that the paragraph is poorly constructed, but the intention is that he always moves. I will make sure this paragraph gets restructured in the next printing and that the errata is cleared up. Sorry about the confusion.
 
Thanks,

Nathan Hajek
Creative Content Developer
Fantasy Flight Games

 

So there we have it, and yay for revised errata. :D



#13 DAMaz

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 03:10 PM

Ah yes Castle Daerion... One of the coolest Act I first encounters there is... followed by the worst 2nd encounter and omg... If the OL wins this quest you are in for a serious ruledebate: "The desecrated tomb" encounter 2 the quest with the most ruleholes in it in all FFG games I own.

 

So there is this dragon that is a shadowdragon without shadow is activated in the heroes turn and tries to kill the lieutenant, but the OL makes all the calls and rolls for the dragon. He rolls for the attacks against himself, rolls for the defenses against his attack and can even play OL cards, or can't he?

 

on topic:

I think you are right and I always wished they would publish the whole erratad paragraph and special unit-stats and not just specific phrases.


Edited by DAMaz, 22 August 2014 - 06:19 PM.


#14 griton

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 11:18 AM

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.

It's also a bit strange that the extra grey dice for Palamon is still not included in the errata, and if I were to hazard a completely unfounded and likely incorrect guess, I might lean towards the idea that the second dice is not included because the errata by itself (suggesting he can move every turn) already gives Palamon too much of a buff.

 

Sorry to be a bit late to this, but this is because you've misinterpreted the errata because you don't have the original. IIRC, The original had Palamon with a Silver+Brown defense and the Errata replaces the Brown die with a Silver one. It may have been more clear if it said it replaced "Silver + Brown" with "2 Silver", but the result is still the same if you start in the correct place.






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