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Ironskin in Sea of Blood


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#1 Ispher

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 10:42 AM

In our last session, we drew the Ironskin rumor card, and we are unsure about what effect it could have in the final avatar fight (Master of the Hunt), if any. The Ironskin entry on page 40 of the rulebook seems riddled with problems:

Ironskin
A figure with Ironskin is immune to the effects of Aura, Bleed, Burn, Pierce, Poison, and Sorcery. In addition, all damage dealt to figures with Ironskin by attacks that affect more than one space (such as Blast, Burn, and Breath) is reduced to zero. This ability does not affect attacks made by an avatar.

First of all, there is no attack that affects more than one space named "Burn". "Burn" is a lingering effect that deals 1 damage to a figure if it doesn't roll a surge at the beginning of its turn to get rid of said Burn effect.

1) Should "Burn" be replaced by "Bolt", the third (and very rare) kind of area attack, like on the Skull Shield card for example?

2) Does "This ability" in the last sentence about the avatar attacks refer a) to the whole Ironskin ability (but then, why would they have used "Ironskin" in the first two sentences instead of using the wording "this ability" that appears in the last sentence?), or b) only to the previous sentence (the one beginning with "In addition...")

3) In case the answer to 2) is a), is a hero with Ironskin at least immune to the avatar's Aura, as Aura is not an attack but an ability, or is Ironskin completely useless in avatar battles?

Maybe this could be a case for the FAQ, unless of course someone with better English and/or Descent rules knowledge is able to answer those questions with certainty.



#2 Steve-O

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 11:16 AM

Ispher said:

Ironskin
A figure with Ironskin is immune to the effects of Aura, Bleed, Burn, Pierce, Poison, and Sorcery. In addition, all damage dealt to figures with Ironskin by attacks that affect more than one space (such as Blast, Burn, and Breath) is reduced to zero. This ability does not affect attacks made by an avatar.

First of all, there is no attack that affects more than one space named "Burn". "Burn" is a lingering effect that deals 1 damage to a figure if it doesn't roll a surge at the beginning of its turn to get rid of said Burn effect.

1) Should "Burn" be replaced by "Bolt", the third (and very rare) kind of area attack, like on the Skull Shield card for example?

2) Does "This ability" in the last sentence about the avatar attacks refer a) to the whole Ironskin ability (but then, why would they have used "Ironskin" in the first two sentences instead of using the wording "this ability" that appears in the last sentence?), or b) only to the previous sentence (the one beginning with "In addition...")

3) In case the answer to 2) is a), is a hero with Ironskin at least immune to the avatar's Aura, as Aura is not an attack but an ability, or is Ironskin completely useless in avatar battles?

1) The word "Burn" in the second sentence should probably be "Bolt" as you suggest.  That smells like a typo to me.

2) "This ability" refers to all of Ironskin.

3) As I understand the rules from previous threads, an "attack" is when you pick up the dice and roll range/damage in accordance with some card or stat line as an "attack action."  The last line says Ironskin doesn't apply to attacks made by the avater, so yes, the hero would be immune to the Master's Aura, but would still be affected by anything the avatar rolled dice for, even if Ironskin would otherwise protect him.  Aside from Aura, all the other effects listed are part of an attack, generally speaking, so Ironskin would be mostly useless, but not entirely useless.



#3 Antistone

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 11:37 AM

Steve-O said:

 

3) As I understand the rules from previous threads, an "attack" is when you pick up the dice and roll range/damage in accordance with some card or stat line as an "attack action."  The last line says Ironskin doesn't apply to attacks made by the avater, so yes, the hero would be immune to the Master's Aura, but would still be affected by anything the avatar rolled dice for, even if Ironskin would otherwise protect him.  Aside from Aura, all the other effects listed are part of an attack, generally speaking, so Ironskin would be mostly useless, but not entirely useless.

 

 

That's an interesting take on our conversation, assuming you're thinking of the same thread I am:

Antistone said:


Steve-O: Only things that explicitly claim to be attacks are attacks, and all attacks are governed by the "Attacking" rules (p.9-11) except where they explicitly create exceptions to them. Any other definition is asking for trouble. Unlike "movement", the word "attack" does not yet have multiple technical definitions in Descent; let's try to keep it that way.

 

 

Aura and Grapple are not attacks, they fall under the "adjacency" category Corbon listed. Even constrict and exploding skeletons are presumably NOT attacks, even though they roll dice and cause damage, and constrict is used in place of an attack. But a Leap attack is an attack because it says it's an attack, even though it also overrides some of the normal attack rules.

 

 



#4 ElricOfMelnibone

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 10:53 PM

I take it that Burn and Poison effects (just for a couple examples) caused by Avatars' attacks affect heroes with Ironskin, and Stun/web effects affect heroes with Unstoppable. Is that correct?



#5 Ispher

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:05 AM

Steve-O said:

Aside from Aura, all the other effects listed are part of an attack, generally speaking, so Ironskin would be mostly useless, but not entirely useless.

 

Against the Master of the Hunt, "mostly useless" is a little harsh: a Master Diamond Hell Hound has an Aura value of 6, and our OL already bought the upgrade that makes Aura hurt a hero when he starts adjacent to a Hell Hound. For a melee hero, that's 6 damage less he'll take every turn in the final battle, which is nothing to scoff at.

Thank you for the clarification. That way, Ironskin seems good but not overpowered.



#6 Jonny WS

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 02:49 AM

Everywhere that Ironskin is defined has "bolt" as the third ability that ironskin can reduce damage to zero.  The only typo is in the SoB rule book.  



#7 James McMurray

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 11:50 AM

Elric of Melniboné said:

I take it that Burn and Poison effects (just for a couple examples) caused by Avatars' attacks affect heroes with Ironskin, and Stun/web effects affect heroes with Unstoppable. Is that correct?

Yes. The ironskin bit is spelled out in the ability itself. The Unstoppable part is covered by the FAQ, which states "Regardless of other effects, heroes are never immune to an Avatar's attack."



#8 ElricOfMelnibone

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 08:23 PM

The fact that makes me confused is that being immune to the Burn/Poison/Stun/Web/Pierce/Sorcery "effect" of an Avatar's Attack doesn't mean being immune to the attack itself. That's why I'm not completely convinced of this ruling.



#9 Corbon

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 08:49 PM

Elric of Melniboné said:

The fact that makes me confused is that being immune to the Burn/Poison/Stun/Web/Pierce/Sorcery "effect" of an Avatar's Attack doesn't mean being immune to the attack itself. That's why I'm not completely convinced of this ruling.

Why not?

An attack result is X damage at Y range, with Zn special effects.

Immunity to Z2 special effect just means immunity to Z2 special effect. It does not mean immune to all attacks (the whole attack) with Z2 special effect, or that is what it would say. X damage and Z1 and Z3 special effects still work normally.

Ummm, unless you are referring to James screwing up the answer? (I think he misread what you wrote, as I look back).

Elric: I take it that Burn and Poison effects (just for a couple examples) caused by Avatars' attacks affect heroes with Ironskin, and Stun/web effects affect heroes with Unstoppable. Is that correct?

James: Yes. The ironskin bit is spelled out in the ability itself. The Unstoppable part is covered by the FAQ, which states "Regardless of other effects, heroes are never immune to an Avatar's attack."

Correct answer: No. An avatar with Burn, who attacks a hero with Ironskin, will find that the burn parts of the attack 'fall off' - but only the Burn parts. In the Avatar does, for example, 13 damage, Burn 3 and Leech against a hero with 5 Armour, 3 fatigue and Ironskin the hero will take 8 wounds (13-5), + 5 wounds and lost 3F from Leech, but no Burn - because Ironskin gives immunity to Burn, so the Burn 3 part of the attack simply had no effect.
Burn is not an attack, just a part of an attack.

A hero with Unstoppable ignores an Avatar's stun abilities. Stun is not an attack.

What the FAQ does say is
Regardless of other effects, heroes are never immune to an Avatar's attack. ie. Zyla is never immune to the Beastman Lord's attack.

The heroes can still be immune to part of an Avatar's attack, but not the whole attack. So a hero with Ironskin will never be immune to a Breathing Avatar (Ironskin = no damage vs AoE attacks, which is the same as immunity as all following effects require at least one damage), for example. And Zyla, who with Ghost is normally immune to adjacent Melee attacks, will not be immune to the adjacent melee attack of the Beastman Lord.

 



#10 Antistone

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 11:14 PM

Corbon said:

The heroes can still be immune to part of an Avatar's attack, but not the whole attack. So a hero with Ironskin will never be immune to a Breathing Avatar (Ironskin = no damage vs AoE attacks, which is the same as immunity as all following effects require at least one damage), for example.

In addition to the "rule" that heroes can't be "immune" to an Avatar's attack, I believe the revised text of the Ironskin ability in the Sea of Blood rulebook ALSO explicitly states that Avatars completely ignore Ironskin.



#11 Ispher

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 11:56 PM

Antistone said:

Corbon said:

 

The heroes can still be immune to part of an Avatar's attack, but not the whole attack. So a hero with Ironskin will never be immune to a Breathing Avatar (Ironskin = no damage vs AoE attacks, which is the same as immunity as all following effects require at least one damage), for example.

 

 

In addition to the "rule" that heroes can't be "immune" to an Avatar's attack, I believe the revised text of the Ironskin ability in the Sea of Blood rulebook ALSO explicitly states that Avatars completely ignore Ironskin.

Hu? In my first message of this thread, I copied the Ironskin description from the SoB rulebook. Has it already been revised?

Ironskin
A figure with Ironskin is immune to the effects of Aura, Bleed, Burn, Pierce, Poison, and Sorcery. In addition, all damage dealt to figures with Ironskin by attacks that affect more than one space (such as Blast, Burn, and Breath) is reduced to zero. This ability does not affect attacks made by an avatar.



#12 Ispher

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 12:08 AM

Corbon said:

Correct answer: No. An avatar with Burn, who attacks a hero with Ironskin, will find that the burn parts of the attack 'fall off' - but only the Burn parts. In the Avatar does, for example, 13 damage, Burn 3 and Leech against a hero with 5 Armour, 3 fatigue and Ironskin the hero will take 8 wounds (13-5), + 5 wounds and lost 3F from Leech, but no Burn - because Ironskin gives immunity to Burn, so the Burn 3 part of the attack simply had no effect.
Burn is not an attack, just a part of an attack.

A hero with Unstoppable ignores an Avatar's stun abilities. Stun is not an attack.

What the FAQ does say is
Regardless of other effects, heroes are never immune to an Avatar's attack. ie. Zyla is never immune to the Beastman Lord's attack.

The heroes can still be immune to part of an Avatar's attack, but not the whole attack. So a hero with Ironskin will never be immune to a Breathing Avatar (Ironskin = no damage vs AoE attacks, which is the same as immunity as all following effects require at least one damage), for example. And Zyla, who with Ghost is normally immune to adjacent Melee attacks, will not be immune to the adjacent melee attack of the Beastman Lord.

Does it mean a hero with Ironskin would be immune to the Master of the Hunt's Pierce 6?

That would be amazing news.



#13 James McMurray

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 04:17 AM

Ispher said:

Does it mean a hero with Ironskin would be immune to the Master of the Hunt's Pierce 6?

No, most definitely not. While it's possible to argue that being immune to a portion of an avatar's attack via Unstoppable is not enough to trigger the "heroes can't be immune to avatar attacks" clause in the FAQ, the Ironskin ability (as quoted at least twice in this thread) very specifically states that it does not apply to avatars' attacks in Sea of Blood. There's absolutely no ifs, ands, or buts about that part of the question.



#14 Corbon

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 02:13 PM

Antistone said:

Corbon said:

 

The heroes can still be immune to part of an Avatar's attack, but not the whole attack. So a hero with Ironskin will never be immune to a Breathing Avatar (Ironskin = no damage vs AoE attacks, which is the same as immunity as all following effects require at least one damage), for example.

 

 

In addition to the "rule" that heroes can't be "immune" to an Avatar's attack, I believe the revised text of the Ironskin ability in the Sea of Blood rulebook ALSO explicitly states that Avatars completely ignore Ironskin.

Quite right and I apologise to James.

Clearly and explicitly Ironskin does absolutely nothing for a hero when an Avatar attacks.

I hadn't noticed the extra sentence tacked on, even when it was posted.

Unstoppable/Ox Tattoo has not had the same treatment though.



#15 ElricOfMelnibone

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 12:29 AM

Well, I guess it's correct, since an Ironskin hero could really spell the doom for a few avatars...



#16 Ispher

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 01:10 AM

James McMurray said:

Ispher said:

Does it mean a hero with Ironskin would be immune to the Master of the Hunt's Pierce 6?

 

No, most definitely not. While it's possible to argue that being immune to a portion of an avatar's attack via Unstoppable is not enough to trigger the "heroes can't be immune to avatar attacks" clause in the FAQ, the Ironskin ability (as quoted at least twice in this thread) very specifically states that it does not apply to avatars' attacks in Sea of Blood. There's absolutely no ifs, ands, or buts about that part of the question.

Alright, I'm nitpicky, but... There is.

There wouldn't be any uncertainty if Ironskin's rules text was worded this way:

Ironskin
A figure with Ironskin is immune to the effects of Aura, Bleed, Burn, Pierce, Poison, and Sorcery. In addition, all damage dealt to figures with Ironskin by attacks that affect more than one space (such as Blast, Burn, and Breath) is reduced to zero. Ironskin does not affect attacks made by an avatar.

 

Unfortunately, it is worded this way:

Ironskin
A figure with Ironskin is immune to the effects of Aura, Bleed, Burn, Pierce, Poison, and Sorcery. In addition, all damage dealt to figures with Ironskin by attacks that affect more than one space (such as Blast, Burn, and Breath) is reduced to zero. This ability does not affect attacks made by an avatar.

 

The only logical reason for using "This ability" instead of "Ironskin" in the last sentence is that "This ability" refers not to Ironskin itself, but to the last ability listed under Ironskin that specifically deals with area attacks, i.e: [In addition, all damage dealt to figures with Ironskin by attacks that affect more than one space (such as Blast, Burn, and Breath) is reduced to zero.].

That's why I was asking for an inclusion of this matter in the FAQ revision.



#17 Antistone

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 08:17 AM

"Ability" has a technical meaning in Descent.  So you're suggesting that "this ability", rather than meaning "Ironskin, the ability we're talking about", actually means "the effect described in the last sentence" (which is not, technically, an "ability").

I'll admit the Descent rules are rampant with sloppy wording errors, but I think that's quite a stretch.  Especially since there were arguments on the forum before SoB came out about whether a Ironskin could make a hero immune to part of an avatar's attacks under the "no immunity" rule, and so that sentence is timely under the common interpretation, while being entirely redundant with the existing general "rule" under your interpretation.  (Well, probably.  The "no immunity to avatars" rule is extremely vague and sounds to me more like some designer saying "fix it yourself".)

I'm also not aware of any previous case where they have explicitly isolated one part of an ability to write additional rules for it.  It's conceivable I'm mistaken, but I'm pretty sure that's totally unprecedented in Descent.  So you're suggesting that the first and only time they decide to do this, they screw up the wording.



#18 James McMurray

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 09:58 AM

Ispher said:

The only logical reason. . .

The reason for using "this ability" instead of a 4th iteration of "Ironskin" in less than 50 words is to avoid the reader trailing off in mind-numbing boredom. Clearly the FFG rules editors are not logic-mongers, they are authors. Good authors know that one of the fastest ways to turn your audience off and have them walk away is to use the same word over and over again when a synonym or similar phrase will get the same message across. A paragraph that should be clear on the very first read through becomes confusing when multiple uses of the same word cause each sentence to blur into the others in the mind of the typical reader. Unfortunately this artistic flair sometimes bumps heads with the teeming masses of anal retentive rules lawyers looking to eke out any advantage they can.

Antistone pointed out the logistics of the phrase much better than I could, but you are of course free to request it be added to the FAQ. I personally hope it doesn't get put in, as the FAQ is already bloated enough and "a guy asked a question" doesn't seem to match up with a "frequently asked questions" document.



#19 Ispher

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 10:01 AM

Antistone said:

"Ability" has a technical meaning in Descent.  So you're suggesting that "this ability", rather than meaning "Ironskin, the ability we're talking about", actually means "the effect described in the last sentence" (which is not, technically, an "ability").

I'll admit the Descent rules are rampant with sloppy wording errors, but I think that's quite a stretch.  Especially since there were arguments on the forum before SoB came out about whether a Ironskin could make a hero immune to part of an avatar's attacks under the "no immunity" rule, and so that sentence is timely under the common interpretation, while being entirely redundant with the existing general "rule" under your interpretation.  (Well, probably.  The "no immunity to avatars" rule is extremely vague and sounds to me more like some designer saying "fix it yourself".)

I'm also not aware of any previous case where they have explicitly isolated one part of an ability to write additional rules for it.  It's conceivable I'm mistaken, but I'm pretty sure that's totally unprecedented in Descent.  So you're suggesting that the first and only time they decide to do this, they screw up the wording.

Well, "ability" is used in a variety of ways in the SoB rulebook: avatar characteristics are coined as abilities (on p.7, "The Pack" is defined as the Avatar's Special Ability), hero characteristics are coined as abilities (on p. 10, the rules inform about changes to Sir Valadir and Runewitch Astarra's abilities), on p. 39 there is a list of "Advanced Campaign Special Abilities", and the way the heroes are able to move on the map is also coined as an ability (p. 8: "The party begins with the ability to travel along normal and ocean trails")... So if you know the "technical meaning" of  "ability" in Descent, I'd be glad to read it.

Nitpicking aside, I noticed that "This ability" is often used in the last sentence of some Advanced Campaign Special Abilities (like Blast, Bolt and Breath), and that it always refers to the whole ability. So for coherence reasons, "This ability" in the Ironskin rules must indeed refer to Ironskin. Taken out of context however, it wasn't that clear, not to me at least. Sorry for the fuss.



#20 Antistone

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 11:29 AM

James McMurray said:

The reason for using "this ability" instead of a 4th iteration of "Ironskin" in less than 50 words is to avoid the reader trailing off in mind-numbing boredom.

While it is well-established in prose that unnecessarily repeating the same word or phrase is a bad idea, it is also well-established in technical writing that using several different words or phrases to refer to the same object or concept (especially new phrases that you make up as you go along) is an even worse idea. 

Your guess at the reason they didn't is plausible and understandable, but not a justification.  They SHOULD have said "Ironskin" again there.  No question.






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