Hi, Z. Life got busy so it took a while to get back here.
I'm not sure what you do with the horses in the Dungeon … do you mean that if you enter the Dungeon, you have to ditch your horses? We did that at first, but then other players just swooped by and scooped them up.
Yes, that's the point. You have to make a sacrifice for the potential advantages of the Dungeon. And yeah, it's an advantage in more ways than one. Too many concessions have been made vs. the Dungeon of old editions. It's always been a power-up factory and shortcut around the game's namesake for getting to the CoC. And in that, it shouldn't be dumbed down even more in pandering to those who want to play it like a video game of powerup cards… or a variation on Munchkins.
Oh, wait….do you mean that if you make it through the Dungeon and into the inner regions, you'll have no use for horses anyway, and you might as well leave them for others to use? That makes sense, except that we don't always go into the Dungeon with the intention of making it all the way to the Lord of Darkness; sometimes we just tool around in there, powering up and usually getting our clocks cleaned, and then hightail it out.
Then you better do so and get out before another character gets lucky in a movement roll and picks up that left behind horse. That's the risk… like entering any real dungeon. Even Frodo and team had to leave Bill behind going into a place as big as the Mines, and Bill wasn't even as big as a riding horse. Talisman was meant to have risks - lots of them - and too many have been removed or watered down.
Hmmmm…..and what do you do when you fall through one of those Dungeon tunnel collapse cards (can't remember the real name)? Does your horse die in the fall?
That is a paradox, considering the Character and Followers have no risk of injury in that card. Then again, me and mine removed all such cards from our deck for play with Dungeon, along with any others that try to force Characters onto an expansion board in too nonsensical tricks. Harpies hauling you off to the Crags is slightly silly but more believable than a cave-in anywhere in the land… as if the Dungeon were really that big.
Yes, there are all sorts of wild justifications to make up for that card, but they don't appeal to me and mine. Removing those cards makes expansion boards a choice… sometimes even a tactic for a supposed strategy… instead of a game of Chutes (Snakes) and Ladders with a fantasy veneer.
For a Smithy card I made called, creatively, "BOW", you can shoot a faceup enemy from up to three spaces away, but once it's dead, you still have to collect your trophy. If another character is able to land exactly on the space containing the trophy on their turn, they can take it first; whereas all you have to do on your next turn is to roll at least the number of movement to take you past it, and scoop it up on your way by.
Too much upkeep, and too much bending of verisimilitude for me. The Bow of old was better, where you could attack from afar, but without risk, and therefor you got no trophy. The Bow was a tactical way to harry other Characters or try to remove something you didn't want to encounter on a space you wanted cleared for access. Then again, the bow never really worked in other considerations.
My group has experimented with missile weapons that are used in direct combat instead over ridiculous long distances (if one looks at Talisman as a "land" instead of just a "board"), but most just didn't fully work to satisfaction. I still have those cards around somewhere; one involved the chance to wound an opponent before battle and thereby give it a -1 on its Battle (Combat) roll. We also required replentishing arrows instead of the Bow being and umarked Magic Object complete with an unmentioned "Quiver of Plenty."
As to the alternate tavern and village, the "Tavern Revisited" is a space expander I got from Dorian Hawkins on Talismanisland. The "Village Revisited" is something I did (poorly) on Photoshop, here…"
Ah ha! Now I'm caught up. I remember Dorian's (and a couple other takes on the Tavern. Yours fits in well as well. And yeah, the Mystic was little more than an excuse for random Alignment changes as far back as 2E. Talisman is somewhat silly and meant to be, and overall the Mystic is just there (still) to force you into a corner if you visit the Village without any real need to be there. Same with the Enchantress. Neither was very imaginative nor suitable for a "settlement" space.
I've always wondered if the Enchantress wouldn't have been better of in the Cursed Glade, but I suppose that would be too much monkey-wrench work with the board itself.