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Latest FAQ vs House Rules


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#1 Gamemaster

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:30 PM

The new official FAQ has finally been released and everything is all sealed up like a button.  Or is it?  For the most part, many of the clarifications that have been posted by the designers and FFG in the past are transposed in the FAQ as an official release.

However, there are a few rulings that I disagree with.  Officially, any variation from the rules or the FAQ is considered a house rule.  So, without further ado, here are my official houserules:

FAQ:  The spell, Call Ancient One, adds “to a maximum of 7” in regards to the X modifier for trophies discarded and Sanity cost.

Houserule:  I am not limiting X to seven.  Even though the highest base Sanity score is 7, an investigator can increase it to 8.  If an investigator wants to discard 8 trophies, spend all 8 of their Sanity points and go insane and be devoured  to awaken the Ancient One and remove 8 doom tokens and not draw another investigator, then so be it.  It actually could make defeating the Ancient One just as difficult; you are short one investigator, yet must still deliver the same amount of successes equal to all players.

 

FAQ:  A doom token is NOT added to the doom track when a gate opens using the Naacal Key.

Houserule:  Why not?  Unless specifically stated that a doom token is not added, every time a gate opens a doom token is added to the doom track.  When a gate opens during an Arkham Encounter (“A gate and a monster appear” for example), a doom token is added.  When a gate opens during the Mythos Phase, a doom token is added.   

 

FAQ:  “Closest Investigator” for monsters moving from Devil Reef or Y’ha-Nthlei when no Investigators are there is now “Lowest Sneak Investigator.”  Same applies for the Hound of Tindalos if no Investigators are on the same board as the Hound.

Houserule:  This is a classic case of theme getting in the way of a game mechanic because it does not make sense.  Thematically, I know a monster is not going to Charter a Boat to move from Devil Reef to Falcon Point.  I also know that the Hound of Tindalos will not ride a train to travel from Dunwich to Arkham.  But let me ask you this:  If the Hound is at Hibb’s Roadhouse and there is an investigator at Independence Square and at Velma’s Diner, which Investigator would the Hound move to?  The correct answer, in determining Closest Investigator, is Velma’s Diner even though, physically, both locations are about equidistant.  Thematically, the Hound is not going for a lovely stroll through the Downtown and Easttown streets to get to Independence Square nor the latter to get to the Diner.  The Hound will jump from one location to the next.  You are simply using the streets and the yellow lines to determine distance only, not because it makes thematic sense.  So, why change that rule?  I will continue to use the Boat Charter and the Train Depot to determine distance and keep the “lowest sneak” to break equidistant ties.

 

FAQ:  Martial Law checks are rolled BEFORE you encounter any monsters present.

Houserule:  Not only does the Innsmouth rules state that you check for Martial Law at the end of your movement, but encountering monsters DURING movement could end your movement.  Then, you are checking for Martial Law after that encounter.  I keep it simple that all Martial Law checks are done at the END of your Movement Phase.  Investigators must pass this check before picking up any Clue tokens or Items though.

 

FAQ:  Ursula Downs cannot start the game at Y’ha-nthlei or any of the Kingsport Head locations.

Houserule:  Why not?  Not only would it be disadvantageous for her to start there, it is also risky.  Your first opening gate could be a Devouring Gate!  If a player wants to take a gamble at the start of the game, I allow it.

 

FAQ:  Investigators cannot start their turn in Devil Reef after being Lost In Time And Space.

Houserule:  Why not?  Innsmouth rules specifically disallows Y’ha-nthlei upon return (because of its ability) but not Devil Reef.  It is risky for an investigator to go to Devil Reef alone without someone at Falcon Point due to limited movement and potentially being trapped there for awhile.  It is Arkham; if a player wants to make life more difficult for their investigator, I allow it.

 

FAQ:  If a monster surge is cancelled due to Kate Winthrop’s Science ability, a token is added to the Deep Ones Rising Track.

Houserule:  The Deep Ones Rising Track receives a token when a GATE is prevented from opening.  Monster surges are not preventing a gate from opening and are not applicable to the Deep Ones Rising Track.  Not only that, canceling a monster surge itself is not preventing a gate from opening.

 

FAQ:  If you successfully cast Wrack, you may continue moving.

Houserule:  Once you enter combat, your movement ends.  Wrack is cast before a Combat Check (after a Horror Check (whether you made one or not)) which is during combat.

 

FAQ:  Failing an Evade check and the Horror check against The Beast, you are devoured.

Houserule:  I am leaving the Beast’s printed rule as is with failing the Horror and COMBAT checks will you be devoured.  Since The Beast delivers combat damage, that is what will be delivered to an investigator for a failed Evade check.  It’s also possible for an investigator to pass the Horror check and continue to fail his Evade checks round after round while suffering the combat damage.

 

FAQ:  If an Elusive monster surprises you, nothing happens.  You do not encounter the monster.

Houserule:  Anytime an Elusive monster is drawn as part of an encounter, return it to the cup and draw another.

 

 



#2 The Professor

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 02:46 AM

My first thought when reading the FAQ was that it was incomplete and didn't answer precisely some of the questions asked over the past few years.  In retrospect however, the writers did an excellent job of identifying the most debated issues and providing cogent responses.  There are some answers requiring a bit more fidelity.  As to any Spell in which you can sacrifice Sanity, you may have Duke as an Ally, which of course means you may sacrifice up to 8 Sanity. 

Many of your other examples come directly from IH and I have not yet begun playing with that expansion.  However, in reading your response regarding Kate Winthrop, you're spot-on…if she prevents something from happening, especially a Monster Surge, it is not the same as a Gate appearing, so I fully agree with your assessment.

In the end, we have been playing longer than the FAQ has been around and the House Rules will remain played at gaming tables across the country.


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#3 Tibs

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 03:00 AM

Response to your repsonse:

  1. Go ahead and remove the limit for Call Ancient One. It was put in place to prevent abuse: in particular, Crystal of the Elder Things
  2. Naacal Key: you said "unless specifically stated a doom token is not added…" Well, now it's specifically stated. Besides, it makes the Key a whole lot less weak.
  3. I don't think I understand your issue. Offshore monsters check if there are any investigators in Innsmouth. If not, they'll go to an investigator on another board. These towns aren't actually located in a line, so it makes sense to forget the train station if a monster has to jump boards. Don't forget that the Hound essentially teleports, and the Hunting Horror essentially flies. In both cases you would agree that homing in on a low-sneak investigator is what the thing would do.
  4. Re: Martial Law. This one I agree with, simply because the FAQ ruling is wrong. This is interestingly a reductio ad absurdum: if you check for ML before monsters, then you must check it every space you move, but the rulebook says you don't check it every space.
  5. Ursula Downs: why not, indeed. She is an adventurer.
  6. I don't know why they said this. Maybe they meant "Strange High House" or "Y'ha-Ntheli" (which would be redundant).
  7. Agreed
  8. Agreed, another incorrect ruling, as they have forgotten how Wrack works altogether.
  9. But, failing an evade check is identical to failing a combat check. So it mustdevour you if you fail the evade+horror checks. If you ignore this rule, then you're saying that failing an evade check doesn't cause a Nightgaunt to throw you into a gate (it does!). You can't have one without the other.
  10. Why do this? Occasionally, an investigator encounters an elusive monster. If it's a Werewolf, the investigator takes stamina damage! If it's a Serpent Person, the investigator may wish to try to kill it for its trophy. Your house rule should only apply to elusive monsters that surprise you, specifically.


#4 Gamemaster

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 11:42 AM

Tibs said:

 

Naacal Key: you said "unless specifically stated a doom token is not added…" Well, now it's specifically stated. Besides, it makes the Key a whole lot less weak.

I was looking at the ruling from the context of an opening gate, not as an additional rule to the Naacal Key.  I agree with this.  Naacal Key does need a little boost considering that there is only one in the deck and its cost is $5.

 

Tibs said:

I don't think I understand your issue. Offshore monsters check if there are any investigators in Innsmouth. If not, they'll go to an investigator on another board. These towns aren't actually located in a line, so it makes sense to forget the train station if a monster has to jump boards. Don't forget that the Hound essentially teleports, and the Hunting Horror essentially flies. In both cases you would agree that homing in on a low-sneak investigator is what the thing would do.

Mixing theme with mechanics again.  "Closest Investigator" means using the measurement of Investigator movement (locations, streets, yellow lines, etc.) even though thematically the monster does not use those pathways. So, I continue to use that "pathway" of the train depot for measurement only.  I agree, of course, with fliers which is essentially teleporting to lowest Sneak.

Tibs said:

But, failing an evade check is identical to failing a combat check. So it mustdevour you if you fail the evade+horror checks. If you ignore this rule, then you're saying that failing an evade check doesn't cause a Nightgaunt to throw you into a gate (it does!). You can't have one without the other.

I agree. I was houseruling to make The Beast a bit easier and, for The Beast only, separate Evade and Combat Checks.  But why make things easier for the Investigators?

Tibs said:

  1. Why do this? Occasionally, an investigator encounters an elusive monster. If it's a Werewolf, the investigator takes stamina damage! If it's a Serpent Person, the investigator may wish to try to kill it for its trophy. Your house rule should only apply to elusive monsters that surprise you, specifically.

Yes, my houserule applies to surprising Elusive monsters only.



#5 subochre

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 06:03 PM

The other thing about house rules is that they're inherently an expression of personal preference, but a lot of these mainly strike me as cases of weird hair-splitting.  In general I tend to give the FAQ the benefit of the doubt unless there's some overriding reason to do otherwise (as is clearly the case with the Martial Law check--but, on the other hand, I'm not fully convinced that they got Wrack wrong).  

This was my initial reaction to Two_hands' post in the other thread…namely, in the confusing and arbitrary economy of costs and losses, why not treat Pacts one way rather than the other?  Same goes for (for example) being surprised by an Elusive monster; there's nothing particularly unbalancing about giving the investigators a lucky break on those very rare occasions, so, rather than forcing an encounter with someone else, I prefer to stick by default with the official, more realistic, and fairly hilarious scenario of an investigator and a serpent person mutually surprising each other and then running away.



#6 Tibs

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 04:58 AM

Gamemaster said:

Mixing theme with mechanics again.  "Closest Investigator" means using the measurement of Investigator movement (locations, streets, yellow lines, etc.) even though thematically the monster does not use those pathways. So, I continue to use that "pathway" of the train depot for measurement only.  I agree, of course, with fliers which is essentially teleporting to lowest Sneak.

In Arkham, the theme dictates the mechanics. Every mechanic was originally developed with a particular theme in mind. The fact that a Sneak check is used is theme. Making Cultists flying monsters when playing against Hastur is theme. A Chthonian causing earthquakes that reduce your stamina is theme. Yet these are not under scrutiny?

Also, the literal distances between the locations on the board do not necessarily represent their literal distances in the town. Locations spaces had to get shuffled around in order to better utilize the board space. So the only fair thing is to count spaces between locations. In this case, there is no theme/mechanics mixing—it is only the space count that fairly determines the monster's movement, not the more thematic (yet impossible to determine) literal distance. In fact, to make the Hound more thematic, it would be able to move anywhere because all it needs is an angle.

 

 

Gamemaster said:

I agree. I was houseruling to make The Beast a bit easier and, for The Beast only, separate Evade and Combat Checks.  But why make things easier for the Investigators?

OK this I don't understand. You say you want to make the Beast easier, but you rhetorically ask why one should make things easier? And anyway, this was not the issue. The issue is that your original claim, "leaving the Beast's printed rule" was erroneous because you were implying that the printed rule excludes evade checks, when it does not.

 






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