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Who of you is housreuling immobilize?

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To start with, I am well aware of the official ruling on Immobilize.

 

I personally dislike it for being both rather metagami-ish and also confusing to many players.

 

I am curious to know if houseruling it is common practice as I am thinking of doing so myself.

 

 

Both sides, heroes and overlord have their fair shair of "immobilize breakers", meaning, both can ignore immobilize with certain skills, heroic feats, overlord cards or monster special actions.

 

In the base game, heroes are quite defintiely more favoured (knight skills, the disciple skill granting movement points and fatigue, Jain Fairwood's and Tumble's heroic feat...), but the overlord does gain a sufficent number of monsters and Basic II (Blinding speed, which grants movement points) once some expansions are used.

 

The thing is though, it can open a lot of necessary strategizing that I do see to overtax less experienced overlords in particular.

 

Most of all, it can lead to ugly arguments of "spirit of the rule VS wording of the rule".

 

 

 

Thus, my intention is to reword immobilize as follows:

 

You cannot gain movement points nor apply any effect that makes your figure move any distance. You can still have your figure removed from the map and placed on a different square or be moved by another figure. Discard this card or token  at the end of your turn.

 

 

Effectively, this eliminates most of the effects that let you move while immobilized.

It still allows "teleporting" effects and effects like that of the crossbow or similar that gives another figure the power to move you.

It also would prevent the harpies flock ability, as this instructs each applicable figure to move (as opposed to the sorcerers summon).

 

I know that it makes immobilize more powerful in the sense of being less easy to circumvent.

However, as there are still many abilities to entirely remove conditions, I prefer it this way myself by a large margin.

 

What are your thoughts, do any of you have experience with similar house rules?

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I dont see a need to house rule it and I actually think immobilize would be to good to play it like in your example.

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I dont see a need to house rule it and I actually think immobilize would be to good to play it like in your example.

 

Actually that is very close to my reasoning why I want to try it out.

 

I do think that all the "move but do not use a move action" abilities are already good enough in terms of action economy, the fact that they are also protected from immobilise, tripwire and such is not really necessary.

 

Differenciating between "perform a move action", "move up to your speed" and "gain x movement points" seems like a hassle, especially for new players and the "I know, you are immobilised but you cans till move like this" thing is also soemthing that does not make explaining stuff any easier...

 

It is also not really thematic,

 

The only real valid reason to have the rule in this fashion seems to be "game balance" and I do not really know if the immobilize exceptions make the game any more balanced, especially when  who has access to them is very fiddly...

 

This kind of rules always remind me unfavourably of glitches in video games which are then turned into a "valid strategy".

 

I just don't think it makes the game better to have these "two classes of movement".

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Immobilized as a condition is probably too powerful as it is, considering the larger % of quests resolving around moving around or reaching to some specific place in an encounter. It is definitely OP in the Gryvorn Unleashed quest which I just played. It is not that this particular encounter is only hard, it is in fact completely pointless if heroes can Immobilize the monsters turn after turn.

 

Meriods are also very powerful because of it, but they are melee/reach creatures, which is different than somebody getting Ice Storm off the shop deck and shooting from long distance.

 

I don't know how I would house rule it if I even had the possibility, a nerf would be what I would do but I don't see my hero players land on an agreement in that matter, even remotely. I think I would like FFG to release future content helping against this particular condition so players (OL needs it the most, but heroes could use it too) can have access to more elements of defense against it.

Edited by Indalecio

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I agree with many of the above - I don't think Immobilize needs to be made MORE powerful, as I think it may already be the most powerful condition in the game (depending on the situation, of course), as it can render Melee units completely useless for a turn, and especially if you can manage to hit a figure with it over and over.

For the heroes, I don't know if it's too bad as they have more ways around it, but I've considered trying a rule to make large figures immune to the condition (or allowing them half movement or something), to prevent problems like the Gryvorn thing.

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I agree immobilise is pretty **** powerful, I also think its much more useful for the heroes than the OL.

 

It is a lot easier for the heroes to get rid of immobilise or even bypass it than it is for the overlord to get rid of it on a monster.

 

From FFG's side of things it could be easy for them to make a universal overlord card granting a single monster immunity to immobilise until the end of the encounter. I do not think this would be an overpowered overlord card at all and would be a card which overlords would think long and hard about purchasing as there a lot of other arguably better cards that are no where near as situational.

 

As for a house rule, well thats a tricky one indeed.

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I agree that immobilize should be errated, for two reasons. 

 

#1  Simplicity.  One of the selling points of 2nd edition was simplicity!  Something along the lines of "You cannot spend movement points" is very intuitive and simple.  It would be a lot easier to understand for all players, especially newer players.  I still have a number of people in my regular playgroup that do not really understand how immoblize works.  I'm an experienced player and I even often find myself having to do a double take to determine whether or not an ability or skill overrides immobilize.

 

#2 Balance.  I think the current wording makes the games extremely unbalanced from the perspective of hero and class choice.  Movement is oftentimes so important for quest success, that non-move action movement ends up getting an excessively high premium.  Quite honestly, I would like to be able to justify playing a scout other than Jain, Logan, or Silhouette against a skilled overlord.

 

Furthermore, from a design perspective it seems completely arbitrary what wording they use.  Given FFG's editorial track record, does anyone honestly believe that Jain Fairwood's heroic ability was worded the way it was for immoblize balance considerations? I think it's much more likely someone just happened to type it up that way as opposed to writing "you gain 2 movement actions and an attack acton".

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 I think it's much more likely someone just happened to type it up that way as opposed to writing "you gain 2 movement actions and an attack acton".

 

I'm not quite sure I agree, as movement actions can trigger certain traps, where other movement does not.  Tripwire, for instance, cannot be used when spending fatigue to move outside a move action, whereas Pit Trap can.  If you changed her Feat to be two move actions, you risk having Tripwire come in and potentially nullify part of it.

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I've never had an issue with it. Basically you can do everything but move? No? Seems simple and and the right amount of effective. Abilities that over ride it are why people choose those skills our character. I don't see a problem.

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Correct, but the "problem" is more for the OL - he doesn't have nearly as many options for choosing such skills.  And if the heroes immobilize a big meanie that only has melee range, there's not much the OL can do.  Also, on "race" type quests, immobilizing the OL side tends to be much more devastating than immobilizing a single hero.

 

IE, overall I think Immobilize is not a huge issue for the heroes (though sometimes it can still hurt them), but can often be a game changer when used against the Overlord.

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Correct, but the "problem" is more for the OL - he doesn't have nearly as many options for choosing such skills.  And if the heroes immobilize a big meanie that only has melee range, there's not much the OL can do.  Also, on "race" type quests, immobilizing the OL side tends to be much more devastating than immobilizing a single hero.

 

IE, overall I think Immobilize is not a huge issue for the heroes (though sometimes it can still hurt them), but can often be a game changer when used against the Overlord.

 

There's an overlord card that can cure conditions. There are plot cards and other options that can help avoid the condition in the first place. You can also win quests and then choose ones where the players can't make use of immobilize to such a useful degree.

The first time I played the game as overlord, the Berserker's Cripple ability gave me hell, but I still wound up winning overall. It was obnoxious, but it didn't shut down all of my options and I worked around it.

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Correct, but the "problem" is more for the OL - he doesn't have nearly as many options for choosing such skills.  And if the heroes immobilize a big meanie that only has melee range, there's not much the OL can do.  Also, on "race" type quests, immobilizing the OL side tends to be much more devastating than immobilizing a single hero.

 

IE, overall I think Immobilize is not a huge issue for the heroes (though sometimes it can still hurt them), but can often be a game changer when used against the Overlord.

 

There's an overlord card that can cure conditions. There are plot cards and other options that can help avoid the condition in the first place. You can also win quests and then choose ones where the players can't make use of immobilize to such a useful degree.

The first time I played the game as overlord, the Berserker's Cripple ability gave me hell, but I still wound up winning overall. It was obnoxious, but it didn't shut down all of my options and I worked around it.

 

 

I never said there weren't ways the OL could counter it :)  But the heroes never have to worry about having a specific card in their hand when they need it - when the heroes have condition removing abilities, they can pretty much use them any time they want, and generally as often as they want (and have the fatigue for).

 

The problem is, the heroes have far more ways to get rid of conditions, and are generally less impacted because usually in race quests, it's just ONE overlord figure that the heroes have to immobilize, as opposed to all 4 heroes that the OL would have to affect.

 

Yes, the OL can sometimes overcome it, but my experience (on both sides of the table) is that Immobilize has the potential to hurt the OL significantly more than the heroes.

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Correct, but the "problem" is more for the OL - he doesn't have nearly as many options for choosing such skills.  And if the heroes immobilize a big meanie that only has melee range, there's not much the OL can do.  Also, on "race" type quests, immobilizing the OL side tends to be much more devastating than immobilizing a single hero.

 

IE, overall I think Immobilize is not a huge issue for the heroes (though sometimes it can still hurt them), but can often be a game changer when used against the Overlord.

 

There's an overlord card that can cure conditions. There are plot cards and other options that can help avoid the condition in the first place. You can also win quests and then choose ones where the players can't make use of immobilize to such a useful degree.

The first time I played the game as overlord, the Berserker's Cripple ability gave me hell, but I still wound up winning overall. It was obnoxious, but it didn't shut down all of my options and I worked around it.

 

 

The problem with the OL card that can cure a condition is that it is only useful for a single round until the effect is applied again.

 

I do however agree that there are certainly other ways to avoid immobilise in the first place, especially with the addition of plot cards.

 

Personally i am on the fence if it really needs a house ruling or not, there are certainly valid arguments for and against.

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I play as OL and have never had a problem with it. It can suck sometimes like anything else, but it's fine

Just wait until your heroes buy Ice Storm, use the basic Stalker bow (Black Widow I think) or anything with this condition inprinted on it, then base their whole strategy around it. All of my heroes have chosen to buy bows so everybody can shoot, some of them for ridiculous range or damage. They just need to snipe everything and alongside Immobilized there are encounters that are just game over for me as the OL unless I manage to draw a very specific set of OL cards (Dark Charm for instance) to put me back into the game.

 

It's not like that 100% of the time, but if heroes can control range and have these weapons available then it is really hard for my monsters to reach them, if not impossible.

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I play as OL and have never had a problem with it. It can suck sometimes like anything else, but it's fine

Just wait until your heroes buy Ice Storm, use the basic Stalker bow (Black Widow I think) or anything with this condition inprinted on it, then base their whole strategy around it. All of my heroes have chosen to buy bows so everybody can shoot, some of them for ridiculous range or damage. They just need to snipe everything and alongside Immobilized there are encounters that are just game over for me as the OL unless I manage to draw a very specific set of OL cards (Dark Charm for instance) to put me back into the game.

 

It's not like that 100% of the time, but if heroes can control range and have these weapons available then it is really hard for my monsters to reach them, if not impossible.

 

So you agree that it shouldnt be buffed then? :)

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I play as OL and have never had a problem with it. It can suck sometimes like anything else, but it's fine

Just wait until your heroes buy Ice Storm, use the basic Stalker bow (Black Widow I think) or anything with this condition inprinted on it, then base their whole strategy around it. All of my heroes have chosen to buy bows so everybody can shoot, some of them for ridiculous range or damage. They just need to snipe everything and alongside Immobilized there are encounters that are just game over for me as the OL unless I manage to draw a very specific set of OL cards (Dark Charm for instance) to put me back into the game.

 

It's not like that 100% of the time, but if heroes can control range and have these weapons available then it is really hard for my monsters to reach them, if not impossible.

 

So you agree that it shouldnt be buffed then? :)

 

Yeah I think you correctly read my mind lol :)

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If it was going to get buffed it should get buffed when used against the heroes, its incredibly easy for the heroes to ditch the immobilise versus the overlord to ditch it.

 

Then again webtrap against the heroes really does not need to become any more powerful than it already is.

Edited by BentoSan

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This thread sounds like a bunch of good friends tip toeing around the elephant in the room. Sounds like most of us agree that immobilize hurts the OL more than the heroes usually. It also sounds like people are concerned about the nebulous dangers of improving immobilize.

Honestly even though the designer that took over has made the current rulings, I don't think that's the way it should be interpreted. The "house rule" from the OP doesn't empower immobilize, it just removes the loopholes created by an interesting official interpretation of the rules.

The heroes would still have it better by far, since removing conditions comes much easier to them. But at least they would have to deal with the condition at the same level of inconvenience as the OL. Would make Grisban suck less and make the abilities that remove conditions worth having too.

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I am curious to know if houseruling it is common practice as I am thinking of doing so myself.

House ruling Descent is definitely not common practice, at least as far as the active online community is concerned.

Given how many rules questions this game generates, I can understand that attitiude, too. Whether it makes sense or not, it helps to have a common basis for rules discussions, and nothing's more common than RAW. =P

Of course, it doesn't need to be common practice to validate your application of house rules. Do what you like to keep the game fun in your group.

What are your thoughts, do any of you have experience with similar house rules?

Although I try to avoid house rules in Descent myself, movement is one of the few things I have allowed myself to tinker with. It all started when I realized that, by RAW, one needs to keep track of whether the individual MP he's spending to move into this space was granted by fatigue or by a Move action, or some other source. Because sometimes if you're moving "by fatigue" it makes a difference in how things resolve.

My house rules effectively amount to making MP be MP, regardless of source. Moving is moving, "Move Actions" are just another source of MP. Immobilize ends up getting altered in a manner very similar to what you suggest here, among other things, and we don't find to be broken at all. Yeah, it stops you cold when it hits you, but there are ways for the heroes to get rid of it and monsters are expendable to begin with.

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Honestly even though the designer that took over has made the current rulings, I don't think that's the way it should be interpreted. The "house rule" from the OP doesn't empower immobilize, it just removes the loopholes created by an interesting official interpretation of the rules.

Assuming that official published rules are misprinted in the absence of other official published rules creating contradictions is generally not a good plan. As is assuming that the original design team (these things don't happen in a vacuum) intended something other than what is printed.

 

Balance issues aside, I think one of the big problems with Immobilize is the name on the card. If the name of the condition was "Hampered", "Slowed", or "Restricted Movement", there wouldn't be quite as much confusion about it since it wouldn't imply (just by reading the name of the condition and not the rules on the card) that all movement is prohibited.

 

 

 

It all started when I realized that, by RAW, one needs to keep track of whether the individual MP he's spending to move into this space was granted by fatigue or by a Move action, or some other source. Because sometimes if you're moving "by fatigue" it makes a difference in how things resolve.

My house rules effectively amount to making MP be MP, regardless of source. Moving is moving, "Move Actions" are just another source of MP. Immobilize ends up getting altered in a manner very similar to what you suggest here, among other things, and we don't find to be broken at all. Yeah, it stops you cold when it hits you, but there are ways for the heroes to get rid of it and monsters are expendable to begin with.

Here, I think the big problem is less the way movement is handled and more the fact that there are traps that make handling it that way a necessity. "Play this card when a hero enters an empty space during a move action ... end his move action" could have easily been changed to "Play this card when a hero enters an empty space ... loses all remaining movement points". Likewise the card that allows for movement of monsters based on fatigue movement could just be changed to suffering fatigue to gain movement points without too much issue. There are very slight differences, but I don't think they are so significant as to be majorly game-changing (though I could be wrong).

 

This way, you only change the cards that cause problems instead of all of the movement rules AND the cards that cause issues.

Edited by griton

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Although I try to avoid house rules in Descent myself, movement is one of the few things I have allowed myself to tinker with. It all started when I realized that, by RAW, one needs to keep track of whether the individual MP he's spending to move into this space was granted by fatigue or by a Move action, or some other source. Because sometimes if you're moving "by fatigue" it makes a difference in how things resolve.

My house rules effectively amount to making MP be MP, regardless of source. Moving is moving, "Move Actions" are just another source of MP. Immobilize ends up getting altered in a manner very similar to what you suggest here, among other things, and we don't find to be broken at all. Yeah, it stops you cold when it hits you, but there are ways for the heroes to get rid of it and monsters are expendable to begin with.

 

 

I'd actually like to know the details of your house rule Steve-O. You've usually been one of the more experienced and knowledgeable players on these forums, so I'd like to know what you came up with.

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Here, I think the big problem is less the way movement is handled and more the fact that there are traps that make handling it that way a necessity. "Play this card when a hero enters an empty space during a move action ... end his move action" could have easily been changed to "Play this card when a hero enters an empty space ... loses all remaining movement points".

I agree completely, and the basic gist of the house rules we use is to accomplish exactly that. However, rather than writing errata for specific cards (which would require us to go through every card in the game looking for those needing correction), we just laid down a set of basic principles that modify the rules as a whole. House rules, if you will. =P

 

I'd actually like to know the details of your house rule Steve-O. You've usually been one of the more experienced and knowledgeable players on these forums, so I'd like to know what you came up with.

Okay, here's what we're using. Note rule #5 is essentially the same as what the OP was proposing regarding Immobilize.  "Pick up your figure and place it down elsewhere" is not spending MPs, likewise being forced to move by another figure's actions is not this figure spending MPs, so those things still work just fine.

1) A Move Action is now an instant effect that grants MP equal to Speed, over as soon as it is declared, and the figure may then spend those MPs throughout his turn as he sees fit. The rules for interrupting a Move Action are no longer required.

2) Any other ability that allows a figure to "move" likewise grants an appropriate number of MPs which may then be spent to move.  In general, these MPs go into the same pool as "Move Action" or "Fatigue" MPs and become indistinguishable from those.

 

2a) If a special ability grants "movement with benefits" (ie: Silhouette) or "movement during another player's turn" (ie: Syndrael) then the MPs gained by those abilities must be spent immediately, in the course of resolving the ability itself. These MPs cannot be "saved for later" or mixed in with "normal MPs" - ie: everything else. Likewise, any ability that specifies the timing of the movement (ie: "immediately move X and then attack.")

3) Any effect that triggers "during a Move Action" is now considered to trigger when the figure "enters a space" via spending MP. Doesn't matter where the MP came from.

4) Any effect that causes a Move Action to "immediately end" is now considered to drain the figure's unspent MP pool to zero. The figure can acquire new MPs to continue moving, if possible. Used in the middle of a "movement with benefits" ability, such as Silhouette's, this drains all MP; those granted by the special ability as well as any unspent MPs from fatigue, etc.

5) Immobilize prevents the expenditure of MP. Figures can still gain MPs from various abilities if they want, but they can't spend them, and thus cannot move. Immobilize still reduces the figure's current MP pool to zero when played, per the FAQ.

6) Large figures still shrink and expand as usual. After a figure has shrunk, expanding again will zero out the figure's MP pool. Alternatively, a large figure may "interrupt" its movement to perform another action. Interrupting requires the figure to expand, but does not zero the MP pool. Akin to official rulings, the large figure must be able to perform the desired secondary action from the single space it occupies before it can interrupt its movement like this.

(Rule #6 is basically reconstructing the interrupt rules for large figures, since rule #1 removes the concept of interrupting move actions in general. This may seem like a lot of busy work to the outside observer, but our purpose was to negate the difference between "move action" movement and other types of movement by making all movement just be "spending MPs." That said, the dynamics of large monster movement really require the interruption mechanic to keep a lid on "zero-move shrink/expand" shenanigans. We don't find it too hard to follow these house rules, but we also know what we meant when we wrote them. =P)

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Okay, here's what we're using. Note rule #5 is essentially the same as what the OP was proposing regarding Immobilize.  "Pick up your figure and place it down elsewhere" is not spending MPs, likewise being forced to move by another figure's actions is not this figure spending MPs, so those things still work just fine.

1) A Move Action is now an instant effect that grants MP equal to Speed, over as soon as it is declared, and the figure may then spend those MPs throughout his turn as he sees fit. The rules for interrupting a Move Action are no longer required.

2) Any other ability that allows a figure to "move" likewise grants an appropriate number of MPs which may then be spent to move.  In general, these MPs go into the same pool as "Move Action" or "Fatigue" MPs and become indistinguishable from those.

 

2a) If a special ability grants "movement with benefits" (ie: Silhouette) or "movement during another player's turn" (ie: Syndrael) then the MPs gained by those abilities must be spent immediately, in the course of resolving the ability itself. These MPs cannot be "saved for later" or mixed in with "normal MPs" - ie: everything else. Likewise, any ability that specifies the timing of the movement (ie: "immediately move X and then attack.")

3) Any effect that triggers "during a Move Action" is now considered to trigger when the figure "enters a space" via spending MP. Doesn't matter where the MP came from.

4) Any effect that causes a Move Action to "immediately end" is now considered to drain the figure's unspent MP pool to zero. The figure can acquire new MPs to continue moving, if possible. Used in the middle of a "movement with benefits" ability, such as Silhouette's, this drains all MP; those granted by the special ability as well as any unspent MPs from fatigue, etc.

5) Immobilize prevents the expenditure of MP. Figures can still gain MPs from various abilities if they want, but they can't spend them, and thus cannot move. Immobilize still reduces the figure's current MP pool to zero when played, per the FAQ.

6) Large figures still shrink and expand as usual. After a figure has shrunk, expanding again will zero out the figure's MP pool. Alternatively, a large figure may "interrupt" its movement to perform another action. Interrupting requires the figure to expand, but does not zero the MP pool. Akin to official rulings, the large figure must be able to perform the desired secondary action from the single space it occupies before it can interrupt its movement like this.

(Rule #6 is basically reconstructing the interrupt rules for large figures, since rule #1 removes the concept of interrupting move actions in general. This may seem like a lot of busy work to the outside observer, but our purpose was to negate the difference between "move action" movement and other types of movement by making all movement just be "spending MPs." That said, the dynamics of large monster movement really require the interruption mechanic to keep a lid on "zero-move shrink/expand" shenanigans. We don't find it too hard to follow these house rules, but we also know what we meant when we wrote them. =P)

 

I like it. Totally gonna steal these.

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