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Threat from the north

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I just read a thread on card gamedb about the differences between passive effect and constant effects. ( and now my head hurts) is threat from the north a passive or a constant?

From my limited understanding it seems to be a passive (working the moment it is flipped) so when it is flipped 1str characters are discarded before anything else like valar or at the palace of sorrow. Is this true?

Maybe someone can try to simplify it for me

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From my limited understanding it seems to be a passive (working the moment it is flipped) so when it is flipped 1str characters are discarded before anything else like valar or at the palace of sorrow. Is this true?

 

Not really. Where you're probably getting confused is that Threat from the North has two separate effects. One is constant (which is the effect that works the moment it is flipped) and the other is passive (which is the one that is initiated at a defined time whether you want it to or not).

 

For reference, the text is: "All characters get -1 STR and are discarded from play (cannot be saved) if their STR is 0."

 

As hinted at earlier, a constant effect is one which doesn't initiate. It is simply "true" or "on." You can recognize them because they do not have timing words (if, when, after, etc.) associated with them. This lack of timing words means that there is no point of initiation, which also means it cannot be interrupted with a save or a cancel. As long as the card they are on is in play, these effects are active. When you look at Threat, the text saying "all characters get -1 STR" is constant because there is no timing associated with it. As long as the plot is in play, the STR reduction is true.

 

On the other hand, a passive effect is one which does initiate, but not by player choice. You can recognize them because the do have timing words (if, when, after, etc.), but no bold trigger word (Challenges, Response, Any Phase, etc.). When the timing phrase if satisfied, the effect initiates, whether you want it to or not. When you look at Threat, the text saying "are discarded from play (cannot be saved) if their STR is 0" is passive because there is a clear point of initiation -- when a character's STR reaches 0. It doesn't matter if it happens in the same window in which you reveal Threat or not; it initiates when the character's STR is 0.

 

 

That's the most important thing about Threat: there are two effects, one constant and the other passive.

 

So, when you reveal the plot, the constant effect kicks in immediately and all characters get the -1 STR. But the "discard if 0 STR," being passive, has to wait until you get to a point in the timing structure for checking/resolving passive effects. The first time you get to one of those in the "reveal plots" window is after you count initiative, choose First Player, and resolve all "when revealed" plot text (which are a lot like passive effects, but the rules give them a special place and priority). So even if a character goes to 0 STR at the moment the plot is revealed, you don't actually discard it until all the "when revealed" plots have resolved.

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