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Nerdmeister

Changing the game state

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According to the rules you are not allowed to initiate an action, which does not have the capacity to change the game state.

 

With that in mind, is there a consensus regarding such an action like investigating your location, when it does not have any clues on it but you want to make pay-offs for the FBI-agents weakness? Along those same lines, could he also use his character ability to pay off said weakness, when there are no clues present?

If he can then he would be able to get rid of his weakness relatively easy by seeking out the lowest valued shroud locations with no clues and if he cannot then it would be an autoloss for him when a scenario has progressed far enough that there are no more clues left.

Been following the grim rule so far but would be nice to have it put to rest.

 

Bonus question: lead investigator can change between scenarios of the same campaign or meant to be the same?

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As far as I know, you cannot initiate an Ability if that has no potential to change the game state. You can take Actions all you want.

You usually only get clues from locations with clues on them, unless something specifically tells you to take clues from the pool. So Roland cannot just shoot stuff to generate clues where none are. He also cannot get rid of the markers on his weakness if there is no clue to find first. He could however use cards like "Deduction" to get rid of as many clues on his weakness at once as he could discover.

There will be situations where Roland simply cannot get rid of all clues on "Cover Up" before the scenario ends. This is no "autoloss", but taking the Trauma is pretty bad for him during campains (and can be ignored when playing just a single scenario). He should stock up on elder signs anyways.

Lead can change between scenarios, as can single investigators (but XP does not carry over).

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The "must change the game state" rule only applies to playing cards and triggering abilities, not to performing standard actions. The caveat is that some triggered abilities perform standard actions (e.g. Burglary). I asked Matt about this:
 

mplain:
lots of people are asking, can you investigate a location with no clues on it?
normally I'd say yes, nothing prevents you from doing so
but there's a caveat
if I use a card ability to Investigate, e.g. Flashlight or Rite of Seeking
wouldn't it conflict with the rule that says i cannot initiate an ability if its effect has no potential to change the game state?
because actually there won't be any direct change of game state due to the successful skill test
and i cannot assess Scavenging and the like, because those are reactions
or is the skill test itself considered to be enough of a change of game state?
even if I'm not drawing any tokens due to Will to Survive?

 

Matt:
I won't go into the specifics because I feel it's more complicated than it needs to be, but the short answer is yes, you can definitely investigate a location with no clues, even through an ability like flashlight


P.S. You cannot discard clues from Cover Up if there are no clues on your location. Check out the FAQ entry here: http://arkhamdb.com/card/01007

Edited by mplain

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The "must change the game state" rule only applies to playing cards and triggering abilities, not to performing standard actions. The caveat is that some triggered abilities perform standard actions (e.g. Burglary). I asked Matt about this:

 

mplain:

lots of people are asking, can you investigate a location with no clues on it?

normally I'd say yes, nothing prevents you from doing so

but there's a caveat

if I use a card ability to Investigate, e.g. Flashlight or Rite of Seeking

wouldn't it conflict with the rule that says i cannot initiate an ability if its effect has no potential to change the game state?

because actually there won't be any direct change of game state due to the successful skill test

and i cannot assess Scavenging and the like, because those are reactions

or is the skill test itself considered to be enough of a change of game state?

even if I'm not drawing any tokens due to Will to Survive?

 

Matt:

I won't go into the specifics because I feel it's more complicated than it needs to be, but the short answer is yes, you can definitely investigate a location with no clues, even through an ability like flashlight

P.S. You cannot discard clues from Cover Up if there are no clues on your location. Check out the FAQ entry here: http://arkhamdb.com/card/01007

O.K. so that explanation from Matt doesn't make it clear to me whether I can investigate a location AND also use card effects, such as the flashlight, to modify the test?

 

Is the answer that I can investigate a location and use any cards that refer to investigating a location, modifying the shroud value etc?

 

I am aware that you cannot do anything that has to do with "discovering clues"

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O.K. so that explanation from Matt doesn't make it clear to me whether I can investigate a location AND also use card effects, such as the flashlight, to modify the test?

 

I may be wrong, but I think the key here is that certain abilities (like Flashlight) count as the action they're creating.  Teh weapons are the best example of this - if I use my Machete, do I draw an attack of opportunity?  You don't, because Machete creates a Fight action, so that's the action you're taking even though you initiate it by using the action on Machete.

 

Same applies here - Flashlight is an Investigate action, so you can trigger it even though it may not change anything.  Although Flashlight is a bad example, I think, because triggering it removes a charge, which changes the game state.

 

A lot of people seem to be really intent on figuring out how to take actions that won't change the game state, but I honestly don't get it... You can just pass an action if you like, so why not?

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A lot of people seem to be really intent on figuring out how to take actions that won't change the game state, but I honestly don't get it... You can just pass an action if you like, so why not?

 

ha - yeah, it seems to be a somewhat academic discussion. I guess my endeavor in engaging in all kinds of rule questions is is to better understand the "language" and "ideas" behind the rules of the game in general and to (maybe) be better prepared to understand other complex situations that might arise.

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ha - yeah, it seems to be a somewhat academic discussion. I guess my endeavor in engaging in all kinds of rule questions is is to better understand the "language" and "ideas" behind the rules of the game in general and to (maybe) be better prepared to understand other complex situations that might arise.

FWIW, the major motivation with the rule is to stop cases where a cost might be beneficial.  This basically broke the Star Wars CCG for a while, and it's been standard since. 

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So if you can investigate a location with no clues on it does that mean you can discover clues when there aren't any?  If wendy uses "Look what I found" on a location with no clues, does she find 2?

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O.K. so that explanation from Matt doesn't make it clear to me whether I can investigate a location AND also use card effects, such as the flashlight, to modify the test?

 

Is the answer that I can investigate a location and use any cards that refer to investigating a location, modifying the shroud value etc?

Look, I guess the way Matt said it is not perfectly clear, yeah. But I'm pretty certain that IF there was any difference between investigating as a standard action and investigating by triggering Flashlight in this regard, he would mention that.

 

Looking at the question ("Can I do this? And what about this?") and at the answer ("Yes you can do this"), I'm pretty sure the answer applies to both.

 

 

P.S. Heh, Matt asked me to avoid publishing discord conversations with him, he said if I want to quote him I should ask by email, because then he'll be more careful with the way he phrases the answer. That's what I get for ignoring his advice =___=

Edited by mplain

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Just as a hypothetical, I'm wondering if the same applies to Fight Action and Evade Action. All locations have a shroud value, so there's always a difficulty to check against, but I don't know if that is a requirement for skill checking. If it isn't a requirement (you just treat it as difficulty zero) then that leads to situations where, say, Agnes has a monster at her location but is not engaged with it. She plays Lvl2 Blinding Light -- evading against nothing -- and draws a symbol, causing 1 horror and allowing her to deal a dmg to the enemy.

Edited by Noaloha

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I've asked Matt what happens if an enemy leaves play during a Fight or Evade test against that enemy. Matt said that you abort the test immediately, without even resolving the effects of the revealed chaos token.

 

I assume this means that you cannot initiate a Fight or Evade test if there is no enemy to perform it against.

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I've asked Matt what happens if an enemy leaves play during a Fight or Evade test against that enemy. Matt said that you abort the test immediately, without even resolving the effects of the revealed chaos token.

 

I assume this means that you cannot initiate a Fight or Evade test if there is no enemy to perform it against.

Probably! Just as Devil's Advocate though, there could be an argument made that the skill check immediately ends in that situation only because your initial established difficulty check value has been removed. It 'breaks' the intended steps of the process. In the (again, hypothetical) situation of a fight or evade against nothing, such a loss of an established value doesn't occur.

Edited by Noaloha

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I think all standard actions (Move, Investigate, Fight, Evade) need a 'target' in order to be performed. Move and Investigate need a location, Fight and Evade need an enemy. It's not explicitly written as a general rule, the word 'target' is not used, but I think this is the intent. Look at the wordings of the relevant rules entries:

 

- Fight: "To fight an enemy at his or her location, an investigator resolves an attack against that enemy by making a combat test against the enemy's fight value."

 

- Evade: "To evade an enemy engaged with an investigator, that investigator makes an agility test against the enemy's evade value."

 

- Investigate: "Each time an investigator takes this action, he or she makes an intellect test against the shroud value of that location."

 

The wording isn't perfect, for example the entry for Evade says that you make a check against the enemy's Evade value. However, Matt said that if the enemy doesn't have an Evade value (Swamp Leech, mind-wiped), you can still evade it (by treating its Evade value as 0). So while the rules say "against the enemy's Evade value", which would make it seem that the 'target' of the check is that specific value, it is actually the enemy itself.

 

tl;dr The rules for Fight, Evade, and Investigate actions aren't written perfectly clear, but I think that the intent is evident that you need a location / enemy in order to perform them.

Edited by mplain

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I think all standard actions (Move, Investigate, Fight, Evade) need a 'target' in order to be performed. Move and Investigate need a location, Fight and Evade need an enemy.

I do agree with this, my idle musings about target-less fight and evade sitting very firmly in the "hmm, but what if we interpret such-and-such as..?" type.

 

I thought it was curious that, say, in the Fight Action part of the RR, it begins with 

“Fight” is an action an investigator may take during

his or her turn in the investigation phase.

To fight an enemy at his or her location, an investigator resolves

an attack against that enemy by making a combat test against

the enemy’s fight value (see “Skill Tests” on page 18)

 

[...] etc. etc.

 

and that first sentence is all there on its own in a solitary paragraph. But 'Investigate Action' is formatted similarly and that goes on to state a specific requirement of the action in its second paragraph, where 'fight' arguably does not. It's, as you say, a matter of slightly imperfect wording, with wiggle room for alternative interpretations.

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P.S. Heh, Matt asked me to avoid publishing discord conversations with him, he said if I want to quote him I should ask by email, because then he'll be more careful with the way he phrases the answer. That's what I get for ignoring his advice =___=

 

Sorry, I totally didn't mean to imply Matt doesn't get his rules clearly written - I just wanted to make sure I am understanding correctly. Of course, in a chat you will "talk" differently than in an official document. In any case - thanks for clarifying!

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However, Matt said that if the enemy doesn't have an Evade value (Swamp Leech, mind-wiped), you can still evade it (by treating its Evade value as 0). So while the rules say "against the enemy's Evade value", which would make it seem that the 'target' of the check is that specific value, it is actually the enemy itself.

Was this the specific example he gave? I had heard that the definition for cannot was supposed to supersede blanking effects as it is "absolute, and cannot be countermanded by other abilities." It seems like something worth clarifying with him.

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A blanking effect treats the text as though it literally doesn't exist. It cannot have any impact on the rest of the game, any more than the text on a card from an entirely different scenario. When the rulebook says that negative effects trump positive ones, it means that "Cannot be evaded" trumps "Automatically evade an enemy."

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However, Matt said that if the enemy doesn't have an Evade value (Swamp Leech, mind-wiped), you can still evade it (by treating its Evade value as 0). So while the rules say "against the enemy's Evade value", which would make it seem that the 'target' of the check is that specific value, it is actually the enemy itself.

Was this the specific example he gave? I had heard that the definition for cannot was supposed to supersede blanking effects as it is "absolute, and cannot be countermanded by other abilities." It seems like something worth clarifying with him.

 

"Cannot" stops what it says it stops, but it only applies while the text is active.  This applies to conditionals (e.g. "While this enemy has one or more doom tokens, it cannot be evaded"), but there's nothing that makes "cannot" ability texts inviolate.

 

I'd probably clarify with wherever you heard that before I'd nag the developer with it.

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There was that one dude on Reddit who argued that "cannot" cannot be blanked. I assumed he didn't play LCGs before. I don't see this point of view as having any viable ground.

That's probably where I saw that. I can see an argument for treating "cannot" as something that cannot be blanked since blanking "cannot" often leads to weird situations that the designers might not have considered.

I found the thread I remembered, and it looks like they got quotes from Matt saying that you can blank a "cannot" so that clears that up.

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