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Subject: Questions after first game rss

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Ric Bernat
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We have just finished our first game, and we have several questions. We lost, btw.

We played three-player, with one terrain tile.

1) Basic mastery question. One of our avatars had the Life Shaper mastery. The rulebook says, "Abilities that target a specific avatar may be used once per avatar per turn." So does that mean that the avatar with that mastery can give all three of us +2 recovery, every turn? (Seems awfully strong.)

2) At one point, one avatar got stuck at the edge of the terrain tile, on a little spit of land behind a gate/guardian, otherwise surrounded by water, so that his only way back to the mainland was through the guardian. If another avatar enters the water via a launch elsewhere (and gains a watercraft, of course), can he go over and pick up the stranded avatar in his boat? Or can the stranded avatar not enter that boat because he didn't travel on it before?

3) Same situation as #2 above. Let's say the stranded avatar wants to pass through the hex with the gate/guardian to escape from the spit of land he is stuck on. The guardian immediately initiates combat when the avatar enters his hex, right? So, can the avatar immediately withdraw to a random adjacent hex -- before rolling the first CR -- or does he have to go through one CR?

4) The rulebook says, "To withdraw to a specific terrain hex, an avatar must spend 1 combat phase defending as it withdraws..." It also says, "During a combat phase, an avatar may take one of three non-combat actions: withdraw from combat, drink a potion, or read a book or scroll. Avatars engaged in non-combat actions are defending during the phase." Question: so to defend for one combat phase (in preparation for withdrawing to a specific hex), must the avatar drink/read a potion/book/scroll, or can he simply say, "I'm defending," even if he doesn't have a potion/book/scroll?

5) This situation arose. A shadow entered Aethos. All three wells on the terrain tile were still closed. The shadow traveled to the closest well and opened it. (It was dark.) We randomly chose one of the remaining two wells as the next target for the shadow. The selected well happened to be the farther of the two remaining wells. It was also in a straight line past the other remaining well, so that the shadow would travel right over one remaining well, without trying to open it, on its way to its target well. So far, so good. Now, it happened that the shadow ended its movement right on the non-target well on the way to its target well. On the same turn, a band of avatars traveled to that same hex to fight the guardian of that well. So, can the avatars ignore the shadow in this case, and fight the guardian? If they succeed and open the well, do any effects happen for the shadow as a result of being present, even though in a just-passing-through state?

6) In a one-terrain-tile game such as ours, if a shadow opens the one light well, Xulthul manifests there and immediately begins attempts to extinguis the light well, without traveling at all, right?

7) At the start of one battle, one avatar had the Combat Defender mastery. If the avatar uses both the primary ability and the seconday ability, do both remain in effect through multiple (all) combat phases? If so, do we re-roll the -1d* and -2d* for each combat phase, or just roll them once when invoking the abilities and keep those rolls throughout all combat phases?

8) We had the City of Gateways turn up on our terrain hex. Can shadows manifest here, or only through natural/built-in gates?
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Jim Felli
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Re: Quesetions after first game
Hey, Ric -- thank you for taking the time to pose your questions! Every question asked helps everyone learn! Now, as to the specifics...

ricb wrote:
One of our avatars had the Life Shaper mastery. The rulebook says, "Abilities that target a specific avatar may be used once per avatar per turn." So does that mean that the avatar with that mastery can give all three of us +2 recovery, every turn? (Seems awfully strong.)

The main ability on a Mastery (the one that does not require the use of a soulshard) is usable only by the avatar with the Mastery. The targeted Mastery ability is the Mastery's secondary ability that is activated by a soulshard. In the Life Shaper case, that's the ability to redistribute life points. The limitation about being targeted once per turn refers to secondary Mastery abilities that confer a bonus, penalty, or ability and will say something to the effect of "target avatar" in the description. The Life Shaper's secondary ability does not fall into that category.

ricb wrote:
At one point, one avatar got stuck at the edge of the terrain tile, on a little spit of land behind a gate/guardian, otherwise surrounded by water, so that his only way back to the mainland was through the guardian. If another avatar enters the water via a launch elsewhere (and gains a watercraft, of course), can he go over and pick up the stranded avatar in his boat? Or can the stranded avatar not enter that boat because he didn't travel on it before?

Yes, another avatar can pick him up in his boat.

ricb wrote:
Same situation as #2 above. Let's say the stranded avatar wants to pass through the hex with the gate/guardian to escape from the spit of land he is stuck on. The guardian immediately initiates combat when the avatar enters his hex, right? So, can the avatar immediately withdraw to a random adjacent hex -- before rolling the first CR -- or does he have to go through one CR?

He may immediately withdraw. All combats afford the avatars a pre-combat phase in which they may use potions, books and scrolls, Masteries, and withdraw if they desire.

ricb wrote:
The rulebook says, "To withdraw to a specific terrain hex, an avatar must spend 1 combat phase defending as it withdraws..." It also says, "During a combat phase, an avatar may take one of three non-combat actions: withdraw from combat, drink a potion, or read a book or scroll. Avatars engaged in non-combat actions are defending during the phase." Question: so to defend for one combat phase (in preparation for withdrawing to a specific hex), must the avatar drink/read a potion/book/scroll, or can he simply say, "I'm defending," even if he doesn't have a potion/book/scroll?

He simply declares himself defending: this is understood as, "Hey, I'm just trying to survive while I look for a chance to escape!" As for drinking potions and reading books and scrolls, those actions require the avatar to defend as he must dedicate his attention to a complex action other than combat.

ricb wrote:
This situation arose. A shadow entered Aethos. All three wells on the terrain tile were still closed. The shadow traveled to the closest well and opened it. (It was dark.) We randomly chose one of the remaining two wells as the next target for the shadow. The selected well happened to be the farther of the two remaining wells. It was also in a straight line past the other remaining well, so that the shadow would travel right over one remaining well, without trying to open it, on its way to its target well. So far, so good. Now, it happened that the shadow ended its movement right on the non-target well on the way to its target well. On the same turn, a band of avatars traveled to that same hex to fight the guardian of that well. So, can the avatars ignore the shadow in this case, and fight the guardian? If they succeed and open the well, do any effects happen for the shadow as a result of being present, even though in a just-passing-through state?

Wow -- that sounds pretty exciting! The Shadows have a strange and alien logic, so that Shadow was "fixed" on its target Well, just as you described. Shadows are also insubstantial and don't trigger Guardians to manifest (rule book part 15d), so it was just a dark presence on the hex. When the avatars enter the hex, they trigger the Guardian to manifest and attack them. Since Shadows only manifest a physical form when attacked (rule book 15c), it would completely ignore the fight unless it was attacked. If the avatars defeat the Guardian, the Well is theirs to claim. The Shadow would get no benefit as it must unseal a Light Well itself to form a skin for Xulthul.

ricb wrote:
In a one-terrain-tile game such as ours, if a shadow opens the one light well, Xulthul manifests there and immediately begins attempts to extinguish the light well, without traveling at all, right?

Right. This is play by the "Overpowering Light Rule" that is explained here: http://deviousweasel.com/som-faq-single-map.

ricb wrote:
At the start of one battle, one avatar had the Combat Defender mastery. If the avatar uses both the primary ability and the seconday ability, do both remain in effect through multiple (all) combat phases? If so, do we re-roll the -1d* and -2d* for each combat phase, or just roll them once when invoking the abilities and keep those rolls throughout all combat phases?

That depends on how you choose to play. There is some good discussion here and here. However, in all cases, the primary Mastery ability is "always on" and activated abilities last for 1 turn -- that's the whole players' turn, so they will remain in effect for an entire combat.

ricb wrote:
We had the City of Gateways turn up on our terrain hex. Can shadows manifest here, or only through natural/built-in gates?

No. The Shadows can only enter via the Gates themselves.


I hope that I've been able to answer your questions! Please let me know if I have misinterpreted any of your questions or if I need to provide more clarity in my responses. I hope that you have fun with the game!
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Ric Bernat
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Thanks, Jim! I think that answers all our questions, but we'll probably be back with more after another game or two. Definitely enjoying the game!
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