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Subject: What is the thematic justification for locked dice (and spell dice)? rss

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Koen Pater
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The one thing I'm thematically struggling with in Elder Sign, is the 'locked dice'. Not so much for a single Investigator, of course, but why it also affects the others.

Why, when Mandy encounters Rats in the Walls of the Witch's House, is Michael also prohibited from using any yellow dice in the church? Same goes for spells. Why would Michael be able to benefit from any spell Mandy casts, when they're nowhere near each other?

Any help justifying this from a thematic point of view is greatly appreciated!
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mortego
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Sorry, I am unable to justify about locked dice or spells, thematically speaking that is, but I would like to state an opinion, for me, about this topic.

Great question, btw.

For me theme isn't that important (again, that's just me) and this game is my favorite game to play so maybe I subconsciously give little glitches like these a pass?

I can totally see your point though, it doesn't make sense locking dice, in fact, I HATE IT!!!!!!

....but that's just me.
whistle
 
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Gamer D

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I think there's no doubt that Elder Signis, while a fun game, the weakest of the Lovecraft inspired Fantasy Flight game in terms of theme. The theme isn't entirely absent but I typically don't see people reading the flavor text on adventures for instance or getting too much into the story that's going on. It's mainly a good cooperative dice rolling strategy game.

And I agree, locking dice isn't really thematic. Even if you accept that yellow and red dice represent mundane and magical "equipment" that doesn't explain why when one adventure locks a die you can't use the same equipment elsewhere. It would make more sense thematically if an adventure sometimes had a monster that was resistant to physical or magical damage so you couldn't use that color die in that adventure.

Fortunately it's still a good game either way. You just have to not think abut the theme too hard in it.
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aron craig
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dugman wrote:
And I agree, locking dice isn't really thematic. Even if you accept that yellow and red dice represent mundane and magical "equipment" that doesn't explain why when one adventure locks a die you can't use the same equipment elsewhere. It would make more sense thematically if an adventure sometimes had a monster that was resistant to physical or magical damage so you couldn't use that color die in that adventure.


When that beastie showed up it swallowed your gun.. when it's dead you can gut the corpse and retrieve it.

With a gate open to unearthly realms the magic forces that power the mystical book are disrupted.

You can come up with ways that the theme can work with locks.. just takes a bit of added narrative embellishment. =)
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Robert Ruescher
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locked dice, immunity of some type? physical or magical

spell dice, booby traps of some kind like a ward?
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Koen Pater
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Well yeah, like I said, it makes sense for the Investigator directly confronting the Adventure, but not so much for the rest of 'm.

aroncraig wrote:
You can come up with ways that the theme can work with locks.. just takes a bit of added narrative embellishment. =)

I guess the best way to treat it is as a bad omen, a crucial step in a prophecy that has to be disrupted. As long as the Rats in the Walls are not dealt with, fate is working against the Investigators.
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Gamer D

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aroncraig wrote:
dugman wrote:
And I agree, locking dice isn't really thematic. Even if you accept that yellow and red dice represent mundane and magical "equipment" that doesn't explain why when one adventure locks a die you can't use the same equipment elsewhere. It would make more sense thematically if an adventure sometimes had a monster that was resistant to physical or magical damage so you couldn't use that color die in that adventure.


When that beastie showed up it swallowed your gun.. when it's dead you can gut the corpse and retrieve it.

With a gate open to unearthly realms the magic forces that power the mystical book are disrupted.

You can come up with ways that the theme can work with locks.. just takes a bit of added narrative embellishment. =)


"A bit" is an understatement. You can rationalize anything, that doesn't make it a thematic element.
 
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Richard Launius
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Actually, for me it is very thematic. Locked dice represent the dark forces working behind the scenes to prevent the investigators from achieving success in shutting out the Ancient One. Roadblocks that occur as the result of other events that create a global crisis that affects all aspects of the investigation.

I have a vivid imagination, so the locked dice represent many things in my mind that the investigators have to face, the indomitable bad luck and events that place their good works in peril.

Thanks for your thoughts and thanks for support of the game. I appreciate it.

Richard
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Jonathan Hersey
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Ultimately the dice represent your ability to function and the rolls themselves are your performace. Locked dice represent a looming threat that is thwarting your progress or at least hindering your potential.
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Sergei Chavo
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Jonathan68 wrote:
Ultimately the dice represent your ability to function and the rolls themselves are your performace. Locked dice represent a looming threat that is thwarting your progress or at least hindering your potential.
I have nearly similar opinion. I think that on adventures you must perform some actions (tasks) and you dice is some sort of "possibilities" to do this actions. When you roll is failed you lose you time (3 hours per investigator, you know), and because of this you have less "possibilities" to complete task on your next roll.
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M.C.Crispy
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Richard Launius wrote:
I have a vivid imagination, so the locked dice represent many things in my mind that the investigators have to face, the indomitable bad luck and events that place their good works in peril.
I have no imagination at all! But I have no problem regarding Locked Dice as generic obstacles put in the way of the Investigators by the AO and its minions. It's Mythos baby: shit happens!
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Helenius Arto
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I haven't checked are locked dice used rational way, but in real world there are no Cthulhiana monsters and if there would be, you wouldn't fight against them with dice.

Locked dice present me a fear which comes from darkness and monsters and their spells.

In base game there is 3 monsters which lock yellow dice and 2 monsters which lock red.
1. Fire Vampire could create extra heat preventing you touch metal or too exhaust to pick them up. Could spread other rooms (I think those move as a swarm). Also could blind you and others in museum.
2. Ghost is generally invulnerable to physical weapons also not bound by walls. Can be around everyone.
3. Hound of Tindalos is fast and can follow you everywhere and are invulnerable, thus prevents using normal weapons
1. Warlock prevents using red die and I think he is like Mandrake the Magician and just waves his hand and makes you see something. Probably your fellow investigators are in same large hall or your infernal scream cause them to drop that magical dagger they were using.
2. High Priest might be former warlock or have already gun drawn and asked you to drop your magical dagger. Also his companions Medium Priest and Low Priest were in museum and were un-arming your companions. Unfortunately everyone remembers Jim Jones and Charlie Manson, but no one else, thus only High Priest is remembered.

Unseen Forces has four dice locking monsters
1. Hunting Horror locks green dice. These are enormous twitching hard to see, black snake-like creatures. So they might occupy other rooms in museum and prevent you to see them and other things clearly.
2. Colour Out of Space is non-humanoid creature which sucks energy from living things in area. Locking yellow dice isn't necessarily best option for it, but creature affects area and isn't harmed by normal weapons.
3 Wizard Whateley locks red dice and this could be explained by his magic (and minions who were forgotten). So you were unarmed, but got your stuff back after you got rid of him.
4. Wraith locks yellow and red die and being a similar to ghost, a presence of darkness, non corporeal being, normal weapons cannot harm it and it can occupy whole museum.

Other World cards do not lock dice.

Basic set has these adventure cards locking dice
1. Did You Hear That? "I was so focused on the strange sound, I had unconsciously closed my eyes" locks greed dice and makes sense
2. Gala in the Great Hall "None of the conspicuously wealthy guests showed any concern as I screamed about the doom that we were all about to face" Locks yellow dice and that same horrifying scenery might be seen in other rooms in that museum or scream might have caused you to drop your gear once again.
3. We Need to Find Help locks red dice and "Neither brute force or clever schemes were going to save me, I needed a Miracle" So those Tommy Gun and Dynamite are useless and card says it all. You all went to help him and finally he solved it and took that credit.

UF has also three dice locking cards
1. Night Watchman locks green dice. Might be humanity or his slippery body which makes your task harder. "Can I save him or should I kill him. But he is, was my 2nd cousin and left us in in this museum."
2. Break on Through locks green die. "fabric of reality came apart" So can affect whole museum.
3. Visiting Antiquarian locks red and yellow dice. "As I told what I had discovered.." You just show him all of your fancy gear and carry none when he attacks. Probably your friends came here to evaluate their possessions too.

For me these dice locks make mostly sense and I also play that investigators are actually group and that current player is a leader. Also when dice locking card or monster comes in play it is resolved immediately thus in most cases it doesn't affect any other adventure. If character is too "weak" to do that monster/adventure I throw him or her in lobby. Of course there might be a case that there is easy adventure which can be done before locked dice adventure, then I just think character was thinking it was overkill to use those precious guns and daggers.

If your imagination can handle using dynamite and flame thrower in a museum and then returning next evening without anyone stopping you, then you should imagine locked dice easily.
- Sir we have a little problem in exhibition hall
- Ok, call janitor and we open 15 minutes later
- I think we have a little bit bigger problem than just a dead rat, Sir.
There is three dead men, Egyptian exhibition room is collapsed and there is a dead Cthonian in a lobby.
- Ok make it 30 minutes then. Here is pen and cardboard. Strip those men and move them in Egyptian room and label it Stone Age. By the way how big is that Cthonian?
- I would say it is almost as big as blue whale, Sir.
- Ok, blue whale it is then or should we say it is missing link, living fossil or something else? Now I know, people are stupid, we can label it asian tentacle whale, very rare and it is first time seen outside China.
 
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Jeffery Hudson
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I always just thought it was the cost of playing an abstract version of the game. Kinda like various spells from the other games all having the die focus power.

Either way i still enjoy the game. And yes, i read the adventure text on each adventure. :)
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Trevor James
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I agree Jeffery and too much analysis will just impair the enjoyment of a great game! Just another example of the suspension of the imagination!
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