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Subject: House Rules (by Falenthal) rss

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Falenthal Greenleaf
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After having played the whole campaign S&R twice (and some chapters more than that), I have to agree with the overall consideration that the game implies too much dice-rolling and mostly lacks any strategy.
I love the game, but the continuous rolling bothered me a bit too much.
After some testing, I decided to include some rules in the game that make it more fluid and interesting:

1) Fixed movement (credits to Moshimon):

- Mice can move up to their Movement score (the green paw)+1 spaces in their turn.
- A Scurry action now means that a die is rolled and the number is added to the number of spaces the mouse is able to move.
Scurry doesn't allow to move a second time, as it does in the original rules. It only allows to move once, but a longer distance. This is very important when in water spaces, as a mouse can now move only one space per turn, not two as in the original rules (Move+Scurry). This makes water spaces more dangerous.
Also, note that a Scurry is already an action, so a mouse can't Scurry to an Exploration space AND Explore in the same turn, for example.

- Enemies have the following rules for movement:

All non-unique enemies: fixed 2 spaces per turn
Unique enemies (a.k.a. Bosses): Roll the die as usual
*Unique enemies are the ones with a "personal" name.
For example, a Centipede is a non-unique enemy, but Skitter-Clack is unique. Vanestra is unique, but all other Spiders aren't. Captain Vurst is unique, but not Elite Rats.

- In situations where a certain number or symbol in the movement die bears consequences [when in the Courtyard with the Old Crow; or in the King's Bedroom in Chapter 8, when trying to sneak into the King's bed], roll as many dice as the mouse's Movement score (the green paw). If a * shows up, then the test is succesfully succeeded.

Note: This limitation to movement makes happen more often that the mice are unable to reach the exploration space to change tile before the last mouse in the initiative track turn comes around. Some more cheese than usual will go into the Cheese Wheel because of this. But rule 2 compensates it.

2) Don't roll overkills! (credits to Moshimon):

- If an attack has enough hits to kill an eonemy or a mouse, whatever the result of the defense roll, don't roll for defense and automatically kill the enemy or capture the mouse.

This rule has the effect or reducing the overall number of cheese added to the Cheese Wheel, due to less defense rolls on behalf of the enemies.
But rule 1 (Fixed Movement) and 6 (Located Searches) tend to increase it due to more difficulty to search and exit a tile.

3) Tactical Shooters (credits to Teeka):

- Ranged minions will always move as far away from the mice as they can, as long as they don’t lose Line of Sight.

- Line of Sight gets blocked by :
- a ‘full’ space (either a large minion or 4 small ones)
- a ‘high up’ space (can’t shoot over-and-behind it)
- any reasonably large terrain piece, like a helmet or a crystal

4) High Terrain Advantage (credits to Teeka):

- No melee attacks against the direction of a yellow arrow are allowed (even though the space counts as adjacent).


5) The last blow:

- When a mouse kills the last enemy in the Initiative Track, slide that mouse's Initiative card a bit to the left (or right if you prefer ). Add one cheese to the Cheese Wheel for lack of enemies in the Initiative Track only when that mouse's turn comes around (at the start of his/her turn, not afterwards).
This means that the mouse before the one that is slided has to Explore to the next tile if the group wants to avoid adding a cheese to the Wheel.

6) Located Searches:

- Each tile has a limited number of spaces where mice can do a Search. Each Searchable Area (indicated by a red circle, see below) can be searched succesfully only once, but each mouse can Search succesfully any number of times per tile.

The images for the different tiles and the Searchable Areas (red circles) can be found here:
https://goo.gl/photos/szSwXWvcQT5m6UMq7

Example:



A Searchable Area (red circle) can include multiple spaces: Once any space within a circle has been succesfully Searched, the whole Searchable Area is considered exhausted and no more Searches can be conducted in it. You can place a Heart token on its red side on the area to indicate this. A Heart token on its green side can indicate a still searchable area.

Personal likings can add or substract Searchable Areas to the tiles, but for easiness some criteria have been followed:
a) All spaces with footprints (i.e. entry spaces for enemies) are searchable.
b) Water spaces are searchable.
c) Special drawings on the tiles are searchable (mushrooms, chest, tables, helmet, king's bed, drawers, library, crystals,...).
d) Each tile should have between 4 and 6 Searchable Areas.

Special Search spaces indicated for a tile in the Campaigns book do add to and overrride the marked Searchable Areas.

Some Chapters have special rules for Searches:
a) Chapter 7 - The Lost Book.
Mission Deck: The rule remains the same. Just to clarify, "Only the first mouse that succesfully Searches [in any Searchable Area] in a given tile can pick a card from the Mission Deck."

b) Chapter 8 - Looking for the Sword of Pain
Tunnels' rule: Modify to "Only the first mouse that succesfully Searches in the first "Tunnel" tile can elect a group item."

CAMPAIGN RULES:

7. Lost and Not Found (credits to Teeka)

- Once an Equipment card is lost or discarded, it doesn't get mixed again in the Search deck and it's gone for the entire campaign (except cards whose text or use rules specifically indicate that are returned to the Search deck after use).
Equipment card is any card is any card that mice need to equip to be used (weapons, armour, accessories and some items)

8. Fellowship Bonds (credits to Teeka)

At the end of a chapter:
- The party can pool leftover cheese to level up. No more than one level up per mouse.

- Mice can trade their ‘1 extra’ search cards amongst themselves inbetween chapters.
Exceptions:
- When the story has got them split up, then only mice that are actually together can trade.

*******************

I think most of this rules need to go together to fully enjoy them. For example, the fixed movement and the fact that mice can't Search anywhere in a tile makes it more exciting to decide if the group is staying in a tile looking for items (and adding a cheese to the wheel after one round), or if they should hurry out of a tile.
Filch's movement (and the improved Search cards for him or Lily) become much more important with this rules. Or new utilities can be found for the Shifting Cloack or the Dodge skill, both allowing to approach faster an Exit or Searchable Space.

I hope you guys like them and give them a shot with any Chapter to try how it all works (preferably with a Chapter that includes waterspaces, like the first one). So far I've enjoyed my third run of the campaign a lot more, and the game turns a bit more appealing, tactical and with consequences for bad decisions... but also faster and less repetitive.

I'm eager to see how difficult the last chapter becomes, as the mice can move less spaces per turn than in the original game. But if it doesn't become impossible, I find it appealing that the last chapter could be a real challenge.

After that, and if all goes well, I'll start Heart of Glorm already using this house-rules. Let's see how they work with the expansions.

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Scott Sinclair
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As a purist I was ready to poo poo this...alas, I shall not.

You hooked me with your first paragraph. Having played S&R completely solo (to ensure I understood what was going on so I could teach/run a game without excessive reference to the rule book) I too found myself growing tired of continuous dice rolls.

Interesting thoughts, I just might try this sucker out!
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Falenthal Greenleaf
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Chiken Bird wrote:
As a purist I was ready to poo poo this...alas, I shall not.

You hooked me with your first paragraph. Having played S&R completely solo (to ensure I understood what was going on so I could teach/run a game without excessive reference to the rule book) I too found myself growing tired of continuous dice rolls.

Interesting thoughts, I just might try this sucker out!


Don't be a coward rat and go for it, like a real mouse!

And don't forget to comment your impressions if you do.
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Shaun M
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Falenthal wrote:

4) The last blow:

- When a mouse kills the last enemy in the Initiative Track, slide that mouse's Initiative card a bit to the left (or right if you prefer ). Add one cheese to the Cheese Wheel for lack of enemies in the Initiative Track only when that mouse's turn comes around (at the start of his/her turn, not afterwards).
This means that the mouse before the one that is slided has to Explore to the next tile if the group wants to avoid adding a cheese to the Wheel.


After months of sitting on my shelf, I've just had my first go at M&M and I'll definitely be implementing rule number 4 when I play again!

Twice my last mouse to take actions killed the final minion, resulting in a cheese being added to the wheel which triggered a surge. The second time it happened, it caused the hourglass to move up to page 6, so ending the game. I could've avoided it by NOT attacking and letting another mouse, higher up the initiative track, have a go, but that that just doesn't make thematic sense.
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Falenthal Greenleaf
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That was the first house-rule I also implemented, Horace, and for a long while I've only played with it. I think it even becomes natural and avoids, as you point out, doing "strange" things with the game(not attacking with a mouse that is in the bottom part of the initiative track to avoid that cheese).
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Falenthal Greenleaf
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After some more playing, specially completing the Heart of Glorm campaign, I tweaked two of the rules.
Will edit the OP for clarity:

1) The Centipede moves 2 spaces, as other normal minions, instead of 1.
In some tiles it was too easy to run around out of its reach and hit the centipede with missile attacks. That was specially anticlimatic with a centipede boss in HoG.

2) I don't add a cheese to the wheel every time the Initiative Track is emptied of enemies.
First of all, because I kept forgetting to do so .
But also, because the chapters already ended tight enough for my liking. I have to say that I don't like it when, on the last tile, the chapter is "officialy" lost because a few bad rolls trigger a Surge and the clock moves to the End Chapter; even when the last battle or whatever is going well. But I like the timer to be a limit that disallows you from searching every tile until exhausted, or lose time in any other way. Sidequests can have consequences, too, if done at the wrong time.
But if you follow the adventure without wasting your time, I think the End Chapter shouldn't be a big issue that makes you lose the game.
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Teeka
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Hey Falenthal,

Great job on these houserules! thumbsupcool

Some initial thoughts:

- I think we're on different pages though, I think that the game should be made a bit harder, and the End Chapter marker should really be a threat.

Especially considering Filch's Pilfer Ability and the Achievements/story moments that give you more time, I never saw it as much of a problem (until Downwood Tales, that is).


- I'm not a fan of random movement points, so I like your idea of fixed numbers.

However, In a game like this I can explain it in a sense that a mouse/creature needs time to make up their mind, react, maneuver past obstacles etc.

Sometimes it can be fun to get a lucky break when enemies don't move fast enough.
..Or a bad break when you have to wait for Nez to catch up.

I'll comment on te search rule later (very creative!).
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Falenthal Greenleaf
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Teeka wrote:
Hey Falenthal,

Great job on these houserules! thumbsupcool


Thanks! And I'm very pleased for such words when coming from you! blush Always have loved your posts regarding this game, they're very enlightening.

Teeka wrote:

Some initial thoughts:

- I think we're on different pages though, I think that the game should be made a bit harder, and the End Chapter marker should really be a threat.

Especially considering Filch's Pilfer Ability and the Achievements/story moments that give you more time, I never saw it as much of a problem (until Downwood Tales, that is).


It's interesting how different people have different views on the difficulty of this game!

I can only add that:
1) I love it's difficulty, but not when related to the End Chapter finale. I don't like it when the game ends because of it, specially if the group hasn't been losing time doing Searches or whatever.

2)I also have to specify that the combination of Located Searches and Fixed Movement have as a consequence that the mice aren't always able to exit a tile before the last mouse's turn in the initiative track (which is always the case with the original movement rules). Therefore, cheese are added more often because of it than originally, surges do happen then, and the sandclock gets advanced.
Also, as pointed out before, you can use the house-rule 3 (Time to lick our wounds) to add a few more cheese to the wheel and keep the End Chapter finale a threat. It's just me that don't like the time pressure it puts, but you might find it otherwise.

Teeka wrote:

- I'm not a fan of random movement points, so I like your idea of fixed numbers.

However, In a game like this I can explain it in a sense that a mouse/creature needs time to make up their mind, react, maneuver past obstacles etc.

Sometimes it can be fun to get a lucky break when enemies don't move fast enough.
..Or a bad break when you have to wait for Nez to catch up.


That element of suprise is lost, of course, and I regret it. But I've found, after playing the S&R and HoG campaigns, that it adds a lot in terms of play speed, tactical thinking and... increased fear of water spaces! How many times did your mice get captured because of getting sucked by water currents? Zero? One in a whole campaign?
Try to cross the Sewers with this new rules (remember that Scurry doesn't allow you a second movement), while being attacked by roaches, and tell me how you feel after reaching the other side with all your mice! In HoG, there's a situation where you have to cross the sewer water and there's a Stalker Spider (have the spanish translation, sorry) that can take a mouse all the way back to the other shore. Now it's terrifying, as the companions won't be able to reach him quickly!

I'd recommend to try this rules (all together, not only some) with the first chapter of S&R. There's water there, there are high places (kitchen) that require high movement numbers, there's the run in the courtyard,... Use Filch and Nez in the group to compare the different feel and tactics needed because of the different movement ratings.

And keep the coments going on, please!
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Teeka
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Falenthal wrote:
Thanks! And I'm very pleased for such words when coming from you! blush Always have loved your posts regarding this game, they're very enlightening.

Awwwww you're welcome, and thanks for the compliment! modest

Falenthal wrote:
I don't like it when the game ends because of it, specially if the group hasn't been losing time doing Searches or whatever.

I understand. For me, it was more like the other way around, having quite a few chapters where we had 3 pages or so left, and just felt too easy. I'm ok with fixing that at the cost of a possible 'bad luck day' where the clock is against you no matter what.

...I think this is because I would prefer the replayability of a game through difficulty/lost sessions, over the replay value of just playing again. (Or rather, I like having both.)

Of course YMMV on something like that, and I know that M&M was designed as a family game. But I enjoy a strong challenge, even if I'm playing through a nice fantasy story.

Falenthal wrote:

How many times did your mice get captured because of getting sucked by water currents? Zero? One in a whole campaign?
Try to cross the Sewers with this new rules (remember that Scurry doesn't allow you a second movement) (...)

I've been working on my own houserules for a while*, and having Scurry only add the die value is part of those as well. In fact, we misplayed that for quite a while because it seemed to make more sense.

However, not having it count as 'a second movement' for moving in water gives problems in Downwood Tales. There you can have an effect called Rain, which makes water flow twice as fast. That would be very hard with this full houserule.**


*(An injury put stuff like that on hold for a while. I'm fine now, so I'll finish and post them ASAP.
** The houserules I'm working on mostly affect S&R and HoG. I think DT is way better in terms of difficulty/balance, and making it much harder would be a bad idea.
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Falenthal Greenleaf
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Teeka wrote:

However, not having it count as 'a second movement' for moving in water gives problems in Downwood Tales. There you can have an effect called Rain, which makes water flow twice as fast. That would be very hard with this full houserule.


DT is scheduled for releas in Spain this winter/christmas, so haven't played it yet.
I'll get it as soon as it comes out, but I'll keep in mind your warning!

How difficult it is also depends on the lenght (number of spaces) or a river: with more spaces, the mice have more time to cross to the other side, even if they get carried by the current once or twice. Crossing the underground river from the King's Chamber Tunnels direction south is a nightmare, for example.

Without knowing the special case of DT, something that comes to mind without much thinking is to consider all water spaces as separated by yellow lines, requiring always 3 movement points to cross (never against current):
Mice with 3 basic movement (Filch and Neré) could do a Scurry and, with a 2 or 3 on the die roll, could cross two water spaces in one movement.
Nez, with just 1 basic movement, would always need to Scurry just to cross to one water space, and could never cross two water spaces in one movement.

Mmmm... not really a solution if Nez is never able to cross a river under the rain, as thematic as it might seem.

Will take a look into it once I have DT!

And I'd like to have a look at your own house-rules, once available.
 
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Jeremy Glassman
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Hey y'all,

I LOVE the located search variant and will definitely use it, I don't like rolling too much dice in this game, because it has more than enough dice rolling, and rolling for movement is annoying.

I find the fact that scurry isn't a second movement shouldn't be a problem, you can play around the water spaces.

Quick question: How do you guys play the 'explore' rule in the base game? It's more thematic if all the mice have to be on the exit space, but I think the base rule is that the only stipulation is that no minions can be on the tile. If that's the case, I find it weird that one mouse can explore even if there's someone in their party that's all the way on the other side of the tile, especially if they are on the opposite side of water.

Let me know how you play that, thanks!
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Ryan
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throwing8smokes wrote:
especially if they are on the opposite side of water.

I could have sworn the rule was they had to all be on the same side of the water.
 
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Jeremy Glassman
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Just checked the S&R storybook & rule-book. It's not stated in the rule-book, but every time the water space comes up in the storybook, it has a special explore rule.
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Teeka
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throwing8smokes wrote:
Just checked the S&R storybook & rule-book. It's not stated in the rule-book, but every time the water space comes up in the storybook, it has a special explore rule.

IIRC, there is one chapter in Downwood Tales where that special rule is absent.

(But if I indeed remember that correctly, then we still houseruled it to be there.)
 
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Falenthal Greenleaf
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throwing8smokes wrote:

I LOVE the located search variant and will definitely use it,...


Great! If you find any troubles or strange situations because of it, be sure to report here. I haven't, but maybe it's my way of playing.

throwing8smokes wrote:

I find the fact that scurry isn't a second movement shouldn't be a problem, you can play around the water spaces.


Also, in all S&R and HoG I haven't found it to be a problem. In fact, water is suddenly interesting and dangerous, as it should be!
But what Teeka pointed out is that it could be a problem under certain circumstances in Downwood Tales. Can't answer to that, because I (still) don't own the expansion.

throwing8smokes wrote:

Quick question: How do you guys play the 'explore' rule in the base game? It's more thematic if all the mice have to be on the exit space, but I think the base rule is that the only stipulation is that no minions can be on the tile. If that's the case, I find it weird that one mouse can explore even if there's someone in their party that's all the way on the other side of the tile, especially if they are on the opposite side of water.

Let me know how you play that, thanks!


If there are no minions, and there aren't water spaces, I don't see the problem in considering that the other mice can do a short sprint and join the exploring comrade before entering the next room or space.
When there's water in the tile, the Storybook always explicits that all mice have to be on the same side of the water.
 
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Lance Ford
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Teeka wrote:
However, not having it count as 'a second movement' for moving in water gives problems in Downwood Tales. There you can have an effect called Rain, which makes water flow twice as fast. That would be very hard with this full houserule.**

Perhaps in the event of Rain, you could add a special search to that tile for the turtle whistle. Of all the possible ways to cross water, I think this would be a good choice in this situation, because while it would help you cross, it still holds an element of danger... flip one of the shells to reveal water, and now your swept away by the extra fast current.. (or reveal the turtle head and get bit on top of being swept away)

Gives you a way to cross in the rain using the house rule, but not make it a breeze.
 
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Falenthal Greenleaf
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For clarity, I'd like to add here some rules proposed by Teeka that I will surely use next time I play M&M again. I'm still not adding them to the first post, until tried and tested, but I can't foresee any problem with them, as they look simple, effective and "common sense".
All credits, of course, to Teeka:

1. Any Equipment* card that is discarded, is permanently gone from the search deck for the rest of the campaign.
* Equipment = any card that you need to equip in order to use it: weapons, armour, accessories and certain items.

2. Line Of Sight and attacks against places up high:

LOS gets blocked by :
- a ‘full’ space (either a large minion or 4 small ones)
- a ‘high up’ space (can’t shoot over-and-behind it)
- any reasonably large terrain piece, like a helmet or a chrystal

No melee attacks against the direction of a yellow arrow are allowed (even though the space counts as adjacent).

3. Ranged minions will always move as far away from the mice as they can, as long as they don’t lose LOS.

4. End of chapter: the party can pool leftover cheese to level up.
- No more than one level up per mouse.

5. Mice can trade their ‘1 extra’ search cards amongst themselves inbetween chapters.
Exceptions:
- When the story has got them split up, then only mice that are actually together can trade.
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Teeka
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Falenthal wrote:
For clarity, I'd like to add here some rules proposed by Teeka that I will surely use next time I play M&M again. I'm still not adding them to the first post, until tried and tested, but I can't foresee any problem with them, as they look simple, effective and "common sense".
All credits, of course, to Teeka

Cool! That's quite a compliment.

You clearly made your own 'low difficulty' version of some of those ideas, which of course is totally cool. cool
Let me know once you've tested them!
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Falenthal Greenleaf
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-> EDIT 27/01/2017:
For easiness, and also in an attempt to retain some expectation when facing boss enemies, the movement of creatures have been changed as follows:
All non-unique enemies: 2 spaces per turn
Unique enemies: Roll the die
*Unique enemies are the ones with a "personal" name.
For example, a Centipede is a non-unique enemy, but Skitter-Clack is unique. Vanestra is unique, but all other Spiders aren't. Captain Vurst is unique, but not Elite Rats.

Most of the time, unique enemies will move 2 spaces, as all other enemies. But rolling the die only for them introduces some unexpected tension in the battles agains them (as Teeka pointed out). Your tactics are then not so sure, as they might move 3 spaces and reach you, or once in a while they might move just 1 and give you a short edge if out of their attacking range.
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Jeremy Glassman
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From what I'm hearing, "unique enemies" = "boss" enemies.

 
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Falenthal Greenleaf
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throwing8smokes wrote:
From what I'm hearing, "unique enemies" = "boss" enemies.



Yeah, that's it
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Falenthal Greenleaf
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Edited the first post for clarity, leaving only the used rules to avoid confusion, and including the ones from Teeka I'm currently using.
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