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Subject: Exploring with the Mage rss

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David Pontier
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I soloed the Mage through the Lich’s tomb this weekend without any campaign upgrades or basic skills and finally took down that nasty lich. During this game I discovered a strategy with the Mage that was probably not intended, but was really helpful.

The mage gets Heroic dice when she explores or flees. I fled from two of the first four doors I opened and left them open when I explored again. I think I might have finally faced one of those initially opened doors, but for the most part when I explored I only ended up putting two new doors out each time. I think I explored 3 or 4 times on that first floor so I was getting a lot of black dice.

That strategy is fairly obvious. Not only does fleeing from encounters you can’t face get you a black dice, but by leaving those doors open it lets you explore more frequently too.

Then I got to the end of the deck. There was one card left on the stairs and I think I had one open door that I didn’t want to face. After having explored and fled so frequently on the first level I was kind of drunk on black dice so what I really wanted to do was explore again to get another black dice. So then I thought, “Why not?” The rules say that when you explore you add cards until you have four doors. Usually the limiting factor is how many open doors you already have. But I’m sure we have all played where there are only five cards left in the deck, so when we spend two to explore, we can only deal three cards face down. Then we have the choice to put two time counters on the stairs to open one of the doors. I’m sure I’ve had a game where after spending two time, there was only one card left and I placed that one card down and then opened it by placing counters on the stairs. Technically, I didn’t see any difference between there being four cards left, one card left, or zero cards left. So I explored anyway. I spent the one card that was left on the stairs and added one time counter to the stairs. I then dealt zero cards to the play area and I got a black heroic dice for exploring. I then realized I could do that again, but it would put three time counters on the stairs and deal one damage to me, so I refrained and descended. The first thing I did on the second level of the dungeon was explore, so I started the second level with two black dice.

I did the same thing when I got to the end of the second level. Spent two time to deal zero cards to get a black dice and then explored right away at the start of the third level to get another black dice. Because I realized I was going to start each floor of the dungeon with two black dice, it made it much easier to spend them because I knew I was going to get them back

So is this breaking the rules? Perhaps it breaks the spirit of the rules, but that is what special abilities are supposed to do, right? When I play as the Warrior, I take damage on purpose to get black dice, especially when I am about to descend the stairs because I know it will heal automatically. Taking damage on purpose certainly isn’t in the spirit of the rules. With the mage, you can’t really abuse this ability. You can only do it once (maybe twice) before you start to take damage, and damage on the mage isn’t worth it. Also, opening a door to get loot which will be a permanent extra dice (item) or a permanent skill is better than a one time black dice, so you have to time it so you don’t have any more doors you want to open. Usually when the stairs are revealed I still have doors I want to open, and that is a better use of the time counters on the stairs than an extra black dice.

Also, I can kind of explain it thematically. The Mage needs time to prepare her spells. So when she flees or explores, she isn't encountering anything, so it gives her the time she needs to prepare her spells (black dice). So she starts exploring, looking for more doors, but doesn't find any or she hears noises coming from behind her (counters on the stairs) and thinks she should forget about looking for doors and just descend. Either way she is spending time that doesn't involve dealing with an encounter, so she should still be able to prepare spells.

Thoughts?
 
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Chris Cieslik
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You can't explore if the stairs card is visible.
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Gillum the Stoor
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Right. The rules say, "You cannot explore if the encounter deck is empty."
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David Pontier
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Okay, I've found the rule that says "If the stairs are revealed while exploring, the turn is over and the party may either descend or take another turn to enter a room."

So you can't explore if the deck is empty, but if the stairs are revealed during the exploration, you can still explore that action is still valid, right?
 
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Chris Cieslik
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Yes - if you're exploring and reveal the stairs, the turn is valid. You just can't explore again after that.
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