The core of the game in AHQ3.0 is the exploration of Dungeons: Heroes explore dungeons looking for treasures and to complete Quests indicated by the Objective Cards. The main type of Dungeon is the random generated on the basis of the indications of an Objective Card, but there are pre-determined Quests with maps and enemies already created. A Random Dungeon is generated in the Vassal engine by a deck of Cards: the first Card to draw (or to select manually) is the Objective Card: it indicates the Monsters of the Dungeon, the Tileset, the final "boss" and the final room of the dungeon; the GM places the Objective Card on the game table and it starts the adventure.
Once the Objective Card is selected, the Dungeon unveals itself with a serie card drawing: the starting section of the random Dungeon is always the same: stairs going up and leaving the dungeon and a single section of passage with two doors on each side of the corrider. Each time the Heroes enter a new section of the dungeon a card is drawn from the composed Rooms Deck, or the GM decides which Room Card to place according to the mode used for the dungeon generation. If an Objective Card is drawn in the first half of the Deck, then the card is sent again back to the Room Cards deck that has to be shuffled. In the Vassal module are provided the Standard Rooms Cards, that can be customized and integrated with dedicated addon packs. Each Room Card indicates the number of the doors inside the room too. Note that all the doors of a Dungeon, except the Secret ones, are placed by the GM: each wall cant have more than a single door and the priority has to be given to walls with the opposite part of dungeon unexplored.
The Objective Card determinates the way the Rooms Deck is composed too: the Standard Rooms Deck is composed with standard, cumulative and furniture Cards, able to generate randomly the Dungeon; the Standard Passages Deck includes the passages and eventually the stairs of the Dungeon; the key card that can drawn from the Room Deck is anyway the Objective Room, the room where the final objective indicated by the dungeon stands. The Objective card indicates the number of Rooms cards (shown on the up left corner) that have to be drawn from the Standard Rooms Deck and that have to be joint with the Objective Room card: this determinates how "big" the Dungeon can be. There are three types of Objective Room cards with two different sizes: small and large (according to the Tileset) and without door, with a door and with two doors: at the start of the game only one of these should be drawn random and combined with the Rooms cards. There are two main modes to generate a Dungeon Deck, one completely random and another in which the tactical role of the GM is predominant:
Mode 1, Complete Random
- Shuffle and draw one of the Objective Room Cards
- Shuffle and draw the number of Room Cards indicated by the Objective Card
- Shuffle and draw a numbero of Passage Cards half of number indicated by the Objective Card
Shuffle the resulting Rooms Deck, rooms are draw in the order of the deck, if the Objective Card is drawn in the first half of the deck returns to the deck that is shuffled again.
Mode 2, GM selection
- Shuffle and draw one of the Objective Room Cards
- Shuffle the Room Cards and draw 2/3 of the number indicated in the Objective Card (example: 12: 8 rooms, 15: 10 rooms etc. rounded down).
- Shuffle the Passage Cards and draw 1/3 of the number indicated in the Objective Card (exampe: 12: 4 passages, 10: 3 passages etc. rounded down).
The resulting cards are shown in the hand of the GM who decides the order of placement.
If the cards of the Deck finish the dungeon is over and no more doors are placed on the table: secret doors can be find only on walls that are adjacent to existing rooms. This whole process is easily integrated in Vassal module with a few right-clicks with the mouse.
Examples of Objective Cards:
Sometimes the Heroes can find Traps, generated by the GM with a Dungeon card or indicated by a predeterminated quest. When the Heroes meet a Trap the GM picks a card from Trap Cards deck and applies the effect. Each Trap Card shows a De/Di numbers combination: Detecting (De) and Disabling (Di). In the momenti in which an Hero meets a Trap he has for first roll a dice to check if he's able to detect it before activating it: the roll has to be equal or greater of the De number indicated on the card, if the Hero fails this roll he activates the effect of the Trap. If the Hero is successfull on this roll he detected the Trap before activating it: to pass over the Trap square (or to open a Door or a Chest if the Trap is on a door or a chest) one of the Heroes has to make a Di (Disabling) check rolling equal or more of the number indicated on the Trap Card: a successfull roll indicates that the Trap has been disabled, while a failure means that the Hero disabling the trap has activated it and suffers the effect of the trap. The following are the standard Traps Cards included in the Vassal module, but further Traps can be introduced by dedicated expansion packs.
Almost all the Room Cards indicate what they containg, the features they have, how they have to be placed etc. Note that some Room Cards have variants with different number of Doors contained in the Room (indicated in the upper left corner). Here are the standard Rooms Cards included with the Standard Rooms Deck (note that Objective Rooms cards have to be separated from the other Rooms Cards at the moment of the Deck creation):
Some dangers of the Room Cards are a little bit more detailed and do not fit in the single Card; these Rooms Cars details are the following:
Heroic Jump: the Heroes can try to jump over the Void landing on a free square on the other side of the Void itself. Each Hero trying to jump make a SP check, if it's successfull he lands on the free square, if it's a failure the Hero falls down and dies: only a Fate Point can save him. The jump counts as a single movement in the fight.
Sure Jump: if the Heroes have at least a Rope Card, one of them can jump the void with rope on thight on his own chest while at least another Hero stands with the extremity of the rope on the other side. To jump over the void with a Sure Jump a SP check is required, if it's failed, the other Heroes on the other side of the side has to make each a ST check: if just one of these checks it's successfull, then the Hero hangs thight to the Rope and can be brought back on the next turn (the Hero hanging cant be attacked by the monsters). If all the ST checks fail, the Hero falls down and die: only a Fate Point can save him. A sure jump counts as a single movement in the fight.
Rope Bridge: if the Heores have at least two Rope cards and an Iron Nails card can build a Rope Bridge using and discarding the cards: one of the Heroes has to perform a Sure Jump (indicated above) and defeat the monsters, then the bridge is automatically set discarding the related Equipment cards.
Leave: the Heroes can simply leave the Room closing the door and looking for something more simple.
RATS AND BATS ROOM
Rats Poison: if the Heroes have a Rats Poison card they can discard it and slain all the Rats in the Room, spending an entire Exploration turn in which no Hero can do anything else.
Screeching Bug: the Heroes can discard a Screeching Bug card to slain all the Bats, spending an entire exploration turn to do it.
Greek Fire: the Heroes can discard a Greek Fire Card to burn the room and slain all the Rats or Bats in the Room, spending an entire Exploration turn in which no Hero can do anything else.
Mage: any spell inflicting damage on a 3x3 area of effect can slain all the Rats or Bats in the Room.
Fight: the Heroes can enter the room and start fighting against the Rats or Bats: there are 50 of them. Each Hero entering the Room roll a dice, the result is the number of rats or bats he slains, if he rolls a 1 or a 2 he suffers a Wound; the wounds inflicted can be avoided only with a Fate Point. If the combined rolls of all the Heroes arent enough to slain the Rats or the Bats the Heroes need one more turn with the same type of rolls, and so on until all the 50 rats are slained.
CUMULATIVE ROOM CARDS
Some Room cards are special and are defined Cumulative or Furniture Cards: they indicate a further effect to apply on the following drawn Room Card. When two or more Cumulative or Furniture cards are drawn only the first one is kept while the other goes back to the Room Cards deck that is shuffled. A Cumulative and a Furniture card can be combined. The standard Cumulative and Furniture cards included in the Vassal module are the following, but further cards can be added by dedicated addon packs:
Hit Dices: a key specific feature of the monsters are the Hit Dices (HD), representing how "hard" and difficult to face a monster is. Weaker monsters have just a single HD, even half HD, while the stronger have an higher HD stat: this stat is absolutely crucial to compose and create Wandering Monsters and Dens Decks, whose composition is defined as Monsters Matrix: in the proper Decks section are indicated the HD values to be taken in consideration in the creation of new and customized decks for the AHQ3.0 adventures, while of course the Vassal engine already includes standard decks based on monster races. Keeping the balancement of the HD is crucial to preserve the balance of the game.
Some Monsters have specific skill that are indicated in their cards. The following are th most common Skills that the Monsters have.
Berserker: the monsters with this skill are able to transform in fearless fighters: the GM can decide when the monster goes in Berserker status adding an extra attack each round but lowering its WS of -2 in defence. A monster in Berserker status has to attack always the nearest enemy.
Magic Users: some monsters are able to cast spells, they are able to cast the spells indicated in their sheet and need to make a IN check to do it; they do not consume any reagents to cast their spells.
Regeneration: some monster are granteda regeneration ability that makes them recover 1 Wound at the start of each GM turn during the Fight. The monsters with Regeneration cant of course exceed their maximum Wounds Stat.
Invulnerability: some monsters have a special magical resistance and it's very hard to hit them: these monsters are wounded with DD only with a result of 12, whichever is the monster Thoughness Skill. Magic Weapons hit monsters with Invulnerability normally.
Double Attack: some monsters attack twice each round, in the sheet of these monsters are indicated the specific DD for the first and the second attack.
Cause Disease: a monster able to Cause Disease reduces opponents Strenght and Thoughness when it delivers Wounds with its attacks. Each Hero hit by a cause disease attack receiving Wounds, has to make a TH Check not counting the modifications derived from Armors: if the check is successfull nothing happnes, if the check fails the Hero is diseased and has to note this on his Card. Between the Expeditions the Hero has to be cured by an Healer, if he's not able to cure the disease with an Healer his ST and TH skills are permanently lowered by 1 point: this happens after each expedition till the Hero is not cured, when one of these two Skills reach 0, the Hero dies.
Fly: the monsters with Fly Skill can move ignoring enemy Control Zones, but they cant pass through opponent miniatures, if it's not clearly indicated.
Terrifying Monsters: some monsters are so terrifying that they intimidate their opponents. If an opponent is on a Terrifying Monster Control Zone he has to make a CO check, on a failure he's paralyzed by the fear and cant do anything, while if the check is successfull the Terrifying Monster has no effect. Terrifying Monsters are immune to fear.
Great Monsters: Great Monsters have for their dimensions specific rules for movement, Control Zones and more. These monsters have a 2x2 base instead of a classic 1x1, they move by 1 square. Great Monsters can pass through doors, while they cant pass in 1x1 passages, if there are any. Great Monsters block completely the line of view through their miniatures, while line of view against Great Monsters is not partially blocked by the presence of other miniatures in the line of view.
COMPETITIVE AND VARIANTS MODES
A variant of the classical AHQ3.0 game (GM against one or more players) is the Competitive mode: a game in which two or more Heroes parties face one against the other, each from a different Guild (or even parties composed of Heroes from different allied Guilds) WITHOUT the presence of a GM. In this case each Party is a side in the game, starting from one of the side of the game table with the starting section of the Tileset (stairs, passage and T Junction). In the case of two players each player is the GM of the opposite players, with three or more players the GM-player combination has to be determined at the start of the game: example players A B C, GM-player combination: A-B, B-C C-A, the GM players can play their Dungeon Cards only against their relative paired opponent player.
Each Party, at the start of the game, rolls a dice adding all the modifications that each Hero of the party adds to the Surprise Roll: the results determinate the permanent order of the Exploration turns. When one of the Parties has a Monsters encounter, the Exploration turns are suspended and Combat turns follow: the monsters are controlled by the GM opponent of the player. When two Parties meet each other they can proceed to a Fight one against the other. Objective of the game is of course completing the Objective Card and leave the Dungeon alive: each Party tries to stop the other Parties from accomplishing their mission. The Dungeon Generation happens with the usual rules for random dungeons generation or using "modular" cards for the Dungeon generation.
AMBIENCE CARDS (OPTIONAL)
To add more situation randomness and deepness to the Dungeon rooms, an optional Deck is available: the Ambience Cards Deck: each time a Room is drawn, an Ambience Card is added to the Room granting specific features, ambience descriptions, strange and unique situations (often humoristical). More and more ambience cards can be easily added with the only limitation of imagination, granting a balance between Ambience cards with something and "No Ambience" cards of 1/3 (a "No Ambience" card each 2 Ambience Cards). The following are the Ambience cards, ignoring the "No Ambience" ones (in the included deck there are 63 Ambience cards and 21 No Ambience Cards):