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Advanced HeroQuest: Reforged is, in my opinion, one of the most ingenious and well-developed AHQ variants available online. It is an improved version of the original game that adds many interesting refinements, boosting its potential even further. Slev’s adaptation is clever, relatively simple and easily adjustable; also, it offers a sheer variety of weapons and items not found in other revisions.
However, one of my main complaints against Reforged is that it departs from the assumption that combat in AHQ should be conducted (mostly) through doorways. In tune with such conception, Slev’s variant offers double doors, broader Death Zones and diagonal attacks as solutions for the bottleneck issue. Maybe it is just my personal preference but playing like that simply kills the fun for me; the game becomes repetitive after clearing a few rooms and such blandness is, in my humble opinion, a waste of the system’s potential. I believe there are other ways of handling the bottleneck issue without altering the basic combat mechanics of the original game.
Also, the character-development system in Reforged feels somewhat flat since most of the new Abilities are either Path dependent or fixed to Equipment. Heroes start off with their main bonuses already available, so there are not many options (except the newest optional Heroic Feats) or varied tactics to learn and use through the campaign. In such circumstances I do not find much incentive to develop a character, as it may be replicated relatively easy by simply creating a new one with the same initial class Abilities available or by grabbing certain pieces of Equipment.
The purpose here is to address the aforementioned issues through the implementation of the following changes, mainly:
A New Character-Development System: This variant introduces a new character-development system inspired by Descent and AHQ Second Edition. The Abilities assigned to each Path in Reforged are maintained for starting Heroes, but now a new set of Heroic Feats may be purchased in exchange for Fate Points and Gold Coins, after completing a quest.
Starting Fate Points awarded to the Heroes after each quest may now be converted to Heroic Tokens, which is the currency needed to purchase Heroic Feats from a common repertory available to all types of Heroes. However, the archetypical class restrictions found in AHQ Second Edition are observed. Cross-classing (acquiring Feats devised for a different type of Hero) is possible but expensive.
The new mechanic of using Fate Points as currency to purchase Heroic Feats (ala Descent) is easily adjustable and integrates consistently well with Slev’s system, better than the point-counting mechanic found in AHQ Second Edition. The Player(s) now have to decide between keeping Fate Points or acquiring Heroic Feats instead. Although it is possible to ignore Heroic Feats altogether and keep all the Fate Points, it would eventually lead to passive and bland gameplay.
Many of the new Heroic Feats have been adapted from other AHQ variants currently available online, but they are not accessible by Class like in Descent. I figured that a common repertory would be adapted more easily to Reforged and make the game more varied, even if the campaign is limited to a certain number of quests. I have been flirting with the idea of assigning one unique Ability to each Path though I prefer the current setting, time will tell.
The imported “skills” have been tweaked, correlated and integrated to this variant as Heroic Feats according to a preconceived conception of how a tactical dungeon crawler should play, including some ideas from Descent and Warhammer Quest itself. More than 90 Heroic Feats are available, some of Slev’s included (with slight variations).
The Heroic Feats have been designed to spice up combat by making Encounters more varied for the Heroes as the campaign progresses. Some of the new Heroic Feats are also designed to help the Heroes in the new Surprise ambushes resulting from our “Doorway-Exploit” Fix, mentioned below.
The new Heroic Feats are not supposed to interfere with the balance in Reforged; the most powerful Feats will be available to the Heroes once they have completed a few quests, by then the dungeons will be increasingly difficult and dangerous, so the new system is intended to provide balance and tactical variety without spoiling the original difficulty of the game.
Some of the new Heroic Feats may seem too powerful at first glance, and that is intentional. I decided to start working from raw (sometimes over powerful) concepts, then used a few pre-planned factors or “valves” to adjust balance depending on the results obtained from my advancing play tests.
The aforementioned balancing factors make the new Feats more easily adjustable at the end of the play-testing process by altering just a few variables like: cost, limitation of use (upon a Critical Hit, per Expedition, Encounter, or Turn), passing tests, or spending additional Fate Points. Such variables shape every Heroic Feat in this variant, and they also allow adopting new concepts and imported ideas from other games, by tweaking accordingly.
Some of the most powerful Heroic Feats require passing tests associated with different Characteristics; in consequence, training those Characteristics will now have added effects.
Reforged is not an easy game; dungeons become increasingly dangerous as the Heroes gain Experience, and to make things worse, the new Surprise ambushes (resultant from our “Doorway-Expolit” Fix) add even more fatality to the equation. However, the added difficulty balances well with the bonuses granted to the Heroes by Slev’s implementations, as mentioned below.
A few powerful Feats are not spoiling the difficulty, considering that they become available after completing a few quests, and by then the dungeons are deadly enough; instead, Feats are making combat more varied, and they are allowing very climatic moments when the result of a decisive attack in the midst of a crucial Encounter depends on the result of a test.
As a result of the new mechanics, some new management decisions have to be made now: spend or keep Fate Points? How many? Defensive or offensive? These and other options will lead to different configurations and results; my goal is to make the new Heroic Feats balanced and interesting enough in order to make those decisions as absorbing as possible.
Traditional Advanced HeroQuest Mechanics: The original Movement and Death Zone rules from Advanced HeroQuest have been reimplemented with some exceptions: Diagonal movement is now allowed at double (movement) cost. Also, leaving a Death Zone now requires a successful Withdraw Action, which is basically a Speed Test. Diagonal attacks are only possible when wielding certain long range Hand-to-Hand weapons, as in the original. The original turn sequence from AHQ is also observed, with some adjustments.
“Doorway-Exploit” Fix: This is my (already released) solution for the bottleneck issue. Combat will now take place through doorways only if the Heroes win the Surprise and decide to stay out of the room. If the Heroes stay out of the room for protection, they will be vulnerable to monster attacks for one turn, as a penalty.
Heroes now face the risk of being ambushed inside rooms if they fail to surprise the Enemies. Bottleneck combat is discouraged but may still be used as a tactic if the Heroes win the Surprise, though now optionally and with a penalty, as mentioned above. Also, Enemies may now push Heroes and Henchmen trough doorways in order to limit the effects of the bottleneck issue even more. As you may see, there is no reason to preserve Slev’s alterations to Movement and Death Zone rules if this fix is used.
The fix has been tested during the last few years and it has proved to increase the mortality among the Heroes, as they become more vulnerable to Surprise ambushes. Nevertheless, the added difficulty balances considerably well with some of the Abilities (like Block) introduced by Slev, also with several of our new Heroic Feats and Actions, designed precisely to deal with the new ambush situations while providing more variety and tactical options.
Numerous adjustments and modifications have been made. Several obscurities and imprecisions have been clarified and fixed with our house rules; some entirely new mechanics have been implemented as well. Updates are listed and detailed in the attached document.
AHQ Reforged: Revised & Revamped–as the title suggests–is a set of variant rules for Slev’s Advanced HeroQuest: Reforged.
A variant of a variant, implemented as a mod. If I had to describe it in a few words, I would say it is basically a revised version of Reforged (reimplementing the traditional AHQ mechanics and fixing the bottleneck issue) added with a new character-development system inspired by Descent and AHQ Second Edition, all combined with our house rules and with numerous elements adapted from the other AHQ variants available online.
At the core level it retains most of the original mechanics, so it plays more like Advanced HeroQuest than Reforged does. However, the recent implementations (working cohesively with Slev’s system and refinements) provide new options that spice up the experience considerably.
The fragility of the Heroes is one of the main concepts maintained as a reference for our modifications. The new Actions and Heroic Feats are not intended to make things easier or create near-invincible characters; they are intended to bring balance and more variety without spoiling the brutality of the original game.
It is designed to be a “tactical” dungeon bash, light and uncomplicated but varied and engaging at the same time. It is focused on exploring dungeons, fighting monsters, finding treasures and developing your character(s) in a challenging environment.
This is a non-profit effort based on shared work, our sole objective is to evolve Advanced HeroQuest to the level it deserves as an exceptional and unique dungeon-crawl system ahead of its time.
It is a project in progress, the purpose of the attached document is to share what we have so far (as an open test version) in order to receive criticism that may be useful for its improvement. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.