Disclaimer: this is a great game, and I'm having a wonderful time playing it with my kids and family!



But boy, do I ever have a lot of rules questions after playing it several times - more than I can remember from most new games in recent memory! Fortunately ZMan's FAQ helped answer a number of them, as did a quick browse through the forums, but I was still left with some questions I didn't find answers to at a quick glance. Thankfully I have a BGG community to turn to for help, and maybe even the honorable Mr Z himself might chime in!

1. How do you get rid of "Fated"? Can the points required be accumulated over several turns from the time you get the card, or must they be earned in a single encounter?

2. How exactly does "Respected" work? In what instances precisely may you re-roll the dice, as permitted by this card?

3. "Determined" seems awfully powerful - are we playing this correctly that if you don't like an Award paragraph, you just choose another response? (permitted once each turn). If so, isn't that over-powered?

4. "Vizier" and "Married" both require an Origin marker in a city - how do you resolve this if you get both statuses?

5. The rules are very explicit that Courting is not permitted with a person of the same sex. Yet they don't seem to address at all the even more common occurrence if you're a female player given a quest that requires you to marry a princess. How is marriage with someone of the same sex to be handled?


A number of other questions I had seem to be addressed by the FAQ and other threads, but I'll include them here in case they help others:

6. Is there really any point in selecting anything other than 10 Destiny & 10 Story points at the start of the game? Can you really determine the course of this anyway, and aim for one rather than the other?
Consensus: There is a thematic difference between the two - discussion here. But certainly there seems to be little control in determining the outcome, so some players just play that the first to get to a cumulative total of 20 is the winner. Discussion here.

7. The game never seems to get beyond the Morning, is there a way to use Noon and Night as well, for more varied experiences?
Consensus: It's generally agreed that you usually won't get beyond Morning, one solution is to divide the Encounter deck into thirds, another solution is to roll the Destiny die to determine the time of day for each encounter. The Night encounters may prove to be slightly harder. Discussion here.

8. What exactly classifies as a "successful" Encounter, as required by some Quests? Is it as long as you remain on the same location after an encounter, even if that encounter results in you being Wounded or Diseased?
FAQ: "You have a successful encounter in a location if you finish your turn in the same space as the encounter, unless you end up Lost, Imprisoned, or Dead."

9. How does the Seamanship skill work? For example, if you are Poor, but had Seamanship, what kind of movement is possible?
FAQ: "Having the Seamanship skill automatically increases your normal Sea movement rate to 4. Any Status or other effect that reduces your movement rate (for instance, the Diseased and Crippled statuses) still reduce it. Example: You have a Wealth of Poor, the Seamanship skill, and the Crippled status. The base movement for "Poor" is 3 by land, 2 by Sea. Seamanship would change that to 3 land/4 sea."

10. The Sex-Changed status seems brutally unfair and could single-handedly put a player out of the game. Is it intended to be this harsh, and are there ways that you can deliberately attempt to get rid of it?
Consensus: Yep, it's just plain mean, but it's all part of a good story and the theme! Discussion here.

The fact that these weren't covered by the printed rules is evidence that the rules aren't as comprehensive as they could have been (although it's no reason to avoid getting the game!). But despite this, Tales of the Arabian Nights is a great game with the right players, and we're enjoying it immensely! Thanks in advance for any help anyone can offer with my questions!
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| Scott Kinzie |
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[All this very much IMHO:]

To answer the question asked in the subject of your posting: I think the reason you have more rule questions about this game than any other is that this game is fundamentally different any other games you're probably used to. This is not really a game. It's a storytelling activity with a very thin veil of "rules" applied and few mechanics tacked on to make it look like a game.

I think you may be thinking of this as a true rule-based game and so you're finding all these problems, holes, and missed issues. You stated, "The fact that these [issues] weren't covered by the printed rules is evidence that the rules aren't as comprehensive as they could have been..."... I think this is really missing the whole point of the game. It's not supposed to have a comprehensive set of rules... the rules are just there as a guideline or scaffolding to lend some structure.

The FAQ provides a "Golden Rule" to interpreting the "official" rules: "Whatever makes for the most entertaining story, makes for the best game." In other words, don't worry about the rules... or make up your own rules... or adjust the rules each time you play as needed for that particular group.

I'm sure this is not the answer you're looking for, but I strongly feel that this game is not supposed to be an exercise in "playing it correctly by the rules" but just having a fun experience with the story.
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Rob Bell
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Perfect response, DenverWolf. I completely agree.
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Great photos Ender - wonderful to see your family enjoying this game! I'm waiting for the UPS guy to deliver my copy today whistle

While waiting, I've read a lot of comments and questions about rules. It seems that the spirit of this game is found in its story telling. If you have a confusing situation, talk with the other players and come to a consensus about the best way around the issue. Do whatever makes the most sense for the story you're telling. For example, I read in one of the threads that someone was sent to the dungeon while they were at sea. They decided to interpret this as going to the brig onboard of the ship - that made more sense for the situation they were in.

So, even without playing the game yet, I think I would agree with Denverwolf's answer.

I can't wait to play this!
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I have no idea why people have so many questions about this game. I may have come across a couple confusing situations which were easily cleared up by the rules book, but that's about it.

Carefully reading the wording of the cards helps. Maybe playing Magic:TG tournaments has sharpened my rules comprehension?

#4 will be cleared up by reading over the rules governing Origin markers.

#3 - Yes, Determined can be pretty powerful in the right situation. Whether it's over-powered is kind of a non-issue. It's about the story, and the fun. Of course, competition can be part of the fun as well, in which case it is a matter of opinion (I personally don't find it to be overwhelmingly so).

#1 "Fated" seems straight-forward. Gain 4 Story and/or Destiny Points. Yes, it will (almost always) be over more than one turn. You should not take into account any losses as the card simply states that you must "Gain" those points.

#2 "Respected" seems simple too. Any of those times you roll a die to choose something from a list, you can choose to re-roll it. Without looking at it, you might even be able to re-roll ANY result - including "Destiny" modifiers. Just read the card. You're most likely to use it with City Encounters, one of the Places of Power, or a handful of normal encounters that involve a multi-level outcome.

#5 There is no marriage of the same-sex. Take the word "Princess" and change it to "Prince". Say "He" instead of "She". If you change sex at any time, deal with it the way that makes people laugh more. Either annul the marriage immediately, or wait until your spouse sees you next, at which point they leave you weeping in the streets.

#6 You can manipulate the use of Destiny Points and gain Story Points through use of the "PVP" variant. Find it on the Zman website. You don't generally lose SPs; DPs have more radical swings. There are also statuses that affect the accumulation of certain types of points. There are many reasons to choose a goal other than 10/10.

I hope it helps. Read carefully and just feel out the rest.

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The points made about this game primarily being a story-telling experience are well taken. I agree with them and support the suggestion to adopt whatever house rules lend themselves to shape the best stories and fun gameplay. But that doesn't invalidate my contention that with a bit more polishing, the existing rule-set could have addressed many of the commonly asked questions. If the clarifications covered by the lengthy FAQ had been incorporated in the rules, for example, many of the questions being raised about the rules would not have been asked in the first place. It's completely fair to ask how the designers intended certain aspects of the mechanics to be played, since the game has obviously received the benefit of playtesting, and one can expect an optimal experience if certain cards and abilities are played as they were intended by the creator and publisher. Example: certain quests are conditional upon a "successful encounter", but nowhere did the rules themselves define this - including the definition from the FAQ in the rules would have been a good improvement.

But as I conceded in my original post, this is a relatively minor issue as far as I'm concerned, and the main purpose of my post was to get some direction on some specific rule questions. My question about how the card "Respected" should function, for example, in reply to which Jonathan Burd suggests:
Dr. Burd wrote:
#2 "Respected" seems simple too. Any of those times you roll a die to choose something from a list, you can choose to re-roll it. Without looking at it, you might even be able to re-roll ANY result - including "Destiny" modifiers. Just read the card. You're most likely to use it with City Encounters, one of the Places of Power, or a handful of normal encounters that involve a multi-level outcome.
Thanks for your reply and comments Jonathan. But is "Respected" intended to be applied that broadly? Here's the card:



I'd like to hear from others how they play this. Until now we've limited it to Award Paragraphs that themselves require a die roll, such as when attempting to slay the Vizier in the example below:



Or is the intention that Respected also allows re-rolling when drawing an Encounter card and rolling to determine what kind of Encounter it is? (surely not, if you don't like what happened when you dealt with a Beautiful Hag, surely you can't just start your turn over, re-roll and find that you're encountering a Disguised Hag instead?). And that it allows re-rolling of the Destiny Die?
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Darrell Pavitt
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I've always used it to change which award paragraph you get, not any results within that paragraph (as in your example).

It makes sense that "respected" would allow you avoid certain social situations, not make you some sort of super-assassin (in this case).
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Yes, Enders, you have the right idea. Reading it clarifies the situation. Change a roll for an award paragraph. That would include City Encounters, but not Destiny Die rolls.

A "successful encounter" is described somewhere. I can't recall whether it's in the rules or the FAQ. It shouldn't take you too long to look it up.

Basically, if you finish an encounter without dying or getting moved to a new location, it was successful. An encounter where little to nothing happens can be successful. An encounter where you are wounded, cursed, and sex-changed can be "successful".
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Sheldon White
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We had the same question as you had at number 4 about Origin markers.

The rules don't cover it (the word origin occurs twice and in neither instance does it tell you anything about their use).

However, the FAQ does cover it:

Quote:
"The Destination and Origin markers: Many things in the game will instruct you to place your Destination or Origin marker in a location. For instance, if you get the Married status, you will mark your "home" by placing your Origin marker on the nearest city. If some other game effect forces you to move your Destination or Origin marker, you lose the effect (i.e. the status) associated with that marker! (If you are playing with the storytelling variant: If you can cleverly work the loss of the earlier status into your story, you should certainly claim a small reward for your cleverness.)"

So if you are married and then become vizier you lose married unless the origin marker stays in place (which would happen if the encounter or action providing vizier has the origin marker already nearby and in the nearest city).

Sorry, I just can't agree with people about the desiribility of rules that really on player discussion to resolve lots and lots of issues. This is a pretty simple mechanic and a very common occurence that should have been covered in the rules.

It's not unusual for things to be overlooked in production and the designers have provided good support by including it in the FAQ.

Cheers
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EndersGame wrote:
6. Is there really any point in selecting anything other than 10 Destiny & 10 Story points at the start of the game? Can you really determine the course of this anyway, and aim for one rather than the other?

While there is little control, you do get to see your initial quest before choosing your winning conditions. So, if you have a quest that appears reasonably easy and provides, say, 3DP, you might want to require more DP than SP to account for that bump.

Still, you're right, 10/10 is generally the way to go.
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Sobriquet wrote:
EndersGame wrote:
6. Is there really any point in selecting anything other than 10 Destiny & 10 Story points at the start of the game? Can you really determine the course of this anyway, and aim for one rather than the other?

Still, you're right, 10/10 is generally the way to go.

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DenverWolf wrote:
[All this very much IMHO:]

To answer the question asked in the subject of your posting: I think the reason you have more rule questions about this game than any other is that this game is fundamentally different any other games you're probably used to.

While that's true, a large part of the matter is that Tales is what I call an "exception-based" game, following in the great steps of Cosmic Encounter (one of the favorite games of the designer, Eric Goldberg, and of my own self). When you take even a relatively simple game and then add layer on layer of chrome by breaking its rules in weird ways, you open the door to odd conflicts, clashes, and contradictions. The fact that the game is supposed to make "story sense", in some ways, makes these conflicts harder to resolve, rather than easier--a weird timing conflict in Cosmic will not be as jarring, in a story sense, as figuring out the interaction of "Sex-Changed" and "Married".

When we worked on the computer version of Tales--a lifetime ago--we shook out some of these contradictions, and I think that the third edition of the boardgame is stronger for that (and for the years of independent playing that developer Anthony Gallella performed)--but we didn't catch them all.
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Dr. Burd wrote:
Sobriquet wrote:
EndersGame wrote:
6. Is there really any point in selecting anything other than 10 Destiny & 10 Story points at the start of the game? Can you really determine the course of this anyway, and aim for one rather than the other?

Still, you're right, 10/10 is generally the way to go.

thumbsdownshake

Since you're not a real doctor, I won't take your condescension seriously.

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Sobriquet wrote:
Dr. Burd wrote:
Sobriquet wrote:
EndersGame wrote:
6. Is there really any point in selecting anything other than 10 Destiny & 10 Story points at the start of the game? Can you really determine the course of this anyway, and aim for one rather than the other?

Still, you're right, 10/10 is generally the way to go.

thumbsdownshake

Since you're not a real doctor, I won't take your condescension seriously.


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Anjohl wrote:
I can GUARENTEE you that "Respected" Simply allows re-rolls for paragraph-induced rolls during encounters.

Too bad you cant GUARANTEE it, too.

And yes, the FAQ clarifies that Respected is used as Jason describes. I literally had a player walk out of a game because we had misinterpreted this (this was before the FAQ was released or before we had the FAQ). He had an absolute fit that we would use it to re-roll encounters and the fate die. We basically said "Hey, its a fun game. If we're wrong, we'll do it right next time. Its no big deal." Well, it was a big deal to him. And, as it turned out, he was correct.

Meanwhile, the 3 of us who remained just continued the game and had fun. This guy is a good friend and one of my best gaming buddies, but I won't play ToTAN with him anymore.
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Joshuaaaaaa wrote:
Anjohl wrote:
I can GUARENTEE you that "Respected" Simply allows re-rolls for paragraph-induced rolls during encounters.

Too bad you cant GUARANTEE it, too.

And yes, the FAQ clarifies that Respected is used as Jason describes. I literally had a player walk out of a game because we had misinterpreted this (this was before the FAQ was released or before we had the FAQ). He had an absolute fit that we would use it to re-roll encounters and the fate die. We basically said "Hey, its a fun game. If we're wrong, we'll do it right next time. Its no big deal." Well, it was a big deal to him. And, as it turned out, he was correct.

Meanwhile, the 3 of us who remained just continued the game and had fun. This guy is a good friend and one of my best gaming buddies, but I won't play ToTAN with him anymore.

...This must be Shannon... (lol)
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Joshuaaaaaa wrote:
the FAQ clarifies that Respected is used as Jason describes.
Where, please? I can't find it!
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I had a session report where I talked about using the celestial telescope (nukes a city) and what happens to the origin marker for being married, could I nuke my wife so I didnt have to keep going home


Also we have adopted the play to the sum of 20 to resolve the game length issue, playing with kids its nice to make it more of a fixed time. We had a game where I had a total of 30+ before I met the numbers I picked.

Edit, and sexed changed sucks balls. The last game we played I was changed on my first turn and couldnt get rid of it for the entire game. Meanwhile my daughter became changed then a couple of turns later was returned to normal state. This prompted us to adopt a 3 status limit.
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GeorgeTSLC wrote:
Joshuaaaaaa wrote:
the FAQ clarifies that Respected is used as Jason describes.
Where, please? I can't find it!

There is a link to it in the "Links" section of the game listing.

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I have both the West End Games version and the Z-Man version, so I will refer to both where that helps reduce the confusion.
EndersGame wrote:

1. How do you get rid of "Fated"? Can the points required be accumulated over several turns from the time you get the card, or must they be earned in a single encounter?

How to lose Fated changed significantly from the West End Games version to the Z-Man version. The West End Games way to lose Fated was to get a Q:S result. Since Q:S results have been removed from the Z-Man version, they replaced it with getting 4 Destiny and/or Story points. Since the card does not say 'in a single encounter' like Envious does, I would say that the points are accumulated over time.
It might be more fun to require this to be in a single encounter.
Note that since no die roll is used, the player choosing what you encounter may choose a result you could not have gotten by the die roll. (he may choose #1 when you are in a 4 space, for example)

EndersGame wrote:

2. How exactly does "Respected" work? In what instances precisely may you re-roll the dice, as permitted by this card?

In the West End Games version, Respected was 'In any encounter with Humans from Matrix A-D, H, or J, you may roll a second time for an award paragraph if you don't like the first result. The second roll stands'. This makes it pretty clear that the roll is the Destiny die.
The Z-Man version says 'In any encounter in which a die roll is involved, you may roll a second time for an award paragraph after it is read to you if you don't like the first result'. This is essentially the same thing - the roll is the one to choose an award paragraph. The only non-rare roll that chooses an award paragraph is the Destiny Die.

Therefore, when Respected, you may re-roll (once) the Destiny die if you don't like the result. If you used a Master level skill rather than rolling, you are stuck with whatever you got.

EndersGame wrote:

3. "Determined" seems awfully powerful - are we playing this correctly that if you don't like an Award paragraph, you just choose another response? (permitted once each turn). If so, isn't that over-powered?

Not really - this is the sister skill to Respected. Unless you have a lot of skills, this only gives you another chance to get a better result. Having Both Respected and Determined is fairly powerful.

There was one skill in the West End Games version that WAS over-powered: Blessed. Since Blessed allows you to look at the book of tales and choose the # you roll and the West End Games version used a normal die rather than a Destiny Die, Blessed worked as a Super-Master skill - you would read the 3 award paragraphs and choose a roll that would give you the one you wanted. You then had a 50% chance of keeping the status. With the use of the Destiny Die, Blessed has been reduced from a super-powerful status to a nice-to-have status (it affects what you get on the first 117 tables in the book of tales and when a die roll is required for any other reason, but doesn't allow you to guarantee a good result from an action)

EndersGame wrote:

4. "Vizier" and "Married" both require an Origin marker in a city - how do you resolve this if you get both statuses?

The Z-Man FAQ resolves this - you lose the earlier status.

The West End Games version had 2 origin/Destination counters, and I once had both of these statuses. If you read the requirements, that meant that I could not end my turn in any city other than those 2 cities (after having an encounter in the vizier city, the next city encounter had to be my spouse, and vice versa).

EndersGame wrote:

5. The rules are very explicit that Courting is not permitted with a person of the same sex. Yet they don't seem to address at all the even more common occurrence if you're a female player given a quest that requires you to marry a princess. How is marriage with someone of the same sex to be handled?

In that situation I would make it a quest to marry a prince. Note that Z-Man games has chosen to use 'he' as the generic pronoun in the Book of tales to make the text more elegant. I would apply that to the quest cards, too.
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Another thing to consider with respected, I don't think you should tell the player there's a better result or how hard it is to make the roll. Indicate a roll is required, read the result, and then ask the player if they want to reroll because of their status.


Regarding some of Ender's other questions:

6 - It does make a difference whether you pick story or destiny for your award totals. For example, the crippled status which reduces your movement by 1, doubles all story point rewards. I almost won a game with a Story of 12 and Destiny of 8 because I got the crippled status early in the game and racked up a lot of story points. Unfortunately, I was ensorcelled one move away from Baghdad and forced to move away from it for 3 turns.

I have no advice as to the ratios to pick. Some games I've had a hard time acquiring story points. Other games it was destiny points.

7 - One way to use the Morning, Afternoon, and Evening tracks is to roll a die at the start of the game (1-2 Morning, 3-4 Afternoon, 5-6 Evening). Or just agree to rotate the status between each game (1st game starts at morning, 2nd at Afternoon, 3rd at Night).

I've seen in other BGG threads that the encounters aren't significantly harder so it's more a variety issue when people start to get familiar with the Tales.

8 - Any encounter that doesn't force you to leave the space is considered successful per the FAQ. That means you could suffer a bad result - such as losing a Destiny point and acquiring the Wounded status - and still succeed at the encounter.

9 - In your seamanship example you can move 4 spaces by water but only 3 of the moves can incorporate land spaces. Movement is a min/max situation in Tales. You can move *up to* the higher number but are limited by the lower one. If you don't use any of the terrain type for the higher movement rate then you're bounded by the lower one.

Thematically, the game is saying rich people have a large retinue attending to them so they move slower on land but faster on water because they use ships instead of boats.

10 - Sex changed is devastating. It doesn't get the same kind of ire that Grief Stricken does because it doesn't come up as often in the game and doesn't create the "No Skill" negative feedback loop early in the game. It does prevent you from winning and I've one seen one game where somebody's gotten rid of it.

Here's how my board gaming group handled some of the interactions with the Married status:

A.) If you are sex-changed, you are still married. You must still return to your spouse when you visit cities; however, you can't add any children to your family.

B.) You can court someone who is the opposite of your current sex. The Tales are full of stories with clever or deceitful protagonists so this would be keeping true to the theme. Perhaps the sex-changed Sinbad decides to marry the rich merchant to abscond with his wealth. He will use the wealth to buy a potion from the all-powerful Wizard to change himself back to normal.
 
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I really feel the FAQ should have also addressed 'Determined' and 'Respected' as both these statuses are causing a lot of confusion among players. There are multiple threads in the rules forum about these, and they have multiple answers but the answers are all over the map so there is no general consensus. After reading through it all for the last 40 minutes, I'm just as confused and uncertain as I was before.

I have also seen answers in this rules forum from peole involved with the development of the game, even Mr. Z himself - but none have given any definitive clarification on how these statuses are meant to function. In fact, I haven't seen a thread where they even mention it.

One of the major problems is they both refer to an 'award paragraph', but nowhere in the rules is an award paragraph mentioned.

Please Z-man - give us a clear and concise wording for these 2 status cards so we know exactly what their intended function is!

Thank you
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paralysisanalysis wrote:
One of the major problems is they both refer to an 'award paragraph', but nowhere in the rules is an award paragraph mentioned.

I think you should read Scott Kinzie's post above (the first response), dude. The award paragraph is any paragraph which ends in you receiving an award, e.g. "S1/D1/Lost". Simples!
 
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abredon wrote:
Note that since no die roll is used, the player choosing what you encounter may choose a result you could not have gotten by the die roll. (he may choose #1 when you are in a 4 space, for example)

For the sake of future generations I'll pop in to note that this is not correct, in earlier editions at least. The result of the roll is chosen, not the modified end result. Choosing 1 on a +4 space would result in 5 plus any Destiny point modifier.
 
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Jo Bartok
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I think for respected the intended way is to re-roll the destiny die (+/-/_). Reason is that it refers to the result paragraphs and those are usually bound to the destiny die. You do not chose a reaction by random, you usually have a plan involving your skills. So when you assume there can be made use of beguiling and a paragraph instead asks for stealth and stealing, you reject the paragraph and retry the dice (it could be same roll for 33% chance).

I have to admin though, that it is not precise by any means. Just an interpretation. And I do agree, many wholes here and there and I found some as well during my first play-throughs.
 
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