Thrall of the Voice: Character Play Restrictions

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the Jabberwock
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Thrall of the Voice: Character Play Restrictions

Post by the Jabberwock » Sun Mar 24, 2019 7:58 pm

THRALL OF THE VOICE ‐ Permanent‐event (C)
[SP: 1]
Instead of a normal character, during your organization phase you may bring into play one character (including a minion agent) with up to a 6 mind. Place this card with the character. ‐1 to his mind to a minimum of 1. Such a character may also be in your starting company.
It is debatable whether or not this card was intended to over-ride the normal requirement for characters to come into play at their home site or a haven AND under direct influence or at the same site as your avatar.

So... did ICE design this card to simply allow 6 mind character play and minion agents? Or did they intend for it to be even more powerful and allow Celeborn to come into play at Wose Passage Hold? Which interpretation is best for game play? Which interpretation has historically been upheld?

I propose a vote to issue an official clarification:
Thrall of the Voice supersedes the normal rules for character play.
OR
Thrall of the Voice does not supersede the normal rules for character play.
Reference Topics: https://councilofelrond.org/forum/viewt ... =16&t=3491 & https://councilofelrond.org/forum/viewt ... ice#p12574

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Re: Thrall of the Voice: Character Play Restrictions

Post by Shapeshifter » Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:38 pm

Hmm, it seems to me that both options given do not comply with the way I think the card is commonly used/played, this is:
It allows Orcs/Trolls to be played but home site restrictions etc. still apply.

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Re: Thrall of the Voice: Character Play Restrictions

Post by Zakath » Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:37 pm

This is another example of ICE's super-sloppy wording. It's my opinion that this card was intended to do only two things: allow FW access to 6 mind characters, and/or allow the play of agents at Wizardhavens instead of only at their home site. All other requirements for such a character needed to be met normally. I've always felt like the ruling that Thrall could be used to play an Orc/Troll was wrongly decided. The only other cards which fit into the 'stage resource which allow a FW to play Orcs/Trolls' category (A Strident Spawn and Bad Company) mention them specifically. This card doesn't.

Looking into the history, I can't even find the original ruling. Chad Martin ruled on the Orc/Troll thing multiple times when he was NetRep, but referred to an original ruling by Brian Wong, but I don't know where it is - it doesn't seem to be in the collected NetRep digests.

It's also irritating because Open to the Summons was printed in the same set, and yet they managed to word it more clearly.

Honestly I have a hard time seeing how the justification used for the Orc/Troll exception wouldn't extend to things like influence requirements and location requirements, except that for some reason it was arbitrarily ruled that way one time.

I feel like to match the way the card is typically played, it needs errata. It should say 'including a minion agent, Orc or Troll' and 'at their home site or any Wizardhaven'. I also wouldn't mind if we took this opportunity to strip the card of the Orc/Troll thing instead. I don't think a Troll-chief squatting at the Ettenmoors all game is something we would miss all that much.

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Re: Thrall of the Voice: Character Play Restrictions

Post by the Jabberwock » Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:01 am

Shapeshifter wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:38 pm
Hmm, it seems to me that both options given do not comply with the way I think the card is commonly used/played, this is:
It allows Orcs/Trolls to be played but home site restrictions etc. still apply.
Zakath wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:37 pm
I feel like to match the way the card is typically played, it needs errata. It should say 'including a minion agent, Orc or Troll' and 'at their home site or any Wizardhaven'. I also wouldn't mind if we took this opportunity to strip the card of the Orc/Troll thing instead. I don't think a Troll-chief squatting at the Ettenmoors all game is something we would miss all that much.
Thanks guys for your input.

How about a 2-part poll for this issue?
Ballot Item # 1:
Do you think Thrall of the Voice should allow the play of an Orc or Troll character without Bad Company in play?
A - Yes
B - No
Ballot Item # 2:
Do you think Thrall of the Voice should allow a character to be played at any site, rather than adhering to the normal requirements for character play?
Normal requirements are:
- Character must be brought into play either at his home site or a haven
and
- If your avatar is in play, the character must be brought into play at the same site as your avatar or under direct influence.

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Re: Thrall of the Voice: Character Play Restrictions

Post by rezwits » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:25 am

I like quite a bit...👍

NO & NO (& NO, after the "this is not WhCtK/ACM")
You probably aren't playing Agents correctly 8) <- need a rule thread for this tho...

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Re: Thrall of the Voice: Character Play Restrictions

Post by CDavis7M » Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:02 am

At this point, shouldn't A Chance Meeting, Thrall, OttSummons have errata corresponding to their usage?

Are we to say that a card altering (1) character site playability rules in the rules and (2) character home-site playability restrictions on certain cards are somehow able to also override specific rules for (3) character phase playability in the rules and (4) limitations on the number of characters played per turn in the rules, without the card specifically mentioning such rules?

A clarification was issued last year. Most everyone agreed that the card should be played this way, and that these rules are overridden, but a clarification was issued instead of errata. This is not a good framework for interpreting playability allowances of other cards, as we see here.

Otherwise, Bounty of the Hoard would not require entering the site. Nor would it require a character to tap to play the item. It is weird that the community will accept A Chance Meeting as an exception. Issuing a clarification instead of errata seems to perpetuate the misunderstanding that ACM is actually setting a standard for playability allowances.

There should not be allowances for some cards to supersede rules not mentioned on the card itself. If we agree that Thrall should be played this way, and is played this way then it should be amended to reference such rules eg "(even an Orc or Troll)"

And if cards without corresponding text can supercede rules, then can they not also supercede text of other cards? Can Burat, Wuluag, and Tuma not be played in the starting company using Thrall? This is just too far. Even if Thrall were amended to allow Trolls to be played, such text should not be able to override limitations on other cards without specific mention of such limitations "(even characters that may not be included in a starting company)".

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Re: Thrall of the Voice: Character Play Restrictions

Post by rezwits » Sun May 12, 2019 6:02 am

Just make sure that, (konrad had a list somewhere), that this card (Thrall) is a Alteration card, i.e. alters a part of the game. Meaning this does not allow an addtional "Bringing in of a character" it only alters your "You may bring a character into play..."
You probably aren't playing Agents correctly 8) <- need a rule thread for this tho...

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Re: Thrall of the Voice: Character Play Restrictions

Post by Theo » Sun May 19, 2019 6:54 am

To add to the OP related links:

Historically, CoE #39, #50, #51, #63, #98 supported that Orcs and Trolls could be played with this card. It is this precedent which implies that the "instead" (while I think it could be semantically interpreted otherwise) should be interpreted as a replacement play mechanism, which was the basis for my reasoning in the first linked thread for the character being able to be played anywhere (that a site card can be supplied).

Voting that Thrall of the Voice does not supersede the normal rules for character play would either invalidate decades of precedent or be logically inconsistent. I'm all for the former; I'm all against the latter. I'd like to better understand (though probably impossible) what the original intent of the card was, and if it was deliberately reinterpreted, why.


Interestingly, I recently found this contradiction:
Rules Digest 55 wrote:>Can Thrall of the Voice be played to play a Troll character when Bad Company is
>not in play?

No.
So now I wonder whether this has all been an accidental misunderstanding perpetuated by Chad Martin? As Zakath mentioned, CoE #39: "Brian ruled that [you can play orcs and trolls with Thrall of the Voice], and I support the ruling." Can anyone track this one down?
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Re: Thrall of the Voice: Character Play Restrictions

Post by Konrad Klar » Sun May 19, 2019 7:19 am

>Can Thrall of the Voice be played to play a Troll character when Bad Company is
>not in play?

No.
True. Thrall of the Voice cannot be played to anything. It is just played, without specifying a purpose, or a target.
We will not speak of such things even in the morning of the Shire.

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Re: Thrall of the Voice: Character Play Restrictions

Post by Theo » Sun May 19, 2019 7:32 am

Heh. Indeed, I was interpreting the response as being to the question "played and then used to play...", which I think is a valid if awkward parsing.
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Re: Thrall of the Voice: Character Play Restrictions

Post by rezwits » Sun May 19, 2019 7:52 am

When it comes to WHERE; the answer is WHERE you can "normally play a (agent) character" to get the INSTEAD

The normal rules apply for where.

Thrall says you can play an Agent, fine, "normally, play him at his home site/haven, with your avatar", guess what? He can have a 6 mind.

If you don't have an Avatar in play, you can play the 6 mind agent, at his home site. There is NO COMPANY with Thrall it's just out there floating.

The only cards that SEEM to change WHERE you can play a character are A Chance Meeting (ACM), We Have Come to Kill (WhCtK), and Open to the Summons (OttS) (agents). They actually list sites ON THE CARDS...

Open to the Summons says you can play an Agent at your HAVEN.

I don't see, how, when a CARD ABSOLUTLY does NOT HAVE the TEXT/LANGUAGE on the card, it gets dragged thru the mud, and is like a novella.

My understanding is pretty clear.

Thrall of the Voice, DOES NOT HAVE, ACM/WhCTK language, nothing close.
Thrall of the Voice, DOES NOT HAVE, important OttS site specific Language.

Thrall of the Voice, is Thrall of the Voice, it's kind of bad (pun intended) that it got the Bad Company ruling, but that is understandable.

(side note, I read the CoEs #39, #50, #51, #63, #98, and it's just for starting characters and orcs...
I mean for crying out loud,
if you didn't have your Avatar in play,
you could just play a guy ANYWHERE!,
Thrall, Carn Dum, Character, GO! heh)

There's no restriciton of Where? heh wow A Super Chance We Have Come to Thrall!

You play the character where you Normally Play, it's just that the Character doesn't have to be normal, k night!

"You're reading into things" - Old Roomate I used to live with (name withheld) Smartest thing he ever said...
the cards are just getting shredded after 20 years of use, people want them to do more than FACE VALUE

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You probably aren't playing Agents correctly 8) <- need a rule thread for this tho...

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Re: Thrall of the Voice: Character Play Restrictions

Post by CDavis7M » Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:59 am


rezwits wrote: There's no restriciton of Where? heh wow A Super Chance We Have Come to Thrall!
LOL!

As I mentioned for Open to the Summons, the rules cannot be overridden unless by explicit declaration (unless you are special like a chance meeting and we have come to kill).

Whether a character is "normal" depends on alignment. Trolls and 6+ mind characters are not normal for fallen wizards (eg, not allowed by the rules). Agents are not normal characters for all alignments.

I interpret thrall to only override the rules defining (1) what types of characters can be played and (2) where agents can be played.

There is nothing in the card that explicitly overrides the requirements to only play 1 character per turn and only in the org phase (in fact, it repeats this rule, which was not uncommon for ICE).

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Re: Thrall of the Voice: Character Play Restrictions

Post by Theo » Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:29 pm

If one respects the language used on the cards rather than making up their own game using them, Thrall of the Voice is a very different card from Open to the Summons.

Anyway, Chris, what is your logic for allowing Thrall to change where agents may be played but not to change where non-agents may be played? The text says "including a minion agent", not "and minion agents in particular get a unique benefit."

To quote my earlier thread:
Theo wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:00 pm
Indeed, normally:
MELE p58 wrote:To play a character, you must have enough general influence or direct influence available to control the character. In addition, you must meet both of the following requirements:
* If the character is not an agent, you may only play him at his home site or at any Darkhaven site. If the character is an agent, you may only play him at his home site.
* If your Ringwraith is in play, your Ringwraith (or a character with enough direct influence to control the character to be played) must be at the site at which the character is to be played.
The restrictions are written in terms of being able to play the character. This means that "where" a character may be played is inherently tied to "which" character may be played, in contrast to my understanding of the sentiment in the above linked post.
If, on the other hand, all of these requirement are not considered part of playing a "normal" character (and so not being replaced by Thrall's "instead of" mechanic), then:
* how does A Chance Meeting avoid the Avatar requirement? Maybe it shouldn't.
* what does "the Character doesn't have to be normal" mean? Perhaps this was meant to speak to the 5-mind limit and no orc/troll Fallen Wizard restrictions? But it doesn't mention those any more explicitly.
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Re: Thrall of the Voice: Character Play Restrictions

Post by CDavis7M » Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:41 pm

A Chance Meeting does not avoid the avatar requirement, only We Have Come to Kill does. ACM requires DI while WHCTK can use GI as well.

As for "normal" characters, I think we can safely refer to the character section in the White Hand rules for Fallen Wizards.
Characters – You may use both hero and minion characters. However, you may only use a character if
his mind attribute is 5 or less. All of your non-Orc/-Troll characters are considered to be hero characters. You may only use up to two of each non-unique character.
Thus, "normal" for a fallen wizard includes hero characters with 5 mind or less and non orc/troll minion characters with 5 mind or less.

And, I don't know if this has been discussed, but presumably Thrall cannot be played with a "normal" character to reduce their mind, due to its use of "instead of".

But would Thrall enable you to play a 3-mind agent? Are agents not "normal"? I would think they are normal, just with Homesite restrictions in the rules. Whereas orcs are not allowed to be played by FW by the rules themselves but my specific cards (though of course the rules discuss special rules to use for FW that play cards to enable play of orcs)


Presumably the phrase "(even a minion agent)" has the same meaning as "(even a Hobbit)" in A Chance Meeting. Meaning that the card overrides the Homesite requirement

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Re: Thrall of the Voice: Character Play Restrictions

Post by Theo » Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:46 pm

Right, right; memory lapse on A Chance Meeting. Previously comment relevant to WHCtK GI only.
____
CDavis7M wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:41 pm
And, I don't know if this has been discussed, but presumably Thrall cannot be played with a "normal" character to reduce their mind, due to its use of "instead of".
I see your rationale, but I disagree. A character can be brought into play with Thrall of the Voice instead of bringing a character into play without.
____
CDavis7M wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:59 am
Agents are not normal characters for all alignments.
CDavis7M wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:41 pm
Are agents not "normal"? I would think they are normal
Not surprising contradictions since "normal" characters aren't defined. I would argue the only non-normal characters in the game would be created by other cards, which don't exist outside the treatment of allies as characters (like Gold Chains in the Wind).

"Normal" character play is defined (not as a key term, but in terms of the base rules defining character play).

The problem comes back to ambiguous parsing. Both valid in English:

"Instead of an old dog, I bought a cat." => I (bought ((a cat) instead of (an old dog)))." === Thrall swaps what character is played
"Instead of an old dog, I bought a cat." => I ((bought a cat) instead of ([buying] an old dog))." === Thrall swaps the character play action for its own

I believe Thrall is written more as the second of these. "During your organization phase you may bring into play one character with up to 6 mind" is kept together as a whole phrase in contrast to the alternative, suggesting a whole new way to bring a character into play.

The first parsing would have been a stronger bet in my mind if the text read something like: "When playing a character during your organization phase, you may instead play any one character (including an agent) with up to 6 mind." This would be clearer that only the character is being swapped within the context of a normal character play action.
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