CoE Digest #204 - Q6 The Balance of Things

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How does The Balance of Things actually work?

Many players have wondered over the years about the exact mechanics of The Balance of Things, and specifically how it interacts with various cards that initiate “abnormal” corruption checks (such as Covetous Thoughts).

For reference, this is the original text of TBoT:
Unique. Each character has the corruption points doubled for one of his sources of corruption (the player controlling the character chooses).
However, this original ICE templating is not clear as to whether a player may choose a new source to double nor the timing of that choice if it is possible. Regarding choosing new sources, Van notes in ICE 571 (and reiterated in COE 49) that players must choose a new source to double if the originally chosen source leaves active play, and furthermore that they are allowed to choose a new source to double each time the character makes a corruption check (neither of which are particularly clear in the original templating):
ICE 571 -
If a player chooses to double Cram’s CPs because The Balance of Things, and discards it, should that player choose a new source?
If The Balance of Things becomes a permanent-event, is the source choosed only once or every turn?
Once per corruption check.
COE 49 -
I assume that a character chooses which of his corruption sources will be doubled by The Balance of Things when TBoT resolves, and there are no recalibrations if that source goes away or another one is added while TBoT is in play.
The Resource player does choose, and he can choose a different source for each corruption check, if he wishes.
Regarding the timing of that choice, normally applying a modification to an entity’s attribute would be an action and thus TBoT’s effect would theoretically (as originally templated) be a passive condition that comes into effect when TBoT resolves; however, re-choosing for a corruption check needs to be done in response to the corruption check being declared (during the same chain of effects) and thus can’t follow that expected passive condition timing.

Finally, the following was added to the CRF as far back as CRF 4:
Balance of Things may be revealed as an on-guard card so long as at least one character in the company during whose site phase Balance of Things is revealed carries at least one corruption source.
The term “carries” seems like an unnecessary specification from the character just having a corruption source generally, but ultimately the original templating of TBoT clearly does not convey how the card is supposed to be played. To that end, and after careful consideration, this committee has decided to update the CRF for The Balance of Things as follows:
Each character’s controlling player must choose to have the corruption points received from one of the character’s sources of corruption to double for that character. This choice may be changed immediately before the character makes a corruption check. If played on‐guard, this card may be revealed when a company containing a character with at least one corruption source attempts to a play a resource that would tap the site.
The key point here is that TBoT doesn’t actually affect the source of corruption, but rather affects the corruption points that the designated character is receiving from that source. In practical terms, this means that if a second character must make a corruption check using the CPs from the first character’s doubled source, the CPs are not doubled for the second character because the choice of what to double is done for each character separately and then only applies to that particular character. Therefore, for a card like Covetous Thoughts, the targeted character makes a corruption check for each item in the company not borne by the targeted character, but then for each corruption check must choose to double one of the targeted character’s other sources of corruption (since, it is worth noting, the item from Covetous Thoughts is not an actual source of corruption for the character but rather a modifier to the Covetous Thoughts roll)

Note that this overturns CoE WEEKLY RULINGS/CLARIFICATIONS #18. [Q2]

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