New Rules: Blood on the Water

There’s a new book coming! New books = new rules!

We’ve already had a look at some of the core rules changes coming this Friday when Blood on the Water drops. We’ve even had a look at some of the factions and what the balance pass means for them.

But what about the actual book itself?

Well Blood on the Water is crammed full of exciting new stories and jaw-dropping artwork, but its also got its own share of rules as well.

The core rulebook is included in Blood on the Water, but there are some brand new advanced rules as well.

Like what? Well one of the most exciting new additions are the Reactions.

Reactions

This is a brand new mechanic in Blood on the Water, which offers players a new opportunity: to do things when they’re not meant to!

We’ve all been on the receiving end of a Noble Strigoi who is using all 3AP to launch a flurry of Combat actions against us. And up until now, you’ve just had to sit there and take it. But no longer!

Reactions are advanced rules. They’re not optional, but they’re not strictly mandatory. Like all of Carnevale, the game is about telling your own story your way. You don’t have to use Reactions, but we think they’re an amazing addition to the game. Whatever you decide, it’s best to get a firm grasp on the basics before you include them.

Reactions may be done in reaction to an opponent’s action (makes sense so far). However, doing things when it’s not your turn can be very powerful, so they’re not free. Each Reaction costs a character 1 Will Point. Remember that Will Points are a finite resource, so you have to use them at the most opportune time. That might be saving your bacon with a Reaction!

There are six Reactions to choose from, each useable in a different situation. Each has its own rules, but there is one rule that applies to ever reaction: a player may only react once per action, and cannot react to another reaction!

Most of the Reactions are relatively straightforward. Bolster for example sees your character dig in and make sure they cannot be moved. Reactions never add additional dice to your rolls (Will Points do that anyway), but frequently make your rolls easier.

Bolster means you roll Aces on a 5+ rather than a 7+ when being Grappled or Drowned, which can save lighter characters from an untimely death, or stop stronger characters being affected at all.

When you’re hit by a Combat action, why not try a Dodge? This Reaction makes your character much harder to hit. Very useful to make your large monsters take less damage, but most useful when done by someone with high Dexterity. A Capodecina would go up to DEX 8 for this attack, which makes them almost impossible to hit!

These are just two of the more straightforward Reactions. There are loads of options. You could use Withdraw to get a free disengage out of combat, or even put your Will Points into a cheeky Quick Attack to try to stop that Rhino on its last Life Point before it hits you.

Will Points are going to become much more useful in Blood on the Water! Lucky that there are several sources to replenish them now, like Companion.

Advanced Terrain

The tabletop itself is getting a glow up in Blood on the Water!

Last week we released the Construction Apparatus which tipped our hand a little bit. In fact, there are three full pages dedicated to new scenery types, in addition to the ones added to the core rules.

As with the Reactions, these terrain options are labelled as advanced. They’re not for your first few games, and we’d advise not using every single type of terrain in each game!

We’ve had a lot of people asking exactly how ziplines work, so we’ll spoil those for you today. They’re incredibly easy!

A little behind the scenes gossip: we went through several iterations of ziplines. In fact, we went through several iterations of all of the new scenery. We started with very complex rules, and then over time simplified them down to find the sweet spot. Carnevale is a game all about movement, so bogging it down with overly complicated rules means the main focus of the game becomes sluggish and you have to have your nose in the book every other action.

So instead: if you move onto a zipline, you immediately move to the bottom, or can let go at any point. It’s an incredibly fun and easy way to get down to ground level, or between two buildings.

We’ve been using light fishing line for our ziplines and tightropes (I’m not spoiling those today). It’s light and easy to set up.

Boats!

Everyone’s been eagerly waiting on the side of the dock to cast off in Blood on the Water. We are releasing boats for every faction this Friday!

In the rules, we have two types of water craft: Ships and Boats. Ships are huge vessels like galleons that do not have any specific in-game rules. They’re treated just like scenery. Of course, with rules for climbing ropes and ladders, your rigging is covered. Ziplines and tightropes cover the rest of the sails. And counter-weight lifts are a great addition for getting to the top of the mast (I’m not spoiling those either).

Boats are smaller, and can be sailed. You can even buy them as upgrades for your gang as pieces of Equipment!

When you have a character at the wheel of a Boat, they gain access to a unique Command Ability:

Cast Off allows you to relocate your entire gang across the board with ease. 2 Command Points is extremely pricey to do so, and regular characters cannot be deployed on Boats, so you’ll have to have some good coordination.

However, characters with the Boat Crew ability (of which we’ve seen a few already) can be deployed on Boats, and decrease the cost of the ability while simultaneously increasing the distance travelled!

It’s worth noting that you can’t use the Cast Off ability if there are any enemies on your Boat, so a carefully placed Avignon Guard will have to be thrown overboard first.

It’s also important to note that Boats don’t technically belong to a gang, so an enemy can sail your Boat away if you leave it unguarded!

Okay, so there are boats and ships. But there’s still something missing…

That’s right, cannons! Cannons are new type of scenery called Objects. And they’re not the only type of Object, although we’re not spoiling any others. In fact, the Object rules have been written in a very open way, and we’d encourage anyone out there to make up their own Objects!

Cannons can of course be fired, and we’ve gone all out with three different types of cannon shot that can be loaded. Some do colossal damage, some knock people over, and of course you can just fill them with whatver junk you want and call it grapeshot.

Gang Upgrades

We’ve mentioned that you can buy a Boat for your gang. It’s a piece of Equipment.

Well there are also a couple of new pieces of Equipment included in Blood on the Water, and we’ve made some tweaks to the current ones as well.

Lanterns for example have the added bonus of removing Hidden counters from anyone within 6″. They’re also 1 Ducat cheaper than before, as are Gondolas.

All of the new and current Equipment is in the Item Cards deck, which is available on Friday.

Equipment isn’t the only way to upgrade your gang anymore though!

Artifacts

A brand new type of item, Artifacts are rare pieces. They’re mostly unique (or extremely expensive to make), so the chance of having many is very slim. A gang can choose to purchase a single Artifact during gang creation. As with most of what we’re talking about today, Artifacts are advanced rules as well, since they can get quite tricky.

The Shard of the Idol will be familiar to lore-hunters, and is actually a nod to the first edition of Carnevale! Giving someone Water Creature can entirely change how they play in-game. That’s why it costs 10 Ducats!

Artifacts, unlike Equipment, are given to a single character at the start of the game. They have that Artifact all game, and cannot give it to someone else. If they are killed, the Artifact goes along with them.

As you can see from Barattieri’s Dice, Artifacts can be extremely powerful, although sometimes they have their own drawbacks.

There are ten Artifacts in the book (and in the new Item Cards deck), so choosing the one you want in each game is going to be the tricky part.

It’s not going to be hard to go over your Ducat limit with all these options. Luckily, we have just the thing…

Ill Tides

Based on a great idea from the community, Ill Tides are like anti-equipment. If you go over your Ducat limit when building your gang, rather than taking out a whole character, you can give your opponent some Ill Tides.

Ill Tides are advanced rules as well though, so make sure your opponent is okay with them first!

It works like this: if your gang is up to 5 Ducats over the limit, your opponent draws 1 Ill Tide at random at the start of the game. If you’re 6-10 Ducats over the limit, they instead get to draw 3 Ill Tides! Ill Tides are kept secret, and your opponent gets to use them whenever they like. This is what you get for having an advantage!

Some of the Ill Tides, like Rotten Debris, act kind of like trap cards. They happen at the most inopportune times (if your opponent plays them correctly). On their own they aren’t the most powerful abilities ever, but if used at just the right moment, they could swing an entire game!

Some Ill Tides affect both players equally, like Acqua Alta above. Of course, the player holding it gets to choose when to use it though, which gives them the advantage. If you see your opponent clambering off the ground, they may well have an Acqua Alta card up their sleeve for next round!

There are 10 different Ill Tides, which are all listed in Blood on the Water and also part of the Item Card deck.

How about that? Some exciting new rules to add to your games, and even more options when building your gang. All of these advanced rules are available exclusively in Blood on the Water (and all the cards are in a single deck of 33!). If you haven’t heard, it’s out for pre-order on the TTCombat webstore this Friday!

What do you think? Are you keen to add some magical dice to your game? How about a Boat? Or are you just keen to make your opponent’s gang eat some bad spaghetti? Let us know, and stop back all week for more rules!

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