Watchful Natives

WATCHFUL NATIVES

The Watchful Natives optional rule removes the "sucker punch" attack on natives. A similar rule ("Melee Luring") was used from the beginning with the First Edition Rules by Richard Hamblen, the game designer, but was left out of the Second Edition Rules at the last minute. The purpose of the rule is to prevent the unfettered slaughter of native groups that is possible by shrewd application of the Second Edition Rules on assignment of battling natives and targeting by characters.

Optional Rule: Watchful Natives

1. Unhired natives that are unassigned at the end of random assignment, or become unassigned when they are left behind by a character who runs away, are termed to be "watchful" against surprise attack. When an unhired native is assigned to a Melee Sheet (either his own or someone else's), he immediately stops being watchful. Monsters and hired natives are never watchful.

1.1 If a watchful native is targeted by a character in the Melee Step, the attacked native and all other watchful natives from the same native group as the target are immediately put on the character's sheet and attack normally in that round. Exception: if the character remains hidden by making his Hide roll under the Ambush advanced rule, the natives of that group remain unassigned and watchful.

1.2 If a character deploys a minion (hired native or hired or controlled monster) against a watchful native, all watchful natives of the target's group are immediately assigned to attack the character. The character finishes deploying his minions before the watchful natives are assigned. Those unhired natives who have a minion deployed against them are assigned to fight the deployed minion and stop being watchful.

1.3 In 1.1 and 1.2 above, if the character is hidden or is not in the clearing, all the watchful natives will be assigned to any unhidden minions the character has in the clearing as in Random Assignment (Rule 8.3.5a.3 [34.3/2b]) If the attacking character and all his minions are hidden (for example if the character attacks from Ambush and passes his hide roll) the watchful natives remains unassigned and watchful.

Designer's Notes and Comments:

1. The Watchful Natives Optional Rule does not change the present rules (8.3.4e and 8.4.2d.7 [30.4 and 32.7/5]) that say that if a character lures or targets an unhired native or has one of his hired natives lure or deploy against an unhired native, the target native's group is battling that character for the rest of the day. We didn't add it into this rule because it's redundant with existing Second Edition rules.

2. Part 1.1 does not imply that Watchful Natives will attack a hidden character. In the Second Edition Rules a character who targets an individual in the Melee Step immediately becomes unhidden (Rule 8.4.2b.4 [22.4/1b]). The Ambush Advanced Rule is an exception to this as explicitly covered in 1.3. [To make this clearer, we have added the Exception to rule 1.1.]

3. It is possible for some members of a native group to be watchful and others not to, but only in the following case. Berserker lures two Soldiers, Amazon lures the other two and runs away. The two Soldiers that are standing at the edge of the clearing staring at the Amazon's dust are watchful. If another character targets one of them, the other one joins in defending him. On the other hand, the two Soldiers that are assigned to the Berserker are not watchful (they're fully engaged in trying to kill the big guy). So if the Berserker (or any other character!) targets one of the unwatchful Soldiers on his sheet, the other two Soldiers who were "lured and left" don't attack him.

4. The natives become watchful after Random Assignment (or after their target runs away) because we want the Luring/Random Assignment phases to go as usual. We don't want all the natives to pile onto the first character that lures a native! That would destroy the purpose of luring. A character (or his hirelings) can still lure one or more unhired natives and leave the others unassigned. As soon as he does, of course, he will be battling the natives for the rest of the day. After everyone else has a chance to lure, Random Assignment will occur and all battling natives will be assigned to a target (if there is a battling character or one of his hireling unhidden in the clearing).

5. Natives are watchful of all characters, not just those that are battling them:

Example A: The Berserker is battling Soldiers (rolled Block/Battle at Sunset) but is hidden. The Soldiers are unassigned and watchful at the end of Random Assignment. In the Melee Step he targets one of the Soldiers, becoming instantly unhidden (Rule 8.4.2 b.4 [22.4/1b]). His target and all the other Soldiers pile on his sheet and counter-attack him in the same round (Watchful Natives Optional Rule).

Example B: Berserker is not battling the Soldiers. Soldiers are unassigned and watchful at the end of Random Assignment. In the Melee Step he attacks one of the Soldiers. He is now battling the Soldiers for the rest of the day (Rule 8.4.2d.7 [30.4]). In addition, his target and all the other Soldiers pile on his sheet and counter-attack him in the same round (Watchful Natives Optional Rule).