[CRL] The difference between Monsters and Villians

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I can find no description in the rulebook on the relationship between Monsters and Villians.  I surmise three options: One, Villians are a subset of Monsters; two, Monsters are a subset of Villains; or three, Villians and Monsters - as categories - are completely independent of each other.

If Villains are a subset of Monsters, how much XP does one receive for defeating a Villain? Should Villains go twice during the Villain phase (i.e. once when Villains activate, and again when Monsters activate)?

If Monsters are a subset of Villains, should Monsters activate twice during the Villain phase (as described above)?  Should one draw a Treasure card after defeating a Villain?

If Villains and Monsters are categorically unrelated, do attack powers (and other cards or effects) that specifically target Monsters not affect Villains?  Again, should one draw a Treasure card after defeating a Villain?  Does the party receive any XP for defeating Villains?

Any insight is appreciated.
This, like too many of the rules for CR, is a hazy issue. The best conclusion seems to be:

(1) If "Villain" and "Monster" were treated as completely separate terms, then the game is virtually unplayable because none of your heroes' powers can affect villains. (All of them refer to attacking "monsters".)

(2) This would also be true if "Monster" were a specialized form of "Villain".

(3) Ergo, it makes the most sense to read "Villain" as being a specialized form of "Monster". Thus, anything that can affect a "monster" or "monsters" also applies to villains.

With that being said:

(1) You do not get XP for defeating a villain because no XP reward is listed on the villain's card.

(2) Villains should NOT go twice during the Villain phase. During Step 2 of the Villain Phase you activate Villains. During Step 3 of the Villain Phase you activate monsters that you control. Villains are a type of monster, and therefore you would activate any villains that you control. But no player controls a villain, so that will never happen.

(3) Monsters are not villains, therefore they don't activate during Step 2 of the villain phase.

(4) Because villains are monsters, you DO get a treasure card for defeating a villain. (This can be further supported by the second and third sentences under "Treasure Deck" on page 13: "Strahd is both powerful and greedy, as are his minions. When you defeat a Monster, you gain a Treasure Card..." Strahd, you'll note, is a villain.)
This is one of many examples of how this game requires you to read between the lines and to use your own judgement. It is a case of needing to stop reading the rules word for word and to decide what makes sense. The attacks that your heroes do have got to affect both monsters and villains. Otherwise, you could not win a scenario in which there are villains like Strahd or Gravestorm in play. The creatures who have the thicker, larger stat cards such as Strahd, Gravestorm, Young Vampires, Werewolves, Zombie Dragons and Flesh Golems are villains. The creatures who have the thinner smaller cards such as the Blazing Skeleton, Spiders, Zombies etc. are monsters. Besides that difference, think about how it would go in a D&D story. The vampires, dragons, werewolves and such would be more intelligent and would be the bosses or leaders of the dumber creatures like skeletons, spiders, kobolds and such. In the Villain Phase of your turn, these smart leaders would have higher inititive and would act before the dumb minions do. With this game, you have to think as both a player and a Dungeon Master. There are cases where better rules writing and maybe a few examples would help, this is true. But, all you need to do in most cases , is to think the situation through and do whatever seems to make the most sense. As with all D&D games, the rules are made to be bent. As long as the other people playing with you agree with it, you can do just about anything you want really. D&D has always been like that. Having tried to make my own board games from scratch before, I know how amazingly difficult it is to write instructions. There are so many “what if’s” and “what about’s” to consider that it is hard to catch them all. Every time my friends and I played my new games, we’d find some new bug or confusing bit.
(3) Ergo, it makes the most sense to read "Villain" as being a specialized form of "Monster". Thus, anything that can affect a "monster" or "monsters" also applies to villains.

Agreed.  However, several of your conclusions are incompatible with this approach.  For example:


(1) You do not get XP for defeating a villain because no XP reward is listed on the villain's card.
...
(4) Because villains are monsters, you DO get a treasure card for defeating a villain. (This can be further supported by the second and third sentences under "Treasure Deck" on page 13: "Strahd is both powerful and greedy, as are his minions. When you defeat a Monster, you gain a Treasure Card..." Strahd, you'll note, is a villain.)

Your arguments here are incongruous.  The rules say you get Treasure Cards for killing Monsters; they also say you get Experience Points for killing Monsters (www.wizards.com/dnd/files/Castle_Ravenlo... Page 14).  Furthermore, the rules state that "the tougher the Monster, the more Experience Points it provides."  Villains are without question tougher than regular Monsters.  Why then should the party receive fewer Experience Points for defeating them than minions?

If both Treasure and Experience are awarded for defeating Monsters, why would you get one but not the other for defeating a Villain?  If Villains are Monsters, you should get both Treasure and Experience.  If Villains are not Monsters, you should get neither.

(2) Villains should NOT go twice during the Villain phase. During Step 2 of the Villain Phase you activate Villains. During Step 3 of the Villain Phase you activate monsters that you control. Villains are a type of monster, and therefore you would activate any villains that you control. But no player controls a villain, so that will never happen.

It would be more accurate to say every player controls Villains, at least insofar as they also "control" Monsters.  The word "activate" is used for both Villains and Monsters.  If players "control" Monsters but do not "control" Villains (despite activating both), that would seem to indicate that Villains are not Monsters.

Your arguments here are incongruous.  The rules say you get Treasure Cards for killing Monsters; they also say you get Experience Points for killing Monsters (www.wizards.com/dnd/files/Castle_Ravenlo... Page 14)



Paraphrasing rules will usually lead you astray.

What the rules actually say is: "Heroes can earn Experience Points by defeating Monsters. When you defeat a Monster, the Hero who controls it puts that Monster Card in the Heroes' Experience Pile. Each Monster Card lists the Experience Points it provides."

(1) The rules say "can earn", not "must earn".

(2) Nobody controls a Villain, ergo there's no one to put its Monster Card into the Experience Pile.

(3) Villains don't have Monster Cards, they have Villain Cards.

(4) Even if we assume #2 is just the rulebook being vague and that Villain Cards should be considered a type of Monster Card, it doesn't matter. Go ahead and put the Villain Card in the Experience Pile. It is worth the exact number of Experience Points listed on the Villain Card... which is nothing because Villain Cards don't have an Experience value listed on them.

It would be more accurate to say every player controls Villains,



That would actually be completely inaccurate. The rulebooks never refer to any player controlling a villain.

The word "activate" is used for both Villains and Monsters.



Yes. But not the word "control", which is the term we were discussing.
(1) The rules say "can earn", not "must earn".

Actually, you've misquoted the rules.  They just say "earn," not "can earn" (nor "must earn").

(2) Nobody controls a Villain, ergo there's no one to put its Monster Card into the Experience Pile.

(3) Villains don't have Monster Cards, they have Villain Cards.
...
That would actually be completely inaccurate. The rulebooks never refer to any player controlling a villain.

That completely ignores your assertion that Villains are Monsters.  If Villains are Monsters, then Villain Cards are Monster Cards.  And you're right, the rules don't refer to controlling Villains, but they do refer to controlling Monsters.  If a Villain is a Monster, and Monsters are controlled, then a Villain must be controlled.  And if a Villain must be controlled, it must be controlled by someone.

On the other hand, if a Villian is controlled by no player, then who makes decisions for the Villain in the event of a choice?  For example, when the Flesh Golem is adjacent to more than one Hero, who decides which Hero it attacks if not the player controlling it?

(4) Even if we assume #2 is just the rulebook being vague and that Villain Cards should be considered a type of Monster Card, it doesn't matter. Go ahead and put the Villain Card in the Experience Pile. It is worth the exact number of Experience Points listed on the Villain Card... which is nothing because Villain Cards don't have an Experience value listed on them.

That's very nearly my concern: the rules are not just vague, they're inconsistent... or at the very least, incomplete.  If we're going to assume that the rules are incorrect somehow, it's just as easy to assume the Villain cards are incorrect as the Rulebook.  Or both, for that matter.


(1) The rules say "can earn", not "must earn".

Actually, you've misquoted the rules.  They just say "earn," not "can earn" (nor "must earn").



Interesting. I was quoting from the PDF I downloaded from WotC's website awhile back, but looking at my printed copy I see that the text is different.

On the other hand, if a Villian is controlled by no player, then who makes decisions for the Villain in the event of a choice?



The active player is the one who activates the card, and therefore the active player is the one who makes the decision. You're mixing the use of "control" as a term of art in Castle Ravenloft with the English definition of "person who exercises authority". This is also a really bad idea when interpreting game rules.

That's very nearly my concern: the rules are not just vague, they're inconsistent... or at the very least, incomplete.



The rulebook is frequently inconsistent. But not in this case.

Interesting. I was quoting from the PDF I downloaded from WotC's website awhile back, but looking at my printed copy I see that the text is different.

Well, this wouldn't be the first time Wizards has done that.  

The active player is the one who activates the card, and therefore the active player is the one who makes the decision. You're mixing the use of "control" as a term of art in Castle Ravenloft with the English definition of "person who exercises authority". This is also a really bad idea when interpreting game rules.

I think you're missing the point: If Villains are Monsters and Monsters are controlled, then Villains are controlled - regardless of the definition of the term "control."

Or have you changed your position that Villains are Monsters?

I think you're missing the point: If Villains are Monsters and Monsters are controlled



False premise: The rulebook never says "all Monsters are controlled".
False premise: The rulebook never says "all Monsters are controlled".

Oh, come on.  You should know better than that.

First, you're technically right: The rules don't say "all" Monsters are controlled.  They just say "Monsters are controlled" (or words to that effect - I can cite the rules directly if necessary).  The rules don't need to specify "all" Monsters; the language they use means the same thing.  If the rules indended that only some Monsters were controlled, then they would need a specific caveat.

Second, the premise at hand isn't whether some Monsters are controlled or all of them - that is specified by the rules and is indisputable.  The premise we're discussing is whether Villains are Monsters.  Again, we are working under the assumption (and I say assumption because it isn't explicit in the rules) that Villains are Monsters because the alternative results in enough problems to make the game unplayable.

However, our assumption does raise several questions.  For some reason, you've gotten hung up on the control issue; I personally think it's obvious, but I understand that what is obvious to some is obscure to others.  We've gotten away from my original question, which was whether Treasure and Experience are awarded for defeating Villains.  I think it's apparent that they should be (based, again, on the assumption that Villains are Monsters); the only real question is how much, and that question is only pertinent to Experience since only one Treasure card is awarded at any time.
They just say "Monsters are controlled" (or words to that effect



No. They don't. I just looked again and you're still operating from a false premise.

We've gotten away from my original question, which was whether Treasure and Experience are awarded for defeating Villains.  I think it's apparent that they should be (based, again, on the assumption that Villains are Monsters); the only real question is how much, and that question is only pertinent to Experience since only one Treasure card is awarded at any time.



The rules are crystal clear on this point: "Each Monster Card lists the Experience Points it provides."

At this point there are two possibilities:

(1) "Villain Cards" are a type of "Monster Card". (Note: The rules don't say this and there's no reason for it to be true.) If so, go ahead and put the Villain Card into the Heroes' Experience Pile. It's worth the number of XP printed on the Villain Card. Since no XP is listed, villains are worth 0 XP.

(2) "Villain Cards" are not a type of "Monster Card". If so, you don't put a Villain Card into the Heroes' Experience Pile. Which means that villains are worth 0 XP.

Either way, villains are worth 0 XP.

Not much else to say about the matter at this point.

Gentlemen, I too was irked by the holes/inconsistancies in the rules. I read as a rules lawyer would, and found much ambiguity in certain areas. I believe the rules are designed lightweight as it sends us to the forums, threads and chats. Yes it seems like an inventive way to market a product, but it actually brings players closer together, it gets us talking.

My background is original DnD so I apply that logic when I can't find a comprehensive rule. Example, I award exp for villans as thats the reward for defeating an adversary. level 5 villan=5exp. I haven't played enough yet to say for sure, but the hard games seem unwinnable playing any other way.

The rules are much more clear in Conquest of Nerath, but boardgamers don't agree that Dnd rules should apply because it adds complexity.

What reason should you not get exp for a villan, other than the text isnt found ? Are the hard games winnable without the reward? Thats what I want to know.


Gentlemen, I too was irked by the holes/inconsistancies in the rules. I read as a rules lawyer would, and found much ambiguity in certain areas. I believe the rules are designed lightweight as it sends us to the forums, threads and chats. Yes it seems like an inventive way to market a product, but it actually brings players closer together, it gets us talking.

My background is original DnD so I apply that logic when I can't find a comprehensive rule. Example, I award exp for villans as thats the reward for defeating an adversary. level 5 villan=5exp. I haven't played enough yet to say for sure, but the hard games seem unwinnable playing any other way.

The rules are much more clear in Conquest of Nerath, but boardgamers don't agree that Dnd rules should apply because it adds complexity.

What reason should you not get exp for a villan, other than the text isnt found ? Are the hard games winnable without the reward? Thats what I want to know.


For what it's worth, I went ahead and adapted my games to get experience points from villians, equal to their level. I mean come on! You earn that **** for slaying something like a Dracolich!

But yeah, the rules have some errors. I think there is a bad typo in one section where it says EXPERIENCE, but the word was supposed to be ENCOUNTER..