A selection of Experimental and House Rules that can be applied to most Editions of Talisman
Talisman Restriction in Outer Region – contributed by Marcin Pędich
To encourage players to spend more time in the Middle Region, you cannot obtain a Talisman in the Outer Region.
If you do, take a Quest Reward card (if you have any expansions that include something similar) or a Purchase card.
Region Restriction Variant – contributed by Jonathan Eckley
Players may only use their movement roll to enter a corner board region if they start their turn on the corresponding Outer Region space:
City -> City Region, Ruins -> Dungeon, Forest -> Woodland Region, Crags -> Highland Region
The Shadow Realm may not be entered unless the player begins their turn on the Corresponding space:
Thieves’ Alley -> Old Sewers, North Side Alley -> Rat Run, Cavern -> Catacombs, Tunnel -> Skull Passage, Ravine -> Dwarven Highway, Thicket -> Elven Labyrinth
Players may exit corner board regions and the Shadow Realm using normal rules.
Players may not use their movement roll to enter a corner board region on their starting turn.
Terrain Cards: If a corner board entrance space (City, Ruins, Crags, Forest) or a Shadow Realm entrance space (Thieves’ Alley, North Side Alley, Cavern -> Catacombs, Tunnel -> Skull Passage, Ravine -> Dwarven Highway, Thicket ->Elven Labyrinth) has a Terrain card on it, players may enter the corresponding region using normal movement rules UNLESS the Ruins, the Forest, or the Crags has a duplicate terrain card on it (example: if Terramorph is cast on the Crags and a Crags Terrain card is placed, the Region Restriction house rule would remain in effect for entering the Highland region).
General House Rules (including character sheets) – contributed by Khepratum
1. Characters can gain max. 10 points of Life.
2. Characters can gain max. 15 base points of Strength.
3. Characters can gain max. 15 base points of Craft.
1. Character can only have 1 carrying animal at the time (a Mule or Horse and Cart).
2. Character can only have 4 Followers at the time.
3. Character can have max. 3 Dragon Scales in the same colour at the time.
4. Character can discard a Spell without activation using 1 Fate token for this operation.
3. Warlock’s Quests
1. Character draws a random quest from a deck. It cannot be chosen.
2. Character can deal with only 1 quest at the time. However, 3 additional quests cards can be collected and queued.
3. Instead of queuing a new quest, Character can exchange the undesirable one. Discard this quest to Warlock’s Quest deck, draw a new one, shuffle a deck.
4. Game Mechanics
1. The hardcore immediately-death effect (Reaper) is changed for losing 3 points of Life.
2. Character rolls a dice for Evade: 1 or 2 means success.
3. Weapons and Followers add Strength / Craft points only in a case of battle.
4. Character cannot use a Shield, if uses two-handed weapon (Bow, Battle Axe, Greatsword).
5. Character with a Helmet can use it after losing a psychic combat.
6. Character cannot enter the City (expansion board) without at least 1 coin of gold.
7. Druid may change alignment only at the end of his turn.
8. Troll, Ghoul, Minotaur and Ogre Chieftain can enter the city only by pying bribe: 1 coin.
9. Under the threat of punishment (1 turn in Jail or 2 gold coins of bail) Character cannot use a Spells or charming, steal, bribe or attack other Character in the streets of City (board).
10. Dragon King gains 1 scale permanently each time Character loses a battle with an enemy from his deck. Such scale adds 1 point of Strength and 1 of Craft to this Dragon’s stats.
11. Character must abandon a Horse and Cart in case of entering the Dungeon (does not apply to Mule).
12. Character can use neither the Riding Horse nor Warhorse in Dungeon, Woodland and Highland (boards). However, this Followers don’t have to be abandoned.
13. You must gather your party before venturing forth. LOL, just kidding.
5. Characters’ Interaction
1. During an encounter Characters with the same alignment can trade instead of fighting.
2. Characters can barter only Objects (including Dragon Scales tokens) and gold.
1. By exchange of trophies Character can gain only 1 point of Strength or Craft per turn.
2. Character may exchange trophies only at the end of his turn.
3. Increasing Strength or Craft from trophies costs your current value +7.
7. Fighting the Bosses
After unsuccessful attack Character loses 1 point of Life and has to deal with negative effect of enemy’s Special Ability. After that the turn of Character ends. A fight can be continued in further turns with a current condition of stats.
(see chart in download below)
8. Prices in Shops
(see chart in download below)
Dead Character can be resurrected in Chapel (good / neutral) or Cemetery (evil). This operation costs 1 Fate token and full current amount of Character’s gold (min. 1 coin is required). Resurrected Character has 1 point of Life and starting stats of Strength and Craft. All of Character’s equipment is placed on the space where the Character was killed. Such Character loses all of Followers (discard pile). Objects on Mule or Horse and Cart are lost too (discard pile). Spells of resurrected Character are distorted and have to be rejected (discard pile). Character can now draw a new Spell cards, if only has the right to do so (check Special Abilities on sheet).
Dice off at Setup – contributed by Artaterxes
We have a dice-off (each player rolls 1 die) and the winner (highest) decides if he wants the Dragon standard ending, a revealed ending of his choice, a random revealed ending, or a random hidden ending.
We have another dice-off and the winner decides if he wants characters to be fully random or three dealt and one chosen.
We have a third dice-off and the winner decides which of the four Omens he wants to use.
General House Rules – contributed by Bludgeon
– Place Dragon Inner Realm over standard Inner Region.
– Randomly determine Dragon King and put the crown on it.
– Randomly put a Dragon Scale face down (so no player knows which one is it) on each space in Middle Region.
– Put three Warlock Quests on his space for visitors to choose from. Works just like Wanted Posters.
– Each character begins with three movement tokens.
– We don’t play with either Reaper or Werewolf.
– We don’t use Alternate Endings.
– We vote whether to use Harbinger and which Prophecy.
– Everybody choose who they want to play.
– Some cards are removed, mainly from Adventure deck (about 100-150 cards in total, mostly cards that slow down the game without any benefits, multiple copies, cards that copy spaces, cards that cause turn loss, cards that can grant Talismans, cards that reference Werewolf, cards that are complicated but don’t do much).
– Characters finishing Warlock’s Quest may reap reward immediately and without teleporting. They get either a random reward or a Talisman.
– Movement tokens can be spent by players after they have rolled for move but before the moved. The character can then move a number of spaces up to the roll, like with clockwork owl. Players replenish 1 movement token whenever they increase their Strength or Craft.
– Increasing Strength or Craft from trophies costs your current value +1, instead of flat 7.
– Being turned into Toad doesn’t cause to drop Followers, Objects etc. but you still can’t use them while toadified.
– On expansion boards characters must move clockwise at all times.
– When a character in Middle Region walks onto a Dragon Scale, he decides whether to reveal it and draw from Dragon deck, or encounter space normally.
– Whenever a character loses to an enemy from a Dragon deck, that Dragon gets a scale. Dragon with most scales is a King. Each scale add 1 to his Strength and Craft.
– At Tavern, instead of rolling you may replenish movement tokens at price 1 token per 1 Gold.
– At Forest and Crags, if you roll 4-5 it works like normal “draw 1 card” space.
– New prices in shops. Changes include: Stiletto (2), Full Plate (5), Battle Axe (6), Flail (7 and only one is available), Mirror Shield (2), Crystal Sceptre (3), Helmet (1), Sword (1), Shield (2), Axe (2), Armour (3), Mule (3). Mule and Water Bottle can be purchased in village.
– Raft doesn’t disappear, stays on board and can be used multiple times.
General House Rules – contributed by gatorcoffee
For Hidden Endings (optional) – Must complete* all 4 corner Regions before reaching Crown of Command – blocked as with Warlock Quest if instructed to go there by board or event. Instead sent to Portal of Power.
*Encounter the ending space if required. Entry into these regions does not have to be through the main entrances.
Weapons do not count for strength or craft requirements not involving combat (Portal of Power, Mines, etc.), only non-weapons (ring, crown, amulets, etc.) followers and strength/craft counters(this is a clarification that has to be brought up on a regular basis, so it’s stated for all to see beforehand).
Pit Fiends have Strength 8 instead of 4.
No Warhorse or Weapons to open Portal of Power.
Stiletto (or other Trinket Weapons) may be used with other one handed Weapons (2 Weapon rule).
Two-handed Weapons (Greatsword, Battle Axe, etc.) cannot use Trinket Weapons or Shield.
Maps are Trinkets and do not count toward carry limits.
Talisman, Amulets, Compass, etc. are Trinkets and are worn.
Helmets and Armour are worn, not carried.
Shields are carried and therefore require a free hand.
Warhorse costs 6 gold (take it or leave it. I got other customers waiting).
Cannot use Warhorse or Riding Horse in Dungeon or Deep Realms, though they and Mules can be taken in to those regions.
Cannot use Riding Horse for movement into a space and then immediately use Warhorse to “charge into battle”.
No using Riding Horse in City (yes, you can use the Warhorse there. Please stop asking.)
Must “dismount” from Riding Horse when entering Dungeon. (ex: roll a 10, but 7 reaches Dungeon Doorway, movement ends at 7 on first Dungeon space).
Can only ride Riding Horse up to the Cliff space in The Highlands or the Dense Forest in The Woodlands (any spaces after are too dangerous or difficult for fast riding).
Blizzard does not affect Dungeon or Deep Realms.
Renegade takes the gold of the person who draws it (if applicable) or lands on it.
General House Rules – contributed by gazgoblin
a) Exploding dice in combat: if you roll a six and the outcome is not a win or a stand-off then you can fight for your life with the exploding dice rule (means you can add another dice to your attack every time you roll a six) This is true to the creatures aswell.
b) Instead of paying 7 every time to upgrade, we pay x+1 where x is the current value of the stat you wanna raise.
c) If someone defeats the Sentinel then other players do not have to do it again. If someone picks or shatters the lock on the door to the Inner Region the other players do not have to do it again.
General House Rules – contributed by Osbo25
a) If you land on the Reaper or the Werewolf, you must encounter it.
b) You may only ride one Warhorse at a time (though you may own as many as you can afford).
c) You must have a Talisman to enter the Crown of Command, even if you can get there without going through the Valley of Fire.
“Realistic” Carrying – contributed by Osbo25
The Bag of Carrying already does this, but we also play that any items that are kept on a Mule, Horse and Cart, Porter, Miner, etc. are lost if the item holding them or the Follower carrying them is lost.
So, for example, if your Horse and Cart is stolen by the Horse Thief, everything in the Cart is stolen, too. Or if your Mule falls down the Chasm, everything on the Mule falls with it.
A more active Reaper – contributed by Mirella van Emmerloot
We’ve got a houserule for The Reaper since we only play a two player game and with the official rules The Reaper barely comes in to play.
Whenever we roll a 1 or a 6 for our move we get to move The Reaper. If we roll a 6, The Reaper automatically teleports to the opponents character.
Reaper & Werewolf Movement – contributed by warpish
With each expansion board added it has become easier and easier to avoid the Reaper and Werewolf. Most of the time when you move them they can’t reach any character.
Instead of moving the Reaper or Werewolf normally, you may move them to any characters space not in the inner region. If moved in this way, the character does NOT roll on the Reaper/Werewolf chart (the character is only being watched at this time).
Only if the Reaper/Werewolf move normally by die roll onto a character does he roll on the chart.
Resurrection – contributed by AxisNoire
When a character dies, if he/she has one fate remaining, it can be used for resurrection. Good and neutral characters resurrect at the chapel, while evil characters resurrect at the graveyard. They resurrect with strength and craft stats intact, and their fate and lives are replenished. However, all objects, trinkets, and gold are left on the space where the character died. Followers wander to the discard pile.
Exploding dice – contributed by jediknightamoeba
During battles that are impossible to draw or win you can treat all die rolls of 6 as open-ended (exploding). This allows you to roll the die on a 6 adding this result to the 6 as well.
Move one space – contributed by jediknightamoeba
Rather than rolling the dice, you may always move one space. For all intents and purposes you are considered to have rolled a “1” on the die, so all effects must be resolved as though a 1 was rolled.
General House Rules – contributed by Borealian
a) Each player gets to draw three characters randomly and then pick one of these at the start of the game.
b) Whenever you are turned into a slimy Toad, you remain thus for two turns instead of three. This means it is much easier to recover your stuff before someone else loots you. We also decided that the Toad King must hop two steps away after toadifying a player, instead of his normal three.
c) The cost to increase Strength or Craft is the same amount of points of trophies as the aspired level, to a minimum of 7 points. So, to gain your ninth strength counter, you must pay nine strength points of trophies. To gain anything below your eighth counter will still cost 7 points. If we want a quicker game we remove the minimum cost, but that has only happened once.
Nerfing the Scribe – contributed by wmtheta
After a player with a Scribe follower and Spellbook gained the “take three successive turns” spell, we decided to house rule the Scribe as follows:
“If you have 2 or more spells, you may give the spell to your Scribe after you cast it and discard 1 of your other Spells in its place. The Scribe may cast the spell whenever you wish (treat the spell as though you had cast it), after which it is discarded.”
Still pretty powerful, but no longer game breaking. I’ve seen that some people just remove the card, but I hate removing cards.
Dicing off for characters – contributed by Flint Sound
Instead of choosing our character at random we like to dice off to see how gets to choose first from the character deck. Then we take it in turns to pick whoever we want, the only condition is that you cannot pick a character you have already won with. (Until everyone has won with that character, then they are up for grabs again.)
We really noticed a huge boost in our enjoyment of the game when we did this, as there are so many characters now everyone gets something fun and you can always choose a new approach to the game if it interests you. Such as, Strength based one week, then Craft based the next and the Merchant after that.
General House Rules – contributed by Aaron Tubb
a) The Grim Reaper and the Werewolf will kill a Stranger, Enemy or Follower of your choice if you move it to a space with no character.
b) Each vault space in the Dungeon starts with 3 gold on it.
c) At the City Gate space, you can choose to discard any number of Wanted Posters instead of taking one.
d) Instead of “You can cast as many spells on your turn as you started your turn with”, I prefer “You cannot cast a spell in the same turn that you gained it”. Simpler, slightly more hindering to spell-cyclers, but doesn’t change how many spells you can cast a turn.
Dungeon Rules – contributed by warpish
a) When you defeat the Lord of Darkness, draw two Treasures and choose the one you wish. Shuffle the other back in the Treasure deck.
b) When you defeat the Lord of Darkness, roll an eight sided die to see where you are teleported to instead of how much you defeat him by.
c) When you land on the Monster Pit space, keep drawing Dungeon cards until the required number of enemies are drawn. No Treasures to be found there!
General House Rules – contributed by Taranthor
a) Fate can be used to increase any dice roll by 1 instead of re-rolling, but cannot exceed 6.
b) You may move 1 space for your move instead of rolling, however the next player gets to move the Grim Reaper and the Werewolf (We normally play that they roll 2 dice and choose which dice applies to each NPC.)
c) The Sentinel can be passed even if you lose the battle, however you miss your next turn if you choose to do this.
d) The boat can be used to ferry back from the Temple to the Tavern for 1 gold. (Ferry Costs)
e) Players can trade in trophies at a ratio equal to their current Strength or Craft (or +1). The increase still applies when trading in more than one at once.
f) If a player rolls a 1 at the Crown of Command they must miss a turn.
g) After a set time limit, all Adventure cards on the Outer Region are discarded and all “Draw Card” spaces are disabled. Players can freely move between the Temple and Tavern and across the Sentinel bridge.
Rolling a d10 with the D6 for movement – contributed by jediknightamoeba
We roll a D10 along with the D6 for movement with the following effects:
1. Activates the Grim Reaper
2. Activates the Werewolf
3. Day/Night Changes
4. Invokes all cards that turn to be drawn from Grilipus’ deck
5. Invokes all cards that turn to be drawn from Varthrax’s deck
6. Invokes all cards that turn to be drawn from Cadorus’ deck
7-8. Draw a dragon token at the start of your turn and resolve its effects
9. All cards this turn are drawn from the Nether Deck
10. You are lucky, no effect this turn!
Because of the cards automatically being drawn from the Dragon decks we do not place Dragon tokens on the board. Instead, when a Dragon is made dragon king the player that placed the token, that made the Dragon King, gets a Dragon Scale and the others are placed back in the pool.
New board for Dragons Expansion – contributed by DomaGB
Get an extra Highlands board. Attach it to any space you prefer, but from the middle region may be best. In this new Highlands, you will draw a Dragon token for any cards drawn. Place that token on the space and that space will now draw that kind of dragon token.
This is the only place to draw Dragon cards. However there are cards that will send dragons out to other spaces, like the temple and castle and such. This is fine or you can take those cards out.
We did play with Dragon rage, if you pulled a dragon rage token, you would get rage from the last Dragon who had his token pulled. And that’s how we kept track of the King.
We also put all 3 Dragons as the end space encounter, and you could win Talisman beating all 3 at once or going to CoC.
Simplified Crowning of the Dragon King – contributed by sanityismyvanity
Draw a Dragon Token at the beginning of each turn as normal. The first Draconic Lord to have 3 Scales placed on it becomes the Dragon King for the remainder of the game. On subsequent turns where a Scale for one of the two other Draconic Lords that are not the current Dragon King are drawn, simply ignore and discard them.
This variant reduces the number of Scales clogging up the board spaces and being claimed by players by 2/3rds, and the game takes on a thematic flavour where all Dragon deck encounters are of the same variety for an entire game.
Using the Dragon King as a Guardian – contributed by sanityismyvanity
To retain better thematic consistency with using the Dragon expansion while still using Alternative Endings from other expansions, an easy solution is to consider the Dragon King as occupying the Valley of Fire space as a guardian of the Crown of Command space.
Once the Dragon King is defeated at the Valley of Fire, a player can proceed to the Crown of Command space to encounter any Original or Alternative Ending that has been selected. This works with any ending except the Dragon expansion Alternate Endings.
Treasure card in the Castle – contributed by Nemomon
A Treasure card is available in the Castle for 7 gold. This is only one-time offer – if a character will purchase it, another Treasure card is not added. A character draws randomly a Treasure card from the remaining Treasure cards available. The Talisman card from the Treasure deck has an additional effect – it adds 2 to Strength and Craft.
Corruption in Talisman – contributed by tsuma534
There is a rule in Talisman that says your Craft and Strength can’t drop below starting values. It leads to pretty lame gambits in my opinion. My solution:
If your Strength or Craft would drop, but it can’t, instead you draw a Corruption. Two points that should be lost, result in two Corruptions, etc.
This mechanic can be tied to any custom Corruption deck, or Corruption tokens, or some other rules. As Strength and Craft in Talisman are lost mainly because of undead and other dark forces (at least, that was my impression), I think it fits in thematically.
If you would gain a Spell, but you can’t because you’re already at your limit, instead you gain a Corruption from the abundance of magical energy you couldn’t control.
Losing a turn – contributed by Nemomon & Mała MiM
Each time a character is instructed to lose a turn, his current turn immediately ends and he loses his next turn.
Lord of Darkness fix – contributed by Matt Mason
The topic of the Lord of Darkness has been discussed and discussed in the forums ad nauseum, but we prefer a slightly altered victory effect:
If victorious by 8 or more, the player may teleport to any space within the Outer Region or the Middle Region, or they may teleport to the Plain of Peril.
Cards that carry other cards – contributed by Nemomon & Mała MiM
At every time of the game the position of each Object must be definited. A character can hold only 4 Objects, all other Objects must be distributed among cards that allow carrying Objects (for example the Mule). If a character will lose a card that allows carrying Objects, he also loses everything that card actually carried. If an effect forces to roll a die for each card under possession of a character, he firstly rolls a die for each card that allows carrying Objects, and then (assuming that cards survived) for all other cards.
Spells on the board – contributed by Nemomon & Mała MiM
Each time a character is instructed to draw a Spell, but he can’t do so because he already has the max amount of Spells his Craft allows him to hold, he draws a Spell and puts it facedown on a space he currently is. He can’t show it to the other characters nor he can exchange it with one of his Spells (but he may look at the Spell he drew).
All facedown Spells are encountered as cards with encounter number “5”. A character cannot spy out the facedown Spell until he will decide that he will take it. After that, he may look at the Spell he took. If he doesn’t want (or can’t) to take that facedown Spell, he can’t spy out it.
The aMAZEing Labyrinth – contributed by Nemomon
At the start of the game each character is dealt 8 Warlock’s Quests. A player cannot look at the quests he’s received, but instead he forms a facedown Quests’ deck. He may know only the top card of it, and can’t show it to the other players.
A character may complete the quests any time he wishes, he doesn’t have to complete them as soon as possible. When he’s completed a Quest, he reveals it to the other players and secretly checks his next Quest.
Depending of how all the players will decide before the game starts, a character that has completed a Quest may or may not receive a Reward from the Warlock. It is advised that he doesn’t receive anything, and also doesn’t teleport to the Warlock’s Cave. Only completing the very last Quest earns a reward (either the Talisman, a random Treasure card or Warlock’s Reward).
A character can’t win the game until all his Quests are completed. The Warlock’s Cave effect is ignored; a character draws Adventure cards there until 2 Adventure cards are present.
Encountering a space AND a character – contributed by Nemomon & Mała MiM
When a character will enter a space with another characters, he may encounter both the space and the characters. Each character has encounter number equal to “4.5” (he is encountered after the Strangers, but before Objects, Followers, and gold).
A character may encounter any amount of the other characters, he may either attack them or use against them his special ability. He cannot both attack and use a special ability against the same character.
Old Wand – contributed by Nemomon & Mała MiM
The Wand’s effect is altered to:
You will always have at least 1 Spell more than you started the game with (take one immediately each time you drop to your starting number). As long as you have the Wand, you may hold any amount of Spells.
Henchmen – contributed by Nemomon & Mała MiM
At the start of the game players draw 5 characters and look at them. They then are handing over them to a player to their left; that player to their left must choose 1 card, secretly discard it and hand over remaining character cards to their owner. After returning cards to their owner, the owner chooses 2 character cards among them. The first character is his primary character, and the second character is the henchman.
The first character keeps his attribute values, starting space, abilities, starting equipment and alignment.
The henchman adds all his abilities (except starting Spells and gold, but adds all other starting cards such as a sword from the purchase deck). The negative abilities have priority over the positive abilities (if the couple is: Warrior + Priest, the Warrior will be unable to use his Weapons). All the abilities trigger whenever possible (for example if the primary character has an ability to force a character to lose 2 lives, and the henchman has exactly the same ability, the couple forces a character to lose 4 lives each battle). A character may decide in which order trigger his abilities.
If a player will lose his couple for the first time in the game, he draws 3 character cards and chooses 2 of them to play. Every next time he must draw 2 character cards and play them.
Experience Points – contributed by Nemomon
Each time a character defeats a creature, he gains a number of experience points equal to the value of the Strength or Craft of the defeated creature. If that creature has both Strength and Craft, a character gains a number of experience points equal to the value of an attribute the creature was fought by (ignoring the other attribute). If the creature is an Enemy, a character still keeps them as trophies, but cannot exchange them to gain additional points – these trophies are only used in regard to some other cards that specially affect the trophies. A character doesn’t gain any experience points by fighting the Sentinel, a creature represented by the Inner Region’s space, an Alternative Ending card or a character. Use some tokens or a pen and a paper to keep a track of each player’s amount of the experience points.
At any time (including during an attack, but before any dice are rolled) a character can pay any number of experience points; for each 7 experience points he paid he gains one of the following:
– 1 Strength point
– 1 Craft Point
– 1 Life point
– 1 Fate point
– 1 bag of gold
Warlock’s Cave side effect – contributed by Nemomon
A character entering the Warlock’s Quest has to perform 1 action there. He either must encounter it as normal (note, that he “must” encounter it, not “may” encounter it) or draw Adventure cards until 2 Adventure cards are present. If a character will decide to gain a Warlock’s Quest, he doesn’t encounter the cards there; if a character will decide to encounter cards, he can’t receive a Warlock’s Quest there.