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Author Topic: Questions about Phial of Galadriel, Star-glass  (Read 1425 times)
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Phallen Cassidy
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« on: November 26, 2018, 10:35:29 AM »

Following an interesting use case from ket_the_jet, I am extremely confused about what Star-glass does and doesn't do. The closest approximation I have is to think about when cards cancel an effect, but I'm not sure there's much justification to say "remove game text" = "cancel." I was surprised to find very few official rulings or TLHH discussions about this card, so there isn't a ton of precedent to go on. Does this just mean everyone else understands how it should work? The handful of times it has come up it's because Gemp essentially ignores all text on minions hit by Star-glass, undoing effects and making it as if the card were played with blank text from the start. It would seem widely accepted that this is in error, but there's little in-depth reasoning of why. Feel free to remove this post's text ignore the rest of this post and provide a simple explanation Smiley

So I'm trying to think about how multiple cards could be affected one way or another by getting their game text removed. An example is Gollum, Vile Creature. Suppose he uses his game text to add 2 strength. At the game's very core, what happens? Whence doth thy strength bonus come? It could be that:

1 every time you use his ability, Gollum's game text is implied to have "Gollum is strength +2" appended to it
2 that modifiers can't be reapplied if their source text doesn't exist anymore
3 that modifiers, once initially applied, cannot be changed
4 that there's some nebulous holding pen for modifiers
5 someone tells me what actually happens and removes all this confusion for me

The first three all have Gollum as the source of the strength bonus, which seems the most consistent considering Gollum is the source of the strength bonus. It doesn't feel right to say that once Star-glass'd Gollum would lose his strength bonus, but if it's 1 or 2 I'm having trouble seeing why it couldn't be possible. As far as 3, you can't reapply the bonus from Merry, From O'er the Brandywine if he has a run-in with Ulaire Cantea, Lieutenant of Dol Guldur. Likewise, No Defense can cause a once-applied bonus to disappear (even from the weapon's text, such as the ability on Axe of Erebor). What I'd like to find is that 5 is correct, but currently I'm leaning towards 2 or even 1.

So you might say I'm arguing that Star-glass should indeed remove existing bonuses and cancel out effects that would otherwise persist. The issue is that if Star-glass can remove an effect, removing the game text from a card is completely different from that card being discarded. Nothing says that they are the same, but discarded cards already no longer apply their game text. Why should there be a distinction? I certainly don't expect any difference, yet the question become unavoidable. If there's no distinction at all, 1 and 2 seem absurd but I'm left without an acceptable alternative.

Another card I'm thinking about is Steadfast Champion. If Star-glass is used on a minion while Steadfast Champion is out, that minion loses the ability to assign itself to Gandalf in the next assignment phase. Now, suppose there was a card that removed all game text from a condition. If I used that on Steadfast Champion, no minions can assign themselves to Gandalf, right? Even though it had previously given game text to all minions? What if Steadfast Champion is discarded *during* the assignment phase (I don't think this is possible), do minions still get the text?

Which brings us back to Her Ladyship (side note, very little discussion about this card either). Does Shelob's text effectively read "Aragorn cannot be assigned to a skirmish until the end of the turn," does it read "Aragorn gains: 'Cannot be assigned to a skirmish until the end of the turn,'" or does it read "Until the end of the turn, Aragorn gains: 'Cannot be assigned to a skirmish'"? If it's either of the first two, it seems logical that Star-glass should let Aragorn back into the fray. At the same time, wouldn't they imply that if Shelob is discarded the effect is removed? There's no writing I can find to say that if a card is discarded "until the end of X" effects must stay except in the rules specifically for events, but to say that they are removed goes against all current understanding of the game so I'm taking it as an unwritten rule.

EDIT: The closest thing I could find is under phase actions: "Each phase action lasts for the duration of the phase named in the boldface word (unless otherwise specified)." It seems the jump the game makes is that the phase action lasts regardless of whether or not you can spot the card the action came from (unless, of course, that card is an event).

At the moment I'm just throwing all this out there and what opinions I do have aren't very solid. The most appealing answer is that removing game text is akin to the text being discarded (but the minion itself stays on the table), except that I don't see why it shouldn't remove strength bonuses from the card's ability too. If Star-glass essentially means "cancel/ignore that minion's game text," there seems to be consistency in how Gemp handles it but then the commonly held understanding of the card is wrong. The only way I can think of to arrive at that conclusion is by process of elimination, though.

If this post seems confusing, it's because I'm extremely confused. If I hold on to one line of thinking, I'm left with either no good rationale for thinking that or conclusions that go against how the game is played. Excuse the lack of cohesive reasoning.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2018, 06:59:59 PM by Phallen Cassidy » Logged
Wyrden333
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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2018, 11:14:26 AM »

Ok, so I've no idea if there is an official ruling for this or whatever but this is my personal opinion: Star-Glass removes the game text of a card e.g. you take the card, some blank piece of paper and glue and glue the paper over the text LOL! BUT in my opinion any effect that lasts until the end of the turn is an exception and still lasts until the end of the turn. But as I said that this is just my opinion and is in no way proven this is just how I'd play it. But this opinion is clearly influenced threw other card games.
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DarthMaeglin
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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2018, 02:58:05 PM »

In the case of Gollum, Vile Creature, I've seen card games go either way. In some games event-like cards that have immediate short-term effects are basically kept in the play area until the "skirmish" is resolved- those cards are spot-able and are more or less attached to the affected card. In that case I would be inclined to say that any skirmish-phase action that increases strength remains game-text and removing the game text removes the modifiers. In LotR I don't think it works that way. Skirmish events are not in play for the duration of the skirmish, but the effect of a strength bonus remain until that skirmish is resolved. So I would say if you could somehow use Star-Glass' effect on Golum in the middle of a skirmish after his text has been used once the +2 would not go away as it is now a part of his base strength.

I think Axe of Erebor is a good example of that same idea. The base +2 on the card can be cancelled at any time because it is actively a part of the possession. As I've always understood it though, any +1 modifiers applied through the effect modify Gimli's strength immediately and remain a part of Gimli's base stats until the end of the skirmish. Whether or not the action could be used to apply additional strength bonuses while the effect of a card like No Defense is active is a fascinating question that might even be worthy of another thread, if it hasn't already been addressed elsewhere...

As far as the Shelob question goes, if a card alters the game text of another card (à la Steadfast Champion) it is very specific about it. So Her Ladyship's game text was effectively "Aragorn can not be assigned to a skirmish until the end of the turn." It most definitely did nothing to Aragorn's text.
I suppose for me it comes down to "What would happen to that card's active effects if it were discarded?" For example if Her Ladyship were killed in the skirmish but another fierce minion were not would (a) the free people's player be able to assign the surviving minion to Aragorn because Her Ladyship is no longer active, or the free people's player not be able to assign the surviving minion to Aragorn because regardless of whether Her Ladyship is active or not the effect persists to the end of the turn.


EDIT: Fortunately the Steadfast Champion riddle is easy enough. Star-Glass' effect, being a skirmish action, shouldn't persist into the fierce assignment phase.

EDIT: Upon re-reading the card I realized that Star-Glass does say "Until the regroup phase." I had forgotten that on some cards Decipher put that part at the end of the text and on others they put it at the beginning. That was embarrassing to notice. It's still a simple riddle, given Star-Glass' provision against gaining game text for the duration of Star-Glass' effect.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2018, 01:48:32 PM by DarthMaeglin » Logged
ket_the_jet
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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2018, 03:50:25 PM »

I think Axe of Erebor is a good example of that same idea. The base +2 on the card can be cancelled at any time because it is actively a part of the possession. As I've always understood it though, any +1 modifiers applied through the effect modify Gimli's strength immediately and remain a part of Gimli's base stats until the end of the skirmish. Whether or not the action could be used to apply additional strength bonuses while the effect of a card like No Defense is active is a fascinating question that might even be worthy of another thread, if it hasn't already been addressed elsewhere...

Consider Axe of Erebor or Gwemegil versus Troop of Uruk-Hai to see how strength bonuses from weapons are considered.

EDIT: Fortunately the Steadfast Champion riddle is easy enough. Star-Glass' effect, being a skirmish action, shouldn't persist into the fierce assignment phase.
The card is unable to gain game text. It doesn't say "until the end of the skirmish" or "until the end of the turn." In fact, it has to at least be "until the start of the regroup phase" as a minion can lose fierce.

The action itself does seem to persist into the fierce assignment phase. Of course, if it lost the fierce keyword, it would be unable to be assigned in a fierce round anyways.
-wtk
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Vordan
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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2018, 04:35:11 PM »

Ok, after reading all, i think you are making some huge speculation and inctricated thoughts overe a simple matter.

Just stick to rules and this time it's just the easy answer: the card does exactly what's written into it:

1) No matter the minion, when the fp player use Star Glass, the minion text becomes like a simple Goblin Patrol Troop (just the first example i found) until the regroup phase, except it's still remain a shadow minion, with his race, culture and current str and vitality.

2) Whatever action, ability ,triggers or pump the fp player or the shadow did play before Star Glass, they are still valid (but the minion still lose all the text, so no keywords or abilityes, even if the comes from event, condition, sites, etc.)

Note: for example using Star Glass on a Corsair, prevent the shadow player from using corsair pumps, since the keyword Corsair is no more (and all the rest of the text too); even if the keyword itself does nothing: no keyword = no abilities or pumps.

In this case Gemp simply has a wrong code (not entirely but enough to get some doubts on peoples), let me explain it as simple as i can:

- Current Star Glass in GEMP: ->Star Glass used-> clear all the minion effects in play (or something similar) ->NOT the intended effect
- Correct  Star Glass: -> Star Glass used-> clear all keyword from minion (and can't get them) till regroup AND clear all the text of the minion (so no active ability nor passives)

Note2: for passives [/i ]the effect that are concluded are not took in consideration, examples:

- if you Star Glass a Corsair Marauder that discarded a possession and added token, you don't rewind those action cancelling Marauder's text (it's not time travel);
- if you use Star Glass on Uglùk (even in another skirmish, since it's effect persist it's a wise choice) he lose all keyword and the ability to exert at start of his skirmish (you can still use pump on him, since he's still and uruk minion, but no dmg+X)
- Shelob Her ladyship has an effect whan she enter play, so that's not cancelled if the minion is: discarded (ithilien blade? What Are They?, ecc), killed, stacked on a possesion in regroup. And that's a key factor since if the fp player double move and the shadow player got another Shelob out he can choose a second companion to be letft out in the skirmishes (effect stack)
- even all the ability that pump str works (like your gollum example); the shadow player can use gollum text as much as he want/can, until the fp player decides to use the Star Glass, from that moment, Gollum str cannot be modified anymore from his text (since it's gone). Even if it's not really wise for the fp player to let gollum pump himself up and only after those actions use the Star Glass.

Hope this clear your doubts

Just a final consideration: compare shelob "when you play" ability to other cards that have a lasting effect but the card is no more in play for the total duration (i'm not including + or - modificator to movement, since by the rules those last the entire turn, no matter what):
- Savagery To match Their Numbers
- Swear by the Precious

those are the first ones that jumped on my mind (i'm sure there are many more cards like those)
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Phallen Cassidy
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« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2018, 05:49:59 AM »

I think I've had a breakthrough. There are a handful of rules I'd like to point out, with underlines added for emphasis:

Quote from: Comprehensive Rules 4.0
Phase Actions

During each phase of a turn, one or more players are allowed to perform phase actions that use a word matching the name of that phase. These words are printed in boldface and followed by a colon.

Each phase action lasts for the duration of the phase named in the boldface word (unless otherwise specified).
The effects of a phase action with the keyword Skirmish: last only for the skirmish phase in which it is used.

...

when

This word you'll see in game text governs the timing of an action, just like the names of phases that are in phase actions. "When" is used if an effect can happen only once. Each such effect has a trigger describing what makes it happen. The trigger is always described first, and followed by a comma.

"When you play this possession, you may draw a card." This game text activates only once, when this card is played.

...

active

 During your turn, only these cards in play are active:

    sites on the adventure path,
    sites in any player's support area,
    your Free Peoples cards,
    your copy of The One Ring, and
    your opponents' Shadow cards.

All other cards in play are inactive. Inactive cards are not affected by the game and do not affect the game. Any tokens on them are ignored (such as burdens, culture tokens, threats, and wounds).

First, there seems to be a link between timing actions (each time, when, and while) and phase actions. Phase actions last for the duration of the phase they're used in or until some other condition is met, so it's reasonable to me to say that the same is true for timing actions. Next, looking at the rules on "active," it's good to note that one cards which are in play are discussed. Cards in the discard pile are not in play, obviously, and since they're not on the list, they're not active; but just like cards in hand, they're not inactive either. They have some special properties that come with being in the discard pile. In most cases, they're nothing more than cards in a pile, but some cards (such as Gollum, Plotting Deceiver) can even be used while in the discard pile.

Combine the two and it's reasonable to me that when a card that had used a phase action or a timing action is discarded, the card in the discard pile can still affect the game. How is that possible? Cards in the discard pile still have text, even though for all intents and purposes cards in the discard pile have no relationship to cards that were once in play. Compare that to Star-glass, which removes text altogether, and now I don't think there's any reason to draw a parallel between discarding a card and using Star-glass on it. I'm thinking Star-glass effectively ignores all game text on the minion, which sounds reasonable to me. If that's the case, then Star-glass must also ignore strength bonuses from that minion (such as the one from Vile Creature) and any other effects (such as the one from Her Ladyship). Thoughts?
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Vordan
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« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2018, 06:46:54 AM »

True, still the rules you pointed out confirm my version:

IF event of abilities are used BEFORE Star Glass (like bonus str, or direct damage to the bearer of Star Glass, for example) they remain, since the ability used still are valid for this skirmish and Star Glass don't modify str or vitality (not the bonus provided). After the skirmish end the temporary bonus from event or similar are gone since the skirmish is over.

The only cards that you can activate from discard are Plotting Deceiver, Let Her Deal With Them and the recursive events (the free people ones).
So no other discarded card in the discard pile do anything (or have any activation or text active)

Star Glass text and ability last until regroup phase (like intended), but it's not the card in dircard pile that keep the ability functioning, but the TIMING written on it (if the card didn't specify that it last till the regroup phase, you could make that minion fierce for example or regain all his ability and passives, when the skirmish that had Star Glass used ended)

The key to the whole story and question here is TIMING, since those exception written on many cards (countless examples here) last more that their intended Phase Action (that they're whole point in being written in every single card that last more than intended, since they are exception to normal rules).

Her Ladyship ability is a "when you play", so it trigger only once and then the minion comes in play. After the ability triggers it doesn't matter where the source cards is or ends (as i already mentioned it could be discarded, killed, overwhelmed and all the other possible options), the triggered ability last for it's entire duration (in this case the end of the turn). Cancelling Shelob text can't cancel the triggered ability in any way (it's activation already kicked in).

hope it's more clear
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Phallen Cassidy
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« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2018, 08:34:45 AM »

True, still the rules you pointed out confirm my version:

IF event of abilities are used BEFORE Star Glass (like bonus str, or direct damage to the bearer of Star Glass, for example) they remain, since the ability used still are valid for this skirmish and Star Glass don't modify str or vitality (not the bonus provided). After the skirmish end the temporary bonus from event or similar are gone since the skirmish is over.

Where do the rules say that? Star-glass *can* modify strength or vitality if that comes from the text of the card. We all agree that Gollum, Stinker loses the bonus +1 strength per burden because it comes from Gollum's text. If the source of Gollum, Vile Creature's strength bonus also comes from Gollum's text, how can it be added?

The only cards that you can activate from discard are Plotting Deceiver, Let Her Deal With Them and the recursive events (the free people ones).
So no other discarded card in the discard pile do anything (or have any activation or text active)

Well, there are a few more, but putting that aside even cards that aren't activated do impact the game from the discard pile. Look at Cirdan, or Smeagol, Simple Stoor, which don't require the cards in question to be revealed - the fact that they're in discard is enough. Cards such as Southron Invaders look for cards in the discard pile with a specific keyword, which is game text. I'm not saying the cards are active, I'm saying that phase/timing actions still effect the game because they're not exactly inactive either.

The key to the whole story and question here is TIMING, since those exception written on many cards (countless examples here) last more that their intended Phase Action (that they're whole point in being written in every single card that last more than intended, since they are exception to normal rules).

Her Ladyship ability is a "when you play", so it trigger only once and then the minion comes in play. After the ability triggers it doesn't matter where the source cards is or ends (as i already mentioned it could be discarded, killed, overwhelmed and all the other possible options), the triggered ability last for it's entire duration (in this case the end of the turn). Cancelling Shelob text can't cancel the triggered ability in any way (it's activation already kicked in).

If Gimli uses the text of Axe of Erebor to make him strength +1, does No Defense take that away? If not, why not? If so, what's the difference between that and Star-glass and Her Ladyship?

There's a big distinction I'm trying to draw between undoing an effect and ignoring an effect. There's no way to undo anything in this game, but there are many ways to ignore things in this game. I agree that the effect is activated, but I don't see how that means it can't be lost if there's no effect at all anymore. You don't go back and pretend you never spotted Gollum or a companion, you simply ignore the effect of spotting Gollum and a companion because there's no longer a card which uses that information.
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ket_the_jet
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« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2018, 08:57:48 AM »

True, still the rules you pointed out confirm my version:

IF event of abilities are used BEFORE Star Glass (like bonus str, or direct damage to the bearer of Star Glass, for example) they remain, since the ability used still are valid for this skirmish and Star Glass don't modify str or vitality (not the bonus provided). After the skirmish end the temporary bonus from event or similar are gone since the skirmish is over.

Where do the rules say that? Star-glass *can* modify strength or vitality if that comes from the text of the card. We all agree that Gollum, Stinker loses the bonus +1 strength per burden because it comes from Gollum's text. If the source of Gollum, Vile Creature's strength bonus also comes from Gollum's text, how can it be added?
This sounds a lot to me like the snapshot rule. If you play Eregion's Trails in maneuver, then make a minion roaming in the skirmish phase, it doesn't then become strength -3.

If you pump Vile Creature then the opponent plays Star-Glass, I don't think you lose the bonus.
-wtk
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Wyrden333
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« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2018, 11:45:08 AM »

I agree to you both! It makes a lot of sense card game wise and reads exactly like that.
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Phallen Cassidy
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« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2018, 02:13:01 PM »

This sounds a lot to me like the snapshot rule. If you play Eregion's Trails in maneuver, then make a minion roaming in the skirmish phase, it doesn't then become strength -3.

If you pump Vile Creature then the opponent plays Star-Glass, I don't think you lose the bonus.
-wtk

Even with the rules in place for events, I have trouble finding a reason why, in theory, those bonuses couldn't also be cancelled. Suppose there was a companion whose text reads "Skirmish: Discard 2 cards from hand to ignore all modifiers from skirmish events." Unambiguously, those modifiers become worthless regardless of the snapshot rule. Right? Is this a conflict? If so, correct me. If not, I don't see a real difference between that and "discard 2 cards from hand to remove game text from all skirmish events," except that the latter is more restrictive, not less.

As I mentioned it in Gemp's chat, I don't see how an effect can exist without a source. It's not that the source is altered or removed from play, it simply ceases to exist. According to the Comprehensive Rulebook, "The source of an effect is the card on which that effect is printed." Once you wipe a card's game text, there is no longer any card with that effect printed on it. How can it exist? That, to me, is akin to a flame with no source or a planet with no matter. What was a flame can't continue to be a flame and what was a planet is no longer a planet - they're gone, because there's nothing connecting them to reality. There used to be a flame or a planet or an effect, but there simply isn't anymore.

I understand that "all applicable modifiers to that value are reapplied," but I don't see how you can reapply something which no longer exists. That's what my thinking all boils down to here: when you check to see what's adding a strength bonus or what's preventing a companion from skirmishing, what is it you point to? I understand that I'm a broken record here (especially since I already stand outnumbered on this point with Swiftly and Softly), but I don't see how we can look back in time without being told to. To me, that is more similar to time travel than accepting that the effect is no longer there.
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DarthMaeglin
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« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2018, 03:19:45 PM »

Even with the rules in place for events, I have trouble finding a reason why, in theory, those bonuses couldn't also be cancelled. Suppose there was a companion whose text reads "Skirmish: Discard 2 cards from hand to ignore all modifiers from skirmish events." Unambiguously, those modifiers become worthless regardless of the snapshot rule. Right? Is this a conflict? If so, correct me. If not, I don't see a real difference between that and "discard 2 cards from hand to remove game text from all skirmish events," except that the latter is more restrictive, not less.

As far as I can tell the snapshot rule actually does apply to both cases you proposed. You gave the reason for that yourself:

...I don't see how we can look back in time without being told to.

If the cards read "Skirmish:Discard 2 cards from hand to ignore all modifiers from all skirmish events played during this skirmish." they would give themselves retro-activity. I might be showing my lack of experience, but I can't think of an example where disregarding the snapshot rule is appropriate without a card very clearly telling us to. Of course, a theoretical card can be worded any way at all and the wording would trump any rules, so a card that specifically negates previously played events will do so because the card says to. That doesn't necessarily reflect on the rules as much as it reflects on the theoretical card.

Your previous point about Gollum, Stinker vs. Vile Creature is a perfect example of the importance of wording. Stinker's game text is a "While, then" format meaning the strength bonus is constantly reliant on the continuing trigger. In the case of Vile Creature, as with most skirmish events and actions, the action is paid for and done. Play a skirmish event and then, in the same skirmish, remove it from the game altogether (ie. Dwarf-Lords) and the modifier still stands because it is added to the base of the modified card. From the point where the event is played until the end of the skirmish that number is no longer a modifier but actually a part of the modified card.

I'm starting to think your wording in the first post of this thread might be dead-on. There's a "nebulous holding pen", not for modifiers but for active card effects that last until some point regardless of the fate of the source card. It's not so much a planet with no matter as astronauts who look back and see the Earth vanish but decide to continue with their mission even with their source obliterated.
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Phallen Cassidy
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« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2018, 08:54:30 AM »

I think I understand what you are saying: effects, once applied, cannot be undone without traveling through time and stopping them from being applied in the first place. There are a number of places this is shown in the rules, and I agree with all of them. That's right: effects cannot be undone without traveling through time and stopping them from being applied in the first place. If I'm wrong about your point of view, somebody simplify it for me so I can get it. If I'm right, bear with me here. Someone explain what I'm trying to say, and I'll let you know if you all understand me correctly. Then you can show me where my thinking contradicts the rules I say I agree with.

I'm saying that there are a ton of rules that tell you how long effects are applicable, but there's no rule that says effects are permanent. They're effectively permanent in almost all cases because there's only one way to remove many effects: Star-glass. This makes my position very difficult to defend because it appears that I'm making an exception for my own nefarious purposes, but I think the game makes the exception. I'm not "undoing" an effect which took place in the past, I am "ignoring" an effect which is taking place in the present.

This sounds a lot to me like the snapshot rule. If you play Eregion's Trails in maneuver, then make a minion roaming in the skirmish phase, it doesn't then become strength -3.

If you pump Vile Creature then the opponent plays Star-Glass, I don't think you lose the bonus.
-wtk

The snapshot rule tells us how to apply the effect of a card. The difference I'd like to draw is if you erase a card's game text, it no longer has an effect. Nor does it have an action. This all goes back to my very first (well, second) question: At the game's very core, what happens when a card's ability adds a strength bonus? If the source of that effect is game text on Gollum, Vile Creature (not the action printed on Gollum's game text, but Gollum's game text), Star-glass should remove it. If the source of that effect is somewhere else, where is it?

Your previous point about Gollum, Stinker vs. Vile Creature is a perfect example of the importance of wording. Stinker's game text is a "While, then" format meaning the strength bonus is constantly reliant on the continuing trigger. In the case of Vile Creature, as with most skirmish events and actions, the action is paid for and done. Play a skirmish event and then, in the same skirmish, remove it from the game altogether (ie. Dwarf-Lords) and the modifier still stands because it is added to the base of the modified card. From the point where the event is played until the end of the skirmish that number is no longer a modifier but actually a part of the modified card.

This is where the "nebulous holding pen" idea seems to have landed: the holding pen is the modified attribute (Gollum's strength, in this case), which is not gametext and not affected by Star-glass. The way I see this working out is that modifiers are disconnected from the cards that add them, which frees them to simply be part of that attribute. This works until you consider cards such as Troop of Uruk-hai and No Defense, which look to the source of those modifiers. Either Gollum's strength has "+2 from Gollum, Vile Creature" as its modifier or it has "+2" as its modifier. If it's the former, and if I can prove that Gollum, Vile Creature (suppose I can, even if I haven't yet) does not give a +2 strength bonus, how can it be said that Gollum's strength is still affected? If it's the latter, how can Troop of Uruk-hai work without knowing where the bonuses come from? I know, I know, "the players can obviously see which cards are giving a strength bonus!" But if you say that, then you agree that you can always trace back the effect to the source, and you must agree that the modifier is not simply "+2" but "+2 from Gollum, Vile Creature."

So, can we agree on that? That if I can prove Gollum, Vile Creature does not give a strength bonus, Gollum does not get a strength bonus? If so, what would I need to do in order to prove it--what has to happen for Gollum, Vile Creature to not give a strength bonus?

Interestingly enough, cards which have been "removed from game" are still very much part of the game as can be seen from Gollum, Her Sneak. They get their own "removed from the game pile" with rules (from the game!) governing it and everything. I've decided it's a misnomer, though someone feel free to tackle this position.

I'm starting to think your wording in the first post of this thread might be dead-on. There's a "nebulous holding pen", not for modifiers but for active card effects that last until some point regardless of the fate of the source card. It's not so much a planet with no matter as astronauts who look back and see the Earth vanish but decide to continue with their mission even with their source obliterated.

What is the active card effect, if not a modifier? Something I went through with Merrick for quite a few turns is that modifiers and effects are always distinct: an effect never is a modifier, effects can only create modifiers. But saying that they are different is one thing, proving that they are different is another. The only way which made sense to me was to say that you trace modifiers back to the effect which created them, but if every modifier points you back to the effect it came from how is the outcome any different than if the modifier simply is an effect? It's an extra, unfounded, unproven link in the chain and the only way I can see to justify it is by saying that it doesn't actually matter.

I'd also be interested in a proof for saying that source card only matters when we are told it matters. Because in order to say that, it should also be said that the players are ignorant until enlightened. After all, my understanding of the current system is that "the players can obviously see which cards are giving a strength bonus!"
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