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Shadows of Malice: Seekers of a Hidden Light» Forums » Variants

Subject: So... what is a Shadowreader? rss

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Jim Felli
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In a recent post in the SoM forums, I talked about Seers. I am working on a similar concept currently called Shadowreaders that will prove particularly useful with SoHL questing.

In essence, a Shadowreader is a kind of Mystic that, in addition to brewing potions, can read the influence of Shadow on the creature's of Aethos and the lines of Fate that connect those creatures with the avatars. In my current vision, the Shadowreader may use its ability once per turn on the Players' Turn only and it requires the visiting group of avatars to collectively use an action (think mystic ritual). The Shadowreader's ability is to reveal the next ability on the Ability Trove: turn that card face up. This ability will be possessed by the next encountered creature that has abilities. At the time of the Shadowreading, prior to the Shadowreader revealing the top ability on the Ability Trove, each avatar present may choose accept the drain of one of its life tokens to improve the Shadowreader's connection with the avatars' Fate lines. If a total of X-many drains are accepted by the avatars present, the Shadowreader will reveal the next 1 + Xd* abilities on the Ability Trove instead of just the next 1. The Shadowreader may only use its ability if there are no revealed ability cards on the Ability Trove.

I intend to keep developing the concept for future inclusion in SoM. However, I would like to know if you find this interesting enough to include in your games? (Especially you folks looking to cash in on Seeker quests!)
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The Fire
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I'm questioning the usefulness if the reader can only show the ability but not affect it.
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Chris Bogert
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Sounds interesting. I'll give it a try next time I play.

I love that you are always coming up with different little elements to add to the game or as variants. Keep it up, always has me coming back to the game.
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Jim Felli
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Wayne LaBanca wrote:
I'm questioning the usefulness if the reader can only show the ability but not affect it.

Here are a few ways in which I believe the ability can prove quite useful:

1. If the ability is one that you find particularly distasteful, you may want to send in a single avatar to manifest a Guardians and immediately withdraw just to clear it from the Trove.

2. Foreknowledge of the ability may change your combat strategy and allow you to more effectively distribute items among your band members prior to launching an attack.

3. If the ability is one that you are well-equipped to overcome, you might choose your next encounter to be a Guardian or a Shadow.

4. If the ability is one that is terrible for high power creatures and not so bad for low power creatures, you might want to provoke an encounter in the wild before you attack a lair (where there is a +1 to the creature's power roll) or Guardian.

5. If the ability is one needed for a quest, you might plan on having the questing avatar provoke their encounter first before another group advances on a lair or stronghold.
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Jean-Yves Moyen
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Hum, the Seers seemed to require an awful lot of manipulations because of the separate troves for each tile, but this seem easier to manage.

Now, I'm thinking to bring both Seers and Shadowreaders together in a unified and more general framework…

Seers (or whatever the name) may reveal the top card of any one trove in the game (as a service).
From a storytelling point of view, it does make sense to reveal Abilities (as explained here), Potions, Treasures (even if less specific than the original Seer looking in a single Lair, if you use it prior to entering a Lair or Stronghold, you've actually asked the Seer what's in it), or Fate (knowing ones Fate (and trying to escape it) is the essence of any Greek mythological story…)

From a gaming point of view, the interest of revealing Ability is explained here by Jim; revealing Treasure can help choose who should attack a Lair first; revealing potions is not that useful as the trove is usually cut (except for trade in Alchemy City), but it is easier (more streamlined) not to add an exception… ; revealing Fate can also change the order in which you want to play if you want to try and give that Fate to this Avatar (or not). Typically, attempting to give a good Fate to a Band ready to attack a Stronghold (I manage to get Grim Reaping before entering a Stronghold, poor Guardian…) or attempting to give a bad Fate to an Avatar with Mastery or item to avoid it (Lucky Haubert, Fate Splitter, …) Of course, Fate being capricious, it's unlikely to work but, well, you may try…)




Now, we may also want to give Avatars the possibility to Alter reality. In order to do so, an Avatar has to spend one action and one (maybe more?) SoulShard to discard the top (revealed) card of a Trove and put it on the bottom of said trove.
* Discarding a Treasure requires a shard of any colour (or colourless).
* Discarding an Ability or Potion requires a shard of the same colour.
* Discarding a Fate is not possible (from a gaming point of view, it's the only deck mixing good and bad cards, so discarding the bad ones would be too powerful, from a storytelling point of view… escaping one's Fate, seriously…)

I feel that it costs a lot (2 actions + 1 shard) to see and remove a card you don't want… and you don't know what's next, so it's a strategical choice and not an easy one. Altering the Treasures trove before storming a Lair can help build up if the current Treasure is not good for your current build. Altering the Abilities trove can greatly help Seeker quests (but again, 2 actions and a Shard to remove a bad card) or prepare before storming a Stronghold of attacking a Shadow. Altering the Potions trove before trading in City of Alchemy can help you find that Holy Grenade of Antioch you so desperately need to kill that Guardian killer bunny.
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