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Last night our campaign group played through the first part of Issue #5 of our Season 3, titled: "HERETIC / UNTO DUST". HERETIC (I won't write about UD here, especially as we haven't played it yet) is a custom scenario reflecting the current state of our story, but I thought that variant-loving people here might enjoy a way to tweak the Apostate/Court of Blood experience.



In the previous issue (BLOOD PRICE), Fanatic, Tachyon, Nightmist and Tempest had fallen at the Court of Blood, to a mixed team of assassins made up of The Operative, Citizens Hammer & Anvil, Bugbear and Friction.

However, Fanatic had forseen this consequence in a vision, and left a letter addressed to Setback at Freedom Tower. In the letter, she confessed to remembering the identity of her mother, who turned out to be Countess Bathory of the Court. Fanatic foresaw that Bathory would attempt to bring her back as a Vampire, and that Setback & the Scholar would be there to try and save her.

That set the stage for a rescue mission, but also for the chance to create an interesting fight & story involving Fanatic as a villain character. One of our players is a huge fan of Fanatic and has contributed a lot of story ideas, so this was a way to give back.

As the group sat down, I told them that Bathory had indeed succeeded in turning Fanatic, who was now the vampire, Heretic. However, the Court was under attack from Apostate, who though previously defeated, had fought his way to this reality one final time in an attempt to claim the soul which had always eluded him: Helena's.

Then, these two cards hit the table.



Heretic is designed to add one more piece to the relic puzzle that is Apostate's deck, significantly increasing the difficulty of the fight, as well as having some interesting interactions with the Court of Blood in the area of Radiant and Infernal damage and her Vampire keyword.

The radiant damage represents Heretic slowly remembering herself, but letting out bursts of uncontrolled power as she does. Heretic at 0 HP has fully recalled her past and shaken off the Vampire curse. There are several ways to manage her effect on the battlefield, which I'll let prospective players discover on their own.

Mechanics are not absolutely perfectly technically specified, but it's clear enough. You still win when Apostate dies, as usual. I made one change on the fly, which was to retcon Absolution to 5HP, as I quickly realised it was far too strong at 10HP alongside all the other high-priority targets. We played with her cards going into Apostate's trash, with the possibility that at some point his deck might cycle and he'd start playing Heretic's cards in addition to his own. Thankfully we won before that could happen!

We fought her on Advanced, and rapidly found ourselves facing a dual-wielding Heretic with phantasmal copies of Absolution in each hand, and Apostate tooled up with Condemnation, the Gauntlet of Perdition and a Periapt of Woe hanging round his neck. When we dealt with all of that, Fanatic hit us with an End of Days and Apostate followed up with his relic lock: Profane Summons into Orb of Delirium, Corrupted Effigy (so Runes of Malediction) and another Gauntlet. We also faced every single card in the Environment deck, ploughing our way through the entire Court of Blood.

Despite all of this, Bunker, Setback, Scholar & Guise were triumphant, though Setback was exhausted in the battle and won't be able to contribute for the rest of the season. Fanatic, however, emerged purified once again and will now fight as Xtreme Prime Wardens Fanatic for the remainder of our campaign. Meanwhile, a second team of heroes travels to the deep desert, in an attempt to uncover ancient secrets of life and death, and the rogue Legacy, turned murderer, seeks to refine the stolen Elixir of Life at any cost...
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Dennet Lander
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I only can say I love it!
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J Sinnett
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Philomath
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So, I'm seeing this, the Fate Pool thing, and the Deal with the Devil that you've done custom cards for... Are there any others you've done? It's a lot of fun to see people making campaign mods for this.
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HikariStarshine wrote:
So, I'm seeing this, the Fate Pool thing, and the Deal with the Devil that you've done custom cards for... Are there any others you've done? It's a lot of fun to see people making campaign mods for this.

The only other custom card I did so far was for a two-part Omnitron battle. The heroes got a call for help from the far future from Haka, who lives there alone in an isolated bunker, the only human left alive who hasn't been wiped out by the vast machine entity which scours the land every night. It's Cosmic Omnitron, of course, and the heroes travelled to the future to fight him in the Final Wasteland.

I put this on the table with no explanation, and didn't allow the players to look on the other side.



Yes, that's every turn. It turned out to be perfectly judged. With an appropriately superhuman effort, the team managed to burn Omnitron down to a single HP through the massive healing, but then ran out of steam and he rapidly steamrolled out of control. All but one team member used Timeslip to travel back into the past, with the aim of destroying Omnitron at the source.

A lovely twist was that the one hero who didn't make it was Young Legacy, who had already been incapacitated while protecting the rest of the team. So when the heroes returned through the time portal carrying her body, it was the perfect plot cue to begin the Iron Legacy storyline, which is still ongoing - I purposely didn't introduce Young Legacy before then, as I wanted to wait until Season 3 for the possibility of naturally stumbling across the plot hook.

The second battle was a vanilla fight in the Omnitron IV location vs Deadline, who had the same idea and was here to quarantine the intergalactic menace that would become Omnitron, with extreme collateral damage if necessary! The team found that unacceptable, and dispatched Deadline along with the factory.

My second campaign group is approaching the storyline from the other end, and will first face Deadline in Omnitron IV:



And I'm printing 3 separate custom cards for that. The front side of all three reads as follows - flipsides aren't done yet:



That's all so far for custom cards! We've done a few other fun things - Ra was incapacitated in Insular Primalis when its volcano erupted, so when the heroes later returned to the inside of the volcano (Magmaria), Ra had to recover his staff, all three copies of which had been shuffled into the environment deck.

And when Ambuscade attacked the team within Freedom Tower itself, I shuffled all three copies of Entry Point into the environment deck upside down, and each time one was exposed - Ambuscade trap style - a new Vengeance mini-villain surged in through the breach. I think you've probably seen the cover for that one - that was the Season 1 finale...



At the time I considered this the coolest thing I'd ever made! My image editing skills (and graphic design) have come on a little since then.
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