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Subject: Custom Hero: Kelphis - The Potion Maker rss

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Stefan
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playtest cards here:
https://www.pdf-archive.com/2017/03/23/kelphis-playtest-card...
warning: the deck is still under construction

Hey everybody!
Since a few of you liked my last Hero Icegirl, I thought I could share my newest project with you. I would love to hear what you think of it so far.

Kelphis is an elderly Druid with ancient knowledge about powerful magic potions. He is a strong support character and helps his team out whereever he can. His deck contains 5 different types of herbs, which can be combined to a lot of different formulas to create various effects. Each herb lists 4 different recipes, so he can trigger a total of 20 different effects!


Kelphis
The Potion Maker
26hp
Power
Brew: Play a herb or destroy any number of herbs. Activate one formula whose symbols enter the trash this way.

Incap:
- One player may play a card now.
- One target regains 1hp.
- Increase the next damage dealt by a hero target by 2.


Equipment (5 total)
-----------------------
Druid’s Pouch (2x)
Equipment, limited
At the start of your turn, you may play a herb.
Power: Draw 2 cards. Discard 1 card.

Rusty Old Sickle (3x)
Equipment, limited
At the end of your turn, reveal the top card of your deck. If it is a herb, put it into your hand. Otherwise replace it or move it to the bottom of your deck.
Power: Kelphis deals 1 target 2 melee damage.

---------------------
One-Shot (15 total)
---------------------
Skilled Hands (3x)
one-shot
You may draw a card.
You may play up to 2 herbs.

Spice things up (3x)
one-shot
Search your deck for a herb and put into your hand. Shuffle your deck.
You may draw a card.
You may play a card.

Harvest (2x)
one-shot
Move up to 3 herbs from your trash to your hand.
You may play a herb.

Sow Wind, Reap Thunder (2x)
one-shot
Kelphis deals himself 3 psychic damage. If he takes damage this way, shuffle 3 herbs with the same name from your trash into your deck. Activate the third or fourth formula on 1 of the cards, ignoring symbols.

Improvised Potion (2x)
One-shot
Discard 2 different herbs. Either activate both cards first formula in any order or activate the second formula on one of the cards, ignoring symbols.

Poison Attack (2x)
One-Shot
Kelphis deals 1 target x toxic damage, where x = the number of herbs in play plus 1.

Arcane Elixir (1x)
One-Shot
Destroy 5 different herbs. If you do, select a player. That player may draw 1 card, play 1 card, use 1 power and that player's hero regains 5hp and deals 1 target 5 infernal damage now.

-----------------
Herb (20 total)
-----------------
Fire Tongue (4x)
Herb, (red icon)
When this card enters play, Kelphis deals 1 target 1 fire damage. Then, if there are 6 or more herbs in play, move a herb in play back to your hand.
Formulas
Formulas
(red icon)Select a hero target. Increase the next damage dealt by that target by 3.
(red icon, yellow icon) Select a hero target. Increase the next damage dealt by that target by 5.
(red icon, yellow icon, green icon)Damage dealt by hero targets is irreducible and cannot be redirected until the end of your next turn.
(red icon, yellow icon,black icon) Increase damage dealt by hero targets by 1 until the end of your next turn.

Nightshade (4x)
Herb, (blue icon)
When this card enters play, reveal the top card of a deck, then replace or discard it. Then, if there are 6 or more herbs in play, move a herb in play back to your hand.
Formulas
Formulas
(blue icon)Each player may draw 2 cards, then discard 2 cards.
(blue icon, black icon)Reveal the top card of each deck. Put 1 into play and replace or discard the others.
(blue icon, black icon, yellow icon)Destroy up to 3 ongoing and/or environment cards.
(blue icon, black icon, red icon)Each player reveals the top 3 cards of their deck. Each Player may put 1 of the revealed cards into play and shuffle the rest back into their deck.

Fluxweed (4x)
Herb, (yellow icon)
When this card enters play, you may draw a card. Then, if there are 6 or more herbs in play, move a herb in play back to your hand.
Formulas
Formulas
(yellow icon)One player may draw 2 cards.
(yellow icon, blue icon)One Player may draw a card and play a card.
(yellow icon, blue icon, red icon)One player may draw a card, play a card and use a power now.
(yellow icon,blue icon, green icon)Each player may either play a card or use a power now.

Angel's Clove (4x)
Herb, (green icon)
When this card enters play, Kelphis regains 1hp. Then, if there are 6 or more herbs in play, move a herb in play back to your hand.
Formulas
Formulas
(green icon)1 target regains 3 hp.
(green icon, red icon)Each hero target regains 2 hp.
(green icon,red icon, black icon)Reduce damage dealt to hero targets by 1 until the end of your next turn.
(green icon, red icon, blue icon)Until the end of your next turn, whenever a hero would be dealt damage, that player may discard 2 cards to prevent that damage.

Demon's Blossom (4x)
Herb, (black icon)
When this card enters play, Kelphis deals himself and 1 other target 2 infernal damage each. Then, if there are 6 or more herbs in play, move a herb in play back to your hand.
Formulas
Formulas
(black icon)The next time a hero would be dealt damage, that hero's player may discard a card to redirect that damage to a target of ther choice.
(black icon, green icon)Each Hero deals 1 target 1 infernal damage.
(black icon, green icon, blue icon)Each player may move 1 card other than a herb from their trash to their hand. Put the top card of 1 deck into play.
(black icon, green icon, yellow icon)Kelphis deals each non-hero target 4 toxic damage.





Some Notes:
- Each Herb contains 4 formulas. The first is a really basic potion with a medium effect. The second formula always uses 2 different ingredients and has a similar effect as the first one, but with increased power. The third and fourth formulas are the strongest on the cards and can only be achieved through mixing three different herbs in specific ways. Noted: Each 3 different ingredients should make 1 formula at all times.
- For example: There are currently 1 Fire Tongue, 1 Angel's Clove, 2 Fluxweeds and 1 Demon's Blossom in play. With his power he chooses to destroy 1 Fire Tongue, 1 Demon's Blossom and 1 Fluxweed. This allows him to activate the corresponding formula on 1 of his destroyed herb cards. In this case, he would increase hero damage by 1 for a round.
- Most of his one-shots and equipment cards are only there to make it easier for him to drop herbs in the cauldron.
- Each herb also contains an "when enter play" effect, so even if you don't use your power on a turn, you still contribute something. These effects are of course weaker than the formulas.
 
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Ted Pro
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Interesting! This looks like a lot of fun to play and I love the way the playstyle matches the flavor. Mixing ingredients in a Cauldron!

The card text doesn't current really make the Cauldron work as you explained. Suggestion:

Cards under this card are not considered to be in play. If this card would be destroyed, destroy all herbs under this card instead.
Power: Destroy any number of cards under this card and activate 1 formula of a herb card destroyed this way, if you have discarded the Herbs listed in the activation cost for that formula.

Also, the weak effects actually still seem pretty strong.

I'd also suggest you consider adding some kind of defensive Ongoing in there? (Maybe something that lets you discard an herb in the Cauldron to reduce damage?)
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Stefan
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I'm glad you like him!
Balancing his effects is indeed quite difficult. His basic potions shouldn't really be "weak", that was not the right word I think. Since they still cost a play and a power (not counting one round setup to get the cauldron going), I think these basic potions are jut right. It's all those other effects that give me headaches

Regarding your comment on his defense abilities:
Angel's Clove is his defensive/healing herb, but I think you are right, that those potions could be a little underwhelming, espically the last one.
I thought about two options to beef up this card a bit:
1: (green icon, green icon, black icon)Until the end of your next turn, whenever a hero would be dealt damage, that player may discard a card to prevent that damage.
or 2: (green icon, green icon, black icon)Until the end of your next turn, the first time each turn, a hero would be dealt damage, that player may discard 2 cards to redirect that damage to a target of their choice.

The first option would work a little bit like Heroic Interception; the second would basically turn everybody into Nightmist for a round. What do you think?

And you are right about the Cauldron's power. Will change!
 
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John Ellis
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honestly some of his powers seem very overwhelming, especially considering the gold Leaf effect, the Tier 3 Fluxweed is CRAZY overpowered with gold leaf.

if this is a support character of MEGA power then you might forgo the damage abilities or tone the support back.
 
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Geoff B.
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Per turn impact is going to require the recipes to be really strong.

If you build up a 3 card potion over 2 turns, that potion is your impact on the game for 2 rounds. It should be really powerful, but each one needs to be balanced vs. the other powers, the effort put into the power, and the game as a whole.

Suggestion for The Cauldron:

Quote:
The Cauldron
Equipment, Relic
This card is indestructible and cannot be targeted for destruction.
Cards under this card are not considered to be in play.
Power: Move up to 3 cards from under this card to the trash. You may activate one recipe whose symbols enter the trash this way.


Getting 2 of 4 cards of the same color isn't going to happen reliably, and that limits the ability to use your power, which will lead to more turns hoping to get the right ingredient.

You have 20 recipes on those cards. That's the exact number you'd need to cover every combination of 2 or 3 different symbols, which have better odds of being made, and that way any 2 or 3 different cards under would make a recipe.

You could even have a one shot that lets you remove one of each symbol from under the cauldron for a really awesome effect.

If the text is too much you could split each color of herb into 2 copies of 2 cards, but all 4 with the same symbol, and then put only 2 recipes on each card.

That would make the recipes a bit harder to make but would save a lot of space on each card.
In that method each card would have a 2-card recipe and a 3-card recipe on it.

Also, they don't need to stop from going into play, all they need is instruction to put the card under the cauldron and the keyword one-shot. (it will be important for certain other card effects)

Here's what that could look like:

*Note: this is a suggestion to improve odds of making recipes and get the card text to fit the normal space, if that isn't something you want, ignore it, it's your deck.

Quote:
Angel's Clove
One-Shot, Herb {G}
Put this card under The Cauldron.
{G}+{Y} Each hero target regains 1hp.
{G}+{Y}+{Blue} Each hero may regain 2hp or play a card now.


And let's call the other green Frog Poop (because I'm amazing at naming cards):

Quote:
Frog Poop
One-Shot, Herb
Put this card under The Cauldron
{G}+{Black} One hero deals a target 2 infernal damage and regains 2hp.
{G}+{Black}+{Y} Until the start of your next turn, the first time each hero target is dealt damage each turn, they deal one target 2 infernal damage.



I really like the idea behind this, others have done similar stuff (I've tried and failed to make a spell caster with similar mechanics) but with the Cauldron card triggering and the ingredients holding the recipes I think this has a chance of being really good.
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Stefan
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Talkalots wrote:
honestly some of his powers seem very overwhelming, especially considering the gold Leaf effect, the Tier 3 Fluxweed is CRAZY overpowered with gold leaf.

if this is a support character of MEGA power then you might forgo the damage abilities or tone the support back.


Ok, you're right. I made a few changes to tone it down a bit. Fluxweed is no longer as overpowered as before. Nightshade got a bit weaker too. Angel's Clove however got a little boost going.
Made the Sickle weaker too, because his draw was way too crazy before.
 
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Stefan
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@Phantaskippy
Yes you are right, that he cannot reliably repeat his formulas, because he wastes his resources in the process. As he plays right now, you always have to be flexible and play what you have in your hand, make the potion that is available to you. But he also has ways to make it easier for him to get the potion that he wants (via search cards, good draw&play one-shots, trash recovery via Harvest and Demon's Blossom potions). But yes, finding a way to make potions happen more often would defintley be the way to go. So I changed the structure of the formulas to make them easier to achieve.

As far as the bigger text boxes go, I actually like them. It's unorthodox, but when you draw this giant card with a bunch of formulas on it, it's kind of a cool feeling! But I totally get, when others would find this overwhelming and clunky..

Edit:
Phantaskippy wrote:

You could even have a one shot that lets you remove one of each symbol from under the cauldron for a really awesome effect.


That's also a cool idea! Off the top of my head, how about:
Arcane Elixir (1x)
One-Shot
Destroy 5 different herbs from under the cauldron. If you do, select a player. That player may draw 1 card, play 1 card, use 1 power, regain 4hp and deal 1 target 4 infernal damage now.
 
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I like the idea in principle; gathering and expending resources to produce a variety of effects. However, I feel that there are a few problems that might make your implementation problematic.

For one, it's really vulnerable to its very common points of failure. You can't do anything at all without the Cauldron, and it's a single Equipment card that's vulnerable to destruction. I'd just make the Cauldron the base power, which keeps you from being blown out every time you get hit by card destruction. Also, you can only play formulas with a power use, so anything that locks down your power use kills your turn entirely.

For another, it's not very strong or interesting in play the way you've got it set up. The deck is really slow to get its better combinations into play, and since you destroy most of your resources once you use them, you can't even get really built up the way other similar characters do. You have 16 cards that do absolutely nothing other than to churn your deck and hand to put your 21 herbs into play; with the Cauldron taking up another card, that leaves you with two cards that do anything other than feed the brewing mechanic.

Given all this, you basically have the result that under the best possible circumstances, after several turns of buildup, you can spend your whole turn and a whole lot of actual shuffling around of cards on the table to activate a formula that's about as good as a card play from another hero deck.

Compare to Argent Adept or Captain Cosmic, who also have some problems with buildup and vulnerability to card destruction or area damage, but can easily throw out something useful on every turn while also building their presence on the table and can even produce useful effects without the benefit of their main mechanic.
 
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Stefan
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Thank you for reading through his deck!
If you want to compare him to Argent Adept, I think they actually have a lot in common. They are both equally screwed when they can't use powers for any reason. Both get sad after board wipes. But the cauldron is actually hard to kill, because it is a) a relic, which keeps it alive during the Apocalypse and End of Days and b), if there is just 1 herb in the cauldron, it won't get destroyed. And even if it did get destroyed, it only takes you 1 turn to get it back out with your base power. Argent Adept needs a lot longer to get back on his feet.
The reason I didn't use "Potion Making" as his innate power is flavor only (which I think can be equally as important as gameplay). I like the cauldron
I think what could be interesting with his mechanics, is that you have to evaluate every single turn what you can do. Argent Adept tries to do the same thing again and again. Sure, he expands his setup a bit, but I have often seen him played as an Inspiring Supertonic every turn-guy. Kelphis has to change every round what he does.
But regarding the lack of build up in his deck, would you think that making his equipments not limited change that for you? Fully build up he could then brew a level 3 potion almost every turn, which would be really strong in the late-game. What do you think? Is there anything you would want to change in his deck, to make it more fun to play for you?
 
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What do you do if Chokepoint nabs his Cauldron?
 
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Geoff B.
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braincraft wrote:
What do you do if Chokepoint nabs his Cauldron?


Good point, could remove the equipment tag, or:

This card is indestructible and cannot be targeted by card effects from other decks.
 
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Stefan
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So what do you guys think?
Should I keep the Cauldron for flavor and maybe make it indestructible? Or should I get rid of the Cauldron in order to streamline the mechanics and move the cauldron power on his character card (which would also make him quite a bit stronger!)

Poll
Should the Cauldron stay or go?
Remove it already!
Keep it as is!
Keep it, but only if you make it indestructible!
      9 answers
Poll created by johnny_guitar_watson
 
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Stefan
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Thank you all for the feedback!
There seems to be a slight majority in favor of the indestructible cauldron right now. So I changed its keyword from equipment to kettle (does the term fit?). This should safe it from most forms of card destruction. Making it actually indestructible seems a bit to drastical to me.
And I think leaving the cauldron in the deck also leaves a bit more designg space for promo powers. And I just came up with one! (obviously not tested)

Dextrous Kelphis
24hp
Improvised Potion:
Discard 2 herbs. Activate the secnd formula on one of the discarded herbs, ignoring symbols.

He can now combine any 2 herbs and make a potion out of it. It makes his early game stronger, but caps his best abilities. And when he finally finds the cauldron, he can start brewing the level 3 potions anyway.
 
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Ted Pro
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johnny_guitar_watson wrote:

That's also a cool idea! Off the top of my head, how about:
Arcane Elixir (1x)
One-Shot
Destroy 5 different herbs from under the cauldron. If you do, select a player. That player may draw 1 card, play 1 card, use 1 power, regain 4hp and deal 1 target 4 infernal damage now.


Wow! That's pretty huge. An extra turn and 4hp and 4 damage? That's a lot, and it may actually be possible to make an infinite loop with that (if you have other characters with cards that can recover Arcane Elixir from the trash during the bonus turn, though I guess that depends on timing of things entering the trash).

Definitely playtest this to see if it's too much.
 
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Geoff B.
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if you do means the cards have to enter the trash before you get the effect.

 
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Ted Pro
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Okay, so I think there are probably not infinite loops then. Nevermind!
 
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Michael Hunter
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I like the idea of this hero - it might be a bit mind melting thinking of all the possibly combinations he has, but it's clearly intended for a skilled player, so that's a virtue rather than a sin.

Balancing wise, I think it's really hard to say how powerful he is or isn't till one gets some experience and sees how easy it actually is to get herbs into play and use his power, so I'll reserve judgment on that one.

I differ from most of the voters, as I would recommend very strongly getting rid of the cauldron. It just doesn't really serve any purpose - he is designed so every game, on turn 1, he will ALWAYS get the cauldron, and it will never leave play, so it's essentially an innate power you have to use your first actual power to get. You never have to worry about drawing it, you never have to worry about losing it, so there's no drama. Every single game it will play exactly the same, so what is it adding other than theme? I'd suggest just make the innate power be called "Cauldron" if the theme bothers you?

If there was no Cauldron, the herbs could just sit in your play area (probably as "Herbs", or possibly as "Equipment, Herb", although that might let it soak up ongoing destruction a bit easily). This makes it easier to check your recipes (rather than having to take the cards out from under Cauldron every ten seconds to look at your options) and also means you don't need the little "You may put this card under the cauldron. If you don't do other stuff" effect, which it seems is only ever likely to come up in your very first play before you get the cauldron out. Also, taking out that line would save space on your already pretty cramped herb cards!

If you are really attached to the Cauldron, I would at least suggest not putting the herbs underneath it for simplicity of play. Currently it doesn't mean much mechanically, they can never not be under the cauldron for more than a split second before they destroy themselves for their (rather inefficient) enters play effect.
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Jonathan Richardson
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Adelphophage wrote:
Also, taking out that line would save space on your already pretty cramped herb cards!


I just want to point out that I believe he's reducing the picture section of his Herb cards similar to Self-Destruct Sequence from the Wagner Mars Base environment. I refer to this comment:

johnny_guitar_watson wrote:
As far as the bigger text boxes go, I actually like them. It's unorthodox, but when you draw this giant card with a bunch of formulas on it, it's kind of a cool feeling! But I totally get, when others would find this overwhelming and clunky.


So, I don't think he's so concerned with text space.
 
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Stefan
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Update 23.03.2017:
- So, I massively streamlined the deck. Even though most of you wanted to keep the cauldron in the deck, I unfortunately had to remove it. Without it, theme suffers a bit, but the gameplay improved. Now Kelphis can always do something from turn 1 to the end. With the cauldron, you always had to waste 1 turn and sit aroud doing nothing.
- Gold Leaf is also gone. It was there to make the formulas less static, but it felt slightly awkward and was impossible to balance correctly.
- the herbs are no longer one-shots, but they always have a nice little effect when they enter play, so you never waste a turn waiting for something to happen. Additionaly they just stay in the play area now, instead of getting hidden under another card.
- My idea for a promo power has made it into a new one-shot for the deck.
- Balancing the individual formulas on the cards is still the most difficult part of designing the deck. I have to do more playtesting to see, if they need more tweaking
- A little problem I have noticed while playing him is, that he can be a little random at times. Since each combination of herbs gives you something, you tend to just throw anything out there and just trigger whatever you have, instead of carefully calculating just the right potion for a given situation...so I'm not quite done yet with the deck, but the new updates definetly show the way to go for Kelphis!
 
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There doesn't seem to be any limit to the number of Herbs in play. Not only does this make the play area potentially insanely cluttered, it means that cycling Poison Attack lets you do 21 single-target damage every turn, which is substantially better than any other card play Kelphis can make - or pretty much any single card play other than Lightning Reflexes -> Lightspeed Barrage x2, which is a harder combo to loop. The extremely good draw and deck cycle, along with the lack of any motivation to keep your trash full (as with Tachyon), means that this sort of degenerate play isn't that hard to accomplish, especially with any draw/play help from another deck.

Arcane Elixir still references the Cauldron.

Demon's Blossom forces you to expend the Fire Tongue damage bonus on self-damage. That makes Demon's Blossom an even worse play in a lot of situations.
 
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Stefan
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Good points. I think I will get rid off the poison one-shot since it's not that exciting anyway. But I don't think the play are would ever be that much cluttered with herbs, because you would almost always want to trigger their effects when you can.
I will see what I can come up with to change either Fire's or Demon's enter play effect. But I like the general concept, because now there won't be as much dead turns as before, since you always do something even when you just play a herb.
 
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I'd actually rather you kept the card and just capped its effect to make it less abusable.
 
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Stefan
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hmmm.. well, I could give it a little cost, so you can't just repeat it over and over again.
Poison Attack
Destroy 1 herb. If you do, Kelphis deals 1 target x toxic damage, where x = 1 plus the number of herbs in play.

Now the effect would cost you 2 card plays instead of just 1. What do you think?
 
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johnny_guitar_watson wrote:
hmmm.. well, I could give it a little cost, so you can't just repeat it over and over again.
Poison Attack
Destroy 1 herb. If you do, Kelphis deals 1 target x toxic damage, where x = 1 plus the number of herbs in play.

Now the effect would cost you 2 card plays instead of just 1. What do you think?

I think that makes it an incredibly bad play at the low end without actually fixing the problems at the high end.

I realize you're in love with the idea of X = herbs in play, but that only works if you limit the number of herbs in play to something sane, which you haven't.

You can't look at cards in a vacuum. Each card is part of a deck, and each deck is part of a game full of other decks that interact with one another. Poison Attack, as it stands, rewards sacrificing early formula use to set up infinitely repeatable 20+ damage attacks in the late game, which is all made easy with a deck full of cards that let you trivially play and cycle herbs and herb cards that are immune to the vast majority of card destruction.

I'd also contest that most of the formulas are actually not very strong compared to other decks, given that even in the best possible scenario (pouch and sickle both already out with no equipment destruction endangering them) you're still using 1 or 2 turns' worth of card plays and a power use to get effects equivalent to what other decks can accomplish with each of their play and power phases.
 
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Stefan
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The only way to limit the number of herbs in play, that I can think of, would be this:

Angel's Clove
Herb
When this card enters play, Kelphis regains 1 hp. Then, if there are 6 or more herbs in play, move a herb in play back to your hand.
Formulas
etc.

Alternatively it could just destroy the herb you played, but that would be too restrictive for my taste.
A limit of max 5 herbs in play would be enough for arcane elixir to function and you wouldn't really need to have more herbs in play to make the deck work anyway.

As for the impact of the formulas, that's the hard part to get right. I hesitate to make them more powerful because it could break the game, especially if you don't look at it in a vacuum. If Argend Adept lets Kelphis play two herbs on his turn each time, Kelphis could trigger his strongest effects on every turn, which would end up as overpowered.
So my way of thinking was to make the formulas very good but not too good and give the rest of his deck ways to bring herbs into play faster with one-shots/equipment.
 
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