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Arkham Horror: The Card Game» Forums » Variants

Subject: Custom Investigator - Esmerelda Black (Fortune Teller) rss

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Dan Williams
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I like what I came up with, so I thought I'd share. I have played many games with her in the core set with all core investigators, and she's honestly a lot of fun. Her role is primarily to see what's coming, making decisions a lot easier. She is definitely balanced, and the mechanic with her crystal ball is really fun. She is definitely NOT overpowered. Created with StrangeEons software. I hope someone here will give her a try.

PDF for Double-Sided Printing (one page, color-optimized for printing):

http://www.filedropper.com/esmereldaprint_3

















http://www.filedropper.com/esmereldaprint_3
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Eric Martin
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Sounds like a very cool custom investigator. If you designed these cards with Strange Eons you can print them on real cards at printerstudio.com. That's where I print all of my custom investigators and cards.
 
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Chick Lewis
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Really very nice.

Clever, concise, and interesting !
 
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Dan Williams
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emart40x wrote:
Sounds like a very cool custom investigator. If you designed these cards with Strange Eons you can print them on real cards at printerstudio.com. That's where I print all of my custom investigators and cards.


Thanks, I've already explored their website. If I ever have more than a few things I want to print for this game, I think I'll use it. FedEx print kind of sucks -- fronts and backs are always noticeably misaligned.

Chick Lewis wrote:
Really very nice.

Clever, concise, and interesting !


Thanks, Chick! I had a really fun game with her last night with my son playing Roland. Her Crystal Ball was the only thing that prevented a loss in the last turn. That's honestly the fun in her -- she doesn't really "win" games so much as she mitigates "bad happenings." If you do play her, it's really fun concentrating on scrying with Mystic abilities and milling her deck for her crystal ball -- the sooner she can get that thing out, the better.

I've played enough with her to say that she gives a really good reason to spend actions drawing cards. The downside of that is when her weakness appears first, you not only take a horror, but shuffle the whole deck, making so many draws consistently risky -- there is never a point in milling when you can say, "my odds are better now."
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Raymond Darby
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You've done a good job with Es!
 
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Carsten BN
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Really nice work
 
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Dan Williams
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Thanks for the encouragement, all. I do appreciate it.

I've created 3 Mystic cards, two of which have Esmerelda very much in mind (Playing With Fate, Worry Doll). I have playtested 3 games with them, and they really punctuate the scrying/milling strategy nicely. I find that these two cards do not add power to her, really, but simply give her a finer sense of theme, even when her Crystal Ball is not in hand. I admit that when Esmerelda is without her Crystal Ball, she feels very generic -- a syndrome not quite unique to her, unfortunately.

These two cards introduce to all Mystics an opportunity to pick up a viable scrying/milling strategy if they choose, while keeping Esmerelda the queen of that approach via the Fast ability of her Crystal Ball and her Eldritch Sign.

The third card, Ritual of the Elders, also fits well with any Mystic/Rogue who focuses the Rogue side on resource gain (the best approach for Esmerelda), and should involve some fun decision-making as far as resource management goes. I know it may look like a very powerful card at first glance, but you will notice that with the willpower test it is possible to lose 3 of a possible 5 counters before it ever does a lick of damage. Depending on a few factors (an urgent need to relocate, for instance), it could be a big win, or a big fail.

I admit, though, that I haven't had much chance to really playtest Ritual of the Elders.

Edit: Updated for balance. It turns out Ritual of Elders really was a bit out of whack. The mechanics of Worry Doll received a major overhaul, but other than these two things, I think everything I've said here still applies.









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Wilson Wise
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Thanks for working on these cards. It's great to see the community contributing to the game.

I do have some questions on how the various cards work.

Esmerelda's Crystal Ball

What does it mean when it says "Play with the top card of the encounter deck revealed."? Is that a timing note? As in, during the Mythos phase during step 1.4 when each investigator draws a card, Esmerelda can use the player window to look at the top card of their deck? Or is it an instruction that the top card of the encounter deck is always revealed?

I think "cannot be dropped" should be "cannot be discarded".

Is the skill test meant to allow you to discard the Crystal Ball while cursed? Because, based on the Rules Reference page 6, cannot is "absolute, and cannot be countermanded by other abilities."


Worry Doll

What does "encounter area" mean? Do you mean Threat Area?


Note on Balance

I really like the theme in all of the cards. A couple of the Mystic cards do seem a bit overpowered based on their lack of XP, and/or the quantity and quality of icons.

Worry Doll feels like it should be XP 1 or 2.

Ritual of the Elders feels like it should be at least XP 2, if not XP 3. You could do 15 damage over 5 turns without any tests. Which is way more powerful than Shrivelling (5) which can do 12 damage over 4 turns but requires a successful skill test every turn. Additionally, Ritual of the Elders doesn't take up an Arcane slot, whereas all Shrivellings (0|3|5) and Song of the Dead (2) take up a slot.
 
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Brandon H
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wilsonodk wrote:
Ritual of the Elders feels like it should be at least XP 2, if not XP 3. You could do 15 damage over 5 turns without any tests. Which is way more powerful than Shrivelling (5) which can do 12 damage over 4 turns but requires a successful skill test every turn. Additionally, Ritual of the Elders doesn't take up an Arcane slot, whereas all Shrivellings (0|3|5) and Song of the Dead (2) take up a slot.

There are other differences, but yeah, the fact that solo Agnes could beat Umôrdhoth by doing nothing but playing this card and triggering her ability for one round (edit: well, I guess she'd have to survive two enemy phases with the card out, so she'd need a horror sink, too) suggests it might be a bit OP as a level 0. I like it at level 3 or even 4 -- compare it to high level Guardian weapons that don't even guarantee a damage bonus (Shotgun) or even being able to use them (Springfield).

Cool cards, though, especially the crystal ball / weakness interaction.
 
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Dan Williams
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wilsonodk wrote:

Esmerelda's Crystal Ball

What does it mean when it says "Play with the top card of the encounter deck revealed."?
As long as Esmerelda's Crystal Ball is in play and is not cursed by Dread Mist of the Damned, the top card of the encounter deck is always face up.


wilsonodk wrote:

I think "cannot be dropped" should be "cannot be discarded".
Agreed. Fixed and re-upped.


wilsonodk wrote:

Is the skill test meant to allow you to discard the Crystal Ball while cursed?
No, it allows Dread Mist of the Damned to be discarded, thus putting the Crystal Ball back into it's "Uncursed" state. The Crystal Ball has two states. While it is in the "Cursed" state, only the text for it's cursed state applies. While it is in it's "Uncursed" state, only the Uncursed text applies. The action on the card only makes sense to use if Dread Mist of the Damned is attached to the Crystal Ball, "cursing" it.


wilsonodk wrote:

Worry Doll

What does "encounter area" mean? Do you mean Threat Area?
Yes, my mistake. Fixed and re-upped. Thank you!


wilsonodk wrote:

Worry Doll feels like it should be XP 1 or 2.
The thing is, Worry Doll has zero benefit without either Scrying or Playing With Fate, and Playing with Fate has only one hit-or-miss benefit without Worry Doll. Scrying, by the way, is a far second to Playing With Fate when it comes to the combo with Worry Doll.

In any case, I've almost completely redesigned Worry Doll, and I hope you'll approve of the changes. If nothing else, I think you'll agree it is thematically superior to the last iteration.

wilsonodk wrote:

Ritual of the Elders feels like it should be at least XP 2, if not XP 3. You could do 15 damage over 5 turns without any tests. Which is way more powerful than Shrivelling (5) which can do 12 damage over 4 turns but requires a successful skill test every turn. Additionally, Ritual of the Elders doesn't take up an Arcane slot, whereas all Shrivellings (0|3|5) and Song of the Dead (2) take up a slot.
Great comparison. I have made two major adjustments to Ritual of the Elders based on these factors:

1. Shrivelling (0) Costs 3 supply and is capable of 8 damage, max. If you were to spend 3 supply on Ritual of the Elders, you could get 6 damage out of it, max. Given other factors (below), I believe this is a better maximum for Ritual of the Elders (0). You will see I have created 2 more versions of it to mirror Shrivelling (3) and Shrivelling (5).

2. Shrivelling (0) uses an action each time it is used (4 uses). Ritual of the Elders only requires one action. This is, in my opinion, balanced by the fact that Ritual of the Elders (0) has the potential to be completely wasted by a single skill check before it has any chance to do damage at all.

3. Shrivelling requires a slot, but can be used anywhere. Ritual of the Elders requires no slot, but requires you stay in one location. Its ever-diminishing usefulness is also predicated on the presence of an enemy. If no enemy is present at that location, any further potential of Ritual of the Elders (0) wastes away with every turn (3 turns, max). I believe this is a good balance.

4. Shrivelling has a penalty with every failed skill check. I have added an unavoidable penalty to Ritual of the Elders. With this penalty, you may unknowingly be spelling your own doom when you cast Ritual of the Elders.

I really do think it's a much more reasonable card now. I hope you'll agree.



Thanks for all your input, Wilson. It really inspired me to take a closer look at my work. Feel free to add more!

Edit: I wanted to add that I've now playtested with Ritual of Elders in my deck for 5 games, and the interaction between it and Esmerelda's Crystal Ball is so fun. Ritual of the Elders does no damage on the round it is cast, so knowing what's coming in the next round really does bump up it's usefulness. Casting it otherwise can really be a waste. One thing is certain -- it is a VERY fun card! In fact, I love these cards a lot -- my win rate so far with them isn't any better or worse as far as I can tell, but the potential for card mechanic interaction makes this deck more strategic.
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Michael D. Kelley
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I like everything about her and the extra cards, except for her unique character ability.

It works out to be basically a +1 to investigate, which isn't that great when she already has a 3 to start. Add that it costs a resource, and can't be used with a flashlight or other investigating items, and it really fails to impress.

Compare this to the officially published characters, and I would say every single one of them has a unique ability that is much better than what she has here. I'd bump her up a bit.
 
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Dan Williams
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Good points. I think this might is better. I hope you agree.

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Michael D. Kelley
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I love it! Not too easy to abuse since it costs 1 supply. Seems comparable to Duke's move and investigate ability for Ashcan.
 
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Allan Clements
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Is her ability supposed to be pay one supply (e.g. pay a token from a flashlight, or is it supposed to be pay one resource?)

Is her ability meant to actually start an investigate, or is it just supposed to be used during an investigate? Does it give one free action a turn?

also templating wise it should read:

[lightning] Pay 1 Supplies from a card you control: Investigate. Investigate using [willpower] instead of [intellect]. (limit once per round)

[lightning] Pay 1 resource: Investigate. Investigate using [willpower] instead of [intellect]. (limit once per round)

[action] Pay 1 resource: Investigate. Investigate using [willpower] instead of [intellect]. (limit once per round)
 
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Wilson Wise
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Crymoricus wrote:
Thanks for all your input, Wilson. It really inspired me to take a closer look at my work. Feel free to add more!


Thanks for the answers and updates to the cards. Nice improvements all around.

I do still feel like Worry Doll should be XP 1, just because it would prevent it from being in a ton of decks. Mostly because I think it's a great card. Love the risk/reward characteristics, very thematic.

The Rule Lawyer in me still dislikes the cannot override action in the Esmerelda's Crystal Ball. But, that's a personal problem I'm trying to get professional help for.

Thanks for making these cards and sharing them with the community, and thanks for taking feedback and working to improve them!
 
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Mathias Blikstad
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Fantastic work with the investigator and the mystic cards! Much appreciated :)

Some thoughts:

Extra actions, as well as free actions, have proven to be extemely effective in our campaigns. See Daisy's tomes, Leo de Luca, Duke, Shortcut, Pathfinder et cetera. Maybe Esmeralda's investigate is too powerful, since it is both an extra action, as well as a free action (does not provoke attacks of opportunity). Maybe something like:

[lightning] Spend 1 resource: Investigate. Investigate using [will] instead of [lore] this investigation. This triggers attacks of opportunity. (limit once per round)

The extra investigate action each round might still be too good though?

Another possible take on Esmeralda's investigate would be:
[reaction] Spend 1 resource when investigating: investigate with [will]
instead of [lore] for this investigation.

In this case I don't think it's really neccesary to have a per round limit, the resource drain will probably be enough.


I think the wording on the crystal ball and mist could be improved upon:

*Esmeralda's Crystal Ball:
Item

Play with the top card of the encounter deck revealed.

[lightning] Pay one resource: Reveal the top card of any investigator's desk. That investigator may discard that card.

Dread Mist of the Damned
Weakness
Hex
Revelation: If Esmeralda's Crystal Ball is not in play, take 1 horror, then shuffle Dread Mist of the Damned into back into Esmeralda's deck. Otherwise, attach Dread Mist of the Damned to Esmeralda's Crystal Ball.

Treat Esmeralda's Crystal Ball printed text box as if it were blank (except for Traits).

-1 to all skill tests.

Esmeralda's Crystal Ball cannot be discarded.

[action] Test [will] (4). If you succeed, discard Dread Mist of the Damned. If you fail, take 1 horror.



A stray thought: If the crystal ball is in the discard pile, and there is only one card left in your deck, you would keep drawing the Dread Mist of the Damned and take 1 horror every time you draw a card... Is this slow death intentional?


For the doll, two things. The second paragraph should start with a Forced keyword to show that it is mandatory. Also, consider placing clues on it instead of doom underneath it, and when it is discarded, those doom are flipped and placed on the agenda. I'm not quite sure about the part in parenthesis. What does it mean the the doom should be applied to the next agenda? Typically all doom is discarded when the agenda advances. Or do you mean to add doom one at a time to the agenda, and this also having the possible effect of triggering it? That could be totally horrible.

Finally, for the Ritual of the Elders, I think there are a little too many moving parts (remembering how many charges you started with, and checking things both at the beginning of your turn and the end of the round). I would rather see something like this:

Ritual of the Elders:

Attach to your location.

Uses: X charges (maximum 3/4/5)

Forced: When Ritual of the Elders leaves play, take 1/2 horror.

Forced: When you leave attached location, discard Ritual of the Elders.

Forced: At the start of your turn, test [will] (3). For each point you fail by, remove one charge from Ritual of the Elders. Then, you may deal up to Y damage to enemies at your location, where Y is the number of charges remaining on Ritual of the Elders. Then, remove one charge from Ritual of the Elders.


The Ritual would start strong and then gradually fizzle out. Fun detail here is you don't actually take any horror until you leave, so you could potentially stand still and start searching your deck for Clarity of Mind/Fearless/Moment of respite if things go out of hand.

Moving the damage dealing from the end of the round to the start of your turn could potentially be too powerful in non-solo play, since you could let the other investigators just walk into your Ritual with their enemies and kill them. However, it does offer up more strategic play.


Anyway, to reiterate, fantastic work, and fantastic ideas! Hope you like some of my suggestions! Esmeralda is going to the printer for our next campaign :)
 
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Scott Dockery
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Kamakaze wrote:
[lightning] Pay 1 resource: Investigate. Investigate using [willpower] instead of [intellect]. (limit once per round)


I think the best way might be:

[reaction] When you initiate a [intellect] skill test during an Investigate action, spend 1 resource: Use [will] for this test instead of [lore] (Limit once per round).

I based the wording off the Masks from Carnevale. Making it a free trigger means you can theoretically trigger it after committing cards, which is just bizarre.

By the way, where did the art for Worry Doll come from?
 
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The Waffler
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Kamakaze wrote:
Is her ability supposed to be pay one supply (e.g. pay a token from a flashlight, or is it supposed to be pay one resource?)

Is her ability meant to actually start an investigate, or is it just supposed to be used during an investigate? Does it give one free action a turn?

also templating wise it should read:

[lightning] Pay 1 Supplies from a card you control: Investigate. Investigate using [willpower] instead of [intellect]. (limit once per round)

[lightning] Pay 1 resource: Investigate. Investigate using [willpower] instead of [intellect]. (limit once per round)

[action] Pay 1 resource: Investigate. Investigate using [willpower] instead of [intellect]. (limit once per round)


I was a little confused by this as well.
 
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Dan Williams
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Thanks, guys. Fixed:

 
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Dan Williams
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rsdockery wrote:


By the way, where did the art for Worry Doll come from?


Lelyk777 on Deviantart -- a guy named Aleksey from Russia. He's good!

https://lelyk777.deviantart.com/art/voodoo-doll-346475367.
 
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Dan Williams
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After a great deal more play with Esmerelda, I have made significant changes to most of these cards.

The "Uncursed" state of Esmerelda's Crystal Ball is more thematic and useful now, and has incredible synergy with the other cards here, as well as others from cannon.

Ritual of the Elders was fairly under-powered from my experience, because the combination of having to wait a turn AND having to make a Willpower test every turn. It was also a little too high-maintenance in that regard. When it did see good use, though, it was highly rewarding. I have removed the willpower test, but kept the need to wait a round for damage to start kicking in. I believe strongly in theme, and the idea of a "ritual" taking a round to kick in just feels right to me. Besides, as powerful as this can potentially be, it's worth the wait, and also gives it a fun sense of strategy. Because of its potential, though, I believe it is a spell only for true Mystics, and I have restricted it to level 3 for that reason.

Worry Doll was too much at 2 cost. It's a 1 cost little card, with a significant risk after the first use. By far it sees it's greatest potential alongside Esmerelda's new Crystal Ball (or Playing with Fate and Scrying), making the discarding of weaknesses for all investigators possible. It is a very fun and exciting trick, but otherwise won't see much play.

All of these changes really emphasize Esmerelda as a fantastic "support" investigator, which is honestly what I was going for, but felt I hadn't quite accomplished.

With these changes, I feel that I have. She is really terrific fun in a group now -- the more the merrier.

I hope someone here will give her a try!

PDF for Double-Sided Printing (one page, color-optimized for printing):

http://www.filedropper.com/esmereldaprint_3

All cards in my original post have been updated.

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Belzebub Sataan
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I like the changes you made to esmeralda and the ritual, i think i'll try her on my next game on friday.

I think worry doll is still to weak for it's disadvantage. How about this:

Change "concealed doom" to "clues" (cannot be removed in any way) and convert to doom, when the card leaves play. I know the concealed doom is more thematic, but mechanic wise, it's confusing and undefined.

Change the action type to "free, exhaust..." or "forced - at the start of your turn"

Replace "...discard the top card of your deck and draw a card" with "look at the top two cards of your deck. Draw one and discard the other (weaknesses can be discarded this way)" or "draw two cards and discard one from your hand (including weaknesses)"?
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