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Subject: Custom Hero: Karma (Playtest Cards) rss

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Kendal Reed
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This deck started as a challenge I set for myself: create a hero whose base power can make them immune to damage, but give it a drawback that makes it reasonably balanced. I was brainstorming possible drawbacks for such a power when one of them reminded me of what I'd heard on Kismet's episode of the Letters Page: when Kismet influences someone's fate, she knows that things are going to rebound for that person in some fashion- if she gives herself something positive, something negative will come along later; if she jinxes someone, something positive will happen for them eventually. She can't choose or even predict what that backlash will be, but she knows it's coming. That sort of "push down one thing and another pops up" mechanic is what I wanted for the drawback to the invulnerability base power, so I leaned into that idea of an unpredictable backlash and gave it a bunch of different possible downsides.
Since the deck concept didn't come with a character idea attached, I decided to acknowledge the inspiration and make them a heroic version of Kismet (without the sorts of one-to-one correspondence between cards that I've seen in "hero conversion" decks on this site). I think Karma is a possible future for the canon Gabrielle Adhin after doing some much-needed growing up and learning a little more about her powers. The new codename reflects a change in philosophy: as Kismet, she considered herself an irresistible influence, the mistress of fate, laying out the future for others to follow according to her will. As Karma, she's more aware of her limitations and trying to be more purposeful in using her powers. She can't expect to truly reward the just or punish the wicked, because everything she does has an expiration date. But she can use it carefully to support people who do good things for the world and hamper those who put others in danger.

Hero: Karma
HP: 28
Blind Justice
Power: 1 target is immune to damage until the start of your turn. Discard the top card of your deck and activate its {C} text.

- Destroy an Ongoing card.
- Destroy a target with 1 HP.
- One player may use a power now.

One-Shot (Qty: 24)
Brought a Spare (Qty: 3)
Activate this card's {C} text. Select Ongoing or Equipment. One player reveals cards from the top of their deck until they reveal 2 cards with that keyword. Put one of them into play. Shuffle the other revealed cards into that player's deck.
{C} Destroy an Equipment card.
{C} text is like the Argent Adept's Perform text, or the Naturalist's Green Crocodile text- it's not activated unless a card tells you to activate it. The C stands for Consequence- each {C} text represents something that might happen when reality "snaps back" from Karma's manipulation.
Some cards will activate their own {C} text when played. Others will only activate it when an effect from another card (like Blind Justice) tells them to. "Activate a random card's {C} text" may turn out to be relatively benign, or a real pain, so you have to consider whether the payoff is worth the risk.

Art: The Wraith in melee with some Omnitron drones. The Micro Targeting Computer on her wrist is obviously broken and throwing sparks, but with a free hand she's already pulling a replacement from her utility belt.
"Your other right pocket!" -Karma, to the Wraith

Buried Treasure (Qty: 3)
Each player may either draw a card or have another player draw a card.
One player may play a card. If a card is played this way, activate this card's {C} text.
{C} One player, other than you, puts 2 cards from their hand on top of their deck.
Either each player draws 1 card, or one player draws H cards, or some combination of the two. You can use this as a slightly more flexible Fleet of Foot or Bolster Allies, or in a pinch, to dig H cards deep into the one hero deck that has the right card for the current situation.
Art: Karma half-supporting a damaged-looking Absolute Zero as they enter a dimly lit room. Blackboard and computer workstations suggest it's a research facility, and a nearby wall has some fresh modules for AZ's suit hanging on it.
"Well, that's convenient." -Absolute Zero

Epiphany (Qty: 3)
Select a card in a hero trash. Each player may discard a card that shares a keyword with that card. If 2 or more cards were discarded this way, put the selected card on top of its deck. If H minus 1 or more cards were discarded this way, one player draws a card.
{C} 2 players each discard 1 card.
Since Karma can make useful things happen without knowing exactly how they'll come about, her card names are meant to evoke things that happen unintentionally- finding a useful item at the bottom of your bag; momentarily losing track of the group you came here with; seeing something that gives you a really good idea; etc.
The card in the trash must share a keyword with each discarded card, but it doesn't have to be the same keyword across all those cards. For instance, if the Argent Adept discards Drake's Pipes and Captain Cosmic discards Cosmic Crest, then the players can select Absolute Zero's Cryo Chamber, because it shares "Equipment" with the Pipes and "Limited" with the Crest.

Art: ...
"You know, this reminds me of a song!" -The Argent Adept

Eye of the Storm (Qty: 3)
Put an Ongoing or environment card in play on the bottom of its deck. Activate this card's {C} text.
{C} Put a hero card in play into its owner's hand.
I'm considering making this "One-Shot, Limited".
Art: Karma holding a young girl's hand as they walk through a curiously intact stretch of land in Superstorm Akela. The wind around them is intense, with heavy objects and chunks of scenery tossed about, but the path they're walking is calm, and the wind doesn't even disturb their hair.
"It's gonna be okay. Just stay close." -Karma

Favorable Wind (Qty: 2)
Activate this card's {C} text. Choose a player other than you. For each card shuffled into a deck by this card, the chosen player searches their deck for a card and discards it. Then, the chosen player shuffles their deck.
{C} One player shuffles their trash into their deck.
An unusual sort of deck filtering- the power to pick out the cards you don't want and get rid of them in advance. Alternatively, use it to help fuel characters who get effects from their trash, like Tachyon, Nightmist, or Baccarat. (I've had fun with this card and Termi-Nation Unity in playtesting.)
Art: Citizens of an urban landscape looking up at a Mobile Defense Platform as it pulls out of a steep dive, dangerously close to the rooftops but not actually making contact.
"You worry about the Battalion. I can keep us in the air. I think." -Karma

Panic Attack (Qty: 3)
Each hero may deal themself 2 psychic damage. Each player whose hero was dealt damage this way may draw 2 cards or use a power.
{C} One player skips their next Play phase.
This is probably the most unfriendly {C} text that isn't actively trying to kill you (see Gangway!, below).
Art: Karma and Parse standing back to back surrounded by a horde of zombies from the Cult of Gloom. Karma looks surprised as Parse, mouth open in a furious yell, grips an arrow by the shaft and drives it into one of the undead faces.
"I said BACK OFF!" -Parse

Sacrifice Play (Qty: 2)
Until the start of the next turn, whenever a hero target is dealt damage, another hero target regains that much HP. Activate this card's {C} text.
{C} One hero deals the hero with the highest HP 3 energy damage.
The effect only lasts until the next turn, not your next turn. This isn't a full-on Heroic Intervention, just a quick reallocation of HP that sometimes combos with other effects.
Art: Karma tackling Tempest, shielding him from an energy blast with her body.
"It just looked like the thing to do at the time, OK!?" -Karma

Timely Diversion (Qty: 3)
Karma deals each non-hero target 1 psychic damage. If a non-hero target was dealt no damage this way, each hero target regains 2 HP. Otherwise, activate this card's {C} text.
{C} Karma deals each target 1 psychic damage.
A chance to make non-hero damage reduction/redirection work in your favor- characters who aren't hurt by this effect are confused momentarily and give the heroes a moment to regroup. Or, in a pinch, just use this as a 1/1 Oblivion.
Art: Karma half entangled in one of Ambuscade's snares, facing down the Slaughterhouse Six, who are scattering in all directions as a trumpeting elephant emerges from the tree line behind them.
"Where did the elephant come from?" "No idea." -America's Newest Legacy and Karma

Against All Odds (Qty: 2)
Select a hero. Increase damage dealt by that hero by 1 until the start of your turn. That hero may use a power now.
{C} Reduce damage dealt by villain targets by 2 until the start of your turn. Put this card into play.
I've moved this one out of alphabetical order, because it breaks the usual format- not only is activating its {C} text a good thing, it's strictly better than playing the card normally. Gabrielle's method of altering reality is self-correcting, but sometimes "correcting reality" means stopping the bad guy before he breaks everything.
Art: Chrono-Ranger stepping out of a half-formed time portal in front of a battered-looking Karma, gun blazing as he steps toward the viewer.
"No time like the present." -Chrono-Ranger

Ongoing (Qty: 16)
Catch Your Breath (Qty: 2)
Power: One hero target regains 3 HP. Destroy this card unless 1 player discards a card.
{C} Each villain target regains 2 HP.
Karma's powers generally follow the same benefit/cost format as her One-Shots, but with the drawback included in the power's effect rather than their own {C} text.
Art: Karma and Dark Watch Nightmist in a dark alley. Karma is gesturing at the bulb of an unusually bright outdoor lamp hung over a door, while Nightmist leans on the lit section of the wall, looking winded.
"Don't expect me to carry you out of here, that's all." -Karma

Fast and Loose (Qty: 2)
When you would activate the {C} text of a card you played this turn, you may instead reveal the top H cards of your deck. If you do, activate the last revealed card's {C} text, discard it, and shuffle the other revealed cards into your deck.
{C} Discard a card and activate its {C} text. If you do, you may put this card into your hand.
This is the idea that made me use the {C} mechanic instead of just "when this card is discarded from your deck, do this." Fast and Loose lets Karma play a One-Shot and replace that One-Shot's cost with a random one from her deck.
Sometimes you'll get lucky and play Panic Attack or Timely Diversion at the cost of Favorable Wind or even Against All Odds. Sometimes it'll be the other way around. Either way, you only get one "reroll"- the new card is one you haven't played this turn, so you can't replace its {C} text with another.
(You get the new cost from the (H)th card in your deck to reduce the effectiveness of deck-stacking shenanigans- even if your teammates are Nightmist, Dark Visionary, and Parse, you shouldn't be able to stack that many cards on top of your deck in one round. All bets are off with AA, of course...)
Because this gives the player a whole new arsenal of options, I decided to give it a cost that helped players avoid randomly dumping it with Blind Justice and never seeing it again. The ability to select your favorite from a set of different costs means it'll never be a freebie, but it'll hardly ever be a really pricy one like Gangway! or Trace the Strands.

Art: A line on a graph that veers wildly up and down, with a caricatured icon of something extraordinarily fortunate marking each peak (the Argent Adept's face with cool sunglasses sipping a colorful mixed drink, Tempest with a relaxed expression on a massage table, Fanatic's head grinning above Blood Countess Bathory's with Xs for eyes and a footprint on one cheek) and exaggerated misfortunes marking each valley (Captain Cosmic getting clobbered with a glowing green anvil, Haka crying at the sight of a scoop of ice cream splattered on the ground)
"This is a big one. You might want to hold on to something." -Karma

Gangway! (Qty: 2)
Power: Reveal the top card of your deck. Activate that card's {C} text and put it into your hand. You may discard 2 cards. If you do, one player may play a card.
{C} Karma cannot use powers until the end of your next turn. Shuffle this card into your deck unless it's in play.
Probably the most useful of Karma's secondary powers, thus the high cost to use it. You can keep using it each turn indefinitely, but only if you skip your play phase.
I'm very aware that Karma's innate power is a defensive powerhouse. This {C} text is the first of a few that are specifically meant to counterbalance that (e.g., to make sure that if you keep using Blind Justice on Karma every round, you can't just wait out the villain forever).

Art: Two of Zhu Long's Shinobi Assassins bursting into a room with weapons drawn, seen from the inside of the window they used as an entrance. Pressed against the wall on either side of the window are Mister Fixer and K.N.Y.F.E., winding up to strike the unsuspecting ninjas.
"Three... two... one... NOW." -Karma

Lost the Trail (Qty: 3)
Play this card next to a target. That target is immune to damage and cannot deal damage. At the start of your turn, destroy this card.
{C} Select a hero target other than Karma. Until the start of your turn, reduce damage dealt to that target by 1 and it cannot deal damage.
This effect's cost and benefit are tied together, and which is which depends on where you play it- it effectively removes a target from combat for a round, making them unable to deal or receive damage. This can be a handy shield for a hero, or a temporary lock for a non-hero target.
The {C} text is a significantly weaker version of the same effect- one hero target becomes entirely unable to attack but only partly shielded.

Art: Citizen Hammer alone and confused in the landscape of the Realm of Discord. He's clearly ready for a fight, but there's none to be found.
"Hey! Where'd everybody go!?" -Citizen Hammer

Passed Through Fire (Qty: 3)
Power: Karma deals 1 target up to 3 radiant damage. Increase the next damage dealt by a target from that deck by X, where X = the amount of damage dealt this way.
{C} Increase the next damage dealt to a hero target by 2.
Like Lost the Trail, which part of this effect is a cost and which is a benefit depends on how you're using it- it can be "shoot that villain/environment target, but increase the next damage from the villain/environment deck" or "buff that hero's next damage, but shoot them in the process."
Art: Karma's hand glowing as she touches "Pride", Expatriette's pistol.
"Whoa! That one had a little more kick to it!" -Expatriette

Trace the Strands (Qty: 2)
Power: Reveal the top 3 cards of a hero deck. Put 1 into that player's hand and 2 on top of that deck in any order. Reduce the next damage dealt by Karma by 1.
{C} At the start of your next turn, Karma deals herself 2 irreducible psychic damage. Shuffle this card into your deck unless it's in play.
With this card, Karma's not manipulating future chains of events, just trying to trace them a little further forward, so she knows what to expect.
Its obvious utility is to set up effects that take {C} text from the top of her deck, but it can also grant some card advantage and deck filtering to the hero of your choice.
Note: this {C} text is a one-time effect with a timing condition, like Adamant Writhe's Shroud or base!Expatriette's third incap ability. When you activate this text, no damage happens immediately, but Karma deals herself damage the next time you get to your start-of-turn phase (
after Blind Justice expires, if it's active).

Art: Karma looking out at Wager Master's vast maze from Impossible Quandary. Glowing strands of different colors extend out in front of her, proceeding in different directions and changing colors as they go- many of them terminating in a deep red color or turning briefly bright yellow-green before continuing. This is how she sees the world through her power: possible options and the shade of outcome that they lead to.
"There is a way out of this. Buy me enough time to find it." -Karma

Uncertainty Principle (Qty: 2)
At the end of your turn, 2 players may look at the top card of their hero deck, then replace or discard it.
Whenever you put a hero card on top of your deck, shuffle your deck.
{C} Prevent the next damage dealt by a hero target.
Like Fast and Loose, this card enables an alternate playstyle- you can provide consistent deck filtering and foreknowledge to other heroes, at the expense of never knowing what's coming next for you.
Art: An unsteady-looking Karma leans on Haka for support. In the foreground, Tempest and Captain Cosmic mop up Biomancer's replicas with unerring accuracy.
"Is it just me, or did everything get a lot slower?" -Captain Cosmic

Playtest card images are available here.

Edit 09/10/17: replaced original wording for Epiphany with clearer version.
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Take Walker
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[quote]Epiphany (Qty: 3)
2 or more players each discard 1 card. Select a card in a hero trash that shares a keyword with each discarded card. Put the selected card on top of its deck. If H minus 1 or more cards were discarded by this card, one player draws a card.[/quote]
Even reading your explanation of this card, I have to say it's confusingly worded. So if you want to get a one-shot back, everyone has to discard one-shots, you can't get any benefit from a one-shot being discarded with an ongoing, right? And are you supposed to search only trashes that had a card discarded to them?

Timely Diversion is a fantastic card. I love the flavor and the effect.

Fast and Loose should be the first time you activate a {C} each turn, or this turn. At least, from your description of it, that's what it sounds like it should say...

I really like the way Uncertainty Principle is set up.

Another exciting hero! God, how am I going to find the time to playtest all of these? D:
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Kendal Reed
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Yeah, Epiphany is a tricky one.
* To get back a One-Shot that has no other keywords, everyone who discards has to discard a One-Shot.
* You're correct, one player discarding a One-Shot and another player discarding an Ongoing will retrieve no cards. (At least, no cards that I'm aware of; somebody out there might have designed a "One-Shot, Ongoing", but I haven't seen it.)
* You can search any hero trash. The example has the Argent Adept and Captain Cosmic discarding to retrieve a card for Absolute Zero.

Here's an alternate wording I'm considering- let me know if it's better or worse:

Alternate Epiphany wrote:
Select a card in a hero trash. Each player may discard a card that shares a keyword with that card. If 2 or more cards were discarded this way, put the selected card on top of its deck. If H-1 or more cards were discarded this way, one player draws a card.

(The fact that you don't have any questions about Buried Treasure is encouraging, though. I was worried about that one.)

Thank you! I'm pretty happy with Timely Diversion. (One of the cards in the deck is a deliberate combo with it; have you found it?)

No, the limiter on Fast and Loose is that it only triggers when you would activate the {C} text of a card you played this turn. So when you reveal a card and activate its {C} text, or discard a card and activate its {C} text, you can't replace those because you didn't play those cards. But if Karma gets to play more than one card per turn, like with Buried Treasure, or with Time Flies or Pillars of Hercules, then she can replace the {C} text of a card she plays as often as she wants.

Uncertainty Principle makes me really glad I don't play with actual paper cards. XD But thanks again!
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Take Walker
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The thing about Fast and Loose is that it can infinite loop with itself. Can't it? You could keep going and going until you get the exact {C} text you want, or you run out of deck. (Because you return the revealed cards to your deck after activating the {C} text.)

I like that wording for Epiphany.

And as for Buried Treasure, you could reword it a little more clearly to something like "The players, as a group, draw {H} cards." I'm actually working on a card that does just that! But I have to like the idea that the players can choose to give up their card draw, like, that's got a nice dynamic.
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Kendal Reed
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Fast and Loose can replace the {C} text of a card you played this turn by activating the {C} text of a card you reveal from your deck. The replacement card isn't played, so its {C} text can't be replaced. (Neither can a {C} text you activated with Blind Justice or with Gangway!, or with the {C} text of the other copy of Fast and Loose.)
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Take Walker
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Oh snap. D: Amateur mistake!
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