Hello, Trailblazers of the Unknown,
in today’s update, we focus on the most common of SHEOL’s enemies, base shadows. In Sheol, there are 5 types of base shadows, and all them will give characters a hard time!
Shadows are made up of thousands of filaments of darkness and have a coralbone structure that acts as a head. Base shadows – unlike Heralds and Outer Lords – are creatures of pure instinct. They hunt living beings in the land of the night and move among the remains of ancient human civilization. While base shadows are not very dangerous on their own, when in a group they can become a serious threat to the scouts.
In the SHEOL core box there are three types base shadows, classified based on how they move: Lurkers (crawling), Devourers (walking), Moths (flying). This number rises to 5 if we count the shadows included in the expansions: namely: the sedentary Sentinels and the floating Swarmers.
The way shadows behave in a mission is not just based on their type, so there is a very high degree of variability in gameplay – 3 factors must be kept in mind:
- Shadows vary their characteristics with detection, mission type and threat cards.
- Shadows influence each other, making their position and combination important.
- Shadows attack in hordes – a different number of shadows in a group will create a different challenge.
Let’s go into more detail about these aspects.
In Sheol, the shadows at the beginning are not revealed and are represented by tokens called fluctuation points or more simply “blips”. Blips have a number of life points and attack points that can change during the mission and that is set on the shadow board. For example, a blip could be a 2 (life) 2 (attack) during the third mission and become a 2-3 towards the end; or it could start as 1-1 during the sixth mission and end up becoming 2-4, heavily changing the players’ approach to combat.
These characteristics are used when they are not revealed; when the shadows are revealed by the players using their lanterns, they take on a defined identity, and change not only their values of life and attack, but their way of moving and reacting. Each shadow, in fact, has a reaction when it is revealed. For example, Lurkers take a leap forward from a cell and make a light attack; Moths move away from the scouts; Devourers create a coral obstacle under them. When detected, shadows are easier to hit,. The roll of the combat die becomes only the final modifier to a strategy that ends with combat but that has positioning your scouts as the most important element.
Finally, each shadow has a specific critical hit effect: for example, Lurkers can corrode and damage the players’ weapons.
Revealed shadows are still subject to changes that alter them, turning them into different enemy types. These changes are performed by the threat cards revealed on the shadow board. So it is not granted that, if a blip is revealed and becomes a Lurker of value 1-3, it remains in this shape until the end of the game?
Each turn of Sheol begins with a shadow phase and advancing the threat marker (which also indicates the turn number). A threat card is revealed when the threat indicator reaches specific turns, different from mission to mission. For example, in one mission there may be 3 threats that are revealed in turns 2,4,6; in another mission, 2 threats in turns 3 and 5. Each threat introduces an instantaneous active effect (for example, advance of the shadows, transformation of multiple shadows in hypershadows), or a passive effect (+1 life to all Lurkers and Devourers , +1 movement to all blips). So the shadows are never the same, but they vary and with them the strategy of the players that must adapt to the threats also varies. Finally, the threat cards scale up with the difficulty of the game and with the progress of the mission, changing the cards in the appropriate deck.
Combinations of shadows
A key aspect of Sheol is that shadows are able to influence each other with their position. Let’s explain it through 3 small examples.
1) Cyclop has an empty cell in front of him and two blips behind him. Using the lantern he reveals the first shadow which is a Devourer: this creates a coral obstacle under it due to the effect of the revelation. Then, Cyclop attacks the devourer using his “One man army” card (During an attack action, you inflict one more damage if there is at least one ally within 5 cells) as a modifier on the attack. He destroys the shadow. This reveals the second shadow that turns out to be a Lurker, and as the effect of the revelation, it makes a leap forward and an attack. Normally this would not hit the Cyclop, but as the Devourer has left a coral obstacle, the Lurker jumps and reaches the Cyclop, which in order to parry the damage is forced to discard a Lightshield card. We have seen how the revelation of a shadow influences another adjacent one.
2) In some missions and with some threat cards, shadows can unite and create hypershadows. Hypershadows are indicated by leaving the blip token under the miniature, or by placing one token on top of another as in a game of checkers. Hypershadows have higher characteristics and higher resistance. For example, the Maenad could be in front of 2 shadows that she is preparing to attack during her turn when, due to a threat effect, or the event of a land, or a mission event, or due to the influence of a herald, or more, these shadows merge together in a hypershadow, forcing her to retreat.
3) Some specific shadows, such as the Swarmer have positioning as their main strength. This shadow, in fact, has life that depends on the number of shadows that surround it. Moreover, in this case, depending on the number of spawning shadows there is a change in characteristics.
There are many other cases in which shadows can influence each other, but we hope these examples give you a good feeling of how different the situations your scouts have to face during a mission.
Shadows act like hordes
Shadows don’t go around on their own. You will almost always find yourself facing them in groups or, in advanced missions, in real swarms that will crowd the game map. In this case, your characters will have weapons and lanterns with Area of Effect (AoE) powers that will allow them to thin their ranks.
An interesting aspect of SHEOL is that swarms of base shadows move using a gravity system. SHEOL’s game board is in fact divided by two axes, Alpha and Omega, towards which the base shadows can be drawn thanks to the gravity die. With these movements, the shadows tend to advance towards the central space where the Citadel is located. If a shadow reaches it, the Citadel loses a prosperity point, so it is essential to defend it by destroying shadows and building the lightstream in correct positions. The positioning of the paths (which we will discuss in another update) is a fundamental tactical defense element.
Be careful, however, with the turn progression, the number of base shadows will increase more and more, until a real “stream” of shadows is created. To complete successfully a mission in SHEOL is not just about destruction of the shadows (which sometimes is a waste of Lux), but also on focusing to open the way to complete your main objectives.
You also have to consider there are 2 types of movement modifiers in Sheol: obstacles and acceleration lanes. Obstacles can block the movements of the shadows, those of the players, or both. The arrangement of obstacles can radically change the game structure. Some obstacles can be destroyed, others cannot. This also gives variability to the missions that will be tackled in the right way. Plunging headlong into the shadows could lead to sure death.
Acceleration lanes, on the other hand, are tokens placed on the sides of the board that influence entire areas by accelerating the advance of the base shadows in specific rows or columns of the board. This is an additional level of modification to the base enemies’ abilities.
In the next updates, we will talk about the shadows that, unlike these ones, do not obey the gravity system and have a dedicated artificial intelligence and unique actions: the heralds. We will also take a closer look at the SHEOL combat system.
Remember to vote your Scout!
The voting of the new character to add to the game is going on! Choose your favorite between the Half-Light and the Gemini we introduced in our previous update, and vote sharing the post of the scout you like the most on our Facebook page, or in the poll the thread of BGG we opened to allow voting to backers not on Facebook. Voting will end Saturday, May 30th at 14:59 UTC!
Daily Unlock: Research and development #2
In today’s unlock, we add 2 additional accessories that can be used by scouts to perform unique actions and are positioned below the character board to enhance your abilities.
Thank you so much explorers of the night! Stay with us for the next updates.
Preserve the light!