Hello, Trailblazers of the Unknown,
in today’s update we talk about Sheol’s most formidable enemies: the Outer Lords. During the design of these enemies, we wanted them to be truly more important than all the others, and so large that they were more assimilated to natural forces than monsters.
On a narrative level, the Outer Lords are real incarnations of Sheol’s darkness, and are linked to precise plot passages and events that happened hundreds of years before the beginning of the main plot that involves the characters. During the continuation of the missions, the players will discover their origins of the Outer Lords, and why they are so powerful.
At the gameplay level, the Outer Lords are represented by much larger miniatures than the others. Their base occupies 4 squares instead of one and we have even designed a new game board (back of the main one) where the citadel is on one side to make room for the battle against them. Each Outer Lord, in fact, has a dedicated mission in which the characters will have to defeat it. Outer Lords will give players a hard time, thanks to a dedicated artificial intelligence, which far exceeds that of the heralds in complexity. Let’s see how it works.
Each Outer Lord has a set of unique actions available that represent its artificial intelligence. At the beginning of each shadow turn, the current card is executed and the next one is revealed, so that the heroes can prepare for the attack of the Outer Lord. Each card, in fact, defines things such as: effects on the surrounding shadows, movements of the Outer Lord, attack patterns, dice rolls to hit, changes in the armor of the Outer Lord.
For example, Avadon, “the crying mountain”’s “Screaming Blow” attack, moves it 2 cells towards the Citadel, then causes it to attack in a 2×3 pattern towards the direction of the characters. Instead, its “Grim tears” card increases its armor by 1 and causes it to generate new shadows around it. Can you imagine how the liquid darkness spill runs from its countless faces and comes to life as lesser shadows?
The Outer Lord life is indicated by its dedicated board. As in the case of the heralds, life points depend on the number of players. Whenever an Outer Lord’s life track is at zero, the active action card is discarded. When all the cards are discarded, the boss enters an extremely dangerous berserk phase where it will try in every way to destroy the players and the Citadel. At its disposal it has a special golden card like that of the players with a particularly powerful effect.
If that’s not enough – Outer Lords are not common shadows and are able to act even during the players’ turn.
At the beginning of the player phase, 5 time tokens are mixed and one is drawn. Tokens correspond to 5 moments: before the first player, after the first player, after the second player, after the third player, after the fourth player. It will be at the indicated moment that the Outer Lord will act. To do this, a special reaction deck is used. Reactions, unlike actions, are not revealed in advance and they are not always an attack. Indeed, in most cases, reactions influence the positioning of the characters or on the board in general.
An interesting aspect of reactions which also represents a unique element of SHEOL, is that reactions not only can take place at different times during the players’ turn, but their effect depends on the brightness level of the Outer Lords.
For example, with the “Somber wind” reaction:
- Illuminated: Move every scout 3 cells away from the Lord
- Half-illuminated: Move every scout 1 cell away from the Lord
- Not illuminated: Move every scout 2 cells away from the Lord
As you can see, the best situation for players is when the brightness level is intermediate, which is also the most difficult for players to achieve, as they will have to maintain balance during combat in order to suffer less from the effects of reactions.
There are currently 3 Outer Lords in Sheol. Each one not only has specific actions, but a themed mission linked to precise plot passages. During the mission, each Outer Lord will require a specific strategy to be defeated by the players, according to the mission objectives and the setup of lands in the game. Confronting the enemy recklessly will lead to a burning defeat; only planning and coordinating you can achieve victory.
Finally, we wanted to characterize the Outer Lords so that they looked very different not only in terms of aesthetics or skills, but how they behave at a macro level of gameplay. Avadon, for example, is more sedentary, G’hinnom will make unstoppable progress towards the Citadel, while Shibaron will be more itinerant on the map.
Speaking of the map, until the early stages of development, we thought that the space we had available by keeping the citadel in the center of the board was too little. For this we have opted for the creation of a new map on the back of the board, in which to keep the citadel on one side. In addition, this new configuration also paved the way for new possible scenarios for standard missions!
In this new map the basic shadows always advance towards the citadel, the difference however is that the axes are on the sides of the map, so that the acceleration lanes always point towards the citadel.
Daily goal: Cataclysm Behavior #1
Now that you know how the bosses work, we decided to add 2 new reaction cards to the reaction deck.
This update completes our introduction to the shadows mechanics. Next week we will talk about the narrative and the scout mechanics.
Thank you so much explorers of the night! Stay with us for the next updates.
Preserve the light!