Hello, Trailblazers of the Unknown,
in today’s update we focus on lands and on the events’ library that together represent an important part of SHEOL’s narrative.
SHEOL lands are tiles that occupy 4 cells on the game board. Lands vary from mission to mission not only in positioning – as each mission has its own setup – but also in the random selection which will show up. There are 22 lands available, but during each game you only use about 10 of them.
Lands are divided into 3 types according to their distance from the C citadel: chronicle lands, forgotten lands, and shadow lands. Chronicle lands are inhabited by settlements and outposts. In forgotten lands there are only a few humans, and the desolation left by the shadows is everywhere. Finally, shadow lands are dangerous places, dominated by beings born in the dark and where physical laws cease to function.
Lands are a key game element in SHEOL for 2 reasons:
- They are used to obtain umbra, the currency of the game;
- They are the place where secondary events and objectives take place.
SHEOL’s “currency” is called umbra and it is found in the shape of black crystals, similar to obsidian. Umbra is what remains of the shadows consumed by lux weapons and it is also produced when shadows merge into larger ones. Umbra is essential for the Citadel and outposts, because through luxsynthesis instruments it can be used as a catalyst to produce lux. Members of the Exiled faction, who live outside the Citadel, based their economy on the search and extraction of umbra.
At the gameplay level, scouts can obtain umbra by killing revealed shadows (killing undetected shadows does not give reward) or by extracting it from the lands. In fact, upon entering a land, they can perform an “extraction” action and place a marker on one of the cells on the land. At the start of the players’ phase, the player who placed the marker will be rewarded with an amount of umbra which depends on the type of land on which the extractor is placed. The more dangerous and distant lands are more rewarding, while the lands closer to the Citadel are easier to reach but have less umbra.
During the game, umbra can be used to buy items in the shop (or to place patrol mechs), and in some missions it can be converted into prosperity points that are useful during the intermediate phase between a mission and the next.
We like to consider lands like “atypical mines” because the action of extraction at the story level does not necessarily mean your character descends with a pickaxe to extract crystals of umbra (maybe this could happen, in some special land), but represents the time he/she spends to share scout information with the locals (who reward him with some crystals), or to explore the land in general.
The most interesting aspect of the SHEOL lands, however, are certainly events. In fact, when a character enters a land and discovers it, the land triggers an optional event or an additional objective, depending on whether you are discovering this the land for the first time during the campaign or not. Each land is associated with 2 multiple choice events and an optional task. The 22 lands in the core box therefore correspond to 66 large cards in the library. Each event is unique and has a text that introduce players to particular situations, assigns new tasks, or places before them choices and challenges.
Let’s imagine that a character enters the “Ancient cathedral” land. The first time this land is discovered during the campaign, it triggers an optional task. On the land corner there is a code, in this case “AC”, which is matched to the event cards in the library. The player draws the card for the “Where your scattered bodies go” task and reads the text to the entire team:
The cathedral stands in the center of a city dating back to the old era. Cloth flags soaked in lux, placed by the luminaries, flutter against its dark stone. Several monks stand outside, greeting wounded exiles. In front of you, a couple of Immolates guard the perimeter; armed with halberds, they look like angels of death. One signals to you, to tell you that some aggressive shadows have been spotted nearby.
The goal is to kill 5 blips and this task goes alongside the objectives set by the mission cards which, as you remember, are sequential and subject to branches.
When the party has completed the objective, the optional task card will be turned over and the respective reward will be revealed, also accompanied by a small ending text:
The Immolate thanks you for what you have done, and adds: “Not all the shadows are sent to kill; some capture people and take them away, but keep them alive. One of the archdeacons believes that they feed on their nightmares”. “And what do you think?” you ask. The man replies in a whisper: “I think they take them to turn them into other shadows, so that we are fighting our own people.”
The prosperity point reward will serve during the Citadel phase at the end of the mission. The card is now removed from the library.
Multiple choice events
But what happens when the same land is discovered again in a new game? The optional task is not used again, instead it’s time to reveal an event. You also reveal an event if you already got an optional task in this game, when you reveal further lands (up to three – afterwards, revealed lands do not trigger more events).
Let’s continue our example. In a new game, the Pioneer enters the “Ancient cathedral” land. He takes the library again (but we removed the optional task card from it). This time, he will play the first of 2 land-related multiple-choice events. The title is “Sanatorium” and this time it must be another player to read it to the Pioneer’s player (you will understand why soon!).
The inside of the cathedral is a cross between an ancient sanatorium and an automated field hospital. By candlelight, the monks examine the injured from the outer lands using augmented reality viewers, while several drones, which the luminaries call “Cherubs”, flit around distributing medicines. The cry of a wounded man splits the silence. His face is covered in shadowy black veins. What is happening to him?
Then the reading player presents to his companion 3 choices:
1) You get up close to get a better look.
2) You recoil, fearing he may be contagious.
3) Keeping your distance, you look for a monk who can explain what is going on.
The player who plays the Pioneer must therefore choose how to act, based on his intuition or on the character he plays. The Pioneer is a brave type, so the player chooses option 1, but does not know the consequences of his choice which are on the back of the card. His team-mate then reads the result:
The man writhes on the ground. He looks as though there is darkness under his flesh, and his eyes are black. While two nurse monks hold him still, a third one injects him with diluted lux, and this, oddly enough, calms him.
The game effect is “Engineer faction + 1 point; discard the first card of the lightshield deck.”
If he had chosen another option, the effect and the faction involved could have been different.
Events often have 2 choices instead of 3, but one of them is a challenge. For example, the “Forest of bodies” event – linked to a forgotten land card – reads:
The plain gives way to a petrified forest that has nothing left of vegetal. A nefarious wind blows through the skeletal stems dotted with coral. You realize that from one of the trunks, in the midst of strange growths, an object that looks like an ancient weapon appears. A remnant in good condition, of the Great Retreat that took place there.
1) You ignore it and continue.
2) You try to extract the object.
By choosing option 2, the character will have to face a challenge, and he does not know what will happen in case of success or failure. Challenges are conducted by rolling 3 SHEOL dice. The goal is to get the symbols indicated by the event card. If the character has the archetypes indicated on the card (in this case “Melee”) he can roll again one of the dice.
The results for success or failure are indicated on the back of the card. Sometimes passing a test can be particularly rewarding, and failure can be very punishing. Players will have to consider the risk well, also considering that the events of the shadow lands have much more dangerous effects than those of the chronicle lands. There can also be entirely positive events, others are entirely negative, others cause special effects, such as moving characters. Choose carefully!
Daily unlock: Land Pack #3
Now that you know how lands and events work, we decided to add more of them! Today’s unlock is our Land pack #3 and it adds 1 new land, 2 new events and a mission/task related card. That raises the total lands to 25 and the total events to 75. Each of them is unique!
Thank you so much, explorers of the night! Stay with us for the next updates. Tomorrow we will unveil the third expansion of SHEOL – and our all-in pledge option! Remember also to share the post pinned on Facebook to unlock the Mindblower… and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.
Preserve the light!