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« Reply #495 on: 05 March 2015, 23:45:15 »

Imperial Investigation






Published 11 February 2015
|
Dark Heresy 2nd Ed.



Imperial Investigation



A Designer Diary on Inquests in Enemies Within








“We thought he perished during our last encounter, but the ritual markings undoubtedly show the involvement of that damnable heretic Zethor. I don’t know how he escaped the purge on Temperance, but with the Emperor’s guidance, this time we will make sure of his fate.”

   
–Witch-Seeker Arbella Syne


The Askellon sector groans beneath the weight of a billion billion souls and their numberless sins. Everywhere, heresy sprouts and blooms, infecting the innocent and spreading madness. For such unquestionable evil, there is only one certain cure: the cleansing fire of the Inquisition and the Ordo Hereticus.


Yet finding the roots of corruption is difficult. An Inquisitor’s Acolytes must develop a plan of investigation and follow the clues before they can confront the source of the heresy. In the Enemies Within sourcebook for Dark Heresy Second Edition, you’ll find new rules to give structure to your Inquests in the Imperium.


Today, Tim Cox shares his perspective on the Inquest rules he developed for Enemies Within!



Tim Cox on Inquests in Enemies Within


Mysteries and investigations lie at the heart of Dark Heresy Second Edition, as Acolytes and Inquisitors strive to uncover the threats to humanity, but mysteries also rank among the most difficult adventures for GMs to run and for players to follow. To assist players and GMs with running investigations and tracking the Acolytes’ progress, Enemies Within includes new rules for Inquests. These rules help players solve mysteries, conduct investigations, and hunt down the heretics, witches, and mutants that threaten the survival of Mankind.


When developing the rules for Inquests, I wanted to provide structure and mechanics to support investigative play without constraining GMs or players. Inquests needed rules that were flexible enough to represent any sort of mystery or heresy a GM might invent, while providing a solid foundation to ensure the plot advances. I also wanted to keep the focus on targeted investigations against known heretics and cults, while maintaining the flexibility to handle other types of mysteries.


Planting the Seeds


At their heart, the final rules for Inquests provide an organised system for conducting investigations, presenting guidelines that GMs can use to build their own mystery adventures. Although GMs can use Inquest rules for any investigation, they are best suited to handling investigations initiated by the Acolytes (or a Player Character Inquisitor). The beginning of an Inquest invites the Acolytes to plan the focus of their investigation, selecting their target and determining the Inquest’s scope – Minoris, Majoris, or Extremis. The scope is a reflection of the mission’s difficulty and length, and it dictates the Influence rewards for success.


The amount of player involvement in an Inquest means that Acolytes have the discretion to choose their target, the scope of their objective, and the resources they will use to accomplish it. This ensures that players and GMs are on the same page at the outset of the adventure and it further represents the discretion that trusted Acolytes and even Inquisitors exercise in deciding which threats to pursue and how best to prosecute their duties.


Chasing the Heresy


During an Inquest, Acolytes accrue Investigation points by finding clues and following leads, resulting in a tangible measurement for their progress. The number of Investigation points needed to complete an Inquest depends on its scope. A higher scope generally means more clues for the Acolytes to find.


In an Inquest, clues have an assigned Investigation point value, which can vary greatly based on the clue’s importance. In order for the Inquest to progress, the Acolytes might need to find a single vital clue or several minor clues. Acolytes gain additional Investigation points for successfully uncovering leads from a clue, but a mistaken interpretation or a false lead can actually cost them points.


Once the Acolytes have obtained a predetermined number of Investigation points, they trigger a Revelation, or an important break in the case. In order to benefit from the Revelation, they must successfully navigate a Confrontation – an important encounter with the potential to change the course of an investigation. Although Confrontations don’t always involve combat, they are often encounters with important heretics and lieutenants of the Acolytes’ target, or even with highly placed members of the organization the Acolytes seek to bring down. Confrontations may also be shocking discoveries, tense social encounters, or other important developments.


When the warband achieves the necessary total Investigation points, the results of their clues lead to the final Confrontation with their target, and the opportunity to successfully complete the Inquest. If the Acolytes are successful, they and their Inquisitor receive Influence based on the scope of the Inquest. Even if the Acolytes fail to defeat their foe, obtaining enough Investigation points nets them a reduced Influence reward. In some cases, such as during an Inquest against a particularly powerful Nemesis, just undoing his horrid schemes may be all that is possible.



Nothing According to Plan


One of my favourite elements of the Inquest rules is complications. At the outset of an Inquest, a GM can choose from a selection of complications or randomly determine one. Complications range from jurisdictional disputes with local forces or a branch of the Adeptus Terra, to local customs or practices that threaten to delay the investigation, to betrayal by a trusted ally. Each complication has mechanical effects and may cost the Acolytes Investigation points or affect their Subtlety.


Although players have a good deal more involvement in the selection, creation, and prosecution of an Inquest than they might in other adventures, complications provide a level of unpredictability and surprise that keeps the Acolytes on their toes. And although they may choose the target and scope of their Inquest, no Acolyte can ever tell for certain where that Inquest may lead them.


Doing the Emperor’s Work


I hope both GMs and players will enjoy incorporating Inquests into their games. Whether hunting down old foes or uncovering nascent threats, Inquests make up the work of the Inquisition. I look forward to hearing about the mysteries your Acolytes uncover and the threats you contend with!


Thanks, Tim!


Prepare to uncover the cults and heresies that fester throughout the Askellon sector with the new rules for Inquests. Check back for our next preview, in which we look at the new options available to your Acolytes as you work alongside the Ordo Hereticus.


Pre-order your copy of Enemies Within today!






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« Reply #496 on: 06 March 2015, 08:45:17 »

Secret Vigil






Published 11 February 2015
|
The Lord of the Rings LCG



Secret Vigil



A Preview of The Lost Realm Deluxe Expansion for The Lord of the Rings








“In the wild lands beyond Bree there were mysterious wanderers. The Bree-folk called them Rangers, and knew nothing of their origin. They were taller and darker than the Men of Bree and were believed to have strange powers of sight and hearing.”

   
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring


Soon, The Lost Realm deluxe expansion for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game will provide you and your heroes the chance to undertake daring, new adventures in a previously unexplored region of Middle-earth.


Outside the peaceful villages of Bree-land, lies a land tainted by ancient evils. In the darkest, northern reaches of Eriador, the Witch-king of Angmar once ruled. His armies terrorized the region for nearly seven centuries, and though he no longer resides within Carn Dûm, there are other evils that have found their way to Angmar.


In The Lost Realm, you join forces with the Rangers of the North, the Dúnedain who have secretly warded Bree-land and its neighboring villages from the dangers of Angmar and the surrounding lands.



The Orcs Are Massing


Your adventures begin with the expansion’s first scenario, Intruders in Chetwood. When a couple Rangers of the North discover a large group of Orcs making its way toward Bree-land, they realize they need help. The Ranger Iârion (The Lost Realm, 16) asks you to help him intercept the war-party before it can assault the Men of Bree.



Though the Orcs begin with a day’s lead, Iârion proves a skilled tracker, guiding you swiftly through forests and over hills. However, your trials won’t end once you manage to catch the Orc War-party (The Lost Realm, 17); they’ll have only just begun.


At its heart, The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is about adventures rooted in exploration and discovery. You and your friends work together against a randomized encounter deck full of enemies to fight, dangerous locations to explore, and treachery cards that can snatch victory right out of your hands. Meanwhile, each game immerses you in a story that unfolds as you press forward on your quest, moving from stage to stage. In these ways, The Lost Realm and its scenarios offer as pure an experience as The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game as you could hope to find.


From the opening moments of Intruders in Chetwood, as you hunt the Orcs, through the final quest stage of its final scenario, The Lost Realm immerses you in a narrative adventure full of challenges, choices, and intrigues. In an earlier preview, developer Caleb Grace addressed how the expansion’s side quests add narrative depth, even as they force you and your heroes to choose between pursuing the main quest and ridding the realm of other threats.


Along the way, you’ll need to travel from the relative safety of Chetwood Forest (The Lost Realm, 18) to the ruins of Fornost. You’ll learn why Aragorn told the Council of Elrond that the North would have had no peace if not for the Rangers of the North. You’ll learn about the foes he said would freeze lesser men’s hearts, and you’ll face them in battle. Moreover, you’ll have to do all this while trudging onward through foul weather and unmarked wilderness.


The result is that you’ll understand what it’s like to be one of the Dúnedain Rangers. You’ll feel the weight of responsibility sitting squarely upon your back, and yet you’ll continue onward, because there is no good alternative. You will gain no fame nor fortune should you succeed, but if you fail, many innocent men and women will die.


The Tireless Hunt


Of course, The Lost Realm explores the Rangers of the North and their trials in more ways than one. The expansion introduces two new Dúnedain Ranger heroes, a host of new Dúnedain allies, and a handful of related events and attachments.


As we’ve already seen, many of these new cards focus on scouting out enemies and engaging them, and this means that The Lost Realm adds a new dimension to the Tactics sphere of influence, even as it bolsters the Dúnedain trait.


Each sphere of influence has its strengths and weaknesses, and in multi-player games, Tactics players will often protect other members of their fellowship from as many enemies as possible. For starters, then, Tactics players frequently aim to optionally engage enemies as often as possible, and they often play with threat levels that are slightly higher than the rest of the table, so that they will be the first targeted by enemies in the engagement phase.


Often, though, you’ll find yourselves facing situations in which multiple enemies enter the staging area at once, and your Tactics player can’t engage them all. These situations occur frequently enough that many Tactics players feel the need to incorporate Ranged and Sentinel characters, as well as events such as Feint (Core Set, 34), in order to help their friends across the table.


Soon, The Lost Realm will introduce new means of controlling the game’s enemies and engagements, and this means that Tactics players will be able to pursue a wide range of all-new, effective deck-building archetypes.


The new Tactics version of Aragorn (The Lost Realm, 1) is likely to be the lynchpin in many of these builds. Not only does he subtract one from the Defense Strength of every enemy engaged with you, he comes with a Response ability that can pull enemies away from other players:


Response: After Aragorn participates in an attack that destroys an enemy, choose an enemy not engaged with you and engage that enemy.”


Some of Aragorn’s benefits are obvious. By offering a consistent and immediate means of pulling enemies away from your fellow players, Aragorn’s ability grants you new freedom in the construction of your deck and the selection of your heroes. You face less need than ever to include Ranged characters or cards like The Hammer-stroke (The Blood of Gondor, 111) in order to attack those enemies that engage your fellow players.


Some of Aragorn’s benefits are less obvious, but no less effective. Since Aragorn’s Response isn’t a Combat Action, it works anytime he participates in an attack that destroys an enemy. That means that he can use cards like Quick Strike (Core Set, 35) to attack and destroy enemies before other enemies attack your teammates, and in this way, you can be an effective teammate and combatant, even if you don’t include Sentinel characters in your deck.


To this end, The Lost Realm also introduces Tireless Hunters (The Lost Realm, 8), which for one resource serves both as a Sentinel replacement and as shadow cancellation.



Finally, even as it offers Tactics players a range of new freedoms, The Lost Realm provides them with some limited, thematic means to explore an entirely new role – threat reduction. For a single resource, Secret Vigil (The Lost Realm, 12) can attach to an enemy and reduce its Threat Strength by one, making it easier to quest successfully so long as that enemy remains in the staging area. Then, once that enemy is destroyed, Secret Vigil reduces each player’s threat by an amount equal to the target enemy’s printed Threat Strength. When you consider that The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set, 46) costs three resources for a table-wide threat reduction of two, you’ll be especially thankful for the Dúnedain and their Secret Vigil, especially when they eliminate an enemy as threatening as an Angmar Marauder (The Lost Realm, 44).


Explore the North


Will you experiment with a Dúnedain deck, or will you rely upon other heroes as you face the perils of the North? Either way, The Lost Realm offers an immersive and perilous exploration of one of Middle-earth’s most intriguing realms, the dark and shadowy lands just outside of Bree-land and the Shire.


The Lost Realm is now just a few weeks away. In the meantime, stay tuned for more news, including a look at the expansion’s second hero and a pair of sample Dúnedain decks designed to work together!






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« Reply #497 on: 06 March 2015, 17:45:10 »

Avoid a Backstabbing






Published 12 February 2015
|
A Game of Thrones LCG



Avoid a Backstabbing



New FAQ and Tournament Rules are Available for A Game of Thrones









The 2015 A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Organized Play season has gotten off to a roaring start with Store Championships. Battles rage across the Seven Kingdoms each week, and those with the most knowledge give themselves the best opportunity to be named Champion. Will you use your knowledge to gain an advantage over your foe? Or will you fall by the wayside, just another pretender to the throne?


What knowledge will you acquire, and how will you use it? Be sure to read the new FAQ (pdf, 2.3 MB) and tournament rules (pdf, 1.5 MB) before heading out to your next tournament. These changes will go into effect on February 16th, 2015.



A Word from the Developers


Hello A Game of Thrones players,


As we move deeper into the Store Championship season, a couple of metagame trends that began to creep into the game at last year’s Tourney of Stahleck and World Championships have strengthened their grasp upon the environment. Instead of waiting until our regularly scheduled pre-Regional Championships FAQ document, we have decided to release a small mid-season FAQ to address these concerns.


The top item being addressed is the River plot deck which, in spite of a restriction to Crossing the Mummer’s Ford (Spoils of War, 20), is still dominating the game. To lower the ceiling on how much card advantage Crossing the Mummer’s Ford card can provide, we are adding an errata to its effect that prevents it from being triggered by other card effects. This will limit the card’s effectiveness to one use each time a player cycles through his or her plot deck. To anticipate the most likely rules question relating to this errata, if another River plot attempts to trigger it as the top River card in your used pile, the “cannot” is absolute, and nothing will happen.


In addition to the River plot deck, we are taking this opportunity to address a few other strategies that have been warping the recent environment. Daenerys Targaryen (Ancestral Home, 76) and Melisandre’s Favor (The Horn that Wakes, 63) have both been added to the restricted list. We are adding an errata to Harrenhal (Ancestral Home, 78) that requires the character killed to pay its cost be both owned and controlled by the player who is using Harrenhal, to break up the card’s combo potential with the aforementioned Melisandre’s Favor. Finally, the combo of Unburnt (Queen of Dragons, 1) and Aloof and Apart (Secrets and Schemes, 18) is being checked, so that the free save the combo enables is no longer repeatable.


In the Q&A section, we field questions on two topics. The first explains the timing of the new Castle plots. The second covers the physical placement (dead pile, discard pile, or deck) of multiple cards that leave play simultaneously when there are no specific instructions regarding the order in which those cards arrive in their new location.


We hope that this FAQ release serves to rejuvenate the environment, and helps to maximize your enjoyment of the game over the remainder of the Store Championship season.


Nate French

Fantasy Flight Games



Thanks Nate!


Don’t let yourself be caught unaware at your next Store Championship. Download the new FAQ and tournament rules today so you’ll be ready as you ride into battle.






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« Reply #498 on: 07 March 2015, 11:45:15 »

Take to the Streets






Published 12 February 2015
|
Elder Sign



Take to the Streets



Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham Is Now Available








Behind everything crouched the brooding, festering horror of the ancient town…

   
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Dreams in the Witch House


A city full of horrors awaits you. The Gates of Arkham expansion for Elder Sign is now available at your local retailer and in our online store.


Gates of Arkham features the new Streets of Arkham game mode, which takes the action of Elder Sign out of the museum and into the legendary, haunted, New England city of Arkham. As four new Ancient Ones threaten to awake, their stirrings are ripping at the fabric of space and time, causing gates to Other Worlds to open, and releasing horrors throughout the city. Fortunately, eight investigators are adding their strengths to the vital struggle to save Arkham from unspeakable, irrevocable doom.



The Streets of Arkham


The Streets of Arkham game mode leaves the museum and takes the action to twenty-five locations throughout Arkham, such as Independence Square, the River Docks, and Ma’s Boarding House. In this mode, detailed in our first preview, a complete deck of Arkham Adventure cards replaces the core set Adventure deck. Arkham Adventures are played facedown, so you enter a location without knowing what lies ahead.


You may, for example, choose to visit the Curiositie Shoppe in order to gain a unique item. But when you reach it, you find that the door has been smashed open and a thin trail of blood leads across the threshold, as if the victim of some violent event inside the Shoppe has recently fled. Merely entering the Shoppe mysteriously drains your stamina. And before you can begin to piece together what has happened, an unexpected Event occurs.


 

Some Arkham Adventures are marked with a red moon icon that signals you to draw an Event card at the start of your Resolution phase. Events, featured in our fourth preview, may be good or bad. For example, at the beginning of your adventure in the Curiositie Shoppe, the Hungry Creatures Event may cause a ravenous monster to appear. Or you may have a sudden epiphany and gain some Rare Knowledge, which gives you a clue or a spell to help you complete the tasks ahead. With random Events able to put victory within your reach, or bring the Ancient One closer to awakening, every moment, every move you make in Arkham is critical, unpredictable, and potentially game-changing.


Gates to Other Worlds


Not even physical space is stable in Arkham. As described in our second preview, a gate can open at any location, say, the Police Station, transforming it into the portal to an uncanny and fearsome Other World – perhaps the monster-infested City of Gugs. In order to seal the gate and return the Police Station to some semblance of normality, you’ll have to undertake an Adventure in that Other World. Until you succeed at the appointed tasks in the City of Gugs, the Police Station is wholly unvisitable, no longer a place of order and justice, but the home of a disastrous rip in the material of the cosmos.



Some Events and midnight effects create gates, but it is the stirring of the Ancient Ones that truly lies behind these universal disturbances, since it is outside of the gates that they patiently wait and through the gates that they will come. All four Ancient Ones of Gates of Arkham have spaces on their doom tracks that cause gates to open. All four are pulled closer to awakening as gates tear Arkham apart.


Unlikely Heroes with Underground Ties


In your fight against these Ancient Ones you’ll need investigators capable of surviving in the Other Worlds and on Arkham’s streets, tough and shrewd people who may come from nefarious backgrounds or from the heights of society. One such individual is Finn Edwards, a successful bootlegger on the East Coast. His illegal trade grants him a few privileges, including the ability to easily acquire common items for anyone he chooses, such as one of the four investigators featured in our third preview.



Surviving in Arkham can be as much a matter of who you know as what you know, so Gates of Arkham offers investigators the chance to gain a membership in one of the city’s most powerful organizations. Memberships allow investigators to skip certain tasks and offer additional rewards for success, enabling you to navigate Arkham more easily and have more tools in your battle against the Ancient One.


Finn Edwards is a natural fit for the Sheldon Gang– an infamous and well-armed nationwide bootlegging network. In Arkham, they have as much power as the police, if not more, since several police officers are on the Sheldon Gang payroll. If you prefer dark rituals and arcane tomes to gunfights and smuggling, you might seek membership in the Order of the Silver Twilight, an ancient and secretive organization of unknown origin that somehow possesses a wealth of knowledge about the Ancient Ones. The Order of the Silver Twilight may not control the streets, but it can include you in its powerful occult rites and perhaps even lead you to a priceless Elder Sign.



Horrors Around Every Corner


No place in Arkham is completely safe, not St. Mary’s Hospital or the South Church, not Velma’s Diner or Hibb’s Roadhouse. Thankfully, Gates of Arkham also lets investigators acquire Skills that can help you conquer the city’s terrors and chaos. Some Wanderlust, for example, enables you to open up the locked doors of Arkham’s locations and peer inside before entering.


Many components of the expansion, such as the new investigators, Ancient Ones, spells, and items can be used outside of the Streets of Arkham game mode to bring fresh terrors to your experience inside the Arkham museum. Nevertheless, the heart of Gates of Arkham lies in the city’s streets and tangled woods, in its thick fogs and dark old secrets. And unless you and your fellow investigators can seal the gates ripping the city apart, kill the monsters threatening its inhabitants, and prevent the Ancient Ones from awakening, Arkham will be lost.


If you’re brave enough to fight the horrors of this haunted New England town, pick up your copy of Gates of Arkham today!






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« Reply #499 on: 07 March 2015, 20:45:18 »

Back into the Shadows






Published 12 February 2015
|
The Lord of the Rings LCG



Back into the Shadows



Three New Nightmare Decks Are Now Available for The Lord of the Rings








 “Against the Power that now arises there is no victory. To this City only the first finger of its hand has yet been stretched. All the East is moving.”

   
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce that three new Nightmare Decks are now available for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game!



When Middle-earth’s heroes returned to Minas Tirith, triumphant after the battles they faced through the scenarios from Heirs of Númenor, they found the City’s Steward wracked with worry. Traitors and treachery had infiltrated the City and spread throughout its underbelly like a disease.


After the Heirs of Númenor deluxe expansion, the Against the Shadow cycle followed the heroes and their efforts to purge the Dark Lord’s servants from the heart of Gondor. From the gutters and darkened alleys of Minas Tirith, their investigations led them into the neighboring Drúadan Forest and then to Amon Dîn. At each turn, the plot thickened, and players were immersed in an epic adventure, full of innovative mechanics, iconic locations, vibrant characters, plot twists, and treachery.


Now, three new Nightmare Decks allow you to experience the thrill of discovery all over again with new Plots and mechanics, as well as deadlier challenges. When you return to the first three scenarios from the Against the Shadow cycle with these Nightmare Decks, you’ll find that the conspiracies run deeper, your foes are more ferocious, and the Dark Lord’s servants have come closer than ever to plunging Gondor into chaos!



Lead Developer Matthew Newman on the Against the Shadow Nightmare Decks


When you play through the Against the Shadow cycle in Nightmare Mode, you’ll find that its scenarios have changed and evolved, and the shadow of Mordor has grown. Good luck!


The Steward’s Fear


This beloved scenario kicks off the Against the Shadow cycle with an investigation into an evil cabal secretly plotting the downfall of Minas Tirith.


One of the most entertaining aspects of this quest is its replayability. In the original scenario, players randomly select from three Plot objectives and three Villain enemies, then confront the cabal of traitors that has banded together in one of nine possible combinations. In Nightmare Mode, we added more depth to this theme by adding new Plot objectives and creating an unpredictable environment wherein your Plot and Villain are always moving forward and gaining strength. For example, if you don’t quickly explore the location Traitors’ Den (The Steward’s Fear Nightmare Deck, 6), the cabal may hatch an additional Plot that you’ll need to confront in addition to the one set aside during setup.


The Steward’s Fear also introduced locations with the Underworld X keyword, which allowed the enemies hiding within them to attack once they were revealed. This Nightmare Deck adds strength to this theme and the Underworld deck with new Underworld locations, a treachery card that you shuffle into the Underworld deck, and a slippery enemy who attacks you when he first emerges from the Underworld deck, only to vanish right out of your sight if you can’t destroy him immediately.


Finally, The Cabal’s Champion (The Steward’s Fear Nightmare Deck, 10) is an objective that increases the strength of the Villain you will eventually face at stage three. The longer you take to root out this Villain, the more powerful he or she becomes. This emphasizes your need to move swiftly through each quest stage and ensures a tense and climactic endgame for the adventure as you confront the leader of the cult.


The Drúadan Forest


When players first pursued those cabalists who fled from Minas Tirith into The Drúadan Forest, they likely found it much deadlier than they had imagined. The enemies the players had been hunting were dead, but the forest was full of deadly and cunning Wose enemies that provided a unique challenge, discarding the heroes’ resources with their Prowl X keyword and then punishing them with effects that grew more powerful as the players’ resources dwindled.


For this Nightmare Deck, we decided to change the dynamic of this quest in a way that complements the encounter deck as a natural fit, even while it dramatically alters the way players need to approach The Drúadan Forest. These changes all start with the setup card (The Drúadan Forest Nightmare Deck, 1):


“Heroes do not collect resources during the resource phase.


Setup: Add resources to each hero’s resource pool until each hero has 5 resources. Search the encounter deck for 1 copy of Garden of Poisons and add it to the staging area. Shuffle the encounter deck.”


At first, as your heroes enter the Drúadan Forest, you may feel that you have everything you need at your disposal. Fifteen resources is a lot, after all! But since your heroes do not collect resources during the resource phase each round, you find yourself second-guessing every card you play. Meanwhile, the scenario’s Wose enemies and treachery cards continue to swipe at your remaining resources until you run out, at which point cards such as Drúadan Warrior (The Drúadan Forest Nightmare Deck, 3) and Eilenach (The Drúadan Forest Nightmare Deck, 6) become truly nightmarish.



The Drúadan Forest Nightmare Deck doesn’t just introduce new enemies and treacheries; it introduces an entirely new paradigm, one that challenges players to think outside the box and creates a truly tense and exciting experience!


Encounter at Amon Dîn


Encounter at Amon Dîn is a scenario that in many ways captures what The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is all about – noble heroes putting themselves in great danger in order to protect the lives of others. The Nightmare Mode version of this scenario is designed to truly emphasize the idea and feeling of this self-sacrifice. Nearly every card presents you with a difficult decision: you can confront some fierce obstacle in order to protect one or more villagers, or you can play it safe at the cost of innocent lives.


This idea first finds shape in the scenario’s setup card (Encounter at Amon Dîn Nightmare Deck, 1):


Forced: At the beginning of the quest phase, either discard 1 villager token from Rescued Villagers, or reveal an encounter card.”


As you need to make this difficult choice each and every turn, you really begin to feel like you are throwing yourself into a series of dangerous situations in order to save lives. Other cards like Orc Raiders (Encounter at Amon Dîn Nightmare Deck, 2) and Save Us! (Encounter at Amon Dîn Nightmare Deck, 8) help to compliment this theme, as well.



These decisions almost guarantee you’ll suffer many more casualties, and that means you will find yourself bound for an epic confrontation with the deadly Ghulat (Encounter at Amon Dîn, 71). Simultaneously, though, you will need to make sure more villagers were rescued than slain, and this is a task that becomes much more difficult objective with this Nightmare Deck’s deadlier enemies and ravaged locations.


I hope you enjoy confronting the new challenges from these Nightmare Decks as much as we enjoyed crafting them. Be brave and confront the shadow head on.


Alámenë!


Will You Stand Against the Growing Shadow?


In the dark land of Mordor, the Enemy has grown stronger, and his agents have stolen secretly into the very heart of Gondor. Though many may think the streets of Minas Tirith are free from evil, the war against the Enemy is not won, nor are any of its battles truly ended. Traitors once again skulk about the darkest alleys of Minas Tirith and steal through the forests of Gondor. Your work is not ended until the Enemy himself is defeated.


Take up your arms once more, and stand fast against the growing Shadow. Pick up your copies of the Against the Shadow Nightmare Decks today!







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« Reply #500 on: 08 March 2015, 14:45:16 »

Free Traders






Published 13 February 2015
|
Star Wars: Edge of the Empire



Free Traders



Preview the Character Options of Fly Casual








“Look, I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you, Princess. I expect to be well paid. I’m in it for the money.”

   
–Han Solo


A smuggler’s life is one of bending the rules or creating your own, of fighting for survival and making narrow escapes. Smugglers may be thought of as greedy and self-interested, but that’s the price they pay for freedom – and under Imperial rule, freedom is a precious commodity. They’ll take on any job that pays well, not just for the money, but because money is what gives them independence.


In Fly Casual, a sourcebook for the Star Wars®: Edge of the Empire™ roleplaying game, you’ll find everything you need to experience a Smuggler’s life, from talents that let you talk your way out of trouble to gear that conceals contraband. For Game Masters there’s plentiful information about smuggling within the Star Wars galaxy, a guide to designing a smuggling ring for your group, and ideas for staging con jobs, scams, break-ins, and all sorts of illegal activities.


Today’s preview focuses on the Smugglers themselves. We’ll look at the three new Smuggler specializations introduced in Fly Casual, three new species apt to practice these specializations, and some of the gear that can help you succeed in this underhanded, risky, and lucrative career.



Talk the Talk


In the Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook, you’ll find three Smuggler specializations. You can choose to be a focused, hardworking Pilot, a quick-witted, cavalier Scoundrel, or a stealthy, cunning Thief. But if your charisma is your favorite weapon, and you prefer to negotiate rather than intimidate or fight, you might want to become a Charmer, the first of the new specializations introduced in Fly Casual. Armed with the skills Charm, Cool, Leadership, and Negotiation, Charmers can befriend the people they’re about to steal from and talk their way out of a bad situation. They can easily navigate both the underworld and the upper echelons of society, and they always know exactly the right thing to say.


Sometimes a Charmer’s persuasive words and disarming smile are enough to gain entry to a private cantina, or to pass through an Imperial checkpoint. At those times, False Credentials may prove useful. For 800 credits your character can buy a fake identity that will fool even the most sophisticated scanners and most perceptive adversaries. You may want to keep some on hand just in case someone links your character’s real name to the ignoble deceptions and illegal deeds you’ve perpetrated.



Beat the Odds


Charmers are easy to recognize: their natural magnetism and compelling words always make them the center of attention. Gamblers, however, must avoid receiving too much attention and keep their tricks hidden in order to survive. Rather than attract attention, they may prefer to keep a low profile and secretly strategize for the moment when they reveal their hand. Specializing as a Gambler involves more than always winning at the sabacc table. Gambling is a mentality, a way of life, a willingness to risk it all and a knowledge of how to triumph against the odds.


A Gambler's bonus skills include Computers, Cool, Deception, and Skulduggery, allowing you to double up on the latter two since they are part of the Smuggler base skill set. With these skills, you are as well suited to playing casual games of cards with the Imperial aristocracy as you are hacking into the computers of a Hutt crime boss. You might be the brains behind an independent smuggling ring, or a card shark out in one of the colonies. You might even play a Trader and use the Gambler specialization to enhance your negotiating skills.



Shoot First


Sometimes deals go wrong. Sometimes your client refuses to pay for the merchandise you’ve smuggled across the galaxy. Sometimes you get caught in the act of stealing, or a rival Smuggler turns to violence to cut down his competition. In these cases, having a Gunslinger on board your ship can prove very useful. Gunslingers start with the bonus career skills Coercion, Cool, Knowledge (Outer Rim), and Ranged (Light). But the true strength of a Gunslinger lies in their ability to shoot faster than their opponent. The Gunslinger’s talents allow him to draw fast, aim well, and deliver a lethal blow before anyone else has got a weapon in hand.


All Smugglers need a way to prevent their valuables – and stolen goods – from being taken in a search. But Gunslingers who want to keep their hands free for drawing and shooting may be particularly interested in a Smuggler’s Trenchcoat. It has more pockets (and pockets within pockets) than Imperial stormtroopers are willing to search, and, since it adds a point to your soak value, it protects both you and your contraband in a fight.


Native to the Outer Rim


The three playable species introduced in Fly Casual each hail from a different world in the Outer Rim. Each offers its own challenges and advantages for the Smuggler career. 


The Quarren once led a peaceful underwater existence on their homeworld of Dac, and these tentacled, amphibious humanoids still feel more comfortable swimming than walking or flying. Conflicts with the Mon Calamari and the Empire have now compelled some Quarren to leave Dac and earn a living on the fringes of the galaxy. Because they can be aggressive and strong-willed, Quarren take easily to the Gunslinger specialization or the Hired Gun career, but some also possess a natural meticulousness that suits them to the work of a Mechanic or Outlaw Tech.


The shrewd, elegant, reptilian Falleen make excellent Charmers, Politicos, and even Performers, possessing a disarming presence that can make anyone put down their guard. After all, the Falleen control the Black Sun, one of the most powerful crime syndicates ever known in the galaxy. In addition to their natural intelligence and cunning, the Falleen also have the ability to modulate their skin color and pheromones to affect the emotional states of others. Anyone who lets his guard down might find himself agreeing to whatever a Falleeen wants without exactly knowing why– and later regretting his decisions.


The tall, burly Gotals possess great Cunning, lack much Presence, and, because they can be so inconspicuous, are well suited for the Gambler specialization. They also possess energy-sensitive horns that, through fluctuations in the electro-magnetic field, can sense the emotional states of others. The same adaptations that enable Gotals to tell whether or not someone is bluffing also make them sympathetic Doctors or perceptive Marshals. Yet some Gotals use their empathy as a weapon: a Gotal Bounty Hunter, for example, could use it to more easily hunt down his prey.



The new species of Fly Casual from left to right: a Gotal, Quarren, and Falleen


Fortune Favors the Bold


A Charmer, a Gambler, a Gunslinger, and a Pilot could make an excellent smuggling team: let the Charmer and Gambler run con jobs and do the dirty work while the Gunslinger eliminates any armed opponents and the Pilot takes care of the quick getaway.You might also pick up Charmer, Gambler, or Gunslinger as an additional specialization so that your Colonist, Bounty Hunter, or Explorer has a few underhanded tricks up her sleeve. Whether smuggling is your livelihood or you play high-stakes games of sabacc and hintaro as a pastime, Fly Casual open up dangerous, profitable, and thrilling new adventures for you to experience in the Star Wars universe.


Fly Casual is coming soon. Pre-order it from your local retailer today!






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« Reply #501 on: 08 March 2015, 23:45:14 »

The Lay of the Battlefield






Published 13 February 2015
|
BattleLore Second Edition



The Lay of the Battlefield



Preview the New Scenarios of Hernfar Guardians and Warband of Scorn








Poisoned arrows darkened the skies but the horses were galloping too fast to be hit. They charged straight into the midst of the half-demon archers: some fell beneath the horses’ trampling hooves, others simply fled. Then the horses stopped cold. Standing between the Citadel Lancers and their goal was a tall, bloodied barricade of spears, sharpened wood staves, and bones. The men exchanged determined glances, and prepared their horses for the perilous jump…


Charge forward with Hernfar Guardians and Warband of Scorn, the new Army Pack expansions for BattleLore Second Edition. In Hernfar Guardians you’ll find thirty-four sculpted plastic figures: four new Daqan units adept at breaking enemy lines and defending prized positions, along with the Citadel Guards to support them. Warband of Scorn contains thirty-seven Uthuk Y'llan figures: three units of Blood Harvesters and four new units certain to make your opponent’s army bleed in every fight.


Earlier previews have provided in-depth introductions to the units of Hernfar Guardians and those of Warband of Scorn. We also previewed the Army cards of each expansion, which suggest battle-ready offensive and defensive armies made from only the units included in the Army Pack. Today’s preview will look at some of the new scenario cards, which not only transform your battlefield into a fresh and treacherous landscape, but also offer new strategic challenges to overcome.



Spires and Lore


In Hernfar Guardians, the Daqan army must not only protect the homes and fields of the people of Terrinoth, but also prevent the realm’s powerful magic runes and crystals from falling into the wrong hands. One new scenario card, The Ruins of Lore, charges you specifically with keeping the attacking Uthuk Y’llan army away from two powerful crystal spires embedded in the landscape. For every turn you can keep the spires safe, you gain a victory point.



Crystal spire hexes are introduced to BattleLore for the first time in Hernfar Guardians. When one of your units occupies a crystal spire at the beginning of their Move Step, you can roll an additional die for that unit during combat that turn. In The Ruins of Lore, Crystal Spires also provide you with one lore if you occupy them at the end of your turn. That lore may then be spent to move a unit at the end of the round, allowing you to pursue the Uthuk Y’llan during combat and then pull back, or move a friendly unit that was forced to retreat back into position. You may want to occupy one crystal spire with a Siege Golem, whose artillery can eradicate enemy forces long before they enter your territory.


In the Behind the Lines scenario, however, your goal is to penetrate deep into territory occupied by the enemy. In setup, you’ll place a Daqan faction banner marker behind enemy lines, which grants your Daqan units an additional victory point for occupying that spot. Regardless of your opponents’ goals, you must focus on attaining that position and holding it at all costs. To do so, you’ll need strong, swift units like the Citadel Lancers, who can either rupture or skirt the enemy lines. Citadel Guards or Greyhaven Battlemages can then follow the cavalry, claim the faction banner marker, and defend it until your victory is complete.



A Bloodied Battlefield


What the Daqan seek to defend, the vicious and fearless Uthuk Y’llan seek to raid, ravage, and destroy – and the more Daqan soldiers they slaughter in the process, the better. Two of the five scenarios in Warband of Scorn give you victory points for the enemy units you slay. In The Blood-Stained Forest, you earn a victory point whenever a friendly unit in a forest hex eliminates an enemy unit. Since your Caster units ignore the combat restrictions of forests in this scenario, you might send your Blood Sisters into the trees to unleash their dark magic against the enemy.



As The Blood-Stained Forest focuses on Caster units, Bleeding Skies rewards your Ranged units for every enemy unit they destroy. You might, therefore, muster your Blood Sisters together with Viper Legion units from the core set, so they can fill the skies with demonic magic and poisoned arrows. Bleeding Skies also encourages you to turn the terrain itself into a weapon, giving you extra incentive to use the new barricade hexes featured in both Warband of Scorn and Hernfar Guardians. These hexes impede movement, block retreats, and deal a point of damage to any unit that moves through them. When an enemy unit stops on a barricade hex in Bleeding Skies, moreover, you may roll one die to see if the barricade deals any additional damage. 


Barricade hexes make your territory difficult and dangerous for enemy units to enter, but they may also hinder the movement of your own forces. Fortunately, the ravenous Doombringer can burrow beneath barricades, hills, buildings, forests, and even other units, only to surface in the middle of the enemy’s troops and greedily devour them, freeing the rest of the Uthuk Y'llan army to lacerate any attackers.



Defend or Destroy?


Will you protect the rich fields and noble people of Terrinoth, or delight in ravaging their land and drawing Daqan blood? Will you fortify your position with barricades and rain destruction from the skies, or charge foward in the hope of breaking through enemy lines? Whichever you prefer, these Army Pack expansions offer new ways to achieve victory and fresh battlefield challenges for you to overcome.


Pre-order Warband of Scorn and Hernfar Guardians from your local retailer today!






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« Reply #502 on: 13 March 2015, 09:45:14 »

Master of Hawks

Master of Hawks

Published 18 February 2015 | Warhammer 40,000: Conquest

Master of Hawks

Preview the Eldar Warlord from the Descendants of Isha War Pack

 

May the winds of fate guide my sword.
   
Baharroth

Long ago, only one race of Eldar dwelt among the stars. But their depravity awakened a new Ruinous Power: She Who Thirsts. Now the race has split into the Dark Eldar and the Eldar. One of these factions embraces every form of torture, while the other walks a path of asceticism. Youll find new warlords for both in the Descendants of Isha War Pack for Warhammer 40,000: Conquest!

In December, we announced Descendants of Isha, and in our announcement article, we revealed Urien Rakarth, a Haemonculus devoted to the study and perfection of torture. Today, we turn our attention to the Eldar warlord included in this War Pack: Baharroth, Phoenix Lord of the Swooping Hawks!

Lord of the Winds

Baharroth (Descendants of Isha, 111) is known as The Cry of the Wind in the Eldar Lexicon. He is renowned for his speed in battle, and he has led his Swooping Hawks to countless victories. In Warhammer 40,000: Conquest, Baharroths ability text consists of just one word, but that word conveys everything you need to know about the Swooping Hawks fighting style. Baharroth bears the Mobile keyword, allowing him to move to an adjacent planet at the beginning of any combat phase. 

While plenty of other units in Warhammer 40,000: Conquest have possessed the Mobile keyword, a Mobile warlord opens new strategies for Eldar forces in the Traxis sector. Because hes Mobile, Baharroth may win the command struggle on one planet, then move to an adjacent planet for battle. Baharroths mobility also allows him to threaten an attack on multiple planets, forcing your opponent to spread his defenses thin. In addition, no other warlord can so easily avoid the hunt of Ragnar Blackmane (The Howl of Blackmane, 1) as the Phoenix Lord of the Swooping Hawks. 

Of course, Baharroth is not the only Mobile unit the Eldar command. Four copies of Baharroth's Hawks (Descendants of Isha, 112) join him in battle, and each of these units bears the Mobile keyword. In addition, these units gain three additional ATK when theyre at the same planet as Baharroth. With two command icons each, these units can easily win command struggles at planets across the sector, then flock to Baharroths side for battle, becoming dangerous attackers. 

Legend tells that Baharroths sword was forged in the dying fires of a supernova, and now you can wield The Shining Blade (Descendants of Isha, 114) against your enemies. The Shining Blade can only be attached to a Mobile unit, but between Baharroth and Baharroths Hawks, you have plenty of Mobile units at your disposal. This attachment grants a crucial Interrupt to the attached unit. Whenever the attached unit declares an attack, you may declare that attack against an enemy unit at an adjacent planet instead. By stretching your attacks to adjacent planets, you can easily clear your opponents units with minimal danger to your own units, preparing the way for your eventual conquest.

You can boost your attacks to even greater potency with Banner of the Ashen Sky (Descendants of Isha, 113). After a unit moves from one planet to another, such as through the use of the Mobile keyword, you may exhaust this support to give that unit a heightened ATK for its next attack. With a Mobile warlord, you can be sure that youll trigger this Reaction almost every turn, increasing the power of your attacks and destroying the enemies of the Eldar craftworlds. 

Finally, in some cases, even a Mobile unit cant move fast enough between the planets to reach your objective. In those cases, you can play one of the two copies of Cry of the Wind (Descendants of Isha, 115) included in this signature squad. By playing this free event after a unit moves from one planet to another, you can move that unit to an adjacent planet. This naturally increases the mobility of your Mobile units, but it also gives you a response to your opponents Mobile units, allowing you to force them back to the planet they originally came from or draw them further on into a deadly trap. However you use Cry of the Wind, its certain to secure air superiority for your warlord and his armies.

Elegant and Deadly

When you field Baharroth as your warlord, the Swooping Hawks are yours to command, but this War Pack also offers you the torture and dread experimentations of Urien Rakarth. Who will you lead to command the Traxis sector  the Eldar or the Dark Eldar? 

Make your choice, and pre-order the Descendants of Isha War Pack at your local retailer!

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« Reply #503 on: 13 March 2015, 09:45:14 »

It Is the Future You See

It Is the Future You See

Published 19 February 2015 | X-Wing

It Is the Future You See

World Champion Paul Heaver on the Scum and Villainy of X-Wing

Always in motion is the future.
    Yoda

X-Wing fans, take heed! The galaxys Scum and Villainy are headed to your tabletops and X-Wing games late next week!

Given a jump start by the sixth wave of X-Wing starship expansions, the Scum and Villainy faction will soon contest the Imperial Navy and Rebel Alliance for control of some of the galaxys most lucrative sectors. For the past few months, weve taken a look at what this factions ships and upgrades have to offer the game. Today, two-time World Champion Paul Heaver takes a look at the impact that all these ships and upgrades, taken together, may have upon the ever-evolving metagame.

World Champion Paul Heaver on the Post-Scum Metagame

As we look forward to the introduction of the new Scum and Villainy faction, we X-Wing players face an unusual situation. The sheer number of pilots and upgrades presents a dizzying array of options, and its hard to know where to start building squads for the new metagame. This article will explain some of what I expect well see as popular archetypes as the new ships are released.

As each new wave is released, I try to figure out how the new cards will fit into the current metagame. I currently classify most ships into three pillars, as I call them:

  • Turrets: Turret ships tend to be durable and can always keep fire on a target. They also tend to be expensive compared to other ships that have the same number of attack dice. They prey on arc-dodgers. Han Solo , Dash Rendar , and the VT-49 Decimator pilots are popular.
  • Jousters: Joust ships all sport the best durability-to-cost or attack-to-cost ratios in the game. Almost always, they are flown by non-unique pilots that you point at the opposing side and fire. They dont have many tricks, but its hard to beat them point-for-point for health, agility, or red dice. They tend to beat turrets. This pillar is dominated by TIE fighters, Z-95 Headhunters, and B-wings.
  • Arc-dodgers: Arc-dodgers cost more than the jousters, and will crumble under focused fire. However, they excel at avoid jousting ships firing arcs and can chew up most jousters over a number of turns. They almost always have some sort of nonstandard movement available to them, such as decloak, boost, or barrel rolls. The TIE phantom is this pillars current ruler.


A 360-degree view of the TIE phantom, arc-dodger extraordinaire.

Few lists are composed solely of ships belonging all to the same pillar. Usually, the best lists balance synergies between mixed ship types. My World Championship list had a turret backed up by a few jousters, for example. The list I beat in the finals was an arc-dodger with a strong jousting component. Most lists that you see in high-end tournament play feature only the best ships from these three categories, with other ships that dont fit in falling behind.

Wave V increased the power of turret ships, as the YT-2400 and VT-49 Decimator arrived on the scene. In the current metagame, arc-dodging has gotten more difficult. You can also find more two-ship builds than ever before, as the new ships have a hefty point cost associated with them. We can begin our exploration of how the X-Wing metagame might change by asking the question: how will the new upgrades from Wave VI fit into the current metagame?

For the most part, they wont fit into the current power builds. Few of the upgrades are playable outside of the Scum faction, but these few will still make a splash. Rather than further elevating the current power builds, these upgrades will lend greater strength to squads that have recently taken a hit.

The first of these upgrades is Autothrusters . I imagine that every TIE interceptor and A-wing will be equipped with these, and I expect these ships to see more play. These arc-dodging ships will survive longer against, and inflict more damage upon, the turrets that prey on them. The next is the Mangler Cannon , which will be used by the Outrider to remove the donut hole that their Heavy Laser Cannons gave them. At thirty-nine points, a Wild Space Fringer with Outrider and a Mangler Cannon is the cheapest three-attack, Range 13 turret you can find. For the jousting ships, the Y-wing might make a comeback. It was seen in Rebel swarms as a durable cheap ship, but it has fallen out of favor. With the new BTL-A4 Title, you can add an ion shot to the standard attack at a reasonable price.

So each pillar gets at least one new card to add to their ships, but none of them add to the most popular ship in the category. This is great because it adds more options to your Rebel and Imperial lists, and more variety in each round of an event.

And thats before even considering the Scum cards!

Competitive Scum and Villainy Squadrons

The Scum faction is great at tailoring a ship for the role you want it to play. They have more upgrade slots, and their illicit and Salvaged Astromech slots are unique to their ships. As such, its very hard to place them into neat categories, which fits the factions style. For example, look at a Binayre Pirate with a "Hot Shot" Blaster ; its a jouster that can double as a turret for a round.

Serissu with Elusiveness and a Stealth Device combines well with five Binayre Pirates with Hot Shot Blasters. This squad has less aggression than a typical swarm, but it forces your opponents into hard choices. Will they fire at the four-agility Elusive M3-A interceptor at long range, or will they slowly fight through your defensive rerolls to take down the more threatening ships?

Likewise, I think a lot of the first Scum lists are going to be one or two named ships, with a contingent of smaller ships such as Z-95 Headhunters or M3-A interceptors to back them up. Its a solid start to try out the faction, as you can see what your anchor ships can do, while using the accompanying rabble to add more health and damage. Still, the faction cant really support the brute force squads like the TIE swarm or the Rebel swarm of four B-wings and one Z-95 Headhunter. The Scum need to use their unique tricks.

The anchor ship can vary based on what you want to do with it. The StarViper, preferably with Virago and Advanced Sensors , can end up just about anywhere. Guri , loaded down with Push the Limit , Virago, Autothrusters, Advanced Sensors, and Inertial Dampeners , is extremely hard to pin down. You can then support this arc-dodger with such allies as three Cartel Spacers with "Heavy Scyk" Interceptor Titles and Mangler Cannons.

The Firespray-31 also works great as an anchor ship. All of the new pilots are good at what they do, and one loaded Firespray-31 plus a few Headhunters is a solid build. With an Illicit slot added to its already impressive array of upgrades, this ship can easily fulfill many different roles. Kath Scarlet loaded with an Engine Upgrade , Push the Limit, and K4 Security Droid flies a lot differently than Emon Azzameen with Experimental Interface , the Andrasta Title and three Proximity Mines !

The Aggressor is almost never going to be seen as a lone anchor ship. This ship works best in pairs, each with the IG-2000 Title. Or, in epic games, use all four! With the large number of green moves and actions on its action bar, I suspect Push the Limit will be a popular upgrade, as well as Advanced Sensors, which will let you boost before performing a Segnor's Loop . Your style of play varies wildly depending which two Aggressors you bring: IG-88A and IG-88B are more offensively oriented, while IG-88C and IG-88D are more defensive. However, with all the points youll be spending on these ships, you cant fit much else.

I suspect that the factions Y-wings and HWK-290s will be used as support, when you dont feel like filling your anchor list with more Z-95 Headhunters or cannon-toting M3-A interceptors. Both offer excellent options, but arent quite powerful enough to star as the sole anchor of a list. Both ships perform excellently with Engine Upgrades and a turret, to dodge arcs and fire unanswered with the shorter range turrets that they carry.

Take Kavil with an Autoblaster Turret , Engine Upgrade, Push the Limit, and Unhinged Astromech as an example. He flies like a TIE interceptor, and can generally roll three attack dice whose hits cant be cancelled. He doesnt cost much either; you can still pair him with a Mandalorian Mercenary with Gunner and two Black Sun Soldiers .

If you want to shoot elite targets down more easily, Torkhil Mux is worth consideration. With an Ion Cannon Turret , Intelligence Agent , and an Engine Upgrade, he can get into range and weaken his target enough for a Predator -equipped Firespray-31 to finish it off.

So thats what I suspect well see in the Wave VI metagame: the few changes to the pillars of Rebel and Imperial play will spur some of the less popular ships to new life, and the Scum faction will favor the use of one or two anchors, plus a handful of small ships. However, this still leaves a lot of room for variety, and I suspect the games you play against Scum players will be vastly different, based on the pilots and upgrades they choose!

Thanks, Paul!

X-Wing Wave VI arrives at retailers late next week. What will your Scum squadrons look like? Will you run a single anchor ship? Will you run dual Aggressors? Do you have a completely different list in mind? As you wait for Wave VI to hit your favorite local retailer, head over to our community forums, and share your builds with the rest of our X-Wing community!

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« Reply #504 on: 16 March 2015, 08:45:16 »

The Thousand Young

The Thousand Young

Published 19 February 2015 | Call of Cthulhu LCG

The Thousand Young

The Ninth Deluxe Expansion for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game

Ever Their praises, and abundance to the Black Goat of the Woods. I! Shub-Niggurath! The Goat with a Thousand Young!
    H.P. Lovecraft, The Whisperer in Darkness

Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce the upcoming release of The Thousand Young, the ninth deluxe expansion for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game!

Deep in the bowels of the fetid swamps and shadowed woods of Louisiana, evil lurks. Dark Priests of hidden religions make blood sacrifices in the name of the All Mother, The Black Goat of the Woods, the mighty and terrible Shub-Niggurath. Soon this darkness will cover all of the city of New Orleans, for her thousand young are spreading and ready for flesh

With its 165 cards (three copies each of 55 different cards), The Thousand Young adds new depth and resilience to the Shub-Niggurath faction. Nearly two-thirds of the expansions cards bolster the All Mothers ranks with Ghouls, Dark Young, Monsters, Mi-Go, and Cultists. Youll also find ghastly new Locations, foul Curses, and a new version of the Villainous Dark Mother, herself.

Still, the Black Goat of the Woods is not the regions only corrupting influence. In the heart of the Big Easy, Nyarlathoteps many Avatars play a deep and complicated game, manipulating human agencies and monstrous cultists, alike. These Avatars infiltrate every one of the games eight factions, even as the factions all gain mysterious new Locations that afford players new interactions with the top cards of their decks.

Spawning a Thousand Young

"Of Their semblance can no man know, saving only in the features of those They have begotten on mankind; and of those are there many sorts."
     H.P. Lovecraft, The Dunwich Horror

One of the most terrifying and mysterious of the Great Old Ones, Shub-Niggurath is known primarily as the All Mother whose worship was banned in nearly every nation and throughout all eras of human history. Still, her influence continues to shape the world, unabated. Her worshippers include the foul, towering Dark Young; the strange, fungoid, aliens known as Mi-Go; and human Cultists who give themselves to her, aspiring to be transformed by her powers or to help her populate the world with her monstrous spawn.

All of these appear in The Thousand Young, as do a plethora of Servitors, Undead, and Chthonians. In total, the ranks of Shub-Niggurath are expanded by no fewer than sixty-nine characters (three copies each of twenty-three different characters).

Chief among them, of course, is the All Mother herself, Shub-Niggurath (The Thousand Young, 23). In The Thousand Young, Shub-Niggurath appears as an eight-cost Ancient One, complete with her standard Villainous and Invulnerable keywords, as well as a powerful Response that allows you to spawn a whole unholy horde of minions when you play her. Finally, she also benefits from the expansion's new Resilient keyword.

Appearing on more than a dozen different cards in The Thousand Young, the Resilient keyword ensures that your cards will see play, maybe even multiple times. Whenever a card with the Resilient keyword would leave play, its controller may instead return to the top of its owner's deck. Because this is a passive effect, it cannot be cancelled, and that means that you can keep your Resilient characters, like Shub-Niggurath, from being shuffled into your deck or even from being hit by the growing number of "remove from the game" effects, to which The Thousand Young adds another handful.

Moreover, because Shub-Niggurath and Resilient cards allow you a new range of interactions with the top of your deck, they add to the power of such cards as Frenzied Ghoul (The Thousand Young, 7) and Dark Sargassum (The Thousand Young, 22), both of which you can bolster by revealing Shub-Niggurath or some other powerful Resilient character from the top of your deck.

In Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, the Shub-Niggurath faction has long excelled at overrunning its opponents with its monstrous hordes, and The Thousand Young only serves to ensure that this strategy will remain viable for the foreseeable future, reinforcing it with the new version of Shub-Niggurath, her myriad new followers, and the Resilient keyword.

Dark God of a Thousand Forms

"It was then that Nyarlathotep came out of Egypt. Who he was, none could tell, but he was of the old native blood and looked like a Pharaoh."
     H.P. Lovecraft, Nyarlathotep

The unfathomable evils of Shub-Niggurath and her followers aren't the only malign influences that The Thousand Young introduces to the sweltering nights of darkest Louisiana. Each of the game's factions also gains a new Avatar of Nyarlathotep, even as the Black Man appears himself within the expansion in the form of The Crawling Chaos (The Thousand Young, 36).

Like Shub-Niggurath, this version of Nyarlathotep is both Villainous and Resilient, and his Resilient keyword allows you to create any number of combinations with his Avatars, each of which is also Resilient. First, when you play Nyarlathotep, you can return one of his Avatars to your hand to lower his cost by three. Then, whenever you succeed at a story to which Nyarlathotep is committed, you can sacrifice him to put one of his Avatars into play, already committed to an unresolved story. Played well, you may be able to use Nyarlathotep's disguises to win uncontested success tokens at a story to which no one was committed before you began resolving struggles, and if Nyarlathotep's new disguise happens to be that of Harley Warren (The Thousand Young, 44), you might just be able to win a story and place one success token at each of the game's other stories.

Of course, it's not just Nyarlathotep's ability to shift from one guise to another that's remarkable. Because he bears the Resilient keyword, his sacrifice need never be truly permanent. You could, instead, merely return him to the top of the deck, in order to play him again on your next turn. And then you could swap him out for some other Avatar. After all, Nyarlathotep is the Outer God of a Thousand Faces, a figure wholly inscrutable by human logic, and he has a long history of appearing where he wants, when he wants, in a guise that is both familiar and frightening to those who behold him.

A Thousand Different Directions

"I! Shub-Niggurath! As a foulness shall ye know Them. Their hand is at your throats, yet ye see Them not; and Their habitation is even one with your guarded threshold."
     H.P. Lovecraft, The Dunwich Horror

While the All Mother's progeny ensure that The Thousand Young offers the Resilient keyword a potent introduction into Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, the expansion doesn't focus as much on any single subtype within the faction. Where the Seekers of Knowledge deluxe expansion allowed fans of Miskatonic University to send Explorers across the globe, and where Denizens of the Underworld added a great measure of depth and focus to the Criminal subtype, The Thousand Young instead offers a wide array of subtypes and abilities, some of which allow you to bring characters into play in surprising fashion, some of which allow you to trigger effects when characters enter play, and some of which continue to support the faction's strengths in support destruction.

Instead of shedding a new light on some clear deck-building path, The Thousand Young leads you into the darkest bayous of Louisiana, where the trees and murky waters conceal all manner of evils, and the expansion offers you a tremendous measure of power to serve Shub-Niggurath in the fashion of your choice. Will you focus on devouring your opponents with Ghouls at Night? Will you muscle your way through stories with your unending hordes of Dark Young? Will you ally yourself with Nyarlathotep and use his Avatars to your benefit? Or will your Cultists usher Shub-Niggurath, herself, into the world?

The choice is yours. The Thousand Young is due to arrive at retailers everywhere late in the second quarter of 2015!

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« Reply #505 on: 16 March 2015, 08:45:16 »

Lead the Sortie

Lead the Sortie

Published 20 February 2015 | A Game of Thrones LCG

Lead the Sortie

The Valemen Is Now Available for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game

From every rampart waved the banner of House Tully: a leaping trout, silver, against a rippling blue-and-red field. It was a stirring sight, but it did not lift her heart.
   
George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

The clansmen of the Vale broil forth from the Mountains of the Moon, eager to avenge the wrongs perpetrated against them by House Arryn. In Essos, Dothraki khalasars ride to war across seas of grass, while in the heart of Westeros, the men of House Tully prepare to defend their home from those who would take it by force. Now, you can bring all of these characters, factions, and Houses to your games of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game. The Valemen Chapter Pack is now available online through our webstore and at your local retailer!

The Valemen continues the major themes of the Wardens cycle, bringing additional support to iconic characters, trait based decks, and Limited Responses. With sixty new cards (three copies each of twenty distinct cards), this Chapter Pack brings plenty of exciting new options for every House, including a new Castle plot and recognizable characters like Euron Crows Eye and Ser Ilyn Payne.

On the Attack

In The Valemen, every House receives powerful cards to support new strategies and play styles. But the warriors of one House in particular prepare to press the attack, sallying forth from their defensive position to take the fight to their opponents. Take advantage of the new offensive options available to House Stark through their allies House Tully in this Chapter Pack!

The first House Tully card in this expansion is Blackfish's Vanguard (The Valemen, 53). This character is an Army of House Tully, and it offers several important tactical options. Firstly, it bears the renown and deadly keywords, simultaneously rewarding you for winning challenges and dissuading your opponent from defending himself. Whats more, Blackfishs Vanguard boosts the initiative value of your revealed plot by an amount equal to the number of House Tully characters you control. In a dedicated House Tully deck, this initiative boost can quickly grow, giving you much greater control over the outcome of the challenges phase. With one or more copies of Blackfishs Vanguard, you can ensure that youll seize the initiative when you need it. 

Not every House Tully warrior is as naturally deadly as Blackfishs Vanguard. Thats where the training of Ser Desmond Grell (The Valemen, 52) comes in handy. This characters ability reads, Challenges: Choose a House Tully character. That character gains deadly until the end of the phase. (Limit once per phase.) In most situations, the mere presence of Ser Desmond Grell is enough to deter your opponent from defending. Since he can give a character the deadly keyword after your opponent has declared defenders, your opponent faces the threat of losing a character whenever he chooses to defend. Whether your opponent lets your challenges through or sacrifices his own characters to defend them, youre sure to come out ahead. 

Of course, you dont need to be content with the standard rewards for winning a challenge. Maester Vyman (The Valemen, 51) offers you an additional benefit when you win a challenge in which at least one House Tully character participated. After you win this challenge, you may reveal the top card of your deck and add it to your hand, bringing you new options without counting towards your draw cap. As an added bonus, Maester Vyman bears a Learned crest, offering you more potential control of your opponents actions by combining him with Outwit (The Isle of Ravens, 80). 

Take Command of Your House

The intrigues and battles of Westeros lie before you. Call your banners and prepare to make your bid for the Iron Throne. The Valemen Chapter Pack is now available at your local retailer!

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« Reply #506 on: 16 March 2015, 08:45:16 »

Lead the Fighter Attack

Lead the Fighter Attack

Published 23 February 2015 | Star Wars: Armada

Lead the Fighter Attack

Preview the Rebel and Imperial Fighter Squadron Expansion Packs

Admiral, were in position. All fighters accounted for.
    Lando Calrissian

In our last two previews of Star Wars: Armada, we looked at the games first capital ships, for both the Imperial Navy and the Rebel Alliance. We looked at how each ships different configurations offer it a range of tactical flexibility, as do the many titles and upgrades available in the Core Set and the first wave of expansions.

However, your capital ships are only part of the equation. Your starfighter squadrons can also make a major impact, but you have to use them properly. A good fleet admiral wont deploy a screen of TIE fighters to perform a job better assigned to TIE bombers, nor use TIE bombers to intercept enemy fighters when TIE interceptors would better perform that task.

In todays preview, then, well take a look at the eight different fighter squadrons available in the Core Set and first wave of expansions, and well explore some of the ways you may be able to make good use of their different abilities.

Imperial Fighter Squadrons

Imperial commanders are taught to take advantage of their superior numbers and firepower to overwhelm their foes, and this strategy relies in large measure upon the Empires seemingly limitless supply of TIE fighters.

In Armada, your standard TIE Fighter Squadron costs just eight of your 300 fleet points. For that investment, you gain a battery armament of one blue attack die and, more importantly, an anti-squadron armament of three blue attack dice. As one might expect, this makes it an extremely efficient anti-fighter unit, especially when you take into consideration its Swarm ability, which allows it to reroll one of its attack dice whenever it attacks a squadron engaged with another squadron.

Typically, that another squadron would be another TIE Fighter Squadron, but if you have a few fleet points to spare, it could just as well be "Howlrunner" or "Mauler" Mithel . These TIE fighter aces both cost roughly twice as much as a standard squadron, but in fleets that want to make short work of enemy fighters, theyre still a bargain. Both add considerable damage potential, and they also gain tremendous resilience from defense tokens that allow them to halve the damage from one attack and completely ignore the damage from another.

You can also add resilience to your fighter squadrons by upgrading to the TIE Advanced Squadron . The TIE Advanced Squadron features five hull and can shield your other fighter squadrons with its Escort ability. Squadrons with Escort prevent squadrons they are engaged with from performing attacks against squadrons without Escort.

Of course, the TIE Advanced is also the starfighter flown by the legendary Sith Lord Darth Vader . Drawing upon the dark side of the Force, Darth Vader adds an extra black die to all of his attacks against enemy fighter squadrons, and whenever he scores a  result, he adds one extra damage to his damage total.

Meanwhile, if youre looking to race your fighters across the battlefield as quickly as possible, you may wish to consider investing in one or more TIE Interceptor Squadrons . With a speed of 5, this starfighter squadron is as fast as they come, and for just eleven fleet points, its pilots can Swarm their foes, roll four blue attack dice, and gain Counter 2.

The Counter X keyword allows a squadron to attack any squadron that performs a non-counter attack against it, using an anti-squadron armament of X blue dice. Accordingly, your foe might wish to pick apart your other squadrons first, but Soontir Fel s unique ability punishes anyone who pursues this strategy. Then, because Soontir Fel and your other TIE Interceptor Squadrons all have the Swarm keyword, they can have their Counter attacks further boosted by Howlrunner.

While most Imperial fighter squadrons excel at engaging other fighter squadrons, TIE Bomber Squadrons do not. They have the Heavy ability, which means they do not prevent engaged squadrons from attacking ships or moving. Instead, TIE Bomber Squadrons gain the Bomber ability.

Normally, when fighter squadrons attack a capital ship, they ignore all results other than . However, ships with the Bomber ability add their  results to the damage total and can even resolve critical effects. This means that, at just nine fleet points, the TIE Bomber Squadron can be an impactful addition to any fleet, as its battery armament consists of one black die which, with a little luck, can deal two damage in a single attack.

Rebel Fighter Squadrons

The Rebellions fighter squadrons feature the same keywords and abilities as the Empires, but they feature them in different combinations and with different, speeds, hull values, anti-squadron armaments, and battery armaments. Altogether, they feel like drastically different starfighters.

For example, the X-wing Squadron features the Escort keyword and a hull value of 5, just like the TIE Advanced Squadron. However, its speed is one lower, at 3, and it gains the Bomber ability, along with a potent battery armament of one red die. Altogether, its a more rounded fighter squadron than either the anti-fighter TIE Advanced Squadron or the TIE Bomber Squadron, but at thirteen fleet points, its also a larger investment than either of those Imperial squadrons.

Of course, the X-wing is also the starfighter of choice for many of the Rebellions greatest aces, and Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles are about as great as they come. With his battery armament of one black die and his ability to ignore enemy shields, Luke Skywalker excels at attacking enemy ships, potentially crippling them with devastating critical effects. On the other hand, Wedge Antilles is an unparalleled dogfighter, who can fire as many as six blue dice at an enemy squadron that has already been activated.

Here, we begin to see some of the heroics that one might expect from the Rebellions veterans. While you could simply have Wedge Antilles wait to activate until after his chosen target, you could choose, instead, to have him fly his squadron in formation with "Dutch" Vander , who can toggle the activation slider of any squadron he damages.

Both Dutch Vander and the standard Y-wing Squadron feature the Bomber and Heavy keywords like the Empires TIE Bomber Squadron. However, for one extra fleet point, the Y-wing Squadron features an anti-squadron armament of two blue dice, instead of one black die. It also differentiates itself from the TIE Bomber Squadron through the addition of one hull point and the loss of one point of speed. More importantly, though, the two starfighter squadrons dont really share equivalent roles.

While the TIE Bomber Squadron is the Empires most effective and dedicated anti-ship squadron, the Rebellions most effective anti-ship squadron is the B-wing Squadron . Though its the slowest starfighter squadron in the games first wave, the B-wing Squadron is the one most likely to concern enemy ship captains. It features both the Bomber ability and a battery armament of two dice, one blue and one black. Once you get it into position, the B-wing Squadrons attack dice race to the top of the charts for damage potential versus fleet points.

B-wing ace Keyan Farlander further enhances the B-wings lethality with his battery armament of two black dice and his unique ability, While attacking a ship, if the defending hull zone has no shields, you may reroll any number of dice in your attack pool.

Finally, while most of the Rebellions fighter squadrons are slower than the Empires, the A-wing Squadron offers Rebel players a means of racing quickly into engagements. With its speed of 5, your A-wing Squadron can move swiftly into position to aid your other squadrons, or it can engage your foes early, holding them back from the other squadrons with which you intend to attack enemy ships. Either way, as soon as its locked into a high-speed dogfight, the A-wing Squadrons Counter 2 ability gives it a decided edge.

Lock S-Foils in Attack Position

In Armada, you not only command your fleet, you assemble it. Thus, your path to victory begins with the careful selection of those ships and starfighter squadrons that you intend to take to battle. Will you use squadrons with the Bomber ability to batter enemy ships? Will you utilize interceptors to engage enemy fighters before they can approach your ships? Will you rely upon the talents of a few starfighter aces? The tactical flexibility that squadrons offer is limited only by the fact that you cant spend more than one-third of your fleet points on fighter squadrons.

Theres no denying the raw power of the Star Wars galaxys capital ships, nor that theyre the heart of Armada and its battles. Still, theres always room for personal heroics, and theres always the chance that a single starfighter pilot can turn the tide of battle.

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« Reply #507 on: 16 March 2015, 17:45:15 »

Live Free

Live Free

Published 23 February 2015 | Star Wars: Edge of the Empire

Live Free

Fly Casual, a Sourcebook for Smugglers, Is Now Available

Never tell me the odds. 
   Han Solo

Fly Casual, a sourcebook for the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire roleplaying game, is now available at your local retailer and in our online store.

As a Smuggler, you thrive on risk and adventure. Youre happy never knowing what your next job might be or where it might take you. You might transport spice for a Hutt kajidic on one trip and ferry stolen medical supplies to a Rebel cell on the next. You dont mind taking on illegal jobs from nefarious crime lords, as long as the pay is good. You just want to avoid Imperial attention, remain independent, and stay alive. 

For players who want to experience the thrills, dangers, and freedom of a Smugglers life, Fly Casual introduces new specializations, species, and signature abilities, along with new vehicles, and gear. For Game Masters, it provides copious information about smuggling in the Star Wars galaxy, from ideas for smuggling jobs to guidelines for quick-draw showdowns.

Shady Characters

Weve already previewed the three new specializations Charmer, Gambler, and Gunslinger featured in Fly Casual, along with the three new species: the glamorous and shrewd Falleen, the empathic Gotals, and the aggressive Quarren. All are well-suited to becoming Smugglers, but theres no limit to the careers they might take on. A Falleen could use her grace and intelligence as a Politico or Trader, while a Gotal might use his sensitivity to others emotions as a Doctor in an Outer Rim colony.  A Quarren, given the species meticulousness, might find employment as an Outlaw Tech. 

Although Smugglers may be Scoundrels, they arent necessarily cynical criminals or Outer Rim low-lifes. Fly Casual offers numerous suggestions for Smuggler backgrounds and Obligations. A Charmer might have been born into a privileged situation in a core world, but gave it all up in order to experience the open skies. A Gunslinger might once have been part of the Imperial military, but then became disillusioned with the Empires policies and left. Your Obligation might come from the notoriety youve gained for flagrantly breaking the law, or you might have a family on your homeworld that you support through smuggling.

No matter your specialization or background, as a Smugglers you are most certainly self-reliant. The new Unmatched Fortune signature ability helps you control your fate. The basic ability allows you to spend two Destiny Points to change the face of a positive die in your pool, making success out of failure, or even a triumph out of a success. If you foresee yourself getting into a lot of tough situations with no obvious exit, you may want the Narrow Escape signature ability. It allows you to spend two Destiny Points and make a Streetwise check: if you pass, you can escape from the present problem unscathed and live to fight, and fly, another day.

The Ship of Your Dreams

Some Smugglers, particularly Gamblers, might be able to sustain their career planetside. But most need a ship to carry their contraband, or at least help them make a clean getaway. Fly Casual features a range of ships suited to smuggling and new attachments so you can customize your chosen vessel. A whisperthrust engine, for example, makes your ship hard to detect at low speeds and can help you avoid getting boarded by Imperial officials. If you do get boarded, cloaked smuggling compartments and a rapid cargo evacuation chute can ensure they wont find any evidence of your illegal merchandise. 

A good smugglers ship at a low price is the Starlight-class light freighter, which costs just under 70,000 credits and is incredibly fast at unloading and loading cargo. The sail-like shape of these freighters makes them unmistakeable, but it also makes them difficult to handle and unable to carry too much weight. Nevertheless, for lighter jobs and quick exits, you cant do much better for the price. 

One of the best light freighters is the YT-2000, twice as expensive as the Starlight-class freighter, with better handling, better durability, nearly twice the encumbrance capacity, and better guns. YT-2000 was intended to be the pinnacle of the YT light freighter series, but the design was leaked through espionage and production was rushed before all the kinks were worked out. For that reason, keeping a YT-2000 in shape means constant work for a Mechanic or Outlaw Tech but that job could easily become a labor of love. 

Occupational Hazards

If smuggling were easy it wouldnt be nearly as much fun. Therefore, Fly Casual offers Game Masters a number of ways to complicate smuggling jobs. To assist you in creating Imperial entanglements, it provides details on the Imperial Customs Office, the Bureau of Ships and Services, and the logistics of hacking transponder codes. If youre staging a heist, you can use some of the detection devices and traps described in Fly Casual. The book even introduces rules for playing hintaro, a game played with chance cubes that is certain to drain your PCs credits unless they know how to beat the odds.

Game Masters may also appreciate the three types of nemeses described: the Patron, the Law, and the Friendly Foe. A Smugglers relationship with his Patron may begin positive, but a failed job or personal offense could turn a Patron into a deadly and powerful enemy. The Law, of course, is seldom on a Smugglers side. The Friendly Foe may have gotten you out of countless scrapes, or even taught you everything you know, but that doesnt mean you can trust him. He might buy a round of drinks only to distract you while he steals your cargo, or hook you up with a spice smuggling job a few days before turning you in to the authorities.

Take to the Skies

Whether youre an ambitious and cunning Charmer looking to pick up the perfect talents, a seasoned Pilot in search of the perfect ship, or a Game Master developing smuggling adventures for your Edge of the Empire campaign, youll find what you need in Fly Casual

The open skies of the Outer Rim are waiting. Pick up your copy of Fly Casual today! 

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« Reply #508 on: 17 March 2015, 10:45:21 »

Wrath of the Gods

Wrath of the Gods

Published 24 February 2015 | The End of the World RPG

Wrath of the Gods

Announcing the Second Book in The End of the World Roleplaying Line

An axe age, a sword age
shields are riven
a wind age, a wolf age,
before the world goes headlong.
   
Vlusp stanza 45

Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce the upcoming release of Wrath of the Gods, the second book in The End of the World roleplaying line!

Strange humanoid creatures, stinking of seaweed, shamble out of Earths oceans as a mind-breaking horror rises from Rlyeh. The massive wolf Fenrir awakens beneath the Scandes mountain range as Jrmungandr, the world-serpent, writhes out of the Pacific. Earthquakes shake the world as Earth itself attempts to eradicate mankind. The supernatural has become irrevocably intertwined with the physical, and youll need all of your skills and talents just to survive for another day. The world will shake beneath the Wrath of the Gods!

Like the other books in The End of the World roleplaying game line, Wrath of the Gods offers you a one-of-a-kind opportunity the chance to play as yourself amidst the tumult and terror of the worlds ending. Five distinct scenarios offer different ways the world might end as ancient deities return to save or destroy humanity. With a unique scenario structure, dozens of possible adversaries and encounters, and an elegant, narrative rules system, Wrath of the Gods pulls you as close as you can (safely) come to the end of life as we know it.

The Hand that Holds the Sword

Most roleplaying games invite you to step outside of yourself into a character that you imagine perhaps a reptilian shaman or a stealthy gnome assassin. The End of the World is different: it gives you the chance to play as yourself in the midst of a divine apocalypse! Before your first game of Wrath of the Gods, youll create an abstracted version of yourself, focusing on six characteristics: dexterity, vitality, logic, willpower, charisma, and empathy. These characteristics help determine exactly what you are capable of as you take up arms alongside the Norse gods or negotiate with warriors from the ancient Mayan civilization.

In addition to these characteristics, youll create positive and negative features to further define yourself within the game. Features are much more unique than characteristics these are the abilities, weaknesses, and quirks that make you unique, divided into physical, mental, and social categories. In the game, your features can affect anything you do: positive features give you an edge when you try to complete a related task, while negative features can cause you to suffer more stress from certain tasks. For example, you may have the Long-Distance Runner positive feature in the physical category, which will help you outrace an unexpected Deep One attack. However, you may also have to find a way to deal with the Gets Sick Easily negative feature a feature that Pestilence, one of the Four Horsemen, is certain to exploit. Whatever makes you different, you can use features to weave it into your character in Wrath of the Gods.

After youve created your character, youre ready to begin one of the five scenarios included in Wrath of the Gods. No matter which scenario you play, every game of Wrath of the Gods starts in your hometown. Youll hide from trolls and goblins in familiar buildings and parks, and youll have to use whatever gear and weapons you have nearby to survive when every animal on Earth suddenly turns against humanity. Will you stay put and attempt to fortify your home against Mayan warriors, or venture out in search of a more secure shelter and risk the attention of a fallen angel? A wooden baseball bat may be your best defense against a draugr or other monsters until you can find more suitable weapons. Whats more, adequate supplies of food and medicine quickly become difficult to find in humanitys last days, and any expedition bears the constant risk of being captured and tortured by Deep Ones or caught in a unexplainable volcanic explosion.

Surviving the Apocalypse and Beyond

Your starting place and hometown may remain the same between games, but each of the five scenarios in Wrath of the Gods offers a very different look at how the supernatural might end civilization. The ancient Mayan apocalypse may come to pass, along with the return of the Mayan people and the feathered serpent, Quetzalcoatl. You may find the events foretold in the Book of Revelation unfolding around you as the Four Horsemen ravage the world. Earth itself may reject humanity, causing animals to turn on their masters and plants to grow at unbelievable speeds. The Norse gods may return to the world to meet their fated opponent as Ragnark explodes around you. Finally, Cthulhu may rise from his resting place in the heart of the Pacific ocean, heralded by cultists and Deep Ones and bringing untold terror and insanity to every inhabitant of Earth.

Each scenario offers profiles for the NPCs you may meet, as well as plenty of locations with lists of possible encounters. Whether youre fleeing the titanic battle between Thor and Jrmungandr, reasoning with a trigger-happy gang of looters, or attempting to outwit a hunting panther, these NPC profiles and possible encounters give you the tools to flesh out the end of the life as we know it. 

Whichever scenario you play, Wrath of the Gods offers a unique structure that splits each scenario in two. The first half of the scenario focuses on the initial furor and panic of the apocalypses outbreak. Countless people die in the first days of the apocalypse, but for those who survive, a new normality is eventually established in the post-apocalypse. The post-apocalypse may lack the thrashing fury and danger of the apocalypses first spasms, but in many cases, the post-apocalypse world is more dangerous than ever. For example, the apocalypse may chronicle Cthulhus rise from the Pacific and his rampage across the world, while the post-apocalypse challenges you to survive as Deep Ones and Star-Spawn systematically hunt down humans for sacrifice. 

The flexible scenario structure used in Wrath of the Gods enables you to run whatever campaign fits you and your players. You may plan a one-session event, inviting your players to survive as long as they can in the chaos of Armageddon, or you may run a campaign spanning years as your characters live through Earths initial assaults on human technology and civilization and learn to forge a new life in the untamed wilderness of the post-apocalypse.

How Can Man Die Better?

The gods descend to Earth, and you and your companions must find some way to survive the divine wrath. Whether you take up arms with heroes of yore, ambush a hunting Star-Spawn, or travel through the trackless forests that consume our cities, youll find new adventure and thrills at the end of the world with Wrath of the Gods!

Look for Wrath of the Gods at your local retailer in the second quarter of 2015.

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« Reply #509 on: 17 March 2015, 19:24:28 »

The Secret Order

The Secret Order

Published 24 February 2015 | Call of Cthulhu LCG

The Secret Order

A Look at the Hunters from For the Greater Good

"Blake stooped over the gleaming bones and noted their peculiar state. Some of them were badly scattered, and a few seemed oddly dissolved at the ends. Others were strangely yellowed, with vague suggestions of charring. This charring extended to some of the fragments of clothing. The skull was in a very peculiar statestained yellow, and with a charred aperture in the top as if some powerful acid had eaten through the solid bone."
    H.P. Lovecraft, The Haunter of the Dark

For the Greater Good, the eighth deluxe expansion for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, will soon bolster the Agency's ranks with new characters, supports, events, and conspiracies. In our earlier previews, we've looked at how these cards add new strength to the Government subtype, how they bury the truth beneath layers of conspiracy, and how they add new characters and new strengths to each of the game's eight different factions. However, we have not yet seen all that this expansion has to offer; there is another order we have not yet explored.

Much as the Seekers of Knowledge expansion introduced Explorers to Miskatonic University and The Key and the Gate introduced Yithians to Yog-Sothoth, For the Greater Good introduces a new subtype to the Agency, Hunter. Even among the ranks of the Agency's covert operatives, these new Hunters are mysterious figures. Their very existence borders on mythical, and though they're bound to make a powerful impact upon the faction's play style, they don't appear in the same numbers as the Yithians first appeared, nor with the same focus on synergies as Miskatonic University's Explorers. Instead, as we shall see, the expansion's fifteen Hunters (three copies each of five different characters) are more individualistic and bring wildly different abilities to the table.

Still, there is a unifying focus that lies at the heart of this new subtype, as developer Damon Stone reveals.

Developer Damon Stone on the Hunters of For the Greater Good

One of the new features of For the Greater Good is the introduction of the Hunter subtype, which denotes the members of the secret order, Hunters of Ardenne. The Hunters tirelessly continue a great work that began within the Order of Saint Hubert, patron saint of mathematicians, hunters, and knights. After one of the Order's knights survived an encounter with some strange thing that he realized saw him as prey, he turned to his brothers and sisters in order to make sense of the entity. Those that joined him in his efforts eventually formed an order within the Order, dedicated to studying the most mysterious and terrifying creatures that encroached upon the domains of man.

It wasnt until Abbess Allegria Di Biase came to prominence that the Orders secret cabal broke away and renamed itself Hunters of Ardenne, and they took upon themselves a new purpose, not just to study the mysteries and horrors, but find a way to fight against them. And fight they did, drawing upon both modern science and absolute faith to push back against all entities that would seek dominion over humankind.

Mechanically, the Hunters are characters whose abilities are geared toward giving you the advantage during story resolution, rather than manipulating the game state outside of the story phase. For example, the Relentless Stalker (For the Greater Good, 5), boasts both Willpower and Toughness, making it easier for him to survive the dangerous Terror and Combat struggles, and his two Combat icons and Combat struggle booster can even help him to hold a story against much larger numbers. Meanwhile, Grete Wagner-Blackwood (For the Greater Good, 12) has such a commanding presence and gains such strength from her zealotry that characters who are unable to match her in their loyalty are unable to count their icons in struggles where she is committed.

Centuries have passed since the Hunters of Ardenne first began their studies. Over that time, the world has changed. The church has changed, and science has benefitted from many significant advances. Still, wherever the unfathomable terrors of other worlds seek to cheat their way into our world, the Hunters wade into the darkness, wielding faith, fire, and science to burn away the shadows and cleanse the world.

Faith, Fire, and Science

What does it mean, in Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, to harness the combined powers of faith and science to confront and defeat the most horrifying creatures to find their way into our reality? We explore these ideas in a sample deck that pairs the Hunters from For the Greater Good with the Abbess Allegria Di Biase (Terror in Venice, 1), a few Church Operatives (Terror in Venice, 3), and a couple of the Agency's favorite weapons, the Shotgun (Core Set, 14) and Prize Pistol (In Memory of Day, 22).

"The Great Work Never Ends"

Characters (29):

Supports (12):

Events (6):

Conspiracies (3):

Strategy:

This deck is centered around The Great Work, which grant you complete protection from your opponent's events, along with any effects that can trigger from the discard pile, so long as you can keep your opponent from committing charaters to the conspiracy.

To that end, the deck focuses on supporting its cheap rush potential with a number of wounding effects, such as that of the Prize Pistol and Veteran Monster Hunter, that can repeatedly trigger from in play. In fact, since the deck features a total of seventeen different Hunters, and because all copies of the Veteran Monster Hunter can trigger their Response abilities each time you play a Hunter, you should be able to blast your way through the ranks of nearly any opponent who would hope to scare you away in the Terror struggles. Against other foes, your standard Agency Combat superiority and Weapon attachments should help limit the number of characters your opponent can keep on the table or afford to commit to The Great Work.

Of course, the world of Call of Cthulhu is full of horrifying surprises, and that means that, despite your best efforts, it's possible your opponent may find a way to commit one or more characters to The Great Work and trigger effects from out of play. Even then, your deck might frustrate his dark ambitions. Faith and science (or bureaucracy) combine in the forms of Red Tape, Church Operative, and Hunters of Ardenne. Together, these cards grant your Hunters complete immunity to your opponent's triggered effects while they're committed to stories, force your opponent to discard a card in order to target one of your characters, and cancel the first effect your opponent triggers each turn. It's entirely possible to find a scenario in which your opponent will have to trigger one effect just to have it cancelled in order to discard a card from hand in order to target one of your Agency characters with a second effect.

If it comes together, the deck should force your opponent to play the game "by the book." No more cheating in Dreamlands Fanatics (In the Dread of Night, 47) or other similar characters. No longer will you live in fear of Naomi O'Bannion (Denizens of the Underworld, 1) and her ability to trigger Tactics from the discard pile. If your opponent wants to play events or trigger any of these effects, he'll have to send characters to The Great Work, and that's where your Hunters can pick them apart, one by one.

Arm Yourself for the Coming Hunt

Will you stand with the Hunters of Ardenne and join their quest to purge the world of terrifying evils? The time is coming. Pick up your shotgun, load it with ammo, and ready yourself for the hunt. For the Greater Good arrives at retailers later this week!

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Source: The Secret Order
« Last Edit: 18 March 2015, 13:43:16 by Zarniwoop » Logged
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