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Chad's Best Character Ever: Seelah

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

When I talk to people about the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, I am inevitably asked, "Who is your favorite character?" For me, it's a bit like asking to choose my favorite child. As the lead developer for the game, I spent a lot of time and attention on every character, getting to know the good, bad, and awesome of each one. My honest answer is this: "My favorite character changes all the time. As I dive into each character, I really get to know its ins and outs, and usually, it becomes my favorite, at least for a little while."

That said, there's another answer that's both deeper and a bit more to the point: Since I started playing RPGs a long time ago, I've always especially enjoyed playing clerics, paladins, and monks—characters with strongly held beliefs that guide their actions in both everyday and extraordinary circumstances. In the PACG, that brings us to Seelah.

Pathfinder's iconic paladin Seelah is a bit of a badass. She first appeared in PACG in the Rise of the Runelords Character Add-On Deck alongside Amiri, Lini, and Sajan. Seelah has never topped the list of the most popular characters from Rise of the Runelords, but I'll let you in on a little secret: she's the best character in the set.

That's a controversial statement, so let me clarify. She's not the best at smashing or blasting monsters. She's not the best at acquiring boons, and she's not nearly as good at avoiding trouble or demolishing barriers as some. What Seelah does better than the rest of her party in Rise of the Runelords is explore. Her deck has a good mix of armor (in case something bad should happen), weapons (for making "good" things happen to bad people), and blessings (for helping herself and others). The first of her two powers gives her a good shot at dealing with whatever problems or opportunities might arise, while the second power lets her get through a location deck like nobody's business. Modeled after the paladin's ability to detect evil at close range—as well as her uncanny ability to have trouble find her, no matter how sleepy and bucolic the local village might seem—this power helps Seelah get through a location with speed and aplomb. In combination, these two powers let Seelah get to the good works that need doing: finding the problem and taking it down. In other words, winning. You're welcome.

With the upcoming release of the Wrath of the Righteous Base Set, we had a chance to show a different side of Seelah. Still every bit the badass, this take on Seelah is now less concerned with finding the evil hidden in the haystack—after all, in Wrath, the evil just isn't that hard to find. This Seelah is ready for war, able to take advantage of a monster's particular weakness and prepared to avoid the worst of a bane's initial onslaught. Given the assortment of nasty monsters in Wrath of the Righteous, I promise that you'll have plenty of chances to use her first power! Her second power extends her aura of divine grace out to include her nearby allies; in Wrath, you'll never be sad to have Seelah at your side. Finally, Wrath includes the new Corrupted trait, representing the corruption of the Worldwound intruding into the world. As a beacon of honor, Seelah will keep those tainted boons away from the world until they can be safely dealt with—destroyed, or perhaps even redeemed.

Once you get a handle on Seelah's character powers, you have a choice to make. Luckily, both of her role options are great! As an Inheritor's Blade, Seelah focuses on the aspects of martial and military practices that you might expect from a paladin of Iomedae in the Worldwound (and other, more... exotic locales). She learns to use her armor to keep her party safe, and she can heal herself or her allies when she displays Iomedae's blessing.

On the other hand, as a Wardstone Sentry, Seelah is even more expert on shrugging off and putting down demonic cults and monsters, be they summoned monsters or demonic armies. She becomes so deft at dealing with corrupted relics that they don't even slow her down. The potency of her aura increases, along with her opportunities to use it to aid her allies.

Additionally, Seelah in Wrath of the Righteous has a large number of good options for her mythic path, including champion, guardian, marshal, and hierophant. Plus, there's that other thing I can't talk about yet. I can say this: when Paul tells you about it later, you'll know what I was talking about!

Chad Brown
Adventure Card Game Lead Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Iconics Paladins Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Seelah

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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Seelah was one of the characters that when I first read her card in RotR (and having not yet played) I thought she was horrible. Discard for 1d6? Miss out on boons? Later have to bury a card to heal? No thank!

Then my wife played as her and I realized she was awesome. Add to any of her check! Get through locations faster (and later set aside those really good boons)! Heal without losing an exploration!

I can't wait to see what other surprises are in store for me in Wrath of the Righteous.


Woohoo! Glad to see another member of the First Church of Seelah. She was my favorite character from the first AP and I can't wait to try her revamp this time around.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I played her through RotR, and she was awesome.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Melee: Strength +3 is a welcome addition to Seelah. d8 +2 seemed a little weak.

It is true that Seelah is built to handle many situations - after all, she was a great candidate to solo run RotR. With a good understanding of probability, you can maximize your gains while still burning through decks without sacrificing too much. You don't always have to Detect Evil, after all.


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While I totally disagree with Seelah being the best in RotR, she is good and this one is just downright awesome. I really like that party buff ability, particularly the draw part. Anyone who wants to play this Seelah at my location table is welcome!

Contributor

This is neat to see. Seelah and Valeros are the only characters I've played through every scenario of RotR (although I got most of the way with Amiri), and Seelah was my favorite of the two.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

0 items scarred our RotR Seelah so much, he's Merisiel in S&S, and I think he would have gone Damiel if he hadn't been too slow. Not that he didn't enjoy the character, I just think he found the whole thing a bit ... sad


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

I'm playing RotR Seelah through OP right now and she has become an insane beast. First scenario of AP5 and she's rolling with 6 hand size, potentially shooting two useless boons to the bottom of the location deck per turn, and adding a 1d6+2 to every check that even remotely requires it. Maybe not on Lini's free 1d4+4 levels, but it's working. Items, who needs 'em? I want nothing but more blessings and more spells which... I can't get any more of, so who knows what those last few card feats will be!

Of course, it took a lot of time to build her up to this point. Most astonishing to me is that I waited until my third power feat increase her hand size, something I thought I'd never do, but the ability to recharge spells for her power, and clearing 2x cards a turn, were too value. Her tiny 4 card hand and lamentable Favorite Card: Armor meant that Seelah spent a lot of those first 3 APs punching enemies to death with her bare hands (and a helpful d6 from her patron deity?), as any good paladin should be prepared to do.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Developer

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The other Sharks have suggested that I tell you all that there will be some dissenting opinions (theirs) on which is the Best Character in the weeks to come. I'm sure that their posts will be witty, eloquent, well-reasoned, and incorrect. I'm looking forward to it already.

Further, it is my sad duty to report that the Paizo.com tech team, awesome though they are, was unable to accommodate my request to title the post "Seelah: You're the Best", and have it play this song after the page loaded.

Luckily, you're all singing it now.


Chad Brown wrote:
The other Sharks have suggested that I tell you all that there will be some dissenting opinions (theirs) on which is the Best Character in the weeks to come. I'm sure that their posts will be witty, eloquent, well-reasoned, and incorrect. I'm looking forward to it already.

I'd be shocked if everyone had the same opinion on relative character strengths! I love how much strategy and playstyle variation exists in this game; it allows for all these wonderful debates.

Dark Archive

If I where to play Seelah in Wrath it would have to be the Wardstone Sentry. But I am pretty sure I will be playing Kyra the Cleric.


It's a minor point, but this new Seelah is the first character I've seen that has a type of card in her starting deck (namely items) but no feats to take more of those cards. So she'll be on one item forever.


We found RotR Seelah fairly poor, and the new one looks worse - the discard for D6 is only necessary because she starts on a D8 for melee, and typically doesn't have a weapon in her starting hand (and only starts with 1 spell, so can't fight as a caster).

RotR she sort of worked, if you sank all your feats into being able to recharge spells, and then took blessings and spells for all your card feats (but that made it even less likely that you'd get a weapon).

The new version, you're just burning cards to survive, with no prospect of recharging them until you get to role-card level.

The scrying power is fairly terrible, as it moves all the boons out of the way - so if it's good you've lost it, and if it's basic you don't get to banish it, making it less likely that you'll get something good later.

The lack of items is also hideous - so much of the decent loot is items - the party she was in couldn't even use the book that got you three divine spells per game.

Adventure Card Game Designer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Chad Brown wrote:
The other Sharks have suggested that I tell you all that there will be some dissenting opinions (theirs) on which is the Best Character in the weeks to come. I'm sure that their posts will be witty, eloquent, well-reasoned, and incorrect. I'm looking forward to it already.

Yeah, yeah. When I crush your argument next week, I'll remind you of this paragraph.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

If I may IMHO interfere in the MikyChady debate, I want to say a tremendous thanks to Mike for ONE reason: this debate is irrelevant.
And it is because there is NO "Best character ever".
And that's exactly why this is a fantastic game.
We played all S&S with a group with characters as different as Oloch, Ranzak, Alahazar, Jirelle, Amiri or Feya. And absolutely everybody had a blast.
True there is always a little tuning to make it perfect that can be done in some places or others, but a) really not much and b) Mike and Vic are so good at actually doing that tuning.
I personaly played Kyra along the whole RoR and we are trying Seasons of the Shackles with Sajan, Seoni, Siwar, Vika and Zarlova. Don't ask why we built that strange group : just because it looked like it would be fun... and yes it is. The idea of just wondering "who's the best" seems so totally illogical Captain...

Now had the question been who is the "Best Player Ever", I have an answer : my twenty-y-old daughter Estelle.
She understood immediately that this is a "cooperative support deck management plenty-o-fun and i'm-the-cutest-so-the-rest-of-the-world-can-follow-my-lead" king of game. She plays Alahazar and Siwar, never wins a fight or defeats a monster whatsoever, totally controls the whole game, never fails a scenario. I hate her.


MightyJim wrote:


RotR she sort of worked, if you sank all your feats into being able to recharge spells, and then took blessings and spells for all your card feats (but that made it even less likely that you'd get a weapon).

The new version, you're just burning cards to survive, with no prospect of recharging them until you get to role-card level.

Just because the recharging was a great way to go in RotR doesn't mean it's necessary. This is a better-than-bard power that *nets cards* in monster-heavy settings. Just make sure your party has plenty of heals (Seelah will help you draw into them), and go to town with the new Seelah being the best support character yet.

(And remember, while in the abstract it can be scary to burn your deck down low, doing so with a low-hand-size mandatory-three-armor character is not nearly so risky.)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Different strokes for different folks, MightyJim. I'm a boon-badger myself, so Seelah's not my cup of tea, but it's tough to deny that she can be ruthlessly effective for a group that just wants to plow through and win.

And now, thanks to Chad, I'm imagining the tournament montage where Daniel-san and Johnny take everyone else down.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

The Seelah/Ranzak combo is the best. Shove all the boons to the bottom, opt to not close the location, and then let Ranzak go nuts acquiring everything there.


MightyJim wrote:

We found RotR Seelah fairly poor, and the new one looks worse - the discard for D6 is only necessary because she starts on a D8 for melee, and typically doesn't have a weapon in her starting hand (and only starts with 1 spell, so can't fight as a caster).

We can disagree about the merits of Seelah, but we should be able to come to consensus on basic probability. The new Seelah has a four card hand and four weapons in a fifteen card deck. This gives her a roughly 75% chance of having a weapon in her starting hand (which gets slightly worse when you factor in the favored cards rules),


Calthaer wrote:

Different strokes for different folks, MightyJim. I'm a boon-badger myself, so Seelah's not my cup of tea, but it's tough to deny that she can be ruthlessly effective for a group that just wants to plow through and win.

We had a group that didn't really bother too much about Boon-gathering. Got to adventure 5, and found themselves completely and utterly stuck, as we weren't sufficiently tooled up to deal with anything the location threw at us.

Obviously, everyone's free to play how they want, but I can't see any long-term viability to getting rid of all the boons.


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MightyJim wrote:


The scrying power is fairly terrible, as it moves all the boons out of the way - so if it's good you've lost it, and if it's basic you don't get to banish it, making it less likely that you'll get something good later.

I'm unsure where you get the idea that Seelah makes you lose boons, at least in the latter haalf of the campaign.

By the time you reach AP4, you get the ability to move the boon underneath the top card. In the off chance that the new top card is a villain, you lose access to the boon. In any other circumstances it helps you acquire the boon, since you have gained information on the roll to acquire the boon and cans end the character with the best chance to make the acquisition roll.

Also, if you close a location with a basic boon the boon is still banished, so it doesn't effect the long term prospects in the slightest.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Class Deck Subscriber

I played Seelah in RotR and never regretted it! She was definitely my favorite character of the group.

The new Seelah is definitely looking strong - esp some of the tricks with the role cards.

i.e. Inheritor's blade with an armor that 'reveals' to reduce damage = "Oh look, the villain does damage to EVERYONE? Reveal..reveal..reveal..reveal. There we go all taken care of."

or for Wardstone Sentry - the d8 against any Demon/Undead (by the time you have a role, most of her weapons should be magic anyway), or the Charisma +2/4 for any before you act check.

This is almost making me want to play Seelah again, even though I had my eyes on some of the new characters. Guess I'll have to wait until I get to see everyone :D


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
MightyJim wrote:
Calthaer wrote:

Different strokes for different folks, MightyJim. I'm a boon-badger myself, so Seelah's not my cup of tea, but it's tough to deny that she can be ruthlessly effective for a group that just wants to plow through and win.

We had a group that didn't really bother too much about Boon-gathering. Got to adventure 5, and found themselves completely and utterly stuck, as we weren't sufficiently tooled up to deal with anything the location threw at us.

Obviously, everyone's free to play how they want, but I can't see any long-term viability to getting rid of all the boons.

You don't get rid of all the boons with Seelah. You pick and choose. You may be saturated with a particular type already, and which case you can go to that location and skip the ones you'll probably throw away anyway.

Seelah isn't suited for the beginner - you have to calculate a lot of probabilities with regards to your location and your character. But if you do, she'll reward you.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

With the OP rules about deck upgrades being a little different, I didn't even bother taking 'under the top card' boon feat as Seelah. If a boon we like gets shuttled to the bottom of the deck, we'll opt not to close the location and burn through the boons real quick. But really, I think that's happened maybe two or three times, when we found an AP-current weapon for Seelah or an AP-current spell for Amaryllis.

Even playing 5 locations with 2 characters we rarely feel pressed for time (unless we burn too many blessings on the Kraken's +d12). With 8 blessings now, Seelah can play them to explore whenever she wants an Major Cure them right back. With an Augury in her deck, she's a scouting/exploring machine, and she just keeps getting better, where some of my disappointment with Damiel in S&S (who, don't get me wrong, is amazing) is he starts out unbelievable and after that, most of his power upgrades were just coasting. With Seelah, though she probably has the clunkiest start of any character I've played, every power feat with her is me going "I have got to get me one of these."

And who wants MORE weapons? :D 2-3 has always felt right for me for just about any character I've played. RoTR's Merisiel's starting 2 was too few for her, but she could recharge anything she wanted to keep her hand moving, Damiel's starting 1 was a real problem with all the villains that make you recharge/discard cards, but anything more than 3 just starts clogging your hand. Even with just 3 in my deck, I'm often looking for excuses to get rid of them, sometimes just straight-up discarding some if I can't find a monster. Finding the Spellsword was a huge boon, since now I can purposefully fail a recharge (or just not use Seelahs d6+2 and leave it to chance) and get the weapon out of my hand that way.

zeroth_hour wrote:
Seelah isn't suited for the beginner - you have to calculate a lot of probabilities with regards to your location and your character. But if you do, she'll reward you.

This is what really makes the character sing for me, fanning out my discard pile and saying "well the next card in my deck is STATISTICALLY probably not an ally...

(and then you flip it over and it's bye-bye Evangelist)

She requires a touch of higher level play than the average character. If you can be bothered to remember what order you recharged your spells/armor, you can flip cards to add to checks with impunity. Either way, it's kind of a constant thrill of 'what will happen next?' with her.

Pathfinder ACG Developer

RotR Seelah was a powerhouse when I played her. I'd go off and clear out the location people most hated while the others in the group colluded to work on their own, and I'm pretty sure I went through as fast as at least 2-3 of them.

Though, yes, I did get a bit of the "You're a dirty card counter" jokes as I cheerfully recharged my blessings and spells for a bonus to almost everything.

I do have a different best character theory for Wrath, though, as shall be seen!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Frencois wrote:
True there is always a little tuning to make it perfect that can be done in some places or others, but a) really not much and b) Mike and Vic are so good at actually doing that tuning.

In the "credit where credit is due" category, that credit is due entirely to Lone Shark (with a solid assist from our playtesters, of course).


RotR Seelah was very powerful and fun to play, not sure about the new one, depends on Righteous.


I think the titles of her two new role cards are switched. The Blade has an ability to absorb combat damage for someone else, which sounds more like a sentry. The Sentry listed has an ability to boost her check against a demon, which sounds more offensive. Though it has the movement ability as well, which could be both offense or defense.

So who's next on the preview block? Looking forward to Adowyn or Crowe.

Pathfinder ACG Developer

Wardstone Sentry is more of a job title for those who defend the wardstones against the demons and their hordes, hence a focus on fighting against those foes.

Note that the Blade has to take Combat Damage to reduce it to her allies, representing Seelah charging into the battle and taking the hit herself. Hopefully she brought her helmet :)

It is also likely that the Inheritor's Blade will prove useful in any set, while the Wardstone Sentry is best suited to her vigil on Wrath of the Righteous, rather than the Shackles.

Adventure Card Game Designer

Vic Wertz wrote:
In the "credit where credit is due" category, that credit is due entirely to Lone Shark (with a solid assist from our playtesters, of course).

Trust me, Vic weighs in a lot with "Mike, I don't think this thing does what you think it does…." That has saved the design team's bacon on more occasions than I can count.

Adventure Card Game Designer

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Frencois wrote:

If I may IMHO interfere in the MikyChady debate, I want to say a tremendous thanks to Mike for ONE reason: this debate is irrelevant.

And it is because there is NO "Best character ever".

Quiet, you! Leave us to our pointless yet entertaining bickering!


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

I rest my case: entertaining it is, ergo non pointless.


There is a best character. It's the one you have the most fun with. :)

That said, I have approximately ALL the popcorn on hand for when the others proclaim who their best characters ever are.


I know it's been a while since the last post, but I was just curious, and was hoping maybe that I could gain some insight from the designer.

Why does Seelah use Wisdom for her Divine Skill when the Pathfinder Paladin uses Charisma as her spellcasting attribute?

I created a forum thread asking this question, to see if there had been an official response previously, but I didn't receive any responses that suggested so:

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2s7gd?Why-does-Seelah-use-Wisdom-for-Divine


Pathfinder Class Deck Subscriber

So, a couple of people have said they're using Seelah in OP. How are you doing this, with the paladin class deck not out yet? Is there something I missed that makes her playable with one of the other decks?


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

I'm a little confused here, where did you see people saying they are using Seelah in OP? You're correct in that she isn't legal yet.

Is it maybe someone was playing a class deck character with her in an Adenture Path?


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

That was me. We played through Season of the Shackles at home. My wife played Amaryllis, I played Seelah with the Cleric class deck, so not tourney legal.


Pathfinder Class Deck Subscriber

Ah, okay, just checking. I thought maybe I was missing something. My group was disappointed the paladin decks weren't out in time to start this season.

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