It's plague season! And that means the flu is whipping through your friendly game design community like a desert sirocco. But I'm still upright, so I'm going to talk to you about the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game's manifestations of the plagues of Osirion in Mummy's Mask: scourges.
Like traders, scourges are a new type of support (ha!) card in Mummy's Mask. (Importantly, they're not the last new type of support card we'll introduce in this set, but that'll be the subject of another column.) Scourges borrow some of the tech we built for the haunts in Rise of the Runelords and the curses in Skull & Shackles and Wrath of the Righteous.
I hope you didn't just eat breakfast.
All those cards display themselves by your deck, but they're not the kinds of things you want by your deck. But here's the thing about those: They're henchmen and monsters. They're only going to show up if you do something foolish, like explore your location.
Scourges aren't banes at all. They're just penalties for failing to do what the game expects you to do. They're given out like candy in all sorts of splendiferous ways. You can get them for not convincing a head in cage to do your bidding, or not burying an ally when closing a plaza full of ghouls, or getting one of those regular curses we talked about earlier.
*You* get a scourge! And *you* get a scourge!
We like giving them out so much in Mummy's Mask, we had to invent a new action for it: "suffer." When you suffer a specifically named scourge, you display that scourge next to your deck. But if a card just says "suffer a scourge," you'll roll the scourge die specified on the adventure card and see if you're happy with your result on this delightful table.
Are you happy with your result? (No, you're not. You'll be stone dead in a moment.)
About that scourge die: It just gets bigger. The Base Set's Adventure Card tells you the scourge die is 1d4. By adventure 4, we're up to 1d8. And the names you're seeing aren't exactly getting friendlier as the numbers get higher. If you're not looking forward to a card called Curse of Blindness... well, trust me, you're not looking forward to it.
Getting a random scourge from the scourge table is so fun, Alahazra can even do it to herself to evade an encounter. Her Recursor role power "You may evade your encounter with a bane; if you do, suffer a scourge" is a real PACG player's power: If you're all about controlling your game, you'll want to check that box and rely on the Recursor's powers to get rid of curses. Go ahead, I dare you.
"Stop whining. I got this."
Other than "being Alahazra," there are precious few ways to get rid of scourges. The most common is the spell Remove Curse, but carrying that around means one less Chain Lightning. If you're willing to stock up, here are some boons that might help alleviate that scourge burden.
We hope you like scarabs, because there's more coming.
There are other ways too. You could close the Hall of Blessed Rebirth, or blow away both heads of a wannabe Cerberus, or examine some sort of arm thing, or explore after Gaunt Cadaver gives you a Curse of Withering. But that's about it. Once you get a scourge, it's yours to keep.
See, Gaunt Cadaver is his name, not his... wait, is one of the only scourge-banishing cards Basic?
Scourges will likely change your strategies a lot. Just like the Trigger trait make you less interested in examining everything so you don't get killed, scourges make you more interested in examining everything so you don't get killed. Quite the riddle of the Sphinx, that one.
Adventure Card Game Lead Designer