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Not Half Bad Indeed: Hell's Vengeance Makes Its PACG Debut

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Finally! I get to tell you about the most fun I've had designing the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. It's time to talk about the Hell's Vengeance Character Deck 1, the first half of the two-part evil block in the PACG line.

When we first thought of adapting the Hell's Vengeance Adventure Path, we knew we couldn't resist some of our darker impulses. These guys work well in groups, but not in a way that benefits everyone equally. Playing them takes some selfishness.

The first trio of these rotters is the more martial half of the team; we saved the sneakier folks for the next deck. First up, the interrogator extraordinaire, Linxia the Hellknight.

So many spikes!

I don't think we've made a character more lawful than Linxia. She demands order, and not the for-the-good-of-all kind. Take a look at that last power on Knight of the Rack. It sounds good, right? A character can banish a boon to add a turn to the scenario—but wait, it's a boon of the character's favored card type. The stuff you like. Linxia is going to be saying "You don't really need that" a lot, and you will find yourself agreeing with her.

And that second checkbox on the Knight of the Rack's second power! It's totally like healing. When James Ernest and I went to a Vegas time-share presentation, we had a sleazy agent who said things like "It's like taking money from this pocket and putting it into that pocket! Except this pocket is in my pants." Linxia's like that. She's the first character I can remember who heals you for your own bad.

I think he sharpens his beard.

The Antipaladin Urgraz has a phrase we've used exactly once on a character before: "increase the damage." When we gave it to the Goblins Burn! Class Deck's Zibini, we didn't expect our playtesters to take it. They took it. A lot. But that was on a checkboxed power on a role. This is on the main power on the character card. Along with a handy ability to discard cards from other players' decks.

Then when Urgraz gets into his roles, it gets even more colorful. You can redirect that damage you'd suffer from failing a check to someone else. You can take cards other people bury and put them in your hand. Now, of course, you should really give those back afterward.

At least the hat is nice.

The Cleric Lazzero has his own painful sort of healing. And he does some magnificent things with blessings of a particular evil type. Good news: Quite a few of the blessings in here are Corrupted. But the even better news is that power which says "You may ignore the Corrupted trait on a blessing you play on your (□ or any) check." That sounds great, right?

Hey, let's just check the rules on that. The Golden Rule says "If a card tells you to ignore something, the thing you're ignoring never has any effect on you." Those last two words are really important. Because Lazzero's happy to give you that d12 on whatever you're doing. But you sadly don't have his ability to ignore the Corrupted trait. And so this stuff happens.

Does Mephistopheles really "bless" people?

That doesn't sound so fun if you're the beneficiary of Lazzero's largesse, but to Lazzero it sounds great! All the major devils get new Corrupted blessings. Some of them do great things at a price. If you're Urgraz, it might be a price other people pay.

The spells in this deck do some things we haven't had spells do before; that theme is followed through in a big way in the next deck. The allies have a nice evil feel too: some imps and devils, a few hellknights, and even a Redeemer Blacksmith to temper what I'm about to show you.

I feel dirty already.

Here's my favorite thing about this deck: It comes with its own redemption card, similar to the one in the Wrath of the Righteous Base Set. If you have it, you can redeem the boons when you play Wrath, or via methods such as banishing that Asmodean Disciplines. (You can even banish that book to redeem itself.)

And oh, the things you get to do. Banish allies you encounter to heal yourself. Grab monsters and turn them into fireballs. Deal damage to other characters to reduce damage dealt to you. All the things an evil person would want to do, and feel good doing it.

Sound like fun? Trust me, it is. And wait till you see Deck 2!

Mike Selinker
Adventure Card Game Lead Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Character Decks Hell's Vengeance Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
Lone Shark Games

Followup to the timeshare joke:

Years later, I snagged an actual teal jacket from a travel agency that was closing and delivered the "like taking money from this pocket" speech to an audience of 1,000 puzzle people. The Travel Agent remains one of the characters I get the most callbacks to from fans to this day.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Wow.
I've never been this excited about PACG - both the characters and preview cards are amazing!
It will be hard to wait until they arrive at my place, and it will be satisfying to update Revenge of the Wicked to incorporate all that... wickedness.
Just the Bloodblade itself is everything I ever wanted for this game.
To think that these are only a fraction of the cards in the deck, and that there is also another deck around the corner... what a time to be alive.

Thanks for this, Mike and everyone at Lone Shark!

Lone Shark Games

You're welcome! These should play great in Revenge.

Also, I'll just note it here that the last sentence on Bloodblade doesn't have a "you may" in it.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Out of curiousity - is there now a spell that has the Corrupted trait?
I think in WotR, it was exclusive to equipment (Weapon/Armor/Item) and blessings.
In addition, do all the new spells use Divine, or are there also some Arcane/Divine spells?
I always imagined the Necromancer would be Arcane based and thus most spells across both decks would be both Arcane and Divine, but now I'm sceptic.

(Also, I would be eternally grateful if someone who gets the deck early could send me some information regarding the cards that have the Corrupted trait (other than blessings) per pm). Don't know how I can deal with the wait otherwise...


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I want to play Wrath of the Righteous with these characters.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Just noticed a fun and flavorful exploit: Linxia's last power on her Knight of the Rack role card doesn't specify that the card acquired need be from an exploration. I think it would be hilarious for another player (or even Linxia!) to GIVE somebody a card of their favored type...

And then banish it for extra turns. Wicked.

Silver Crusade

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UllarWarlord wrote:

Just noticed a fun and flavorful exploit: Linxia's last power on her Knight of the Rack role card doesn't specify that the card acquired need be from an exploration. I think it would be hilarious for another player (or even Linxia!) to GIVE somebody a card of their favored type...

And then banish it for extra turns. Wicked.

Acquire specifically means that you make the check to acquire. So while it doesn't have to be during an exploration---could be S&S Alahazra's scouting or a location close or some such---you do actually have to have made that check.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Eliandra Giltessan wrote:
UllarWarlord wrote:

Just noticed a fun and flavorful exploit: Linxia's last power on her Knight of the Rack role card doesn't specify that the card acquired need be from an exploration. I think it would be hilarious for another player (or even Linxia!) to GIVE somebody a card of their favored type...

And then banish it for extra turns. Wicked.

Acquire specifically means that you make the check to acquire. So while it doesn't have to be during an exploration---could be S&S Alahazra's scouting or a location close or some such---you do actually have to have made that check.

Ah well. The more you know; thanks!


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

In Mummies Mask, you could try to examine some allies of your own deck to trigger them into encountering you. Might be more situational than effective though.

We also don't know Linxias ally count - she might have a low amount of allies (or even none at all), making her power even better (from a deck upgrading perspective, at least).


How would the redemption card work in OP?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

We'll cover that in the next version of the Guide, coming your way soon.


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

What's Revenge of the Wicked?


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
Zaister wrote:
What's Revenge of the Wicked?

Doppelschwert's homebrew AP featuring villains as the protagonists.

As far as the character deck goes...

Oh. My. (Evil.) God.


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

Nice. I'll have to look at that, thanks!

Lone Shark Games

1 person marked this as a favorite.

No allies or spells with the Corrupted trait in these decks.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

*hopes card game hype will lead to Hells Vengeance adventure path getting sanctioned for Society play*

Lone Shark Games

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Doppelschwert wrote:

In addition, do all the new spells use Divine, or are there also some Arcane/Divine spells?

I always imagined the Necromancer would be Arcane based and thus most spells across both decks would be both Arcane and Divine, but now I'm sceptic.

There are some new Divine-only spells in Deck 1, and some Arcane/Divine.

There are a few new Arcane-only and Divine-only spells in Deck 2, and some more Arcane/Divine.

One of the Arcane/Divine spells completes a cycle that it took us forever to complete. But I'll let you figure out what that is yourselves.


Not really my bag (I just can't see me ever using a 'screw your teammate' power), but I know a couple of people who will love them.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Thanks for the answers!
This will be a blast for sure :)


The Asmodean Disciplines
"Recharge this card and banish a blessing to add the top card of the blessing discard pile to your discard pile; if this card has the corrupted trait, bury this card instead."

That clause about burying, the blessing still needs to be discarded, yes? Seems like it could be parsed so that the whole preceding clause [recharge this card and discard a blessing] gets turned into [bury this card] rather than just the recharge.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
Zhayne wrote:
Not really my bag (I just can't see me ever using a 'screw your teammate' power), but I know a couple of people who will love them.

Personally I tend to hate "take that" mechanics in tabletop games, but I don't really see these powers as all that mean-spirited. They seem more like "screw WITH your teammate" powers than "SCREW your teammate" powers. There can be plenty of situations when a character would be plenty willing to discard a card (they have junk in their hand), take more damage (they're being hand wiped or using a "reduce damage to 0" power anyway), or even banish a card that they acquired of their favored card type (such as acquiring a lame Basic card after Adventure 3; banish that crap and remove it from the box!).

It's also worth remembering that your character is always considered to be "a character at your location" so these types of powers can be used on yourself whenever appropriate. To me, these powers look like they'll be really fun and versatile.

Can't wait to get this and the second villain deck!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Dal Selpher wrote:

The Asmodean Disciplines

"Recharge this card and banish a blessing to add the top card of the blessing discard pile to your discard pile; if this card has the corrupted trait, bury this card instead."

That clause about burying, the blessing still needs to be discarded, yes? Seems like it could be parsed so that the whole preceding clause [recharge this card and discard a blessing] gets turned into [bury this card] rather than just the recharge.

The last clause changes only what you do with "this card."


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
pluvia33 wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
Not really my bag (I just can't see me ever using a 'screw your teammate' power), but I know a couple of people who will love them.
Personally I tend to hate "take that" mechanics in tabletop games, but I don't really see these powers as all that mean-spirited. They seem more like "screw WITH your teammate" powers than "SCREW your teammate" powers. There can be plenty of situations when a character would be plenty willing to discard a card (they have junk in their hand), take more damage (they're being hand wiped or using a "reduce damage to 0" power anyway), or even banish a card that they acquired of their favored card type (such as acquiring a lame Basic card after Adventure 3; banish that crap and remove it from the box!).

In organized play, you also can't hurt another player without their permission. The guide says "Don’t take actions that may harm another player’s character without that player’s consent." So no one will be doing these things without the other character's permission.

And I don't think these are two awful either. Used with the right other characters or right situations, they become beneficial. For example, Urgraz's Tyrant role can send damage to other characters. If you are someone like RotR Sajan Drunken Master who can reduce non-combat damage, Urgraz should send all those little BYA and AYA damage over to Sajan.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
Hawkmoon269 wrote:
If you are someone like RotR Sajan Drunken Master who can reduce non-combat damage, Urgraz should send all those little BYA and AYA damage over to Sajan.

I fully expect this to be the case with the Pitborn Assassin, for at least a couple of damage types - and probably before roles at that.


Hawkmoon269 wrote:

In organized play, you also can't hurt another player without their permission. The guide says "Don’t take actions that may harm another player’s character without that player’s consent." So no one will be doing these things without the other character's permission.

Yes, but I can't imagine asking, or many situations where anybody would agree to it ... but that's just me and the way I play. I'm the guy most likely to sacrifice something of his to help other members of the party, not vice versa. Most of my character deaths have been in 'I die, but we pass the scenario/another character lives' situations. All about the group. Teamwork makes the dream work. Form Voltron.

Like I said, just my personal style. If you enjoy other styles and it works for your group and you, by all means, have fun.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Zhayne wrote:
Yes, but I can't imagine asking, or many situations where anybody would agree to it ... but that's just me and the way I play.

I hope we can play together than sometime. I'd be totally willing to take a negative effect to help another player. And I think the people I'm fortunate enough to get to play with regularly in organized play would do the same.

Long story short: If anyone wants to play one of these at at table where I'm playing, I'll have no qualms about it.

I really think Linxia's "banish your favorite to get a turn" power isn't at all bad in organized play. I felt like I often acquired cards I knew wouldn't be used as an upgrade, since you knew everyone (usually) only got one. Those would be prime banishing material. It seems similar to what I experienced with Radillo's "banish a card to put a card someone fails to acquire into your discard pile" power. I stocked up on easy to acquire cards to make use of it. That meant no worrying about a fighter-type encountering the spell the wizard wanted or vice-versa with a weapon. This is just Valeros (or other weapon favoring character) saying "Oh. A deck 1 weapon? Well, we are on adventure 3, so let's just trade that in for another turn."

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Class Deck, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Hawkmoon269 wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
Yes, but I can't imagine asking, or many situations where anybody would agree to it ... but that's just me and the way I play.
I hope we can play together than sometime. I'd be totally willing to take a negative effect to help another player. And I think the people I'm fortunate enough to get to play with regularly in organized play would do the same.

If I can take the damage to avoid another party member running out of cards in her deck I'd do that (unless, of course, it means I would run out of cards ...)

The same rule exists in RPG play, but in our regular high-level adventuring party my wife and I have characters that are very likely to be the first in initiative, and will quite often be able to get up close and personal with the BBEG in the surprise round. The group sorcerer has blanket permission to include us in area-of-effect spells - typically a maximised fireball - unless that would risk killing us (and with improved evasion and a fair number of hit points we'd need to have taken a lot of damage to be at risk on the first blast).


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

I don't see the powers as necessarily screwing other characters over. Thematically, that's certainly the case, but mechanically, most can be used in a fairly benign manner that is consistent with the cooperative nature of the game. It all comes down to how/when the relevant powers are used.

Urgraz's second core power, for example, doesn't necessarily have to hurt the character - all depending upon the character's ability to reduce damage (I can remember quite a few times when armor-heavy characters have reset their hands to having multiple armors and I wished to be able to recharge them somehow). The same goes for the last of the Tyrant Urgraz's powers.

Lazzero's healing power, meanwhile, is a great way to get rid of cards you don't want; and the wording of that power is great. Wrathack, for example, could get rid of some caltrops so that Lazzero can heal. This is a very interesting twist on the traditional template of the caster paying the price.

There are only a few times when these powers have the potential to interfere inappropriately with other characters (e.g., Tyrant Urgraz taking blessings that Talitha is burying). Depending on the venue, this might not even be possible due to the group rules, whether official (such as with OP) or by social compact.

Overall, these are very creative and characterful rules. Opening my own copy and sleeving all of the cards earlier today resulted in a number of raised eyebrows and pauses as I considered the interesting gameplay possibilities. I'm very much looking forward to the second deck.


I doubt I'd want to play with someone playing Urgraz in or out of Guild play. The other two might be OK in a Wrath-based game, but there are likely better choices.

The issue isn't that the Guild play rules prohibit doing things to other characters. It's that you run into folks who picked characters that do such things who will whine if you don't let them do it to you at every opportunity. If you get someone like that it can kill a game night because (assuming neither of you wishes to change their position) your only choices are to play with them or leave.

I'm glad to be part of a friendly group that plays regularly, even if the Card Game population is small.

Related: Did anyone else fail scenarios back when the Goblins decks were new because the players kept taking Blessings from the Blessings deck? That doesn't hurt a character, so it's not restricted by the PvP rule. I was annoyed, but thankfully it was my normal group and we were more careful after a couple of scenarios.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Class Deck, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I actually think Urgraz could be a very useful character to have in your party. The last-but-one power shown on his "Tyrant" role card lets him prevent a card from being banished at the cost of burying a boon - very useful to make sure you retain access to that card in the next scenario!

(And the last power on the other side of his role card is even better ...)


Parody, if they wanted to do such things, they'd do such things no matter which character they picked. They could always pick themselves as the target of the ability in the case of Urgraz, unless you meant the Tyrant ability. But with that, they could already do something like that with Siwar - explore recklessly and heave a nasty encounter onto you.

They could be in a position to kill the villain on the last turn... then not actually do it.

The best thing to do in that case is to not play with them.


JohnF wrote:
The last-but-one power shown on his "Tyrant" role card lets him prevent a card from being banished at the cost of burying a boon - very useful to make sure you retain access to that card in the next scenario!

Perhaps, but it seems too situational to me. I can't think of the last time I banished a card for its power, wanted to keep it, and didn't already have a way to do so. (Alchemists, anyone?)

zeroth_hour2 wrote:
Parody, if they wanted to do such things, they'd do such things no matter which character they picked....

In my experiences there is a difference between the objectives of the game and the powers of the characters for these types of players. They still want to win the game, so they won't ruin fights against the villain or things that complete the scenario objective. They still want "more power", so they'll help with acquiring boons they would like to take as upgrades. But they will whine if you decline to let them hurt your characters with their powers. After all, "it's just what my character does!"

As we both already said, our only choice is to not play with them. But if they show up to a public game night or convention session that means (again, in my experiences) not playing at all, which is unfortunate.

Thankfully, these sorts of players are (once again, in my experiences) in the minority, and I already have a group with which I'm comfortable. It's just something I've seen before and would prefer not to see again.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

These characters are so interesting. I went through the whole deck when it arrived (on the day of my birthday!) and there are some amazing and unique boons.

I really look forward to playing these characters in Wrath of the Righteous and roleplaying their redemption story arc. I'm not into roleplaying villains but bad guys who turn into good guys over the course of their adventure is right up my alley.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

I got the Hell's Vengence deck about 1.5 weeks ago and was pretty impressed with the amount of interesting and unique cards in it. I especially liked the trade-offs that are presented and the ways to negate those trade-offs.

This past weekend I played Linxia in organized play and enjoyed playing her. Her ability to banish allies to increase combat checks came in handy when i drew short of a weapon. I also really liked her ability of shuffling cards from discard, this came in handy quite a bit when using boons to boost ally checks or getting my cure back into my deck.

As far as commentary on screwing over other players, from memory most of the abilities are "a character" rather than "another player" so its entirely possible to avoid those. Then for corrupted cards current language is that a card can be redeemed for the life of the character so much of these items are fine. I picked up Devil's Armor this weekend as a deck upgrade and first stop will be to redeem it so we don't have to discard 1 card every time my hellknight recharges it.

Overall, I'm happy. I'm fairly new to organized play but have played through RotR a few times and I'm not under the impression that my character will be screwing people over. The most harm done was having to tell the paladin in our group to look the other way when I banished an ally for a combat check.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Nice to see our ultimate shield using character!
I was really hoping to see a character that would use shields instead of armors and now we have it!

Many thanks!

Maybe next the dual wielding character? ;)

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