Who's the Outsider Now?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Heads up! Adventure Card Game fans will want to keep an eye out for the September issue of Game Trade magazine. Issue 187 comes with a special Wrath of the Righteous promo card: the cohort Valais Durant. Valais will also be sent to Pathfinder Adventure Card Game subscribers—in addition to the usual retailer promo card—along with Adventure Deck 5.

How do you follow up giving the players the chance to play as a succubus? Send them to the Abyss, of course! The Midnight Isles Adventure Deck does just that.

This is one of my favorite adventures. The characters are on a mission from the queen to find the source of Nahyndrian crystals and stop them from being refined into elixirs that can make demons mythic. To do so, they'll be exploring the Midnight Isles, a set of islands forged by a demon queen's imagination from the bodies of demon lords she's assassinated. Wow.

I've always loved exploring the options available when characters journey to the other planes, and it was challenging to put all of that in the card game.

The Midnight Isles is the first adventure deck where those rules are really put to the test. After the first scenario, all locations are considered to have the Abyssal trait (whether they normally would or not.) This can be a bit of a challenge for players who've spent a lot of time acquiring cards that work well against outsiders, since demons lose the Outsider trait here.


The islands are made of what?

Finding the Way

Since this is the fourth adventure deck, the players now have roles, so the danger increases to match their increase in power. The first scenario of this adventure, The Abyss Gazes Also, has many intricate, challenging parts to it. First, I love that the players have to face all of the non-Abyssal locations before they can tackle the Abyssal ones. This severely limits their options and makes them work together. Plus the monsters they defeat don't go back to the box—they go into the Abyssal locations to be faced again!


Stop gazing at me!

There's also a nested Easter egg in this scenario. If a player moves to an occupied Abyssal location, he'll have to face an extra henchman, Minagho. Though this is fairly easy for the players to avoid, there's a bonus to fighting her. If you defeat her by no more than 6, you get a chance to snag a free cohort: Yaniel! Even better, Yaniel is her own Easter egg. She's the paladin that originally owned the sword named Radiance, which the players may have acquired by now. If they still have it, they can use Yaniel to transform it into Holy Radiance. It's a long and complicated road to get that card, but it's worth it!


Chain gang!

This scenario also features a tricky location: the Grinder. This is where the villain will try to retreat if defeated, but the place also has an interesting feature you may remember from the Abyssal Rift. It flips! One side is innocuous, but if you gain a boon, BANG, it flips to the hard side and all banes get a +5 difficulty boost. This could be especially troublesome if the villain happens to retreat there. I love how all of these mechanics fit together!


Back to the grind!

Speaking of the villain, the Heart of the Fane is no slouch. Before the characters even fight it, they must EACH face a Vulture Demon. If they all win, they can finally catch a break... if they're willing to banish a Divine card they've earned (and take a small jolt.) If not, they must try to defeat the villainous barrier with an epic Arcane or Divine 20 check. If you fail, it will try to go to the Grinder, where it will probably enjoy that 5-point bump in difficulty.


Not for the fane of heart!

Midnight Monsters (And Barriers)

There's an extra element of risk for characters facing many of the monsters in this adventure. Most monsters just deal a bit of damage, which you can hopefully soak with some armor, but these guys play for more serious stakes. For example, the Horned Demon requires you to make a Wisdom 12 check or shuffle a random card from your hand into the location deck. You could lose your best card before you even fight, and then you'll have to go looking for it again!


Was that your favorite card?

The Umbral Dragon has a clever little trick. It picks a random occupied location and everyone there has to succeed at a check to avoid BURYING THEIR ROLE CARDS. The deeper into this adventure path you go, the more crippling this could be. Oh, and if you don't defeat it the first time, it comes back!


Role away!

Of course this deck has its share of temptations as well: four of them, to be precise. The Gift of Shamira is particularly tricky. You can choose to add 1d20 to a check to defeat a monster AND you get to draw 1d10+1 cards as well. That's all good, right? Oh, you rolled a 10 and you don't have 11 cards in your deck? Oops! And even if it doesn't kill you outright, it's going to make playing those cards you drew more difficult, since drawing to replace them could kill you anyway.


Drawing cards is good, right?

Isle of Boons!

The Midnight Isles also offer a bounty of rewards for those brave enough to explore them.

There are several Corrupted weapons here just waiting for someone to redeem them (or in the case of a Fallen Arueshalae, just use them!) The Stalker's Crossbow adds 1d8+4 to your Ranged combat check, and if you fail it, you get to reroll and add another 1d8! It just costs you a card off the top of your deck when you use it.


Fail, fail, fail...

There are so many great spells in this deck, like Cape of Wasps and Pillar of Life, but I have to single out Terraform for special consideration because it messes with the fundamental rules of the game. If someone has this card, characters no longer have to fear a horrible price for closing a location. When they need it, this card just makes them automatically succeed... without the checks or costs or having to defeat demons with combat 40 checks.


Location, location, location!

Isle of Blessings!

There's one more little tricky bit to this deck (as if all the others weren't enough). Like many other decks, it introduces a new blessing: the Blessing of Nocticula. However, these don't just get shuffled into the box to pop up at random locations. Players have to EARN them.


Powerful, but fragile.

In scenario 3, Nocticula's Attention, the villain is not a hulking monster, but instead a sort of bureaucrat named Vellexia. She stands between the players and the demon queen herself. Players must use their Charisma and Diplomacy to "defeat" her. If they fail, it's 1d20 damage straight to the brain. If they succeed, they may display a Blessing of Nocticula next to the scenario, and she scampers back to the location she came from. The players repeat this until they have amassed as many blessings as there are players, at which point, they win and collect all the ones they've displayed.


Fill this out in triplicate!

And let's not forget that every demon they defeat has a 1 in 6 chance of summoning Shamira.


40?!

I've barely scratched the surface of the wonders this deck offers. The Midnight Isles Adventure Deck is a well-oiled machine with great intertwining mechanics and surprises for the observant among the players.

Enjoy it with my blessing... and possibly that of Nocticula as well!

Paul Peterson
Adventure Card Game Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

So...many...loot...blessings...

Also, promo cohort. Very nice.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It'll be interesting to see how Valais gets incorporated into scenarios since she is a promo cohort. I am definitely intrigued.


Blog post says "And let's not forget that every demon they defeat (including Vellexia) has a 1 in 6 chance of summoning Shamira." but the rules indicate otherwise. Vellexia is never defeated, if she would be defeated she's evaded instead. That means she never triggers the 1 in 6 chance to summon Shamira. Which is actually correct so I know how to play it when I finally end up getting my AD4?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Ohh...Note that Nocticula's Attention says "you may win". It seems you can't win the normal way, but you are also able to try to get more blessings than players if you wish to risk it. Interesting...

Grand Lodge

Hawkmoon269 wrote:

So...many...loot...blessings...

Also, promo cohort. Very nice.

I'm not seeing any promo cohort. Wonder if this is a case of Paizo using the wrong image in the original post....


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
MattCaulder wrote:
Hawkmoon269 wrote:

So...many...loot...blessings...

Also, promo cohort. Very nice.

I'm not seeing any promo cohort. Wonder if this is a case of Paizo using the wrong image in the original post....

There isn't a picture of it. It is just mentioned in the intro paragraph.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Pretty nasty that Vellexia hits you for 1d20 just for finding her early.

Pathfinder ACG Developer

Probably also steals some blessings. She is one mean demoness.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Finally, a barrier Villain!!!

Scarab Sages

Drat, my solo Crowe can't get access to Holy Radiance :S

Oh well, still worth dodging the really mean stuff that happens "to another character (at this location)"

Grand Lodge

Hawkmoon269 wrote:
MattCaulder wrote:
Hawkmoon269 wrote:

So...many...loot...blessings...

Also, promo cohort. Very nice.

I'm not seeing any promo cohort. Wonder if this is a case of Paizo using the wrong image in the original post....
There isn't a picture of it. It is just mentioned in the intro paragraph.

Ah! I didn't scan the italics at the top. I should have read everything. Thanks Hawk. As usual, you have the answer.


*cries*

I'm not sure if these are happy tears or scared tears. I love everything.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
skizzerz wrote:
Blog post says "And let's not forget that every demon they defeat (including Vellexia) has a 1 in 6 chance of summoning Shamira." but the rules indicate otherwise. Vellexia is never defeated, if she would be defeated she's evaded instead. That means she never triggers the 1 in 6 chance to summon Shamira. Which is actually correct so I know how to play it when I finally end up getting my AD4?

The blog is incorrect. Removing "(including Vellexia)."


Promo cohort picture can be viewed here

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pathfinder-promo-card-valais-durant-wrath-of-the-ri ghteous-/321843718268?hash=item4aef61687c


The blessing is awesome! What a pitty that it takes 4 weeks of shipping to get my hands on these new cards here in Germany...


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Alright, so a little searching tells me that Valais Durant is a character in the RPG. There is a card for Valais Durant in the Pathfinder Society Face Cards deck. Anyone care to drop a little RPG knowledge on me?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Valais Durant is one of the best NPCs in the Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild.

She's from 5-09 Traitor's Lodge.

Traitor's Lodge:
She's an unfettered eidolon, created from stitching together Valais' original form with a kalavakus and a babau (known in the ACG as a horned demon and a blood demon, respectively). She thinks she's a Venture Captain (she is a society member, but not a VC) and volunteers to lead the PCs down into investigating the demon surgery labs where she was created to find VC Thurl. However, the kalavakus and the babau are both trying to take over her brain, which means that often times her speech is interspersed with LOUD DEATH THREATS (KALAVAKUS) and subtle digs about how the PCs will soon die (babau). She's really fun to roleplay, and no one really knows what to do with her right when you meet her.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
SetonAlandel wrote:
Drat, my solo Crowe can't get access to Holy Radiance :S

Yeah, that seems pretty … harsh, actually. I suppose, thematically, the idea is something like “Hey, I'll just go at my buddy Valeros' location, he's always handy in a fight... Damn, that's actually a demon assassin posing as him!”, but still it should leave a pretty bad taste in a solo-player's mouth. I, personally, find the design a little offending, even if -with a party of six- I should have little trouble upgrading the Radiance :(

As for the Umbral Dragon: I can only assume we retrieve our role at the end of scenario, correct?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

On a separate, but pretty lengthy note - what's the deal with Terraforming?

From the blogpost I'm under the impression that it's supposed to prevent any negative (how about positive?) effects from both When Closing and Permanently Closed. The text of the card itself is more vague however: first, the Abyssal River would still deal 1 dmg to me post-close, right?; second, the spell let's me “succeed”. Even if we assume it let's me succeed in a check to defeat a summoned whatever, if the summoned henchman requires me to make BYA check “or else” then what – do I also “automatically succeed”, or do I not even encounter the Henchman (which would spare me 1 Cold dmg from a Wight)?

And how about locations as Molten Pool (take X Fire dmg) or Cemetery (draw a card and bury a card) or Chaos Cathedral (banish a weapon): those do not require me to “succeed” at anything, they just specify what must happen. Am I considered not to take dmg, not to have to bury a card (but can I still draw?), or not to have to banish a card, respectively?
Finally, what do we do with Forsaken Cloister? Do I only auto-succed my encounter? Does everyone? And what happens wit all potential BYA checks/dmg?

Terraform is an awesome card, but either I'm dense or it will need an extensive FAQ on its own very soon.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber
Longshot11 wrote:


As for the Umbral Dragon: I can only assume we retrieve our role at the end of scenario, correct?

Yes, just as you always do with buried cards.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Terraform takes the "when choosing" part of the location and says "done." You still have to do the "When permanently closed" part.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Five boons previewed vs. eight banes, and then a bunch of scenarios / locations. Interesting.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Hawkmoon269 wrote:
Terraform takes the "when choosing" part of the location and says "done." You still have to do the "When permanently closed" part.

Funny, how easily are things sometimes explained, when you don't try to fit them to a formal wording :)

For the records, that's how I took what Terraform is supposed to do; my issue is that the formal wording doesn't make it as clear as "Replace the location's When Closing text with "it's done!" (or "you can close this location automatically", I guess), especially when it comes to the weirder locations.


Myfly wrote:
The blessing is awesome! What a pitty that it takes 4 weeks of shipping to get my hands on these new cards here in Germany...

Isn't it just a worse version of Blessing of Deskari?

Vellexia seems really mean, and not in a fun way. Unless you get lucky and scout her out or she ends up in the last location deck, she'll basically make you discard you hand every time you see her, and burn a bunch of blessings from the blessing deck as she escapes to a random location :/


Mechalibur wrote:
Vellexia seems really mean, and not in a fun way. Unless you get lucky and scout her out or she ends up in the last location deck, she'll basically make you discard you hand every time you see her, and burn a bunch of blessings from the blessing deck as she escapes to a random location :/

You do get to temp close locations before her BYA power checks for open locations, so it's not as terrible as it may seem. Just make sure you have every location covered so that she's properly cornered. And if you can beat her once and she evades, you now know which location she's in.

She's mostly a problem early on when you have more open locations than characters.


Mechalibur wrote:
Myfly wrote:
The blessing is awesome! What a pitty that it takes 4 weeks of shipping to get my hands on these new cards here in Germany...

Isn't it just a worse version of Blessing of Deskari?

Vellexia seems really mean, and not in a fun way. Unless you get lucky and scout her out or she ends up in the last location deck, she'll basically make you discard you hand every time you see her, and burn a bunch of blessings from the blessing deck as she escapes to a random location :/

Vellexia brings back memories of playing Bizarre Love Triangle RAW before reading the errata!

And yes, the blessing itself isn't the best, but the self-banishing property actually means you can arrange to intentionally banish it to end a scenario being short on blessings to rebuild with Nethys/whatever you actually want from AD#-2.


Mechalibur wrote:

Isn't it just a worse version of Blessing of Deskari?

Deskari has both parts as only adding to "your" checks - can't be played on someone else. This one, at least the basic 1 die power is playable on someone else's checks.


Nocticula blessing will also rfg when you close location with it still inside. Interesting mechanic.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
Longshot11 wrote:
SetonAlandel wrote:
Drat, my solo Crowe can't get access to Holy Radiance :S
Yeah, that seems pretty … harsh, actually. I suppose, thematically, the idea is something like “Hey, I'll just go at my buddy Valeros' location, he's always handy in a fight... Damn, that's actually a demon assassin posing as him!”, but still it should leave a pretty bad taste in a solo-player's mouth. I, personally, find the design a little offending, even if -with a party of six- I should have little trouble upgrading the Radiance :(

Yaniel is in the second and third scenarios too (and maybe more! that's just as far as we've played), so you'll still get your Holy Radiance, just a little slower. :D


philosorapt0r wrote:
Mechalibur wrote:


Vellexia seems really mean, and not in a fun way. Unless you get lucky and scout her out or she ends up in the last location deck, she'll basically make you discard you hand every time you see her, and burn a bunch of blessings from the blessing deck as she escapes to a random location :/

Vellexia brings back memories of playing Bizarre Love Triangle RAW before reading the errata!

Ugh. Hadn't noticed this.

"Villain is automatically undefeated" mechanics are one of the most annoying things in this game- they just feel so cheesy, they make the game feel like nothing more than dumb luck whether or not you run into the villain early on.

I'm sure there would be ways they could have the villain escaping / not allowing the scenario to end without milling all of the blessings off the timer deck.


Pathfinder Card Game, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Zenarius wrote:
Nocticula blessing will also rfg when you close location with it still inside. Interesting mechanic.

Except that it's a Loot blessing; typically you won't have them in locations. But, you know, Horned Demon.


MightyJim wrote:


"Villain is automatically undefeated" mechanics are one of the most annoying things in this game- they just feel so cheesy, they make the game feel like nothing more than dumb luck whether or not you run into the villain early on.

It puts a premium on scouting, that's for sure. More reasons that Andowyn is the superstar of the set.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Since we don't read cards ahead, we didn't know we DIDN'T want to encounter the villain until Adowyn scouted her at the first location, where we left her until the end of the scenario.

Adowyn. <3

Pathfinder ACG Developer

Every now and then, I ask myself why I didn't pick Adowyn for my favorite Wrath character.

Then I remember that she's so awesome I actually feel a little guilty playing her. I wonder if I'm relatively alone there.


Keith Richmond wrote:

Every now and then, I ask myself why I didn't pick Adowyn for my favorite Wrath character.

Then I remember that she's so awesome I actually feel a little guilty playing her. I wonder if I'm relatively alone there.

I'm with you. She trivializes large parts of the game. I have three wrath campaigns going, and her presence or absences makes far more difference in difficulty than that of any other character.

I thought Andowyn was ridiculously good in AD 1-3. I was not prepared for how off-the-charts-powerful she becomes in AD 4+ (with the proper allies).


But no matter how much scouting you have, you'll never be able to scout before every single exploration- particularly in larger groups.


MightyJim wrote:
But no matter how much scouting you have, you'll never be able to scout before every single exploration- particularly in larger groups.

I'm pretty sure our 3p group with Adowyn literally *did* scout before every explore in a few scenarios (or did until we knew a given location was free of threats, at least). In a larger group, it's true that you get fewer turns to reset your hand, and more total locations to explore, but you also get more characters---I imagine a 6p with both Adowyn & Alhazra and a few odd scouting cards could manage it (especially with a spell-recurring caster like Radillo/Feiya/etc. in a game with augury/scrying).

Whether it's strategically *correct* to play this way depends heavily on how specialized the party is (I'd be much more likely to scout before every explore a weaponless caster makes than for someone more well rounded), how important spotting the scenario's particular villain/henchmen early is, and whether recharging Adowyn/Alhazra's entire hand scouting will make running out of turns a danger (although by avoiding disasters/identifying the villain for isolation, heavy scouting can definitely make finishing the scenario in time *more* likely, even with the turn cost of scouting).


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

There's a promo cohort? We got ours yesterday and the only promo was the Pig from Hell.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Class Deck, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
LizD wrote:
There's a promo cohort? We got ours yesterday and the only promo was the Pig from Hell.

If you look at the fine print, they're talking about the next deck (Adv 5) that contains the promo cohort that will also be in the magazine. btw, the magazine is available at your LGS now.


Mechalibur wrote:
Myfly wrote:
The blessing is awesome! What a pitty that it takes 4 weeks of shipping to get my hands on these new cards here in Germany...

Isn't it just a worse version of Blessing of Deskari?

Vellexia seems really mean, and not in a fun way. Unless you get lucky and scout her out or she ends up in the last location deck, she'll basically make you discard you hand every time you see her, and burn a bunch of blessings from the blessing deck as she escapes to a random location :/

Vellexia is automatically evaded if you beat her, not undefeated. She shuffles back into the location she came from and you don't do the villain escape sequence at all -- no blessing deck loss there.

EDIT: saw the first power which does in fact say "automatically undefeated" if there are other open locations. So yeah, that would mill the blessings deck. Ouch.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Heart of the Fane: "If undefeated and Grinder is open, villain does not eascape; instead, shuffle it into the Grinder location"

What does that mean exactly? That I just put blessing from the deck on the other open location, or I don't take blessings from the deck at all (meaning I don't have to bother with temp-sloses)? Also, at this point in the encounter, does a temp-closed Grinder still count as 'closed'?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Encountering a villain happens in this order (from the handy reference on the back of the rulebook):

• Attempt to temporarily close open locations.
• Encounter the villain.
• If you defeat the villain, close the villain’s location.
• Check to see whether the villain escapes.

"The villain does not escape" only changes things in that last section:

Check to See Whether the Villain Escapes wrote:
If any locations are not closed, the villain escapes. If you defeated the villain, count the number of open locations, subtract 1, and retrieve that number of random blessings from the box. Shuffle the villain in with those blessings, then deal 1 card to each open location and shuffle those location decks. If the villain is undefeated, do the same thing, but retrieve the blessings from the blessings deck instead of from the box. (Note that if you did not defeat the villain, there is always at least one open location: the one in which it was just encountered.)

And temp-closing *any* location *anytime* you can temp-close always has just one effect: the villain cannot escape there.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Check to See Whether the Villain Escapes wrote:
If any locations are not closed, the villain escapes...
And temp-closing *any* location *anytime* you can temp-close always has just one effect: the villain cannot escape there.

OK...so if I'm getting things right, shedding the blessings is an integral part of the "escape" procedure, so it would not occur with the Fane.

However, since temp-closing also only relates to "escape" procedure - it doesn't matter if I temp-closed it, the villain just goes there because he's not technically escaping. Thnaks for clearing that out for me.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Oh by the way about the Villain barriers...

Is Vellexia really supposed to be Type Barrier? She seems like a Type Monster the way other villains of that type have been handled in the past. Heart of the Fane seems like it would be a barrier, definitely, but not Vellexia.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Think of her like the shopkeepers daughter.


WesWagner wrote:

Think of her like the shopkeepers daughter.

That's the one barrier I was always happy to fail..


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
Zenarius wrote:
WesWagner wrote:

Think of her like the shopkeepers daughter.

That's the one barrier I was always happy to fail..

Up to the point that I remember (back then when we played RoR for the first time) we had a long argument on whether the check was actually failed...


Frencois wrote:
Zenarius wrote:
WesWagner wrote:

Think of her like the shopkeepers daughter.

That's the one barrier I was always happy to fail..
Up to the point that I remember (back then when we played RoR for the first time) we had a long argument on whether the check was actually failed...

You say failed wisdom check, Valeros says passed Charisma check...


Keith Richmond wrote:

Every now and then, I ask myself why I didn't pick Adowyn for my favorite Wrath character.

Then I remember that she's so awesome I actually feel a little guilty playing her. I wonder if I'm relatively alone there.

She's pretty damn cool for sure. I didn't use her either

Going from having Alahazra scouting EVERYTHING to the nothing I now get has been traumatic, and in wrath I have been paying the penalty for that many times over


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

But where is that Lexicon????

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