Paul's Best Character Ever: Lini

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I've stood by as my fellow designers on the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game have spoken their pieces on which character they believe to be the best ever and I've held my tongue. Why? Because, though I've known all along why they were wrong, I needed to bide my time. I needed to wait until all the pieces were in place, all the correct products produced and available to the fans... all the evidence available, so I could show definitively and without fear of serious rebuttal that the best character ever is Lini.

Lini is the O.G. Best Character Ever. She was my go-to character during the original playtests of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, and she quickly earned a reputation as "pushing the power envelope." It wasn't so much that any single power she had was too broken, but she became an engine that made the game easier for everyone. That engine is largely preserved in her Rise of the Runelords form.

The key component of her awesomeness isn't her powers (amazing though they are). It's the fact that she has 6 spell slots in her deck. There are very few characters with that many spell slots, and almost none of them are divine casters. This gives Lini the ability to fill her deck with Healing spells, which not only keep her and her companions alive, but more importantly recycle the cards in Lini's discard pile—including the healing spells themselves! She has a nearly infinite engine for playing her cards over and over again.

Her powers have great synergy with this engine. She doesn't have to use her spell slots for attacks because she can simply discard a card to get a base d10 on combat checks. She can also add 1d4 to any of her checks by revealing an ally that has the Animal trait. This essentially gives her that bonus to every check she makes, as long as she doesn't discard or otherwise lose her ally.

Her roles build on this rock-solid foundation. Shapeshifter increases her ability to deal with monsters, and Wild Warden makes her more likely to recharge all of those Cures she's going to cast.

I'm not really sure why you'd need more evidence than that to declare her the best character ever, but just for fun, let's take a look at her Skull and Shackles incarnation. This version pushes her toward using her Animal allies instead of revealing them by letting you put them on top of her deck, and increases her combat die from a d10 to a d12. The Feral Druid lets her reveal a Divine card to attack, and the Aquamancer lets her put Attack spells back on top of her deck instead of recharging them. It's a veritable forest of powers and directions to take the character!

The newest entry in Lini's powerhouse portfolio is from the upcoming Druid Class Deck. Once again, she gets to reveal Animal allies for an effect, but in this case she sends them out to attack! This power gives her a minimum of 1d10+1d6+3 on a combat check, and it's easy to increase with feats. The Pack Lord role can increase this attack by another 2d6, and gives her the power to acquire any animal allies her friends might miss. The real jewel in this new Lini's crown, however, is the Menhir Savant, which is unique among all of the characters we've ever made. This new role gives her huge advantages for hanging out at closed locations, including healing all other characters each turn!


As you can see, there are many different viable choices you can make when you decide to play Lini. She can focus on turning into huge animals, casting attack spells, or (my personal favorite) creating an unstoppable healing engine. Lini doesn't have any bad choices, and this makes her the Best. Character. Ever.

Until then, I remain,

Paul Peterson
Adventure Card Game Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Class Decks Druids Lini Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, now I have to play a Pack Lord solely for the flavor text.

Silver Crusade

Hm. It looks like Menhir Savant Lini gets a free power, along with some definitely interesting feats.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

She's still no Sajan, if you ask me. But she is pretty awesome.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Hawkmoon269 wrote:
She's still no Sajan, if you ask me. But she is pretty awesome.

Finally, Hawkmoon says something that is patently false.


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

I kinda want to play a Menhir Savant Lini just because it is so strange and I want to know how it plays.


Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Eliandra Giltessan wrote:
Hm. It looks like Menhir Savant Lini gets a free power, along with some definitely interesting feats.

Hmm, last time that happened it got errata'd (Wu Shen's Prey Stalker role in the Rogue CD). Wonder if that's going to happen again here or if we'll see a reversal on the Wu Shen ruling.


Iammars wrote:
Well, now I have to play a Pack Lord solely for the flavor text.

Everything is awesome, when we're living our dream!

Quote:
There are very few characters with that many spell slots, and almost none of them are divine casters.

All hail Zarlova! <3 (although she only starts with 5 spells)

Pathfinder ACG Developer

I'll admit it - Lini is the reason my Enora blog was my favorite _Wrath_ character :) The druid was the first character I tried in RotR and definitely my favorite in Runelords.

I can also totally confirm that CD Lini is fantastic in Season of the Shackles.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

I played S&S Lini all the way through that AP, and she was an exploration machine. Placing all those "discard to explore" animals on top of my deck to use again next turn? Yes please. Average 3-4 explores per turn without discarding.

I went Aquamancer and didn't even use attack spells much. Grab Aquatic monsters in hand and use them to fuel your d12 Str/Dex on your next combat, or just to be damage discards.

Only tricky part was a 2 adventure stint without healing spells - my Cure got hit with a "top of deck" banish in AD3, and we never were down a spell on rebuild until sometime in AD5. Still survived but there were some very close calls.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

skizzerz wrote:
Eliandra Giltessan wrote:
Hm. It looks like Menhir Savant Lini gets a free power, along with some definitely interesting feats.
Hmm, last time that happened it got errata'd (Wu Shen's Prey Stalker role in the Rogue CD). Wonder if that's going to happen again here or if we'll see a reversal on the Wu Shen ruling.

This time it's intentional.

Adventure Card Game Designer

Vic Wertz wrote:
skizzerz wrote:
Eliandra Giltessan wrote:
Hm. It looks like Menhir Savant Lini gets a free power, along with some definitely interesting feats.
Hmm, last time that happened it got errata'd (Wu Shen's Prey Stalker role in the Rogue CD). Wonder if that's going to happen again here or if we'll see a reversal on the Wu Shen ruling.
This time it's intentional.

Yup, it's on porpoise. We really like the role, but it needed some extra oomph at the start.

Adventure Card Game Designer

A slightly expanded take on this:
When we give a role a free power, it's to establish something about the nature of the role. Wu Shen's power didn't do that; it was just a benny, so we removed it. But Seoni/Element Master has a very different take: We're going to change something radical about the card, so it looks very different at the start.

Menhir Savant needed to say something about being at closed locations, because that's her move. So she has to be able to close locations for all the rest of her powers to kick in often enough. Thus, a bonus to close locations for her and friends, and more if desired.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Man, I hate being a Debbie Downer, but I'm not digging the look of that Lini. She loses her d4 (that's fine--it's a powerful ability, but a boring one) and most of her deck manipulation for... a really obtuse combat power? Survival+3d6 is real nice... but less nice when you have to recharge a card to do it, especially when it's an Ally that, ideally, you'd be using to explore. And her Closed Location role adds a lot of fiddly bits without a huge payoff. To heal every character one card she has to skip her first explore at a closed location. Which means if she doesn't have a way to move after that, she gets no explores that turn and if she does have a way to move, it's probably through an ally she'll have to discard, which means she's costing herself a card and she doesn't even get one back (each OTHER character recharges a card) just to use her power at all without wasting a turn. That's a huge sacrifice for a power that's only default-better than the stock Cleric power when you're in a very large group.

To enjoy her free draw at the beginning of her turn, she has to end her turn at a closed location in the first place which, again, means burning some sort of card to actually GET there. So unless the Druid class deck has, like, Gwaihir the Wind Lord "reveal this card to move whenever you want," you're spending all your time finding ways to let yourself to move (and, chances are, discarding a card in the process to do so). And since you're going to a closed location, cards that let you move then explore do nothing for you. I'd gripe about it less if she had a power power let her move TO a closed location without condition, but moving from one closed location to another hardly seems worth the feat: unless you're playing a scenario with some really bomb closed location trait, that power doesn't mean a ton, because the only other use I see for it is being at someone else's location at the start of the turn so they can give you a card or your can Cure them, maybe.

The other side of the coin, Pack Lord, doesn't seem bad to me, just unremarkable. Those powers look fine, but none of them have me going "I have GOT to get me one of THOSE," like so many of my favorite characters (RotR Lini, Merisiel, RADILLO) do.

I'd have to see her card list, I think. Since it's probably Spells+++ Allies+++ Blessings+++ at least she'll rock a slim deck with no fluff, but geez... I mean, it's not the biggest deal: there are so many cool characters in this game that I'm never going to run out of ones to play, so why worry about the ones I don't like? But as an avowed Lini super fan, through and through, those powers bum me out.

Pathfinder ACG Developer

Dave Riley wrote:
Man, I hate being a Debbie Downer, but I'm not digging the look of that Lini.

I've been pretty impressed how often I've gotten to destroy a villain / bane that is resistant or immune to Attack or weapons, but is not so resistant to Droogami tearing its throat out. It's more of a niche specialty than RotR Lini's "I win all the everythings" though, it's true :)

Once you get the deck, if it seems below average, let us know.


Dave Riley wrote:

Man, I hate being a Debbie Downer, but I'm not digging the look of that Lini. She loses her d4 (that's fine--it's a powerful ability, but a boring one) and most of her deck manipulation for... a really obtuse combat power? Survival+3d6 is real nice... but less nice when you have to recharge a card to do it, especially when it's an Ally that, ideally, you'd be using to explore.

While I agree that most of the role powers aren't especially exciting (with handsize and combat boosts being likely, if familiar, choices), I think her base powers are actually quite exciting for enabling a fast-cycling, flexible support caster. Being able to convert random chaff into discarded animals for explores (or Mastiffs/etc) as long as you reserve an animal or two for exploration is quite powerful (see: Alain), and being able to use those same allies for combat frees you up to run actual good spells (cures/etc) in *all* your slots. While she doesn't have any single power that's super-awesome (like Feiya's spell-recursion, or free d4+x on all checks), she should be a reliably excellent member of the 'heals-and-explores' class of characters.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Heals and Explores do need to reliably come up in combat though, and given CD Lini's lack of a "permanent" attack (her power requires her to bury, discard or recharge her Animal) this may pose an issue.

I like the direction they're taking these; RotR Lini is still available in OP if you really want her available (and not in OP if you own RotR).


zeroth_hour wrote:

Heals and Explores do need to reliably come up in combat though, and given CD Lini's lack of a "permanent" attack (her power requires her to bury, discard or recharge her Animal) this may pose an issue.

I like the direction they're taking these; RotR Lini is still available in OP if you really want her available (and not in OP if you own RotR).

Well, to put it a different way, she's like a caster with a full extra set of slots for attack spells, with a recursion ability to recover them sometimes, and the option of discarding them to explore if she draws too many, rather than clogging the way casters with a pile of attack spells sometimes do if they go a couple turns without enough fights. She'll sometimes have to stop exploring because she's out of animals for the turn, but she's in a better position than most attack spell based characters in terms of having the right number of attack cards each turn, due to her powers to turn other cards into more attacks via recursion AND her ability to turn excess attacks into explores/etc.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Iammars wrote:
Well, now I have to play a Pack Lord solely for the flavor text.

I will immediately switch to any type of character if Mike gives her as flavor text the following :

"Nothing can go wrong. Everything is under control."


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Frencois wrote:

I will immediately switch to any type of character if Mike gives her as flavor text the following :

"Nothing can go wrong. Everything is under control."

Class deck Alahazra? So much scouting....


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I'm still really digging these character spotlights. Keep them coming!

Pathfinder ACG Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I don't know, I'm just not sure how far we can take it. Some of the characters just won't earn a favorite spot.

Like, who would possibly have Darago as their favorite?

Silver Crusade

As long as SOMEONE admits that Alahazra is the best character ever...


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
philosorapt0r wrote:
zeroth_hour wrote:

Heals and Explores do need to reliably come up in combat though, and given CD Lini's lack of a "permanent" attack (her power requires her to bury, discard or recharge her Animal) this may pose an issue.

I like the direction they're taking these; RotR Lini is still available in OP if you really want her available (and not in OP if you own RotR).

Well, to put it a different way, she's like a caster with a full extra set of slots for attack spells, with a recursion ability to recover them sometimes, and the option of discarding them to explore if she draws too many, rather than clogging the way casters with a pile of attack spells sometimes do if they go a couple turns without enough fights. She'll sometimes have to stop exploring because she's out of animals for the turn, but she's in a better position than most attack spell based characters in terms of having the right number of attack cards each turn, due to her powers to turn other cards into more attacks via recursion AND her ability to turn excess attacks into explores/etc.

Depends on how many Ally slots she gets. I'm hoping at least 4 initially, since it seems that she won't get weapon card feats at all this incarnation. I always find Divine casters tend to want Attack, Healing _and_ Support which strains their spell slots.

If you can limit the number of Attack spell slots for her to 1 (for bosses) then that's great. I'm not currently convinced that the 1d6 by itself can do that yet - Inflict is kind of weak, even though it is at a +1 compared to the Divine spells.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Keith Richmond wrote:

I don't know, I'm just not sure how far we can take it. Some of the characters just won't earn a favorite spot.

Like, who would possibly have Darago as their favorite?

Everyone. Well, except those of us who are enlightened enough to know Sajan is really the best. But everyone else who is clearly inferior to Sajanites.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Eliandra Giltessan wrote:
As long as SOMEONE admits that Alahazra is the best character ever...

You'll be happy to know that I agree with you. Alahazra has been my favorite character to play with, hands down.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

The best character ever is MINE, whomever she is!

And by the way it means the best character changes from times to times.

Current best character ever is in fact Lini... for a while.

Silver Crusade

Iammars wrote:
Eliandra Giltessan wrote:
As long as SOMEONE admits that Alahazra is the best character ever...
You'll be happy to know that I agree with you. Alahazra has been my favorite character to play with, hands down.

Oracle solidarity!


zeroth_hour wrote:


Depends on how many Ally slots she gets. I'm hoping at least 4 initially, since it seems that she won't get weapon card feats at all this incarnation. I always find Divine casters tend to want Attack, Healing _and_ Support which strains their spell slots.

If you can limit the number of Attack spell slots for her to 1 (for bosses) then that's great. I'm not currently convinced that the 1d6 by itself can do that yet - Inflict is kind of weak, even though it is at a +1 compared to the Divine spells.

Hmm, that's fair. How useful the unusual combination of 'reliably fast exploring, reliably mediocre at combat, good utility spells' is will probably be highly party/AP dependent. For S&S, she looks amazing. Or in a party with some bard/fighter/etc. support for combat, she can probably skate by with 0-1 attack spells. In WotR with teammates who don't help in combat? She probably needs to be played more cautiously as a slow-exploring support, ala Meliski/Siwar, or take more attack spells and played as a less-supportive caster-explorer, neither of which fully takes advantage of her potential.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Adventure Card Game / General Discussion / Paizo Blog: Paul's Best Character Ever: Lini All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in General Discussion