The Wonderful Thing About Triggers

Wendesday, November 2, 2016

The unique mechanics in Mummy's Mask include a whole bunch of things you've never seen before. One of my favorites is the Trigger trait, which turns the most basic of activities—reading cards—on its head, maybe forever.

The general theme of this Adventure Path (at least early on) is that you're exploring a magically protected tomb that's built for adventurers to ransack, but not without danger. We wanted there to be lots of tricks and traps, the kind of things you want to know about before they go off. Many of our players pick characters with examination powers—Alahazra, Estra, and Zadim in this set—to scout out those surprises. Lots of boons get you help along those lines. Even some banes.


Three very different ways to examine cards.

With all that examining going on, we don't want examiners to be invulnerable to our surprises. Hence, we needed a way to nail them too. So we came up with powers on cards that go off when you peek at them. We first seeded a version of this into Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Deck 4: The Midnight Isles, on the card Blasphemy Demon.


Everyone's favorite Wrath card!

It worked well there, so Liz, Paul, and Gaby built it out in full in Mummy's Mask. To make sure you don't miss these powers, we've given these cards the Trigger trait, and because we want you to know it's there the second you look at the card, we've put it at the top of the list and highlighted it in red. When you examine such a card, you'll find that the first power begins "When you examine this card," and quite often, the words after that are meant to cause you pain.

Here are some examples of that sort of pain.


Fun fact: We didn't make up the word "bonecrusher." It's a real type of hyena!

Those are all horrible. I mean, in a good way. Okay, mostly in a horrible way. It's not all bad, though! Plenty of cards have a Trigger that you might like! Or at least might not hate so much.


I dunno, she still looks pretty wrapped to me.

And do you think we'd send you into that blender alone? Nah, we've got some cards that can take the sting off the Trigger trait for you.


I like to dream...

So what's really going on here? Is the goal of the set to stop you from examining cards? No! We give you lots of ways to examine cards before you explore, and we expect you'll want to use them. But we just want to put a little fear of the gods into you before you do so.

All of that examine-and-encounter might also seem frightening, but wait! That's a free exploration. It's not a free exploration you can control, mind you, but any port in a sandstorm, right?

As you can see, it's a balance. As you'll see in later blogs in this series, just about everything in Mummy's Mask is a balance. After all, if you're walking around a tomb full of traps and treasures, it's best not to get too overconfident.

Mike Selinker
Adventure Card Game Lead Designer

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Tags: Mummy's Mask Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Here's the official wording from the MM rulebook:

MM Rulebook wrote:

• If you are instructed to attempt a check, you must do so.

• If you are instructed to succeed at a check to do a thing, and the instruction does not use the word “may,” you must attempt the check; if you succeed, you must do that thing.
• If you are instructed to succeed at a check or do a thing, you must attempt the check; if you fail, you must do that thing.
• If you are instructed to either attempt a check or do something else, choose one of those options.
• If you are presented with 2 or more options, none of which require a check, you may choose any of those options.

Mad Dog says "If you fail to acquire this card, banish an ally that has the Animal trait from your hand or discard pile or you are dealt 1d4 Combat damage." Since there's no check involved, it falls into the last category: you choose.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
elcoderdude wrote:

Vic post clarifying "or" conditions

Indirect Hawksignal response: Hawkmoon gave me the link on an earlier thread.

Thanks a bunch. I hope this made it into the Rulebook, or at least gets FAQed for MM; it's kinda bothersome having to look it up on the forums.

EDIT: LOL, Ninja Vic strikes again, and now my post just looks embarassing...


So characters with scouting abilities are now at a slight disadvantage, because they have an ability that now works only some of the time and backfires part of the time, but paid full cost for that ability out of their character design power budget.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Baldrekr wrote:
So characters with scouting abilities are now at a slight disadvantage, because they have an ability that now works only some of the time and backfires part of the time, but paid full cost for that ability out of their character design power budget.

Not necessarily. You can look at it as it works some of the time, backfires some of the time, and is super-effective some of the time (since you can get a 'free' explore if the trigger causes an encounter, or you could get one of the few beneficial triggers). Also, in an AP like MM, with lots of traps, scouting tends to be OP, see Alahazra in S&S.


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Scouting unbalanced the game. Numerous times we absolutely coasted to victory, even in a tough scenario, because we scouted the villain, left him or her on top of a deck, and took a round or two setting up our hands to temp close the other locations and knock out the big bad. This was a necessary corrective. So far, I think it improves the game.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Baldrekr wrote:
So characters with scouting abilities are now at a slight disadvantage, because they have an ability that now works only some of the time and backfires part of the time, but paid full cost for that ability out of their character design power budget.

If you feel such characters are less powerful in this environment, you can always choose not to play with them. There are plenty of characters who don't scout, and plenty of players who will use scouting even with triggers in the deck, who can make use of said characters.

But yes, in this set scouting isn't always good. Overkill isn't always good in MM either.

Personally, I think triggers make scouting more interesting.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I have to say that so far, Triggers have been my favorite part of MM. And that's saying something, since there are a huge host of things that I love about this expansion. Not only do they help balance out scouting, they make scouting interesting. There's suddenly tension when I go to flip over that card. Seriously, two thumbs up on this mechanic.

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