Seoni always felt to me like one of the most pitch-perfect PACG conversions. Her ability to sacrifice her other spells to make attacks feels like a perfect conversion of the 1E Advanced Player’s Guide Arcane Blast feat . And taking the best advantage of that power is the core of her strategy.
As always, I suggest checking out Keith Richmond’s related article, which discusses how Seoni evolved in the Core Set.
Core Set Seoni
Best Skill: Charisma (d12)
Character Type: Warrior, Arcane
Skills. Seoni has three low-powered subskills—Arcane, Diplomacy, and Knowledge—all running from +1 to +2. This is pretty typical for a character with a d12 skill die, and Seoni’s d12 is one of the best in the game. Not only does she use it for combat, as the basis of her Arcane skill, but she also rolls her Charisma and Diplomacy starting at that d12! And if there’s something that’s second best to a great combat skill, it’s a great Charisma skill, for attracting allies, for talking some foes out of fighting, and even for closing locations; Seoni has it all.
Weaknesses. Seoni is another character with a d4 Strength skill, which could be a deficit in combat, but like Lini, she pretty much never uses it. That’s because she can always discard (or recharge) a spell for her “arcane blast,” and if she’s out of cards… well then, she likely has very little to lose to a failed combat. The rest of Seoni’s skills are pretty average. It’s perhaps worth noting that her Knowledge skill is only d8+1, pretty poor for a listed skill, but only Ezren and Lem share Knowledge in the Core Set, so it’s still worthwhile.
Cards. Unsurprisingly, Seoni has a lot of spells (5). Beyond that, she’s pretty balanced, with allies (4), blessings (3), and items (2). Her paucity of weapons (1) is irrelevant given her arcane blast, but her total lack of armor (0) is more likely to cause problems—and may drive Seoni to either hunt for armorlike items or adopt the Celestial Runecaster role.
Blessings. Obviously, Seoni should look for Shelyn blessings, which help Charisma. Blessings that recharge are also good choices, since Seoni doesn’t have any natural healing.
Items. The Gem of Mental Acuity is a great choice for Seoni with her mighty d12 Charisma. Defensive items like the Bracers of Protection or the Ring of Protection can help Seoni if she’s getting damaged too much, while rechargeable Arcane items (which are limited to Wands in the Core Set) will be great for Seoni if she selects the power feat that guarantees their recharges.
Spells. Obviously, if Seoni can collect spells that do more damage than her arcane blast, she should; Fire Bolt is a fine, easy-to-acquire example (and more on how it stacks up momentarily). However, Seoni should fill most of her spell spaces with utility spells; that allows her to be much more versatile. If she needs to attack, she can turn a utility spell into an arcane blast, otherwise she can use it for its utility power. Clairvoyance, Enhance, Fly, Good Omen, Locate Object, Magic Eye, Sleep, and Soothing Word are all great examples; choose specific spells based on the needs and weaknesses of your party.
The Power of the Arcane
Seoni is one of the simpler Core Set characters to play. Have no doubt, her Arcane recharging power is powerful, but it’s also less subtle than some others.
Use Your Arcane Blast as Appropriate. Seoni’s arcane blast power does d12+2 + 2d4 + the card’s level at the start of the game, which averages to 13.5 + card level. She can increase it to d12+2 + 2d6 + card level (or 15.5 + card level) only if she takes the Celestial Runecaster role. That means that its improvement over the course of a campaign is largely dependent upon Seoni getting higher level cards into her deck. Fortunately, that card-based improvement is better than you might think: a +3 halfway through a campaign is about the same as adding 1d6, and a +6 at the end of a campaign is almost as good as adding 2d6. So even if d12+8 + 2d6 doesn’t viscerally feel quite as good as d12+2 + 4d6, the two results are very similar (and of course Seoni will be adding even more bonuses as she increases her Charisma).
All of that suggests that Seoni will usually be able to use her arcane blast instead of a specific spell, which is why she can stock up on utilities. But always keep in mind that powerful Attack spells might be marginally better than arcane blast, which can be important when Seoni goes up against a villain or henchmen, or when she needs a bit more attack variety, which is why she should keep a few in her deck. Her starting Force Missile is a fine example of a card that’s exactly as effective as her arcane blast, but it has extra utility because it can be used to help other characters. The level 1 Fire Bolt does d12+2 + 2d6 (or 15.5), which is one point better than if it’s discarded for an arcane blast, which would do d12+2 + 2d4+1 (or 14.5); the differential gets even more notable after Seoni gets a role, when Fire Bolt hops up to d12+2 + 3d6 (or 18). And, those Attack spells from the deck just get better over time. Volcanic Storm is d12+2 + 3d6 (or 18) from the start, and it has a unique evade-on-fail ability, while Seoni would only do d12+2 + 2d4+3 (or 16.5) if she used that spell to power her arcane blast. So, there’s a difference, but it’s sufficiently small that Seoni should mostly be relying on her native Arcana.
Improve Your Arcane Blast as Your First Power Feat. Being able to recharge spells instead of discard cards in order to use Seoni’s first power is clearly a huge plus. Discarding is a big disadvantage because it brings you closer to death, while recharging is a huge advantage because it cycles your deck. Any power that changes something bad into something good is clearly a must-have (and Seoni can still fall back to discarding in the unlikely event that she runs out of spells).
Take the High-Powered Spells (and Items). Seoni’s second power is that she can automatically recharge Arcane spells (and Arcane items if she has the appropriate power feat—which is going to happen quickly, since she has only two pre-role powers, though both are quite good). This means that Seoni should push more than just about any other character to get high-level cards, provided that they’re Arcane spells and items. It’s worth expending blessings to do so, because she’s going to be able to use those spells to power her arcane blast or for their high-level effects, all with automatic recharges. That means that she can use them again and again, without ever losing them to the discard pile.
PACG Core Set Class Strategy #3: Seoni the Sorcerer
Friday, December 6, 2019
The Seoni Roles
Seoni’s Celestial Runecaster role is the simpler option, keeping her high-level play comparable to her low-level origins. Her Dreamweaver role allows for more subtlety.
Celestial Runecaster. Quite simply, this role makes Seoni better at combat. It can improve her arcane blast from +2d4 to +2d6, which is a 2-point average swing, putting her blast on par with a lot of Attack spells. And it also can give her 1 point of damage reduction against Acid and Cold (and with a single feat, Electricity and Fire). The ability to reroll dice at Sacred locations is yet another power that makes Seoni more dependable for those high-level combats. So, this role is great for Seoni not only if you want to keep her simple, but also if she needs to be one of your party’s heavy hitters. This role can also give Seoni the ability to move an extra time each turn—especially useful if Amiri is missing from your party.
Dreamweaver. This is a more subtle role that focuses largely on recharging cards. Seoni can recharge cards at the start of her turn and after explorations (and can even help local players to do so). If you understand the power of recharging, allowing you to move quickly through Seoni’s deck to get her best cards back out, this is a very fun role. Once again, this role also has a power that can help fill gaps in your party: if you’re missing Harsk, Lini, and Sajan, you can pick up Perception, and if you’re missing Fumbus and Merisiel, you can earn minor improvements against barriers.
Adventure Card Game Designer