PACG Cutting Room Floor: Thargrap the Blood God Disciple

Friday, August 21, 2020

One of the earliest steps I took in designing the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Summoner Class Deck was to look at Summoner archetypes to complement the iconic Balazar and his death-chicken Padrig. Alase would become our God Caller and Zetha our Shadow Caller. But there was one character I worked on that we pretty quickly had to drop.

Org blood god diciple

Orcs have blood gods, ’cause a mere god isn’t bloody enough.

Blood God Disciples are half-orc summoners who believe their eidolon is an avatar of one of the orc blood gods. So, we created Thargrap the summoner and his nightmare-wolf eidolon that he totally thinks is an avatar of Nulgreth, the orc deity of bloodlust and fighting. Unfortunately, when coming up with the list of boons to fill out the deck, I realized that we had three summoners who didn’t care about weapons and one that did. We also knew we needed three summoners, not four. So… swiftly away he went, forgotten into the annals of our playtest forums. Until today.

Thargrap character card front Thargrap character card back Blood God Nulgreth cohort card

Sometimes it’s not clear who’s in charge. Not so when you think your eidolon is a god.

Now, this is not how Thargrap looked way back then. We’ve learned a few things in the last four or five years, so we’ve updated him to fit the game design philosophy we’ve embraced in the Core Set and Curse of the Crimson Throne. He’s a lot more “local friendly” than he used to be. We’re also experimenting with adding cohort feats, in the same way that we have supporter feats.

Like all summoners, Thargrap has a higher skill ceiling than many characters; he’s not really a first-pick for the faint of heart. I had to make sure he was tested by one of our most rash and reckless testers to verify how well his engine—which sends all of his cards inexorably toward banishment in exchange for more card draws and explorations—works. (Those of you who know our testers and venture-officers might well have a good guess to whom I refer.) So, let me ask our Venture-Captain for Online PACS, Tyler “Cartmanbeck” Beck: Hey Tyler, what do you think of Thargrap?

I have been playtesting Thargrap every chance I’ve gotten to do so for a few months now, and at no time have I stopped loving this character. In fact, I’ve started calling Thargrap my favorite character ever (once again proving that I lied to you in this blog... and this one...).

I remember Thargrap from the long-ago playtesting of the Summoner Class Deck, and even then, I was very excited about a Blood God Summoner character, and very disappointed when he was cut from the deck. He has mutated a bit since that initial playtest, but only for the better!

Thargrap is probably the character that best fits my PACG playstyle, which is generally “explore as much as possible, get really close to dying, then beg for healing from someone else in the party.” Thargrap achieves this through a combination of several different powers, despite having a very small starting hand size.

Thargrap’s cohort, Nulgreth, has the ability to “eat” (banish) a card from Thargrap’s buried pile to boost his attack, or to allow him to draw a card. Since Thargrap can bury monsters defeated locally by any character, he can quickly fill his buried pile with monsters during other players’ turns, and then on his own turn he can banish as many as he needs to in order to draw a huge hand and have a massive turn full of explores, all while simultaneously allowing you to cull unnecessary cards from your deck, which I know will appeal to many players! When you combine this with Thargrap’s strong Melee skill and his ability to also pick up Arcane spells, he’s a beast that can rip through locations like no other.

Infernal Healing curse spell card Curse ally Priest og Asmodeus core blessing card Rovagug's Destruction

Mo’ buries, mo’ power.

Thargrap likes some pretty different cards than the other summoners. Infernal Healing is solid for culling your discards into your bury pile while healing back your more important cards. The Curse ally Priest of Asmodeus is fantastically themed and fun for Thargrap. Rovagug’s Destruction is great for a character who can turn most monster encounters into extra explores. (All of these cards being vaguely themed around evil, death, and destruction is surely a coincidence.)

Here are some initial deck suggestions for Thargrap.

Using Core Set cards only:
Weapon: Warhammer, 1 other
Spell: Enchant Weapon, Enhance, 2 others
Item: Token of Remembrance
Ally: Soldier, 1 other
Blessing: Prayer, 4 others

If you’re also using Curse of the Crimson Throne, consider:
Weapon: Scythe
Spell: False Life, Infernal Healing
Armor: Armored Coat
Ally: Pig

If you’re also using the Summoner Class Deck, consider:
Weapon: Quarterstaff of Vaulting
Spell: Black Spot, Eloquence, Evolution Surge
Ally: Blackwing Librarian
Blessing: Blessing of Pharasma

Role card Bloodgifter Role card Lord of the Blood Feast

You have to have blood, but do you eat it yourself or re-gift it?

When Thargrap gains his role, you have a choice to make: share the gifts of the Blood God, or share the results of the gifts of the Blood God. Either way, Nulgreth demands blood! As a Bloodgifter, Thargrap learns to share the power of “his” eidolon with other nearby characters, allowing them to move, removing scourges, and even imbuing them with your skills. This is the party-friendly choice, based on the Bloody Gift power of the Pathfinder 1E Blood God Disciple archetype, and while it won’t help Thargrap stand out less at a gala or dinner party, it might help his fellows get invited in the first place.

On the other (bloody) hand, you can choose the Lord of the Blood Feast role, strengthening your ties to the practices and powers of the Blood God, even to the point of reflecting some of Nulgreth’s when your cohort isn’t necessarily present. The Lord of the Blood Feast can be more self-sufficient, but he definitely enjoys the company of others, especially when they assist you in your devotions.

Thargrap would make a great character for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Society’s new season 7, Year of Reborn Strife. You’ll find yourself in the city of Kaer Maga, arguably the most accepting and least racist city in Golarion. In the City of Strangers, Thargrap’s orcish heritage and habit of eating his foes barely stands out, as long as he doesn’t do it to the city residents (too much).

On the other (still bloody) hand, Thargrap is oddly not a great fit for the Summoner Class Deck. As mentioned above, he cares about weapons in a way that none of the characters from that deck do, and he likes several boons that they, generally speaking, do not. Since this character is relatively untested, we’d like you to try him out and provide your feedback. For play at home, test him with whatever Adventure Path, Class Decks, or Adventurer’s Packs you like, and let us know what works (both well and poorly).

For Organized Play, you may use the Magus, Goblins Burn!, or Hell’s Vengeance 2 Class Decks as your class deck. We suggest adding the Arcane and Smash Adventurer’s Packs.

Thanks to everyone who has already tested out Thargrap and Nulgreth, and to all of you who try them out now. I hope to have other characters to present in future blogs. It turns out that we’ve cut several characters over the years; I’m sure some of those lost characters might also be interesting.

Keith Richmond
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Woo-hoo! Summoner is one of my favorite archetypes in the card game, and this...thing...looks to be a new favorite. I can't wait to see Thargrap in action!

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OMG!!!! Me wantie!!
I also love Summoners and can wait to play Thargap
When is he officially out and how can I get physical copies???
Otherwise know as who do I give my money to ???

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He's officially out now. But I don't think there is any way to get physical cards other than making them yourself from the images in the blog.

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Yay! I'm so glad to see this. Thanks to Keith and Tyler and everyone involved in making this happen.

Grand Lodge

I’m so excited to see this in action. Bring on the blood!!

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

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He really is such a fun character to play. Looking forward to see a bunch of Thargraps in the upcoming PbP Gameday! :)

I'm thinking of playing Thargrap in the upcoming Gameday. What ultimate deck would be best for him? Ultimate Magic?

Tyler is the only person who makes me think up the advanced metric: exploration velocity per deck hit point, which shows how effective a character can be at exploring _without_ killing themselves.

(I'm mostly joking about the advanced metric. There is something to be said about capturing the balance of exploration velocity with survival, but that's basically most of the game.)

Silver Crusade

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zeroth_hour2 wrote:
Tyler ... _without_ killing themselves.

Please bear in mind that Tyler is still, to my knowledge, the only PACG player who managed to kill 3 out of 4 players at his table in one go with over-exploration. ;-)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Looks like I need to roll summoner for our next run.

Very interesting indeed. No restrictions on attack spells is unique in the summoner camp. I was just about to start a run through CotCT. Might just be switching my character plans to give this guy a try! Very exciting!

This is awesome!

Another addition to team evil with amazing artwork and fun powers, what more can you ask for :)

Lone Shark Games

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I had fun with the flavor text on this dude.

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Yes, please. Looks like a fun character, and I'd love to see more.

Had to put this on a single sheet for our next home playthrough of Rotting Ruin. Anybody else is welcome to use it, too. (Hope that's OK with the designers.)

Single sheet, portrait and landscape (cards are slightly bigger on landscape, for those of us with bad eyes).

Dropbox link: Thargarp, single sheet.

Philetus wrote:
......Single sheet, portrait and landscape (cards are slightly bigger on landscape, for those of us with bad eyes).

Many thanks for this!

Love it! Not sure whether I'll playtest in time because I already have 3 home campaigns going via TTS, but we'll see . . .

(My thanks to Philetus too!)

Thanks for bringing this very interesting character to us. It's always fun to imagine how a character would play based on the wording of their powers; and Thargrap combines the ruthlessness of a hoover (Darago, Balazar, Nyctessa) with the creativity of being able to use discarded/buried boons (Talitha). While he may not have worked well with Class Decks 1.0 design philosophy and the limitations of organized play, the introduction of add-on decks and adventure packs clearly change that; and those limitations don't apply in normal (non-organized play) gaming.

I really like the peek inside of the design process; and I'm looking forward to seeing more of these characters being presented.

For what it's worth, I've included Thargrap in the Core Conversion character sheet file for the Summoner CD (at BGG). If playtesting leads to changes, I'll update the sheet.

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With Thargrap, we now have the possibility of slightly more well-rounded all half-orc party choosing from the following seven characters (assuming multiple versions of the same character aren't take (e.g., not including both S&S and CD Oloch):

Thargrap (Summoner - Arcane caster) (blog)
Oloch (Warpriest - Divine caster) (S&S or CD)
Imrijka (Inquisitor - Divine caster) (WotR or CD)
Drelm (Cleric - Divine caster) (MM)
Korundo (Hunter - Divine caster) (CD)
Koren (Paladin - Divine caster) (CD)
Wrathack (Ranger) (CD)

There are a lot of Divine casters in there (technically, I guess you could include Wrathack in that lot, but she doesn't have either the Divine skill/proficiency and she only has 1 spell, and that only as a feat), so Thargrap breaks the Divine cast bloc by adding an Arcane caster to the group. With Drelm as the resident barrier-breaker, the only thing this team of half-orcs is really missing is high Charisma (they're not repugnant - they're just misunderstood). And they're all decent at inflicting blunt force trauma on monsters.

I think I know how I want to playtest Thargrap now.

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