My subscription order says Skinsaw was prepped to ship on Nov 1 for me. I'm looking forward to trying to sleeve and sort the expansion into the box without looking at the cards (I have to try and peek only at the very top edge of each card, that is so hard) since I find it so much fun to be surprised while playing, and that keeps the game fresh for me.
The next adventure deck is coming soon to my table, and as an Ezren player I'm reconsidering the use of this basic spell.
Arcane Armor is a spell in the Basic Set, with the traits MAGIC, ARCANE, and BASIC.
It's check to acquire is Intelligence or Arcane 4, which is doable even for those without Intelligence or Arcane skill, so it's use during an adventure as a throwaway defense is likely for most characters at some point in their adventuring career.
Now, it's Power is that it reduces Combat damage by 2 when discarded, and without the Arcane trait it must be banished. If an Arcane check of 4 succeeds it can be recharged instead.
What happened to Ezren in my solitaire play through was that I did use this spell several times to reduce damage from a blade trap that would have been game over without it. Ezrens ability to examine the top card of his deck and put it into his hand if it is a spell after playing a spell with the Arcane trait, combined with a low life total, and high recharge potential meant that I was able to cycle my deck well enough to chain cast Arcane Armor against a trap that I kept failing against until I was able to find the card I needed to deal with it.
A question I have is what about combat?
Arcane Armor is a defensive spell particularly suited to reducing combat damage.
I wanted to clarify the rulings on damage dealt by monsters after combat because of this. Generally Ezren is going to use a a spell to deal with most encounters. For monsters, it will almost always be a combat spell. Is this a problem for Ezren? Let's find out in the following example.
Let's say Ezren has a hand full of items and some allies, none of which will help his in a combat with a monster, along with Force Missile and Arcane Armor.
He decides his best chance of success to beat the monster is to cast Force Missile, but his check fails to succeed by 2.
Is it true that Ezren must take 2 damage because he is not allowed to play a second spell (Arcane Armor), after failing a combat check where he used a spell?
Really cool write up thanks for sharing. One question though what do you mean when you added +1 to recharge. I think that add is only for the recharge check.
Glad you enjoyed it :). Yes, when I chose an add for my character, one of the ones I picked was the one that adds an additional +1 to the recharge check. I figured for each recharge he fails it's like taking a point of damage, so this was very important for games where he gets hurt by something else and needs that extra staying power.
This evening I played the Burnt Offerings adventure for the second time. The first time my Character Died during the Local Hero's Scenario getting caught in the woods with a vigilant Specter.
A couple things to share.
One, I have changed my mind about damage resistance and armor, since without that I would have lost about five or six times during the course of play so far. Up until this play through I had always taken so much damage that only a complete 'reduce all damage to zero' would have helped. Now that I have encountered more enemies that deal damage before the encounter, including Villans which can be met multiple times, I see the need for damage reduction.
Two, Not having at least 2 solid attacks available in hand can spell an automatic loss for Ezren when he faces opponents that have multiple combat checks. Due to this several times I passed on the 'You may attempt to close this location' when defeating a henchman, in order to end the turn and restock cards on hand.
Three, I have carried the Sages journal since the beginning, and I have decided to keep it. The extra d4 proved useful numerous times.
I realized that without very solid recharge abilities, Ezren ends up killing himself by playing his spells, which he needs to use in order to accomplish anything, especially in combat. Since casting spells is more common for him than any other action, it outweighs most other considerations. Due to that I pumped Intelligence and the Recharge ability, so Now He can auto-recharge most of his staple spells.
Four. Losing Combats means dying. I started with 6 attack spells, Invisibility, and Cure for the first few Scenarios. This allowed some useful healing, and ensured I almost always had a decent attack on hand for those monsters. The cure was useful even though I had to banish it after casting, since I could just pick it up again before the next Scenario until I found another Arcane spell which replaced it. That ended up being Detect Magic which I kept that for quite a while until I found Acid Arrow, which stayed on until Recently.
My strategy for dealing with the Treacherous Cave was to clear out the other two locations first. That way when I trapped the Villain there and beat it, I would not have to roll the impossible check, since at that point the scenario would be over. Heading in there was a one way trip. Luckily I managed to pull it out.
In the last battle with the final Villain in Thistletop Delve, I was down to zero cards in my deck, six in hand, none of which was the Sages Journal. It came down to the very last die roll. T needed to get a total of 14. Without that I would die, and have come all the way to the bitter end for nothing.
Ezren focused and cast Force Missile. 1d12 + 2d4 + 2 + 2
I started with the 4, and then rolled the d4. 2, and 4.
That gave me a 10.
I picked up the d12, anything less than a 4 and it would be game over.
I watched the die roll slowly across the table, teeter over, and land on 4.
Just Barely enough to claim victory. Ezren picked up the Sihedron Medallion and headed back to Sandpoint.
I encountered a slashing blade trap four times in a row, having to re-shuffle it into the deck and to my dismay, encounter it again, and again, and again, with no chance of passing the check. I survived the constant assault by using Arcane Armor, then Amulet of Life, then sinply taking it on the chin. Finally with the Troubadour's aid I was finally able to pass that nasty thing.
GG! Fun game. I have started another solitare run with Seelah. It should be an interesting change not being able to retain items. However, being able to boost +die and +d6 by burning a blessing seems very powerful.
I like this game even more having played through the fist adventure of the adventure path. I'm looking forward to the next one.
Cheers everyone :)
I've been playing Ezren solo. So far I have died three times. Never ran out of turns, it was always due to a series of unlucky rolls and taking too much damage.
I'm on my fourth run, just completed the Lost Coast Adventure again last night. I'm finding that it's important to find opportunities to cycle my deck in combination with moving between locations to make sure I have an answer to difficult threats. Especially since Ezren has no blessings to burn.
I had this happen during play yesterday and the day before.
Quite frequently the any damage taken by my characters seems to far exceeds the armor or protection value I can use, to the point that I have consider protective items, spells, and armors almost useless, unless they mitigate damage substantially (which none do so far) or reduce it to nothing (which a few can do).
I put my cards in Mayday Games 63.5 x 88 mm (2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inch) clear polypropylene card game size sleeves. They slide in nicely and have maybe a 1mm space on each edge all around the card. It's tight enough that the cards don't slide around much at all in the sleeves, and loose enough that there is no warping of the cards. They are a tad slippery when shuffling, and other than that they work great.
I printed off some fan made dividers from BGG and sized them to fit the sleeves also, and use them in the box insert for now.
Right now I have the base set + character add + burnt offerings all fitting in the box, but monsters and blessings are getting close to the limit. So I'll be transferring my cards to a new box, or designing a new insert for current box once I receive the second expansion.
I decided to go with basic clear sleeves and got a decent amount with my initial subscription pack. So far they have worked well with several hours of play. With the amount of shuffling involved in this game, I would really recommend them. They have a variety of them here on paizo that are easy to add on to your order if you are not picking up your copies in a brick and mortar.
The distinction is there can still be basic cards legally in play even late into the campaign, since they are not removed from the game until they are banished during the course of play.
With your method, if you redraw a card when it has the basic tag, how will you know if it was one that was already banished and removed from the game, but left in the box, or one that is still legally in play and has not yet been removed from the game?
If you leave all the cards in the box, it's hard to tell which were removed or not, unless you sleeve them and use a dry erase marker to mark them or something.
My favorite character to solo with is by far Ezren. This has all to do with the thematic and role-playing elements that I enjoy as a player and not much to do with the game mechanics.
Using the quick-start list of cards recommended in the rule-book I quickly lost two games during the first or second scenario of the introductory adventure.
After having a bit of experience with the game and tweaking the starting card list, I was able to do better.
What I dislike with Ezren is that he has no blessings. This presents a unique challenge. Unlike any other character, he cannot rely on getting extra dice for any random check. This makes choosing your few allies and items a critical factor, especially during solo play when you don't have anyone else to throw blessings at you.
I like the deck cycling and re-charge ability he has. Oddly enough I also like the lack of blessings in that it makes each card played, and each game decision much more meaningful, since there is no guarantee of pulling a blessing to help you out with unskilled checks. Frequently you come upon barriers or boons that are simply impossible to pass checks on due to the lack of blessings. Knowing this in advance and planning which boons /barriers to use your boosts on is what makes playing Ezren more challenging and thus more fun. Risk analysis with Ezren not having free boosts like all the other characters really is a game changer.
My copy arrived recently. There were some cards damaged slightly, which would be an issue if It was a competitive game. I did not see any mis-prints. They were all playable enough for me with the bulk clear sleeves I'm using. In the future I'll probably go with an opaque sleeve solution if it comes to that.
What he is referring to here is that ARCANE is a keyword listed in the check that he is trying to do.
In your case the INTELLIGENCE and CRAFT are the keywords listed. In your case ARCANE is not listed in the check. That is the difference.
1) Character sheets are available for download here on the site for free.
I think being able to cast them on your own turn before moving would be supportive of the fiction.
"Let me see if there is evil ahead before I/we go any further here."
If you can't, then there is not much point in a divination spell, it serves only the purpose of knowing what's there so you don't run into it blindly.
I can understand the delicacy with which it must be handled though, since exploring is so integral to the games core mechanics.
Somehow that is what I like in games. When I can't hold the complexity of the game entirely in my mind at one time it somehow makes the game more engaging for me. I guess having the ability to be surprised due to not knowing all the possibilities and emergent gameplay plays a lot into that.
@Mike - What I'm referring to is this statement here, by Fromper:
The rulebook says cards can be played any time, but then there are whole categories of cards that can't be played any time, despite not specifically saying that on the card.
Some cards players can play on their turn.
It's up to the player to interpret which cards can be played or not, similar to what h4ppy is saying above. There are restrictions for playing cards only in some situations, but those cards do not state such in their text. So some players default to the rule of playing the card anytime like the rules state, by not knowing the implicit (unwritten) rules of those cards.
One way to solve the problem is to add clarification in the rulebook about which cards play differently than the default rules (probably to include a card list).
Another way would be to add wording on those cards that deviate from the default rules.
I believe the FAQ and expected updates (to the rules or errated cards) will handle the issues.
I hope understanding the underlying problems and their implications going forward will help prevent some confusion in the future.
EDIT: Different cards types play differently, but those card types are not distinguished except by their card text. Right now it's up to the players to read the text and interpret what to do. Many players end up interpreting them differently. If there was a visual cue (such as an icon, keyword, or different layout) to guide them, the viewpoint from which the player interpreted those cards would be different.
Forgive the long quote, but I want to point out one of the things that is causing confusion for many people.
There is no single default rule for how to play all cards.
Multiple card types have different implicit rules about when they can and cannot be played, and those rules are different.
Fromper points out two product wide assumptions:
All cards of X type can always be be played anytime (except when they say they cannot)"
All cards of Y type can only be played in Y situation (except when they say they can)"
This creates two exclusionary rules (implicit and not stated) on the cards, that contradict each other. Players, learning one, may assume it applies to the other, hence the confusion.
I'm not sure this is possible to change at this point in the product design after launch, but something to consider in the future.
Players cannot read the card and apply the rules on the card directly, based on the card alone (which I think is one of the stated goals), due to these conflicting implicit rules.
In reference to some of #2 (This came up on another thread also).
"Valeros can’t recharge a weapon if he discards it as a cost to trigger another card’s effect, because he’s not playing the weapon for its effect, just as payment for the other card to work."
This relates to the distinction between playing a card, and discarding, burying, or banishing one.
What I understand this to mean is:
If a card is discarded, buried, or banished as part of a cost to play another card, power, or ability, that (discarded, etc.) card cannot be recharged or have any of it's other powers activated as a result of it's being discarded, buried, or banished, and it also does not count as being played.
I can see the difference in those two roles.
It seems to me that with a large group, you would want to have people both exploring and scouting, otherwise you run the risk of losing to the clock.
So although scouting the villain is the optimal way to discover him, it seems unlikely that the explorers can safely sit and wait for the scouts to finish searching all the locations.
In this case it seems equally likely that an explorer will encounter the villain.
Only thing I would question is playing 2 BotG for one check.
However, immediately after that under Use a Characters' Powers
I wonder in this case if you are given an exception to the former rule, and can burn two BotG's, or if you have to make a choice between Discarding to either add an extra die, or activate the character power.
I feel like some clarification on this would be nice.