From Fun to Frustration in One Card - Demonic Horde


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Grand Lodge

Just wanted to open a thread for this card in OP.

As the organizer for our standing event, this card has been the recent bane of my existence. Its having effects far outside the game.

I understand the cards design, its very thematic and fits great with the lore. Suddenly an group of demons descends upon the party unexpectedly and they must fight them off to continue their mission. Makes perfect sense.

The issue is the development/mechanics portion. In an RPG setting such a thing is mitigated by the party being able to rely on their class roles to handle this unexpected event. Tanks will tank, dps will dish the damage, support will try to make sure the battle goes the party's way. This same formulae doesn't translate into the ACG, the summoned demons are randomly assigned to an individual member. The party hammer may get none and the healer may have multiples.

So why do I say this card is affecting more that just the game? Because it can make 90 minutes of play suddenly worthless. When Demonic horde is showing up I begin to question whether its better just to call the scenario and restart or move to a season 2 session. If we do face the horde, often times it goes back into the deck due to one failure forcing a full fail. Resolving the horde also takes a disproportionate amount of time due to its nature, especially when coupled with varied card traits or scenario effects. More time is spent on resolving the horde due to needing to ensure N success otherwise having to do the same thing again.

We also try to limit our tables to 4 players to avoid adding in extra demonic hordes, which goes against the spirit of OP wanting as many people to play as possible. Each of our recent needs to replay were directly influenced by demonic horde and how it distributes its effect, even more frustrating at high tier where remaining deck upgrades become very infrequent. No upgrades and no progression, a mitigating factor at lower tiers are that failure will often still result in a deck upgrade.

An influencing factor could be the scenario power and servitor demons that appear at the higher adventure decks.

I could be overinflating this due to my profession as a user experience designer, but a participant result of their time feeling wasted would make me hold a release to investigate.

I've brought this up for discussion because the card is great thematically and in its intentions, but the first thought shouldn't be "F&+~ it, you want to go get dinner before the second game?" or "Can we just restart?"


To clarify, this is what I've observed in my sphere of influence and you guys may have very different experiences with this card.

I know there are/must-be workarounds, options and potential fixes. I wanted to get discussion going as to what those are.

Workarounds-wise as a my progression char is a Tier 6 Cleric, I downgraded an item to take spyglass again. I also feel Scrying was a must include.

A fix I keep debating in my head is similar to the existing implemented fix of adding in a cohort that can scout/evade. Or an adventure/scenario rule that adds the ability to reassign the randomness at a cost.


Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Since this is for OP, the best advice I can give you is that if your group is not finding Season of the Righteous fun due to banes such as Demonic Horde, Arboreal Blight, and the Armies, then stop playing Season of the Righteous and pick up some other season instead (Shackles or Runelords).

For Demonic Horde in particular, how doable it is largely depends on party composition. Ability to scout is pretty much required in order to do well in Wrath due to how nasty the banes are, and evasion powers are also quite handy (especially if they let others evade too, although I can't recall any class deck characters that do that off the top of my head). Scouting and evasion lets you adopt strategies other than "we are required to defeat this bane and spent a boatload of resources doing so" such as "we know that Demonic Horde is in that deck, let's let the rogue evade the bane itself rather than the summoned demons so that nothing is summoned and it's hopefully shuffled down below the villain/henchman" or "let's force the villain to escape to that location so we can hopefully shuffle the villain higher than the bane, which means we won't have to deal with it at all after we defeat the villain again."


Its not that we aren't finding the season fun, we've had a blast getting to the tail end of the season (we are on 1-6D). It's just this particular card.

We actually use the methods you outline, except for the evasion due to party comp. It was a bit of a surprise that scouting's value exponentially increases as you work through Adv 6 vs our previous facerolling.

This also may not be a new thing and this card has been discussed to death in internal R&D, the recent experiences of my group are just at the level where I feel I had to get some feedback in case any newer OP organizers are running into a similar issue.


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I just want to say, this card can be so punishing, that it's should've been banished after the encounter. In this case, I'd find it a perfectly acceptable barrier - yes, it may cause a handwipe or two, but then it's gone forever. As it is - it can still handwipe heroes off-turn, and then you have to do it AGAIN.

As for all the scouting strategies: I feel the examine capabilities of a party should better its chances and give some advantage, but they shouldn't fell like they're *required* as this pushes to a very limited number of builds and/or heroes.
This is the reason I don't like the final boss in RotR - just you try facing it with fighters, who didn't feel like picking up Spyglasses and/or Revelation Quill. But of course, by the time you reach 6-5 and realize they're basically required - it's too late, and you're trapped into replaying the scenario until you get extremely lucky.

Pathfinder ACG Developer

Season of the Righteous has slightly different servitor demons in part to mitigate Demonic Horde (Ophidian Demons are verra rude, for instance).

At least one of my test groups found that the fear/suspense of Demonic Horde heightened the appeal of the season, because even if all seemed easy or well there was something that could still spike their wheels. They were _very_ happy when they scouted and avoided them.

That said, SotRi was a bit harder to balance due to the random nature of who runs into a bunch of awful barriers and who doesn't. Yours is not the only group that kept C banes out of the box unless the group size needed it, I can assure you!

Grand Lodge Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Lancaster aka Theryon Stormrune

Keith Richmond wrote:
That said, SotRi was a bit harder to balance due to the random nature of who runs into a bunch of awful barriers and who doesn't. Yours is not the only group that kept C banes out of the box unless the group size needed it, I can assure you!

I've had to do this with one of my groups because of party make-up. Keeping the Cs in was not fun.


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I'll echo the sentiment here and elsewhere by saying that I'm not a big fan of bane spreaders in general as they really slow down the game with larger groups and can adversely affect support oriented characters (losing a bunch of cards on another characters turn isn't the best feeling).

I feel like there should be some kind of check to defeat that would allow the party to avoid the summoned banes, such as a stealth/perception check. That would make thematic sense as a stealthy or perceptive character would be able to sneak past a horde of demons or skeletons, etc.

This would give a party a broader set of tactics for dealing with this type of barrier and would make the stealth/perception skills more useful than they currently seem to be as neither check seems to come up all that often, at least in Wrath.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Longshot11 wrote:
This is the reason I don't like the final boss in RotR - just you try facing it with fighters, who didn't feel like picking up Spyglasses and/or Revelation Quill. But of course, by the time you reach 6-5 and realize they're basically required - it's too late, and you're trapped into replaying the scenario until you get extremely lucky.

Since RotR 6-5 is "win or die" you're actually stuck replaying the entire AP if you fail. Unless you house rule to soften death. That was the end of my solo Merisiel run.


Ironically S&S Alhazra was my choice for the Righteous campaign and it was an excellent choice for scouting purposes.

We knew these were coming more often than not and even when we knew it was still not a card you could "prepare for"

It was not uncommon for someone to be saddled with 2-3 servitor demons off their turn. When that character was a caster it was practically guaranteed to hand wipe them and cause the bane to go back in.

I think that's my biggest gripe with it. It's not that the servitor demons are unfair, or for it to be unfair that there are N of them. It is the random nature of it.

Even my hated nemesis Billious bottle only effects you if you are at its location. It can be avoided for a time, until you're forced to confront it. But the horde can just decide to whallop one character and no one can do a thing about it.

Even if we are all at the same location Alain just stands there watching as the healer or bard is thrashed at the bottom of a dog pile of henchmen. All he can do is scream "Alright down there good chap? I'll put in a good prayer for you but no blessings left I'm afraid!"

Silver Crusade 5/5

ryanshowseason2 wrote:
Even if we are all at the same location Alain just stands there watching as the healer or bard is thrashed at the bottom of a dog pile of henchmen. All he can do is scream "Alright down there good chap? I'll put in a good prayer for you but no blessings left I'm afraid!"

In fairness, that sounds entirely in character for Alain.

Pathfinder ACG Developer

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In random tangents, I _almost_ wrote Alain as my favorite Wrath character for that blog series. Since it was literally the first time I'd interact / introduce myself to folks on the forums, I decided to do so through the book-loving Enora instead of the cocky Alain :)


If there were a check to focus the monsters or if each character had to make a check or be faced with one it would probably clear up my issues with the card.

Check to evade with a minor negative for success, you character was focused on gtfo of the way and not holding onto their stuff. Have to make the run check for each demon assigned to you. Missed check, fight your summoned demon(s). Could strategically run away from 1 and fight another, as your character wanted a 1 on 1 fight and not a 2v1.

Alternatively encountering character has to make a check, ie someone keeping an eye out for trouble as the party is adventuring. If they make it they have advance notice and the party can direct out the X amount of demons thanks to s or reduce the amount of demons encountered, or provide a bonus to the checks. If not then, card functions as written as the party is completely taken by surprise.

Least amount of change and would bake in a thematic way to deal with the card. More importantly, doesn't feel as random.

The issue currently being experienced would be a consequence resulting from a choice instead of a choice-less action.

Also to Keith, Tannis and co, I only get this way about games I love :P The only other game I own with the same replay value is Descent(1&2) and getting people to play PACG is much easier with much less table space! #perilsofbeingadesigner


I like Longshot's suggestion to always banish the barrier, win or lose. It's enough of a penalty that it usually requires several players to skip a turn redrawing their hands.

You could add the requirement that the demons can't be evaded to reduce the nerf.


Lorddax, I like all of your ideas.

I've only made it to Adventure 4 in RotR (then I had to deconstruct my box to set up for OP) but I'm so happy when I run into a Goblin Raid or a Skeleton Horde or a Skinsaw Cultist... thing (ceremony? Can't remember). Everyone at an open location gets one. So you can be prepared for fighting something NOT on your turn. In fact, I might houserule it that way for the next time we play Wrath (if we play Wrath again...).

Grand Lodge Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Lancaster aka Theryon Stormrune

Rebel Song wrote:

Lorddax, I like all of your ideas.

I've only made it to Adventure 4 in RotR (then I had to deconstruct my box to set up for OP) but I'm so happy when I run into a Goblin Raid or a Skeleton Horde or a Skinsaw Cultist... thing (ceremony? Can't remember). Everyone at an open location gets one. So you can be prepared for fighting something NOT on your turn. In fact, I might houserule it that way for the next time we play Wrath (if we play Wrath again...).

I'm pretty sure you're playing a Season of Wrathfulness kinda soon, Rebel. :-)

Can't wait to tempt Seelah with just a little (more) corruption.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Theryon Stormrune wrote:
Rebel Song wrote:

Lorddax, I like all of your ideas.

I've only made it to Adventure 4 in RotR (then I had to deconstruct my box to set up for OP) but I'm so happy when I run into a Goblin Raid or a Skeleton Horde or a Skinsaw Cultist... thing (ceremony? Can't remember). Everyone at an open location gets one. So you can be prepared for fighting something NOT on your turn. In fact, I might houserule it that way for the next time we play Wrath (if we play Wrath again...).

I'm pretty sure you're playing a Season of Wrathfulness kinda soon, Rebel. :-)

Can't wait to tempt Seelah with just a little (more) corruption.

You would not like it if I lost all my paladin powers. I would be way less effective.

Grand Lodge Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Lancaster aka Theryon Stormrune

Eliandra Giltessan wrote:
Theryon Stormrune wrote:
Rebel Song wrote:
(if we play Wrath again...).

I'm pretty sure you're playing a Season of Wrathfulness kinda soon, Rebel. :-)

Can't wait to tempt Seelah with just a little (more) corruption.

You would not like it if I lost all my paladin powers. I would be way less effective.

But much more interesting! Besides, I think Seelah could be an awesome anti-paladin with a bit more Horror in her life.


Theryon Stormrune wrote:
Rebel Song wrote:

Lorddax, I like all of your ideas.

I've only made it to Adventure 4 in RotR (then I had to deconstruct my box to set up for OP) but I'm so happy when I run into a Goblin Raid or a Skeleton Horde or a Skinsaw Cultist... thing (ceremony? Can't remember). Everyone at an open location gets one. So you can be prepared for fighting something NOT on your turn. In fact, I might houserule it that way for the next time we play Wrath (if we play Wrath again...).

I'm pretty sure you're playing a Season of Wrathfulness kinda soon, Rebel. :-)

Can't wait to tempt Seelah with just a little (more) corruption.

I meant with my boyfriend and local group, not Hawkcon. We gotta finish that! Raz will be victorious!

Silver Crusade 5/5

Rebel Song wrote:
Theryon Stormrune wrote:
Rebel Song wrote:

Lorddax, I like all of your ideas.

I've only made it to Adventure 4 in RotR (then I had to deconstruct my box to set up for OP) but I'm so happy when I run into a Goblin Raid or a Skeleton Horde or a Skinsaw Cultist... thing (ceremony? Can't remember). Everyone at an open location gets one. So you can be prepared for fighting something NOT on your turn. In fact, I might houserule it that way for the next time we play Wrath (if we play Wrath again...).

I'm pretty sure you're playing a Season of Wrathfulness kinda soon, Rebel. :-)

Can't wait to tempt Seelah with just a little (more) corruption.

I meant with my boyfriend and local group, not Hawkcon. We gotta finish that! Raz will be victorious!

Yes, I think it will be a long time from now when our fellow Tuesday night player will want to play Wrath again.

Our upcoming project is to play characters that are the opposite of what we usually play. Rebel has to play Ostog, and I am playing Ezren.

Grand Lodge Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Lancaster aka Theryon Stormrune

In WotRu?

Silver Crusade 5/5

Nah, just in something. We're probably going to try Bloodlust Corsairs or Shield of Rannick next.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Theryon Stormrune wrote:
In WotRu?

Wrath of the Runelords?

Grand Lodge Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Lancaster aka Theryon Stormrune

James McKendrew wrote:
Theryon Stormrune wrote:
In WotRu?
Wrath of the Runelords?

Sometimes it feels that way. ;-)

Silver Crusade 5/5

Theryon Stormrune wrote:
James McKendrew wrote:
Theryon Stormrune wrote:
In WotRu?
Wrath of the Runelords?
Sometimes it feels that way. ;-)

There IS a Runelord of Wrath.

Pathfinder ACG Developer

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Yeah, but it's not like Season of the Runelords gets anywhere near Hollow Mountain, which is carved in her likeness and is at the edge of the ruins of the City of Wrath.

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