What are people’s thoughts on Athnul


Rules Questions and Gameplay Discussion

Scarab Sages

I love playing monks. So for the card game, I was looking at maybe picking up the monk deck. So I downloaded the for free class decks to check out the characters before I buy, and Athnul looks good, but I never see anyone play her. Is there a reason? Recharge any card for 1d6+1d10+2 out of the gate seems solid, and the ability to evade bands by just showing a blessing? Plus one of the roll cards can boost your combat checks for s second recharge by up to 3d4. I dunno, is the monk deck terrible? Is there something about her I’m missing? Why don’t I see her played?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I can look through the Monk Deck to get a more cohesive response in the future, but I don't see the monks played very often - and if then, I often see Rooboo because of how unique she is (at least as a race, and the only character with a +4 skill) and Sajan as the most generally strong one.

Athnul is fine, but the single greatest limitation is that as the most 'pure' monk in the Class Deck, she doesn't use most forms of boons, and she requires very specific Items (and allies) to support her combat checks, which don't scale very well into the late game without Item support. This means she needs to fill effectively all of her boon slots with custom cards from her class deck.

...and has no space or synergy with almost any standard Loot card, little benefit of Traders and rather less to change based on her Ultimate Add-On deck. There's just not that many ways to play her, and honestly I'd get bored, in an OP setting, after the party is happily using 10+ different types of loot and I'm just sitting back going "I don't use weapons. I don't use spells. I don't want to switch out my Amulet of Fiery Fists."

In practice, she's fine. Also note that the Monk deck has almost no spells. It does have Cure. I seem to recall it was super weird in terms of spells; it like had AD3 Detect Magic, AD4 Cure, AD5 Augury and AD6 something, with no spells from AD0-3? Not sure, I'd need to open my box or check the card list to find out.

I do appreciate her means of using Fortitude against barriers, and she's very strong in low tiers and basically not at all reliant on her boon selection.


What Yewstance says is true for the most part, but I think he vastly underestimated the spells.

Athnul can learn to properly use spells in both roles and besides Cure (which you automatically get back every time you banish it pre-role, since it's the lowest AD spell), the deck contains the excellent Steal Soul which grants you 1d4 to EVERY check until the end of the scenario. I took her through SotRu at home and it was a blast to play her. Sajan is stronger for combats but she is much more versatile; her static combat bonus still grows up to 9, which is pretty impressive. I never played Rooboo as I don't like Tengu; I'm still waiting for another Monk other than Sajan and Athnul.

Considering the lack of loot, that might as well be an advantage since you're not relying on deck upgrades to get better for the most part. I haven't checked out the Ultimate Decks for her because that wasn't a thing back then, but there are a lot of cool items in the Monk CD she can use that no one else can. For example, she can early on auto recharge the conch that allows you to examine your location and also use other items. She can also cycle her deck very easily.

She's the only PACG monk that properly feels like the old DnD monk to me in that she uses wisdom and no weapons. It's ironic that CD Sajan and Athnul are among my top 10 PACG characters, while Rooboo is easily at the other end of the spectrum.

Unfortunately, the Monk CD has almost no unlocks since it doesn't have any armor. The only character that could actually apply would be Ostog from the Barbarian deck; I can only encourage to play him with the deck in a home game, as that turns out to be a lot of crazy fun with a lot of roleplaying opportunities as well.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I haven't had a chance to check my deck; Steal Soul is HUGE, and definitely a big benefit to using Athnul! Also, if Cure is the lowest AD# spell (rather than Detect Magic, as I had thought), then that gives her a very good reason to take a spell slot even before she gets Divine.

Note that such a strategy fails to work if you have any non-Ultimate-Magic (or presumably Ultimate Wilderness) Ultimate Deck with her, then you'll be forced to pick a different spell after inevitably banishing one.

Speaking of, I wonder if Ultimate Wilderness' Zova could work with the Monk deck? I haven't seen her yet, but none of the other Ultimate Class Deck characters really work well with it; none care for the unique Monk weapons and, honestly, really underwhelming blessing and spells compared to later class decks.

I certainly agree - and pointed out - that Athnul doesn't rely on card upgrades in OP basically at all, and will always function well. But she won't CHANGE much in adventure-to-adventure, which may make her feel boring; she doesn't "Feel" like she's getting more powerful and more cool things as easily as other characters feel that way as they get more awesome spells (Glamour!) or awesome weapons (Dwarven Earthbreaker +1!) or awesome loot.

Rooboo's actually my favorite monk, though she's also, in my opinion, the weakest. Because I just want to try so hard to make her work right; use Ultimate Equipment or Intrigue to push the relevance of her Stealth skill (including in combat), use cards that encourage you to move around (what few of them there are), play her in Skulls and Shackles where she can move everyone at her location with her and stuff. But she's just generally kind of bad; weaker than Athnul and Sajan in combat, with a weaker evade than Athnul and no super impressive Role options. She's the best at acquiring boons, largely; that's it.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

So what ultimate deck would be best for her. Ultimate Magic? Or maybe ultimate item... Hmm... interesting to hear opinions. It is interesting how ultimate decks makes some under utilised characters more useable!


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Hannibal_pjv wrote:

So what ultimate deck would be best for her. Ultimate Magic? Or maybe ultimate item... Hmm... interesting to hear opinions. It is interesting how ultimate decks makes some under utilised characters more useable!

I LOVE theorycrafting with Ultimate Decks! It can lead to some really surprising interactions and synergies, and I've thought about writing full posts/documents on them, in fact. Linxia, Zadim, Zvarbel, Talitha, Poog, Zibini, Alase and (WotR) Seoni are all examples of characters with powers that are completely transformed by things that Add-On decks offer.

Since you asked, and I own all of the Ultimate Decks (sans Wilderness), I had a look through the Monk Class Deck, plus every Ultimate Deck I own, and here's my assessments. I've made a lot of long, meandering analyses, so you may want to just read the summary, or the sections you're interested in.

Athnul, her Roles and Boon Selection:
As mentioned, Athnul is awkward to find card upgrades for because she's barely reliant on her cards, and only uses 3 types of boon by default. This means she will very, very often be skipping on card upgrades, which I personally find a bad feeling (as it robs me of the sense of 'progression').

She can use up to 1 weapon and up to 2 spells, but I would imagine most Athnul players will spend her first 3 card feats maxing out Blessings, an already excellent card type that only become even better in her hands. Because she can only use 1 blessing per check (which will only add 1d6s), her normal combat of 1d6+1d0+2 (+ skill feats) will not always be enough to pass combat, certainly not against villains, as it only averages out to 11 and she can't increase that further with power feats. In other words, she'll usually need items and the like to further bolster combat - thankfully, her decent hand size means that they shouldn't be hard to find and hold onto, like the "Amulet of X Fists" cycle in the Monk Class Deck itself.

Whilst she has no specific anti-barrier powers (until Keen Strike Monk), Athnul's high Fortitude and Wisdom scores often give her a good starting point against a lot of barriers... just sadly her mediocre Dexterity limits that quite a bit.

The Monk of the Ki Fist role allows her to 'cheat' into not-banishing spells, and otherwise gives a bunch of options to improving her combat checks. There may be synergies if Ultimate Decks have any "banish-only" spells! (If you have the Faction's Favor keystone player reward, you can add Hell's Vengeance banish-only cards, like Desecrate, to her and exploit this, but you can do this anyway by exploiting the lack of low-level spells in the Monk Class Deck to just re-add it to your deck every scenario anyway). There's also her ability to examine the next card of a deck after encountering a monster, and that information can really allow her to turn "Explore, add X to your Y checks" powers into something far more consistent and powerful! If only you could give her Occult Adventures "Sign" blessings, that would be so good!

The Keen Strike Monk role allows her to develop an actual Divine skill, based on her strongest stat, as well as allowing her to beat Barriers more effectively and further bolster any combat check at her location, including her own, by an impressive 3d4 (averaging out to +7.5). There may be synergies here with weapons or other cards that say "when you roll an X on a 1d4, do Y".

Athnul and Monk Class Deck:
It's difficult to accurately judge what Ultimate Decks add when you don't first cover what the Monk Class Deck already offers, so lets see.

Weapons: Generally, Athnul will never need to take a weapon slot; there may be some Loot weapon you really want (there's some odd ones out there, after all), and the Class Deck just offers ways of using your Melee or Dexterity/Acrobatics skills in combat, which isn't her forte' when she'd have to give up her her power and Wisdom skill in the process.

Of the weapon options they do have, there are only 2 standout options for Athnul:
The Invigorating Temple Sword +2 (Weapon 3) is an acceptable weapon - especially if Athnul hasn't sunk all of her skill feats into Wisdom (perhaps to fill a team's poor Strength rolls or to prepare her Fortitude for her Role), which allows for slightly stronger attacks if you have a blessing to recharge. In addition, however, it also acts like weak Staff of Minor Healing, which allows Athnul to spend blessings more frequently.
The Keen Butterfly Sword +2 (Weapon 4) can be topdecked for a melee attack which might be a bit more powerful than her unarmed attack on the dice alone. However, the real significant point is that a 4 on any d4 acts like a 6, turning the "Average" value of a d4 from 2.5 -> 3. If you're using the Keen Strike Monk and "add up to 3d4 to a combat check", then the Butterfly Sword finally becomes meaningfully better than using her character power... if only very slightly (though it does provide a very high minimum value roll).

On the whole, though, Athnul never needs to take a Weapon Slot with her class deck.

Spells: Athnul is the only Monk that even pretends to have competence with spells. Whilst that's mostly for post-Role options, if she uses no Ultimate Deck she can certainly pick up Spell feats and start every scenario with Cure... which is definitely a viable and strong strategy! Hey, it's better than a Potion of Healing, you can hand it off to a divine spellcaster on the party if you want to, and it lets you discard a bunch of blessings happily with the knowledge they'll be drawn right back post-Cure.

Both of her role cards can effectively use Steal Soul with a single power feat, and I highly recommend that fill a spell slot. Augury or Find Traps is an acceptable second spell, but I'd generally stick with Steal Soul and Cure if I was using both spell slots, regardless of my power feats.

Armor: Hahahaha-No.

Items: Athnul doesn't care for the Dexterity-boosting cards in the deck, nor the Wisdom boosting ones, since she's not making a "Wisdom Check" even when she uses that skill with her power. There are, however, multiple "Weaponless combat boosting" items that she'll be reliant on a lot of the time, including the "Amulet of X Fists" cycle (capping out with the excellent Amulet of Furious Fists (Item 4) that adds 2d6 to her unarmed combat!).

Of other note, the Potion of Fortitude and the Ring of Wave Walking should remain valuable for the entire game if she takes the Keen Strike Monk role and is able to use Fortitude to defeat barriers. Potion of Fortitude becomes a "defeat any barrier you encounter" once per scenario, and Ring of Wave Walking is no longer an extremely conditional benefit when it's useful against every barrier! If you don't think you're going to need them (not many barriers left?), just recharge them to your power in combat!

Ring of Energy Resistance is a fan favorite card, for good reason, but I'm not the biggest fan when Athnul can evade-and-explore anyway... depending on what Base Set she's in, though.

Allies: The Monk Class Deck has a lot of allies. Some standout ones include the Evangelist, the Imp (a personal favorite of mine in almost every single deck), the 'psuedo-blessing' Exalted and and the better-than-Cure Pious Healer. If Athnul's having problems with combat, she's also got the Rogue Ape.

On the whole, though, just about all of the good allies are discard-only, and none have particular synergies with Athnul over the other Monks. If you're a Monk of the Ki Fist, then Exalted is excellent if you've taken the "Anti Henchmen/Villain" feats, but those checks are infrequent enough that you can usually save enough resources to pass those with or without those feats. The Monk Class Deck has "Good" allies, but nothing that fundamentally changes what Athnul can already do well (except maybe Pious Healer).

Blessings: Bleah. My biggest complaint about the Monk Class Deck is that, for a class all about blessings - they have crappy blessings!

Well, that's not exactly true. There's actually a good variety of solid blessings, but they're almost all the standard "1 dice to X, 2 dice to Y" blessings that made up almost all blessings in Rise of the Runelords and Skull and Shackles. The only slightly unusual ones are Blessing of Nethys and a single Blessing of Asmodeus. More modern Class and Character decks more frequently have rare and powerful blessings, sometimes unique to a deck, which usually represent "better" versions of these older blessings, and can sometimes provide more precisely-defined but extremely powerful abilities.

Perhaps more meaningfully, none of the Monk blessings recharge by default, making Athnul reluctant to overuse them without a method of healing; which holds her back as a main blessing user!


Ultimate Combat:
A lot of weapons-and-armor based stuff, so not a promising start for a Monk... but there is a small amount of monk-specific synergies, just they don't work particularly well with Athnul.

Weapons: Nothing of note... except maybe, just maybe, Pillaging Mace (Weapon 4) with Monk of the Ki Fist. Why on earth would such a mediocre weapon want to be used by Athnul? Because the Monk of the Ki Fist can examine the next card in the location deck as soon as she encounters a monster. If it's a boon, she gets a bonus to her combat check... and then can play Pillaging Mace. The combat bonus offsets the weak nature of the mace, and it means she never fails to use its power for a free acquire (and effectively a free 'exploration')! It's actually quite a compelling synergy, since it means that plenty of monsters end up providing a free explore-and-auto-acquire. But the weapon does mostly suck, so she'd better have other support cards or blessings to spare.

Spells: Bad. Mostly focuses on combat spells, which Athnul will always be bad with, and simply having Ultimate Combat means she can't automatically backfill a Cure spell. It does have the acceptable Burst of Glory and Summon Infernal Host as powerful deck 5/6 spells, but I think I'd still just prefer Soul Steal.

Armors: If Athnul COULD use armors, the late-game ones that can be revealed or recharged to improve Fortitude/Constitution checks would be excellent, but she lacks proficiency and has no armor slots, so nevermind.

Items: Some alright late-game stuff. If you're using the Fortitude-centric Keen Strike Monk, there's the Grappler's Mask (Item 3) which is "okay" for her, the Ring of Stony Flesh (Item 5) which is very good for her against barriers (bad against monsters, because it stops you using your Amulet of X Fists), and the Belt of Physical Might which is very good for her against both monsters and barriers without creating the one-item-per-check issue.

I can certainly see myself using at least 2 Ultimate Combat items at almost every part of the game with Athnul, particularly Keen Strike Monk.

Allies: Some good options here! In particular, Ultimate Combat has some allies that significant support your combat checks, often by being recharged, like Hatchetbird and Dragoon. That can lessen the strain of combat for late-game Athnul and allow her to carry only 1 Amulet of X Fists and just recharge allies when she needs the boosts until she draws it.

The early-game Allies are much better than most offered by the Monk Class Deck, but that's going to be true of most Ultimate Add-On decks.

Blessings: YES! Much improved blessings! Rechargeable Blessings of the Samurai and Shizuru! Explore-with-benefits of Blessing of the Father of Creation and Lord in Iron! The ultimate Blessing of the Oathkeeper (Blessing 6) which will add 2 dice to your combat checks and recharge! These are the most compelling reason to take Ultimate Combat, whichever your role!

Ultimate Magic:
So... Athnul can barely carry spells. Is there enough here to justify Ultimate Magic over Ultimate Combat?

Weapons: Nope, bad. NEXT!

Spells: A second Cure spell can let you just hammer every check with blessings and still keep your deck topped up. There's more late-game heal options if you're taking her down the "Divine skill" route, there's some spells that will bolster combat (like Summon Hellhounds), there's some attack spells that don't rely on your own Divine skill if you want the occasional powerful check...

I don't think there's much here that's really going to be better for her than just giving her more Curing options. The ultimate Deck 6 spell Rejuvenation is the most powerful single-target cure out there, in case you really do just plan to empty your hand of blessings by using them to support yourself or your allies or for explorations as much as you physically can. There's a couple of cards that can be recharged with Perception (which Athnul has a bunch of), but they're not particularly good with her, so nevermind that synergy.

Armors: You know the drill. Nope. Shame, I like Phoenix Cloak...

Items: There's no items really worth speaking about here. Some of the best ones, like the early-game Binder's Tome, interfere too much with her much-needed (and stronger) Amulet cards from the Monk deck.

Allies: There's a couple of the 'generally good in any deck' allies, like Cleric of Nethys (Ally 2), but nothing that really works closely and powerfully with Athnul. It does give you means of adding the Magic trait to your combat checks in the early game, in case you don't wish to take that power feat and you're having problems with incorporeal enemies... but you know, Athnul has an evasion skill for a reason, so I doubt you really need to pick an Ultimate Add-On deck just for that.

Blessings: Not as great a haul as Ultimate Combat. There's the strong Blessing of Qi Zhong, the amazing Blessing of the All-Seeing Eye and the conditional Blessing of the Lady of Graves (most useful for forcing Triggers out of a location for a couple of 'explorations', especially impressive in Siege Scenarios, and useful to combine with Athnul's evasion). Everything else is 'meh'.

Ultimate Intrigue:
Ultimate Intrigue is mostly designed for Stealthy or Diplomatic characters, and Athnul is neither. Will some boons jump out regardless? It does have an excellent suite of allies, which she carries plenty of... let's see.

Weapons: Not much. The 'backswords' help her use her mediocre Melee for non-combat purposes, but only barely. Nothing impressive here.

Spells: There's not a great deal here, but there's 2 cards of note. Charm Person (Spell 1) has a small synergy with Monk of the Ki Fist, which can force the bury-or-banish only spell to instead be discarded, but that's a very late-game synergy (2 power feats on a role card) for a small payoff. Yes, with healing you can just repeatedly Charm Person and spend your turns grabbing Ally upgrades, but you could just spend the time re-playing an ally-heavy scenario for the same outcome.

Seek Quarry, the ultimate Deck 6 spell, is a mighty game-ender by finding and isolating henchmen or villains. Is that Athnul's job to do that, though, with her limited spell slots anyway? Probably not, but at least she can evade most cards she triggers, so there's a small synergy there.

Armors: No.

Items: Basically nothing of note, except the Vestments of False Faith (Item 5) which is a strong card in a blessing-heavy playstyle. You could double-up on Rings of Energy Resistance, though I have no clue why you'd want to.

Allies: Some generally high-quality allies, serving a variety of purposes. Most of them, though, are perhaps most well known having "better exploration" powers, where you gain some additional bonus rather than a mere exploration when discarding them to do so (Secret Broker, Eyebiter, Isiem, Thrune Agent, etc). In particular, if you want to tune Athnul as a barrier-hunter with Keen Strike Monk, these allies will service you well... but in general, if you find yourself discarding allies for explorations all the time with your Athnul playstyle, then Ultimate Intrigue has some compelling arguments here at every AD#. That playstyle works best when playing with Cures and frequently recharging blessings to evade-and-explore.

A lot of powerful allies also work particularly well when you explore a specific type of card with them, like Secret Broker. Monk of the Ki Fist, with its ability to examine a card that follows a monster, is a great way to make the most of these effects! The Fortune Teller - an already great ally - becomes even better with this power, too.

Blessings: Some diverse and pretty good blessings here, particularly benefiting Athnul as a support character. Blessing of Maat, Rovagug and Vaultmaster are all fine, Blessing of the Spy is useful all game if you mostly use Blessings to explore, etc. Blessing of the Mantis God and Blessing of the Vaultmaster are very nice exploration blessings if you're a Monk of the Ki Fist with your examination powers, too!

Ultimate Equipment:
As an Item-based deck, there's sure to be some advantages her... but it also closely is tied to various weapon, spell and alchemical mechanics which Athnul won't touch with a ten-foot Quarterstaff of Vaulting. Let's see...

Weapons: A great amount of Acrobatics-based weaponry and cards that previously appeared in the Monk Class Deck. Some strong options for the other Monk characters, but for Athnul? Nothin'.

Spells: Not much. Swipe if you really want it... and another Steal Soul. Honestly, the Steal Soul is a solid option for either role of Athnul, but it'll work best if you have someone else capable of healing you on the team (or you're in a small team where you rarely need to discard your cards for more explorations).

Armors: This isn't really funny anymore.

Items: There's a good number of 'generally good' items here, including a variety to grant explorations or one-off combat bonuses... As far as ones with specific reasons to use with Athnul though? Hmm...

Athnul's deck is almost entirely cards that she CAN discard to explore with. In a boon and barrier heavy location deck, the basic Wandermeal card will do a lot of work if you display it and then discard the rest of your hand for explorations. Speaking of discarding your hand, items in this deck include Staff of Minor Healing and Ring of Regeneration, the latter in particular supporting a discard-heavy Athnul strategy, and a very strong point in favor of this add-on deck!

The late-game Robe of Items is a generally excellent card for almost any character with 4 or more items in their deck, and Athnul already starts with that many. It's an extremely powerful quasi-heal and draw card that can help Athnul bring out her Amulet of Mighty Fists, plus a couple more cards that will either benefit her other checks or provide more explorations. Make no mistake, Robe of Items should be in just about every Athnul deck using this Add-On.

But the generally good items, like Wayfinder and Sacred Candle, are perfectly strong, great cards that support Athnul greatly. With Ultimate Equipment's many ways to turn items into explorations (or blessings or deck-searches), it's pretty trivial to kit Athnul out so that every single card in her deck can be turned into an exploration, which can be pretty amazing with a healer on your team. Or maybe just a Ring of Regeneration for "heal 2 every turn".

Allies: Once again, just a lot of 'generally good' allies here. Explore with benefits, self-healing, etc. Not the same variety as Ultimate Intrigue, but still a lot of similarly good options.

Blessings: The innocuous Blessing of Wadjet (Deck B) gets a special mention from me; a great blessing to hold up in Athnul's hand (for her evasion power) that keeps giving a bonus just by being revealed. Also another reason to like Monk of the Ki Fist's 'examination' power.
Blessing of Kofusachi lets Athnul search out her Amulet of Mighty Fists easily... or in the end game, her Robe of Items to then discard to add basically the remainder of her items to her hand for an epic early turn!
Blessing of the Savored Sting is already generally good, but it might be unusually good for Athnul, given her normal 'dice' in combat is technically just a 1d6, so Savored Sting's special "add this static number" is often going to be far more significant than a normal dice.

In summary:

Every single Ultimate deck has something to add to Athnul, but I'm pretty confident in stating that, unless you're really sold on just stacking her with healing spells, that Ultimate Magic is the worst for her.

Ultimate Combat does the most to improve her blessings in a relevant manner, and push her combat checks further with allies and good items. A strong option for either role.
Ultimate Magic can allow her to stack more powerful healing spells... and offers virtually nothing else good. I would personally never take this.
Ultimate Intrigue offers some great Ally options, and solid blessings. I would often take this with Monk of the Ki Fist, and will work best in larger parties where Athnul is expected to discard her allies to explore a lot.
Ultimate Equipment does BY FAR the most to improve Athnul's items, giving her exceptional self-healing and allowing her to build a deck where every single card allows her to explore again, if she so desires. There's also some synergistic blessings here, and okay allies.

I think they're all kind of viable in their own way, but Ultimate Equipment and Ultimate Combat get my personal votes. I suspect Ultimate Equipment is just a little bit better (just because the power level difference between the items it offers and those in the Monk class deck is so great), but I think Ultimate Combat or Intrigue look a bit more fun.

I'd take Ultimate Combat with Monk of the Ki Fist if I was playing through the Wrath of the Righteous box, where I'd need to really push my combat checks to keep up with the enemies. I think Ultimate Combat would also work best in small parties (3 or less players), where discarding cards for explorations isn't really required, and Athnul can spend her time just making sure she doesn't fail checks. The larger the party, the more inclined she is towards Intrigue and Equipment.

When digging through each and every card from the Ultimate Decks, the biggest thing I think I learned was "Wow, Monk of the Ki Fist's 'Examine' power is actually really decent!". It significantly improves the value of a huge array of allies - especially in Ultimate Intrigue and Equipment - and blessings, which are much better to explore with if you know what's coming up and can also get bonus dice to certain skills or other bonuses during that exploration. It also, as I pointed out in Ultimate Combat, it hilariously works really well with Pillaging Mace in hand, despite the low power level of that particular weapon in combat.

If there's sufficient interest, I could make an example of what I'd see as a Tier 6 Athnul look like with each Ultimate Add-On deck, but in practice it would depend a lot on the season being played, and also wouldn't take into account Loot options (or Mythic Paths, etc).


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I'm currently playing Athnul in an OP campaign over here

I actually enjoy characters that don't use certain types of boons. It allows you to focus the character build. There's some really cool cards in the monk deck and I am still going back and forth on which ultimate deck to use with her.

As for ult deck characters using the monk deck, Reiko from Ultimate Equipment would love all the Acrobatics weapons.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I can't speak to how she is affected by the current season/box, but I played Athnul all the way through Season of the Righteous, and having played nine characters (four in boxes, five in OP) start-to-finish, I still think she is my favorite. Her blessing evasion power is a beast once you get your first power feat, letting you recharge blessings to keep exploring and dig through the location for henchmen or good boons. The spells seem like odd choices early on, but I went Four Winds instead of Ki Strike, and gaining Divine when your Wisdom is already maxed makes her incredibly self-sufficient, burning blessings to evade or explore until you get what you want, Fort passed barriers, close the location, heal yourself and start over. by the end of Adventure 4, I was closing locations in one turn about half the time. And with 8 blessings in my deck I was able to keep a great variety and frequently able to lend players two-dice aid. Having self-healing with a ton of blessings was super effective. And yeah, Steal Soul in the late game, sooo cool.


Another reason Athnul shines in Wrath is she is impervious to powers like the Vulture Demon's that try to nerf your Combat capability by taking away use of weapons and Attack spells.


One of my players used her in SotRunelords. She uses the Gorum blessings somewhat effectively, but the most fun part was seeing her use Fortitude for all the barriers.

"I smash it... with my head!"
"But that's an Invasion Plans." (note: I don't remember this ever happening)
"It doesn't matter. I still do it. It works."


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
zeroth_hour2 wrote:

One of my players used her in SotRunelords. She uses the Gorum blessings somewhat effectively, but the most fun part was seeing her use Fortitude for all the barriers.

"I smash it... with my head!"
"But that's an Invasion Plans." (note: I don't remember this ever happening)
"It doesn't matter. I still do it. It works."

I like to imagine that Fortitude checks simply represent her effectively demonstrating infinite patience towards - or simply ignoring or not caring - whatever it is that the barrier is causing or threatening.

Swabbing the decks? They shall not force me to exert any energy, nor will I require any.
Locked chest? Iron is weak; I shall wait for the lock to rust.
Taking on water? Water is an illusion. I'm sure it'll be fine.
An Avalanche? If I wait here until summer, the snow will melt from around me.


Doppelschwert wrote:

What Yewstance says is true for the most part, but I think he vastly underestimated the spells.

Athnul can learn to properly use spells in both roles and besides Cure (which you automatically get back every time you banish it pre-role, since it's the lowest AD spell)

Three months late on this response (I haven't checked the ACG forums in a long time due to lack of new material), but it seems like a couple people in this thread are doing this wrong. And I could have sworn there was a discussion on this before, but I found nothing from a search.

Athnul can't put AD3 Cure in her deck pre-role*. The adventure card guild rules specifically say you can't have a card in your deck higher than your tier. So choosing spell as a card feat prior to tier 3 isn't legal because you can't make a legal deck (unless you use an Ultimate deck in combination with her).

* Unless of course your tier 3 scenario offers a card feat as a reward (which I can't recall any that do) or after receiving your card feat at tier 3, you choose not to level up to tier 4.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Dulcee wrote:
Doppelschwert wrote:

What Yewstance says is true for the most part, but I think he vastly underestimated the spells.

Athnul can learn to properly use spells in both roles and besides Cure (which you automatically get back every time you banish it pre-role, since it's the lowest AD spell)

Three months late on this response (I haven't checked the ACG forums in a long time due to lack of new material), but it seems like a couple people in this thread are doing this wrong. And I could have sworn there was a discussion on this before, but I found nothing from a search.

Athnul can't put AD3 Cure in her deck pre-role*. The adventure card guild rules specifically say you can't have a card in your deck higher than your tier. So choosing spell as a card feat prior to tier 3 isn't legal because you can't make a legal deck (unless you use an Ultimate deck in combination with her).

* Unless of course your tier 3 scenario offers a card feat as a reward (which I can't recall any that do) or after receiving your card feat at tier 3, you choose not to level up to tier 4.

Card Guild Guide, for reference wrote:
A character can never begin a scenario with any card that has an adventure deck number higher than her tier.

I'm aware that the Card Guild Guide has that rule, but I'd be outright stunned if that was the intent that you actually are not allowed to pick a card feat for a character.

I would have thought that would have been overruled by the Hierarchy rules which clearly indicate how you must fill an empty slot of your deck. What if you reported that you're taking a Spell Card Feat and then later looked through your deck and found that the Cure at the front of the Spell pile has "3" written on it? I also find it hard to believe that the average player would think that a feat option is actually illegal despite being on the card.

I would argue that the Card Guild Guide instruction regarding higher-tier cards is an impossible instruction and should be ignored, rather than saying that backfilling an empty spell slot from the Hierarchy is an impossible instruction and should be ignored. And whilst not taking a Spell Card Feat solves both issues, I've never seen an effect that limits what boxes on a character card are able to be checked when a feat is given (as long as they're done sequentially, when necessary).

Especially because, as-written, you don't actually run afoul of any rule stated in the Card Guild Guide until you start a scenario. You're absolutely allowed to have cards of higher tier in your deck in-between. Actually, strict reading might suggest (especially the use of "never") that you're allowed to pick a Spell Card Feat, include AD3 Cure... and then be perma-banned from playing that Athnul. Oops.


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The Hierarchy stops at your character's Tier. ("...and so on, up to the adventure deck number of your current tier.", p.7 of the Guide.) Thus there's no legal cards in your card box at Tier 1 or 2. Don't pick things that create an illegal deck or character.

If you did mistakenly pick something that's illegal (or otherwise messed up your deck, like the time I forgot until game time that I'd rebuilt my Bard deck for Lem and in a rush didn't reset it correctly for Siwar) you should fix it when it's found.

I think this just comes from the designers being trickier with the deck types and character build options as they got more experience and ideas and sometimes letting stuff through the cracks. You can pick a Spell whenever you want in non-Guild play.

If I were to redesign/errata this, I'd have the Monk characters with Spells say you can't pick Spells for Card Feats until you have your Role card.


Huh.

I verified the rule Parody pointed out before as well, but I'm with Yewstance on this. In particular, I'm not sure that the addendum of capping the hierarchy has been in the prior versions of the guide as well.

It would be nice if one of the designers could chime in and clarify the intent on this, but this is probably the wrong thread and forum to make the issue visible to them.


For what it's worth, the same text ends the Hierarchy section in every copy of the Guide to the Guild I have, going back to the start of Tiers in version 2.0.

ObTopic: I don't actually own the Monk deck, so I don't have a good opinion of Athnul. I played in a group with an Athnul for a while, though; I called her "Rainbow Lady". :)


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
The Golden Rules, Page 2 MM wrote:
If a card instructs you to do something impossible, like draw a card from an empty deck, ignore that instruction.

Well, The issue with "Impossible" instructions is perhaps the format. These instructions are not on cards, they are in the OP guide which is not a card. So I don't think it really fits, but lets say that it does anyway.

So the issue we have is with the following two rules, I'll deem "Tiers" and "Hierarchy" for discussion

Tiers, Pg 8 PFSACG wrote:
A character can never begin a scenario with any card that has an adventure deck number higher than her tier.
The Hierarchy (empahsis added), pg 7 PFSACG wrote:

When this guide tells you to choose cards from your

Class Deck box using the Hierarchy, first set aside all of
the cards that are already in use as part of your character
deck, then choose from your unused cards starting at the
top of this list and working your way down until you have
chosen enough cards.
[...] …and so on, up to the adventure deck number of your current tier.

So lets say you take a card feat at tier 1. At the end of the scenario you follow the following:

"Deck Reconstruction", pg 10 PFSACG wrote:

After upgrading your deck, if your deck doesn’t have

enough of certain card types to meet the Cards List
requirement on your character card, and your character is
Tier 2 or lower, choose the extra cards you need from your
Class Deck using the Hierarchy in the sidebar on page 7. If
your character is Tier 3 or higher, you may instead choose
appropriate cards that have an adventure deck number at
least 2 lower than your tier.

So you have an empty card feat and you are tier 2 or lower. You go to the Hierarchy (above) and you go through the list until the very end when it says you stop at your current tier.

So the question is....When would you ever get that spell 3 into your deck? What, specifically, is telling you that you can add it to your deck? IMO, Nothing instructs you to add it to your deck and I'd argue that you can't do it. I disagree that the "Tiers" bit is the impossible instruction, as written, because it would never come into play.

I guess, as a result, you'd have one less card in your deck until you tier up. Though I agree with Parody to not pick things that make an illegal deck or character.

If you really wanted to "cheat" the system then play your 2-4th game, grab the spell card feat, and tier up to tier 3. Now the spell3 would be available to be taken through the hierarchy and you'd get it before starting your first scenario playing at tier3. This is a legal play because you gain your tier rewards (thus you gain the card feat and can tier up) before upgrading your deck and before the "Deck Reconstruction"

Obligatory apology--I have no thoughts on Athnul since I haven't played her


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+1 to redeux. I'm a bit surprised that a rules lawyer* like Yewstance is arguing you can disregard the extremely straightforward rule that you can't start a scenario with a card in your deck that has a higher adventure deck number than your current tier.

I don't think an argument along the lines of "I am able to take a feat of this type, and this is the lowest AD card in my class deck of that type, so I must be able to put it in my deck in Guild play" holds any water. Paizo would have made Cure a B card in the Monk deck if they wanted Monks to take it before they reached tier 3. (How would Paizo otherwise indicate the spell shouldn't be taken prior to Tier 3? The card feat mechanism has no 'delay this feat until such-a-such a point' feature.)

*I mean this mostly positively, this time.


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elcoderdude wrote:
(How would Paizo otherwise indicate the spell shouldn't be taken prior to Tier 3? The card feat mechanism has no 'delay this feat until such-a-such a point' feature.)

They would write the instruction at the bottom of the Card Feat box, just like they did with Mummy's Mask Estra and Honaire, the Warpriest CD characters with their Owner Weapons, and the Witch CD Cohorts. Thus my suggestion to restrict them to Monks with Role cards. I think splitting all of the Card Feats into pre- and post-Role would be an interesting design addition, but not one they'd be likely to start doing now.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
elcoderdude wrote:

+1 to redeux. I'm a bit surprised that a rules lawyer* like Yewstance is arguing you can disregard the extremely straightforward rule that you can't start a scenario with a card in your deck that has a higher adventure deck number than your current tier.

I don't think an argument along the lines of "I am able to take a feat of this type, and this is the lowest AD card in my class deck of that type, so I must be able to put it in my deck in Guild play" holds any water. Paizo would have made Cure a B card in the Monk deck if they wanted Monks to take it before they reached tier 3. (How would Paizo otherwise indicate the spell shouldn't be taken prior to Tier 3? The card feat mechanism has no 'delay this feat until such-a-such a point' feature.)

Eh... in all fairness, I actually agree with redeux, I just don't want to agree. Not because I like Athnul (or CD Monks necessarily), but because locking out card feats as an option to players feels so... inelegant and unintuitive. I also kind of thought that the Monk Class Deck was a great example of teaching players about how the Hierarchy works and why, especially since it's the only situation that's likely to ever come up where players will pick a non-B basic card as per the Hierarchy rules. I suppose it still is, but I'm usually conscious of character or deck designs teaching specific rules early in an adventure, not AD3+.

But the rules are clear, but it should also be noted that I have a bit of a bone to pick with the Card Guild Guide already, so I have a bias against it of a sort.

Bones to pick:
My issues have just grown in quantity over time. Such as the poorly-defined or inconsistent card removal rules, especially when interpreted literally. Or the incomplete definition or coverage of rules to justify/explain rewards like 4-P1 and 4-P2 and how they actually interact with a dozen other mechanics, including Redemption Cards. Or how it doesn't have a single line suggesting that Honaire (Occult Adventures 1 Character Deck, Loot Ally) is actually limited to Estra, which doesn't seem intuitive but there's nothing stopping any other character from taking him as a deck upgrade as far as I can tell.

In short "Yes it's written that way and that's dumb", is my opinion.

If we're taking the RAW as gospel, I'd just like to make the off-topic reminder that you can absolutely acquire/draw and use the permanent feat-giving cards from WotR, as long as you don't encounter them (not that hard to avoid; draw them randomly from the box or acquire them with a card like Planchette or an effect like Dominate). I don't believe the Card Guild Guide is flawless, or has ever been. I don't believe the Rulebook is either, technically, but I believe it is much closer to the cohesive, accurate truth than the Guild Guide by quite a margin.

elcoderdude wrote:
*I mean this mostly positively, this time.

As opposed to other times? You wound me, elcordude! :)


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Yewstance wrote:
"elcoderdude wrote:


*I mean this mostly positively, this time.
As opposed to other times? You wound me, elcordude! :)

Not intentionally! You've been doing yeoman's work, good Yewstance.


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Yewstance wrote:
In short "Yes it's written that way and that's dumb", is my opinion.

There's plenty of that to go around the entire industry. :)

Re: other topics, Honaire should have been a Cohort, the paragraph on "remove from game" cards should happen no matter how the card enters into the game, and the Monk deck probably should have two Spells in the B and 1 range. But here we are.

Just remember that by being even semi-regular posters on the forum we are the outliers, the most hardcore of fans, and thus not the primary target for what is a casual version of RPG-style adventuring. In all of these cases most tables would just pick something and move on with no concerns for what any of us think about it. That's a good thing.

To paraphrase MST3K: "...repeat to yourself, 'It's just a game, I should really just relax!'"


eddiephlash wrote:
I actually enjoy characters that don't use certain types of boons. It allows you to focus the character build. There's some really cool cards in the monk deck and I am still going back and forth on which ultimate deck to use with her.

+1 for Eddiephlash

I have also played her and found that the cards in you deck are less important. This gives you two benefits: First, you can use any boon you pick up. Even if it is just to fuel her combat. Second, you can add all kind of situational cards in because they don't clog up your hand as you can use them to fuel your combat.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Parody wrote:


Honaire should have been a Cohort

If Honaire were a Cohort, they've have to rebuild Estra to make her wussier, in order to account for the extra card in her deck. I found her to be extremely playable without needing another card. So, I'll respectfully disagree.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
James McKendrew wrote:
Parody wrote:


Honaire should have been a Cohort
If Honaire were a Cohort, they've have to rebuild Estra to make her wussier, in order to account for the extra card in her deck. I found her to be extremely playable without needing another card. So, I'll respectfully disagree.

I agree, I think being an ally is important for a few reasons. A huge part isn't that it doesn't add an extra card to her starting hand or deck, though, but in that Honaire can be used with Ally-Synergy (such as utilized in her Spiritual Counselor role. In addition, being an ally is also is a sensible limiting factor that stops her using both Honaire and an ally to support a combat check (keep in mind Honaire already provides a generous bonus).

Instead of turning Honaire into a Cohort and having to re-write the Ally themes, I'd much prefer just there to be a statement in the Card Guild Guide that just says you cannot add a Loot card to your deck if it's not referred to on your character card, which could also be good future-proofing.


Like Yewstance, I don't want to agree with the Guide in this situation (and others) either, but I have this odd inability to deviate from the rules as written. Once I tried to get my 6-player group to deviate away from the 30-card blessing deck to a 42-card blessing deck because I felt that some scenarios were not balanced with 6 players in mind. (In a 4-player game, each player gets at least 7 turns; but in a 6-player they only get 5 turns. And in some of those "close all locations" scenarios with can get challenging). But it didn't sit well with me after a few sessions, and I insisted we go back to 30 cards.

However, since I avoided addressing the OP - I want to like Athnul. I've always been a fan of the weaponless martial arts types in various games (mostly on digital platforms). I've tried using Athnul about half a dozen times in various adventure paths. My biggest problem with her is that I get bored after several scenarios. I felt very little sense of progression with her, and felt a bit envious when other players were getting a fancy new weapon or spell; and once I upgraded to the item or ally I wanted, I would often get nothing at all.

I always get excited when looking at her role card and imagining all the ways I can utilize her to help my party, but in practice I have never even made it to her role card once without getting bored and switching over to another character.

How would I address this? "Spells". Kinda like how Reiko in the Ultimate Equipment deck can use spells that can be recharged by Ninjas, I think having Monk "spells" could have been interesting. I'm sure they could have added a single spell in Ultimate Equipment that could be recharged by monks to give Athnul something interesting to use. But they probably didn't want to spend time on a single card that would have really only have benefited a single character in the entire game.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Dulcee wrote:

Like Yewstance, I don't want to agree with the Guide in this situation (and others) either, but I have this odd inability to deviate from the rules as written. Once I tried to get my 6-player group to deviate away from the 30-card blessing deck to a 42-card blessing deck because I felt that some scenarios were not balanced with 6 players in mind. (In a 4-player game, each player gets at least 7 turns; but in a 6-player they only get 5 turns. And in some of those "close all locations" scenarios with can get challenging). But it didn't sit well with me after a few sessions, and I insisted we go back to 30 cards.

However, since I avoided addressing the OP - I want to like Athnul. I've always been a fan of the weaponless martial arts types in various games (mostly on digital platforms). I've tried using Athnul about half a dozen times in various adventure paths. My biggest problem with her is that I get bored after several scenarios. I felt very little sense of progression with her, and felt a bit envious when other players were getting a fancy new weapon or spell; and once I upgraded to the item or ally I wanted, I would often get nothing at all.

I always get excited when looking at her role card and imagining all the ways I can utilize her to help my party, but in practice I have never even made it to her role card once without getting bored and switching over to another character.

How would I address this? "Spells". Kinda like how Reiko in the Ultimate Equipment deck can use spells that can be recharged by Ninjas, I think having Monk "spells" could have been interesting. I'm sure they could have added a single spell in Ultimate Equipment that could be recharged by monks to give Athnul something interesting to use. But they probably didn't want to spend time on a single card that would have really only have benefited a single character in the entire game.

Well said. I also dislike deviating from the rules as written, for a number of reasons. For one thing, I can hardly claim to be approaching a problem strategically if I'm allowed to redefine the problem. Whether or not I like the design of a Rubick's Cube, if I allow myself to start disassembling it and re-assembling it to some different logic, then it's no longer about me solving or 'beating' the puzzle, it's just a creative exercise with no defined boundary or win condition.

Anyway, I think monk-only spells would have been an excellent idea, and keep in mind that it wouldn't just be useful for Athnul; of the 4 monks printed in PACG, 3 of them, or 75%, can carry spells. The only one who can't take a spell feat is the CD Sajan.

But it was a design space that wasn't invented until much later, at least for spells (there was already "If you have the Monk trait" cards in the Class Deck for weapons), and Athnul's role cards are clearly trying to lean on the same thematic element of "spell-like powers" that monks could use in the RPG.

I also mentioned the feeling of a lack of progression with some monk characters. In PFSACG or base sets combined, I find myself having less fun with characters that I don't find myself changing the boons in their deck or taking Loot cards much with, if at all. It leads to a very static experience from scenario to scenario, but it's kind of inherent in the Monk design space, since they're intentionally designed to not be reliant on their boons, more or less.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Well there is still room to new ultimate decks. Maybe we will art of exploding fist to unarmed character with some spells even.
Maybe some other obscure ultimate decks will come to reality! We can hope. Monks Are one very spesific case. Some layhealer or similar could get their own. Werethings could Also get their own pack... there Are unlimited posibilities!

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