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Author Topic: Archmage custom cards  (Read 8923 times)

JasonBourneZombie

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Archmage custom cards
« on: December 26, 2016, 10:16:44 AM »
I've been itching to play/create a one on many format for a while now, and I'm finally going to try my hand at it. Some of the basic ideas are:

Archmages are level 9 mages.
Archmages have higher channeling than regular mages.
Channeling is determined by the strength of their abilities
Archmages have 360 spellbook points
Archmages tend to have around 150% of the health of the mages they are built off of.
Archmages start with 20 mana before first turn channeling
Archmages may spend up to 10 mana on equipment before the game begins. This is paid with initial mana.

There are some more powerful versions of spells that would need to be added to the game to make them a little tougher without giving them extra actions per turn. Examples would be spells like mana crystals, flowers, spawnpoints, weapons, armor, etc. These spells would be archmage only, since they're too powerful for regular mages.

Stand-in names for archmages include: Lord of Beasts, Cardinal, Cambion, Enchanter, Strategos, Sage, Lich, Dryad, High Marshall, and Oceanid.

These are advanced forms of the Beastmaster, priestess, warlock, wizard, warlord, Forcemaster, necromancer, druid, paladin, and siren respectively.

I'm still tinkering around with the system, of course, and working on abilities. For now, the goal is to create a 5X5 grid to fight in where 2 mages start in a set of corners and an archmage starts in the middle zone furthest from them. This would be 2v1, but the potential for archamge v archmage exists.

As I continue work on this, I'll post custom cards and gather feedback.
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JasonBourneZombie

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Re: Archmage custom cards
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2016, 11:28:52 AM »
Here's a couple 'staples' along with an example spawnpoint.





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wtcannonjr

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Re: Archmage custom cards
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2016, 08:49:00 PM »
I like where you are going with this. Nicely done.

One thought I had was to give all archmages an ability I call Mirror Casting. The ability provides the Archmage with one additional quickcast marker for each opponent beyond the first that it faces in a match. This helps to balance the spell casting advantage that 2 or more mages would have over a single mage.
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JasonBourneZombie

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Re: Archmage custom cards
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2016, 09:13:43 PM »
When I tinkered around with the concept before, I had tried the double quick cast option. It actually didn't turn out all that well. One of the biggest issues was in action economy, even though the mage had two quick casts. If you have a high channeling playstyle, for example, you could triple cast mana crystals on turn one. This caused me to quickly realize zone exclusive limitations, and similarly familiar and spawnpoint limitations, would be a significant issue for an archmage to get anything done.

By doubling the effectiveness of these three spell types, I hope I eliminated the need for a second quick cast marker. That way we don't end up with the silliness of a Dryad doing something like Corrosive Orchid, hurl boulder, hurl boulder, hurl boulder all in one action.

I'll be keeping a close eye on action efficiency to be sure. If it requires a second QC, then that is what I will add.


Tomorrow I'll try making/posting the lord of beasts. I'll probably also put up the Cambion as well. Kinda wish there was a better term that implied a host with a full fledged demon lord posessing him. Nonetheless, I like the superlock's abilities, so I'll probably post him.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2016, 09:23:58 PM by JasonBourneZombie »
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JasonBourneZombie

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Re: Archmage custom cards
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2016, 08:49:59 AM »
Got the LoB and Cambion cards made up way faster than expected. Will continue striking while the iron is hot. Probably make their spawnpoints and a couple more mages with theirs as well.



The Lord of Beasts is a mage who has lived amongst animals all his life and can not only mimic them, but has mastered their ways completely. He is the ultimate pack leader, having blended the strengths of many animals into one singular prowess.

The Aspect Tokens are as follows:
Canine: Melee+1 and Piercing+1 on all melee attacks
Feline: Fast and Charge+1
Reptile: Regen 2 and a D8+ X1 defense
Bear: Armor +1 and Tough-2

Right out of the gate, this gives the Lord of Beasts a decent boost to his own strength similar to those of the Beastmasters. The difference is that this boost is shared with friendly animals, so the LoB can become stronger as he buffs his own creatures. By the end of a game, I'd expect the LoB to be a better fighter than most any creature a beastmaster could summon. The high cost multiplier for Aspect tokens is to discourage games where he just piles on Aspects to stomp an opponent, so choose wisely.



The Cambion is supposed to evoke the same tropes as Demon commanders in different fiction series. The demon hordes aren't running at you; they are running from him. They know that they are alive so long as they serve faithfully. A glance instills horror, and merely his ill intent can strike you down.

For that reason, his demons will fight in a rush of death, taking damage just for the chance to kill. The horror tokens would be something like, "Minor creatures must move as far away as possible during their next activation. Major creatures must roll a 9+ on a d12 to hit anything in the same zone as the creature that placed the terror marker." The Life-X is just another way that a dark mage strangles the life out of you, this time directly instead of flame+ or keeping the curses around.
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JasonBourneZombie

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Re: Archmage custom cards
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2016, 12:39:00 PM »
Taking more time to find art than to make the cards. Here's two spawnpoints, and I'll be back later.





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JasonBourneZombie

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Re: Archmage custom cards
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2016, 01:26:10 PM »
Enchanter's abilities are a bit weak, but his training and channeling are quite good. Hopefully it nets well. Of all the Archmages, he will have the best channeling.




« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 01:31:12 PM by JasonBourneZombie »
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wtcannonjr

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Re: Archmage custom cards
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2016, 05:43:03 PM »
A few observations for you to consider.

1. The training seems too similar to existing mages. You might want to consider giving archmages training in two primary schools and some with an elemental school as well. This will allow them to better create spellbooks that can counter multiple mages. A corresponding reduction in to a spellbook points may be needed to fully balance.

2. When I tried 1 vs. 2 Scenarios before we found that a single mage would quickly fall behind the action economy as the other mages were able to summon twice as many creatures each round. You may need to modify Archmage spawnpoints to balance this.

3. How did you arrive at your channeling rates? It seems like you might need to channel more to overcome say two mages that channel 10 each. This would allow you to summon higher level spells that provide bigger effects or more durable creatures each round.
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JasonBourneZombie

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Re: Archmage custom cards
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2016, 07:37:59 PM »
Sure. Let me respond real fast.

1. Why give them training in more schools if I am going to reduce the spellbook points? I can understand somewhat from a flavor perspective, but also like the idea of master mages having to put in special effort for a greater repertoire. In the end it may just be numbers of spellpoints used per card, but it also protects some of the balance. An example I came across with training involves the LoB. The simplest addition to his training would be water, seeing as it is an important part of nature. That addition eats up precious 'uniqueness' of the Siren and especially the druid. Dark, arcane, and fire are largely opposed to nature. Holy would be the next best fit, but with totally opposed creature styles, it would require an entirely new set of cards instead of a few improved versions. I can take a look moving forward, but it would probably mean a radical redesign.

2. I absolutely agree. Each archmage spawnpoint can summon up to two creatures per turn.

3. This one is tricky since it relies by far the most on theory and guesswork. Simply doubling a mage in terms of spell points, base channeling, initial mana, health, and actions gave me fits before. On the one hand, you'd expect it to work. On the other hand, four boulders to mage 1 on turn 2 is not terribly compelling gameplay. So I tried to design archmages that start somewhat more strongly, but ramp awesomely.

To answer 3 more clearly, the target channeling was about +5 channeling from the base mage, modified down depending on the strength of its abilities. Enchanter abilities are nice and all, but about par with a mage, so it gets full channeling. Cambion can combo wonderfully with his abilities (blood demon takes 3 damage to swing 6-7 dice vampiric) so it gets a point of channeling knocked off.

To counter the admittedly low channeling compared to what you'd expect, the Archmages get access to more powerful ramp cards and the the ability to carry equipment into battle. These archmages excel at getting more for their mana, but not really at stockpiling mana itself. If I find they need more, i'll bump them up, but for now, I think this will work.

Edit:  Another issue down the line is how to account for mage death. 1v1 vs an archmage should be an almost forgone conclusion unless he's been dinged up quite a bit.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 07:53:55 PM by JasonBourneZombie »
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wtcannonjr

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Re: Archmage custom cards
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2016, 06:37:24 AM »
I was targeting one Archmage versus 3 mages in a match when I was tinkering with this but here is some of my rationale.

1. I envisioned archmages as much older than a mage which helps explain why they have broader training than a mage. They have been studying and practicing magic much longer and have transcended the typical archetypes that exist for mages. I thought having training in multiple primary schools would be a unique way to differentiate the archmages from other mages and from themselves. I agree it would require testing but I thought it would give an Archmage spellbook access to more in school only spells needed to counter opposing mages of different schools. For me the unique style of existing mages is in their ability cards and mage specific spells. I think the abilities and Archmage specific cards that you create will give you a similar feel for the archmages. I was just envisioning the Archmage with some type of blend of schools to reflect their longer years of training and their rejection of the typical limits of learning magic put in place by the Academy.

2. I see that now. Nice. I missed that earlier.

3. I see your point. A larger Battlegrounds type arena might help with balancing the opening some. If the Archmage moves last at the start she might be facing up to 6 boulders on round 2 if facing 3 mages. This may just lead to more defensive style openings from mages and archmages based on experience. Walls and Reverse Attacks may rule the opening moves.
Also, rather than giving the Archmage a free equipment casting round why not provide him with some starting armor on his ability card? This might be easier to get the same defensive effect without giving the Archmage more of an attacking bonus in the opening. Just a thought. Again, I was targeting 3 opponents versus an Archmage which is why I set my channeling higher. This will require play testing to get it right.
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JasonBourneZombie

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Re: Archmage custom cards
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2016, 07:24:04 AM »
1. I agree that multiple schools make for cooler mages. When I first thought of the Lich, I figured he'd be the corrupted wizard trope, being Arcane dark, or the mind twisting sort, Dark Mind. I honestly don't know where the different school combinations will lead, in the end. Rather than spend the time doing the guesswork and probably screwing it up (my D&D knowledge is terrible), I figured I'd move ahead with mages with similar training, but maybe a little extra kick here and there.

3. The equipment casting round for the Archmage has a couple reasons. Thematically, it just makes sense for an experienced mage to wear armor when he goes to war. Maybe the arena disallowed putting armor on before a match, but Archmages should know better. Besides theme, there is a certain amount of utility to it. Having favorite equipment, whether armor granting or not, on turn 1 can be a great boon. I'm not sold yet on whether the Archmages should have access to their lower level counterpart' equipment. A lich taking the battlefield with a Libro Mortuos would be pretty good. A Sage starting with Psi-orb wouldn't have to cast it first turn or lose upkeep mana.

Base armor will probably be added to a mage, but not the core set archmages. The LoB is the toughest one of the 4, and I see his Bear aspect as being a pretty close option.



Today I work on the Cardinal, and probably the Lich. If I get to a third, it will probably be the Strategos.
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JasonBourneZombie

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Re: Archmage custom cards
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2016, 12:17:04 PM »
Alrighty. Here's the Cardinal, her Spawnpoint, the Lich, and his spawnpoint again.


The Cardinal is supposed to bring together a few of the styles of the priest/priestess. Healing, protection, and, to a smaller extent, retribution. Her abilities aren't too strong offensively and certainly don't do much to fill her card, but they give her a significant defensive boost. For that reason, she still has significant channeling.

Traited Aegis on a mage is new territory. I don't know how much mileage she will get out of it. Probably a good deal vs swarms. Buffing guards at large should make the guardian angels and some of the new Paladin soldiers pretty strong. The Asyra's Grace ability is just plain good for making each heal spell count.






The Lich is something I've been thinking about for a while for obvious reasons. Our first non-living mage, he breaks quite a few of the 'rules'. Skeleton creature type brings the only form of healing the Lich will likely get in the form of reconstruct spells. Being nonliving cuts him off not only from healing, but from many enchantments that target living creatures, many of which are beneficial. One bit of solace is that his Dark Ascension trait brings Sardonyx back into strong viability.

Contagion gives the Lich his one strong active power in the form of spreading disease. Pairing nicely with that is his second attack which allows him to poison creatures.

I'm not entirely sure whether the Lich deserves 14 channeling or 13. His contagion only really matters when there is a poison condition in play, but it gets downright powerful when there is.



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Re: Archmage custom cards
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2016, 01:01:44 PM »
It should cost mana to use contagion.
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JasonBourneZombie

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Re: Archmage custom cards
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2016, 01:25:39 PM »
That was a consideration. I went mana free because he doesn't have a whole lot in terms of buffs or abilities. Even a taint marker is only worth 3 mana after all. If this ability cost him mana, he'd need more channeling or a new ability to offset it. Is that the better choice?

Edit: A note as to why I think the contagion ability needs to be really good. Being non-living disallows the Lich to use the following spells on himself, or at least not as effectively: Akiro's Favor, Bear Strength, Brace yourself, Cheetah speed, Cobra Reflexes, Death link, Falcon Precision, Hawkeye, Lion Savagery, Mongoose Agility, Rhino Hide, Drain Life, and Drain soul.

The cost of losing these cards on the mage is pretty high. At the very best, I'd say the Dark Ascension trait nets to neutral ground for the Lich. It's more of a theme ability than an effective one. With that ability netting to around 0, the Lich needs an ability worth about 3 mana a turn to make up for it. His hand of death attack is pretty neat, but does nothing against nonliving and forces him on to the front lines to make use of it, so it can't be counted on for too much.

If it needs to cost mana to use for theme purposes, I'd just as soon pay a fair bit for it and have it affect an entire zone all at once.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2016, 02:30:58 PM by JasonBourneZombie »
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JasonBourneZombie

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Re: Archmage custom cards
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2016, 09:10:40 AM »
Strategos has some extremely rough edges. He has a fair bit in the ability department, and the improvement to his Spawnpoint gives him some decent channeling options. His channeling will be the worst of the Archmages, but I want him to have low channeling and high performance. Thoughts?



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