Waldo's Weekly - Youko Hamasaki Reveal

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Hey Wyrdos,

Waldo managed to weasel his way into the Beta. We kicked him out pretty quickly, but before we did, he managed to print off a few of the new stat cards. After throwing some “distractions” (don’t worry, Kyle will recover), we grabbed most of them back. He managed to keep a hold of a few, and said he would only give them back if we let him talk about one for Waldo’s Weekly.

With that, we are happy to introduce the new Ten Thunders Master, Youko Hamasaki. 

As a reminder, Youko is still in beta testing, so some of the Abilities and Actions discussed in this article might change between now and M3E’s release. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s see what this mysterious woman has in store for us.


Youko Hamasaki is the new proprietor of the Qi and Gong, the most widely-renowned brothel within the Little Kingdom (if not all of Malifaux City). While she might not appear imposing at first glance, Youko has her delicate fingers upon the pulse of the city and is adept at gathering information, secrets, and blackmail.

Youko’s Keyword is “Qi and Gong,” as most of her thematic models are drawn from the employees of that establishment. Each Qi and Gong model has the Leverage Ability, which gives its controller a Pass Token at the start of the Turn… provided that the opponent has one or more revealed Schemes. Furthermore, the model can discard a Pass Token when performing a duel to gain a positive flip to that duel.

Leverage lets a Qi and Gong Crew play mind games with their opponent right from the very start of the game. As soon as the opponent reveals a Scheme to score Victory Points, the Qi and Gong crew is going to gain a whole pile of Pass Tokens that they can use for activation control, initiative bonuses, or fate modifiers. Is it worth scoring early and risking such a swing in power, or is it better to wait to reveal Schemes, which gives Youko’s crew time to counter them?


Youko’s ability to control the flow of the game doesn’t stop there, however. After an enemy model Activates within 6” of her, her Informants Ability allows her to look at the top card of either player’s Fate Deck and then gives her the option of placing that card on the bottom of that player’s Fate Deck. This Ability serves double duty, allowing Youko to either discard her own undesirable cards or to ensure that the opponent’s high cards end up getting buried back in their deck.

She also has Calm Demeanor, which allows her to draw a card whenever an enemy model within 6” discards a card. So long as Youko is near the battle, she’s going to be benefiting from the opponent’s misery.

Though fragile at only 10 Health, she is protected from enemy aggression by Disguised (which prevents her from being the target of Actions generated by the Charge Action) and Serene Countenance (which gives any Attack Actions targeting her a negative flip). She might not be durable, but she’s got plenty of tricks in her sleeve to avoid all but the most dedicated assassins.

Youko’s most impressive Action is most likely her Bonus Action, Backroom Dealings. It targets an enemy model and forces them to reveal their hand, giving Youko a glimpse into her enemy’s plans. The “Risking It All” trigger further punishes the opponent by letting you guess a suit before the reveal, which in turn damages the enemy model for one damage per card of the named suit in the opponent’s hand. This can be particularly damaging against summoners who often stockpile cards of certain suits. Her other trigger, “Shady Dealings,” reinforces her crew’s Leverage Ability: for each of the opponent’s unrevealed Schemes, they must discard a random card.

In addition to this formidable weapon, Youko also possesses Blackmail, which gives an enemy model the option of discarding up to two cards. For each card they don’t discard, Youko’s crew gains a Pass Token, providing further fuel to Leverage. Even if the opponent doesn’t care that Youko gains Pass Tokens, they may want to discard a card anyways; her “We Own You” trigger lets her force the target to take an Action… provided that the opponent discarded one or fewer cards.

Backing up her Blackmail capabilities is Riddles in the Dark, an amusing little Action that gives the target Distracted +X, where X is equal to the difference in the number of cards in each player’s hand (to a maximum of Distracted +2). This works whether Youko is up or down on cards, making it quite useful.

Rounding out her skill set is Information Network, a simple Action that lets her draw a card without having to flip any cards, and an Exotic Weapons attack that does average damage… unless she can get a model alone and declare the “No Witnesses” trigger, which allows her to deal +1 damage and ignore Armor if no enemy models other than the target can draw line of sight to her.

All in all, Youko Hamasaki is an interesting addition to the Ten Thunders roster, providing them with a true control Master who is more than capable of controlling the flow of information during the game.

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Zeppelin Transcript from The Other Side

Hey Wyrdos,

With The Other Side’s release, we thought that it might be a good change of pace to take a peek into its world. Below is a transcript from the perspective of the men and women of the King’s Empire who piloted the zeppelins floating above London after the battle broke. This short story is an exclusive glimpse into the Other Side that you won’t be able to find anywhere else, including the core rulebook!


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Partial Transcription of reconnaissance reports from Recon Wing Galliant. Compiled by Communications Group Kent, Signal Division, at the request of HRH King Edward VII, being a summary of reports from IMFS Andover, IMFS Aggressor, and IMFS Bellicose. Signal Division wishes to apologize for the inconsistent nature of these reports, as events unfolded more quickly than could be captured via the aethervox. All speculation is the work of Signal Division, Cyphers Branch, and must be taken with a measure of wisdom.

0636, 1st June, 1906 - IMFS Bellicose, under the command of Sir Jacob Ellingray, and with the escorts Andover and Aggressor in support, was dispatched to London to investigate reports of a deluge and subsequent catastrophe. Early reports are harrowing, and unworthy of speculation. Sir Jacob has ordered all hands to stations, and all weapons primed. “We fly to the King!” he declared prior to departure. (Ellingray may have been the wrong man for the job. His service in Africa and the Oceanic colonies, while worthy of praise, did not prepare the man for what waited in the skies over London) (-Admiralty redaction- It won’t do to be casting dispersion over the heroes of the Empire. Especially now. Strike this and all other disparaging remarks from the final report.)

0712, 1st June, 1906 - Bellicose reports fair skies and light winds, good visibility. Winds to the east at 3 knots, barometer 17.5k and rising. Air Wing Kent inbound to London. (Early reports that some sort of channel-bound hurricane, previously unmarked and preternaturally sudden, are not supported by these readings. Further reports from Andover, redacted here, indicate a heavy fog over London proper, terminating in the vicinity of West Kingsdown and Seven Oaks.)

0825, et al - Bellicose - Sir Jacob has ordered Andover to the west and north, while Aggressor remains behind with Bellicose to provide support. The fog that blankets London is impenetrable at this altitude. Andover will head directly for Kensington, while Bellicose investigates the entrance to the Thames, where the worst flooding is suspected. The rest of Air Wing Kent is awaiting the arrival of the army.

0845 - Bellicose - Reports of flooding vastly underestimate the disaster. London is gone. The wreckage of buildings and bodies cover the surface of a vast and shimmering inland sea. (Ellingray’s time at Oxford betrays him here. His initial estimate overstated the destruction. For want of a better phrase, Sir Jacob imagined his words in the history books, and dictated them to his vox operator as such) We await reports from Andover as to the well-being of the King.

0915 - Bellicose - The King lives! Long live the King! Andover established visual communication via signal flag with Buckingham Palace shortly after 0900. HRH has refused extraction, and the docking moors have suffered some sort of damage. Andover’s report on the matter is folly, as Captain Hourst insists the moors have become the habitat of giant wasps. (Again, Sir Jacob underimagines what he sees, and overimagines his capability of addressing it.)

0930 - Bellicose - Previous reports verified. Andover has engaged a swarm of hostiles with light rifle and shot from the portside batteries. Marines have been ordered to the deck. She is preparing to be boarded.

(There is a significant gap in reporting for the next fifty minutes. What follows is a compilation of speculative reports based on after action debriefings, ship’s logs, and an account from witnesses on the ground. Regular reports pick up at 1022, when Sir Jacob re-establishes control of Bellicose’s command deck)

0935 - Details unclear. Andover is swarmed and set adrift. Its progress takes it over Buckingham, where witnesses describe a desperate battle on the decks and upper causeways of the anti-ballast. The swarm lifted suddenly from Andover and flew east toward Bellicose.

0957 - A single garbled message dispatched from Bellicose, warning of hostiles inbound and requesting aid from Aggressor. Aggressor’s commander orders the cutter to come about and open fire. A brief and violent struggle follows, during which Bellicose is overwhelmed. Aggressor prepares to accept survivors.

1009 - As quickly as the swarm attacked, it withdraws. The enemy seems to follow no rhyme or reason in their tactics. Ellingray was forced into the ward room with his officers, and only regains the deck after his Bo’sun and the ship’s royal marines secure the quarters. His report, which follows, downplays the severity of the loss.

1022 - Bellicose - IMFS Bellicose reports all hands secured, and the attack repelled. Heavy casualties. Contact with Andover re-established. All escorts ordered to rally to Bellicose in preparation for withdraw. (Admiralty countermands Ellingray’s instructions, ordering him deeper into London. The army is preparing for an assault, and need information about the enemy’s composition and strength. Out of respect for Sir Jacob’s standing in the peerage, we have redacted the precise exchange between Bellicose and Air Station Kent.)

1045 - Bellicose- Andover and Aggressor have formed up on Bellicose and are prepared to drive deeper into the skies over London. A brief flag exchange between the two wounded ships indicate the fighting has cost them both dearly. Andover especially is operating on a skeleton crew. Reinforcements from Aggressor shore up her defenses. The trio proceed toward the only landmark they can find; the dome of St. Paul’s, miraculously still intact, and towering over the wreckage of a drowned London.

1112 - IMFS Aggressor takes the lead as Bellicose and Andover limp along behind. The bulk of the Royal Air Force Southern Command has taken up position on the outskirts of London, awaiting the Air Wing’s final report, and Admiralty’s permission to proceed. A transcript of vox communications between Aggressor and Bellicose, overheard by Air Station Kent, follows.

Aggressor: We have St. Paul’s in sight. Command wishes to know how we are to proceed.

Bellicose: Carefully, Aggressor. Keep your eyes up. What is the condition of the cathedral and surrounds?

Aggressor: The cathedral is intact. Ludgate hill is dry and crowded. Forward observer post reports masses of civilians at the doors of the cathedral. Attempting to signal them now.

Bellicose: Thank God! As long as St. Paul’s stands, there is still a London! (Again, Ellingray is doubtlessly aware his words are being overheard) Prepare to stand to and accept—

Aggressor: Sorry to interrupt, Bellicose. There’s something wrong with the crowd. They seem unresponsive. They’re just standing, staring up at the dome, with their hands to the sky. Shellshocked, perhaps. Away teams are preparing—

Transmission is cut short by violent static. Radio operators at Kent Station and Oxford suffered damaged equipment from the electromagnetic backlash. Backup stations followed the rest of the conversation when it resumed mid-report.

Aggressor: —blinding. Some kind of weapon. Anti-ballast compromised. Repair crews dispatched. Bellicose, are you reading?

Bellicose: Bellicose here. We have eyes on the target. Some kind of light erupted from the dome. Did it strike you?

Aggressor: Unclear. We have—brief radio silence (Cypher Station Kent insists we include the fact that the aethervox operator transcribing this exchange swears on her life that she could hear whispering voices during this interruption.)—fifteen, possibly more. Fires along the anti-ballast. Captain has ordered emergency maneuvers and full power, but the engine room is not responding. We are making due with manual control.

Bellicose: Aggressor, there are figures along your topkeel. They look like… like they’re on fire. (By this point, Ellingray has abandoned the vox and secured his place in history. Witnesses and survivors report the Lord Commander was already on his way to the life vessels, marines in tow) And the crowds around St. Paul’s… my God, they’re burning! They’re—

(long silence)

Aggressor: Bellicose, are you transmitting? Several portals have opened up along our maindeck. Pitched fighting in the engine room. Fires along the gundeck, and the crews are reporting damage to the anti-ballast is critical. Deploying—

Andover: Aggressor, this is Andover. We have sighted bright lights inside the hull of Bellicose. She’s either on fire or… or… God, I don’t know what. But nothing burns that color! Suggest you abandon course and return to Kent.

Bellicose: —have it in our hands. It’s in our hands! God, the veins are turning to light! My hands!

Aggressor: Bellicose, repeat prior transmission! We have away teams prepared to offer assistance. Is your deck secure?

Andover: Aggressor, strongly suggest turning back. Turn back, I say! Bellicose is lost!

Aggressor: There’s something outside… outside the door. I can see…

Andover: Aggressor, what is—

Aggressor: Shut up and listen. This is it for me. I just want you to listen… It’s a doorway made of fire. There are shadows inside of it… no… coming out of it. They’re here. They’re—

Witnesses on the ground report seeing Bellicose wheel sharply, clipping Andover before plunging into the waters around St. Paul’s. There was no further communication from Aggressor. She drifted south, eventually settling among the fields of Dover, her decks empty and crew missing. They were never recovered, and their fate remains a mystery. As for IMFS Andover, the first zeppelin to tangle with the London threat was the only to survive the fight. When Bellicose fell, Andover turned and made for home, her captain deliriously spouting about burning figures and the murmuring deep.

While this report offers little insight into what happened in the skies above London that day, it is the hope of Admiralty that it will reflect well on the men and women who gave their lives in service to the Empire, and lift the spirits of its fighting forces in the days to come. Long live the King.

  Click the image above to download the PDF version of this story!

Click the image above to download the PDF version of this story!

Two New TTB Books Available Now On DriveThru

Hey Wyrdos! 

We have some new Through the Breach books, Above the Law and Northern Sedition, available on DriveThruRPG.

Above The Law takes you inside the most powerful organization on either side of the Breach: The Guild of Mercantilers.

Meanwhile, in the next part of the Northern Aggression adventures, Northern Sedition, the Fated are brought in to help deal with a new faction that has arisen in Ridley: the Seditionists.

You can click on the image below to head over and begin your adventures.

Waldo's Weekly - M3E Core Rules

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Hey Wyrdos! Welcome to our first Waldo’s Weekly. For this week Waldo got into some of our Third Edition files. After we convinced Matt to go in and recover most of them (don’t worry, we are pretty sure that leg will grow back). Unfortunately, Matt forgot to lock the safe AGAIN and Waldo grabbed some stuff and is now forcing us to release SOME of it or he will release all of it. Since we promised him his one day a week, we decided to share a little something about Third Edition with all of you! Before Waldo gets a little too excited and starts spoiling everything.

The Third Edition (M3E) beta is in full swing, and things are coming together nicely!

So nicely, in fact, that we wanted to take a few moments to pull back the curtain and look at how some basic rules are changing for the new edition.

Now, obviously the beta is still ongoing, so there’s a disclaimer here that things might change between here and the final release, so please keep that in mind.

That being said, let’s take a look at some of the basic rules and how they’re changing in M3E!

 
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Card Draw

Rampant card draw was incredibly problematic in Second Edition (M2E), as it gave certain Masters and Crews far too much control over the game. In fact, this lead to several errata adjustments and forced the design team to greatly limit the number of models that let players draw cards, which was a bit counter-productive in a game that uses cards as its main randomization mechanic.

To address this issue, we’ve capped the max number of cards in hands in M3E. Each player is limited to a hand size of six cards; if they draw cards in excess of this limit, they must immediately discard down to their maximum hand size. This ensures that card draw is still good but shifts it from something you want to happen at the start of every turn to something you want to spread out through the turn to replace cards that you discard or Cheat over the course of normal play.

Of course, card cycling is pretty good in and of itself, so that card draw still has a benefit for players that go over their maximum hand size, just less of a benefit than pure card draw.

Size and Height

In M2E, models had the Height trait, which was a rough estimation of that model’s size. Unfortunately, that became a bit awkward when dealing with models that were wide but short, and new players were often confused by taller models having the same Height stat as shorter models.

In M3E, we kept Height as a trait that is possessed by Terrain (typically with Height equal to the Terrain’s height in inches), but on models, Height has been changed to Size. This should allow us to more accurately represent models with differing body types.

As a random aside, we’ve also suggested that models not be allowed to stand upon particularly tall Terrain (Height 5 or greater). This is only a suggestion, as we don’t want to invalidate a lot of the cool Terrain that people have created over the years, but unreachable sniper nests can be problematic in any miniatures game, so we wanted to weigh in and push people toward more reasonable vertical Terrain with a suggested cap.

Line of Sight

In many ways, Line of Sight (or LoS, as it is often abbreviated) hasn’t changed all that much from M2E. To determine if two models have LoS to each other, you still draw sight lines between them. If any of those sight lines are unobstructed, the two models can see each other. Any objects that have a Size or Height that is lower than either of the two models are ignored, which allows bigger models to see over smaller models or obstacles.

As a bonus, if a model is standing on Terrain with the “Height” trait, it adds the Height of that Terrain to its Size when determining what it can ignore when drawing LoS, which makes elevated positions important for snipers and other gunmen.

Vantage Point, LoS, and Shadows

Vantage Point was one of the most maligned (and arguably, confusing) rules to come out of M2E. When it came time to look at how we wanted the line of sight rules to work, we tossed Vantage Point out the window and went back to the drawing board.

The result was the Shadow system.

In M3E, each piece of Terrain with the Height trait casts a “Shadow” equal to its Height in all directions, to a maximum of 4”. “Shadow” is just a catch-all term that is used to represent overhangs, sight angles, and places where a model can crouch down or press up against a wall to avoid being seen.

During gameplay, when line of sight is drawn to or from a model that is entirely within a Terrain’s Shadow, any sight lines that pass through the Terrain generating the Shadow are blocked. This applies even if the Terrain is being ignored due to its Height, which means that models on top of a building often won’t be able to target models that are hugging that building’s base.

The Shadow rules also dictate which models have Cover. If a model is within a Terrain’s Shadow (even partially), it gains Cover against any z Actions that can draw one or more sight lines through that Terrain. This allows models greater freedom in positioning than in M2E, as they no longer have to hug Terrain quite as closely to benefit from cover.

Soulstones

Soulstones have remained relatively unchanged since M2E. The biggest difference is that Masters and Henchman no longer have a cache. If you want to bring any Soulstones to the table, you will have to have some left over after hiring.  By default, they can only be used by Masters and Henchmen, but a number of models in the game have the Attuned Ability, which grants them the ability to use Soulstones as well.

Soulstones can be used in four ways:

  • Draw Cards: During the Draw Phase, each player may spend any number of Soulstones. For each Soulstone they spend, they draw two cards and then discard down to their maximum hand size. The big difference from M2E is that players can spend multiple Soulstones to attempt to mitigate truly abysmal hands, which helps to mitigate the chances of a player going into a turn with a handful of low cards.

  • Enhance a Duel: Much like in M2E, before any cards are flipped in a duel, a model that can use Soulstones can spend a single Soulstone to add a single + to its flip. It can also spend a single Soulstone to add a suit of its choice to its final duel total. These abilities are not mutually exclusive; a model could spend two Soulstones to add both a+ and a suit to the same duel.

  • Block Damage: A model that can use Soulstones can spend a single Soulstone before a damage flip is made against it to add a - to that damage flip. This is similar to how this worked in M2E, but since the Soulstone is spent before the damage flip (and not the duel), it allows models to see the final duel totals before committing, which makes it a more useful ability in general. This also cleans up the timing issues from M2E; now, instead of the opponent having to pause between announcing their attack and flipping a card for it (which was awkward for many players), the decision point occurs after the duel is finished, which is a more natural place for both players.

  • Reduce Damage: After a model that can use Soulstones is damaged, it may spend any number of Soulstones to reduce that damage. The model flips a card and reduces the damage it suffers by 1/2/3, +1 for every additional Soulstone beyond the first. This reduction occurs before all other reduction and can reduce damage to 0. The biggest change here is that models are no longer limited to spending a single Soulstone; if you absolutely want to ensure that a Soulstone-using model survives an attack, you can do so, though it will cost you. And, as always, you might still flip the Black Joker...

Hopefully this brief look at the rules will give you some ideas on the shape of M3E. Next time, we’ll take a look at movement and how some common movement abilities have changed with the new edition.

Introducing Waldo's Weekly

Happy Wednesday Wyrdos!

Waldo, our resident mischief maker here at Wyrd, has been kept under close watch ever since he got loose and caused some havoc a couple of months ago. After he almost bit off one of our fingers, we decided we needed to let him stretch his wings a little bit. I, for one, would like to keep the fingers I have left right where they are. Plus Kyle still won’t go in the bathroom until someone checks it first. And Matt still twitches every time he hears a wing flap.

In an effort to stop the misery he was causing, we told him he could have ONE day a week to get up to some of his mischief. Hopefully he doesn’t spoil anything too big this time…

Stay tuned next week as we let Waldo loose for the first time in his new segment Waldo’s Weekly.

Now to see where that bugger ran off to….

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