Here are the items. All 26 of them. 5 for each group plus 6 general items that anyone can use. I think that's important for an expansion set to include those generic cards because those items can breathe new life into old cards. Giving them new combinations and different looks so they don't just get shuffled to the bottom of the deck as a raft of new cards see play.
There are definite themes that each group's items contain. The items, after all, are the capstone for a group that can greatly influence how they're played. They give out those abilities and modify those behaviors and, otherwise, help define just what a group can do. Here, then, are those item cards and the general impression that each group is trying to convey.
The Necromancers are a group of powerful cards with impressive abilities and their items continue in that vein. There are some incredibly strong effects that they can bring into play although most carry with them some sort of drawback. These items continue the Necromancer focus both on dead and defeated opponents as well as teamwide synergistic effects. Like the Necros themselves, they might be a bit intricate and tricky but they offer some fascinating possibilities to expand the horizons of the game.
NECRO 1. KNIFE
Name: Blood-letting Knife
Effect: Your single-hit attacks strike for an additional 8 damage but when you attack you begin to Bleed, taking 2 damage for 4 turns (8 DOT).
Appearance: A long, slender knife with a twisting, curving blade. As delicate as it is deadly, it's not a weapon made for fighting, it's an instrument made for carving up flesh during profane rituals. Its hilt is silver and wrapped in black as midnight leather. The knife is tilted towards the ground, blade pointing downwards. Fresh blood runs along the edge and a drop is falling from the tip.
The Bloody-knife is a damage enhancing item. It adds 8 damage to a card's attacks, twice that of the generic General's Insignia. But that extra damage comes with a price – when a card attacks while wearing this item them lose health themselves, starting to Bleed and ticking off health over time. Even though both cards wind up taking the same amount of damage, the delayed effect of that damage should make it a fair enough trade. There aren't any multi-hits among the Necro's attacks so everyone can benefit from this item. +8 is about as high as I'd go, by the way, if this item was too weak, I'd have to look at reducing the damage to the user.
NECRO 2. SIGIL
Name: Cultist's Sigil
Effect: If at least two of your teammates are from the same group and those cards have been revealed to your oppponent, you gain their innate abilities for as long as they remain alive. When one of your teammates dies, your innate abilities are disabled for 5 turns.
Appearance: Modelled after the General's Insignia, it'd be a badge or a medallion with a cloaked, hooded face and, perhaps, some eldritch symbols on its face.
The Sigil gives a player a bonus for constructing a deck by drawing from a specific group. Say you're in a 3-Card match and you've got Higashi and Onimaru then the generic Necro wearing this badge will be immune to critical hits and deal additional damage when making an intercept in addition to their own innate, giving them a total of 3 powerful abilities. If, instead, the team consisted of Onimaru and Ashi they'd gain nothing and their item slot would be wasted since those characters don't share the same group. This gets a bit extreme in a 5-Card match so perhaps there ought to be a cap on the number of innates (and those innates can be chosen at random, perhaps.) but I think it's kept in balance by a few things here. First, a card can use this item to gain a lot of innates and become a real powerhouse but it takes some work to get there. You have to reveal those teammates to your opponent first. In other words, your cards have to be face up to them when they're looking at your deck. Then and only then will you gain their abilities, you don't just automatically get them for having those cards in your hand, they have to be played first and that means putting them on and taking them off the field, which can be trickier than it sounds. Second, you only gain those abilities if there are at least two cards from the same group in your hand and alive. Say you're in that 3-Card match above, if Onimaru were killed then that Necro would lose not just his critical resistant innate but Higashi's as well since he no longer fulfills the conditions of having two living teammates with the same colored border. Not only that, but his own innate would be disabled for several turns. And, if he was in a 5-Card match where he had several innates then the rest of his bonus abilities would be disabled, too. It can be a powerful item, then, and should allow for some interesting constructed decks but it's going to be difficult to get to work right (Of course, if you swapped in Rumiko with Flash Powder you could switch her out easily and, then, you just need to worry about getting Oni off the field and...well, that's the whole point. This item adds a new wrinkle in thinking about building up a deck since you get a bonus for using certain combination of cards.).
NECRO 3. SHIELD
Name: Devil's Shield
Effect: You have a 30% chance to deflect attacks made against you, directing them towards a teammate, at random, instead.
Appearance: A bulky shield that's roughly a square. It's made up of plates banded and welded together, sculpted to create a raised relief and forming a demonic looking face. Angry eyes and hungry fangs created by flat planes stare out, trapped and frozen in the metal.
While wearing this Shield, a character has a chance to avoid attacks. That can be of great help in a line with several low health cards. But rather than that damage being completely evaded, the hit is instead transferred to a random teammate. In other words, this item has a chance to make an opponent's attack a random target skill. This effect won't exactly help out your team but what it does is to protect the character on the field, currently in the fighting. They're the one that can actually harm their foe and they're the one that they should want to get rid of. Each hit they don't take is another turn that they can use to attack themselves. At the moment, this item might be a little on the weak side since the proc rate isn't much better than an item like the Elusive Feather that avoids damage entirely. But I think it has some interesting combinations, several of the Necromancers can heal and heal even their teammates so this might work well with a card like Necro #1 or 2.
NECRO 4. ANKH
Name: Eternal Ankh
Effect: When you are killed you will resurrect with full health and energy after the next 5 turns. Cooldown: 15 turns.
Appearance: A large ankh made out of gold or electrum or some other gold-white metal, glistening with reflected light. It's thick, if it was a foot high then you'd barely be able to fit your hand around it. A hazy aura of pure white light surrounds it or perhaps a shaft of sunlight streams down through that loop on the top.
The Ankh gives every Necro a chance to enjoy the fun of Necro #3's resurrection innate, allowing them to return to life after having been defeated. For Necro #3, that's something he can already do so the benefit of wearing this item would be that he gets to come back with full health and energy instead of losing some it over time – I imagine if he wore this item it would take priority over his own innate as long as it was active. The drawback is a much longer period to wait and a more brutal cooldown. Resurrection is obviously a powerful mechanic but I think it won't be too much of a problem because of how I've set those timers. It takes 5 turns to come back after being killed and that's enough that it's not going to save you from being completely steamrolled. And a cooldown of 15 means that it stays innactive for another 10 turns past that, so you have to stall a long time if you want to be able to make a another return trip from the graveyard, past when the match should have been decided. I'm worried this still might be too strong so, I'm thinking about either doing away with the cooldown and limiting the number of resurrections – like with the Death Mask, you'd have a charge and once it was used up you couldn't use it again. Or having revived cards return with, say, 50% of their maximum health and energy. So that, say, a card with 70HP would be revived with 35/70 health and only 50/100 energy, making them easier to send packing again. And there's always slapping on a procced rate of success here.
NECRO 5. BATTERY
Name: Galvanic Battery
Effect: For each defeated card in your opponent's hand you gain 2 health at the end of the turn.
Appearance: A thick mason jar of cloudy glass. Inside is a viscous liquid almost but not completely filling it up. A pair of rods made of different metals poke down into the liquid through a rubber topper rammed onto the top. They're connected to a pair of curly wires that hang down the sides of the jar, the ends nearly touching, they crackle with life as a spark jumps across them. The whole construct is a crude, home-made affair looking like something out of an alchemist's lab and not a finished product.
The Galvanic Battery is a healing over time item that slowly pumps health into its wearers bar, like the Healing Salve or the Herbal Remedy. Unlike those, it also works like the Blood Vial, too, and heals whether you're on the field or not. It's potentially more powerful than any of those since its effect increases as the bodies pile up. You get more healing for each defeated opponent, giving you up to +4 health a turn in 3-Card and +8 in 5. But, of course, unless you've killed your opponent you're not healing at all. Also, to keep this item from getting too strong (Since, after all, +8HP/turn is nuts), that healing can further be weakened if a card uses one of those Necro skills that exploit that defeated opponent. For each exploited card, you only gain 1 health a turn. At the moment, I think this item's definitely keeping with the Necro's powered by death theme but it's still feeling a little weak. Extending it to cover dead teammates as well as opponents would make it stronger but perhaps a bit too much (That's up to +8 in 3 and +16 in 5, so perhaps it can be capped.). There's also a potential abusive problem here with Necro #2's Death Mask effect but I think that can be solved by making sure he checks to see if he's dead before any healing is applied (In other words, he'd survive until all the attacks were resolved. Then the game would check his health to see if it was zero and, if so, cause him to die. Then, any effects would be resolved, whether it's healing or damage over time or doom or whatever. We'd pretty much have to do this anyway to keep him from being immortal with the Salve already. The question is where the healing from his buff would be applied and if it could save him from death.).
Psycho items are a mixed bunch. It's hard to come up with items for this group since they largely lack an identity of their own. Mostly, their point is to steal an identity from their opponent or preventing them from expressing their own. They're a group that's disruptive and disabling and that's mostly what I've tried to get into with these items. I've also made sure to include plenty of items that help a Psycho to cause some hurt because they are a bunch of vicious killers, after all.
PSYCHO 1. CHARM
Name: Child's Armilla
Effect: You add damage equal to your opponent's resistance to your attacks.
Appearance: An armilla is a wristband, a bracelet. I see this one as being made up of loose bands of rawhide leather and covered with various bangles. Bits of string and feather and beads and stone. A crudely constructed piece of primitive jewelry. The sort of thing a child or a childlike mind would create left on their own.
This item gives the Psychos, basically, an itemized version of Voss's innate which adds dark resistance on to her attacks. Unlike hers, though, it doesn't shift that bonus damage onto another type of resistance, it just applies to the resistance of the type of the attack. So, if you attack with a skill that deals 12 damage against an opponent with 2 resistances you'd strike with 12+2. If they had 10, then you'd strike for 12+10. If it was a 6x2 skill then you'd deal (6+10)x2. But that resistance would still be applied so, either way, you'd end up hitting for 12. In other words, this item cancels out resistance and allows a character to always strike for the amount of damage listed on their skills. That's, as you can see with the Gangsters, a potentially powerful effect but one that, I think, can work well here since there aren't many large power attacks on the Psycho bars. If it proves too strong then it wouldn't be hard to add in a proc rate or some other way of lowering the rate.
PSYCHO 2. MASK
Name: Hockey Mask
Effect: If you strike your opponent first, you have a 25% chance to reflect their attack.
Appearance: It's an old school hockey mask. Jason-style. It'd be nice if a stylized version of the Psycho's icon could show up on it or maybe some other design but it should otherwise be pretty white and plain.
With this item, a Psycho always has a chance to reflect her opponent's attacks. It turns every attack into an improved version of Open Palm. One that doesn't just interrupt an attack but redirects it, turning the tables around even more. It only works, though, since it reads “strikes” when the Psycho attacks. They don't get to reflect off of a buff or a mimicry skill but only when through their own damage dealing skills. That's good for some who have plenty of quick attacks and not so good for others who are slower and only have a few but, for most, it should play into their themes of disruption rather well.
PSYCHO 3. BLADE
Name: Killer's Edge
Effect: When you are switched in, you deal 12 damage (U) to your foe.
Appearance: A crude, notched blade that's seen a lot of work. It's a butcher's knife, perhaps, or a cleaver but whatever it is, it's an item of quiet menace. You can't see the blood but you know it's there, sunk into the knife.
With Psycho #4 biting the dust, I've taken his innate and placed it into this item. Any character wielding this knife will start a fight off on the offensive by tearing a chunk out of their opponent's health even as they're hitting the field. It's like a reverse Caltrops that hits as you enter instead of hitting when they leave. 12 damage might not sound like much but that's 3 hits from a General's Insignia or about 17% of the average opponent's health – and it will always take that amount since it's untyped and ignores resistance. But, of course, you only get that blast of extra damage once while other items have it increasing your damage the whole time. Unless, of course, you're a switch happy player. In which case you can use this item to good effect by switching in and out and slicing up your foes before you even activate a skill. It's got some intriguing possibilities with Psycho #5, the Shadow, that way. If you're not likely to switch this probably isn't a good item for you because it helps drive you to making a lot of frequent switches. It's stronger than the Caltrops because that damage is under your control. But riskier since relying on it means increasing your chance of getting intercepted. It might, then, be a little strong at 12 damage and I'd consider setting it lower. But 12 is a nice number for a lot of reasons and that's where I'd start.
PSYCHO 4. ORB
Name: Psychic Orb
Effect: When you interrupt or reflect your opponent's attack, that skill is disabled for the next turn.
Appearance: A crystal ball. A palantir. A round ball made of some sort of glass. It's cloudy inside, murky, like a sky full of gathering clouds. There's power inside. A dull, diffused glow with no apparent source as whatever mists fill it eddy and pool.
The Psychos have a lot of ways of interrupting and otherwise preventing their opponent's attacks. This item lets them take even more advantage of thwarting those skills. With this item equipped if they disrupt a skill they're also disable it, preventing it from being used for 1 turn. Like with Amaya's innate, whatever skill's been blown will be locked out, grayed, and unavailable for use. And that's after it's failed and cost dearly for doing so. So, while it might not be that effective if you get, say, a Chi Blast. But imagine what would happen if, say, a Psycho was fighting Constantine. They could stop his Pilebunker on the first turn and he'd be unable to use it on the next turn. This item, then, makes the Psycho's shutdown even more effective. Not every Psycho can make use of it, though. Psychopaths #3 & 5 lack an interrupt or a reflect, off the top of my head, since they disrupt attacks in other ways. That might be a problem since it creates a more limited set of cards that can use this item. So, I might need to broaden the effect or add in something else to give them a reason to slot it. At the moment, though, it's a pure and simple effect and I like how that works.
PSYCHO 5. NET
Name: Tangled Net
Effect: On the turn after a new opponent has switched in you automatically critically hit.
Appearance: A net made of hemp with vicious looking hooks on its ends. It's a tumbled up and jangled mess just piled on the floor.
This item increases damage on the turn after an opponent makes a switch. When that happens, a character wearing this item will automatically critically hit with their attacks, causing their opponent a lot of damage since that's 1.5 times their normal amount. The way it works is this, while a target has the switch cooldown timer, this item is activated. When they don't, it isn't. This makes sure that players can't get in a cheap hit after earning a kill – that's a switch that doesn't flash that timer up. Otherwise, though, this item punishes players who switch a lot or otherwise try to run away. It creates a narrow window but one that, nonetheless, can be taken advantage of to severely weaken a target. The trouble I'm having here is with the flavor. I just can't seem to find a good item skin for this one – I'm not very happy with the current net design. But although its effect is a little creaky – you only get one shot for increased damage and it's going to suck if you miss – I think it creates an interesting twist and plays into the Psychotic themes well.
The Gangsters are a flexible group of powerful attackers and their items reflect that. They extend the Gangsters ability to get around defenses by punishing those opponents who try to disrupt their attacks. And several also increase a Gangsters ability to deal out those attacks as well. It's a line of items slanted to the offensive but, then, so are the Gangsters.
PSYCHO 1. VEST
Name: Bullet Proof Vest
Effect: You have a 15% chance to dodge physical attacks. If your blows are reflected then you are healed rather than harmed.
Appearance: It's a bullet proof vest. Solid, sturdy, it's strapped up and standing up as if it's waiting for someone to step into it.
This item is primarily reflection protection. With the Psychos around there's a high chance that many attacks could be bounced back and land squarely in a Gangster face. This item eliminates that danger since it converts reflected damage into healing. If a Gangster attack would normally hit for 20 then that's how much health they'd gain if it were turned back on them. But reflects are rare and I wanted to make sure this item wasn't completely useless most of the time so it also provides some protection against, well, bullets. The gun attacks – and a lot of others – that the Gangster use cut through defenses but they're largely typed physical. So, this item gives a character a small but significant chance to evade them. It's not quite as good as the Elusive Feather but, then, because it stops reflection it also does more. And although it won't always matter, an item like this is all about the averages. You mitigate damage here over the long run because the short run will be incredibly variable. If you're wearing this item, though, you're decreasing your opponent's per hit average by that 15%. That's worth about 4~5 points of damage on the average hit. It might be a bit weak, still, but it completely shuts down reflection and, with the Feather around, I just can't justify raising the dodge rate – and dodging works great since that's one of the few ways to avoid a gun shot. One thing I definitely don't want to do is to add in yet another ability so, although I might make some changes here, this is probably it.
PSYCHO 2. KNIFE
Name: Flick Knife
Effect: Your physical attacks have a 25% chance to Bleed, dealing 2 damage for 4 turns (8 DOT) to your opponent. If you are interrupted, your foe takes 25 damage (U).
Appearance: A switchblade, the hinged kind with a hidden razor inside. It's halfway folded, bent into an L-shape.
The Bleeding on this item is just a bonus. It adds 2 damage, on average, which isn't nothing but it's also very close. I've limited it to physical attacks, too, which comprise the majority of Gangster attacks but it does mean things like G1's Molotov Cocktail and a buffed up G6 won't get that additional boost. What this item really does it protect against interruption. Not, like the Girdle of Iron Will, by preventing it but by dissuading it by making it extremely costly. Normally, an interrupt stops an attack (Or, some other effect), and that prevent an opponent from taking damage. But, here, when they interrupt they'll take damage anyway. And, more likely than not, enough that they might as well have not bothered with stopping the attack anyway because they'll have taken as much if not more damage.
GANGSTER 3. CONTRACT
Name: Hitter's Contract
Effect: When you kill an opponent you gain 25 health and 30 energy.
Appearance: A dossier, a file folder, with a picture paperclipped to it. It lists information about a figure who's obscured and indistinct – you can't quite make out the writing or the picture – but you can make out that it's detailing someone's name and address and the like.
With this item, a character is rewarded for finishing off an opponent. The Gangsters are a brutal bunch so I'm sure they can make good use of this. They not only get some health to recover from a fight but they also get the energy they need to keep on scrapping away. With end of turn regeneration they get 50 energy after notching a kill (provided, of course, there are no other effects in play) and that means they're almost certain to start the next fight with enough energy to use their skills even if they don't quite have a full bar. That's about the point where I want this item yet although I might have to fiddle around with the values some more.
GANGSTER 4. CLIP
Name: Money Clip
Effect: When your opponent is buffed, you have a chance 50% to gain that buff as well. When you use a buff, you have a 50% chance to activate that buff for free.
Appearance: A piece of silvery metal, embossed with a tiny version of the Gangster's symbol etched in gold.
When I say “ when you use a buff” here I mean that when the player activates a skill that's specifically a buff. There are some skills that proc buffs off of attacks or have them as secondary effects. This doesn't work with them. I'm talking about things like Frenzied Rage and Killer Shades and Incendiaries. Skills whose sole and only purpose is to put a buff up on your character. With this item, you get a chance to use them for free, effectively decreasing their cost by half, on average. As if that wasn't enough you also get a chance to mirror any buff that's put up by your opponent. And that doesn't include just pure cast buffs but buffs procced for any reason. If they hit you and, then say, gain some regeneration then there's a fair chance you'd start gaining health as well. With as many buffs floating around as this set have, that, too, is a potentially very useful effect, giving a Gangsters a bit of help when it comes to dealing with his foes.
GANGSTER 5. POWDER
Name: White Powder
Effect: Your multiple-hit attacks strike one additional time. Your other skills have their speeds increased by 1.
Appearance: A bag of a mysterious white powdery substance, tipping out and spilling all over the place, laying in heaps like freshly powdered slopes white with snow. It could be sugar. It could be salt. But it's probably not...
The White Powder is the Gangsters main damage enhancing item. Most of their cards have at least one multi-hit attack to benefit from this skills effect. And those that don't get a minior Valkyrie's Charm effect. Either effect would be good. Together, it's a potent combination that increases a card's ability to deal damage one way or the other. And even helps out with the Gangster's ability to buff since they'll be less likely to get interrupt or hit first. The increase to multi-hit attacks will have to be carefully watched, though, since increasing the multiplier it means any multi-hit skill gains bonus damage equal to its damage value (You go from AxB to Ax(B+1) and that means you hit for (AxB)+A.). That means skills with a high initial value get a bonus that's much better than the General's Insignia. That only gives out +4 while this hands out +9 and, potentially, even more. It puts, I think, a cap on the maximum damage value that Gangster skills can get although that's not a bad thing since that helps to weaken them against resistance or other effects, even when resistance doesn't apply. But as if that wasn't bad enough, this also increases speed which can be a problem in and of itself. Although I don't think the Gangsters have many skills that get abusive when they're faster having this item means I'd always have to check and make sure.
4. ROCK STARS
There are a few themes with the Rocker items. First, they're about buffs to help compliment the signature effects of many of the cards in this group. Second, they're about switching out since many of those signature effects also benefit teammates that might want to be put into play. And, finally, they're about critical hits since one of the motifs that's developed among the Rockers is a reliance on delivering powerful critical hits.
ROCKER 1. DRUMS
Name: Drum Kit
Effect: Your attacker takes 20 damage (U) when you are intercepted.
Appearance: A standard drum set. Base, snares, high hat, the works, with a pair of drumsticks laid carefully on top. Like it's been set out for a concert that's just about to begin. On the big round one right in front, the base drum, the Rock Star icon has been painted on and prominently displayed.
The Rockers buff. They buff their teammates with powerful effects that increase their own abilities. And the basic idea is that you can use a Rocker to power up another card or two and then bring those out to have a bit of fun. That creates a problem since the Rocker then has to switch out safely in order to bring those teammates into play. They need to switch and, unfortunately, their opponent knows it, too. So, this item is intended to give them a slightly easier time of getting off the field. Unlike Rumiko's innate or the Flash Powder, it doesn't make switching any easier. Instead, it's more like a reverse Pimp Cup – rather than rewarding a successfully landed intercept, it penalizes it. When a character wearing this item gets the dreaded crunch, they crunch their opponent right back for nearly as much (Not as much since we don't want to completely relegate intercepts to the sidelines. Still, 20HP is a healthy chunk of most character's bars. It won't be devastating but it'll hurt.). And what this should do is influence player decisions. If you know your opponent's going to switch with absolute certainty then you go for the intercept. But if you know you're going to get hurt for doing so, you might not be as likely to make that choice. Intercepting becomes more of a risk and if opponents won't intercept as much then the Rocker wearing this can more easily slip away to safety. Of course, wearing this item announces that you're looking to switch so opponents might be even more likely to sacrifice some health to take away more of yours. And, then, knowing that you can put this item on when you don't intend to switch a lot so that they waste more turns intercepting while you smash away. And, then... But, well, hey that's just the way the game's played and, done right, this item helps to give those decision loops another twist.
ROCKER 2. AMPS
Name: Electrifying Amplifiers
Effect: The duration of the buffs you create is increased by 25%. The duration of your Ballads is increased by an additional 25%. When you buff there is a 30% chance that all of your other buffs refresh, resetting to their original durations.
Appearance: A big stack of booming speakers. They've not only been around the world, beaten and knicked and showing obvious signs of wear along with stickers from a dozen countries and twice as many bands (including, prominently, the Rockers icon), they been tricked out, overpowered and overclocked and whatever else some clever roadie along the way has done to draw out just a little bit more power.
The Rockers are largely about buffs and the Amps increase the effectiveness of their buffs. It increases the duration of buffs in two ways. First, by just flat out making them last more turns by adding to their duration when they're used. And, second, when a character wearing this item uses a buff, they've got a chance to cause any other buffs in play to reset to the duration they had when they were cast. So, if you've got a buff that normally lasts for 4 turns but is about to expire, you can buff with it again and not only will you get a new copy that lasts for 5 turns but there's a chance you'll wind up with 2 since that first buff can be renewed. I picture this as rounding down so it takes a buff that lasts at least 4 turns for them to get that last bonus turn (That's so short lasting buffs that are limited because they'd otherwise be too effect don't get too strong.). But that's not important since the real benefit here is to the Ballads. Those powerful teamwide effects that the Rockers can lay down. They tend to last about 6 turns so, with this, they become 9 turn monsters that will be sure to have an impact. The problem here is that this item and Item #5 might be doing too much of the same thing. The Mic and the Amp both make buffs last longer. The Mic does it by adding turns as you attack, the Amp by increasing duration when you activate. It might be that one is strictly better and, at the moment, I think that's the Mic. But I think it might also be alright. The Microphone is more for cards like R6, Izzy, who want to get in there and get those hits. While this item is more for those Rockers who want to stand back and rock out for a few turns to buff up their teams before switching out. One increases the procced buffs, in other words, while the other is tailored for the team-affecting buffs.
ROCKER 3. GUITAR
Name: The Golden Guitar
Effect: You have 2 additional resistance (+2/+2/+2). When you critically hit you gain an additional 5 energy at the end of the turn for the next 5 turns.
Appearance: This guitar looks like it's made not out of gold but golden neon. Out of light. Out of pure energy, trapped in some kind of material shell that can barely contain it. It's the essence, the power of rock that you can hold in your hand. It's also a bad ass electric guitar. I'm thinking it should be an old-school model, looking classic and timeless, with a wide body and a long neck and solid fret with a varnished finish, a sheen poured over molten gold.
This is a damage enhancing item although it might not look like it at first glance. On first impression it's a weak defensive item that adds a paltry amount of resistance (Although I'd argue that it's still better than the Reinforced Breastplate since those points are spread over every type of damage you'd face.). That'll help out the Rockers, especially, since they generally have weak resistance and more means they're better able to survive. But the real ability here is what happens when you score a critical hit. And the Rockers have a lot of ways of scoring an easy critical hit. After a critical hit, their end of turn energy regeneration will be increased. And that's how their damage will be enhanced because more energy turns into more attacks which turns into more damage. Not sure if it's living up to that promise well enough at the moment although because of problems with range changing, +5 per turn is as high as I'm willing to go (It might be better to have it lower skill costs, then, perhaps since it will stack up and get to that bad zone of over 50 energy a turn anyways.).
ROCKER 4. CAPE
Name: Rocker's Cape
Effect: When you successfully switch out you are healed for 10. Your teammate who switches in is healed for 15.
Appearance: A white cape bordered with gold trim. It's showy and flashy and looks like the sort of thing they used to drape over Elvis or James Brown as they led him off the stage.
Like with the Drums, this is a switch item. A lot of what the Rockers will be about is laying down some powerful tracks and then getting off the stage to let someone else rock the crowd for a while. They need to switch out, in so many words, so their teammates can take advantage of being buffed up. This item will help them to do so. It doesn't make switching out any easier but it rewards a Rocker for being able to slip away. They recover some of the damage they've taken while being out there to buff and also makes that teammate who's receiving those buffs stronger since they're more likely to hit the deck at full health with increased power. It enhanced the power of a Rocker's switch, then, and makes it even more important for their opponents to stop.
ROCKER 5. MIC
Name: Singer's Microphone
Effect: When you successfully attack with your guitar, the duration of your buffs is extended for another turn. When you critically hit they are extended for an additional turn.
Appearance: A microphone. It's silvery and flashy, something that would look good up on stage.
Guitar attacks are a special subset of attacks on the Rocker's bars. They're basically the close attacks that are found in their first two spots. Using this item, then, allows them to make more out of their important buffs by extending their durations but only as long as they're mixing it up. This item could prove problematic, though, since it interacts with several of the Rockers in, perhaps, unfortunate ways. It lets Rocker #6 extend durations quite a lot with his first skill. And Rocker #5's buffs are designed to last only for a single turn, this lets her maintain that increased damage and chance to hit fleeing for several turns. And then there's Rocker #3 who now has a buff that causes him to automatically critically hit – this item lets him crit again and again and again as long as he can land those hits. That's three potential problems and, possibly, many more. So, this item might need a complete revamp but, at the moment, I don't have the time. And, more importantly, I think the results could be pretty interesting.
There's a definite energy theme here. A lot of these items revolve around preserving or manipulating energy somehow. I wasn't really planning that it's more of a feature of the fact that these are general items #14~15+ for me. I've made several before, after all, and I hate repeating myself. The earlier ones have taken care of the obvious stuff. And later ones dealt a lot with damage and switching out. That leaves energy, really, as the mechanic to play with. And that's largely what the general items are about. Because these items can be used by any of a growing number of characters in the roster, I don't feel quite as bad about ripping off previous ideas. I don't like to repeat myself but I do like to iterate and a good way to make general items is to take a previous one and try to do what it does in some other way. The Mindreader's Chalice restores energy on a successful intercept so what about one, for example, that would restore health? With the generic pool of items, since there are so many, I'm not as worried about each having its own unique niche but, instead, with giving a player a lot of different looks and options so they can find the one they really think works. Oh, and tossing out the odd mechanic to wrap the game every now and then. I think both are on display here.
GENERAL 1. CANDLE
Name: Candle of Mist
Effect: Intercept costs your opponent 40 energy.
Appearance: A low, squat candle with a flickering flame in a wide saucer or bowl that's catching the melted wax, the candle is practically floating. It's also pouring out smoke and smog and steam, creating a dense and cloudy mist.
The idea here is that when you're wearing this item the intercept button on your opponent's bar will cost them energy to use. 40 energy or equivalent to what they get when resting. Or, in other words, a net of 20 energy for that turn after they're finished. This increase in cost means that intercepting isn't cheap. Although it's not the most expensive, it's going to cost them energy to use. So, if they want to intercept they need to keep around a strategic reserve. If they lack that 40 energy then, just like not having enough energy for a skill, that button would be grayed out and unavailable to use – an opponent couldn't intercept unless they had at least 40 energy, in other words. More importantly, intercepting would cost them the energy they need to use their other skills where, normally, it means they actually gain. It's a 40 energy swing, normally they'd be up 20 but, with this, they're in the hole. That makes intercepting subtly more difficult and, therefore, makes switching out easier for you. It's not going to stop anyone from intercepting but, keep in mind, this is a general item and I don't want to make it too strong. But by making intercepts more expensive it should alter the normal calculus of when to intercept and when not to take that risk of switching out. That's the idea, anyway.
GENERAL 2. BRACELET
Name: Friendship Bracelet
Effect: If another living member of your team shares your group then you add their resistance to your own.
Appearance: A tacky looking friendship bracelet, studded with the various icons or symbols of the various groups.
One of the themes I've been trying to get at with this set of cards is teamwork. The idea that the cards don't just work by themselves but together as part of a deck. So, I've been trying to fold in mechanics and ideas that benefit that sort of thing. This item is yet another one since it rewards players who construct their decks in certain ways. One of those crazy, out there ideas that someone's sure to mention whenever a list of Kongai suggestion is made is that using characters from the same group should have some sort of benefit (That's a bad idea for a variety of ways but mostly because it eliminates a lot of diversity in decks. A bonus for doing something is another way of saying a penalty for not doing something so whatever decks aren't single-grouped or whatever would be missing out and, thus, not as good as other decks. Groups are mostly about limiting item selection, that's bonus enough for using a card with a particular border for me.) and this item is a sneaky way of getting such a thing into the game. With this, if there's another character in the deck with the same colored border then you gain their innate. If you've got Higashi, say, slotted with this and somewhere else is Onimaru, he'd get +10 physical resistance, setting his matrix to an impressive 12/3/3. If Onimaru had the same item then he'd have that same resistance. If you added Yoshi to the mix, then you'd bump up the Light and everyone would have something like 12/9/4. It can get a bit crazy, in other words, especially in 5-Card decks. So, perhaps, the maximum resistance needs a cap. But I don't think it's all that much of a problem because of a few things, first, really abusing this limits your deck to cards of the same group and those are likely going to be worse than decks drawing on a lot of other characters. Second, making extensive use of this item to create a network of resistance means those cards have given up their item slot and other potential abilities – you get a lot of protection but you don't get your Generals or Blood Vials or anything else. And, finally, resistance items are mostly trash and I'd just like to see one that was actually relevant and that means pushing the power level to the breaking point. The restriction that the teammate has to be alive helps (Although that's not much of one when everyone has 30+ resistance, of course) but I might have gone too far here, though, although I'd be pretty happy if I did. An alternative would be to have each group have a specific bonus that would be granted for each group. If there's one or more Ninja you could have a chance to dodge, say. A bunch of Vampires might have be granted life draining on their attacks. That'd be more work, though, since you'd have to figure out something for each group. Could be interesting, though.
GENERAL 3. TOTEM
Name: Featherfoot Totem
Effect: If you and your opponent both agree on changing the range, you gain 50 energy.
Appearance: A wooden totem, painted vividly, it's a stylyzed depiction of an eagle or a thunderbird of some sort.
I like to name items after a pattern, in case you haven't noticed, and the original set established a theme that I've followed of naming things to deal with changing ranges after some kind of Totem. The idea here, then, is that this item is a cousin, a counterpart to the Stoneheel Totem that increases the cost of changing range. Rather than increasing, though, it decreases. The way it works is this, normally a character spends 50 energy to change ranges and both players can opt to do so or to pass during the movement phase. With this item equipped, though, it complicates that phase somewhat and, perhaps, adds an element of gamesmanship. Because, if both players opt to move to the same range then this item hands you 50 energy, effectively letting your enemy pay for shifting the range for you. This idea is a little half-baked, though, since you can already do that by just passing when they've set the range. So, perhaps, it could be made a little better by rewarding you for guessing right a little more. But guessing right is what this item is about and creating yet another mental game where you and your opponent try to dance around what you each want to do.
GENERAL 4. CHARM
Name: Gravestone Charm
Effect: Your corpse cannot be exploited.
Appearance: A small casket carved from ivory bone, a charm dangling from a necklace.
Wearing this item you cannot be exploited. That's both a simple effect and a powerful one because you can use it in combination with cards that exploit corpses. Imagine you've got this on a real powerhouse you can use N1, the Animator, to bring their corpse back to life multiple times, stepping around the normal restriction of one. It's a bit of a double-edged sword, though, since your corpse is a resource that can't be exhausted by your opponents, either. And they, too, can use that to good effect. It might be worth making this a little stronger by making that your corpse can't be exploited means you can't be turned into a Zombie or whatever because, for the most part, you're setting yourself up more than you are setting up a plan here. But that would take away the sense of danager from an item that opens up new ways of abusing the game.
GENERAL 5. BRACERS
Name: Iron Bracers
Effect: If your attack fails to hit your opponent, you gain 20 energy.
Appearance: Plain wrist bands of wrought iron. They're not very ornamented or detailed, they're just heavy and solid, like a pair of old hand cuffs.
The idea here is that there are a lot of ways for attacks to fail. Whether it's missing or being interrupted or even being reflected, it sucks when your attacks fail to land. This item, though, takes some of the sting out of it. Not all of it since this is only a general item after all but wearing this item when you somehow fail to hit your opponent you'll get an extra 20 energy. With the end of turn regeneration that means on those turns when you've failed to hit you'll effectively have rested. That's energy you can use to attack again.
GENERAL 6. CUP
Name: Victor's Cup
Effect: When you kill your foe, your energy is restored.
Appearance: A cup, a chalice, a goblet made of gold that looks like nothing so much as a trophy.
With this item when you kill an opponent you gain enough energy to fill your bar back up to the maximum. That way, you face off against your next foe with a full 100 energy. And, as the observation has been made, in Kongai you're fighting against your opponent's health bar just as much as you're fighting against their energy. A full bar of yellow means that you might not have a lot of health left but that you can at least try to do something. It makes you recharged for the next fight where you can use this card to press the advantage you've just created by earning a kill. It also means that you can go full out trying to get that kill since you won't have to worry about facing your next opponent without anything to use. Blast away with your most expensive skills, if they land you'll get that energy back and be ready to blast again. I like the idea, the only thing I'm not sure about is that Gangster Item #3 is doing roughly the same thing, making this a junior or improved version. And I really don't like that sort of thing. But the Gangster item also offers healing giving it a slightly different twist. And there are only 5 cards that can use it while everyone can use this – and I think it is interesting enough that a lot of cards would want to give it a try. I just think one or the other shouldn't exist, at least not at the same time.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Here are the items. All 26 of them. 5 for each group plus 6 general items that anyone can use. I think that's important for an expansion set to include those generic cards because those items can breathe new life into old cards. Giving them new combinations and different looks so they don't just get shuffled to the bottom of the deck as a raft of new cards see play.