Friday, November 7, 2008

RDK: Ghilbert – He Really Hates Debuffs (Zealot #4)

Name: Brother Ghilbert
Title: The Witch-finder
Set: RDK
Group: Zealots
Role: Anti-debuff Scrapper
Health: 70
Resistance: 2/2/4
Innate: When Gilbert attacks he has a 30% chance to knock off each buff that his foe has.
Bar (v6):

  1. Cleansing Blow. 20En, 2spd, 25dmg, Phys. 90Hit, 100Proc. You rid yourself of impurities with this swift strike, losing one debuff as you hit. Close.
  2. Righteous Strikes. 40En, 7spd, 7x5(35)dmg, Light. 95Hit, 100proc. If you are debuffed, you strike with furious anger and a greatly increased chance to lay your vengeance upon your foe with a critical hit (50crit). Close.
  3. Vortex Canon. 70En, 5spd, 10x5(50)dmg, Dark. 90Hit, 100proc. Your strange and possibly heretical device creates an immense vortex, sucking your foe towards you as the range is set to Close. Far.
  4. Prayer of Purification. 40En, 3spd, Light. You refresh your mind, body, and soul as you lose all buffs and debuffs. You are healed for 10 for each debuff lost. Both.
Summary: Foul users of dark magic fear dread Ghilbert. He stalks them, hounding them to their graves, having learned how to turn their powers to his advantage. Armed with a swift sword and the awful devices harvested from his prey, those he brands as witches will find they'll never get away.
  • Debuffs.
  • Range Changing Attack.
  • Low Accuracy
Backstory: Ghilbert was an ordinary man who lived in an ordinary world. A clerk, he managed the accounts for a small company in a pleasant town in the south of France where he lived with his young wife. In their happy home they kept a wonderfully average life. Each day, Ghilbert would rise and kiss his wife and stroll down to the office. Each night he would return to a warm cup of coffee and a comfortable evening with his wife. The stable, boring routine of a content man. Then, one dark day, Ghilbert walked home in a driving rainstorm, cursing himself for having forgotten his umbrella and the weather reports for failing to mention that he'd need one. He saw the smoke as he rounded the corner and his cheerful home burning to the ground. He raced into the fire, desperate to find his wife. He screamed his voice raw, his eyes burning from the smokes, as he searched from room to room. He found her, what was left of her, in a pile by the back door. Gagged as he turned her over and discovered the jagged claws marks streaking up and down her once beautiful form. Blind panic or perhaps some hidden instinct saved him then as he lurched back. A horrible claw flashed by his face and splintered the wall behind him. Half-blinded by the smoke, blistered from the flames, mad with grief, he fought back as the house burned around him. Wrestling with the indistinct blur and its lethal claws, unable to see and even less able to comprehend. He tackled it to the ground and lashed at it with his fist. Finally, the house, desicated by the fire, began to crumble. The shadowy form fled as a burning timber crashed down between them. Ghilbert struggled to chase it as it ran out of the house. He paused, outside, as it faded into the gloomy night. And turned, in horror, as the house collapsed behind him, sizzling in the rain. When the authorities came, they found him struggling to lift the debris, piece by piece, as he tried to unearth his wife. He told them his tale of a dark creature, with some horrific and barely glimpsed shape. When they doubted him, he told them to look at his wife and the marks it had scored up and down her sides. But the fire had charred her flesh, eliminating whatever evidence could be found and they patted him on the back and showed him where the coffee pot had tipped over and started the blaze. Ghilbert refused to believe them, refused to recant what he saw. He become obsessed with finding the monster that claimed his wife's life, scouring libraries and archives for a hint of what it might be. Training himself to fight, in case it ever returned. In time, he lost his job and his place in that pleasant town as he sank deeper into his relentless pursuit. He bought weapons and strange tomes of forgotten lore. Became an expert on monsters and all things supernatural. And, then, he began to hunt. He tracked down beast after beast and ended their miserable life but, somehow, he could never return with proof or locate the monster that had taken his wife. His travels took him far and wide, including to the mountain peaks that the Order called home. Ghilbert had come seeking entrance into their archives, for a glimpse at the volumes they had collected over the years but found, instead, kindred spirits. The Order took him in and made him a witch-finder, responsible for finding and hunting down the menaces they'd been sworn to destroy. Ghilbert, no longer an ordinary man, had found an extraordinary job and threw himself into his work with zeal. But he would never ceased searching, never stopped looking for the vile creature that had slaughtered his wife.
Appearance: Ghilbert looks like nothing so much as a gothic pilgrim because the inspiration here would be the witch-hunters from Warhammer or Vampire Hunter D. He wears old fashioned padded armor made out of leather, made to resemble gentlemanly wear. He's a tall man with an angular face. His face pale, haunted and gaunt, as if he'd missed out on the past few days sleep or been through a famine. A large, conical hate with a low, wide brim covers his head. Long streams of brown hair streams out of it and into the wind. The cape he wears loosely around his shoulders billows, too. Large silvery buckles hold straps that criss-cross his chest and his arm and his legs, strapping his armor down and holding up his tall, rubbery boots. In one hand he brandishes a rapier. A tall, thin, tapering blade. In the other is a strange gun, looking like a hand canon or a blunderbuss with its barrel etched with eldritch runes studded with incomprehensible bits of tubing and brass mechanics. It glows, faintly, with power, dark and foreboding. He points it out straight towards his opponent while he sweeps his rapier low and to the side.
  1. Cleansing Blow. A straight-line slash.
  2. Righteous Strikes. Multiple slashes.
  3. Vortex Canon. A swirling mass of darkness surrounds the opponent as both characters and the screen shake. Wind and debris roar past. Then the range is shifted as the vortex disappears.
  4. Prayer of Purification. Ghilbert glows with holy light, a slender circular band of light surrounds him, like a scan line, starting at his waist and then moves up and down, covering his whole body before disappearing.
Suggested Item: Magebane Powder

Ghilbert is a card who settled comfortably into a groove early on and has remained largely unchanged ever since, as you can probably tell from his low version number. Unlike many other cards, I haven't had to continually readjust him when I thought of something better. I've changed his name more than I've changed his bar and, even then, it's mostly been tweaking his values up and down in order to balance rather than completely revamping skills.

Basically a version of Bridgette that trades some defense for debuff hate and offensive power for a might range changing nuke, Ghilbert is, I think, a particularly nasty card tat's always worked rather well. His shtick is to be anti-debuff. The Zealots tend to counter-act debuffs but none of them do it better than Ghilbert.

He's my first conditional character, one whose abilities change depending on whether or not a certain condition has been met. It's an idea that I like, obviously, and I've gone on to use it to even greater effect than what's on display here but Ghilbert was really the first testbed for skills whose effects changed depending on what buffs or debuffs were in play. And those effects are to be incredibly tough on characters that try to slap debuffs on Ghilbert – you wouldn't want to be Voidstreaming or Poison Darting this card because it only makes him stronger. The general idea, then, is that Ghilbert is a character who hates debuffs. Not that he dislikes them but he includes counters to debuffs that make their use unwise. He closes off or at least makes it much more difficult to employ a strategy that revolves around debuffs.

His ability to hate debuffs into a nonviable strategy starts with Skill #2, Righteous Strikes. This is a powerful attack obviously modelled after Frenzied Strikes. It strikes initially for only 7x5 damage, a raw 35 that's 53 on a crit. With a 90% chance to hit that works out to an average damage of about 34, before anything else gets involved. But RS is a conditional skill and changes whenever Ghilbert has been debuffed. If he has a debuff, any debuff, then the critical hit rate of Righteous spikes up, going from the base 3% to an impressive 50%. That doesn't change the damage values at all but it does alter their average. So that, when debuffed, Ghilbert is incredibly more likely to crit and, thus, does about 43 damage on average with this skill. That's a somewhat impressive difference of 9 points but, more than that, it's an even more impressive change in the swingy-ness of the skill – it's ability to change a battle one way or the other.

With Skill #2, debuffing Ghilbert is dangerous. But with Skill #1, Cleansing Blow, he can take care of any dangerous debuffs before they can do him any lasting harm. Cleansing Blow removes a debuff if it hits, allowing Ghilbert to rid himself of something like Touch of Doom or Spirit Assistance before it can go into effect or just to get rid of miss debuffs or anything else he doesn't want. It hits nice and slow, too, so Ghilbert can always threaten to cancel out a debuff on the turn it's cast.

Skill #1, Cleansing Blow, though, is at cross purposes with Skill #2, Righteous Strikes. One needs debuffs to increase its damage while the other gets rid of those debuffs before they can hurt. So, Ghilbert players have to choose between letting those debuffs stick to get quicker kills or killing slower to lose those same debuffs.

Since Skill #1 removes only a single debuff at a time that might mean Ghilbert, the anti-debuff character, might get buried under a mound of debuffs. But Skill #3, Prayer of Purification, ensures that he won't. PoP, when cast, removes all debuffs from Ghilbert and then heals him for every debuff lost. That should make up for letting a Poison or some other DOT tick off for a few turns as well as helping to make debuffing Ghilbert a net plus for him – you might hurt him for a while but you're only helping him to increase his health. Because that's a potentially very powerful ability, I've included a bit of a drawback so PoP will remove any positive buffs along with those negative debuffs. Ghilbert can't use any buffs himself, so it's not that much of a hassle, but it does mean he can't be buffed up by an Ubuntu or an Elia and still free himself of any debuffs without pain.

The concept here, then, is that buffs and debuffs are a kind of magic and Ghilbert, as this fanatical hunter of witches and supernatural forces has learned how to deal with them. It's a theme that continues with his innate which gives him a moderate chance to remove buffs from his target when he attacks. He gets a chance to eliminate each one individually so he can take off a whole bunch at a time or he can take off none at all. Even so, it's a bit of a weak innate – something I don't mind since Ghilbert packs a powerful bar. But it's something that could come in very useful, if infrequently, depending on how widespread buffs are. And, with this set and others, I've been trying to make sure that buffs are both more useful and more common, so while it might not be a devastating innate or as powerful as some of the others I'll eventually display, it could come in handy and that's about all that I think Ghilbert needs.

The final skill on his bar has nothing to do with debuffs or even with buffs but, instead, is the skill that makes Ghilbert into such a deadly attacker. Skill #3, Vortex Canon is an expensive attack. At 70 energy, it can't be used twice in a row. But you couldn't, anyways, since it not only delivers a solid hit but it also sets the range to Close, where Ghilbert can continue to hack away with Skill #1&2. 70 energy is a deficit of 50 with the end of turn regeneration of 20 meaning, basically, Ghilbert still has to pay 50 to change the range, he just gets to do 50 damage for doing it. It's like what you'd have if Voss's Ray of Light was like Teleport, basically. A moderately damaging far ranged nuke that keeps a character in the range where efficient attacks can be used. It's a strong attack, then, that makes stepping away from Ghilbert more or less pointless. So, I've made it a multi-hit so that it winds up doing somewhat less damage than advertised. Still, against the average foe, it deals 40 damage and sets them up for a finishing #2, Righteous Strike or a #1, Cleansing Blow.

The combination should mean that opponents stay up Close because that's actually where Ghilbert is at his weakest. He'll need a few more turns to kill than he will if you let him get a Vortex off (Unless you've got a lot of Dark resistance, of course but that's just the way it goes.). Ghilbert might not have a lot of defense or even the healing potential of other Zealot cards but that shoudn't matter since he's such an effective killer.

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