News for May 2012
Mercy and Vengeance
A Preview of Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition

Avric Albright spent three years as a soldier assigned to the Citadel of Archaut before hearing his calling. He traveled to Vynelvale to join the priesthood, but never arrived. On the way, one innocent’s cry for help led to another quest to rescue a small town, to another adventure deep beneath the earth. And so it goes for Avric, a man so devoted to the principles of his religion he cannot find the time to be inducted into its holy orders. Still, no one doubts his faith...or his power.

As the release of Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition approaches, we continue our series of previews on its new and exciting gameplay elements. A few weeks ago we looked at the Warrior archetype, along with how its two possible classes (Knight and Berserker) offer distinct play experiences. Today, we’ll examine the Healer archetype, and we’ll see how the vigilant Disciple and the shamanistic Spiritspeaker each present a unique approach to the healing arts.

A Light in the Darkness

First, meet Avric Albright. A deeply religious crusader, Avric has pledged himself to those in need. Should his controlling player select the Disciple class, Avric would be armed with a Wooden Shield with which to protect the faithful, an Iron Mace with which to punish the wicked, and a litany of prayers with which to summon his god’s wrath or mercy. Prayer of Healing is his starting Class card (read Martial Mastery, an earlier preview, for more on Class cards and experience points), and it forms the foundation for many of the Disciple’s synergies.

The Disciple’s Class deck features a number of cards that specifically affect Prayer of Healing, making it more powerful and versatile. While numerous skill combinations are prevalent across all character types, a Class deck in which one skill specifically mentions another skill is relatively rare (only the Necromancer's Class deck is similar in that regard, but we’ll discuss that class in a future preview). For example, Armor of Faith, Cleansing Touch, and Holy Power are all Class cards that improve Prayer of Healing, allowing it to buff an ally’s defense, cure conditions, affect multiple targets, or all of the above.

Of course, the Disciple could spend his experience points in entirely different ways, spreading serenity to his foes with Prayer of Peace or punishing evil with his Blessed Strike. With these and many other skill options available, a decision to follow the righteous path of Kellos is only the first in a long line of compelling choices.

May the Spirits Guide You

What about Mok?

Mention of the “Spiritspeaker” class may lead some first edition veterans to wonder about Spiritspeaker Mok, a classic character. Given his name, must he always choose the Spiritspeaker class?

In a word, no. As Spiritspeaker Mok’s Hero sheet in the Conversion Kit shows, his name has been changed to Elder Mok. After all, why pigeonhole him into one class (even thematically)? Similarly, Battlemage Jaes is now Jaes the Exile. While it’s true that there is currently no “Battlemage” class, hero names that seem to inherently suggest a class have all been changed, leaving valuable design space open for the future.

For a less orthodox approach to spirituality, Avric could have instead chosen Spiritspeaker as his class. These shamanistic witch-doctors are often derided by more official religious institutions, since it’s rumored that they dabble in the dark arts. But although their methods may be unconventional, their powers are no less effective.

The Spiritspeaker begins with an Oak Staff (far more than a mere walking stick) and the ability to buff himself and nearby allies with Stoneskin. Like Stoneskin, a great many of the Spiritspeaker’s skills tend to affect targets “within 3 spaces,” making this class an excellent aura-based buffer and de-buffer.

For example, the Spiritspeaker might summon a Cloud of Mist to obscure incoming attacks against himself and his fellows, or his wounded party might gather around him for a Healing Rain. The more offensively minded Spiritspeaker might even evoke a roaring Tempest to sweep away his foes, or curse them with Shared Pain. While such devilry might be reprehensible to the high-minded Disciples, a Spiritspeaker is always willing to call upon his long-dead ancestors to inflict their wrath upon his enemies.

Whether you choose guidance from your ancestor spirits or the hand of Kellos himself, the Healer Archetype presents an invaluable asset to any dungeon-delving team. Keep checking back in the coming weeks for more on Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition, and look for it on store shelves this summer!

Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition is a story-driven board game for 2-5 players that takes a party of adventurers deep into the dungeons of Terrinoth for adventure, treasure, and glory. Players will embark on a campaign of linked quests as they develop characters based on four fantasy archetypes.

    
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