Designer Diary: Madoushi Spawning Points
Madoushi Spawning Points
Bringing Ninja All-Stars into the Super Dungeon world required a lot of careful thought into everything from the fiction to art and, of course, the game mechanics, which is what we will be delving into today. One of the major challenges of designing rules for the Ninja All-Stars models was that the boxes came with no obvious spawning points. If you have ever played Super Dungeon, you will know that spawning points are generally some sort of object or location, which are necessary to any themed set of monsters in order to spawn them onto the board. However, there were no models in the Ninja All-Stars boxes that fit this description.
To fix this problem, we first looked at the established story and asked which individuals would most likely be the leaders of these groups of models. The answer came quickly: the madoushi. Madoushi are magic users, and they are often sacred. The madoushi of clan Kitsune sense paths through the twisted forests that they call home, and they decide when and where the Kitsune do battle. The madoushi of clan Tanchyo possess magic that allows their brethren to take flight so that they can swoop down from the tall trees in which they live. In both cases, it fit perfectly with the theme to have the madoushi as the ones to summon other members of the clan to come and fight. This was important, because Super Dungeon is an immersive experience, and the rules should reflect the theme and flavor of the world. Once we settled on which models should be the spawning points, we needed to sit down and hammer out the rules.
Madoushi are clearly individuals who can move around and influence the battle, so their rules needed to reflect this. In order to do so, the madoushi spawning points were given the following rule:
Active Spawn: Spawning points with Active Spawn may activate during the Consul Turn in the same manner as 16-Bit Monsters. When destroyed they grant loot as normal for spawning points.
This rule allows madoushi to activate, take actions, and move just like other monsters. Even so, there were some concerns with having mobile spawn points. Spawn points very much control the pacing of Super Dungeon, so we had to be careful about callous consul players simply running them away from the heroes. In order to deal with this, all of the madoushi were given a very low movement.
Through playtesting it became apparent that having spawn points that could move around and attack was simply better than having spawn points that could not. To even this out, madoushi have a few weaknesses that spawn points don’t normally have. For example, none of the madoushi are immune to status effects, where normal spawn points usually are. So if a particularly ruthless party wants to run around the dungeon setting madoushi on fire, they can! This was particularly relevant because status effects generally have very little effect on normal spawn points. For example, applying the Hex status effect (which makes attacking more difficult) does very little to a spawn point that can’t attack, but has quite an effect on a madoushi spawn point. Another slight weakness they were given was that paired madoushi spawn points only have three wounds each, when paired spawn points traditionally have four wounds.
With these subtle but interesting tweaks, we found madoushi to be about on par with other spawn points. But we also had to ask the question, what was their role? If they were going to have the ability to move around and influence the battle, what were they doing? Was it just another attack, or something more? After a few iterations, we settled on something that we felt was fun and fit with the story behind the madoushi. Most madoushi can boost models belonging to their clan in some way. For example, the Tanchyo madoushi can make friendly models near it fly. The Kitsune madoushi can prompt other Kitsune to attack. This created a clear space for the madoushi to occupy; they were support characters that aided the monsters which they spawned onto the board. This was both a fun game role that we felt players would enjoy, and something that stayed true to the madoushi’s theme of being mystical leaders or guides who helped to direct their clans.
Through a combination of design, solid theme, and rigorous testing, we brought the Ninja All-Stars clans into the fold of Super Dungeon. We had a lot of fun doing it, and we sincerely hope you enjoy playing with these amazing models as much as we enjoyed working on them!
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