The Dark of the Wood, Apocrypha hybrid missions, and PAX Unplugged

We’re heading into PAX Unplugged this week. In Philadelphia, we’re planning to show off Thornwatch and its expansion The Dark of the Wood in something very close to the state that it will go to the printer, modulo any changes we make after a sanity check at Unplugged. Then we’ll get the Core Set and its expansion ready to go to production, which will take an unknown amount of time. But it’s cool that the game looks close to real.

The Dark of the Wood rulebook cover. Illustration by Mike Krahulik, logos by Kiko Villasenor, graphic design by Alex Mayo and Aviva Schecterson.

Take a look at the rulebook for The Dark of the Wood, which we’re printing at the same time as the Core Set, whose Core rulebook has been updated since you last saw it. You can still give us feedback on both books, and we would greatly appreciate it.

The first thing you’ll notice is that it has a darker, more ebby color scheme than the first rulebook. The hero pawns are a bit weirder and more malevolent, and the Judges even more so—wait, is that a centaur with his head on fire?

The Judge of the Torch. Illustration by Mike Krahulik.

The Dark of the Wood also brings to life our five-episode Riddle of Seasons arc, which we ran from PAX Aus 2016 to PAX Aus 2017. The key element of that storyline is saving a Grove Lion Pup who is abandoned after its Daughter’s death. If you do, the Grove Lion grows as a tree for sixty years until it can be broken free when the worst possible thing occurs. Which it does. To get you in the mood for that, here’s the Grove Lion Pup you need to save.

The Grove Lion Pup. Illustration by Mike Krahulik.


Hybrid missions for Apocrypha

Hey, here’s a thing we haven’t talked much about: our Hybrid Mission Pack. It’s coming together and we figured we it’d be cool to tell you about it.

Originally, we planned to do a promo pack of 10 cards, each of which had a mission on one side and a multicolored fragment on the other. In the process of design, the mission pack is now 19 cards: a main rules card, 9 mission/fragment cards, and 9 cards of a new type called a lowdown card.

The basic concept is that you put the cards of two chapters in the box with the Base cards. For example, the hybrid mission Rare Meat is a Dreamers/Physicians crossover. When you play it, you’ll put the blue-bordered Dreamers cards and brown-bordered Physicians cards into the box with the black-bordered Base cards.

The mission comes with a traditional mission/fragment card plus the lowdown card, which has the story on one side and the setup rules on the other.

Rare Meat lowdown and mission cards, from the Hybrid Mission Pack. Design by Liz Spain, story by Mike Selinker and Teeuwynn Woodruff, and graphic design by Liz Spain, Skylar Woodies, and Aviva Schecterson.

Each hybrid mission will have true threats from both chapters. In Rare Meat, these cards would be used.

The true threats for Rare Meat. Art by David Demaret, Dhaniels Castillo, and Grzegorz Pedrcyz.

These are amazingly fun to write, as we get to puncture our perceptions of what each chapter is about. For example, our editor Aviva is working on a Deathless/Skinwalkers combo that focuses on what happens when a vampire and a werecreature fall in love, and their respective clans take issue with the union. It’s called “Twilight Struggle.”

Our PAX Unplugged plans

We’re running a Lone Shark library in PAX Unplugged from 2 to midnight on Friday and Saturday and 10 to 6 on Sunday. People will be able to check out prototypes of Thornwatch, The Ninth World, and Apocrypha and play to their heart’s content.

You can also come to the Lone Shark booth #708 and take a look at our games. You can sign up for Play Thornwatch with Someone Named Mike, a special set of events where the Triumvirate of Mikes—Fehlauer, Krahulik, and Selinker—will take turns running games of Thornwatch. You can also sign up to play RPG sessions of Apocrypha with our design team members Liz Spain, Chad Brown, Skylar Woodies, and Keith Richmond. Signups will happen at the Lone Shark booth each morning, so get there early!

Our panels include Mike’s How We Got Here on Friday at 10:30 AM, Digital Board Games: Hero or Menace on Friday at 8:30 PM, Liz at The Art of the Table on Saturday at noon, and Thornwatch and the Future of the Eyrewood on Saturday at 6. Come join us.

That’s it from Shark HQ this month. Thanks for supporting our games!

Mike S.