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Reedstilt

Talisman: The Clockwork City

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The Clockwork City appears in our skies for the first time in generations. With its floating islands listing dangerously and its legendary constructs running amok, the city is in crisis. Apostles and apostates alike search for all magical objects to render into the aetherium that fuels their home, but only the Crown of Command can save the city now.

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When it came to populating the game with more Construct enemies, I wanted to do something different than I did with the Undead, Demons, etc. It didn't feel appropriate to fill the Adventure Deck with constructs and magitech objects, though there will be a few. Instead, I've created a separate Clockwork Deck, which is generally drawn from when a character visits the Clockwork City. The city itself is a Terrain that moves around the board regularly. When a character in the Outer or Middle region draws a Construct or Magic Object, the Clockwork City moves to their space. As for the corner regions, I'm considering only having it move to the Entrance spaces, to avoid having a floating city deep within the Dungeon, for example. There will also be an Ending specifically involving the Clockwork City, which gives you an excuse to use it even if you don't want to include it in the game every time.

Here are some of the cards, including the card back for the deck. Unfortunately, I don't have the artistic know-how to make a new card front, so I'm using the Remnant cards here since they have approximately the right look about them.

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You might recognize Charges from elsewhere. I know Bludgeon incorporated this mechanic in his version of the Timescape.  When you add a charged Follower or Object to a space, you put the appropriate number of charge tokens on it - four in the case of the Brass Praetorian and the Cataloguer, though three is more typical.  I'm using yellow hexagonal tokens, but it's not terribly important what they look like.  Many charged Followers and Object have a base function that can be used freely, and all have an ability that you have to spend a charge to activate. If it has no charges remaining, it cannot be used at all, but you can still keep it around unless it says otherwise. If you "restore" a charge, you cannot exceed the Follower or Objects charge value. If you "gain" a charge, you can exceed its value. 

At the moment, I'm more or less finished with the Clockwork deck itself. I still have to make some Adventure Deck cards that go along with it and write up the new ending.

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I think the concept is fantastic. For some reason when I read “moving city”, Howl’s Moving Castle came to mind. I think the card front does complement the back and fits thematically with your vision. 

Im sure you’re already aware, but if you’re looking for clockwork artwork, check out the Dwemer stuff from The Elder Scrolls Legends card game. I can find you a link if you need it. 

Edited by Pheonom

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On 11/4/2018 at 4:22 AM, Pheonom said:

Im sure you’re already aware, but if you’re looking for clockwork artwork, check out the Dwemer stuff from The Elder Scrolls Legends card game. I can find you a link if you need it. 

Great minds think alike, Pheonom! The Legion Factotum, Machine Apostle, and Brass Praetorian are all from ESL card art. So is the card back. The basic concept for this set is a blend of Elder Scrolls' Dwemer and Clockwork City, Magic's Kaladesh, and Exalted's Autochthonia - though that last one is mostly impacts the theme of a dying magitech metropolis rather than showing up much individual cards. 

The core of the Clockwork City deck has been done for a while. I actually printed it out with my last batch of cards in November and got a chance to play with it around Christmas. I was really excited to see how eager one of my friends was to explore this particular mechanic and how much he liked chasing the Clockwork City around the board. We played with the new Clockwork City ending, which needed a lot of tweaking once we actually started seeing it in action. We lost the game twice within 3 rounds or so with 6 characters in play before I dialed in a new way of handling it. Here's what it looks like currently:

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There are also 4 new characters, but I haven't gotten around to really putting them through their paces in testing. I didn't have them ready when we played around the holidays, but I'll probably be able to talk some people into playing this weekend or so.

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I had the chance to play with the new Clockwork King ending over the weekend. It still needs some tweaking. At the beginning of the game, it seemed to be working fairly well. It was moving frequently and we had to sacrifice a few our magic objects to keep it afloat. But halfway through the game we hit a long patch of not drawing magic objects, so the threat of the ending stalled out.  We lost the urgency of the ending after that.

On older version of the ending had a clause where the King discarded a charge at the end of every round, which I might have to include again. Previously this had made the game end too quickly. So maybe the end-of-round aspect only goes off if it hasn't moved otherwise.

If anyone has any suggestions here, I'd love to here them.

 

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Thanks for the compliment, 0beron. In the other conversation about potential new expansions for the digital edition, you mentioned an interested in expanding the Hidden Valley. If you like this one and haven't seen my version of that, you may be interested in checking out the thread on that topic here or looking at the completed version at TalismanIsland.

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Posted (edited)

Biraell reminded me that I never actually sent this one off to TalismanIsland! I've corrected that mistake. Hopefully Jon will have it up soon enough. EDIT: Didn't take long at all. Here is the link. Thanks, Jon!

Since there's some thematic overlap with the upcoming Clockwork Kingdom expansion for the Digital Edition, I may end up doing an expansion-expansion to merge some elements of Clockwork Kingdom into the Clockwork City. I'll need to figure how to handle Inventions in a physical medium though. 

Edited by Reedstilt

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Hopefully some of you have been able to play with the DE's Clockwork Kingdoms. I've been mulling over ideas on how to incorporate it into Clockwork City. The City would obviously replace Cog, and most of the Adventure cards would be folded into the Clockwork Deck, while a few off-theme cards might go elsewhere (I think the Animate Room, for example, would fit better in the Dungeon or City decks).

The real challenge though is what to do with the Inventions. The DE can get away with having an indeterminate number of generated Objects with other cards that can create copies of those, but that doesn't work well in a physical format. 

One thing I'm considering is to just have blank invention cards, and have the players right down the effects of their materials with an erasable marker, but I'm open to other ideas.

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