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Kalkris

Mr. Cooper's Dark Carnival - Homebrew Crew Brainstorm (part 1)

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Okay, so: The Dark Carnival is coming out for GenCon, as a proxy crew for Colette's standard loadout (Colette, 3 Mechanical Doves, Cassandra, 2 Performers, and 2 Mannequins). We are getting a number of named models, themed after a circus troup described in detail in the latest Wyrd Chronicles (images for the crew box are also in that issue). The Dark Carnival proxies as Colette, as mentioned above.

 

I am not satisfied with that alone.

 

What I have been tossing about as an idea both on this forum and on AWP is the idea of being amateur (or better!) devs and betatesters, all of us, and creating our own set of rules for Mr. Cooper and his Dark Carnival.

 

If you are comfortable working on a set of custom rules for casual games, and willing to make a constructive contribution, please feel free to join in on this great adventure.

 

~~~~~

 

Constants to adhere by:

Mr. Cooper is the Master of this particular crew.

Sadly, we are missing a Mr. Peanuts (the elephant), so we must omit him from the roster (for now).

 

Non-Constants to decide upon sooner than later:

The crew should be Arcanists, Neverborn, or both. (Opinion: Both) RESULT: Both

Mannequins can also be Mummerettes, and thus a new model entirely. RESULT: Mummerettes, not Mannequins

Flying Monkeys could be Mr. Cooper's Totems, but there are other options as well. RESULT: Totems

Baritone Lola is probably the Henchman of this crew, being the Cassandra analogue, but could also just be an Enforcer. (Opinion: Henchman) RESULT: Henchman

Mercury and Thin Lizzy are the Performer analogues, but could also be Enforcers instead of Minions (as Enforcers are more often named models than Minions are). (Opinion: Both Enforcers, and if not, just Mercury)

Flying Monkey station characteristics, as mentioned above (Peon/Minion). (Opinion: Peon)

 

My Opinions Explained:

Both, because while NE makes this crew look amazing Neverborn, it also has its roots in the Arcanists (as it's a NE of an Arcanist crew).

Lola's Station should be Henchman because Lola has a prominent role in the Dark Carnival fluff.

Mercury and Thin Lizzy should be Enforcers due to being named characters which gives a higher chance of being an Enforcer in the game anyhow. However, being that Willie for example is a Minion, there is precedent for named Minions. If this is to be true for one, make it Thin Lizzy (the bearded lady) as Lizzy has a less-prominent role than Mercury (the strongman, who is mentioned many times throughout that piece of fluff).

Flying Monkeys should be Peons because totem minions are sort of rare. I'd make them insignificant too, at the very least to put them in line with Peon status, but they could also be significant Peons, which is a first and nicely mirrors things like The Depleted.

 

So, I'm just going to go ahead and post a poll about Faction, and I'd like you all to vote on this, but I'd also like your input on the rest of the non-constants, and if you can, please explain why you think a thing should be as you want it :)

 

So, let us get started.

 

~Lil Kalki

 

POLL RESULTS:

 

1. Faction for Crew (Ended 6/18 @12:00AM EST):

  • Arcanists - 1 vote
  • Neverborn - 10 votes
  • DF Arcanist/Neverborn - 31 votes

2. Totem choice (Ended 6/20 @12:00AM EST):

  • Flying Monkeys - 7 votes
  • Mummerettes - 5 votes
  • Thin Lizzy - 4 votes
  • Lola - 1 vote
  • Mercury - 0 votes

3. Mummerettes or Mannequins? (Ended 6/20 @12:00AM EST):

  • Mannequins - 1 vote
  • Mummerettes - 16 votes

4. Baritone Lola's station characteristic? (Ended 6/21 @12:00AM EST):

  • Henchman - 4 votes
  • Enforcer - 3 votes

 

FUTURE POLLS:

 

Should the two Mummerettes (blade/mallet) be differentiated in stats?

 

Should Flying Monkeys be Significant or Insignificant, and should they be Peons or Minions?

 

Should Mr. Cooper have Infiltration (Showgirls/Puppets), or something more/less?

 

Should Thin Lizzy be an Enforcer or a Minion? Should Mercury be an Enforcer or a Minion?

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Dual Faction would be a great mechanic, but would need something to hold it together. I would say Mr. Cooper is the only human of the bunch, with the rest sharing 1 Characteristic of each type of Neverborn. 

 

So, my idea:

 

Mr. Cooper - Master, Living, Rare 1

 

Baritone Lola - Henchman, Living, Rare 1, Woe

 

Thin Lizzy - Minion, Living, Rare 1, Mimic

 

Mercury - Enforcer, Living, Rare 1, Nephilim

 

Flying Monkeys - Peon, Spirit, Rare 3, Totem (Mr. Cooper), Nightmare

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Just to mention it: The monkeys could be Minions, and a named model could be a totem. Karina and Ligeia are, too.

 

For ease of balancing, I'd prefer them to be just Neverborn. Balancing with the powerful Arcanist upgrades in mind is going to be difficult opposed to just the Neverborn ones.

 

Also, the human looking Neverborn should probably at least in part be Mimics.

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Mr. Cooper - Master, Living, Rare 1

 

Baritone Lola - Henchman, Living, Rare 1, Woe, Mimic

 

Thin Lizzy - Minion, Living, Rare 1, Mimic, Totem (Mr. Cooper)

 

Mercury - Enforcer, Living, Rare 1, Nephilim, Mimic

 

Flying Monkeys - Minion, Spirit, Rare 3, Nightmare

 

So what would his backstory be? What is being held for ransom, and by whom?

 

Interesting Fluff Idea: Lola, Lizzy and Mercury were Cooper's original performers. Through a series of unfortunate accidents, they have been replaced by the Neverborn each time he tried to back out on his end of the bargain?

 

Edit: I like the idea of monkeys doing his bidding, and Lizzy would be just as useful as a totem. 

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Just to mention it: The monkeys could be Minions, and a named model could be a totem. Karina and Ligeia are, too.

 

For ease of balancing, I'd prefer them to be just Neverborn. Balancing with the powerful Arcanist upgrades in mind is going to be difficult opposed to just the Neverborn ones.

 

Also, the human looking Neverborn should probably at least in part be Mimics.

 

I mean, we don't really have a deadline for this, and if we did, we're way past it already haha - but I can understand the desire for a single faction for balance reasons.

 

We could also internalize it by saying that the non-Master models can only be hired by Mr. Cooper or Lola ("Cooper's Troupe")? This also makes Thin Lizzy, as a Mimic Minion, unusable for Lucius, but that could either be really wise or really sad (or both!).

 

My other thought would be that the player would need to declare Mr. Cooper along with their proposed faction, although that's not entirely necessary, nor is it particuarly fair for that player unless it's optional with an upside of some sort.

 

So what would his backstory be? What is being held for ransom, and by whom?

 

Interesting Fluff Idea: Lola, Lizzy and Mercury were Cooper's original performers. Through a series of unfortunate accidents, they have been replaced by the Neverborn each time he tried to back out on his end of the bargain?

 

I like your fluff idea, since we have no canon for that bit of backstory yet. I think with regard to the ransom, his soul being forfeit would be the most proper option, if the most cliche as well haha

 

But yeah, Lola, Lizzy, and Mercury should absolutely be Mimics following a most unfortunate "mishap" the likes of which you mention. I feel like it's sort of like the old "kidnap and switch your infant with a changeling" trick, but for grown adults, which is actually terrifying in context. Good stuff!

 

I also feel like with regards to upgrades, a lot of them should be named after Alice Cooper references, and one more should be called "The Dark Carnival", just to make things line up alongside Tara's "Dead of Winter" upgrade (although there's not much more precedent for that sort of thing haha).

 

Perhaps also a Kinks reference for a Lola upgrade?

 

~Lil Kalki

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a lot of them should be named after Alice Cooper references

 

You mean he should be the Neverborn equivalent of McMourning? :D

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You mean he should be the Neverborn equivalent of McMourning? :D

To be quite honest, I'm not sure what you mean lmao - I'm not all too versed in Alice Cooper's music XD

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Here's a few ideas I have for some of the models:

 

Master

Mr Cooper

 

I think he would probably fit in the control/support master role, and a spell caster.

 

His attack could be scarf related, it's the most prominent piece of equipment he has.

 

Totem

Flying Monkeys (x3)

 

I was thinking for the monkeys they could be movement shenanigan pieces.  For example have the rule allowing them to place a model they are in base contact with before a move in base contact after a move (to signify them grasping onto people and moving them about).  Perhaps along with a rule allowing them to ignore disengaging strikes so they can do it to enemy models they are engaged with as well.

 

Aside from that I don't think they should be very sturdy, or really offer that much more utility because that is a great ability.

 

Thin Lizzy (many abilities named after thin lizzy songs)

I feel this should be a support piece kind of like a more expensive belle - some ideas for abilities:

 

Manipulative (X)

 

Actions

 

(1) Still in love with you (anti-lure) Rng 18" Ca 8 Resist Wp - target model is pushed its walk directly away from this model, this action must declare a trigger if able.

Trigger  :tome  "Cold sweat" - target model suffers -1 Wp until the end of the turn

Trigger  :mask  "Do anything you want to" - target model may take a (0) action controlled by this model's owner

Trigger   :ram "Killer on the loose" - target model gains +1 Ml until the end of the turn

Trigger   :crow "Running back" - target model may only declare walk actions until the end of the turn

 

(0) Blow smoke Ca 8 Tn 12 - place a 50mm marker within 8", it acts as soft cover.  Models within suffer a negative flip to attack actions.

Trigger  :ram  "where there's smoke" - this model may immediately make a (0) blow fire action, that may not declare triggers

 

(0) Blow fire - Rng 8" Ca 7 Resist: Df

Target model suffers 1/1 :blast/1  :blast  :blast Models damaged by this ability gain the burning (2) condition

Trigger   :crow "smokin'" - this model may immediately make a (0) Blow smoke action, that may not declare triggers

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So we have a man who once owned and operated a traveling sideshow, possibly with the original Lizzy as his wife (the first accident). Mercury and Lola could easily be part of the family as well, since most shows were like that. Maybe Lola was an uncle, Mercury his brother. 

 

Which would leave Cooper (I want to call him Alex to avoid copyright infringements), to be combination Ring Master and possibly skilled entertainer - knife throwing perhaps? Would give him both melee and ranged basic attack. 

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I suppose, while we're on the topic, I will show you some of what I have so far too. :) It will probably be slightly imbalanced but we will make do and tweak as needed, if applicable.

 

Mr. Cooper
Arcanist/Neverborn
Master, Living
Cache 2

Df 6T
Wp 6M
Wd 12
Wk 5
Cg 6
Ht 2

Abilities:
Infiltration (Puppets/Showgirls)
"We Take What Is Freely Given": Whenever an opponent spends a Soulstone, add 1 Soulstone to this model's Soulstone Pool.
Spectacle of Spectacles: This model may spend up to 1 additional Soulstone when spending Soulstones on suits.
Danse Macabre: Enemy models with the Hazy condition within A6 may take Walk Actions, but may not take Interact Actions.

Attack Actions:
(1) Showman's Cane (Ml5/RstDf/RgC1): Target suffers 2/3/4 Damage.
>(T) The Show Continues: After damaging, this model immediately takes this Action again against the same target. It cannot declare this Trigger during that Action.
> The Haze Thickens: After damaging target non-Leader model, the target gains the following condition until end of turn: "Hazy: This model can only take Interact Actions."
(1) Step Right Up! (Ca7/TN12TM/RstWp/Rg18): Target model moves its Wk, ending as close to this model as possible, then suffers 1/2/3 damage.
> The Haze Thickens: After damaging target non-Leader model, the target gains the following condition until end of turn: "Hazy: This model can only take Interact Actions."

Tactical Actions:
(0) Fly Away Home! (Ca6/TN12M/Rg12): Place any number of target Flying Monkeys into base contact with Mr. Cooper.
(1) The Haze (Ca6/Tn13TM/RgP8): Enemy non-Leader models in range must succeed a TN13 Wp duel or gain the following condition until end of turn: "Hazy: This model can only take Interact Actions"

~~~~~

Flying Monkey
Arcanist/Neverborn
Peon, Living, Construct, BEAST, Totem (Mr. Cooper)
Cost 3

Df 4
Wp 4
Wd 5
Wk 6
Cg 8
Ht 1

Abilities:
Chittering Pack: Crews led by Mr. Cooper may hire up to 3 Flying Monkeys.
We Groom Our Own: While a friendly Master is within A3, it gains Armor +1.
Flight
Servile To Our Master: Other friendly models may walk through, but not stop on, this model during a Walk or Charge Action.
Insignificant

Attack Actions:
(1) Monkey's Paw (Ml4C/RstDf/RgC1): Target suffers 1/2/3 Damage.
>© Infect

Tactical Actions:
(2) Take to the Sky: Bury this model. Unbury it anywhere on the board at the end of the Turn.

~~~~~

Daring Feats
Upgrade (Mr. Cooper)
Cost 2
This model gains the following Ability:
Df/Wp (T) Death Defying: When this model is reduced to 0 Wounds, it may be placed in base contact with target friendly model with a cost of 5 or more within 8". Sacrifice the target and then heal an amount of damage equal to the target's remaining Wounds plus one.

~~~~~

A Nickel For Your Soul
Upgrade (Mr. Cooper)
Cost 1
This model gains the following Ability:
Loyalty to the Coin: Whenever this model kills an enemy model, you may discard a card. If you do, add 1 Soulstone to your Soulstone Pool.

~~~~~

The Dark Carnival
Upgrade (Mr. Cooper)
Cost 2
This model gains the following Ability:
Given Freely: The Hazy condition does not end for models within A8.
This model gains the following Attack Action:
(0) Hidden Blades (Ml7/RstDf/Rg2): Target suffers 3/4/6 damage. This Action gains [+] to the Attack flip.

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"We Take What Is Freely Given": Whenever an opponent spends a Soulstone, add 1 Soulstone to this model's Soulstone Pool.

Spectacle of Spectacles: This model may spend up to 1 additional Soulstone when spending Soulstones on suits.

 

Erm... no. That would be a little too much.

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Mercury should probably have some sort of throw ability to reflect his strength. Lola, being referenced as a "Baritone", should probably have a Chatty-like aura, passive or as an action. I could also see some sort of mobility enhancer for Lola, it fits in into the "dancer' theme (last being Ice Dancer in wave 3 beta), and it being incongruous with Lola's corpulence kind of works in the whole "Dark Carnival" theme.

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Mr. Cooper

Neverborn

Master, Living

Cache 0

Abilities:

Infiltration (Puppets/Showgirls) - [YES to this]

 

"We Take What Is Freely Given": Whenever a Master or Henchman spends a Soulstone within A6, add 1 Soulstone to this model's Soulstone Pool. - [see Cache 0 above]

 

Spectacle of Spectacles: This model may spend up to 1 additional Soulstone when spending Soulstones on suits. - [Not feeling it, replace with Manipulative 13 perhaps?]

 

Danse Macabre: Enemy models with the Hazy condition within A6 must pass a Wp 13 duel when declaring any action other than a Walk action or the action automatically fails. - [changed it]

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I would like to see the mannequins be their own unique model - it would make things easier since they would be faction agnostic.  Otherwise the crew would have to be arcanists or dual faction, they couldn't be pure neverborn.  The models also look sufficiently different that they shouldn't be confused.

 

Maybe call them "dummies"?

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Here's an idea - the two mannequins could be the totems.  They could be much like hungering darkness is to lynch.

 

Mr Cooper could have no direct attacks, but could instead attack with his scarf to push people a direction of his choice.

 

The mannequins could be used to attack for him.  One has two swords - therefore a paired attack with a positive flip.  The other could have a relic hammer or something similar.

 

You could balance it by giving the mannequins no charge stat, therefore you have to position enemies with Mr Cooper's scarfs to get the most out of their attacks since they can't charge anyone.  You could even take this further by giving them 0 movement as well, and make Cooper move them with his scarf attack.

 

This would also work with the monkeys if we leave their movement ability in-tact, so you could use the monkeys and the scarf to position them.

 

There would be loads of funky triggers you could work into this mechanic.

 

(You would probably have to give them a rule so that enemy models could not push them, since their positioning would be very difficult to make the most of, and that would really REALLY screw them over if they couldn't move).

 

This could be taken even further - give them no wound stat and make it so they can't be killed.  But that they only function within say 8" of Mr Cooper or something like that.  If he is outside of that range, or dead, they don't do anything.  So basically they would have no movement, no wounds.  But could be manipulated with Mr Cooper's magic scarf and the monkeys.

 

It would take a bit of balancing, but they would be unlike any other master in the game.  They might have to only get 1AP each, and maybe a few interesting (0) actions each.  I would like both of the dummies to be different than each other in what they can do.  Maybe have them gain the slow condition at the start of their activation, but also give some interesting ways to maybe remove it if the need arises to attack more?

 

A rule for them could be:

 

"Inanimate" - this model may not be pushed, placed or buried by enemy models.  This model may not be sacrificed by enemy models.

 

Mr Cooper's Death defying upgrade could have some synergy with them as well, for example having him heal 4 wounds if it's a dummy he sacrifices.  So it would work for 5 soul stone models with their remaining wounds +1, or with a dummy for 4 wounds.  It's a lot of wounds, but since we're using the dummies as a lot of Mr Cooper's utility I think that would be a fair trade.

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In the fluff, I think the Mannequins were referred to as "Mummerettes", so we can call them that if that works? :)

 

As for the interaction with the scarf mechanic (alone), I like its uniqueness, but feel as if it's a bit weak for a Master to make use of as is. As such I think that a) Cooper should still have an attack of some sort that damages, and B) there are a couple of tweaks I would use for the Mummerettes (as totems - we don't want Collodi breaking these XD).

 

1. Mummerettes would have From the Shadows. That way they have positioning from the get go which is reasonable, especially if they are neverborn creepy things, I'd suggest.

2. Mummerettes should count as Scheme Markers while (and only while) Cooper is dead. That gives them a bit more utility even while they are otherwise functionally useless.

3. Mummerettes should probably be identical to avoid too much balancing. If not, we have to name them something like "Mallet Mummerette" and "Bladed Mummerette" and provide rules so that Cooper can take both of them at once.

 

I do also like the idea of the Mummerettes not being able to be killed or sacrificed, but they need to count as dead while everything else is, in that case, for the sake of Reckoning or the like.

 

The Monkeys could then be Significant Minions (and the Mummerettes Insignificant Peons) and still have the telltale-neverborn movement hijinks. :)

 

Also, I do think that the Haze mentioned in the fluff should still have a presence in this crew's mechanical foundation haha

 

~Lil Kalki

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That seems a bit over-elaborate. Though I like the scarf serving a purpose. Maybe a  :melee with 1/1/2, but a trigger for a Push and for Slow. 

 

Companion on the "Mummers" (most fitting term) to take advantage of the possible board manipulation from the other Carnies. 

 

Definitely give the Flying Monkeys the same Df -1 that the Canine Remains get. 

 

Now, about this Hazy condition...

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Mmm. I was thinking antithesis to Colette shenanigans, with a bit of Brewmaster-type hijinks in the mix. Now, I suppose that level of denial can be pretty scary (especially in my current iteration).

 

What about this:

 

Hazy: This model is immune to damage and can only take Interact Actions.

 

If one can only be Hazy for a turn (longer in proximity to Cooper), and only be tagged with it as an enemy, it doesn't seem too bad. I suppose if we give the thematic crew an immunity to Hazy as a fluffy failsafe too?

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Hazy: This model is immune to damage and can only take Interact Actions.

 

Not sure that really fits anything... making a model Immune to damage is also something you don't want on the enemy, ever. 

 

What if it was Hazy +1 instead? I was thinking Slow, but the problem there is Alp drain. Perhaps pass Wp 13 duel to remove Hazy +1 at the start of the turn. This way it doesn't overlap other conditions, but still makes the mechanic relevant. Then the previous Cooper ability to prevent anything but walk actions becomes dangerous the longer you stay in his radius. 

 

Rationale: Mr. Cooper requires your opponent to burn their hand or their deck, and can deny a good portion of the table to models with the condition without being too broken.

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Blade Mummerette

 

Inanimate: This model may only activate if there is a friendly Mr Cooper within 8".  When this model activates it gains the slow condition.

 

No strings: This model may not be pushed, placed, buried or sacrificed by enemy models.

 

Df -

Wp -
Wd -
Wk -
Cg -
Ht 2

 

Attack actions

 Twin blades, this attack receives a  :+fate to the attack flip

Ml 6, Rng 2" Damage 3/4/5

 

Mallet Mumerette

 

Inanimate: This model may only activate if there is a friendly Mr Cooper within 8".  When this model activates it gains the slow condition.

 

No strings: This model may not be pushed, placed, buried or sacrificed by enemy models.

 

Df -

Wp -
Wd -
Wk -
Cg -
Ht 2

 

Attack actions

Mallet smash, this attack receives a  :+fate to the damage flip

Ml 7, Rng 3" Damage 3/4/6

 

Would be their basic idea.  You could add some triggers to do things to their weapons and a (0) action each or something.

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Not sure that really fits anything... making a model Immune to damage is also something you don't want on the enemy, ever. 

 

What if it was Hazy +1 instead? I was thinking Slow, but the problem there is Alp drain. Perhaps pass Wp 13 duel to remove Hazy +1 at the start of the model's activation. This way it doesn't overlap other conditions, but still makes the mechanic relevant. Then the previous Cooper ability to prevent anything but walk actions becomes dangerous the longer you stay in his radius. 

So, what would your Hazy+1 condition read as?

 

I just thought of this as sort of a mashup of what I have and what you have.

 

"Hazy+1: When this model declares an Action other than a Walk Action or an Interact Action, it must pass +1 TN13 Wp duel or the action fails."

 

Hmm? Hmm? lol

 

~Lil Kalki

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