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[Custom Character] Placeholder Name, the Immortal Elementalist

An updated version of this character, as well as a Print-and-Play deck, is available here.


Due to @variable’s recent output, I was inspired to try my hand once again at dreaming up another Yomi character.

Placeholder Name, the Immortal Elementalist
“By understanding and controlling the flow of the elements, I will cultivate perfection within myself.”

85HP
4 CP

Important Note: Placeholder Name (PN from here on out) has something unique on her cards. Every suit in her deck corresponds to one of four elements:

  • Spades -> Earth
  • Hearts -> Water
  • Clubs -> Wood
  • Diamonds -> Fire

Thus, every hearts card in her deck will also have a water symbol on it; every spades card will have an Earth symbol; etc.


[details=Innates]
Force of Nature
If you use all four elements in a combo, you get one of the following effects, determined by the final element in the combo:

  • Earth: Knock down the opponent and retrieve a normal card from discard.
  • Water: Gain 3 life, and the opponent cannot use any abilities until the end of next turn’s combat.
  • Wood: Draw 2 cards.
  • Fire: Deal 5 unjokerable damage.

Power of Nature
The elements cycle in this order: Earth > Water > Wood > Fire > Earth, etc. If Force of Nature activates and the cards in the combo also follow the cycle, then you may retrieve 1 extra ace from deck or discard during the Power Up phase.[/details]


[details=Abilities]
10* Elemental Alchemy [Draw Phase]
Discard this card and reveal another card from your hand. You may search your deck or discard for another card of the same rank and swap the two cards.

Q* Elemental Burst [During Combat]
If you hit the opponent with this card, get the effect of this card’s element.

A* Elemental Harmony [During Combat]
If this side of the Ace is used as a Linker in a combo, it may act as any element. You cannot use more than one in a given combo.[/details]


[details=Breakdown of Deck]Normal Attacks: x damage, x.4 speed
Throws: 4 damage, x.8 speed, 1 CP, Starter [Note: Her throws do NOT knock down.]

2
A/D

3
A/D

4
A/D

5
A/B

6
B/D

7
T/B

8*
A/T
Elemental Alchemy [Draw Phase]
When you play this card, reveal another card from your hand. You may search your deck or discard for another card of the same rank and swap them. (If you search your deck, shuffle after swapping the cards.)

9
A/T

10
T/B

J
A: 8(1) damage, 2.2 Speed, 1CP, Ender

Q*
A: 8 (2) damage, 0.0 Spd, Can’t Combo
Elemental Burst [During Combat]
If you hit the opponent with this card, get the effect of this card’s element.

K
A: 8+6(3) [+2 Same Element] damage, 2.8 Speed, 2CP, Linker

Ace*
A: 1(1) damage, 1.0 Speed, 1CP, Linker
Elemental Harmony [During Combat]
If this side of the Ace is used as a Linker in a combo, it may act as any element. You cannot use more than one in a given combo.

A (Requires 2 Aces): 18(2) damage, 1.4 Speed, 2CP, Ender[/details]


[details=Design Thought Process]My inspiration for this character was twofold. Firstly, I’ve always felt that Yomi underutilizes the combo-making aspect of the game. I wanted a character for whom making combos was more complex than figuring out the most damage one can do without ruining one’s hand. (I know that’s an over-simplification of combo-ing in Yomi :stuck_out_tongue: But that is the gist of it.)

My second inspiration was thematic rather than mechanical. I’ve always liked the five phases of qi from Chinese Daoist thought (Earth > Metal > Water > Wood > Fire > Earth), and I have also always thought that that system of flowing energy could be worked into a cool table top game. When I started thinking about how to make combos more interesting, I began to think, “Well, what if the order of cards was more important?” Once I made a connection between the phases of qi and the links in a combo, I thought it made a great starting point.

I did diverge from the “source material,” though. I eventually decided it made most sense to have each suit correspond to one phase, rather than, say, having every rank of card correspond to a phase. As a result, I had to chop off one of the five phases from Daoism. (In case it isn’t obvious, I nixed metal.) Next, I decided to use the word “element” instead of “phase.” The word phase is more accurate in meaning to the original idea in Daoism, that qi is flowing from one state into another, but I was afraid it might be just odd enough as to cause some eyebrows to raise in confusion. The word element is smoother at communicating the mechanical ideas at play and piggy-backs on established Western conventions in gaming. So, I sacrificed a bit of translational accuracy for connotational accuracy, I suppose. Localization over translation.

When it came to choosing effects for each element, I wanted each one to feel distinct and serve a different niche. I didn’t want players to feel like they were all equally good so it doesn’t matter which they get. I want players to, at least in some circumstances, want or NEED to set up a combo in just the right way to get the elemental effect they want. I also like that it allowed me to take KD off her throws and instead make it an elemental effect. Choices that shake up the homogeneity of the game are good in general.

Next, I didn’t want to force players to make combos in the exact cyclical order every time, but I also wanted to reward players who did manage to do that. At first I considered just allowing players to choose an additional elemental effect, but that seemed too boring and obvious. Then I realized that forming a perfect cycle is akin to performing a straight, and so I could simply have it act as a way to get more aces. This also synergizes with the Aces, because it lets the player use an Ace in a combo and then get it back!

I made her throws 1CP so that she can get elemental effects off of throw combos; otherwise her throws would feel so bad. I also made a normal attack gap between 5 and 8 so that, again, there are more things to think about when making a combo.

When considering her abilities, I always wanted the focus to remain on her innate. So, all her abilities were designed to loop back into it. The first I came up with was the Ace ability, Elemental Harmony, which allows the 1 damage, 1 CP linker side of the Ace to act as any element in a combo. This was a fairly obvious ability to come up with, but it makes her aces very useful and again re-focuses everything onto the elemental effects. Next I came up with Elemental Burst, which probably gives her one of the best reversals in the entire game. Lastly, I wanted there to be a way for players to get ahold of a card they might need for a combo. I decided that the best way to allow that with it being too overpowered would be to make the player swap a card out from their hand rather than simply retrieving one. Plus, it felt thematic because a) it’s like one element transitioning into another and b) alchemy of a certain kind is a big part of certain schools in Daoism.

And that’s how I got to this final prototype (oxymoron much?).[/details]


Anyways, I have no illusions that PN is balanced yet. Damage numbers specifically were pretty heuristic. But, I do think it’s a relatively coherent and interesting design, and I do plan on play testing PN when I have a chance. I just wanted to float the prototype and get some first impressions. I’m most interested in feedback on macro-aspects of the character and any obvious problems I may have overlooked (either in terms of being very obviously too good or very obviously too bad).

That’s all. If you managed to read everything I wrote in the Design Thought Process section, 5 points to you.

[details=Change Log] * Damage from Fire elemental effect reduced from 7 to 5

  • Normal Throw damage reduced from 5 to 4
  • Power of Nature changed to award only 1 ace
  • Wording of Elemental Harmony changed so that it cannot be used to pump Ks. (Original Wording: This side of the Ace may act as any element within a combo. You cannot use more than one in a given combo.)
  • Parenthetical text added to Elemental Alchemy to make shuffling an explicit requirement if the player searches their deck.
  • Water elemental effect changed from “Gain 6 life” to “Gain 3 life and the opponent cannot use any abilities until the end of next turn’s combat.”
  • Damage from Fire explicitly made unjokerable.
  • Elemental Harmony transferred from 8 to 10.
  • HP increased from 80 to 85.[/details]
5 Likes

@Zqxx, If I responded with everything that I loved about this character I would be here for a few hours, at least! :smiley_cat: Unlike some parts of my designs, ye would be adding a pretty unique character with this Immortal Elementalist who has some nice design consistencies! I really like the concept of having elements as “secondary suits” of sorts! Playing this character well would likely be pretty fun given that incentive! And, it’s also nice in that through the elements ye are expanding something that Yomi already has in small quantities on some of BBB’s cards!

[quote=“Zqxx, post:1, topic:3128”]Innates

Force of Nature
If you use all four elements in a combo, you get one of the following effects, determined by the final element in the combo:

  • Earth: Knock down the opponent and retrieve a normal card from discard.
  • Water: Gain 6 life.
  • Wood: Draw 2 cards.
  • Fire: Deal 7 damage.

Power of Nature
The elements cycle in this order: Earth > Water > Wood > Fire > Earth, etc. If Force of Nature activates and the cards in the combo also follow the cycle, then the combo acts as a 4 card straight and allows you to power up for up to 2 aces.
[/quote]
I think I love this already, but I have a question! If someone were to win combat with a Fire 2 & combo into an Earth 3, a Water 4, and then a Wood 5 would that player be able to search for four aces from their Power of Nature innate and also draw two cards from their Force of Nature innate? Because that sounds like a good time! :smile_cat: Basically, do ye think that Power of Nature will stack with the normal straight power-up rule & will Force of Nature stack with Power of Nature? I’m guessing yes to both, but I’m not sure what ye intent is & I wanted clarification!!

And, those Force of Nature abilities seem okay to me for now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Fire one dealt slightly too much damage! I kinda wish that individual elements could be expressed on individual cards, but that’s what Qs are for, and it’d likely be too messy and/or powerful if that was a thing! And, ooooh, to clarify, do ye only want people to be able normal attack cards from the Earth ability? …Or, like, normal throws, too?

And - at first I wasn’t sure about this ordering… I don’t think I was thinking about it in a complete way, though!! :scream_cat: I like how ye start with the Earth, water it in particular locations consistently - and then ye have trees which catch fire from a bolt of lightning or something… And, eventually, the fire goes out, but the Earth remains for the cycle to start again. :purple_heart: (I have not studied Daoism at all, so, I’m curious… Is that interpretation at all accurate or related to how Daoists think of this cycle and how does Metal fit into it?)

I love the Q ability and the A ability she has! I am not sure about the 8 ability, though! I definitely think that she would want an ability like this, but currently I see it being used mainly to recur Aces or something? At first I thought that it was also too fiddly (Which I probably should never say about someone else’s design, given my characters and their… Ways…), but I don’t think that that’s the problem. Ye can easily shuffle in the card ye originally revealed if ye got something from ye deck, & that’s the most awkward version. Ye definitely want a way to find particular cards with particular elements, but maybe ye could get most of the way there through random chance? This probably won’t work, sorry… But I want an alternative to needing the card to reveal, which is alrighty when ye have an Ace, but it could be hard times when ye don’t! To combat this I thought up these things…

4 ability idea: “1 out of 4: [Draw Phase] Reveal the top four cards of your deck. Choose one of them from there & put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your deck in a random order. If that card was the same element as the 4 this ability came from, draw a card.”

8 ability idea: “2 out of 8: [Draw Phase] Reveal the top eight cards of your deck. Choose two of them from there & put them into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your deck in a random order. If either card was the same element as the 8 this ability came from, draw a card. If both cards were the same element as the 8 this ability came from, draw two cards instead.”

Side idea: Aces are wild for the purposes of this ability. (If you reveal an Ace for your original 8 ability, you can search for any rank of card of any element instead of only searching for other Aces.)

I kinda want her to have one more ability so that she can have four abilities, for another four, but maybe her Innate already gives her four? Hm…

I’m not sure if any of those are worthwhile! :scream_cat:

Having 1 CP throws for a 4 CP character might seem like it’s a bit risky, but I think that ye have guarded against the ridiculous damage potential this could bring already! But, given all the repetitions of four that are present in this character’s deck & on their character card (Four combo points, four times twenty HP, X.4 speed normal attacks, X.4(2) speed throws, four ranks of blocks, four ranks of dodges, & four elements to seek!) - which I loooooooooooooooooooove, by the way - I think that her throws could also deal four damage! If that seems too low all-around I could buy that, but if it is alrighty it’d be awesome for her to have four-damage throws! It’d just be too flavorful if she still deals enough damage with them!!

Also, quick question, do her Jokers have elemental properties at all?

Flavor side note: Maybe it’d be cool if she used to be an immortal being, but through studying the elements she can attain immortality again somehow, and that’s what she’s striving for. Basically, it’s weird to be told that an 80-HP character is immortal, but maybe ye have some plans for that I don’t know about and would like! But, if ye go with my idea I think that ye just want to avoid giving people the impression that she’s dying extra fast like Gwen or something!

In conclusion, for now, I will say that I love this character, overall! She’s a very well thought-out character and it’s awesome how her abilities fit together. Some of them might need a little tuning, like ye said yeself, but I think that she would have a fairly unique style of play that myself & others would enjoy, Zqxx!! :smiley_cat:

1 Like

Thank you for taking the time to write such detailed thoughts! I’m glad you like the design concept! I’ll do my best to respond to each of your comments!

[quote=“variable, post:2, topic:3128”]
I think I love this already, but I have a question! If someone were to win combat with a Fire 2 & combo into an Earth 3, a Water 4, and then a Wood 5 would that player be able to search for four aces from their Power of Nature innate and also draw two cards from their Force of Nature innate? Because that sounds like a good time! :smile_cat: Basically, do ye think that Power of Nature will stack with the normal straight power-up rule & will Force of Nature stack with Power of Nature? I’m guessing yes to both, but I’m not sure what ye intent is & I wanted clarification!![/quote]

This is an EXCELLENT question that I had not really considered! As written, your interpretation is correct: if someone performed a 2-5 straight that was ALSO a perfect cycle, they could get all 4 aces at once. On one hand, that’s really cool; on the other hand, it’s potentially way too powerful. I might change Power of Nature to simply award 1 free ace for performing a perfect cycle, instead of 2.

And yes, Force of Nature and Power of Nature do, indeed, stack! So, a 2-5 perfect cycle straight that ends with Wood would grant +2 cards and +3 aces!

I think you are correct that Fire is too good. I might lower it to 5 damage? I’ll have to round some people for some IRL Yomi play test matches and try to figure out what amount of damage is reasonable while still making the elemental effects exciting.

As for the “normal card” on Earth: what I meant was cards rank 2-10. To put it another way, I specifically wanted to prevent people from being able to retrieve face cards. Her Qs and Ks are really strong cards, and I purposefully want to make them a precious resource. If the phrase “normal card” is not intuitive, I can change it to “retrieve a card rank 2-10 from discard.”

The order is more or less lifted directly from Daoism! The five phases in Daoism have the following cycle:

Water > Wood > Fire > Earth > Metal > Water > etc.

So, I basically just lifted Metal out of the cycle and left the rest as is. As for the logic behind the cycle… I cannot speak with complete authority to the reasoning of the Daoists who originally came up with it. :wink: But, your interpretation is very similar to what I was taught as a method to remember the order:

  • Water nourishes tress to produce Wood
  • Wood burns up to produce Fire
  • Fire dies out and leaves behind ashes/Earth
  • Earth produces precious Metals [Note: basically, it is argued that Daoists noticed that metals and gems were found inside caves and underground, and so they interpreted that as Earth transitioning into Metal.]
  • Finally, Metal liquifies into Water [Note: this one is definitely the LEAST intuitive transition. I was taught two interpretations to make sense of this. One is that this idea came about because rivers often flow down from mountains. Mountains were thought to contain lots of precious metals within them, so there emerged the idea that the metals within the earth were becoming water and then running down the mountain as rivers. The other interpretation points out that water often has metals and minerals within it, which may have inspired the idea that metal and water are connected in some way.]

I suppose I should clarify the purpose of designing the ability the way I did. I wanted her to have a way to get a certain element in a pinch. However, given that she already has a lot of tricks for drawing and recurring cards, I specifically wanted to avoid giving her yet another ability that increases her overall hand count and/or would let her get a rank of card she didn’t have. Thematically, she is just transmuting one element into another. Thus, the reason she has to “swap” the two cards is so that the only thing the ability does is change the element of a card she already has rather than giving her more cards or giving her a kind of card she does not have.

To be clear, the PN player would definitely have to shuffle their deck after swapping if they retrieved the card from deck. Otherwise, this ability would be broken because it would give PN a huge information advantage! I can add parenthetical text about shuffling the deck if necessary.

After some more time away from the design, I definitely think you are correct in that her throws are probably too good. While at face value she already has the lowest-damage throws in the game, if you think in terms of damage-per-combo-point, she has the best throws in the game! I really like the idea of lowering them to 4 damage, because that at least brings them on par with grappler levels of damage-per-combo-point efficiency.

Nope! Jokers do not have suits, and so they also do not have any elemental property!

I think you tend to have a much better flair for flavor than I do! To be honest, I was at a bit of a loss for what angle to take on her backstory/lore/title. (I think PN’s less-than-stellar name kind of gives that away :stuck_out_tongue:) In many sects of Daoism (historically, at least; I can’t speak to contemporary beliefs), the goal of Daoist practice was to cultivate the body through inner alchemy in order to gain super-human powers and, ideally, immortality. Thus, many of the big players in Daoism are called immortals. Given all that, I just went, “eh, I guess I’ll just make her an immortal?”

However, I’m really not attached to any given aspect of her flavor yet. I’m not even opposed to making her backstory completely divorced from Daoist themes, considering the design has already taken a lot of liberties with it already. I do think that your little backstory there is already MUCH more compelling, as it gives her a clear character motivation as well as interesting narrative room to explore, esp. with regard to how she lost her immortality. I suppose I’ll have to get back to you on all that!

Anyways, thanks again for taking the time to respond so thoughtfully!

2 Likes

"Kishi."
According to my research, it translates to “long and happy life,” which is something that Taoists work toward.

I find it interesting that her FoN innate is basically a mishmash of abilities from 3 existing characters. PoN is an interesting beast to me. A simple 4-card straight that follows the chain gives her access to 3 A combos instantly. That means she can hard lock someone for some time if they can manipulate the cards in the right way.

K++* ->9* ->A* for 30 (or the alternative for KD advantage-time) might be a hard-lock combo that could make Persephone blush. She can potentially kill in 3-4 turns if one plays the recursion/mixup game well.

Her max damage ends up being, what, 38? (K++AA) That would make her generally weaker than any other female character on the roster, but it feels fine considering how consistently she can try and cycle cards around for FoN.

Flavor wise, immortal characters in fighting games aren’t a foreign concept. Guilty Gear has Slayer, and BlazBlue has Rachel Alucard. Hell, FS/Yomi has DeGrey and Persephone. With something like that, I’d liken spritework for her to mirror some of theirs, where blocks could make her look disinterested or mildly put-off. KD and KO art (Yeah, I know, like that stuff exists in Yomi) could just have her lounging about on the ground.

As for her involvement with the Fantasy Strike tournament, if you want to keep it somewhat within the realm of Daoism, it would be pretty easy to say that she wants to see what the other competitors are like and wants to “improve” them as best she can. If not, you could make her something of an unwitting pawn for Quince, He could find a way to manipulate her into doing his dirty work while he builds his ideal society. That’d inject the roster with a much needed Flagstone representative. There are so many that represent Morningstar on the roster as it is, it’s time for more meaningful heels to sign some contracts!

4 Likes

I’m not sure what the hard-lock here would be. Any combo that uses a K cannot activate FoN because K uses up 2 CP. That is to say, any combo with a K in it cannot possibly have all four elements in it.

Her max-damage combo would actually be K++K++ for 40 damage. Which is pretty good! Otherwise, yes, I suppose her average combos would be on the lower side… But I’ll withhold making lots of changes to damage until I try her out once or twice.

I love the gist of this idea, that she could be made into another antagonist. Considering Troq is supposedly on the cusp of abandoning Flagstone in favor of Zane and the Bloodguard, Quince and Onimaru could use a little company.

2 Likes

Quince always wants company. :chibiquince:

I’m no great shakes at design so I’m not gonna comment on that, but I will say that I would love to play this character. I think she sounds super interesting. She reminds me of Gloria and Persephone in regards to her intensive hand management.

Also, as I was reading it in the beginning and saw the elements you choose, I was definitely thinking, “This seems very Chinese,” and then you go and mention Daoism. :smiley:

3 Likes

Okay, yeah. That was a misread on my part. I didn’t see the 4 element requirement.

2 Likes

I made a print-and-play deck for this character, if anyone is interested!

2 Likes