Gaming for a living

When one designs and published board games for a living, one tends to rant a lot about it. This is where we do that, the folks involved with NSKN Games and our special friends and supporters. We'll post here our ideas about gaming, about life, about gaming more often than not, about the specific challenges of making a business out of a hobby and... did we mention games?

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The thing with prototypes

B. G. Kubacki
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I’ve recently heard that with specialist software and high quality printing services so widely available, there is no reason (and no excuse) for a prototype to look much worse than a finished game, and that designers should really make their prototypes look great to improve their chances of being published. Ladies and gentlemen, that is bad advice.



During the last few months at NSKN Games I’ve had some prototypes pass through my gaming table. Some of them looked really impressive, with “near final” artwork and graphic design. Some of them looked merely serviceable, with simple clipart or symbols representing different game elements. And we’ve both accepted and rejected games regardless of how lavishly or how simply their prototypes were produced.

Now, I cannot speak for all publishers in the world, as maybe some of them will have a different approach to prototypes, but I’m still relatively certain that the following list of things you really don’t need to do (and a few things you most certainly do need to do) is one that will work in most cases. So, here we go:

Do not overproduce your prototype. We will not be more impressed if you go with fancy stuff instead of simple stuff. We will honestly be looking at how your game plays, not at how your game presents itself on the table (in its prototype incarnation). Believe me when I say we’ve seen a lot of games, and we will be interested in mechanisms and ideas, not at shiny things.

However, do make sure that your prototype is serviceable, easy to read and complete. Even the most lavishly produced copy will fail to engage us, if simply playing it seems the biggest challenge. So, make sure that we know which element is which, and that we can read what’s on them without a problem.


A simple but effective prototype.


Do not commission artwork or graphic design, unless you really know what you’re doing. If you don’t, you may end up with an expense that will never be covered, as the materials prepared may turn out to be unusable by the publisher you’ve chosen. And if you designed a Eurogame, it may also happen that it might be rethemed, which usually means that none of what you’ve prepared (and/or paid for) will be in any way useful.

However, do use the internet to help you with making your prototype more accessible. You can find caches of simple artworks and/or symbols, which you can download and use for your game. Some clean and simple icons or illustrations might make the experience of playing your game easier and more enjoyable for us. So, by all means, make your game look good, but don’t overdo it.

Do not waste your time on unnecessary “improvements”. Unless you are an artist or a graphic designer, your job is to design a game – and nothing more. Spending months on making components look better will be a time wasted if you skimp on polishing the gameplay. Seriously, when it comes to production quality, we’ll have it covered. You just worry about making the game itself really cool.

However, do make sure that what you send us is, well, neat. Some wear and tear is acceptable (it only goes to show that you’ve actually played your game), but be sure that none of the elements look like something we’d be afraid to touch without tweezers or latex gloves. Also, if some of them have more annotations than original content, you might want to redo them as well.

The above tips cover the basics, and if you follow them, you should be fine. And if you are interested in other aspects of prototyping, I'll be glad to share our way of putting prototypes together within the next few weeks.
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Wed May 6, 2015 1:29 pm
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Mistfall: Sycra the Black Crusader

B. G. Kubacki
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Today we continue the list of Mistfall biggest evildoers, introducing the one but last villainous boss enemy the players will face: Sycra, a fallen priestess.

Sycra the Dawnbreaker

Already at an early age Sycra would display the gifts bestowed by the Dawnmother upon those destined to serve her. Able to spontaneously call upon the Light of Dawn without any training from priests or Loremasters, Sycra became a bit of a problem for the clerics deciding her fate, as it seemed she displayed an aptitude for both healing, and striking down the servants of the Mists. Finally, taken in by the order of the Dawnbreakers she became a battlefield healer and a fierce foe of the nefarious Mists.

During the first few years she had spend in the Valskyrr, she also made some friends among the people of Frostvalley Keep, as she would eagerly accompany Shieldbearers into battle or on missions that would lead them deep into the territories of the undead. And although Frostvalley had an almost permanent Dawnbreaker resident, the Lord Commander would always welcome another bold warrior priestess, happily putting her unique abilities to work.

All changed during what seemed like yet another expedition against a band of brigands aided by a necromancer threatening a small fortified village in the northern Valskyrr. Ambushed in an already overrun settlement and surrounded by enemies, Sycra’s power failed her for the first time. Seeing Shieldbearers fall in battle around her, unable to properly protect or aid them, she reached further and more furiously than ever before. She called out - and something answered. But it was not the Dawnmother.

The Black Crusader

The battle ended in a tragedy. Although Sycra suddenly gained the ability to smite her foes with a power she’d never seen before, she was still the only one to survive. Wounded and exhausted, unable to heal herself, and seemingly cut off from the Dawnmother, she wandered away further into the Mists, burned by fever and plagued by horrifying visions of great suffering, punishment and betrayal.

When she finally emerged from the Mists, her mind and heart were changed by the understanding of what the malicious power threatening the world truly was. And as she entered the first hold of the Blackwood lords, she already knew how to touch the hearts of the ruthless brigands, how to open their eyes to the truth she’d seen - and how to make those already touched by the Mists follow her.

Although Sycra’s connection to the goddess Dawn seems forever severed, the priestess still exhibits the ability to heal her allies and smite her enemies, and a conviction as strong as before she was taken by the Mists. Seeking final retribution, she now leads a growing army of fanatics who had seen the same truth as she had, and if her Black Crusade is to be stopped, much more than the strength of arms will be needed.

Sycra in the game

In many ways, Sycra is a very different type of Special Enemy, as her power is partly a reflection of what the Dawnbreaker Cleric has at her disposal. When facing Sycra, players will have to make a few hard choices and adapt a clear approach to deal with her servants, remembering that simply eliminating them may not only prove more difficult, but also not the best course of action.
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Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:03 pm
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Mistfall: Maelgar the Abomination

B. G. Kubacki
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The world of Mistfall is a perilous place, and the Mists can transform the both the righteous and the wicked. What happens when the ruinous might touches ones that were never pure? The story of Maelgar answers that question.

The Brigand Chief

Nobody really knows where or when Maelgar was born, but most believe he spent his early years in the northern part of the Valskyrr, in a village long since wiped out by beastmen or brigands. Most probably sold into slavery as a child, he was one of the few youngsters who managed to survive long enough to win their freedom by spilling blood, or by proving too useful to a Blackwood lord or a crafty Ghoren warchief to simply be killed or sacrificed.

Maelgar most certainly did not belong to the latter category, as when he finally let himself be known to the Shieldbearers of Frostvalley Keep, it was not due to his intellect, but because of his cruelty and brutality rivalling those of the fierce beastmen blood hunters. And although some of the expeditions meant to bring Maelgar to justice where overseen by the Lord Commander himself, the brigand chief managed to fight his way out of every trap and finally either evade, or – more often – slay his pursuers.

The string of Maelgar’s victories made him a prominent figure with the Blackwood brigand lords, so prominent in fact, that more than one of them started scheming against him. However, it was none of them, but a young Frostvalley Loremaster by the name of Rahlfors, that finally managed to take him down. Leading a group of Shielbearers, Rahlfors found one of Maelgar’s treasure hoards, and knowing that the brigand chief would visit them only alone, he set a trap that finally ended Maelgar’s scourge.

The Abomination

The victory was short lived. A little over a year later reports came in of an abominable beast wreaking havoc on a territory Maelgar had used to consider his own before his demise. Shortly after, it turned out that it was Maelgar himself, brought back from the dead by the Mists and transformed into an abomination that seemed to have focused all his cruelty, his malice, and his insatiable hunger for blood.

Having murdered all his past subordinates and demonstrated a rage capable of destruction that would impress even the most Mist-crazed of the Ghoren warriors, Maelgar went on a further killing spree throughout the lands under the protection of Frostvalley Keep. Now, surrounded by a herd of undead – some of them his own comanions he’d killed, others merely his victims – he prepares to strike a mighty blow against Frostvalley Keep.

From a handful of notes left by Rahlfors after his sudden departure, it seems that the former chief’s treasure hoards might contain powerful artefacts or at least answers that may help in defeating Maelgar once and for all. However, an ominous side note also mentions a strange ritual that may have not only been responsible for bringing Maelgar back, but might also imbue him with even more strength should he be opposed in battle.

Maelgar in the game

As many of the Special Enemies, Maelgar’s card is double-sided: with one side being his starting, already twisted form, and the other showing his further descent into becoming a raging minion of the Mists. Unlike other Enemies, Maelgar grows stronger when the card becomes flipped, and as Heroes come closer to their victory, they are also in greater peril of falling to his fury. So, with Malegar’s treasure hoards being spread across the land, and remembering his martial prowess and resilience, the right preparations are the key to surviving the battle against him.
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Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:15 pm
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Mistfall: The Frost Mage

B. G. Kubacki
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The time has come to introduce the story of the final character that joined the ranks of the Hereos of Mistfall. Born in the shadow of Ravencrag, raised in a land of perpetual winter and gifted with a rare and powerful talent: Hareag the Frost Mage.

Dawn of the Frost Mages

The Frost Mages are a product of an age old alliance between the eight tribes of Ravencrag and Frostvalley Keep. Before the alliance was forged, the tribes would occasionally send small war parties to raid on the territories under the protection of Skard Windbane, the Lord Commander of the Shieldbearers. These groups would often be supported by shamans wielding the power to command ice and snow, using the magic of cold as a weapon against their enemies.

Windbane had fought the Ravencrag Furies and the wielders of the frost magic on multiple occasions, knowing full well that the Ravencrag people mostly worshipped the Nightfather, but also being certain of them being enemies of the Mists, so when a Shieldbearer patrol came back to the keep bearing news of a Ravencrag raid against the beastmen ending in a slaughter, and a beastman horde preparing to deal a final blow to the eight tribes, he decided to act immediately. Leading his Shieldbearers he came to the aid of Ravencrag, turning an almost certain defeat into a costly victory, but createing grounds to forge a lasting alliance.

The Lord Commander’s bet paid off, as the eight tribes’ new Jarl formed a blood pact with Skard Windbane, forging an alliance that would last for over a century, serving both the people of Ravencrag and Frostvalley Keep.

However, Windbane had one condition. Advised by his Loremasters he made it clear that the alliance would go on only as long as the boys exhibiting the talent to wield the power of the frost were properly schooled in the art of arcane magic, as uncontrolled use proved to twist their minds and open them to the corrupting influence of the Mists. The Jarl agreed somewhat begrudgingly, but agreed nonetheless, as those who survived the failed Ravencrag raid had already told him that the defeat was brought on not only by the numbers and the ferocity of the beastmen foes, but also by a sudden corruption and madness many of the shamans would fall victim to shortly after the Furies engaged the enemy.

Hareag the Frost Mage

Like all boys that during their early teens reveal themselves to be the wielders of the frost magic talent, Hareag accompanied the Lord Commander of Frostvalley Keep on his way back home after his custmoray visit to meet the the new jarl of the eight tribes. After six months of being schooled by the Frostvalley Loremaster, he was shipped to Dathnafar to become a Frost Mage, his apprenticeship ending with the customary oath to oppose the Mists no matter which path (Dawn or Dusk) he chooses.

After returning the the Valskyrr, Hareag wandered the cold wastes and the Deadlands for years, aiding Ravencrag Furies in their pursuits, and earning the respect that would make him an advisor to each of the jarls for the last sixteen years. He only recently resigned from the position and moved to Frostvalley Keep, the true reasons of this known only to a handful of those old enough to know his family’s history, or perceptive enough to see through Hareag’s motives.
Regardless of any reasons Hareag might have had to relocate to Frostvalley Keep, he has quickly become a trusted ally and a well respected part of the questing company, as, despite his age, he decided not to continue advisory work, and instead become once again an active part of the struggle against the Mists.

Hareag in the game

The Frost Mage is an interesting and powerful twist on the already known Arcane Mage. Being less able to avoid battle or use the advantage of arcane fire against his enemies, he instead strikes at them with the cruel cold, not only able to attack them directly, but also weaken them before dealing the final blow.
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Thu Apr 2, 2015 6:00 pm
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Mistfall: The Waychanger

B. G. Kubacki
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Continuing the stories of Heroes and Villains of Mistfall, it's time to present the history of Rahlfors the Waychanger - one of the most dangerous and duplicitous servants of the Mists.

Rahlfors Wyngmere

Rahlfors was born as a second son to Berenas Wyngmere, a moderately wealthy but also extremely ambitious merchant operating southwest of Frostvalley Keep. In order to elevate the position of house Wyngmere, Rahlfors’ father sent him to the Shieldbearers’ headquarters to become an apprentice of Hyrkenan the Sage, one of the most esteemed Loremasters in the Northern Kingdoms, and a personal advisor to the Keep’s Lord Commander.

After a few years of privileged life of a teenage son to a wealthy father, Rahlfors found himself in a new and slightly less comfortable situation. But he wasn’t anything if adaptable, and although he lacked the discipline usually associated with the scholarly and rigid Loremasters, he quickly impressed his new master and teacher with his perceptiveness, the keenness of his senses, and his bright and inquisitive minds.

He also made friends among the Shieldbearers, as he started making use of his new healing skills the moment he mastered them – not only being always ready to help those who would come back wounded from their patrols, but also expressing his eagerness to join them on their missions. Hyrkenan, not without initial trepidations, finally gave in, allowing his young student to become a part of a few expeditions into the borderlands, where Rahlfors’ skills seemed especially useful. The Shieldbearers, prone to fall to poisonous blades and magical ailments, quickly found out what a tremendous asset young Rahlfors really was.

Hyrkenan’s apprentice thus became invaluable, and those of the Shieldbearers he had saved from death or grievous harm would become his friends, openly asking him to join them on their next patrol. With his master’s approval, Rahlfors would join them more and more often, in time becoming their guide, as the ways he would be able to find usually allowed them to avoid ambushes, and often turn the tables on the enemies of Frostvalley Keep.

Nobody questioned Rahlfors’ skills and unique talents, knowing that in these dark times any blessings of the Dawnmother should be accepted without any doubts. The young sage was now more than just a companion or a lucky charm – he would initiate some of the patrols, claiming to have found new evidence during the previous excursions, he would investigate ruins or strange constructs the Shieldbearers would usually encounter when led by him, and he would lead them to yet another crushing victory over a band of brigands, a coven of sorcerers, or a herd of the undead.

Rahlfors the Waychanger

Even Hyrkenan and the Lord Commander finally acknowledged his talent, Hyrkenan granting him the official title of a Loremaster, and the Lord Commander allowing Rahlfors to officially plan some of the patrol routes. Impressed with his uncanny ability to decipher enemy movements from the smallest clues, the Shieldbearers started following his orders without question, until Rahlfors was finally included in the yearly expedition to Ravencrag, where he would travel as a member of Lord Commander’s personal guard.

After arriving at Ravencrag, Rahlfors finally revealed his true nature. Nobody knows when the Mists managed to reach him, but only moments after the new Ravencrag Jarl was chosen, Rahlfors called upon the power of the Mists. Flocks of Fellhunters suddenly fell from the sky to attack the Furies and the Shieldbearers, and Rahlfors himself made his way to the new Jarl, suddenly changing before the man’s very eyes. His hand, transformed into a vicious claw, struck at two unsuspecting Shieldbearers, the corrupting touch making their armours blacken and crumple like parchment set on fire. Leathery wings, suddenly emerging from the Loremaster’s back took him into the air for but a blink of an eye, but long enough to make the strike against the Jarl a deadly one, and leaving Ravencrag without a leader for the first time in centuries.

Through shrieks of Fellstalkers and the roar of the Mists, Rahlfors laughed with shivering cruelty and took to the sky, this time planning to destroy the Lord Commander of Frostvalley Keep. Yet, moments before Rahlfors swooped down upon his prey, a wall of ice appeared between him and the Lord Commander, giving the warriors of Frostvalley and Ravencrag an opportunity to finally regroup. Taking a last look at the dead Jarl, the former Loremaster decided to fall back into the Mists – hesitating for only the moment needed to remember the face and of the Frost Mage that stood in his way.

Rahlfors in the Game

Rahfors is a challenging Enemy, able to attack from the air, move out of Heroes’ range and unleash his deadly ability to make armour decay. Being at the same time formidable as an attacker and moderately strong on the defence, he will most certainly require a moment of careful preparation, before the Heroes may hope to emerge victorious from the climactic duel.
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Wed Apr 1, 2015 3:18 pm
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Mistfall: The Ravenous Flames

B. G. Kubacki
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Continuing the story of Mistfall's boss Enemies, here's the story of how a great but dangerous talent, some unfortunate circumstances and twisted machinations can turn a future hero into a present villain.

Sigraed the Flamecaster Mage

Sigraed was one of the youngest students admitted to the Dathnafar Academy, after she was freed from a group of slavers that had burned her village and killed her family. A Flamecaster Mage that accompanying the group of Misthunters that saved her, immediately felt her great potential, and even escorted her personally to Dathnafar in order to make sure that Sigraed would be well cared for, as her talent had already started to manifest in dangerous ways.

Because of her young age and exceptional abilities, Sigraed was immediately taken under the wing of Thaela, the Headmistress of the Flamecasters, who would from now on oversee the girl’s education personally, as she had also recognized the power of the fire burning within young Sigraed. However, what was meant as means of protecting the young apprentice, turned out to be the same thing that put her in harm’s way. Arkin Steadholme, head of one of the most powerful great houses of Dathnafar, took Thaela’s decision as a personal insult, since the Headmistress had refused his firstborn son, also a student of the Academy, the privilege of becoming her personal Apprentice.

Thaela made little of the powerful nobleman’s threats and, as Arkin’s initial outrage seemed to die down after a few months, proceeded to train young Sigraed. The girl’s talent and discipline was constantly impressing her, and Sigraed eagerness to help her fellow students made the girl many friends in the ranks of Apprentice Flamecasters. All seemed well until the time of Sigraed’s final test, which turned out to be the moment Arkin Steadholme had waited for patiently.

The mighty nobleman used his influence to bribe or threaten two of the masters that took part in the test, making it not only impossible, but also mortally dangerous for Sigraed. And only during the rite Thaela found out that something was wrong, but her intervention quickly turned into a tragedy, as the Headmistress herself fell victim to the trap, the unleashed and uncontrolled raw magic energy tearing her apart before her young Apprentice’s eyes.

Some of the guilty were found, part of the truth came into the light, but it was already too late for Sigraed. Traumatized and seemingly broken, she slipped out of Dathnafar, knowing that Arkin Steadholme, the true perpetrator and murderer of the person Sigraed had been closest with, manage to evade punishment.

The Mistflame

Sigraed’s initial intention was to travel north to fight the beastmen and brigands on her own, resolving to destroy at least the enemies she would be able to reach, and eventually fall in battle, consumed by her own magic power. But she was met with something she did not expect.

After destroying a band of beastmen she was suddenly touched by a power unlike any she had experienced before. Filled with the same rage and fire, an overwhelming sense of being unjustly punished and discarded, the strange entity seemed to understand Sigraed more than any human being ever did. And as the young Flamecaster opened her mind to the presence, she was overtaken by a need to cleanse the world with smouldering flames, and turn it into ash that would become one with her new source of power.

Empowered by the Mists, Sigraed first ravaged the lands on her own, but then returned to Dathnafar to take vengeance on Arkin Steadholme. Within one night she burned his house, his family and himself to ashes, and proceeded to find and kill his Flamecaster son. On her way she faced many of her former brothers and sisters, some of whom would oppose her and die, and others – who would join her, seeing the power she now wielded. And only after being countered by the might of the Academy’c High Council, Sigraed yielded and fled back to the north, leading a renegade force of Flamecasters, and vowing to one day find and burn the last living member of the Steadholme house – Arkin’s younger son, who managed to elude her vengeance.

Sigraed in the Game

Sigraed can be a very challenging final Enemy, as she not only attacks with significant power, but also makes taking any Wounds almost lethal, setting Heroes aflame and brutally punishing them with the ability to make the fire that consumes them explode every other turn.
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Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:27 pm
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Mistfall: The Betrayer

B. G. Kubacki
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After a series of articles dealing with the Heroes and lesser Enemies of Mistfall, it's time to take a closer look at the big wigs among the minions of the Mists.

Karnas the Shieldbearer

Karnas was once a Shielbearer – a leader and an example to many, including Fengray. Known for his prowess and strength in battle, on numerous occasions he would be the one to prove there is no circumstance too dire, and no enemy powerful enough to shatter the Bear Shield, and all that it stands for. He was a fierce and formidable fighter, always ready to raise his weapon against the servants and creatures of the Mists.

Unrelenting in his pursuit to not only protect Frostvalley Keep and the people of Valskyrr, but also rid them of all the creatures of the Mists, Karnas would start leading his men on ever longer excursions, entering deeper and deeper into the Mist-ridden lands. And as time passed, he started to become increasingly adamant in the belief that no price is too high to pay for eliminating another pack of beasts, a herd of the Ghoren or band of brigands.

Finally, after leading a unit of over two dozen men into the wilds and returning alone – in tattered clothes, leaving a trail of blood dripping from brigand heads tied to his belt, clenching a fierce axe in one hand and a grime-covered, chipped Bear Shield in the other – was he opposed by one person. A Shieldbearer captain by the name of Raina – wife to a the local smith named Orm and mother to a young Shieldbearer herself, stood against Karnas. She openly accused him of becoming what he once had wanted to protect the people from, and as she did, Karnas raised his new weapon against her.

The duel was long, and against all odds, Raina seemed to had been gaining the upper hand. But after her blade had pierced the heart of her former shield-brother, he answered by a killing blow, snuffing out her life, before collapsing himself.

Karnas the Betrayer

Later they were both given a proper burial, as the people of Frostvalley Keep thought that the Mists had made Karnas insane, but that his ignoble end would not besmirch his long life of service. It turned out they were horribly wrong, as the Mists then resurrected Karnas, making him their lieutenant and letting him lead their undead creations as he had lead the Shieldbearers before his death: with an iron fist and a fierce cruelty befitting and ancient and malevolent draugr.

Now Karnas ravages the lands of the living, his Bear Shield still in his hand. Perhaps to mock humanity, the Mists twisted the former symbol of protection into a powerful artefact, one that needs to be shattered before Karnas can finally be laid to rest once and forever.

Karnas in the Game

Karnas the Betrayer is a powerful undead Enemy, one that leads his reanimated servants into battle himself, knowing that as long as his shield is in his hand, not much can be done to stop him. A tough fighter taking advantage of an extra layer of protection, Karnas will prove more than a match to any but the best preprepared Heroes.
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Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:25 pm
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Mistfall Rogues Gallery: The Living Dead

B. G. Kubacki
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Today we continue the story of the Mistfall enemies and evildoers - this time venturing into the Deadlands to meet their undead inhabitants.

When the first news of the dead rising reached the more civilized human lands, they were disregarded as mere tales spun by those, who would seek to profit from spreading fear – or those deeply traumatized by their first encounter with the Mists. The truth turned out to be more horrifying, and soon humanity had to face an enemy unlike any of the ones that had stood against it before.

The Mindless and the Malicious

All those who met the undead know that the backbone of their hordes comprises of skeletal warriors and zombies – slow walking corpses, easy to run away from, but not as easy to kill. But believing that all the undead are exactly that: methodical but slow and shambling could be a mistake that would lead a careless adventurer to eventually joining their ranks.

As the Mists seem to be able to raise any man and any creature from the dead, their reanimated servants range in scope and abilities. Those who would face this scourge on a regular basis know very well, that skeletal hands can handle a bow and that the slow approach of the rotting walkers is often preceded by a vicious attack of a pack of vampiric hounds.

As creatures of the Mists, some undead are able to wield bagic, and whoever glanced at least once into the eye sockets of a skeletal mage knows, that an inhuman, malicious intelligence is also a gift the Mists would bestow upon its once dead servants.

Undead in the Game

Some of the undead enemies are surprisingly tough for their skeletal or rotting frame – and it should come as no surprise, as those who had once died are now animated by the power of the Mists and not by vital organs that can be targeted to deal more damage. For that reason, it is always good to find a way to make use of their primal weakness – as almost all undead will be easier to overcome using fire or divine powers.

The undead are not only tough, but can also be surprisingly diverse, able to strike fast, call upon the power of a dark rage or heal their wounds after successfully dealing out punishment to Heroes. For that reason, players should never disregard the slower undead or those that deal less damage, as they have a tendency to slowly but inevitably swarm the Heroes to deprive them of their lives.
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Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:36 pm
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Venda the Ravencrag Fury

B. G. Kubacki
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Venda the Ravencrag Fury has recently joined the Mistfall Hero roster. Here's a bit of her personal history, as well as what you can expect from her, should you decide to brave the nefarious Mists as this fierce warrior.

Warriors of Ravencrag

Far to the north even by Valskyrrian standards rises a spire of jagged rock known as the Ravencrag. In its long shadow eight tribes of barbarians survive the short, wet summers and harsh, unforgiving winters of the Valskyrr. These tribes are known for their fierceness in battle, as the tribes headstrong leaders gather yearly to select a jarl that will lead them against the beastmen in search of battle glory and a way to counter the corrupting influence of the nefarious Mists.

The loremasters of Frostvalley keep have recorded many victories of the Ravencrag people, but they have also noticed an interesting feature: an exceptionally high number of the male inhabitants of that region display a rare talent for a very specific type of magic. The ease at which they learn to channel arcane energies to control the frost and cold of the Valskyrr makes many of them become the fearsome Ice Mages. The phenomenon also influences the composition of the tribes’ fighting force, as most of the axe wielding Furies are women – and some of the less educated in the ways of the Valskyrr even believe that the Ravencrag Furies are some sort of a barbaric female order.

Every year the Lord Commander of Frostvalley Keep pays the Ravencrag tribes an official visit to meet the new Jarl, traditionally leaving a small unit of Shieldbearers to aid in the upcoming battle against the beastmen, and taking a few of the young warriors who would help in defending the Keep and its people. Traditionally, the Shieldbearers engaged in this gesture return home wearing the white fur cloaks of the Ravencrag, while the Furies come back carrying axes forged in the hot furnaces of Frostvalley, made of the famous Valskyrrian steel.

Venda the Fell Handed

Venda was born to one of the eight chieftains, a fierce Ravencrag Fury herself, so she had felt the need to prove her worth and martial prowess almost since she could walk and talk. At the age of 13 she climbed the jagged rocks of Ravencrag to face one of the hideous fellstalkers nesting there, and she not only managed to bring the creatures carcass down, but also carried three untouched eggs, thus proving her exceptional skill and resilience.

A year later she also proved herself in battle for the first time, which earned her a place among the Jarl’s Blood Guard during each of the raids against the beastmen, quickly becoming a warrior so skilled and fierce, that her fame would reach far, earning her admiration among Valskyrrian allies and a burning hatred of her foes.

One of those foes, a Ghoren chieftain known as Ghardhel the Bloody made an oath to face her in battle, and bring her head to his brother and the tribe’s shaman Ghardhak, who would then sacrifice her essence to the Mists. But Ghardel made a grave mistake: as he faced Venda on the field of battle, he managed to land only one blow, after which the Fury cut him down with a mighty sweep of her war blades. And as she raised the horned head of the dead chieftain, blood running down her face, his warriors’ spirits broke and they fled the field of battle, making the young Fury one of the Heroes Valskyrr will remember until the end of time.

Venda in the game


Venda the Ravencrag Fury is a choice for those players who want to excel at great martial power, deal out melee punishment and flourish amidst numerous Enemies surrounding her. Trading a level of protection for the ability to often multiple targets, sometimes literally leaping into action, Venda may be prone to retaliation, but a smart player may work towards never leaving her in a situation where the power of her foes would overwhelm her – or simply make sure that she will deal even more damage, using her skill at fighting multiple opponents.
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Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:33 pm
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Mistfall: The Deadlands

B. G. Kubacki
Poland
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The knowledge of the corrupting influence of the Mists spread like wildfire, but it took some time for humanity to come to terms with how powerful the new threat really was. Today we take a look at the lands of Mistfall taken away from humanity by the dead brought back to life by the dark power of the Mists.

The Desolate Lands

Much like the Borderlands, the lands of the dead were once inhabited by children of the goddess Dawn. Sometimes surprisingly far the humanity’s frontier, some of them fell within a few days, as the cemeteries and barrows suddenly swarmed with corpses leaving their graves and either going after the living or simply beginning their march north, were they would serve the new dark power.



The Deadlands, as they came to be known soon afterwards, are desolate and dark places that offer little respite to those who enter them, even after the undead have been drive away or destroyed. And although sometimes even in those places a glimmer of hope can be found, those who venture into the lands of the dead should always remember that they are on a truly hostile ground.

Deadlands in the Game

The Deadlands are often featureless and desolate – and that means that Heroes will be left on their own when it comes to replenishing their strength after a battle with the undead. That means that those who plan their route through multiple Deadlands locations may quickly find themselves stripped of their strength and in need of a respite elsewhere altogether.

The enemies encountered in Deadlands are – unsurprisingly – those, who where once humans, but are now both unrelenting servants of the Mists. Next time we will take a look what dangers they pose – especially those who come to their lands without fire or the light of the goddess Dawn.
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Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:32 pm
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