Skulls & Gold | Elster

Elster

Gull Pirates

Name: Elster
AKA: The Nimble
Occupation: Able Bodied Sailor, Graverobber
Species: Magoro
Gender: Female
Age: 21
Height: 2'4"
Faction: Gull Pirates
Loyalty: Gull Pirates, Pica
Enemies: None
Combat Method: Wing Knives, Physical (Talons)
Magics: None
Affiliations: Pica, the Swift

About

Growing up in the fleet of gull raiders is difficult, friends often fall fatally ill, family members die in battle and raids. This makes it very important to stick together through thick and thin, Pica found such companionship in Elster.

Elster is among the smallest of the Gulls, though she uses her stature for agility and great dexterity allowing her to move and steal the prizes of her enemies.

However small she may seem, Elster has a ferocious temper making her a formidable foe in combat, however, it makes it hard for her to make friends. Some simply see it as boisterous behavior, Elster has become known for snapping and pecking at even the largest of gulls, starting fights and causing trouble. The only cure for her temper is her life long partner, Pica, whom she would never even dream of laying hand on.

Rulings

  • If Elster enters play and Pica is already in play, they both leave play but Elster's ability will still activate first.

Design

Elster and Pica were the first Heroes designed as "Interference" Heroes that would move or mess with people's scores in meaningful ways. They were designed after we realised that the game had quickly become a race to the halfway point, upon which someone would be essentially guaranteed a win. When one person had more Skulls than any other single person could acquire, they had the game, and no one would be able to catch up, they'd inevitably win. We realised, and feedback encouraged, that the game was simply not fun. People losing lost heart, and people winning weren't interested any more, so the game's excitement vanished halfway through the game.

So we designed Interference Heroes to take more of a Mario Kart Effect in the game, where players' scores would be constantly in flux and winners were never guaranteed, where players could actively attack the score of the person miles in the lead, or benefit those who may be falling behind. It also introduced much more of a diplomatic or political aspect to the game where players could ask "What's in it for me?" in exchange for scores.

We gave them reverse angles of the ability to keep them a bit different from each other: Elster has an immediate effect with no chance of interruption or further interference; and Pica had the risk of being Last Hero Standing and the chance for the game to shift around him in the meantime, but retained a bargaining chip for the duration of his time on the field, allowing him more diplomatic opportunities to bargain with people.

A part of the reason behind the second ability was that we quite liked the idea that when they leave play together, it forced the game to dramatically change around them, as 1/2 Skulls would move, and 2 new Heroes would appear with any number of effects. There was also a flavour perspective, the idea that we didn't want the Magpie Couple to be fighting each other, and to add to a slight idea that they'd fly off together into the sunset.

Artwork