Being in the Gull fleet from a very young age is always difficult, not knowing if your parent would return from a raid, if your sick friends would recover or even if you'd live long enough to see adulthood. During this difficult time. it becomes very important for young fledglings to find friendship and solidarity. Elster put her trust and love in her friend, Pica.
Growing up, Pica was a level headed, very methodical little bird, using his speed to steal from other members of the fleet, leaving some members with marginally less loot than they had originally had.
Picas cool headed nature helps greatly when dealing with his counterpart, there are often situations where Pica is left cooling down a hot headed brawler and stopping them from causing potential damage to Elster, potentially even to the fleet as a whole. This situation would never stop Pica taking the opportunity to lighten the Brawlers pockets however.
- Pica's ability activates whether he is defeated or leaves play in any way, including due to his second ability when Elster enters play.
- If Pica is the Last Hero Standing, his effect will not activate.
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.