|Species:||Dark Crow (Darkorvus)|
|Combat Method:||Physical, Magical|
|Magics:||Dark, Voodoo, Curse|
|Affiliations:||Crow of the Storms|
The Dark Crows of the lands are widely known as being twisted and cruel abusers of dark magics. This is most commonly seen on the Gull Pirate ships that use them as the most dangerous lookouts across all the seas.
Much less known, however, are the Skull Collectors. Seemingly deranged and twisted Dark Crows that seem to work only towards their own ends, a task as grim as it is mysterious. Some are known to work alongside the Pirates, presumably for access to the bones of the dead after battles, although these aren't often known for acting predictably, for the pirates or otherwise. Most often, these frightening creatures are seen in their own small sailboats of death, or not seen at all, hidden away in caves deep in the Jagged Lands.
Some ponder that the other Dark Crows care for them, or work with them doing things such as taking bones to their nests of death or helping them towards their mysterious goals. Conversely, some ponder that the Skull Collectors are ostracised from the rest of the Dark Crows, due to the theory that they are just Crows who have meddled in their dark voodoo too much, or have lost control of their magic - and their wits.
Mostly, however, the Skull Collectors are as happy to leave other people alone as they are happy to be left alone. The creatures seem to have no interest whatsoever in anything with a pulse, or flesh for that matter. They are preoccupied from the world with their morbid obsession, one which no one wants to ever see bear fruit.
- Skull Collector's ability gathers every Skull that would be claimed, for any reason, including any Heroes you defeat.
- Abilities that move Skulls, such as Elster's, will not be affected by Skull Collector. Skull Collector only interacts with Skulls that would be claimed from defeated Heroes, and cannot interact with any Skulls that are already in play.
- When distributing, you may choose how to distribute in any way, and you don't need to give a Skull to every Opponent.
- You cannot give Skulls to yourself with Skull Collector's ability.
- When Skulls are set aside, they cannot be interacted with by other abilities or Heroes.
- You must distribute Skulls when Skull Collector leaves play for any reason, even if he is not defeated in combat. Skull Collector cannot leave play and leave the Skulls undistributed.
- If Skull Collector is defeated in a Blaze of Glory, or at the same time as another Hero in combat, the Opponent's Hero is not claimed by you, and is instead put into the set aside pile, which you will then distribute. Skull Collector's Skull is still claimed by you.
- Regardless of how Skull Collector is defeated, you may claim his Skull.
Skull Collector was one of the final Heroes added to the set, and was one of the few to be designed ground up. We reckoned we needed one more 'interference' card, and a powerful one at that.
Interference cards have been incredibly important in the design of the game, as we needed to ensure the 'Mario Kart Effect', which is that a skilled player will usually be able to take the lead, but nothing is guaranteed when all of the abilities and talents are geared against the person in the lead. We had somewhat of an issue of people getting a lead in the game and predictably winning, taking much of the fun of suspense out of it. Interference cards proved to be a pivotal turning point in bringing back the tension, excitement, and a luck factor that kept people interested in the game despite making it harder to reliably strategise around.
While looking through our concepts, I found some ideas that had been suggested that could have worked, but didn't feel quite right and I wasn't sure how to fit into the theme as well, but did find one whose suggested ability was to allow the controlling player to select who claims their Skull. I liked the concept, but wanted to take it a bit further to have more of an impact. I wanted this to be a card that would change the current dynamic of the game.
So we have Skull Collector, his original ability unchanged since conception. I liked the idea that he could single-handedly choose what happens at the end of his reign of fear, but knowing that that was also entirely dependant on the decisions of the other players. He's quite difficult to abuse if your opponents don't want you to, so he never felt broken for all the dramatic effect he has.
Most importantly was the secondary ability. I was thinking of just leaving him at his initial ability at first, then realised that it would become a situation where the player who Hires him can change the game to benefit everyone else, but sees no benefit themselves. Allowing you to claim his own skull fitted nicely in with his theme, as well as allowing you value out of your card. It was at 1 gold very briefly, but it didn't take long to realise it just wasn't enough value for what he did.