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February 25th
Idle Champion Spotlight: The Black Viper 
Posted in Idle Champions.

Once upon a time, the Rosznars were one of the most prominent families in Waterdeep — that is, until they were convicted of a serious crime and exiled over 100 years ago. They have since returned, and among their ranks the young noble woman Esvele Rosznar harbors a secret. She has assumed the identity of the Black Viper, a legendary outlaw who once terrorized Waterdeep.

Assassin. Thief. Catburglar. Pickpocket. The Black Viper is all these things and more. Esvele carefully cultivates the infamy and mystique of her alter ego as she gossips among nobles about the Black Viper's exploits. She leads a double life: one of luxury and privilege, and another where she relies on her skills and cunning to survive, where one mistake could lead to imprisonment or death.

Welcome to the Idle Champion Spotlight for the Black Viper! If you want to know more about the latest Champion, you're in the right place!


All photography by Tyler Curtis


An Infamous Champion...

Warning: Potential spoilers for the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist Campaign
    The Black Viper was a notorious burglar, pickpocket, mugger, and assassin who died a century ago, after a long and nefarious career. Esvele Rosznar, a brash young noble, has recently adopted the Black Viper’s persona to lead a secret life of crime. Like many other nobles, Esvele gossips about the Black Viper’s exploits to lend credence to the villain’s mystique.

    The Rosznar family was convicted of slave trading — highly illegal in Waterdeep — and banished over a hundred years ago, but has since returned. The Rosznars’ inability to regain the respect they feel they deserve rankles them. The slave trade has continued in Amn and elsewhere, and it’s not like other noble houses don’t have skeletons in their closets. But just because of a little family squabble that went public, the Rosznar name has been said with a sneer for a century. As part of the family’s constant effort to prove this conception wrong and win others’ respect, Esvele has been brought up to be the most proper noble possible, partaking in lessons of etiquette, dance, and poise as befits someone of her station.

    In her younger days, Esvele openly rebelled, but that behavior led to locked doors at night and house guards watching her every move during the day. So she taught herself how to pick locks, pluck keys from belts and pouches, clamber up walls, and sneak past guards — playing the perfect daughter by day while cutting loose at night. To hide her identity from those she met, she wore a hood and mask, exchanging her fine clothes for the kind of practical clothing her parents would never let her wear.

    One of the things Esvele has learned is to embrace the legend of the Black Viper. When she throws back her cloak to reveal the costume she has put together, most folk toss their purses and flee. If that doesn’t work, she usually needs only to draw her dagger. Of course, some of the nobles she targets are made of sterner stuff, so Esvele has learned how to fight as well. She knows she’s playing a dangerous game, but is satisfied that at least one member of the Rosznar family is earning the respect of Waterdeep’s nobility.
For more info, check out the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist TRPG Book.


Character Stats

Race: Human Class: Rogue Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
STR: 11 DEX: 18 CON: 14
INT: 11 WIS: 11 CHA: 16

The Black Viper is a DPS Champion able to take advantage of Distracted Foes to increase her damage and deliver powerful Sneak Attacks to enemies she hits for the first time. Her Aura of Infamy ability increases the effect of formation abilities she receives from Bards and Rogues in the party while her Jewel Thief ability improves with boss kills across all adventures.

We have tweaked the Black Viper's stats slightly from her character sheet in the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist book, increasing her Charisma (CHA) score from 12 to 16 for two reasons:
  • First, because when Vivka played Esvele Rosznar/Black Viper during episodes of Dice, Camera, Action! she was incredibly charming.
  • Second, because we wanted the Black Viper to be able to take advantage of Hitch's Friendly buff. It just made sense.
When you want to add the Black Viper to your formation, you can swap her with Minsc (Slot 7).


Artistic Inspiration

When it came to putting together our version of Black Viper, we immediately turned to the official cosplay that Vivid Vivka assembled for last year's Stream of Many Eyes. At an event filled with talented performers and creators (including an amazing Minsc cosplay by Beamdog's Trent Oster) Vivka's take on the Black Viper stood out.


The extra details and personality that Vivka brought to the character inspired us to focus more on her take on Waterdeep's infamous burglar/pickpocket/assassin, including her custom-made Kris push daggers. When it was time to draw and animate the Black Viper for the game, the job fell to our Art Director Adam Kosh and Senior Artist Alexis Theroux.


Vivka put a lot of work into this costume. You can even see it in motion over on Vivka's Instagram here!

Note: Some of Vivid Vivka's content on Instagram and Twitter is NSFW.

Designing the Black Viper

What is the best way to bring a legendary outlaw to life? Which Rogue abilities combine to create the Black Viper as seen in Waterdeep: Dragon Heist?

After spending time going over the 5E Rogue subclasses in the Player's Handbook and Xanathar's Guide to Everything, we came to the conclusion that this Champion needed to be both Thief and Assassin.

To adapt an Assassin's combat style to Idle Champions, we looked to Sneak Attack. It's an integral part of all Rogue designs but isn't something we've really focused on, and we wanted to bring it to the forefront of the Black Viper's design to really capitalize on Vivka's Kris push daggers.

Distracted Foes is intended to be like a cross between Sneak Attack and gaining advantage. Enemies are busy with other Champions, attacking them, so the Rogue uses that opportunity to strike for massive damage. this will really come in handy during encounters and adventures with party-wide damage or multiple tanks up front.

Aura of Infamy symbolizes the mystique of the Black Viper that Esvele cultivates. She thrives when people know who she is - and who is more likely to know of her than other Rogues and Bards? They're the outlaws, right? Once she has gained enough notoriety with her Jewel Thief ability, Ranger and Warlock abilities are included as well!

Speaking of Jewel Thief, Chris came up with something really special. We wanted to feature The Black Viper's burglary skills, and we thought: maybe she gets better with each Red Gem she finds, not just during the adventure you are on, but across all adventures. The idea is that Black Viper will be a Champion you can stick with as your DPS of choice, and that continuing to play her when you're farming gems or completing objectives has a real benefit.


  • Distracted Foes — Whenever another Champion in the formation takes damage, Black Viper deals +100% increased damage on her next attack. Stacks up to 5 times (additive). Does not trigger when Black Viper herself is the one to take the damage.

  • Aura of Infamy — Increases the effect of formation abilities from Bards and Rogues on the Black Viper by 25%.

  • Sneak Attack — Whenever Black Viper attacks an enemy for the first time, she deals 100% additional damage.

  • Jewel Thief — Whenever a boss is killed, there is a 25% chance a Red Gem drops. Red Gems are collected by the Black Viper and grand unique bonuses:
    • Red Gems collected on the current run grant the Black Viper +10% damage (stacking multiplicatively) for the current run.
    • The Black Viper also keeps a permanent count of Red Gems earned across all adventures, which unlocks buffs at certain thresholds. There are 10 total buffs to unlock.
      • 10 Gems: Aura of Infamy now also affects buffs from Rangers and Warlocks.
      • 50 Gems: Increase max stacks of Distracted Foes by 5, and increase the damage per stack by 100%.
      • 300 Gems: Increased the effect of Black Viper's gear by 25% (excluding cooldown)
      • 800 Gems: Black Viper damage x2
      • 1500 Gems: Black Viper damage x2
      • 2500 Gems: Black Viper damage x2
      • 3500 Gems: Black Viper damage x2
      • 4500 Gems: Black Viper damage x2
      • 5500 Gems: Black Viper damage x2
      • 6500 Gems: Black Viper damage x2



When it comes to Black Viper's specializations, the question you need to ask yourself is simple: am I farming, or am I pushing to my wall or attempting to complete a difficult variant?

Since the Black Viper is the first-ever Champion whose formation abilities take all of her adventures into account, you may want to go with her Collector specialization to maximize her Red Gem earning potential. If you are doing regular gem farming runs in The Mad Wizard Free Plays, this specialization will appeal to you (assuming you don't reset before even reaching Slot 7).

On the other side, Assassinate offers the most damage potential out of Black Viper, further increasing her monster-clearing potential. A 0.5 second faster attack may not seem like much, but it really helps!

  • Assassinate — Sneak Attack now also triggers against enemies that The Black Viper has already attacked once, and her base attack cooldown is lowered by 0.5 seconds after a Sneak Attack.

  • Collector — Increase Jewel Thief Red Gem drop chance to 33% and the current-run damage bonus is increased by 25%.

Ultimate Attack

When it came to putting together an awesome ultimate ability for the Black Viper, we hit a bit of a wall. Rogues are mostly known for Sneak Attacks, which we already based much of the Champion design on. What else should we add?

We eventually settled upon the more traditional ninja-inspired concept of dropping a smoke bomb for cover, allowing the Black Viper to kick some serious butt. This ultimate will prove especially helpful during encounters and adventures with formation-wide damage.

    Smokescreen — All Champions takes 50% less damage for 20 seconds, and all of Black Viper's attacks are Sneak Attacks for the duration.

Equipment

Drawn by our resident in-house portrait and icon specialist, Kat, every one of the Black Viper's items is taken from Vivka's official cosplay. This proved to be especially invaluable since the version of Black Viper included in the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist TRPG book does not have a list of items outside basic 5E Rogue starting items.

  • Master Thief's Gauntlets — Ornate gauntlets perfect for hiding thieves tools inside!

  • The Black Viper's Rapier — Esvele Rosznar's ornate rapier, wielded by The Black Viper.

  • The Black Viper's Mask — Masks are iconic when it comes to legendary outlaws.

  • The Viper's Fangs — The better to Sneak Attack you with...!

  • Viper's Cloak — Concealing one's identity and intent is important for a thief - or an assassin.

  • Ostentatious Display — Some nice stolen jewels for a jewel thief.


Final Thoughts

The Black Viper is kind of like Zorro, the Dread Pirate Roberts, and Catwoman all rolled into one. We think she'll really be able to shine in certain DPS formations, especially when the buffs are coming from Aura of Infamy classes. Her Sneak Attacks hit like a truck, especially when you have multiple Champions taking damage to further buff Distracted Foes. And finally, with Jewel Thief benefiting from repeated runs, we feel like Black Viper offers an excellent incentive to stick with a DPS Champion for a long time, and one to focus on with your gem farming runs.

We look forward to seeing how she impacts the Idle Champions meta!

Feel free to send us feedback on via the Idle Champions Subreddit, Steam forum, or the Idle Champions Discord!
February 20th
Idle Champions: Dragon Heist, Part 4 
Posted in Idle Champions.

The chase is on! After discovering that a Nimblewright set off the explosion in Trollskull Alley, the Champions are on the hunt for the construct and its prize.

Soon the Champions find themselves in the middle of a conflict between competing factions — and lured into a trap set by their enemies...

Note: you will need to have completed the previous two Dragon Heist Adventures, Trollskull Manor and Attack on the Manor, in order to access these new Adventures.

Nimble Escape

Following a lead on the Nimblewright, the Champions enter Gralhund Villa and run head first into a slew of enemies.
  • Variant: Nimblest Escape — Only Champions with a Dexterity (DEX) score of 14 or higher may be used.

Fugitives

The Nimblewright is on the run, and the Champions are in pursuit — but other interested parties are hot on their trail!
  • Variant: From The Shadows — Only Champions with ranged or magic attacks can be used.

See the in-game Change Log for more information!
February 6th
Idle Champions: Grand Revel 2 
Posted in Idle Champions.

Grand Revel has returned to the Chult, and a day of dancing, music, and decadence has begun at Camp Vengeance.

As festivities begin the Champions begin a quest: to investigate a missing caravan on behalf of a Templar of the Order of the Gauntlet. Their friend, a local bard, has been missing for nearly a month...

Grand Revel 2 runs until Monday, February 18th, 2019 at 12:00pm PST, introduces the Vistani Bard from Dice, Camera, Action!, Paultin Seppa, and brings back Birdsong, the Tabaxi Bard from Chult!

New Champion: Paultin Seppa

    Paultin and his "son" Simon (AKA Murderbot) have been adventuring as part of the Waffle Crew for many years. Paultin is a wise-cracking adventurer who is more at home at a tavern than anywhere else. He cares deeply for those he considers his friends and will leap into action if anyone hurts them.
Paultin Seppa is a Support Champion whose Muderbot son, Simon, rides atop his shoulders. Paultin increases Gold Find through his Lucky ability and increases the DPS of Champions who are not adjacent to him based upon the number of Champions who are with his Magical Secrets ability. Paultin doesn't always attack, choosing instead to drink from his wineskin or play his bagpipes while Simon shoots poison darts at enemies.

When you want to add Paultin to your formation, you can swap him with Jarlaxle (Slot 4). For more information about our latest Champion, check out the Idle Champion Spotlight: Paultin dev blog!

Returning Champion: Birdsong

    Birdsong, a cunning young Tabaxi bard, learned to defend herself while enslaved by the Yuan-Ti. Proficient in playing the lute, Birdsong discovered her potential as a bard when witnessing the effect of her songs had on other slaves. After her escape, she became one of the greatest minstels of Chult. She promised herself to, one day, get the revenge on the Yuan-Ti who destroyed her village.

Birdsong is a Support and DPS Champion. She buffs Champions within two spaces with her Song of Battle ability, and can greatly increasing the potency of Good, Evil, or Neutral Champions depending on which specialization she uses. When you want to add Birdsong to your party, you can swap her with Makos (Slot 9).

Year Two Variants

  • Flower for Nanny Pu-pu — Magical floating crates of flowers take up four slots in the formation.

  • Grand Revel Rock Band — Paultin begins the adventure in the formation. Only Bards with a Charisma (CHA) score of 15 or higher may be used.

  • Love Hurts — Hordes of adoring fans attack the formation! Superfans, Infatuated Fans, Burly Fans, and Persistent Fans, spawn in each area and attack the formation, each with different abilities.

Year One Variants

  • Three's a Crowd — Any Champion that is adjacent to more than 1 other Champion has their damage reduced to 0.

  • Pair Up — Your ratio of women to men in your formation cannot be off by more than one (at all times you must have an equal number of men and women, or 1 more man than woman or vise-versa).

  • Love Potion — Every 25 areas, two Champions drink a love potion and fall deeply in love. For those 25 areas, if those Champions are adjacent to each other in the formation they do bonus damage themselves (x4), and buff global damage as well (x3). The chosen Champion combos are fixed rather than random.

See the in-game FAQ for more information!

February 5th
Idle Champion Spotlight: Paultin Seppa 
Posted in Idle Champions.

A haunted Vistani Champion, the sole survivor of a massacre in Barovia who somehow escaped to Waterdeep, and 'The Bard Who Goes Hard': Paultin Seppa is coming to Idle Champions! Players will finally be able to include the entire Waffle Crew, including Simon the Murderbot, in their formations once Grand Revel begins.

Read on and learn more what this Champion can do...


Paultin runs out of wine. Photo taken by Tyler Curtis at the Steam of Many Eyes.

I. Who is Paultin Seppa?

    Paultin and his "son" Simon (AKA Murderbot) have been adventuring as part of the Waffle Crew for many years. Paultin is a wise-cracking adventurer who is more at home at a tavern than anywhere else. He cares deeply for those he considers his friends and will leap into action if anyone hurts them.
Paultin Seppa is a Support Champion whose Murderbot son, Simon, rides atop his shoulders. Paultin increases Gold Find through his Lucky ability and increases the DPS of Champions who are not adjacent to him based upon the number of Champions who are with his Magical Secrets ability. Paultin doesn't always attack, choosing instead to drink from his wineskin or play his bagpipes while Simon shoots poison darts at enemies.

When you want to add Paultin to your formation, you can swap him with Jarlaxle (Slot 4).

II. Character Stats

Race: Human Class: Bard Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
STR: 14 DEX: 15 CON: 14
INT: 14 WIS: 12 CHA: 18

For more info, check out Paultin's Official D&D Beyond Character Sheet!

DCA fans may have noticed that our Paultin has lower stats than he does on the show. Like with Evelyn's release last year, we needed to dial Paultin down a bit for Idle Champions to allow design space for future Champions and abilities.

III. Art

Anyone who attended PAX West last August/September or PAX South earlier this month may have already seen the Dice, Camera, Action! poster created by one of our artists, Michelle, which included the first 'sneak peek' at Paultin in Idle Champions. When it came time to finish designing Paultin and complete his animations, one of our Senior Artists, Alexis Theroux, finalized the version of Paultin for the game.

Alexis took inspiration from Nate Sharp's cosplay of Paultin and some of the cast's favorite pieces of fan art to do the design. Nate gave us great feedback as we worked closely to bring 'The Bard Who Goes Hard' to life.

When it came time to Simon, we chatted with Chris Perkins and went back to the actual Curse of Strahd book and the art for Pidlwick II. Chris, Anna Prosser, and Nate had a few suggestions on how to tweak Simon's appearance, and that's how our Simon came to be!

IV. Design

Paultin proved to be an extremely tough nut to crack in terms of design. As fans of DCA, we definitely wanted to do him justice - but at the same time, Nate's portrayal of Paultin is not easy to emulate in our game. How do you represent a character who is essentially the Waffle Crew's version of Deadpool? Then there was the added complexity of just how many Bard Champions we already have in Idle Champions, with Paultin joining a roster that already includes Deekin Scalesinger, Calliope, Vlahnya Um'vairar, and Birdsong. Adding another Bard when Deekin (and his Troubadour Troupe ability) are already so popular while still doing something unique for Bards was a definite challenge.

Ultimately we looked at past episodes of Dice, Camera, Action and how Paultin/Nate reacted to events to find our inspiration. I knew that Thunderwave had to be an important part of Paultin's design, likely his Ultimate Ability based on how Paultin has used the spell at key moments throughout the series. I also knew that I wanted to include Simon, Paultin and Evelyn's adopted Murderbot son from their time in Barovia, to the design. It felt right to include him, and to have Simon shoot poison darts while Paultin sometimes chooses not to attack or engage enemies at all (opting instead to either drink from his wineskin or play the bagpipes) while at other times Paultin attacks multiple enemies at once.

With those starting points a design for Paultin started coming together. Playing off the Waffle Crew's dysfunctional party dynamic, we opted to have Paultin support the party based on how many allies are around him. We don't really have the kind of game where a lot of Paultin's signature spells like Counterspell and Crown of Madness really work, so we leaned into his College of Lore subclass to focus on increasing party damage through his mastery of Magical Secrets.

We didn't stop there with adjacency-based abilities — we also based Lucky, Paultin's Gold Find ability, off how many Champions are adjacent to him, with an ability called Edgy to increase the potency of Magical Secrets whenever Paultin is on the edge of a formation. Get it? Edgy?

Finally, we wanted to include another ability that represented the unity of the Waffle Crew in the form of Stronger Together, a buff to Strix, Diath, Evelyn, and Paultin that increases based on how many of them are in the formation.

    Formation Abilities

  • Lucky — Increases Gold Find by 20% for each Champion adjacent to Paultin in the formation. (stacks additively)

  • Magical Secrets — Increases the damage of Champions not adjacent to Paultin by 50% for each Champion adjacent to Paultin. (stacks additively)

  • Edgy — increases the effect of Magical Secrets by 100% when Paultin is on the edge of the formation.

  • Stronger Together — Increases the damage of Waffle Crew team members by 100% for each member present in the formation. (stacks multiplicatively, THEN any buffs are applied)

V. Specializations

Specializations for Paultin Seppa are surprisingly straightforward: you can either go with Luck of the Vistani to further increase Paultin's Gold Find or you can go with Additional Magical Secrets to increase the effect of Magical Secrets. For those of you who love setting up your Gold Farming Formation overnight, it's hard to find a better ally than a lucky Vistani!

  • Luck of the Vistani — Increases the effect of Lucky by 50%.

  • Additional Magical Secrets — Increases the effect of Magical Secrets by 100%.



VII. Ultimate Attack

Paultin is so well known for his epic Thunderwave casts that we knew from the get-go that it had to be his Ultimate Ability.

    Thunderwave — Paultin leaps to the front of the formation, drawing and swinging the Sunsword while a shockwave shoots out from the front of the formation, stunning enemies, dealing massive damage to them, and slowing their movement speed by 50% for five seconds. This spell deals bonus damage based on the current boss/enemy enrage multiplier.

VI. Equipment

Through our conversations with Nate and our viewing of Dice, Camera, Action! the shortlist of items for Paultin became clear early on in our design process:

  • Bagpipes — Paultin Seppa's instrument of choice needs no introduction, though we do struggle to remember when the last time he played them was?

  • Wineskin — Is there ever a time Paultin doesn't have a wineskin handy? This one in particular is even a part of Nate's Paultin Cosplay!

  • Strahd von Chairovich — Animated by Paultin for the Chair Battle with Strix's 'Chair Richten' in Episode 101.

  • Golden Cog & Marthain Signet Necklace — Just a plain ol' leather strap necklace with a pair of mementos Paultin keeps for no reason at all...

  • The Sunsword — The sentient weapon, once wielded by Sergei von Zarovich, brother of Strahd von Zarovich, and given to Paultin by Ezmerelda in Episode 31.

  • Mandolin — The magical mandolin Paultin stole from Jesper while in Barovia's past, which was eventually fed to a Dragon Turtle in Episode 92 along with Nit Luap/Evil Paultin.



VII. Final Thoughts

Paultin is the fifth(!) Bard to join Idle Champions, but possibly the most important as we finally complete the Waffle Crew. We are really happy with how Paultin's design came together, and feel like he plays differently enough from the other Bards to be unique and is a worthwhile swap in Slot 4. He supports the party while also increasing Gold Find and bringing a truly powerful ultimate to the table, possibly justifying a new kind of Champion formation since Slot 4 will now be a possible buffing/support slot to consider.

We're excited to see what Paultin brings to the meta! We hope you like him :)

Feel free to send us feedback on via the Idle Champions Subreddit, Steam forum, or the Idle Champions Discord!