March 18th
Idle Champion Spotlight: Rosie Beestinger 
Posted in Idle Champions.

An elderly lightfoot halfling walks down the cobblestone street of Waterdeep's Dock Ward, the soft tap of her quarterstaff echoing through the evening air. Her footsteps soft and deliberate, she leans heavily on her staff as she takes in the last of the sunset along the water.

A dark-haired human carrying a hand crossbow, a red-skinned tiefling with an eyepatch and a dagger, and a shirtless, burly, tattooed mountain dwarf have their mark in their sights. As one they move from three directions towards the halfling centenarian, blocking her path.

"Your purse," croaks the human thug in front, his voice indicating a nose broken many times. "Hand it over."

As if to emphasize the threat, the dwarf begins cracking the thick, calloused knuckles on his hands while giving the halfling woman a predatory stare. The tiefling licks his dagger's blade menacingly as he creeps towards her from behind. Stifling a laugh, the human casually lifts his weapon to point it in the direction of the woman — except she isn't there.

*CRACK*

The dwarf's eyes roll into the back of his skull as a trickle of blood flows down his temple, and he falls forward, crashing into the cobblestone street. Standing where the dwarf's shadow once was, the elderly halfling woman carefully folds up her shawl and places it neatly on the ground, revealing hands and forearms wrapped meticulously in ceremonial cotton gauze.

With a snarl the tiefling attacks, rushing towards the woman with his dagger at the ready. In the same moment, the human aims his hand crossbow and fires.

To this elderly Way of Shadow Monk, however, these thugs are moving in slow motion. She snatches the crossbow bolt from the air as easily as if she were picking an apple up from a fruit stand, and in a blur of movement she sends the bolt back towards her attacker's foolishly-unarmored knee. The bolt strikes true, and a nasally shriek fills the evening air as the human drops his weapon and falls backwards into the street.

Before the human hits the ground, the elderly monk has already closed the distance to the rushing tiefling, vaulting off the ground with her staff towards his face. He has barely enough time to register surprise before the monk lands a stunning kick to his face, snapping his head back. Consciousness fades long before his body collapses in the cobblestone street.

Dusting herself off, Rosie Beestinger resumes her walk along the water, pulling her shawl back on and clutching it closely to her chest. It's getting chilly out, wouldn't want to catch a cold!

Are you as excited as we are to have Rosie Beestinger coming to Idle Champions? If you want to know more about Grandmother Night, you've come to the right place!


All photography by Tyler Curtis


Not your grandma's grandma...

    "Rosie Beestinger came to us highly recommended—by basically everyone. By which I mean at least one hundred halflings all entered her name in our Winter Intern drive. They all seemed a little nervous, and their handwriting was very shaky. Who knows! Maybe they were very, very cold. Winter, right?! She’s a monk or something. Let’s see how she does." ~Omin Dran
    Weighing in at just under 30 pounds and with a grandmotherly demeanor befitting her advanced age, Rosie Beestinger is easily mistaken for someone on the wrong side of the “aggressor/victim” relationship. But this is a mix-up that few people make more than once.
Rosie Beestinger. Grandmother Night. Matriarch of the Beestinger family. Adoptive grandmother of Strix. Possible mob boss. This lightfoot halfling Way of Shadow Monk is over 100 years old and her story is still going strong. Played by the always-amazing Kate Welch, game designer at Dungeons & Dragons, Rosie is the most badass centenarian monk you'll likely ever cross paths with.

For more info, check out the Acquisitions Incorporated: The "C" Team each week or catch one of Rosie's many amazing live appearances (Dylan highly recommends last year's Force Grey one shot at Stream of Many eyes).


Rosie's Stats

Race: Halfling Class: Monk Alignment: Chaotic Good
STR: 8 DEX: 16 CON: 12
INT: 12 WIS: 14 CHA: 14

Rosie Beestinger is a sassy DPS Champion. Her damage increases for each Champion in the formation younger than she is, and she catches and deflects incoming missiles. When you want to add the Rosie Beestinger to your formation, you can swap her with Tyril (Slot 10).


The Art of Rosie

Every time we do an Idle Champion Spotlight we praise our art team here at Codename Entertainment, and today is no exception! Senior Artist Alexis Theroux did an absolutely wonderful job with Rosie Beestinger, both with her Champion and animations (we're especially fond of her Shadow Step/Flurry of Blows attack) and also with her portraits.

If you'd like to check out more of Alexis' art, you can find her on Instagram.


Designing Grandmother Night

We are big fans of Acquisitions Incorporated, both the original show and The "C" Team, so any chance we get to work on a character we love is a fun day at the office.

When it came to working on Rosie Beestinger, we connected with Kate Welch (as well as Shadow Chancellor Elyssa Grant) and spoke at length about just what makes Rosie tick. We drew inspiration for Rosie from these calls, ongoing design correspondence (usually over email), and of course, the wonderful abundance of podcast and live show performances Kate has been a part of. There was definitely no shortage of inspiration!

First and foremost, Rosie Beestinger is Sassy, and we wanted to make that a core part of her kit. This grandma has no problem putting anyone in their place, and the idea was that we would take a slightly different approach from Gromma's Grandmotherly Love and Rosie would get even more badass the more youngsters were around her. Not only does she keep up with the kids, but she shows them how it is done.

If you have ever seen Kris Straub's awesome introduction to The "C" Team, you know Rosie's entrance moment: she's an unassuming kind old lady until someone has the audacity to fire an arrow at her, which she catches it easily and gives the shooter the look of death. You don't mess with this grandma. We knew immediately that we wanted to include Deflect Missiles in Rosie's design, and we're excited to have her tossing those missiles back at enemies in your formation. And to boot, she'll also catch some of the arrows fired at her allies!

Busy Beestinger came together both as a play on words and because we wanted to try something unique with our latest team-focused Formation Ability. Rosie attacks a half second quicker once you unlock this Formation Ability, and for each one of her fellow #cteam members in the formation, she'll attack even more quickly. Float like a flumph, sting like a Beestinger!

Rosie's last two Formation Abilities are tied together, making it clear that she is a DPS Champion first and foremost. With Shadow Arts, Rosie's usual barrage of attacks starts to include her Beestinger Staff to add an AoE attack every fifth attack. With Timeless Body, that Shadow Arts attack becomes every fourth attack instead.

With her Specializations, Rosie can double down on boosting her DPS with Matriarch, increasing the potency of her Sassy self-buff for each female Champion in the formation younger than she is, or she can go for a powerful increase to her AoE damage with From The Shadows.

There really was only one Ultimate we considered for Rosie Beestinger, and it came straight from Kate: Grammamancy. Rosie roots all enemies in place, stopping them dead in their tracks — then she takes advantage of the situation and pummels the crap out of them! And as an added bonus, the cooldown on Deflect Missiles is removed for the duration of Grammamancy, allowing Rosie to take all those pesky fireballs and arrows and swiftly returning them to their senders.

Formation Abilities

  • Sassy — Rosie deals +100% increased damage for every Champion in the formation younger than she is.

  • Deflect Missiles — Rosie catches/deflects the next ranged/magic attack against herself or any adjacent Champion and redirects it back at the attacker. Damage done is 100% of Rosie's normal damage. This effect can only trigger every 2.5 seconds.

  • Busy Beestinger — Rosie's attack speed cooldown is lowered by .5 seconds (stacking additively) and her damage is increased by 100% (stacking multiplicatively) for each member of the C-Team in the formation, including herself.

  • Shadow Arts — On every fifth attack, Rosie does a whirlwind attack with her staff, hitting all enemies in a small AoE for 50% of her base damage.

  • Timeless Body — Reduce the number of attacks before Rosie performs a Shadow Arts attack by 1.

Specializations

  • Matriarch — Increases the effect of Sassy by 25% for every female Champion in the formation younger than Rosie.

  • From The ShadowsShadow Arts now hits for 200% of Rosie's base damage instead of 50%.

Ultimate Attack

    Grammamancy — Rosie roots all enemies in place and becomes a blur of movement, pummeling up to 10 enemies on screen for massive damage and, once she returns to the formation, removing the cooldown on Deflect Missiles for the next 15 seconds.

Equipment

As always, Kat (aka @TehArtMonkey on Instagram and Twitter) did a fantastic job with the equipment icons. When a player already has a detailed Cosplay and numerous pieces of official art and fan art, it goes a long way towards helping us flesh out the aesthetic of the equipment.


  • AI Cartographer's Gear — You can't have a cartographer without their gear!

  • Necklace of the Greater Will — Rosie's handcrafted necklace. Each ball represents a single regret.

  • Belt of the Beestinger — No outfit is complete without the right belt.

  • Beestinger Staff — Walnut Dankgrass found Rosie this staff, which has since been used to knock out countless foes.

  • Stuffed Jar of Eyeballs — Everyone needs to collect something! You wouldn't happen to have any spare eyeballs, would you?

  • Emerald Loot Bag — Who doesn't like emeralds? Rosie just happens to have a whole bag for them for no reason at all.


Final Thoughts

We are really happy with the approach we've taken to bring Rosie to Idle Champions. When we get a chance to work with an amazing creator like Kate Welch, it's always a great experience, and it is always an honor to work together to bring their character to life in Idle Champions.

The third member of Acquisitions Incorporated: The "C" Team has joined the fray, bringing a powerful DPS Champion to join her Support Champion friends, Donaar and K'thriss. Rosie will get better with every youngster you include in your formation, which considering her advanced age, is most non-elf/non-dwarf Champions in the game. She punches with fists honed over a century of experience. She lives life to the absolute fullest. And we think that once players have a chance to use her in their formations they will see the benefit of considering a centenarian Shadow Monk DPS in place of say, a Firbolg Druid ;)

As always, feel free to send us feedback on via the Idle Champions Subreddit, Steam forum, or the Idle Champions Discord!
March 13th
Idle Champions: Variants & QoL Update 
Posted in Idle Champions.

It is time for the first major Quality of Life update for 2019 — and we've included some new variants, to boot!

This update includes seven new challenging variants for the Grand Tour of the Sword Coast, Tomb of Annihilation, and Waterdeep: Dragon Heist campaigns, as well as Quality of Life Updates around improving chest opening, blacksmith contract usage, and potion of polish usage.

Don't worry if the QoL change you are hoping for didn't make the cut today. Today's update is the first of several QoL updates planned for this year, and we may even be able to sneak in a few extras here and there with different events. Thank you all so much for your patience!

Grand Tour of the Sword Coast Variants

  • Silken Swamp: Hatchlings Underfoot — Spider Hatchlings spawn in each area. They move very quickly and drop no gold when killed. If a Spider Hatchling reaches the formation they are 'squished', dealing massive damage to the Champion who stepped on them.

  • Supply Run: On the Hunt — An archer wearing a long green cloak takes up a slot in the formation. Every 10 seconds they attack for a percentage of the Formation's DPS. Every 50 areas, an additional archer appears in the formation.

Tomb of Annihilation Variants

  • The Immortal Warrior: Form Ranks — Male Champions are only allowed in columns two and four. Female Champions are only allowed in columns one and three. Warden can be placed anywhere they wish.

  • The Wyrmheart Mine: Distribute Your Weight — Champions with three or more Champions adjacent to them have their DPS and Formation Abilities disabled.

  • The Guardian of Orolunga: Air's Getting Pretty Thin — As the Champions ascend the temple their damage is decreased based on their Constitution (CON) score. The higher the CON, the lower the damage reduction.

Waterdeep: Dragon Heist Variants

  • Trollskull Manor: House Of Darkness — Darkness shrouds Trollskull Manor. Enemies in darkness move much more quickly, and each time an enemy emerges from the darkness they surprise a random Champion, increasing their attack cooldown by two seconds for 10 seconds. This effect does not stack, however, whenever it is applied again the duration is refreshed.

  • Attack on the Manor: Our Time To Shine — Champions from the C-Team, Waffle Crew, Champions of the Hall, Heroes of Baldur's Gate, and Force Grey can NOT be used.

March 13, 2019 QoL Updates

  • Improved Chest Opening — You can now open up to 50 chests at once; you will be shown up to the 6 best cards from the chests you open, and then all the other loot afterwards.

  • Improved Potion of Polish Usage — When you use a Potion of Polish a button appears to immediately use another one.

  • Improved Blacksmith Contract Usage — When you use a Blacksmithing Contract a button appears to immediately use another one.

  • Leveling Up Champions — On the standard interface (Steam) You can now hold down the mouse button (or press down on the tablet) when leveling up a Champion to repeat the action over and over (until you run out of gold), similar to how the Gamepad UI/Console UI works with holding a button to level-up. Note: This feature will only be available on iOS/Android in the next client update.

  • Time Gates — When choosing which Time Gate to open, Champions' gear rarities will be displayed.

Coming Soon

  • Additional QoL Updates

  • Core Champion Balance Update

See the in-game Change Log for more information, including a list of fixes!
March 1st
COTLI: Talents on Show 

Greetings, Crusaders!

Just in time for the first weekend of March, we have some new talents, tweaks, and changes that are sure to help you earn more crafting materials and make the most of your missions.

Read on to learn more...

New Talents

Impatience



Increases your chances to get shorter-duration Missions.

Prospector



Earn more Epic materials from Missions.

The More The Merrier



Send more Crusaders on Missions.

Jeweler



Increased chance to turn Silver Chests into Jeweled Chests.

Scrap Hoarder



Earn extra Common Materials from duplicate items.





Changes

  • Removed “Spend It All”, “Upgrade Them All”, and “Speed Looter”

    • Buying max Crusader levels/upgrades now unlocks for free upon clearing area 100

    • Being able to open multiple chests now unlocks for free after opening 50 chests

  • “Surplus Cooldown” is now Tier 2 and costs more

  • “Set Bonus” is now Tier 1 and costs less

February 28th
Idle Champions: Fleetswake 2 
Posted in Idle Champions.

A Waterdhavian merchant guild has hired the Champions to look into a series of mysterious ship disappearances over the past year.

Superstitious folk are quick to blame the Queen of the Depths, Umberlee, a malicious sea goddess known as one of the Deities of Fury. However, the merchant guild isn't convinced, and they've asked that the Champions begin their search in the Dock Ward of Waterdeep...

Fleetswake 2 runs until Tuesday, March 12th, 2019 at 12:00pm PDT, introduces The Black Viper, an infamous Human Rogue from Waterdeep, and brings back Zorbu "Thunderbolt" Natten, the Gnome Ranger!

New Champion: The Black Viper

    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 Black Viper is a DPS Champion able to take advantage of Distracted Foes and deliver powerful Sneak Attacks for extra damage. Her Jewel Thief ability improves with every boss kill across all adventures.

When you want to add The Black Viper to your formation, you can swap her with Minsc (Slot 7). For more information about our latest Champion, check out the Idle Champion Spotlight: The Black Viper dev blog!

Returning Champion: Zorbu "Thunderbolt" Natten

    Zorbu grew up in a small village on the slopes of the mountains south of Yartar. He lived a typical gnomish childhood: tinkering with mechanical toys, pulling pranks on unsuspecting neighbors, and exploring the woodlands covering the mountains in the company of a local dwarf ranger, Galor Rockshield.

    A grizzled veteran of many battles, Galor was waging a secret battle against a clan of drow who were holed up in some deep caves near the village. He carefully struck from the shadows, attempting to drive them back into the Underdark. One night, after a particularly prolonged encounter, a drow scout followed Galor home, and on the night of the next new moon the drow and their minions descended upon the village in force. Galor saved Zorbu's life, but many others were killed, including Zorbu's parents. From that day forth, Zorbu trained under Galor as a ranger, vowing revenge upon the drow and any who claim allegiance to them.

    Cunning and imaginative, Zorbu makes use of his tinkering skills to wield an impossibly large crossbow (named Thunderbolt, which is also Zorbu's nickname) and unleash clever mechanical traps against his foes.

Zorbu is a DPS and Support Champion. He increases damage against Favored Enemies for all Champions and deals extra damage to injured or hordes of enemies. When you want to add Zorbu to your party, you can swap him with Arkhan (Slot 12).

Balance Update: Zorbu's Hunter's Pack ability now targets himself in addition to adjacent champions, and the effect has been increased.

Year Two Variants

  • Umberlee's Deluge — Sea Spawn monsters appear and attack the formation, growing in number the further you progress. These Sea Spawn monsters drop no gold and do not count towards quest progress.

  • Tightfisted Foes — The Black Viper starts in the formation. Only enemies killed by The Black Viper drop gold.

  • Extra DEXterous — Champions are augmented based on their Dexterity (DEX) scores:
    • 10 or less: Global DPS reduced by 50% (stacks).
    • 11–12: Enemies move 2x faster (stacks).
    • 13–14: Gold Find increased by 25% (stacks).
    • 15–16: Global DPS increased by 50% (stacks).
    • 17–20: Increases Champion's damage by 300%.

Year One Variants

  • Thunder and Lightning — A crazy storm blows in, affecting all outdoor areas. In addition to the wind and rain, lightning strikes your formation every 5 seconds, dealing 90% of max health unavoidable damage to a random Champion. When Zorbu "Thunderbolt" Natten is hit by the effect, his next normal attack does 10x damage.

  • Crashing Waves — Only two of your formation's columns do damage at a time. Columns change every 10 areas. Start with back two (slots 4-9), then middle two (slots 2-6), then front two (slots 0-3), then front and back (0-1 & 7-9), then repeat.

  • The Shipwright's Ball — Two Shipwrights take up slots (2, 9) in the formation. The Shipwrights dance with adjacent Champions, swapping the position of two random adjacent Champions every 15 seconds (the one in slot 9 swaps 6 and 8, while the one in slot 2 swaps two of 0, 3, and 4).

See the in-game FAQ for more information!

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 8th
Share the Love in BW2 with Valentines 2019! 
Posted in Bush Whacker 2.

Happy Valentine’s Day Bushwhackers!

The residents of the Commons are putting on a Valentine’s Day dance, so you know what that means! Helping with the set-up through one-time and daily quests, plus turn-ins!

It’s not Valentine’s without presents! Help stock the stands with Chocolates, Teddy Bears and Roses by turning in Candy Hearts as the stations unlock.

The event organizer seems a bit frazzled. Why don’t you help her out by doing her set-up quests each day? And don’t forget to keep those party supplies topped off!

Nate needs to prove he's likable, and eventually he'll have to pick a date. Afterwards, help the one he doesn't pick get over her grief with some Ice Cream daily quests until it's time to help Nate’s rejected girl through the 5 stages of grief. All five quests will unlock right after each other and then she will have a new daily quest for you.

Once the Valentine's dance has started, you get to look for the partner of your choice to share a moment on the dance floor.

Jim and Sasha's relationship quests are around. If you haven't married them yet, you'll see either their Dating or Proposal quest line. If they are married, you get to help the pair pack for their honeymoon, or celebrate their anniversary.

You can also learn how to play guitar to serenade your loved one! And who is that mysterious note from this year?

New for 2019

Nate needs to prove he's a likeable guy. How will this endeavor end?

If you can complete the event, you'll earn this awesome 100% reward carousel creature!



Starting next Friday, the 3 new Valentine's themed pets for this year will be available to purchase over the weekend! Can they woo your heart?



Event Achievements -- POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT

There are a total of FIFTEEN possible achievements to earn in the Valentine’s Day 2019 event.

Achievements Returning for 2019
Party Planning Committee - You helped at least once at each Valentines Station.
Party Planning Leader - You helped 50 times at each Valentines station.
Pet Detective - You found each of the lost pets at least once.
Nate's Date - You helped Nate pick a Date.
The Five Stages of Grief - You helped Nate's rejection get through her pain.
Two Left Feet - You danced at the Valentines Dance.
Setup Wizard - You helped the party organizers with all their tasks.
Guitar Training - Follow through with Virtuoso Guitarist Jimmie's lessons.
A Secret Admirer - Find a note from a true secret admirer.

Added/Changed for 2019
Winsome Wardrobe - Purchase all of the 2019 Valentine's Event Item!*

We also have 6 achievements from previous years which may be earnable by spending Bush Bucks if you missed getting them the first time around.

Customization Lover - You bought all the Valentines things from 2013!
Customize Your Love - You bought all the Valentines things from 2014!
Heart-wearer - You bought all the Valentines things from 2015!
Hearts Hearts Hearts! - You bought all the Valentines things from 2016!
Passionate Purchases - You bought all the Valentines things from 2017!
Romantic Acquisitions - Purchase all of the 2018 Valentine's Event Item!*

*The Valentine’s mini-golf piece is not included in the Winsome Wardrobe achievement.

This event runs until Friday February 22nd @ Noon PST (8pm GMT).

Post your love for the event here!
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!
January 30th
Idle Champions: The Grand Tour, Part 7 
Posted in Idle Champions.

After discovering the mystery behind the Tower on the Lake and vanquishing the evil at Wizards of the Wine winery, the Champions have become lost in the wilderness — and with their greatest foe in hot pursuit...

Note: You will need to complete the Grand Tour Adventures Tower on the Lake and Seeds of Deceit in order to access these new adventures.

Flies on the Wall

The Champions have saved the winery, but now they've become lost in the wilderness. Luckily, the Dusk Elf Kasimir is willing to help.
  • Variant: The Killer Mists — While in Barovia's misty areas Champions take damage over time. Damage is based on Champion's constitution (CON) score, with lower CON Champions taking increased damage.

Backtracking through Barovia

One ally is dead, another has been taken, and the Champions are on the wrong side of Barovia. It's time to head to Castle Ravenloft and face down Strahd von Zarovich.
  • Variant: Diversity Day-Trip — Only a single member of each Champion race is allowed in the formation at a time.

See the in-game Change Log for more information!