Some status effects are already used in Core Space, but this element of the game had an upgrade for Maladum. As Core Space evolved we added new status effects through expansions, like Stun tokens for example, but Maladum has fully integrated them into the core game from the start. This meant that we could streamline and standardise how status effects work, which makes them easy to use and reduces the number of counters on the board.
A key part of this change is that we’ve created a dedicated area of the Adventurers’ dashboards to make it simple to track status effects. Each Adventurer’s dashboard has three slots for Status Tokens so that you can see at a glance what your Adventurer is subject to. This could be negative effects like Burning from a recent encounter with a Hellfont or positive effects like magical Wards.
One exception to this is the Fatigued counter, as your Adventurers will receive and clear Fatigue counters frequently. Fatigue is tracked using tokens put next to your miniature or placed loosely on your dashboard instead.
On their turn, an Adventurer has to spend an Action clearing each Fatigue token before they can do anything else, which creates interesting challenges and dramatic moments. So what have you been doing to pick up all this Fatigue? Much of the time it’ll come from taking an Action when it isn’t your turn, for example by choosing to parry an attack. You’re trading an Action now for one next turn which makes for interesting tactical choices.
You do need to be careful though, if you pick up more Fatigue counters than you have Actions to remove then you become Stunned.
Being stunned means that the Character misses their turn and can’t take any Actions, spend Magic pegs, or use any Skills. Losing an entire turn when you’re in the middle of a fight can be a huge problem!
This means that inflicting the status on your enemies with the Stun spell could make all the difference during a quest. Equally, the Rouse spell can bring a vital Adventurer back into play by removing the Stunned status at a critical moment.
As with the Fatigued status, the Wounded status brings some interesting new elements into play. Most of the time it will be inflicted by critical hits from weapons with the Sharp icon, making them something you will both covet and fear.
A Character that is Wounded has their move reduced by one square and loses a health peg if you roll a 1-3 during the Assessment Phase. This can be a double-edged sword as it applies to your Adventurers too, but it can make a huge difference when you are facing tougher opponents as you can Wound them even if you don’t beat their armour. Anyone that has been ganged up on by Iconoclasts in early Core Space First Born missions will know how useful this could be!
The Poisoned status is also usually inflicted by critical hits from attacks. In the Assessment Phase you roll the magic die and lose a health peg on a 1-2, a skill peg on 3-4, gain a Fatigued token on a 5, and have it wear off on a 6.
It’s another great example of how status effects can make the game more interesting. For example, Lamentors are not very tough and don’t hit very hard, but they do poison you on a critical hit. This makes it much harder to discount them than other low-level enemies like the Purge Harvester from Core Space as there is always that chance they might land a critical hit and leave you Poisoned.
Being on fire is bad! During the Assessment Phase a Character that is on fire loses one health peg. Being a human (or Eld) torch also makes it tricky to Rest so that option isn’t available. Putting yourself, or someone else, out takes two consecutive Actions but it’s usually worth it.
On the plus side, you are now a light source, a source of fire for magic that needs it, and your attacks gain the Burning characteristic. What a team player.
Most of the time the Burning status will come from critical hits by weapons or attacks with the Burning icon, making facing Hellfonts a dangerous prospect.
Even the most hardened Adventurers sometimes lose their nerve. If they do it’ll usually be because something has applied the Terrified status to them. Characters that are Terrified will spend their next turn running away – even if there are traps in the way, which is sure to lead to some exciting moments.
Being encumbered by armour makes casting spells difficult, so Maladaar tend to avoid it. This leaves them vulnerable if they get caught in combat but, fortunately, they can also use spells or equipment to become Warded with magical armour. This surrounds them with a forcefield of magical protection. This can even be boosted to provide more protection if you took a hit that would normally cause you to remove a health peg. For this reason, the Nanite Shield spell is going to be something you’ll often want in your arcane toolkit as it grants you a protective forcefield.
In the early quests of Maladum, you’ll want your Adventurers to be blessed as much as possible. This positive status is usually provided by a spell and lets you reroll a die from one of your own actions or from an enemy’s. It can be the difference between a quest-ending critical hit from a foe and victory. Or to quote one of our playtesters:
“Blessed counters need to be there, on everyone, all the time. I had no idea for so long, but now I don’t leave home without a way to dish them out.”Rob, Playtester
This one is a bit of a cheat as it’s not a status effect, but it’s sort of similar so I’m sneaking it in because I love how thematic it is. Are you even an Adventurer if you’re not creeping through the darkness with a sword in one hand and a torch in the other?
When you enter a dungeon, you might find that the Malagaunt’s minions haven’t finished lighting the whole place up. This means that sometimes quests will add an extra layer of challenge by having sections where the torches aren’t lit. Being in darkness means that Characters only have line of sight up to Short Range, they can’t search, all their attacks use one fewer die, and jumping or climbing is a bad idea. The even worse news is that many of the Denizens and Revenants have adapted to see just fine while you are groping around in the dark. You’d better grab a lit torch from one of those sconces to even the odds…
As you can see, Status effects play a significant role in games of Maladum. They give you more tactical choices, a wider range of challenges, and interesting opponents.
For example, in Core Space the rules for armour are simple, gear with two points of armour is better than gear with one point of armour. This works really well, but there is less room for flexibility in the creation of equipment with this approach. In Maladum, you’ll find weapons, like maces, that inflict bludgeoning damage on a critical hit, which causes Fatigue. You’ll also find helmets that protect against it.
This dynamic makes your choice of equipment more interesting, as you’ll have to make trickier decisions about what to take. Is it better to take a weapon that gives you more Reach, or one that could Stun a dangerous foe? Stunning enemies will slow them down, but with weapons that inflict Poisoning or Wounding, you can kill enemies when you would otherwise struggle to get through their armour. A weapon that lets you Parry an attack can save your life, but at the cost of fewer Actions on the next turn.
You’ll find that Status effects create a range of interesting dilemmas like this in Maladum and they add a lot of fun to the game but without adding complexity.