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Lineage: Hidden Meanings

by Richard New, Lineage Assistant Designer

19th June 2012

The first things I get excited about in a new set are the objects of the traditions that have worked themselves into each set. One of the more recent (and, admittedly, controversial) traditions have been a team every set. We decided to stick with the tradition for this set and needed to decide on a team that would complement the species theme of the set.

Several ideas were pitched, but many lacked a species theme that didn't have to be forced, would have been a less desirable Non-Aligned option, or would have been focused on in other ways in the set. We ended up going with my personal favorite: Romulan prison camp Klingons. Ever since I helped tool around with Ba'el in This Side of Paradise, I'd been fascinated by making the Klingon prisoners the Romulan affiliation. It has the potential to open up a great new avenue to the emerald affiliation as well as give them some more species diversity that will help them with the dilemmas of the set.

Each of the personnel started out with a fairly benign ability (i.e. gaining skills or attributes, preventing stopping or killing, and dilemma manipulation), but it didn't really have a team feel, so Charlie suggested discard pile manipulation. Story-wise, it would work like this: the Klingon prisoners would want their families to believe that they had all died, so they would put Klingons in the discard pile to use abilities; meanwhile the Romulan prison guards would build their new world by recycling Klingons that were thought to be dead from the discard pile to activate abilities. This turned out to be very hard to balance, but some of the conceptual triggers survived into the next iteration.

Focus turned to the characters, which fit into two basic groups: the older generation that was obsessed with continuing the facade of their supposed deaths while the youth hungered for knowledge of their ancestry.

The adults (both Klingon and Romulan), have abilities that suggest they are trying to hide something. For instance, L'Kor (Ranking Elder) has a very simple avoiding random selections ability. Meanwhile, his Romulan counterpart, Tokath, hides the skills on another member of the jade persuasion. (If you notice, both retain the earlier cost structure while working to protect their community.) Another adult is upcoming that likewise obfuscates the characteristics of the surrounding personnel.

The children share no such desire to hide, but still have a link to their parents by theme. In case you thought the team would be a new batch into which poor Ba'el did not fit (it always seems to be her lot in life), she gets a remodel and by Clutching Two Worlds she gets better the more she is exposed to her brethren. It might seem a bit simple, but simplicity is often underrated.

Finally, any team should get some sort of support card. There was an event for a little while that was designed to be a Klingon recycling engine, but it wasn't necessary once the team changed direction. They did, however, always have a mission: Conceal Unlikely Society. This mission went through quite a few iterations even after its requirements had settled into the species requirement type we have seen in other Lineage missions (like Gather Information). The mission went through phases where it gave a bonus for a species attempting it, modal requirements (which matched limiting itself to the Romulan affiliation), a handful of Klingon recycling mechanisms, and finally an event-destroying mechanic that got a serious tweak from a Quinn-able ability to the one we see here.

I hope you enjoy the new team as much as the other designers and I enjoyed working on them. I think they come out as a well-balanced addition to the Romulan arsenal as a team and hopefully they will stop hiding in the confines of their unlikely society and join a larger Romulan community.


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