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Sister Act III

by Jason Drake, First Edition Card Designer

29th April 2013

Sister Act III

 

Illeg

In a universe populated by a fantastic array of antagonists, Lursa and B'Etor may not stand out as the most dangerous. But they've made their way into two different series and a feature film by being the consummate fun villains: their goal of seizing power is straightforward; their methods of theft and deceit are appropriately villainous; and unlike the quietly menacing Tolian Soran, the Duras sisters bluster and threaten right from the get-go. Like Dudley Do Right's archenemy, Snidely Whiplash, they flaunt their Machiavellian nature and leave no doubt in the viewer's mind that they are up to no good. When they appear on screen, one can almost hear the audience crying "booooo!"

And what seems obvious in retrospect was really a stroke of genius: where one villain would have served the plot, we instead have two. Family ties and common purpose bind them together in a perfectly appropriate (or perhaps perfectly twisted) expression of Klingon family values. Together, they form a two-headed hydra. And like the mythological beast, the Duras sisters have a habit of reemerging after each defeat, hatching new plots, forming new alliances, and killing new innocent bystanders.

Being such memorable and bombastic villains naturally made Lursa and B'Etor candidates for another persona in The Sky's the Limit. Furthermore, there is already a Duras-themed engine in Illegitimate Leader of the Empire, and the Sisters were not available in Block.

BEtor

But with so many good reasons to include Lursa and B'Etor, the design team faced a singular quandary. Two personas already existed for each sister (separately as Lursa and B'Etor, together as the Sisters of Duras). We felt that it was important to make cards that not only filled holes in Block play, but that offered real (and interesting) alternatives outside of Block.

So we played around with various combinations of skills and attributes. We checked each incarnation against its Premiere version to make sure that neither card was "absolutely better" than the other. And it gradually occurred to us that the Sisters from Premiere, like their on-screen counterparts, had a bit more bluster than actual power. For example, B'Etor has an impressive-looking five skill dots. But Youth, Physics, Greed, and V.I.P. don't frequently appear on dilemmas in a competitive environment, and are almost never useful in multiples. A new B'Etor with better skills seemed too powerful (vis-à-vis the Premiere version); fewer skills made her too weak; and fewer-but-better skills made the card a poor representation of her character.

Lursa

Eventually, we settled on the special downloads that allow either sister to fetch the other, the first such complementary pair in the game. So the Sky Sisters form a sort of virtual dual personnel card. We don't expect it to completely revolutionize the game; but we're intrigued by the notion that the most effective use of the cards will be left up to the players' own innovations.

For example, one copy of each provides, in essence, a three-skilled V.I.P. with unusually high CUNNING and STRENGTH for the cost of a free card play (assuming one is using the appropriate [WC] Incident). Throw in two copies of each and you have a chance to employ both [DL] abilities by hurling them one at a time into dangerous mission attempts. One sister dies, the other downloads a new copy, and they can switch places to do it again. The hydra keeps coming back to fight.

Outside of Block, one might find a larger array of regular skills more useful than the extra bodies. Clear a spot in the Q's Tent, and the new Lursa can [DL] the Premiere B'Etor, or the new B'Etor can [DL] the Premiere Lursa. Or see what you can do with two copies of Lursa, a single copy of B'Etor, and an Arbiter of Succession. The possibilities are endless. Dare I say-- the sky's the limit?

Last but not least, don't overlook those special skills on the bottom line. Lursa's attribute boost is the most likely to be useful, and grows in strength as one accumulates more and more treacherous Klingons. The increased INTEGRITY, necessary for several popular dilemmas, will be especially welcome to that group. B'Etor's ability to steal an Artifact is more dependent on opportunity, but has the potential to be an even bigger game changer. The Genesis Device is particularly vulnerable, as it must be left on a planet for the duration of an opponent's turn before it can be used. Stock B'Etor in your deck and she'll have a chance to succeed where Kruge failed, wrecking your opponent's strategy and acquiring a powerful weapon to advance your own ends. Now that's a pretty sister.

 


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