It took a lot of convincing the early playtesters that neutral monsters were an essential element of the game. Over time, the task of convincing players that monsters are more than a gimmick became a lot easier. Now, they usually are singing the praises of monsters to us. Our monster designs have come a long way since Gloom. The shadow hound was the equivalent of the designers dipping their toe in the water, in terms of monster board presence. From Gloom we moved to Ashtooth, then Inferno, the first monster with a ranged attack and then, boldly, we introduced Vujasha into the game.
At that point, we all took a collective breath and gave the game some time to breathe. The last 12 months have seen unprecedented growth in Judgement's player base and the introduction of new heroes and a new 5v5 Scorched Earth map. Dor'gokaan represents a natural progression in the evolution of Judgement monsters. He has the most rules, the highest potential damage output and being a demon, can be summoned by Warlock heroes!
Something that Jeff and I keep in mind when designing new heroes or monsters is to make sure we maintain the Judgement model range's variety. Of the three official Judgement illustrators, Helge C Balzer is the one who pushes character design into areas we would not usually go. Vujasha is the most obvious; however, his Styx, Loribela and Nephenee illustrations have all introduced unique elements. Safe to say that Helge's Dor'gokaan tops them all. From the outset, Helge had a vision for the demon that none of us would have taken from the design brief. Before too long, Dor'gokaan had a life of his own, and the final product became a fusion of various archetypes and genres.
Dave Whitaker, the sculptor who recently sculpted Sharn for us, was commissioned to turn Helge's vision of Dor'gokaan into a 3D sculpt and he nailed it. We are itching to produce Dor'gokaan and get him onto the battlefields of Judgement players everywhere, as a neutral monster and a summoned minion of Viktor Clerval.
If launching the Judgement North American Championship at Warfaire Weekend was not enough, we are also going to pre-release both Dor'gokaan and Fazeal at the convention. Both models will be available to pick up on the Friday, and they will be legal for all the Judgement events, including the JNAC. Continue reading
Light flickered across pages of an ancient tome, a candle wick burned down to about an inch off its base. Viktor had been at it for 18 hours straight, however he was still alert as ever, eyes bright and focused, mind sharp. The halfling’s previous genius level intellect, and god-like mental capacity, had continually improved since he had become one of the summoned. The journeys to Between affected the heroes in different ways, however universally they became stronger each time they were victorious in their service of the demigods. Viktor was still grateful that his theft of Aris Demonica, from the library of Bastian Oriel, the timeless one, had yet gone unpunished. He was sure that Bastian would come for him at some stage, and silently Viktor relished the opportunity to lock horns with the lore keeper on Athien, where the stakes were so much higher than Between. Quickly, he brought his mind back to the task at hand.
Extracting the true name of Al’garath had been relatively easy compared to his current pursuit. Yes, this one had proven to be very difficult indeed. Every waking hour for the past 50 days had been spent poring over the tome, and as yet, Viktor had been unable to make any major progress, until earlier today. The halfling finally learned the name of an ancient demon, a fire beast that swam the lava pits of the plane of fire, and as with all demons, having knowledge of its true name meant it was possible to summon it to do your bidding. Possible, yes, however there was no guarantee such a beast could be controlled for any length of time. Summoning demons was always a tricky business.
The demon Al’garath had thus far proven to be a powerful ally and, beyond the occasional eldritch burn, Viktor had been largely unscathed, however that provided no correlation towards any future summons, since all demons were frighteningly unique. Despite knowing his name for several hours, Viktor had so far resisted the urge to summon Dor’gokaan, because the halfling wanted to be sure he could safely dismiss him if things got out of hand. Hidden among the names of several powerful demons, the tome contained a spell of banishment which empowered the summoner to vanquish any named demon to its home plane. It could mean the difference between life and death should a summons go awry.
It took several hours more before Viktor, about to end the session, deciphered the final rune that gave him knowledge of banishment, the spell forever etched into his brain. With a sense of relief, he slowly closed the tome, fastened its metal bindings and placed it into a large rune-encrusted chest sitting in the corner of his laboratory. Viktor closed his eyes for a moment to settle his mind and make sure he still had the mental strength to risk a summons after nearly 24 hours without sleep. Even now, the power of his enhanced mind still surprised the halfling, as his everything came into sharp focus enabling him to begin preparations for the summoning ritual.
The air crackled with energy as parchment flew off a solid oak desk that stood to the side. Viktor sat within a glowing star etched into the stonework floor of his laboratory. A swirling vortex of purple flame which began as a flicker, erupted into a blaze 12 feet into the air, licking the ceiling above. The flame originated in a second glowing star, much larger than the first which, all going well, was the intended destination of the demon. Beads of sweat formed on the halfling’s brow, trickling down the crevice of his right eye, pausing as it came in contact with the crows feet wrinkles that gave some indication of the halfling’s age. Viktor’s concentration was unwavering as the roaring flame caused a noise loud enough to invoke a response from the ravens that nested in his loft. Then, silence, both within the tower and outside. It seemed nature held its breath in reaction to an alien intruding on the world. Athien herself knew that the demon did not belong here.
A low guttural growl broke the silence. Viktor opened his eyes and before him stood an immense beast like nothing he had ever seen. A gaping maw, its lips parting to reveal sharp jagged teeth, appeared where the demon’s stomach should be. Four appendages protuded from its upper torso, two that resembled arm and hands, another a crab-like claw, and the 4th splitting into two demonic eyes that peered around the room unnervingly. Grasped within one of the hands was a fantastic sword, runes writhing along its blade in an endless macabre dance. The creature focused its gaze on Viktor, hatred oozing with the knowledge of what had just occurred. “Dor’gokaan…” Viktor whispered. The beast instinctively lurched forward at the sound of its name, only to howl in pain as an invisible barrier burned its flesh the first time a part of its body cut the vertical plane rising from the star on the floor. Dor’gokaan retracted to the centre of the star, not taking its gaze off Viktor for a single second.
Viktor smiled. The repercussions of today’s achievement playing out in his mind. He would now be the most powerful of the summoned and before long, Viktor was sure, he would have the power to challenge the gods themselves. Let Bastian come now, he thought, for death awaited him.
The halfling spoke an incantation before clapping his hands together loudly. With a deafening pop, the demon vanished, leaving wisps of smoke tendrils floating in the air. Weariness suddenly overcame him so he stumbled to his cot and slid under the heavy furs. Sleep came swiftly.
The all new Scorched Earth neoprene mats have arrived and will be shipping out to pre-order customers from Monday. The bulk manufactured mats are even better than the prototype, making Scorched Earth our best mat to date. Not only is Shane L Cook's illustration amazing, we have spent more time designing, and play testing, this map than any other. It includes 6 challenging scenarios which include the elemental character shrines Forin (fire) and Eldir (earth), the new demon monster Dor'gokaan as well as introducing a brand new terrain mechanic with the teleportation circles.
We have re-engineered the scenario circles which enables us to include as much variety as possible in various locations. For example, the circle below contains the following scenario legend:
Scorched Earth includes the much anticipated elemental character shrines for fire (Forin) and earth (Eldir), the latter coming to life in the form of Terra, the earth elemental, whenever a Warband controls it. These two shrines provide an incredible amount of depth to the game and become dominant objectives that players will fight over continually throughout a battle.
There is still 24 hours left to pre-order your own Scorched Earth map and claim free shipping to anywhere in the world. Use the code "ScorchedEarthFreeShipping" to activate the free shipping during checkout.
You can see the Scorched Earth map in action on this re-broadcast from out twitch stream.