The Laws Of Magick Have Changed
The head of the Catholica in Northern Africa walked out into the empty desert. In a place of no observable significance, she Spoke. The heat shimmered. A small house stood where none had stood before. She pounded on the door, but it wasn’t latched and slammed open. “Hello!” she called inside.
“Ah, Miranda, making an entrance as always.” A man sat by the only window, reading. “I’ve been expecting you. Even out here in this wasteland prison, I felt the shift.” He did not look up from his book.
“I admit, Sanjay, it happened just like you foretold.”
He smiled darkly as he closed the tome. “Of course. With so many Magi all Awakening simultaneously, the chaos in the system keeps mounting. A realignment was inevitable. I assume that many of your Inscriptions stopped working?”
“One day they were castable, the next day, no. We are having to re-Inscribe many spells. It is easy enough to do — not like making a new Inscription. I suspect the other Factions are able to do it themselves. But the refreshed spells do not come back with exactly the same behavior they had before, especially Dispel effects.”
“Was that the only change?”
“No. All of us have discovered that we can cast without actually Speaking the words. And if we do Speak, the Words have extra authority, granting access to past memories and reinforcing Magi Will.”
“That’s the result of 200 years of Magi being gone from the world. All the ancient Sites had time to recharge, and power is now sloshing about the world. I told you it would be a problem. Anything else?”
Miranda looked at her hands. “Your prophesy said that ‘The space twixt one life and the next shall narrow, and Magi may esteem a sport to die the most each day.’ It is happening. If you get shot, or fall off a cliff, or are ground zero of a Fireball, you are no longer off chasing your next incarnation. More often, you get lucky, turn into a ball of energy and reform at a nearby ley line nexus. Stories pour in from all over the globe. The Archivists are calling it ‘spontaneous coalescence’.”
“Does this mean that you and yours have decided I’m not a dangerous lunatic? Do I get to be free of this prison and come back to do the job I should have been doing all along?”
Miranda sighed. “Yes. As much as it pains me to say it, yes.”
Sanjay sneered. “You wanted a kinder, gentler Keeper faction. You felt we were too harsh, didn’t show enough mercy. But in this new chaotic environment, any small tinkering of the Illuminators could easily flare out of control, and the Liberators will feel a new surge of power. We either dominate this wave or it will dominate us. I will come back and help you rein in the chaos, but I want your word, Miranda, your oath. Swear that you will unleash the full might of the Keepers and stop trying to make peace with the unrestrained elements.”
Miranda looked straight into Sanjay’s eyes. “I have learned my lesson. My experiment in tolerance has failed. I swear, by The First Word, that I will take up the sword as aggressively as any of my predecessors. Those who embrace chaos will find no solace with me. I will sever whole limbs from the body of Humanity in order to save its heart.”
Sanjay smiled broadly. “My lady and my liege. Let’s go save the world.”
More Fun – Easier to Learn
Subtle yet impactful changes have been designed, playtested and implemented into the Serpent’s Tongue rules structure to smooth gameplay, simplify the amount of ‘exceptions’ in the rules and dramatically increase the ‘fun-factor’. Successfully we believe! These changes all synchronize with the current card set.
The key rules changes are listed below and have been incorporated in the new player’s guide and walkthrough available online. A new updated online rulebook will be available Q4 2014 as well.
The New Energy: VOICE
The largest change to Serpent’s Tongue is the Optional Casting System. You may now play any spell without Intoning its cast phrase! This removes a serious roadblock to fully enjoying your Spell collection, AND makes it easier for new players to use a wider range of strategies.
Now when you choose to Intone a Spell (speak its cast phrase) and are successful you will earn ‘Voice’, equal to the spell’s fluency level.
Voice can be used to upgrade your Specialization as if it was Resonance, and 10 Voice can be spent as if they were Will. This creates a functional in-game bonus to Intoning spells, and creates a Will Generation system, which we believe was sorely needed. (Note you can no longer use Will to upgrade your Specialization, so using Voice to upgrade your Spec is a large advantage.)
Gameplay Impact: We have found this makes the game MUCH more enjoyable and makes Intoning spells less ‘gimmicky’. Players end up Intoning what they can to gain the Resource advantage, and just playing the spells they cannot; its their choice.
We have also found that this encourages players who are initially resistant to ‘Casting’ their spells to try out Intoning a few here and there. As they become more comfortable with the process they tend to dive deeper into the language aspect of Serpent’s Tongue. In short, Intoning spells now provides a bonus and a sense of satisfaction rather than just being a hurdle. A Hard Core mode is still available for those that want to play the traditional version.
A Smoother Cast Cycle
The next most-impactful change was streamlining the Cast Cycle.
Magi now pay for their spells’ costs, upgrades and ritual paths immediately upon placing the spell, BEFORE the Response phase takes place.
Previously Magi would often interrupt each other simply to upgrade their spell, which would create even more Response phases. Now everything is paid for up front.
This means you can no longer Dismiss your spell at the last second to avoid paying for it. You would now rarely want to as you have already paid for it. The option to voluntarily dismiss a manifesting spell has been removed completely which makes more sense thematically and smooths out other rules.
Gameplay Impact: We have found this makes the cast cycle shorter, simpler and more fun. It still retains the bulk of its previous sophistication, only shedding some obscure strategic choices that were rarely used in actual play. This has made Dispels that remove manifesting spells more powerful, and they have been nerfed accordingly.
Energy Exchange Any Time
Will (and now Voice) can be exchanged for other Energies whenever you are paying for anything. It is not considered an interrupt or a response, just an alternative form of payment.
Will NO LONGER upgrades your Specialization however! You can now use Voice as if it was Resonance, however, to upgrade your Spec.
Starting Essence Now 12!
We always modeled ST game-flow off of Kendo matches, with quick killing blows, but matches between experienced Magi with ruthless Codices have been resolving faster and faster. The shift from 10 to 12 moderates this slightly. Also, this extra 2 Essence prevents some exploitative Round 1 Kills in 3v3 matches.
1st Time Discord Rolls Removed
Previously, the first time a Magi crossed the threshold of -7 Harmony play would immediately stop and they would roll for a Discord Event. This turned out to be unnecessary and has been removed. Now you only roll for Discord Events if you have -7 Harmony or less during the initiative phase. Similar rules apply for Harmony Events if you have 7 Harmony or greater during the initiative phase.
After Serpent’s Tongue was delivered to KickStarter Backers and a thousand Magi began playing; some spells were discovered to have errors or require re-balancing. UnBound Games has adjusted the online versions of these spells and artifacts. These are not errata in the traditional sense. The new, more-balanced versions are entirely optional to use.
We have separated out the revisions by Major Spell, Minor Spell and Artifact Errata. We recommend using at least the Major Spell revisions and Artifact Errata. Artifact Errata can be determined before you start a match easily enough as each Magi only has one, and there are only 16 Major Spell revisions to familiarize yourself with.
Simply agree before your match whether you are using just the 16 Major Spell revisions, both Major and Minor, or None
Atomic Strike was launched overpowered and had to be made more expensive to cast. In addition, the tier 4 ritual path (“Remove Global”) was eliminated.
IMPROVED LVL 4 Can now dodge non-global Area Effects!
This spell is now Unique to Codex. Also, it can only be cast if the other spell is actually Intoned. Intoning a spell is optional under new rules. See New Rules tab regarding Voice.
Click image to see the revision discussion.
Unblockable changed to Subtle. It now affects Phased Magi as originally intended.
Applies to all fluency levels. Frost Bite was not intended to deal Dmg for the entire course of its duration. Now it only damages on the first impact.
The action cost is now paid up front; the bearer gains 2 Full Actions later. This is now a less Rift-intensive alternative to Temporal Bubble.
IMPROVED LVL 4: Gestation may now be recast immediately as a Free Action Response upon impacting its Dmg effect — but only on a new target and by paying again all costs!
Applies to all Fluency Levels. Like Frostbite, Judgement only applies its Dmg effect on its first impact.
Applies to all Fluency Levels. Now causes bearer to collect an interrupt stone in the maintenance phase rather than upon first impact.
Applies to ALL Fluency levels: This was grossly over-powered. 3rd Dmg removed from ritual path. Resonance cost increased.
Applies to all Fluency Levels: “All Etheric” has been removed from the Ritual Path.
IMPROVED LVL 4: May now cast Chi spells with the level 4 version!
Bearer may now break out of phase lock by paying 6 Harmony as a Full Action on the level 4 version, and with a Will on the level 2.
Bearer of the transmuted spell must now pay 4 Harmony if that spell is discarded for any reason.
Click the card image to see the extensive revisions to this Spell.
The functionality of this spell has been completely replaced because it was so overpowered.
Can no longer combine with Abjurations. Manifestation zone was renamed to the rite zone.
IMPROVED LVL 4: Optional upgrade now adds +2 Dmg on the level 4 version!
Minor Spell Revision List coming soon…
In the meantime you may search the Tome of Spells and select Minor from the Errata drop down menu to view all Minor Spell revisions.