Scarlet Keys: Customizables #4


And here’s the final four Customizable cards from The Scarlet Keys with some thoughts on what can be done with the upgrades.

Living Ink

This is a card that i think is actually already decent at level zero. Three turns of willpower+1 (or something else, of course) for an action and a card sound perfectly fine to me. But it gets better quick with just a bit of investment.
Subtle Depiction + Imbued Ink(3XP, level 2): Makes the tattoo last for 5 turns, with the option to stretch it further by skipping the occasional turn. With two of these in the deck, this can already be enough to last the whole scenario. Makes it take up the arcane slot, which is probably an issue but can in some cases be beneficial if you don’t need them or actually want two tattoos in play at the same time. Pretty good for those that actually might want to boost something else than their willpower like Norman/Daisy (intellect) or Sefina (agility).
Subtle Depiction + Eldritch Ink (3XP, level 2): This is the boring, but safe option, which gives three turns with +1 to two of your skills in exchange for the body slot. I expect this to be a common thing for Amina who can really use the skill bonuses. She might upgrade it with Vibrancy to 6XP later on and/or add an additional skill.
Macabre Depiction + Vibrancy (6XP, level 3): Mainclass mystics can get themselves a nice +2 to willpower from their otherwise relatively uncontested body slot as long as they are ready to accept -1 to the others. Many mystics will be fine with that. And as long as they can reveal a symbol token per turn, they can keep it up.
Subtle Depiction + Imbued Ink + Vibrancy (6XP, level 3): So, this is probably overdoing it a bit, but… you can put two Living Ink in your arcane slots and get +4 to your chosen skill (…and -2 to the others) for 5+ turns. Doing so will take up your arcanes.
Eldritch Ink + Eldritch Ink + Macabre Depiction+ Subtle Depiction(9XP, level 5): This is the high end version that doesn’t use Imbued Ink. The card stays in the Body slot and the two Depiction upgrades have to do the work towards keeping the card in play (Also, having a second copy helps!). Getting that to work seems entirely reasonable and your payoff is a straight +1 to three attributes. Pretty good if you use all of them!
Eldritch Ink + Eldritch Ink + Imbued Ink + Vibrancy (10XP, level 5): If you really want to, you can get +2 to three of your skills and -1 to the last one. Or play both of them for +4/-2. Probably not really worth going in that deep, though. If i were to throw 10XP at this card while using Imbued Ink, it would more be like:
Macabre Depiction + Eldritch Ink + Imbued Ink + Vibrancy (10XP, level 5): As before, but you get the bonus to only two of your skills… which would usually be enough? Cutting that second Arcane Ink makes room for Macabre Representation. With 5 charges and the ability to refill them on a symbol token, they just might not run out at all.

Makeshift Trap

At its level zero, this is a bit too awkward to use, but just a few XP already make a big difference here. With a bit more investment, this does some cool things that aren’t really possible otherwise.
Net + Improved Timer(4XP, level 2): Dropping this at your feet and setting it for 3 turns can hold up Hunters that are on your tail. It’s limited to non-Elite but it still sounds like a thing that would be very helpful in Forgotten Age or Innsmouth.
Remote Configuration + Poisonous(4XP, level 2): A very solid way of dealing with cultists that doesn’t require you to move into their location. Will kill the enemy before it gets to contribute doom to the agenda.
Simple + Net (5XP, level 3): Making the Trap gain fast allows dropping it while engaged without an attack of opportunity. Doing so would be useful for the -1 to fight and evade. After evading, the enemy would be caught in the Net for two turns, allowing a quick getaway. Basically, this turns into an interesting variant on Slip Away.
Improved Timer + Tripwire + Explosive Device(6XP, level 3): So 6XP buy you two copies of a Dynamite Blast that you can leave somewhere to go off as soon as an enemy enters the location. That actually sounds very useful!
Improved Timer + Tripwire + Explosive Device + Net (9XP, level 3): Improving on the Fire Trap from before, the Net means you can set the timer to 3 turns instead of 1 turn and see if you can’t catch more than just one enemy to blow up.

Honed Instinct

This one has an upgrade that seems just mandatory to me, this card is clearly designed around being used with Impulse Control.
Impulse Control + Killer Instinct (4XP, level 2): Once you take Impulse Control, there’s one more of the conditions you can add before you leave the level 2 range. Killer Instinct seems to me like the best one, since getting an immediate action when engaged by a Hunter can prevent an attack and just in general, getting an extra action at the start of combat seems great. Dexter can play assets as a fast trigger and might be more interested in Muscle Memory for that reason.
Impulse Control + Sharpened Talent(5XP, level 3): Spending another 2XP on Sharpened Talent results in 3 enhanced skill tests. That seems really useful, especially if you plan on taking Killer Instinct and/or Gut Reaction as well, as those two are most likely to lead into an action requiring a test.
Impulse Control + Force of Habit(8XP, level 4): If your rogue doesn’t draw a lot of cards and doesn’t expect to see their played cards anways, then removing them for an extra action is very impactful. That’s a very respectable 6 bonus actions. The final 2XP can go towards triggers that allow playing these more consistent.
Impulse Control + Force of Habit + Sharpened Talent(10XP, level 5): You can get all three of the big upgrades for Honed Instinct which will give you an impressive six actions with +2 skill for each of them. But it won’t allow for further triggers, so this is likely only viable if you can trigger an oversuccess by 3 somewhat reliably. That might be too big of an ask unless you are Winifred or Tony. But i suspect that at least Wini doesn’t want Force of Habit because she can actually expect to redraw her deck?

Custom Modifications

At level zero, this is a bit expensive, but that ability is actually quite powerful already. Getting a do-over on your first shot each round sounds great to me. Looking at the upgrade sheet, Extended stock seems pretty mandatory to me again (unless you plan on modding a Lightning Gun, i guess). +2 skill and a redraw on your first token will make it hard to miss.
Since the upgrades are rather expensive by themselves there’s not a whole lot of combinations available to offclass Guardians. If they use this card, it will probably be with a single upgrade like Stock, Magazine or Bullets.
Extended Stock + Leather Grip (5XP, level 3): Allows your guardian to flex on his fellow survivors and their cute little Jury-Rigs with something that is more expensive, but also a lot more potent. Jury-Rig has been great for me, so this combination has me excited despite the costs!
Extended Stock + Quicksilver Bullets (6XP, level 3): One asks for oversuccess, the other gives a skill bonus? Seems like a no-brainer to use the Quicksilvers only with the Stock.
Extended Stock + Extended Magazine (6XP, level 3): Aww, why does it specify “event”, i would’ve loved to use this with Tommy’s ability to put tokens on Becky. Actually, that *is* probably why. Still, the Extended Mags seem great for extending the lifespan of your weapon, something you obviously want to do when you throw upgrades on there.
Extended Stock + Extended Magazine + Counterbalance (8XP, level 4): I’m rather skeptical about Counterbalance being worth it except for really gimmicky Voltron decks. But if you do Counterbalance, then the Extended Mags also seem like a must-have. When you are going as far as stacking many upgrades on one gun, you want it to last as far as possible (Becky is the exception, Tommy can keep her restocked by default).
Extended Stock + Quicksilver Bullets + Extended Magazine + Notched Sight (10XP, level 5): If i had to spend 10XP on this card, that’s what i’d do. I’d actually stick to 9XP and drop the Sight. With +2 skill and a redraw on the chaos token, i feel like i won’t be missing a lot of shots. But sure, might as well add it. You can do Leather Grip instead of the Magazine, but if we are throwing this much XP at the upgrade, we aren’t going to complain about a resource and an action, right? Seems much more useful to make sure we can use the gun more often.

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