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Conundrum

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BakaMatt
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Last seen: 6 years 2 months ago
Joined: Oct 01, 2012
Conundrum

As a lot of people have been sharing their contest creations, I thought I would join in. This particular villain isn't a perfect fit for the "Time & Space" theme, but I was aching for someone in the vein of the Riddler - a villain who is more in it for kicks and outfoxing the Heroes than they are for global (or universal) destruction. Here's what I submitted, for the villain "Conundrum":

 

Conundrum
Rittel Enser
-
Background: What's a bored future girl to do when technology has reached a utopian peak and everything is structured orderly, pre-planned, and pre-determined? The answer for Rittel was simple - Have fun in an earlier time when everything was still uncertain, technology hadn't yet reached singularity, and people still needed to involve themselves to get things done. Upon time-jumping to the past, Rittel was enthralled by a busy world with active residents. She was amazed at everything, but above all by the struggles between good and evil, of heroes and villains. Of course, where most villain motivations were simple puzzles for Rittel to crack, the Heroes proved to be more complex. Heroes would think nothing of putting themselves in harm's way to protect the innocent. Heroes dared to push to the limit where others would submit. Thus, Rittel soon found that the most entertaining use of her superior wit and future technological marvels would be to match wits with these paragons. Still, it wasn't as if she could just call one of them up for a friendly game of chess. Their attention required something higher profile - something world-threatening. It's all a game to Conundrum, even when lives are at stake.

Characterization: Rittel is clever and loves to let you know it. While she didn't stand out as anyone particularly special in her future society where machines handled every possible need of the people, in today's age she would almost be considered a genius. Not maniacal or power-hungry, Rittel is dangerous in her own way. There isn't any malicious intent behind her holding the world hostage, it just turns out that it's the easiest method to get its defenders in the game. Though her strength lies in her mind, Rittel knows she doesn't stand a chance in a direct confrontation and therefore uses every trick in the book (and a few others that aren't) to her ends. She's also a sore loser, and while she'll profess to "play fair", when the odds are against her she won't hesitate to cheat.

Description: Conundrum wears an absolutely ridiculous outfit put together by someone with clearly little fashion sense (it's a self-made design). Flaunting an oversized cape, multiple braids (two larger, three smaller), she wears sunglasses accented with question marked rims, large army boots with a short skirt, and oversized work gloves. Her front villain card has her standing confidently - calm, collected, but mostly smug-looking. The flip side has her frazzled and dishelved - half enraged and half incredulous. THe front side is very clean in presentation, while the back is busy with traps going off all around her.

Concepts: Conundrum begins with the Hidden Mastermind side up. This side represents her controlling events from behind the scenes. The heroes are attempting to search a number of locations in order to find her. The entire first side is a race against time - if Conundrum's Villain deck runs out, she wins. Heroes with heavy card draw have the best advantage, representing their ingenuity and/or resourcefulness, as a huge theme of the Villain is discarding cards.

Conundrum, Hidden Mastermind (1st Side)

HP ?

Setup: choose two extra environment decks. Each environment represents a potential hideout from which Conundrum is operating. Shuffle and deal H+1 face down cards in a pile near each environment - these are the Clue decks. Take the "Conundrum's Hideout" and enough "Decoy" cards (both marked with a "Discovery" back) to cover the number of environment decks in play, shuffle and deal one facedown next to each environment. Skip the first Villain turn of the game.

Start of Villain turn: Each Hero may discard a card at random from their hand. If they do, move the top card from the Clue deck where they are "present" (if that environment is the most recent one they have "moved" to) to the bottom of the Villain deck.

End of villain turn: Draw and play a Villain card at each environment where a Hero is present. Add a card from the top of the Villain deck to the bottom of each Clue deck at an environment where a Hero is not present unless that environment has a face up "Decoy" Discovery. If the Villain Deck is empty, Conundrum wins.

While the Hidden Mastermind Side is up, Conundrum is immune to damage. Heroes gain "Power: Move to an environment". If a Clue deck runs out of cards, reveal the face-down Discovery card at that location. Flip to "Volatile Trickster" if the "Conundrum's Hideout" Discovery is turned face up. (Environment cards only affect or consider Hero cards as targets if that Hero is "present" at that environment. Draw an environment card for each environment deck during the environment turn.)

Conundrum, Volatile Trickster (2nd Side)

HP ?

When this card is flipped face up, set Conundrum's HP to 20 + (the number of Cards in all Clue Decks x 5). shuffle all Clue Decks and the Villain discard into the Villain deck. Remove all environment decks from play except for the environment where "Conundrum's Hideout" was revealed. All Heroes move to this environment.

Start of Villain turn: Discard the top card of each Hero deck.

End of Villain turn:
If a One-Shot card is on top of any discard pile, Draw a Villain card. Play it if it a One-Shot, otherwise discard it and Conundrum deals each Hero 2 projectile damage.
If an Ongoing card is on top of any discard pile, Draw a Villain card. Play it if it is a Ongoing, otherwise discard it and Conundrum deals each Hero 3 fire damage.
If an Equipment is on top of any discard pile, Draw a Villain card. Play it if it is a Minion, otherwise discard it and Conundrum deals each Hero 4 energy damage.

The front side is meant to create some tension and choice for the Heroes. Since each clue deck starts at H+1, it should be impossible to fully clear any environment in the first turn. They could rush to clear a deck on the second turn, but if it turns out to be a Decoy, the other environments have grown in the meantime. If they split up, they face the possibility of several nasty one-shots at once. And while there aren't too many long-standing threats, Heroes without a steady stream of card draw will quickly end up having to decide to stop searching or skip card/power plays in order to get a two draw. And when they do track down Rittel, the easier it was for them to find her, the more enraged she'll be (her HPs scale with the number of remaining clues), drawing out an extended fight with a lot of damage output.

The back side is more or less a war of attrition. Rittel has a ton of annoying effects that work to choke the Heroes' resources or slow them down, and the back side gives her the potential to unleash three of these a turn in addition to her normal draw. In the offchance that they misfire, she instead hits everyone heavily. Of course, how long this war of attrition lasts is largely dependent on how many clues the Heroes seek out - it's another focus in a line of decisions - rush to find her hidden base, or root out all the traps they can ahead of time? The longer the front side is, the shorter the back, but which side is preferable is really down to the hero mix (with a steady stream of card draw, it's best to take a slower methodical search, with more brute force, they might want to charge in quickly).

Sample Villain Deck Cards:

Tick Tock! - 5 HP - When revealed, play Tick Tock at any environment (where no Hero is present, if possible). At the beginning of the Villain turn, destroy all Equipment in play unless a Hero is present.
"So many choices, so little time. The real question is - which choice is the right one?" -Conundrum, Freedom Five #556 (Not designed to be a threat, more of a delaying/surprise tactic, like other traps in her deck. There would be a small assortment of similar "force Heroes to split up" cards to ensure environments aren't ignored.)

Power Restraints - 10 HP. Attaches to the highest HP Hero present.
Attached Hero cannot target any other target than power Restraints.
Attached Hero cannot move. Attached Hero skips their Draw step.
"That's far enough. We wouldn't want the game to end right from the get-go, would we?" -Conundrum, Tales from the Future #3

Knock Out Gas, One-Shot, Trap - Heroes present miss their next turn.
"Oh, come ON! You honestly didn't see that coming?" -Conundrum, Freedom Five #557

Swinging Pendulum, One-Shot, Trap - Swinging Pendulum deals 5 damage to the highest HP hero present unless they discard a card. (There would be a few nuisances that should require the choice of taking damage or discarding - this choice is intended to build tension as discarding cards is needed to discard clues and find Conundrum's Hideout.)

It's A Trap!, One-Shot - For each environment with a Hero present, reveal cards from the top of the villain deck until a trap is revealed, then play that card at that environment. Reshuffle any other revealed cards into the Villain deck.

Slow Acting Poison Dart, Ongoing, Trap - Attach to hero with highest HP present. At the end of that hero's turn, Slow Acting Poison Dart deals 2 toxic damage to the attached Hero.

You Didn't Really Think It Was Going To Be That Easy, Did You?, One-Shot - Add a card from the Villain deck to the bottom of each Clue pile. If there are no Clue piles in play, prevent all damage that would be dealt to Conundrum until the next Villain turn.

Alarm Trigger, One-Shot, Trap - Reveal cards from the top of the villain deck until a minion is revealed, then play it. Reshuffle any other revealed cards.

Sonic Shrieker, Minion - 6 HP. At the end of the Villain turn, each Hero discards a card from hand. (Conundrum's minions are all robotic beings from the future. Many have larger than average minion HP to give damage dealing Heroes a role since her deck is largely one-shots rather than targets, but the minions that do exist are mostly about pestering the Heroes than knocking them out.)