Cissy Salem

Cissy is intended to be a typical goth girl. No doubt she was a big fan of Behemoth and Pallbearer back in the day, got a pentagram tattoo (which she now regrets, like everyone else who gets a pentagram tattoo), and wore nothing but black in high school.

Now, with Hell rising, she feels her special insight into the dark realms may prove useful. And who knows, she may be right! All those metal lyrics are still rattling around in her head.

She has a puny 1d4 attack, an average Toughness and starting Luck (2 & 3 respectively), and a decent health of 6.

Her start ability is Occult Interest which lets her pay health instead of courage for her gifts. This is extremely useful, particularly if she is within 1-2 points of a gift’s cost. It means she gets to use that gift a whole turn earlier, which can really make the difference at times.

Her whole character is built around self-martyrdom, in which she is able to gain usefulness as she pushes herself, hurting her health and bringing her down, but also bringing her up psychologically and spiritually. Think of it as the modern equivalent to a flagellant – the mental discipline and spiritual strength from suffering turned to good.

She has Good With Gloom as her first obtained ability. This lets her Help other players by paying health instead of courage, and again, this is good in a pinch. When another player absolutely can use a die increase, Cissy can do it even when her courage is spent.

Her other ability takes a while to get – and is usually her last (but not always). This is Angst. This is exceedingly handy before the final battle with the boss, but is also good at other times. It lets her permanently reduce her health cap by 1, then she heals up to her new full health. For example, say her health cap is currently 8, but her health is only 1 (not unusual). By using Angst, she drops her health cap to 7, but then rises up to 7. Probably in the late game, she would normally never expect to be able to reach her health cap again, so this is a terrific bonus.

Her weakness is that, as a goth, she is hardly a leadership figure. Her uninspiring nature means that when she recruits, she rolls 2d4 and has to choose the lower of the two rolls, so generally she is stuck with a lowly volunteer or citizen militia.

How Cissy works

She has an excellent tech tree. One upgrade increases an attack die, and another gives her 1d10. Thus if she takes no attack gifts, her final attack is either 1d12+1d4 or 1d10+1d6 which is quite respectable. She also has two gifts which increase her health & health cap – in preparation for late-game use of angst. The fact that she gets exactly two such boosts is not coincidental – if she gets both, she’ll have a health cap of 8. Then, using Angst once, she’ll have a remaining health of 7. This means that she can survive one round of the Lord’s attack without trooper support. Because the Lords (except for Chthon) only roll 6 dice. That ensures that the players can weather one whole round without taking any chances.

Fighting the Lords – a note

The major consideration when fighting a Lord is when to retreat. There are two decision points in this. First is when you calculate that the Lord’s attack has a chance of killing a hero. This happens when no hero has Health+troopers of 7 or more points (because most Lords can theoretically do 6 damage tops). When playing it safe, heroes typically run away as soon as the Lord’s attacks drop them to this level.

The second decision point is when you calculate that the Lord’s attack is almost certain to kill a hero. For example, let’s say you are fighting Baphomet, and Cissy has been brought down to exactly 6 health (and no other hero is better off). If Baphomet’s wall is gone, so his attack is 6d8, he has a chance to kill Cissy. But it’s quite likely that all eight dice will not hit. In fact, there is only a 10% chance of this happening. Is it worth staying for an extra round to risk this 10% possibility? Hmm.

On the other hand, if your toughest hero is down to 3-4 points, then even Baphomet is probably going to kill one of them with his attack. At this point, you are expecting him to whittle down the heroes, and the only reason to stick around is the hope that the remaining heroes can benefit from his victim’s martyrdom, by remaining for another round. You can see this happening on the Moonbase map playthrough – Lincoln realizes if we stay in the fight, he will probably die, yet we do so. He dies, but we actually manage to kill the Lord in the next round (barely, but a miss is as good as a mile). Hurray for Lincoln!

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