We had discussed whether or not to have a special “early bird” bonus for this campaign. Some people love them. Many dislike them. In the end, we decided that because we had not properly announced and publicized an early bird before the campaign, it wouldn’t be fair to launch with a secret “surprise” early bird.
So instead, EVERYONE gets access to our “early bird” bonus, even if they’re late birds. The bonus is that if you are a Fiend backer, you get the Jabootu Lord figure for free! If you’re a First Circle backer, you can still get him, but as a paid add-on.
Jabootu is the demon lord of bad movies & media. Of course, in a humorous sense he is responsible for stuff like Gigli or Troll 2, but really the more serious menace is that he is behind such reprehensible works of falsehood such as Jüd Süss or The Deputy: a Christian Tragedy. Anyway, next time you’re sitting through the latest Carrot Top epic, think about Jabootu exulting over your discomfort.
His design is based on barbaric idols, the idea being that he appeals to the id and the senses rather than the cerebral aspects of the human soul. (Later demon lords will take on our logic & intellect.)
His Menace is what makes Jabootu terrible in the game. When you enter Jabootu’s chamber, all heroes immediately “shrink” one of their attack die tokens by a step. Thus, you’d trade in a 1d6 for a 1d4. That’s horrible, and it can happen every time you enter hell to fight Jabootu. Fortunately, you do have a way to help mitigate this later on.
This menace affects your play throughout the game. It’s scary to do an early strike at Jabootu, because you’ll might cripple yourselves facing the demons in mid-game. Many players feel they you must upgrade their attack, or add an extra die, before first confronting Jabootu.
Jabootu may at first seem easier than Baphomet. After all, Jabootu’s toughness is 5, and his attack is 6d10, as compared to Baphomet’s toughness 6 and attack of 6d12 (though you can drop Baphomet’s attack later on in the battle). However, Jabootu does have more hit points than Baphomet, which means it takes longer to knock him down. Also, your dice suck, because you just reduced one of them by a step in his Menace phase.
This means battling Jabootu takes some time. Unfortunately, time is not your friend here, because of Jabootu’s Deadly Tedium ability.
Deadly Tedium: when Jabootu attacks, any hero who is not targeted still takes 1 damage. This means each time he rolls his 6d10, everyone takes a hit. Of course the targeted hero also takes it on the chin, typically getting hit for at least 4-5 points. But the rest of the heroes are getting worn down over time.
Reward: each time a hero takes 3 or more damage from a single attack while fighting Jabootu, he earns a Lord’s Shadow marker (this damage needn’t come from Jabootu – his accompanying minions can inflict it). What good is this?
Criticism: you can use the Lord’s Shadow for two things. First, you can discard it to cancel Jabootu’s Menace. Of course, you can’t do this the first time you enter Jabootu’s shadow, but from then on, keep a Lord’s Shadow on hand so you can re-engage the Lord without losing another die marker.
You can discard one of Jabootu’s Lord’s Shadow tokens to restore 2 health and thus heal yourself during the Lord Battle. Normally healing doesn’t happen in a Lord Battle, so this is a big deal. Still, you’ll only dare to do this if you have at least two Lord’s Shadows (thus keeping one in hand to avoid Jabootu’s grim Menace), or if this is your final push to kill Jabootu, and you don’t intend to retreat. It can give you that one extra round of survival you need to take down the lord.
Who’s tougher, Jabootu or Baphomet?
If you were hoping for a long nuanced debate, you’re out of luck. My players all agree that it’s Jabootu, hands down.