Pocket Paragons Design Blog: Rowan, the Sage

 Another day, another Pocket Paragons design blog; this time we get to take a look at Rowan!

He may at first seem like an unassuming little druid, but he also possesses tremendous inner strength. His abilities are incredibly weak, but if you let your guard down for just a moment, the force of nature within him will become unleashed!

Character Strengths:

  • Once passive is active, has the highest damaging kit in the entire game
  • Only need one good counter to completely take over the game

Character Weaknesses:

  • Before passive is active, has the least powerful kit in the entire game
  • Transformed kit is high damage but doesn’t offer a lot of utility

Rowan’s kit hinges completely on his passive. At the start of the game, his abilities have low damage, and no additional effects. Once you get that first counter, his passive turns on as you transform into a far more threatening monster. Take a look at his abilities:

Before he transforms, they deal 1, 2, 1, and 1 damage. 5 damage is easily the lowest from any character in Pocket Paragons. There are no effects on them outside of the Boost, so you can’t exhaust your opponent’s abilities to try to force them into a bad Rest. You can’t block damage or heal outside of your very standard Defend.

But take a look at those abilities again after you get that first counter: 3 damage, 4 damage and block 4, 2 damage and ready, and 2 damage. Using Swiftness into Cunning into another Swiftness, that’s a 10 damage combo in just 3 rounds that blocks damage on 2 of those 3 rounds.

As a design rule of thumb, characters in Pocket Paragons can’t deal 10 damage without Resting at least once. You can always get that Execute before your first Rest, but when it comes to damage, Rowan has the capability to shatter that rule and take out your opponent without them even having a chance to Execute you.

“That’s a Big If…”

Rowan is all about getting that first counter. So how hard of a task is it, really? In most games of Pocket Paragons I’ve played and watched, having one or more counters is a fairly common occurrence. But with Rowan, the dynamic changes entirely. The pressure is on Rowan’s opponent to not let it happen– if they can just outlast the Sage, they’ll easily win a game with superior numbers and effects.

But it’s that pressure that leads to mistakes. When playing Rowan, you have to pay attention and predict your opponent’s moves more than ever. If your opponent’s Strength ability is exhausted, you almost have no reason to play your Intelligence ability. One damage is not worth it, if you don’t have that potential of a big counter. When playing against Rowan, your Weapon and Defend become more valuable as they can’t be countered. Your Weapon might be better used to bait out one of Rowan’s three countering abilities. Defend does that and more. Rock Paper Scissors is less scary when you know your opponent can’t throw Scissors.

“Use the Boost to get through!”

One last thing to note about Rowan is that his abilities are powered by Boost, and Boost is not a mechanic unique to him. For example, Mr. F’s Bask is different from other Rests and allows Boost to be turned on easily, but only for one round. Characters in the Temporal Odyssey box also use Boost in different ways. In Tournament mode, you can pass these Boost abilities between characters and set up different angles of attack. Alternatively, you can pass Rowan singularly strong abilities to help patch up his pre-ultimate early game. The possibilities are in your hands!

 -Brian McKay

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