• Greatest Stories Ever Rolled: Independent Comics Vol. 1

    Welcome back to the Greatest Stories Ever Rolled. We take a look at the comics that inspired and impacted us and recreate those teams, stories, or events in Dice Masters.

    Happy New Year! We’re taking a break from the norm, and giving you something different. Instead of telling you what my Greatest Stories Ever Rolled were, I’m going to give you my Greatest Stories That Should Be Rolled. Yes, this is a great big what if article. I’m going to go back through Indy comic history, and pick some of the greatest characters that we may never see in Dice Masters. Not only will I tell you what 8 characters I think are deserving of the DM treatment, I’m going to create 8 character cards. Each with a unique ability (except one… because it has no ability). So let’s get started!

    Spawn (Spawn, Image) – If you paid any attention to comic books in the 90s, you know Spawn. The flagship character for Todd McFarlane and the whole Image brand. His comic is still going strong, over two decades later. There have been video games, a live action film, a few animated movies, and countless action figures made for Spawn and his cast of supporting characters. This version of Spawn I made, The One, reflects his immortality. He is one of the toughest heroes out there, with stats to back it up. Technically, he cannot be KO’d. Sure, you can beat him up, or get rid of him with an instant KO ability until the end of the turn. But he comes back. He’s not a win condition, not game breaking, but different. It showcases his immortality, but still allows him to be worked around.

    Fone Bone (Bone, self-published) – This award winning series has been on my wish list for a while now. Fone Bone is a courageous, smart, passionate little hero. He is the heart and soul of this book. This series ranges from light-hearted fun to feeling like a grand epic. Written, drawn, and published by Jeff Smith. Smith is from Columbus, Ohio (a short drive from me), and I actually saw a bunch of original and concept art from Bone on display at the art museum there a few years back. Fone Bone is an unassuming hero, in an unassuming story. For this reason, I left him textless with no ability.

    Hellboy (Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., Dark Horse Comics) – Hellboy is awesome. He’s such a great character in a unique story. The comics are great, movies are great… So much fun. Created by writer/artist Mike Mignola. Supposed to be destined to bring about the end of the world, Hellboy fights his “destiny”, instead protecting the Earth. While he is fireproof and has plenty of brute force at his disposal, it’s his reliance and knowledge of paranormal creatures and just what relics are needed to defeat them that makes him such a capable hero. Because of his knowledge of monsters, I gave him the Experience keyword. While I was tempted to give him stats and abilities to show his strength and willpower, I opted to go with his use of spiritual relics to stop oncoming opponents. So, as long as that threat is in your opponent’s bag, Hellboy can get rid of it, putting it back on its card. Fielding of 2, 2, 3, keeps it difficult to KO him on command just to refiled next turn. Plus, with Rip Hunter’s Chalkboard, Resurrection, and even Professor X, there are so many globals that players can use to keep things from going through their bag. It can be a crippling ability, but by no means a win condition.

    Marko and Alana (Saga, Image) – If you haven’t read Saga before, go check it out, now. It might be, no exaggeration or hyperbole, the greatest comic book I’ve ever read. All about two outlaws, Marko and Alana, on the run from those who would harm them and their baby daughter Hazel. They are actually two different alien races: part of the reason they are labelled outlaws. Alana is foul-mouthed, quick to anger, and ultimately the more violent of the two. Whereas Marko is a little calmer, cooler, and more collected than Alana. When his family is in danger, he is focused and determined to do whatever is necessary to keep them safe. For these reasons I gave the Fast and Iron Will, respectively. Because they bring out the best in each other, they bestow their ability on to the other while active. Having two cheap mask characters with Fast and Iron Will make it exceptionally hard for your opponent to remove them, clearing your side. Plus, their card art fits together.

    The Tick (The Tick, New England Comics) – The Tick was the first name I jotted down when I decided to do this article. I enjoy the comic. The Saturday morning cartoon was a staple of my childhood, and the short-lived TV series starring Patrick Warburton is pure gold. I literally quote it at some point every week to my wife. (Whenever she tells me she has to do something I routinely do not do, I tell her, “Good gravy, we ARE a well-oiled machine!”) Anyways, as much as The Tick may be my spirit totem guide, let’s look at the card I made. The Tick is often described as “nigh invulnerable”, and I thought this was a perfect way to show that. He can still be KO’d through creative methods, but if you’re going to KO him through straight up damage, you need to hit him so many times it becomes laughable. This is the only character card on this list I feel might be overpowered. But he’s not a win condition, and is a 6 cost that’s not a win condition really that useable?

    Scud (Scud, Image) – Chalk this one up for Isaac. I actually had no idea who Scud was, but I asked him if there was anyone he wanted to include, and one of the names he gave me was Scud. Scud is a disposable assassin purchased from a vending machine. He is supposed to self-destruct upon completing his assignment, but somehow manages to have his target go to the hospital, ending up on life support. Scud starts taking on odd jobs to earn money to pay for his target’s medical bills, keeping him on life support, because if the target dies, so does Scud. It sounds crazy and funny and interesting… I will be reading this at some point. But as far as abilities go, I wanted to reflect the disposable nature of this assassin. You can purchase him and send him straight in to the field. Only costing 2 energy, he could be worth purchasing, fielding, and attacking all on a single turn if you can guarantee him getting through unblocked. But, with 1D on every face makes him so fragile. So, any damage whatsoever will KO him, sending this die back to its card. I love this concept. The ability and stats present a unique combination that could lend itself well to a win condition. But, Scud by himself can’t win a game, AND there are so many things that can stop Scud in his tracks. Having the Magic Missile global on the board is a deal breaker. I’d love to see what this character would do in the current meta.

    Red Sonja (Red Sonja, Dynamite) – Last, but certainly not least, we have Red Sonja. As scantily clad as she may be, and as much as she may be popular for the wrong reasons among a certain demographic, she has such an important place in comic book history. She’s fought alongside Conan the Barbarian and has held her own solo comic for years. If you want a strong, confident woman, look no further. Sonja can take your head clean off with a variety of weaponry from a basic sword and shield, a claymore, a battle axe, daggers, maybe even her bare hands. Don’t’ let her signature chainmail bikini fool you, she will kill you. She is used to taking on whole armies by herself, which is why she has the Cleave keyword. Merely chump blocking her with a single sidekick will not stop her. The rest of her ability took a while to find the right words for, but this is the card I’m happiest with in this whole article. If you attack with her, and your opponent has a whole army of characters, but only one of those characters decides to block, she draws strength from opposing characters’ inactivity. The best way to combat her is to block her with everything you have. Only then will she not gain an attack bonus. She has the kind of ability that will make your opponent assess the field, and make a quick decision on how to block her. She can constantly force your opponent to make choices they are not happy making. That said, Cleave can only deal extra damage to opposing characters. While she’s a very capable removal option through combat manipulation, she’s not a win condition. She would not likely have a place in the current meta, but she might. And what would a character like this look like in a draft environment? This kind of Cleave ability needs to see the light of day.

    So, there’s our 8 independent comic characters: Spawn, Fone Bone, Hellboy, Marko, Alana, The Tick, Scud, and Red Sonja. From a design perspective, I gave them fun new ways to play with (or improve) familiar keywords. Spawn has guaranteed “Regenerate”, but at the cost of having to wait until next turn to get him back. Fone Bone is a simple, textless character. A 2 cost bolt with 0 fielding on every face. Hellboy is expensive to field with Experience, but offers a way to put opposing dice back on cards. If you’re new to Dice Masters, that’s a gangbuster ability. But there are some stipulations to its use. Marko and Alana both have simple, straight forward keywords in Fast and Iron Will, but can impart those abilities to each other making these two cheap characters that much more formidable. The Tick has simple damage reduction that we just haven’t seen in the game yet. Think of it as Super Iron Will. Scud is a cheap Crosspulse character with a very unique caveat that he will return to his card if he leaves play. Red Sonja has the absolute best case, perfect storm, combination of stats and ability to pair with Cleave. And it’s STILL not game breaking. I’m pretty pleased with some of these abilities, and the characters they are paired with.

    I’ve got a whole 2nd set of 8 characters in the pipeline for another Greatest Stories That Should Be Rolled. But I don’t know if that’s what you guys want out of this. So it’s up to the loyal readers. Do we shift back to our regular format of recreating great comic book moments using existing Dice Masters characters, or do we play around in the Indy comic sandbox for one more article? Give us feedback on everything you just read, and let me know what you think in the comments section below.

    Roll on.
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      I love Scud and wish there were more issues available for it. Solid team, I hope to see the indie comics-does anyone else have an indie they like?
    1. bowhunter's Avatar
      bowhunter -
      Quote Originally Posted by IsaacBV View Post
      I love Scud and wish there were more issues available for it. Solid team, I hope to see the indie comics-does anyone else have an indie they like?
      Not really an indie as it's printed by a DC subsidiary, but Fables is awesome. Imo it would make an awesome set!
    1. GRider10's Avatar
      GRider10 -
      Great article. Love the red sonja card. I am hoping to see more characters with cleave. I used the barbarian once with taskmaster for a fun team. I think you designed some very inspired cards that would be fun to use.
    1. Jonasty's Avatar
      Jonasty -
      Great article and I'd definitely be down for another one!

      I'd love to see The Maxx https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Maxx used to love reading that comic in high school.