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Seth Johnson was lead designer for many years on HeroClix, up until Topps disbanded Wizkids in 2008. This is part two of our three part interview with Seth.(view part I)
The Le: Is Game Design what you always wanted to do?
Seth: Writing and game design has always been the thread stitching the parts of my life together. But I wasn't always convinced that I could make it a go as a career. I started out studying math and physics in college because I thought I might end up teaching one of them, or maybe doing a travelling science road show.
The Le: So what comics are you reading these days?
Seth: Current titles that top the to-read pile when they come out: Wednesday Comics, Batman and Robin, Invincible Iron Man, Secret Warriors, Irredeemable, Dark Avengers, Fables, Green Lantern, Secret Six, Invincible, JSA vs Kobra, Captain America, Mouse Guard, Booster Gold, Lone Ranger, Guardians of the Galaxy, Fell, Astro City, The Muppet Show, Agents of Atlas...I'm sure I'm forgetting something.
The Le: Sounds like you've been following the The Blackest Night raging across the DC Universe. Put on your HeroClix designer cap for a moment, and design a new Team Ability for the Red Lantern, Blue Lantern, and Black Lantern.
Seth: Yeah, I've been loving the Blackest Night, and can't wait to see where it goes. Back when the Sinestro Corps War was ramping up, we debated whether or not to make them Green Lanterns with an alternate team ability, but got a heads-up from DC that something like there might be other new Corps coming, and we might want to hold off. That started a conversation about how we were going to handle team abilities in the future that never really got finished while I was at WizKids.
Whether team ability or ATA, it's definitely fun to think about what the various Corps might have ended up with. For the Blue Lantern Corps, I'd definitely want to play on their ability to grant hope to others. Technically they're supposed to be limited to working alongside Green Lanterns, but that seems a bit too limiting.
BLUE LANTERN CORPS Once per turn as a free action, a character with this team ability can remove one or two action tokens from an adjacent friendly character that hasn't taken an action this turn. If two tokens are removed, roll a d6; on a result of 4-6, this character is dealt 1 unavoidable damage.
Red Lanterns...I think we'd want to play on their rage, and their ability to particularly use it against those who are angry and pushing themselves. Maybe:
RED LANTERN CORPS When a player with this team ability makes a ranged combat attack targeting an opposing character marked with two action tokens, damage from the attack is penetrating damage.
Of course, those are just my first, unplaytested ideas.
Black Lanterns...we really don't know that much about them yet. Maybe every time you make a critical hit too close to a Black Lantern you take damage? I'd have to think about that some more (and wait for Blackest Night #2!)
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