Hero - Dorothy Hall
Dorothy Hall is (a bit) based on a combination of several of my nieces. She has a puny starting toughness of 1, and low health of 4. Her attack is an average 1d6, but she does have 7 Luck. When she’s alone, she is quite vulnerable to demons. However, she is rarely alone, thanks to her abilities.
Her core one, Spunky, is that she generates 1 courage apiece for each of 2 other heroes in her area in the team phase. I’ve seen players frequently plan out their move so they will be accompanying Dorothy in this phase. It’s good that she gives them courage, because her weakness of Unsophisticated states that she can only spend from the courage pool herself, until it is empty.
Dorothy’s other abilities are Winsome, which lets her transfer damage from herself to someone else in the area and Inner Strength, which lets her Help an ally more than once (still costs 1 courage per Help attempt). Her damage transfer is particularly useful in a Lord battle, where normally the decision is made by who can take 6 damage all at once. But with Dorothy, she need only take 1 point, and then can hand the rest over to another player, whoever can take it. This is a huge benefit in these fights. On the other hand, if you have Dorothy take the hits, there is the drawback that with her Toughness of 1, you tend to take slightly more damage.
How Dorothy works
Dorothy’s tech tree can get her an additional 1d6 attack, and later on, raise an attack token by a step. She also has no less than three gift slots that increase her health cap by 1, so eventually she can have 7 health, which is nice. She also has a gift that lets her divide 5 luck among the other players.
Because she is vulnerable, yet attractive to other heroes, she tends to slightly increase the damage inflicted on the rest of the party. But the courage boost she gets the party, plus her ability to Help multiple times in a round more than make up for this.
Other players are always happy when Dorothy joins the party. And with her attack of 1d6, eventually raising to 1d8+1d6, she is a definite asset.
Hero - Moose Kowalski
Moose Kowalski is a big tough guy. If you’re raised in the USA, you knew someone in school named Bear or Moose or after some other large more-or-less friendly animal. Always a big, athletic, good-natured dude. Moose in this case has a big heart, but perhaps not quite as big a brain. I hasten to add that the real Moose I knew In high school was very intelligent, but he definitely had the big heart of the in-game hero. He was even nice to me, a dedicated cynical weirdo.
Moose has Toughness 2, Attack 1d6, and Health 8. These aren’t exceptional (except for his health).
Moose has the simple and excellent ability of Headstrong which lets him generate 1 free courage every team phase. This, obviously, adds up after a while. His first additional ability is Charge. This lets him add 1d10 to his attack if he moves before he attacks. Since it’s his first item on the tech tree, and only costs 3 Courage, he often starts off by taking it, if he can talk the other players into letting him. His final ability is All-Out which he can’t get till late game. On the other hand, that’s when it’s good – because it means a Lord’s toughness is 2 less vs. his attacks. This makes him extremely handy in the lord fights, obviously.
Moose’s awesome abilities are counterbalanced by his weakness of Overconfident – this forces the team to add 1 more to the Despair track each Despair segment. So in a 3 player game including Moose, the Despair track advances 4 each turn. It’s a good thing Moose’s abilities can be so good, because this is in fact a really terrible drawback, and players who are unprepared for it will be overwhelmed in short order.
The Nature of the Despair Track
The Despair track is the major way that the game is balanced per number of players (the other is by increasing Lord hit points with more players). With 2 players, it takes exactly 3 turns for the Despair track to cycle back to 1. With 3 players, it takes 2 turns. With 4 players, it takes 2 turns for the first cycle, then only 1 for the second. With 5 players … well you get the idea. More players mean the Despair track cycles faster.
It works out that the players get exactly the same number of player turns between the Despair and the Lord track cycling. When the Despair track hits 1, a new Despair die is added and 4 new courage is added to the pool and the Lord track bumps up by 1. When the Lord track returns to 1, the Lord moves (on most maps) and a fourth circle demon spawns. On some maps, other things happen (for example, this is when new invasion tokens spawn on the Washington D.C. map, and when Doom is incremented on the Dragon Guts map).
Anyway, Moose’s presence in a game means the demons spawn in larger numbers, the Lord moves faster, and the 4th circle demon is nearer at hand. But at least you have Moose to help deal with it.
How Moose works
Moose has the simplest “tech tree” in the game – a straight path with no branches. Since his Start ability is Charge, and only costs 3 courage, and he actually earns 1 courage in the first team phase, he pretty much always gets this in the first or second turn. From then on, if he can arrange his move/attack sequence properly, he will add 1d10 more to his hits. Thus he is usually the first player who has 2 dice available, and he is often the first one who has a shot at taking down 2nd circle demons without help.
The remainder of his tech tree gets him a 1d4 attack token (mostly useful only to kill limbo minions for extra courage), increases one of his attack dice, and ups his toughness twice. His dice are actually underwhelming, with a maximum value of 2d6 or 1d8+1d4, but remember that he usually gets 1d10 added to the total.
He needs to keep on the move, using his massive health to survive entering areas with lots of enemies, and crashing into the demons each turn. He is a straightforward combat tank, but because of the nature of his tech tree & abilities, you do need to plan his moves ahead of time.