Character Spotlights: Gloria & Gwen
Gloria is a healer who has helped people and animals her whole life.
Gloria and her sister Gwen worked as veterinary assistants from a young age, helping with the care of animals. They studied medicine and the healing arts, as well as the martial arts to keep themselves strong and centered.
Gloria's cheerfulness is irrepressible. She's easy going and keeps a positive attitude no matter what the situation. This mental attitude has gotten her through the many tragedies and depressing situations in health care. People and animals die, their loved ones grieve, and someone must support them in these tough times. Gloria was always good at that.
One day, men rushed a patient to them, one of the Bull Beasts who was injured in a mining operation. Though the sisters were not especially familiar with his race, their general knowledge of animal and human physiology was enough to treat the poor soul, and mend his injuries. The grateful beast mentioned that his people could use more healers back in the Golden Plains, especially these days. The rate of injuries there has been increasing, he said. The sisters looked at each other, nodded, and thus began their first of many journeys across the Realm, to heal the injured and the sick.
One such journey was to the north, into the Dreadlands. Gloria and Gwen heard rumors that an expedition there was in trouble and needed medical help. Though traveling here was a huge risk, the sisters decided to go where their help was needed. They didn't find any members of the expedition though. Before they could, they heard the sounds of a struggle through the trees and they rushed to investigate. A man who was obviously injured was fighting some sort of undead monstrosity. Seeing one of their kind in trouble, they leapt to assist.
The monster struck Gwen with its needled arm and she writhed on the ground. Gloria and the man forced the creature to retreat. Gloria rushed to Gwen's aid, but then the man collapsed too. Gloria realized who he was based on the markings of his clothes. This was the Exiled Dragon named Menelker. It looked like his lifeforce had been sucked out of him, and he was deathly weak. Strange, as Gwen was struck by the same creature yet her symptoms seemed completely different.
Gloria faced a decision all too familiar to her: a triage situation. Her sister and the man each needed immediate medical help. Things must be decided in an instant, and it's the kind of thing Gloria hated the most. Gwen was always better at making snap decisions about risks, while Gloria wanted to help everyone. But Gwen now appeared to be passed out, while Menelker was reeling from serious injuries and his skin was turning gray. Though it broke her heart, the man seemed in more immediate danger of the two. She treated him first with a combination of medicine and healing magic in an attempt to stabilize him, then rushed to Gwen. To Gloria's great surprise, during this time Gwen's skin began to turn blue, and something was obviously very wrong with her, moreso than Gloria had first realized. Gloria tended to Gwen's wounds and gave her the healing touch. Though this returned Gwen to consciousness, it was no cure. From this moment on, Gwen would need Gloria's healing abilities just to keep from slipping into darkness.
Menelker recovered, but in some sense, Gwen never did. Despite Gloria's ever-positive outlook, she can't help but wonder if her split-second decision was a grave mistake.
Gloria’s gold character card gives her Potent Healing Touch. She can fetch a Hearts card from her discard pile by discarding just one card, rather than two cards. This might seem like a small difference, but it’s actually a big deal.
Gloria is an “engine” character, meaning that once she gets the right pieces in place, she can get a runaway lead. When everything is working for her, she’s healing every turn, recurring any cards she wants, and using her Overdose (Ace) ability to close out the game. Her innate ability is one piece of this puzzle, but using it normally leaves her down one card per turn. She draws one per turn, but has to spend TWO cards to get a Hearts card back. Once she gets her Healing Sphere ability going, that lets her draw two cards per turn so that she doesn’t lose cards when using her innate. Healing Sphere is one of the strongest abilities in game because it helps her reach a tipping point where her engine comes together.
Gloria’s gold character card lets her start the game with the ability to fetch hearts cards without her hand size going down. That puts her one step closer to the tipping point of her engine coming together—and that’s before the game even starts. If EX Gloria gets a Healing Sphere in play, look out.
Gloria’s Destiny card gives her access to Apogee Globe and Perigee Globe. One is an Ender and the other is a Starter, and they both can be pumped for more damage. The Pulsing Globe ability lets her heal 3 life per pump. Healing is generally good in that it gives Gloria a life lead, puts her in position to win with her Overdose (Ace) ability, and also powers her Healing Sphere. Pulsing Globes make all of that work more consistently.
Gwen is a former healer who is now afflicted with Shadow Plague.
Gwen grew up helping and healing animals and people, alongside her sister Gloria. They both practiced martial arts together, and travelled the Realm to help others.
While nothing could ever get Gloria down, Gwen was often affected by the personal tragedies they witnessed; they can't save every patient. That said, Gwen was always better in crisis situations because she is the more decisive of the two. Gwen knows that every decision about treating a patient or not treating one is a risk. In a tough situation, one might be tempted to do nothing, or to avoid taking any action that might backfire, but the correct decision is the one that maximizes the patient's chances, whatever that may be. Gwen has a practicality that her more idealistic sister sometimes lacks.
Gwen's understanding of the odds surprised many during her visit to the Pandalands. No one expected the foreign healers to be any good at Pandánte, yet Gwen won quite a bit of gold from Pandas. They were excited by the unexpected turn of events, and they were very grateful for her healing skills as well.
After Gwen's encounter with the undead in the Dreadlands though, she was never the same. There she contracted Shadow Plague. Her skin changed color and her humanity started to fade away, kept in check only by her sister Gloria's healing powers. Gwen grew restless and antsy. At times her adrenaline seems to be in overdrive. Gloria suggested they end their journeys across the Realm, but Gwen insists they keep moving. She isn't always lucid, so it's unclear what she's looking for, if anything.
In gameplay terms, Gwen is dying—she's a character on a clock. During what time she has left, she acts with great speed and desperation. Her gold character card turns up that intensity by letting her draw TWO extra cards per turn (rather than one extra) as she takes her automatic 2 damage. She already had the best card draw in the game, and now she has incredible fuel for as many combos as she wants.
The second part of her character card ability gets a bit of a damage boost, too. Normal Gwen only hits with one of the two normal attacks she discards on block, but EX Gwen gets to hit with both of them.
Gwen’s Destiny card, Desperate Strikes, is quite a game-changer. It’s an incredibly fast combo starter at just 0.2 speed with a very solid 9 damage. The mindblowing part is that the Desperation ability makes her not lose the game from having 0 or fewer hit points on the turn she plays it and also on the following turn. This triggers if she plays it as a combat card or even after a dodge. It triggers even if she’s hit out of it or if it’s dodged or blocked.
Because Desperation itself deals 4 damage to Gwen and her innate is dealing her 2 damage per turn, she’s probably going to get down to 0 pretty fast. If possible, it’s good to save Desperations until you’re almost dead, then play all four of them. She could extend her life 4 turns this way, and that’s a whole lot considering how much damage she can potentially deal during those 4 turns. Remember, she is drawing 3 cards per turn, total. (Note: EX characters can use the power up mechanic to search their draw decks for any card, including Destiny cards, but they can’t use it to fetch cards from the discard pile. So EX Gwen can’t do more than four Desperations per game.)
If Gwen goes down, it won’t be from her lack of fighting for her life.