Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Daikaiju Spotlight: Eelian

A mysterious terror from the depths if space, Eelian has set her sights on Earth to be the beginning of her new cosmic empire! Many millennia ago, her species once ruled much the galaxy with their mind controlling siren song and monstrous size before they were slowly driven to extinction. Eelian, the most ruthless and cunning of her kind, escaped her species' fate by going into a long hibernation in the vast void of space. As the last of her kind, now it is up to Eelian to remind the galaxy of the utter terror her species once wrought across the cosmos. She has begun slowly bending the pathetic humans to her will and establishing her dominance in Earth's oceans, but her machinations will not go on unopposed. Space Hunter X has followed her to this backwater world! Whether it's through the brute force of a thunderous tsunami or the mind bending music of her siren song, the giant interstellar bounty hunter has to be eliminated before she can continue with her plans for galactic conquest and stardom!

The idea for Eelian started to take shape even before Daikaiju Director reached its current incarnation. Back when the game was going to be a specific monster movie simulator and I was working on stating out Legendary's 2014 Godzilla and the MUTOs, I knew that I wanted to make my own monsters and scenarios. I had recently watched some episode of Godzilla the Animated Series and I was really inspired by King Cobra. I jotted down some notes and pretty much forgot everything about the character except that I wanted him to have a constrict and burrow ability.

Fast forward a month and a half: I had just started to make the first four daikaiju and I found a serpent-like mini. I instantly began to make a Daikaiju based on my old notes. I decided to ditch the burrow ability in favor of giving her more mobility in water. I knew water was going to be a special type of terrain and I wanted a character that had an advantage in it or could manipulate it. Manda, from Toho's 1963 film Atragon, is an aquatic snake-like dragon kaiju so I figured there was a precedence for this type of giant monster. Her origin quickly took form and I began to fill out her abilities. I added that weird constriction ability from my notes and some poison, and BOOM! Viper was born... 

Wait- Viper?! I thought we were talking about Eelian! 

Well, we are, but she went through some significant changes since her first incarnation (including a name change). Viper sounded too generic so I changed it. It wanted something that highlighted her giant "space snake" origin so I took the words "eel" and "alien" and mashed them together to get the punny "Eelian." 

The name was one of the last things I changed so let me take a few steps back and discuss the evolution of Eelian's abilities. Leading up to the first FASFAC playtest, I just couldn't figure out how to make poison work. I tried a few different things, but every solution I came up with either didn't feel like poison or it was too convoluted to work smoothly with the rules. I had 4 decks of 40 cards to make for the meeting that evening and I really didn't have that much time to mull it over (I actually cut the deck size down to 30 because I spent so much time on Viper). Swiftly running out of time, I ditched the poison ability and created what would become Eelian's iconic ability: the Siren Song.

The first FASFAC playtest convinced me that my wording for constrict was way off. Not a single player interperated it like I intended. I took that as a sign that it just wasn't working and I removed it like the burrow and poison abilities. Being rushed and messing up her abilities made Eelian what she is today: a fun character who wins through indirect and clever means. Her abilities are deceptively powerful and the UD Con playtest proved. She can outmaneuver most other monsters and use water greatly to her advantage. Pushing two daikaiju together to fight, pulling gravely injured daikaiju away from the action to score the killing blow, and making monsters take lava baths with the help of Vulcanus are all cool things that only the player controlling Eelian can do.

That's all for this installment of Daikaiju Spotlight. Tune in next week for more information on the mythical kaiju killer, the ferocious Fenrir

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