Rise of the Keyraken

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Rise of the Keyraken is the first KeyForge Adventure released in April of 2021. When the Society of Logic and Reason lost its undersea observatory, it turned to the Archons of the Crucible for help. Promised a cache of rare æmber, a team of brave Archons has joined the crew of the greatest ship the Logos society has ever created: the SLRS Vortexilon. And it’s a good thing the Archons were brought on board, too—the observatory is in ruins, destroyed by a monstrous beast!

Only Dr. Escotera, who studied ancient Crucible legends, has recognized the beast as the fabled Keyraken. Sealed beneath the ocean long ago by an ancient and long-forgotten civilization, the Keyraken has been released by an evil aquan cult, and its full might has yet to be witnessed. But even as the Vortexilon discovers the existence of the Keyraken and the fate of the observatory, the monster has abandoned its bed of destruction and has pointed its glowing eye—or eyes?—upwards.

Should the Keyraken reach the surface, it will submerge entire continents in its wake, bringing ruin to civilization as we know it. The beast must be defeated!

Game Setup

To set up the game, perform the following steps, in order:

Place the Keyraken

Place the oversized Keyraken card in the center of the play area.

Place the tide

Place the double-sided tide card beside the Keyraken, with the Low Tide side faceup.

Shuffle adventure deck

Shuffle the Keyraken adventure deck, which consists of all of the remaining Keyraken cards. Place it facedown to the left of the Keyraken, within easy reach of all players.

Create common supply

Put all tokens and counters used in a standard KeyForge game within easy reach of all players to create the common supply.

Players set up their decks

Each player shuffles an Archon deck chosen from their collection and draws a six-card starting hand. Each player may mulligan their starting hand once as in a standard KeyForge game.

Fundamental Concepts

This section contains the fundamental concepts for The Keyraken that provide context for players who are learning how to play the game.

The Keyraken

During a game, the players are working to defeat the Keyraken before it can advance to the surface. The Keyraken, which takes the place of an opponent, is represented by an oversized card, with an adventure deck that contains the Keyraken’s schemes and attacks. As it takes the place of an opponent, the Keyraken has its own Æmber pool.

Team Play

In KeyForge Adventures, all players work together as a team. In this adventure, each player on the team has their own Æmber pool, but players’ cards can assist other players’ creatures as they face the same battleline of enemy creatures together.

When the active player is resolving a card ability, creatures in other players’ battlelines, upgrades attached to those creatures, and artifacts controlled by other players are all considered to be in play and can be affected by the cards played or drawn by the active player.

Winning and Losing

Players win this adventure by defeating the Keyraken. The team of players does this collaboratively by attacking the Keyraken with creatures and destroying its arms and tentacles. The Keyraken has a total power of 30 times the number of players in the game, and it is destroyed when it has damage equal to or greater than its power.

However, the players’ time is limited. During the game, the Keyraken acquires Æmber by reaping and by resolving card abilities. Each time the Keyraken takes a turn, it attempts to advance, spending its Æmber to ascend toward the ocean’s surface. Should the Keyraken advance four times, it reaches the surface and the players lose the game.

Players do not win the game by forging keys, but doing so lowers the Keyraken’s defenses and makes it easier to destroy.

How To Play

When playing a game of KeyForge Adventures, players take turns in sequence, each taking a turn for the Keyraken after taking their own turn. During each of the Keyraken’s turns, the player who is taking the Keyraken’s turn is the active player.

After players have drawn their starting hands, they select a turn order: who will play first and, if applicable, who will play second and who will play third. After the turn order is established, it cannot change.

Player Turns

During a player’s turn, they follow all of the rules described in the KeyForge Rulebook regarding choosing a house, playing/ discarding/using cards, readying cards, and drawing up to a six-card hand. However, players ignore the First Turn Rule, which restricts the first player from playing more than one card during their turn.

Players may use their cards and abilities as normal during their turn. If a creature is used to fight, it may fight the Keyraken or any of the Keyraken’s creatures.

Keyraken Turns

During the Keyraken’s turn, it performs several steps that mirror the steps of a player’s turn. It attempts to advance, and then the active player draws and uses adventure cards. To resolve the Keyraken’s turn, the active player follows these steps:

The Keyraken advances, if able

At the start of the Keyraken’s turn, it attempts to advance by spending either 3Aember icon or 6Aember icon per player from its Æmber pool, depending on the status of the tide. This cost is modified by card effects that modify key costs. If the Keyraken does not have enough Æmber to advance, it does not do so and none of its Æmber is spent. The Keyraken can only advance once during each of its turns. After the Keyraken advances while the tide is high, lower the tide. If the Keyraken advances four times, the players lose the game.

The active player draws adventure cards

During the Keyraken’s turn, the active player draws each card in the Keyraken’s archives (see “Archives and Hand of Cards”), and then draws the top two cards from the adventure deck. Each time a player draws an adventure card, they play that card immediately before drawing the next card. These cards are considered to be played by the Keyraken—the opponent—for the purposes of card abilities. If cards are added to the archives during this step, they are not drawn during this turn. The following explains how a drawn adventure card is played, by type:

  • Creature: Each creature enters play exhausted on the right flank of the Keyraken’s battleline.
  • Artifact: Each artifact enters play in the Keyraken’s play area exhausted, near the Keyraken but distinct from its battleline.
  • Action: Each action card has a play effect, which the active player resolves. Then, the action card is placed in the adventure discard pile.
  • Upgrade: Each upgrade is attached to the Keyraken.

Any bonus icons on adventure cards cause the Keyraken to gain that much Æmber, which is placed in the Keyraken’s Æmber pool from the common supply. If the adventure deck has no cards in it when a card must be drawn or archived, shuffle the adventure discard pile to form a new adventure deck and draw or archive the top card of that new adventure deck.

The Keyraken and its creatures are used

During this step, the Keyraken is used first, and then each ready creature in its battleline is used, starting with the creature on the left flank and proceeding to the right, until each of the Keyraken’s creatures is exhausted.

When the Keyraken is used, it reaps and gains 1Aember icon. Occasionally, upgrades or action cards give the Keyraken the prey keyword, in which case it attempts to fight.

When one of the Keyraken’s creatures is used, that creature reaps unless it has the prey keyword.

Each enemy artifact is used

After the Keyraken and its creatures are used, each of the Keyraken’s artifacts is used. Exhaust those artifacts and trigger their “Action:” abilities, one at a time. If a player uses a card ability to give one or more of their artifacts to the Keyraken, and those artifacts have “Omni:” abilities, those abilities trigger one at a time during this step.

The Keyraken and each of its creatures and artifacts ready

Ready the Keyraken and each of its creatures and artifacts.

Additional Rules

Because no player controls the Keyraken and its cards, the following additional rules explain how to use them during cooperative gameplay.

Keyraken Archives and Hand of Cards

The Keyraken has archives, which are a facedown game area where adventure cards may be put during the game. Each time the Keyraken takes a turn, the active player draws each card from the Keyraken’s archives before drawing two cards from the adventure deck. Only cards that were in the Keyraken’s archives as the step began are drawn—any cards added to its archives while the active player is drawing adventure cards stay in its archives to be drawn on the Keyraken’s next turn.

If a card effect states that the Keyraken archives a number of adventure cards, that number of cards are taken from the top of the adventure deck and added to the Keyraken’s archives. If the deck has no cards in it when an adventure card must be archived, reshuffle the adventure discard pile to form a new adventure deck and archive the top card of the new adventure deck.

If a card effect would cause the Keyraken to draw cards, those cards are archived from the top of the adventure deck instead. If a player’s card effect instructs that player to look at and/or discard cards from the opponent’s hand, the appropriate cards are looked at and/or discarded from the Keyraken’s archives instead. If a card effect would return an adventure card to the Keyraken’s hand, archive that card instead. A player’s card effect that interacts with the opponent’s archives also interacts with the Keyraken’s archives.

Prey Keyword

Some of the Keyraken’s creatures feature the new prey keyword. A creature that has this keyword fights when it is used if the active player controls a creature described by the keyword. If a creature has the prey keyword but no eligible creature exists for it to fight against, the creature reaps instead of fighting. If multiple eligible creatures exist in the active player’s battleline, that player chooses which of their creatures is fought.

Taunt Keyword When a creature that has the prey keyword is used to fight a creature that does not have taunt, and one of that creature’s neighbors has taunt, the creature with taunt is fought instead.

Enrage Tokens An enraged creature not controlled by a player gains “prey – the least powerful creature” if it does not already have the prey keyword. It only gains this keyword while it is enraged.

Reading Adventure Cards

Abilities on adventure cards are written such that the player drawing the card or using the creature reads and resolves the text against themself. Any time the word you appears, it refers to the person reading the card and resolving the ability.

Any time a card ability refers to the Keyraken, it refers to the opponent represented by the adventure. When resolving effects on a player’s cards that refer to that player’s opponent, the Keyraken is that opponent and performs the actions indicated by that player’s card effect. Any card ability that affects “each player” also affects the Keyraken.

On a player’s cards, only creatures controlled by that player are considered friendly. Teammates’ creatures are considered neither friendly creatures nor enemy creatures. All adventure cards in this adventure belong to House Keyraken.

The Keyraken

This adventure revolves around a battle against the Keyraken, a mythological undersea monster that is making its way up from the depths. If it breaches the ocean’s surface, it will ravage the Crucible and bring ruin to countless civilizations.

The Keyraken is its own card type, represented by an oversized card that begins the game in play. Its power is equal to 30 times the number of players in the game, and it has between zero and six armor, depending on how many keys the active player has forged. Each time the Keyraken takes a turn, the Keyraken is used as if it were a creature. Upgrades drawn from the adventure deck are attached to the Keyraken as if it were a creature.

When a player uses one of their creatures to fight, they may have that creature fight the Keyraken. The Keyraken always deals 3Damage icon when fighting.

While it plays in most ways as if it were a creature, the Keyraken is not a creature, and card abilities that affect creatures cannot affect the Keyraken. Additionally, as the Keyraken is not a creature in its battleline, players can always fight against it, even if the creature on the left flank of its battleline has the taunt keyword.

The Tide

This adventure makes significant use of the tide mechanic featured in Dark Tidings. When players play against the Keyraken, the tide carries additional rules. The tide is represented with a new doublesided card included in this adventure instead of the single-sided tide card included in Dark Tidings decks.

Card abilities can raise or lower the tide during the game. The tide is always either high for all players or low for all players, as indicated by the faceup side of the tide card. If any player raises the tide while the Low Tide side is faceup, flip the tide card over. If a card effect lowers the tide while the High Tide side is faceup, flip the tide card over. The tide cannot be raised if it is already high and cannot be lowered if it is already low. If an effect would “reset the tide,” place the tide card with its Low Tide side faceup.

During any player’s turn, the team of players may, as a group, spend a total of 2Aember icon per player as an “Omni:” ability to raise the tide. Each individual player may spend any amount of Aember icon this way, as long as the team collectively spends the requisite total. This replaces the standard tide rule that allows players to raise the tide by gaining chains.

There are three ways by which the tide can be lowered:

  1. Each time the Keyraken advances, lower the tide.
  2. Each time a Keyraken artifact is discarded while its ability is resolved, lower the tide.
  3. Some adventure card effects might cause the the tide to be lowered.

Abilities that refer to the tide are indicated by this icon: Tide icon

The tide card is not considered to be a card in play.

Optional Difficulties

KeyForge Adventures is intended to offer a meaningful challenge for most archon decks. However, the game’s difficulty can be easily modified for a more personalized experience.

For those interested in an easier experience, draw only one adventure card during the Keyraken’s turn.

For those interested in a more challenging experience, draw three adventure cards during the Keyraken’s turn.

Note from the Arcanists: The ever growing card pool for KeyForge presents some unique challenges in developing a cooperative mode for a game that is designed to be played non-cooperatively. Below are some common questions that we've seen about playing The Abyssal Conspiracy scenario with how the rules for certain cards should work. As it stands, it is unlikely to see an official FAQ released by Fantasy Flight Games to address some of these questions. In those cases, we present an answer that seems to be most inline with existing KeyForge rules and the rules for this KeyForge Adventure. If you have a specific question about an interaction feel free to contact us.

If a card references my opponent forging a Key (e.g. Interdimensional Graft, Mookling (Evil Twin), or Key Hammer), how does that effect work against the Keyraken?
Since the Keyraken doesn't forge keys, the text regarding your opponent forging a key is ignored. Any other text of an ability that can resolve, does.
If a card references my opponent choosing a house (e.g. Restringuntus, Snag, or Tezmal), how does that effect work against the Keyraken?
Since the Keyraken doesn't choose a house, the text regarding your opponent's house choice is ignored. Any other text of an ability that can resolve, does.
If a card references my opponent's "draw step" (e.g. Streke, Succubus, or The Howling Pit), how does that effect work against the Keyraken?
Since the Keyraken doesn't have a "draw step", the text regarding your opponent's draw step is ignored. Any other text of an ability that can resolve, does.
If a card effect modifies my opponent's key cost, (e.g. Lash of Broken Dreams, The Quiet Anvil, or Sensor Chief Garcia), how does that effect work against the Keyraken?
Per the scenario rules, the Keyraken's cost to advance is modified by card effects that modify key costs.
How does a card like Scowly Caper work with the Keyraken?
Scowly Caper would enter the Keyraken's battleline on the flank of the active player's choosing. Scowly Caper does not have the Prey keyword, so it can only reap when it is used. At the end of the Keyraken's turn., Scowly Caper would destroy one of its neighbors.
A creature has "Prey-the most powerful creature" and "Prey-the least powerful creature", what creature does it fight when it is used to fight?
The Active Player can choose either the least power or the most powerful creature to be fought.
When resolving Whirlpool Eddy's Action: ability, the Active Player has no creatures in their battleline. Does Whirlpool Eddy get destroyed (and the tide lowered)?
If you have no creatures, then all of your (0) creatures are stunned and the Whirlpool Eddy will be destroyed and the tide will be lowered.