Abyssal Conspiracy

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The Story So Far...

The Keyraken has been vanquished!

But it is not the only threat. While the Archons defeated the mythical beast, a red-eyed member of the Vortexilon’s crew sabotaged the ship. Gloating that the “remaining seals” would soon be opened and that “their resonance” would spread throughout the Crucible, the villain escaped justice and fled into the ocean.

Captain Fermi has returned the ship to the surface for repairs. But so many questions remain! Where did this villain come from? What seals are being opened, and by whom? Will the Archons ever catch a break?

Fortunately, Murkens has some answers. He found a whisperconch left behind by a cultist and was able to hack the cultists’ telemessaging system. Through it, he has learned about the seals that the Worldbreaker Cult is opening. The cult made (or found, or captured) a sonic device called the Vaultbinder, which is the key to open the locks that hold back a resonance from another world. The cultists no longer need the Vaultbinder to open the remaining seals, but if the artifact could be found...a key can also lock what it can unlock.

Clearly the Keyraken’s release was only one piece of some larger conspiracy. The cult’s ranks are growing with evil twins from another dimension, and the cultists clearly do not want the crew of the Vortexilon to get in their way!

Unfortunately for them, the Archons are coming to find the Vaultbinder and put an end to their schemes.

Overview

KeyForge: Adventures is a unique cooperative game mode in which one to three players work together to uncover a dark conspiracy and prevent it from opening seals to an evil dimension. Each player uses a 36-card KeyForge deck from their collection, a set of keys, and sufficient tokens and counters, while the Conspiracy of Evil Twins is represented by a special adventure deck.

Players follow all of the standard rules of KeyForge with the modifications described in this document. The game continues either until the Conspiracy of Evil Twins opens five seals and releases more of their kind onto the Crucible, at which point the players lose, or until the players find the Vaultbinder and use it at the ocean’s depths to permanently close those seals.


Game Setup

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

Prepare the seals

Shuffle the five seal cards into a facedown deck, set them within reach of any player, and place the five-sided seal tableau token next to them.

Randomize the locations

Place the locations in a three-by-three grid within reach of all players in the following positions:

  • Place the SLRS Vortexilon in the center of the top row, faceup.
  • Shuffle the two remaining depth-1 locations and place one each facedown on either side of the SLRS Vortexilon location.
  • Shuffle the three depth-2 locations and place them in a facedown row below the depth 1 locations.
  • Shuffle the three depth-3 locations and place them in a facedown row below the depth 2 locations.

Prepare out-of-play cards

Set the Vaultbinder artifact aside, within reach of any player but outside of the play space. Place the double-sided tide card beside the locations, with the Low Tide side faceup.

Shuffle adventure deck

Shuffle all remaining adventure cards into a single adventure deck and place it beside the location grid and the tide card.

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. Set aside all key tokens—they will not be used in this adventure.

Each player puts a token to indicate their Archon—a pawn, a coin, or their Archon card—on the SLRS Vortexilon card. This indicates that the players all start the game together at the SLRS Vortexilon location.

Fundamental Concepts

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

THE CONSPIRACY

During a game, the players are working to defeat the Conspiracy of Evil Twins before it can open five seals. The Conspiracy, which takes the place of an opponent, is represented by an adventure deck and has its own Æmber pool.

SEALS

The five seal cards represent the seals that the Conspiracy is attempting to open; seal cards are a new KeyForge card type. Just as players spend Æmber to forge keys, the Conspiracy spends Æmber during its turn to open seals and place them on the seal tableau token. Opening seals is described in greater depth below.

TEAM PLAY

In KeyForge: Adventures, all players work together as a team. In this adventure, the team shares a single Æmber pool. Any time a player gains, loses, or spends Æmber, that Æmber is placed in or taken from the shared Æmber pool.

LOCATIONS

The nine locations in The Abyssal Conspiracy are distributed among three depth levels. Each player begins the game at the SLRS Vortexilon and can move between locations when they would normally forge a key. Only the text on the active player’s current location is active—the text on all other locations is ignored.

When a player resolves a card ability, only the creatures, upgrades, and artifacts at the same location are considered to be in play. Any cards controlled by a player at a different location, and any creatures engaged with a player at a different location (see “Engaged Creatures”), are not considered to be in play and cannot be affected by the cards played or drawn by the active player.

WINNING AND LOSING

Players win this adventure by stopping the Conspiracy of Evil Twins. This is done by collaboratively searching the upper six locations for the Vaultbinder artifact, using it at the Titan’s Gate location at the bottom of the Crucible’s ocean, and spending Æmber to permanently put an end to the Conspiracy’s plot. Players do not forge keys in this adventure.

The Conspiracy does not sit idly by while the players undertake their search, however. During the game, the Conspiracy gains Æmber by reaping with creatures and resolving card abilities. Each time the Conspiracy takes a turn, it attempts to open a seal, spending its Æmber and resolving a dangerous seal effect. Should all five seals be opened, the players lose the game.

How to Play

When playing a game of KeyForge: Adventures, players take turns in sequence, each taking a turn for the Conspiracy after taking their own turn. During each of the Conspiracy’s turns, the player who is taking the Conspiracy’s turn is the active player. After drawing their opening hands, the players 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, and the “forge a key” step operates differently, because forging a key is replaced with moving between locations in this adventure.

Players may use their cards and abilities as normal during their turn. If a creature is used to fight, any creature in a conspiracy battleline at the same location, even if that creature is engaged with a different player. Engaged creatures are described in greater depth in “Engaged Creatures” below.

CONSPIRACY TURNS

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

The Conspiracy opens a seal, if able

At the start of the Conspiracy’s turn, it attempts to open a seal by spending Aember icon from its Æmber pool. Each seal has a unique cost as indicated on the seal tableau token, beginning at 2 Aember icon per player for the first seal and scaling up to 6 Aember icon per player for the fifth seal. This cost is modified by card effects that modify key costs. If the Conspiracy does not have enough Æmber to open a seal, it does not do so and none of its Æmber is spent. The Conspiracy can open only one seal during each of its turns. When a seal is opened, the active player draws the top card of the seal deck, puts it on the tableau, and resolves that seal’s effect.

If all five seals are opened, the players lose the game.

The active player draws adventure cards

During the Conspiracy’s turn, the active player draws each card in the Conspiracy’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 Conspiracy—the opponent—for the purposes of card abilities. If cards are added to the archives during this step, they are not drawn at this time. The following explains how a drawn adventure card is played, by type:

  • Creature: Each creature enters play engaged with the active player. It enters play exhausted on the right flank of that player’s enemy battleline (see “Engaged Creatures”).
  • Artifact: Each artifact enters play ready at the active player’s location.
  • Action: Each action card has a play effect, which the active player resolves. The action card is then placed in the adventure

discard pile.

Any bonus icons on adventure cards cause the Conspiracy to gain that much æmber, which is placed in the Conspiracy’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.

Each creature engaged with the active player is used

During this step, each ready creature engaged with the active player is used, starting with the creature on the left flank and proceeding to the right until each creature engaged with that player is exhausted.

When one of the Conspiracy’s creatures is used, the creature reaps unless it has the prey keyword (see “Prey Keyword”).

Each enemy artifact at the active player’s location is used

After engaged creatures are used, each artifact at the active player’s location is used. Exhaust those artifacts and resolve their “Action:” abilities, one at a time.

If a player uses a card ability to give one or more of their artifacts to the Conspiracy, those artifacts are at the active player’s location. If they have “Omni:” abilities, those abilities resolve one at a time during this step.

Ready each creature engaged with the active player and all enemy artifacts at the active player’s location

The Conspiracy readies each creature engaged with the active player and all enemy artifacts at the active player’s location.


ADDITIONAL RULES

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

CONSPIRACY ARCHIVES AND HAND OF CARDS

The Conspiracy has an archives, which are a facedown game area where adventure cards may be put during the game. Each time the Conspiracy takes a turn, the active player draws each card from the Conspiracy’s archives before drawing two cards from the adventure deck. Only cards that were in the Conspiracy’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 by the next active player.

If a card effect instructs a player to archive a number of adventure cards, that number of cards are taken from the top of the adventure deck and added to the Conspiracy’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 Conspiracy 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 Conspiracy’s archives instead. If a card effect would return an adventure card to the Conspiracy’s hand, archive that card instead. A player’s card effect that interacts with the opponent’s archives also interacts with the Conspiracy’s archives.

ENGAGED CREATURES

Unlike in standard KeyForge, in this adventure, each player has a distinct enemy battleline that exists above their normal battleline. When a player draws a creature card from the adventure deck, that creature is played on the right flank of that player’s enemy battleline.

Each creature engaged with a player is considered to be in play at that player’s location. When a player moves to a new location, the creatures engaged with that player also move to the new location. A creature engaged with a player only fights creatures in that player’s battleline, even if another player is at the same location.

PREY KEYWORD

Some of the Conspiracy’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 Conspiracy, 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 Conspiracy is that opponent and performs the actions indicated by that player’s card effect. Any card ability that affects “each player” also affects the Conspiracy.

On a player’s cards, only creatures controlled by the active player are considered friendly. Teammates’ creatures are considered neither friendly creatures nor enemy creatures.

All adventure cards in this adventure belong to House Conspiracy.

MOVING BETWEEN LOCATIONS

When a player would forge a key during their “forge a key” step, as well as any time a card effect instructs that player to “forge a key,” they may move to another location instead. That player may move to the location directly above or below their current location or to one of the other two locations at their current depth. To move to a location of the same depth or deeper, a player must spend Aember icon. If they cannot spend the requisite Aember icon to move to the desired location, no Aember icon is spent and they do not move to that location. This cost is modified by card effects that modify key costs. Forging a key “at cost” requires the player to spend the requisite Æmber to move to the desired location, but when a player would forge a key “at no cost,” they can move to any eligible location without spending æmber. Moving to a shallower location costs 0 Aember icon. Moving to a location of the same depth costs 2 Aember icon. Moving to a deeper location costs 4 Aember icon. When a player descends to a deeper location, lower the tide.

Artifacts drawn from the adventure deck are played at the active player’s current location. The artifacts stay at that location until moved or destroyed by a card effect, and they only affect players who are at that location.

THE TIDE

This adventure makes significant use of the tide mechanic featured in Dark Tidings. In The Abyssal Conspiracy, the tide carries additional rules. The tide is represented with a new double-sided card included in this adventure instead of with 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, that player may gain three chains as an “Omni:” ability to raise the tide. If a player raises the tide, the tide is also raised for each of their teammates.

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

  • Each time a player descends to a new location at a lower depth, lower the tide.
  • Each time the Conspiracy opens a seal, lower the tide.

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

Note: In the original rulebook, there are some references to "Into the Depths", which appears to be the original name for the scenario. To help eliminate confusion, the text has been updated here to reflect the correct title.

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.