When designing Moons of Elsweyr, we wanted to portray the battle between the Khajiit and the forces invading their land. We spread the Khajiit (and consequently Pilfer) out among all attributes and we wanted a mechanic that would represent Euraxia Tharn’s conquering army to contrast with that. One of the identifying features of this army was its use of necromancy, so we figured that was a potential avenue for us to explore.
We already had some necromancer and resurrection-based cards but they were all in Endurance. Our biggest challenge was to find a way to portray these characters and spells in other attributes without making Endurance give away part of its identity.
Our first attempt at a necromancy mechanic was called Soulbound - a keyword that resurrected the creature as a 1/1 upon dying (for example, a 3/3 Lethal creature with Soulbound would die and come back as a 1/1 Lethal). Necromancy was being portrayed as creatures being resurrected rather than the necromancers themselves, meaning any attribute could have a necromancy-flavored card.
After playing with those, we decided they created game states that were more repetitive than we wanted. Soulbound got the point across, but having to kill creatures multiple times was exhausting, especially since they often relied on Summon and Last Gasp effects for the ability to make sense. We still thought the mechanic had potential but wasn’t quite there yet, so we decided to explore other alternatives. One of the original Soulbound cards survived this process, however, and ended up being released in Moons of Elsweyr with the name of Wandering Skeleton.
Our next attempt was inspired by ESO’s necromancer skills that consume corpses. Eventually, this mechanic evolved into the Consume ability we have today, which was different enough from resurrection that we felt safe putting it in all attributes without taking anything away from Endurance’s attribute identity:
Consume: Remove a card in your discard pile from the game to get an effect.
Since the condition of having a creature in the discard pile (all Consume cards in Moons of Elsweyr consume creatures) happened naturally in most games, we felt that Consume cards could see play in many different builds. However, we also wanted to make sure players could play a Consume-focused deck if they wanted to. For that, we created the Imbued creatures, or as we called them, “Consumables” - creatures with fair stats that gave you bonuses if they’re Consumed.
Each attribute has one with a characteristic keyword and we included two Neutral ones as well to make sure every attribute combination could have enough cards for a Consume shell. On top of that, cards like Seeker of the Black Arts and Discerning Thief were also included to give the mechanic some new angles.
From a gameplay standpoint, we were happy with how Consume turned out - the mechanic itself encouraged trading and playing to the board, which is a style that we generally want to incentivize. We hope you liked playing with Consume as much as we did!
- Paulo Vitor