Designing Leveticus


Leveticus was an incredibly difficult master to convert over to second edition. His playtest was long and rather painful. He was the only master who was tested publicly in both wave 1 and wave 2 and he saw more revisions than any other master. In the end it was all worth it, because I think we ended up with a very good result. However, his design was interesting and led us to some new design techniques, so I thought he deserved his own blog post.

In the first iteration of Leveticus, we tried to keep him as close to his 1.5 incarnation as we could. Unfortunately, in 1.5 he was a master with an incredibly diverse hiring pool, great damage, good summoning, and he hardly ever died. Combining all of those things into second edition was, to say the least, too much. This was our initial mistake, as I think it caused some perception issues right off the bat and led to a lot of trouble later on down the road.

Once we accepted that we couldn’t keep Leveticus as he was in 1.5, we had to think about how we were going to convert him over to second edition. I wanted to clean up some of his abilities, split his hiring options onto two limited upgrades, and tone down some of the more powerful aspects of his card so he could keep his flavor without being over powered. However, Mack had other ideas (this was still during Wave 1, so he was involved in Malifaux testing at the time).

Mack wanted to write down each of Leveticus’s abilities onto scraps of paper and then randomly draw them from a hat to see where they would go. For us this was a tried and true method, but I felt that Leveticus needed a bit more finesse in his design. The argument got heated, so I took it to Eric. As usual, Eric smacked me full on in the face and shouted, “Never question the hat!” This was, more or less, the response I expected, but I thought I had to try.

Unsurprisingly, Leveticus players were not pleased by the results of the hat method. I begged Eric and Mack to at least consider casting stones or reading the entrails of a goat, but they refused. Mack actually seemed pleased with the dismay on the forums. When I confronted him about it, he kept mumbling something about needing their tears to power his machine.

Quickly I realized that this master was not going to be ready for wave 1, so I pulled him and continued testing him through wave 2. During wave 2 Mack was distracted by the RPG so I was able to use a Magic 8 Ball like I had wanted to in the first place.

Well, that’s the story.

Although there is one thing I never really got closure on. I’m told Mack’s machine is till out there. Waiting.


Happy April Fool’s Day!


  1. Kadeton says:

    Yep, that’s pretty much exactly what I thought happened during Levi’s transition process. :P

  2. Mack Martin says:

    You aren’t helping. I have enough problems with people thinking the RPG took second fiddle to M2E. You need to explain that we use a very large hat, and I can get work done for both project by simply reading the plates at the bottom while I draw the random paper.

    Yeesh. CONTEXT! :)

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