I love Flesh and Blood. The mechanics are top-notch, the art is incredible, and the commitment to a competitive tournament scene is remarkable. In light of the FAB 2.0 announcement, I would like to take this opportunity to speculate on the future and posit some of my goals for FAB moving forward. Let’s begin.
Table of Contents
Young Heroes began as a conceit for limited play with less health and merged into the Blitz format. However, with PVE on its way and Ultimate Pit Fight (hopefully) gaining in popularity as the game continues, I hope to see what I’m calling “Old” Heroes.
Ideally, the first “Old” Heroes would be a named character from the lore or one of the original playable heroes. These versions could be created after a hero has reached Living Legend Status or when their own lore is part of FAB history.
Here’s my first take at designing one:
Trying to remove his arm wasn’t working out too well, but imagine he has lost his left arm. This version of Bravo shows our original Guardian later in his life. Throughout the war for Rathe against the rising Shadow, Bravo has been in several epic battles—losing loved ones and limbs. Now, battered by time and old wounds, he stands to fight again to do what good he can before succumbing to the sands of time.
He would still retain his status as an Elemental Guardian, but his ability would be different from his prime as the Star of the Show.
I would love to see a future Skirmish season peppered with a mix of Old and Young Heroes battling it out at the top tables. Or Bravo, Fading Star leading a band of young adventurers against a ferocious beast in a PVE adventure module.
Tales of Aria was released on September 24th, 2021. The next draftable set, Uprising, will release on June 24th, 2022—a full 9 months later. Granted, we received Bravo, Star of the Show, and 3 new Young Heroes during that time. However, with Flesh and Blood’s firm grasp on the foundational math of its mechanics, adding more playable heroes could really help the game’s health.
The downsides of more heroes would be players’ desire to have all of the necessary rare equipment and specialization cards to play every hero and diversifying hero loyalty too early in the game’s life.
It is so tempting to have a complete collection with the ability to play any hero, any time, and in any format. However, for most players, that is not a feasible venture. Going too wide with heroes too early could make players feel like there are too many options to go through before diving in and giving the game a try.
As James White discussed in the 2.0 article, players have been falling in love with these heroes from the get-go. Since Flesh and Blood has so much depth in its gameplay, having a significant amount of reps with particular heroes is incredibly rewarding. So it seems that having new versions of previous heroes is a feature of the design plan to keep the card pool fresh while rewarding faithful players.
More heroes in existing classes would give players additional deck construction choices to attack their local meta. We already have similar options in the form of available equipment and deck archetype, but in a “leader” focused game, the choice of hero has more influence on a deck than anything else.
Legend Story Studios has given us a deep and fantastic world with several named characters we haven’t seen as playable characters yet. The community got excited about seeing other named characters in the game—or even just characters who have only been seen in card art—after the reveal of Valda, Brightaxe. See my post about Valda and the 40 other named characters the game had before Everfest.
Long-time players will have so much joy when they find the figures of new heroes in the fore or background of cards from previous sets.
Fabtcg.com has some beautiful pieces of lore—not to mention the original lore book sent to local game stories at FAB’s beginning. The lore book is notoriously hard to find. Some people may or may not have read the PDF. However, some great voice-over artists have also uploaded their recordings of the book. I recommend Peranine, but I believe there are several other voice-overs available now.
The overall narrative of the story so far is about a peaceful age coming to an end. Dark forces are gathering and trying to awaken the Old Ones. The knights of Solana are prepared to meet the advance, but they’ll need help from the divided world of Rathe.
In Aria, the magical energy of the Flow is surging. Old forces of the Ollin and the Rosetta are returning to meet the rising threat. Can they rouse the Ancients in time?
In the veiled land of Misteria, the ancient clans must be called upon to face the imminent threat of fiends plaguing the land.
In the kingdom of Volcor, warlords vie for power, the King’s court is in turmoil, and the magical Aether is unstable.
To the north, Metrix stands as a beacon of the future. A land merging magic and technology to create a city like no other in Rathe. Deep below this city of science, the Pits are a cesspool of human traffickers, smuggling gangs, and vicious assassins.
Lastly, in the west are the Savage Lands. The precious resources of this area are guarded by ferocious beasts and hulking beasts. Only the strong survive.
These lands boast different talents which are utilized by their heroes. We’ve only scratched the surface of the stories of Rathe and its heroes.
In the section of the FAB 2.0 article about the non-competitive side of the game, James White promised the following:
More storytelling, world building, character development, and integration of lore into the play experience.
* Investing into the characters we have come to know and love. The first example of this is Bravo returning in Everfest, and Dorinthea and Rhinar returning in Classic Battles. These heroes have depth, and stories to tell, and we intend to take you on a journey with them over the coming years.
* Publishing more lore, including books. Publishing quality books is a big undertaking that is quite removed from the core operations of producing a trading card game. This has made a follow-up to the Welcome to Rathe World Guide: Vol. 1 difficult to execute as our focus has been on supporting the growth of the player communities around the world amidst the challenges of a global pandemic. However, we are building towards a position where the stories of Rathe, the “Tales of Aria”, the scriptures of Light and tomes of Shadows will materialize in the hands of fans around the world, in interesting ways.
* Products that offer play experiences that bring fans into the adventures, conflicts, and story arcs that are happening within the world of Rathe.James White. “FAB 2.0.” fabtcg.com. 12 April 2022.
Having products based around the narrative of the world of Rathe is reminiscent of the Legend of the Five Rings card games. Clan loyalty went a long way in that game (#Phoenixforlife), and we’ve seen similar loyalty in this game towards the classes of heroes—we could see more regional alliances evolve as the story unfolds as well, of course.
This amazing original tale deserves to be fleshed out and told for years to come.