Forums/ The 7th Continent/ Card effect10 posts
Can someone walk me through how Keelan's ability works?

I think what it tells me is if you are on a terrain card that lets you use one botany card, you can use another one instead even if that would not normally work
As the plant was not avaliable on that terrain card.
Yes, exactly.
Posted - Edited - Moved
Message moved from this topic

Firebird wrote:
KNaranek wrote:
You can definitely play carrying your Journal f you want, but i'm afraid you'll be making thing too easy for you.

I agree. Just imagine playing Keelian with all the botany cards from the beginning of the game. :silly:

I don't actually think that would be that great. Starting with all the notes is pretty strong obviously, but Keelan isn't the character you want for it.

Keelan's biggest strength is how good she is at collecting the Notes. She has Study the Notes, which literally only does that job and is a blank card once you run out of 050s, and she has both Scholar and Herbal Mixture whose biggest benefit is to make Examine the Notes free + guaranteed. Those remain somewhat useful for other things if you have all the Notes, but the :action_decipher: skill is the most special thing about both cards. IMO, this is the main reason to play Keelan over, say, Eliot: she's a deciphering machine.

She gets maximum use out of her character ability if she has all the notes, but I'm pretty sure her character ability is bad.

The vast majority of botany abilities are very small bonuses that aren't usually worth discarding a card for.

Plants are placed so their botany cards will be useful. Fragonia has a lot of relevance to :action_hunt: and there's a lot of Fragonia bushes on hunt spots. There's almost no non-Fragonia plants on hunt spots, though, so even though those botany cards are some of the rare ones worth discarding a card for, you never get an opportunity.

A few botany abilities, like those that drop states or provide crafting resources, are good but not time-sensitive. Discarding a card to cure poison if you don't have access to the right plant isn't too high a cost, but most of the time you can just wait for the plant that lets you cure it for free. Most plants grow in most places, after all.

Many of the areas where plants are scarce (undergound) have no plants at all.

Some botany abilities, like the gourmet one, have to be activated several times in a row. You have to discard 1 vigilance card per activation, and you'll never have enough.

Vigilance is a super mediocre keyword to begin with, probably the second-worst after Stealth, so she doesn't get that much out of using it to keep her Vigilance stack healthy the way Lovecraft can keep a Walking Stick forever with his ability.

Between all these things I wanna say I've used Keelan's ability like 3 times in the 10+ hours I've played with her, mostly to light fires. (This includes a run where I literally got every 050, so I know from experience how much worse she feels once you run out of new 050s.)

I've actually thought about house ruling it to be:
You may discard a card with the vigilance keyword to take the following action:
Until you leave this terrain card, you may use effects on cards with the botany keyword regardless of what appears on your terrain card.

Keelan doesn't really need any buffs, Scholar alone makes her above-average I think. But it drives me crazy that her character ability -- which at best would be no stronger than the Botany cards, which aren't huge bonuses -- has anti-synergies that make it barely work with most of the better Botany cards. This house rule would make her ability live up to it's promise of "use your Botany cards wherever, for a small cost", which I think is a pretty humble promise for it not to live up to in the first place.
I like your point of view. Thank you !

Your house rule seems to be good for turning Keelan into a character for "veteran" players.
I thing that the initial ability is good for a beginner who doesn't know exactly where the plants are, and decides "on the fly" what is the best optimization in each situation.
:resource_fire: Firebird :resource_fire: (Phoenixeux sur TT)
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Posted - Edited
How so?

A new player doesn't know what plants can be found where, so they're a little more likely to use this ability to use plants that they could use for free somewhere nearby, I suppose in that sense it would be better for a less-informed player. Is that what you mean?

Other than that, I don't really see how her ability has more use from a new player. I was pretty new when I was playing Keelan. As a "veteran" I pretty much play Lovecraft or Frankenstein unless I'm looking for variety.

Not knowing what botany cards might exist doesn't make any of the actual botany cards any better. Most of them still aren't really worth a card. New players get to hold out hope for better Botany cards, but by and large they don't find them -- they find a lot of small things that aren't really worth Keelan's cost, and some things like the Poison resource that occasionally are worth the cost but are still pretty small.

You do eventually find one winner. The card that lets you swap a card from your hand with a card from the action deck is theoretically incredibly strong, easily the best Botany card, and Scholar makes it free and guaranteed. That's really fantastically abusable, to the point that I've seen some house rules that nerf that botany card. You can build any item you want, you can pull all the half stars out of the deck before an important check, you can pick Valiant Hearts and all 3 Remembers out of the deck after every heal, use Valiant Hearts instead of drawing cards on checks, and eat a piece of food when you run out of Remembers, return to the fire you lit on a Terracokus, and do it all again. You can do anything.

Discarding vigilance cards to use this ability is a lot worse than using it to to freely sculpt your hand at an actual Terracokus, of course, but Terracokus don't grow everywhere. I could imagine a new player becoming very reliant on that ability. What I've actually seen, though, is, new players just don't use it because they don't know what to search for -- the options are just overwhelming.

I myself basically never use that card, Keelan or no. It makes the game very easy at the expense of making it very boring. You spend much of your time doing repetitive action deck manipulation, so your progress is very slow, even if it is very safe and very consistent. I don't think I need it, as a veteran, and as a new player I didn't really know how to use it.

So, the thing I've used most is the fire starter, but that is the most powerful option. Perhaps that option is more important for new players?

Anyway, my house rule does a few things, for both new and veteran players.

-It fixes the vaguely nightmarish timing of the old ability, which is technically still an open question:

-It lets Keelan start using her ability as soon as she gets her first Botany card, instead of having to collect one of each plant to open up her options. You never have to choose between a new plant and a botany card that does something useful.

-It means Keelan can use her Botany cards when there are no plants, instead of just when you can't find a plant, which is useful to veterans and new players alike. New players who don't know where all the plants are benefit when they can't find one, Veteran players benefit from being able to use it where there truly are no plants.

-It lets you get unlimited uses from abilities that you expect to have unlimited uses, like the search-your-deck and the gourmet, making those abilities much more viable to use with Keelan's ability.

-It lets you use abilities that are only useful on very specific spaces on spaces with no plants, instead of just spaces with the right kind of check and the wrong plant, which are very rare. Most of the places you can use things like the Fragonia :action_hunt: and :action_observe: abilities have either Fragonia or no plants, and thus don't work well with her official ability. This makes them much more viable to use with her ability too.

-It lets you use multiple abilities that are not worth a card individually, making them much more viable to use with her ability.

-Basically, paying a cost to use a botany ability a single time seems (and is) a lot worse than just finding the right plant, and because it's restricted to more or less random subset of spaces, you often don't get to use it even when a situation comes up where you might want it. This removes that restriction, so you can always use it when you see an opportunity to do so, and when you pay the cost, you get something a little better than finding a plant, instead of a little worse. Instead of being promising but frequently disappointing, it's just, good. Every other character's ability is pretty much "just good" I think, it's weird that hers is so incredibly conditional.

-Perhaps most important of all, it makes her look at the Botany pile differently. Theoretically, the Botany pile should be sort of a part of Keelan. Her ability is supposed to give her a special relationship with it, in sort of the same way that Lovecraft has a special relationship with curses. "Botany cards are better if Keelan's here" should be something obviously and unshakably true. Right now it kinda isn't -- her ability comes up pretty rarely and provides only a small benefit when it does. "Botany cards are better if Keelan's here, AND we have a botany card that would be useful, AND there's a plant here, AND it's not the right plant for that botany card, AND we have another botany card that refers to that plant, AND she has vigilance card ready to discard, AND we don't forget about her ability, which probably wouldn't happen if we got to use it more often" Outside of that, a few of them use :action_take: checks which means they benefit from Scholar. Infinite free search-your-deck is the only one of these that's major though -- other than that one very busted interaction, all it does is save a single card on the cure poison one. So that's not really a special relationship with the whole Botany pile, just a combo between a single Botany card and one of her cards. She does collect them very quickly, but that doesn't make her any better at using them, and that means that they don't really feel like they're "hers."

There's a decent chance it over-buffs the ability, actually. In general I think it's better to have characters that feel good about their most unique abilities, and whose abilities all mesh together into a cohesive whole, characters whose abilities get better as you discover new uses and interactions between them, instead of frustrating abilities that seem to get worse as you discover their limitations. So, that's my justification for buffing her when she's already a high-tier character, such as it is. But nobody could be blamed for thinking it's too much, and even I might think that after playtesting.
brisingre wrote:
How so?

A new player doesn't know what plants can be found where, so they're a little more likely to use this ability to use plants that they could use for free somewhere nearby, I suppose in that sense it would be better for a less-informed player. Is that what you mean?


But reading your (great) analysis, I understand how this ability is too situational.
Your following sentence is right et so fun ! :D'
brisingre wrote:
"Botany cards are better if Keelan's here, AND we have a botany card that would be useful, AND there's a plant here, AND it's not the right plant for that botany card, AND we have another botany card that refers to that plant, AND she has vigilance card ready to discard, AND we don't forget about her ability, which probably wouldn't happen if we got to use it more often"

Please, give us your feedback if you play your home rule. :thumb_up:
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I'm curious whether there has been an official ruling on the specifics of how Keelan's ability functions... I shall elaborate with an example:

Assuming these things are true:

  • You have the red seaweed botany card
    that gives you the vine resource

  • You have a botany card featuring fragonia
    (for example the one that gives you a hunt success)

  • You have 1 vigilance card in hand
  • Keelan's ability can be used any time a plant you know something about is visible on your terrain card (not just when you would be able yo use the effect of botany card) -- do we know this is the case? Seems logical to me.
  • You have 2 item skill cards in hand that could use vine to craft

  1. Could you discard your vigilance card to turn the fragonia into red seaweed and then craft both items
    using the vine resource from red seaweed
    ? Or just one, and then you'd need to discard another vigilance card
    to get a discount on the second one
    ? (which surely wouldn't be worth it).

  2. Also, could you discard a vigilance card to get the option of using red seaweed but then not actually do anything with it? This would just be to make space on a vigilance stack.

Apologies for the necro, but it seemed to make more sense than starting a new thread.
Posted - Edited
I'm fairly sure that the answer to 1) is No and the answer to 2) is Yes. My group really wanted to have 1) be Yes though, so we rain it that way for a couple of actions, but I think I'm gonna suggest not continuing that usage. Still, any other opinions ('specially from a dev! nudge nudge) would be welcome!
Hello Sycdan :-)

I asked the french forum about your questions.
While waiting for an answer, could you try an automatic translation to follow the debate?
Of course, in the end, I'll give you the result here.
:resource_fire: Firebird :resource_fire: (Phoenixeux sur TT)
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Thanks for doing that, Firebird! I shall follow the discussion closely.

My thinking with regard to what "Whenever you are able to use a card with the keyword botany" would be in line with Kornetmuse -- "When this plant can be seen on your Terrain card". Othewise, say your only botany cards were red seaweed and the terrocokus one
that provides the poison resoucse
, could you only turn terrocokus into red seaweed when you
have an item to craft that requires poison?
That would seem overly restrictive.

I had another thought to add to the confusion:

What if you have red seaweed (and it's the only plant visible plant on your terrain) and another botany card that has a brown crafting effect (sorry, I don't know the codes for the proper icons), does the act of using the latter card "instead" through Keelan's ability mean that you no longer apply the effect of the red seaweed to get the vine resource? I would think not, since if you re-examine the game state, the red seaweed is still visible and so that botany card is still usable. Which leads me to the conclusion that each usage of Keelan's ability puts kindof a copy of another botany card "in suspense" as you said, waiting for something to come along that could actually make use of it. And since everything in the game is built around the concept of a "turn" that encapsulates an "action", I would have to assume that the intent was that these suspended abilities expire after the current turn is over. This also leads me to believe that you could indeed discard a vigilance card and then just not make use of the suspended ability.

Who'd have thought this ability could be so complex?!
Forums/ The 7th Continent/ Card effect10 posts