The Cave Sickle Queen, Crunchy New Mechanics, Succubus Future Workflow, and Harakiri Crossover!

December 06, 2021 13 min read

Hey everyone! Alex here.

We wanted to begin showing off the progress we're making on Wave 2 and thought we'd start off by showcasing more of The Cave Sickle Queen Bounty Pack, while also going over some crunchy new mechanics.

The Cave Sickle Queen, like all the Bounties on this campaign, will be compatible with any Base Game product and will essentially be an optional Side Quest during Story Rounds that specifically state that a Bounty of the relevant difficulty may be attempted. 

Cave Sickle Queen is considered a "1 Skull" Bounty, similar to the Blighted Terror "2 Skull" Bounty included in Act 1. Although The Cave Sickle Queen will be much more substantial in terms of components.

Currently, our goal is to use our free Tabletop Simulator mod to launch beta testing for all the Wave 2 products to aid us in completing the development side of them. So far, this has gone smoothly and gives us more feedback than we could ever hope to get otherwise. 

The Cave Sickle Queen is already well underway and can already be played on Tabletop Simulator right now.

For the sake of time, internally we will give ourselves a limited amount of time to gain as much critical feedback as possible from these beta tests. We will then implement all necessary changes to the digital files and prepare them for print.

Right now, The Cave Sickle Queen is about 95% complete. We are really just waiting on some art assets for last minute addition and it'll be good to go.

If you missed the opportunity to snag these Bounties, or anything else on the campaign, we will be reopening the pledge manager next year and allowing anyone to pick up anything they may have missed.

The Cave Sickle Queen : Bounties of Elenia #1

 Printed Components:

  • Bounty Book (48 pgs.) 7 total Encounters 
  • Standard Euro cards (Items) x 29
  • Mini-American cards (Initiative, Item Upgrades) x 42
  • 5x6 cards (Intelligent Combatants, Conduits) x 29
  • 10x6 cards(new Combatant card type)x 5
  • Tokens x 77

Miniatures and Plastic Components:

  • Cave Sickle Queen (2x2) x 1
  • Cave Sickle Defender (2x2) x 3
  • Cave Sickle Warrior x 2
  • Cave Sickle x 3
  • Creeping Sickling x 6
  • Latching Sickling x 6
  • Psionic Sickling x 6
  • Colored Base Clips x 3

Mechanics and The Nitty-Gritty

Changes to the Alternate Tag

When we started designing the Cave Sickle Queen Bounty, we discussed new Combatants and how they would work with the current Alternate Tag system. We had a realization that this tag would not suffice in accomplishing what we really wanted.

For this reason we've decided to take advantage of the opportunity of 2 wave shipping by addressing the problem and make the system feel better upon delivering Act 2 and future content.

The rules for the Alternate Tag have changed. The Rule Book previously described the Alternate Tag as follows:

"Combatants with this Tag have special rules on how and when they Spawn listed on the back of their card. This is usually tied to the current Loot LVL. Don't forget to look at the back of the Large Intelligent Combatant Cards with the Alternate Tag when your Loot LVL changes."

This form of broadly Tagging Combatants to denote special rules associated with Spawning has caused confusion for some players when trying to narrow down which Combatant Cards to use and which Combatant Cards not to use when spawning figures.

For this reason, future content will handle the rules for the Alternate Tag by replacing any rules intended to make a combatant harder (or easier) with iconography that corresponds with Loot Level. Furthermore, combatants intended to spawn differently have two new distinct Tags to help players identify which Combatant Card to use with ease. (Alternate & Variation)

Existing content from Unintentional Malum: Act 1 and Promotional Content already printed with the Alternate Tag will work just fine. Functionally, this Tag handled all the rules of the following categories jammed into a single Tag called "Alternate".

This means that despite us separating this Tag out on future Combatant Cards, the current Combatant Cards you own will work as intended. However, you'll need to read the "Spawning Rules" listed on the back of the old printing of these Combatant cards to get a full understanding of how they are intended to be used.

Let’s check out how we are handling these new rules. First, let’s talk about how we scale monsters in future product.

Loot Levels & Scaling Monsters

All Combatants now have a Loot Level printed on the front and backs of their Combatant Card. 

The higher the Loot Level, the stronger that Combatant Card is. As the Loot Level of Encounters in Middara increases, Combatants will naturally get stronger.

Anytime a Combatant would spawn and it is intended to be outside of the current Loot LVL of the Encounter you're playing, the diagram’s required components will list it in parenthesis. Additionally, Special Encounter rules or Totems will make it clear that the figures being used during this Encounter are from a different Loot Level.

Setup for a mundane encounter that calls for common combatants

This new Tag allows us to easily handle scaling monsters. Additionally, it frees up the Alternate Tag to be used in a way that not only makes more sense, but gives us a ton of design options.

In any case, Combatants that scale in this way do have limitations on how far they scale. We don’t want every monster to arbitrarily get stronger. Instead, we want them to stay within their power levels from a lore perspective.

Alternate Tag

With everything said, this means that the Alternate Tag has been changed entirely from what it was on some of our promotional products. However, keep in mind, mechanically, these cards will still function as written on their backs.

Now, Combatants with the Alternate Tag are intended to represent new Combatants that could reasonably and thematically spawn instead of another Combatant. As an example, this might be a different type of monster from an existing species. Or, perhaps a monster that shares the same local biome and creature type as another monster nearby.

The new intent of this tag is to add some randomization to the type of Combatant that spawns and to shake up old and new Encounters. Ultimately, we’re shooting for ways to add massive amounts of variety to any of our stories without causing significant narrative dissonance.

The Alternate tag is now used when we want a new Combatant to look and function differently. This means that Alternate Tag Combatants have new cards and new sculpts.

Example of a Cave Sickle and an Alternate version with a new sculpt

This also means that they will be able to be used in addition to any Combatant that they might also be able to replace.

The Variation Tag

Combatant's with the Variation Tag are thematically the same Combatant but with different AI listed. This means that monsters you already know how to fight can now act differently on their turn and keep things challenging.

From this point forward, anything that may be considered a spoiler will be blocked by a Hidden Deck card. 

Feel free to click the image to reveal the card.

The Cave Sickle we know and love!
Cave Sickle Variation. Potential spoiler, click to see!

How these new cards are used

When spawning figures with the Alternate Tag or Variation Tag, you'll randomly determine which AI Card you use by shuffling the possible Combatant's that can spawn in any given case.

So, for example, if you are instructed to spawn Cave Sickles you'd shuffle all variations and Alternate Combatants Cards that can replace Cave Sickles, draw one, and use that card.

From a design perspective, many of these new Combatants are often being designed to compliment their counterparts. This means that old tricks won't always work. Or, in some cases, if two of the same Combatants using different AI are in play at once, they'll work together to slay the heroes with some serious tactical efficiency!

Type Tag

The expansions for Middara have mechanically required us to include a Type Tag. 

Something we should have done from the beginning... 

This Tag is referenced by abilities that thematically connect multiple figures in various encounters. This is something we're utilizing more and more as newer Encounters and Combatants are being designed. You can expect various 'types' of Combatants to interact more in future content. Much of this future content will even affect older content using these tags.

Redirect Tag

This new Tag lets you change the target of an opponent. This is something we’ve been working to include in our game for a long time. It opens up entirely new builds and will let us make some future content really shine.

A true tank build is on the horizon!

New Extra Large Sized Cards (10x6)

Sometimes bosses need to be even more epic. These XL Cards are double the height of other Intelligent Combatant cards and usually include more diverse AI Steps and Abilities.

XL (10x6) card from The Cave Sickle Queen

New Conduits! 

As our product line expands, we're looking to improve underutilized but really cool Disciplines such as Conduit Summoning. New options on the horizon, as well as further ways to improve and tune Conduit Summoning, will truly make it worth the XP.

The Cave Sickle Queen is no exception. With new monsters comes new Conduit Summons. Where thematic and appropriate, any Combatants we make for Middara on this Kickstarter will include Conduit Summon versions. 

Check out some of the examples below for a teaser.

Cave Sickle Queen Conduit
Cave Sickle Queen Conduit
Cave Sickle Queen Conduit

New Combatants and Miniatures Not Advertised on the Campaign, but included nonetheless...

We really wanted to make this Bounty feel claustrophobic and have the enemies feel "zerg-like" with tons of bad guys converging on the players at all times. This required us to develop brand new Sickle Combatants with unique AI. We also wanted to really play on the "Swarm" Tag and include a ton of them.

These all initially started as standees but after some debate, we've decided to make an attempt at turning all these into plastic miniatures instead.

Keep in mind that the sculpts of these additional figures are still in development, we'll show those off once they're ready.

Of course, showing their AI off could be considered a spoiler so we will filter them through our Hidden Deck cards. Click if you want to see!

New Monsters?!
Even More Monsters?!
More Monsters, More Problems

 Game Design, Growth, and the Horizon!

Pigeon Pete, Designer

Hey Middarans,

Pete here again for a little update from behind the scenes.

Has been a big couple of weeks here that has included doing the final design tweaks for Pirates of Elenia, setting up/cleaning up and automating our design the scenes spreadsheets and getting ready to dive into the Antagonist Variations! (Formerly Alternate Antagonists.)

Alex has also asked me to touch base about some of my inspirations for the encounters and the new terrain Bug Creep in the Cave Sickle Queen.

New Tokens

Bug Creep

Rules: While on Bug Creep, all Sickle Type and Insect Type Combatants Gain +1 DEF and +1 TO THE ROLL when making an Attack or determining the force of a Spell. All other figures have -1 DEF and -1 TO THE ROLL when making an Attack or determining the force of a Spell.

Encounter Example with HEAPS of Bug Creep, Click to see!

Bug Creep is an infuriating gross substance that the Cave Sickles build their hives with. For a Cave Sickle, it is their home turf, so they get a bonus when attacking and defending. While all other Non-Sickle type figures (and that includes Adventurers AND Combatants) they get a negative. While Bug Creep is exclusive to this Bounty, by using alternate and variant combatants, it could be utilized in other Encounters.

Some of our gross Sicklings that hatch from eggs can send the stuff everywhere!

Latching Sickling!

As for inspiration, I’m a big theme guy. When I design, I really try to capture the essence of what something is and make it shine.

In the case of the Cave Sickle Queen, I wanted you to feel like you were going into the nest and that anything could happen. To me the Cave Sickles make me think of the Xenomorphs from Aliens, the bugs from Starship Troopers, and the Zerg from Starcraft. They have an alien hive/colony feel to them which I really wanted to explore.

That's why I included layouts with tiles not connected perfectly straight and some even being connected via passage tokens. The bug creep really helps sell this and takes that vibe to the next level.

So cute?

Since moving on from the Cave Sickle Queen to the Pit Boss and now onto Pirates of Elenia, I have learned a lot, and mixed things up a lot. Creating Encounters with such amazing narrative and deep stories has definitely helped me as a designer and a creator. 

While I can't get enough of Cave Sickles, The Pit Boss Encounters are for sure a favorite of mine. I definitely love the Adlets and their lore.

I’m excited to finally be able to show that product off to our community later this month!

Until then, I hope you guys enjoy the print and play teaser linked alongside Ian's section on this update.

Table Top Simulator and Our Passionate Community


Hey everyone! Ian here. For those unaware, I'm the lead developer over at Succubus Publishing.

In September we released the Cave Sickle Queen Bounty for beta test on Table Top Simulator (TTS).

If you have TTS, you can download the mod for free and play it. You can get it through Steam or our Discord server.

Screenshot of the TTS Cave Sickle Queen mod

Right after we released it to the Discord community, we had a lot of feedback about the balance of the Encounters, Combatants, and Items. Not to mention a few things I missed on my first development pass.

As of this week, I've finalized a new version of the print and play for the Cave Sickle Queen Bounty and have addressed most of the issues that were brought to my attention. In addition to that, we've updated the TTS mod as well.

If you don’t want to use TTS or don’t have it, we’ve also uploaded a physical Print and Play. You can find that here. The folder called Bounty Beta Test Print and Play has everything you need to play this Bounty. You can also find the newest Rulebook here

This Print and Play also contains new versions of some existing Adventurer and Combatant cards from Unintentional Malum. You'll need these to play the Bounty Pack. 

When you look at these new versions of older cards, you'll probably notice that the Defense Values and Combat Dice are lower on the Intelligent Combatants than what is printed in the 1.1 version of your game.

Example 1 - Combat Dice Adjustment

Example 2 - Defense Value Adjustment

The reason for these changes is a complex and systemic one. However, in short, the math in our game needed some serious consideration before we dove headlong into designing Act 2 and 3. We didn't want to get thousands of man-hours into the design of Act 2 and 3 only to find out something this big would need to change.

While there were a myriad of issues that led to us making this change, there were even more solutions to each one. With the help of our wonderful Discord community we were able to sort it all out. 

If you're looking for an in depth analysis of each of the changes made thus far, you can check out the Middara Change Log 12-01-21 PDF here.

I warn you though, this document is heavy and not written with any intent to be shared publicly. However, we thought that you'd like to see some of the back end discussions and logs about product we're working on.

This file is a great example of what is shared with our Beta Testing Community. If you’re interested in joining up, you can IM a Succubus employee on our Discord server.

Anyway, this document is an example of the updates and topics our community has been helping us get through.

But, to summarize:

  • We have tweaked the dice and Defense Values across many cards. You'll need some to use the Print and Play. And they are all included with the relevant Bounty Pack playtest cards online and on the TTS.
  • Currently, our plan is to include any and all updated cards in Act 2 so you'll be able to update your Act 1 cards when that is delivered.
  • For those wondering, these cards aren't relevant if you aren't buying future content. Act 1 works great as is. However, if you want, once files are sent off to our manufacturer, there will always be print and play cards available for those curious to see updates before they but new product. 

Lastly, The Pit Boss Bounty Pack is being packaged and prepared for TTS as we speak. We'll be showing that off and recruiting anyone interested in playtesting this month. 

 The Trenches!

Brooklynn, Designer

What's up everyone! 

Brooklynn here. I've been meticulously piecing together the future of Succubus Publishing. Middara is ever growing and we have some pretty grand plans for the universe, our board games, and where we want to take them.

This month, we'll be showing off the Pit Boss. Next month, Pirates of Elenia. Then, the month after, Antagonist Variations. 

This regular constant contact is important to us. And really, it's something we enjoy doing. Sorry we haven't been putting out updates as often. We'll make sure we change that. 

Right now, I'm deep in the trenches of Act 2/3, it's components, and how the story can be properly conveyed via the encounters. 

If you want to stay up to date on everything happening, we will be constantly updating the following document to show changes being made to Middara in real-time.

Link to Change Log!

I'm so excited to show future content off to everyone. It's been years in the making! As we put out these newer updates, you'll get yourself some teasers.

Bringing Middara to life is my goal! With all the new resources, help from the community, and the wonderful artists we've been working with, I've been able to take our game to the next level.

Concepts, clothing, culture, world building!

The ability to really take myself to another world will truly bring this game to a place I always wanted to see it go. 

Being able to take concept art, pass it off to Alex, and have tiles drawn that reflect locations has been a new wonderful addition to our work flow. 

Side by side!

Our new concept work flow has really allowed us to capture characters, emotion, and in turn, a feeling in our game. This work flow has not only been expanded to our tile artwork, but the adventure book, it's interior, and the stories we're telling.

Adventure Book Scenes

While we had already been doing this for character designs, we've been expanding this process to capture characters at an even deeper level.

Location art has always been a huge part of the process for us as well. Many have their own tile sets, while others play important key roles in our narrative. With our lore expanding, we have been spending a lot of time getting art done for these exotic locations both new and old! 

The familiar Hyde Estate alonside a different building from a different country.
Serrano's Manor Tile Art

This process includes those who inhabit these locations!

The whole family!

And for those wondering! Don't fret, Elsevilla is still one of our main artists still (the guy who handled the majority of Act 1's artwork). He's been working with a near full-time work load from us. However, with our expanding product line, we've been forced to also expand the artists we work with. 

We hope you love some of the new artists as much as we do. 

We got too much to show off on a single update. So, for now, you'll have to wait until the next one! 

We appreciate all our supporters. Thanks for your patience. 

Catch ya next time with an update for the Pit Boss.

Nyx here!

I’m delighted and overwhelmed with joy to announce my personal appearance in Harakiri! My carnal experiences with Synergic Games have been delicious, decadent, and most of all, fun!

Harakiri Cross Promotion

These gentlemen are the type of die hard world-builders I’d give a shout-out to even without having appeared in their world and game. Seeing your dreams everyday is a challenge that even the most successful demons experience.

I’m proud of their hard work, their dedication to seeing a vision, and the time they’ve given me in their hearts and minds.

It’s been a violent and exciting pleasure...

I’m worth being paid for. But alas, this coupling is one of altruistic decadence only.

Oh, well.

I suppose the company you have in life is always more important than the journey or the destination.

Go on, click, feel, touch, and experience Harakiri.

Alex Hansen
Alex Hansen

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