Has a keen interest in where the Dahan are - partly because so many of its starting powers work through them partly because its Presence can move along with them. When picking new Power Cards, it will often want to take good Dahan-centric Powers, but it can also branch out into other areas.
GATHER THE WARRIORS
SUMMARY OF POWERS
Thunderspeaker is a child of Lightning's Swift Strike, metamorphosed through a binding-oath to the Dahan that saved it from imprisonment. It wears human form, now, and is sometimes called upon by the Dahan to act as a leader against larger threats which must be confronted by many clans: partly because of the powers and knowledge it can bring to bear, and partly because following Thunderspeaker's lead helps circumvent the delicate question of who should be in charge of such a large coalition. Thunderspeaker primarily acts via the Dahan, organizing them to fight in ways they have not had to fight for many generations, but is capable of direct Power use - and must decide when choosing new Powers whether to double-down on its allegiance to the Dahan, or to complement that with more direct effects.
Thunderspeaker is a spirit of sound and of power, of words on the wind and bright bursts of destruction. It is tied strongly to the Dahan by a long-standing vow, and most often appears in human form as a result, but no one would mistake it for an ordinary person: its form crackles with energy and its voice carries a storm-born strength.
It serves the Dahan mostly in times of great need - it fought fiercely alongside them during the Second Reckoning - but has also been known to turn up from time to time offering aid unasked-for, calling messages to distant families or guarding against a hitherto-unknown threat. It has occasionally agreed to serve as a commander of sorts, when multiple Dahan clans wish to make common cause but cannot agree on which of them should lead the effort.
Thunderspeaker has not been much seen since the destruction of the Servant Cults. Some speculate that fighting against Dahan - even on behalf of other Dahan - must have taken a heavy spiritual toll, given the oath that binds it.
From the Playmat
Child of the Lightning, once known as Bright Thunder Roars in the days when it tore across the land as an avalanche of sound and chaos. It lost that form when the Stalker of Hidden Secrets imprisoned it in a canyon, binding it to echo perpetually back and forth until its thunder died out or the stones of the island wore away.
The Dahan freed it from that imprisonment. Weakened but grateful, Bright Thunder Roars bound itself to aid the Dahan untlil a generation had passed for every year of its imprisonment, and in so binding changed its nature, becoming both less and more than it had been. It often takes human form, now, and with centuries' practice wears it with ease.
Chiefs call on the Thunderpseaker only in times of great need; it has not been much seen since the destruction of the Servant Cults.
>G Forum post on Gender and Spirits: Thunderspeaker appears as female or male or neither or who-knows because it chooses to, but that choice may not have deep import. Some days you pick clothes to make a particular impression, but some days you just throw something on because it's comfortable. Given its nature, it's much more likely to be forming its guise based loosely on Dahan it once knew who had exceptional voices than as any sort of social message! :-) (Particularly since gender among the Dahan is mostly relevant in matters of family - marriage, households, having kids, kin relations, family status, etc - and Thunderspeaker isn't really hooked into that part of Dahan society.)
What do we see?
- Growth: Hey... these Growth options look a little familiar. We haven't seen them exactly - but they follow a very similar pattern to those of Lightning's Swift Strike: Thunderspeaker can play two Presence in a turn, or one Presence and gain Energy, and only gains Power Cards when Reclaiming. But there are differences: it places Presence most easily where Dahan are, of course, and gains two Power Cards on Reclaim; when it changes, it can change a great deal. (A legacy both of the drastic change it underwent in its own history and its affinity for humans, which are more changeable than Spirits.)
- Special Rules: Unsurprisingly, Thunderspeaker can move along with Dahan - it wouldn't be much of a fighting-ally if it couldn't. The second half is less rosy: when Dahan die in combat within Thunderspeaker's sphere of influence, its failure to fulfill its oath takes a metaphysical toll.
- Presence Tracks: Nothing to write home about: its Energy track is slightly worse than either Lightning's Swift Strike or River Surges in Sunlight, both of which can also put out two Presence/turn, and its Card Plays track is slightly worse than River's - nowhere near like Lightning's. It does get some bonus elements on its Energy track, but the mainstay of its power lies elsewhere - it's not terribly potent in a traditional-Spirit sort of way.
- Presence Tracks: Also worth noting is that both tracks crest to "nearly as good as they're going to get" roughly halfway along. Thunderspeaker's probably going to be very effective in midgame but not as much of a late-game powerhouse as Spirits which continue a strong ramp-up.
- Innate Power - Gather the Warriors: With any Animal (the element of humanity), Thunderspeaker can use Air to call Dahan from nearby lands and Sun to command them elsewhere. Depending on its available elements, this could move several Dahan up to two lands distant, which is very good Dahan movement - though limited to once/turn.
- Innate Power - Lead the Furious Assault: Usually, the Dahan only counterattack after being assaulted by the Invaders. We'd expect to see something to change this from Thunderspeaker, and here it is. Getting 2-3 Dahan somewhere isn't too hard, particularly given Thunderspeaker's other innate - the primary limiter here is likely to be elements. 2 Sun and 1 Fire doesn't look too hard, but 4 Sun + 3 Fire will probably take until midgame at least to be feasible.
So, what are its Power Cards?
Some general trends:
- It has 4 Air, 3 Sun, 2 Fire, and 2 Animal. It shouldn't have too much trouble triggering Lead the Furious Assault most rounds, so long as it has 2-3 Card Plays, and once it reaches 3 Card Plays and +Air it'll be able to make both of its Innates Fast fairly frequently. Definitely a midgame powerhouse! With this element profile, it ought to be able to use Gather the Warriors semi-frequently as well - though both Animal elements are on high-cost cards.
- Only two of its Power Cards move Dahan, and but one of those moves multiple Dahan. Between those and Gather the Warriors, it's probably only going to average one good Dahan movement per turn. (It's used to fighting alongside the Dahan, but not to acting as general in a multi-pronged war.) This isn't nearly enough to make maximum use of its offensive abilities, so it'll either need to let some Invaders encroach onto Dahan-held lands as a tactical ploy, help from other Spirits to get Dahan into position, or to draft new Powers which let it do so. Fortunately, it has that double-Power-gain Growth option!
- Nearly all of its Powers are Dahan-centric to some extent or other. Not surprising.
- It has some good inexpensive options, but also some pricier Powers that it just won't have the Energy to use often unless it's getting Energy from somewhere other than its Presence track - perhaps Growth, perhaps boon Powers from other Spirits. It's definitely going to be strapped for Energy during early game, and will likely need to pick up some additional Minor Powers to avoid getting caught in situations where the only cards it has available are too expensive for it to play.
- Manifestation of Power and Glory: If used poorly, this Power can be "spend 3 Energy for 1 Fear + 1 Damage", which is terrible. But set up effectively, it can be an devastating hammer of a Power: with 4 Dahan and 4 Presence, it does 16 Damage, which is enough to obliterate nearly any Invader enclave. Thunderspeaker's ability to move Presence along with Dahan will probably be crucial in setting this up.
- Sudden Ambush: A good Power for killing off Explorers before they Build, helping keep the Invaders contained. But it's expensive - and it keeps the Invaders out of lands with Dahan (where Thunderspeaker is most effective), exacerbating the need for more Dahan movement. One to be used judiciously.
- Voice of Thunder: When you're the thunder, you can shout really loudly. Cheap Dahan movement, or terrifying the Invaders - either is useful.
- Words of Warning: Even if Thunderspeaker isn't present, it can influence the course of a battle with the Invaders. In a small skirmish, forewarning may prevent the Dahan from taking any casualties at all; in larger battles it can transform a massacre into a hard-fought victory - or at least make the Invaders pay for their aggression. However, this Power is only useful when the Invaders are Ravaging, so will require good timing to use effectively.
Overall: Thunderspeaker is likely to have a somewhat constrained early game, striking opportunistic blows against the Invaders as it grows. But if the players can keep a good number of Dahan alive and get them well-positioned by midgame, Thunderspeaker turns into a juggernaut of destruction, limited mostly by where the Dahan can get to. How else it progresses depends on what Powers it takes - it's capable of a fair amount of versatility, though if it departs too strongly from its core elements its offense will suffer somewhat.