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February 25th
Idle Champion Spotlight: The Black Viper 
Posted in Idle Champions.

Once upon a time, the Rosznars were one of the most prominent families in Waterdeep — that is, until they were convicted of a serious crime and exiled over 100 years ago. They have since returned, and among their ranks the young noble woman Esvele Rosznar harbors a secret. She has assumed the identity of the Black Viper, a legendary outlaw who once terrorized Waterdeep.

Assassin. Thief. Catburglar. Pickpocket. The Black Viper is all these things and more. Esvele carefully cultivates the infamy and mystique of her alter ego as she gossips among nobles about the Black Viper's exploits. She leads a double life: one of luxury and privilege, and another where she relies on her skills and cunning to survive, where one mistake could lead to imprisonment or death.

Welcome to the Idle Champion Spotlight for the Black Viper! If you want to know more about the latest Champion, you're in the right place!


All photography by Tyler Curtis


An Infamous Champion...

Warning: Potential spoilers for the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist Campaign
    The Black Viper was a notorious burglar, pickpocket, mugger, and assassin who died a century ago, after a long and nefarious career. Esvele Rosznar, a brash young noble, has recently adopted the Black Viper’s persona to lead a secret life of crime. Like many other nobles, Esvele gossips about the Black Viper’s exploits to lend credence to the villain’s mystique.

    The Rosznar family was convicted of slave trading — highly illegal in Waterdeep — and banished over a hundred years ago, but has since returned. The Rosznars’ inability to regain the respect they feel they deserve rankles them. The slave trade has continued in Amn and elsewhere, and it’s not like other noble houses don’t have skeletons in their closets. But just because of a little family squabble that went public, the Rosznar name has been said with a sneer for a century. As part of the family’s constant effort to prove this conception wrong and win others’ respect, Esvele has been brought up to be the most proper noble possible, partaking in lessons of etiquette, dance, and poise as befits someone of her station.

    In her younger days, Esvele openly rebelled, but that behavior led to locked doors at night and house guards watching her every move during the day. So she taught herself how to pick locks, pluck keys from belts and pouches, clamber up walls, and sneak past guards — playing the perfect daughter by day while cutting loose at night. To hide her identity from those she met, she wore a hood and mask, exchanging her fine clothes for the kind of practical clothing her parents would never let her wear.

    One of the things Esvele has learned is to embrace the legend of the Black Viper. When she throws back her cloak to reveal the costume she has put together, most folk toss their purses and flee. If that doesn’t work, she usually needs only to draw her dagger. Of course, some of the nobles she targets are made of sterner stuff, so Esvele has learned how to fight as well. She knows she’s playing a dangerous game, but is satisfied that at least one member of the Rosznar family is earning the respect of Waterdeep’s nobility.
For more info, check out the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist TRPG Book.


Character Stats

Race: Human Class: Rogue Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
STR: 11 DEX: 18 CON: 14
INT: 11 WIS: 11 CHA: 16

The Black Viper is a DPS Champion able to take advantage of Distracted Foes to increase her damage and deliver powerful Sneak Attacks to enemies she hits for the first time. Her Aura of Infamy ability increases the effect of formation abilities she receives from Bards and Rogues in the party while her Jewel Thief ability improves with boss kills across all adventures.

We have tweaked the Black Viper's stats slightly from her character sheet in the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist book, increasing her Charisma (CHA) score from 12 to 16 for two reasons:
  • First, because when Vivka played Esvele Rosznar/Black Viper during episodes of Dice, Camera, Action! she was incredibly charming.
  • Second, because we wanted the Black Viper to be able to take advantage of Hitch's Friendly buff. It just made sense.
When you want to add the Black Viper to your formation, you can swap her with Minsc (Slot 7).


Artistic Inspiration

When it came to putting together our version of Black Viper, we immediately turned to the official cosplay that Vivid Vivka assembled for last year's Stream of Many Eyes. At an event filled with talented performers and creators (including an amazing Minsc cosplay by Beamdog's Trent Oster) Vivka's take on the Black Viper stood out.


The extra details and personality that Vivka brought to the character inspired us to focus more on her take on Waterdeep's infamous burglar/pickpocket/assassin, including her custom-made Kris push daggers. When it was time to draw and animate the Black Viper for the game, the job fell to our Art Director Adam Kosh and Senior Artist Alexis Theroux.


Vivka put a lot of work into this costume. You can even see it in motion over on Vivka's Instagram here!

Note: Some of Vivid Vivka's content on Instagram and Twitter is NSFW.

Designing the Black Viper

What is the best way to bring a legendary outlaw to life? Which Rogue abilities combine to create the Black Viper as seen in Waterdeep: Dragon Heist?

After spending time going over the 5E Rogue subclasses in the Player's Handbook and Xanathar's Guide to Everything, we came to the conclusion that this Champion needed to be both Thief and Assassin.

To adapt an Assassin's combat style to Idle Champions, we looked to Sneak Attack. It's an integral part of all Rogue designs but isn't something we've really focused on, and we wanted to bring it to the forefront of the Black Viper's design to really capitalize on Vivka's Kris push daggers.

Distracted Foes is intended to be like a cross between Sneak Attack and gaining advantage. Enemies are busy with other Champions, attacking them, so the Rogue uses that opportunity to strike for massive damage. this will really come in handy during encounters and adventures with party-wide damage or multiple tanks up front.

Aura of Infamy symbolizes the mystique of the Black Viper that Esvele cultivates. She thrives when people know who she is - and who is more likely to know of her than other Rogues and Bards? They're the outlaws, right? Once she has gained enough notoriety with her Jewel Thief ability, Ranger and Warlock abilities are included as well!

Speaking of Jewel Thief, Chris came up with something really special. We wanted to feature The Black Viper's burglary skills, and we thought: maybe she gets better with each Red Gem she finds, not just during the adventure you are on, but across all adventures. The idea is that Black Viper will be a Champion you can stick with as your DPS of choice, and that continuing to play her when you're farming gems or completing objectives has a real benefit.


  • Distracted Foes — Whenever another Champion in the formation takes damage, Black Viper deals +100% increased damage on her next attack. Stacks up to 5 times (additive). Does not trigger when Black Viper herself is the one to take the damage.

  • Aura of Infamy — Increases the effect of formation abilities from Bards and Rogues on the Black Viper by 25%.

  • Sneak Attack — Whenever Black Viper attacks an enemy for the first time, she deals 100% additional damage.

  • Jewel Thief — Whenever a boss is killed, there is a 25% chance a Red Gem drops. Red Gems are collected by the Black Viper and grand unique bonuses:
    • Red Gems collected on the current run grant the Black Viper +10% damage (stacking multiplicatively) for the current run.
    • The Black Viper also keeps a permanent count of Red Gems earned across all adventures, which unlocks buffs at certain thresholds. There are 10 total buffs to unlock.
      • 10 Gems: Aura of Infamy now also affects buffs from Rangers and Warlocks.
      • 50 Gems: Increase max stacks of Distracted Foes by 5, and increase the damage per stack by 100%.
      • 300 Gems: Increased the effect of Black Viper's gear by 25% (excluding cooldown)
      • 800 Gems: Black Viper damage x2
      • 1500 Gems: Black Viper damage x2
      • 2500 Gems: Black Viper damage x2
      • 3500 Gems: Black Viper damage x2
      • 4500 Gems: Black Viper damage x2
      • 5500 Gems: Black Viper damage x2
      • 6500 Gems: Black Viper damage x2



When it comes to Black Viper's specializations, the question you need to ask yourself is simple: am I farming, or am I pushing to my wall or attempting to complete a difficult variant?

Since the Black Viper is the first-ever Champion whose formation abilities take all of her adventures into account, you may want to go with her Collector specialization to maximize her Red Gem earning potential. If you are doing regular gem farming runs in The Mad Wizard Free Plays, this specialization will appeal to you (assuming you don't reset before even reaching Slot 7).

On the other side, Assassinate offers the most damage potential out of Black Viper, further increasing her monster-clearing potential. A 0.5 second faster attack may not seem like much, but it really helps!

  • Assassinate — Sneak Attack now also triggers against enemies that The Black Viper has already attacked once, and her base attack cooldown is lowered by 0.5 seconds after a Sneak Attack.

  • Collector — Increase Jewel Thief Red Gem drop chance to 33% and the current-run damage bonus is increased by 25%.

Ultimate Attack

When it came to putting together an awesome ultimate ability for the Black Viper, we hit a bit of a wall. Rogues are mostly known for Sneak Attacks, which we already based much of the Champion design on. What else should we add?

We eventually settled upon the more traditional ninja-inspired concept of dropping a smoke bomb for cover, allowing the Black Viper to kick some serious butt. This ultimate will prove especially helpful during encounters and adventures with formation-wide damage.

    Smokescreen — All Champions takes 50% less damage for 20 seconds, and all of Black Viper's attacks are Sneak Attacks for the duration.

Equipment

Drawn by our resident in-house portrait and icon specialist, Kat, every one of the Black Viper's items is taken from Vivka's official cosplay. This proved to be especially invaluable since the version of Black Viper included in the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist TRPG book does not have a list of items outside basic 5E Rogue starting items.

  • Master Thief's Gauntlets — Ornate gauntlets perfect for hiding thieves tools inside!

  • The Black Viper's Rapier — Esvele Rosznar's ornate rapier, wielded by The Black Viper.

  • The Black Viper's Mask — Masks are iconic when it comes to legendary outlaws.

  • The Viper's Fangs — The better to Sneak Attack you with...!

  • Viper's Cloak — Concealing one's identity and intent is important for a thief - or an assassin.

  • Ostentatious Display — Some nice stolen jewels for a jewel thief.


Final Thoughts

The Black Viper is kind of like Zorro, the Dread Pirate Roberts, and Catwoman all rolled into one. We think she'll really be able to shine in certain DPS formations, especially when the buffs are coming from Aura of Infamy classes. Her Sneak Attacks hit like a truck, especially when you have multiple Champions taking damage to further buff Distracted Foes. And finally, with Jewel Thief benefiting from repeated runs, we feel like Black Viper offers an excellent incentive to stick with a DPS Champion for a long time, and one to focus on with your gem farming runs.

We look forward to seeing how she impacts the Idle Champions meta!

Feel free to send us feedback on via the Idle Champions Subreddit, Steam forum, or the Idle Champions Discord!