Branching Out

Preview the Hybrid Class Cards of The Chains That Rust


You’ve been trapped in the Mistlands for months now—bound by foul sorcery and imprisoned by cruel monsters, even as a plan to destroy all of Terrinoth festers and grows around you. Yet despite the unchanging, ceaseless motion of life as a prisoner, a turning point is coming. You must escape before you lose all strength, but the struggle to survive may push you into places you never thought you would go.

In the announcement of The Chains That Rust expansion for Descent: Journeys in the Dark, we took a brief look at the new hybrid classes introduced in this expansion. These classes essentially allow a hero to bridge two archetypes and unlock powerful new abilities. For instance, your hero may belong to the scout archetype, but when you take the Monk class, you can choose any healer Class deck and use its Class cards as your own.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at the other new hybrid classes that you can explore within The Chains That Rust!


All mages are powerful spellcasters, more than capable of dealing massive amounts of damage with their powerful runic spells. Still, some find they have a talent for the more physical arts of war and work to develop their martial skills while augmenting those skills with magic. Now, with the Battlemage hybrid class introduced in The Chains That Rust, your mages have a way to follow this path as well.

Like all other hybrid classes, this class begins by giving you access to a second Class deck. In this case, Arcane Veteran allows your mage to take a Class deck from the warrior archetype and learn all but the most advanced skills from this class. Though there are plenty of exciting combinations to explore just by combining mage heroes with warrior Class decks, the Battlemage hybrid class also includes its own cards to make your hero a worthy opponent on the field of battle.

The first lesson a Battlemage learns is how to forge his runestones into Planar Weapons. With this Class card, each of your Rune weapons becomes a Melee weapon and loses one hand icon, allowing you to hold two at once, if you so choose. What’s more, you can exhaust this card before you attack with a Rune weapon to add one surge to your results, helping to trigger your weapon’s explosive special abilities. 

You’ll also learn how to weave rune magic into your armor itself. Runic Weave increases your health for each Rune you have equipped, making you much more difficult to bring down. What’s more, when you would exhaust a Cloak or Shield, you can exhaust Runic Weave instead, giving you increased defense in any situation. Finally, some Battlemages have advanced to a point of near invincibility as they absorb life energy from the very foes they slay. Death Siphon allows you to recover one damage or one fatigue every time an adjacent monster is defeated, but more importantly, it allows you to cheat death. You can exhaust Death Siphon before you would be knocked out to immediately perform an attack. If you defeat your target, you recover one damage, giving you a foothold to continue the battle!


Just as some mages grow fond of more brutal, hand-to-hand combat, many warriors can see the benefits of mixing their tactical might with the power of sorcery. The Chains That Rust also includes the Steelcaster hybrid class, starting with Runeguard, a Class card that allows your warrior to take a Class deck from the mage archetype.

Steelcasters are experts at protecting themselves and their compatriots, willing to take massive amounts of damage to protect the other heroes in their party. Of course, most of the Heavy Armor in the game prevents you from equipping Rune weapons. It’s fortunate, therefore, that one of the cheapest Class cards for Steelcasters is Rune Grafting. This Class card offers a massive variety of effects. First, it improves your knowledge, shoring up one of the warrior archetype’s traditionally weaker traits. Secondly, it causes your armor to lose all text that would prevent you from equipping Runes. And finally, it rewards you for attacking with Runes while wearing Heavy Armor by giving you another surge ability to let you recover both health and fatigue!

You can further increase your defensive power with Iron Blooded. This Class card slightly reduces your speed, but more than makes up for it with bonuses to your health and stamina. It also allows you to add shields whenever you roll blanks on defense, and it even lets you discard a Condition card that you receive, keeping you free from ailments. Finally, you can extend your protection to your fellow heroes with Shield Mage. Not only does this allow you to wield a shield without sacrificing your hands, it allows a friendly hero within three spaces to benefit from your shield, gaining its defense dice and special abilities for the entire attack! No matter where you adventure in Terrinoth, your fellow heroes will always be glad to have a Steelcaster by their side.

In the diagram above, Pathfinder Durik is a warrior using the Steelcaster class. Triggering Shield Mage, he’s able to help protect Ulma Grimstone from the flesh moulder’s attack.

Transcend Your Boundaries

For the first time in Descent: Journeys in the Dark, The Chains That Rust gives you the ability to take your hero beyond its archetype and experience the classes of other archetypes. There’s still plenty to discover within this expansion, including the Watchman hybrid class, so come join us at Gen Con Indy 2016 on August 4th-7th to get your advance copies!

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