When Lillian Corvus was a little girl, her parents called her “Lily”. She was a bright, happy child who delighted in playing in the park and watching the clouds. Yet as she grew older, she began to long for more. For power. She did not want people looking at her and thinking, or even worse, saying, “Aw, how cute!” Lillian wanted to be feared and respected! Tired of hearing about “how a young lady should behave” and “you should behave more like your very successful cousin”, she rebelled. She began writing dark poetry and allied herself with a group of teenagers that called themselves The Undead Poet Society. When not lounging about in coffee shops or glaring at shoppers in the mall, she spent her time going from antique stores to flea markets, looking for exciting, shiny things.
During one of her outings, she bought an old feathered masquerade mask from a tiny curiosity shop. Upon donning the mask, she felt the ebon feathers ruffle against her face, and could instantly sense some great presence in the sky. Reaching out her hands, she attempted to pull the force towards her, and the sky erupted in a cacophony of caws and shrieks as ravens filled the air. Panicked, she flung her arms outward, and the birds responded, ringing out around her. She found she could control the birds, directing them wherever she wished. Reaching further still, she felt their thoughts, sensing through the birds the very world around them.
Lillian was no more - now, she was The Matriarch! Finally, she had the power she’d craved, and she would gain fear and respect through a reign of terror!
See the Harpy's reveal during the ARG Event in the Odd Allies comic.
The Matriarch, after time in jail, was aided by NightMist in controlling her magical powers and now fights alongside Dark Watch, hoping to atone for her previous villainous ways.
As The Harpy, Lillian Corvus is a true hero, though she is haunted by her not-so-heroic past
Dark Watch: Harpy
The Harpy is now a full-fledged member of Dark Watch, and studies magic under the careful tutelage of NightMist.
Her powers are an excellent addition to the team, but they all keep their eyes (or in Expatriette's case, her eye) on young Lillian, as her power constantly threatens to get away from her.
- References for Cards in this deck and in other decks. See the full list here.
- Link to sources for confirm-able information, separate unconfirmed in a different section, RL Card References in a third, and Art References in a fourth. See This page for more detailed information on how to categorize references
- Compared to other villains, The Matriarch has made the fewest appearances in the card art of other decks. Outside of her own deck, she has only appeared on Parse's "Reveal the Flaws" and the Celestial Tribunal's "Character Witness." Notably, she is never seen fighting the heroes, though some are seen being attacked by birds which could have been under her control.
- "Darken the Sky" had a digital error on its original printing, giving the picture and flavor text-bubble a pixelated look. The Rook City / Infernal Relics reprint box corrected this flaw.
- Foote Notes on The Matriarch - >G Forum post discussing The Matriarch - be warned, it wanders a bit, and is Pun-rific
- The Matriarch is one of the only characters to receive an overhaul of their deck in future printings. During the Infernal Relics/Rook City combo set, The Matriarch's Fowl Cards had their 'Play another Fowl' kicker text moved to the Matriarchs character card, changing the interaction with some Heroes ability to kill the fowls before that card text activated.
- There will never be a hero named "The Matriarch". * However, Christopher has said that there will be other villains that turn into hero decks, so she may receive a name change. Christopher on the Forums
- The Mask of the Matriarch was previously owned by a powerful magic user of some type. When Lillian put it on, some of the personality of the previous magic user overtook her own personality. Gen Con 2016 Q&A
- Lillian is naturally magically sensitive, which is why she got attuned to the Mask. As the Matriarch, she is not really in control. As The Harpy and Pinion, she has more control. Gen Con 2016 Q&A
- Notes from Letters Page 15
- Went by "Lily" as a child, was nice and friendly until struck down by that greatest of all villains - Puberty. She developed the standard anger issues and rebellion against her comfortable, middle-class life in the suburbs of Rook City. She started getting all of her clothes at Hot TopicTM, demanded to be addressed by her full name "Lillian", and writing just the worst poetry about how dark she was now. Like, really bad. She's generally just unbearable.
- The family spent the summer in Italy as she was getting out of high school. She whined the whole time. At one point she goes into a little curiosity shop (hoping to find something good, like a real human skull that she could put a black candle on or something). One item in particular catches her attention - an old, ornate, feathered mask - which she purchases.
- Once home, she puts the mask on a shelf in her room and starts having strange dreams. Flapping wings, dark, beady eyes, caws and whispers. Upon waking (still tired due to the restless sleep) after the third night, she feels a call from the mask and she puts it on. She feels her consciousness expand immediately - feeling the sky, seeing her house far below her. She realizes that she's seeing through the eyes of the birds near her house. She asserts herself to "take control" of the birds, pulling them towards her. Snapping back into her own body, she hears the call of hundreds of birds that now surround the house. She knows that she can now direct them. She plans on using this new power to make everybody who mocked her pay for it.
- She "generally terrorizes" Rook City. Blowing out the windows of the high school, menacing the captain of the football team, etc. Not to make this sound quaint, though, lots of people die. Then the Freedom Five (Four) show up (Freedom Four Annual #2 - this was also the first appearance of Absolute Zero). Tachyon is her (older by a good 15 years or so) cousin who'd always been the family measuring stick - people talked about how successful, important, and whatnot cousin Meredith was. The FF defeat her and she is sent to prison for 20 years (maximum sentence for manslaughter - people died, but she didn't personally kill anybody).
- That's pretty much her entire arc as a villain - just this one issue of FFA. She's absent from most of the other stories that the guys commonly talk about (Vengeance, etc.) because she's stuck in prison until her mid-20s. That's not to say that she's not in any books at all - Tachyon actually visits her in prison regularly and so we see some character growth over time (even her poetry improves somewhat).
- Eventually, there's a power outage at the prison in the middle of the night and all of the electronically controlled door locks pop open. Instead of making a break for an escape, she feels drawn further into the facility, to the personal effects lockup, and retrieves the mask and her costume. The mask is desperate to be worn, but she knows better now and resists wearing it. She now tries to makes her escape, however. She manages to make her way to a courtyard area, where she's immediately pinned by a spotlight. Figuring there's no other choice, she puts on the mask, summons birds to get in the way, and she escapes into Rook City.
- Something's off, however. She doesn't feel the same exaltation she did before and all of the magical pathways in her mind feel like they're on fire. The birds now swarm her in anger. She takes shelter in a warehouse. She's almost catatonic dealing with the magical assault on her senses.
- Tachyon is notified of her escape and makes her way to where all the birds are. She enters and finds Lillian in this trance state. She tries to get through to Lillian, talking about the progress she'd made in prison and how well she'd been doing, but just can't get a response. Spotting that this is a "magic thing", she gets somebody who she knows who is more capable of dealing with that sort of thing - Nightmist. Faye can see immediately that Lillian has a natural attunement to magic, but the mask is twisting/perverting things. She breaks through the magic of the mask, calming Lillian and dispersing the flock outside.
- Nightmist takes Lillian back to her place to give her space to rest and recover while Nightmist continues to study the mask - ultimately "disenchanting" the mask itself. It's still an artifact, but the more "recent" enchantments are removed. It's now more of a focus than anything.
- Over the course of the time Lillian spends with her in recovery, Nightmist realizes just how much power Lillian actually has (and this is when Nightmist is in full "magical being" mode and knows a bit about magical power). Nightmist sees that she can still go down a bad path, however, and sees three options - call up Tachyon to take her back to prison, let her go to fend for herself, or train her. She takes the third option. They start without the mask, to get her more control on her own (insert training montage in the growing list of "magical places" like swamps and old libraries full of magic books). This is the point when Lillian takes the name Harpy instead and is now "heroic" even though she's not really going out and doing hero things per se yet.
- Then Progeny attacks. She winds up fighting alongside Dark Watch at this time. When Tachyon is seriously injured, Harpy protects her and distracts Progeny from following up on that attack (although this "luring" action winds up directing it back to the city).
- Now, while she fought alongside heroes in this battle, a lot of them recognize her as this villain and still don't really trust her. She feels like she needs to finish her atonement and simply turns herself back in to the authorities to finish out her sentence. Tachyon pulls some strings and gets the hotshot lawyer that the FF has on retainer, Brianna Hawke, to help her out (a change from Lillian's original trial when Tachyon wouldn't help because of the things The Matriarch had done). The end result is that Lillian is released for good behavior as long as she has proven, trustworthy people to vouch for/watch her.
- The Harpy wants to be a full-time hero now and asks Tachyon if she can fight alongside the FF. This is a big "No" because they're government-sponsored and have to kind of be this squeaky-clean group. But, there's a spot for her on this team of "morally-ambiguous rejects" and she needs more training anyway, and so joins up with Dark Watch as a member. There are two main stories before OblivAeon.
- First, the return of Apostate showing up randomly in lots of places and seemingly impervious to anything the heroes throw at him. Nightmist is one of a group of disparate heroes that fight him at one point and she sees his magical connection to the relics that he's hidden in the Realm of Discord. She comes up with a plan - she'll open portals for Harpy to go through to the RoD (bypassing the need to navigate through it herself) along with instructions on how to disrupt the relics' connection to Apostate. This was a dangerous mission as, in Nightmist's estimation, Harpy's level of control is still not really to the point that she'd like her to be to do this sort of thing (the guys mention that Harpy's raw power level is probably even higher than Nightmist's, though). She winds up trapped in the RoD by Gloomweaver, though, who wants to make a deal with her. He sees her power and internal chaos and figures that she'd make a good servant. She disagrees and opens a portal herself, throws a bunch of birds in his face to attack him, and leaves.
- Second, the Celestial Tribunal. It's a spaceship with a lot of AI on it, originally designed to "determine what was good" by a race that was having a lot of "infighting and questions about justice and order" - they created the AI to be an impartial judge. They were all corrupt, so they needed to make something that would be apart from their existing processes and be 100% logical. It destroyed their planet almost instantly. Now it travels the cosmos, judging and punishing planets it comes across (it's sword-shaped and it will "sheathe" itself in a planet to eradicate all life there). The Tribunal arrives at Earth and beams aboard several "representatives" of earth to stand in for everybody. One of them is Lillian who is tried for all of the bad things she's done. As character witnesses, the rest of Dark Watch are brought on board and they vouch for her - a good bonding moment for the team even if the CT isn't terribly interested. The guys decide that the whole Celestial Tribunal event is probably a good topic for an Interlude, so we'll get the full story later.
- The Harpy and Nightmist were absent from the Skinwalker Gloomweaver fight due to their preparation of the spell that Nightmist used to Be the Gate shortly thereafter, but once they got that set up, Harpy did actually come out to join the fight. This was not really a great idea as Gloomy recognized her and could just siphon off some of her power considering her general lack of control.
- During OblivAeon, she's fighting as a full-fledged member of Dark Watch. Wager Master shows up doing some "side shenanigans" at one point. She interacts with the Scion Faultless in some interesting ways as it has some parallels to the Celestial Tribunal (Faultless is more concerned with "purity"). More on the Scion and general OblivAeon topics later, though.
- First question has a long lead-in about how cool it was to meet them at Gen Con last year and that she (variaknight) was the one in Matriarch cosplay. I include this because the guys talk about how much they love seeing Sentinels Cosplay. This is right around 38:00 in the podcast.
- The Mask was owned previously owned by a powerful magic user and their personality rubbed off on it. Does that personality override Lillian's when she wears it/is it more responsible for the villainous acts or is it more Lillian? Who was the previous owner and was this intentional? The Mask is an ancient item that creates an automatic attunement to birds and grants an ability to control them. There's a side-character in Sentinel Comics who doesn't really show up in the card game, but is still a player in the setting - Ignazio Gallo, an Italian mage who likes playing around with magical artifacts. He doesn't create them, but he likes chaos and "messing with things" and so generally puts some kind of curse or downside on the artifacts he comes across. In the 1920s he found a lighter that didn't need fuel - he added a bug so that on every thousandth use it would burst into a giant flame (this is the cause of the Great Fire of Santander, Spain in 1941 that burned down most of the city). There was a necklace with a blue jewel that would ensure the safe arrival of any sea voyage when a passenger was wearing it - until he made it so that the thousandth vessel would sink. He altered the mask so that after it was used to control the thousandth bird, they would turn on the wearer and tear them to pieces. It's not so much his personality as just an incitement for chaos - the lighter, after he messed with it, would cause the person to want to burn things. The Mask pushes the person to use them more chaotically.
- Is Nightmist training her to be another paranormal investigator? Is there a lot of poring over the Tome of Elder Magic or more of a "learning to control wild magic" situation? Not really aiming at "paranormal investigator", more just needing "good" magicians. Nightmist herself isn't really an "investigator" by this point in her story - she has premonitions that something big is coming and they'll need all of the magical help they can get.
- Dark Watch Harpy's incapacitated art looks similar to the room on Nightmist's "Master of Magic" card; are they the same room? What's the significance? That's Nightmist's home/magical study in both cards. Good "magical" place (not as good as a swamp, though).
- How do the rest of Dark Watch react to Nightmist bringing in a former villain? This would have been more of a problem with the Freedom Five or even the Prime Wardens - members of Dark Watch already had questionable pasts, Expatriette was pretty much a straight up murderer before becoming a hero. Setback didn't really have a bad history, but is the most accepting of people and giving second chances. Mr. Fixer recognizes "who you are, not who you were", but has his own darkness going on by this point anyway to worry about.
- Matriarch doesn't appear on many cards outside of her own deck, and Tachyon's the only hero who appears in her deck - does she almost never attack the heroes? As mentioned earlier, the Matriarch is only a villain once. This is why it's easier for heroes to accept her later - years have passed and she did her time (or a good chunk of it). She kind of breaks the mold of villains in the card game who, for the most part, are major villains. She's more of a major character and her villainous act was a big part of her overall arc and they wanted to show that in the game.
- What's the relationship like between her and Tachyon throughout the story? Is Tachyon proud of her once she chooses the heroic path? Still wary of the change? They ever meet up for family time? Meredith and Lillian weren't particularly close even before getting powers - the age difference made it difficult (almost more of an aunt/niece dynamic than cousins). Major parts of this relationship were shown in the visits that Tachyon made to her in prison. Starts with (continued) resentment towards her super-successful cousin, softening over the years and by the time she's the Harpy, Tachyon is proud of her for turning her life around.
- Her group affiliation as a villain is listed as the Undead Poets Society - who were the others? Did they also feel a pull to artifacts? That was a joke for Adam and Christopher. These were just her circle of high school friends who met in coffee shop to tell their bad poetry to one another. They're not a "villain group" like the Citizens of the Sun or anything.
- When did they know that Lillian was destined to make the villain-to-hero transition? Was it always planned or did they create the character as one and only later decided to add the change? She was always intended to become a hero, but how/when that happened wasn't in place at first. All of the new OblivAeon heroes who used to be villains had that capacity built into their stories. Of that set, she's the one who's a hero for the longest.
- Are the birds real birds or magical birds created by the Mask? Real birds. If it makes you feel better, there's a serious crow problem in Rook City.
- How did Tachyon feel about her redemption? No longer any real animosity, but originally very concerned after the prison break - relieved that she wasn't going bad again. They don't really hang out as they still run in different circles.
- Does she get over her goth phase or is she still melodramatic? She's still somewhat melodramatic, but is largely over the goth phase as an affectation (with the whole "magic" thing it makes a bit more sense). As a side note, the guys have apparently never discussed if her hair is naturally that way or not. Christopher always assumed that she had black hair and when she first put on the mask all of it turned white except for that one lock - Adam accepts this explanation. They didn't think that she dyed it that way.
- Most of the birds in her deck are corvids, but then there's vultures. Are the corvids just her personal preferences (see her last name and general goth aesthetic choices), easier to use because of their innate intelligence, or somehow more in tune with the Mask's power? She, personally, has a bit more of an affinity to crows and whatnot, but it's also that they're clever and "grimdark" - the vultures fit into this latter part. She can control birds in general, but Rook City has a lot of these types of birds on hand already. As Pinion she uses a hawk and owl.
- What are Huginn and Muninn? Just particularly large and smart birds? Familiars tied to the Mask? Actually Odin's ravens? They're just particularly large and smart birds - she kind of forms a particular bond with them, though (mention of them as related to her Hero deck, the RPG, and the two sides of her power - avian vs. arcane).
- Tactics - Dark Watch breaks up for a while after Rook City gets destroyed. Lillian gives up heroics at this time. She goes to have a normal life and attends college with the intention of becoming an avian veterinarian. She travels a lot to wildlife refuges to help injured endangered animals (this is where she picks up the hawk and owl cohorts). By the time that Dark Watch reforms, she's grown a lot and can use her powers in a less offensive way and chooses to go by Pinion.
- RPG - Dark Watch is more "neighborhood watch plus" now. Part of that is Mr. Fixer's dojo, but also her surveillance abilities through her birds. She operates out of Nightmist's old home (formerly the Diamond Investigations office) - the library/training area discussed earlier at the top of the building is now known as "The Aviary" and she's there most of the time. The ground floor is the location of the dojo, with the middle floor acting as living space for the team (although Expat and Setback are rarely there). The Dark Watch episode is slated to be an Interlude in a few weeks.
- The Matriarch's cohorts, Huginn and Muninn, are named after the mythological ravens that served Odin, the Norse father god. Their names mean "thought" and "memory" respectively. However, the Norse Gods are NOT represented in The Multiverse >G Forum Post
- Most of the scenes depicted on the Matriarch's cards are references to the film The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock.
The Matriarch Villain Deck
- The Matriarch, Her Avian Majesty: Added "Whenever a fowl card is played from the villain deck, play the top card of the villain deck."
- The Matriarch, Ruler of the Flock: Added "Whenever a fowl card is played from the villain deck, play the top card of the villain deck." In the first sentence, fowl is no longer in quotes.
- All fowl cards: The above text has been removed from all fowl cards. The rest of their text is unchanged.
- Horrid Cacophony changed "Deal each" becomes "The Matriarch deals each."
- Darken the Sky: The art has been fixed.
- Muninn: The first two sentences have been combined into one paragraph. The text is unchanged.
- Darken the Sky (x3)
- Put all of the Fowl cards from the Villain trash into play. If the card Mask of the Matriarch is in the Villain trash, put it into play.
- Art: Flocks of birds gathering around the Matriarch;
- Flavor-text: "The fowl rise! To o'erwhelm all the Earth! And pluck out men's eyes!" - The Matriarch, Freedom Five #690
- Horrid Cacophony (x2)
- Mask of the Matriarch  (x1)
- The first time each turn a Villain card other than a Fowl card enters play, play the top card of the Villain deck. At the start of the Villain turn, The Matriarch regains 2 HP.
- Art: The Matriarch putting the mask on her face;
- Flavor-text: "Thus, I am the Matriarch! From the center to the sea, I rule as queen of the fowl!" - The Matriarch, A Murder: Most Fowl
- Huginn  (x1)
- Increase Damage dealt by The Matriarch by X. Decrease Damage dealt to The Matriarch and to Cohorts by X. X on this card = the number of Cohorts in play. At the end of the Villain turn, put Huginn from the Villain trash into play.
- Art: A closeup of Huginn;
- Flavor-text: "But these might fowl shall not go to their nest... " - The Matriarch, A Murder: Most Fowl
- Muninn  (x1)
- At the start of the Villain turn, destroy X Hero Ongoing and/or Equipment cards, where X = the number of Cohorts in play. At the end of the Villain turn, put Muninn from the Villain trash into play.
- Art: A closeup of Huginn;
- Flavor-text: "... until all the beasts are laid low in despair." - The Matriarch, Night's Plutonian Shore #2
- Carrion Fields  (x2)
- At the start of the Villain turn, this card deals the Hero Target with the highest HP 2 Projectile Damage.
- Art: Birds picking at bodies in a field;
- Flavor-text: "That these fowl shall salt the Earth itself, leaving all groaning for burial!" - The Matriarch, Freedom Five #691
- Building of Rooks  (x3)
- At the start of the Villain turn, this card deals the Hero Target with the highest HP 2 Projectile Damage.
- Art: It looks like a silhouette of Tachyon standing in front of a windmill with a swarm of birds around it;
- Flavor-text: "Feel the fury of the skies, scorned!" - The Matriarch, Night's Plutonian Shore #2
- Clattering of Jackdaws  (x3)
- At the start of the Villain turn, this card deals each Hero Target 1 Projectile Damage.
- Art: A large group of birds shown outside a window with one perched on the windowsill. The man inside looks worried;
- Flavor-text: "A most pestilent congregation of horrid, flighty creatures." - Fanatic, Night's Plutonian Shore #2
- Kettle of Vultures (x3)
- At the start of the Villain turn, this card deals the Hero Target with the lowest HP 2 Projectile Damage.
- Art: A closeup on a vulture with a few flying in the sky above;
- Flavor-text: "There is no path which the vulture's eye hath not seen... " - The Matriarch, Night's Plutonian Shore #2
- Murder of Crows  (x3)
- At the start of the Villain turn, this card deals each Hero Target except the Hero Target with the highest HP 1 Projectile Damage.
- Art: Multiple crows descending from the sky;
- Flavor-text: "Fowl of the air! Rain down on all who creepeth upon the earth!" - The Matriarch, Night's Plutonian Shore #2
- Unkindness of Ravens  (x3)
- At the start of the Villain turn, this card deals each Hero Target except the Hero Target with the lowest HP 1 Projectile Damage.
- Art: A murder of ravens on a swing set with two more in the sky in the background;
- Flavor-text: "The ravens themselves are hoarse, croaking thy fatal exit!" - The Matriarch, Night's Plutonian Shore #2
The Harpy Hero Deck
Not Yet Released
Sentinel Tactics: Pinion Power Cards
Not Yet Released
- Suppose Hair-trigger Reflexes is in play and The Matriarch plays a Fowl card. Expatriette may choose to deal damage to the Fowl card before the top card of the villain deck is played. Note: this is not yet fixed in the video game, but will be in a later update.
- Hairtrigger Reflexes + Forced Deployment (or Darken the Sky) cannot cause an infinite loop. All of the minions are first selected and removed from the trash, and played. New minions entering the trash during Forced Deployment’s effect are not returned.
Expatriette’s Hairtrigger Reflexes vs. Fowl cards
- Expatriette’s “Hairtrigger Reflexes” says, “whenever a non-hero target enters play, Expatriette may deal that target 1 projectile damage.” this seems to mean that with “Hairtrigger Reflexes”, Expatriette could essentially keep the Matriarch’s fowl cards from ever fully entering play, thereby stopping the Matriarch from ever activating her ability which triggers upon the destruction of a fowl card, as well as stopping the fowl cards from activating their text which calls for another villain card to be played when a fowl card is played from the villain deck. However, that is not the correct order of resolution. when a fowl card enters play after being played from the villain deck, another villain card will be played. then “Hairtrigger Reflexes” can destroy the fowl card, which will activate the Matriarch’s ability which causes the hero with the highest hp to either destroy one of their equipment or ongoing cards or take some damage. Future printings of the fowl cards have moved the text about how you play the top card of the villain deck if a fowl card is played from the villain deck from the fowl cards themselves to the Matriarch’s villain character card, to make it even clearer that destroying the fowl card will not stop another card from being played. Hairtrigger Reflexes VS Fowl
- The original version of this card doesn’t explicitly state this, but it should: the source of damage from this card is the Matriarch herself. Later printings of the card have fixed this. What's Dealing the Damage
Mask of the Matriarch
- The first paragraph on this card reads “the first time each turn a villain card other than a fowl card enters play, play the top card of the villain deck”. All cards “enter play” when they are played, so any non-fowl card will trigger this ability, even one-shots.