Thursday 26 April 2018

Night of the Zealot: Full Campaign Reprise - I

Daisy, before she read the 'dodgy' books in happier times

So a new campaign awaits! Though I am still (currently) moving through the Path campaign with my original team, I am also now starting from 'Night of the Zealot' again with two new companions and re-blogging....Since I already have a short story concerning Night up on the site directly previous to these posts I have decided to blog on more playing based things for this campaign so the spoilers will both be very frequent and will not be signposted. What I would like to cover is those key playing moments that make a game and perhaps more technical analysis. We will see how, or if, it works..

So to start party composition. We will be playing at 'Standard' level with any of the available companions. I have selected my Seeker favourite again, 'Daisy Walker' - the uptight librarian. Her two companions will be Roland Banks and Mystic African Akachi Onyele

The Deck

I have restricted myself to basic Night cards for the initial scenatios deck which has restricted choice somewhat but does feel more natural (I may use experience on other set cards though)

The  deck is very focused at enhancing the seekers natural clue gathering ability. Deduction, Working a hunch both speed up clue gaining and Hyperawareness, the flashlight and Doctor Milan increase chances of passing intellect tests easily. Of the rest the Knife is the only real attempt to help out with combat. With one strong arm in the group and another multi-purpose it would be hoped Daisy would not need this. The Research Librarian is a nod to later in the campaign as it allows Daisy's ability to fire off more easily. With a core only deck there are limited tome's to even select. In this decks case the Medical Texts is to support her more violent compatriots and the Old Book of Lore allows cards to be fished for or for nasty Treachery's to be avoided.

The last few cards are support cards. The Holy Rosary provides extra sanity and also increases will power for those oh so common will checks that can prove damaging. The Barricade is situational but can provide some useful temp structure when the party (or Daisy) is at risk of being swarmed.

Finally the random treachery drawn was Hypochondria which increases the characters vulnerability when under attack.

The Scenario

As a team we played a blinder really, helped by some excellent chaos bag draws (apart from around 4-5 auto-fail tokens (mainly drawn by me) most of the other tokens were all -2 + or skulls etc that were only -1s).

The start point! Unfortunately my limited extra 'shiny' arkham toys compared to my two compatriots rapidly became apparent. 

'Oh I have an eight player playmat with individual plastic card trays for each investigator colour with spares for investigator types they haven't created yet', 
'nice, nice, I am using player pieces hand carved from statues rescued from Aztec temples by Lovecrafts own relatives', 
'oooo saw those but managed to get hold of these counters made from a rare asteroid containing elements not known to this earth and carved by world famous sculptors'. 

And so it went on..My expression?

Back to the game: once the door disappeared Roland immediately pulled out his machete which he had managed to hide in his smart suit and no less than three companions springing jauntily from hiding places around the room. This would seem excessive in normal life. Daisy casually collected two clues with her remaining actions only to see Roland and Akachi efficiently hoovering up the remainder in the same turn which kind of took away some of her seeker thunder. 

Just showing Roland's task with Wendy (with a weakness out) and both girls engaged AND a ghoul priest. Tricky perhaps - but not to this psycopath Roland.

But as a plus the teamwork continued when the mythos deck dropped two rat swarms and a ghoul turn one (presumably the ghoul came through the floor but in that case there is a passage to the hall so why bother with the door...and the rats must have come from somewhere). This proved a minor inconvenience to Roland who promptly splatted all of them managing not to take any body parts off the two girls either. This was fortunate as we did have other things to do. I had to get rid of my Hypochondria (and this proved an efficient time to do this with minimal consequences) and Akachi did some prep spell work.

Once in the hall Roland went down to the cellar where he managed another couple of clues with the two ladies shifting up the attic. A ravenous ghoul almost upset the party but, organising nicely, the un-engaged Akachi grabbed the two remaining clues then left with Roland delaying his turn to see if he needed to run to the rescue. It wasn't needed as my own 'Mind over Matter' allowed a quick evade and me to exit and move to the cellar ready to expand a vast amount of clue gaining cards. Which wasn't needed as the other two continued to grab the remainder that was needed. Another ghoul 'a massive' icy one who wasn't 'massive' keyword traited arrived to be efficiently dismembered by the blood spattered butcher Roland before the end game was triggered.

Roland was entertained at the thought of another monster to kill

The Ghoul Priest is actually a tough little monster, especially with 15 health but this did not seem to perturb Roland who managed to get a good 7 damage on it turn one before adding insult to injury by calmly dodging the return attack. Sucks to be an evil Priest faced with the Matrix Keanu Reeves of the FBI world. Akachi kept the little critters away and added two damage of her own.

Unexciting end game shot except that the Ghoul Priest was about to get very acquainted with Roland's (probably now blunt) machete.

Meanwhile Daisy very slowly sprinted off (Frozen in fear) to parley Lita before returning the following turn and placing a handy barricade down (just) as the agenda flipped and the Ravenous Ghould would otherwise have arrived. At the end of this turn Roland showed a rare moment of weakness and failed a skill test. Fortunately he was able to fling his brave companion straight into the path of the Ghoul Priest's retaliate and took yet more zero damage. The companion was all corpseified but whose going to notice another body in this blood bath? A further casual Roland dodge (while Daisy healed those who had damage) carried on irritating the Ghoul Priest who had now done zero damage to the investigators and taken fourteen in two turns! We actually considered not bothering finishing him off this turn as we eventually decided we wanted to play 'Delve too Deep' and get more experience..The next mythos and delve drew two more ghouls and less relevant stuff (the Hallway kept getting shrouded which was most helpful) and Roland chopped the Ghoul Priests head off ending the scenario without us having to do much else.

As Daisy was an upright citizen who was paying for this mortgage she refused to let her house be burnt down so Lita stomped off into the sunset grumbling furiously. After making this decision I did wonder how OCD Daisy was as that house would take a hell of a lot of re-work and 'burying' to get back to being a place you wanted to live in.

End Result nine! experience for Daisy and eight for the other two.  We can consider this scenario owned and kicked about a bit.


The tokens helped a lot as did some of the cards from later sets and the fact the only weakness drawn early was my Hypochondria turn one (which was fine as it was easily dealt with) but the key takeaway was how  three complementary investigators were able to cover for each others weaknesses. I have played scenarios where this is less specific (no Seeker in a three or no Guardian) and things get a lot harder. I doubt this luck will continue as usually the game tends to force in the other direction.

I do love this scenario. This is my..erm.. fifth time of playing and it is still great fun. It does a lovely job of introducing the basics in a very contained package and is so full of drama. Most newer players stagger through to the end where they (often) get stomped on by rapidly spawning ghouls forcing the pace of the agenda. I do wonder if FFG's addition of the Barricade was a deliberate attempt to 'help' the initial scenaio as with core only more Daisy's would be packing one and the lightbulb when you drop one and block some other nasties from entering is great. That's allowing she is being played or the card has not been discarded as a pump beforehand..

Card of the Match

My first round companion was my Reasearch Librarian so from the start I had the extra action to allow me or my companions to fish for cards and this allowed us to tool up quickly to become a quite deadly combination.

Monster of the Match

Considering the only monster that did anyone any actual investigator damage was a rat swarm on Daisy (summoned by Delve to Deep if I remember correctly) with two companions also being badly injured/killed. This is difficult to award so let us give it to the Ghoul Priest for doing a Monty Python black Knight impression for three turns before dying.

The Ghoul Priest, 'tis just a flesh wound!'

Next Up

The midnight masks 'dum dum daaaaaaaaa'. Will the chaos bags prove so helpful. Will Roland manage to extend his highlight reel for 'machete murderer of the year'. Will anyone explain how Akachi actually got to the (notably) racist USof A (at that time, let's not get political). I am guessing Daisy met her in her middle eastern travels..

Thanks for reading.

Before the house was filled with the dismembered bodies of Roland's victims. And his suit covered in assorted blood and guts...obviously...

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