Friday 25 May 2018

The Dunwich Legacy - Extracurricular Activities

Dear Diary:
Reading of the day Psalms 92:7 
When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever:
It certainly feels that evil fourishes sometimes! Being a warrior of Christ with a special mission to eviscerate evil, with sharp pointy objects, can sometimes be difficult to combine with a life as a top chef and mistress of the soufle. But I do my best. After rescuing the Professor we are now on our way to the University even though it is quite late. Yorick works at night so seems quite happy and Rex is convinced that we need to move fast. Will this be a walk in the park or will my knives get to play.

So onwards and upwards. We are visiting the University as the second scenario so, no doubt, added time pressure will be applied.

Before we move to the scenario let's discuss storage as it is something that, I know, weighs heavily on our minds. I am often out and about will bump into a stranger who will say, 'Greetings heroic blog writer. What you haven't covered is how you store your cards'

And I always respond with, "Desmond. It is true. But I will, at some point". It's always a Desmond. Even the girls. Anyway. Originally I had all my cards in binders and I found it time consuming to try and drag out each set for the scenario. I also did not fancy the shoe box with dividers approach as I absolutely would drop it on the floor. So I have come up with a cheap workaround. I purchased some coloured card. Printed off the set icons and names and then generated  a front card for each encounter set. This then is colour coded by set (i.e Forgotten Age is red, base set is an attractive pink etc etc) and wrapped with elastic bands. These are then placed in a Dunwich plastic bag or a core plastic bag in a plastic box. Now I find it much easier to get all the cards and if I drop the box? Who cares. Unless its in a pond. Wait it would float! Perhaps 'volcanic lava' should be my problem clause which might be an issue in Hawaii but certainly not Leicester, England. Finally this freed up 2 binders to allow me to store my character cards in class binders so I have a coloured binder for each class. 'Sweet'

Back to the game this scenario had a strangely inauspicious beginning starting much later than normal with me running a heavy head cold and one of the team then had serious difficulties getting any microphone to work ( windows update? Chrome bug? Extensions issue? Who knows?) though he double logged in to the chat room which also had the strange effect of showing a time delay on the two devices so the same person was doing two different things and being utterly unheard in both. Anyway that was eventually corrected and we rolled into the game where happily for me I had a nice god draw to begin. My starting hand was Survival Knife, Zoe's Cross, Taunt, Dodge and Evidence. Not bad….

Stylish startup shot before the game got going and things get messier

We started fairly slow with all players taking a setup turn then started to spread out. This  encounter deck is aimed more towards forcing discards and not to multiples of monsters so, bar a few dodgy tests you really don’t want to hit, the initial cards were reasonable. We managed to spin the act around a turn before the agenda moved and then had all the joys of finding Jazz which sounds like the name of a weak movie that no-one likes but goes to see 'just in case'.

Jazz though did not want to be found (the git) but was eventually found cowering at the fourth from bottom slot of the rather large encounter deck. This took a while but even Zoe was managing to discover clues which is quite a feat considering her low will power.

Zoe sometimes missed the obvious, but not today!

Elsewhere in the Miskatonic University the valiant gravedigger Yorick was proving most useful by continually drawing Yithian Observers and killing them (one with his signature card eventually he supplied 3 total XP on his own!). Rex did most of the hard clue lifting and it Is starting to feel disconcerting when he doesn't manage two to three keys an action.

With Jazz in play we opened up the dormitories when a couple of doom adding cards spun the agenda and as it was so late the Experiment was there fast. This led to the usual fun discussion on what we want to do/achieve and we eventually settled on Rex trying to clear the dormitories of clues (nine) - he was 'there' and it was a resolution. In the meantime Yorick would go to the dormitory ,as well, to clear an annoying Thrall off of Rex and Zoe (who had drawn a whippoorwill) would see what damage she could do to the Experiment. Then if it looked likely she (and eventually Yorick as well) could not kill the experiment then we could go for the other resolution.

Zoe though was a badass. At that point she had zero damage, four sanity left and her knife, cross and a machete. So issuing a fast taunt the whippoorwill promptly engaged and dropped dead without any further action at all by me. I then dropped an experienced beat cop and the next turn the agenda spun again and the experiment moved in and (semi (massive)) engaged. With her knife and beat cop Zoe was only one (actually two I forgot the beat cop gave plus one fight duhhhh) above the experiments fight of four. The experiment has sixteen! Health and did two of each damage type so unlike Roland last campaign with his lightning gun ripping a massive beast apart in a couple of turns Zoe had her work cut out for her (cut out - get it..sorry)

She then used her specialist fighting technique that can be adequately demonstrated here.

Though with the potential to  only really do two damage  a time the first turn she did one with the beat cop and six with the machete and then in the enemy phase used her survival knife to pump that two higher with the survival knifes free attack. The following turn the experiment moved so she only gained a further two attacks one failed (-3) and the other passed (auto-pass!) so that was another 3 damage. I dodged the attack on return as I was playing safe with the encounter deck but needn't have worried. I then finished it off the following turn.

Elsewhere Yorick had run to the dormitories to assist the team by killing the Thrall that had just engaged Rex. This would allow Rex to use his super-human clue skills to gather all the clues - and he thought he could get all nine in one turn (he had Doctor Milan and Higher Education in play). Bravely he ran in and threw a knife. Drawing auto-fail he missed and the knife went straight towards Rex. Accidentally hitting Jazz in the face killing him instantly (well knocking him out). The thrall then retaliated doing one of each back to Yorick. Ouch. Rex had to adjust his plan somewhat and killed the thrall (in one action again curse combat Rex) before collecting six clues and obviously due to the overload promptly had a drink (drew Rex's weakness). This did not affect his ability to get the tokens as being at +stupid levels the two tokens drawn could not stop him from easily scooped the last clues.

Not so stylish (almost) end shot as the cards and tokens fly everywhere
and the key additional items like 'cup of tea', 'laptop' and 'phone' present

Yorick meantime was supposed to come and help Zoe with the Experiment but drew the second Yithian Observer which was killed.

So another successful scenario with no less than seven experience. (2 locations cleared, library and dorms, 2 yithian observers down, 1 Yorick's signature card,  2 from the Experiment) which is good going for early in the campaign and should set us up nicely for the next game.

Enemy of the Game

As this slot will often become 'biggest monster time' the Experiment wins this. Zoe's attack could have gone badly wrong though as I started with a dodge and Hypnotic gaze in hand and drew a second dodge during the fight the worse situation would have been 'not' killing it until it got to the dormitories and started snacking on students.

Students, like little walking chocolate bars to the Experiment!

Play of the Game

Sorry Yorick I have to go for the valiant attempt to save Rex by throwing a knife at the thrall and hitting Jazz then getting battered in return. Sometimes these work and sometimes these fail. This didn't kill the party so can stand as a moment of amusement!


I love spending lots of experience. Since I have decided to be true to my fast fighting knife Zoey I was considering two paths. The first was to replace the first aid with two Moment of Respite which cover Zoey's biggest weakness or alternately a more risky alternative of one Key of Ys. This has the potential to push Zoe to fabulous levels. With 3 horror on it she has had 3 horror saved  from her or her allies but her base skills would be 7 brains, 5 books, 7 fight and 5 evade! This makes her far more resilient to her biggest weakness - which is tests which damage her from encounter cards. The 10 cards discarded hurts but this is not a mass draw card deck so I may take that risk. The other problem is that the accessory slot is good with her cross and this competes but I would have 2 xp left over and allowing we get one next scenario I could buy relic hunter which would allow me to have both in play….Decisions decisions…

That's a scary arsed key


A nicely designed scenario. I like the search for Jazz and the continual card discard threat level encounter cards. Splitting the groups attention between what they want to do (perhaps against what they should) is also great. Last time I played this it was as the first scenario and we rescued the Professor letting the experiment run wild (fight that? Bugger off).

Friday 18 May 2018

The Dunwich Legacy - The House Always wins


 Dear Diary:
Had to cook a meal for twelve at short notice. Work was really busy and the new sous-chef seems to be hitting on me. He will soon realise that I am absolutely not that kind of girl. There are plenty of iniquitous fallen women in this town who will no doubt succumb to his oily wiles; but not me! .

After that horrible shift was over I visited Dr. Armitage - he used to be kind when I worked at the University kitchens and knows some of my 'special' skills. What a wreck though. You can easily see that he is not eating properly and needs to trust in God more than the evils of wicked drink. He wants me to look for some of his old friends who, apparently, have gone missing. He is obviously seriously concerned as I have companions in this worthy endeavour.

The local grave digger - one William Yorick. I like him. Works at the church and shows a suitable deference to those collected by the Lord. The other is that rather tatty , drunkard failure of a reporter Rex. I am not quite sure why the Doctor thought he would be of any use but perhaps he has dodgy contacts that could help. We have decided to initially search a local den of sin called the Clover Club.
Though no mention of violent trouble was made I plan on equipping myself properly. The Lord has been quiet but I do have a feeling that his work may need doing and he does move in mysterious ways..
Bible reading for the day: Proverbs 13:5
A righteous man hates falsehood, But a wicked man acts disgustingly and shamefully.
Perhaps I need to keep a close eye on my companions as well as the , no doubt, disgustingly weak visitors to this 'club'

I always like the first scenario in a new campaign. They usually (so far) provide a marginally gentler entry point and an immersive experience. Helping this greatly was Craig's playing of 20's jazz hits lightly in the background as we setup so nicely indicative of approaching an illegal and hidden club. Since we are all relatively experienced so we all have scenario foreknowledge which will hopefully assist us.

Zoey had to put her Sunday best on. 

'The House Always Wins' is one of my favourite scenarios being both nicely atmospheric and a step change up in immersion. It does a great job in opening up what the game can do above and beyond the core set (which is  more like a teaser). For a card game the lovely aloof mechanism , Pit Boss and assorted gangsters really give a nice impression of being at a club. Technically the Pit Boss causes time management issues for the best clue finder (and the group)  though once the Bella Luna is cleared of clues this is much less important.

Obligatory setup 'glory' shot

The Game 

In the first round a small degree of setup was done by all with Rex doing the only serious work by scooping up all three clues in the Italian restaurant round 1 (the 'Beautiful Moon', hmphf the name practically shouts evil cultist). Zoey added a guard dog and pulled a  trench knife out of her dress (I don't want to consider where the dog was hiding, perhaps she shoved it through a window into the toilet and collected it after entering) - just to be prepared and  moved further into the club.

The first phase was fairly satisfactory bar the Pit Boss thumping me for two damage after Hunted Down, which was unpleasant (and also incorrect, the unengaged boss moves towards you (if not engaged) but as it is aloof it does not engage hence does not attack so we played this wrong) but we managed to advance the act the turn immediately before the agenda advanced.

The pit boss was suspicious. I suspect Yoricks spade gave it away

As is my talent I drew both weaknesses early just prior to the act  flipping. 'Smite the Wicked' drew the bestest enemy to draw in the world for this card - a swarm of rats in a scenario where the furthest location is two hops away and the rats will also run merrily towards you chittering furiously. There was also an O'Bannion thug in the lounge so I killed an enemy where I was, moved to the lounge and discarded a guard dog (to draw two clues and flip the act) taking the opportunity attack from the thug. Next turn I expected the rats to run towards me (saving time ) which was important as the agenda was going to flip and the Pit Boss and other criminals would all decide to take a much nastier interest in us.

Then a very fun turn indeed. First up the enemy phase and the rats indeed ran to my location and engaged me. Then the upkeep phase and what did I draw? - Internal Injury. Oh that's useful when I have two enemies to fight and only a trench knife to do it with. The agenda then flipped and (just to remind) reads

"Your questioning has drawn the attention of several men - hired thugs, by the look of the,, "Francis doesn't want to be bothered," one of them says. "We suggest you leave the premises before we force you to leave'

The encounter deck appeared entirely supportive of this approach with me drawing another swarm of rats (disgusting cleanliness at this casino) so I now had three enemies and a one damage knife then another thug appeared. Both the pit boss and the thug in the card room engaged with poor Rex! Both had two doom on them so the agenda would immediately advance again IF the non-combat Rex and the more militant William (who was a location away engaged with an O'Bannion thug in the Darkened Room) could not defeat both the doomed enemies (the agenda only needed 3 to move at this level). Not discounting the fact that if I didn't remove my weakness I would be getting regular damage coming my way and if I did would only have one attack/move to assist (plus would have tons of damage moving etc).

At times like this it’s a bit like the Matrix Gun Lobby scene starts running, the start is calm as you look at the board and then all hell breaks loose.

The calm before the storm, that music starts playing then furious action!

We started with Rex who took on the difficult task of killing the Pit Boss on his own. Which he did via a card that added fight per amount of clues. Next up Willian Yorick who threw knives at the Bannion Thug, killed it, retrieved his knife, moved to the card room and killed the thug in there too - without damaging Rex (who the thug was still engaged with). Brilliant! Though now I fully expected the dedicated combat person would fail miserably. Except I had a plan.

The trench knife really came into its own providing +3 (due to engaged enemies) so I thumped the thug at '7 fists' killing it (it already had one damage on from the guard dog). I then removed my weakness taking instant opportunity attacks which I plonked on my helpful dog (which died) but killed all the rats and thus my 'smite' enemy. Phew. This prevented the agenda flipping but could only have happened if all successes had occurred as advertised.

The next couple of turns allowed a little breathing space especially as Rex promptly found the VIP room first try. I, in the meantime, had really tooled up as I now had my cross and a machete out so was now a deadly knife killing machine.

Oh yeah. Pain has arrived and all the red shirts  black jackets are in trouble.

We kept on drawing copious amounts of thugs but now I was doing one auto damage with the cross and either could use the trench knife (if outnumbered) or the machete if not so they were no major problem. The agenda did flip again before we had Rice and now the scenario (again) bumps it up a gear. The random monster for the lounge was a 'Servant of the Lurker' and at the same time Rex managed to draw a 'Conglomeration of Spheres' in the VIP lounge.  I absolutely love the change where mobsters now get auto destroyed if in the same location as an abomination. In a game where less thought had been provided they would have all remained enemies and carried on fighting you but that would have made no sense and the rampaging monsters ripping them to shreds is so atmospheric and in keeping with the scenario It is just wonderful.

As can be seen Zoey is nicely tooled up and is engaging the Servant of the Lurker just seen above. Yorick keeps hearing things and Rex is about to lay some pain down on the conglomeration of spheres.

Anyway we organised beautifully round  the new challenges.  I moved first so that Rex would hold the Spheres interest and used shortcut to move to the VIP lounge and took three attempts at four will to three to parley Professor Rice. I succeeded with two. Rex then evaded the spheres and smacked it for 3 damage (how does mild mannered Rex manage to be such a bad arse?) With William finishing it off after getting the last parley on the Professor. I then shuttled down to deal with the Servant of the Lurker helped by Rice soaking up damage while my brave compatriots cleaned the clues on the last two locations.

We had enough time at the end to kill Yoricks weakness ghouls and for Rex to get his Strange Solution out and resigned with two turns spare and no trauma/failures and 6 XP (Pit Boss, Servant of the Lurker, three victory locations clue free and Yoricks extra card in the display).


Loved it. The Chaos bag was not too nasty though most of the time but we also did not give it much chance to hurt us. The biggest risk was probably my one up parley attempts with no pumps.  It is also a pleasure to have Zoe in action again. When she has her cross out and a couple of knives she is a kill machine.  I decided to not save up for the deadly lightning gun 'just yet' (I may not go for it at all as I like 'Knives' Zoey). Instead I upgraded my two beat cops, which allows more instant damage, and took two copies of Reliable. This will hopefully drop on the machete (best case) making it either a +2 fists +1 damage (with one) or +3 fists +1 damage (with two ,when engaged against one enemy). If we collect much experience in the next few scenarios then I have to decide on upgrading first aid and vicious blow or go 'big gun'...

Play of the Game

Apologies for blowing  Zoe's trumpet but I rather thought my turn of getting the clues to advance the act at the last possible moment then removing my weakness and killing three enemies with one action was brilliant. Though close second comes the entire team wiping out 4-5 enemies in one turn twice in the game leaving no one standing.

Not so 20's but this Priest is obviously mimicking Zoey

Enemy of the Game

Technically the Servant of the Lurker or the spheres were the 'hardest' but my winner for this scenario is the Clover Club Pit Boss. Plus taken out by Rex! Embarrassing…

Dear Diary
That was horrible. Having to wear a dress and pretending I wanted to visit that den of evil. Luckily billowing skirts are good at hiding both my knives and machete and when the going got tough the tough were indeed dismembered. Proving that evil cannot stand against rightous force. The monstrosities we killed there were truly unclean and  prove that, wherever it leads, this quest is one that God's will  is to succeed with. I have sharpened my knives and next we go to the University. As everyone knows the students may not be riddled with drink but have low sexual morals and thus God's righteousness may be needed again. One pleasant thing to note is that my companions appear equally committed and ,bar Rex's weakness for the demon drink, should prove stalwart allies moving forward.

In God.

Tuesday 15 May 2018

The Dunwich Legacy - Campaign Preparation

A new campaign awaits and three brave investigators have joined forces to assist against evil and peril (again) in Arkham. Prior to campaign there is the usual, fun, decisions to be made about decks and how the party will be constituted. For me the vanilla party structure is one tank, one clue gatherer and one 'other' who can be anything. Since our group is till fairly new this is what we will be sticking to. I am getting to be the tank and have selected my personal favourite Guardian - Zoe 'has knives will kill' Samaras. Unlike Roland Zoe is decidedly less helpful at gathering clues so I have gone for a more aggressive fight setup with minimal clue garnish. To honour her back story I wont (initially) be packing any firearms and will instead enter the arena garnished with a fearsome array of knives.

So here is my starting build

Hand Weapons

2 * Machete
2 * Survival Knife
2 * Trench Knife

All single handed and the 'ideal' set up is either the Machete plus trench knife or the Survival Knife plus trench knife. Though don’t get me wrong as I would be happy with the Machete and Survival knife as well. The trench knife complements the machete nicely as one can be used efficiently for single opponents and the other helps provide stronger attacks versus multiple opponent. The Survival Knife is new with Forgotten Age and has the lovely free action to launch an immediate +2 strength attack at +1 damage when Zoe receives damage in the enemy phase. Free actions are great.


Just the four staples with 2 * beat cop and 2 * guard dogs. Both help do damage and provide a small amount of health/sanity protection.

Other Assets

2 * First Aid, this build is predicated on taking damage so some method of helping out when 'in extremis' is required.


Not many here with just the ever dependable 2 * Vicious Blow


The mass of the deck sits here.

2* Dodge - Killing an enemy is good but evading a 6 damage attack can be priceless. Can also be used to 'save' someone else in the team
2*Evidence - One of only 4 clue gathering cards
2 * Heroic Rescue - Covers both a team assist role, could enable the Cross and allows me to assign a damage. Fits the deck theme nicely
1 * Hypnotic Gaze - Another dodge that has the possibility of doing damage
2 * On the Hunt - I like this as it thins the encounter deck of enemies and allows Zoey to engage someone she wants to kill rather than waiting.
1* Prepared for the Worst - Another way to get a key weapon. With essentially 7 ways of getting/using a weapon in 30 cards I should be set here especially with an aggressive mulligan
2*Shortcut - Either a magnificent escape card or a 'move faster' card. Pity it’s a one shot .
2* Working a hunch - The other clue gatherer
2*Taunt - I was umming and aaaing about using Emergency Cache but Zoey is rarely short of resources and this allows a potential free action , turns on the resource increase inherent in Zoe and allows her to tank.

The weakness I drew was Internal Injury. Probably from a freak onion peeling accident.

So there is the deck. Whether it works or not is an entirely different matter.

Zoey suddenly realised visiting Dr.Armitage would probably involve lots of killing. Plus she had to cook a lasagne for eight people at the restaurant the day after. - #RealWorldProblems

At this point I am not sure what my partners in 'heroic endeavours' will be but it is likely to be a Survivor (William Yorick) and a Seeker (who knows).

After extensive discussions with the nervous Doctor Armitage we have decided to go and find Dr Francis Morgan in the 'gambling den'. That sounds an ideal location for a psychotic Chef with a dagger fixation, a grave digger and a random bookish sort

Dr Armitage. Wishes he could have some time off

Anyway that will do for this little deck preview. Next post will be the horrific entry into the world of the Dunwich Horror. Thanks for reading..

Friday 11 May 2018

The Dunwich Legacy - Story Preview

The 'Dunwich Horror' was written by H.P.Lovecraft in 1928; appearing in Weird Tales the following year. For those who are unwilling or unable to read the story (like most of Lovecraft's it is only a short story) this post is to cover the plot as the story is a precursor to the Dunwich Horror campaign and a lot of the characters and locations will presumably be re-visited or met.

The story itself slowly unfurls over its course so this will take the historical approach of listing what actually happened in approximate order.

Lovecraft particularly disliked these New England covered bridges.

So in a rather unappetising deep section of New England we have various retarded and banjo playing families (not that the Banjo degenerates were in this Lovecraft story but the relative marrying degeneracy is a similar concept to both) including a practitioner of dark magic - one 'Old Whateley'. His only child is a daughter - a rather repulsive stunted albino woman with bad hair (crinkly hair is a thing Lovecraft particularly disliked he would have loved the wonders of modern shampoo no doubt) called Lavinia.

Lavinia might have had trouble attracting a partner but given some lipstick a  nice dress and some big beer goggles and who knows?

One Halloween in 1913 as part of Old Whateley's plot to rid the world of all humans and bring back the reign of some 'Old Ones' Lavinia, by a feat of impressive magic, manages to get impregnated by one of these old ones (impressive when you consider their size and general madness inducing properties, but let's leave all that to the imagination. Or imagine an elephant and a small chick where the elephant drips acid and breathes fire).

Lavinia has twins, two boys - Wilbur and 'Horror'. 'Horror' is never seen (or known about until the end, we will refer to him as junior for the moment) but Wilbur is soon running round growing up far too quickly - walking at seven months, talking at eleven months, talking like an adult at 3.5 years.  His speed of growth was noticeable but apparently he was also pig ugly with large lips, yellow skin, elongated ears and crinkly hair (again). Dogs hated him so much that at four he started endearing himself to the locals by carrying a pistol with which he merrily shot any local dogs that tried to attack him on sight. (Incidentally a lot of Lovecraft's descriptions show his bias  towards other races. One of his most unattractive personal traits was that he was a consistent racist. Though it should be remembered that racism itself and ideals of racial superiority were both common and casual at that point in history and especially prevalent in the USA)

This dog is offended by the mere presence of Wilbur Whateley

The family was merrily collecting cattle to feed 'Junior' and using their own blood to feed him. Their other hobby was home renovation as they gradually made the upper story of the house a secure home for junior including such mod cons as a solid door on the top floor with a handy ramp leading to it (presumably to drive cattle for dinner for the growing lad).

The entire house and its land was now hated by dogs and the few visitors would generally discover Lavinia in the ground floor looking bemused while strange noises occurred in the floors above.

In 1923 they removed all internal partitions from the sealed upper floor of the house as 'Junior' was no longer junior in size though the increase and noise made by the local Whipporwhills (an actual bird) is mentioned by Old Whateley as a sign that his time was coming. Unfortunately for him he was entirely correct, but for entirely the wrong reasons, as in 1924 he dies from natural causes. The local Doctor (a Doctor Houghton) noted various ravings the father made including such delights as  ' too always feed it 'and 'to read the correct incantation on page 751', 'Don’t let it grow fast' and 'it cannot get out before the gates open'.

Actor cunningly pulls a face to indicate Wilbur's horrific nature but only manages to look vaguely constipated.

Wilbur is now corresponding with librarians and is around 6ft 8 tall (at 11). He is also treating his mother with contempt and she has started complaining to a neighbour (Marie Bishop) that she doesn't have a clue what he is doing. It is never indicated whether she knew about Junior. Either way it doesn't matter as she herself disappears a few months after.

In 1927 Wilbur moved his living quarters and books to two repaired sheds and removed all partitions in the house as Junior must have been getting unusually large. Wilbur was not a happy chappy at this point and was noted by Earl Sawyer as being 'unusually worried and tremulous' plus over 7ft tall so perhaps he was worried about how expensive it was buying clothes that fit. Or perhaps it was the enormous monster brother in the house. Who knows!

Anyway Wilbur started searching out extant copies of the Necronomicon during 1928 travelling to Arkham Library to look for discrepancies between his copy and the libraries. He was obviously concerned that the incantation he needed may be incorrect causing the  master plan to fail. Here we meet the next major personality in 'Henry Armitage the librarian'. By reading over his shoulder he becomes both concerned about Wilbur's sanity and plans -  taking the practical step of warning other librarians and not allowing Wilbur to 'borrow' the book.

Every day is 'evil monstrosity from space day' for Professor Armitage. He is only 25...

Wilbur then left to unsuccessfully visit libraries further afield. Armitage meanwhile starts to collect information on the Whateleys. With things coming to a head in 1928

Armitage was woken by the sounds of a failed burglary at the library. Wilbur had broken in to try to steal the Necronomicon and been attacked by a dog. He had tried to shoot it but the bullet in the gun was faulty and not gone off and now he was dead on the floor. Armitage had entered with two friend's , Dr Francis Morgan and Professor Warren Rice, and seen a horrible sight. Wilbur apparently had no skeleton his body was leaking green ichor and had tentacles around the waste, furry legs with residual eyes at the thighs. By the time the police arrived the body had disintegrated entirely. Indeed the only human part was the head and hands.

Hints of Frankenstein for young Wilbur

This set Armitage into a frenzy of trying to translate Wilbur's encoded documents. Back home Junior was not getting fed and at some point decided to go for takeaway and exploded the house before demolishing several fields of cattle. Eventually the locals moved all the cattle away so he 'ate' a farmhouse and its occupants instead (Elmer Frye's farm).

By September he succeeded in translating the diary (as it turned out to be) which discussed the entire plan. This planet had apparently been part of a different dimension but had luckily dropped out and they were planning on returning it by opening 'gates'. Armitage, Rice and Morgan start organising a trip to destroy Junior before he could escape. On seeing a newspaper article concerning the cattle they suddenly realise that Junior (or the Dunwich Horror as we can now officially call him) was out and about and no longer constrained by the house.

'Junior' - just needs a hug. And 30,000 sheep for breakfast

They drive down and track down the monster helped primarily by locals Earl Sawyer and Joe Osborn - the Horror had eaten the Bishops and their house but being hungrier than ever was now moving about in daytime. Not as bad as it seems as it was as big as a house and invisible. From the damage it caused as it moved they eventually find it and the three men ascended a hill while the braver locals watch through a telescope. Rice used an 'insect sprayer' to spray it with chemicals which made it temporarily visible (and caused Osborn to collapse in madness at the sight) before the three men chanted incantations which opened a gate and made it disappear ('dead' or 'moved' is not explained). Armitage's final point was to tell the locals who thought Wilbur had summoned it that 'Wilbur did not summon the monster. It was his twin brother, but looked more like the father than he did'.

So there we have the story.  It is slightly unusual for Lovecraft in that the three heroes manage to both defeat and drive away the monster whereas most of his stories end in miserable failure. Perhaps due to the fact the monster was only a human/cuthulu hybrid so not a true old one.  This then is also the history with which the Dunwich Horror campaign is involved. We will see how later.

Wednesday 9 May 2018

The Devourer Below - Full Campaign Reprise I

Swift as a shadow, short as any dream, Brief as the lighning in the coiled night; That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and Earth, and ere a man hath power to say 'behold!' the jaws of darkness do devour it up. So quick bright things come to confusion.

So the final scenario. With experience you lose some of the surprise and wonder but gain from tactical appreciations  and ability to plan in advance. Here we entered the scenario without the dubious protective shield of Lita Chantler and her amazing 'throw her under the bus' ability in the final scenario. That meant we had to either prevent the ritual entirely or kill Umôrdhoth outright. With only one cultist remaining (Ruth Turner 'evil' nurse ) we should get a good crack at it.

The beginning - roll drums

Early on though the game seemed intent on beating us down. The first turn was horrible  we scattered like the Mystery Inc gang and each ended up in a location where no one could get any clues. Roland even managed to land on the old cultist site and not only gained no clues but also gained a damage and mental trauma. Meanwhile I had a master plan. I had in hand Milan Christopher, Medical Texts, Pathfinder (1XP) the card that gives an extra clue if you pass an investigation and the '2 wild tokens draw a card' if successful. So I planned to play Milan move a location, get 3 clues, 1 card and 2 resources. I could then the following turn put the medical texts down, start healing get another clue and play the pathfinder. Brilliant. Unfortunately the first turn I landed on something that used agility - so no clues and no ability to play my cards. The following turn I moved to the old cult site and went for those clues. With 7 vs 4 I was reasonably confident until the Old One turned up and -5 put paid to that. Last action …auto fail. So still with no resources at the end of turn 2 and on my own in a location where anyone coming to help against an enemy would takes mental and physical damage. Bugger. This could go south very, very quickly indeed. All it would take is a particularly evil encounter deck card and we never get those in Arkham now do we?

Meanwhile Roland had scuttled to Akachi's location and between the two of them collected 3 clues. Again showing up poor Daisy who was obviously still a little shell shocked from collapsing in a graveyard last scenario (that's my excuse 'role play')

Back to the game the encounter deck getting in the swing of things now and cultists were popping up along with Goat Spawn (bad random encounter cards choice) but I was also lucky to get Chanting so finally managed to collect my clues, get the pathfinder down and scuttle out to a safer location. We started to get things under control at this point and were able to juggle encounter cards whilst collecting clues. We managed to advance the act but was left with a 'Relentless Dark Young' and Ruth Turner sitting on the main path and had to spend some time planning.

This is not what you want blocking your path

What we came up with was almost a disaster…Roland moved to the main path and the enemies there promptly engaged him. That allowed Daisy to scuttle past to the Ritual site where a lone cultist was standing. Huzzah! We advanced the act but that generated two ghoul minions now also engaged with Daisy. Things were looking bad but then Akachi came to the rescue. Shuttling to the Ritual Site passed the still engaged Roland she played 'Storm of Spirits' and (fortunately) drew none of the nasties and outright killed all three!!!! From terror to relief in one fell swoop.

Daisy was right to look alarmed but here comes Akachi to the rescue.

The encounter threw out a Goat Spawn for Roland,  'dissonant voices' for Akachi and  Mysterious Chanting for me plonking 2 doom on Ruth Turner.

This meant Roland would take 4 physical and 2 mental if he tried to leave. So he took a risk and attempted to evade the 'Relentless Dark Young', even with the cards he added to the test he still needed +1 to pass and did! This may seem a waste but it allowed him to get to the ritual site with potentially enough health/sanity for two turns of Umôrdhoth(and here again knowing what was coming allowed us to plan moves to help).  We were able to use this turn to basically tool up for Umôrdhoth(in my case I attached a bullet proof vest that would allow me to survive two turns potentially and also to clear my weakness) as he would be turning up the following turn and it is fortunate we did. The hunter goat followed Roland but was promptly squished when the agenda flipped then we were in the end game fight.

I went first. Mind over Matter allowed me to attack 5 on 5 and in three attacks of hitting the otherworldly monstrosity with my books I managed to get one caught in its jaw on a two foot tooth that needed some dental work causing it some irritation and one physical damage. Take that!! Then Akachi stepped up with Shrivelling XP and smacked 4 damage down. 5 done 13! to go.. Roland stepped forward but Roland was now holding a rather larger lightning gun. 3 attacks, one with a vicious blow and the old one had taken 17! Damage. We all soaked up his return attack by various use of allies and equipment (except Akachi who just took all of it herself). The only possible fly in the ointment would be the encounter deck. This though was 'gentle' a Wizard of the Order turned up and Chanting added doom. Finally Akachi had grasping hands. Nothing there to worry us and Roland Sent the beastie back to wherever and we were saved.

The ancient one probably had this face when he realised what Roland was holding and no one was running...except him perhaps.

Gratuitous 'clue gained from killing Ancient one' shot

Play of the Game

Though Roland's use of the bloody big gun was probably what saved us (without it and a 'normal' +1 damage weapon and we could have killed it in two turns IF Akachi and Roland had hit 5 out of 6 attacks successfully which is not a given) my play of the game award goes to Akachi's use of Storm of Spirits. It was a risky move that could have caused both of us 1 damage (plus the 4  from the attackers killing Daisy). It kept Daisy live and sane to the end kept the site clear so that Akachi and Roland could sort out their weaponry without having to fight off three enemies first. Perfect mystic play - risk versus reward.

Monster of the Game

The Goat and Ruth Turner both deserve honourable mention in causing the mother of all traffic jams at the main path that required a lot of thought and luck to get by with minimal damage but Umôrdhoth is the obvious winner. In its one turn it smacked out 9 damage and 9 sanity which means it actually equalled the combined damage each of us did in two turns.


Now that was a buzz at the end. The scenario started badly and it rapidly came apparent at the end that we had no real chance of preventing the  ceremony and would have to face the nasty. We were assisted by foreknowledge and some key cards from later sets. People just playing with core would have a much harder time of it and I suspect (for most) the Lita Chantler escape plan is possibly the most likely scenario result. This is now my third playing and I (in order) sacrificed Lita, lost utterly and now drove it back so have completed each of the endings. This is not a Seeker scenario (the first two rely more on the seeker) and it allows the other investigators to really show their 'thing'. Next time we are setting up for Dunwich.

Roland's sanity was not affected by his adventure. Or was it...dum dum daaaaaa

Wednesday 2 May 2018

The Midnight Masks - Full Campaign Reprise I

"Sticks and stones may hurt my bones but words will cause severe mental and physical trauma, introducing world destroying monstrosities that will destroy the planet" - so reads the lesser well known Lovecraft nursery rhyme. So this scenario sadly proved...

"I summon a lovely octopus big enough for my dinner, no wait not that big. Bugger, now I need to summon a bigger saucepan" (Image Copyright Michael Komarck )

The red head has persuaded the team to hunt down random citizens of Arkham and is 'unusually' well informed about the actions of the creatures infesting the city. A bit like large angry people swatting fleas. With us, the valiant investigators, being the spray. Or something like that that makes more sense.

Prior to scenario start I had to spend some experience and for this followed a multi-player path. I selected four new cards and dumped the torch and knives to take them. My reasoning is that Daisy really likes using her tomes and she rarely has spare hand space to hold anything else. With Roland 'let me kill something' Banks in the team I can specialise as much as I need.

Card 1 - 5 XP - This was not cheap. I went for 'No Stone Unturned'. This is to function as a one shot master move for powerful cards. I am thinking perhaps Roland's lightning gun (I am 99% sure Roland will be using his experience on a reaaaaaally big gun to make people go pop and turn their insides into outsides). It would be a waste to use it to get a tome (though might be necessary to go grab medical texts if people are in a bad way)

Card 2 - 2 XP - One Encyclopaedia. Another tome is always useful putting six in the deck (including the Necronomicon). There should be a good chance of getting one in the starting hand or mulliganing  for it (or the library researcher). This is a great card as it allows +2 to a skill type for the entire phase so has great support and strength potential.

Card 3&4 - 1XP - Two Pathfinders - I did consider two Shortcuts but felt the asset allowed re-use all over the map and makes Daisy far faster sparing more actions. I suspect this will be especially useful in the upcoming scenario.

Experience spent how did the scenario 'fly'

The Action

I would love to report another sterling success like last time with the chaos bag being the 'friendly approachable bag of exciting treats' that it was last time but this is indeed Arkham and it appears that normal service was resumed. Don't get me wrong this was actually a successfull run but it was much harder.

We started in Wendy's utter dump of a house. Proving, yet again, that public servants who are not Doctors or MPs need more finances as - have you seen it? I have seen more salubrious war zones.

A nicer house than Daisy's plus it has no corpses scattered over it. Well as far as I can tell.

Anyway using those precious first few actions free of nastiness and a stress free first encounter draw we actually scooped up the first six clues very quickly and Roland executed one of the two auto appearing acolytes. This was enough to get Victoria Devereux to appear. Things soon bogged down after this with a succession of acolyte induced fires requiring immediate attention to try to prevent the agenda flipping and a further succession of locks and fogs making it increasingly difficult to get clues. I had my encyclopedia out, which was helping, but my hypocondria also appeared early which was not.

Some might say this location will prove difficult to get clues off of...

The drawing of the weakness was followed by one of those stunning moments where the game looks at one of your cunning plans and laughs at it. I was after a clue. I had 5 base intellect and +2 for the encycliopedia on a location with shroud 4. I decided to use a card to pump to get me an extra card (allowing I passed) giving me an advantage of 5. I passed, huzzah! with the auto-pass thing and drew two cards  - one I already had and could not play (another copy of Medical Texts) and the other was the damned Necronomicon. This would prove unfortunate.

The additional problem here was the time pressue was really now on so I had no spare actions to get rid of it (perhaps i should have 'made' them).

With the agenda came the Masked Hunter and Roland (the only one with any clues!) was lucky to 'get' him. 

Let's leave the mask on shall we?

He layed in and with two passes and one fail managed 5 damage. He had unfortunately (as had I) not noticed the '+2 health for each investigator' making the Hunter 10 health not 4 so had to take an attack in return. Next turn Daisy bravely attacked as well with using Mind over Matter to take two attacks at 7 strength (with the encyclopedia) that did  2 damage. Roland then killed the Masked Hunter before using Pathfinder to shuttle next door and kill the Wizard of the order. This took some of the pressure off and we were able to reveal the Gravedigger.

Roland is wise in the ways of weaponry

Things now looked reasonable -  Akachi had to scuttle to the hospital to heal some damage as she had taken quite a bit and Roland looked worse for wear as well. Time wise we now had three cultists collected (Hunter, Peter , Victoria) with around 4 turns to go. 

Then things went pear shaped. I was usually going first mainly because Roland and Akachi could react better to things revealed so I moved to the graveyard to try and grab the gravedigger. This I did and I was now happily on a location with a very low shroud for the next turn. But the encounter deck draw did me two damage (I cant remember what card, I was too traumatised by what happened next) on top of an existing onedamage from somewhere. Considering the chances of another two damage were high  (this was my reasoning)  I thought my best option was to replace my encyclopedia with Medical Texts and heal a point - this would drop me to two damage which gives me a buffer. I could then use my last two actions to get clues. 

So I drew and out popped auto-pass.

No not 'THAT' book read from the other that wont kill you.

Great. Except the Necromicon was in play so I obviously read from the wrong book and cut a vein I should have protected. Now I was at 4 damage taken and even more at risk. So I resolved to go again. Next token - auto-fail. Daisy collapsed in a heap too traumatized to continue.

This is a sad Daisy card

This left everything up to my two compatriots and fortunately they were up to the task. Between them they got the clues , fought the extra cultists before Akachi revealed Wolf Man Drew and immediately resigned (the agenda would go past midnight at the end of that turn). This left everything up to Roland. He had to move to Wolf Mans location. Then do at least 4 damage and leave an action to resign. If either attack failed he would have to resign. Fortunately his pathfinder card had been doing sterling service and that gave him the two attack chances and neither failed. 

He resigned just before midnight and the team gained 7 experience and five of the cultists. With only the nurse ungrabbed.

Card of the Scenario

I would have to go for Pathfinder. Roland used this most efficiently to shuffle around the map.
Without it we would probably have been at three to four cultists

Play of the Scenario

In the first scenario Roland was the standout in terms of efficiency and he certainly did his job
in this one but the play of the game should go to Akachi. After drawing three tablets in a row (severly 
upsetting clue totals) we needed the Professor. So using Drawn to the Flame she drew a crypt chill and failed the test discarding one of her spells grabbed two clues then moved North to grab the Professor. Nicely done and a good example of mystic risk play.

Monster of the Scenario

This has to go to the masked hunter. The Wizard provided stress but no challenge to Roland whereas Wolf Man Drew could have avoided us but fortunately went down like a small insect. The Masked Hunter though actually did the first serious damage any investigator has taken (I dont count me killing myself trying to provide first aid from a book)

Plus - magnificent art and great design.

Scenario Thoughts

I like the way the scenario expands from the enclosed house of scenario one and how it starts showing
how decisions in one scenario can affect the next. The steady pressure of cultists and clue denial is also 
hard to deal with but can be done. I think I was lucky my team mates decks were decent and they were both
very good at utilizing them in the way they needed. For myself my deck stuttered a bit and though the encyclopedia helped I did wonder if the old book of lore would have been a better choice. I probably also made the wrong choice to use the medical texts and should have just taken the risk of encounter deck punishment so technically I knocked myself out through scenario pressure added to self made pressure.

 For my experience spends I replaced the Barricades with two bullet proof vests. I need some insurance against damage and two are needed to help me see at least one. Roll on the next scenario and thank's for reading.