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.

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