I did have a question about environments though, if any of you can field it. My group has always played that one of EACH environment can be in play at the same time, and the card of each sub-type in play does not get replaced until another card of that sub-type is drawn and put into play.
Is this correct? Or is there only ever supposed to be ONE environment in play? Because this may possibly effect investigators I create in the future when designing or balancing them.
Here's a line straight from the Arkham Wiki:
There may only be one Environment effect in play at once. The effects of Environment cards stay in play until another Environment is drawn, regardless of subtype.
Obviously you can play the game however you choose, but officially there's only ever one Environment in play unless some other effect changes them.
Now onto something I couldn't help but notice:
One of my goals with this set of investigators is to make their personal stories more relevant, as usually there is very little incentive to go out of one's way to pass them.
Just for the record, the amount of attention paid to a personal story is usually based on the impact of either passing or failing vs its difficulty of passing or failing. In most official characters' cases, personal stories are not truly ignorable and usually have a fairly large impact on one side or the other. I'll use Monterey Jack's story as an example (Archaeologist):
You pass by having 3 monster trophies, but fail if you ever have at least 5 clue tokens. On the one hand it's fairly easy to pass assuming you get enough easy monsters on the field (and otherwise, Monterey still starts with 2 weapons totaling effectively 5 more dice). On the other, its quite easy to fail assuming you collect clue tokens like most people do, which is what you should be doing most of the time. However, you have almost 100% control of failing since you can choose not to fail by simply not going over 4 clues, and just wait until you have enough monster trophies not to fail.
What about the rewards and punishments? Passing gives you an extra max sanity (3>4), and using Archaeology gives you a clue token, which means you get a clue token every time you get unique items (or even when you shop for them). That's quite strong if used correctly. Alternatively, failing prevents you from using Archaeology without first using a clue token, but honestly the ability is kind of superficial anyway so you just don't bother. In this case, the impact of passing is much greater than the impact of failing. Combined with the difficulty of passing (which is moderate, but not overwhelming by any stretch), I can think of a lot of reasons why you should try to pass his story. I also know that the penalties of failing combined with the amount of control you have over failure (100%) means that you could also just ignore your story entirely and not care.
Regardless of these factors, however, most people would prefer to pass their stories.
So here's what I see regarding Anna's story. You pass by finishing a task you start with, then all you need to have is 5 sanity ever; you fail by having 3 total unsuccessful horror checks. The difficulty of passing and failing here is very much in your favor, since passing is very easy (Finish a 3 area task, which you probably want to do anyway for benefits, and either get to full sanity at the Asylum/on a monster, assuming you aren't already full), while failing is very difficult (after you fail 2 horror checks, just stop fighting monsters). Honestly, there's almost no reason to fail and practically no reason not to attempt passing.
As for impact, your reward is having a very powerful combat ability with a small cost, while your punishment causes you to take 1 extra sanity loss on every failed horror check. However, you can also choose to just be devoured on a failed horror check, adding a positive attribute to the punishment. In this case, the impact of passing is fairly noteworthy while the impact of failure is practically non-existent.
The verdict: You should always try to complete her PS, and failing it (somehow) is still positive for her, so it's just 100% positive.
Here's something worth considering: Sometimes it's better to make a personal story force people to go "out of their way" for a greater reward. The idea is to add meaningful choice to the game. As Diana Stanley (Redeemed Cultist), you could choose to enter a gate and seal it, or you can spend your 5 clue tokens passing your story for permanent double Inner Sanctum encounters. Most of the time, sealing the gate is likely the right choice, but in a larger party who can say, since Inner Sanctum encounters are pretty nuts.
There are times when it's better to give players 3 hard choices rather than 1 obvious choice.
Edited by Shining Aquas, 14 September 2013 - 11:33 AM.