Here is my report for scenario 2, ‘Exodus Earth’. I will try to make it shorter, or failing that more entertaining, but no promises…I like to give lots of feedback.
Ancient One: Glaaki, The Inhabitant of the Lake
I will try not to get into a rant here. The slug and I go way back. Only Y’golonac has more history with me, and I have never been as … humiliated…by Y’golonac. So Glaaki is my nemesis, a figure who has managed to accrue enough personal hate to topple Atlach from his rightful place of supreme dreadfulness. But that means I know him well.
There’s a bit of a problem this time though…
Herald: Herbert West, Reanimator.
So, Herbie is at it again, eh? Hmmm…after my last run in with Dracula and Death, it starts to look like some epic immortality war. West doesn’t look bad at first. In fact, that injection he is mainlining into that guys skull could turn into a pretty memorable night out. He takes out all the cultists and puts them on his lab table, transforming them into undead stalking spawn things who have a combat rating equal to Terror and are immune to cuffs. These reanimated things are sent shuffling off to Arkham whenever the Terror level rises, and you guessed it, West raises the Terror by 1 at setup. Lost (devoured) investigators and discarded allies raise the Terror by 2 (I assumed this meant discarded from play). What else, oh yeah, closed locations raise the toughness of Undead by 2.
So you look at that and you think, unkind, but doable. 1 servant and 1 cultist extra at the start, you get some tougher cultists to deal with whenever the servants of Glaaki appear, and he has beefed up the cup and the Terror track, but nothing too harsh.
Until you read the scenario rules, which force the Terror up by two more, which means (in ascending order of cruelty) you have to close the first shop, which means you have 3 servants each with a cultist (and none of which count against the limit), the cultists have 3 toughness and a -3 modifier, and Glaaki has slithered in and stolen from each investigator a spell, a skill and 2 clues, as well as 3 allies from the 11 available. As if thats not enough bad news, gates that try to open or burst on the two offshore Innsmouth locations default to the Marsh Refinery and one of the servant/cultist couples has emerged at Darkes Carnival and threatens to bump the Terror up to 5 by making for a vortex. If they make it I will have a lot of problems with 2 more servants stealing more of my teams gear and 2 tokens on the Dunwich Horror track. Eek.
I try not to let my disgust rule my head and check out how I can minimise the impact of this insolence on my team. I am required to take Jacqueline Fine and Sister Mary. Uh, ok. Fine will fail her PS at the start of the game and lose Focus. I figure from the pool for the others I will have William Yorrick (because he has trophies that count as clues and will be protected from the initial daylight robbery of clues by the Servants) and good old Wendy Adams for her Elder Sign. These are investigators I used last time and so they can carry their own equipment over from my last game if I wish, but I had Wendy, William and Mary huddled together at the end of that game for this reason, so I can swap between them with more freedom.
This means after the robbery my totally unskilled team starts out looking like this:
Sister Mary: wielding a cross, a Find Gate spell, Holy Water and a Carbine Rifle. She was robbed of her Bravery and Denying the Ancient One.
William Yorrick: wielding a Fetch Stick, a Shotgun, A Hand Camera, an Elder Sign and the Flute of the Outer Gods, with 3 trophies totalling 6 toughness. He is robbed of his Dodge skill.
Jacqueline Fine (hereafter Jaqi): is bringing her Enchanted Jewellery, a King James Bible and a Spectral Razor to the table, while Glaaki skulks away when she is robbed of 2 clues, her Lore and her 3rd Eye.
Wendy Adams: carries a Press Pass and a .45 automatic with her clue and Elder Sign. Glaaki has robbed her of her Sneak and 2 clues.
At the start of the game Ryan Dean, Erich Weiss and Oliver Grayson go missing and wind up reanimated as the pet cultists of the 3 Servants. A gate to another time opens at the graveyard and a grinning maniac appears. The point of this is not lost on me as this was the last gate I sealed last time. Then the bungling Sheldons disturb the burial mound yet again and a zombie and a vampire rise to occupy uptown.
The board swarms with nastiness. It looks incredibly threatening and I hope to the polyhedrons that I can crush it before things get out of hand.
1) Sister Mary races over to the M.U. science building, wields the cross and the rifle at the shambling remains of Ollie Grayson and only just manages to dismember it. She then throws the holy water at the servant and watches it go back to hell, gathering a clue as she pokes around and wanders into the office of the Professor of Arcane studies. He tells her about a sealed tomb in the graveyard that only the enlightened can open, but she knows all about that as Norman Withers is the one who sealed it. Mary rifles through the top 3 mythos looking for a match to any open gate and finds it in card 2, which means she can now seal that gate, leaving Glaaki with no open gates and the team with a first encounter seal, plus a peek at what is to come…I smirk warily in his general direction.
Normally I would express undiluted happiness at this, but I know this move. Glaaki is either going to burst that seal, or is not going to try and rise by doom alone. He is going to either try to awaken by gate spam, deep ones or with the assistance of the horror, or by spamming me with servants (i.e. 9-11 or Terror spam) or by some more loathsome underslime of a trick. I have got to figure out which game is on for tonight. Still, at this point I gladly welcome this lucky break.
William goes to Mas and redecorates for her with a shotgun and the fetch stick, annihilating the pair of monsters there and stumbling on a secret passage in the basement that leads to the lodge. He sadly does not find the clues there (per the new FAQ) but he does find an old pal who gives him ‘something that might help’ – the key of Tuwil from my last game wound up in their cabinet…Meanwhile, Jaqi heads off to gather clues at the isle and almost finds Legrasse again (an ally from my last match) but she is not sneaky enough to catch him, and Wendy goes to the square to watch the boys ‘playing baseball’…
Clues fall on Jaqi but Glaaki tries to open the graveyard again, squealing in rage when he comes up against the turn one seal. The Deep Ones take notice and stir. I have cleared out 2 Servants but the most threatening one is still unchecked…but I have a seal. That’s good, right? Sure it is, just like the unscheduled solar eclipse that caused this and has put a spanner in the spellworks…
2) Bills turn to lead and he heads straight for Uptown playing the flute. Its an agonising choice between the vampire and the zombie or the servant and the cultist in Dunwich, but in the end with 3 physically weak investigators on the team the need to keep the streets clear in front of the hospital takes precedence. The defeat of these monsters now gives William enough trophies to get a seal so now I potentially have 4 seals, two others in the form of Elder Signs that will steal Doom and one seal already in town. Jaqi heads over to the Unnameable and inside she is pursued by an unseen creature that almost catches her when the house falls in on top of it. Talk about luck. She gathers a couple of clues and wanders the merchant district. Wendy Adams maps the caves for the local land office and stumbles upon some ‘stolen’ equipment, including her old motorcycle and some diary written by the director of some play about a yellow king…reading it can help prevent a further rise of the Terror, so it will be handy in blocking further Servants. Mary passes William on the way to the woods where she finds $10 in jewellery in a locked box. She seems to have a way with attracting wealth in this campaign.
In the mythos things start getting even worse. A gate to Celaeno (a star in the constellation of Taurus by the way) opens at the hopyard in Dunwich and out comes an Elder Thing, immediately heading for the blasted heath. I find this outrageous. Now I have to send someone to Dunwich immediately to deal with the horrific situation threatening to occur there.
But there is small succour – someone is waiting to meet the team at the Station. Let’s hope they know how to fix this mess.
3) Jaqis turn, and she spends it going to the station to meet…William Bain. Glaaki slides back to 1 Doom as I mock him, but other than buy me a little more time this doesn’t help much. Dunwich needs dealing with. Anyway, Bain is speedy enough to catch the guy they see evading the police and grabs the package he drops to find the golden sword from my last game. Who has been pinching all my gear and shifting it onto the black market? It must be those gormless Sheldons again, right? Still, I am slowly recovering my stash. Then Wendy motors over to the commons streets to act as bait for the stalkers at the carnival. It’s all I can do to stop the haemorrhage in Dunwich for now. She is ill equipped with those .45s to deal with the monsters, but at least she will hold them away from the vortex if they travel, which I reckon on being Glaakis next move. Sister Mary begins a romantic mills and boon type odyssey when she heads to the historical society and is chatted up by a student who offers her ‘a ride to the library’, which she promptly accepts only to later bump into a shy and nervous looking history student who drops the King in Yellow at her feet and runs off. Hmmm…William must make his way to Dunwich to assist Wendy and stops off at the docks where he meets a young man trying to escape Arkham after having terrible dreams about an eye on a stalk rising out of cold waters…he helps him escape on a boat and the dreams give William a clue that will prove useful later.
Glaaki finds Doom 2 again and opens a gate to the Dreamlands at the woods (a combo that happened last game) sending a Dark Young to squat upon it. Clues appear at the Historical Society and All is Quiet in Arkham as Jaqi is fortunate enough to claim a Blessing.But the maniac moves and the servant and cultist strike on Wendy as predicted, and she cannot take them down.
I check the board, taking a deep breath. Doom 2, Terror 3, with 3 open gates and 1 seal. Clues needed but not so badly. Monsters at the commons (very bad but held there by Wendy), the woods (could be ignored) and the blasted heath - the Elder Thing must die before it enters the vortex, triggering another Terror level rise and another robbery from Glaaki…I have to do something drastic now, to turn the tide that is gradually cresting above me.
4) It is Wendys lead; after assessing my options this turn I send her immediately to the Hopyard and through the gate to Celaeno, hoping to get seal 2 with her clues or elder sign. This turn a strangely-dressed man claiming to be a doctor offers to trade valuable information for the directors diary, which he purports to need. I doubt he needs it more than I do but decide to trade it for the 3 clues to Glaakis plan that he offers Wendy. It is a tough but fair trade, and I hope I will not immediately or ever regret it. Sister Mary heads back to the society looking for her beau where she luckily (actually down to her Blessing) not only gathers the clue placed there but also 4 more coming across a piece of information that makes everything come together. William bumps his head on a malicious branch while on a boat at the unvisited isle and wakes up later floating in front of the graveyard. Then Jaqi puts on one of her best Fight! faces and spends some time reading the King James bible whilst heading out (with William) to Dunwich where she slaughters the skill servant and its cultist with her golden sword, the spectral razor, a blessing and the skin of her teeth. I breathe a massive sigh of relief and thank the Nothingness for that bible – it will help her recover her tattered mind. But the Elder Thing is still there…
Fortunately it does not move. Instead a gate to Another Time opens at the Square (Doom 3) and a second maniac is responsible for it. And Glaaki has tipped his hand – he has played an old favourite of his, the ‘Southside Strangler Exploit’, wherein he sends someone mad enough to strangle all my allies one by one, terrorizing the town and causing the Servants to appear very quickly. Crapola! I have moments to act in which to prevent a total disaster!
5) I immediately choose to sacrifice Marys 5 clues to the rumour and she heads off to Mas to reveal that the killer is the young student whom she bumped into at the library as he was scurrying away with The Yellow Play. Everyone gets some dough and Mary has 14 dollars now. She listens to Jazz Mulligan and chills out a bit, basking in the melodrama of her big reveal. I relax a little. William heads down to the Riverside and blows the innards out of the original grinning maniac with the shotgun. Jaqi keeps thumbing through the bible and then tackles the Elder Thing on the heath, managing to finish it off with the sword without losing her mind. As Wendy advances through Celeano she sneaks past the sleeping guardian that acts as librarian, pilfering important documents to gain 2 more clues. I now do not have to use her Elder Sign yet, and that is quite a relief. I made the right choice handing the diary over. I think. This has been a good turn for me, much calmer than the high drama of last turn. I squished his dire plot quick without losing much momentum.
Then, a gate opens at Gardeners Place, and I start to worry again. It goes straight to the Abyss (my personal hell) and a Deep One shows up, a scout from the Innsmouth rabble. Clues appear at the cold spring glenn (mysteriously connected to the Lake District...) as a mighty Tempest takes hold of Arkham, causing hell in the sky and speeding everyone a bit but making it so slippery that luck runs a bit drier.
6) William heads to the gate at Independence Square, similarly dispatching the other grinning maniac and entering Another Time where he finds himself in the trenches of the Great War and must fight to keep himself from being injured. Jaqi grabs the clues at the Glenn and bumps into Corinna Jones, handing over her reward to receive instruction in library use (Jones was not in the ally deck, but this turned out to be a really helpful skill). Wendy returns and clue seals the Hopyard, giving the team their second seal. Sister Mary heads to the merchant district in search of whispers about the Egyptian exhibit, and while investigating is approached by a nervous man who thrusts the Chime of Ra at her and runs away. She becomes Harried but I saw a lot of advantage in this detriment.
In the Mythos phase Glaaki squirmed open a gate at Devils Reef, which opened at the Marsh Refinery. Another passage into the Abyss opened up by a meddling Mi-Go and clues appeared at the Esoteric Order. The Mi-Go took to the Sky and its airborne buzzing noises cause a resurgence of spiritualism. Now the Undead are none too happy about this and go on a rampage, which could get very nasty indeed, or be of no consequence. Doom has risen to 5.
7) In Upkeep, I pull the Deep One over to harass Mary in the Merchant District. Then Jaqi heads off with Bain to the gate at Gardeners. She plummets into the Abyss and winds up in a place alive with malevolent intent. It likes it when she inflicts pain upon herself, so she cuts into her arm and is rewarded with 2 clues. Wendy burns rubber over to the Refinery in Innsmouth and plunges bike and all into the black nothingness, twirling past Jaqi on their way down, and as she twists away a dark shape begins to pursue her – the Servitor of the Outer Gods is gunning for her! This could have been catastrophic, but she was able to evade the creature and continue on. Still on her bike. Phew! Sister Mary spends the turn drenched by The Tempest, defeating the Deep One she pulled away from Dunwich and losing her harried status in the process. William turns the key given to him by his old friend in the lodge and immediately returns to Independence Square where he uses his trophies to find seal 3. Wendy stumbles on her dad and 10 dollars while falling through the Abyss.
Glaaki ponders this, then decides to turn the heat up elsewhere, opening a second gate in Innsmouth at the Order. Doom hits 6 and martial law is implemented. From Carcosa comes a Byakhee and a clue floats out onto the flotsam of the Reef. The streets become impassable – I will only be able to move on white arrows when moving between streets. Ouch! This really throws several spanners in the works, I really hope it passes next turn or the team could be done for.
It is a brilliant move, impeccably timed. I start to sweat.
8) With such limited movement available, I send Sister Mary to the curiosity shop and William to the asylum for some sedative as Wendy and Jaqi plummet deeper into the Abyss. It is a depressing course at such a critical hour. I shop with Mary looking for an Elder sign or some source of clues, maybe a weapon, but I actually find a bunch of junk and the astral mirror, which is actually just what I need, so I purchase that and immediately look within it and get the best use out of it that I ever have – the streets open up. But this is Wendys turn, and as she spins through the void (probably needing to change her clothes after last turns pursuit) she is hounded by the Rat Thing, which she opts to shoot after it takes a chunk out of her. She loses another part of her own mind too but survives. Jaqi lands in a pile of putrescent goo but fights her way out of that situation by drawing on a clue.
Glaaki oozes out a monster surge centred on the refinery and I end up watching as a Nightgaunt and Shan float through, and monsters appear at the Woods (a Warlock), the Esoteric Order (a Proto Shoggoth) and Gardeners Place (a Goat Spawn), right in the way of my plans. Additionally, Innsmouth worsens and I have to add another token to the Deep Ones, bringing them to 2. But again as with the seal bump there is no terror increase because no monster enters a vortex.
9) This is it – make or break turn. And right at the start, Marys Blessing sputters and fails. No matter, her uses are now clear and simple. She goes to the train station to meet William and when he comes by she hands off the Find Gate spell and the King in Yellow. He doesn’t need it at this point, but he might. Wendy and Jaqi return from their plummet to land in Arkham and seal their gates, bringing the total to 5.
Mary has no encounter at the train station, but William talks up a stranger and is given a free ride to the refinery, where he deftly deals with the Proto Shoggoth and the Byakhee (wasn’t sure about whether he could do that in AE but figured it did not matter as he could have ignored them anyway) and is drawn through to the midnight shores of Lost Carcosa. Inside a glass case he sees a strange Egyptian object next to a painting of himself removing it from the case. So he takes the object, gaining the Mask of Wisdom and the joys of Schizophrenia, but then is immediately transported back to Innsmouth. He doesn’t even need to use his Find Gate spell.
After the perfect counter of the astral mirror It is the last straw for Glaaki. He spits out another gate in Dunwich with a side dish of Star Spawn and another Doom, but William is unstoppable and the slug cannot stop the final seal from ending the game in the next Arkham Encounter phase. Ah, victory, and the delightful and gratifying sound of bubbling spittle as Glaaki curses at my fortune and sinks into deep slumber again.
Herbest West is nowhere to be found...
All in all a much tougher and very exciting game – and as I realised after the Brown Jenkin ‘special guest star’ thing leads very nicely into part 3. Thanks again Avi and Julia, this was a blast!
Edited by dj2.0, 07 August 2013 - 03:03 AM.