III. Rivalries of the Gods
(or, ‘Holy Heart Attack, Batman!’)
Will there be no end to this sanity rending tome of reports on the increasing strangeness unfolding in already fabled Arkham..? Less than a week after Sister Mary and co. send Glaaki slithering back to the bottom of the Glen they are confronted with a sudden upsurge in paganism…What you need to know
This is scenario 3 of the fan league and after my last 2 games went smoothly I ramped up the difficulty to Avis new ‘Elder God’ difficulty. I think he might be running out of cosmic titles if he wants to make it any harder, so he is probably going to start retroactively converting the normal scenarios into their EG versions. So I figured this would be a good test of this scenario at EG level.Ancient One:
Queen of the Witches Sabbath, Hecate requires complex and time consuming rituals to call forth (Doom 13) but makes gates that open at the Witch House unsealable. She breathes a noxious curse over the entire game that makes it necessary for investigators to push their luck harder (an extra success on all Luck checks) and this really hurts in the game, you may as well forget about Luck and focus on Lore instead. If investigators lose their minds, they will need that Lore to avoid going to Yuggoth and encountering there before they find their way to the Asylum, and if they lose sanity in that encounter the loss is permanent brain damage (loss of max San instead). Her cultists stalk the investigation and the members are particularly loathsome to look upon (-2 Horror, 2 damage). Worse, if a Yuggoth gate is open investigators have to wilfully resist being drawn there for their first two movements (Will -1). I wasn’t sure how this would interact with Mythos cards that restrict movement like the impassable roads from my last game, - should Mythos card effects take precedence over Ancient One effects? - but I figured I’d worry about that if it came up.
So that’s my foe. She has help.Herald:
BJ vs. dj and BJ is very nasty. He comes with The Black Man who pops up in front of the First Player as ‘a monster appears!’ whenever Arkham is terrorized. If you fail the Luck check he calls for its goodbye to you, but if you only get 1 success (remember that extra Luck difficulty?) then the Scenario rules (below) have a surprise for you. So with this ploy the option of setting Lore to max becomes less attractive and pretty darn dangerous. What else? Well, gates opening on the Witch House add 2 doom, and surges there add a doom and double the number of monsters. It’s A Very Bad Place and of course it cannot be sealed. Monsters appearing there in the Mythos phase will always involve a Witch or Rat Thing, unless there are none, leading the surge. Witches have 2 toughness, are immune to magic, horrific to encounter (Horror -3, 4 damage) and also move like Earth based monsters (crescents) as well as Carcosan and Yuggoth entities (circles).
BJ is not done yet. He likes to nuzzle up to you at night, and so in the morning (Upkeep) you roll a die and if you get a 1 or 2, anyone in a stable location has had strange dreams and lost a sanity, anyone in unstable locations has met with a rat infestation and been gnawed loose 1 stamina, and the Terror increases by 1 for every investigator in the French Hill area.Scenario rules at Elder God:
Here is where it gets more tricky and the above starts to really look sore for the team. I must use Sister Mary, Jacqueline Fine and Norman Wiithers and Normans ability can remove corruptions. This is important for two reasons a) if the Luck test against the Black Man fails, it gives the investigator 3 Corruption (and gain no clues). b) if any investigator moves adjacent to a Witch or vice versa, they gain 1 Corruption. If they actually have the temerity to attack a Witch, they get a red Corruption. Witches are buffed with 3 additional toughness, bringing it to 5 with the BJ buff, they are made Endless, are not affected by closing gates, never count towards the limit and turn up at the Witch House if placed in the Outskirts. If Hecate awakens, she gains 2 Doom for every Corruption in play. And the final kicker is that you ignore the instructions pertaining to the first gate and instead put a Yuggoth gate on the Witch House, (which will if course start you with 2 Doom and call for Will checks on the very first turn and every turn it remains open just to get anywhere).
Additionally, cultists have some considerable additional buff too: before I make a combat check against a Cultist, I must discard two items or automatically fail. For Night Nuzzling with BJ, each time I roll a 1-2 I place a random Cultist from the cup at the Witch House. I treat Cultists as spawn that can be in the cup and return to the cup if defeated and if they are placed in the Outskirts, I place them in the Witch House instead.
Finally, I only get to move over 2 items from my last game – I chose the carbine rifle and the press pass – and Mary automatically fails her personal story when the Doom Track reaches four. If she passes it, it only allows her to reroll dice for herself and if she is devoured before the doom track is at 6, I lose.
All this turns out to not only be tough to beat but tough to play, as remembering it all is going to be hard and so I decide to take this game slowly. I perhaps should have made a sheet which summarised all these effects together. I read the whole thing over a few times before starting and kept referring to it throughout, and I don’t think I forgot anything.
So how did I do..? Well, I was born on Samhain and so I was not at all intimidated by this armada of witchery, it was an integral part of every birthday of my long and winding life. In fact, setting up the game was almost like laying the dinner table for guests. I intended not to be the main course, and to ensure that possibility did not occur I decided to enlist the aid of 5 investigators:SETUPSister Mary
came with her usual gear plus the carbine rifle from her last game. She had read up on Egyptology for this inquisition and came equipped with the Book of the Dead, which was handy as it would let her claim the Witches as trophies. Burn The Heathens!!!William Yorrick:
Drew a nice 6 toughness of trophies again a rifle and telescope, the Silver Key, the Blue Watcher of the Pyramid and the awesome Endurance skill. I really like William, he always seems to come well kitted.Norman Withers:
Walked up in Disguise with an Enchanted Cane, muttering about the secrets of Astral Travel with a Time Bomb strapped under his vest and the usual quick ways to get back to planet Earth. I was very content and happy with this too, it gave me some much needed wiggle room for him should the plans I had go curvy.Jacqueline Fine:
Was actually an Athame wielding, Isis Marked Initiate, Shrouded in Shadow. I found this really interesting as it was blatantly thematic and seemed to be an invitation to explore parts of the game long gathering dust. Since I do not look at cards until they arrive in play, this excited me.Wendy Adams:
Good old Wendy had the Elder Sign as usual and the Press Pass brought forward from the last game and she came equipped with a sharp eye (Spot Hidden) that would help her with those dreadful Luck checks. So long as she scored 1 success and had not exhausted her skill, she would be able to spot the Black Man hiding in wait for her…This gave me an idea – explore the French Hill when it is Wendys turn, and try to arrange it that she is in the streets too. That way I could evade the Black Man a little more.Setup:
Doom rises to 2 as a gate to Yuggoth opens at the Witch House and the Witch responsible moves into the streets, creating a major corruption fissure on the board immediately. The gate that wanted to open was a burst at the Refinery, so I note that for later as it means a sealed Refinery is slightly less likely to crumble. The Mythos is telling me that Someone’s Watching Me, (luckily not a mystic environment, as I am using MH Act mechanics) and I feel the Blessing of the forumites hovering over the room…ok, lets do this guys…
The gist of all this is that at the beginning of the game I have a big problem that needs shutting down quickly, just as in the last game. I need to eliminate the Witch before the entire team falls to corruption just from gathering clues, and I have to close that gate to Yuggoth before anything really bad spews out of it and the team are sucked into a vortex I cannot stop. Norman will be especially badly done in if I make a horrible botch as he will take 2 steps forwards to Yuggoth and one step back each turn. I have been aware of that beforehand and have set my team up in a certain order to maximise my chances of being able to achieve both objectives by turn 2. This was done before handing out equipment – my decision was mostly about who could reach the Witch House on turn 1 and be capable of dealing with the Witch so that Norman could launch himself to Yuggoth and promptly return.
The problem is the Witch is no pushover; she is a (Horror -3, 4 damage), magically immune (Combat -3/2 damage) FIVE toughness super-biiiiyaaatch!!!
There is only one thing for it, and that’s to throw the Sister From Hell at her. Of course, that means leaving people in the French Hill area on the first turn…an open invitation to meet the mask.THE MATCHT1)
As Mary l
eaves the Church she grabs the Blue Watcher from William but on the way through the streets to French Hill she catches a whiff of corruption as she thinks jealously of Jacqueline’s jewellery as well…Endless Greed sets in. This greediness she has could now get bad, but she needs the cash. She used to have a Vatican approved credit rating for heavens sake! Facing the Witch she completely flunks her horror check and loses 4 sanity, then, dangerously wobbling on the edge of reality, she attacks the witch and becomes further corrupted by the whims of Fate and Fortune…now that is very interesting as now if the square shows up on white, Mary will lose her Blessing, but everyone else will be Blessed, meaning both William and Mary will pass their PS, and Mary will be re-Blessed. The entire team Blessed and two PS passed by a red corruption if the white square shows up!! Wow - Arkham is so amazingly surprising.
Now, a Blessed Mary wielding a carbine rifle and with her full Fight face on still needs to roll 5 successes on 5 dice to take this minx down, and the odds on that are not good. So Mary throws the Blue Watcher at her and is pan fried in the backlash, dropping to 1 stamina, but the Witch is history and Mary opens the Book of the Dead and sucks her soul into it. Mary will make sure she stays there, trapped in its arcane pages. The streets are now clear, but Mary is shriven. William
heads off to the Woods where he meets an old hermit who gives him 4 clues but this delays him. Norman
passes Mary on the way to the Witch House, heads through the gate to Yuggoth and there has to call on his clues to avoid having the mi-go draw 2 clues out of his brain juices and send him to the Hospital. At the Unnameable Jacqueline
meets Erich Colt listening to music coming from an obviously dead radio, she rescues him from this and gathers 3 clues from the gibbering story he tells her. Sadly she could not find him in the ally deck. Wendy
is up to her usual tricks at Independence Square, gathering her first clues there. As she walks along Peabody Avenue she encounters a cosmic silence as she passes under an archway, and is almost cursed and thrown through the Yuggoth gate - her Spot Hidden saves her little bacon. The evil bite of Hecates Luck curse almost takes its first chunk out of the team spirit.
A gate to Unknown Kadath appears at the Woods, bringing Doom 3, drawing the delayed William through and issuing a Proto Shoggoth – the ‘old man’ was a shoggoth trap, but at least I took his clues first. Nothing moves and Mary does not feel compelled to act on her greed nor her dilemma concerning fate and fortune. What happened to God? Her faith seems to be wavering as much as her mind and body. The feeling of someone watching over me is replaced by a carnival atmosphere as The Festival begins. Shame, the better environment only needed to last one more turn for Norman to claim a Blessing from it.T2) William
wakes up to find himself in Kadath in a cave where the ground is littered with pages of a script which contains him as a principle character. He chooses to follow the script, unhinging his mind a bit in the process, but finds himself back in Arkham. Norman
uses his magic to find the way back to Arkham too, and he closes the gate to Yuggoth, releasing William from the Proto-Shoggoth. Things go awry a bit when Jacqueline
heads to the Graveyard and a gate to Leng appears with a Cthonian (Doom 4, and Mary fails her PS). Delayed, Jacqueline could have picked up some useful items but the Luck penalties are too severe. Wendy
goes to Dunwich where she spots a Rail Pass on Bishops Brook Bridge and Mary
hobbles to the Hospital for life saving treatment - the poor girl has no money, but the attention she gets is enough to get her on her feet again.
High Tides bring a horrible surge at the Woods – a Fire Vampire and a Ghoul rise up against William, and a Gug and a Cultist mow await Jacqueline alongside the Cthonian. Nobody drowns though, and I almost trigger Marys Fate and Fortune combo – I got a black square. Grrr. Doom is still 4.T3)
Still no nuzzling from Brown Jenkin; he seems sleepy at this point, and Mary holds onto her faith for now despite grappling with existential questions and materialistic urges. Norman
heads to the Historical Society to gather 2 clues and meet with Cindi Fleming, who for some reason wants to take him to the caves, but I suspect this is a ploy to trap him there and refuse. Jacqueline
meets strange inhabitants of Leng who want her Athame, she refuses and they beat her senseless, but through an act of will she forces them to hand over an Obsidian Statue. At Wizards Hill Wendy
has to call on her spot hidden skills again to avoid disturbing the Dunwich Horror – again
, this being the third time in a row – and Sister Mary
decides it is time to call on her own skills for the night and goes in search of whispers about lost exhibit items in the Miskatonic area. There she sees a crazed woman trying to actually burn an ancient Egyptian mask, and she saves it from destruction. Mary puts it on. It is the Mask of Vice, and suddenly all her dreams of avarice are realisable. (This is the first time I have seen what is on this card. I was shocked and immediately tempted to use it, just like Mary was). William
extinguishes the Fire Vampire with his bare hands -!! – and takes down the Ghoul with his Rifle, sealing the Woods by literally fighting his way out of the situation. Seal 1 arrives at a very dodgy location…but it’s a step to victory, and I have Jacqueline with clues to stave off any disasters.
Mythos this turn is Missing People Return, which does not touch anyone but elevates Doom to 5. A gate to the Abyss opens at the Unnameable (that strange music of Colts perhaps?) and a Serpent Person appears as William stumbles on a clue. The Gug moves into Rivertown, the Cthonian quivers but does not shake, and Mary gets a Primal Surge as her greediness kicks in, netting her a stolen 4 dollars, but turning her into a cult conversion machine with the Speak to your Friend corruption…oh, Mary…T4)
Well, I almost had a run in with BJ and the Black Man, but the forumites held them at bay again! Thanks guys! Pressing deeper into Leng, Jacqueline
somehow finds fresh water and is lightly refreshed but delayed there. Undaunted by the horror that seems to shadow her, Wendy
heads to the Glen and similarly sits by a creek soothed but lacking in the Will she needs to find herself Blessed by life. But with the Press Pass she has picked up 2 further clues from around the area. ‘Sister’ Mary
heads to the Curiosity Shop, Mask of Vice in hand, seeking an Elder Sign but instead plundering the (no, THE) Healing Stone, an item I have seen maybe 4 times including this one. I am beginning to see things Marys way, and wondering if the Mask is actually broken. I decide later it isn't. William
heads to the Science Building, discussing his brief experience in the cave in Kadath with the learned gentlemen there, gaining a total of 3 clues during the visit. Norman
gambles on a terribly risky visit to gather the clues at the Silver Twilight and is rudely knocked aside by Ruby Standish as she flees some monstrous pursuer.
The skies darken, bringing an end to The Festival but not triggering the Overture of that awful play. A Warlock opens a gate to Another Time at the Whately Farm, clues appear at the Hopyard and the Cultist at the Graveyard joins the Gug in Rivertown. Doom reaches 6, and I have 1 seal. Thanks to Dark Skies the stalkers are now moving normally and I can sneak around more easily, but seeing to Fight has become more challenging.T5)
Again, Upkeep is quiet as I dodge the familiar. Wendy
robs the Hopyard of 3 clues with her pass and bumps into Zebulon Whately picking through fungus, but she has no spell to impress him with. Mary
is now nicely healing up and turns to vice again, oh, such a bad girl, but that Elder Sign is still out there, she does however find the Carcosan Page, and that could be a game changer for the investigators. Now she can ferry the Find Gate Spell and the Healing Stone around. William
moves over to the Unvisited Isle and encounters a vampire attacking a huddled figure, He bravely slaughters it from a very long distance away using his rifle and with the help of some endurance and then approaches the figure to find it is Asenath Waite. She takes a shine to him and the two of them join up. Norman
holes up in the Library and then astrally projects himself to Another Time. In the time vortex magic manipulates his environment in unpredictable ways but his small degree of spell knowledge prevents him being lost in time and space thanks to this weirdism. Jacqueline
sees a unique item buried in the ice, but again there is no way she will be lucky enough to get to it and so we will never know what it was. ..perhaps the lost Fetch Stick?
Dark Skies persists as a ghost ship docks by itself. A surge on the Unnameable puts another Serpent and the Servitor of the Outer Gods there – it is clearly stalking Wendy from the end of my last game. A Tcho-Tcho joins the Warlock and then moves into the Dunwich Backwoods, threatening to trigger all manner of nastiness if he enters the vortex, and an Elder Thing (yes, that Elder Thing again) quivers alongside the Cthonian at the Graveyard, waiting for Jacqueline. Both Serpents move into the Merchant streets and the ship has spewed a Hound of Tindalos and a Mi –Go there too. It is monster central, but Mary is not corrupted by any of this.T6) Nuzzled!
Ah, well, 5 consecutive turns of dodging is pretty cool. As a result of Brown Jenkins activity Mary loses a san but cancels it with the stone, and since nobody is in the French Hill district she avoids meeting the Black Man. William and Wendy are nibbled by rats but the rest of the team escape harm. I put a Cultist on the Witch House. Sister Mary
continues her orgy of vice, looting the Sword of Glory. I decide that it seems there will be no Elder Signs this game from the shop. William
and Asenath use the Silver Key to evade the Servitor on their way to the Abyss and are drained of some of their physical energy as the weight of worlds presses down on them. Norman
opens a gate back to the present time and, avoiding the Warlock, he seals the Farm for the second seal, banishing the Cthonian in the process. Jacqueline
likewise seals her gate at the Graveyard, causing the Elder Thing waiting there to fly past her into the third sealed rupture. Wendy
heads to Gardner’s Place, still gathering clues – she now has a game ending 14. While there she is filled with unnatural vigour and her stamina temporarily rises to a ridiculous 7.
A New Dawn! Innsmouth bubbles open pustulently as a Deep One emerges through a gate to the City of the Great Race at the Esoteric Order of Dagon. Clues appear at the Reef and the Servitor and Mi-Go take to the clouds. The Hound is after Mary, cornering her in the shop, and she uses the Carcosan Page to take Normans exhausted Find Gate spell. She has a primal surge but again misses out on her superblessing stunt. Doom is now 7, bringing marshal law to Innsmouth as well.T7)
Jenkin sleeps again and Mary uses the page to hand the Gate spell to William. William
successfully casts the spell and returns to the Unnameable to seal it with lore and clues, bringing the total to 4. Norman
gets sneaky around the Warlock and heads to the Backwoods in disguise, stalking (and pinning) the Tcho-Tcho there. Jacqueline
takes a deep breath and tackles the Gug in Rivertown. First she summons a shroud of shadow, weakening it, then she invokes her markings of Isis to survive the sight of it, and finally launches herself at it with her athame. Her valiant effort is brushed aside and she is nearly creamed and has to pull out the obsidian statue to enchant the beast for a moment before she slashes at its groin (I didn’t imagine this at all, did I?) and the backs of its knees, causing it to topple into the river, but not before bashing her to the floor in its death throes. Epic. Wendy
heads out to the Innsmouth shore, gazing up at the clouds and the mysterious shapes inside them as Mary
takes on the Hound, brandishing her cross against the horror of it nicely and lifting the sword to … miss completely with 7 blessed dice. It is Mary jumping the shark. She is ravaged. The Hound tears at the cross on her chest, giving her heart damage. She collapses and later wakes up in Hospital.
A Heat Wave strikes, but again, the yellow play takes no notice. Hecate tries to open a gate at the Woods and the Deep Ones take notice of her failure. The Mi-Go and Servitor swarm down on Wendy at the shoreline (as expected). The thirsty Hound swoops on William just as he seals the gate at the Unnameable.
And Mary wins the Fate or Fortune jackpot, losing her Blessing but bringing about a Blessing for the rest of the team.
It seems Mary is hell bent on an epic spiral of doom.T8) Nuzzled!
But this time I have only Mary being eaten by hospital rats and a new cultist at the otherwise vacant lot of the Witch House. William
finally slaughters the Hound with Asenath and emerges unscathed. Norman
is now capable of dealing with the Tcho Tcho thanks to the Blessing, so he wops it on the back of the neck with the enchanted cane and loots the ley line map from its pockets. Jacqueline
decides to investigate the cult activity at the caves. There she has shattering visions given her by Shub Niggurath and she is given a peek at the top 3 Mythos and allowed to rearrange them. I see that I am just in time and bury the Innsmouth rumour, Plans in Motion, which will give me big problems very quickly. As penance, Jacqueline is savaged – her mind torn out and left hanging from her ears. She has lost a total of 4 sanity in this encounter and has gained the Nightmarish Visions corruption. She wont be sleeping well anytime soon. Wendy
dodges all the monsters on her way to the City where she learns that all minds converge and so she spreads her clues around the team a bit just in case things go badly for her. Mary
launches herself at the Serpent people in the Merchant district, using clues to hunt them down and succeeding in killing them but overwhelming her heart in the process and winding up in Hospital again, Feverish.
The Heatwave ends as Wizards Hill sees a gate burst (foreseen and plotted) right in front of Norman, and a gate to Yuggoth opens, spawning a Yithian. Doom hits 8. Marys Fate corruption triggers a second time, causing Jacqueline to lose her Blessing and Mary herself to become Cursed. Probably for all time, as punishment for her greed. There is Help Wanted and lots of money in it at the Newspaper, but should she take it?T9)
In Upkeep William needs to refocus to avoid the pull of Yuggoth this turn and Norman
loses his Blessing. He sets the Time Bomb to go off in the next Upkeep (thanks to Jaqueline, I know when the Yithian will move) and leaves it on Wizards Hill before evading it and going to Yuggoth where he finds strange discs that turn out to be dangerous (he is slightly injured examining them). Jacqueline
staggers towards the Asylum, making it as far as Downtown. Wendy
reaches a place in the City that houses a horrible collection of improbable things and loses some of her composure, but has now survived her journey. Sister Mary
resists the lure of Yuggoth and heads to the Church in an attempt to restore her faith; she talks to Father Michael, who eases her mind but not her spiritual and physical crisis. She passes the Find Gate to Norman. William
, not wishing to take any chances at all, also heads to the Isle to explore the Underworld in case I need another seal. He forces the lid from a stone chest to find gear worth $8.
Goat like creatures are spotted in the woods but there are no Dark Young to cause any terror. A gate to Another Dimension and a Ghost appear on Independent Square bringing the Doom to 9, and Mary triggers her Speak to your Friend corruption. She joins the cult with Jacqueline.T10)
In the final turn Brown Jenkin strikes again, there is creamed Yithian served hot on top of Wizards hill, Jacqueline finally makes it to the loony bin and Sister Mary heads to the Woods where she is involved in a summoning that goes wrong and unhinges her mind further. Wendy returns and seals the Order with her sign and Norman gates back to Dunwich and finishes Hecate off with a seal at Wizards Hill, lighting the path as he lays it down.STOP HERE IF YOU SKIPPED AHEAD!!!
Hecate is vanquished by seals at Doom 8.
Now go back and enjoy the rest
Aside from Mary who is loaded the team are not in bad shape and have the following (non-starting) gear:Mary:
Healing Stone, Mask of Vice, Book of the Dead, Carcosan Page, Carbine Rifle, Sword of Glory, Egyptologist, Cult Member
Corruptions: Fate and Fortune, Endless Greed, Primal Surge (she lost the Speak to your Friend on the last turn)
Injury: Heart Damage, FeverishWilliam:
Rifle, Telescope, Asenath Waite, Silver Key, Endurance (he also ended up with $22!)Norman:
Disguise, Ley Line Map, Enchanted CaneJacqueline:
Shroud of Shadow, Markings of Isis, Athame, Cult membership, Initiate
Corruption: Nightmarish VisionsWendy:
Press Pass, Rail Pass
Overall there was little to threaten me in this game after the initial witch and gate problem but if Jacqueline had not had the shattering visions and something bad had happened to my otherworld explorers in turn 9 then the horror of Plans in Motion would have given me a big problem.
So onwards! I am waiting for my printer to begin functioning having exhausted it of ink and will get to that this weekend, if I get the time I will then go through scenario 4, if not it will get printed out and put aside for next week.
Thanks again for the game and thanks to anyone who actually read this!
Edited by dj2.0, 13 August 2013 - 02:39 PM.