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My own evolving house "campaign mode."


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#1 efrim black

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 11:52 AM

So house rules are one thing, but my fellow Arkham players and I wanted more.  I am sharing my own campaign formula for those of you who have a solid group of friends and all of the expansions and simply want more.

We are currently halfway through this campaign, and we have lost 23 investigators, but vanquished at least half of the ancient ones. With one notable exception in which we were not victorious.  This is going to be something of a long post so the short version is that we have combined all of the expansions and come up with a gameplay mod involving a constant revolving team of 6 investigators. (Always six to achieve a permanent 4 man rule set)

I'll try to break down the collective rules into sections, feel free to ask about specific things as some of these house rules are so intrinsic to the way we play I may forget things.

1. Ancient Ones.

So we decided early on that only two ancient ones would be capable of completely destroying Arkham if they won. This was not based on mythos, but on the mechanics of the Ancient ones. So we naturally looked to Shudde Mell and Azathoth. Keeping this in mind, we carefully devised an order we thought best in terms of increasing difficulty with Azathoth at the end, and Cthulhu in the middle. Other than the order, there are additional changes related to victory or defeat against these ancient ones that will be detailed in other sections. Combat against them is always based on the number of investigators who are alive when the players have resolved the "Start of Battle" portion of the Ancient one sheet. So max of 4, min of 1. In all other ways combat against the Ancient ones is unchanged and makes use of the Battle Deck and standard rules.

2. Heralds/Guardians/Institutions

We decide these with dice roles. A cursed die is rolled first for Guardians. On success, the three guardians are shuffled, and placed in a line. 1-2 for the first, 3-4 for the second, and so on. For institutions, a Blessed die is rolled. On success, the rules are the same as those for guardians. Then for heralds, we actually use a 12 sided die, shuffling and placing them in a line. This ensures that as the campaign progresses, there is steadily less and less of a chance to draw a herald. If either Father or Mother are rolled, a blessed die is tossed to see if the companion herald will join it. Other Herald mechanics include defeat of the actual Herald. Any Herald that can be defeated as either a monster or ancient one is removed from the campaign completely if defeated in a game. In addition, no herald can be used with its matching Ancient one. (No King in the Yellow herald + Hastur)

3. Investigators

First we separated the investigator sheets according to expansion, then split them into decks of 8. Once we had done that, we ordered each individual deck of 8 from best to worst, with worst on top, then placed the piles in a line. Drawing one from each in order to form a stack which runs ROUGHLY from worst to best. How this order is determined is completely up to you, but this is the method we used. Once this is done, we pulled ALL of their UNIQUE possessions from the item decks, and placed them with the sheets. We actually back a box dedicated to JUST the investigators in waiting. This decision about the unique items will make sense shortly. Randoms are not dealt until the Investigator actually enters the game.  Oh and no choosing who you get initially. Roll dice, much fairer and leads to less meta-gaming.

3. Ally Deck

All allies are used. This will make more sense after the next section.

3. Attrition

This is a mechanic which ensures a continually more brutal experience as the campaign progresses. During the game, any items discarded through use, or from loss (death, stolen, encounter which causes a loss) is put in a discard pile for after the game. After the game one common, unique, spell, exhibit, ally, and skill are all discarded permenantly for the rest of the campaign. The items are drawn randomly from discarded items first, or from the tops of the decks if none of that type are available.

Exceptions to this general rule are as follows.

Every time an Ancient one is Victorious (and it doesn't cause the end of the campaign) One additional item is discarded, i,e. We lost to Atlach, so then in addition to one from every deck, we lost an additional spell every game. We decided that the order of losses would go : Spell, Unique, Common, Skill, Exhibit, Ally.

Beyond that, you'd probably be out of investigators anyway. In addition to this, Every item discarded in the battle against Cthulhu is discarded to box right away, and before the battle with Azathoth, the remaining decks are randomly cut in half with half being discarded before the fight even starts. This ensures that the fights against these two opponents are especially fierce.

4. Inventory and Carry over between Games

We decided on a 5 item limit for characters. Meaning, 5 of each type of item. This allows (theoretically) for 20 items, 5 allies, and 5 skills. This may sound broken on paper but it works surprisingly well in practice. Between games EVERYTHING carries over except for trophies, and clues. At the beginning of the next game, surviving investigators get one dollar and the clue tokens listed on their sheet, and the hell simply continues.

Now when I say everything carries over, part of what makes this balanced when combined with the attrition mechanic should be obvious, getting knocked out, or going insane now has real dire consequences. Losing items puts them at risk to be lost for the entire campaign, and picking up an injury or madness is now something that sticks with you for a long time. Corruption cards can be funny in one game, and the death of you in the next, and so on.

5. Spell Mechanic

Due to the notable difficulty increase of the campaign mechanic and because frankly, I didn't like the base game spell mechanic, we came up with the solution of having combat spells stay on you as a buff for the rest of that combat (this would include multiple monsters in an area or the entire battle against an ancient one)

You can have up to two hands worth of spells as a buff at any given moment, and in subsequent turns of combat you are perfectly capable of adding to  this with weapons. This is another mechanic that may sound broken, but works extremely well in practice.

6. Other House rules

All monsters are face down until combat is initiated, and all gate markers are face down till someone goes into them. since I usually play a sort of Arkham master role, I do the work of green monster movement. In the case of escaping other worlds, even if there is an open gate, if it is face down, it might as well not exist.

I'm sure there is something I'm forgetting, but that's the gist.

 



#2 dwightsboardgame

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 03:48 PM

This sounds very interesting. If I develop a regular Arkham Horror group, I would like to try this.



#3 Julia

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 09:12 PM

efrim black said:

we carefully devised an order we thought best in terms of increasing difficulty with Azathoth at the end, and Cthulhu in the middle.

Don't take this as personal, but if you really think that Azathoth is the hardest AO, you should really reconsider your knowledge of the game: it's the easiest AO ever (a very long doom track, and almost no impact on the game). Plus, the rules for the campaign are just crazy: in this way, you can get rid of most of the crappy items of the game, and trimming he deck down to the good ones (no more Holy Water: hurray!).

If you want to try some *nasty* and challenging campaign, try Avi's advenced league (here)


We have dragged Reason from her Throne and set in her place the Empress of Dreams [liber Endvra]
Custom Arkham Horror material / Arkham Horror Advanced Players League

#4 MyNeighbourTrololo

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 01:36 AM

Talking Azathoth, I'm going to try him with Groth, Black Goat of the Woods, King in Yellow and Dunwich Horror(using only Dunwich Board) Heralds all at time this weekend.



#5 efrim black

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 08:56 AM

@ Julia

To address the first part of your post, No. I do not think Azathoth is the hardest. However thematically, he is last. He is also the most dangerous in combat. i.e. There isn't any. At all.

We put him at the end because the battered handful of investigators who make it that far will have little to no equipment left with which to face him.

Speaking of which, I don't think you understand that the items which get removed at the end of the game are random. Yeah you can use a cross or something in a game and hope it's the ONLY common item discarded, but for the most part, it's 50/50 whether we lose something we may need later, and we are constantly fighting to keep a hold of Elder Signs for later use.

The combination of the base Attrition system along with item limits and the half-deck removal before the game against Azathoth even begins ensures that there will be no exhibit items, no allies, probably no commons, and perhaps a tenth of the unique and spells left.This is still technically a test run campaign, but we have already lost a fourth of our total items and we're only halfway through. Since the Ancient ones get HARDER from here, and not easier, that is not a good sign.

Keep in mind those scenarios are all fairly limited in scope. This is a campaign which encompasses all expansions, all investigators, and all ancient ones. It is easier in a single game, but harder in the over all campaign. None the less, if we finish the campaign successfully, I will of course be tweaking things to make it harder on us the next time through.



#6 Julia

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 10:11 AM

Efrim, sorry, I really don't get the point. You said that at the end of the game you return forever to the box an item at random from each of the discarded items pile you created during the game. And that in the discard piles you put items which are discarded after use (like Powder of Ibn-Ghazi, Tomes, Holy water) plus item lost during the game (something happening very rarely, anyway, after Injuries and Madnesses were introduced into the game). So, it's not that impossible that by the time you have to fight Azathoth, you've lost 24 common items, 24 unique and so on. Most of them are probably one-use only items. And you have still to play the strongest characters against the weakest AOs (the first official League has a Scenario - the 10th one IIRC - you have to play Azathoth + Groth with no CI and UI decks in play. So it's kinda similar to your final Scenario). As I told you, I don't see too much troubles in beating such a game.

The main point of the game is clues. If you leave strong characters in play with all the usual clues on the board, they will wipe out Azathoth in not so much time. Use a party with Mandy, Wendy, Patrice and Roland, for instance: no way you can lose, after round one you can have 22 clues scattered between 4 investigators, which means 4 potential seals on the board after one round. Then, you have to park Patrice somewhere to generate clues without being harrassed by monsters, and you're done.


We have dragged Reason from her Throne and set in her place the Empress of Dreams [liber Endvra]
Custom Arkham Horror material / Arkham Horror Advanced Players League

#7 MyNeighbourTrololo

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 08:27 PM

I personally have banned Patrice from the game. 



#8 efrim black

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 08:46 PM

@ Julia

I'm trying to help you see the point, It is clear you are not understanding how the other campaign mechanics interact over the course of twenty games or so.

Also, I've played those scenarios, and I am pulling my hair out a little trying to make you understand that this is not a single game, it's 24 games, where EVERYTHING carries over. To avoid simply repeating my original post I'll just remind you that you can't meta-pick Investigators. They are dripped in at a general curve, but Roland for example entered the campaign in game 3. Not to mention that he is now insane and covered in about 9 corruption cards and probably not going to survive the next game. Mandy is dead (along with George and Daisy when Shudde M'ell destroyed the library) and there is no gurantee that Patrice and Wendy will ever exist in the same game.

Also, the speed with which the track fills when using 8 expansions makes a seal victory pretty hard. Even if we get 4 seals in the first 6 turns, it isn't usually too long before bursts start ruining that party.

If you don't understand the appeal of this campaign that is fine, and if you don't understand the logic of my choices that is fine, but please stop referring to League Scenarios. I have played ALL of them. That was what drove me to setup this mechanic in the first place.



#9 Julia

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 10:09 AM

Efrim, no way we can have a constructive dialog on this point. Sorry.

First of all, investigators. You said in your original post that roughly you'll play the worse at the beginning, the best at the very end. So I expect to have Patrice, Mandy and all the aforementioned arriving in the last scenarios. No way I'll "burn" Roland on an early Scenario.

Plus, I don't see why you have to say "stop referring to Leagues". I mentioned ONCE one official Scenario in the first League. Full stop. So I don't see how this could bother you in any way. And I did only to make a comparison between yours "oh, my God, I'm starting with only few items" and what happened on that occasion (very similar). Plus, sorry, but you are kinda new to this forum: it's very difficult from two posts saying "hey, this guy's cool, he's been playing Arkham since 2006 and has 200 games under his belt". But anyway, I'm not offending anyone by referring to any official (or unofficial) League

I don't have anything against any League / campaign mode. I'm just saying that yours it's not that difficult and the way the decks are trimmed could be beneficial if you know how to spoil it. If you don't know how to do it, all the better, you will have a greater challenge. That's it. If you don't accept my point of view, I'm perfectly fine. You asked for comments, I've dropped you my opinion. You could consider it or not, I'm still perfectly fine either way. But in case you want to have a proof of what I'm saying about the challenges of a Scenario, play this one here and try to beat my score (I won by sealing the seven gates with the doom track stuck at two). And then I'll play your final scenario with the rules you want me to play it.

Just, please, don't come here and explain to me what "playing with all expansions in" means. Thanks. At the moment, with al expansions in, I've lost only once. And generally speaking, I've lost only 5 of my last 145 games, and won two leagues in between (Avi's advanced League, and the second French League). I think I understand a little the dynamics of the game.

Last but not least: we're stealing space from the main forum. This thread should belong to the Fan creation subsection. If you want, go on with the debate over there. I won't answer any further post on the main one.

 


We have dragged Reason from her Throne and set in her place the Empress of Dreams [liber Endvra]
Custom Arkham Horror material / Arkham Horror Advanced Players League

#10 MyNeighbourTrololo

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 07:31 AM

Julia, how did you managed to seal it with doom track stuck at two? You need 7 gates at minimum to do this. 5  with this scenario mechanics if I read them correctly. 



#11 Julia

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 08:56 AM

MyNeighbourTrololo said:

Julia, how did you managed to seal it with doom track stuck at two? You need 7 gates at minimum to do this. 5  with this scenario mechanics if I read them correctly. 

Here. Reply 696, all the game, explained turn by turn. Yes, MNT, you're right, I won in nine turns. Hope you could enjoy the report.


We have dragged Reason from her Throne and set in her place the Empress of Dreams [liber Endvra]
Custom Arkham Horror material / Arkham Horror Advanced Players League

#12 efrim black

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 03:50 PM

No Julia we can't. I didn't know that this counted as a fan creation because it isn't a single isolated scenario or game, but you are right in that one respect. I mainly shared this here for others looking for a new way to play it. I'll post in that board once we've finished the campaign. We have about 11 games left. When I do post there, I will post far more specific descriptions of how the mechanics work so that you aren't as confused. This will keep any further exchanges between us from devolving to the point they have here.






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