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Dream-Eaters and Side Stories

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So I thought I'd posted on this before, but can't seem to find it..... 

We will be embarking on Dream-Eaters at some point in the hopefully new future.... is there thematically much opportunity to use any of the side stories during either half of the campaign... on the face of it there doesn't seem to be, but I have purposely not read through or play tested any of the scenarios....

 

 

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I think Murder at the Excelsior Hotel could probably fit in between scenarios 1-B and 2-B.

Other than that, you could arguably fit any of them anywhere else by using some variant of the classic “it was all a dream”. After scenario 2-A might work best for this? Whether or not that would be narratively satisfying I leave up to you.

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Posted (edited)

We are going to play Guardians of the Abyss with all four of our investigators, as a prelude. I think it will fit very well into the narrative thematically and gives them a little time together before they go separate ways. We will be starting there at 0 level and haven’t decided if we are going to keep the experience going into  Dream Eaters, since Dream Eaters is so generous. I think we may keep any goodies we earn though. 

Edited by Mimi61

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11 hours ago, Mimi61 said:

We are going to play Guardians of the Abyss with all four of our investigators, as a prelude. I think it will fit very well into the narrative thematically and gives them a little time together before they go separate ways. We will be starting there at 0 level and haven’t decided if we are going to keep the experience going into  Dream Eaters, since Dream Eaters is so generous. I think we may keep any goodies we earn though.

That's an excellent idea. I think i will steal it 😄

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3 hours ago, Mimi61 said:

We just finished Guardians of the Abyss and are starting DE tonight. It fit even better than I expected. 

I've heard those are really hard scenarios.  How were they with level zero characters?  

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Antimarkovnikov said:

I've heard those are really hard scenarios.  How were they with level zero characters?  

It’s true, they are hard, but it’s my favorite of the standalones. We made the decision to use one of the starting chaos bags for the Dream Eaters campaign, instead of the Guardian of the Abyss bag, partly because we were 0 level. I feel like that leveled the playing field pretty well for us. We managed to survive with no trauma. Having 4 investigators also helped get things done.  Solo would be brutal. Yes, there are more clues to get and more encounter cards, but we could also divide and conquer more locations. Just make sure you have some agility skill cards.  Zoey was feeling mighty clumsy! We deducted the amount of experience it would have cost us to play each scenario within the campaign, from what we earned each time, so we really didn’t come back very beefy. 
It was a great segue to Dreamlands and a lot of fun. When our investigators arrived back in Arkham this evening, after their exhausting trip to Egypt, they were surprised and alarmed by what was going on, but pretty confidant they could tackle it. 

Edited by Mimi61

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2 minutes ago, Mimi61 said:

It’s true, they are hard, but it’s my favorite of the standalones. We made the decision to use the starting chaos bag for Dream Eaters campaign, instead of the standalone bag, partly because we were 0 level. I feel like that leveled the playing field pretty well for 0 level investigators. We survived with no trauma. 

I'm about ready to start the dreamlands with two friends who will be playing the other half of the campaign separate from us.  So, I was considering doing the same thing that you were doing before we plunged into it.  Your advice is certainly valuable.  Which bag were you using?  Campaign A or B?

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Antimarkovnikov said:

I'm about ready to start the dreamlands with two friends who will be playing the other half of the campaign separate from us.  So, I was considering doing the same thing that you were doing before we plunged into it.  Your advice is certainly valuable.  Which bag were you using?  Campaign A or B?

We used A, but I’m sure either would work. We weren’t thinking as thematically as we could have, since we were all awake, maybe B would have made more sense. I just looked at the differences and A is a little easier. We didn’t notice that when we built it though! We just went with the first one we’d be using in the campaign. You could maybe do a hybrid, which I would consider if I were to do it again. 

Edited by Mimi61

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Posted (edited)

I have also struggled with side stories and how they would fit in many of these campaigns (considering many scenarios run right into the next leaving no gap). 

I think something like Read or Die and Murder could potentially be a flashback.  Maybe even a repressed memory.  That might help you figure how it fits in the narratively.  Your characters have a conversation or dream about something they've done previously.  They potentially can get new cards and trauma from it, but you could probably again hand wave that as the repressed memories opening old wounds and your characters remembering they have other assets at their disposal that could be useful here.

For the characters in Dreamland they are effectively adventuring inside their head right now anyway so you can easily be fast and loose with that side of the campaign.  Between scenario 1 and 2 of the dreaming campaign there is an easy gap for lots of strange stuff to happen to them.  By the same token the side story being a dream that manifests some change in reality after the fact in any other campaign wouldn't be completely out of theme for the setting.

It's outside the mechanics of the game, but running something like Read or Die before scenario 1 and giving yourself an XP debt that you need to pay off to do the side story I think doesn't really break anything.  Especially Read or Die feels like it should be a prelude to a campaign rather than an interlude. 

Ultimately though I've not been inserting the side stories into the campaigns.  I kinda like having smaller campaigns rather than larger ones.  I find after 8 scenarios I wanna try a new deck anyway.  I've mostly been engaging with them as standalones to test high XP decks.

Edited by phillos

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Mimi61 said:

We used A, but I’m sure either would work. We weren’t thinking as thematically as we could have, since we were all awake, maybe B would have made more sense. I just looked at the differences and A is a little easier. We didn’t notice that when we built it though! We just went with the first one we’d be using in the campaign. You could maybe do a hybrid, which I would consider if I were to do it again. 

A looks to be a LOT easier.  A is 1 cultist, and 2 tablets.  B is 2 skulls, 1 cultist, and 2 elder things.

So therefore in Guardians...

With the A bag the cultist makes you draw another token, and the tablet is a 0/-1....
With the B bag... The skull is -X (strength of the abyss), cultist makes your draw another token, and the two elder things are a -5/-4.

A is certainly a LOT easier than B in this front.  That might make it much more doable as level zero characters.

Edited by Antimarkovnikov

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The only time thus far I've worked a side story into a campaign was when we worked Guardians of the Abyss into the Forgotten Age after scenario 2. A bit of a side trip on our way back to Arkham. Jenny was funding the trip and insisted upon it, because she wanted to enslave a Nightgaunt. Thematically it actually worked out pretty nicely, and I've wanted to find excuses to fit other standalone scenarios into future campaigns, but the opportunity hasn't really come up.

We're about to start Dream-Eaters (finally) in a week or two, and I kind of like the idea of starting with a standalone scenario with the full group, before the two groups venture off into their own halves of the campaign. I guess it's just a matter of deciding which one we're going to do. We haven't played Carnevale or Excelsior Hotel yet. I'd prefer to do the latter, but I'm not sure how difficult it would be with level 0 decks.

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Antimarkovnikov said:

A looks to be a LOT easier.  A is 1 cultist, and 2 tablets.  B is 2 skulls, 1 cultist, and 2 elder things.

So therefore in Guardians...

With the A bag the cultist makes you draw another token, and the tablet is a 0/-1....
With the B bag... The skull is -X (strength of the abyss), cultist makes your draw another token, and the two elder things are a -5/-4.

A is certainly a LOT easier than B in this front.  That might make it much more doable as level zero characters.

It was defiantly do-able. But like I said, we didn’t really look closely at the difference. It wasn’t until after the first scenario that we realized what a difference not having at least a skull token made. I think if we were to do it again, we would add one skull. The Elder thingy I’d still leave out. Since it is serving as a preface with 0 level investigators, the goal is to get back to Arkham healthy and a little wiser! 
That being said, we still didn’t accomplish everything in the first scenario, but then we never have, even with XP. We did enough to be able to finish the second scenario and didn’t suffer any trauma. Have so much fun! I’m interested to know if you liked it as a segue. 

Edited by Mimi61

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