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CRITICISMS AND HOUSE RULES/FIXES

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Taurmindo said:

i play it myself with three investigators a lot, mostly to test-implement house rules or expansion-combos. the win statistics is highest when either we're three players with one investigator each, me with three investigators or two players with two investigators each. adding players and/or investigators quickly reduces win chance. in my group. but it's a special group.

 

I usually do 4 investigators, because it's on the "verge" of two things: 1 monster per gate instead of 2, and 7 open gates instead of 6. Having 3 investigators has the same rules, but with 1 less person, so that's why I play with 4, and why I'm sure so many call it the "sweet spot." Though I also houserule that when I play with 4 (because sometimes, depending on how many investigators are devoured before the AO wakes up, and how late in the game), 2 monsters come out of the first gate (and first gate opening only), to help get things moving!

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Tibs said:

I use house-rules that make final combat more difficult when there are fewer seals on the board when the AO awakens. 

 

I would really love to know what your house rule specifically is here... seems like a good idea.

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Okay.

First off, I use Kevin's suggested rule: during a round of final combat, no investigator can spend more clue tokens than there are seals on the board. This affects base game AOs more significantly than expansion AOs, and the base game ones are the ones who need the most boosting.

My other rule is related to Epic Battle, so if you don't have that yet then get Kingsport!

 

Remove the red "End of Everything" and green "Sinister Plot" cards. Shuffle the remaining red cards into a deck. Put "End of Everything" on bottom and the green "Sinister Plot" on top. Then shuffle the remaining green cards and place one on top of the stack for every seal on the board.

At the start of a round of final combat, instead of taking the top card, roll a die. Take that numbered card off the top. If you roll higher than there are cards remaining in the deck, you get "End of Everything."

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Here a few new House rules I came up with. Since they encompass multiple pages, I'm posting a link to the .docx file:

www.freefilehosting.net/specialrules

Here's what's included:

1) Multiple Investigators and Skill Checks at Locations
2) Multiple Investigators and Monsters at Locations
3) Multiple Monsters and Horror Checks
4) Multiple Monsters and Evade Checks
5) Impaling Weapons

In addition, I came up with new Ancient One and monster special abilities, to better reflect their abilities from the Call of Cthulhu RPG and make them less two-dimensional:

www.freefilehosting.net/ancientonespecialabilities

www.freefilehosting.net/monsterspecialabilities

Some of the monster special abilities make reference to the Impaling Weapons rules.

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Thematic Monsters: At the start of the game, instead of combining all monsters into one monster cup, separate the monsters by dimensional symbol and place them near their associated Other Worlds (square monsters next to Another Dimension, hex monsters next to The Abyss, etc.; consult the gate markers in the base game to determine which monsters are associated with which Other World). Moon monsters aren't associated with any Other World, and so are simply placed anywhere near the other monsters. When instructed to draw a monster, place the appropriate monsters in the cup and draw randomly.
   When a new gate opens, the monsters that appear are drawn at random from those that match the dimensional symbol on the new gate.
   When a monster surge occurs, for each open gate, draw a Gate card. If the color of the card matches the color of any of the encounter symbols for that Other World, draw a random monster with a matching dimensional symbol. If the color does not match any of the encounter symbols, draw a random moon monster.
   For monsters that appear as the result of an Arkham Encounter or Mythos card ability, draw one Gate card for each monster that appears (one at a time). If there are any open gates leading to the Other World on the card, draw a random monster with a matching dimensional symbol. If there are open gates leading to more than one of the Other Worlds on the card, combine the appropriate monsters in the cup and draw one randomly. If there are no open gates leading to any of the Other Worlds on the card, draw a random moon monster.
   For monsters that appear as the result of an Other World encounter, draw a random monster with a matching dimensional symbol to the Other World, or a moon monster if there are no matching monsters.

Modified Impaling Weapons Rule: Instead of sixes counting as two successes for implaing weapons, they are counted as successes and re-rolled. If a five is rolled on the re-roll, it is added to the total successes; if a six is rolled, it is added to the successes and rolled again. This continues until no more sixes are rolled.

The Thematic Monster rule was devised to make more sense of which monsters appear when a gate opens or as the result of an encounter; random monsters, more often than not, just don't make sense thematically accoring to which Other Worlds are open.

I modified my Impaling Weapons rule (posted earlier as part of a .docx file) to allow impaling weapons to do even more potential damage and to be more realistic.
 

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1. The Terror Track: Whenever the Terror Track increases, each investigator loses a sanity or stamina. Or whenever the Terror Track increases, each investigator loses sanity/stamina, split however they choose, equal to the terror level. For example, the terror level increases to 3, each investigator loses 3 sanity/stamina split however they choose. I just feel that the raise in the terror level isn't that big of a deal, it should be made that big of a deal.

2. Corruption Cards: Even when the Black Goat of the Woods Herald is not in play, anytime an investigator defeats a Dark Young, they draw a corruption card. This at least helps corruption cards come into play even without the herald in play.

3. Rift Movement: Whenever a rift moves on its matching color, add a Doom Token and spawn a monster. Whenever a rift moves on its off color, raise the terror level and spawn a monster. Not much of a change, but makes rifts even more dangerous, Kingsport more important to tend to, and when combined with adjusted Terror Track rule even more necessary.

4. Unstable Kingsport: This is one I've played a few times and I like it, but it does seem to throw off the number of gates open so ideas to modify it would be appreciated. When ever a monster surge occurs you roll a die. On a success the monster surge occurs. On a failure you flip over a random rift progress marker token and open a gate at that location and spawn a monster as if a normal gate were opening. Now this is where I'm not sure on some things. I know that in the "Lurker" expansion it says you cannot seal gates on unstable locations, would this be a place you make an exception? Should the open gates in Kingsport count toward the gate limit? Any other observations of potential problems?

Anyways, those are the few changes we make in our group, for anyone who cares.

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Terror is definitely not a big enough deal but in a normal game it's pretty much dead anyway.  We don't have a monster limit anymore. Monsters in the streets of Arkham increase the terror level. If there are more monsters in the street than the number of the terror level, the terror level increases by 1.  In addition, we close a stable location in Arkham town other than the police station. Our terror level routinely hits 6 and 8 or 9 is not unheard of.  Still 10 is rare.  One upside. Investigators can ignore (not evade) single monsters in the streets.  If you like terror and killing monsters you ought to try it.

We play a similar mechanic. Treat Kingsport normally, but when rifts collide they are both removed but cause a gate opening and that area is considered unstable.  The gate counts toward the gate limit and it can be sealed.  However when it gets that far, we've always lost.  A slightly harder version is to open a gate on the location indicated on the last rift token.  But since some of the rift tokens are duplications you could  end up with monster surges. If a rift collides with an open gate, I'd probably have a surge too.

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Terror is definitely not a big enough deal but in a normal game it's pretty much dead anyway. We don't have a monster limit anymore. Monsters in the streets of Arkham increase the terror level. If there are more monsters in the street than the number of the terror level, the terror level increases by 1. In addition, we close a stable location in Arkham town other than the police station. Our terror level routinely hits 6 and 8 or 9 is not unheard of. Still 10 is rare. One upside. Investigators can ignore (not evade) single monsters in the streets. If you like terror and killing monsters you ought to try it.

 

We play a similar mechanic. Treat Kingsport normally, but when rifts collide they are both removed but cause a gate opening and that area is considered unstable. The gate counts toward the gate limit and it can be sealed. However when it gets that far, we've always lost. A slightly harder version is to open a gate on the location indicated on the last rift token. But since some of the rift tokens are duplications you could end up with monster surges. If a rift collides with an open gate, I'd probably have a surge too.
 

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Here's another house rule I've come up with: redefining "end of combat" in the final battle - an item or effect which lasts until the end of combat when fighting the Ancient One lasts until the end of the final battle. This just makes sense to me. The final battle is essentially a single combat that lasts multiple rounds. With this rule, an investigator has the option to refresh an item or spell during the upkeep phase of the battle whose effects last until the end of the combat, or keep it in effect and not refresh it.

 

Monster encounters remain unaffected by this rule however. A spell or effect which last until the end of combat only lasts until the current monster is defeated or defeats the investigator. The spell or effect does not carry over if the investigator encounters another monster in his location.

 

Another house rule: Mists of Releh -  this spell will allow the investigator to evade all monsters at his location if it is successfully cast. When casting, the investigator uses the worst Awareness modifier of all monsters present. The spell remains in effect until the investigator stops moving, allowing the investigator to automatically evade monsters in any locations he moves through or stops in. This rule just makes Mists of Releh a more effective spell.

Edited by jeremyj621

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1. The Terror Track: Whenever the Terror Track increases, each investigator loses a sanity or stamina. Or whenever the Terror Track increases, each investigator loses sanity/stamina, split however they choose, equal to the terror level. For example, the terror level increases to 3, each investigator loses 3 sanity/stamina split however they choose. I just feel that the raise in the terror level isn't that big of a deal, it should be made that big of a deal.

2. Corruption Cards: Even when the Black Goat of the Woods Herald is not in play, anytime an investigator defeats a Dark Young, they draw a corruption card. This at least helps corruption cards come into play even without the herald in play.

3. Rift Movement: Whenever a rift moves on its matching color, add a Doom Token and spawn a monster. Whenever a rift moves on its off color, raise the terror level and spawn a monster. Not much of a change, but makes rifts even more dangerous, Kingsport more important to tend to, and when combined with adjusted Terror Track rule even more necessary.

4. Unstable Kingsport: This is one I've played a few times and I like it, but it does seem to throw off the number of gates open so ideas to modify it would be appreciated. When ever a monster surge occurs you roll a die. On a success the monster surge occurs. On a failure you flip over a random rift progress marker token and open a gate at that location and spawn a monster as if a normal gate were opening. Now this is where I'm not sure on some things. I know that in the "Lurker" expansion it says you cannot seal gates on unstable locations, would this be a place you make an exception? Should the open gates in Kingsport count toward the gate limit? Any other observations of potential problems?

Anyways, those are the few changes we make in our group, for anyone who cares.

 

For #2, I would propose that investigators draw a Corruption card when they defeat a cultist or worshipper of the Ancient One. I like the idea of utilizing Corruption cards even when not using the Black Goat of the Woods herald. :)

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We use the following:

 

At any time after setup, if you draw only one card from the Common Items or Unique Items deck, and you draw a Task or a Mission, you may discard the card and immediately draw again from the same deck. You must keep the new card drawn.

 

We had a lot of people get frustrated with getting tasks and missions later in the game.

 

We also use the Linus house rule that, in Arkham Encounters, you can choose to go through an open gate OR have an encounter at the location. It does make the game a little easier by allowing for occasional teamwork (I'll go clear out the monsters and have an encounter, you follow me in and go through the gate). This is ameliorated by our typical use of several expansions at once.

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I use so many custom rules for so long it is hard to remember nb what ones are in fact custom and which are official.

 

I guess my main ones are 

 

1) Gates are placed face down, and revealed when you move though them. 

2) Gate seals start with 3 health. Each gate opening at the same location removes a health, after the 3rd health is removed a gate burst occurs.

3) Movement point are produced in the other world. A great way to read spooky books and learn spells and skills and wot not. 

4) Monster must be delt with any time ending movement, including exiting a gate.

5) I both stacks of gate markers, Lurker and Originals. I put them in a bowl and draw like I do the monster cup.

6) When running many expansions to stop dilution I split encounter decks into those of each expansion. A Die roll selects the deck to draw from. This way no matter how many expansions you run the theme of each one can come though very strong. 

7) For speed of set up we set start values for stats on investigators after the 1st mythos card is resolved during setup. So we set the stats as part of turn 1. This allows the host to have the game setup and ready to run by the time we all get there and now we just need to choose characters. As people come in they set there character no need to do it all at same time. 

8) Payments like say sacrificing 2 health as part of a mission can be done with 1 health, and cause death.(same with sanity) Just as when you are at 1 health you can take 2 damage and die from a monster. The idea is that say in a mission you do the ritual, it just kills you.

9) Close Locations (from terror or w/e) do not completely close the location, only the "store" / special text of the location. You, monsters.. anything can still move in there or spawn there. The idea is that these are large locations a single shop closing doesn't mean there isn't strange freakness going on around there.

 

I have more, just can not think of them right now, as I said they are sorta natural for me ... not sure which or custom or not. 

 


 

I really like the idea of the "thematic" monsters someone mentioned. The problem I think I see is that closing gates will greatly affect monster count... . . 

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For those of you who play "all-in" games (using every aspect of every expansion) with four Investigators, I offer you the following variant. Of course, if you play with more or less than four Investigators, your mileage will definitely vary.

General Guidance

Mythos 0 - Turn 4: As you put into play the Mythos card, only place gates in Arkham. Ignore Double-Doom cards and Rumors. If you reveal an expansion board Gate location, resolve everything else...Monster Movement, Clue token, and Headline/Environment. Starting on Turn 5, play each Mythos card, as normal, revealing Gates anywhere on any board.

 

Rationale: In this way, you should, based on the percentages for each Gate opening, have 2-3 Gates open in the first four Turns, instead of 4-5.

Rumors: Reduce the # of tokens, as if you were playing with two Investigators for Rumors such as Nightmare Pool, but for The Key and the Gate, consider 4 Investigators in play.

 

Rationale: Rumors should be difficult to pass, but not impossible, given the great distances Investigators must travel when all boards are in play.

Maximum # of Gates: 10.

 

Rationale: There are 20 Unstable Locations across the four boards. Ten open Gates represents 50% of all of the locations with the potential to spawn a Gate.

Maximum # of Monsters in Arkham and the Outskirts: 5.

 

Rationale: As with Rumors, above, playing as if you had two Investigators would warrant a Maximum # of Monsters in Arkham at 2 + 3= 5 and for simplicity, I've used the same value for the Maximum # of Monsters in the Outskirts.

Expansion Changes

Curse of the Dark Pharaoh: No changes (I currently have incorporated both the original and the new version, so play includes both "Barred from Neighborhood" cards and Patrol Markers).

Dunwich Horror: No changes

The King in Yellow: No changes

Kingsport Horror: Apply a Rift Marker/Token to the Rift Track only when a new Gate opens on any board, including Gate Bursts. Optional: As the Rifts occur over the town of Kingsport, place the newly opened Rift at the location designated by the last placed Rift Marker/Token on the Rift Track instead of at the Gate location on the Mythos card.

 

Rationale: Performing "Rift Duty" can prove boring for most Investigators. At least having a potential combat in Kingsport should make things interesting. Also, Rifts opening in Kingsport, is the very premise of the expansion...these tears in the fabric are happening over this coastal city.

Black Goat of the Woods: No changes

Innsmouth Horror: Place a Deep Ones Token on the Deep Ones Rising (DOR) Track only when a monster enters a vortex. Additionally, once the DOR Track is full, add a Doom Token to the Doom Track instead of automatically awakening the Great Old One. This happens during every Mythos Phase while the DOR Track remains filled.

 

Rationale: Similar to the Rifts in Kingsport, the DOR Track should not be the focus of the Investigator's skills and abilities, but there are times when they may need to travel there and deal with the situation. The DOR Track should not serve as a 2nd Doom Track.

Lurker at the Threshold: You may not use the Power tokens as Clue tokens when the card is exhausted. Thus, if an Investigator takes a Blood Pact, exhausts the card and sacrifices 3 Stamina to receive the 3 Power tokens, place them on the exhausted Blood Pact card. During the next Turn's Upkeep Phase, refresh the Blood Pact card, allowing the Investigator to use the Power tokens.

 

Rationale: Given the currently accepted rule, it's far too easy to exploit the Lurker.

Miskatonic Horror: No change

That's it ~ a few tweaks and I can tell you that it works very well. Again, Arkham Horror isn't about winning, it's a about the story, the theme. As I've said many times before, "it's about the journey, not the destination." If I can maintain a win rate consistent with the average based on 10,000 games on Tibs' spreadsheet, while enjoying the game that much more, great!

If you have any thoughts or comments, please let me know.

Cheers,

Joe/the Professor

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I would like to know if anyone has any house rules that increase the role of organizations. Games go by and no one joins the Twilight Lodge, or the 1000 cult, Sheldon Gang etc etc etc. These cards seam to get very little play in our games.

 

I use a rule variant where if you went to a special text location and triggered the special text you gained a free movement equal to 1/2 your movement points as long as you land on a unstable location. The idea is that there is a number of neat location abilities that in many games there simply is no time to ever really use. This rule allows players to activate these locations more often and I feel it gives the game more of a feeling of a "town".

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wow that is a neat herald. Whispering in Darkness is pretty hardcore! Still I like it.

 

There needs to be some database of all the cool stuff people  have made that can be easily browsed.

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Thanks :) I had a lot of fun while creating it :)

 

There was a project to add custom material to Thelric's website to have everything hosted there. I entered some of my stuff there, but then I stopped. No idea if he's still running that project, tho.

 

Fortunately, many of us have in their signature a link to their custom creations. Clearly, the requirement for visibility is that people keep on posting on this fora so that actually their signature could be read. With Avi and Veet leaving, and Amikezor sporadicly passing by... most of the good stuff is gone.

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wow that is a neat herald. Whispering in Darkness is pretty hardcore! Still I like it.

 

There needs to be some database of all the cool stuff people  have made that can be easily browsed.

Wow, Julia, he's not kidding. That Herald looks fantastic.  I may have to give it a try this weekend. I've always wanted the cult memberships and corruptions to have more of an impact on the game. If you have tried it out yet, how difficult do you think this herald makes a game? Is it significant? Or just a different flavor?

 

EDIT: I didn't realize it was an Institution. Miskatonic Horror is the only expansion I do not have yet. But I'm excited to try this out. :o

Edited by Soakman
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Thanks, Soakman :)

 

The Institution is intended mostly to add flavour to the game. It could become annoying if you keep on donating all your belongings to Shubbie's church, tho, so, you have to pay a little attention when dealing with cultists. Still, I'd not say it raises the difficulty too much (I tried to stay calm, since Institution should influence the game without altering too much the balance)

 

Let me know if you try it!

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Thanks, Soakman :)

 

The Institution is intended mostly to add flavour to the game. It could become annoying if you keep on donating all your belongings to Shubbie's church, tho, so, you have to pay a little attention when dealing with cultists. Still, I'd not say it raises the difficulty too much (I tried to stay calm, since Institution should influence the game without altering too much the balance)

 

Let me know if you try it!

We're trying it today! We're going to start in a few hours. I doubt you will see this before we do, but which expansions would you suggest to use in tandem with this institution? The only one I DON'T have is Miskatonic Horror. This means my cult encounter deck might be a little small as well. Would you suggest multiple boards? I was thinking Kingsport simply because with the smaller cult encounter pool, Kingsport won't add any more unstable locations which will make reshuffles etc less common. The other option is for to go gung-ho and just wiki the cult encounters I don't have yet. 

 

EDIT: I am PROBABLY going to regret this, but I decided we're using Kingsport and Innsmouth + Personal Stories, relationships, madness/injuries, and your Church of the Thousand. Because we haven't played 2 additional boards in a while, my usual ban on Patrice has been removed, players can choose or pick their investigators randomly, and we're using Hypnos as our guardian. I will likely send you a PM later about the session; I don't want to clog up this thread. :P  Wish us luck!!!

Edited by Soakman
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Aye, maybe I'm a little late. I'd have suggested you to use Kingsport and Dunwich, just to have some more action but without suffering from the Devil Reef syndrome (Innsmouth will be the place to go once I finish the Esoteric Order of Dagon Custom Institution. Don't hold your breath, it could be a long way).

 

Patrice should grant you an easy win, and also a good way to taste every bit of the game, and explore a little more!

 

Have fun (which is the most important thing, in Arkham and in life. The ride can be long or short, but it must be a good one!)

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