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eiterorm

Favorite and least favorite investigators

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The Professor said:

like Darrell's make a good Investigator make horrible decisions…all for the case of the PS.  He can't have 5 Clue Tokens…he is a Photographer, isn't he…trying to find clues…

Yeah, that's really a sound point. Not only is he penalized under a strategic point of view, he's also brutalized by logic. "Hey, I'm a reporter! But I'm not reporting anything, because if I gather too much infos, then I'm in trouble". C'me on…

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Julia,

     Yes, Rob's impressive ~ I'm glad that you'll enjoy the horror adorning your table.

     As to the PS, I have to admit, I've only just changed Darrell's…and today Wilson failed his and I diodn't know what failing meant…Discard all of his Clue Tokens…that hurt.  I'll explain in my next session report entitled, "From the Jaws of Death."

Cheers, Joe

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Had a great time with "Ashcan" Pete. Especially once he had both a .45 and a .38. Made stomping monsters that weren't immune to phycial weapns so much fun.

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Seriously what is wrong with Dexter is he not a good spell caster?  I played with him last night (mainly because of this post) for a 2 player with a mate with two charecters each and he was very good he got that spell from the king in yellow where you add 3 to fight with no sanity cost and use you lore to your fight for that round and he was very very good.  Thoughts? 

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Lilikin,

     He shoud be a very good Spell Caster, but his dead-average Sanity of '5' prevents him from casting too many requiring a Sanity cost and compared to Carolyn Fern who has a higher Sanity and can restore her own OR Daisy Walker (Kingsport Horror) who reduces Sanity costs for Spell Casting right out of the gate…Dexter looks a bit thin.  On the otehr hand, once he's passed his Personal Story (Innsmouth Horror), he's quite effective.  On a personal note, I enjoy playing him.

Cheers, Joe

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Yeah, what Joe said. The main point is that all the spell casting activity in Arkham is a bit… hmm.. crappy? Some spells are great, but there are only a few of them into the whole deck, and most of them are really effective only under specific circumstances. Hence, characters built aroung the spell casting activity are… not always the best ones. Among all the existing spells, combat spells are in some way the less useful: they require a roll, that makes you usually lose sanity regardless of the result, only to add some dice and roll again. For these reasons, people tend to shop for items and not spells, and so it's ever more unlikely that new spells enter play after the initial setup.

But as Joe said, Dexter is a little better if he manages to pass his Personal Story.

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That makes sense, I suppose I was lucky with that spell with no sanity cost at the start but there is nothing better than bringing down a bit of righteous fury on a few baddies, hmmmm that would be a great idea for a spell caster a priest…….

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One of the things I love about Arkham is that if you think about role-playing your character, you very often stumble on some good tactics.  In the case of Dexter Drake, I think he works a little bit more effectively if you remember that he's The Magician, not the Wizard.  He doesn't have huge reserves of sanity and giant lore bonuses because he's not actually a dedicated spellcaster.  He's a showman who happens, by way of his professions to have a lot of connections in the occult underground, and it's those contacts that make him valuable.  Also: he's an artist.  Like all artists, hecan do great things with enough cash, but he really benefits from having a patron.  Okay, enough flavor talk.  What does that mean in gameplay terms?

Well, here's how I approached Dexter the one or two times I've been dealt him. Magical Gift doesn't actually reward you for using spells, it rewards you for collecting them, so that's what I focus on. You start the game with Shrivelling, which is a good spell that Dexter can't use that effectively. With 3 Will and 5 Sanity, he just can't afford to use it that often.  He doesn't cast it as reliably as the Professor would, or the Student if you build her for casting. He also starts with 3-choose-2 spells, but so few spells are worth using for Dexter that it's really not better than anyone else who starts with 2 randoms. As others have noted, he just doesn't start in a good place to accomplish much with magic. However, he does start in the Magick Shoppe, with $5.  That means he can immediately buy another spell (choice of 3). So at the end of the first turn, he will have taken a wither, and then looked at a total of 6 other spell cards. (If you're *really lucky*, he'll also start with a Tome he can get another spell from.) In the basic game, that means he will have drawn 7 cards from a 40-card deck. As others have mentioned, combat spells in this game are not that great.  Plus, you tend to find way mroe than you can sue anyway.  So skip the combat spells. The utility spells in the deck come in 3 or 4 copies each.  That means Heal and Voice of Ra each have about a 50% chance to show up, while Find Gate and Mists of Releh are better than even. Finding Wither is a near certainty.  Now, sadly, most of these spells aren't that great. He can't afford to use Heal and doesn't really need to, he's mediocre at sealing gates, and with 5 Speed 4 Stealth 2 Focus, he can usually get where he wants to without using Mists. We still haven't actually done anything worthwhile.

The solution I found is that Drake works best as the assistant to a more powerful caster. He's so fast that on his second turn, he should be able to meet up with any other investigator in the city and give them his spells. Imagine setting up the Professor with Find Gate and Mists of Releh. Or the Psychologist  with Heal and Shrivelling. Either way you have a powerhouse of a character.  Unfortunately, you also have an even-more-useless Magician sitting around.  What to do with him? Well, you have a few options. The first is to have another investigator give him money and send him right back to the shop. With his ability and his speed, he's better at spending money efficiently than most other characters. You also want to give him all of your Tomes. Not only can he choose what spell to learn from them, but he has enoug Speed that he has time read while still running around. If one of Harvey's 2 unique items is a spellbook, Dexter can actualy meet him in the admin building, read his book for him, and hand off the resulting spell on turn 1, freeing Harvey to amble into battle with his full 3 movement. Other cute tricks include giving all his possessions away, then taking out a bank loan and spending it on more magic. (I assume the bank doesn't repossess your spells when you default) I think people underestimate the value of trading equipment, and I think having a team "courier" is a viable role; I played a Photographer in a similar way recently. But in the long run, you do need all of your investigators to actually contribute something. I suggest giving Dexter 2 Wither spells and a sword, and making him a "troubleshooter." He can't handle the big monsters or the scary gates on his own.  What he can do is use his 5 speed to run all over town, killing weak monsters as needed to to clear the path for the real heroes to get where they're going. 

TL;DR: Dexter isn't great at personally completing major objectives, so he suffers in 2-investigator matches. But I think he can pull his weight with 4, as long as you have another spellcaster and ideally a wealthy character on the team.

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OrionAnderson said:

 

He doesn't cast it as reliably as the Professor would, or the Student if you build her for casting.

 

 

You know that Harvey's strong mind is about losses and not costs so that he still loses Sanity after casting spells, right? (sorry if this was clear already)

You're right about using Dexter as supporting character. The main issue with this character is that he starts with zero clues. This means that before he's able to seal a gate, several turns will pass; pairing this with the fact that his starting equipment is kinda meh (he's not really a monster whacker unless you give him some good items, plus he's loaded with spells, and even if he can choose among a larger number, it's difficult to build an entire strategy on spells), you have to consider carefully how to divide the roles among your investigators. It heavily depends on the number of investigators you play (as usual): if you play only three investigators with maybe one expansion boards, having Dexter in the party can be a heavy penalty. You're right, if you have Carolyn or some other strong characters it's still pretty balanced, but consider a party with no decent spell casters (no Daisy, no Harvey, no Carolyn) then… ouch. It's better having Dexter retired or devoured as soon as possible

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OrionAnderson said:

Other cute tricks include giving all his possessions away, then taking out a bank loan and spending it on more magic. (I assume the bank doesn't repossess your spells when you default)

Spells count as items, just like common items and unique items. Allies and skills don't. So if you default your bank loan, your spells are discarded too. And if you can get from the Bank of Arkham to the Olde Magick Shoppe in one turn, there's still a 50 % chance that you have to pay $1 interest on your bank loan, thus depriving you of the opportunity to buy two spells. If that didn't happen, and you choose to buy two spells, you'll have no money left the following upkeep phase. So the following upkeep phase, there's a 50 % chance that your bank loan defaults, forcing you to discard your spells before you can give them to another investigator. Add this together and you have at most a 25 % chance to buy two spells and let another investigator have them. So if you want this to work, you should make one of the other investigators give you $2 before you take that bank loan.

In my opinion this is not a very good strategy. You can be lucky and draw Find Gate or Plumb the Void, but I'd say your time could be better spent otherwise. Assuming it doesn't take you multiple turns to move from A to B on the board, this strategy will on average require 4--5 turns. One turn in the Bank of Arkham, one turn in the Olde Magick Shoppe, one turn loading off all your stuff on another investigator, and one to two turns (on average) waiting for the bank loan to default. (although this may take significantly longer) And then, when the bank loan is finally defaulted, you'll have to get all your stuff back. If you want your stuff back immediately after your bank loan defaults, you'll need to make sure that the other investigator is neither in another town nor in an Other World. So, as you see, this strategy adds some rather significant restrictions to your team.

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@Eitertom: Agreed. Now that I know spells are a kind of item, it's almost certainly not worth the trouble of trying to scam the bank. Edit: It would actually be a 75% chance of having to pay up before your buy the second spell, since you can only buy them one at a time.

@Julia: Yeah, I know his special ability doesn't apply. I was referring to his extra Lore die.

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There's superstars like Akachi, Patrice, and Hank Samson- but there's a big difference between best Investigators and favorite Inv's.

Does anyone especially like a character who's abilities are (ahem) somewhat less than stellar?

 

Some Examples:

Luke Robinson- I always hope to draw this Investigator (I draw randomly with a few twists) He's "Mister Dreamlands" and comes with a Gate Box, but for some reason I never do all that well with him. But I love the theme, he's possibly my favorite "character" and the one I relate to the most (I'm a "dreamer" of course)

Ursula Downs- arkham's female Indy Jones. A perfect character for the Arkham Horrorverse but never seems to do very well.

Charlie Kane- love the picture, one of the best looking tokens on the board. Love the theme and his personal story, wish he had some decent abilities.

George Barnaby- possibly the worst Investigator in Arkham. It's a crying shame too, cause I love his story. Maybe I just never figured out how to use him to good effect….

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I'm actually still relatively new to the game in general and only have access at the moment to Innsmouth and Dunwich for my choices of Investigators (along wit the Base set, naturally! :P ) But when I play the game (mostly solo) I try to play based on two investigators that I think would make for interesting set-ups if it was say a book or movie.

 

My favorite single character is Roland Banks. Between his backstory and personal cards, his overall constant stream of clues and cash and the actual look of the character, he's my single favorite. I soloed with him and was lucky enough to get the 'Reporter's Pass' which made soloing infinitely simple. I've contemplated taking them out just to actually give the game a fighting chance. XD

 

McGlen and Mary - Nun and Gangster. It sounds almost like a Clint Eastwood film, but truth is, it was the first game I won. Mary's blessing (and this was maybe just my luck) never wore off and Michael made for a good gate-shutter when properly outfitted. The image of him gunning down Nyarlthotep's Masks while spouting lines like, 'Keep the change, you filthy animal' gave me a little chuckle too.

 

Yorick and Dexter - Gravedigger and Magician. With Dexter shutting gates left and right and Yorick plucking up monsters and 'Burying them Deep' to keep most from respawning, this is an awesome team up. Top that off with him getting ahold of Legrasse and Yorick was having the time of his life with the beasties!

 

Hank Samson and Tommy Muldoon - The tragic duo. This one actually pulled at my heartstrings. I picked them because I wanted a more 'bruiser' pair and hadn't read their Personal cards. That was when I realized these two guys have some serious characterizations in their stories. The thought of 'I Wanna Go Home' coming into play darn near broke my heart and I worked feverishly to make sure Hank's story ended happily. Tommy was a different matter and I actually was a bit miffed that I couldn't get him a happy ending without losing him, so I had to be content to let him not have a tragic ending instead.

 

On a side note, my favorite Ally card is Richard Upton Pickman--mostly because he's just one of my favorite Lovecraft characters period and so always look forward to drawing him in a game…which I've yet to do! XD

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Dr.Faust said:

McGlen and Mary - Nun and Gangster. It sounds almost like a Clint Eastwood film, but truth is, it was the first game I won. Mary's blessing (and this was maybe just my luck) never wore off and Michael made for a good gate-shutter when properly outfitted. The image of him gunning down Nyarlthotep's Masks while spouting lines like, 'Keep the change, you filthy animal' gave me a little chuckle too.

The probability that you will keep a blessing (or a curse for that matter) for n turns is (5/6) ^ (n - 1). Remember that you don't roll for the blessing or the curse during the first turn. So if you play a game of 14 turns, Mary will have a 9.35 % chance of keeping her blessing for the entire game. It's obviously a matter of luck, but the odds really aren't that bad. ;-]

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The Professor said:

but, seriously, that's cool that you know that…or care to know that.  pensativo

This is very basic probability theory, so it doesn't really require any effort. ;-] And, in case you're wondering, I don't memorize odds like this. I just compute them as I go if I need them.

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Richard Upton Pickman is hot.

Another fun thing about Nun/Gangster is that you can give Michael the Cross right away to help ameliorate his Will problem.

Mark, the Soldier, seems designed to patrol the unstable locations. Immunity to delay doesn't really come up while streetsweeping, and he doesn't have the will/sanity for it. But a high Fight and Sneak score serves him well in the Woods, the Graveyard, and IIRC the Cave? A lot of encounters in the red zones delay you, and if he's lucky enough to have a gate open on him, he gets back in half the time.

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OrionAnderson said:

 

Richard Upton Pickman is hot.

 

 

Seconded. Even for a--you know, maybe-ghoul-painter. And he's got one of the best senses of humor in all of Lovecraft to boot~!

 

And I haven't used Mark yet, mostly because I haven't thought of a dynamic team-up for him. Now that I have access to Relationship cards, I do try and use them when I can. I might use Mark when I get ahold of Tony and have them act as Friendly Rivals, simply because both can act as street cleaners OR gate shutters then given their abilities and stats--and the Relationship provides a boost to their designated jobs for DOING their designated jobs.

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OrionAnderson said:

Mark, the Soldier, seems designed to patrol the unstable locations. Immunity to delay doesn't really come up while streetsweeping, and he doesn't have the will/sanity for it. But a high Fight and Sneak score serves him well in the Woods, the Graveyard, and IIRC the Cave? A lot of encounters in the red zones delay you, and if he's lucky enough to have a gate open on him, he gets back in half the time.

Too bad he's not immune to devouring as well, in case that devouring gate shows up. =P

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Well sheesh, Debbie-Downer! XD

That is a good point though. I have Lurker, but only used it once, so I forgot about the Devouring gates. Still, if you're mindful and just keep him around the Unstable spots by camping in a Stable or Sealed (unless using Gate Bursts) then he is still a viable gate-watcher.

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@ eiterorm: ..and that is why I studied History and International Relations ~ God bless you! 

@ Tibs: Loved the website in a really geeky kind of way

@OrionAnderson ~ great use of the word "ameliorate" ~ just don't see that one enough…

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Now I'm trying to imagine which combination of investigators would lead to the most out-of-character optimal rearrangement of roles and equipment.  I'm thinking Mark the Gate-Diver, Flamethrower-wielding Dexter (although I guess he did fight in WWI), and Trish the Sorceress.

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