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Manishtusu

Integrating small box expansion more effectively.

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The topic of my post is about the dilution of small expansion mechanics, that happens when you integrate them fully into the whole game. Playing these expansions the 'wandering exhibit' style is different of course - the problem only arises in normal games. From what I've concluded, half of the ex-packs solves this through permanent elements:




  • Curse of the Dark Pharaoh: Ancient whispers marker is always there, so you can access exhibit items anytime you want. The 4/4 benefit/detriment cards are also integrated in Miskatonic Horror. 

  • Lurker at the Treshold: The new gates and relationships are part of the game. No problem there.


The other two boxes however, have their main elements come out mostly through their specific heralds, or encounter cards:




  • King in Yellow: You need the herald to make terror track interesting. Act cards are integrated, even the dilution is solved with MH.

  • Black Goat of the Woods: Corruption will barely ever happen unless you're playing with the Goat, or get 'lucky' and draw a related encounter and join the cult. 


I'm looking for your oppinion on how to integrate the blight and corruption mechanics into the game. What I had in mind is to add a blight/doom token every time the terror level rises by two, unless the Tattered King is in town. Corruptions are somewhat trickier and I had several ideas, but I only kept three of them. First one would be gaining a corruption each time an investigator defeats a hexagon monster, or a 3+ toughness one alternatively. Second solution would give you a corruption after closing a gate. The third way would be through dark pacts, so only when you play the Lurker, but I think it's completely logical. Pacts and corruption come together, right? ;-)


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If you don't mind playing with custom component, you could try my Cult of the Thousand custom Institution to fix some of the problems related to the Black Goat of the Woods:

The-Cult-of-the-Thousand-Front-Face.png

Musha Shukou and Gary Manning like this

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I like it! Forbidden Places does not apply when gates appear on those locations, right? One other small detail would also make sense: When Shub-Niggurath awakens, investigators with cult membership are devoured. For each investigator devoured this way, her combat rating improves by 1 (or 2, it does so with 'Join Me!' plot card against Nyarlathotep). Cultists cannot fight their Goddess, after all! ;-)


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Manishtusu said:



I like it! Forbidden Places does not apply when gates appear on those locations, right? One other small detail would also make sense: When Shub-Niggurath awakens, investigators with cult membership are devoured. For each investigator devoured this way, her combat rating improves by 1 (or 2, it does so with 'Join Me!' plot card against Nyarlathotep). Cultists cannot fight their Goddess, after all! ;-)





Glad you like it :-)



Indeed, Forbidden Places doesn't apply when you have gates open at those locations.



As for you other comment, yes, linking the Institution to Shub could have offered some more thematically significant options, but I preferred not adding anything Shub-related in order to have the Institution as "universal" as possible (there are tons of good Shub Heralds if you want to boost her a little - or a lot - and you can combine them with this Institution. If you want a really *brutal* game, go with this one, plus Avi's revised Black Goat Herald, plus my "The Gate to the Void" Herald). But clearly, feel free to add all the extra lines you want to have the best gaming experience possible :-)


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Nonimus said:

Julia can u send me that Herald in JPG format?

Sure! PM me your e-mail, and it's done!

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I'm looking at your Lurker variant (Aforgomon) and it just came to me - can you exhaust a dark pact the same turn you get it? The herald itself states that  pacts can be taken 'at the start of any turn', which seems a bit vague to me. Is it during upkeep phase or even before that? If it's in the upkeep phase, can you even tap it right away? 


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Manishtusu said:

I'm looking at your Lurker variant (Aforgomon) and it just came to me - can you exhaust a dark pact the same turn you get it? The herald itself states that  pacts can be taken 'at the start of any turn', which seems a bit vague to me. Is it during upkeep phase or even before that? If it's in the upkeep phase, can you even tap it right away? 

Ehm… my Aforgomon? Are your questions related to my Herald or to the Lurker in general? According to the core rules (no Julia's herald here), the Lurker allows you to take a pact at the starting of your turn (hence, the very beginning of the Upkeep phase). So you're technically allowed to take a pact and use it immediately. A common house rule is that you're not allowed to spend power in the turn you gain it. My Herald is a little nastier, forcing you to gain power and trying to limit the ways you can spend it

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Ah okey, thanks. That's how I've been playing, it just came to me when I was browsing your custom heralds and got into a mind-focused-on-rules-mode . That's usually how exploits are given birth, not with arkham horror though! My fellow players tend to bash me for my 'great ideas'. :-D So anyway, I meant the basic Lurker. Not sure I'm ready for Aforgomon though… think I'll play a game horribly wrong first and hoard power / take pacts right away. Then your herald may feel easier! :-D


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Manishtusu said:

Ah okey, thanks. That's how I've been playing, it just came to me when I was browsing your custom heralds and got into a mind-focused-on-rules-mode . That's usually how exploits are given birth, not with arkham horror though! My fellow players tend to bash me for my 'great ideas'. :-D So anyway, I meant the basic Lurker. Not sure I'm ready for Aforgomon though… think I'll play a game horribly wrong first and hoard power / take pacts right away. Then your herald may feel easier! :-D

:laughter: after a while, the official Lurker will be like a little pet obeying to all your orders… "go and fetch that seal" / "arf!!"

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Okey, so I've decided to test your Cult Institution, Julia. Although the first game ended with a draw (my first draw, ever) after the dunwich horror - or rather, the terrible rolls pissed me off completely, so I packed up. It wasn't related to the cult, just plain old 'cursed' (as in real life curse) dice. :-( 

I like the automatic cult membership. Lingering evil looks amazing, even though I had no arkham encounters with my one cultist, it does seem to integrate cult encounters and corruption into the game. Forbidden places is nasty! Nasty, but reasonable. I'd normally send the cultist to those places anyway. 

Now the only part that I found debilitating was the Whisperings in Darkness. Ithaqua's +2 toughness modifier coupled with low will characters didn't help too much either, the only character who could deal with the cultist was a cultist herself. Avoiding was not an option - the -3 awareness modifier made sure of that. A question: Does botching the will roll against the cultist ends your movement? I assumed not. From what I've experienced, cultist characters have to avoid other cultists at all cost, lest they have a good chance of losing a powerful item or getting cursed (I prefer to simply be devoured sometimes...). Others can get a free membership, or choose to set their will pretty high. And quite possibly, no trophies for them. I'm thinking about altering this part for my games, here's what I have in mind:
Similarly to Nodens' nightgaunts, you can become a cultist instead of fighting the monster. If you choose to kill it instead, you still gain a corruption. They would also ignore cult members, who would still be cursed after killing them. What do you think? It's your creation, after all. :-)  

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Thanks for the feedback! The idea was that to enter combat with Cultists, you have to pass the Will check, otherwise they overtalk you, asking funds for their Church if you're a Brother of the Order, or simply selling you a new membership, so that the number of "cultist" investigators increases over time. So, technically, they are here to pillage slowly your resources. You have to have a good investigator Blessed and with some clues to sacrifice in order to get rid of them. Or you can simply plan your movement in order to avoid them, but this will slow you down a little. It shouldn't be too heavy, considering that the first time you cross a cultist's path you basically take a membership. Additionally, this gives some sense to becoming the Deputy.

Clearly, you can pass good items to investigators not forced to encounter any cultist (but yes, failing the Will check stops your movement, as if you entered fight with them)

Don't worry if it seems tough. It was designed to be nasty, and to become a lot more nastier if you let the number of cultists increase (Ithaqua's three toughness cultists could be tough, but afterall they are cultists, you can do it!)

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I'll just have to keep in mind that it's not a purely beneficial institution like the others. :-) I usually try to balance out the gap between investigators and the ancient one. I drew a decent team against Ithaqua, so I chose the Black Goat as herald of the game. That may have tipped the balance... considering the only characters with decent will rating were cursed (Rex and Ursula, after failing her PS, thanks to a Dark Druid pushing monsters into the vortexes).

What application do you use to create custom AH sheets? 

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Yeah, the idea was not having a "benefical" Institution, but something adding theme and helping fixing some BGotW parts. Plus, I don't like easy games :-p

Anyhow, there is this marvellous freeware software developed by Chris Jennings (may he always be praised for his gift to the community) able to recreate all cards of Arkham (and many other games if you download the plug-ins) that is called Strange Eons. You can get it here

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Just some things I do:

 

The Black Goat of the Woods: In the expansion you need the herald for corruption cards to come in to play by defeating hexagon monsters, so when we are not using the herald, corruption cards still come in to play when you kill a Dark Young, even when not using the herald. This doesn't have them come into play all the time, but definitely more often. This has actually been my favorite house rule by far for the sake of corruption cards coming into play nearly every game.

 

The King in Yellow: I have tried many different things with the Terror Track and am not set one any one rule. But I've tried where every time the terror track increases you lose a sanity or stamina. I've tried when the terror track increases, investigators lose any combination of sanity/stamina equal to the current terror level. I've tried when you reach 3, 6, and 9 and close the respective shops, you also draw a blight card.

 

Anyways, just ideas I've tried and enjoyed and that have helped make certain diluted aspects become more prevalent.

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I like the idea of the Blight cards with the 3/6/9 Terror Tracks. I know Blights are nasty, and having a shop close down, along with a Blight, even out of the KiY expansion is not going to make life any easier in Arkham!

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Use a trigger for the terror track on the doom track. Every 3 doomers, +1 terror and a Blight in play (or an extra Blight with KiY in play). Or start the game with three Blights in play. Or play with the Phantom of Truth (magnificent custom Herald)

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Another solution for corruption I came up with:
Whenever you defeat a monster, roll a die. If the result is equal or lower than the monster's toughness, you gain a corruption. Not tested yet. I like the 3 doom + 1 terror and the 1 per each close ideas!

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If you want to have some corruption cards in play, you could consider playing with Amikezor's Sheldon Gang:

 

SheldonGang-Herald-1.jpg

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These are all great options for involving corruption mechanics more, thanks! I am figuring that the check for Elusive cultists happens first, then the Horror check, then the check for Will (call it Persuasive?)?

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Yeah, sure, first you roll for the Elusive trait (if you fail, you can't encounter them), then you check the Horror (their horrific sight could damage you even further) and then resolve any special abilities (implying that you now can deal with them)

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I just finished testing two custom sheets: Aforgomon and some nasty houserules for corruption (written on a sheet like an institution with SE). I must say, this was my most brutal game, ever. Investigators died to Innsmouth Look (Amanda's PS), Vessel of the Mythos (poor Joe) and Legacy of Blood (Yorick and Vincent). The latter caused Glaaki to awaken at terror level 9, with 4 seals down after a gate burst. Some observations:

 

Aforgomon: Lurker is not a joke anymore. I could literally feel the darkness taking hold of the investigators and for the first time in my gaming history, I was afraid to draw from the reckoning deck (getting devoured isn't just a nuisance with Glaaki around). The first few seals came easy, but the game got exponentially harder later on. 

 

Houserules: corruption for monsters (if you roll same or less as it's toughness), corruption for closing a gate (and not sealing) and of course, corruption for each dark pact you gain. In the end, I progressed well into the red phase. Joe was utterly consumed after closing a gate to R'lyeh, though he freed William from some nasty 'draw 2 more corruption cards' corruptions. 

 

To sum it all up, this was a particularly nasty combo. Afo is definitely a keeper and so are the corruption rules. Just not against Glaaki, I cannot take it again!

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