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Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




MinistryofLard posted:

I'm really confused as to what PCs are meant to DO in Monte Cooke's Twee Wonderland. What's a campaign objective meant to look like? Are they just racking up orbs and repeatedly failing at digging and filling ditches for xp?

I assume you meet in a pub and go out and explore dungeons and kill kobolds for loot. I assume this because I doubt Monte Cook could ever break himself away from the mindset of Dungeons and Dragons.

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Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Wasn't all this why 4th Edition invented Astral Diamonds? A half pound vial of those was meant to be some ungodly amount of GP.

I also remember some book during 3e's life cycle (Arcana Unearthed maybe?) where they had as a possible setting conceit paper money, in the form of promissory notes given by the church of the god of the wealth each being backed by the value of a certain tier of clerical spell. Not the Gold standard, the God standard.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




hyphz posted:

I only needed to read the post about how if someone shoots your armor enough you can go itano circus and fire a pistol 100 times in a round.

I would like a link to this post. It sounds amazing.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




1994 Toyota Celica posted:

HONEY CAN YOU SWEEP THE TRASH INTO THE WYRMMAW

WE'RE EXPECTING THE TZIMISCE FOR DINNER AT SEVEN

I would absolutely watch this sitcom.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




My first exposure to Buck Rogers was Daffy Duck as "Duck Dodgers in the 24th and a half century". It was about ten years after first viewing that I figured out that it was a parody of something in specific.

Also :justpost:

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Nessus posted:

Pounded in the Butt by my Unquestioned Accumulated Grognard Experience with its thrilling sequel, Turned Gay By The Handsome Sentient Mustard I Smuggled Into The City To Evade Taxes

I think I'd trust Chuck Tingle to GM a game sooner than I'd trust Smolensk.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Joe Slowboat posted:

There can be more than one The Doctor! Also, I have never, ever seen a character or NPC in an RPG who's meant to be the Doctor who hasn't been insufferable, even the fun ones. The Rake is one of the fun ones, potentially, with a good ST. The Rake also seems insufferable.

And that's sort of the double bluff of The Doctor, because The Doctor if often insufferable in his own show. The trick is that in good Who that insufferability can also often be the fun of the character, The Doctor is an exasperating super-intelligent weirdo gallivanting around causing and solving all kinds of hijinx who's arrogant enough to always assume he knows better. Worst of all he's often correct. It shouldn't be a surprise that whenever more than one incarnation of The Doctor meet they never get along, every single one of them assumes they're the best and The Doctor loves the spotlight as much as he hates being upstaged, even by themself.

That dynamic doesn't work well in tabletop because most RPGs already have people who are just like the Doctor in action and outcome who go around dealing and defeating hijinx, in common parlance they're called PCs. Introducing a Doctor-esque character usually doesn't work out because what makes The Doctor tolerable, IE being heroic and doing the right thing from his vantage point on high, is no longer unique and so you're left with his personality and his personality is as an insufferable, exasperating etc. Take away what The Doctor uniquely does from who The Doctor is and put that into tabletop and you have a gloryhound who always tries to hog the spotlight, and that's always an obnoxious kind of character.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




wiegieman posted:

The one eternal truth about the furries is that there's a whole ton of disposable income to squeeze out of them. Any profit motivated company will hold their nose and sell what they want.

This lamentable fact is why Major\Minor and Winds of Change exist.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




JcDent posted:

How do you replenish your supply of "a lot"?

Demon has a little bit in the book where they mention a) Demons aren't really sure why they can make pacts, they just can, and being that they're Demons this inspires lots of paranoia but it's also extremely important so everyone still makes pacts, and b) that the stuff they produce doesn't really come from "nowhere", if you give someone resources it doesn't mean that the money or whatever just spontaneously generates, rather something happens so that the pact recipient gets the money instead of someone else. The example they give, if I'm remembering right, has the resources might be given to a professor in the form of a grant that otherwise would have gone to someone else's project. You don't create something, you just (somehow, maybe) rebalance fate or causality or whatever so it slides an existing payout or opportunity towards whoever makes the pact.

Demon is really cool.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Kurieg posted:

The only way to get a cover without stealing something from someone is to "angel-jack". Which is, steal the identity of an angel and do whatever task is required of it before going off script, you'll have a perfect cover because the god machine made it, up until you gently caress it up.

And as for what happened to the angel the cover was for? Who knows.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




So Technomancers basically have Link Sense from the most recent (sixth) season of Yugioh, and just like the most recent season of Yugioh it's underexplained and underexplored. Yugioh VRAINS even has magic computer program spirits. Also appropriately Yugioh VRAINS sucked.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Robindaybird posted:

and he misses the point Outer Heaven was basically an extreme and lunatic fringe response to a real issue.

Yeah, the thing to remember about Metal Gear is that NOBODY who sets out to solve that issue and inherit the will of The Boss does any good in any way. That's maybe kind of the point, even in the metatextual sense since the entire drat series starting from MGS2 is about the disconnect between message and audience.

So about par for the course for the Chud demographic, who never seem to realize they're the villain who isn't helping anything at all.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Drakli posted:

So, is the Abyss basically like The Nothing from Neverending Story where it's a semi-sentient void, or more like the Dungeon Dimensions from Discworld or Yog-Sothoth from Lovecraft where it's crammed with Things Which Cannot Exist in our reality?

Yes.

The abyss is a vast expanse of malefic anti-creation that's anathematically opposed to existence, knowledge, and supernal enlightenment and also a blanket location for everything that isn't or won't be or shouldn't be or can't be and also host to a bunch of Lovecraftian nightmare things that would like to get in and end the world.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




I will accept gun customization only if you can go full Resonance of Fate.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




I'm certainly no expert on Shadowrun, but as an outsider there's a very 80s and 90s vibe to Shadowrun, its assumptions of the setting and the players, and the curious scope. I may be shooting completely on spare, but I wonder if the curious unreality of Shadowruns and Shadowrunners are kind of a result of Shadowrun's 80s lineage. For instance I wonder if Shadowrunners exist because the game never got beyond the same default assumption of DnD that all you need for setup is "you meet up in a bar and a person gives you a quest". Shadowrun feels like a heavily gorged setting but as has been pointed out while there's lots of player facing stuff there's less player justifying stuff. Explaining Murderhoboing is always kind of a tricky sell, but it's easier in a fantasy setting where the assumption is that there's lots of unexplored/untamed locations with monsters and we need to occasionally point people with swords in that direction. It works far less effectively as an explanation in Shadowrun's near-future Urban Science Fantasy Cyberpunk setting.

Again, I have little real experience with Shadowrun, but there is a very 80s and 90s feel to the massive cruft and the way it feels like the game that never got beyond rules as physics. I remember reading a 4th edition Shadowrun module and as a plot point a person gets murdered and the game actually bothers to explain mechanically how it can happen and how one person did this and got these results on their role to shut off the security and another person specifically used this spell at this power to do this much damage and kill this woman. It stood out to me that the game couldn't just say "and she's found dead of magic and someone hacked the system", they had to give the exact mechanical actions taken as though the module had to justify itself to the reader.

As for calamitous Crit Fail results they seem like they suck in everything except a game like Paranoia, where the point is violent farce and slapstick.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Mors Rattus posted:

The most accurate cyberpunk future so far has been Megaman Battle Network.

I would totally endorse a cyberpunk setting that had the same zany energy as that series. Yeah, sure, the giant alien meteorite is actually a massive computer server which is host to an alien program that intends to judge the sins of man. Why not?

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Oh I knew exactly what you were talking about, but at the same time I think a series that says "Actually, yes, you can do stuff" and also the setting is fun to engage with would be a good thing just in general.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Nessus posted:

I had felt from day 1 hour 1 of hearing about the sex moves that it - and essentially every other situation in a game like this where there is a similar sexytimes power - would work far, far better if it was "intimacy." Which can include sex, but can include another intimate shared experience with another person.

I was under the impression that Sex moves didn't necessarily demand the act of actual intercourse, and could indeed be triggered by being in a deeply intimate moment that doesn't necessarily have to be romantic.

And if I'm wrong then I totally agree, it should be from more than sex.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Hostile V posted:

...wait, wasn't there a monster-hunter class, the Chosen? Or am I misremembering things based on Monster of the Week.

Feinne said Chosen was bopped off the core set and into supplementals.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Berkshire Hunts posted:

If you think this is bad, wait until you find out about the Word of God ĎGoodí slave-owning elves

Didn't Dragonlance's backstory have a full on repressive fascist empire that was still somehow Lawful Good?

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




wiegieman posted:

I would expect nothing less from the game that lets you ignore bad things because you're so good looking that bad things just don't happen to you.

Or as Feinne pitched in the last thread you can have a party comprised of Drow Batman, Drow Reg Shoe, and the monster from a Japanese/Drow horror movie.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Joe Slowboat posted:

I love it when settings construct elaborate reasons by which itís actually Good to commit megadeath, especially Mormon sci-fi/fantasy novels.

(I donít love it)

Is it particular to Mormonism? I ask because I read a blog post a few years back where someone argued that Ender's Game is set up to be an "Innocent Murderer" and the author of the piece goes through the litany of ways that responsibility for everything is very very very carefully insulated from Ender, with the commentary suggesting this is a particularly Mormon thing happening there without actually going into how it's particularly Mormon.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




PurpleXVI posted:

Dragonlance!


I cannot wait to learn more about the things I successfully missed. I read a lot of mediocre stuff in High School, but by shear dumb luck the fantasy series I got way into was Discworld.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Thanks Skeleton Warrior!

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




I am starting to get the feeling that maybe the people were extremely within their rights to abandon the gods.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Fire Emblem also frequently talks as though your army is more than the 25-35ish elite oddballs who get names and faces. The idea that the big battles are larger in storyline than they are in strict measure of gameplay could well be a good idea for a game like DnD because when you bolt mass combat onto a game not really made for it you usually wind up dropping that first m.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Libertad! posted:

Fire Emblem had perm-death and no means of recruiting beyond story-based characters. In Valkyria Chronicles if you're dumb enough to kill off all of your non-essential characters they will be replaced by literal nameless mooks who are worse stat-wise in every way. A tabletop equivalent would be something which gives you incentive to keep the good troops alive, and lock the "bad mooks" into a punishment routine where your army's gotten so desperate they're scraping the bottom of the barrel in peasant conscripts.

Fire Emblem 11/Shadow Dragon is the one and only FE that took after Valkyria Chronicles by having a mechanic such that if you were under a certain number of units after every map you were given mooks to make up the difference. Said mooks were pulled in from a big long list, had exactly baseline stats, and about halfway through that list (in the localization at least) you got characters with mocking names that essentially called you bad at the game for chewing through enough characters to see them.

In an intriguing bit of bad game design the game also locked access to sidestories with high value recruits behind number of total characters, IE to get some choice allies and items you had to deliberately let people die.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




I'm out of the loop on Eclipse Phase, who are the Lost and what's different between Psykers in 1e and 2e to make it markedly more idiotic to use them in the latter edition?

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Yay! I think.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




PurpleXVI posted:

Ummmm.....

So, is this adventure supposed to be a farce? Because so far this reads like a Ralph Bakshi fever dream. A demigoddess shagging a genetically engineered superdragonman is killing good dragons because moon magic and also the party go and help a dude in a giant dragon body/model and also there's bizarre PETA elves who give them bees to reattach a dragon's head to its body and also there's a tribe of nimrods who are queasily racist. I'm just saying if the solution to this adventure ends up being "Shoot the bad guy with a gun" I loving called it.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Mors Rattus posted:

Oh, sure, yes.

I just never waste a chance to paraphrase Vadinho.

Nor should you. Vadinho is one of those characters who's immeasurably cooler than the trashfire they're stuck in, and begging to be someone's character inspiration in a game.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




I wish I'd read everything in this thread, but I want to let anyone who ever posted anything ever that you did something that's worth celebrating.

Goonspeed you magnificent people.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




After chewing on all the Invisible Sun bunk about "The two secret magic directions" I realized that was sort of what was happening in one of the stories in nWoD's Horror Identification Guide. That story was much better.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




FMguru posted:

Each PC in Call of Cthulhu (going back to the very first version from 1981) has three metagame skills (Know, Idea, and Luck) that are meant to goose a party along when it hits a dead end. Everyone has them, and they're usually at or above 50%, so when the adventure seizes to a halt, the players or even the Keeper can call for Luck and Idea checks until someone succeeds and they get a clue they need to bump them along in the scenario. Really, it's a formal mechanic that allows the Keeper to fudge outcomes in order to keep a session on track.

One of the reasons I was kind of disappointed in Gumshoe/Trail of Cthulhu was that the big innovation in the system (you always get the appropriate clue you need to progress in the scenario! No more dead ends because nobody made their Library Use skill!) was solving a problem that CoC had mostly solved in its first iteration.

This is a page back, but 7e CoC specifically and explicitly calls out failing forward when using Idea rules. If you succeed in an Idea roll you get the solution or the connecting piece the players missed or whatever, if you fail you still get the solution of the missing piece of whatever at some sort of cost. The example given is rolling Idea to figure out that a cult is running a particular bookshop, with a success being a character remembers the bookshop is important and a failure being "You walk into the bookshop four weeks later after an exhausting period of hitting dead ends and are set upon by cultists." The book explicitly calls out Idea rolls as a method to get the game moving along, you only call for one/are asked for one if the players are totally stumped and have no idea how to go forward, and the GMing chapter says that you should set the difficulty of the roll based how obvious the clue was, with it being easier if the players completely missed the clue and much harder if it's been called out repeatedly.

I still have some issues with how the book frames it though. For one, in the example they use the idea roll is at Hard difficulty (you have to roll under half your skill, equivalent to an INTx3 test in previous editions) because the "clue" was mentioned once, but said clue in the example is that they saw the bookshop owner at a cultist meeting. Problem is that the play example points out that the players actually don't know that because they flubbed a Spot Hidden roll, and while the book says that calling for a roll was a mistake and that the GM did bring up the owner a couple of times it still reads like the players are paying for failing a different roll which seems pointlessly mean spirited. Why shouldn't it be at regular difficult considering the players totally missed this clue? Additionally the book points out that since failing to hit an idea roll can be real bad players may not want to do it, and its suggestion to the GM at this case is "End the session right there, ask what they'll do next, and if you're not happy with the responses force an idea roll."

Call of Cthulhu is the sort of game that demands a certain amount of buy-in from the players, and while I like fail forward Idea rolls the GM advice feels a little bit too adversarial to me. I honestly don't get why they put in the idea of scaling difficulties for Idea rolls, surely the price of failure is inherently bad enough that you don't want to push the button unless you feel you really need to? It's just like Pushing Rolls, it gives the players more options and more tools they can use, but it also creates more stress because the possibility of a pushed failure can be real bad. Moreover the book suggests to the GM that you foreshadow what would happen in case of a pushed failure, whereas RAW the players have no input on how a failed Idea roll will hose them.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Speaking of Harvey Walters, the Arkham horror card game just released a starter deck led by him. So you can, if you wanted, use him as your personal investigator in that game. Amusingly, he actually has a pretty good willpower score in the game.

The Arkham horror card game is also I think the only Cthulhu game where magic is depicted gameplay wise is fairly safe and reliable, oddly. There are a lot of spells in AH that have a chance of a negative side effect, and there's a decent theme that Mystics are playing with fire or performing spells that require certain sacrifices, but even the dangerous magic is consistent and but there's a lot of magic and magical objects that you can put in your deck that are completely safe, reliable, and useful.

Of course half of that is this is a cooperative, mechanically rigorous card game. Call of Cthulhu is an RPG with the skill-based character creation system and by that nature it can justify the idea that magic is extremely dangerous and not something you want to do lightly (or ever at all if you can help it), whereas the Arkham horror card game is a game where one of the five factions is "mystic" with the assumed game style of putting down spells and using them to solve problems.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




NGDBSS posted:

Oh, when did they add a nun character?

She was in the base set of the 2e Board Game. They're bringing her over into the card game in October's expansion (along with A student/deep one hybrid, a fisherman/deep one hybrid, James Bond but a woman from the 1920s so more awesome, and a famous stage magician who learned actual magic). Note that said nun can't actually use a sawed off shotgun because she's insufficiently Roguish. So for the record you can be a monster killing Nun with one or more of a Machete, a magical cursed blade, a magical non-cursed blade, a Shotgun, a .45 Thompson, a Flamethrower, or a Yithian Lightning Gun. However you cannot be a monster killing Nun with a Switchblade, Garrote Wire, Different kind of .45 thompson, .41 Deringer, Fancy looking Flintlock, or Sawed Off Shotgun.

Arkham Horror is way Pulpy to its benefit. If you run into The King in Yellow, you absolutely can light him on fire and you better believe that does something. The real challenge is not whether or not you can beat Hastur with a flamethrower because you totally can, the real thing you have to be worrying about is whether you have enough fuel in the tank to do it, and if you don't then thankfully the person playing your priest buddy can provide you with some blessed gasoline the deals bonus damage because that's a card you can play.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Night10194 posted:

I admit I'd play the hell out of a Mythos RPG that effectively recreated the feel of the Arkham card games. Probably more than I'd play CoC, but then I have a hard time finding the Mythos scary or mysterious at all since it's so familiar after being used over and over again by every nerd thing under the sun and that undermines what CoC is going for pretty hard.

You're not alone, even in the context of CoC. It's worth pointing out that the best adventures in the core book of fifth (and sixth, that's the book I have) edition Arkham horror have nothing to do with the canonical beasties. The super well known and beloved haunted house scenario may not even have established gribblies showing up at all depending on how you run it.Some of the best and most interesting modules make up entirely new weird monsters with their own tics and quarks and ideas.

Arkham horror the card game is very much a game where you absolutely can win out over the mythos. It's not easy, victory isn't assured, it doesn't come cheap, you'll end up with some damage by the end of it, but you can win. Maybe not forever, maybe not for good, but you absolutely can shoot Nyarlathotep in the tentacle until he runs away and leaves the dreamlands behind.

Edit: Now I'm half tempted to try and write up the Arkham Horror LCG for the thread.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




NGDBSS posted:

I looked her up and wow how did I forget Sister Mary. Probably because there are a lot of strange characters to that game and she's comparatively normal. My favorite was the gravedigger, William Yorick, even with his cripplingly low Speed. Did they rebalance Patrice Hathaway to be less overpowered or is she still as nuts as before?

If you're talking about the card game versus the board game, then know that Patrice is crazy good in a radically different way from the boardgame, in the card game. In the card game Patrice has bad stats, but that doesn't matter much when you're drawing five cards a turn. Meanwhile, good old Will Yorick is arguably the most durable dude in the card game. When I played as Yorick in a recent campaign there was one scenario where basically just sat in front of a dark young and face tanked it for a couple turns.

Night10194 posted:

Honestly I'd be really interested. A cooperative card game is an interesting bit of design and very adjacent to RPGs.

Then I guess I'll start working on some :justpost: then. The fact and mechanics of it being a cooperative card game is interesting because there's a lot of effects that in a competitive game would seem way overpowered. What's better than ancestral recall? Ancestral recall that doesn't even cost anything.

Omnicrom fucked around with this message at 21:49 on Aug 26, 2020

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Arkham Horror: The Living Card Game 1 - or "What is this anyways?"

Once upon a time there was a pen and paper RPG called "The Call of Cthulhu". It was very successful. It codified and integrated a bunch of old weird fiction stories by noted racist anti-Semite H.P. Lovecraft. My personal take is that the COC RPG more than anything else is responsible for Cthulhu's ascendancy in nerd ephemera.

Call of Cthulhu was so successful, in fact, that they made a boardgame in 1987 based off of it called "Arkham Horror". It was a very weird and messy game that did never quite got the hang of what it meant to be "cooperative", but it did well enough that it was remembered fondly and much celebrated.

In 2005 Fantasy Flight Games, fine purveyors of extremely overcomplicated boardgames based off of licensed properties, were tapped to make a new edition of Arkham horror, so they did. It was largely accurate to the first edition, wonderfully gonzo, and an overcomplicated hot mess of a game and I love it very much. And it was successful. Of course it was successful, it was a game where you could shoot Cthulhu in the face with a shotgun. It was successful enough that they started making more Cthulhu games under what's now FFG's "Arkham Files" imprint. In short order we got Elder sign (Cthulhu Yahtzee), Mansions of Madness (Descent but Cthulhu), Eldritch Horror (Arkham Horror but worldwide), and of course a trading card game "The Call of Cthulhu Collectible Card Game".

Now about that last one, during the 90s TCG boom Chaosium, the people behind both the COC RPG and Runequest, tried their hand at it with a game called "mythos". Unsurprisingly it didn't work. In 2004, a year before Arkham Horror 2nd Edition, they licensed out making a Cthulhu TCG to FFG, and I assume they liked it enough to give them the nod to make Arkham Horror board games which is where we got here. After a couple of years being a standard booster based TCG, the COC card game moved on to be one of the first "Living Card Game" or LCG. Unlike randomized boosters the idea of LCGs were that you got predetermined expansion packs on a regular basis ensuring that everyone had the same access to the card pool. There is some amount of discussion here about the merits and flaws of it, but all you need to know was that it made enough money that FFG's card games in general all use the LCG distribution method including the Arkham Horror LCG. When the call of Cthulhu TCG wrapped Fantasy Flight Games weren't ready to let that money train end.

So now are here: The Arkham Horror Living Card Game. Rather than a competitive card game this is a cooperative one, a game in the liminal space between boardgame, card game, and RPG. In the Arkham Horror Living Card Game you and up to three others play the role of investigators trying to survive and overcome the forces of the mythos in a wide variety of scenarios and campaigns. In many ways the game is a game of the Arkham Horror boardgame done entirely with cards. You move around a game space using a mix of weapons, items, spells, and skills to progress through the story while fending off monsters and madness, all of which are on and represented by cards.

The short of it? A really pulpy Call of Cthulhu game if you engaged with it using playing cards. And boy howdy are there a lot of cards. When you put out something like 60+ cards nearly every month for about five years you make a lot of cards. So let's try and break it down a little bit.

Arkham Horror the Card Game divides cards into two broad types, Player Cards (the good cards, cards you can put in your deck), and Encounter Cards (bad cards, cards you do everything in your power to thwart). To begin a campaign of Arkham Horror you start by choosing your investigator. By default each investigator, and indeed most of the player cards in the game, belong to one of five factions. Faction determines what cards you can use and what those cards are good for. Each faction represents a kind of archetype of how you're getting through your Lovecraft game.



Guardians (in blue) are are generally your shooty, fighty, stabby people. Guardians get big guns and Crocodile Dundee approved knives. They also get cards that allow them to support other players, draw the attention of monsters away from squishier people, and generally act as the vanguards of the party. The Guardian usually solves problems with their fists and deals with traps using their face. Naturally this can be a strength or weakness depending on the problem and the trap.



Seekers (in brownish yellow) are academics, researchers, and investigators. Seekers can move around fast, they draw lots of cards, and their ability to investigate, uncover clues, and progress the story positively are all really important. However they generally have no combat ability. These are the people that quite frequently the Guardian protects. Seeker and Guardian are a common two player pair, brains combined with brawn.



Rogues (in green) are criminals, scoundrels, politicians, and people of influence (but I repeat myself). They're fast and tricky. Rogues can do a lot of different things, but rarely directly. Rogues get lots of incidental bonuses, like to show off and be rewarded for it, and have enough tricks that they can operate as jacks of all trades. They can also make a lot of money and have ways to bend or break the rules of the game in their favor.



Mystics (in purple) get up to all sorts of wizz bizz. Mystics can do a lot of things, along with using magic for attacking and dodging and moving they can also play fast and loose with probability, counterspell obnoxious and dangerous cards, and do various and sundry other magic tricks. The downsides are twofold: firstly Cthulhu magic often has a drawback or the chance for a bad side effect. The second is that a mystic is often better at magic than anything else, and to do a thing with magic you need an "do a thing" spell, without the right spell they can end up in a nasty situation and let's remember this is still a card game where you draw from a shuffled deck...



Survivors (in red) weren't even supposed to be here today. They're the hapless dweebs that accidentally fell into a cosmic horror game. Along with Stella the mail carrier up there Survivor characters have included a teenage runaway, a hobo, and a college athlete. Many Survivor cards usually represent completely mundane everyday objects, a baseball bat, a fire ax, a newspaper. Despite this, survivors are extremely resilient, resource efficient, and more than that lucky. Survivors can walk it off better than absolutely anyone else.

Okay, that's the overview, but what do all the things actually mean? Well putting aside the mechanical text on the right with the various arrows and squiggles and symbols (some of which are self-evident or deducable, others not so much) the numbers along the top represent the base stats of the investigator, while the numbers on the bottom are their health tracks. The health tracks are fairly straightforward, the red heart represents stamina (meat damage) while the blue brain represents sanity (mind damage). If you take damage equal to your stamina or horror equal to your sanity you're taken out and defeated. Importantly, that doesn't mean you're either dead or insane though, and we'll get to that.

From left to right the base stats along the top are Willpower, Intellect, Combat, and Agility. In general the stats are fairly self-explanatory. Willpower (Head) lets you resist the various kinds of madness the game throws at you and represents your ability to use magic. Intellect (Book) is your smarts and your perception and the number you use when you're looking for clues. Combat (Fist) is combat, useful for hitting monsters or dispatching cultists and also useful in case you need to break down a locked door. Agility (Shoe) is not your movement speed (which is static), but it is your ability to avoid certain traps and hazards and to escape from monsters.

For context a stat of 5 is excellent, 4 is pretty good, 3 is average, and anything below is bad. Thus at a glance you can tell the Guardian is the best fighter, the Seeker is the best thinker, the Mystic is the best at wizards, and the Rogue and Survivor are pretty fast. This is fairly representative of the whole cast of playable characters in the AHLCG. There are some exceptions of course, but in general every character has at least one stat they're good at and one stat they are most assuredly not. Thus space for teamwork emerges.

I mentioned a team up of Guardian and Seeker, but depending on how many players you have you can have characters set up whose primary role is locking down enemies or providing dedicated support or running off on their own and being sneaky and self-sufficient while the rest of the group murder balls around the cultist base. Every investigator has their own neat little gimmick that gives them a role to play, some are naturally better than others at playing solo but there's no one I'd call out and out bad or unplayable in multiplayer. It all comes down to what your team looks like and how you want to play.

Moreover the game itself is highly customizable. Every campaign has four different difficulties you can choose from (and also kind of a fifth) which range from intentionally very easy to "I hope you're playing a hyper optimized kill deck AND you're really lucky tonight". Thus along with highly optimized decks there's room for playing weird goofy builds like making a sniper rifle focused Guardian deck or going all in on Tarot Cards or deliberately driving yourself nearly insane to power up. Even further FFG has published a list of suggested (and wholy optional) balance modifiers you can apply to nerf really good cards, so there is almost certainly some combination of factors that will give you a play experience you can feel comfortable with.

Basically I love this game, and Night10194 had it in one because I absolutely would play an RPG with the same kind of feel as the Arkham Horror Card Game.

Next Time: Okay, so how does the game actually PLAY?

Omnicrom fucked around with this message at 21:58 on Mar 16, 2021

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Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




Arkham Horror: the Living Card Game 2 - But How Does It Play?

Before we actually start talking about the cards in the card game, it's probably best we start by explaining the absolute baseline mechanic for success or failure in the game.

So let's say you buy a copy of the core box for Arkham Horror. You open the lid and before you even get to any of the cards is a big old sheet of tokens.This is standard, it's a Fantasy Flight Games product. It's not FFG without 6000 counters now is it?


Not super great quality, but they're all here

Most the tokens and counters are fairly self-evident. There are brains and hearts, and larger brains and hearts with threes on them, these are the tokens you obviously use for representing Damage and Horror inflicted on both of your health tracks (and for marking damage on enemies!).

The wooden crates are baseline used for Resources, the currency you used to play cards. They also stand in for anything else you'd use a counter to represent. In regular play you'll also use these resource tokens to represent things like bullets in your gun or charges in a magical object, and there are plenty of scenarios that use them in various ways to mark progress or something similar. If you're fleeing through the flooded streets of Innsmouth they represent barriers in your way, if you're descending into the depths of the earth they can represent how far down you are, and if you're Solid Snaking your way out of a compound they represent the enemy's awareness of you.

The green tokens are double-sided, the visible green side are Clue Tokens, an abstraction of positive progress or knowledge needed to get a good ending on a scenario. Their other side is red and on that side they represent Doom Tokens, doom is everything from time running out to arcane progress for an evil ritual to any number of unknowable bad things that you don't want to happen. Doom accumulates every turn and ultimately leads to a bad ending, so each scenario has a hard time limit.

The remaining tokens, however, are where we're really going to start. The round tokens with numbers and symbols on them are Chaos Tokens and they are used for conflict resolution and skill tests. When you begin a campaign in Arkham Horror you choose one of four difficulties, depending on the chosen campaign and the difficulty you set up a Chaos Bag of around 15 tokens.

When you are called upon to make a skill check in the game you reach into the bag, pull out a token, and modify your skill by whatever number is on the token. If your modified skill is equal to or greater than the difficulty of the skill check you succeed. If you're lower, you fail. Generally speaking failure is a bad thing, and the game will be quite happy to tell you exactly what you lose.

So, a quick example:


Illicit because it's prohibition baby!

Liquid Courage here is a simple enough card. It comes with four swigs and you can spend an action (the arrow) to give someone a shot of Jack to try and help them forget about the horrors you've witnessed. You're guaranteed to heal one horror, and then the drinker makes a Willpower check at difficulty 2 (the number in the parentheses) to see if you heal an additional horror or if you discard a card (presumably from a splitting headache).

For sake of example let's say the person taking a shot is Zoey, the guardian from my first post. Zoey has a base willpower of 4, so I'm going to go ahead and set up for a normal difficulty run on the introduction campaign, The Night of the Zealot. Now I'm going to reach into the bag for the introduction scenario and I pull out... A -2 token! 4 minus 2 is 2, which is the difficulty on the card so she passes and heals another horror. (I actually pulled a tablet token but more on that in the second)

Now let's ask the question how did Zoey lose to sanity to begin with?


Yeah, that'd do it

Rotting Remains here is an obnoxiously common encounter card (encounter cards being the bad cards), made no less dangerous by how common it is. When it's your turn to draw encounter cards and you pull a rotting remains you gotta do what it says in the box and make a Willpower check at difficulty 3.

So I reach into the bag and pull out a -1 token. Lucky! Zoey's willpower of 4 minus the token value of 1 equals 3. Three is equal to the difficulty so Zoey passes and successfully receives nothing because encounter cards are mean. However it's better than failing badly and possibly taking as much as half of her maximum sanity in horror right off the bat.

Here's another kind of encounter card you're going to run into a lot:



As the text right over the art informs us this is an Enemy card. Enemies have a lot of fancy rules that we'll get to in a later installment, for now pay attention to the numbers along the top.

The numbers along the top of that Ghoul Minion from left to right are its Fight (in red with a fist), Health (in black), and Evade (in green with a foot). In some ways you can think of the ghoul, or indeed any enemy, as a walking series of skill checks. Thus if you want to fight the ghoul you must pass a Combat check with a difficulty equal to its Fight value. And since we are using Zoey as our example character and her backstory is God told her to kill monsters we absolutely do want to fight a ghoul.

So you know how it goes, Zoey has a base Combat value of 4, so we reach into the bag and pull out... a -1! That's a success, and so since we have succeeded in our Combat check we deal damage, one whole point. Of course the ghoul has two health so we need to make a second combat check to actually kill it so I'm gonna reach into the bag again and bring out... Another tablet token. So that's a -2 which means were successful in doing a second damage killing the ghoul, but we also take a damage in the process.

Wait what?


Oh yeah

So you may have noticed in the sheet of tokens that there were some Chaos Tokens that didn't have a number on them. Four of those tokens have scenario specific effects. Those tokens show a Skull, a Cultist, a broken Tablet, and an Elder Thing (the last of which is not in this scenario's Chaos Bag). Since we're using the Chaos Bag set up for The Gathering, the game's first scenario that starts the core box campaign, I figure it would be appropriate to use the scenario card for The Gathering.

Thus in this scenario, pulling a Tablet gives you a -2 to your skill for the duration of the check and hurts you if you're in the same location as as a ghoul enemy. Since Zoey is punching this ghoul with her bare hands she is definitely in the same location as the ghoul.

There are two more tokens that are special, one of them is the Elder Sign token which is something akin to a critical hit. When you pull an Elder Sign you get a special effect that varies depending on your character. If you go back and look at the Investigator cards I posted you'll see all of them have a little Elder Sign in their game text which tells you what you get if you pull one from the bag. Generally speaking, an Elder Sign effect ties into your character's play style and stands as a cool and personally appropriate bonus. Zoey is all about hitting monsters, so her Elder Sign effect she gets a +1 to her skill value and if she's hitting a monster when she pulled the token she deals bonus damage. Had Zoey pulled an Elder Sign on her first attack she would've killed the ghoul right out by dealing both of its health in damage

The other special token is the red Tentacle token. If you pull that token you are screwed because that token is the auto-fail. If you reveal the red Tentacle you immediately fail with a skill of zero. Even if the difficulty of the test is 0, you will still fail because the red token says you do. Both the Elder Sign and the Tentacle tokens are always in every scenario's Chaos Bag. The latter means that you always have a chance to eat mud, no matter how good your stats are or how easy the test is. In most scenarios it's only 1/15 or 1/16 to pull the Tentacle but it is always there...

So some further notes on the Chaos Bag and how it interacts with gameplay. First, and perhaps most obviously, almost all of the numbers are negative. There is a +1 token that appears on easy and standard difficulty. It's gone on a hard difficulty and expert difficulty. That means that when you're trying to do a thing you want to beat the difficulty, and the more you beat it by the better.

Secondly you may note that the scenario card I showed said "easy/standard" under the name of the scenario. That's because scenario cards are two-sided, the backside is used for hard and expert difficulty and it is a hell of a step up. On hard difficulty a tablet is actually -4, and if you have a ghoul at your location you take both a damage and horror. This is another knob you can crank to modify the difficulty, if you feel standard difficulty is too easy for you you can use the hard/expert scenario card to slap yourself around without having to also use the rougher token bag, or alternately use the hard/expert chaos bag with the easy/normal scenario card.

Thirdly, the Chaos Bag is not static. What it is when you start the campaign is not how it will be when you finish it. The campaign Night of the Zealot adds an Elder Thing token to the bag before its final scenario. Similarly, most campaigns will add tougher Chaos Tokens to the bag as the campaign goes along, usually once around the halfway point and again right at the climax. Tokens might also be added depending on your actions, successes, or failures. In one campaign the Cultist and Tablet tokens were used to mark your affiliation with two competing factions. In another campaign the special tokens change after nearly every scenario so you never quite know what's going to happen. In a third campaign one of the special tokens is always positive, but can only be earned by enlisting the help of a particular NPC.

Finally there are a lot of cards, especially in Mystic, that let you mess with the odds in the Chaos Bag. For instance there are cards that let you reveal multiple tokens and choose which one you want, or draw three and pick two, or draw five and choose a special symbol, or cards that give you alternate special token effects that aren't as mean, or even cards that let you literally yank tokens out of the bag so nobody can draw them (at least for a little while). There's even one that let you temporarily take the auto-fail out of circulation, which definitely soothes nerves for as long as it lasts.

Next Time! We Actually Talk about Cards in This Card Game!

Omnicrom fucked around with this message at 04:13 on Mar 17, 2021

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