Dark Side of the Moon

Other encounter sets in this scenario: Corsairs, Dreamer’s Curse, Ancient Evils

Size of the Encounter Deck28
# Enemies9
# Agility7
# Willpower4
# Doom3

My take on this encounter deck: Despite Ancient Evils being a part of this relatively small encounter deck, doom progress isn’t the primary driving force for once. Instead, the scenario has us deal with alarm level and the cards that interact with it. To support this, more than half of the encounter deck is scenario specific cards, with only three other sets thrown in to fill up the deck with somewhat generic cards.
The scenario specific cards are without exception quite threatening. The enemies do pack quite the punch and of course the scenario also features the large Moon Lizard to pile on top of what’s already going on.
At the same time, the treacheries (and locations) test willpower and agility at every corner, and failing at them will just feed into the alarm level and thus into more difficult tests down the line. As a result, investigators with a particular weakness in either agility ( like Leo) or willpower (like Finn) or both (like Joe) can find themselves completely unable to deal with many of the key challenges of the scenario if the rest of the team isn’t able to compensate somehow. As a result, i personally think this is the most challenging scenario from the Dream-Eaters cycle, to the point where knowing that i have to face it does influence which investigators i even consider using to tackle the dream side of the campaign.

Counter these: Lunar Patrol, Close Watch. For once, it’s not necessarily Ancient Evils that needs to be canceled most. Keeping a low alarm level will save many actions on the way and will lessen the difficulty of many cards in this scenario. Of course, some investigators with high agility or spare assets to discard may be well equipped to handle either of those treacheries already, but if some are weak to these cards it’s worth keeping some protection up.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: At 5 strength and 5 health, the Moon-Beast is a powerful enemy to face in a fight. The Retaliate keyword makes attacking it even more of a risk. It only has an agility of 1, so it’s easy enough to evade and move past. However, not killing the Moon-Beast will lead to an increase of everyone’s alarm level. A victory point provides further incentive to attack the beast.

My take: Remember that evading an enemy will turn off the Retaliate keyword. This is one of the few enemies where doing so is very likely going to be worth taking the extra action to remove the threat of being counterattacked. Early in the scenario, i would try to take this creature down, the increase in alarm level is too punishing otherwise. Once on the second half of the scenario, just evading the thing and moving on becomes more attractive. I wouldn’t give the victory point too much of a consideration in how to deal with Moon-Beast. The campaign is fairly generous with XP and this is the last scenario before the finale anyways.

Threat level: High. These either will need a lot of actions to take down or will increase the difficulty of many other cards in the scenario.

Dealing with it: If possible, take it down to avoid carrying the alarm level penalty around for the rest of the scenario. But do consider how many actions it would require to actually do so. The initial evasion, 5 health, possible failed attacks… all this can easily add up to spending the equivalent of two turns just to deal with one enemy. Evaluating if it’s worth it or not is one of the more difficult decisions to make in this scenario and not necessarily obvious. Of note, the Moon-Beast is not an elite enemy, so cards like Waylay or Close Call can put in good work here.

Number in the encounter deck: 3

What it does: Cats from Saturn have mediocre stats on their own, but spawn with a number of swarm cards equal to the investigator’s alarm level. They do have Hunter, but will lose one swarm card whenever they move. Evading them will also cause them to lose a swarm card.

My take: If you let the alarm level pile up, the Cats of Saturn can become a major pain to deal with. At two life per creature, every swarm card will usually require an action, unlike for example Swarm of Spiders, where an attack action can often kill two or more of them. This is a very memorable card, i like it.

Threat level: Mid to High. There are several ways to deal with the card, but the strong scaling on the card can mean that it sticks around for a long time to harass the players.

Dealing with it: As one of the major payoff cards for the alarm level mechanic, keeping that alarm level low would be the first step in dealing with the Cats. If that fails and three or more swarm cards get attached to them, then usually evading is the better call than attacking as the evasion will take a swarm card away and having the Cats follow you around will wear them down as well. Also, just so it doesn’t get unmentioned: As with all swarming cards, having a specialized answer like Dynamite Blast or Storm of Spirits would be ideal of course.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: With a three in all stats, the Byakhee is not overly difficult to defeat, but it will require two actions most of the time. It has Alert and Hunter, but will ignore any investigator with low alarm levels. If it attacks, it deals a horror and three damage.

My take: Three damage is a whole lot to get hit for, so avoiding that should be a priority. An alarm level of three can easily be reached very soon even by investigators with high will and evasion, so dealing with the Byakhee in a permanent way is usually going to be the play.

Threat level: Mid to High. The combat stats aren’t anything too special, but the high damage in combination with Hunter means that dealing with the creature is a priority and leaves little room for errors.

Dealing with it: Being proactive goes a long way towards avoiding being dealt damage here. Instead of letting the Byakhee come to you, consider moving into its location and killing it in one turn. Staying below the alarm threshold is likely not going to be sustainable forever, so try to find the right moment to engage. While you are still at alarm 2 or less, the thing doesn’t fight back, giving another reason to be proactive about killing it.

Number in the encounter deck: 3

What it does: On failing an agility check, the player has to either sacrifice their asset with the highest cost or raise their alarm level. At a difficulty of four, the test is difficult enough that all but a few investigators should expect to either fail it or having to invest some cards.

My take: There’s three of these in the deck which makes them a key component of making this scenario particularly hostile towards low agility investigators. But even someone like Rita can not expect to just pass this test without commiting some cards or other resources to it. Unless the player just happens to be lucky enough that the treachery would hit an empty weapon or something similarly disposable, raising the alarm level is usually going to be the option to pick here.

Threat level: Low to Mid. A good way to think about this card is like it would just plainly have the text “Raise your alarm level by one.” and then thinking of the rest of the text as ways to mitigate the effect. So the actual threat of the card scales purely by how much the player cares about the alarm level.

Dealing with it: In spite of the player choice offered, this card is very straight forward in practice. Unless the player is trying hard to stay below an alarm level of three, it’s unlikely to be worth investing icons from cards into the agility test. If raising the alarm level or sacrificing the asset is the correct call, should usually be fairly obvious too.

Number in the encounter deck: 3

What it does: Forced into Hiding makes the investigator test their willpower against a difficulty equal to the alarm level. Failing this test will cost the player one to three actions, depending on how hard they failed.

My take: This card scales hard with the escalating alarm level. Not only does the test get more difficult, but the consequences also grow more severe. Losing actions is always a pretty big deal, but even more so in this scenario which has a handful of Hunter enemies capable of hitting for three or more damage and some severe time constraints. That being said, we expect most encounter cards to require about two actions to deal with them and Forced into Hiding meets this rule of thumb.

Threat level: Mid. This card abruptly jumps from barely worth caring about to being a potential threat once players gain their third point of alarm.

Dealing with it: Preparing for willpower tests from the encounter deck is one of the basic considerations that go into deck building, so hopefully this part is covered. Luckily, Forced into Hiding allows partial mitigation of the effects, so even low will investigators can soften the blow somewhat by throwing a Guts or similar into the test.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Lunar Patrol attaches to a location and will raise the alarm level whenever an investigator moves on from there. To discard it, the player will have to spend an action and pass an agility check.

My take: Lunar Patrol is, after Close Watch, the second reason why at least a passable agility is required to get the alarm level somewhat under control. As long as the investigators do not split up, anyone can clear this treachery, so the impact of the card will at least be limited. It should be very rare for Lunar Patrol to trigger its alarm ability twice.

Threat level: Low to Mid. Except on investigators that are naturally weak to agility tests, this should only eat up an action or two to clear. Investigators like Leo Anderson will just have to take the alarm level increase, if no other player is around to bail them out.

Dealing with it: Estimate how many actions you would expect it to take to clear the treachery and then decide if it’s worth doing so over accepting the alarm level. The action (and test) can be used by any player at the location, but it’s likely not going to be worth it for someone to go out of his way spending move actions just to get there.

Dreamer’s Curse

Set Size6
Number of unique Cards3
RoleWillpower, Horror, Damage, Discard(Hand)
Threat LevelLow to Mid
# of scenarios3
Variants
Appears in: Beyond the Gates of Sleep, Dark Side of the Moon, Where the Gods Dwell

My take on this set: Dreamer’s Curse is a solid set of cards that put pressure on the player’s hand. Deeper Slumber does so directly by reducing the hand size, the other two cards do so more indirectly by presenting the player with a hard skill test that can be offset by commiting cards to the test. This encounter set appears throughout the dreamer’s side of the campaign. While each individual card can be dealt with easily, the pressure on the cards in hand does add up.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: The investigator has to take a willpower test against a difficulty of five, at the threat of taking one point of damage for each point they fail by (capped at three damage). Any icon can be committed to this test, with willpower and wild icons counting twice.

My take: The difficulty on the test is high enough that even high willpower investigators will need to commit a card or two if they don’t want to risk taking the full damage of Dreamer’s Curse. I think it’s easy to overcommit to this test, in many cases it’s better to take some damage than to lose cards. I often found it somewhat difficult to make this call based on the current situation.

Threat level: Low to Mid. Compared to Rotten Remains or Grasping Hands from the Core, the high initial test difficulty means that no investigator can feel completely safe from Dreamer’s Curse. So there will almost always be a price to pay, either in health or in cards.

Dealing with it: Try not to overcommit to this card, chucking multiple random cards with single icons at it. Instead, when playing with the Dreamer’s Curse set, reserve a card or two to deal with these. Useful cards are anything with multiple icons (this is a rare case where having three different icons is better than one wild) or of course with willpower and/or wild icons. A single Guts can go a long way in defusing this card, and so could something like Eureka.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Somnophobia completely mirrors Dreamer’s Curse, with the only difference being that it deals horror instead of damage for failing the willpower test.

My take: Everything said above also applies here. Instead of repeating myself, let me use this space to point out the fantastic artwork of the card. Somehow both creepy and cheesy at the same time, and the color makes it stand out from the rest of the set (and the rest of the game, really). Huge fan.

Threat level: Low to Mid. See above.

Dealing with it: Again, same as for Dreamer’s Curse.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Deeper Slumber enters the threat area of a player and stays there until that player spends two actions to discard it. While affected by Deeper Slumber, the investigator’s hand size is reduced by 3 and additionally this restriction is checked after each card drawn.

My take: This is a card that is a lot worse for some investigators than others. Many can get by with just having five cards in hand for the rest of the scenario and will see Deeper Slumber as a freebie. Others, like Patrice, Mandy or investigators with an event heavy deck, will just have to spend the two actions immediately or face the discard.

Threat level: Low to Mid. The double action to discard Deeper Slumber keeps the card from becoming too troublesome.

Dealing with it: When you draw this card, you will immediately know if it’s worth spending the actions to discard it or not. Deeper Slumber can be a bit of a problem if drawn during the investigator phase, after already having spent an action or two. For example this can happen as a result of Mandy Thompson making a Shocking Discovery or because players Delve Too Deep. To avoid this, spend actions that could lead to drawing additional encounter cards right at the beginning of the investigator phase. That is good practice anyways.

[Spoilers!] Return to The Forgotten Age: First Impressions

Currently, pictures of the new replacement encounter sets from the Return to TFA box are making the rounds on reddit and Discord. Here they are. I am not going to do a full review of them quite yet, i will wait with that until release and having played with the new campaign myself. They will then get added to the pages of their base sets. But i do have some initial opinions for now:

Cult of Pnakotus

Replaces: Dark Cult
Used in: Threads of Fate, Boundary Beyond, Shattered Aeons

My initial take: Instead of giving us another variant of Ancient Evils, we are getting a new Cult this time. And it’s an interesting one. I think the new Acolyte is a good amount weaker than its Core cousin. The main reason being that as long as no other Cultists are around, you are free to spawn this new one right on top of your Guardian, which will more than offset the Aloof in terms of actions. The other two cards are quite a bit more scary. Four life on the Wizard replacement is very relevant. And From Another Time can just be completely crazy and spread up to four doom around. Scary stuff. Both Acolyte and From Another Time incentivize players to keep the board free from Cultists at all time. I suppose this gets harder when playing with three and four players?

Doomed Expedition

Replaces: Expedition
Used in: Untamed Wilds, Heart of the Elders #1, Depths of Yoth

My initial take: If i am not mistaken, there can be situations where Resentful Wilds makes zero Vengeance runs impossible? Personally, i am not terribly interested in gimmick runs like that, but this seems at least relevant to mention. Tbh, i would rather draw this instead of the original Lost in the Wilds any day. Best-Laid Plans also doesn’t strike me as a particularly frightening card at first glance. You are likely going to take the two action penalty everytime, as having to draw an additional exploration card represents a missed action as well and the treachery itself usually will represent at least another one. So longterm, the straight two actions are the better deal. There’ll be exceptions and it’ll be obvious when: Either the exploration deck is used up anyways or the treachery on top is a very mild one. Low on Supplies is a much less obvious choice and has impact on everyone. Meh, I’m not too excited about this set tbh.

Temporal Hunters

Replaces: Temporal Flux
Used in: Doom of Eztli, Boundary Beyond, Shattered Aeons

My initial take: Oh, i really like that Alpha. Scary card. High combat values, Alert, Retaliate and on each attack it eats up an asset. This can get ugly really quick, especially if it spawns on some rather defenseless character. This is a card to save up a three damage attack for, like Spectral Razor or Vicious Blow. Merging Timelines has a very high ceiling and could just completely wreck a players hand. And turn. No saving throw allowed either. Damn, Temporal Flux was already a high caliber set, but Temporal Hunters dials it up further. This set is going to create a lot of bad beat stories once we all get our hands on the full campaign. My only complaint: Temporal Flux was already a very well executed set, why not replace something a bit more iffy?

Venomous Hate

Replaces: Yig’s Venom
Used in: Doom of Eztli, Boundary Beyond, Heart of the Elders #2, Depths of Yoth

My initial take: Wrath of Yig nerfs the crap out of Serpent’s Call. Not sure how i feel about that, although i will admit that Call was really frustrating to draw sometimes. Attaching a saving throw makes a huge difference here. I like the Vengeful Serpents, though. Fang of Yig had some gimmicks that were rarely ever relevant, leaving them to be little less than fancy Ravenous Ghouls. These new ones have a cool mechanic behind them that will require at least thinking about differently depending on the situation and are more than just a different combination of numbers. Excellent! Speaking of excellent designs, i like the Guardian as well. I’m almost sad it loses Aloof with vengeance though. Would’ve been cooler if it turned into the most annoying Whippoorwill ever.

Final take

All things considered, this looks like a interesting bunch of new cards. Final evaluation of course has to wait until i got to play with them and maybe stumble over some interactions that i am missing in my little drive-by reviewing that i am doing here. I am lukewarm on the Doomed Expedition set, but the others seem cool to me and like they introduce new elements to the game. Interested to see in how the Cultist thing is going to work out. I hope the mechanics on the new Acolyte don’t fall flat in two-player, that’d be a pity. but even if so, the other two cards in that set have enough punch to make some nasty stuff happen.

Looking at which scenarios are using the replacement sets, we can see that City of Archives is the only one that isn’t using any of the replacements. But that scenario wasn’t using any TFA sets to begin with…

If RtTFA is supposed to lower the notorious difficulty of TFA, i would say that this is at least not necessarily apparent from these encounter sets. The change from Serpent’s Call to Wrath of Yig stands out as something that makes our lives easier, but on the whole i would say this roughly keeps the same level, maybe ticks it up a bit.

And now… we wait.

Corsairs

Set Size4
Number of unique Cards2
RoleEnemy, Damage, Intellect, Agility
Threat LevelLow to Mid
# of scenarios2
Variants
Appears in: Search for Kadath, Dark Side of the Moon

My take on this set: Not a terribly exciting set of cards. The Corsair itself is a fairly bland enemy that only becomes a problem when there’s a need to evade it and even then it’s fairly minor. Hunted by Corsairs can be discarded with an action and a test by any of the investigators. All things considered, these are low profile cards that mostly act as filler in their encounter decks.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Corsairs have low fight value, but four health to make sure they require multiple actions to defeat. Their agility is very high and failing an evasion attempt gets punished by the Alert keyword. However, they only deal a single point of damage and whenever they attack from the Alert trigger, their evasion is reduced for the rest of the phase.

My take: Corsairs are just somewhat beefy road blocks that require two actions to take down but pose little threat otherwise. Evading the Corsair also takes two actions (or considerable investment in high agility for the test) but can still be an option since the Corsair does not have Hunter.

Threat level: Low. Only slightly more dangerous than a standard Ghoul, the Corsair just doesn’t do a whole lot. His spawn requirements sometimes even let him appear in places that players already visited and have no intention of returning to.

Dealing with it: Only investigators like Rita or Ursula who are really focused on evasion should even try to evade the Corsairs. In most cases, plain old violence should deal with the Corsairs in a much cleaner way.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Hunted by Corsairs attaches to the current Act card. When the act advances, every investigator is dealt two damage. To stop this from happening, any player can take actions to test either intellect or agility at four to discard the treachery.

My take: Two damage to everyone is of course a big deal, so players will want to pass one of the tests to discard the card. This usually shouldn’t pose too much of a problem, although the difficulty of the test can require pitching a card just to be sure. Considering that anyone can do this test from anywhere, the card is easy enough to handle that the harsh consequences of not doing anything about it should barely ever come into play.

Threat level: Low. The timing would need to be really bad for Hunted by Corsairs to trigger its Forced ability. Advancing the act is usually completely in the players hands, so making sure that the treachery is dealt with first should rarely if ever be an issue.

Dealing with it: Whoever has the best agility or intellect will just have to spend an action or two. While this can potentially distract a Seeker for a bit, it’s rarely going to warrant special consideration.

For The Greater Good

Other encounter sets in this scenario: City of Sins, Silver Twilight Lodge, Ancient Evils, Dark Cult, Locked Doors
Note: The composition of the deck changes depending on whether the players joined the Lodge (1) or not (2). This doesn’t change the treacheries in the deck, but will determine which enemies appear.

(1)(2)
Size of the Encounter Deck2929
# Enemies77
# Willpower105
# Doom97
# Parley60
# Intellect62
# Agility24

My take on this encounter deck: Doom management is the name of the game in For The Greater Good. Once again, the tried and true combination of Ancient Evils with a cultist set does a lot of the work of giving the scenario its identity. Thankfully, this scenario doesn’t have a lot of agendas and no forced reshuffles, making the whole ordeal much easier to calculate and plan than in previous scenarios. Due to its somewhat small size, some Surge cards, a few cards that search up others and the encounter deck discard from City of Sins the deck can deplete a bit faster than usual, though.
Joining the Lodge can make this scenario a whole lot more difficult if players aren’t equipped to deal with the Parley tests. Those use Intellect and Willpower to remove the doom from the Lodge members. Killing them directly instead is punished by the Agenda card which will inherit one doom from each defeated Twilight Silver Lodge enemy.
On the other hand, if the investigators didn’t join the Lodge, the scenario deck will replace the enemies from the Twilight Silver Lodge encounter set with those from Dark Cult, which of course can be defeated without any such penalty. This will often make things easier, but will not even give another option than fighting your way through.
The deck is fairly light on enemies, with just the four enemies from one of the cultist sets and three more from the scenario specific cards. This is offset by Call to Order, Mysterious Chanting and a few abilities on locations that search the encounter deck for enemies, so in practice the deck will feel like there’s a cultist behind each corner.
For The Greater Good can be a very hard scenario if players are on the Lodge side and not prepared to Parley their way through. Other than that, the encounter deck holds few surprises. This is one of the scenarios that is mostly carried by external mechanisms – in this case the various keys and where they randomly appear will be a major factor in how the game plays out.
The two most important treacheries to keep in mind are Expulsion and Centuries of Secrets.

Cancel these: Ancient Evils, Call to Order. One of the main obstacles in defeating this scenario is buying the time to get all the keys and plunder the inner sanctum. Having Ancient Evils go on top of what the Cultists already add to the doom clock is something that goes directly against that. Call to Order can situationally be very brutal, keeping a cancel card back to prevent an untimely Call to Order can be huge.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Mark of the Order inflicts a negative effect on every investigator that is bearing one of the scenario keys. If one investigator carries multiple keys, they can be hit by multiple of these effects. Mark of the Order surges.

My take: Nobody is ever happy to draw a Surge card as they usually stack minor effects on top of another encounter card. Mark of the Order’s effects are not even necessarily minor. Discarding two random cards or losing three resources are effects that have been used as full encounter cards in other places. Strong card, hope to draw them early.

Threat level: Mid. Two out of four effects are easy enough to mitigate, while the other two can be much more of a nuisance.

Dealing with it: This is not a card that is going to be worth playing around. While it would be possible to micromanage who is carrying which key by passing them around, this would take away precious actions that are unlikely to pay off.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Call to Order finds the two topmost cultists in the discard pile and puts them back into play. They spawn in whatever empty location has the most clues. Should there be no cultists in the discard pile, the card surges.

My take: This card can have a very high impact. Four out of seven cultists in the deck are credible combat threats and having two cultists enter play usually represents at least two more doom added to the board as well. There is also a lot less choice involved in where to spawn them than usual.
If the players joined the Lodge and are going all-in on the Parley, this card could potentially just surge every time. However, this is foiled by Keeper of Secrets which players will probably want to kill in any case and that will be put back into play by Call to Order.

Threat level: High. While Call to Order can as a best case scenario just find a single Acolyte, this card has the potential to be very brutal. There are the occasional moments where Call to Order is almost beneficial by reviving a Lodge Jailor or Cell Keeper that has been defeated before or discarded by Centuries of Secrets. But aside from those corner cases, the addition of two (or sometimes even more) doom to the board in one swoop should make the investigators scramble to deal with that.

Dealing with it: This card is a good argument for clearing the clues from every location. This will keep the two cultists from appearing in the library while the players are currently rummaging in the sanctum locations. Aside from that, the usual cost/benefit estimates apply as usual with cultists: Is the doom on the enemy worth more actions than what needs to be spent on movement and fight/parley actions to deal with it?

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: The nearest cultist enemy engages and attacks the player, readying and moving as is necessary to do so. After the attack, the enemy takes control of all keys from that player. If not Cultist is around, Expulsion surges.

My take: Expulsion is mostly a problem in Lodge playthroughs, where you may not want to fight enemies but might be forced to do so now. In that case, Expulsion has a host of negative consequences: Some horror and/or damage dealt from the attack, the necessity to defeat the enemy, potentially some doom placed on the agenda for killing the enemy and finally you also make it so Call to Order has something to put back into play later on. If the attacked player didn’t carry a key, then evasion is an option of course.
If not aligned with the Lodge, this card is much less powerful as you will likely want to defeat the enemies anyways. It can even be helpful by delivering an enemy on a location you don’t have the key for yet in exchange for suffering an attack.

Threat level: Mid to High. Many of the cultist enemies deal more than one point of damage/horror and require multiple actions to defeat, so Expulsion (if it doesn’t surge) will usually have a noticeable impact.

Dealing with it: Expulsion is a card that is hard to prepare for, but useful to keep in mind. Especially on Lodge-aligned playthroughs, try having investigators that are unable to fight on their own to not stray from the rest of the group too far. Otherwise, dealing with a surprise attack from Expulsion can cost a lot of actions from whoever has to come to the rescue.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: If the investigator fails an Intellect test, they have to take one horror for each point they failed by. The player can choose to lose clues instead of sanity. Should the investigator carry a key, the difficulty of the test is increased by one and Beneath the Lodge gains Peril.

My take: This is one of the few damage/horror cards where even a single one can hurt a lot. Dealing up to four horror in one swoop can put many investigators on the brink of defeat and many of those are actually Guardians and Rogues with bad or mediocre Intellect stats. I am usually not too afraid of Rotting Remains and their ilk, but this one is a bit of a standout. Clues can be lost to soften the blow in a pinch, but the investigators most hurt by this card are typically not the ones who have a lot of clues in the first place.

Threat level: Mid. Some investigators are just not properly equipped to deal with this card, meaning they either look at potentially losing a large chunk of their remaining sanity or discarding one or two assets to soak most of the blow.

Dealing with it: Players are usually not specifically packing cards to deal with intellect checks, but if Perception is in the deck anyways, it might be worth holding in reserve for this scenario. Investigators that are weak to this card are probably best off just building up some horror soak from allies and other assets.

Number in the encounter deck: 1

What it does: Cell Keeper is the key warden for groups that are not aligned with the Lodge. He will spawn in a Sanctum location with two doom and one of the keys on him. At three strength and health, he doesn’t pose a huge threat, but will usually require multiple actions to defeat. He does have alert, so failing an evade against him will make the attacking investigator lose two sanity. Players can steal his key by evading him, which at two agility isn’t difficult at all.

My take: Evading this enemy to steal the key will also remove the doom thanks to the ability on the act card. So that’s an efficient way to deal with the Cell Keeper, but do consider that you might actually want him defeated just so you can search him up again with the Holding Cell location for additional keys. He’s not terribly difficult to defeat, but he can appear in inconvenient places. Especially if drawn very early in the game he can spawn in the catacombs, before players are even able to enter it.

Threat level: Mid. An enemy with two doom on it will always be a priority to get rid off, but once the players have entered the Sanctum it’s easy to put him somewhere in close reach.

Dealing with it: At this point in the campaign, defeating the Cell Keeper should be no problem for any semi-competent fighter. Since he’s carrying one of the keys, he is an important target to find at some point in the scenario, so consider finding him with Mysterious Chanting or the Holding Cells. Players can even set up a scenario where encountering him twice nets two keys.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Knight of the Inner Circle appears in a connected location, ready to move right onto the player in the next enemy phase thanks to the Hunter keyword. It deals two damage and is a credible threat in combat thanks to its four health and fight. At two agility, the knight is easy to evade, but the Alert keyword will punish anyone failing in spite of that. A combination of Aloof and a unique Forced effect changes how Knight engages players. Instead of always engaging, the player has to test agility at a high difficulty of four. Knight of the Inner Circle will only engage if the test fails, otherwise it will stay aloof.

My take: A cultist that can fight? And no doom mechanics at all? How unusual. These guys can become very dangerous if they can catch an investigator who can’t fight or evade well on their own. Their forced effect works in the player’s favor most of the time, as the difficulty is high enough to fail on purpose for those that want to engage (and thus bypass the Aloof keyword) while giving high agility investigators a chance to run past the Knight without having to spend an action to evade. That being said, they hit hard enough that having these Hunter enemies stick around for too long is probably a bad idea.

Threat level: Mid to High. They are credible threats that need to be taken out by a dedicated fighter.

Dealing with it: Although they do not carry any doom on them, it’s still best to kill them as early as possible. The map of locations in For the Greater Good isn’t really all that great for running away from Hunter enemies for multiple rounds. They are also one of the more dangerous enemies to have on the board while resolving an Expulsion.

Number in the encounter deck: 1

What it does: If the players enter the scenario while allied with the Lodge, the Lodge Jailor takes the role of the key warden. Like the cultists from the Silver Twilight encounter set, the Jailor is Aloof and has a parley ability that offers an alternative way of dealing with him. Like Cell Keeper he enters play with a random key and two doom. Unlike Cell Keeper his parley also allows to remove the doom and not just the key, although that requires multiple parley actions.

My take: Engaging and killing the Jailor usually requires three actions in total, parleying for all the doom and the key takes the same amount. So his alternate way of dealing with him is much more feasible than it is for the Cell Keeper. The same notes about spawning in hard to reach places and becoming a priority apply for the Jailor just as they did for the Cell Keeper.

Threat level: Mid. Same as before: An enemy with two doom on it deserves attention, but the key wardens become easy to get to once the access to the Sanctum is secured.

Dealing with it: Everything said about the Cell Keeper applies here as well. Parleying is a perfectly viable option here, but does leave a cultist on the board that could potentially attack for two horror on drawing an Expulsion.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Knight of the Outer Void appears in a connected location just like their Inner Circle counterparts. They don’t have the Hunter keyword, but do spawn with one or two doom on them to force players to come to them. They have high agility, which due to their Aloof keyword isn’t terribly relevant outside of Expulsion.
To get rid of the doom on them, they can either be killed which isn’t very difficult but still likely requires a full turn. Or they can be parleyed with willpower or intellect. The parley tests are somewhat difficult, but if they succeed, the doom is not only removed, but turned into a clue instead. Failing at parley will cause the Knight to attack. So will failing to attack due to the Retaliate keyword.

My take: What a wild collection of keywords and mechanics. And somehow they work well with each other. I think this enemy is much more threatening than the Inner Circle version. The parley tests aren’t trivial even with high base willpower or intellect, so additional card investment is required to avoid the counterattack on failing the test. These are probably the worst case scenario on what to engage on an Expulsion, as they are just difficult enough to combat that non-fighters will struggle and they do have the agility to make evading them difficult as well. Luckily that can be played around fairly easily.

Threat level: Mid to High. There’s a lot of different abilities working with each other on this card and everything works against the players. Being able to draw a clue or two from them is fine, but doesn’t offset the danger that these pose.

Dealing with it: There probably should be few reasons to ever put two doom on the Knight of the Outer Void. So the best case would be to just parley once and move on. This is one of the few Silver Twilight cultists where having Fine Clothes makes a big difference. Otherwise, try to keep some willpower or intellect icons on hand to brute force your way through the test. On a parley focused playthrough of this scenario, there should likely be enough cultists on the board to avoid the worst case scenario of having one of these enemies engage a player due to Expulsion.

Return to For the Greater Good

My take on the modified scenario: For the Greater Good actually got a solid shakeup from the Return To. Ironically, it’s also one that has the fewest encounter sets swapped out. Only two sets are replaced, however one of them is Ancient Evils. That is huge for this scenario where doom mechanics were the primary constraint of finishing the scenario before the Summoned Beast enters play.
A new Lounge location offers variety, but i would actually consider just hard swapping it in instead of the old one because it is a whole lot more interesting. Instead of having to strike a deal with Lundquist, you can now open a secret passage into the sanctum and find the key there. That shortcut between the two parts of the mansion is great for moving around as well, obviously.
As a final change, additional XP can be earned by finding more keys than the ones required. This can easily hand out another 2 to 4 XP without trying too hard. Neat.
I like this Return To scenario. For the Greater Good was already decent and these changes smooth out some rough corners (like getting randomly screwed by Cultists and Evils) while adding some interesting new angles to the proceedings.

Surge

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Locked Doors

Set Size2
Number of unique Cards1
RoleStalling, Strength, Agility
Threat LevelLow to Mid
# of scenarios14
VariantsSecret Doors
Appears in: Midnight Masks, Extracurricular Activity, Miskatonic Museum, Echoes of the Past, Threads of Fate, City of Archives, For the Greater Good, Waking Nightmare, Thousand Shapes of Horror, The Vanishing of Elina Harper, The Lair of Dagon, City of Elder Things(v1, v3), Heart of Madness #1, Riddles and Rain, Dealings in the Dark, Sanguine Shadows, Congress of the Keys(v1), Hemlock House

What it does: Locked Door attaches to the location with the most clues and stops players from investigating at that place. To discard the Locked Door, an action must be spent to pass on either a Strength or an Agility check. At a difficulty of four, that test requires either some investment or a player with naturally high physical attributes.

My take: This is one of the cards that lost a good amount of its power over the times. The main reason for that is how many ways there are in todays card pool to pick up clues without investigating. A few of those existed in the Core, but aside from Drawn to the Flame they weren’t too great at dealing with this card. But still, if the investigation needs to happen and no alternative is around, Locked Door still presents a challenge sometimes due to the fact that the one doing the investigation is rarely also the one who reliably can pass the tests on this.

Threat level: Low to Mid. Locked Door’s threat can be measured fairly well in how many actions are needed to deal with it. Usually, it will be around 2-4 actions, including some extra movement, but if the players are actually scrambling to even pass the test it can easily be more.

Dealing with it: The best way of dealing with it is not requiring to investigate there in the first place. Cards like Scene of the Crime, Pendant of the Queen or Working a Hunch can bypass this treachery completely.

Return to The Dunwich Legacy: Secret Doors

Set Size2
Number of unique Cards1
RoleStalling, Willpower, Intellect
Threat LevelLow

What it does: Return to Dunwich includes Secret Doors, a possible replacement set for Locked Doors. The Secret Door attaches to the location with the most investigators present and then stops them from leaving there until discarded. To discard the Secret Door, an investigator has to take an action and either pass a Willpower or an Intellect test.

My take: While similar in template, this card does something very different than the one it replaces. There are some investigators that are somewhat impacted when they are caught by Secret Door, but since the difficulty of the test is only three instead of four it shouldn’t be completely out of reach. The thing i am missing most here is the forced teamwork aspect of Locked Doors. The ones who need to deal with the Locked Door are usually not the ones who are actually most impacted by it. This is not necessarily true for Secret Door. I think this is a fairly weak card that will unlikely be taking many actions away from the team.

Threat level: Low. It’s unlikely to have an effect beyond taking one or two actions to clear it.

Dealing with it: If multiple locations have “the most investigators” , then the players get to choose where to put the card, so just don’t attach it to the location where Preston Fairmont is hanging out all on his own and you should be fine.