|Number of unique Cards
|# of scenarios
My take on this set: This set was technically in the Core Set and technically it was used in 1 of 4 plays of Devourer Below, but i am just going to treat this set like a Carcosa set. The horror interaction and the big Byakhee hunter fit extremely well into the scenarios they are used in during Path to Carcosa. Summoning up a weakness from your deck is a fantastic effect and fits so very well with the themes of the set and the campaign. I wish more treacheries would do cool stuff like that. I really like this set.
What it does: Screeching Byakhee is a Hunter enemy that goes after players with low sanity. When engaged to investigators with 4 or less sanity, they gain +1 to their fight and evade values, a significant upgrade. In combat, these monsters deal two points of horror in addition to a point of damage. Killing the monster awards a victory point.
My take: 4/4/4 Hunters are dangerous and this one is even more so because it deals a lot of horror with each hit. I have a lot of respect for these, that victory point is sometimes hard to earn. For many investigators, having more than 4 sanity is a big ask during the Path to Carcosa campaign, especially for the type of investigator that is capable of fighting this creature and killing it. Phantom of Truth and Dim Carcosa are both scenarios where i have little desire to herd hard-hitting Hunters along the map, so evading these is not really all that much of an option.
Threat level: High. A solid bundle of stats that asks a full turn to deal with it.
Dealing with it: Unless you are planning on getting hit by the Byakhee moving into you with its Hunter ability, taking this out in one turn will usually require moving into the location and landing two attacks. That leaves little room for failed tests and the punishment for letting the Byakhee attack is suitably dire.
What it does: The Yellow Sign asks the player to make a willpower test at difficulty four. Should they fail, they have to draw a Madness weakness from their deck and get two horror on top of that.
My take: Brutal. Two horror and drawing a weakness is an huge hit. And the test is difficult enough that failing it is expected. Of course, there is some variety by what madness is in the deck (if any), but the list of available weaknesses includes heavy hitters like Paranoia and Amnesia. Many investigator specific weaknesses are also Madness traited. Some investigators might not have a Madness in their deck at first, but everyone is getting one with the setup of Phantom of Truth at the very least. Using that weakness as a baseline, The Yellow Sign represents 2 horror and 2 damage, which is a significant hit. There’s an argument to be made that this card kinda draws you a card and saves you from drawing your weakness at a later point (similar to how Mr. “Rook” doesn’t actually have a drawback), but the whole combination of drawing your weakness and getting two horror is just always going to hit hard at that moment.
Threat level: High. This is just a massive kick in the teeth all at once.
Dealing with it: Pass the test? Aside from that, there’s not a whole lot to be done. The horror can hopefully be soaked, managing your horror is something that you should be prepared for in Carcosa. Same thing about your weakness. So Yellow Sign doesn’t do anything to you that you didn’t expect, it just does so from two angles at the same time.
Return to Path to Carcosa: Hastur’s Envoys
My take on this set: Hastur’s Envoy has the job of replacing a set that was excellent and pretty much a perfect fit for the campaign and its mechanics. Considering that this was a losing proposition right from the start, the set actually isn’t that bad. The Byakhee is a formidable enemy and i do enjoy the interaction of Sign of Hastur with what you are allowed to say and not say in a conviction campaign. Both cards are pretty cool taken for themselves and i would have little reason to complain if it weren’t for the comparison to the original set. However, that original set exists and so does the comparison… and in turn i can’t really enjoy this as a replacement of the great cards it pushes out. A pity, both of these are good designs and could maybe have been added as scenario specific cards somewhere? For my most recent play of RtPtC i made a compomise and used one of each of the four cards as a hybrid set. I liked that and will likely do so again.
What it does: Like its original version, this Byakhee is a Hunter with respectable stats. It has only two fight, but five evasion. If the engaged player has low sanity, these stats are flipped. So while these are easy to defeat for investigators keeping their sanity, those with some horror on them may only be able to flee from them.
My take: Yo, where’s my victory point? The Screeching Byakhee had a VP on it, this doesn’t. This is an outrage, I can only assume it’s a typo?
This enemy is my bane in Return to Carcosa, as having less than 4 sanity is the norm (in Dim Carcosa i’d be happy to even stay positive) and a 5 fight Hunter that deals lots of damage is just the worst thing to see in the wide open Carcosa maps.
Threat level: Mid to High. If you can keep your sanity high, these become a lot easier to kill.
Dealing with it: Aside from their fight/evade switch, the most relevant change from Screeching Byakhee is having 3 health instead of 4. That does put them in range of some one-shot attacks, which conveniently also usually come with boosts to the fight value to break through their 5 fight.
While i still wouldn’t recommend it due to the layout of the scenarios, the lack of a victory point and the potential reduction of the evade value to 2 makes evading these monsters a lot more feasible than the original.
What it does: The Sign of Hastur attaches to an agenda or act where it will affect every player. Until that scenario card advances, every source of horror will deal an extra horror to all players.
My take: This is a dangerous card and usually sticks around for quite a bit. There’s a lot of sources for horror in this campaign so the Sign of Hastur potentially translates to a large amount of extra horror for multiple investigators.
Threat level: Very High. The extra horror adds up fast.
Dealing with it: Advancing the scenario and agenda cards isn’t always easy to do in the relevant scenarios, so unless you got lucky you might find yourself having to play around this card for several turns. It doesn’t pose a new problem in itself but it makes dealing with all the other horror inducing cards that much worse.
Oh, and should you be on a conviction playthrough: Please don’t read the name of this card aloud. That would be two horror right there. As far as last words go, “I play Alter Fate to discard Sign of Hastur … awww crap.” is fairly emberassing.