Agents of the Unknown

Set Size4
Number of unique Cards2
RoleWillpower, Tekeli-li
Threat LevelHigh
# of scenarios2
Appears in: Fatal Mirage, Heart of Madness #2

My take on this set: This campaign’s “Agents” set follows the same structure as the ones in the core set. 2 enemies, 2 treacheries. And pretty high impact. However, Agents of the Unknown isn’t really used all that much throughout the campaign, it certainly lacks the same sort of “signature” effect that Agents of Hastur has on Carcosa or Agents of Azathoth on Circle Undone. If you decide not to engage with Fatal Mirage, you’ll actually only shuffle these cards into the encounter deck once, during the finale. On the other hand of the spectrum, if you enter Fatal Mirage at every opportunity, this set can be responsible for the lion’s share of Tekeli cards in your deck.
What we have here are two cards that you are usually not going to be happy about when you draw them. Primordial Evil is a dangerous enemy that hits hard, is difficult to defeat and follows you around. The Madness Within is a treachery that dumps up to four Tekeli-li cards in your deck, for you to draw at the most annoying time later. I think these are both great cards, threatening and hard to deal with.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: As a rather large Hunter enemy that hits for two damage, the Primordial Evil is a significant threat. Attacking it is discouraged by the Retaliate keyword, but also by its unique Forced effect that will shuffle the top Tekeli-li card into your deck whenever the monster gets damaged. Evading it is rather easy as the Primordial Evil only has a single point of evasion.

My take: I usually lean very hard in the direction of defeating enemies over evading them, as taking care of them permanently will often be preferable in the long run. That being said, this one is a rare example where the stats and abilities push really hard towards letting this thing live. And i think in Heart of Madness that is certainly the more attractive option. Fatal Mirage however has a lot of backtracking in it, so a heavy hitting Hunter like this is a huge liability. Except for the quest enemies, there’s also not a whole lot of other monsters around in Mirage, so these can provide an outlet for your fighting abilities there.

Threat level: High. It’s not quite on the level of Elite enemies, but it’s still a big threat that can dictate your lines of play.

Dealing with it: This is obviously a rather dangerous enemy and even if you are able to take it out in two hits that will still leave you with two Tekeli cards to shuffle into your deck. The only way to avoid that is defeating it without dealing damage, for example through Waylay. Waylay is really the perfect answer here, but of course not every group will have that card available.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: After failing a Willpower test, the investigator has to shuffle the top Tekeli-li card into their deck for each point they failed by. Should the Tekeli-li deck run empty, they take a horror instead for each card they can’t shuffle in.

My take: The variance on how bad The Madness Within hurts you is huge. For one, there’s the scaling by how much you failed by, with a wide range from zero to four cards added. Also, the exact effect of the Tekeli cards themselves can of course be unpredictable. Both Fatal Mirage and Heart of Madness II do also have the Nameless Horrors set in them and Madness Within stacks up remarkably well with the cards from that set.

Threat level: Medium to High. The scaling test keeps the effect in check. Unless you completely botch your test, this should usually be fine. This can cost you a lot of draws down the line, though.

Dealing with it: The silver lining here is the delayed nature of how this card affects you. Even if you fail the willpower test, you still don’t have any immediate consequences from it right then. In case of Heart of Madness, you might just finish the scenario (and the campaign) before drawing all of these weaknesses, effectively making it a freebie. You are less lucky with Fatal Mirage, though. Even if you do not draw any of the weaknesses during Mirage, you will carry them into the next scenario without a chance to have William Dyer remove them… that always happens before Fatal Mirage, not after.

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