Best-Laid Plans: The Innsmouth Conspiracy

Spoilers

This page doesn’t hold back anything. There are detailed spoilers for the Innsmouth campaign ahead. I highly suggest that you stop reading now if you have not played this campaign once or twice before. Give the campaign a try on your own first, then come back once you drowned or got fed to cute little baby fish-monsters.

Introduction

Something is fishy in the little village of Innsmouth. The investigators find themselves struck with a hefty amnesia and will have to recover their own memories while uncovering the secrets of Innsmouth at the same time.

This article takes a deep dive into the challenges posed to the players as they make their way along the campaign with all of its twists and turns, special mechanics and recurring themes. As in previous Best-Laid Plans, i will also give some suggestions for investigators and player cards that might work particularly well in The Innsmouth Conspiracy.

This article is not going to look at each encounter set and each scenario in detail, this site already has pages for those. Please refer to those for more zoomed in views on the single cards that make up the encounter sets and encounter decks.

The Deep Ones

The Deep Ones are the most commonly encountered group of enemies during the campaign, appearing in five out of eight scenarios. They are a nasty bunch, most importantly because all of them have a signature mechanic of triggering some sort of effect whenever they engage an investigator. This can mean testless damage, horror, forced discard, bonus attacks or various scenario specific things. The majority of the Deep Ones are also hunters. This combination immediately discourages evasion because it runs the risk of having to repeatedly triggering the engagement effects. However several of them have stats or mechanics tied to them that pull in the other direction, with enticingly low evasion values or Forced effects that go off on other Deep Ones dying around them.

As a result, the choice on whether to kill or evade these enemies is often an actual choice, depending on context like the current board state. Enemies from previous cycles were often fairly obviously designed in on or the other direction, the Deep Ones ask the players to be a bit more flexible. It should also be noted that some of the scenarios also feature simply more enemies than usual and killing all of them might actually not be feasible. This is especially true if the players rely on events or on assets with charges or ammo to defeat enemies.

Damage and Horror

Innsmouth tests the limits of the investigators fairly well. On top of the damage and horror that comes from fighting (and simply engaging) Deep Ones, the encounter deck often piles on the hurt. Many treacheries deal damage and/or horror. Five of the scenarios have token effects that deal either horror, damage or both. The flood mechanic deals damage when the investigators start drowning. There’s a lot going on and both sanity and stamina are heavily under assault along the way. This makes Innsmouth a fairly hostile place for investigators that have only a 5 or 6 in one of these stats. Those investigators should make sure that they bring enough soak to meet the challenge. Truth be told, this campaign might be the one where healing might actually look decent. Although healing is usually disregarded in favor of soak (outside of a few select cards like Hallowed Mirror), a card like Painkillers or Clarity of Mind(3) can do some work. Pity there’s no Healing Words(3) yet…

If you are playing on Expert or Hard, this issue becomes a lot more pronounced because some of the token effects will now also have their effect when the test succeeded. Obviously, this can be a huge issue because it randomly adds a lot of extra incoming pain.

The most troublesome scenario in this regard is actually the first one. The Pit of Despair plays sort of like a gauntlet that players have to solve as quickly as possible while the encounter deck, scenario card and enemies rain down on their soak, sanity and stamina. The other notable scenario for this is Horror in High Gear which features a very scary encounter deck, but by then you at least had the opportunity of buying some extra cards for your deck to prepare.

The silver lining here is that Innsmouth Conspiracy doesn’t force trauma upon trauma on you the way that Forgotten Age does. Trauma is something you obviously really should try to avoid, especially if you are playing one of the investigators who are a bit vulnerable from the get-go. Starting Horror in High Gear with Mary on three or four life because you died in previous scenarios is probably not going to end well either… so you will need to stop this from snowballing further if it comes to it.

Locations, Locations, Locations

Every single one of the scenarios does something special with its locations. Players need to make sure to properly read and understand how location connectors in the scenarios work because many of them come with extra rules for them, like arranging them in interconnected rows or having them dynamically appear in adjacent positions.

Most of the scenarios also have maps with very wide layouts, using a dozen or more locations. For that reason, having good mobility is incredibly helpful to cut down on the actions required to get one place to the next. You are pretty much guaranteed to get the most out of cards like Track Shoes, Safeguard or Pathfinder… not that those are bad cards that were in need of help! This mobility is going to help a lot with the aforementioned Hunter enemies as well, so it’s something to prioritize.

The final general thing of note about the location layouts is that they feature a high degree of randomization. This adds a serious amount of replayability to the campaign. But it does also reduce how much you can plan for, something that is especially troubling for solo investigators who really can’t afford getting lost in some underwater caves.

The location play is enhanced further by the following three mechanics: Tidal Tunnels, Keys and Flood. All of those are relevant enough to be worth looking at in detail:

Tidal Tunnels

The Tidal Tunnels are a group of locations with identical unrevealed sides that are usually shuffled at setup and then either added to the location grid at random or presented as a deck to draw new locations from. A couple of tunnels is provided by the Deluxe box in form of the Flooded Caverns encounter set, but every scenario that uses them also has some of its own to add to the mix.

These Tidal Tunnels provide the main avenue for setup randomization. In some ways, this harkens back to exploration in Forgotten Age and the Rainforest set from that deluxe box. There are two key differences, though. For one, the Tidal Tunnels always have scenario specific cards added to them, to keep them from being quite the same in all of the five scenarios they are used in. But more importantly, these do not come with fixed connections and this is where the replayability actually comes from. While TFA did shuffle up its locations initially, the grid of location would always only be able to play out a specific way over the course of the game. In Innsmouth, the order in which you might run into these caves is truly random.

To further differentiate the use of the Tidal Tunnels from one scenario to the next, the way they are used is changed up a lot: Pit of Despair draws them from a deck in adjacent positions similar to how it was done in Carcosa’s The Pallid Mask. Devil Reef employs a layered randomization that clusters the locations into islands that are also randomized among each other. Light in the Fog arranges them in multiple rows that are connected only through a central column of “normal” locations. Dagon’s Lair just puts them into play anywhere and connects every single one to a central location. And Into the Maelstrom simply uses them in a small 3×3 square until it discards all of them for its second act in favor of a completely new set of random locations.

The three locations from the Flooded Caverns set cover three rather important jobs: Tidal Pool delivers two of the set aside keys. Underground River offers a safe space from the rising tide, giving players room for a last ditch effort to close out the scenario after the flood became too high. Underwater Cavern allows travel to any other flooded Cave location, helping with the sprawling location layouts. The random positioning of Underwater Cavern can be especially important for some scenarios (Devil Reef being the prime example), as it can potentially offer huge action discounts for moving around.

The Underground River locations also come with a victory point each, adding 2 possible XP to the four scenarios that use it. It should be noted though that these are fairly hard to earn. It’s a four shroud location with 2 clues per investigator and no further benefits for clearing it except the VP and the clues themselves. So in a way, being mobile and efficient with the clue discovery is not only important for the keys, but it also directly pays out in up to 8 bonus XP for this campaign.

Keys

One of the driving motivators behind the location related gameplay is the player’s search for the keys. In all but two of the scenarios there are up to 7 keys that need to be collected to either finish the scenarios or to unlock access to flashbacks and story assets. As with the Tunnels, the exact mechanics of how these are distributed vary a bit from scenario to scenario, but most often they are tied to certain locations that need to be freed from clues before the key can be claimed.

Again, the distribution of the keys offers a venue of randomization for the scenarios, working hand in hand with the randomization of the locations to provide slightly different experiences in scenarios on replays. They also are one of the main reasons why a high mobility is crucial, especially when the keys need to also be delivered somewhere specific which might require non-trivial amounts of backtracking … right into any Hunters you got on the board. You can easily see here how these mechanics are all gripping into each other fairly well.

Since picking up keys usually requires discovering all clues from a location first, efficient seeking is obviously very helpful as well. Although that is nothing all that new, i suppose.

Flood

The Innsmouth deluxe box comes with a new set of flood tokens that indicate whether locations are unflooded, partially flooded or fully flooded. The progress of these tokens is mostly dictated by the progress of the agendas, with some variance on top from the Rising Tide and Syzygy encounter sets. Whenever flood tokens are used, the agenda will have some sort of effect that damages players for staying in fully flooded locations for too long.

In terms of gameplay consequences the flooding mostly works as another parallel timer to the doom clock. Both timers are in pretty close relation to each other due to the flooding being mostly controlled by the agenda advancement, but the influence of some encounter cards can make the flood jump ahead of the curve. These two cards are Rising Tides from the aptly named Rising Tide encounter set and Tidal Alignment from the Syzygy set. All scenarios with flood counters in them use at least one of these sets, Devil Reef and Light in the Fog even use both.

The dangers of staying in flooded locations come from multiple sources. The agenda will deal damage to players that either end their turn in fully flooded locations or those that did only stay in fully flooded locations for one turn, depending on the scenario. The Rising Tide encounter set has treacheries that deal damage and horror or discard assets from play, but will only surge if the investigator is currently in a completely non-flooded place. A number of enemies also comes with flood-related abilities, like Deep Ones that do something extra on engaging when the location is flooded. So staying at least in only partially flooded places can be significantly safer than being caught by enemies fully submerged.

The flooding serves once again to reinforce the location gameplay by dynamically making some places more dangerous than others, possibly even restricting access unless the player is willing to risk drowning should they unexpectedly be engaged by an enemy. As before, high mobility and efficient clue discovery are the best ways to minimize your exposure to fully flooded locations.

Flashbacks

Scattered throughout the Innsmouth campaign are fourteen flashbacks, and getting all of them will unlock a fifteenth one in the prologue. Flashbacks are passages of story text in the campaign guides that you are instructed to read after fulfilling some conditions mid-scenario. Doing so is highly recommended, as they not only deliver lots of interesting background story to what is actually happening, but also some advantages going forward in the form of story assets, experience or manipulation of the chaos bag.

These are the flashbacks, what you gain from them and how to unlock them:

  • #1: “A meeting with Thomas Dawson”
    During Pit of Despair, finish act 1
    – awards 1XP during Interlude 1
  • #2: “A battle with a horrifying devil”
    During Pit of Despair, activate the Bone-Ridden Pit
    – remove a cultist from the chaos bag
    – 1XP during Interlude 1
    – allows killing the Terror of Devil Reef permanently during Devil Reef
  • #3: “A decision to stick together”
    During Pit of Despair, activate the Fish Graveyard
    – remove a tablet from the chaos bag
    – 1XP during Interlude 1
    – gives control of Thomas Dawson during The Vanishing of Elina Harper
    – gives control of Thomas Dawson during Lair of Dagon setup (will otherwise be given after act 1)
  • #4: “An encounter with a secret cult”
    During Pit of Despair, activate the Idol Chamber
    – remove an Elder Thing from the chaos bag
    – 1XP during Interlude 1
    – having this memory will make Lair of Dagon slightly more difficult, by having act 1b add 2 curse tokens (otherwise it will remove 2). It can also potentially make another cultist appear then, if “A jailbreak” is not among the recovered memories.
  • #5: “A deal with Joe Sargent”
    During In Too Deep, collect any 2 keys and activate Innsmouth Square
    – put the Joe Sargent (scenario specific) story asset into play, offers 3 free moves
  • #6: “A followed lead”
    During In Too Deep, collect any 5 keys and activate The Little Bookshop
    – acquire the Teachings of the Order story asset
  • #7: “An intervention”
    During In Too Deep, collect all 7 keys and activate Sawbone Alley
    – add a +1 to the chaos bag
  • #8: “A jailbreak”
    During In Too Deep, collect the black key and activate the Innsmouth Jail
    – remove a cultist, tablet or Elder Thing from the chaos bag
    – having this memory will replace a regular cultist that appears during Lair of Dagon with the Suspect enemy from The Vanishing of Elina Harper. Defeating this Suspect is one of the conditions to gain the yellow key at the start of Into the Maelstrom (the other one is possession of either the Idol, Mantle or Headdress).
  • #9: “Discovery of a strange idol”
    During Devil Reef, find the purple key
    – acquire the Waveworn Idol story asset
    – add a cultist to the chaos bag
    – 2XP during Interlude 3
  • #10: “Discovery of an unholy mantle”
    During Devil Reef, find the white key
    – acquire the Awakened Mantle story asset
    – add a tablet to the chaos bag
    – 2XP during Interlude 3
  • #11: “Discovery of a mystic relic”
    During Devil Reef, find the black key
    – acquire the Headdress of Y’ha-nthlei story asset
    – add an Elder Thing to the chaos bag
    – 2XP during Interlude 3
  • #12: “A conversation with Mr. Moore”
    During A Light in the Fog, collect the white key from the Lantern Room and activate the Falcon Point Cliffside
    – the lead investigator gains 1 clue per player
    – remove a cultist, tablet or Elder Thing from the chaos bag
  • #13: “The lifecycle of a Deep One”
    During A Light in the Fog, collect the purple key from a Tidal Tunnel and activate the Deep One Nursery
    – remove a cultist, tablet or Elder Thing from the chaos bag
    – killing the Terror of Devil Reef (requires #2) and getting this memory will give the players the green key at the start of Into the Maelstrom
  • #14: “A stinging betrayal”
    Finish The Lair of Dagon successfully. Then, during Into the Maelstrom, place all seven keys onto locations and activate the Lair of Dagon location
    – unlock one of two bonus act cards that you can fulfill in addition to the initial one
  • #15: “The horrible truth”
    During Into the Maelstrom, finish the initial act 2 while having recovered all of the other flashbacks (#1 to #14) during the campaign
    – You mastered The Innsmouth Conspiracy. Good job, champion!

Successfully finishing scenarios is often not that difficult in this campaign, it’s these flashbacks where most of the difficulty lies. They entice players to weigh the risk of staying in the scenario against the gain they can get from unlocking the flashbacks and their associated prizes.

Chaos Bag

As players regain memories through flashbacks, one of the effects this has on the game mechanics is changing the contents of the chaos bag. Typically, campaigns start with a rather forgiving bag that ramps up its contents over time. Innsmouth Conspiracy turns this on its head with a full bag right from the start: 10 numerical tokens (11 on Hard, 12 on Expert) are accompanied by 2 of each symbol token and the obligatory Elder Sign and Tentacle. That’s 20 tokens on Standard. As points of comparison, Dunwich starts with 15 and Circle Undone even with only 13. Up to here, the campaign with the most tokens in the initial bag was actually Night of the Zealot with 16.

During Pit of Despair, the players can bring down the number of tokens by removing a cultist, tablet and an Elder Thing each for recovering the three flashbacks, something they should try to do really hard because of how it will echo throughout the rest of the campaign. This can even be worth taking a trauma from having someone be defeated as he closes out the last flashback. Through In Too Deep and Light in the Fog, three more tokens of the players choice can be removed. Finally, there is even a +1 token available during In Too Deep, however it requires getting all 7 keys which is not an easy task at all.

The three artifacts which are recovered during Devil Reef all add another token back into the bag. You could avoid this by leaving the artifacts and simply not doing your objectives, but that’d have you miss out on some pretty good story assets and a handful of experience points that certainly do come in handy, especially at that point of the campaign where you have been starved for card upgrades so far.

When removing a chaos token of the players choice, the first instinct is going straight for the Elder Things which usually are the worst ones to draw. There is an argument to be made to remove cultists instead, though. Following Light in the Fog (where the tokens can be removed) there’s two more scenarios, Lair of Dagon and Into the Maelstrom. Looking at the token effects for those two scenarios, the Elder Thing is indeed the token with the largest negative modifier. However, the cultist token has quite significant effects: In Dagon’s Lair the cultist will draw another token and turn into an auto-fail if drawn together with a curse. Since the bag is often filled with curses in that campaign, they almost turn into second and third copies of the tentacle. In Into the Maelstrom, the cultist will add a doom to the agenda (and potentially advance the agenda) on a failed test. Obviously this is also not great. In comparison, the Elder Thing only adds a curse (or two on Hard/Expert) on fail or conditionally cause a horror. The tablet token doesn’t compete with cultist and Elder Thing for removal, their modifier is lower than the Elder Thing and their effect on fail is not that bad either.

The decision on whether to remove Elder Thing or Cultist hinges on two things then. For one, how confident are you in your tests? If you can beat the -4/-5 from an Elder Thing, then this points towards getting rid of the cultists. Secondly, if you plan on beating Into the Maelstrom before the Old Ones wake up, getting rid of that cultist also makes a lot of sense. But getting rid of the big modifier through removing the Elder Things is certainly not a wrong choice either, especially if you are not completely confident in how often you’d be able to beat them.

As a final note on the chaos bag, the Innsmouth campaign introduces curse and bless tokens as a mechanic. This is mostly contained to player cards, except for one scenario they do not play a role for the campaign itself. If you want to go hard on synergies with drawing blesses and curses, it might make sense to try and keep the bag as slim as possible to increase your odds of drawing the tokens you added. That could be a reason to not recover the artifacts in Devil Reef (although, in my opinion, a rather weak reason).

Agents Harper and Dawson

The investigators meet Agent Harper during the conclusion of The Vanishing of Elina Harper and, provided that they didn’t fail the scenario, can add her to a deck for the rest of the campaign. However in practice you won’t have her available often, because during flashbacks, Harper is replaced by Thomas Dawson. The requirement for having access to Dawson is much lower, it merely requires finishing act 1 of Pit of Despair.

Both of these characters are great ally cards. While a bit on the expensive side with 4 resource cost, they do have a good amount of soak on them and provide bonuses to two stats alongside yet another ability. Great value all around.

Other Story Assets

Aside from the agents, there are four other story assets worth talking about. The first one, Teachings of the Order, is earned during In Too Deep, requiring 5 keys. This should be a goal to set for yourself, as this asset is extremely useful. As a permanent card, it doesn’t clog the deck and is in play right from the start. It has three abilities that all can be activated once during the campaign. The curse removal will be great for Lair of Dagon. Removing the flood marker can make escaping A Light in the Fog a lot easier or help with finishing the final scenario. And the ability to just defeat something once is a good thing to have as a panic button that can save you if you draw something like the Deep One Bull on your first mythos phase. Get this card, it makes life a lot easier for you going forward.

The other three are the relics from Devil Reef: The Waveworn Idol, the Awakened Mantle and the Headdress of Y’ha-nthlei. These are all cheap assets that go into the deck of their owner. They do provide some sort of soak without using an item slot, so that’s immediately useful. As for abilities, they aren’t bad either. The headdress offers a bonus whenever seeking, fighting or evading at flooded locations. The mantle offers a free move per turn as long as its from one flooded location to the next. And the idol offers a free action per turn, to be used after a Deep One spawned at your location or the flood level was changed. Mantle and Idol are a good deal better than the headdress just because they offer extra actions, but all of them are nice to have. Acquiring them does add a chaos token to the bag for each one, though. The headdress adds the Elder Thing, so you might consider skipping that one on purpose. By doing so, you could actually enter the final two scenarios without any Elder Things and cultists in the bag which is certainly nice. The mantle and idol are both good enough to take regardless of the token.

Vehicles

Two of the scenarios, Devil Reef and Horror in High Gear, introduce the concept of vehicle assets to the game. They allow the group to move together as a unit and those scenarios also come with penalties for moving without that vehicle. For Devil Reef, it’s a fisher boat you use to get from one small island to the next. For Horror in High Gear, it’s one or two cars that the players are using to speed towards their destination.

The vehicles are used quite differently in those two scenarios, so making sure to get the rule nuances right is important. The most important difference comes from having to choose a driver for the car while anyone can use their actions on moving the boat. Horror in High Gear also has a couple of treacheries that hit everyone in the same car at the same time.

Ultimately, the vehicles are nothing too impactful. They represent another movement option in Devil Reef, sort of like a Safeguard that can be used by the whole group. For Horror in High Gear, there’s a bit more play around the vehicles as the cars can be stopped and started by spending actions and many tests on locations and treacheries will refer to the driver of the car. For that reason, you should preferably pick someone with high agility (and possibly also willpower) for the job.

The vehicles are completely contained to their scenarios, there are no implications for the wider campaign.

Delayed Experience spending

As mentioned, the campaign shifts its focus regularly, alternating between scenarios set in the present and those representing flashbacks from a week to a month earlier. As a result of this, the players are instructed to not spend their experience when going into one of the flashback scenarios.

This means that players will have to keep their XP banked between In Too Deep and Devil Reef and between A Light in the Fog and Lair of Dagon without being allowed to buy card upgrades from them just yet. Curiously the same is not true for going from Pit of Despair into Vanishing of Elina Harper despite the latter also being a flashback scenario.

So instead of the usual 7 opportunities to spend XP, Innsmouth only has 5. While this does not mean that there’s less XP to gain and spend in total, it does have some implications for the distribution. Most importantly, it introduces a severe drought of XP for the first four scenarios, as the first half of the campaign will have to be played on only what you gained during Pit of Despair and Vanishing of Elina Harper – and that’s not necessarily a whole lot. Then, after Devil Reef you are suddenly presented with a huge pile of experience all to spend at once. The skip between Light in the Fog and Lair of Dagon is much less impactful.

Experience

So since i already started talking about experience, let’s take a look at what is available during the Innsmouth Conspiracy. It’s a very solid amount and you’ll find that by the end of the campaign you will usually be able to have filled out your deck very well. It’s just that the first half keeps you on a very short leash in terms of card upgrades.

Available XP per scenario:
Pit of Despair (+Interlude 1): 2 (locations) + 4 (Flashbacks 1-4) = 6XP
The Vanishing of Elina Harper: 6 (locations) + 1 (Winged One) = 7XP
In Too Deep: 5 (locations) + 1 (Innsmouth Shoggoth) + 2 (successful resolution) = 8XP
Devil Reef (+Interlude 3): 4 (locations) + 1 (Terror of Devil Reef) + 1 (Lloigor) + 6 (relics) = 12 XP
Horror in High Gear: 8 (locations) + 1 (Winged One) = 9XP
A Light in the Fog: 5 (locations) + 2 (Oceiros) = 7XP
The Lair of Dagon: 5 (locations) + 1 (Dagon) + 1 (Apostle) = 7XP
Into the Maelstrom: 2 (locations) + 1 (Lloigor) + 4 (act cards) + 3 (resolution, both act cards done) = 10XP

As usual some comments on these numbers.
Getting the full XP on Vanishing of Elina Harper is extremely unlikely as it would require fishing all five locations out of the lead deck, something you’d need immense luck for to get done. Usually i’d be happy to even get 3XP in total there, everything more than that is already something to celebrate…
The XP that is available from locations in Horror in High Gear is subject to some randomization, as there are up to two locations beneath the Falcon Point and another two locations make out the road behind the players at the start of the scenario. While it is theoretically possible to backtrack to those, it’s very impractical to do so in the vast majority of cases (that do not involve Luke somehow).

As you can see from these numbers, you could in theory enter Into the Maelstrom with 55XP, which is roughly on par with the Circle Undone and Carcosa campaigns. So you should have no problems getting your decks up and running. Just make sure that they function without much investment at first, as you will need to get by on 6-10XP for the first half of the campaign. Once over that hump, things get much more relaxed both thanks to the massive dump of XP following Devil Reef and due to acquiring the relics at that point. Innsmouth really has some great story assets that can help with filling out the deck, making some other upgrades less critical.

Investigator Choices

The Innsmouth campaign attacks investigators from several angles. Especially the amount of incoming damage and horror right at the start of the campaign can be staggering. There’s also an above average amount of enemies that need handling, while you still want to be able to quick and efficiently scour clues from locations and grab the keys before the flood rolls in. While all investigators can be built to contribute, there are certainly some that work better than others. Here are some suggestions on what should work well, two per class:
Tommy Muldoon couldn’t care less about incoming damage and horror. In fact, he’s getting payed for it. By leaning into his survivor access he can even leverage his base intellect into contributing with the clues.
Roland Banks will have to work around his 5 sanity. But if he can do that, he will find that the target rich environment of Innsmouth gives him plenty of opportunity to trigger his investigator ability for extra clues.
Ursula Downs has an excellent stat line for this campaign and gets the most out of the mobility cards that you’ll likely want to run for Innsmouth.
Amanda Sharpe can be built towards a deck that can do quite a lot of fighting while still being a capable seeker (and without being as exposed to treacheries as Joe is). Having your seeker be not as vulnerable to enemies and encounter cards as usual is a good strategy here.
Winifred Habbamock is one of the investigators that are capable at both fighting and evading and are thus able to react to everything. She’s also very much able to contribute to the clue portion of the game through Pilfer and just having a good statline and skills to boost them.
Trish Scarborough combines seeking and enemy handling into a a tidy package as well. While not quite as flexible as Wini, she is arguably more efficient at what she does. She is also by far the best investigator at putting Elina Harper to work.
Luke Robinson has to be mentioned whenever we are looking for mobility because it doesn’t get much better than just teleporting around. Sure, his 5 stamina needs protection, but it’s not like a hunter will ever catch up to him.
Akachi Onyele is about the closest to a pure combat mage that the LCG has. Her ability to get extra charges and to refuel her spells through her signature will help a lot if your plan is burning your way through the enemies. The other mystics will find that their Shrivels (etc.) won’t last very long.
Silas Marsh can both fight and evade very well, he’s quite similar to Wini in that regard. While Silas doesn’t have the capabilities to grab a lot of clues, he does have something else that Wini does not: Track Shoes. And the pair of Jessica and Peter to stave off the damage and horror. He’s also the most thematically appropriate investigator by far.
Stella Clark… i swear, i really don’t want to recommend Stella for every campaign. But look at this: 8 health, 8 sanity, good evasion, decent fight, capability to discover clues through events, a signature that trivializes Horror in High Gear and mobility through Track Shoes. Go play Stella, i guess ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

As usual, the real recommendation is to play whatever seems fun to you. If you struggle with the campaign, these suggestions can point you towards what could help you but ultimately you’ll want to forge your own way through the campaign and i firmly believe that every single investigator has the capability to pull their weight in a group. True solo might be a different thing, i have no idea about that honestly. But by no means are these recommendations to be understood as something you absolutely should do or need to do to get through the campaign.

Notable Player Cards

Investigators alone do not make a deck, so here are also some suggestions for player cards. What you are mostly looking for is mobility, soak and action efficiency. Again i will limit myself to 2 cards per class:

Handcuffs work on Deep Ones thanks to their Humanoid trait. They also work on the vehicle enemies of Horror in High Gear, for that matter. And on those pesky Dagon cultists. There’s a lot of targets for this card, so they it should almost always be a worthy inclusion.
Spiritual Resolve is 5XP, but the amount of pressure it relieves is remarkable. Consider getting this upgrade when you are swimming in XP after Devil Reef so you can be a lot more relaxed about the second half of the campaign.
Esoteric Atlas: Horror in High Gear and Devil Reef incur action penalties for moving through some locations without a vehicle. While those would also apply to cards like Pathfinder, Nimble or Track Shoes, they don’t apply to the locations skipped by Esoteric Atlas. This can allow for some neat tricks in those scenarios while still being useful in other scenarios. For example, it allows you to skip past barricades in In Too Deep and helps with the backtracking necessary when delivering keys from one place to the next.
Dr. William T. Maleson picks up the slack for the distinct lack of soaking in the seeker card pool. For only 1 resource he can ward a lot of damage and horror away from the investigator, which can be a necessary evil, even if it costs the ally slot.
Slip Away is something that anyone who plans on using evasion to deal with enemies should look at. Keeping the Deep One hunters down an additional turn is a huge help. Note that it will not keep down the Deep One Bull, though.
Liquid Courage can be a bit of a necessary evil for those rogues that struggle with their low sanity, like for example Tony Morgan. Healing anywhere between 4 and 8 sanity can be clutch to get through some bad situations and the ability to spread the healing around in the group will very likely be handy as well.
Open Gate on locations that you anticipate having to return to can translate into some serious action efficiency, saving whole turns of running back and forth. Devil Reef is of course the most obvious example again as it allows to hop islands and if put in smart locations with Underground Passage in mind can allow bypassing the boat completely for the later stage of the scenario.
Ritual Candles are in my opinion a bit of an underrated sleeper card anyways, but especially in a campaign that starts out with a full 8 bad symbol tokens, it can really do some good for your tests. Depending on your plans for your hand slots and on how well you are able to get your flashbacks that remove these tokens, you may want to upgrade out of these for the last two or three scenarios. But up to there, maybe give these a second or third look when putting your initial deck together.
Track Shoes: I mentioned this card several times throughout this whole article. I feel like i have to acknowledge its existence at least once here as well. If you can, go play it. Well, maybe don’t Versatile for it. Maybe.
Waylay takes care of the Deep One Bull specifically, but also many other Deep Ones as well, as they tend towards having low evasion. Waylay is a card that can solve a lot of dicey situations without much fuss, as long as you can spare the resources.
Painkillers/Smoking Pipe are cards i usually try to avoid running, but for investigators that start out with either 5 sanity or 5 stamina, these can be crucial at least for the first couple scenarios.

Surge

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