Set Size6
Number of unique Cards5
Threat LevelMedium
# of scenarios4
VariantsMaddening Delusions
Appears in: Curtain Call, Echoes of the Past, The Unspeakable Oath, Dim Carcosa

My take on this set: Delusions is the only encounter set that is used more than three times during the Carcosa campaign. It’s also, at least until Delusory Evils came along in Return to Carcosa, the only non-scenario specific source of Hidden cards in its campaign.
As a result of this, the main role of the Delusions set is filling up the numbers of Hidden cards, using effects that broadly apply to most investigators. They do this job very well and their double action to discard them makes sure that nobody is completely unable to deal with these cards.

What it does: Each of the different Whispers is added to the player’s hand as a hidden card and applies some sort of restriction on how the player can spend their turn. The only way to discard the card is by spending two actions.

My take: Of course different investigators will be more affected by some of these than others, but as a whole the effects by these hidden cards are universal enough to apply to most everyone. The discard ability works as a failsafe that makes sure nobody is shut down too hard by the card, at the same time it is enough of a cost that leaving the card in hand for a couple of turns is a tempting option.

Threat level: Medium. Losing two actions is about the upper bound of what to expect from the average encounter card. These also offer the option of just dealing with the restriction, if it’s not too bad.

Dealing with it: Some investigators will always want to get rid of these and it will be obvious when this is the case. For example, Sefina will not want to have (Doubt) sticking around in her hand and neither will Silas want to suffer from the (Dismay) version for too long. But aside from these trivial cases, these cards do offer a surprising amount of player choice. Especially near the end of the scenario, the player will want to weigh the tempo hit from losing two actions against the loss in options that comes from the card.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Descent into Madness will conditionally cost the player an action if they already got at least three horror on them. No matter the outcome, the card also surges.

My take: Losing an action is never great and collecting three horror happens fast in the Carcosa campaign. During Dim Carcosa, this card is basically active the whole time. Surge will make this card stack up with another encounter card, so it’s never a dead draw even if it doesn’t cost the action.

Threat level: Medium. The condition is true quite often and the loss of an action hurts, especially on a surging card.

Dealing with it: Avoiding horror should already be in most players interest, so usually the card is not something to specifically care for.

Return to The Path to Carcosa: Maddening Delusions

Set Size6
Number of unique Cards5
RoleDamage, Horror, Hidden
Threat LevelMedium

My take on this set: I like this replacement set. It is full of cards that are not particularly scary by themselves, but they do add up to a set that puts some significant pressure on both health and sanity. Delusions is already not a bad encounter set at all, and Maddening Delusions largely improves on the concept further by offering the players more ways to play around them and more of an incentive to actually keep the card in hand and continue to play around them.

What it does: The different Visions In Your Mind cards turn the mechanics of the Whispers from the base set on their head. Instead of forbidding a certain action, these demand a certain action to be performed. Instead of staying in hand until the player spends actions on discarding them, these will discard by default unless the player meets the demands of the card for a turn. When discarded, the Visions cause one point of direct damage and horror.

My take: I appreciate how much cleaner and how uncomplicated these cards play. The demanded actions are all things that a player would likely want to do anyways or that they could do without losing anything. So the temptation to keep these around is really big. The damage and horror from having to discard them stacks up well thanks to having four of these in the encounter deck and the scenarios (except Curtain Call) all featuring one or more reshuffles. The horror also stacks with the Maddening Delusions card from this set, of course.

Threat level: Medium. The word “direct” makes all the difference here, as it bypasses most usual sources of mitigating damage and makes the cards go straight for the investigator’s base sanity and health.

Dealing with it: While these cards are in the encounter deck, it’s important to keep some points of health and sanity as a buffer. Other damage is usually non-direct, so using asset for soak a bit more aggressively than usual can be a good idea. Keeping these cards in hand as long as they don’t impair your turn too much is often possible, if an encounter deck reshuffle is about to happen this should especially be considered.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Maddening Delusions deals one horror to the player if he is currently holding a hidden card. It also surges.

My take: First off, let me direct you to the full version of the artwork, it’s worth it. It’s one of those pictures that gets better the longer you look at it. As for the card itself, i like how it plays off the other cards in its set. While Descent into Madness has an effect that is unrelated to the Whispers hidden cards, this one interacts with the Visions that it shares a set with. It is lower impact, i’d usually rather lose a point of sanity than an action. However, it’s more likely to trigger since Visions is quite likely to be kept in hand for a few turns.

Threat level: Low to Mid. Thankfully, this one doesn’t deal direct horror.

Dealing with it: Horror mitigation is an important part of the Carcosa campaign. Using the replacement set for Delusions adds six cards that deal horror to the encounter deck, so this becomes even more of a priority. Maddening Delusions itself is not something to specifically care about, but it is part of a critical mass that needs to be respected.

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