Set Size4
Number of unique Cards2
RoleIntellect, Stalling investigations
Threat LevelMid to High
# of scenarios2
Appears in: Beyond the Gates of Sleep, The Search for Kadath

My take on this set: This set attacks the player’s capabilities to investigate locations and collect clues. The power level of the two cards here is wildly different. Dreamlands Eclipse is largely fine, while it’s always a bit of an inconvenience it is rarely a real problem. Prismatic Phenomenon on the other hand is this cycle’s version of Frozen in Fear and can be a huge issue if an enemy handler gets stuck with it. A card to look out for whenever this set is added to the deck for sure.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: This treachery stays in play until the end of the round. While in play, every player who initiates an investigation has to either take 1 horror or have the shroud value of their location go up by 2.

My take: Deep Dark‘s little brother. Sits next to the agenda for a turn and puts a dampener on how much you can investigate. Eclipse allows to bypass its restrictions by paying a horror per action, but of course that can be an issue if the Seeker’s plan was to spend all its actions on investigating. The most important difference between Deep Dark and Eclipse, and the one that makes Eclipse much more benign, is that Eclipse only affects actual investigations, while Deep Dark stops any sort of clue discovery. That means that this card can be bypassed by the likes of Drawn to the Flame, Working a Hunch, etc. As a result, i never found this card to be a particularly bad one. Worst case, the investigation has to rest for a turn and the actions have to be used in some other way. Often, the +2 shroud can even be offset by committing another card to the test.

Threat level: Low to Mid. It affects everyone at the table and for all of their investigative actions, but there are ways around the penalties.

Dealing with it: During Search for Kadath, players are on a timer to get as much done as possible, so having a way to offset the stalling from this card will stop players from falling behind the clock. This is less important in Gates of Sleep, which features a very generous doom clock (provided you didn’t take too long in the first chapter of that scenario). How to best adress the presence of this card when it is in play will depend a lot on the situation, but there are various ways around it. There are no hard restrictions like on Dark Deep, so either taking the horror or brute forcing the increased shroud can both be suitable plays. Finding clues without investigating can ignore the card completely.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Prismatic Phenomenon enters play through a player’s threat area where it stays until that player successfully investigates a location and forfeits discovering clues. While it is in play, that investigator has to spend an additional action the first time they use the draw, resource or play action each round.

My take: How much an investigator minds this is going to depend a lot on two things: How important is constantly playing cards? And how difficult is passing that intellect test to get rid of it for the player? For some investigators, both of these questions can be answered with “A lot”, and those can potentially be crippled by this card for several turns. For example, Nathaniel Cho could find himself having to spend two actions for each of his attack events until his 2 intellect can finally find a clue somewhere. On the other end of the spectrum, someone like Minh gets by without playing any cards at all past the initial setup and has no trouble investigating either. Of course, even for investigators like Minh, that’s still a successful investigation that was negated by Prismatic Phenomenon.

Threat level: High. Some investigators are hit by this more than they would be by Frozen in Fear.

Dealing with it: Low intellect investigators may need some help here in the form of cards committed from other players at their location. Luckily, all regions in Search for Kadath have some location with 1 or 2 shroud, but going there of course takes more actions away. If there’s an enemy at that location (like at the Ruins of Ib, for example), this can even provoke some attacks of opportunity.
It might just be best to treat this card like you would treat Frozen in Fear and reserve either a cancel or an Alter Fate for it. Or both, just to be sure.

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