Other encounter sets in this scenario: City of Sins, Silver Twilight Lodge, Ancient Evils, Dark Cult, Locked Doors
Note: The composition of the deck changes depending on whether the players joined the Lodge (1) or not (2). This doesn’t change the treacheries in the deck, but will determine which enemies appear.
|Size of the Encounter Deck||29||29|
My take on this encounter deck: Doom management is the name of the game in For The Greater Good. Once again, the tried and true combination of Ancient Evils with a cultist set does a lot of the work of giving the scenario its identity. Thankfully, this scenario doesn’t have a lot of agendas and no forced reshuffles, making the whole ordeal much easier to calculate and plan than in previous scenarios. Due to its somewhat small size, some Surge cards, a few cards that search up others and the encounter deck discard from City of Sins the deck can deplete a bit faster than usual, though.
Joining the Lodge can make this scenario a whole lot more difficult if players aren’t equipped to deal with the Parley tests. Those use Intellect and Willpower to remove the doom from the Lodge members. Killing them directly instead is punished by the Agenda card which will inherit one doom from each defeated Twilight Silver Lodge enemy.
On the other hand, if the investigators didn’t join the Lodge, the scenario deck will replace the enemies from the Twilight Silver Lodge encounter set with those from Dark Cult, which of course can be defeated without any such penalty. This will often make things easier, but will not even give another option than fighting your way through.
The deck is fairly light on enemies, with just the four enemies from one of the cultist sets and three more from the scenario specific cards. This is offset by Call to Order, Mysterious Chanting and a few abilities on locations that search the encounter deck for enemies, so in practice the deck will feel like there’s a cultist behind each corner.
For The Greater Good can be a very hard scenario if players are on the Lodge side and not prepared to Parley their way through. Other than that, the encounter deck holds few surprises. This is one of the scenarios that is mostly carried by external mechanisms – in this case the various keys and where they randomly appear will be a major factor in how the game plays out.
The two most important treacheries to keep in mind are Expulsion and Centuries of Secrets.
Cancel these: Ancient Evils, Call to Order. One of the main obstacles in defeating this scenario is buying the time to get all the keys and plunder the inner sanctum. Having Ancient Evils go on top of what the Cultists already add to the doom clock is something that goes directly against that. Call to Order can situationally be very brutal, keeping a cancel card back to prevent an untimely Call to Order can be huge.
What it does: Mark of the Order inflicts a negative effect on every investigator that is bearing one of the scenario keys. If one investigator carries multiple keys, they can be hit by multiple of these effects. Mark of the Order surges.
My take: Nobody is ever happy to draw a Surge card as they usually stack minor effects on top of another encounter card. Mark of the Order’s effects are not even necessarily minor. Discarding two random cards or losing three resources are effects that have been used as full encounter cards in other places. Strong card, hope to draw them early.
Threat level: Mid. Two out of four effects are easy enough to mitigate, while the other two can be much more of a nuisance.
Dealing with it: This is not a card that is going to be worth playing around. While it would be possible to micromanage who is carrying which key by passing them around, this would take away precious actions that are unlikely to pay off.
What it does: Call to Order finds the two topmost cultists in the discard pile and puts them back into play. They spawn in whatever empty location has the most clues. Should there be no cultists in the discard pile, the card surges.
My take: This card can have a very high impact. Four out of seven cultists in the deck are credible combat threats and having two cultists enter play usually represents at least two more doom added to the board as well. There is also a lot less choice involved in where to spawn them than usual.
If the players joined the Lodge and are going all-in on the Parley, this card could potentially just surge every time. However, this is foiled by Keeper of Secrets which players will probably want to kill in any case and that will be put back into play by Call to Order.
Threat level: High. While Call to Order can as a best case scenario just find a single Acolyte, this card has the potential to be very brutal. There are the occasional moments where Call to Order is almost beneficial by reviving a Lodge Jailor or Cell Keeper that has been defeated before or discarded by Centuries of Secrets. But aside from those corner cases, the addition of two (or sometimes even more) doom to the board in one swoop should make the investigators scramble to deal with that.
Dealing with it: This card is a good argument for clearing the clues from every location. This will keep the two cultists from appearing in the library while the players are currently rummaging in the sanctum locations. Aside from that, the usual cost/benefit estimates apply as usual with cultists: Is the doom on the enemy worth more actions than what needs to be spent on movement and fight/parley actions to deal with it?
What it does: The nearest cultist enemy engages and attacks the player, readying and moving as is necessary to do so. After the attack, the enemy takes control of all keys from that player. If not Cultist is around, Expulsion surges.
My take: Expulsion is mostly a problem in Lodge playthroughs, where you may not want to fight enemies but might be forced to do so now. In that case, Expulsion has a host of negative consequences: Some horror and/or damage dealt from the attack, the necessity to defeat the enemy, potentially some doom placed on the agenda for killing the enemy and finally you also make it so Call to Order has something to put back into play later on. If the attacked player didn’t carry a key, then evasion is an option of course.
If not aligned with the Lodge, this card is much less powerful as you will likely want to defeat the enemies anyways. It can even be helpful by delivering an enemy on a location you don’t have the key for yet in exchange for suffering an attack.
Threat level: Mid to High. Many of the cultist enemies deal more than one point of damage/horror and require multiple actions to defeat, so Expulsion (if it doesn’t surge) will usually have a noticeable impact.
Dealing with it: Expulsion is a card that is hard to prepare for, but useful to keep in mind. Especially on Lodge-aligned playthroughs, try having investigators that are unable to fight on their own to not stray from the rest of the group too far. Otherwise, dealing with a surprise attack from Expulsion can cost a lot of actions from whoever has to come to the rescue.
What it does: If the investigator fails an Intellect test, they have to take one horror for each point they failed by. The player can choose to lose clues instead of sanity. Should the investigator carry a key, the difficulty of the test is increased by one and Beneath the Lodge gains Peril.
My take: This is one of the few damage/horror cards where even a single one can hurt a lot. Dealing up to four horror in one swoop can put many investigators on the brink of defeat and many of those are actually Guardians and Rogues with bad or mediocre Intellect stats. I am usually not too afraid of Rotting Remains and their ilk, but this one is a bit of a standout. Clues can be lost to soften the blow in a pinch, but the investigators most hurt by this card are typically not the ones who have a lot of clues in the first place.
Threat level: Mid. Some investigators are just not properly equipped to deal with this card, meaning they either look at potentially losing a large chunk of their remaining sanity or discarding one or two assets to soak most of the blow.
Dealing with it: Players are usually not specifically packing cards to deal with intellect checks, but if Perception is in the deck anyways, it might be worth holding in reserve for this scenario. Investigators that are weak to this card are probably best off just building up some horror soak from allies and other assets.
What it does: Cell Keeper is the key warden for groups that are not aligned with the Lodge. He will spawn in a Sanctum location with two doom and one of the keys on him. At three strength and health, he doesn’t pose a huge threat, but will usually require multiple actions to defeat. He does have alert, so failing an evade against him will make the attacking investigator lose two sanity. Players can steal his key by evading him, which at two agility isn’t difficult at all.
My take: Evading this enemy to steal the key will also remove the doom thanks to the ability on the act card. So that’s an efficient way to deal with the Cell Keeper, but do consider that you might actually want him defeated just so you can search him up again with the Holding Cell location for additional keys. He’s not terribly difficult to defeat, but he can appear in inconvenient places. Especially if drawn very early in the game he can spawn in the catacombs, before players are even able to enter it.
Threat level: Mid. An enemy with two doom on it will always be a priority to get rid off, but once the players have entered the Sanctum it’s easy to put him somewhere in close reach.
Dealing with it: At this point in the campaign, defeating the Cell Keeper should be no problem for any semi-competent fighter. Since he’s carrying one of the keys, he is an important target to find at some point in the scenario, so consider finding him with Mysterious Chanting or the Holding Cells. Players can even set up a scenario where encountering him twice nets two keys.
What it does: Knight of the Inner Circle appears in a connected location, ready to move right onto the player in the next enemy phase thanks to the Hunter keyword. It deals two damage and is a credible threat in combat thanks to its four health and fight. At two agility, the knight is easy to evade, but the Alert keyword will punish anyone failing in spite of that. A combination of Aloof and a unique Forced effect changes how Knight engages players. Instead of always engaging, the player has to test agility at a high difficulty of four. Knight of the Inner Circle will only engage if the test fails, otherwise it will stay aloof.
My take: A cultist that can fight? And no doom mechanics at all? How unusual. These guys can become very dangerous if they can catch an investigator who can’t fight or evade well on their own. Their forced effect works in the player’s favor most of the time, as the difficulty is high enough to fail on purpose for those that want to engage (and thus bypass the Aloof keyword) while giving high agility investigators a chance to run past the Knight without having to spend an action to evade. That being said, they hit hard enough that having these Hunter enemies stick around for too long is probably a bad idea.
Threat level: Mid to High. They are credible threats that need to be taken out by a dedicated fighter.
Dealing with it: Although they do not carry any doom on them, it’s still best to kill them as early as possible. The map of locations in For the Greater Good isn’t really all that great for running away from Hunter enemies for multiple rounds. They are also one of the more dangerous enemies to have on the board while resolving an Expulsion.
What it does: If the players enter the scenario while allied with the Lodge, the Lodge Jailor takes the role of the key warden. Like the cultists from the Silver Twilight encounter set, the Jailor is Aloof and has a parley ability that offers an alternative way of dealing with him. Like Cell Keeper he enters play with a random key and two doom. Unlike Cell Keeper his parley also allows to remove the doom and not just the key, although that requires multiple parley actions.
My take: Engaging and killing the Jailor usually requires three actions in total, parleying for all the doom and the key takes the same amount. So his alternate way of dealing with him is much more feasible than it is for the Cell Keeper. The same notes about spawning in hard to reach places and becoming a priority apply for the Jailor just as they did for the Cell Keeper.
Threat level: Mid. Same as before: An enemy with two doom on it deserves attention, but the key wardens become easy to get to once the access to the Sanctum is secured.
Dealing with it: Everything said about the Cell Keeper applies here as well. Parleying is a perfectly viable option here, but does leave a cultist on the board that could potentially attack for two horror on drawing an Expulsion.
What it does: Knight of the Outer Void appears in a connected location just like their Inner Circle counterparts. They don’t have the Hunter keyword, but do spawn with one or two doom on them to force players to come to them. They have high agility, which due to their Aloof keyword isn’t terribly relevant outside of Expulsion.
To get rid of the doom on them, they can either be killed which isn’t very difficult but still likely requires a full turn. Or they can be parleyed with willpower or intellect. The parley tests are somewhat difficult, but if they succeed, the doom is not only removed, but turned into a clue instead. Failing at parley will cause the Knight to attack. So will failing to attack due to the Retaliate keyword. As a final complication, the Knight is one of the few enemy cards with Peril, as a consequence no other investigator can help with the parley actions.
My take: What a wild collection of keywords and mechanics. And somehow they work well with each other. I think this enemy is much more threatening than the Inner Circle version. The parley tests aren’t trivial even with high base willpower or intellect, so additional card investment is required to avoid the counterattack on failing the test. These are probably the worst case scenario on what to engage on an Expulsion, as they are just difficult enough to combat that non-fighters will struggle and they do have the agility to make evading them difficult as well. Luckily that can be played around fairly easily.
Threat level: Mid to High. There’s a lot of different abilities working with each other on this card and everything works against the players. Being able to draw a clue or two from them is fine, but doesn’t offset the danger that these pose.
Dealing with it: There probably should be few reasons to ever put two doom on the Knight of the Outer Void. So the best case would be to just parley once and move on. This is one of the few Silver Twilight cultists where having Fine Clothes makes a big difference. Otherwise, try to keep some willpower or intellect icons on hand to brute force your way through the test. On a parley focused playthrough of this scenario, there should likely be enough cultists on the board to avoid the worst case scenario of having one of these enemies engage a player due to Expulsion.
Return to For the Greater Good
My take on the modified scenario: For the Greater Good actually got a solid shakeup from the Return To. Ironically, it’s also one that has the fewest encounter sets swapped out. Only two sets are replaced, however one of them is Ancient Evils. That is huge for this scenario where doom mechanics were the primary constraint of finishing the scenario before the Summoned Beast enters play.
A new Lounge location offers variety, but i would actually consider just hard swapping it in instead of the old one because it is a whole lot more interesting. Instead of having to strike a deal with Lundquist, you can now open a secret passage into the sanctum and find the key there. That shortcut between the two parts of the mansion is great for moving around as well, obviously.
As a final change, additional XP can be earned by finding more keys than the ones required. This can easily hand out another 2 to 4 XP without trying too hard. Neat.
I like this Return To scenario. For the Greater Good was already decent and these changes smooth out some rough corners (like getting randomly screwed by Cultists and Evils) while adding some interesting new angles to the proceedings.
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