Hastur’s Gift

Set Size6
Number of unique Cards3
RoleEnemy, Willpower, Damage, Horror
Threat LevelMedium
# of scenarios2
Appears in: The Last King, The Unspeakable Oath

My take on this set: The two enemies in this set are suprisingly potent. The engagement abilities make sure they have some sort of lasting effect even if they are drawn by the enemy handler. The set is only used in two scenarios (random side fact: they are the same two scenarios that Decay & Filth are used in) and its impact is fairly different between the two. For one, the treachery gets some extra kick in Last King, where it can randomly apply to the unique mini-bosses. On the other hand, the two enemies gain some extra meaning in the Unspeakable Oath. Oath is a scenario that features a lot of backtracking and is generally putting investigators under a lot of pressure throughout its rather long runtime. Those little pings of damage and horror matter a lot more in that scenario because there’s just so much that also goes after those resources. There’s also no easy resign option in Oath and the stakes are very high, so every point of stamina and sanity just matter so much more.
This is a pretty great set, offering enemies that are both challenging and different. It’s great then that the whole engagement mechanic is being revisited three and a half years later in the Innsmouth cycle with the Deep Ones using exactly that as their central gimmick.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Maniac has a surprisingly beefy statline considering it’s just a human asylum inmate. After engaging, Maniac deals one point of damage to the investigator and to himself, effectively turning him into an enemy with 3 stamina which is still enough to often take two actions. He has a low agility score of only 1 so he’s easy enough to evade.

My take: A respectable enemy. Dealing a testless damage right away is relevant for sure, and what is effectively a 3/3/1 enemy afterwards is not exactly a pushover either. Evasion is tempting, but opens up the possibility of being hit by the engage effect again at a later point. Both Last King and Unspeakable Oath feature a good amount of backtracking, so the decision whether to evade or kill the Maniac is going to be very dependant on context.

Threat level: Medium. It’s not a high profile enemy, but will always be a noticable speed bump. The engage effect also guarantees some lasting effect.

Dealing with it: If evasion is an option, then that will usually be the more efficient way of dealing with the Maniac. Killing the Maniac with a 3-damage action is usually worth it, though. Having some extra soak from allies or other assets can give the necessary room to afford engaging this enemy more than one time, making evasion a more attractive option even when it’s at a location you plan on revisiting.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Young Psychopath has only low combat stats, she does however have an engagement ability that makes the investigator choose: Either they take a horror, or the enemy gets a hefty bonus to her fight value.

My take: Declining the horror puts her fight stat to 5, more than enough to make even seasoned fighters put some effort in if they want to consistently succeed. Like with the Maniac, there is some interesting decision making involved in determining how to deal with this one. Taking the horror and slapping the Psychopath for two damage is what i consider the default option. I would only consider skipping the horror if i either plan on evading her or if i had a source of two testless damage. 5 fight is just too much to push through with a standard fight roll, i wouldn’t want to spend ammo, charges or even just actions on failed tests here.

Threat level: Low to Mid. As long as the horror is fine, this enemy doesn’t pose too much of a problem.

Dealing with it: Anyone with testless damage can get out of their encounter with the Young Psychopath without much of an issue. Anyone else will likely have to take the horror to keep her from being too difficult to defeat. Evasion based investigators have that option open to them, of course. But her agility of 3 is enough that many other investigators would even have some problem with doing so reliably.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: The investigator takes a willpower test at difficulty 3. After failing, the nearest Lunatic enemy will move to their location, then engage and attack.
If no Lunatics are in play, Dance of the Yellow King surges.

My take: Aside from the damage and horror from the attack, this card will also trigger the engagement ability from the Maniac or Young Psychopath if one of those two moved towards you and engaged. Considering that both of those enemies do have some incentive for evading them instead of killing them straight up, this can have those enemies get some extra mileage out of their abilities.
In practice, this treachery rarely lives up to its potential, though. For one, there needs to be a Lunatic around and the damage/horror needs to be relevant right now which is not always the case. Even when everything aligns that the treachery would be bad to deal with, the willpower test offers a reasonable way for most players to deflect it.
As a final note, this card has extra value in The Last King. All of the party guests become Lunatics when they transform, so Dance can deliver some very powerful enemies right to you threat area.

Threat level: Low in Unspeakable Oath. Medium in The Last King. The average consequences of this card are fairly low and the willpower test is able to defuse it most of the time when it would excel.

Dealing with it: The primary way of dealing with this card is dealing with the enemy that would be moved. If that enemy would be a huge bother, especially during Last King, committing cards to the Willpower test can be worth it.

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