Hemlock Vale Spoiler Roundup #1

Here we go again

Well then, we have our announcement. In January and February 2024 we will get the next Investigator and Campaign expansion for our silly little card game of by now truly eldritch proportions. Until then, i am sure we will get tidbits and spoilers aplenty along the way, maybe even in a coordinated fashion similar to what we got for Scarlet Keys. So i am hereby officially declaring this spoiler season open and let’s just dive in with everything we can get out of the announcement and other sources on the FFG site in terms of player cards.


Everything so far we know from FFG themselves.

Announcement article
Campaign Expansion
Investigator Expansion
Asmodee Shop page
“I’ll pay you back” was teased a good while back on their Youtube, at the end of this video

The investigators

Alright, let’s start with the investigators. Two of them were spoiled almost completely (their backside is missing) in the announcement. The other three are known with at least their name and statline from the Asmodee Store page. Let’s start with the two we have more details about, then move onto the other three.

Kate looks to be quite strong, basically able to get free “Unexpected Courage”s with each clue she collects. There’s some rule questions still unanswered, the most important one being if she’s able to spend clues (for example for advancing the act) when those clues are on her cards, but assuming that is the case, she should be quite potent. If not, there is at least some significant opportunity cost with moving the clues around. Her weakness looks really ghastly though, especially considering that she has only 2 willpower. If everything works as i expect, she would be quite powerful with the clue dropping archetype, able to move clues in circles around her, her assets and the location.
EDIT: It has been confirmed by Duke that clues on assets can be spent without restrictions. That means she is indeed quite flexible and i would put her ability somewhere near Mark’s Sophie in terms of having access to stat boosts on demand whenever it matters. That seems fantastic to me.

Samson is wild. Another member of the Survivor tank group, he joins Daniela, Calvin and Tommy in the ranks of survivors that want to get hurt for fun and profit. This all looks really strong, but the switch from his first mode where he wants to get hit and the second one where he needs to be more careful makes him probably a lot less straightforward to play than Tommy and Dany. That signature is ridiculously strong, the weakness probably fine. Ultimately the weakness is just a dude that can be killed. Fun to see them tease the Elusive keyword here, which seems to be a reverse Hunter – an enemy that runs away from you each turn. Supposedly that means it will break engagement as well… if that happens during normal monster movement, the enemy would never attack then? I wonder.

Oh no, it’s a 3/3/3/3. Not a great start. The ability looks super flexible and useful though, so that might be able to make up for it. The text is partially obscured in the image, but we can probably be rather confident he reads:
Reduce the resource cost of the first Tool asset you play each round by 1.
You get +1 skill value to skill tests on Tool assets.
Elder Sign: +0. You may swap a Tool asset in your play area with a Tool asset in your hand with equal or lower printed cost.

Now, Guardian isn’t exactly famous for its tool assets, so the card access will be very important here and likely make or break how useful Wilson ends up being. I am a bit concerned about them not giving full Tool access to Wilson because they just did that with Kymani.

Hey, it’s the long awaited Parley investigator. I’ve seen a couple of those by now in fan-made sets, it was only a matter of time before we get an official one. Trish-like stats, a conditional bonus action, the trusty 7/7 split. I like everything we get to see here.

We don’t get to see much of him, except for a statline that has decent potential to be built in multiple directions. Now, something I have seen posted elsewhere by people with way better ability to tell things from just few pixels is that Mr. Narukami here has these traits: Scholar. Blessed. Cursed. Now combine that with this fun tidbit from the investigator expansion page:

Blesses and Curses are back, baby. I can’t overstate how excited i am for this. And if Kōhaku is indeed a blurse specialist, then i am here for it!

Player cards

The announcement focused completely on Seeker and Survivor (like the TSK one focused on Guardian and Mystic), so that’s what we get here:

Chemistry Set: This is very hard to plan for, but if played early you can get a good amount of extra stuff out of it. Probably fine, not great. I hate that it exhausts on use. But playable if you like one or more of the traits.
Dr. Charles West III: Ah, that reaction ability is like the one on Alice Luxley, except more limited. And Alice’s was already too narrow to see play. Sorry, i am not too hopeful on this one, unless it turns out that a tool slot is that valuable.
Microscope: More evidence collection, very similar to the Dissection Kit from TSK in that regard. The ability to take a double action for three clues and a healthy skill bonus is pretty good. This could make a great impression of a knock-off Fingerprint Kit(4), as long as you can keep the evidence counters coming. I’d be interested in testing this out.
Ravenous Myconid+Uncanny Growth: So all we need to do to identify this one is take an action, pay a resource, take another action and succeed an investigation by 3? That seems on the easy side for Researched cards. Limit 1 per deck again, as with the Conduit. Obviously we need to see the upgrades before diving into this one, but it’s cheap and easy to get started, so this is promising. Loving the traits on this one.
Well-Funded: Nah, not impressed. You need a Tool in play just to have this be Courage. Now to be fair, one Tool is easy to get, but so is a Courage. It can go to 3 and if you are playing the Science deck that might be good enough, but the lack of any relevant traits lets me lean towards “probably not that great”.

Pitchfork: This is really, really good. Getting to deal 3 damage with one action is incredible, even if it needs a reload. This is basically a level 0 card that does a good impression of Ornate Bow.
Sparrow Mask: Reminds me a lot of the Bangle of Jinxes, which is decent. This doesn’t take a (relevant) slot, is cheaper, triggers on treacheries and doesn’t cost XP in exchange for being limited to what tests it can contribute to and not being able to stack counters forever. That seems like a very, very good tradeoff. Hey, you can run both. Make those monsters really regret attacking you. This is a very good card.
Pushed to the Limit: Have we not learned from Knowledge is Power? This is a very dangerous card and likely to find a home.
Stall for Time: I guess if Parley does something special for you (like the Rogue from this set or if you wear Fine Clothes), this can be okay. But i don’t think i would usually see much of a point to play this over an actual evasion card. I suppose using willpower instead of agility can be relevant too. Or if the enemy has Aloof. Hm, yeah i guess there are some niches this could fill, but i am not super optimistic.
Wrong Place, Right Time: Obviously tailored for Samson, but this is a powerful effect just in general. Being a Double will keep it out of most decks though, i think.
Long Shot: This one is again really good. Vicious Blow, but in Red. Trades the +1 skill for the ability to hit into connecting locations. Can also commit to evasions and fights that are done with any attribute, not just combat. It’s Practiced, too. This will see a lot of play.

And finally, this Rogue card was spoiled 4 months ago in a Fortune and Folly stream on the FFG YouTube channel. I see this as a great way to allow rogues to spread their wealth around to other players. Is that going to be worth a card in your deck? Teamwork does something similar and isn’t really played a lot either. I do like it, but this might end up being one of those cards #31-#35 for my 30 card deck.

9 Replies to “Hemlock Vale Spoiler Roundup #1”

  1. The curtain falls as the Emissary gives one last bow. The cultists chatter amongst themselves as they head for the exits, and the Masked Man retreats to his dressing room to change, never breaking character.

    Then a farmhand pokes his head up from his seat, wondering where everyone else went.

    (Assuming I’m reading the rules right, you can assign the 100 horror from Curtain Call Agenda 2b to Hank’s first side, then trigger his ability to heal it all off.)

  2. Alessandro Zorzi has a total stat line of 13! The starter deck investigators got 13 as well because deck building was class only. Could mean that Alessandro gets limited deck building as well?

    1. Akachi has also a total of 13. I think, it is a save bet, that Alessandro gets Parley cards up to a certain level, otherwise the recent releases of “Existential Riddle” (Seeker level 1), “Power Word” (Mystic, customisable) or now “Stall for Time” (Survivor level 0) would seem a bit odd. (But we had Michael Leigh just an expansion before Vincent Lee, so, who knows for sure.)

  3. Yeah, “Well-Funded” seems like binder fodder. The math gets better for Kate, who has a permanent card, which makes it strictly a yellow “Unexpected Courage” for her, with potential to become an “Inquiring Mind”, that does not need a clue on the location. But I fear, even for her that is not quite enough. I rarely find a place for UC in decks with the current deck pool. IM I take in level 0 Seeker decks, but I fear, the hoop you have to jump through to commit this card is worse.

    Am I missing something, or are you pretty much out of the quest for the remainder of the scenario, if you succeed the test on “Ravenous Myconid” by 2 or less? (You might discard to a “Crypt Chill” or the like, and retry later, should you have time to find and replay the card, but you have to succeed by 3 regardless.) Likely a good thing to research for Minh, while she reads in “The King in Yellow”.

    I think, “Stall for Time” might be better, than you give it credit for. Evade actions, that exhaust for two turns are much better, than regular evades.

    1. The first ability on the Myconid can grab the Growth again, if you didn’t succeed enough the first time. It uses the same “set aside, out of play” wording on Growth that the errata’d Lexicon and Mirror use to be able to access their bonded spells over and over if they are returned and replayed.

  4. With Alessandra here, there’s a Rogue card concept I really, really hope to see FFG pull off here. One example implementation:

    Paid Off
    Cost: X
    Icons: Agility, Willpower
    Traits: Favor.

    Parley. Choose a non-Elite enemy at your location with X fight. Defeat that enemy.

    Flavor Text: “Hey! I see you there!” “Mr. Benjamin here says no, you didn’t.”

    1. Reminds me a bit of the “famous last words” from the “Best-Laid Plans: TFA”-article on this site.

      Seriously, it would be thematically odd, if it includes non-humanoid enemies, and probably too strong with testless defeat. Maybe with cost x*y, where x is something like half the fight value rounded up and y the remaining health?

      1. Regarding the lack of trait restriction, this is honestly somewhere where I feel that theme has to take a backseat to playability. Yes, it’s unthematic to be able to pay off a Shoggoth, but whatever narrative benefit not being able to target Shoggoths with it would provide would be counteracted by the mechanical costs, namely how the targeting restrictions limit the use cases for the card and thus the number of decks that would include it. In addition, the broad definition of “resources” could be used to craft a more thematically appropriate explanation for cases like the Shoggoth, for example saying that the investigator threw some pocket change in another direction to distract the Shoggoth.

        I do agree that the effect is quite strong, however. Perhaps X equals the target’s fight value plus their remaining health? Instead of defeating the enemy, evading them for 2 turns (a la Stall for Time)?

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