Ice and Death, part III: Seeping Nightmares

Encounter sets in this scenario: Ice and Death, Seeping Nightmares, Creatures in the Ice, Deadly Weather, Hazards of Antarctica, Silence and Mystery, Ancient Evils
Available experience: 5XP (flat value, for defeating all enemies)

Size of the Encounter Deck27
# Enemies0
# Willpower5
# Agility7
# Doom5
# Damage7
# Horror7
# Tekeli-li10

Synopsis: Immediately following the happenings of Ice and Death I and II, the third part sees the camp under attack by the Eidolon creatures we already got our first taste of in part I. None of the enemies are part of the encounter deck. Instead enemies spawn every couple turns at predetermined locations (depending on player count and camp location). They are led by the Seeping Nightmares, scenario specific enemies that already start at those locations.
The goal is fairly simple: Kill every single Eidolon. While this does sound simple enough, this actually represents a whole lot of health points across 9-12 enemies to chew through and the enemies come in at a fast pace, with the potential of having them stack up. All in addition to the treacheries that are coming off the encounter deck in the Mythos phase, of course.
Having the map uncovered already from the previous scenarios is an advantage here, as it allows taking out the Seeping Nightmares proactively. Managing to take one of them out early will also stop some of the other enemies from ever spawning, so that can be very worth it.

My take on this scenario: This scenario can be quite difficult. At this point, the investigators have up to 9XP in their decks, so just got around to making their first upgrades. The fighters hopefully used that to get better at their job, because they will have their work cut out for them. A new enemy appears every two turns, but what makes this scenario spicy is the use of Ancient Evils and the scenario specific Phantasmagoria to accelerate the enemies coming out. This means you will run into situations where multiple enemies are bearing down on you at the same time. Combined with the relatively high stamina of the enemies this has the potential to overwhelm you.
This is the final Ice and Death scenario, so it’s your last chance to get any supply items from locations that you might still be missing. Anyone who is bad at fighting can make this their goal for the scenario.
Entering this scenario is optional, but considering that it’s rewarded with 5XP if you manage to kill everything, it’s hard to pass up. If things go sideways, you can flee from the scenario… however doing so will cost 4 clues per investigator. If you managed to kill at least one Seeping Nightmare, you’ll at least get 2XP then. This can be an option if you want to at least get some experience out of the scenario but also want to avoid the Frost/Tekeli consequences of having the first agenda advance. Should you feel completely unable to fight this many enemies, you can also just skip the scenario completely. This will make you miss out on the XP, but it will at least give you an additional choice of help from the surviving expedition members.

Scenario specific encounter sets: Of course, the Ice and Death set is used again, with its two treacheries in the deck and the Skittering Nonsense being part of the set aside enemy forces. The Seeping Nightmares set adds the actual Seeping Nightmare enemy and the Phantasmagoria treachery.

Act/Agenda: Again, the act has only one card that sets the rules for this scenario. Eidolons gain Victory 0, so you will need to defeat each one only once. There’s a resign option, however it requires 4 clues to use. The agenda deck works a bit differently than usual here. The first agenda only has a doom threshold of 2, however it will spawn an enemy instead of advancing when that threshold is met. The agenda only flips once there are no more set aside enemies. When this happens, the players gain some persisting consequences in the form of a Frost token and some Tekeli-li cards. After that, the second agenda gives players another 6 doom worth of time to finish up before everyone’s automatically defeated with physical trauma.

Seeping Nightmares: One of these for each player in the game is spawned around the camp at game start. The other eight Eidolons are randomly assigned to the Nightmares, as evenly as possible. Taking these out is made difficult by a number of circumstances. For one, they do hit hard and their high stamina makes them non-trivial to defeat in one turn. There’s also a high chance for them to come bundled with other enemies. Finally, if players didn’t manage to reveal all locations before, they might not even have a direct path to the Nightmares right away.
If your investigators are able to attack onto connecting locations, this can be fantastic value in Ice and Death #3. Anything from Marksmanship to Dynamite Blast or just being Luke Robinson will allow to defeat these with relative ease, potentially taking down all other Eidolons that were assigned to it but didn’t spawn yet.

The Eidolons: Once more the full range of Eidolons from Ice and Death and Creatures in the Ice is used. Due to how the scenario is set up, their Hunter (or Hunter-like) ability is a lot more powerful here than it is usually. The map is very interconnected and additionally the spawn locations are connected to the camp … so staying in the camp is really not an option. Chances are that the investigators will pick up a decent number of Tekeli-li cards along the way in this scenario.

Agility testing treacheries: See Ice and Death, part I.

Location based treacheries: See Ice and Death, part I. These can be a particular nuisance here if you are trying to maneuver around the Hunter enemies.

Horror and Damage: See Ice and Death, part I. By now, you might have picked up a number of Frost tokens already. If you did, Ice Shaft and Dark Aurora start becoming a serious issue to look out for. The non-Elite Eidolons don’t actually hit very hard (at least not in terms of immediate damage/horror), but if you are getting low on stamina or sanity, the treacheries in this set might very well finish you off.

Accelerants: In this scenario, every 2 doom spawn a new enemy. So Ancient Evils will make it so you get new enemies in back to back turns. Phantasmagoria can even skip one more turn ahead. So you have 5 cards in total in this encounter deck that will unexpectedly increase the pressure on the group. Both Evils and Phantasmagoria are prime targets for any Wards of Protections you carry.

Suggested partner assets: For general thoughts see Ice and Death, part I.
Claypool and Danforth become serious consideration for this scenario as well. Claypool is of course dependent on how many Frosts you start out with, but Danforth could even be worthwhile if you don’t have any Tekeli cards in your deck right away. Chances are that your fighter is going to pick up a decent amount and Danforth can help with the fallout from them.
This is also probably the best scenario to bring Cookie. With so many enemies stacking up on each other, players will probably not be able to kill everything before it’s able to get attacks off. Cookie can at least pin down a Nightmare or Manifestation for a turn to stop it from attacking.

Reward and Failure: Doing this scenario offers up 5XP, bringing up the total for the Ice and Death trio to a potential 14XP. Failing it by having the final doom clock run out will inflict a physical trauma on anyone who didn’t resign in time.
In addition to that, there’s an extra Frost token on the backside of the first agenda that is very hard to avoid if you are going for the full 5XP. There are also a lot of Tekeli-li weaknesses that can be picked up here and carrying those into Forbidden Peaks can absolutely be a noticeably drawback.

One Reply to “Ice and Death, part III: Seeping Nightmares”

  1. It should also be noted that doing this scenario at all adds a frost token to the bag (see the intro text). That alone makes this scenario very skippable. I+D3 strongly rewards extremely-rapid deployment of damage, something that most scenarios don’t, which is sort of nice designwise but also means that a lot of teams won’t really be set up for dealing with its challenge. The slower/less-consistent you are at dealing damage, the more you ultimately have to deal, leading to a rough feedback loop.

    My first time through I+D3 was the fastest scenario I’ve ever played, defeating the first Seeping Nightmare on turn 2 and the second (as well as the single Eidolon that was allowed to spawned) on turn 4. And yet it’s also obvious how the scenario can spiral out of control easily and turn into a grind.

    I+D3 also seems like a great scenario to take no Partner (assuming you want them kept alive) since it can spiral out of control and resigning is quite difficult (you need multiple characters on the same location, having gotten a lot of clues (that weren’t otherwise useful), with those characters needing to resign in a specific order (clue-getters last) and with the location being very very dangerous due to the hunter connection and (assuming high-shelter camp) Apeirophobia).

    Apeirophobia is also super-relevant in this scenario — if you did well in I+D1, the Seeping Nightmares are probably on the high-shelter locations where you’re going to be doing a lot of fighting, and those fighters almost certainly won’t have the 2 clues to drop nor the 7-8 sanity to take, so expect even more frost (unless you take the trauma and pivot to the others resigning).

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