Inhabitants of Carcosa

Set Size3
Number of unique Cards2
RoleEnemy, Horror
Threat LevelMid to High
# of scenarios3
Appears in: Unspeakable Oath, Black Stars Rise, Dim Carcosa

My take on this set: A mini-set that offers two things: One boss enemy that usually isn’t shuffled into the deck and instead is set aside during game setup. And two copies of a big monster that hits hard and provides an interesting variation on the 4/4/4 enemy template. I do think the individual cards are nice, but calling it an encounter set is a bit of a stretch. These aren’t really used like your usual encounter set and should be evaluated on their own.

Number in the encounter deck: 1

What it does: Sporting a lot of life and a sizeable evade value, the Beast of Aldebaran is meant to provide a tough boss battle. It has only a mediocre fight value, but the health alone makes sure that the investigators will have to devote a good amount of actions to defeating the Beast. The monster deals two damage and a horror and it does so to every investigator at its location due to being Massive. Furthermore, if a player wants to use assets to soak these attacks, they will need to assign as much of it as possible to a single asset before being allowed to spread it to other cards. Defeating the Beast of Aldebaran awards one victory point.

My take: Both Black Stars Rise and Dim Carcosa use this enemy as a scripted encounter, guarding a key location. Its stats are well chosen in my opinion – it’s tougher than most other enemies around, making for a notable battle worthy of the victory point and story beat. At the same time, it’s not as tough as previous scenario defining enemies like Silas Bishop – in turn it doesn’t overshadow more important things that are going on. Sadly, we never get any explanation of what the Beast of Aldebaran is, why it’s there and why it guards these key locations. In any case, i enjoy fighting this monster, especially in Black Stars Rising it’s a satisfying conclusion to the scenario. I am less of a fan of it popping up randomly during Unspeakable Oath, luckily that doesn’t happen very often.

Threat level: High. The mediocre combat value stops it from playing in the big leagues with the Great Old Ones and other campaign defining enemies, but it’s certainly an enemy to respect and prepare for.

Dealing with it: The amount of high damage dealt by this enemy means that you’ll want to kill this thing as fast as possible. Of course, the high health pool makes this difficult and due to Massive it’s at least risky to try and gang up on it. You could find a way to evade the creature, either by having high agility and using some more bonuses or commits to push past the high evade value or by using something that can exhaust the enemy without a test. Having a Dynamite Blast ready to soften it up before engaging is also a really good way of dealing with the Beast of Aldebaran. During Dim Carcosa, it often happens that cultist enemies spawn at the same location as the Beast, which makes Dynamite even more attractive.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Spawn of Hali has 4 fight and health, making it a formidable enemy in combat. It deals 2 horror and a damage, which combined with Retaliate makes attacking it even more dangerous. Its evasion is only 2, but if an investigator does not evade it with at least 2 points to spare, the Spawn will deal a horror to that investigator. Notably, this horror is only dealt on a successful evasion, so failing the evasion test completely will not have any consequences.

My take: Thankfully, this enemy does not have Hunter, so evading it and leaving it behind is a suitable way of dealing with the card, especially during Black Stars Rise and Unspeakable Oath. During Dim Carcosa, its more likely to spawn in a location that you may want to backtrack to, so killing it properly could be required then. Fighting it is quite dangerous, though. It hits hard and Retaliate on a four fight enemy has good chances to trigger.

Threat level: Mid to High. The low evade provides an achilles heel to exploit this otherwise dangerous enemy.

Dealing with it: If possible, just evade it and leave it behind. Taking a horror for the successful evasion is fine if it saves the actions needed to kill it and bypasses the risk of retaliation hits. When forced to fight it in “fair” combat, consider an evasion in preparation to turn off the Retaliate. While it costs an extra action, avoiding the loss of two sanity from a botched attack can be very much worth it in the Carcosa campaign and during the Dim Carcosa scenario in particular.

2 Replies to “Inhabitants of Carcosa”

  1. “Sadly, we never get any explanation of what the Beast of Aldebaran is”

    Act 2b in Dim Carcosa strongly implies that the Beast of Aldebaran is the monstrous-appearance of Dianne Devine (from The Last King):

    ” “Ah, if it isn’t our final guest,” the doorman announces. “Miss Devine, your presence here has been long awaited.” The creature slithers up the side of the palace. You swear you’ve seen the symbol on her amulet before. Wait, that can’t be right.
    “Well, now the real party can begin,” it roars.

    Spawn the set-aside Beast of Aldebaran enemy at the Palace of the King.”

    This is of course made less clear in Return-to, as there’s already a monstrous-appearance for Miss Devine in Return to The Last King.

    Given its spawned-by-agenda miniboss nature, it’s really *weird* that Beast of Aldebaran doesn’t scale to player count. (Massive doesn’t really scale (as with more players you simply have more actions to defeat it before it can attack in the first place) and is arguably an *advantage*, as massive enemies are easier for larger parties to evade, and you never have to worry about friendly fire on failed attacks.)

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