Pnakotic Brotherhood

Set Size6
Number of unique Cards3
RoleEnemies, Doom, Willpower
Threat LevelMid
# of scenarios3
Appears in: Threads of Fate, The Boundary Beyond, Shattered Aeons

My take on this set: A fine set that puts some unique spins on the cultist theme. Shadowed in particular is a card that i have a good amount of respect for. It just works very well in context with all the other cultist related cards, doing the usual doom thing while dealing some horror on top to make sure it won’t just be completely negated by killing whatever cultist.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: The Brotherhood Cultist starts out as a fairly harmless enemy with low combat stats but grows in danger with each attack he survives. Whenever attacked, a Doom token is placed on the Cultist, which in turn increase his fight and evade values. At three health, he can reasonably expect to survive the first attack. Thanks to the Hunter keyword, he will follow the players around, but if he manages to attack, he only deals a horror.

My take: Not as tough as he looks at first glance, but can become a problem in some circumstances. If no attack that deals three damage is available, then taking the Cultist off the board requires an attack against fight 3 and another against fight 4. For most fighters that is not unreasonable at all, but failing one of the tests of course means that the Cultist will earn another doom from the failed attack, increasing his fight value further. Luckily, he only deals a single point of horror, so the consequences of having him stick around are not too terrible as long as he doesn’t cause the agenda to flip. He obviously comboes very well with the other two cards from this encounter set.

Threat level: Mid. Much of Brotherhood Cultist’s impact depends on the availability of a three damage attack. If left to grow out of hand from failed attacks, Shadowed or Mysterious Chanting, he can turn out to be a roadblock. But at least the Hunter keyword means that he carries those doom tokens towards the investigators instead of hiding out with them at some remote corner of the board. If he does get to escalate, he can become a huge issue, but there are usually enough ways around it.

Dealing with it: All through the Forgotten Age campaign, enemies with three health are a common sight. This is one of the enemies where it pays off the most to be prepared for that. Cards like Backstab, Spectral Razor or Vicious Blow make sure that the Cultist is dealt with before he can become a bigger problem. Evading him is also a consideration as that will not put Doom on him, but the Hunter keyword means that he will at least try to catch up again. Should you not be prepared to deal three damage in one swoop (for example on your first playthrough), the danger that comes from this enemy rises dramatically.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Shadowed puts a Doom token on the nearest cultist enemy. In addition, the player has to take a Willpower test against that cultist’s fight value and take 2 horror if he fails. If no Cultist is around, Shadowed will not only Surge like so many other cards, but it will also deal a horror on top.

My take: I’m never happy to see these. Putting doom on cultists is something that we are are used to doing and dealing with. But having the threat of two horror on top puts Shadowed into the next tier. Drawing it with no cultists probably feels even worse as you just get a horror dealt in addition to whatever shenanigans the next encounter card has in store for you.

Threat level: Mid. Shadowed is a case where multiple standard effects are combined into a deceptively potent whole.

Dealing with it: Most cultists have fight values of 3 or less, so at least the Willpower test is in reach of most investigators most of the time. A notable exception is of course the Brotherhood Cultist from this set who can use this doom token as a jumpstart to become too big to handle. Dealing with the primary effect of the card, the doom token, means seeking out the cultist and defeating him. Usually that is something that players would be keen on doing anyways as most cultists already have Doom on them. So in a way, this card often only increases the priority of dealing with the issue.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Words of Power latches onto an investigator and stops them from damaging enemies with doom on them. If an enemy with doom is present, that investigator is also stopped from discovering clues. To get rid of the treachery, two actions can be spent.

My take: In many cases, it is very tempting to just leave this card alone in the threat area. When to do that and when to just spend the two actions to be done with it, is often not all that obvious. It’s an interesting card for sure, but in terms of impact on the gameplay it’s rather weak.

Threat level: Low to Mid. Fighters need to get rid of it immediately of course. If drawn while already engaged, this can be a bit of a problem as it provokes an attack of opportunity and takes two valuable actions away. Outside of that scenario, the consequences are much less dire.

Dealing with it: A character that is escorted by a fighter can ignore this card somewhat safely. Investigators whose primary way of dealing with enemies is evading also have an easier time with the card, but are of course still subject to not being able to pick up clues on the location. If in doubt, it’s probably best to just spend the two actions at the next opportunity that doesn’t disrupt plans too much.

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