|Number of unique Cards||3|
|Role||Enemies, Damage, Poison, Vengeance|
|Threat Level||Mid to High|
|# of scenarios||2|
My take on this set: Poison, dead allies and annoying enemies. That’s what to expect when the Serpents set is shuffled into the encounter deck. All of these cards are dangerous in their own way, i have the utmost respect for this batch of cards. Thematically, they are responsible for a lot of the impression that the Forgotten Age campaign is filled to the brim with snakes. For that reason, i was surprised when i realized that this set is actually only used in two of the nine scenarios.
What it does: Pit Vipers only have one hit point, but at three strength and agility they at least demand some minimum of capability to be hit or evaded. If they die, they are added to the victory display where they will count as one point of vengeance. If a player gets damaged by the Viper, they become poisoned.
My take: This creature is, as it says right there on the card, deadlier than it seems. The one point of health is daring players to kill the snake and make them earn Yig’s wrath. If the player doesn’t have enough agility or other means to evade the Viper and leave it behind, killing it is at least preferrable to getting poisoned.
Threat level: Medium. In spite of its low stats, the abilities on the Viper mean that dealing with it isn’t a simple question of making a test, there’s some decision making behind it.
Dealing with it: First off, please don’t get poisoned by the Pit Viper. That fate should be entirely avoidable, even if it means just killing the thing. Note that soaking the hit does not protect from the poison. You will get that weakness even if an ally or other asset takes the damage for you. But do try to evade them when possible, the Vengeance really does add up and the payoff for it later in the campaign will reward you for not stepping on every snake you find.
What it does: With four health and strength, the Boa is a formidable opponent in a fight. Evading it is easier, but it does have Hunter to come after the investigators on the following turns. Whenever it attacks, it ties down the exhausted cards of the victim for a turn in addition to dealing horror and damage. Killing the Boa leads to two points of Vengeance.
My take: A dangerous Hunter enemy with a special perk on attacking and you even get punished for killing it. This creature is a huge pain, especially when drawn early and you still expect having to use several actions on exploration. The grid of locations isn’t particularly large in the Forgotten Age scenarios and there’s a lot of connections between them, making it easy for Hunters to catch up with the players. As another thing to pile onto the unpleasantness of this enemy, consider that Heart of the Elders also comes with the Feathered Serpent and two Basilisks to double down on this theme.
Threat level: High to Very High. Either spend actions to evade this enemy over and over or take the two vengeance – provided you are able to take it down easily in the first place, which isn’t trivial. There’s just no winning situation here.
Dealing with it: The Boa is easy enough to evade, but the small and interconnected maps make it hard to stay ahead of it once its in pursuit. Depending on how early you still are into the scenario when you draw the Boa, getting rid of it permanently can be an option despite the Vengeance hit.
What it does: Snake Bite asks the player to take a test against agility. If they fail, they either have to deal five damage to an ally or one direct damage to themselves. If they choose the latter, they are also poisoned.
My take: There’s three of them in the encounter deck. Three! What this translates to is a whole lot of dead allies unless you are willing to be poisoned. This is one of the primary sources for poison in the campaign and a nightmare for any investigator that is low on agility. The only ones who can look at this card a bit more relaxed are investigators who can expect to pass that test and those who are already poisoned and can just take a point of damage.
Threat level: High. As long as these are around, keeping allies on the board can become difficult.
Dealing with it: On the one hand, you don’t want your important allies like Leo de Luca or Jessica Hyde to die. On the other hand, using disposable allies to take the hit for you is a valid strategy against this card if the investigator has low agility and doesn’t want to get poisoned. Investigators who run Charisma will find that they can deal with this card a lot better than others as they are more likely to have disposable allies.