Shattered Memories

Set Size6
Number of unique Cards3
RoleDamage, Horror, Discard (Hand), Willpower, Intellect
Threat LevelLow to Mid
# of scenarios3
Appears in: The Pit of Despair, Horror in High Gear, Into the Maelstrom

My take on this set: Cool set. The treacheries here all do something very simple, something we have seen many times before. There are two twist to the whole thing, though.
First off, this set tests willpower and intellect instead of the more common willpower and agility. This makes sense both thematically and mechanically. In terms of theme, this set represents the memory loss our investigators are fighting against. Willpower and intellect are the two “mental” attributes as opposed to the two other “physical” ones, so testing those makes a lot of sense. In terms of gameplay, the Rising Tide set already has four agility treacheries that also dish out horror, damage and card loss. Having the same here would just be redundant.
The other twist is the auto-fail on pulling specific tokens. In the Innsmouth campaign, we start out with a chaos bag full of these tokens, representing our memory loss. As we experience flashbacks and have our past experiences return to us, we discard these tokens. So there is a very clear thematic link between that representation of amnesia in the chaos bag and how it makes fighting these treacheries harder… leading to an autofail when our memory fails us. Neat. Really, really neat. In terms of gameplay, they are also interesting because they do not only act as the usual encounter deck filler that provides the basic effects, but also as a small payoff for finding the flashbacks.
I like all of these a lot. A good showcase of doing a whole lot with very little actual text.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: After failing a willpower test against difficulty 3, the investigator has to take 2 horror. Revealing a cultist token as part of the test will automatically fail it.

My take: The newest iteration of the tried and true “Horror vs. Willpower” treachery. As is usually the case with these, their power scales a lot with how many other sources for horror are around. Pit of Despair is chock full of horror (and damage) sources, many of them testless, so these treacheries deserve some respect, even if there are only two of them in the deck.

Threat level: Low to Mid, depending on the pressure from the rest of the scenario.

Dealing with it: This is a very common effect that any investigator should have a plan for. Either soaking the damage with assets or healing it can remove a lot of the tension this puts on the investigators sanity otherwise.
Something interesting about Pit of Despair: The cultist token deals damage if investigators are at a flooded location… which is pretty much every location in that scenario. So pulling Cultist on this card will often lead to getting both damage and horror.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Fractured Consciousness uses Macabre Memento’s template word for word, only changing the variables. Instead of willpower, intellect is tested. Instead of horror, Fractured Consciousness deals damage on failing the test. And instead of the cultist token, this card auto-fails on pulling a tablet.

My take: Testing intellect on a treachery like this is unusual, but despite that the gameplay around this card is pretty much the same as for Macabre Memento. Critical mass is key for these effects to be truely terrifying because otherwise they can just be soaked away with assets.
At least in Pit of Despair, there is enough extra damage around that it becomes a problem fast.

Threat level: Low to Mid, depending on the pressure from the rest of the scenario.

Dealing with it: Again, soaking the damage will help players from losing control against stacking up multiple damage effects.
In Pit of Despair, the tablet token deals horror to players holding a key. So just like with Macabre Memento, the token effect mirrors the effect of the treachery and leads to being dealt both horror and damage if a tablet is revealed for the test on Fractured Consciousness.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Memory of Oblivion gives the player the choice on testing either willpower or intellect, however the difficulty is one higher than on the other treacheries from this set. Failing the test has the player discard a card for each point they failed by. The test auto-fails on revealing an Elder Thing.

My take: Pulling the bad token on this card is a lot rougher than on the other two cards because this one is balanced around scaling with partial success – and the Elder Thing will completely bypass that, causing the player to discard the maximum number of cards. Usually, that will be four, enough to rip apart most hands. At least the player gets to choose which ones if they have more. Only few investigators are very weak in both intellect and willpower, so aside from the elder thing token the player will usually have at least a chance of minimizing the card’s impact by testing the skill they are better at and possibly throwing in a card with double icons.
Notably, the card doesn’t have any sort of fallback effect that would replace the discard if the player has no cards in hand. So you can get (somewhat) lucky and draw this card while only having a card or two to throw away anyways.

Threat level: Medium. While the other two cards depend on stacking with other damage and horror sources to become threatening, a single auto-fail can be really nasty. And Elder Things do count as auto-fails here…

Dealing with it: There’s two of these in the deck, so preparing specifically for this card is likely not necessary. A scaling test always means that there is merit to only partially succeeding, so committing cards can be worth it even if they won’t lead to a pass.

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