Silence and Mystery

Set Size5
Number of unique Cards2
RoleWillpower, Horror, Discard
Threat LevelHigh
# of scenarios5
Appears in: Ice and Death #1, #2 and #3, Fatal Mirage, City of Elder Things v2

My take on this set: This is a very impactful set. Dark Aurora on its own is a card to be very afraid of, similar to Ice Shaft from the Hazards of the Antarctica. But it also comes bundled with a treachery that will either cost someone their cards in hand or blocks off a location from clue discovery. In the scenarios this set is used in, this usually means losing the hand. When i see Silence and Mystery going into the encounter deck during setup, i’ll probably reach for Roald Ellsworth just to counter Polar Mirage.

Number in the encounter deck: 3

What it does: After failing a willpower test, the investigator takes 2 horror. Additionally, they have to take another horror for each frost token they revealed during that test, even if they succeeded.

My take: This is the Rotten Remains of this campaign. Rotten Remains is already a respectable card, but this version has several additional kinks to it, all working against the players. There is no scaling part to the damage, so this can’t be mitigated in part – if you fail the test, you get the full damage.
But the more important part is how the card gets worse and worse with the number of Frost tokens in the chaos bag. It allows Dark Aurora to deal horror even when the test was otherwise successful. And drawing two Frosts will autofail the test for a total of 4 horror, enough to eat a huge chunk out of an investigators sanity or even put them right on the brink of insanity.

Threat level: High. This campaign doesn’t hold back on horror and trauma. So a common card that just can deal 4 horror out of the blue is a big issue.

Dealing with it: The things said about Ice Shaft mostly translate to this card. These two cards are two of the best reasons to keep Frosts away from the bag. Once the amount of Frosts creep up, the best layer of defense is going to be some extra sanity soak or healing, especially for investigators with low innate base sanity. William Dyer is the partner best suited for that particular job. However, unlike Ice Shaft, Dark Aurora is not a Hazard. So Protective Gear does not afford an easy way out. The other thing that makes Aurora worse than Ice Shaft in direct comparison is that it is used in Fatal Mirage and City of Elder Things instead of Forbidden Peaks. Since that’s later in the campaign, chances are that there’s more Frost tokens in the bag at that point than they would be during Peaks.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Polar Mirage attaches to the nearest location that doesn’t already have a copy, but does have at least 1 clue on it.
If a player discovers or takes control of a clue token while at Polar Mirage’s location, they have to discard each non-Weakness card in their hand.
Polar Mirage only discards itself after triggering its effect.

My take: Just from reading the card i didn’t expect this to be so bad, but once i started playing with it, it was apparent very soon that i underestimated this card at first glance. I am actually still surprised by just how annoying this card turns out to be in practice. Both Fatal Mirage and Ice and Death will often have locations that you need to clear from clues. So sacrificing your hand of cards can just not be avoided in those cases. To make matters worse, the ones who gather clues are often also the ones who draw the most cards.
This card leads to some painful decisions and suboptimal play when you try to get the most out of your remaining hand before finally getting that clue. Fatal Mirage is probably the scenario where this card can be mitigated best by using clues from one of the other locations. But in Ice and Death and in City of Elder Things that’s often not an option at all.

Threat level: Mid to High. Very impactful in many circumstances and also hard to avoid.

Dealing with it: In a group, you can figure out who can discover that clue and hopefully find someone for whom losing the hand of cards isn’t as big of a deal. Depending on the shroud value of the location, this could be more or less difficult to do.
Polar Mirage is a Terror card, which means that it can be discarded by Logical Reasoning, a card that is good at counteracting Dark Aurora as well. But that’s 4XP, probably more than you want to spend for countering a set that mostly appears in the first half of the campaign.
The City of Elder Things has multiple locations that offer moving clues around, those are some of the few ways to get to the clues (or the key) on the location without setting off Polar Mirage. In the player cards, Gene Beauregard offers a similar service.
But the best way to defend against this card is Roald Ellsworth. In fact, this is very likely the most important card that Roald can blank.

One Reply to “Silence and Mystery”

  1. One potentially nice thing about Ellsworthing Polar Mirage, especially at higher player counts, is that the treachery never discards itself unless it triggers — so you can Ellsworth it, get all the clues, and leave it attached to the clue-less location, such that it never shuffles back into the deck. (Also useful tech for Locked Doors in City of the Elder Things v.I/III and in Heart of Madness-1.)

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