|Number of unique Cards
|Enemies, Doom, Willpower, Intellect, Parley
|# of scenarios
My take on this set: This is one of The Circle Undone’s primary factions and as such it is used quite a lot throughout the campaign. The encounter set follows a very similar template to Core Set’s Dark Cult, but tries to make the cultists more annoying to fight while offering different approaches to dealing with the doom tokens they bring to the table. As a result, it often does play similar to Dark Cult in practice, but the Aloof and Parley abilities do manage to give the set it’s own proper identity and feel. A well done set in my opinion that even despite being used fairly often doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Players that are playing a campaign where they joined the Lodge will often want to parley with these enemies instead of just murdering them. Some investigators (like Preston) are badly equipped for that and might want to shore up their weaknesses here running cards like Fine Clothes or stat boosters.
What it does: The Neophyte sports the exact same stat line as its predecessor, the Acolyte. It also enters play on an empty location and carries a doom token, threatening to accelerate the agenda deck if not dealt with. Neophytes have the Aloof keyword, so engaging them will eat up an extra action. As an alternative to combat, a low difficulty Parley test against Willpower can remove the doom from this enemy.
My take: I think they are slightly easier to deal with than standard Acolytes, but not by much. Having to engage and kill them is a bit annoying, but well worth it if it removes a doom from the board. The parley option is really attractive here and i have been using it frequently.
Threat level: Mid. Everything that was said about Acolytes applies to Neophytes as well. The doom token is clearly the actual threat here and while removing it is usually easy enough, it certainly should be a priority.
Dealing with it: Activating and passing the Parley action will leave them on the board without any further impact, so that’s often a good plan. Of course a card like Mysteries of the Lodge can reactivate them, but that can arguably even be a good thing if it stops Mysteries from surging or putting its doom on a bigger enemy. If it’s better to just kill them will depend on the size of the board and how much trouble it would be to backtrack for them. Since they require an extra action to attack, having a way to deal a point of damage out of combat (Beat Cop, Ancient Stone, etc) is very worthwhile if you want to get rid of Neophytes permanently.
What it does: Almost identical to the Wizard of the Order, the Keeper also has the same ability to accumulate doom from turn to turn. Its stat line is almost identical, with just an extra agility thrown in. Like the Neophyte, he is Aloof and has a Parley action that gets rid of the doom he collected so far. This Parley action tests Intellect and at a difficulty of three, it’s not nearly as easy as it is for Neophytes.
My take: Functionally identical to Wizard of the Order, except it also has Aloof. That extra evasion is pure fluff without consequence and the Parley action isn’t really an option, because the Keeper will just get right back to collecting doom on the next Mythos phase. So he needs to be fought and taken off the board permanently. Aloof will take away an extra action for that and due to the Retaliate keyword and a decent fight stat, the extra horror the Keeper deals over the Wizard can be relevant too. As far as i am considered, this is a straight upgrade on an already immensely impactful card. Wizard of the Order has a bit of a reputation for spawning in unreachable places, this is far less pronounced for Keeper. I think the only scenario where this can happen is For The Greater Good.
Threat level: Very High. Drop what you are doing, this is now your priority. Otherwise he will cut the time you have to deal with the scenario in half as long as he is allowed to live.
Dealing with it: Ignore the Parley, it’s a trap. At best, it’s a way for the Seeker to buy a turn until the Guardian on the other side of the map made their way over to the Keeper’s location.
What it does: This treachery places a doom token on the nearest cultist and then makes that enemy tougher to deal with for a turn. Unlike its Core Set equivalent, Mysterious Chanting, this card doesn’t search for any cultists if there are none around. It will simply surge in that case.
My take: Fairly low impact most of the time, as it will usually add a doom to an enemy you already were looking to kill anyways. It can reactivate Neophytes, if that’s a good or a bad thing depends on the rest of the board state. If it’s a bad thing, don’t let it happen in the first place. The lack of a search clause if no cultists are around removes a lot of the player agency that Mysterious Chanting has, which is a bit of a pity.
Threat level: Low to Mid. Mysteries does add doom to the board, so it’s not completely toothless, but usually you will be happy to draw this card instead of a worse one.
Dealing with it: Just deal with whatever enemy got the doom added to it. You likely were already going to, the only thing that changed is how much of a priority the task has.