Encounter sets in this scenario: War of the Outer Gods, Death of Stars, Children of Paradise, Swarm of Assimilation
Available experience: 3 (locations) + 1 (Servitor) + 2 (Outer God/finish act 3)
Cost to run this as a side scenario: 3XP
A litte note right away before we get into it: I have never played War of the Outer Gods in its epic multiplayer mode. I pretty much play exclusively two-handed solo. So this page will not be able to answer any questions specific to the epic mode. Thankfully, this scenario works perfectly fine as a regular standalone!
|Size of the Encounter Deck
Synopsis: The War of the Outer Gods scenario is played on 10 locations, all at play right from the start. Three locations each make up Providence, Montreal and New York. The last one, Arkham, sits right in the middle of them. In each of the three cities, an enemy faction starts working towards awakening some evil that will destroy the world. They are at war with each other, vying for being the most influential cult on the map and the furthest on their agenda. The players are tasked to stop all of them before the world ends. Luckily, all three evils are trying to enter our world through the same hub dimension, so the player’s job becomes sealing off the access to that place. Or, should they fail in doing so in time, they will need to defeat whatever comes crawling through.
The scenario uses some unique ways of having the factions battle against each other, from having seperate agenda decks that get more doom whenever they kill opposing enemies to the “Warring” keyword, which is a variation on Hunter that makes them go after the other cults instead of the players.
My take on this scenario: War of the Outer Gods is a really interesting scenario that does a lot of things different from what we are used to. The scale is a lot bigger than usual, spanning cities. While that can lead to some weird moments (like using Marksmanship to shoot a pistol from Arkham to New York) it mostly works.
But the main feature are of course the three cults. They are all quite different from each other and i do like that they are initially completely uninterested in the players. They are just at war with each other, but ignore what players do. There’s still plenty of urgency here, as you don’t actually want them to kill each other and earn progress in the form of doom tokens. The first act also requires that there are no cultists on the board left to advance, something that can be seriously difficult when playing in a full team and/or you simply are unlucky and keep drawing new ones faster than you can kill them.
Balancing out the doom on the three agendas to postpone their plans as long as possible is incredibly important, there is not a whole lot time if you want to get the scenario done before the portal opens.
If you want to prepare for this scenario, a good way of making things easier for yourself is having ways around Aloof which can otherwise eat up a lot of actions, especially early. Movement is also very valuable as you will have enemies coming from three sides and you will need to be flexible in what to prioritize and when. If you are a Guardian, consider running Marksmanship. That card is an absolute godsend in this scenario.
I like War of the Outer Gods as a side scenario that can be plugged near the end of the campaign when investigators already have 30-40XP invested in their decks. Many other standalones would be too easy at that point. While Outer Gods has an epic multiplayer mode and promises to be best when played with multiple groups, i find it quite enjoyable even just playing it two-handed solo.
One thing to note is that this is a scenario that requires you to kill stuff. Pure evasion is not going to get you anywhere. So if you are doing a teamup of Finn and Ursula, you probably shouldn’t use this scenario in your campaign.
The scenario booklet mentions a variant of the scenario where you randomly choose the order of the factions instead of having the default. I highly suggest doing that on replays. If it’s not too much of a hassle, i would even suggest randomizing every round.
War of the Outer Gods: This encounter set is what’s in the deck at first with the war only in its first steps. There’s two cultists for each of the factions, all of them working very similar. Each faction also gets two copies of a treachery that are much more varied and basically introduce their mechanics. Hellfire deals damage or stalls a player. And the final two cards add doom, either by having the enemies fight and kill each other or just by directly accelerating the one who is ahead.
Faction sets: The three faction specific sets all follow a similar template. Three copies of a treachery. Three copies of a minor monster. A medium-sized monster. A large monster called Servitor with abilities that enhance all of the other cards of the faction and that also has Hunter instead of Warring. So it does come after the players. And then finally the Outer God itself.
Act/Agenda: The act deck has three cards in it, with the third one only relevant for the epic multiplayer mode. First players have to collect clues and spend them while no cultists are in play. For the second act, the hub dimension needs to be sealed. This is done by moving a lot of clues from one of the four ritual site locations to the hub dimension. In epic multiplayer, the game continues afterwards until all groups have closed their portals.
On the agenda side, each faction has their own stack of agenda cards. After advancing the first time, the minor enemy and the treachery of that faction is shuffled into the encounter deck. Also, a symbol token is added to the bag. The first faction to advance gets to add their medium-sized monster to the board. Advancing a second time will add another token. The first faction to do so will also get to spawn their Servitor. Advancing a third time will mean that the group failed to seal the dimension in time. A third token is added and the Outer God appears. At the same time all other agendas and acts are removed from the game.
All agendas have a doom threshold of six, a rather small number considering all the doom effects that the scenario plays with. Excess doom is also transferred to the next agenda, so every bit counts, no matter if the agenda is about to advance anyways or not.
The cultists: These guys are the first members of the cults we meet, with one of each spawning in their respective home location. Managing them is important to prevent more doom on the agenda for one of the factions. Them being Aloof can be a pain if you don’t have ways to bypass it.
The minor monsters: One of them starts in the encounter deck and two more are added once the agenda advances the first time. These are generally not too much of a problem, often they are even a lower priority than the cultists. These do introduce the faction’s signature mechanics: Swarm, Mutation, Choose. The Trylogog has a bit of a special place here, as it’s actually in the scenario 4 times: It also serves as what i called the “medium-sized” monster earlier for the red faction. It’s also the only one of these that isn’t able to add doom in some way.
The medium monsters: These enter the board if their faction is the first to advance to their agenda 1b. Otherwise they are shuffled into the deck once their faction gets to 2b. Like the other enemies before them, these all are Warring, basically ignoring the players until they walk into them on their way to other faction’s creatures. These are credible threats in combat. As mentioned, the red faction gets another Trylogog here, but if it is spawned by agenda 1b, it will get an extra two swarm cards.
The Servitors: The first faction to advance to 2b is getting to put their Servitor into play. Not only do these improve the faction mechanics on other cards but these are also Hunters instead of Warring. All of them are tough enemies that can dish out some damage, so these do make an impression. They all award a victory point as well. Only one of these can appear during the course of the scenario.
The Outer Gods: Well, if you are not fast enough with sealing the hub location, then one of these guys is going to come crawl out of it. This will immediately remove all agendas and acts and also all of the cards from other factions from the game. The players need to defeat this thing. Obviously, that is not going to be easy at all, but it might be worth it if you are trying to go for one of the associated story assets. Otherwise it’s enough to note the stats on these monsters, their health, how much damage/horror they deal and that they are all Massive and with powerful faction abilities. Good luck!
Rewards: A successful finish of the scenario will usually award 6XP, which leaves the players with 3XP net win. Decent, but nothing too special considering that losing War of the Outer Gods will eliminate all investigators and fail the campaign. The real interesting rewards come in the form of story assets. For finishing successfully, one investigator gains the Cloak of the Outer Realm, a powerful body slot asset that prevents enemies from engaging. Seekers and the like will really like this thing. If you win by sealing the hub, someone also gains the Pocket Portal which allows an investigator to be Luke Robinson for one turn after playing it. Defeating the Lord of Swarms awards the Enchanted Skull which does offer some interesting bonuses to tests, but takes the accessory slot. Dreaded End is gained for killing The Empty Sky, allowing for some encounter deck manipulation. Finally, slaying the End of Paradise earns you the Blade of Ark’at, a potent weapon if you can afford feeding resources into it. The Cloak is probably the highlight of these assets and luckily it’s the one you always get. The three rewards for defeating an Outer God are all better than the Portal in my opinion, but the risk of going for one of them intentionally is pretty high. You better know that you will be able to defeat that monster or your campaign is over.
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