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A lot of fun this week, and we clocked our second win in a row. Woot!

Rules in Play:
Great Old One: Abhoth
Herald: The Dunwich Horror
Guardian: None
Institution: The Bureau of Investigations
Board(s): Arkham, Dunwich
Mythos Cards: Arkham, Dunwich
Gate Cards: Arkham, Dunwich
Location Cards: Arkham, Dunwich
Gate Tokens: All except R’lyeh, Abyss, Yuggoth (Lurker and Standard)
Monster Cup: All except Moon, Circle, Hex, and Plus
Personal Story cards: yes
Relationship cards: yes
Injury and Madness cards: yes
Epic Battle cards: yes

Roland (Courageous Inspirations), Mark (World Ain’t Big Enough For Us), Tony (Fellow Travelers)

Scenario Rules:
Because Mark’s Personal Story requires a gate to R’lyeh and R’lyeh gates are not being used, Mark needs 2 gates to pass his personal story.
Whenever an investigator fails a Horror check against a Child of Abhoth, they must gain a Madness even if they are not driven insane. Whenever an investigator fails a Combat check against a Child of Abhoth, they must gain an Injury even if they are not knocked unconscious.
In addition to its normal movment effects, the Dunwich Horror moves as a Stalker in Dunwich.
Due to increased Federal surveillance, investigators may place 2 agent tokens instead of one in their street area for ever two Clues spent.

House Rules in Effect:
In a 3-player game, no Gates or Rumors during Mythos phase once in every 4-turn bracket, actual turn determined by die roll (test run of this rule). Other Mythos card effects apply.
Kungfro’s Thematic Starting Possessions
Gate does not fill entire location
Non-Lurker Gates are Hidden
Investigators play one turn at starting location before first Mythos card/doom
Investigators may pool clue tokens to seal gates ONLY IF they both travel through the same OW (both have explored state) and are at the same gate location on close. Only one investigator may close the gate, and once closed, clues can be combined to seal
One horror check for duplicate monsters encountered in the same location
Items may be sold at the originating location at half value, rounded down
Player to left reads location and gate encounter cards to decision point or skill check, without reading consequences until the decision and/or skill checks have been made. When an investigator has a choice of multiple cards, read both cards, but only to the decision point.
When drawing Other World cards, skip the first "Other" entry if there is no matching OW location for the color. The 2nd "Other" must be used if there is no matching OW location on the second matching color card.

The Session:
Roland had come into Arkham ready to put a quick end to the crime wave being reported throughout the area. News of the Sheldon Gang and the mob operations out in the wilds of Dunwich were well known to the Bureau, but this latest wave of deaths were grislier than he thought even those gangsters were capable of. The violence, the shredded bodies, were more like…an animal attack. But how could an animal pull a man in two like a bread roll? The reporters were frantic; Roland’s Press Pass would come in handy. He had a great team at his disposal. Tony Morgan, well known for his ability to hunt down criminals, Mark Harrigan, although recovering from some personal traumas, was an excellent soldier able to Hide in a pinch, and his old friend, Sir William Brenton, was pretty good in a fight, too. With all the attention in the news, he had the full support of the Bureau as well, and agents could be called in quickly. Somehow, he had a feeling he would need them all.

Not to mention the strange weapon he had received marked Top Secret from the Bureau. The papers in the package called it a Lightning Gun, perhaps it was from one of the government labs? He barely understood which end of the thing was the firing end, but after seeing several of the bodies recovered from the outskirts of Arkham, he felt oddly comforted having it. Several packages had also arrived from Tony and Mark. Mark’s was an ornate knife, though the papers claimed it was Enchanted. Tony’s was something else entirely. Some kind of Brain Case, the papers said, and useful for quick transport. The description sounded so crazy that he didn’t even bother opening the package. He did ensure both packages reached Mark and Tony safely.

Roland started out by interviewing several patients over at the Asylum, but quickly found himself delayed, as he found himself in the basement and witnessing several orderlies throw a body into the furnace, having to dodge them in the maze of tunnels beneath the building, and then mistaken for a patient, groaning in frustration as his claims of being an officer of the Bureau were termed “delusional!” At least during this time, he was able to gather Clues.

Meanwhile some sort of disturbance had opened at what the locals called the Witch House, and reports of a strange beast, a Lloigor guarding it. Almost immediately afterwards, a surge of creatures belched forth into the Arkham stereets, a Hunting Horror, a Shoggoth, Elder Thing, and, the most fearsome of all, a Child of Abhoth. Mark’s suspicion that they were in fact dealing with the things that had killed Sophie, spurred him into immediate action, and he found himself face to face with the Hunting Horror. His trusty Flamethrower put a quick end to the thing.

At first, Tony thought this Bureau assignment was going to be a goldmine. Pull in a few suspects and cash in on the side, keeping the Bureau on ice. But then he’d seen the bodies, and knew this wasn’t the Sheldon Gang. It was when he was on his way over to meet with Roland when he was attacked himself, and whatever it was, wasn’t human. Then the strange package had arrived at the hospital from Roland describing a bizarre “artifact” called a Mi-Go Brain Case, that could help fight these monsters. It was right then, that Tony decided he wasn’t in this for the money. He’d stop these things, whatever the cost, and set about gathering leads on these bastards. Tony began to study the artifact, threw in completely with the Bureau, and the Deal was Off.

Mark had been gathering his own Clues, and was ready to make his way over to the Witch House gate. His years in the battlefield paid off big time as he stealthily made his way past the Child and the Lloigor to find himself in another world, Lost Carcosa. Almost as soon as he was through, another gate (one that moved!) opened at the Silver Twilight Lodge, and Tony, having found enough Clues, made for it, slipping by the Cthonian guard, and into the Dreamlands. Hopefully it would not move as he made his way through that world.

Roland had finally made his way out of the Asylum just in time for another gate to open at the Unvisited Isle, releasing a Dimensional Shambler into the streets, and terrible Rumor, Good Work Undone triggered! Using his Press Pass had been fruitful, and Roland immediately made for the Easttown Streets to hold the Rumor at bay with 3 Clues. Another gate opened in the Graveyard, then the Woods, and Doom was at 4, with a Fire Vampire in Arkham, and a Gug moving to the Outskirts.

But Roland was tenacious, and did what he was best at – gathering evidence. He used it to put down the Rumor once and for all. Roland gained a Cryptozoology Collection, Tony got Holy Water and Mark, a Mission – Walking the Ley Lines. All this time, the monsters in Arkham continued to move back and forth between Rivertown and Southside, and the Child of Abhoth fortunately not moving at all from its gate. It was actually not too difficult to move about the city yet.

Mark had slowly made his way through Lost Carcosa successfully, discovering a second Enchanted Knife while there, and was able to close and seal the first gate, a victory for Sophie! Tony was not long after from the Dreamlands, though, painfully the, gate had moved and although he closed it, he would not be able to seal. Worse, neither gate would remove any monsters from Arkham. Mark’s sanity was low, but he decided to move to the Historical Society in search of another Clue, but unfortunately, while looking through the records, he found a story about his own family, a history of homicide and insanity, that made him doubt his whole journey into this “other world” and he fell to the ground babbling. He awoke some time later in the Asylum, doctors telling him he had a serious bout of Amnesia, a whole block of time gone missing. He had failed Sophie.

Back on the streets of Arkham, though, the streets were bedlam. The gates had surged twice, releasing 6 monsters into the Outskirts, and two more Children of Abhoth – all three were on the board! Ryan Dean was the first to be placed under Protective Custody in Dunwich, but he was quickly moved out of town, and Eric Colt replaced him. A second Rumor, To Conquer Death, had also reared its ugly head, but it was decided that the few wandering Undead and a less-than-pressing need for monster trophies (Clues were not too sparse and the team’s equipment was serving them well), that they’d ignore it for now. Meanwhile Tony was in the otherworld. He’d made his way through the Graveyard gate to Lost Carcosa and successfully navigated back to Arkham for the second seal. Doom still at 5, Terror 2, 3 Children of Abhoth.

Roland had been doing some investigation at the Curiositie Shop and had purchased what looked to be a tome that could help fight these otherworldly nightmares, The King in Yellow. Roland attempted to build on his clues, using the tome, but unsuccessfully. Mark also made his way to the Curiositie Shop, hoping to possibly find one of the Elder Signs he’d heard about in the Asylum, but instead finding another copy of the King in Yellow. Knowing he couldn’t use it himself, he would try to get it to Tony upon his return to Arkham.

New gates had opened at the Unnamable and at Wizard’s Hill in Dunwich, driving Doom to 7, Terror still at 2, and we failed our Rumor – monsters were now Endless. Tony was able sneak by the gate guardians and meet Mark briefly to take the King in Yellow, but was soon hemmed in by the Child of Abhoth and the Elder Thing in the streets. He decided to try the Brain Case, which would allow him to switch places with the Loigor in Wizard’s Hill and get access to the gate there. He successfully transferred, but before jumping through the gate to the Plateau of Leng, cast the Vision Quest spell he had gained during his investigations and snagged up the clues in that area, giving him the 5 to seal the gate. As he made his way to the gate, he encountered an old man making rubbings of the Standing Stones there, who introduced himself as Professor Rice, and asked for Tony’s help. Tony agreed, which pushed Doom to 8, but had the professor join him as an ally and bring quite a few more Clues to the Arkham and Dunwich! Tony passed through to Leng.

After passing off the Tome, Mark found himself confronted by the Dimensional Shambler, but he dispatched it quickly. After tackling the monster, knowing that he could no longer help Sophie by sealing Gates, he thought, fatalistically, at least he could try to take down one of the Children. He moved down to the Rivertown streets, where one of the creatures had finally moved, confronting it with one of his three Clues. Paying the cost, he amazingly made his horror check, using the Courageous Inspirations and maximizing his Will, though still losing 2 Sanity, leaving him teetering on the edge. But the thing wasn’t immune to fire! The Flamethrower surged to life, burning the creature and sending it back to its parent. The second Child must have heard its sister’s cries, because suddenly it was descending on Mark, moving in from the Merchant District! He could have snuck away, but suddenly Mark was angry. He turned to the face the second thing, roaring a battle cry. He sacrificed his Clue, and amazingly, again made his Horror check! This creature would not be harmed by the Flamethrower, so he drew his two Enchanted Knives and prepared to fight. Two successes were rolled, and one Clue left. He rolled, and…for a second amazing time, success!! The second Child was defeated! Though he had failed Sophie, he felt some small sense of victory. Doom, 8, Terror 2, 1 Child of Abhoth.

Roland succeeded in studying the King in Yellow, finally throwing his Bureau handbook into the trash, and had enough Clues to deal with Unvisited Isle gate that had spawned a Child of Abhoth. Saying a small prayer, he stepped into Another Time. During his journey, he narrowly escaped being trapped in the body of an alien being, spending 3 Clues to avoid a terrible fate. Roland’s ability to regain Clues would help him in time for the seal of our third gate, removing 2 Lloigor from the board. Roland had 5 Clues, but decided to turn his gate trophy in at the Science Building for 2 more Clues (3 with his Press Pass) before jumping though the Unnamable gate to Leng. Doom still at 8, Terror at 2, 1 Child of Abhoth.

Tony did return successfully, narrowly escaping a Spectral Hunter using his Holy Water while there, but sealing the Wizard’s Hill gate (the fourth), sending back the Elder Thing and Shoggoth that had been terrorizing Arkham back into the void. Almost directly on his heels, Roland returned from Leng to seal the fifth gate at the Unnamable! The gate seals came just in time too, preventing several surges, though they could not prevent a new gate opening at Gardner’s Place in Dunwich, releasing a Shoggoth. Doom at 9, Terror 2, 1 Child of Abhoth.

Then, a surge at the Woods bringing a Gug, Hound of Tindalos, The Color Out of Space, and the second Child of Abhoth! A new Rumor appeared, Riots, but there was only one gate left, and the team would ignore it. Tony studied the King in Yellow, giving him the clues he needed, then used the Brain Case once again to switch places with the Color Out of Space and passed through the Gardner’s Place gate to The City of the Great Race. Meanwhile Roland was able to sneak by the Child of Abhoth at the Woods gate to enter a split gate to the Dreamlands. Mark visited the Bank for a loan and would try once more for an Elder Sign at the Curiositie Shop, but would first have to face the Hound of Tindalos, which he defeated. It was too bad it was Endless now – Mark would have only needed one more toughness with his gate to become Deputy!

Tony was on his way through the City, but decided to infiltrate one of the angled structures, and was Lost in Time and Space! It was up to Roland. Roland made his way through the Dreamlands successfully and found his way back to Arkham, and prepared to seal the final gate, his Sanity at 1 after several harrowing encounters, and sacrificing poor Sir Brenton in a vicious monster attack. But Roland’s attempt to close the gate failed horribly, and he would have to try again.

Just then, the Color Out of Space in Dunwich moved, sending waves of insanity across Arkham, and Roland to the Asylum with a horrible case of Xenophobia – the explored gate was lost! Another monster surge brought forth the third Child of Abhoth yet again, a Leng Spider, Servitor of the Outer Gods and a Fire Vampire. Doom 9, Terror still at 2, 3 Children of Abhoth.

Mark was hunting through the Curiositie Shop, once, twice, and finally an Elder Sign! But it may have been too late. He was far from both gates, and neither was easily accessible. Tony finally returned from Time and Space and immediately travelled back to the Gardner’s Place gate and the City – he still had his Clues. This time, he was more careful, and his encounters more benign.

Tony, unhinged at the Arkham Asylum, where this had all started, finally drew forth the Lightning Gun he had been packing and, laughing while standing on the front steps, let loose into the night sky, bringing down the Servitor of the Outer Gods and the Fire Vampire, then made his way to Velma’s Diner where he met up with Mark.

Tony returned to Arkham, and the kinder gods blessed him on this day, as he sealed the final gate, banishing Abhoth and his Children! Roland got an offer for a dishwashing job at Velma’s, and took it, but poor Mark had a nasty bout of food poisoning. Mark did give Roland a nice Enchanted Cane and one of his Enchanted Knives, seeing as Roland had been without any weapons during this whole investigation!

21 Turns, Doom 9, Terror 2, Children of Abhoth 3
Roland: Sanity 3 (Xenophobia), Stamina 1, Gate trophies 2 (1 sold for clues)
Tony: Sanity 1, Stamina, 2, Gate trophies 4
Mark: Sanity 2 (Amnesia), Stamina 1, Gate trophy 1 (sold for clues), Monster trophy toughness 4

A few observations:
A really fun game! Lots of different things going on and very dynamic. Despite the tough monsters on the board, we found ways around them, were rarely hemmed in.

Roland’s ability combined with the Press Pass was awesome – he was a Clue generating machine, and always had spares for re-rolls, knowing he could get them back. And sealed 2 gates without a weapon – awesome!

Mark had an amazing fight with the Children of Abhoth that could have gone very differently! Fighting 2 Children off gave us much needed breathing room to get the last gates. He is a beast with the Flamethrower.

The Mi-Go Brain Case is absolutely awesome for mobility. No sanity cost, what?? Also, Vision Quest – very nice spell. Tony made the most of his equipment this game!

We are really starting to love the King in Yellow.

No use of the Bureau once again. It’s tough to spend clues on things other than gates, and no one even seemed to consider it, even with the 2-for-2 “discount.”

The Dunwich Horror was never a factor, even with the Herald, as the Terror Track was well under control. We kept the monsters down through gates closes and some fighting, and the monster activity in Dunwich was light.

Never investigate the angular building when you have only one gate left!!! yuk

Never thought I would say it, but adding a Doom to get Professor Rice was actually worth it for the shower of Clues.

We are definitely getting better at getting useful items to each other and finding ways to maximize clues. And being less afraid to get beat up or go crazy helps!

We really liked the 1-in-4 turn-bracket “no gates or rumors” house rule we tried out for our 3-player game. Each 4 turns we get a pass on gates/rumors, but we don’t know (die roll) which turn it will fall on, and once it does fall, no checks again until the next 4-turn bracket. The closest break we had was over 3 turns (once), and the farthest was 6 turns (twice), and the other was 5 turns (once). It really seemed to work well and balance out the missing flexibility a fourth investigator brings.

Great game all around.
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