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Subject: The maddened book collector (session report) rss

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We have dragged Reason from her Throne and set in her place the Empress of Dreams [liber Endvra]
Amor, sola lex
Finn, Mary, Wendy, Trish and Bob against Y'golonac and the Black Goat of the Woods. As usual in my most recent plays, AH, DH, KH, BGotW and MH in the mix. Battling Y'golonac and Black Goat means facing a double doom accelerator: the first one is granted by the AO (+1 doom / Tome drawn after setup), the other one is given by the Herald (+1 doom / monster surge). The doom track's shortish (12), so, I had to hit fast and hard. Not so easy to do considering the party I picked up for the game: if on one hand Wendy is the superstar everyone loves (1 ES + 3 starting clues), 3 of the other 4 investigators (Finn, Mary, and Bob) start with 0 clues: not exactly the ideal situation when you need to dash through the game.

Setup was rather good, with several investigators blessed with weapons, and, more importantly, Trish getting a copy of King in Yellow. Opening Mythos was Gardner's place.

The first few rounds seemed to carry good omens for the game: I managed to send Wendy in the double Abyss / R'lyeh gate that opened at Independance Square, and then I sent Trish to the Unvisited Isle, hoping in a gate encoutner, which I had. Too bad the gate was a moving gate to Another Dimension. Needless to say, the gate moved immediately after spawning. The situation in Dunwich became more dangerous as a R'lyeh gate opened at Wizard Hill. Mary resolved an encounter which allowed her to check the first three Mythos of the deck and place them back in any order. Great news. Too bad these Mythos were Things of Darkness (+1 toughness to some monster, exactly the monsters that were flooding the board, plus a STL gate under Bob before he passed his PS was something I couldn't accept), Mad Bomber (opening another gate at Gardner's Place) and a third Mythos bursting on Gardner's Place (Fire on the Mill, IIRC). Two surges mean a lot of monsters arriving and two doomers, but still, I couldn't afford Things as first Mythos, so I went in order with burst at Gardner's Place, then Mad Bomber, and then Things of Darkness.

At this point I had the first surge triggered, two Dark Youngs ready to jump in vortex 1, two other monsters ready to jump on vortex 2, and no way to defend but sacrificing Finn. For the greater good, Finn moved to the street area in front of vortex 2, and engaged the Moon Beast. Three clues later, the Moon Beast became a "Moon Been", and the second monster (a Ghoul) was added as trophy to Finn's collection. Bob in the meantime passed his PS at the Black Cave (and killed a Lloigor thanks to his trustworthy Sledgehammer. Wait, a Lloigor has weapon immunity you say? Sure thing, I got no Combat bonus from the weapon, but the neat toughness reduction? Aye, that's legal to take). Mary moved North, Trish returned and closed the moving gate (no seal of course if the gate is in the street).

Mad Bomber arrived, but at this point I couldn't care the less: Bob had the money to pass it immediately, granting each investigator 2 more clues to be added to their pools. Mary entered R'lyeh, Trish dodged a ProtoShoggoth, killed a Tcho-Tcho (getting a Military Motorcycle), Finn killed another Ghoul and then here comes the disaster, three monsters dived into vortices and summoned the Dunwich Horror. After 5 Mythos only, or so. Never had the DH arriving so early in the game. And atop of that another investigator was rewarded with a common item from an encounter and got... an Ancient Tome. No kidding, another doomer to be added, almost a knock-out combo. Only two seals on the board.

Time to work out a better strategy. Wendy worked his way up to the Unvisited Isle, diving into Another Time and losing all but 1 Stamina on her first encounter. Bob marched into Another Dimension from the Witch House. Trish got a crazy OW encounter while in Celeano, allowing her to immediately return to Arkham if no rifts were open. Lovely.

Problem was that the game kept on pumping new doom in. I paused to check a few options, and actually there weren't many: Trish had enough clues to put another seal on the board, but she was in Dunwich and the nearest open gate was at the STL. Additionally, she just got burdened down by Local Guide; 2 rifts were about to open; Bob could have made it to seal another gate IF he had a way to generate two extra clues after sealing Another Dimension. And Wendy... everything was easy until she decided to roll zero successes on an Evade check against a Deep One. Injury gained and turn lost, and there was no time for such fancy timekillers.

So, Finn was my only hope, because he had the movement points to reach the STL and he had a Call Friend spell; still he had no clues and only 1 San and Sta, so that casting that spell could have been problematic. Nonetheless, there was no other option available, so, he jumped into the Underworld. Bob returned on the Witch House sealing the gate, and Mary did her best and sealed R'lyeh at the cost of one extra clue due to a very much needed reroll. Finn got lucky in the Underworld: he found the Underworld specific encounter where you're offered a chance to fight off ghouls or be corrupted. Fending the wave of ghouls was a +1 San, enough to cast the spell the following round, so, choosing was a no brainer.

The next Mythos was Strange Sightings, bringing the total doom to 11. The DH tried to move, but the roll didn't trigger an extra doom. Phew.

In the next turn, Finn used Call Friend to summon Trish into the 2nd area of the Underworld; for the rest of the turn, I had two investigators dealing with rifts in Kingsport, and the other two clearing some of the monsters in Arkham.

One more Mythos to go. The gate opening bounced on Independence Square, sealed.

Finn returned to Arkham, with Trish following in case he had failed the check (at that moment STL was the only gate open); Trish's help was not needed, and the investigators won by closing gates in 11 Mythos.
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