Session Report - Trouble in the Witch House
Ancient One: Yibb-Tstll (No Herald)
1. Gloria Goldberg (Disguise, Find Gate, Shrivelling, Crowbar, Magnifying Glass).
2. Carolyn Fern (Lore, Glass of Mortlan, Dhol Chants, Flamethrower, Understudy’s Script).
3. Dexter Drake (Expert Occultist, Shrivelling, Summon the Beast Within, Red Sign of Shudde M’ell, Kerosene).
4. Diana Stanley (Mystic Gift, Silver Twilight Lodge Membership, Enchant Weapon, Research Materials).
Prologue: The following is a session report of my first game against Yibb-Tstll. I play most of my games solo. The investigators were drawn randomly. I used all the expansions (minus Innsmouth). The only card I removed was Join the Winning Team, which I disagree with for thematic reasons. Enjoy!
Chapter 1 - Temperance Fever Sweeps City (Doom Track @ 1)
A gate to the Plateau of Leng opens at the Witch House, releasing a Hound of Tindalos. Hibb’s Roadhouse closes due to temperance fever. Goldberg enters the Black Cave to hunt for clues about the strange goings on at the Witch House. Stumbling into a dark pit near the entrance, she awakens in the Great Hall of Celeano. Fortunately, there is a narrow path leading back to Arkham’s graveyard hidden among the library’s stacks. Back at Arkham Asylum, Fern’s chanting attracts the attention of Erica Carlyle, who offers to assist her against the Mythos. Drake finds an incantation for Forced Learning while rummaging through Ye Old Magick Shoppe. Stanley moves to the Silver Twilight Lodge, where Carl Sanford assigns her the task of writing a newspaper article about the Mythos.
Chapter 2 - Police Step Up Patrols in Northside (Doom Track @ 2)
A gate suddenly opens at the Silver Twilight Lodge, sucking Stanley to Lost Carcosa. Not one to miss an opportunity, Sanford invites the High Priest of a loathsome cult to lecture about Carcosa at the Lodge. Sensing fresh prey, the Hound of Tindalos stalks Goldberg at the Graveyard. Intrigued by the literature available at Arkham Asylum, Fern delves into the Understudy’s Script, learning Storm of Spirits. Drake learns a little about the Martial Arts after casting Focused Learning. Sensing trouble at the Graveyard, Drake confronts the Hound of Tindalos. He successfully casts Shrivelling, but all the occult expertise in the world in not enough to grasp the intricate movements required to mark the slobbering Hound with the Red Sign. Undaunted by the sight of the creature, Drake forces it back to its dimension. Searching the Graveyard for clues to the Hound’s origins, Drake discovers a cross on a tombstone but is subsequently cursed for taking it. Relieved by Drake’s assistance, Goldberg discovers a clue that the magician missed among the graves. A fleeting encounter with an odd painter named Pickman fails to turn up any more useful information about the threat facing the town. Stanley discovers another clue while wandering the twisting streets of Lost Carcosa. Arkham residents rejoices with the re-opening of Hibb’s, which has secured a new supply of hooch from Canadian smugglers.
Chapter 3 - Old Debts Come Due (Doom Track @ 3)
A gate to Unknown Kadath opens at the Black Cave. A Crawling One crawls forth, while the High Priest is spotted preaching in the French Hill District about how the terror "which sees all" has its gaze firmly fixed on Arkham. Visibly shaken by the priest’s chilling words, Thomas F. Malone packs his bags for Boston. Still somewhat shaken by his encounter with the Hound, Drake gives his can of kerosene to Goldberg before heading to Arkham Asylum for a session with Fern. Drake’s incoherent babbling about a magical dog in the graveyard tells her the magician needs more help than she can provide. Kindly, she loans him $2 so he can get the professional treatment he needs from the Asylum’s top notch staff. Goldberg has heard enough ravings about eyes, gazes and strange flying creatures roaming the night. She confronts the High Priest in the French Hills District, throwing kerosene in his face and beating him with her crowbar. Despite blowing everything she knows about the Mythos so far, Goldberg is unable to silence the High Priest, who mumbles some archaic incantations. Bloodied and bruised, Goldberg regains consciousness in St. Mary’s Hospital with a broken hand. Meanwhile, Fern receives an invitation to Hibb’s grand opening party, picking up several clues from the patrons and a bottle of whiskey from the smugglers. Stanley discovers more clues about the Mythos’s connection to the mysterious activities at Lodge and the Witch House as she meanders through Lost Carcosa.
Chapter 4 - Hellene Sighted! (Doom Track @4)
Fern is still sobering up at Hibb’s when a gate opens beneath her, plunging her into the City of the Great Race. A Dark Young tears up the bar, sending frightened patrons scurrying into the streets. The High Priest moves his soapbox to the Southside Streets. Meanwhile, an ancient ship docks in Kingsport, releasing a Hunting Horror and a Goat Spawn into the Harborside Streets. Stanley returns to the Silver Twilight Lodge, closing the gate to Lost Carcosa and banishing the Crawling One that had taken up residence at the Black Cave. Goldberg decides to investigate the Witch House more closely, entering the gate to the Plateau of Leng. Goldberg encounters a mad Tcho-Tcho scientist. She manages to sneak off with the an unusual gem powering the scientist’s machine. She sells it to an even madder Tcho-Tcho scientist for $4. Recalling scenes from the King in Yellow contained in the Understudy’s Script, Fern manages to retrace her steps back to the gate in Hibb’s Roadhouse, where the Dark Young continues to run amok. Sanity restored, Drake decides to searches for clues at Independence Square. Overwhelmed by the cosmic silence pervading the square, Drake realizes Arkham is but a mirror of the City of the Great Race, or is it the other way around . . . . Determined to find out, Drake is injured while attempting to pry an idol from the hands of one of the city’s conical natives.
Chapter 5 - Alien Technology (Doom Track @ 5)
A gate to Yuggoth opens at the Unvisited Isle. The promise of alien technology draws cultists from far and wide. Meanwhile, the Hunting Horror crashes the party at Hibb’s Roadhouse. Goldberg casts Find Gate, returning to the Witch House. Unfortunately, she lacks the necessary Lore to close the gate this time around. Still nursing a hang over from the party at Hibb’s and bouts of sudden inter-dimensional travel, Fern is in no mood to party. She singes the Hunting Horror with her flame thrower before summoning a Storm of Spirits to deal with the Dark Young. She closes the gate to the City of the Great Race for good measure, trapping Drake, who is Lost in Time and Space. Stanley enters the Black Cave, but the a tough slog in Unknown Kadaththe drains her stamina.
Chapter 6 - Theatre Experiences Renewal. (Doom Track @ 5)
A Moon-beast emerges from the gate at the Witch House, while a Goat Spawn is spotted on the Merchant District Streets. A Hound of Tindalos, no doubt seeking its lost counterpart, emerges from the Black Cave. Drake burns his Curse. Fern summons a Storm of Spirits to deal with the unnerving Goat Spawn lurking in the Merchant District. Goldberg uses her power of disguise to evade the Moon-beast momentarily, but is still unable to close the gate at the Witch House. Stanley has an uneventful day in Unknown Kadath.
Chapter 7 - Feds Raid Arkham! (Doom Track @ 5)
A Gug emerges from the gate at the Black Cave, followed in quick succession by a Mummy at the Witch House. A fire vampire is spotted on the outskirts of Arkham. The High Priest and the Cultist leave town for good. Goldberg refills her drum of kerosene while playing a game of cat-and-mouse with the Moon-beast and the Mummy at the Witch House. Alas, the Moon-beast corners the author, devouring her mere moments before Stanley seals the gate to Unknown Kadath and sends it back to its hideous dimension. Alarmed by the growing instability of Kingsport, Drake enters St. Erasmus’s Home, where he listens to a tale from a retired sailor. Fern enters the gate to Yuggoth, on the Unvisited Isle, quickly dispatching a skeleton she encounters on the other side.
Chapter 8 - Unusual Moonrises (Doom Track @ 5)
A gate attempts to open at the Black Cave, but the elder sign Stanley engraved on the cave’s walls the previous turn holds. A guttural growl alerts Stanley to the fact that she’s not alone in the cave. It’s the last thing she recalls when she awakens at St. Mary’s. Intrigued by the tales of strange worlds and horrifying monsters contained in Goldberg’s latest novel, The Witch Cult of Arkham, Jim Culver (Bravery, Golden Trumpet, Foresee, Markings of Isis, Director’s Diary) decides to investigate the strange goings on in the town. His first stop is Hibb’s, where he discovers clue’s about Goldberg’s untimely demise, as well as the threat facing the town. Drake admires Gladys Pickman’s books at the 7th House on the Left, while Fern has an uneventful day exploring Yuggoth.
Chapter 9 - World Torn Asunder (Doom Track @ 6)
An experiment gone awry opens a gate to the Dreamlands at the Science Building, releasing a Shoggoth on campus. Hot on Goldberg’s trail, Culver moves to the Witch House, destroying the Mummy and entering the Plateau of Leng, where he finds a shotgun left behind by a previous visitor. Fern returns to the Univisted Isle, sealing the gate behind her. Drake can’t tear himself away from Gladys Pickman, who regales him with fascinating stories about Kingsport history over tea. Stanley heads to South Church in the hope of securing a blessing to put an end to the threat rumoured to face Arkham.
Chapter 10 - Rituals of Power (Doom Track @ 6)
The elder sign engraved on the walls of the Black Cave is still strong. The Shoggoth moves to the Uptown Streets. The Hound of Tindalos tracks Stanley down at South Church. Fern moves to the Science Building and enters the Dreamlands. Professor Morgan decides to ally himself with Drake. Stanely is knocked unconscious again by the Hound, awakening in St. Mary’s Hospital. Culver feels a terrible tromping shake the ground. Failing to Foresee the danger ahead (or make a roll to save his life), he is ambushed by a Shoggoth and a Ghost. Strengthened by the Rituals of Power, the Shoggoth makes quick work of Culver, who is Lost in Time and Space.
Chapter 11 - The Next Act Begins! (Doom Track @ 6)
The King in Yellow opens to dismal reviews. Disgusted by the material, the Terrible Olds Man sets sails for happier shores. The gods frown on Stanley at a crucial juncture, revoking her blessing. Disheartened, she remains in hospital to regain her strength. Drake has an uneventful encounter at 607 Waters Street, while Fern discovers a cavern in the Dreamlands filled with human brains. Famished, she feeds on them, gaining vital insight into the nature of the Mythos at the expense of her rapidly dwindling sanity.
Chapter 12 - Bizarre Dreams Plague Citizens! (Doom Track @ 6)
A maniac and a Cthonian emerge from the very active gate at the Science Building, while a Fire Vampire circles in the skies above Arkham in search of prey. Strange earthquakes rock the town, and Stanley and Drake suffer minor injuries when they are struck by falling debris. Stanley trudges through the Woods in search of clues, encountering a Mi-Go on a muddy path. Her sanity shaken, Stanley kills the beast, gaining For the Greater Good. Culver makes an emergency visit to St. Mary’s to regain some strength. Fern returns to the Science Building from the Dreamlands, closing the gate behind her. Drake has an uneventful day at Hall School.
Chapter 13 - Strange Murders (Doom Track @ 6)
Unearthly howls and hissing are heard coming from the Unvisited Isle, but the seal holds. Culver holes up in Ma’s Boarding House, where he meets Sarah Danfroth. She provides him with the Mask of the Black Pharaoh, which Culver uses to channel Goldberg. Fern gives herself a pep talk before cleaning house on campus, lighting up the Maniac and summoning a Storm of Spirits to deal with the Cthonian. She trades one of her gate trophies for more clues at the Science Building. Drake confronts the Goat Spawn that has been lurking in Kingsport since Chapter 4. It’s proves to be no match for his shrivelling karate chops. Stanley’s visit to the Historical Society fails to turn up any new leads.
Chapter 14 - King of Cards Cancels Show (Doom Track @ 6)
Desperate to protect its sole entry point to Arkham, the Mythos sends reinforcements to the Witch House in the form of a Crawling One, a Serpent People and Warlock. The Warlock has second thoughts and leaves town, while the Serpent People move to the French Hill District, adding a token to World Torn Asunder. The surge in Mythos activity tears a hole in space-time, opening a rift at the Witch House. Fern moves to the Witch House, dispatches the Crawling One (which rolled a 6), and enters the Plateau of Leng. The native Tcho-Tchos rough up Fern before the send her packing back to Arkham. Drake franticly attempts to identify the source of the rift in Arkham at 607 Waters Street. Stanley returns to South Church, evades the Hound of Tindalos and cashes in her final gate token to bless Culver. He quickly moves to Miskatonic University, discarding Bravery and the blessing to cancel World Torn Asunder. Culver’s sacrifice restores the investigators to maximum Sanity and Stamina. Victory is within the investigators’ grasp as long as the gates hold . . .
Chapter 15 - Dark Skies (Doom Track @ 7)
The dark skies above the Whatley Farm fill the investigators with dread. A skeleton from Another Time appears at the farm. Drake continues to investigate the source of the Arkham’s mysterious rift. Back in Arkham, Stanley comes face to face with the Hound of South Church, barely managing to flee the horrible creature by climbing up to the stained glass windows. Unfortunately, she falls, injuring herself on the pews. Fern finally closes the gate at the Witch House, while Culver finds the half-buried corpse of a Star-Spawn in the Graveyard.
Chapter 16 - Museum Artifacts Stolen (Doom Track @ 8)
A gate to Another Time opens at Independence Square, releasing a Byakhee. The juxtaposition of times opens a second rift in the square. Stanley buys a Mask of Wisdom from one of the thieves, who sought sanctuary in South Church. Fern buys a Spirit Vessal from another. Stanley is knocked unconscious yet again by the Hound of South Church, while Fern discovers a vital clue in the Merchant District. Culver heads to the train station in the hope of hopping on a car bound for Dunwich, forcing the Byakhee back through the gate from which it emerged. Drake scurries to Congregational Hospital.
Chapter 17 - Strange Waves Subside! (Doom Track @ 9)
A gate to the Abyss opens at The Unnamable, attracting the attention of a local Cultist. The Hound of Tindalos tracks Culver down at the Train Station. The rift at the Witch House moves to the French Hill District, spawning a Ghost (Doom Track @ 10). Culver, startled by the Hound’s sudden appearance, is frozen on the platform with fear. St. Mary’s staff confiscates his shotgun when he is admitted with numerous bite wounds. Elsewhere in Arkham, Fern breaks down the door to The Unnamable, kills of the Cultist and enters the gate to the Abyss, where she is delayed. Browsing the shelves at Neil’s Curiosity Shop is uneventful for Drake, but he does learn enough to close the rift plaguing the French Hill District.
Chapter 18 - Good Work Undone (Doom Track @ 10)
The seal at the Unvisited Isle holds. The disheartened investigators await the inevitable.
Chapter 19 - Slum Murders Continue! (Doom Track @ 11)
A gate to the Great Hall of Celeano opens in the Woods.
Yibb-Tstll awakens (X is set to -7) and proceeds to devour the investigators one by one.
It was a hell of a game with all sorts of oddities: Goldberg’s ill-considered battle against the High Priest; gates opening at Hibb’s Roadhouse, the Silver Twilight Lodge and the Science Building; a monster surge at the Science Building; Stanley losing her Blessing at a critical moment; and two rifts opening in Arkham after the investigators worked so hard to prevent World Torn Asunder.
I loved how the Witch House became the investigator’s nemesis as the game progressed. Every time one of them tried to close that gate, it seemed like the Mythos would find a way to prevent it. Goldberg’s failure to close that gate at the Witch House when she had the chance was a huge setback, but I still had high hopes the investigators would snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in Chapter 15. Alas, the only Dunwich gate to open all but put the game out of reach. Two open rifts and gates at The Unnamable and Independence Square didn’t hurt the Mythos cause, either.
Yibb-Tstll is tough, no doubt about it. The five-clue cap, coupled with the evade modifier, made it difficult to keep the investigators alive while sealing key gates, such as the ones at the Black Cave and the Unvisited Isle.
MVP: Carolyn Fern was a one woman wrecking crew, closing gates and downing monsters with reckless abandon. Storm of Spirits is strong, especially when combined with Lore 6 and an ally with a +2 combat bonus. Unfortunately, Arkham Horror is a team game, and having one well-equipped investigator and three relatively ill-equipped ones is not a winning combination. Next time I’m going to work harder to balance the investigator’s better. I think one of the biggest problems playing solo is getting "Investigator Tunnel-vision."
Honourable Mention: The Hound of Tindalos. Hounds are bad news at the best of times, but they are awful when combined with Yibb-Tstll’s evade modifier. The Hound essentially locked down Diana Stanley for the second half of the game, making it difficult to maintain any momentum when I needed another body working on gates.
Needless to say, I’m looking forward to adding Innsmouth to the mix next game.
Until next time . . .
Well written enjoyed the read.
The only card I removed was Join the Winning Team, which I disagree with for thematic reasons. Enjoy!
Boo, hiss, infidel !
Stumbling into a dark pit near the entrance, she awakens in the Great Hall of Celeano.
Was it a move to Celeano encounter (can't recall ever seeing one) or "a gate and a monster appears"? If the latter, then should have added a doomer.
(Looking further ahead, guess it was the former.)
Stanley moves to the Silver Twilight Lodge, where Carl Sanford assigns her the task of writing a newspaper article about the Mythos.
I like Tasks and Missions (esp. JtWT ), but Diane isn't my choice for them. Speed 3 just doesn't cut it.
Needless to say, I’m looking forward to adding Innsmouth to the mix next game.
Until next time . . .
Deep One Rising track would've gotten to around 4 I think, with all the seal-bounces you were getting. Of course, that's not taking into account any gates that might've opened there, Devil's Reef being especially nasty in that regard, any normal move by a monster (so as Black or Red) and it's in the vortex.
- Last edited Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:32 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:31 am
You don't need any more.
A very well written session report, thanks. Welcome to BGG!
Cameron, if this is your first entry to BGG well done.
I look forward to many more reviews. Help you enjoy the place as there is lots to see here.
Have some Geek Gold for a well written review.
Great review! Keep it up, and welcome to BGG!
Brian Mc Cabe
There are those who look at things the way they are and ask why . . . I dream of things that never were and ask why not
Very nicely done.