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Subject: The French Connection (from the Journals of Jacqueline Fine) rss

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Charles Simon
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Ashley
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From the Journals of Jacqueline Fine:


"If the visions that I have seen since I was a child have shown me anything, it has shown to me that there is no such thing as coincidence. The fire and blood in my dreams centered around Arkham and I went there as soon as I could determine where it was. My first encounters within the city were Marie Lambeau, a Creole singer and Jenny Barnes, who had just arrived from Paris. My name, Jacqueline, comes from my maternal grandmother who lived in Péronne, France. So it was easy for me to determine that despite coming to Arkham for different reasons, this French connection was not coincidence."


There were three of us playing. I had Jacqueline Fine. Jeska (my wife, Jessica) was playing Jenny Barnes and snarf135 (our friend, Mike) was controlling Marie Lambeau. Despite Jacqueline's beliefs, the French connection was coincidence. We drew our characters at random, except for my wife, who picked Jenny because she had not played her in a long while.


"The three of us worked well together. Marie was a witch. Something that a few weeks ago I would not have considered to be something real. But then again, perhaps that word could be attributed to someone like me who has visions of the future. But regardless, Marie worked hard to research more spells, even risking the financial wrath of the local bank by pleading for a loan despite their sometimes draconian interest rates. It was unnecessary, as I knew a little trick of alchemy that could fund her research and Jenny's father had ensured that she would not struggle for money. But there is a certain independence of the Creole. With her research and my visions, we were soon able to determine what was happening to Arkham. Bokrug was awakening and coming to Arkham. We determined this by the ghosts of the Beings of Ib that haunted and plagued us, seeming to hinder and cripple our every attempt to move against what was stirring. But if we were right, Bokrug would doom Arkham at the least. Its awakening had completely destroyed Sarnath. Is this the doom I foresaw in my visions? We uncovered the lore that told us how to defeat these ghosts, which would aid us and weaken Bokrug. However, it would not be easy. Still, it did not make sense that Bokrug would come to Arkham... It was aquatic and lived deep under a lake according to the tomes we read. Still, an influx of visitors from Innsmouth gave the aquatic connection and surely that town would affect what was happening here in Arkham."


Bokrug was our GOO and he starts with the four ghosts of the Beings of Ib in play. They affected our skill checks and made Bokrug even more powerful if he awakened and they were not removed. Each of the four could only be removed by spending 10 toughness of monsters, 2 gate trophies or 1 gate and 5 toughness of monsters while in any Other World. Also, we were playing with the Innsmouth Horror expansion in play, along with the small box expansions of The Black Goat in the Woods and the King in Yellow, though neither Herald was in play. Equipment and spells from Dunwich and Kingsport were also in the decks, but neither board was in play. I started with the Alchemical Process spell, which gave me $3 whenever I successfully cast it at the cost of 1 Sanity. With Marie taking a loan and Jenny's Trust Fund, money would not be an issue in the game and we spent our first couple of turns purchasing items in the Curiositie Shoppe, though there was nothing too significant purchased. Marie's Personal Story also required her to get two spells, so she was in a hurry to complete it and took the loan to pay for her spells.


"Our research took us too long, however. Signs of Bokrug's coming were arriving throughout the city and would soon bring him to us. The fabric of reality was tearing all around us! Even though we had not enough resources to permanently close these tears, we could at least try to mend them. I rushed off as soon as possible and found myself in Another Dimension altogether! Pushing through I saw a way to close the gate, but it was a temporary mend. More research would be needed to make this permanent! In my absence, I discovered that Jenny had been injured by the creatures that seeped through these opened rifts in reality and could barely move from the injuries she sustained. Fortunately for her, however, her family had the resources to care for her and she spent a good amount of her Daddy's money on a motorcycle just to travel. Marie, meanwhile, had embraced her heritage and was now calling herself a witch and controlled more mystic energies than I thought was possible. What the power would cost her in her mind and sanity was one thing, but she had to worry about the financial costs of all of the ancient tomes she purchased. The bank was threatening to take everything from her if she did not pay back her loan. And for me, I found myself back into the fire. As soon as my rift was sealed another opened, pulling me through. I fought my way back from the Abyss and was able to close the rift once more, though again, only temporarily. I just did not have the resources to seal it permanently."


Jenny was knocked out in a fight and took an Injury card and ended up with a Sprained Ankle. The -1 Speed to her already slow maximum Speed of 3 was painful. However, she lucked out and went to the General Store and grabbed a motorcycle to make up for the Speed loss. Marie, meanwhile, completed her Personal Story and decided to use her Witch Blood ability and removed one Doom Token from the GOO. Her completed story allowed her to use that ability a second time, so she used it a second time. This gave her a lot more spells to work with. I had closed a gate, but not sealed it. We drew a couple monster surges which stopped more gates from opening and with Marie's ability, we didn't have to worry about Doom Tokens. Still, our biggest threat for the GOO awakening was having too many Gates opened. Annoyingly, after closing the Gate, another opened on that location and I was sucked into it. I made it out and sealed another Gate.


"We fought to clear the streets and Marie taught Jenny a powerful incantation which released the beast in her. This young girl was no longer afraid of getting her nails dirty, she was more than willing to sink them into the flesh of an enemy! The fabric of reality was still tearing around us and even though not all of us were prepared to seal these rifts, we needed to act and each of us vowed to take on one of these openings. I bid my friends farewell and luck and we all set off. But I wasn't alone now. My travels had attracted the attention of Sir William Brinton who wished to join my travel. Normally, I would not consider traveling in such a manner with strange men, but these are extraordinary times. Besides, his face... was it the one from my visions?"


We had the Doom Tokens under control, but more Gates were opening, so we had to go and close as many as we could, even if we could not seal them. I received Sir William Brinton as an Ally and was halfway to completing my Personal Story, which required me to get two allies before the Terror level reached 3. We needed to try to close Gates as we had five opened and two more would awaken the GOO. Jenny, who was weak in combat initially was boosted by the Summoning The Beast Within spell traded from Marie. This also helped her crippled Speed, although the Motorcycle took care of that problem for the most part. Each of the three of us went into separate Gates to try to close them before the final Gate opened that would awaken Bokrug.


"I returned from R'lyeh with Brinton. I won't go into the monstrosities that I saw there. But I received word from the others. Jenny had learned enough to seal her Gate! Good girl. Already so unlike the spoiled Daddy's girl who stepped off of the train into Arkham. My rift was closed, but I could not contain it and it was a temporary measure. But the visions of the faces in my dreams had grown stronger since the arrival of Brinton and I was drawn to the Boarding House when I found him: William Bain. I asked him to join my quest and he agreed. Just by his presence alone, I could feel Bokrug weakening. But with these two together, my visions made even more sense to me. William Brinton was not the face in my vision; it was William Bain! Brinton was not only a red herring, but was, in fact, an agent of Bokrog's. Bain and I knew what to do. I will not dare write what we did to him, but if the visions of Arkham's destruction of Bokrug ever leave my mind, I am certain that I will be haunted by the visions of what we did instead. Still, with Brinton gone and the agent of Bokrug away from us, Bokrug weakened even more. Perhaps that will be the sole solace in what we did to him."


We closed more gates and only Jenny was able to seal her's. This gave us a little more reprieve from the Gates opening too soon. I took my gate trophies to Ma's Boarding House and drew William Bain. His joining me let me succeed at my Personal Story, though to succeed at my story, I had to choose one of my Allies to discard. William Bain's special ability removed one Doom Token from Bokrug, and my Personal Story success let me remove another Doom Token from Bokrug. We had been very efficient at removing Doom Tokens, but still had to worry about too many Gates opening. Still, we had cut back on that and bought more breathing room. We just hadn't been able to seal any but one.


"The reprieve and the Gates closing gave us time to focus on something other than the immediate. We looked to strike at these ghosts that plagued us. Before leaving, however, I gave poor Marie enough money to pay back her loan. Who would have thought that the cost of her witchcraft would be financial, but the bank threatened to take everything from her. The lore from the Gate that Jenny sealed as well as the blood of the creatures she fought was enough banish one of the ghosts that plagued us. The lore that I learned from my travels and the creatures I fought made me confident enough that I could also do the same. We both moved to step into the beyond once more to close the rifts, but moreso to be in a position to strike at these ghosts that have been plaguing us and empowering Bokrug."


Jenny and I went into Other Worlds and had enough to remove two of the ghosts of the Beings of Ib from Bokrug's sheet. Marie took the $10 I gave her and paid back her bank loan, as a string of bad rolls made it seem as if she might lose half of her items.


"We returned successful, and closed the rifts once more. Again, we were unable to seal them. More rifts opened around us. Word from Innsmouth was getting dire as well. We had heard that rifts opened there and all kinds of foul creatures openly walked the streets. It seemed as if as soon as we could close a rift, another would open. Was this too much for us? We were just three and this tide seemed unstoppable. Every time we thought we had a reprieve, more came upon as before we could take advantage of it. We were all strong before one another, but I would not be surprised if Marie and Jenny wept alone at night as I did every evening. The flood of Bokrug's power seemed unstoppable. Reality was being torn apart all around us and we could do little but temporarily stop it. Even that would be fine, but we were unable to take advantage of the stalling of the inevitable. Jenny, poor Jenny, stepped into the void once again and removed the influence of another ghost of the Beings of Ib. Bokrug was weakened again. This was our plan. We could not stop it from arriving, but maybe if it was weak enough, we could defeat it once it was here. Poor Jenny had stepped through the rift and weakened Bokrug's power. Reality fluxed and saw another vision of a rift opening. It would be enough tears in reality for Bokrug to enter. My visions gave me enough time to alter the course, try desperately to stop the rift from opening to give us time to close these rifts to hold it back just a little longer. It worked, however, I underestimated Bokrug's power and the tear in reality merely occurred elsewhere. A tear in reality opened over Arkham, large enough for Bokrug to step through. I gathered together with Marie and we prepared ourselves for it to step through. Jenny was nowhere to be found. I can only pray that she found some way to escape, but I fear that the tear in reality through her so far away that death would be best for the girl. My heart was cold in my throat as I tried to swallow it down. I looked at Marie and we both steadied ourselves. We had weakened Bokrug, that is true, but without poor Jenny's learned ferocity at our side, would we stand a chance?"


Too many gates opened. I used my ability to discard the Mythos Card and draw another in hopes of drawing a different location so that a gate would not open, but it just opened on another location instead. Jenny had gone to the Other Worlds and removed the third of the Beings of Ib from Bokrug's sheet, however. Though before the last Gate opened, Jenny was Lost in Time and Space. When Bokrug awakened, she was instantly devoured. The remaining Ghost of the Being of Ib on Bokrug's sheet gave him three extra Doom Tokens for health. Instead of 12 health, Bokrug had 15. He had Physical and Magical Resistance and out combat penalty would be -2. By his method of attack, we had 7 rounds to defeat him. This would have been an easier fight if Jenny was around. However, her being devoured meant that we still needed 3 successes for each damage, but there was one less of us to do it with. That really mad this look like it was going to be a tough fight, especially since mine and Marie's sanities were so low, we would not be able to cast much. Jenny had turned into our reliable powerhouse and her absence was really going to hit us hard in the fight. We did our first round upkeep and got ready for the Final Battle.


"I could feel the hair on my arms raising from the static in the air. So much ambient power was in the air. I heard a deep groan that sounded light metal being twisted and shorn as reality bent and tore open further. My nostrils burned with the scent of sea salt and ichor and I could feel the chill on my skin as my blood drained from my complexion in fear. Marie stood beside me as we heard the unnatural movements from behind the opening. I tried to convince myself that she was standing brave and steadfast to try to will myself to follow her lead, but I still knew that she was standing beside me frozen in fear. The first signs of movement through the opening were before us. Ambient power crackled and flickered all around and I could feel the static charge in the air. Bokrug the Thuum'ha moved through the opening. It's reptilian head was foul and beyond my words to describe. My thoughts were that this is what those in Sarnath must have seen before they were destroyed. I wondered if there were those in Sarnath who stood before Bokrug like Marie and I were and if their suffering was worse than those who were unaware of his arrival in the rest of the city. It's inhuman eyes looked around, swiveling and twisting about, rotating of their own accord and not moving in tandem as Bokrug looked around and surveyed the area. I don't even think it saw the two minuscule women who tried to stand bravely before it. It's head peered fully through the rift, looking all around. Then it pulled back, slipping back through the tears in reality. As it slipped back through the opening, the tears in reality closed behind it, and it was gone. Reality was mended behind him and I looked to Marie, a bit confused."


We finished upkeep and set up the Final Battle deck. We didn't think we had much of a chance. The first card I flipped in the Green Deck said to draw a Sinister Plot card from Bokrug's specific deck. We did not think that this was going to be a good start. I shuffled the three Bokrug Final Battle Sinister Plot cards and chose one: The Departure. It reads "Bokrug leaves, returning to its home. The investigators win, although if they are scoring the game, they are penalized by -4 points." So, without rolling an attack, without casting a single spell, we won on the first round of battle and Bokrug left.


"Marie and I stood there together looking at the area where the opening had been for I would estimate an hour before Marie finally found her voice and asked, "Uh... Do you think... um... it left?" I blinked and shrugged, "Um... maybe?" We stood out there for another hour. The ambient sounds of night animals and insects returned to the air. I blinked again, perhaps only for the second time in the two hours as I turned to face her and crooked my lips into an awkward half-smile as I shrugged, "Uh, good job." Marie nodded, "Yeah... You too." Another long moment passed before Marie finally said what we were both thinking, "Well, I'm going to head home." Awkwardly faking a yawn and stretch, I nodded, "Yeah, me too. I'm pretty beat." Marie headed towards the Boarding House, while I headed downtown. I heard her mutter out as she walked away, "Um, see you around, I suppose." I nodded, both of us walking away in different directions, "Yeah, you too." But I'm not even sure if she was still in earshot by the time I muttered it."


Some may have been disappointed by that ending: All the preparation for the Final Battle only to have it end in the first round without a single die being rolled. However, our group loved the ending. Granted, usually when Arkham Horror surprises you, it is by doing something unbelievably horrible to you. It was definitely one of our more memorable games because of that ending.
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David Aubert
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Nice session, the alternance and narrative and report is very well done.

thinwhiteduke wrote:
(...)Though before the last Gate opened, Jenny was Lost in Time and Space. When Bokrug awakened, she was instantly devoured.(...)


Even if that didn't impact your game, why Jenny was devoured ?
I read Bokrug's sheet and the being of ib token, there is nothing about losing a player in LITAS when the final fight begin.

Or am I missing one basic rule saying this ?
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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Any investigator LiTaS when the GOO wakes is devoured.

"When the Ancient One awakens, any investigators that
are lost in time and space are immediately devoured
and eliminated from the game." (p. 22)
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David Aubert
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OK it's me ... after all those years, one can't keep all rules in one's head, especially those who happens very rarely.
I'll be a little more intelligent before going to bed tonight.

...

Oh and what does 'Monster Surge' means ? (Just kidding )
 
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Charles Simon
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Ashley
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Honestly, being Lost in Time and Space when the GOO awakens happens so rarely that we missed it at first as well. In fact, just plain being Lost in Time and Space alone seems a rarity in our games and usually needs a quick recheck of the rules.

Oh, and thanks for the compliment. We like Arkham Horror because of the light roleplaying feel of it, but usually don't really get into character while playing. However, with the ending we had with this game, we all thought it made a really interesting story.
 
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Brian Mc Cabe
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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
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Great session report. Just one comment.

". . . as a string of bad rolls made it seem as if she might lose half her items."

It's a good thing she didn't fail and try to buy her way out of debt by turning in only half her items. Guido would have broken her legs. Fail to pay and discard all.

Brian

 
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Charles Simon
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Shoot! You are right. I didn't have the card in front of me. I don't usually take loans, so I didn't realize that it was all of your items if you couldn't pay it back. Apparently, the bankers in Arkham like to bring more horror than I had just assumed.
 
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