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Subject: Please just get me to the church... on... time..! rss

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Bern Harkins
United States
New York
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Continuing our use of the Lurker.

None of us are sure about the Herald yet, but we all agree he's been entertaining.

We may never use the standard gate stack again; the Lurker stack adds whole new strategic considerations, in addition to the thrilling threat of--
*-MUNCH- * --You have been Devoured by Rl'yeh

Four players.

Base Board
Lurker Gate stack
Lurker Herald
Arkahm Encounters: Base and Lurker
OW Ecounters: King in Yellow and Lurker
Mythos: Base and Lurker
All small investigator cards, all expansions
(plus one COTDP Exhibition card, drawn as a result of an ally)

House Rule - Set aside eleven Allies. Allies drawn, purchased at Ma's or lost to terror are drawn or chosen from this deck. Allies from encounters are always available unless they are in play or returned to the box, as long as there is at least one Ally in the starting deck. When an Ally not in the starting deck is taken, discard an Ally from the starting deck.

Bones was First Player, and drew Dexter Drake, the Magician.
I was second, with Leo Anderson, the Expedition Leader.
Carl took William Yorrick, the Gravedigger.
Danielle got Trish Scarborough, the Spy.

Dexter and Leo were Collectors.
Leo and William were Socially Connected.
William and Trish were Survivors.
Trish and Dexter were Skullcrackers.

We stand in the way of the utter destruction promised by the awakening of... Shudde M'ell.
(Heck, he doesn't even HAVE to wake; Shuddy is, I think, the only GOO who can destroy Arkham while still asleep!)

Setup was gratifying.

Carl's Yorrick got seven points of toughness out of his starting trophies, setting him up for a turn one Bless and Personal Story success; he had a Sneak skill and the Survivor relationship to start, and then he picked up an ally at the start of turn one from our Socially Connected relationship... this added 2 more to his evade. He was The Wind, and Passed yet Was Not Seen. He also scored a press pass that he got a great deal of use from, and had the Newspaper Assignment Mission.

Danny's Trish had Kerosene and two tomes which gave her spells; these quickly were converted to Shrivel and Revelation of Script.

Bone's Dexter had Shrivel and Fist of Yog-Sothoth; he chose to take a Bound Ally pact on turn one, and got The Messenger, for a +2 combat and +2 horror.

My Leo had an Athame and a common item Tome which would eventually yield Wither. I took a Bound Ally pact on turn one, a no-brainer since it advanced my personal story and gave Carl's Yorrick a free ally, as well. I now had two allies who each gave a plus one to Fight, and a Fight skill. My second ally also yielded a spell... Find Gate!

The first gate was at the Witch House, a dual gate to Celeano and the City of the GR. It was guarded by... a Chthonian.

Now, Bones HATES Cthonians. OK, we all do... you, me, everyone. But Bones HAAAATES them... he has been pounded unconscious by their movement power more often than seems possible.

So when I explained that Chthonians in a Shudde M'ell game had their power improved...

Bones said, "It's dead. I'm killing it."

Pre-game four cornered strategy discussion: "Gee, Bones, you don't have any clues to seal, and the gate is on the Witch House, which is hi-freak, y'know?"

Bones said, "Dead. Killing it. Turn one. I move first."

"Well, y'know, guys, we have to avoid Monster Surges with Shudde, so maybe it'd be good to close hi-freak gates quickly anyway..."

Bones: "Good. Because I'm going through the gate after I kill the Tremors Beast. On turn one. I'll be moving first..."

"Have you figured the sanity costs? Because if you fail your horror check, after the spells you'll have..."

Bones: "One left. Which is plenty. It's dead... I'm killing it."

And so it was to be. Trish stayed at the Newspaper, read her Tomes, cranked her Lore and camped for a two clue encounter to pass her story. She got a retainer on turn one, and five dollars on turn two. She kept raking it in, which was good... she used a LOT of Kerosene later.

Yorrick took a Bless, which would stay with him sixteen turns!

I scooped up a double clue to protect Trish's story.

And Dexter killed the Chtonian, and went through the gate with one sanity. (Why didn't I prevent one of those sanity losses, you ask? Had I forgotten my own character's ability? Why, err, no, no, that's not it... I... must have had a premonition that Dex was going to lose a sanity in his first OW encounter, so I could use it then. Yeah, that's how it... nah, I forgot, but got to use it for his OW anyway, so no harm.)

A gate opens at the Unvisited Isle, pulling my Leo in and delaying him.

In the early game, Yorrick moves around Arkham, picking up double clues to keep Trish's story active. Dex and I return and close without seals. By the time he gets to the Asylum, I have prevented his single sanity from being lost on three different occasions. (I will get to use my ability over a dozen times this game, six of these preventing unconsciousness or insanity.)

Trish sits at the newspaper, accumulating money, and waiting for a Gug and Barnabas Marsh to move out of her way. There is one Monster Surge, and the Library is destroyed.

The Lurker Reckoning cards keep trying to punish us for having blood or soul pacts (which none of us have) or for possessing power, which none of us do.

The rumor "Disturbing the Dead" comes into play, causing the terror level to begin to rise. The southern portion of the map has picked up a Shoggoth, a Crawling One, a Werewolf, a Formless Spawn and a Flying Polyp when the Things of Darkness environment comes into play, boosting the toughness of three of these. (The Werewolf will eventually get to use its movement ability to do two damage to Dexter... the Werewolf always gets to hit Bones, it seems.)

Bone's Dexter is trying to move to South Church to buy a few Blesses for people, but has to stop often to slay beasts in his way.

Someone needs to get two gate trophies to settle Disturbing the Dead, so I head for Independence Square, though I have to stop along the way to attack Barnabas Marsh... the Athame is useful here, and I have lots of Fight modifiers, but I need to tank my will and suck up the Sanity damage. Worth it though to remove a Doom Token, taking the track back down to four.

Once through the gate, I find a clue on my OW encounter, and am able to Seal after I return by Find Gate.

Trish pokes her head out of the newspaper to scoop up a double clue at the Unnamable, and runs into her multi-clue encounter at last! Of course, it's for luck, not the lore roll she was prepped for. She fails. Now, we are all loathe to use clues for checks unless you are gunna DIIIE. But, passing her story not only helps Trish... it removes the possibility of her failing, ever. So we all go, yeah, Danny, spend a few clues... she spends four, one by one, and gets one success. So she uses her Lucky Cigarette Case, and rerolls all six dice... to get one success again. She spends a fifth clue... and finally passes.

I want to pass the rumor by spending two gate trophies in the Rivertown Streets, but there's an environment-boosted Shoggoth camped there, so I ask Bones, whose Dexter is nearly to South Church, to come back and Sweep it for me. He is most obliging, and adds it to his growing stack of trophies. We all gain a spell from the rumor; I get Shrivel, so now three players have a copy of this spell. (I swear, I maintain this deck myself... it is beyond shuffled; I do a full Irish Wash on it every few games). Carl's Yorrick gets Dread Curse of Azathoth. We are now all bricks in combat, as long as we can use magic.

The Terror Track is now at two, all from the rumor... and will never rise again. The monsters are mostly stacked in front of Bones, or back in the cup from gate closures, instead of on the board. A Mythos card clears the two monsters in the Outskirts, and none are ever added there again.

Trish pops over to the General Store, since it seems about to close, and buys a Revolver, hoping to get it to Yorrick. This is the only conventional purchase of the entire game... NO ONE ever entered the Curiosity Shoppe, a unique happening in my experience. (We were all so well outfitted at the start, and just got better...)

The rest of us had been closing gates, sealing when we could. We are not being careful about this, fearful of Monster Surges... especially after a Lurker Expansion Mythos card gives us two gates on one turn (but no Doom Tokens...). The seal Yorrick put on the Unvisited Isle (after closing the second of three gates to open there) is opened by a Gate Burst. Trish joins in the gate control effort, and is extremely effective.

Dexter was on his way to South Church, to finally spend those monster trophies, but a gate opened at the Witch House... guarded by a Chthonian. So he detoured to kill it... right away. This time, however, he had clues to seal the gate with, thanks to Vision Quest. He emerged to find a Leng Spider and a Shan waiting for him. (A Monster Surge had closed the Newspaper, spoiling Yorrick's Mission; another had hit the Bank.) He fails his first closure attempt, but since he has clues enough to seal, he sticks it out, adding the Leng to his pile of trophies and evading the Shan. He seals, and on the next turn he tries to leave the area... but the Shan busts him, he miserably fails his horror check, and is devoured.

Great. That means _I_ fail my personal story... how inconsiderate of him! I was sure to let him know.

Arkham is starting to get full of monsters again, but the existing characters can handle themselves well (Carl's Yorrick hardly bothers to sneak anymore, unless he is conserving sanity). I mean seriously, when a Flying Polyp can move to any of three investigators in different street areas, and the conversation is not about who has the best chance, but rather who can make best use of the trophy...

So I was surprised when Bone's new investigator, Minh Thi Phan, came charging out from behind her desk at St. Mary's and headed right at a newly arrived Shuggoth... "Can you handle that...?"

She could. For some reason, Minh always seems to be ready for trouble. I hadn't payed attention to Bone's set up for the character, having other game business... he had John Legrasse for a +2 combat, taken with a Bound Ally Pact to activate Minh's Synergy power. (Was that word coined yet in the twenties...? I thought it was Buckminster Fuller... anyway...).
And she had a carbine.
And she had... the fourth Shrivel spell in this game. Small wonder we haven't seen one in several games...

Still... "Uh, Bones, you don't have to..."

"It is between me and the Church. I am still headed to the Church. For Blessings." He looks at his huge trophy pile. "Blessings for everyone... well, everyone except Carl... that's STILL your first Bless...?"

Receiving the Revolver from Trish (she never could get it to Yorrick...), Bone's Minh is prepared to face the Magically Immune High Priest in the Southside Streets, the last obstacle between her and the Church. She wins... the ultimate objective of Bone's two characters for the last dozen or so turns is finally in sight...

How could it happen any other way?

A Monster Surge causes South Church to be destroyed, and Minh is swallowed up by a moving Dreamlands gate.

Once the moaning and laughing is done, we take stock...

Not bad.

The Doom Track is only at six, thanks to the doomless double gate Mythos, the gate burst and the slaying of Barnabas.

There are four gates open, and Minh is "on" one, if delayed; Yorrick is on another, and can seal the Unvisited island (again). He will have eight clues left after this (due to two gate trophies, a press pass and two turns at the Science Building). I'm in the Dreamlands, but now that the gate has swallowed Minh, I will have to forgo closing or she'll be LiTaS.

We also have seals at Independence Square, the Woods and the Witch House.

I have an "accelerant", as we call anything which greatly enhances gate handling... in this case, the excellent Find Gate.

We decide to go for an "All Gates Closed, Gate Trophies equal to Investigators Held" win condition... even if we blow it, there should be time to try and do a Six Seal win. But for now, it's "End of the World, Babies!" No healing unless there is NOTHING else to do. No restraint. Do and/or Die.

Two more gates eventually open, for a total of twelve for the whole game. The Lurker forces Minh and Leo to each take another Pact... we choose Soul Pacts, and have our sanity restored. Later, he gives us each spells. Mine is another Dread Cures of Azathoth.

My Leo's sanity is severely compromised by an OW encounter with a random Leng Spider. Having prevented one point, he is now just able to cast Find Gate and emerge on the same turn as Trish... who has a Lore of eight with her Revelation of Script... and close the last two gates. I decide to take a third Pact, a Blood pact... and use it immediately to gain four Power. I can't seal, but it's insurance that I will be able to close the gate.

I make my roll easily, not needing the power.

Danny blows Trish's five die Lore check... and there I am with all three Pacts and four power and the game not over. VERY uncomfortable.

Of course, a Gate opens. Carl's Yorrick goes for it with his horde of clues.

We get a bump on a sealed gate.

I go to the hospital (nothing else to do...) Minh has been at Ma's Boarding house, buying two allies, which still leaves her a gate trophy. Danny's Trish closes her gate, then goes to Independence Square, figuring that since it has a Seal she can't get a gate opening as an encounter... good move, her encounter is a Gate open, which fizzles.

We get a bump on a sealed gate.

Yorrick emerges and closes the final gate; we have five gate trophies among the four of us.

Nineteen turns. The doom track is only at 8! (four monster surges, double gate gave no doom tokens, one doom token removed by Barnabas, no doom token for the gate burst, four seal bumps). Terror track at 2 from around turn six to the end.

Clearly, our careful planning and cooperative spirit combined with our full throttle approach allowed us to get OH SO DAMNED LUCKY!!!

The exceptional starting equipment got us started on gates turns early, and our incredible amount of spell based artillery swept the monsters off the board (although they still slowed movement).

There was some very intricate weaving and dodging as players entered single gates and emerged from doubles, or vice versa, depending on locations and whether they were in a position to seal.

No injuries. Trish took the only Madness, a late game Paranoia that never mattered.

The final toll from Reckoning cards was two points of Stamina damage to Leo (one prevented), four clues stolen from Leo at one point and Minh and Leo being forced to take second pacts.

Sweet game, even if it never got close.

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Patrick G.
United States
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Does your religion have lightsabers? Nope? Didn't think so.
"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals." Agent K. Oh my what he would think of people had he known about what the internet would become.....
Well done report!!
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Vernon Evenhuis
United States
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Nice session report as usual. Thanks for sharing!
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Mike Shade
United States
High Point
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Great report. I have to get back into this game!
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