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Subject: Spectral Razor rss

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Joe Pilkus
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While this spell appears to be a buffed version of Fist of Yog Sothoth, it requires two hands...with the following effect: Any Phase: Cast and exhaust to gain +X to Combat checks until the end of this combat, where X is twice the number of successes you rolled on your Spell check.

If the Investigator uses two hands for the spell, do they otherwise forfeit an attack, take damage from the monster and then apply the "+X to Combat checks until the end..."

Or, did I just miss something in reading this card?
 
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Adam Tucker
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The Professor wrote:
If the Investigator uses two hands for the spell, do they otherwise forfeit an attack, take damage from the monster and then apply the "+X to Combat checks until the end..."

Or, did I just miss something in reading this card?

I believe the latter.

E.g.
Harvey Walters currently has 3 Stamina and 4 Sanity, his Lore/Luck slider set to 6 Lore and 1 Luck, his Speed/Sneak slider set to 3 Speed and 2 Sneak and for some silly reason his Fight/Will slider set to 0 Fight and 3 Will.
Harvey has an encounter where he is surprised by a Cultist. Harvey would have 0 dice to Evade anyway, so that wouldn't be an option even if he weren't surprised. Not liking his odds with 1 die for the Combat check, Harvey decides to cast Spectral Razor. Harvey spends 2 Sanity (down from 4 to 2 Sanity), exhausts Spectral Razor, and rolls 8 dice (6 Lore + 2 from the spell), getting 2 successes and tying up both his hands (preventing him from using the knife he also has on hand). The 2 successes give him +4 to combat checks until the end of this combat. Combined with the +1 from the Cultist, this gives Harvey 5 dice for his Combat check. Harvey rolls 5 dice and gets no successes; he loses 1 Stamina from the Cultist and moves to a new combat round. Harvey could stop devoting both hands to Spectral Razor, so that he could instead use his knife for +1 to combat instead (but this would be stupid). Instead Harvey continues to devote both his hands to Spectral Razor and keeps his +4 to combat checks for this combat. Harvey rolls his 5 dice again and easily dispatches the Cultist.
If this encounter had made the monster drawn have a twin, then Harvey could not use Spectral Razor for this second combat (it's now exhausted), and would instead be forced to face it using just the knife.
 
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M.C.Crispy
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It's just a normal spell. You cast it and it gives you a bonus to combat checks. That's it. Same as Wither.

The difference is that the combat bonus is variable. You determine the combat bonus by taking how many successes you rolled when attempting to cast the spell in the first place and using twice this number as the combat bonus.

It's a totally awesome spell for high Lore Investigators who are blessed!
 
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Joe Pilkus
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Thank you both. I hadn't seen it in the same light as Wither. Good catch.
 
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Adam Tucker
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mccrispy wrote:
It's a totally awesome spell for high Lore Investigators who are blessed!

An investigator would need a Lore of 7 and be blessed to have Spectral Razor be as effective on average as Dread Curse of Azathoth (which has the same Sanity cost). If you need much more than a +9 to Combat, then you're probably not going to win anyway.
For an average caster (5 or 6 Lore), that isn't blessed (which is likely most of the time in most games), Spectral Razor is on average worse than Shrivelling for 1 more Sanity cost and ties up an additional hand. Additionally, Spectral Razor has a higher amount of variance than other spells (including Fist of Yog Sothoth, which isn't much better); in a game of Risk Management like Arkham Horror, this is a bad thing.
It's not the worst spell, but I don't think I would ever refer to it as "totally awesome" in any but the most esoteric situations, or maybe in situations that are at best tangentially related to winning.

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Bern Harkins
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tuckerotl wrote:
Additionally, Spectral Razor has a higher amount of variance than other spells (including Fist of Yog Sothoth, which isn't much better); in a game of Risk Management like Arkham Horror, this is a bad thing.


Spectral Razor is a poor spell, except when it is your only available offense. Then it is nice to have. Making do with what's at hand is one of the more enjoyable frustrations of Arkham.

I don't see it's high variance as a total negative. Arkham is about risk management, but it's often a desperate environment. Your best available course of action can be REALLY not that good an idea...

...and under those circumstances, it's nice to be able to get lucky.

Sister Mary can't take on a Shoggoth with her bare hands, and will PROBABLY fail even with Spectral Razor (or Wither)... but she COULD very well slice it up with Spectral Razor. She could take out the Dunwich Horror with it... on a turn when it had magic resistance.

Probably not, but there is a credible chance you can succeed. It's sometimes better than, "I move to the Rivertown Streets, and the Shoggoth sends me to St. Mary's".

And, it's fun to watch an inferior spell really perform, and rescue a hare brained plan.
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Gareth Roberts
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Surely this is a great spell to have if you also carry a huge pile of clues. Also imagine this + the lore +1 x2 dice per clue skill. In a sticky situation with a pile of clues this can become a beast, inflicting huge damage on the ancient one or pwning the Dunwich Horror. Not for every day use however.
 
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ilovedawkins wrote:
Surely this is a great spell to have if you also carry a huge pile of clues. Also imagine this + the lore +1 x2 dice per clue skill. In a sticky situation with a pile of clues this can become a beast, inflicting huge damage on the ancient one or pwning the Dunwich Horror. Not for every day use however.


That's certainly true - if you collect all the +Lore and +Spell items, allies and skills in the game you can get this up to +30 or more.

On the other hand, it's pretty inefficient even then. Say you have the Lore skill (+1 Lore, x2 clues), 10 clues, and a current Lore of 6 (including the skill), and Fight of 4.

Throw the clues into the Spell check, and you get to roll 4 (Fight) + 2*(28 dice worth of successes, or 9ish) = 22 dice to attack.
Throw the clues into the Fight check, and cast Dread Curse of Azathoth instead (same hands and sanity cost), and you get 4 (Fight) + 10 (clues) + 9 (Spell) = 23 dice to attack.

And that's with 10 clues - a pretty ridiculous amount to be carrying around most of the time - and the perfect skill to combine with Spectral Razor. And even then, if you had the Fight skill (+1 Fight, x2 clues) instead, you'd get 4 (Fight) + 20 (clues) = 24 dice to attack completely unarmed

If it was +3X rather than +2X then it would start to become a more interesting spell for high-Lore characters. As it is, then I agree with Radulla: it's better than not having any combat spells or weapons, but that's about it.
 
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Gareth Roberts
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Im actually thinking that both (fist and razor) of these spells are intended for low lore characters to fight against physical immune creatures.

Compare the casting modifier of dread curse of azathoth (-2) to spectral razor (+2)

I am Joe diamond (I have no clues, lets forget about that man's raging clues) and I have 5 fight and 3 lore, I also happen to be carrying spectral razor and the dread curse of Azathoth. I come up against a physically immune creature so my trusty dual pistols are useless.

Do I cast dread curse of Azathoth? 3dice-2dice gives me a 1 in 3 chance of casting the spell and getting a massive 14 dice. Odds are very much against me however.

Do I cast spectral razor? I get to roll 5 dice, theoretically this should at the very worst give 1 success and add 2 dice to my combat roll, it is very close to 2 successes and +4 a not insignificant bonus when fighting a monster.

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But in that situation, Wither would generally be the more effective spell. 3 dice to cast it, which will probably work. +3 bonus, which is on average about what you'd be getting from Spectral Razor. Only takes up one hand. Most importantly, no sanity cost. Joe only has 4 max sanity in the first place (fairly typical for a low-Lore character) - casting a 2 sanity spell to get +2, maybe +4 to combat seems to be a desperation move to me - especially since it means against most of the monsters tough enough to need that extra bonus, you daren't fail the Horror check, which means putting your fight down even more.

Or, even better for low-Lore characters, Call the Azure Flame - only 1 sanity cost, casting modifier +1 (4 dice will probably work), a guaranteed +4 damage, plus the double-6 power of a shotgun, plus you can use it on more than one monster that round for no additional sanity cost or casting rolls. (Also, can be cast in Upkeep, so if you do mess up the casting roll, you can do something other than charge the physically-immune monster)
 
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M.C.Crispy
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c'mon: pile on the hate for Spectral Razor! - just make sure that when it saves your ass that you come back and tell us how it helped you to an epic win!

I guess the next thing we should do is spin up a thread to discuss how lame magic is in Arkham Horror.
 
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Hah, no. Almost all the spells are pretty nicely balanced, both against each other and against items with similar powers, in my opinion, even the much-hated combat spells. But Fist and Spectral Razor are just considerably worse in just about every situation than every other combat spell. (And the sort of super-high Lore character who can get some use out of them would almost always do far better with Storm of Spirits, and would still get decent use out of Shrivelling)

I've used them both in fights, in situations where they were the only spell or weapon I had - but if they hadn't been in the deck in the first place then I would have got a far more useful spell that would also probably have got me out of that mess (or not into it in the first place)
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M.C.Crispy
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__cim__ wrote:
Hah, no. Almost all the spells are pretty nicely balanced, both against each other and against items with similar powers, in my opinion, even the much-hated combat spells. But Fist and Spectral Razor are just considerably worse in just about every situation than every other combat spell. (And the sort of super-high Lore character who can get some use out of them would almost always do far better with Storm of Spirits, and would still get decent use out of Shrivelling)

I've used them both in fights, in situations where they were the only spell or weapon I had - but if they hadn't been in the deck in the first place then I would have got a far more useful spell that would also probably have got me out of that mess (or not into it in the first place)
Argh no, don't feed the trolls (that'd be me). I was only commenting on the almost predictable path that threads such as these take. It risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy
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