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Subject: Spell/Item Sanity Costs and Going Insane rss

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I recently ran a six investigator solo game. In it, Harvey Walters was up against a Dire Young with 1 sanity and 1 stamina. I was originally going to evade the nasty monster and kill some weaker ones after a fresh gate burst while I waited for Joe to help out, currently getting out of his 4th Arkham Asylum visit. Poor, traumatized Joe Diamond ... he had a bad game.

Harvey then proceeded to ace all of the horror checks, and killed four monsters including a Cthorian with a .38 pistol. So I figured the man was on some sort of super-human rampage and tackled the Dire Young. Because it felt like the sort of thing Harvey should do, I cast Shriveling with the last of Harvey's sanity and won the combat check.

1) I figured, thematically, it would make sense to be able to cast spells or Elder signs that caused you to go insane or die and have the effects still resolve on a successful casting before carrying out the insanity/uncounscious/devoured step ... the trouble was that Shriveling's effect is technically to add +6 to a combat check and is cast at the beginning of a combat round rather than as you are rolling. So, with that interpretation the effect resolves, adding to his combat bonuses, but once the spell is resolved he then goes continues on with going insane and being sent to the hospital and does not finish the combat or roll.

2) I also figured that I wouldn't be able to casy Bind Monster since the cost is a pre-requisite for the spell, rather than a "loss" and as such I would need 2 sanity unlike wiht horror damage, where you can lose more sanity than you have and just go insane.

3) I can also see the interpretation that the instant you go insane, you end up in the asylum and the effect doesn't resolve. But this earases the powerful action of sacrificing oneself to cast an Elder Sign or a spell that saved another investigator which would miss some lovely gameply moments. As such if this is the proper interpretation, I'll house-rule in my interpretation from point number 1.

Thematically I felt you should be able to cast a combat spell with the last of your sanity, then get one roll. The spell was, in theory, a spell that damaged the monster directly rather than a spell that improved Harvey's strenth so it would make sense to roll and see how much damage that casting did to the creature and THEN collapse in a mad fit to be found an hour later and carted off to the asylum for psychiatric care ... but that seemed technically illegal.

As a side not, I rolled a combat check without the spell so I could feel better about it. Four dice, three successes. The man was a machine that turn ...

I liked the spell better as a story, so I sent him to the Asylum anyway. At the end of the game, Harvey had killed 12 to 16 monsters and was made Honorary Citizen of Arkham.
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Paul S
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DARK IN HERE, ISN'T IT?
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We had Sister Mary waste a good handful of bad guys, a couple of sessions ago. It's altogether more satisfying when the nun has an axe devil
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Tibs
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If a spell causes you to go insane by casting it, it still takes effect. However, if the effect is to grant you a combat bonus, then you won't be able to use it, because you'll be insane and carted off to the asylum.

A spell like Bind Monster would have worked, since its effect is to defeat the monster.

Edit: though, you are right. You'd need at least 2 sanity to cast the spell.
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Thank you. I figured that, but wanted a second opinion. I still find it odd thematically that an offensive spell would fizzle like that without so much as a check first. I'm certainly going to consider house-ruling in a combat check as part of the spell for this special circumstance, with the caveat that other than the spell, only your base combat skill and and skill cards take effect, perhaps without the option of any normally legal re-rolling. Hmm. That doesn't sound quite right ... maybe you ignore even your base combat check and can ONLY use the spell's bonus value? It just feels like some of these bonus spells should do something even if you go insane. I'll have to paly with the idea before I get the rule just right. I'll take a close look at each of the spell names and pictures, too.
 
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Tibs
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Think of it this way: Harvey uses the last of his sanity to cast a spell, and he collapses as the final word is spoken.

If it's Bind Monster, then the effect is to bind the monster.
If it's Shrivelling, then it's something for him to consciously attack with. It's not exactly the same as a sword made out of magic, but you equally wouldn't be able to use a sword made out of magic if you were sprawled out on the ground. In other words, Shrivelling gets you the weapon, but it's still your job to use it.
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That doesn't quite work for me, but I've come to the same conclusion for another reason. With Shiveling, Whither and Dread Curse of Azazoth the spells bascially weaken the monster. While the images heavily imply that no further action than casting is necessary to implement Shriveling and Whither in particular, the invetigator still needs to finish off the wounded creature. For simplicity, these sorts of effects are not consdiered persistent even for multiple investigators during the same movement phase. But if group combat were part of the game, rather than imagining these spells as attacks that Harvey would have to be alert and conscious to perform after he cast them with the last of his sanity, they are persistent damaging attacks on the creature that would allow all investigators involved in the same combat to reap the benefit of the combat bonus against the weakened creature even with harvey collapsed in a babbling heap. I have no desire to house-rule that kind of a combat system in this game, but that's how I've got it to work in my head, and it fits the rule nicely for me.

Thanks for your input. You've been very helpful.
 
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