Cathoris made the excellent suggestion that I also post this here. The PDF this article talks about can be downloaded from http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/86853/a-devils-dozen-staff...
I know I thought it up, so I'm biased, but I really do believe it is worth downloading and using in your games. Give it a try and see what you think.
My wife and I have played a lot of games of Elder Sign together. Its one game my wife actually asks to play. Its a lot of fun, the bonus being that we are on the same side as opposed to competing against one another. One thing we noticed recently is that the Ally Cards are the least used cards in the game, probably because they are the least offered as Rewards. Mostly, the game seems to expect players to gain Ally's by buying them from the Souvenir Shop, something that was not obvious to us until now.
I'm not sure why this is, but that's the way the game was designed. Additionally, they are the smallest deck of small cards. There are only eight of them, compared to twelve each for the Common Items, Unique Items, and Spells. So far, in all our games the most used Ally is Duke, the faithful doggie that always takes one for the team. I like to think that Duke acts as a distraction by barking loudly and aggressively, like some inner-city Lassie, before escaping unharmed at high speed.
I wanted to make the Ally Deck a bit more desirable as potential purchases but I didn't want to win the game all on their own. I came up with the idea of bringing some less-heroic people into the game, the Museum Staff, to act as a counter-point to the Cultists. The Investigators spend all day creeping about the Miskatonic University Museum from Midday to Midnight without any interferance from the rest of the world. Maybe the Staff can intervene against the efforts of the Cultists and give the Investigators a helping-hand.
The most dangerous magics, weapons, and even a hearty meal, are regularly used anywhere within the grounds of the Museum with reckless abandon against the most dangerous, insanity-inducing terrors. You haven't lived until you've been a Nun with a Gun, completely caned out of your brain on Whiskey, spraying a Tommy Gun until the drum runs dry at the exhibited remains of a High Priest at 3pm in the afternoon, before the Museum closes. Surely more than the Cultists might notice something is amiss. The general public? The authorities? The Police? The Trustees?!?
One group who might have noticed something are the Museum Staff. The ordinary, honest, unheroic people who are paid little, work hard, and keep their head's down, hoping to make it to retirement. People used to hold their jobs for long periods of time, often for their entire lives. Being native to the area, they might therefore have noticed something going on over the years at the University and its Museum. All people talk amongst themselves and maybe they feel that something must be done to prevent the destruction of the Human Race.
Wanting to preserve their safety, but also wanting to do the decent thing, they are willing to help the Investigators but don't feel able to risk becoming one themselves. I have therefore prepared a Devil's Dozen [another term for a Baker's Dozen] of thirteen brave people, which seems very appropriate given the nature of the game, named by occupation, who are willing to lend their aid to an Investigator in his or her fight against the evil Ancient One's, providing it won't get them into trouble with the Museum.
I have tried to list jobs that would have been in existence in the 1920's. I'll leave it to your imagination to decide what sort of men and women they are and what led them to risk their livelihoods to help. Each card does a small thing that can give an Investigator a brief but useful advantage. Once used, the card is removed from the game and may not return. The staff member has done their bit to help as best they can and then hurries-off because, "its too dangerous".
I'm much better with words than pictures, but I have done my best to provide something in keeping with the game. You should colour-print the PDF, carefully cuting-out the facings and backings, before slipping them inside the normal plastic card-protectors. Cut-out some white card, measuring about 63mm x 40mm, and slip one between each matched facing and backing paper. Then shuffle these staff cards into the Ally Deck. They are used in exactly the same way as an official Ally Card.
Mantua (near Woodbury)
This has opened a big can of worms over at my house....the ideas are flowing! NPC's in Elder Sign? Love this idea. (The only "Museum Staff" we've seen thus far is the Curator, and we all know how that turns out)
There could be "Android: Infiltration"-style NPC's who move from room to room and help out whoever happens to be there at the time (or hinders them depending on the character)
You could include 8 extra card backs in the pdf file- slip them behind the original Allies in their sleeves so the whole deck looks identical.