They had to do with some preposterous legend of the bog, and a grim guardian spirit that dwelt in the strange olden ruin on the far islet I had seen in the sunset. There were tales of dancing lights in the dark of the moon, and of chill winds when the night was warm; of wraiths in white hovering over the waters, and of an imagined city of stone deep down below the swampy surface.
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Moon-Bog
The new scenarios in Call of the Wild, an upcoming expansion to Mansions of Madness, take investigators into the terrifying and untamed outdoors. The new locale encourages exploration of the treacherous terrain, and pits players against a more dangerous and secretive keeper. Though this wilderness harbors any number of horrifying threats, the investigators don’t have to face their fears alone. New to Call of the Wild, Ally characters will help the investigators in combating the arcane forces at work in the darkness.
New Faces in the Forest
â€¨The investigators are not the only people that have noticed the strange sights and sounds coming out of the forest, and these other intrepid souls make up the Ally characters. Allies are not helpless victims wandering the woods, thankfully. These characters can perform a variety of actions to help the investigators in their struggle to defeat the keeper. Investigators interact with Allies in an Ally Phase immediately after the Investigator Trading Step. During the Ally Phase, the investigator closest to the Ally can choose to have the Ally perform an attack on a monster, or, if they are in the same room, the investigator can talk to the Ally.
The other troubled souls in these dark and frightening forests are not just out for a stroll. They all know something about the mysterious circumstances that the investigators are trying to unravel, and talking to these Allies can yield important information about the strange goings on in the wilderness. Each Ally has his own deck of cards, and these cards come in three types. They may contain Rumors about the scenario, the card may declare an Event for the investigator to resolve, or the Ally may ask the investigator to complete a Task in exchange for a valuable reward. Talking to Allies and making use of what they tell you is a vital tool in your fight against the keeper.
Though some Allies may have mysterious motives, they have no love for cultists and creatures, and they can attack the monsters they encounter. Investigators can entrust their Allies with weapons to aid them in striking down the denizens of the dark woods. Allies, like investigators, attack by drawing cards from the Combat deck and resolving skill checks, Ally checks don’t involve dice rolls. Instead, they pass or fail tests based on their Expertise. If an Ally has Expertise in the skill being tested, he automatically passes. Without Expertise, the Ally fails the test.
The Allies are not as hardy as the intrepid investigators, and they always fail Horror and Evade tests. This makes their descent into madness all the more likely, and once the Allies have gone insane, they become dangerous to those around them. Investigators can still interact with insane Allies, but the keeper can also control one as a humanoid monster, using him to lash out against the investigators. Investigators may want to work to intercept monsters before they can erode the sanity of their Allies, turning a friend to a foe.
Allies can be a great boon to the investigators, but can they be trusted?
A Cry For Help
In “A Cry For Help,” the first scenario included in Call of the Wild, a local deputy has gone missing while investigating three murders committed with an evidently occult purpose. The investigators fear that the lawman has been claimed as the fourth victim. If a fifth victim is taken, a powerful ritual will be completed, and a terrible fate will befall thousands of people.
Three suspects can be found in the area, and one of them is surely the killer. Each of these suspects is an Ally, and the investigator players must work to determine who the murderer is and stop him before he kills again, completing his foul ritual.
The investigators will need to interview each suspect in order to deduce who is telling the truth, and who is lying to complete their schemes and mask their horrific crimes.
Ammi Pierce is an old man. Most people in the area consider him a doddering fool, but a little conversation reveals a keen intellect that has simply been heavily battered by harrowing experiences. Is Ammi truly as addled as he seems, or does he know more than he lets on?
Corrina Jones seems like a perfectly normal woman, but she admits having been steeped in the arcane from an early age. She seems willing to help in the investigation, but her wealth of occult experience and otherworldly knowledge seems suspiciously convenient.
Eric Colt is a force to be reckoned with. Rough by nature and quick to anger, this man has been a part of plenty of mischief in the past. Everyone who meets Colt wouldn’t want to cross him, and he has a reputation for chasing after danger for a good time. Has Colt taken his wild thrill-seeking too far?
Each of these three Allies has seen a bit too much to remain completely mentally stable, and the keeper can use this to his advantage in “A Cry For Help.” In this scenario, the keeper can play a Delusion card on top of an Ally deck. The investigators must draw and resolve this card rather than the top card of the Ally deck. A Delusion card may lead an Ally to lash out at an investigator in a paranoid frenzy, or maybe the Ally will need to be shocked back to his senses by taking horror. Delusions get in the way of the investigation, and the keeper can use these cards try to keep the Allies from being helpful.
Can you figure out who the culprit is before the murderer can complete his spate of ritualistic killings? “A Cry For Help” is just one of the exciting, non-linear scenarios using the new Ally characters. The Allies lend a new dimension to the mysteries at work in the forests and marshes of this upcoming expansion for Mansions of Madness. Check back for the full rules for Call of the Wild next week!