“The Thing of the idols, the green, sticky spawn of the stars, had awaked to claim his own. The stars were right again, and what an age-old cult had failed to do by design, a band of innocent sailors had done by accident. After vigintillions of years great Cthulhu was loose again, and ravening for delight.”
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu
Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game is full of strange and terrible creatures that lie just beyond the edges of our world. The vast majority of all humanity remains blessedly unaware of their existence, and it is only this mass ignorance that allows society to continue to function. Indeed, if you were to scour the world’s asylums, eccentric museums, and dirty street corners, you might find a few of those unfortunate souls whose psychic sensitivities alerted them to the worlds and monsters that lurk beyond the thin veil of our reality. Their existences strain even the most disciplined minds, and those who suddenly recognize them most often fall to madness.
In The Sleeper Below , the seventh deluxe expansion for Call of Cthulhu , these creatures and the truths of their existence are given shape through an all-new mechanic, and as you might expect, it can terrify those who uncover its secrets. It may even drive you mad.
Currently exclusive to the Cthulhu faction, the Dormant keyword allows you to bring a card into the game, placing it on the table, in such a way that it is attached to a story but not quite an Attachment. It continues in that half-dead state, a card without text or type, until the story to which it is attached is won. Then, at that point, it wakes, and anything can happen:
“During your operations phase, as a standard player action you may pay X to attach a card with the Dormant keyword facedown to a story as a Dormant card. X is the number of success tokens you have at that story. Limit 1 per story per turn. When that story is won, you may play that card reducing its cost to 0. Dormant cards are considered ‘in play’ but do not count as Attachment support cards.”
With the introduction of this new mechanic, The Sleeper Below explores a wealth of new ground in order to better reflect the horrific nature of the Cthulhu faction upon which it focuses. Naturally, you’ll find a Dormant version of Cthulhu ( The Sleeper Below , 19), but the great Ancient One isn’t the only unfathomable horror that you’ll awake. Other Dormant cards, like Fiona Day ( The Sleeper Below , 15), may introduce great evils of their own, whether they do so intentionally or unwittingly.
For more about the Dormant mechanic, we turn to lead developer Brad Andres.
Lead Developer Brad Andres on the Dormant Terrors of The Sleeper Below
Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Fhtagn!
The Dormant mechanic that appears in The Sleeper Below originally spawned from a desire to find a new way to evoke the terrifying emergence of the great Cthulhu, rising up from deep below the waves. It fuses mechanics and flavor, so that when you play a Dormant card onto a story, you add a lurking sense of horror and mystery to the game.
Like all the best elements of Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game , Dormant cards add a touch of terror and uncertainty to your mind games and grand designs. When you attach a Dormant card to a story, you cause your opponent to consider what the consequences of winning that story may be. If he steps beyond The Seventh Gate ( The Shifting Sands , 12), will he encounter the doomed Lost Civilization of Irem ( The Sleeper Below , 27)? Or might he unleash the feral power of a Hunting Wendigo ( The Sleeper Below , 16)?
At the root of this uncertainty is the fact that cards with Dormant can pack a devastating punch and tilt the odds of the game in your favor. For example, From the Depths ( The Sleeper Below , 34) triggers a huge tempo surge when you play it, but it is even better if your opponent helps you to activate it for free!
The threat of allowing you free access to an event like this can prompt your opponent to hesitate to finish stories wherever you have placed a dormant card, and it’s not inconceivable that he’d abandon a story completely, even if he’s only one success token away. Accordingly, Dormant cards can buy you time to rebound from early losses, and you might take back a story you would have lost if your opponent kept pushing. Or you might be able to capitalize upon your opponent’s hesitation by focusing on other stories after your opponent has wasted his time on a story he no longer wishes to win.
With any new mechanic, it’s important to make sure that it interacts with the game in a number of different ways, and if you ever find yourself in a bind without the time or resources to get a Dormant character into play, you could just seize upon that fleeting moment when The Stars are Right ( The Sleeper Below , 33). This event allows you to jump a Dormant character directly into play for one devastating turn before it goes back to rest.
While using The Star are Right to jump a Dormant character into play won’t allow you to trigger that character’s Disrupt effect, the ability to raise a mighty character like Cthulhu from the deeps, if even just for an instant, adds another layer of surprise to your Dormant strategy, and it can make your opponent groan when he realizes he will just have to deal with that character again as soon as that story is won!
To Wake the Slumbering Terrors
The new Dormant mechanic in The Sleeper Below is just one of the ways that this seventh deluxe expansion for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game gives new life to the dark and sinister cult of Cthulhu. In fact, the cult’s many Cultists feature prominently among its cards, and in our next preview, developer Damon Stone offers a glimpse of the many evils these power-hungry individuals may soon unleash!
Based on the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and his literary circle, Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game takes two players deep into the Cthulhu Mythos where investigators clash with the Ancient Ones and Elder Gods for the fate of the world. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Asylum Pack expansions to the core game.