I took opium but once — in the year of the plague, when doctors sought to deaden the agonies they could not cure. There was an overdose — my physician was worn out with horror and exertion — and I travelled very far indeed. In the end I returned and lived, but my nights are filled with strange memories, nor have I ever permitted a doctor to give me opium again.
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Crawling Chaos
Back in September, we announced the upcoming release of Forbidden Alchemy , an expansion for Mansions of Madness that brings never-before-seen horrors to your Lovecraftian adventures. With new investigators, monster types, stories, and much more, Forbidden Alchemy explores the terrifying possibilities of science gone mad.
In our first preview , we took a look at intrepid photographer Darrell Simmons and the horrific and winged byakhee. Then, we saw how Arkham Asylum’s Doctor Carolyn Fern’s mastery of the human psyche helps keep fellow investigators from losing their minds. In today’s preview, we’ll look at another character with a passion for the healing arts, Doctor Vincent Lee. We’ll also see how Side Effect cards can bring an engaging new layer of suffering to a hapless team of investigators, and we’ll look at a few new trauma effects with which a keeper can plague them!
Physician, heal thyself
Vincent Lee knows why people die. As a Yale graduate of Medicine, he has become accustomed with the conditions that inevitably lead to fatalities. However, since becoming a resident physician at St. Mary’s Hospital in Arkham, he has seen far too many horrible and unexplained deaths—an elderly victim torn apart by unknown wild animals, a healthy young man whose heart exploded without identifiable cause. Their twisted faces haunt his dreams. As a man who finds comfort in having all the answers, Vincent has begun to wonder if something sinister is afoot in this otherwise quiet Massachusetts town. Unable to continue his practice with the horror that he takes home every night, Vincent has decided to take a sabbatical in order to investigate these strange deaths, even if it kills him.
The good doctor is a fairly well balanced addition to any team of investigators, with both a Health and Sanity rating of ten. Even Lee’s physical attributes, which are typically lower in characters devoted to science and lore, are respectable; he’s strong and dextrous enough to fight his way out of most otherworldly encounters.
Regardless of which traits you choose, however, Lee’s most significant disadvantages can be found in his luck and willpower. As a man of science, it’s no surprise that he puts little faith in luck. But despite working in a profession in which he frequently sees blood and human suffering, his skittish personal nature translates to difficulty in rolling Horror tests.
Where Lee stands apart, however, is in his talent for healing his fellows. His “Gray’s Anatomy” Starting Item card can provide a constant source of Health to those around him, and his “Field Medic” special ability will render a Shoggoth’s otherwise devastating attack totally impotent! You’ll want Dr. Lee’s myriad skills on your side, given the slew of nasty surprises with which Forbidden Alchemy equips the keeper.
Harmful if swallowed
When we first announced Forbidden Alchemy , we introduced the concept of Alchemy Puzzles and Side Effect cards, saying:
After completing [an] Alchemy Puzzle, you must roll a test, using the number of correctly placed puzzle pieces as your attribute. If your concoction is not deemed safe (if your roll is higher than the number of correct pieces), it can cause horrific side effects!
These side effects, which can also be applied for reasons beyond Alchemy Puzzles, are represented by Side Effect cards: debilitating, semi-permanent conditions that will continue to plague afflicted investigators until they can locate an all-too-rare remedy. So whether you spontaneously grow a tentacle as a result of a horrific mutation, become the unwitting vessel of an unknown evil, or simply black out while your body suffers other unspeakable traumas, the consequences for dabbling in the alchemical arts can be severe.
Body and soul
Speaking of traumas, Forbidden Alchemy introduces a range of new physical and mental Trauma cards to bolster the keeper’s arsenal of punishment. Investigators will perish slowly and quietly with effects like Internal Bleeding , and even Dr. Lee’s expert medical efforts may prove futile in the face of an Infected Wound .
And what would a Lovecraftian board game be without the threat of insanity? Autophobia ensures that even the most independent loner must stay in sight of his fellow investigators, while Rage represents the reckless final moments of a character finally pushed over the edge.
Even with the aid of the capable Dr. Lee, are you prepared for the gruesome side effects and debilitating traumatic injuries that await you? Keep checking back for more on Forbidden Alchemy in the coming weeks, and later this quarter, prepare to enter the laboratory!
Mansions of Madness is a macabre game of horror, insanity, and mystery for two to five players. Based on the beloved fiction of H.P. Lovecraft, Mansions of Madness tells a story in which one player takes on the role of the keeper, a malevolent force working to complete a sinister plot, and all other players take on the roles of investigators, the unlikely heroes who gather to oppose him.