My examinations of medical, historical, and anthropological records became indefatigable; involving travels to distant libraries, and finally including even a reading of the hideous books of forbidden elder lore in which my second personality had been so disturbingly interested.
–H.P. Lovecraft, “The Shadow Out of Time”
Investigators in Elder Sign often start to go mad as a result of the terrors they discover in their hunt for the eldritch seals they need to forever seal away the Ancient One. Sometimes the loss of sanity follows the failure to complete an Adventure in the museum. Sometimes it’s a necessary cost to succeed in the completion of an Adventure.
What can players do to forestall the devouring of their investigators’ minds? What can they do to prevent their investigators from being eaten by monsters or captured by cultists and drained of their life?
Ideally, your best option is to make certain your investigator succeeds on all his Adventures. Last week, we explored the options and resources players have available during Adventures. However, succeeding on every Adventure isn’t truly feasible within the game. The Ancient One’s progress toward our world isn’t so easily thwarted.
More realistically, you’ll have to get help and restock on supplies. Each turn, you have the option to send your investigator into the museum on an Adventure or to wait at the Entrance. Investigators can’t hide safely outside the museum at the Entrance too often because the Doom track keeps marching forward, but you will have to decide each turn if it’s better to scour the museum’s exhibits for Elder Signs or take advantage of the resources available at the Entrance.
Get a Clue
Investigators who wait at the Entrance may take one of three actions. An investigator may receive first aid to recover his wits or strength, or both, though receiving treatment for both mind and body requires the expenditure of trophies gained by completing Adventures and defeating monsters. In fact, the benefits investigators can gain by cashing in their trophies makes each Adventure’s trophy point value an additional consideration as players choose through which harrowing museum aisles their investigators will tread.
Alternately, investigators can choose to buy souvenirs, spending their trophies to do so. For relatively low trophy costs, investigators can buy clues, items or spells. Because each Adventure yields one or two trophies, investigators can buy any of those items after completing only one or two Adventures, or they can trade in even more trophies to gain more lasting benefits from an ally. Or investigators who save up can cash in ten trophies for an Elder Sign.
The mere fact you can buy rare artifacts or even purchase an Elder Sign from a wandering stranger may prompt investigators to delve into the deadlier halls of the museum, hoping for profit, but is it worth the risk of madness? It’s not easy to tell.
Investigators at the Entrance who opt neither to receive first aid nor buy a souvenir may search the lost and found. As you can see, the results are not all positive, but it’s free to explore the lost and found and can potentially provide you the tools you need to complete your next Adventure. Just remember that when you dig around in the hidden treasures of the museum, you never know what you might find… It can be enough to drive you insane.
The lost and found may prove particularly attractive to investigators such as magician Dexter Drake . Like a number of other investigators, Dexter Drake has developed a keen eye for a particular sort of resource–in his case, spells. If he searches the lost and found and rolls a terror result to get a spell, he finds a bonus spell. Combined with the aid of the ally, Anna Kaslow , Drake can roll twice in search of those spells to arm himself for his next Adventure.
When you consider the difficulty of completing enough Adventures to seal away the Ancient One before it’s too late, the resources you can gain at the museum’s Entrance may provide the edge you need. Still, the clock is always ticking…
Until we herald the arrival of Elder Sign in Q3 of 2011, you can search our community forum for arcane conversations and keep your eye on this site for whatever may come with each new midnight.
Elder Sign is a fast-paced, cooperative dice game of supernatural intrigue for one to eight players by Richard Launius and Kevin Wilson, the designers of Arkham Horror.