The place is not good for the imagination, and does not bring restful dreams at night.
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Color Out of Space
In a typical game of Elder Sign , you confront the many cursed artifacts, vicious monsters, and other horrors lurking in the Arkham museum. The Gates of Arkham expansion takes you outside of the museum’s warm confines and into the city of Arkham itself. Gangs fight territorial battles in Arkham’s back alleys, not caring if a stray bullet hits an innocent bystander. Strange crates of foul-smelling, slimy, writhing creatures line the shelves of the General Store. Cultists perform dark sacrificial rites on the Unvisited Isle and ravenous gugs prowl through the University Administration building, hunting for victims.
Gates of Arkham features a complete deck of Arkham Adventures that allows players to visit twenty-six locations throughout this legendarily cursed city. Today’s preview will show you adventures from three locations: the Unnamable, the River Docks, and the Arkham Asylum. No matter where you go in Arkham, you are certain to encounter indescribable horrors.
A Haunted House
Inside the museum, you knew what horrors awaited you in a given room before entering it. But when playing the Streets of Arkham game mode, it is impossible to tell what lies you behind a building’s closed doors. Arkham Adventure cards are laid out on the table facedown, with the adventure itself hidden until an investigator dares to visit that location. The back of a card reveals only the location, difficulty of the adventure, marked in green, gold, or red, and an effect, which may be harmful or beneficial.
The decaying, empty house may not seem too foreboding, but the red symbol above it warns you that formidable terrors are within. However, if investigators refuse to enter, then at midnight the entire team will lose sanity, no matter where they are in Arkham. The Unnameable demands to be confronted, so you take a deep breath and cross the threshold, only to perceive a trail of blood leading down into the basement and hear muffled yet familiar screams. If you fail to rescue your friend from this incomprehensible threat, you lose five stamina and risk becoming devoured. If you succeed, you earn two Elder Signs and a unique item.
On the Shore of the Miskatonic
Having escaped the Unnamable, you may venture to the dark, foggy River Docks, where you could hand the unique item you earned over to another investigator who may be in dire need of it. However, upon your arrival you’ll discover that the grotesque, once-human Deep Ones are emerging from their underwater lairs and coming ashore. Upon your entry, a monster appears at this adventure, perhaps a giant, eel-like Dhole rearing out of the water. Many Arkham Adventure Cards have entry effects such as this, and they occur any time an investigator arrives at that location.
For repelling the Deep Ones back into the river depths you’ll receive a choice of rewards: two common items or the defeat of two more monsters. A split reward such as this enables you to receive whichever will be most useful for your team. There are also split penalties which compel you to choose between two evils – for example, losing a few points of sanity or advancing the doom track. When the choice is between two penalties, however, you cannot choose a penalty that wouldn't affect you, say, losing an item when you have none. The consequences of your misadventures cannot be avoided.
Among the Mad
In your citywide search for elder signs you will inevitably find your sanity slipping away. Visiting the Arkham Asylum allows you to exchange two trophies in order to fully recover your sanity. During your time there you may receive some Psychiatric Assistance , although recovery itself may prove traumatic. If you roll a terror result in a failed attempt at this adventure, you’ll lose your sanity rather than regain it. Regaining your sanity also takes time: a clock icon on the card indicates that successfully completing this adventure moves the clock one step closer to midnight.
Entering the Asylum might simply make matters worse. If you encounter the Ramblings of the Mad , you could push your entire team of investigators a little closer to insanity. Even success at this adventure results in losing your mind, with your reward being only a clue or a spell, neither of which will repair your psychological wounds.
No Place Is Safe
The Thing in the Basement, the Deep Ones, and the disturbed inhabitants of the Arkham Asylum pale in comparison to the powerful creatures that have waited for eons to regain control of the earth: Azathoth, Yig, Nyarlathotep, Cthulhu. It is up to you and your team of investigators to take on the horrors that haunt old, uncanny Arkham, so that you can save not only yourselves, or Arkham, but the entire world.
Upcoming previews will look at the unpredictable Events that occur throughout Arkham, the new Investigators that could join your team, and the powerful Ancient Ones who threaten Arkham and the entire human race. Meanwhile, you can find more details on the Gates of Arkham and Elder Sign minisites.
Prepare to brave the cursed city. Pre-order Gates of Arkham from your local retailer today.
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.