You see them? You see them? You see the things that float and flop about you and through you every moment of your life? You see the creatures that form what men call the pure air and the blue sky? Have I not succeeded in breaking down the barrier; have I not shown you worlds that no other living men have seen?
– H.P. Lovecraft, From Beyond
Unseen Forces , an expansion for Elder Sign , brings a fresh challenge to the efforts of the investigators in this cooperative dice game set in the world of H.P. Lovecraft’s weird fiction. The museum harbors artifacts that draw the attention of horrible beings, and the unfathomable wills of these creatures make themselves known in the form of blessings and curses. New Ancient Ones, monsters, and investigators accompany the introduction of these powers, and the entrance of the museum has been remodeled, adding new locations and options for the beleaguered investigators.
Mankind does not fully comprehend many of the wills at work in the hidden realms between the folds of reality, and these forces may choose to help or hinder humans who dabble in the arcane mysteries of the universe. In Unseen Forces , blessings may fall on a lucky investigator, or a curse can confound those who are not careful.
Blessings and curses work their power in Unseen Forces through the introduction of a white and a black die. A blessed investigator gains the Blessed card and adds a white die to the player’s dice pool, giving him an extra icon to use to complete his tasks. Being cursed forces a player to take the Cursed card and roll the black die along with the rest of his dice pool. If the player rolls any die that matches the result on the black die, he must discard both from his pool immediately.
Blessings and curses don’t keep building up on an investigator. Any blessed character who receives a second blessing can draw a spell card, a clue, or a common or a unique item card. Cursed investigators, on the other hand, are walking a very fine line. If an investigator has the misfortune of a second curse being inflicted, he is immediately devoured! Seek out blessings and avoid being cursed, and you may have a chance of stopping the Ancient Ones.
The entrance to the museum has undergone an overhaul, and Unseen Forces introduces four Entrance Cards in place of the Entrance Reference Sheet. The new Entrance options give investigators more ways to spend their turn if they’d rather not attempt an adventure. The spaces at the entrance are the Chapel, the Lost and Found, the Souvenir Shop, and the First Aid Station.
The Lost and Found lets players roll dice for a chance at items, spells, and clues. Some lost things should not be found, and Investigators rummaging through the Lost and Found should note that there’s a risk to their stamina or sanity. An investigator with trophies to spend should head to the Souvenir Shop to purchase anything they need, or they can stop by the Chapel to gain a blessing. If a weary investigator simply needs a respite from the horrors of the museum, he can stop by the First Aid Station to recover his health.
The Entrance Cards provide players with some helpful new options, but also provide some extra challenges. Certain Mythos effects can close these entrance cards, robbing the investigators of some of their useful resources.
Sealing the Entrance cards is just one of the new surprises that the Mythos deck has in store in Unseen Forces. Master Mythos cards have been introduced as an additional way to increase the challenges that your investigators face. These cards have a red background and feature even more devastating effects that may be leveled against the dogged investigators as they struggle to stop the rise of an Ancient One.
Through their long and sanity-straining struggles, the investigators have managed to gain a modicum of knowledge regarding the inner workings of the Mythos. This increase in familiarity with the arcane is represented by the Mythos Insight Icon, which gives the players a choice as to which effect they will suffer.
The Mythos deck is not the only place that can present an added challenge in the mission to save the museum. The Adventure cards included in Unseen Forces also have a host of new horrors for the investigators. Some tasks or penalties will move the clock forward, bringing the hour of the Ancient One’s rising that much closer. If you are especially lucky, you may be able to gain a moment of Reprieve and remove one token from the Ancient One’s doom track. Blessings and curses can also be gained from penalties or rewards, so choose wisely in undertaking tasks. In addition to the Terror effects that have plagued the past efforts of the investigators, they must now also contend with Entry effects, which trigger upon deciding to attempt an adventure.
All of these challenges and more await the investigators as they work to protect the world from the unspeakable horrors that stir beneath the earth or hail from the formless reaches beyond our reality. New investigator characters have risen to the task of fending off the invasion of new Ancient Ones and their terrifying minions.
Among these brave souls is Leo Anderson, a veteran leader of many dangerous expeditions. Leo was accustomed to the typical dangers of exploring uncharted territories. It was his job to get people in and out of the wilds intact, but the Yucatan harbored threats that he could not possibly have prepared for. Madness or death has taken every other person associated with that expedition, and Anderson has resolved to find a way to fight the forces that destroyed his team. Anderson’s resourceful nature has allowed him to survive where other men fail, and he can always eke a little more use out of anything he has on hand. Leo Anderson adds one to the value of any trophy he spends, giving him an edge in acquiring essential supplies for securing the museum.
Blessings and curses abound, the entrance has undergone remodeling, and the threats to be faced have increased in difficulty. Do you have what it takes to brave Unseen Forces and survive with your brain and body intact?