The Great White Silence
Preview Preludes and an Ancient One in Mountains of Madness
The wind, however, had not decreased in intensity one iota; indeed, if it were possible, it grew momentarily wilder and more violent; the entire house shuddered and quaked while those thunderous footsteps echoed and reechoed in the valley before the house. And the cold grew worse, so that breath hung a white vapor in the air – a cold as of outer space.
–August Derleth, Beyond the Threshold
The Mountains of Madness expansion for Eldritch Horror allows players to enter the mysterious, frozen world depicted in H.P. Lovecraft’s novella, At the Mountains of Madness. You can trace the path of the doomed Miskatonic University expedition across the bleak Antarctic wasteland, explore the ruins of a prehistoric, inhuman civilization, and fight the cruel Elder Things that are now awakening.
In today’s preview you’ll discover how Mountains of Madness brings a horrible chill to every region of the globe. We’ll look at Prelude Cards, which specify unique starting conditions for each game, and you’ll learn about Ithaqua: a terrifying, immense Ancient One from the frozen north – the opposite side of the globe from Antarctica. His aim is to spread a permanent winter over the entire world, creating the legendary, lethal Great White Silence. To defeat him, you might travel into a mythical, otherworldly kingdom, or face people driven to cannibalism by an unnatural hunger. Your team of investigators will be pushed to their limits in the quest to save humanity from frozen death.
For a fuller picture of Mountains of Madness, from its Antarctic Adventures and Outpost Encounters to the new Focus action, download the rulebook (pdf, 6.9 MB) for this expansion from the Eldritch Horror support section, or by clicking the thumbnail on the right.
When playing with this expansion, you draw a random Prelude card before setup begins. Prelude cards adjust setup in specific ways, giving investigators helpful tools or challenging tasks from the very start of the game. One prelude card, The Doomsayer from Antarctica, requires you to set up the Antarctica side board, luring your team towards Antarctica no matter which Ancient One you are fighting.
The Ultimate Sacrifice changes the landscape of Eldritch Horror in a different way – by placing two defeated investigators on the board – one crippled, one driven insane – in their starting locations. The doom track is advanced by two, as if your game begins in medias res, at the moment when these investigators succumbed to the darkness and horror. By encountering them, you may be able to gain their possessions and retreat Doom, profiting from those who went before you.
Hypothermia and Hunger
No one yet has gazed upon Ithaqua and lived. The only clues to his presence are terrible snowstorms, an uncanny, shrieking wind, and the terrible, earthshaking thud of his giant feet. His human victims are found thousands of miles away from where they were last seen, their limbs shattered as if dropped from a great height, and their bodies so cold that they freeze anything or anyone that touches them.
Ithaqua can move as fast as the wind of a blizzard. He starts the Doom track at 13, giving you limited time to solve the three mysteries necessary to defeat him. As you search for answers, you will likely struggle to combat not only monsters, but also hypothermia: at every Reckoning, Ithaqua causes each investigator to gain a Hypothermia condition unless that investigator can spend a Focus to avoid it. You can also get hypothermia from losing a fight against one of Ithaqua's Cultists. His worshippers may not threaten your sanity, but they can freeze you to your core.
Along with cold often comes hunger, another of Ithaqua’s powerful weapons against the human race. In the mystery Growing Hunger, investigators must travel to the northernmost cities of Europe and America. The citizens of these otherwise calm cities have been driven so mad by an insatiable appetite that they have begun to eat other humans, both dead and living. To end the cannibalism, you must defeat the Wendigo spirits haunting these cities. Not only are Wendigos ferocious and strong, but they can instill in anyone who encounters them a terrible, all-consuming hunger.
The Fabled Kingdom in the North
Defeating Ithaqua may take you beyond the ends of the earth, as in the Exploring Hyperborea mystery. During the long winter nights, people in the northern hemisphere have seen glimpses of an ancient civilization in the aurora borealis. You may have heard stories about Hyperborea or read about this hidden land in the ancient Greek histories. Now, for the first time in centuries, the veil between worlds is so thin that you can walk from Greenland into Hyperborea’s thick jungles and towards its magnificent, shimmering city.
In Hyperborea dwells the legendary sorcerer Eibon, who has travelled through numerous Other Worlds and knows more about the Ithaqua than any living being. Your task is to find this difficult, unpredictable man, or at least his library, and acquire his knowledge. The search will particularly test your observation and your understanding of arcane lore, but you’ll also need to keep your strength up in case a snow monster attacks you, or the Hyperborean citizens prove hostile to foreigners from Earth.
Winter Is Coming
The days are growing longer and the air is growing colder, so cold that your breath freezes instantly and you fear to go outside. Soon the frosted ground will be completely covered by snow, the rivers transformed into thick ice, and all life hidden away. If Ithaqua, his Cultists, and his minions have their way, this great white silence of winter will be all that humanity knows for the rest of existence. The world is relying on you and your team of investigators to defeat the wind-walking Ancient One and ensure that spring returns. Can you stave off hypothermia and hunger long enough to win?
Eldritch Horror: Mountains of Madness will be available at your local retailer soon.