Preview the Investigators and Memberships of Gates of Arkham
He found himself swaying to infandous rhythms said to pertain to the blackest ceremonies of the Sabbat and to have an origin outside the time and space we comprehend. Presently he realized what he was listening for – the hellish chant of the celebrants in the distant black valley… He was not his own master. He had signed the black book after all. –H. P. Lovecraft, The Dreams in the Witch House
In the Gates of Arkham expansion for Elder Sign, investigators fight against unfathomable horrors on battle fronts throughout this legendary New England city. Those hardy souls who defeated the threats inside the Arkham museum are now faced with new challenges – gates that rupture space and time, omniscient Ancient Ones, uncompromising gang wars, devout and ruthless Cultists. Fortunately, other investigators are coming to their aid, equipped with arcane talents surpassing ordinary human capabilities.
In today’s preview you will meet four of the eight investigators included in Gates of Arkham. You will also learn about the two underground organizations that control the city: the bootlegging Sheldon Gang and the clandestine Order of the Silver Twilight. Since survival in Arkham is as much about your associations as it is about your strengths, joining one of these organizations may not only grant you privileged access to closed headquarters and valuable secrets, but ultimately save your life.
Local Legends and Mysterious Foreigners
Gravedigger William Yorick and Professor Norman Withers are both Arkham natives accustomed to life in the haunted city. A hard worker (and aspiring Shakespearean actor), Yorick knows more about the dead than most people would ever care to. Being brutally pragmatic, Yorick is willing to give away the mysterious corpses he handles for his own benefit: by discarding a monster trophy, he can add the red and yellow dice to his pool. Professor Withers’ chosen field is Astronomy, which he tirelessly lectures on at Miskatonic University. Yet his erudition goes beyond the scientific and into the arcane: when an Other World adventure is resolved, he may draw a spell to aid the investigation.
Some of the new investigators are drawn to Arkham by rumors of the city’s occult secrets, haunted spaces, and the recent uncanny events. The young shaman Akachi Onyele has traveled there from Africa, told by her mentor that it is her destiny to seal the gates that are tearing Arkham apart. Her magical connection with the Earth allows her to help others: when an Other World card is drawn, she can return stamina and sanity to an investigator of her choice. The concert violinist Patrice Hathaway came to Arkham neither to save the city nor to perform for its wealthier inhabitants, but to cure her own psychological troubles and purge from her mind the horrors she has sensed and seen. Her transcendent violin music has opened up to her an awareness of Other Worlds– and the terrible creatures in those Other Worlds are now very aware of her. Her connection to other dimensions allows Patrice to gain extra clues, and through her music she can easily convey them to other investigators.
Bootlegging and Black Magic
Anyone who has spent time in Arkham knows that it is not the local government, the police, or even the Miskatonic University bureaucracy that controls the city, but rather two underground organizations: the Sheldon Gang and the Silver Twilight Lodge. The members of these organizations possess enormous amounts of political power, live outside of the law, and are privy to dark, often deadly, secrets.
With connections throughout the United States and deep into Canada, the Sheldon Gang is Arkham’s largest supplier of illegal liquor– and will do anything to maintain that status. The gang’s members include not only bootleggers, distributors, and their armed protectors, but city council members, prominent businessmen, and senior police officers who keep their involvement secret not only from the public, but even from their own families. You can obtain a membership in the Sheldon Gang by spending trophies at Hibb’s Roadhouse, their reputed headquarters. It may give you access to helpful Allies, or Common Items like cash, cars, and guns, but it can also help keep you out of trouble. If the police raid Hibb's, you're better off being part of the Sheldon Gang than an innocent bystander or even a loyal member of the police: part of the adventure is marked as a membership task, which you can bypass as long as you’re a card-carrying Sheldon Gang member.
The Order of the Silver Twilight is even more secretive, with a presence in Arkham dating back far beyond living memory. Most Arkham citizens can only guess what goes on behind the closed doors of the gabled, Victorian, Silver Twilight Lodge, but the ubiquitous rumors tell of black magic and bloody occult rites. As with the Sheldon Gang, its members include many of Arkham’s elite, bound by strict vows not to speak of their dark dealings or reveal the order’s ancient mysteries. Once you become initiated by spending trophies at the Silver Twilight Lodge, you’ll be invited to attend their clandestine rituals in hidden locations throughout the city and bypass Silver Twilight membership tasks. You will also be granted Membership rewards, such as access to the Lodge’s immense library of arcane knowledge – or even priceless Elder Signs.
Illicit Ties that Bind
You never know who may be involved with the Arkham underground. Patrice Hathaway’s captivating music may attract the attention of a member of the Order of the Silver Twilight, who draws her in with the promise of soothing her psyche only to take advantage of her connection with Other Worlds. Norman Withers may have been working for the Sheldon Gang since the beginning of prohibition, subtly selling whiskey to other Miskatonic University professors and their beleaguered graduate students. In a city where gangsters hold as much power as the police, vicious monsters are roaming the streets, and a gate to an Other World may open in the lobby of the bank, cultivating illicit and occult connections will give you additional Allies, Spells, and Elder Signs, and may even help you survive.
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