12 May 2015 | Call of Cthulhu LCG

The Mark of Madness

The Tenth Deluxe Expansion for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game

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"There is a whole secret cult of evil men (a man of your mystical erudition will understand me when I link them with Hastur and the Yellow Sign)…"
    –H.P. Lovecraft, The Whisperer in Darkness

Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce the upcoming release of The Mark of Madness, the tenth deluxe expansion for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game!

Within the manicured gardens of Marseille, France's elite struggle to hide a dark secret. Artists hang disturbing, apocryphal images in Parisian salons. There are whispers of a composer whose music will forever alter your perception. The asylums are full of lunatics who gaze at the moon with an inhuman longing. In The Mark of Madness, Hastur and his followers walk the streets of Paris, and where Hastur walks, minds unmoor. All the world descends toward madness.

With its 165 new cards (three copies each of 55 different cards), The Mark of Madness explores the depths of insanity that lie near the core of the Lovecraftian mythos. Devoted primarily to the Hastur faction, The Mark of Madness introduces a great number of deranged Artists, Cultists, and Lunatics, as well as the terrible, ancient powers that spur them forward. As Hastur's secret cult expands its powers, you'll also find a maddening array of new characters, support cards, conspiracies, and events, most of which lend new strength to the game's Terror struggle and mechanics for insanity.

Additionally, Hastur's madness reaches outward to all of the game's eight factions. Each gains a powerful new character that enters play insane and reshapes the game when it is restored. It's unknown whether or not these new characters will be able to prevent Hastur's followers from plunging the world into a new age of terror and chaos, but they also gain the support of other characters, events, and support cards, including three visionary new Champion cards.

Artists, Servitors, and Sociopaths

Humanity has long acknowledged the hazy line that stands between creative genius and insanity and separates the two. To generate wholly new ideas, artists need to view the world through an unusual viewpoint. They need to separate themselves from standard methods of thinking and perception, and many artists go to extraoardinary lengths to alter their perceptions, engaging in new meditative practices, immersing themselves into new environments, abusing illicit substances, or even devoting themselves to unholy powers in exchange for greater talents.

The Mark of Madness lures many of these Artists into the cult of Hastur with promises of fame and glory. Starving Artists (The Mark of Madness, 1) and Quixotic Poets (The Mark of Madness, 3), alike, respond to the summon, as do the wealthy patrons who drive the Parisian art scene.

Altogether, The Mark of Madness enriches the Artist subtype through the addition of five different Artist characters, a Patron of the Arts (The Mark of Madness, 10) to fund them, and the Ancient One Tru'nembra, The Angel of Music (The Mark of Madness, 18), to inspire their surrealistic songs, dances, paintings, and sculptures.

Yet the greatest, most horrifying threat that these Artists may pose is that they can walk the streets unnoticed, along with many of the faction's new Cultists and Servitors. Make no mistake about this threat, either: these men and women are utterly corrupt, madmen and murderers driven insane by their desires, completely divested of any moral qualms that might otherwise prevent them from propagating the evils of their dread King in Yellow.

Madness, Monsters, and Mind-Control

Few things translate the essence of the Lovecraftian mythos to Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game so well as the Terror struggle. Characters exploring its darkest and most troubling mysteries don't need to worry only about their lives and physical well being; they must also accept the possibility that they may encounter things so alien or horrifying as to shatter their sanity.

Still, the game has long rewarded players who have found clever ways to avoid the most terrifying consequences of their investigations. Even should they lose the Terror struggle, characters with Terror icons or Willpower cannot go insane. They have long made light of the Terror struggle, committing to stories with impunity and relying upon their sorcerous or monstrous might and their protective totems to keep them sane. However, with the arrival of The Mark of Madness, this is likely to change.

No faction is more synonymous with insanity and the Terror struggle than is Hastur's, and as it enriches the Hastur faction, The Mark of Madness simultaneously brings the Terror struggle more fully back to the core of the game. Terror icons and Willpower offer no sure protection from insanity, and even all the Investigation icons in the world may not be able to win you a story against Hastur, He Who Is Not to Be Named (The Mark of Madness, 19).

For starters, The Mark of Madness ensures that the consequences of your Terror struggles reach well beyond the characters your opponent must drive insane. Hastur translates the Terror struggles he wins into success tokens, and this mechanic is further explored by Drawing the Sign (The Mark of Madness, 25), which, if your opponent has no answer for your mastery of the Terror struggle, can be sacrificed to claim victory at a story, potentially even snatching one at which your opponent had three or four success tokens.

Then the rise of madness continues with the introduction of five new Madness cards. Like Acute Melancholia (The Mark of Madness, 29), these Madness cards threaten to make a massive impact upon the game, upsetting expectations, and reducing even the most stalwart men and women to quivering, blubbering shells of themselves.

Finally, those whose minds the King in Yellow does not break, he may bend to his will. Along with its strength in the Terror struggle, the Hastur faction has long excelled at stealing away its opponents' characters, and its mind-control becomes even more potent with The Mark of Madness.

With its mind-control and Madness and its focus on the Terror struggle, The Mark of Madness revists all the horror of the Lovecraftian mythos and brings it back to your games of Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game!

Your Best Defense May Be a Swift Recovery

Madness touches even those cards from The Mark of Madness that aren't dedicated to the Hastur faction. Among the cards that the game's seven other factions gain are a number of characters who enter play insane, but who trigger powerful effects when they are restored. Like Parrain Francois (The Mark of Madness, 52), each of these characters has the potential to dramatically reshape the course of play.

Furthermore, they gain the backing of new events, support cards, and even other characters, as well as three different neutral cards. Will these be enough to stop Hastur's minions and the spread of madness? It is too early to tell, but it bears note that among the characters and resources being brought to bear against the King in Yellow's evil cult are three different Champion cards, each of which is bound to inspire a flurry of deck-building and tactical choies among the game's most talented players.

Whispers of Madness

Confront your terrors and return to the root of the Lovecraftian mythos with The Mark of Madness. This tenth deluxe expansion for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game is scheduled to arrive at retailers in the third quarter of 2015!

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