24 February 2016 | Elder Sign

Ancient Evils of Hunger and Ice

Confronting the Ancient Ones in Elder Sign: Omens of Ice

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My friend, I write to you under the most dire circumstances. Recently, we unearthed a strange statuette that our guides identified as the local god-figure Ithaqua. It terrified them. Since then, we’ve been assaulted by strange storms and stranger creatures that follow us as we move. I fear this letter will be our last correspondence, for even now I hear the howls of something worse than wolves…
     –Dr. Ashley Lott

The Omens of Ice expansion for Elder Sign carries you far from the Arkham Museum, challenging you to confront the unknown evils that lie deep within the preternaturally cold wilds of Alaska. There, you'll find the source of the unnatural cold that has swept across the whole of the United States. You know the Ancient Ones are responsible, somehow, but before you can thrwart their return, you'll need to embark upon a harrowing journey through arctic mountains and dark woods. You'll encounter ferocious storms, ravenous wolves, and creatures that defy description, but are clearly not of earthly origin. And if you don't adequately prepare your expedition, you'll also risk starvation and the exposure to subzero temperatures that seem to eat at your very soul.

If you hope to survive this most desperate of all journeys, you'll need to go in well-stocked and well-prepared. You'll need to have some idea of what challenges you might face and how to overcome them. Accordingly, in our earlier previews, we looked at how you might want to balance your preparations in the towns of Alaska and Fairbanks against the need to begin your wilderness trek, and we looked at some of the different investigators and explorers you might want to recruit into your expedition. Today, we conclude our previews with two more pieces of vital intelligence—a survey of your provisions and a look at the Ancient Ones you suspect might be responsible for the cold and hunger.

Keeping Stock of Your Supplies

Those of you who have already braved The Trail of Ithaqua in Elder Sign: Omens may recognize many of its elements reflected in Omens of Ice, but they all take a slightly different form when they hit your table. Maybe the Ancient Ones have greater sway over your tabletop. Maybe the markets in Fairbanks and Anchorage have changed. Maybe the storms have grown stronger. The reasons for the changes are not entirely clear, but what is clear is that you will need to stock up on provisions and measure them out carefully along your journey; if you ever find yourself without supplies, you're on the fast track toward your demise.

Throughout your games of Omens of Ice, your supplies represent the food and other provisions that you need to survive your travels, and you need them to keep at full stamina. You might also use your supplies along your journey to save The Forgotten Explorer or to mitigate certain dangers that you might face, such as the doom increase you would otherwise face when you enter The Lair of the Beast .

You'll track your supplies on the Supply Track, which is the first of two tracks on your Track Card.

The second part of your Track Card is the Day Track. Each time the clock strikes midnight, you advance the day token one space along the Day Track and add a number of storm markers to adventures as indicated by the new space. You do this before you resolve any other "At Midnight" effects or draw your Alaskan Mythos card.

Notably, your Day Track differs from Summer to Winter , although in both cases, the track runs for seven days before it triggers a special effect. In Summer, when you strike midnight at the end of the seventh day, you add two doom tokens to your Ancient One. In Winter, however, if you strike midnight at the end of the seventh day, your Investigators are all devoured, and you lose.

With its two seasonal difficulties and its mounting dangers, the Day Track from Omens of Ice forces you into action from the very outset of the game, but you always have a decision to make about how you'll choose to act. Whether you stock up on provisions for a day or two in town or move as quickly as possible into the wilds, these are the decisions that will decide the fate of humanity.

Ancient Evils That Defy Mortal Comprehension

Manage your resources, endure the brutal Alaskan wilds, survive the unfathomable evils hidden within them, and you just might discover which of the unknowable Ancient Ones is responsible for the hunger, cold, and storms that threaten to sweep aside all humanity. Omens of Ice introduces three new Ancient Ones, each of which works with the expansion's new mechanics to reinforce them and enhance the distinctive feel of your Alaskan adventures.

Which of these Ancient Ones has begun to awaken? Even before you've reached the end of your journey, you'll feel its tell-tale effects tearing at you and your expedition. The hunger, the cold, the killing wind—their influence over the Arctic may be initially indistinguishable from environmental effects, but an investigator with the proper lore and intellect may be able to recognize the sentient and malevolent qualities of the storms.

The Cold Is Coming

Can you feel the cold arctic winds sweeping down out of Alaska? Can you feel the hunger gnawing in the pit of your gut? The windows in Arkham are laced with an unseasonable frost. The clouds seem to veil an eerily thinned-out sun. The howling of wolves haunts your dreams.

Omens of Ice is nearly here…

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