8 February 2016 | Elder Sign

The Call of the Northern Lights

Preview the Adventures and Storms of Omens of Ice

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The call still sounding in the depths of the forest… filled him with a great unrest and strange desires. It caused him to feel a vague, sweet gladness, and he was aware of wild yearnings and stirrings for he knew not what.
   –Jack London, The Call of the Wild

Omens of Ice, the upcoming expansion for Elder Sign, takes you and your fellow investigators on a journey into the far north, where terrible and ancient forces are gathering strength, threatening to spread cold, hunger, and death across the entire world. You may have spent countless nights hunting monsters in the Arkham museum or walking that haunted city’s streets in search of gates to Other Worlds, but nothing you’ve experienced in Arkham will prepare you for the challenges of the Alaskan wilderness. Today’s preview gives you a glimpse of those challenges.

The Edge of Civilization 

Your journey towards the Arctic Circle, brought to life by the expansion’s Alaskan Adventure deck, is divided into two stages. During the first stage, you’ll arrive in Alaska and gather supplies, information, trophies, and weapons for the second stage: the arduous and deadly trek up the Yukon River and into the heart of the wild. Whether you travel by railroad or by sea, your first stop will likely be Anchorage, a bustling port town founded less than twenty years ago. From there, you might return to the coastal waters, visiting the Inuit villages along the icy shore on your way to your base camp. Or you might travel straight north by road to Fairbanks, a trading post born during the Klondike Gold Rush, now home to 2,000 trappers, Inuits, merchants, and former miners.

In Fairbanks, you might visit Barnette’s trading post, where the Barnette family will not only sell you Winter Gear and a Tent , they'll also fill your head with frightening stories of people fallen through the ice or lost in white outs. At the quaint hotel bar you might meet a Visiting Expert in the traditions of the first nations—an educated Inuit woman as eager as you are to investigate the strange phenomena manifesting in the Yukon. If you can persuade her to trust you, she could give you a clue, a spell, and an Enchanted Arrow to use against monsters, or the legendary Mask of Amekak . If you offer her enough trophies, she may even give you an Elder Sign. 

You’ll find that these last vestiges of civilization contain as many perils as they do boons. First and foremost is the constant threat of Frostbite , which can drain your stamina and sap your ability to function. Spending too much time inside may give you a case of Cabin Fever , causing hallucinations and violent behavior that suck away your sanity. Gold prospectors who fell on bad luck still haunt Fairbanks and Anchorage, driven mad by the Obsessive Greed that brought them to Alaska in the first place. If you’re not careful, one of them might steal the items and provisions you’ve worked so hard to gain. 

The Heart of Darkness

North of Fairbanks, there are no more permanent settlements: only the ice, snow, mountainous wild, and creatures that inhabit it. A few deserted towns are scattered across the tundra, however, built during the peak of the Gold Rush and abandoned just as quickly. These towns offer some shelter and may still contain useful supplies, but they may also be occupied by animals whose minds are warped by evil. You may feel your own sanity slipping away in the Endless Night that falls within the Arctic Circle. Moreover, in the Arctic, the barrier between worlds is particularly thin. If you, like so many before you, succumb to the irresistible Call of the Northern Lights , you may find yourself lured by their inhuman beauty into an Other World. Or you may discover the Arctic’s  Heart of Darkness , a prehistoric cave of uncanny temporal shifts and unknown evils.

This inhospitable region of the world holds countless dark secrets from the time before humanity, secrets you must hunt out even as the activities of the Ancient Ones twist all of nature around you. Even the weather has become unnatural. Winter storms occur even in the calmer days of the summer; terrible blizzards can appear without any signs of warning. In Omens of Ice, certain effects require you to place storm markers facedown on your Alaskan Adventures. When you begin to resolve an Adventure with a storm marker, you flip the storm marker faceup and suffer any penalty it suggests: perhaps losing sanity or stamina, encountering a monster, or adding a doom token. Only by defeating the Ancient One can you cause these storms to abate, enable these frozen lands to return to normal, and save the world.

Brave the Cold Unknown

Back in the 1890s, thousands of prospectors rushed towards the Yukon River in search of gold, hoping to strike it rich and secure a prosperous future. Now, nearly thrity years after the Klondike Gold Rush, what brings you to the Yukon is far more important than gold. You must find the Elder Signs that can save humanity from relentless hunger, violent winds, and unnatural chills. You must ensure that civilization as you know it has a future.

Cold winds are blowing and the Ancient Ones are stirring. There is no time to waste. Pre-order Omens of Ice from your local retailer today! 

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