11 January 2017 | Elder Sign

Horror Beneath the Waves

Explore the Pacific Ocean in Elder Sign: Omens of the Deep

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“Never a competent navigator, I could only guess vaguely by the sun and stars that I was somewhat south of the equator. [...] The weather kept fair, and for uncounted days I drifted aimlessly beneath the scorching sun; waiting either for some passing ship, or to be cast on the shores of some habitable land. But neither ship nor land appeared, and I began to despair in my solitude upon the heaving vastness of unbroken blue.”
   -H.P. Lovecraft, Dagon

Dr. Mason Phillips has been given a mysterious amulet by the sole surviving member of an ill-fated expedition in the Pacific Ocean. The amulet beckons to the doctor’s long obsession with the lost city of R’lyeh, and he has decided to unearth the source of whatever weird forces resonate with the amulet’s jewel. Accordingly, Doctor Phillips has chartered a fine ship, gathered an eclectic team of investigators, and has provided what clues he can in order to help these brave souls face the dark forces that lay across their path. 

Join the hunt for the city of R’lyeh in Elder Sign: Omens of the Deep, an expansion for the cooperative dice game Elder Sign. In this preview, we’ll be looking at the vessel that will carry your team of investigators into the unexplored reaches of the Pacific Ocean, we’ll get a first look at the creatures that dwell in those waters, and we’ll read what the troubled sponsor of this expedition, Dr. Mason Phillips, has to say about a few of his new compatriots.

All Aboard The Ultima Thule

References to the legendary city of R’lyeh are few and difficult to decipher. However, since coming into possession of the amulet, Doctor Phillips has been utterly committed to the theory that the lost metropolis was engulfed aeons ago by the waters of the Pacific Ocean in a particularly remote and inhospitable region. In seeking the ruins of a sunken world, The Ultima Thule is your only refuge on the ocean waves. Any mission into unknown and unpredictable waters might be doomed from the start without a sturdy vessel underfoot, and while The Ultima Thule doesn’t provide as many comforts as you’ve been accustomed to in Arkham, it is still a vital base of operations for the investigators. 

In Omens of the Deep, the museum entrance card is replaced by The Ultima Thule card, changing the manner in which your team will recover when they need a break from the onslaught of their adventures. Spend your trophies here to gather supplies, find allies, or rest your body and mind. However, bear in mind that even the best ship can be capsized by disaster. In order to keep The Ultima Thule afloat, the investigators will need to take extra care in fending off the slimy grip of the Deep One Legion. 

Beat Back the Deep One Legion

Whatever evil stirs in the ocean’s depths has begun to rally its forces, and the Deep One Legion will rise up and attempt to overrun The Ultima Thule, robbing the investigators of their safe haven. The Deep One Legion monsters are norotiously difficult to kill. When one of these horrors is defeated, investigators must make an additional sacrifice of resources or the creature will simply slip to another location, awaiting a fresh chance to strike at your team. 

The Deep One Legion surges forth from all sides as you move through these inhospitable waters, and it can be summoned by the Ancient One’s doom track, the effects of a Pacific Adventure card, or an an unlucky draw of the Mythos deck. The beleaguered investigators should take care to manage this swarm of creatures as quickly as possible. If four of these slippery denizens of the deep make it into play, The Ultima Thule will be overrun! 

When the good ship has run aground, players must turn The Ultima Thule entrance card over to reveal the sad state of the Wreckage of The Ultima Thule. Your options for resupply and recovery become few and quite costly within the limited shelter of your ruined vessel, so ignore the threat of the Deep One Legion at your own peril!

A Harrowing Investigation

The one person who has certainly not ignored the threat of these creatures and the city of R’lyeh is doctor Mason Phillips, the sponsor of this expedition. As Dr. Phillips began to gather a few brave souls to man The Ultima Thule, he took a moment to record his first impressions regarding these new partners in his investigation into the origins of the amulet. 

"The more information that I uncover regarding this amulet, the less I feel as though this journey is some mad impulse. In trying to track down more information regarding the inscriptions on this amulet, I have enlisted the help of a particularly resourceful librarian by the name of Daisy Walker.

 

Miss Walker has been an invaluable resource, unearthing ancient hide-bound tomes filled with subtle hints about the location of the city of R’lyeh, and I suspect she may have been conducting some of the same research that I have been pursuing. She possesses a truly remarkable mind, and I honestly do not think that Miss Walker has ever forgotten a word that has passed before her eyes. Unfortunately, I fear that her enthusiasm may be somewhat fueled by her affinity for works of gothic horror, and that her imagination may get the better of her at times. There are moments when I have witnessed Miss Walker gaze lingering on shadowed corners, as though she suspects something might emerge from the gloom at any moment. Regardless, her resolution to join the expedition is firm, and I am quite fortunate to have a woman of her considerable capacity accompany the crew.

The second member of my party gives me a great deal more pause, but I am hopeful that his intentions are as good as his instincts. In digging through some…let us call them 'restricted' archival materials, I seem to have ruffled a few of the wrong feathers. Deeply engrossed in my research, I looked up from my desk one afternoon and was startled to see a sharply dressed man looming in my doorway. Agent Roland Banks works for the federal government, although I have yet to discern what branch would concern itself with the files I had been referencing. 

At first, I feared that Agent Banks had come to deliver some kind of retribution for the manner in which I had accessed those government archives, but I gradually realized that Agent Banks is as caught up in this hunt for the lost city as I am. Over the course of an hour or so, Agent Banks poked and prodded with careful questions, and he somehow maneuvered me into offering him a cabin in The Ultima Thule. I wonder what Roland Banks is hoping to find on this voyage, and whether his intuition is being employed at or against the wishes of the agency which he represents. I am not sure which would trouble me more…”

-From the journal of Dr. Mason Phillips

In our next preview, we’ll take a look at the first stage of the Omens of the Deep expansion and we’ll focus on the dangers that the investigators will undoubtedly face in the dark waters of the Pacific Ocean as they chase after the lost city of R’lyeh. Look for Elder Sign: Omens of the Deep to be on sale soon at your local retailer!

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