The Painted World

A Preview of The Path to Carcosa for Arkham Horror: The Card Game

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"In this quintessence of all damnation the bounds of consciousness were let down, and man’s fancy lay open to vistas of every realm of horror and every forbidden dimension that evil had power to mould."
     –H.P. Lovecraft, The Horror at Red Hook

Along with its new scenarios, which lead you into the first chapters of a thrilling and terrifying mystery, The Path to Carcosa expansion for Arkham Horror: The Card Game introduces six new investigators and a wealth of player cards. Each of these help support these new approaches to the game, even as they expand the options available to your favorite existing investigators.

We've already had a look at several of these new investigators in our announcement and our earlier previews, and we've gained a basic understanding of how their unique abilities and deckbuilding requirements set them down a variety of different paths.

  • We met actress Lola Hayes (The Path to Carcosa, 6) in the expansion's announcement and saw how this neutral investigator can assume new roles, shifting her focus between the game's different classes as it suits her.
  • In "The Solider and the Secretary," we saw how Mark Harrigan (The Path to Carcosa, 1) and Minh Thi Phan (The Path to Carcosa, 2) offer new takes on the Guardian and Seeker classes, especially as they focus on protecting and supporting their fellow investigators.
  • And in "Spirits and the Occult," we explored the ways that Akachi Onyele (The Path to Carcosa, 4) gains strength, purpose, and distinction from her unique ability and deckbuilding requirements.

Today, as we continue looking at the expansion's investigators and the breadth of playstyles they introduce, we turn our attention to the newest member of the Rogue class, the painter Sefina Rousseau (The Path to Carcosa, 3).

Imitation and Reality

Even when she was a young girl in Tahiti, Sefina’s alluring paintings drew the eyes of many. They almost seemed to breathe, as they were given life by their careful lines and vibrant colors. But the range of her work was limited by her experiences. They lacked a broader understanding of the world.

Then Sefina's break came when an art collector from Paris visited Tahiti and discovered her. Impressed by her keen eye and steady hand, he offered to support her work in exchange for her services creating imitations. Excited by the chance to move to Paris, Sefina accepted and quickly found the art of forgery to be more engaging and captivating than she’d imagined.

Sefina's own work matured as well, shaped by her forgeries and the move to Paris. Her paintings became increasingly powerful—until her most recent work literally took on a life of its own.

An anonymous stranger with deep pockets had tasked her with recreating a panorama of a strange, alien city. Sefina worked on it for days, inspired by the city's strange yellow spires, its rocky coastline, and the eerie storm raging silently above it. Even before she was done, she could tell the painting was special, and when she completed the final stroke, she was sent hurtling into its world.

She barely survived her ordeals in that realm, and the madness of her journey left her exhausted. Somehow, though, she escaped, finding herself back in her gallery. But she knew it wasn't a dream, and she knew that whatever she'd found was important—as was her connection to it and the connection it shared with the strange play, The King in Yellow.

Inspired Design

A new addition to the Arkham Horror Files universe, Sefina Rousseau is an ideal investigator for your The Path to Carcosa campaign. Her most direct ties to Arkham come straight through Carcosa and The King in Yellow, and her unique character design translated her experiences with The Painted World (The Path to Carcosa, 12) into a reassuring measure of consistency and stability.

While Sefina's deck size is larger than that of most investigators, meaning that she would normally be less likely than her colleagues to draw any given card when she needs it, her unique ability makes her, instead, arguably the most consistent and best prepared of all investigators looking to understand the mysteries of The King in Yellow.

When she would draw her opening hand, Sefina instead draws thirteen cards—roughly one-third of her deck—and selects up to five events to set aside. During the game, then, she can spend an action to draw any of these cards into hand, and she doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity to do so. Along with the fact that Sefina starts with eight cards in hand, this ability makes her an incredibly reliable investigator. More than anyone else, she's likely to have the event she needs when she needs it.

But there's more to Sefina than fact that she's more likely than other investigators to draw a given event when she needs it. Because she also adds not just one, but three copies of The Painted World to her deck, Sefina gains three more opportunities to replicate her most critical events.

So long as she has a single copy of powerful event like Think on Your Feet (The Dunwich Legacy, 25), Hot Streak (Core Set, 57), or Ward of Protection (Core Set, 65) beneath her investigator card, Sefina can replicate it with The Painted World. This not only allows Sefina to gain additional uses of these cards—or of other cards such as the new Sleight of Hand (The Path to Carcosa, 29) or Daring Maneuver (The Path to Carcosa, 30)—it means that each of her copies of The Painted World is as flexible and valuable as the whole collection of events beneath her investigator card.

Shades of Madness and Trauma

For all that Sefina gains from her experiences with the strange, alien realm, there's always the possibility that something in her mind may crack, pushed just a bit too far by some traumatic flashback. Her return to our world may have allowed her to find her bearings for the main, but there's no permanent escape from the terrors Sefina experience when she saw the Stars of Hyades (The Path to Carcosa, 13).

Just as Rex Murphy (The Dunwich Legacy, 2) can never fully shake Rex's Curse (The Dunwich Legacy, 9), Sefina Rousseau can never fully escape the terrors brought on by the Stars of Hyades. And so it is that even as Sefina gains her unique playstyle from the events beneath her investigator card, we see how these courses of action also serve as her protection against the terrors of her past.

Still, there's no guarantee that even a buffer of five events can prove to be a reasonable defense against the memory of otherworldly horrors; since Stars of Hyades is shuffled back into the deck each time it's resolved, there's a small chance Sefina could be struck by the treachery multiple rounds in a row. This is the reality of Arkham Horror: The Card Game. There's always the threat of a painful demise that's beyond our powers to control it—but as heroic investigators, we press forward, nonetheless, hoping to do what we can with whatever little bit of strength we possess.

Where Will Your Inspiration Lead You?

What will you do if you explore the mysteries of The King in Yellow as Sefina Rousseau?

Will you use The Painted World in combination with Hot Streak to buy your way out of all your troubles? Will you use it in combination with Ward of Protection to safeguard yourself from treacheries with an unprecedented effectiveness? Or will you use your insight to slip away from enemies with Think on Your Feet and then buy yourself a Moment of Respite (Where Doom Awaits, 273)?

However you choose to play Sefina, you'll find her unique deckbuilding requirements, setup, and signature cards foster a play experience that varies greatly from that of every other investigator. And that's part of the beauty of Arkham Horror: The Card Game—as you slip into the role of a given investigator, you always find new ways to express your character's identity.

Head to our community forums to share your thoughts on Sefina Rousseau. Then head to your local retailer to pre-order your copy of The Path to Carcosa (AHC11) today!

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