14 September 2018 | Arkham Horror: The Card Game

"Death Itself"

A Designer Challenge for Arkham Horror: The Card Game


Over the course of your investigations in Arkham Horror: The Card Game, you have witnessed terrors that would drive others to madness, and have perhaps even flirted with insanity yourself. This was never truer than throughout The Path to Carcosa cycle, where you were constantly torn between doubt and conviction as you chased answers across the sea and across worlds.

You witnessed the invocation, saw black stars rise, and entered the court of the King with little more than a prayer of returning home. Now, you are invited to return to the darkest corners of the city of lights in Matt Newman’s latest designer challenge for Arkham Horror: The Card Game!

Matt Newman on “Death Itself”


For today’s designer journal, I am issuing another challenge to the Arkham Horror: The Card Game community.

If you weren’t around for my previous challenge, here’s the plan. Each of these “designer challenges” will test your deckbuilding skills and your tactical prowess in different ways. A challenge may involve an alternate way of building a deck or playing the game, or perhaps playing through a cooperative scenario with an extreme level of difficulty or with special restrictions and limitations that force you to reconsider your approach.

In my last challenge, I invited our intrepid investigators to complete the Undimensioned and Unseen scenario with all five of the Brood of Yog-Sothoth (Undimensioned and Unseen, 255) in play, along with additional ultimatums to make the experience as terrifying as possible. Now, I am drawing another line in the sand and daring you to cross.

Today’s designer challenge for Arkham Horror: The Card Game is called “Death Itself.”

The Challenge

There a painless death awaits him who can no longer bear the sorrows of this life. If death is welcome let him seek it there.
Robert W. Chambers, The King in Yellow

This designer challenge will test your speed and your evasiveness. You have been trapped in the vast and labyrinthine catacombs of Paris, and an invulnerable specter of Death itself is hot on your heels.

In order to play this challenge, you will need one copy of the Core Set, The Path to Carcosa deluxe expansion, The Pallid Mask Mythos Pack, and one investigator deck per player (note that there are some additional deckbuilding restrictions due to the ultimatums below). Good luck!

The rules for this challenge are as follows:

  • The investigators must play The Pallid Mask scenario in Standalone Mode, on Hard difficulty. Use the Standalone Mode rules on page 19 of the Rules Reference to create your investigator deck(s), then follow these setup instructions:
    • Assemble the chaos bag using the following tokens: 0, 0, 0, –1, –1, –2, –2, –3, –3, –4, –4, –5, Skull, Skull, Skull, Auto-fail, Elder Sign.
    • Randomly choose one of the following tokens (Cultist, Tablet, or Elder Thing). Add two of the chosen token to the chaos bag.
    • The lead investigator adds The Man in the Pallid Mask (The Path to Carcosa, 59) weakness to his or her deck.
    • You awoke inside the catacombs.

  • The scenario must be played with the following Ultimatums:
    • Ultimatum of Death – After setup, immediately advance Agenda 1a to Specter of Death (The Pallid Mask, 241b) and spawn it at your starting location, exhausted. Agenda 2a (The Pallid Mask, 242) gains +6 doom threshold. Specter of Death gains the following text: “Forced – When Specter of Death is defeated: Instead of adding it to the victory display, heal all damage from it and exhaust it. It does not ready during the next upkeep phase.”
    • Ultimatum of the Keeper’s Challenge – Investigator decks cannot include any of the following cards (by title): Key of Ys (Dim Carcosa, 315), Streetwise (Blood on the Altar, 189), Cat Burglar (Core Set, 55), or Shotgun (Core Set, 29).
    • Ultimatum of The Man – For the purposes of Corpse Dweller 's (The Pallid Mask, 259) spawn ability, The Man in the Pallid Mask does not count as a Humanoid enemy. Additionally, while it is Act 2, The Man in the Pallid Mask cannot leave the Tomb of Shadows (The Pallid Mask, 257).

This should be quite the ride for anybody who thinks they’re an expert at navigating the catacombs of Paris. While your goal and the time you have to accomplish that goal remain the same, having an immortal Specter of Death right behind you the entire way will surely slow you down (at the very least). You might even get cornered and killed early on, but hey, that’s what you get for challenging Death itself.

Are you up to the challenge? If so, try to beat this challenge and be sure to post your story online. Were you able to escape the catacombs? If so, what was your strategy? Or did the ghouls beneath Paris feed on your corpse?

If you enjoy these designer challenges, let us know on our official forums. And as always, thanks for playing!

Down Once More

Thanks, Matt!

The gauntlet has been thrown at your feet—will you take up the challenge? The time has come to consult your arcane tomes and ready your team of investigators to descend beneath Paris once more. The shadow of Death may lay before you, but you know nothing that lurks below can compare to the torture of the commonplace.

To confront “Death Itself,” you can pick up your copies of the Arkham Horror: The Card Game Core Set (AHC01), The Path to Carcosa (AHC11) and The Pallid Mask (AHC15) at your local retailer today or online through the Fantasy Flight Games website!

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