RULES -

5 posts / 0 new
Last post
Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture
RULES -

In Arkham Horror, each Investigator has six skills. Encounter cards will often demand that you make a specific skill check to accomplish a task. A couple of these skills are used for two things. Confusingly, the original rule layout didn't do such a good job of highlighting the difference between these two things. I'll try to do a better job.

At the start of the game, you may position your skill sliders wherever you wish. These choices may be adjusted later during the upkeep phase. This is governed by the Investigator's focus (see below). Note that when one skill increases, another reduces. For example, if you use the slider to increase your Speed skill, your Sneak skill gets lower because of it.

Fight:
Fight is the skill that is used for physical skill checks. For example, a card might say "A hooded figure grabs you. Make a Fight check to wrestle him to the ground." In this case, you'll make a Fight check, modified by any skills, allies, etc that specify an increase to Fight.

Fight is also the base skill that governs Combat checks. A Combat check is a check made specifically during a combat with monsters, not a skill check demanded by a card. Anything that modifies the Fight skill also modifies the Combat check, but the inverse is not true. For example, if you have the common item card .45 Automatic, you gain a +4 modifier to Combat checks, but this modifier doesn't apply if a Fight check is what's called for.

Lore:
Lore represents knowledge more than anything else. For example, the description for reading a magical tome might say "The words move about the page. Make a Lore check to read them."

Lore is also the base skill that governs Spell checks, to determine whether your spell is successful or not.

Luck:
Luck represents simple chance. An encounter card might say "You pass the night at the roadhouse playing cards. Pass a Luck check to gain $5." Luck checks are the most frequent checks called for in this manner.

Sneak:
Sneak is the skill that is used when a check calls for you to use stealth to get by. For example, an encounter card might say "You happen on a group of robed figures chanting next to the fire. Pass a Sneak check to sneak past them."

Sneak is also the base skill that governs Evade checks. Evade checks are made not at the demand of an encounter card, but when you're specifically trying to remain hidden from a monster. Like Fight vs Combat checks, anything that modifies Sneak modifies Evade checks, but not the other way around.

Speed:
Speed is the skill check called for when you need to do something in a hurry. An example card might say "The boulder rolls down the hill, threatening to block off your only way into the cave. Make a Sneak check to get there first."

Speed also determines how far an Investigator may move during their turn.

Will:
Will is a measurement of the Investigator's force of willpower and personality. An encounter card might say "The miasma fogs your brain, threatening to take you over. Pass a Will check to assert yourself."

Will is also the base skill that governs Horror checks. A Horror check is made at the sight of a monster so alien and horrific that it threatens to break the Investigator's brain just to see it. Like Fight vs Combat checks, anything that modifies Will modifies Horror checks, but not the other way around.

During any skill check, the number of the skill plus any modifiers (positive or negative) equals the number of dice the player rolls during the check. For example, If an Investigator's Sneak skill is currently set at 3 and they have a skill card grating +1 to Sneak checks and they have an item granting +2 to Sneak checks and there is a weather card in effect that reduces sneak checks by 1, then when a Sneak check is called for, the player will roll 5 dice (3+1+2-1=5).

In most skill checks, only one success is required to pass the check. Occasionally, a skill check will require multiple successes. This is most often the case in Combat checks. Note, also, that skill checks will often give their own modifiers to the check. For example, a card might demand that you pass "a Sneak -1 check." In this case, the modifier is included with any other modifiers the Investigator has.

Here's the easy part. All dice rolled in Arkham Horror are d6. By default, any roll of a 5 or a 6 is a success. Thus, if you need 2 successes on a skill check and you roll 6 dice for it and get a result of 1,3,3,5,6,2, then you have passed the check. If an Investigator becomes Blessed, then rolls of 4, 5 or 6 are counted as successes. If an Investigator becomes Cursed, only a 6 is counted as a success.

In addition to being used for sealing Gates, Clue tokens can be used to assist with skill checks. By spending a Clue token, a player may roll another d6. This can be done even after seeing the result of the original roll. And it may be done over and over again, so long as there are Clue tokens to spend.

Combat:

As they are such large parts of Arkham Horror, Combat checks Horror checks and Evade checks deserve a how-to. Typically, an Investigator will encounter a monster either because he moves into an area with a monster in it, a monster moves into the Investigator's area or the player draws an Encounter card that says "A hideous monster appears!" In the case of an Investigator and a monster sharing the same area, there usually only 2 options, fight or flee.

Sometimes, an Investigator won't want to fight a monster. Maybe he doesn't have a decent weapon. Maybe he's in a hurry. Maybe he knows it'll use him to wipe its ass. The way to get past a monster without having to fight is to succeed on an Evade check. And Evade check uses the Investigator's Sneak, plus and modifiers to Sneak checks and Evade checks. It is also modified by the number in red on the upper right corner of the monster tile.

Using the Mi-go above as an example, we can see that it's pretty perceptive and it modifies Evade checks by -2. So if our Investigator has a Sneak skill of 3, plus a skill that adds 1 to sneak, plus a magic item that adds 1 to sneak, then the player will roll 3 dice. Only one success is required for an Evasion check. If there are multiple monsters in the same area as the Investigator, the Investigator must succeed on checks against each monster.

If an Evade check is made as part of movement, the Investigator may keep moving. It's assumed he snuck past the monster. If anything that halts movement happened prior to the Evade check (for example, if the Investigator initiated Combat against one monster, won, then decided to Evade a second monster), then the Investigator may not leave the area. It's assumed he found a hiding spot.

If an Evade check fails, the monster immediately deals its combat damage to the Investigator. This number is represented by the number of red hearts in the lower right corner of the monster's tile and is applied to the Investigator's stamina. If the Investigator is still conscious after this damage, he must make a Horror check (see below). If he is still sane following the Horror check, he may attempt to fight or flee again. Combat continues until an Evade check is passed, the monster is dead or the Investigator is unconscious or insane.

The first thing that must happen when an Investigator decides to fight a monster is the Horror check. This represents the cumulative damage to the Investigator's sanity that comes from seeing things that mortal man was never meant to lay eyes on. A Horror check uses the Investigator's Will, modified by anything that modifies Will checks and Horror checks. It's further modified by the blue number in the bottom left corner of the monster's tile. If this number is instead a simple blue line, then no Horror check is required. The number of blue dots below the number is the sanity damage the Investigator will take if he or she fails the Horror check.

Using the Mi-go above as an example, we can see that the number in blue is -1. If the Investigator has a Will of 2 and no other modifiers, the player will roll 1 die. Only one success is required for a Horror check.

No matter how long combat takes, the Investigator only has to roll the Horror check one time per monster per combat. Whether he passes or fails, he still only has to roll the once.

With the Horror check done, a Combat check is next. A Combat check uses the Investigator's Fight, plus any modifiers to Fight checks and Combat checks. It's also modified by the red number in the bottom right corner of the monster's tile.

Using the Mi-go above as an example, we see this number is +0. if the Investigator has a Fight skill of 4, plus an ally card that increases Fight by 1, plus a weapon that adds 4 to Combat checks, then he or she rolls 9 dice. The target number of successes is equal to the number of blood drops in the bottom center of the monster's tile. In the Mi-go's case, this is only one. If the monster has multiple blood drops, then that number of successes must be rolled all at once, not over successive Combat checks.

If the Combat check fails, the monster deals its combat damage to the Investigator's stamina. If the Combat check succeeds, the Investigator has killed the monster and may (usually) take it as a spendable monster trophy.

Take note that many monsters have special abilities printed on their monster tile. Some are no big deal. Some can hurt you even if you kill them. It's important to know exactly what you're fighting before you commit yourself to combat.

Casting Spells:

Spellcasting deserves its own brief run through as well. Magic usually comes with a price. Its use can sometimes drive people mad. But it's powerful. Some spells are simple and act the same as weapons. But some are very powerful. That monster that's blocking off half the map, has an enormous Evade modifier and is immune to both physical weapons and magical weapons? Well, there are spells that can banish it. Hell, there are spells that can take it out of the game completely so it can't randomly come back later.

To cast a spell the investigator must first pay the sanity cost, if any, listed in the spell. This is taken directly as damage to the Investigator's sanity. Using the Wrack spell above, this is 1, so the Investigator would take a single point of sanity damage. If the damage does not drive the Investigator insane, then next an Investigator must make a Spell check. A Spell check uses the Investigator's Lore skill, modified by anything that modifies Lore checks or Spell checks. Most spells have a casting modifier, which modifies an Investigator's Spell check. In the case of the Wrack spell above, it's -2. So if an Investigator has a Lore of 4 and no other modifiers, the player will roll 2 dice. Only one success is needed to pass a Spell check. This done, the effect of the spell becomes available to the Investigator.

Edited by: Fixxxer on 08/02/2019 - 00:46
Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

One last thing I haven't touched on yet that the players should know about before the game begins.

Have a look at the bottom left of the board. This is the Terror Track. It's a representation of how the citizens of Arkham feel, what with gates to other dimensions opening up and spilling monsters all over the place. The Terror Track usually advances in two ways:

1: A Mythos card specifes that the track advances. Can't do shit about this.

2: The number of monsters on the board gets too high and they begin to spill over into The Outskirts of the city. When The Outskirts fills up, all the monsters there are returned to the Monster Cup and the Terror Level advances by 1. Monster limits in Arkham and in The Outskirts are governed by how many players there are and whether expansions are being used. In this first game, the limit of monsters roaming Arkham is 7 and the number of monsters that can occupy The Outskirts is 4.

As the Terror Level rises, people get scared. They pack up and leave. Every time the Terror Level increases, one card from the Ally deck is removed from the game. That Ally card is no longer available for an Investigator to acquire.

When the Terror Level hits 3, The General Store closes. When it hits 6, The Curiositie Shoppe closes. When it hits 9, Ye Olde Magick Shoppe closes. No more encounters, including shopping, can be had at these locations and Investigators can't inhabit them. They effectively become dead areas on the map.

When the Terror Level reaches 10, the limit on the number of monsters that can inhabit Arkham is removed. Also, any time thereafter that the Terror Level would increase, the Ancient One's Doom Track advances instead.

Changing the Terror Track is almost impossible in Arkham Horror, so it's best to keep it from advancing as much as possible. It's a real bitch to need a gun and the General Store is closed forever.

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

As we move into our second playthrough, we've added The Dunwich Horror expansion board to the map. We were already playing with the maddness/injury cards, so those should be familiar, but there are some additional new concepts from that expansion and a few others that it would be to everyone's benefit to be aware of.

1: "In Arkham." Many cards, effects, etc will use the phrase "in Arkham" to specify when an effect might occur. For all effects, this includes any expansion boards as well, so "in Arkham" might be better phrases as "while not in an Other World or Lost In Time and Space." For example, if a Mythos card says "all Investigators in Arkham," then it refers to investigators in Dunwich as well.

2: Vortex spaces. Have a look at the Dunwich board. See those three odd glowy spots? Those are vortexes. They're not spaces an Investigator can move to, but monsters in Dunwich inevitably move toward these. When they get there, they disappear, sucked away to god knows where, which sounds good, but every monster that disappears into a vortex puts a counter on the Dunwich Horror track. When 3 counters fill up this track, The Dunwich Horror appears at Sentinel Hill. Monsters in Dunwich don't count against the Arkham monster limit, with the exception of flying monsters that begin in Dunwich, but take to the Sky.

3: The Dunwich Horror. This is in reference to the monster the expansion is named for. In the story, the Horror is an invisible creature with a changeable form. This is reflected in the game by giving the Horror changeable stats. You can always look at a monster's token to see what its stats will be before you decide to go fight it or not. But the Dunwich Horror doesn't allow for that, since every time it's encountered, a card is drawn from a small deck that reveals what its stats will be for this combat, and each card is different. This means that you might arm yourself very well with magical gear, only to discover that it has Magical Immunity this turn. Or you might be prepared for a bad Horror check modifier, only to discover it's a worse modifier than you planned for. This, combined with the need to get 5 successes to defeat it, makes it potentially the hardest monster in the entire game. Just a real motherfucker. The reward might make it worth the effort, though, as you get to search through the Common Item, Unique Item or Spell decks and take any one card of your choice.

4: Getting around. An Investigator that wants to move from Arkham to Dunwich can do so at Train Station. He/she must pay $1 and will arrive at Bishop's Brook Bridge. The opposite trip can be made to get from Dunwich to Arkham, also costing $1. If the Investigator has a Rail Pass card, the trip is free. It costs 1 movement point to make the trip either way, and doing so does not interrupt movement. For example, if an Investigator with 5 movement points begins his turn at Bank of Arkham, he can move to Downtown Streets (1 movement), then to Northside Streets (1 movement), then to Train Station (1 movement), then pay $1 and move to Bishop's Brook Bridge (1 movement), then to Village Commons (1 movement).

5: New Other Worlds. In addition to adding the city of Dunwich, the new expansion also adds 2 new Other Worlds, Another Time and Lost Carcosa. They are treated in all ways the same as the Other Worlds from the original base game.

6: Split gates. There's a whole series of additional rules from gates, but the only one we'll be adding right now is split gates. A split gate has 2 locations listed on it. An Investigator entering this gate may travel to either world listed on the gate token. If he returns and closes the gate, monsters in Arkham, Dunwich and Outskirts corresponding to the dimensional symbol of both locations disappear. Which is pretty bitchin'. The tradeoff is that the modifier to your check to close the gate is typically higher than a non-split gate would be.

7: Gate bursts. You'll remember from last game that when you close a gate you can also spend Clue tokens to seal it so another gate can't open there. Isn't that sweet? That's still the way things are. Unless. There are a handful of Mythos cards in the deck now that specify that a gate opens in a specific location AND that if there's a seal there, the new gate bursts through, ruining the seal. It's a real bastard motherfucker when that happens. When this happens, all flying monsters move during the Mythos, regardless of their dimensional symbol. On the plus side, a gate burst does not place a Doom token on the Ancient One's Doom Track like a normal gate opening does.

8: Encounters. The neighborhoods in Dunwich act just like the neighborhoods in Arkham. An Investigator has encounters there just the same during the Arkham Encounters Phase, and some locations have special text that can be done in lieu of drawing an encounter card. The little white icons give a hint at what kind of encounter is the most statistically likely at each location, just the same as in Arkham. On that subject, if a specific card is on your wishlist, you'll want to hang out in locations where it makes sense that an encounter might offer you that card. If you want a Rail Pass, maybe have a few encounters at Train Station. For a Silver Twilight Lodge Membership card, you'll probably need to have some encounters at Silver Twilight Lodge. Short on money and don't want to take out a bank loan? Maybe try to get a retainer at Newspaper. Looking for an ally? Ma's Boarding House is gonna be your best bet, either through having encounters or trading trophies for allies. Healing from St. Mary's Hospital. Blessings from South Church. Usually, a bit of common sense about where to be will hedge your bet of getting the type of card you want greatly.

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

The first time we played, Azathoth was the Ancient one. His deal is that when he wakes up, he immediately eats the universe, so there's no chance to actually engage him directly. Not so all the other Ancient Ones. It's not generally recommended, but it's possible to physically fight the Ancient One should it awaken. Sometimes you can control when the Ancient One awakens, but it will usually occur when too many gates are open or when the Doom Track becomes full. Fighting an Ancient One differs greatly from Ancient One to Ancient One, and the means by which this happens are detailed on the Ancient One's card.

To use Nyogtha as an example, we'll say he's awoken. At this point, the game board does not come into play anymore. The Investigators don't get to move around town anymore. If it helps, assume they're in a kind of Final Fantasy-like fight sequence with the Ancient One as the opponent. Retainers, Bank Loans and most other non-equipment cards cease to matter, though a Blessing or a Curse remains in play and must be rolled for during each Refresh Phase.

Ancient One combat goes quickly, and breaks down into phases. First, the Investigators get a Refresh Phase. This is much like an Upkeep Phase, where sliders can be adjusted, exhausted equipment becomes available again, first player token moves, etc. All of the Investigators are assumed to be in the same Location, and can thus trade equipment with each other.

After the Refresh comes the Investigators Attack Phase. In turn order, each Investigator makes a Combat check modified by the Ancient One's modifier (left side of the Ancient One card). In Nyogtha's case, the modifier is -8, so the number of dice the Investigator would normally roll is reduced by 8 dice. Successes are tracked as a total whole for all the Investigators. When a number of successes equal to the number of players in the game is reached, one Doom Token is removed from the Doom Track. When there are no more Doom Tokens, the Ancient One is defeated. The Ancient One will almost always begin play with a full Doom Track.

So for example, let's say that Jim Culver acts first. Between his Fight skill and his equipment, he gets to make a Combat check of 10 dice, but this is modified by Nyogtha's -8, so Jim rolls 2 dice. He gets 1 success and one failure. That success is noted in the group's pool of successes. Next comes Kate Winthrop. She has a decent Fight skill and a nice sword, but also has a really great spell she wants to use, so she pays the Sanity cost and makes her Spell Check as usual, which succeeds. She gets to make a check at 14, modified by Nyogtha's -8. She rolls 6 dice and gets 5 successes and one failure. There are 5 players in the game. Jim Culver's 1 success plus 4 of Kate Winthrope's successes remove one Doom Token from Nyogtha's Doom Track, plus Kate's last success is noted in the group's pool of successes. The simple way of looking at it is # of players X # of Doom Tokens = # of successes needed.

After each Investigator has a turn, we move to the Ancient One Attacks Phase. This is where things get unique for each Ancient One. Some of them force you to make harder and harder checks or lose Stamina or Sanity. Some do other things. If an Investigator reaches 0 Stamina or 0 Sanity during an Ancient One battle, he or she is devoured completely. In the case of Nyogtha, he attacks whoever is holding the first player token, forcing that Investigator to roll 1d6. On a success, the Investigator escapes. On a failure, the Investigator is devoured. Either way, if any Investigators remain alive, we circle back to the Refresh Phase and start again. This cycle repeats until either all Investigators are devoured or the Ancient One is defeated.

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

The first time we played, Azathoth was the Ancient one. His deal is that when he wakes up, he immediately eats the universe, so there's no chance to actually engage him directly. Not so all the other Ancient Ones. It's not generally recommended, but it's possible to physically fight the Ancient One should it awaken. Sometimes you can control when the Ancient One awakens, but it will usually occur when too many gates are open or when the Doom Track becomes full. Fighting an Ancient One differs greatly from Ancient One to Ancient One, and the means by which this happens are detailed on the Ancient One's card.

To use Nyogtha as an example, we'll say he's awoken. At this point, the game board does not come into play anymore. The Investigators don't get to move around town anymore. If it helps, assume they're in a kind of Final Fantasy-like fight sequence with the Ancient One as the opponent. Retainers, Bank Loans and most other non-equipment cards cease to matter, though a Blessing or a Curse remains in play and must be rolled for during each Refresh Phase.

Ancient One combat goes quickly, and breaks down into phases. First, the Investigators get a Refresh Phase. This is much like an Upkeep Phase, where sliders can be adjusted, exhausted equipment becomes available again, first player token moves, etc. All of the Investigators are assumed to be in the same Location, and can thus trade equipment with each other.

After the Refresh comes the Investigators Attack Phase. In turn order, each Investigator makes a Combat check modified by the Ancient One's modifier (left side of the Ancient One card). In Nyogtha's case, the modifier is -8, so the number of dice the Investigator would normally roll is reduced by 8 dice. Successes are tracked as a total whole for all the Investigators. When a number of successes equal to the number of players in the game is reached, one Doom Token is removed from the Doom Track. When there are no more Doom Tokens, the Ancient One is defeated. The Ancient One will almost always begin play with a full Doom Track.

So for example, let's say that Jim Culver acts first. Between his Fight skill and his equipment, he gets to make a Combat check of 10 dice, but this is modified by Nyogtha's -8, so Jim rolls 2 dice. He gets 1 success and one failure. That success is noted in the group's pool of successes. Next comes Kate Winthrop. She has a decent Fight skill and a nice sword, but also has a really great spell she wants to use, so she pays the Sanity cost and makes her Spell Check as usual, which succeeds. She gets to make a check at 14, modified by Nyogtha's -8. She rolls 6 dice and gets 5 successes and one failure. There are 5 players in the game. Jim Culver's 1 success plus 4 of Kate Winthrope's successes remove one Doom Token from Nyogtha's Doom Track, plus Kate's last success is noted in the group's pool of successes. The simple way of looking at it is # of players X # of Doom Tokens = # of successes needed.

After each Investigator has a turn, we move to the Ancient One Attacks Phase. This is where things get unique for each Ancient One. Some of them force you to make harder and harder checks or lose Stamina or Sanity. Some do other things. If an Investigator reaches 0 Stamina or 0 Sanity during an Ancient One battle, he or she is devoured completely. In the case of Nyogtha, he attacks whoever is holding the first player token, forcing that Investigator to roll 1d6. On a success, the Investigator escapes. On a failure, the Investigator is devoured. Either way, if any Investigators remain alive, we circle back to the Refresh Phase and start again. This cycle repeats until either all Investigators are devoured or the Ancient One is defeated.