Grinding Cthulhu

Arkham Horror, one of my favorite coop games. Where narrowness and claustrophobic feeling are crushing you, and multitude of things you and your fellow investigators need to do will put your group through the hoops. Today I want to introduce you to my idea on how to add some continuity to the game, at same time this is my first article in new segment of my blog: “House rules”, where I will be showing you my own or found in vast depths of the internet interesting, unofficial rules for board games.

If you’ve never played Arkham Horror, this set of rules might not tell you too much, so I would advise you to first run some plays of this game and then come back to try out this little modification.

In summer 2008 Fantasy Flight Games (FFG), put on their website scenarios you can play in Arkham. Each of the scenarios contained information on what set of components you will need to use, and from time to time rules you would need to include. Because I and my friends loved this idea, instantly we tried to add something of our own, which could give us story-like continuity to played investigators. We came up with the idea of adding a Character Sheet with progress of played investigator gained through various scenarios.

1. First, each of you should choose the investigator you will be playing. If he or she will die in some horrible event, the next one should be chosen randomly
2. In this step, make game setup according to the scenario you will play and play it
3. If your team has won the scenario, each of you should make your Character Sheet (CS)
4. On your CS you will need to note a few things:

  1. Maximum that Doom Track could reach minus reached Doom Track (DT)
  2. 10 minus reached Terror Track level (TT)
  3. If your Investigator has got an unpaid Bank Loan (BL)
  4. How many Elder Sign cards the team used during the game (ES)
  5. How many Seals were placed by you (S)
  6. How many unspent Gate/Monster Trophies you have got at the end (GMT)
  7. Fill the formula below and add leftover experience points, if any, from other scenarios:
    EXP = DT+TT-BL-ES+S+GMT

After you count your Experience Points (EXP), it’s time for a cleanup.

  • Title cards like Nine Lives, Deputy, White Ship Captain are lost
  • After EXP count unspent Gate and Monster Trophies are lost
  • For each owned Common/Unique/Spell/Blessing/Curse/Ticket/Ally card same as for Cult/Gang/Wilight Lodge membership roll a die, on a success is rolled it stays, otherwise it’s lost (it depicts chaos after all that happened)
  • Bank Loan and Injury cards stay (death and taxes baby… death and taxes)
  • Investigator is staying with Sanity and Stamina level that he ends with played scenario
  • Money, Clue tokens and Skill cards are kept

Last part is spending your hard earned Experience points:

1. You can heal up to maximum stamina/sanity of your Investigator spending your Exp in 1 for 1 ratio.
2. You can re-buy your Investigator’s lost equipment:

  1. If it was in Fixed Possessions you will need to spend
    Exp = 1,5 * item value ($).
  2. If it was in Random Possessions, first you need to count your kept items, which could be treated as Random. If you have less than you started with, you can rebuy them as in point a).

3. You can buy new equipment for your Investigator:

  1. Random item:
    Common – Exp = 2 * item value ($)
    Spell – Exp = 10
    Unique – Exp = 3 * item value ($)
  2. Chosen item:
    Common – Exp = 4 * item value ($)
    Spell – Exp = 25
    Unique – Exp = 6 * item value ($)
  3. Ally card (Allies acquired in this way will not give you bonus items, they are bought only for stats)
    Random Ally (from 10 that was in scenario) – Exp = 15
    Random Ally (from all possible cards) – Exp = 20
    Chosen Ally (only form 10 that was in scenario) – Exp = 25

4. You can buy Clue tokens in ratio 1 Clue for 3 Exp.
5. You can exchange your Experience for Money in ratio 1$ for 2 Exp.
6. Players can decide to buy a Relationship card for their Investigators. From this moment these two players need to sit next to each other. If for any reason they could not sit next to each other, they wouldn’t be able to have/buy a Relationship. Relationship card cannot be overwritten, it means that if player A and B have one, they can’t buy a new one until the current one is out of the game. To buy a Relationship card each player need to pay 6 Exp.
7. Healing yourself from Injury/Madness – you can discard a chosen card for 15 Exp points.

After your team finishes spending their Experience, each of you should write down leftover Exp (maybe you will live long enough to earn and spend some more). Now you are a bunch of experienced Investigators, who can struggle with the next Great Old One in his horrible unspeakable scenario.

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