Edge of the Earth: round two

Following on from the first scenario (which comes in three parts), I’ve now taken my daring duo through the next two scenarios in the Edge of the Earth campaign. Patrice and Trish have finally levelled up some of their cards, so I’m pleased to say that things appear to be going well so far!

Scenario II: To the Forbidden Peaks, is basically a hike up the mountains. Coming upon a frozen corpse of an Elder Thing at the base of the mountains, we’ve decided to carry on with the climb as any normal, sane person would do. The scenario sets out the locations in a diagonal line, to simulate the progression up the mountainside. There are, of course, Elder Things in the encounter deck that might try to get us, and the agenda deck will bring out a boss-style enemy that happened to get us just when the summit was in sight!

The rules are quite clever, as we need to thoroughly investigate a location before we can move up, and so much of the encounter deck, including the boss, works off which level of the mountain we’re on. Despite there being a number of enemies in the encounter deck this time, I still found that Trish wasn’t able to do a great deal with the evade suite of shenanigans I’d built into her deck, so she became the primary clue-finder while Patrice basically lagged behind playing that bloody violin of hers. Not sure if I’ve really got the right duo for this task, but it does spin a pretty hilarious narrative of Patrice fiddling away while in the midst of snow and insanity.

In the middle of the scenario, a random member of the party is killed by an Elder Thing bursting from the snow, as well. That was something I wasn’t really expecting, so provided quite a shock factor to the game, I have to say! We also have a bunch of story assets along for the ride with us this time, the items we found when searching for a suitable camp site at the start, and we have to try to recover these from the mountainside as the expedition gets worse and worse.

It’s all very interesting, and I enjoyed how different it was to other scenarios within the wider game.

City of the Elder Things is an exploration scenario that again gives a strong reminiscence of the catacombs of Paris from the Carcosa campaign. The investigators are basically exploring locations that are linked orthogonally, but we have the added mix of clues here, represented by chaos tokens. While it isn’t exactly explicitly stated from the off, we’re basically trying to match pairs of these tokens, and we can usually then spend them for an action to gain a benefit. To advance the first act, we need to spend two pairs, but also many of the locations have effects that might be useful, so I decided to go for a few of these, one of which has added a 0 token to the chaos bag. Hopefully that’ll help to dilute the snowflake tokens, which are bloody annoying!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned the snowflakes before? They act as -1 tokens, and you have to reveal another token; revealing another snowflake will auto-fail, but the tokens aren’t removed after the test in the way the bless/curse tokens are. So they are a pain in the bum when you have a bag full of them! Very few game effects have so far allowed for their removal, and I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to have Trish tooled up to investigate at something like +8 and then just auto-fail because of two snow tokens. It wouldn’t be so bad if they could then be removed, but no – you can waste an entire turn like this, and it just annoys me.

There’s another mini-interlude halfway through the agenda deck, which sees off another member of the party – after starting with nine companions, three of them have now either been killed or otherwise incapacitated by the weird miasma and so on, which as I said last time, just serves to add to the disaster movie feel of the whole thing!

Nevertheless, the scenario was interesting, and is followed by the final Interlude. Each of these has been an interesting story-bit where the investigator player goes round the camp and chats with the party, and possibly gleans some information from them as they go. There is also the “Scenario ???”, where we have the opportunity to explore a mirage and play a bonus scenario. I’ve only had the opportunity once before, I think, but each time I have tried to stick with the spirit of my party and ignore the mirage, so that’s now gone forever.

Mountains of Madness

The final scenario awaits, The Heart of the Madness, which looks again to be split into two parts. It’s interesting to me, seeing how this campaign has been structured. It has largely been a linear progression still, just with a couple of branching paths that you can ignore if you so wish. I believe The Scarlet Keys is much more all over the place, though, so it’ll be interesting to compare once that is in my hands! At any rate, there’s just one more to go now, so stay tuned and see if my adventuring party will be driven insane at the mountains of madness – or whether Patrice’s jolly violin-playing will allow us all to keep our heads and see it through to the end!