A Call of Cthulhu Card of the Week by guest writer Marius Hartland
|Call of Cthulhu LCG | Published 02 July 2010|
That's because only a real artist knows the actual anatomy of the terrible or the physiology of fear - the exact sort of lines and proportions that connect up with latent instincts or hereditary memories of fright, and the proper colour contrasts and lighting effects to stir the dormant sense of strangeness.
– H.P. Lovecraft, Pickman's Model
Another Friday, another dose of horror. Today, we glimpse the unknown and shine the card spotlight towards another upcoming card in part two of The Yuggoth Contract cycle. Let's hear what these Murmurs of Evil have to say for themselves.
Panic at the Speakeasy
Exhausting characters. Lowering skill. These two elements – as so elegantly combined on Syndicates' own 'ancient one' Panic (Core Set, F77) – are pretty much your only options when dealing with uncooperative characters while managing your own criminal Syndicate. Both are a temporary means of disabling the opposition and have their own advantages and disadvantages. Exhausting likely means a character can't commit at all. There are numerous countereffects to this though. And most of the time it means planning in advance which guys to take out, and which one to let run to the stories.
Skill reduction can often be done after commitment, so it's more precise. Icons still work, but if you're able to reduce a character to zero skill, it means no chance of success. Better yet, if you do it on your turn, it means you may be able to sneak past and score an extra success token for being 'unopposed.' and Panic is just that great a card.
Today's card may help you in controlling total skill. Tattoo Artist (Murmurs of Evil, F37) gives you some options. First, a free skill reduction helps you preserve your domains to use Clover Club Torch Singer (Core Set, F66) to further whittle skill down. But you're given another option as well: Raise your own skill. If you're unsure on what characters are going to be committed and where, you can raise your skill to help compete against a number of possible combinations of adversaries. Finding out when to reduce skill and when to raise it is key to using Tattoo Artist well.
Building your deck around skill manipulation, there are a few logical inclusions. Last week I mentioned Parallel Universe (The Thing From the Shore, F98) – A card that I saw used in a terrible effective way in last years Castle Stahleck Tournament, turning confident commitments into horrible disasters as icons are invalidated and only skill matters. The other is Syndicates' only true removal card: Tear Gas (The Thing From the Shore, F86) so that things literally end in tears.
Tattoo Artist happens to be a Sorcerer, so if you opt mixing it in with a Yog-Sothoth/Syndicate Sorcerer-based deck she also helps channeling Calling Down the Ancients (Secrets of Arkham, F32) towards the right victim.
Division by Zero
Her double Arcane doesn't help much when it comes to direct conflict. But at least, if you think you can get away with it, you can poke at a story and ready her so she can defend your claim at the stake. Tattoo Artist is an excellent defensive card. Even if she dies or goes insane, any reduced skill sticks. As you know who is committed where on defense, you have a chance to reduce skill to the magical number (zero) in a last ditch effort, making a huge difference even while she is alone, and now reduced to an especially tormented artist. Building in some good defensive options means the rest of your team can get pro-active and nail those stories.
She is quite flexible and requires a lot of good judgement calls to play and use her optimally. If you trust yourself in making the correct choices of what to hit and when, dishing out some edgy elder sign tattoos could very well be the difference between running a successful crime syndicate or watching how the Mi-Go take over your turf.
Special thanks to Marius Hartland, who wrote this week's card preview.
Based on the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and his literary circle, Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game takes two players deep into the Cthulhu Mythos where investigators clash with the Ancient Ones and Elder Gods for the fate of the world. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Asylum Pack expansions to the core game.