|Magic or Science?
A Look at the Seekers of Knowledge Expansion for Call of Cthulhu
|Call of Cthulhu LCG | Published 21 September 2012||Rating||12 votes|
The changing state of the world through long geologic ages appeared with startling vividness in many of the sculptured maps and scenes. In certain cases existing science will require revision, while in other cases its bold deductions are magnificently confirmed.
–H.P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness
Some truths are deadly. Some are maddening. Some secrets are best left buried. Even so, there are always those brave, curious, and determined souls who act upon their beliefs that truth is vital and that gaining an understanding our world is one of humanity’s noblest goals. In Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, most of these characters belong to Miskatonic University.
Armed primarily with methodologies, the Faculty, Students, and Scientists of Miskatonic University have long raced ahead of the game’s other factions during Investigation struggles but have found themselves woefully vulnerable during the game’s other struggles…and, well, pretty much anytime they weren’t actively investigating.
A number of recent cards have bolstered the faction. Both Blackmarket Artifact (Curse of the Jade Emperor, 37) and Professor of Folklore (Ebla Restored, 48) introduced abilities that can help Miskatonic’s investigators survive their scary, deadly encounters at the beginning of a story so that they can get to the business of poking about the area for information. However, both cards offer only spot protection. The Professor requires payment to salve your character’s wounds, and the Blackmarket Artifact must exhaust, meaning it can only provide a single character with Willpower per phase.
Soon, though, Seekers of Knowledge is going to introduce new ways for Miskatonic’s finest to protect themselves as they conduct their investigations. In addition to a host of new events that will allow University staff and Students to catch their rivals by surprise, the expansion introduces the fruits of some Professors’ recent experimentation with less traditional safeguards.
Since the release of the Core Set and early attempts at Binding (Core Set, 36), the University has largely steered away from magic. However, much as the University’s science may sometimes encounter such shocks as to force the revision of traditional knowledge, the renaissance heralded by Seekers of Knowledge has paved the way for faculty to experiment with magic once again. Early efforts have already yielded significant results, and several Professors have already succeeded at stories thanks to the new Miskatonic Ritual, Protected by the Elder Sign (Seekers of Knowledge, 21).
For just one resource, Protected by the Elder Sign can turn off all Terror icons at a given story. It may not be as versatile as the Blackmarket Artifact, which also costs one resource, but it is far more powerful as it can protect a whole range of characters, not just one. It is worth noting, however, that while Protected by the Elder Sign removes all Terror icons from characters committed to the attached story, it does not remove any Terror struggles. Thus, should the Syndicate – and Mr. David Pan (Curse of the Jade Emperor, 43) – get their hands on this powerful Ritual, they could theoretically turn the tables on the terrifying Ancient Ones, driving them insane!
The Scientific Method
Despite the tremendous protection offered by their new Ritual, the members of Miskatonic University remain firmly rooted in their pursuit of science. Even their experiments with Spells and Rituals have a researched quality to them, so it should come as no surprise that the faction’s showcase expansion would introduce a Location like Station Eismitte (Seekers of Knowledge, 22) where Miskatonic’s Explorers and Scientists can focus on their work without distraction.
Miskatonic University counts nearly a dozen Scientists among their numbers, from the lowly Laboratory Assistant (Core Set, 29) to such colorful and splashy new characters as Dr. Laban Shrewsbury (Written and Bound, 8), and Seekers of Knowledge will add two more, both of whom also belong to the faction’s new Explorer subtype. Despite their prominence, these Scientists have received little support. Whether it was due to a lack of grant money or simply because they were planning their expedition, the Scientists have had little to back them up. At Station Eismitte, however, they’ll find a fantastic new freedom to pursue their intellectual interests.
While Explorers and Scientists studying the nature of the universe from Station Eismitte won’t gain any additional safety during the resolution of struggles at a story, the immunity they gain from character effects is a tremendous boon to the advancement of science. No longer will they fall like flies to your opponent’s Ravager from the Deep (Core Set, 46) or herd themselves like obedient sheep at the whims of the dark shepherd, Y’Golonac (Core Set, 122). The Polar station also lies beyond the reach of the Silver Twilight, and Scientists working there can ignore the troublesome interruptions caused by such characters as the Initiate of Huang Hun (Curse of the Jade Emperor, 40) and Lord Jeffrey Farrington (The Order of the Silver Twilight, 18). When all is said and done, Station Eismitte is a place where Miskatonic’s brightest can buckle down and pore over all the unusual inconsistencies in their existing sciences, where they can dig deep for the truth, no matter how terrible it turns out…
Whether or not that will be to their advantage, that’s the way that Miskatonic likes it.
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.