News for June 2009
Beneath the Waves at Devil's Reef 3
A Guest Preview for the next Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game Asylum Pack
Call of Cthulhu LCG | Published 25 June 2009

The final Asylum Pack of the Summons of the Deep cycle for the Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game will be in stores soon and in anticipation of its release and of the resolution of tortured insomniac Julia Brown's strange story, we present this guest preview by frequent contributor Marius Hartland. Weird things are rippling beneath the churning waves at Innsmouth...

The Path to Y’ha-nthlei

by Marius Hartland

Before we enter the Dreamlands, we’re going to take a look at three of the twenty new cards from the final act of the Summons of the Deep Asylum Pack cycle, as we take a peculiarly shambling gait down the The Path to Y'ha-nthlei. As with previous excursions into the asylum, this article references previous products, as the world of a Living Card Game™ is ever expanding. I’ll provide reference numbers to cards from the Core Set and Asylum Packs to help you out, and urge you to take a look at the Support Page, forums and the excellent flash tutorial to help you get up to speed.

Only a very rare affliction, of course, could bring about such vast and radical anatomical changes in a single individual after maturity - changes invoking osseous factors as basic as the shape of the skull - but then, even this aspect was no more baffling and unheard-of than the visible features of the malady as a whole. It would be hard, the youth implied, to form any real conclusions regarding such a matter; since one never came to know the natives personally no matter how long one might live in Innsmouth.

- H.P Lovecraft, The Shadow over Innsmouth

The previous five Asylum Packs each focused on one particular struggle. The Path to Y’ha-nthlei is about transformation and mutations – icons, subtypes, even faction affiliation and card type are all subject to change – and trying to capitalize on the struggles by adapting to the ever changing environment. This mirrors Julia Brown’s plight, as she is experiencing similar changes, both mentally and physically. With every mutation the sirens’ call of the Great Priest is getting stronger and her restless dreams seep into daytime visions of the day the spawn of Hydra and Dagon will rise up from the seas, and prepare the lands for the awakening of their alien god.

Eye of the Deep

...which one could not dissociate from a certain haunting and uncomfortable sense of pseudomemory, as if they called up some image from deep cells and tissues whose retentive functions are wholly primal and awesomely ancestral. At times I fancied that every contour of these blasphemous fish-frogs was over-flowing with the ultimate quintessence of unknown and inhuman evil.
- H.P Lovecraft, The Shadow over Innsmouth

One of these flashes of primordial insanity is represented by Eye of the Deep. From the perspective of a slowly changing hybrid, reality seems overlaid by apocalyptic visions, making any living being look to be inflicted by the blood curse of the Deep Ones.

Click on the image to the left for a larger version.

Mechanically, the card has some interesting effects. It looks at the skill of the characters before trying to change them. It also tries to choose the characters,  so characters that can’t be targeted escape it as well. And it changes the icons and skill, also harkening back to previous Asylum Packs that dealt with these icons and skill. It makes Story Card resolution almost a matter of who has committed the most characters, in order to win the struggles.

Furthermore, it overrides most of the transformed characters’ functions, including keywords like toughness and willpower, effectively blanking them while getting rid of terror icons, making the characters susceptible to wounding and insanity-producing effects. Equalizing expensive and cheap characters into uniform Deep Ones makes sure your 1 cost Innsmouth Troublemaker (Core set, F47) is just as valuable as their 5 cost Thing From the Stars (Core set, F85.) Eye of the Deep brings lots of versatility for such a simple effect.

Don’t look back!

The first thing I noticed when I saw this card was Cris Griffins’ art for it. She has drawn a specially horrid denizen from the uncanny valley, with piercing, lidless eyes looking straight at you. An alien sorcerer that is standing behind you, taking the place of whoever was there before, only to glimpsed from a corner of the eye. The Thing Behind You makes an excellent companion to Victoria Glasser (Core set, F82) or her variant Bearer of the Yellow Sign (Core set, F90) – Not only will you get a sorcerer with five Terror Icons, returning one of those Hastur characters to your hand will give you a chance to reuse the come-into-play ability to send one of your opposing characters insane again. Another use is to return one of your Hastur characters with Toughness to your hand like Hastur (Core set, F81)  to be played again, resetting the number of wounds. You could pay the full cost of five, but not making use of the ‘drawback’ most likely means you’re selling yourself short.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

Answering the Call of the Deep

You don't have be be a particular genre-savvy investigator to see where Julia's journey is headed. She is slowly degenerating (or ascending, if you prefer) into the ranks of the Deep Ones, and will soon dive down Devils' Reef to join her new-found brothers and sisters, waiting below the waves, waiting for the day of rising.

Click on the image to the left for a larger version.

Her theme of change was already introduced in The Spawn of the Sleeper Asylum Pack. Her previous version can search for her oddly amphibious form, in case she is turned insane. It's a fair trade off: You'll lose an investigation and arcane icon, but gain two terror and combat icons, and 3 more skill. The extra combat and skill might just prove useful for the rest of the story resolution.

Julia’s theme of mutation isn't limited to her metamorphosis from an insomniac to a more amphibious form. Her new version also works to transform your hand, and keeps doing so as Julia commits to stories. Spend your useful cards quickly to draw deeper into your deck, and you fill up your discard pile for when the stars are right and you can raise forgotten cards from the murky depths.

Julia is not alone in this. Her violin, now clutched in her webbed hands, is the only constant as everything falls apart. The story of the Summons of the Deep will soon be sleeping with the fishes. The whole of reality is changing, as gates are opened to a new, unknown world. We soon will all go down the rabbit hole, to look for a city of eternal twilight, where gods dwell. See you in Kadath!

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. To learn more about Call of Cthulhu,
visit our minisite.

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Comments (3)

Published: 6/28/2009 7:01:58 PM

Maybe your best aticle yet Marius and I must echo J.J.'s sentiments.

The exceptional art work  of 'Oddly Amphibious' illustrates the disturbing conclusion

of Julia Brown's journey perfectly, Yikes! I can't wait to read the last serialized installment

 of the 'Spawn'  Asylum Pack Cycle!  Yeah Marius, that synergy came to my mind immediately.

Published: 6/26/2009 3:51:48 AM

...and then I forgot to say how amazing 'The Thing' is with Aspiring Artist...

Aspiring Artist
Type : Character
Cost : 1
Skill : 2
Icons : A
Subtype : Cultist.
Game Text: Response: After you play Aspiring Artist, draw 2 cards. Use the ability only if there are no story cards in your won story pile.
Flavor text: "The art is not what you paint, but what you leave unpainted."
Illustrator: Cris Griffin
Collector's Info: AAH F12

Published: 6/25/2009 5:30:56 PM

If all the cards in the AP are like these two, I shudder to think of the horror within. Can't wait to add The Thing Behing You to my deck.

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