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Tabletop Game / Arkham Horror: The Card Game

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Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a living card game spinoff of Arkham Horror. Like its predecessor, AH:tCG is based on H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos and takes place in the 1920s, but unlike its predecessor, it is a fully cooperative game, with the players teaming up to fight the forces of the Mythos controlled by the game.

Players control investigators that try to penetrate the occult mysteries of Arkham, Massachusetts. Play consists of investigators moving across various locations, investigating the locations to discover clues and battling enemies and the forces of the Mythos. The plot of each scenario is determined by "act" and "agenda" cards: the act deck describes the objectives that the investigators are trying to accomplish, usually by collecting enough clues from the locations; and the agenda deck describes the forces of evil and progresses slowly but surely as time goes on. If all cards in the act deck are completed, the scenario ends in a win for the players, and if all cards in the agenda deck are completed, the scenario ends unfavorably (but not always a loss for the players).


Each scenario has multiple possible endings, depending on the actions the investigators took during the scenario and the result of the race between the act and agenda decks. Scenarios are generally linked together in a campaign, with the results of each scenario affecting how later scenarios play out. This being Lovecraft, happy endings are hard to come by.

Players are represented in-game by investigators, each with their own special ability and deckbuilding requirements. The investigators are split into five roles that represent the broad archetypes of Lovecraftian protagonists:

Several expansion campaigns have been released, in addition to one-off scenarios and custom fan made content.


  • Night of the Zealot: The ghouls of Arkham abandon the shadows and take to the streets - aided by their god, Umôrdhoth.
  • The Dunwich Legacy: A cult attempts to take vengeance on Dr. Armitage after the events of The Dunwich Horror.
  • The Path to Carcosa: The play The King in Yellow threatens the invasion of an alien world. Or are you just losing it?
  • The Forgotten Age: An expedition into the jungles of Mexico discovers a threat to the very fabric of time itself.
  • The Circle Undone: At a charity event hosted by the Silver Twilight Lodge, four people have utterly vanished, and the dead are strangely restless...
  • The Dream-Eaters: An intertwined double story as one group becomes lost in the Dreamlands, and another works in the waking world to return them home.
  • The Innsmouth Conspiracy: The team of investigators got stuck in Innsmouth, without memory how they got there. Will they remember in time to prevent an upcoming catastrophe?

Standalone Scenarios:

  • Curse of the Rougarou: A cursed beast stalks the swamps of the New Orleans bayou.
  • Carnivale of Horrors: The celebrants of the Carnivale of Venice are the sacrifices for a dark ritual.
  • The Labyrinths of Lunacy: The investigators must work together to escape a madman's deathtrap.
  • Guardians of the Abyss: The investigators explore Cairo and the Sahara Desert to solve a sleeping sickness where no one will wake again.
  • Murder at the Excelsior Hotel: A murder occurs at the prestigious hotel, and the investigators must solve this case before the police arrive and possibly accuse them of this murder... or they become next victims.
  • The Blob That Ate Everything: A throwback to B-Movie horror with multiple groups trying to take down the giant critter.
  • Barkham Horror: The Meddling of Meowlathotep: Originally announced simply as an April Fools' Day joke in 2019, but fan reaction was so popular that it was released for real later that year. This expansion is set in an alternate universe, where evil cats have become a grave danger to the world, and the only force that stands in their way is a team of heroic investigator dogs.

Note: Until more cleanup is done on the page, this page includes unmarked spoilers. You have been warned!

Arkham Horror: The Card Game features examples of:

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General tropes

     Game mechanics Tropes 
  • Arrange Mode: "Taboo rules" (provided in separate section of official FAQ) were released to nerf cards that were too powerful or overused (like Machete) and investigators (like Rex Murphy), while also buffing unpopular ones (like Winchester). These rules are distinguished from House Rules in that while they are not mandatory to use (unlike updates to FAQ), if players decide to do so, they must use those rules in their entirety, without picking ones they like and ignoring the rest.
  • Bonus Dungeon: Standalone scenarios (with some exceptions) can serve as this during "main" campaign. To access them, each investigator must pay experience points, but successful completion can earn them very valuable special cards, which do not count towards deck's size. Each scenario may be played this way only once, regardless of outcome, leaving investigators with only one chance to obtain those rewards.
  • Cap:
    • Investigators can't include more than 2 (3 for cards with "Myriad" keyword) cards with the same title (even if their subtitles and/or levels are different) in their decks. If card has keyword "Exceptional", they may include only 1 copy of that card (and it costs twice the XP than normal to purchase).
    • When building decks for any scenario in standalone mode (as opposed to campaign mode), investigators may receive bonus experience points for creating their deck. They may receive up to 9 points for free, after which they may (up to four times) receive 10 more by including an additional basic weakness card, for a total of 49 experience.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Boss enemies in the game are distinguished by having the "Elite" trait. Many of the more powerful card effects (such as instantly defeating an enemy or negating an enemy's abilities) are explicitly only able to be used on "non-Elite" enemies. This often makes such cards a Useless Useful Spell.
  • Critical Failure: The auto-fail chaos token; if it's drawn, any skill check is failed automatically (as if the player's skill value was 0), no matter how much the player invested in the skill test to try to pass it. Fortunately, by default there's only one auto-fail token in the game.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Zig-zagged.
    • For most campaign scenarios, if your character is brought down to zero health or zero sanity, you are defeated, but not dead. Instead, you take trauma, which reduces your health or sanity starting from the next session of the campaign, thus making it easier for you to be defeated next time; and if trauma reduces your health or sanity to 0, your character dies for real.
    • Some scenarios avert this, usually those later in a campaign, with defeated investigators specifically being instantly killed / driven insane as part of a scenario's resolution. Since this is (of course) not revealed until after the scenario's end, when you play through a scenario for the first time, you're never sure, though as mentioned, this usually doesn't come up until the final scenarios of a campaign.
    • If a character dies or goes insane, they are eliminated from the campaign entirely... but that just requires you as a player to pick a different character from pool of available investigators and build a new deck for them, starting from scratch for the next scenario.
  • Everyone Has a Special Move: Each investigator has at least one unique ability and signature card which only they may use, which makes playing as them different from any other investigator from the same class.
  • Four-Man Band: The maximum number of players is four, meaning the investigators form this at the maximum player count.
  • Heroic RRoD: The "trauma" mechanic, which symbolises the dangers investigators faces scarring them for life. Traumas are usually earned as consequence of running out of Stamina and/or Sanity, or as effects of scenario resolutions, and result in investigators starting the next one already having some damage/horror, making it progressively easier to gain more of them. If it reduces them to zero starting Stamina/Sanity, that investigator perishes, forcing the player to pick a new one.
  • Limited Loadout:
    • Every investigator can include only so many cards in their decks (30 cards for most of them; signature cards, weaknesses and cards earned via story reasons don't count toward this).
    • By default, any investigator can have up to 8 cards in their hand (5 cards for Patrice Hathaway); they may draw more, but anything excessive must be discarded at the end of the round.
    • Every investigator has two "hand" slots, two "arcane" slots, and one each of "body", "accessory", and "ally" slots. Each slot may be occupied by only one asset at a time, and many assets take up at least one of them. Players have limited opportunities to expand amount of slots available, but usually at the cost of sacrificing something else, and often highly specialised: for example, the Bandolier provides an additional hand slot, but only for Weapon cards, while taking up the body slot; and Sign Magick provides an additional arcane slot at the cost of taking up a hand slot.
  • Necessary Drawback:
    • Each investigator's strong sides are counterbalanced by their own unique "weakness" cards. These are required to be played or dealt with as soon as they are drawn, and usually go directly against the investigator's preferred playstyle, but some give the investigators a new task to deal with, with harsh penalties for failing it or ending the scenario with it incomplete, and some may even screw entire team if left unchecked.
    • Each investigator starts with at least one "basic" weakness (chosen at random at their deck's creation). These are generally not as harsh as signature weaknesses, but still may screw them over if drawn at the wrong time.
  • New Game+: After campaign completion, surviving investigators can be re-used in another one with all the cards they acquired before, including story assets. This is balanced by also having to carry all trauma and weaknesses over as well. Also, although the designers have stated that this is allowed, they have also stated that scenarios are not balanced for starting a new campaign using characters from a previous campaign.
  • One Steve Limit: Only one copy of any unique card (by title) may be in play at a time. This includes investigators (meaning each player must use a different investigator), most allies and most in-story characters and entities. However, players are not prevented from including multiple copies of the same unique card in their decks.
  • Point Build System: How experience works in this game. Players earn experience points by defeating monsters and collecting clues during scenarios, and can spend them to buy new cards for their decks between scenarios.
  • Random Event: The encounter deck will deal you random enemies, obstacles, and horrors every round. Notably, every scenario builds this deck differently, so the darkness will always fit your setting.

     Player Cards Tropes 
Tropes represented by various "player cards": assets, events, skills and weaknesses.Tropes related to specific classes, can be found on characters page.
  • Batter Up!: The Baseball Bat is a level 0 Survivor "Weapon" card. It can be used as weapon, but depending on how your skill test goes when you swing with it, it might break and you will have to discard it.
    • One of the achievements in the Return to the Night of the Zealot campaign is called Pinch Hitter, and to achieve it, a player must defeat three Ghoul enemies with a Baseball Bat without it breaking.
  • Boring, but Practical: Many core game cards (particularly low-level) are extremely common in investigators decks, despite not having any particularly flashy abilities or effects.
    • The Machete. A level 0 Guardian "Weapon" card with only one special effect: it deals +1 damage when you are only engaged with your target. You can manipulate that one condition fairly easily, and the Machete never runs out of uses or breaks (barring encounter cards), so it's a staple in almost all early Guardian decks. It's telling that with Taboo rules, it now requires the expenditure of two experience points to include, although it's still treated as level 0 for deckbuilding rules.
    • The core set neutral skill cards. They give you a one time +2 bonus to a skill check, but they cost no resources or actions to use, can save you at key moments, and can give you a card draw.
  • Breakable Weapons: Recurring trait of Survivor assets. They either risk breaking at random, like Baseball Bat, or can be put beyond their usual surviving capabilities and damaged beyond repair, removing them from the game (or from your deck for the rest of the campaign), in order to achieve certain goals.
  • Bulletproof Vest: "Bulletproof Vest" (Core game) is level 3 Neutral card, which can protect its wielder from up to 4 damage.
  • Burn Baby Burn: Kerosene, a Guardian-class asset, allows to burn recently defeated enemy, restoring Sanity for you and/or your teammates and "Allies".
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Both investigators and their player cards are colour-coded depending on their class. Guardians are blue, Seekers are orange, Rogues are green, Mystics are purple and Survivors are red. Neutral cards are grey, while multi-class cards (introduced in The Circle Undone) have distinct yellow colour.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: "Charon's Obol", Rogue-class asset, provides its wielder with bonus experience at the end of each scenario... but if its wielder would ever be defeated, it means instant death. While risky, it provides constant stream of "free" experience as long as its wielder keeps surviving.
  • Friend on the Force: Most Guardian-class Allies are related to either police or Agency, and prove themselves surprisingly effective in fights against Eldritch Abominations.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: Most "bad" guns (like "Sawed-Off Shotgun or" ".45 'Thompson'") belongs to Rogue class, and have "Illicit" trait, though only certain Rogues can qualify as Token Evil Teammates themselves.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: "Encyclopedia", Seeker-class asset, allows to choose and boost any skill by 2 points until the end of the round.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • A recurring theme of the Guardian class cards. Many of their "Ally cards" have special abilities, which only triggers on damage/defeat, or require damage/discard as a cost. And then there are certain cards which put Guardians themselves at risk, in order to protect their teammates:
      • The "I'll see you in hell!" event instantly defeats you and all non-Elite enemies at your threat area at the cost of lasting physical damage if not outright death.
      • The "Self-Sacrifice" event allows you to take all consequences of failing skill check in place of another investigator.
      • The "Solemn Vow" asset allows you to link with other investigator, and, when they are at the same location, healing that investigator's assets at the cost of damaging your own.
      • The "First Watch" event allows you to take encounter cards from other players, and play them yourself, with all the risks it involves.
    • Seekers have their own variation, the "Ghastly Revelation" event, which allows them to instantly discover up to 3 clues, and then either give them to the other investigator or place them at any other location in the game — after which they gets defeated and suffer mental trauma.
  • Hidden Weapons: Some Rogue-class "Weapon" cards are represented by hidden guns or switchblades, allowing investigators to put them in use during combat without becoming a target for attacks of opportunity.
  • Improvised Weapon: Most combat-oriented Survivor-class cards are improvised to some extent:
    • Almost all Survivor-class weapons are instruments created for different purposes than slashing monsters, like baseball bats, kerosene lamps, meat cleavers, and others. Because they are not intended to be used that way, there are often some downsides, like possibility of breaking them. Out of two firearms available, one is old hunting rifle (prone to jam at worst moments), while other is small, self-defence pistol with low punching power.
    • "Improvised Weapon" (The Forgotten Age) is a level 0 event card useful as a one-time attack against a monster, especially if you have no better options.
  • It Only Works Once: "The Council's Coffer", Neutral-class asset, allows every investigator to play one card for free (from either their deck or discard pile), but after one successful use it gets removed from the game for duration of campaign.
  • Kill It with Fire: "Flamethrower", a Guardian-class asset, may distribute its damage across all enemies in your threat area. It has two major drawbacks, however: firstly, it may only be used against enemies in your threat area, and secondly, it takes not only both hand slots, but also the body slot.
  • Knife Nut: Several low-level "Weapon" cards can be used as cheap and reliable combat knives, with any investigator having access to at least one flavour.
  • Kukris Are Kool: "Kukri" is available as Neutral-class asset. It acts as middle ground between Knife and Machete, and acts as weak, but cheap and reliable melee weapon available to anyone.
  • Laser Blade: Spectral Razor is a Mystic-class event. Unlike conventional knifes, it is blade made from pure magic energy, attached to spell-caster's arm. Obvious downside is that, being an event, it only lasts for one attack.
  • Lightning Gun: "Lightning Gun", Guardian-class asset, is extremely powerful, but costs whopping 6 resources to put in use, takes both hands and only has 3 charges.
  • Luck-Based Search Technique: "Look what I found!", a Survivor-class event, allows you to find some clues... after failing the investigation.
  • Lucky Rabbit's Foot: Lucky Rabbits Foot is a Survivor-class asset, which allows the user to draw 1 card after failing any skill check.
  • Machete Mayhem: "Machete", a Guardian-class asset, deals increased damage when used against enemy engaged with you (unless there's more than one). It was so popular for using in starting decks, it was amongst first cards nerfed by "Taboo" rules, increasing exp cost to purchase it.
  • Multiplayer-Only Item:
    • Many cards are dedicated to teamwork and are near or completely useless in solo plays.
    • Certain basic weaknesses are explicitly forbidden from being used during solo playthroughs, because they affect their owner's teammates.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: "I've had worse", Guardian-class event, allows to ignore up to 5 damage and/or horror received.
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns: "Old Hunting Rifle", Survivor-class asset, can (depending on chaos token revealed) potentially jam (automatically failing skill check), requiring spending additional action to fix it, which, in combat situation, makes you vulnerable to attacks of opportunity.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Revolvers are recurring "Weapon" cards, mainly belonging to Guardian or Rogue classes. Some of them even have unique variations as their signature cards.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: "I'm Outta Here!" is the Rogue-class event which allows you to immediately resign. It only works if there's currently available Resign option, to prevent its use for Dungeon Bypass where it's not intended by design.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: Rogues use shortened versions of shotgun, compared to Guardian-class versions. As result, they take only one hand.
    • "Lupara" isn't particularly strong, but can be put in play without provoking attacks of opportunity, and provides double Combat and damage bonus when used on the same turn it was put in play, most likely due to surprise effect.
    • "Sawed Off Shotgun" scales its damage depending on amount you succeed by. It has better maximum damage than Guardian version, but it's harder to achieve without spending additional cards. At least, it's cheaper to put in play.
  • Science Hero: A recurring theme of Seeker-class cards:
    • Many Seeker-class cards are science-related: scientific gear, special skills, science books, or actual scientists as allies.
    • Several expansions include certain setting-appropriate Seeker-class cards (nearly useless by default) which requires accomplishing specific tasks in order to "upgrade" them to something more useful, either by researching, deciphering, etc.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Guardians use shotguns as strong, though not very reliable, firearms.
    • The ".35 'Winchester'" is the weakest amongst shotgun variants, but also the only one which comes with more than 2 shots.
    • "Shotgun" provides a great Combat boost and scales its damage depending on the amount you succeed by. A major downside is that if you miss, the damage to your teammates would scale, too.
  • Sinister Switchblade: "Switchblade" is a Rogue-class asset. It isn't particularly strong, but can be swiftly and covertly put in play, without risking attacks of opportunity.
  • Skeleton Key: "Skeleton Key", the Rogue-class asset, may be used to reduce shroud of any location to 1, as long as it is attached to it.
  • Spell Book: Several Mystic and Seeker cards are occult books containing spells or magic rituals for specific purposes.
  • Universal Ammunition: Every "Weapon" with limited ammunition would use the same kind of tokens as "ammo" — be it revolver, shotgun or some alien ray-gun. Though ammo-recharging cards generally only affect "Firearm" assets, leaving out something like bows.
  • Walking Armory: "Bandolier" has exactly one option — providing additional "Hand" slots specifically for "Weapon" assets, allowing to keep multiple "Weapons" in play at once.

     Tropes, commonly appearing in campaigns 
  • Achievement System: Each Return to... expansion provides optional achievements, with checkboxes to track which ones are already completed. Most are campaign-specific, but two recurring ones are achievements for finishing on Expert Difficulty and for finishing with three or more Ultimatums active.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: It's a Cosmic Horror Story; even if you win, you'll be loaded down with trauma and extra weaknesses. In some cases, investigators may not live to see their victory. This serves a double purpose: to show horrors investigators faced to save the Earth, and to balance ability to transfer survived investigators into new campaign with all their gear.
  • Challenge Run: Most Return to... expansion provides optional "Ultimatum" rules; players can use more than one at a time (there's even recurring achievement for using three at once and win). Though there're some campaign-specific ones, most are reused throughout all campaigns:
    • Ultimatum of Finality: If investigator is defeated by damage/horror, that investigator is eliminated from campaign instantly. Only for Campaign mode.
    • Ultimatum of Survival: invoked If investigator is killed or driven insane, their player is eliminated from campaign, meaning they can't just choose new one. Only for Campaign mode.
    • Ultimatum of Failure: Adds additional "Auto-failure" chaos token in the pool.
    • Ultimatum of Broken Promise: Removes "Elder Sign" chaos token from the pool.
    • Ultimatum of Induction: invoked Investigators can't include cards of level 1 or higher in their decks, or earn/spend experience, essentially forcing them to play with their starting deck for entirety of campaign.
    • Ultimatum of Disaster: Each investigator starts with additional basic weakness.
    • Ultimatum of Dread: Players can't skip Mythos phase during first round of any scenario (meaning, they run into danger from the very start of the game).
    • Ultimatum of Agony: When assigning damage or horror, investigators must assign as much damage and horror as possible to a single card before any excess damage or horror may be assigned to a different card.
    • Ultimatum of Chaos: Players must form their starting deck from randomly chosen eligible cards (not counting signature cards and weaknesses), instead of building it themselves.
    • Ultimatum of Highlander: Investigators can't include more than one copy of each card (by title) in their decks (except for cards mandatory by deck-building rules).
  • Deer in the Headlights: "Frozen in Fear" is recurring Treachery card; under its effects, investigators freeze in fear, making it harder to concentrate enough on their tasks, thus spending more actions on even basic things (and investigators have only three per turn by default), or pass Willpower check to shake it out completely. Rogues are especially vulnerable to it, having only 1-2 basic Willpower at average.
  • Draconic Abomination: Byakhees somewhat resemble highly deformed dragon/insect being. They are mainly associated with Hastur.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Full spectrum of world-ending scenarios, from Merged Reality to Time Crash. The ultimate goal of any campaign is to prevent it.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Minimum one otherworldly monster per campaign, ranging from monstrous minions to Great Old Ones and Outer Gods.
  • Episodic Game: "Deluxe" expansion pack contain new investigators (usually five — one per class, excluding Neutral), a couple of new player cards and first two scenarios of a new campaign. If you want to play the full story or receive additional cards (especially high-level, with level 4–5 usually appearing towards the end of the cycle), you must also purchase six Mythos packs, each with one new scenario and a couple of additional player cards, including high-level ones. You can play any of them as a standalone mission, and the campaign guide contains special rules for each one. Complete set of expansions (Deluxe plus all Mythos packs) is called "Mythos Cycle".
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: "Chilling Cold" is recurring Treachery set, which involves either thick fog, or frost so strong it can actually greatly damage investigators' Health. This certainly can't be natural, and likely related to Eldritch Abomination in charge.
  • Expansion Pack: Each campaign eventually receives a "Return to..." expansion, which alters rules, replaces some scenario cards and adds new ones for additional replay value and often additional challenge, making it worth to, well, return to them and play again. Each one also contains new player cards (either upgraded versions of existing ones, or their low-level version).
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: Final scenarios of most campaigns happens not on Earth, but in some Eldritch Location appropriate for current Big Bad.
  • Fish People: Deep Ones appears in couple of scenarios. They are mainly associated with Cthulhu.
  • Healing Factor: Whenever agents of Shub-Niggurath are presented, so would be Dark Young — enormous mass of formless flesh, ready to kill and devour anyone on their path; its main gimmick is ability to heal two damage points per round, which can nullify all efforts to put it down unless investigators can out-damage its regeneration. Fortunately, if it actually dies, it wouldn't respawn.
  • Hearing Voices: "Dissonant Voices" is recurring "Treachery" card; under its effects, investigators can't play Assets or Events, due to being too distracted. Fortunately, it only lasts one round.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Bad endings for any campaign always lovely describe just how dire consequences of failing your task were. All the more reasons to try again and do better this time.
  • Kaizo Trap: Goat Spawns (recurring enemies associated with Shub-Niggurath) have not exactly impressive stats, but they have one nasty ability: when they are defeated, they deal 1 Horror to each investigator in their location. If you were unprepared, this may cause defeat by horror to one or more investigators.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: There are often Resign actions included in the scenario cards, to give you an escape option. Losing often makes your next scenario worse, but if you were going to lose anyway, you can avoid a total loss or trauma penalties by resigning. Some scenarios outright kills (or drives insane) all defeated investigators, and death means you have fewer investigators to finish campaign, not mentioning investments which were wasted on perished character(s), so outside of really daring situations, such a "sacrifice" is rarely worth it. Some scenarios simply lack "win" conditions; you must achieve as much as possible and retreat while you can, and being too greedy can nullify all your achievements or cost you so much it becomes a Pyrrhic Victory.
  • Multiple Endings:
  • No Saving Throw: Infamous "Ancient Evils" "Treachery" has exactly one effect: it just increases current Doom by 1, reducing already limited time even further just by being picked, and gets discarded, with no skill checks to try and prevent it (and it can end current agenda). To add insult into injury, it immediately gets followed by another encounter card (because it has "Surge" keyword), which potentially can be yet another "Ancient Evil", because there're three copies of it. Whenever altered versions of this treachery appears, be it Return to... pack or something scenario-specific, they universally provide options to avoid triggering its effect, though sometimes alternative may be no less painful.
  • Once a Season:
  • "Open!" Says Me: "Locked Door" is recurring "Treachery" (especially for indoors locations), which prevents investigators from, well, investigating the locked location. Locked door can be unlocked (Agility check)... or just smashed through by force (Combat check).
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Ghouls are ugly darkness-dwelling humanoids (with their faces being vaguely dog-like) with taste for human flesh.
    • Ghouls are recurring low-level enemies starting from the core game. Some attack directly, others try to grab you from holes in the floor.
    • William Yorick (The Path to Carcosa) has group of ghouls as his signature weakness, meaning they would haunt him regularly.
  • Religion of Evil: Almost all plots involve cult worshipping current antagonistic Eldritch Abomination, with "Dark Cult" being a recurring encounter set starting from the core game, appearing at least once per campaign. Most campaigns also feature they own, setting-appropriate versions, often using "Dark Cult" as template.
  • Starfish Aliens: Being a Lovecraftian-themed game, Arkham TCG has its share of weird-looking monsters from other worlds. Some of them are recurring across campaigns and scenarios:
  • Timed Mission: Almost all scenarios are timed in one way or another. Most scenarios ends when the final agenda's doom threshold is reached, but sometimes there may be other ways. While losing single scenario usually would not result in immediate campaign failure (though final ones always have this effect), consequences often include traumas, new weaknesses, worsening conditions in subsequent scenarios, and death/insanity for most or all investigators involved.
  • Vertical Kidnapping: Several campaigns involve Night Gaunts who can (and will) abduct investigators and take them to different locations. They always appear exactly once.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Rat swarms are recurring (but usually pathetically weak) enemies, who appears in nearly every campaign (The Forgotten Age being the first exception) exactly once. They are so unnaturally aggressive, they even have the "Hunter" keyword, meaning they would actively pursue investigators.

Campaign-specific Tropes (Warning: unmarked spoilers)

Night of the Zealot (core game)

     Night of the Zealot Tropes 
  • Draconic Abomination: Umôrdhoth would randomly receive support from either Yog-Sothoth, Hastur, Cthulhu or Shub-Niggurath. If Hastur is chosen, he would send byakhees, who vaguely resemble some weird hybrid of dragon and insect.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • Umôrdhoth would randomly receive support from either Yog-Sothoth, Hastur, Cthulhu or Shub-Niggurath. If Shub-Niggurath is chosen, she would send Dark Young — enormous mass of formless flesh with strong Healing Factor.
    • Umôrdhoth resembles a formless turquoise hurricane of tentacles.
  • Fish People: Umôrdhoth would randomly receive support from either Yog-Sothoth, Hastur, Cthulhu or Shub-Niggurath. If Cthulhu is chosen, he would send Deep Ones, which resemble some ugly hybrid between human and fish.
  • Fed to the Beast: In final scenario, The Devourer Below, Lita Chantler can be fed to Umôrdhoth in order to appease its hunger, should it rise. This awards players with instant victory, but with great penalties.
  • Forced into Evil: Some of the cultists of Umôrdhoth are not exactly willing in their service. Ruth Turner, a mortician, had her family targeted, forcing her to provide corpses for the ghouls. Others let their occult studies get too deep until the cult would not let them leave.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Umôrdhoth would randomly receive support from either Yog-Sothoth, Hastur, Cthulhu or Shub-Niggurath. If Shub-Niggurath is chosen, she would send Goat Spawns, which resemble some ugly hybrid between human and goat.
  • Let the Past Burn: If you "win" the first scenario, you are presented this as one option for dealing with your ghoul-infested and corrupted home. It's not actually very helpful.
  • Noob Cave: Shortest and easiest of campaigns, mainly used to introduce new players to the game (particularly the first scenario, The Gathering); campaign guide also provides some tips for them. This does not applies to Return to the Night of the Zealot, however, which increases difficulty of the game.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Lita Chantler. She betrayed the cult and destroyed the ghoul's larder, which appears noble. Every action she takes in the campaign, however, is about trying to dodge her personal consequences no matter what - sealing your home with you in it to stop the ghoul pack, roping you into unmasking the cult, and stopping the ritual, all of which is targeting her specifically. If you utterly fail, she flees Arkham and the risen Umôrdhoth will just begin hunting random locals, "searching" for her, and never end its hunger.
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Ghouls are main focus of first scenario, although they also returns in last one. They are servants of Umôrdhoth.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: The first agenda card in Midnight Masks mentions that even as you hunt the cult through Arkham, you feel hunted in return. Proven true once that card flips, and reveals the Masked Hunter, who immediately pounces on whoever has the most progress in revealing more members.
  • Trapped with Monster Plot: The Gathering scenario. You are trapped with ghouls inside your house, and must find a way to escape before they defeat you with shear numbers.
  • Starfish Aliens: Umôrdhoth would randomly receive support from either Yog-Sothoth, Hastur, Cthulhu or Shub-Niggurath. If Yog-Sothoth is chosen, he would send Yithians, who are so outlandish, they resemble no any Earth-born creature.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: While you can sacrifice Lita to Umôrdhoth in order to quickly win the last scenario, whole party would be punished by acquiring new weaknesses; this is also the only ending in which investigators wouldn't be awarded with bonus experience (if not counting outright failure), with other two awarding 5 or 10 points, respectively.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Investigators' house in The Gathering is heavily infested by rodents; they are even aggressive enough to attack investigators themselves. Though ultimately rats are not the main problem here...

The Dunwich Legacy Cycle

     The Dunwich Legacy Tropes 
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: In Lost in Time and Space, Yog-Sothoth, once awakened, pursues investigators until they escape or die. While it is possible (but is not advised, except probably for the challenge) to defeat him, what you are really supposed to do is run.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: In The Essex County Express the train is gradually consumed by transdimensional portal; your task is to reach train engine and restart the train before it consumes you as well.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Yes, you can beat Yog-Sothoth. No, you wouldn't be alive to celebrate it.
  • Big Bad: Seth Bishop is the villain behind all events of campaign. He either went nuts from the strain of what he witnessed, or was a potential novice of Old Whateley all along. His research corrupted him. Now he's running the cult, kidnapping the original story's characters to make sure they can't stop this new ritual. The new Brood are his successful attempts to replicate the Dunwich Horror, using a journal recovered from the Whateley farm. But everything of this was done in service to Yog-Sothoth, and the last part of his plan involves summon him on Earth — which still remains a risk even after Seth himself gets disposed of.
  • Boss-Only Level: The Miskatonic Museum has only one enemy — the Hunting Horror, which keeps pursuing investigators and never stays "dead" for long. In absence of other enemies, entirety of the encounter deck is filled with treacheries, many of which are related to supporting Hunting Horror in killing you.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: While Seth Bishop is the leader of new cult and main force behind the whole story, even when he's dealt with, one last task remains — sealing away the portal he just opened, before Yog-Sothoth reaches our world through it.
  • Eldritch Location: For Lost in Time and Space, that's exactly what your party members are, lost in an extradimensional space beyond the rift, with locations and paths constantly in flux, and echoes of past failures coming back to haunt you.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Implied this happens to anyone who witnessed the Horror and stays in Dunwich. One version of the epilogue shows Curtis Whateley obsessing over the old Whateley farm, hoping to find something inside that would let him rationalise what he'd seen, and strongly suggesting the same thing happened to Seth Bishop.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: While Seth Bishop is the main force behind story's events, all of this was done in service to Yog-Sothoth. Even when Seth himself is dealt with in penultimate scenario, one last task remains — to go on the other side of portal he opened, and seal the rift. This is extremely dangerous, because, besides various anomalies and eldritch monsters, you may attract the attention of Yog-Sothoth himself — who will not let you escape unpunished.
  • Here We Go Again!:
    • In Blood on the Altar, you find someone has tried to recreate the Dunwich Horror. By the next scenario, you know they succeeded, and there's more than one of them out there.
    • Either version of the epilogue. In one, Curtis Whateley starts obsessing over the family legacy. In another, some new investigators from the university checking out an abandoned Dunwich find evidence the cult is still around.
  • Karma Meter: If you make a questionable decision, the campaign will mark it by adding extra tokens to the pool, raising the risks of failing any given task. Such choices include keeping Tome of Eldritch Lore instead of destroying it, letting innocents die when you could prevent it, and cheating at cards in a speakeasy.
  • Locomotive Level: Naturally enough on The Essex County Express, the train you're travelling on comes under attack by a tear in the sky trying to swallow the whole thing. While you certainly can be taken out, the evil's intent is to recover anyone or anything you rescued earlier in the campaign. In order to survive, the investigators must rush through the train as it's being torn apart car by car, and reach the locomotive in order to restart the train before it's too late.
  • Lord British Postulate: In Lost in Time and Space, it is possible, albeit very hard, to defeat Yog-Sothoth, despite this not being your objective. It is a Schmuck Bait, however: for doing this, you are "rewarded" with instant death of all investigators, including those who already escaped; at least, it still counts as victory.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: You spend much of Blood on the Altar trying to find your kidnapped key allies before they are sacrificed. Turns out the sacrifices were meant to appease the Brood or its master, and by rescuing all or most of the prisoners, you now have up to five [[Expy expies]] of the Dunwich Horror pissed off and rampaging nearby.
  • Psychopomp: The soul-catching birds, whippoorwills, from the story return, both as encounter cards trying to trip you up, and lining the rooftops of Dunwich, eager to feast on the doomed village.
  • Puzzle Boss: In Undimensioned and Unseen, the many Brood of Yog-Sothoth are all immune to all damage except for a specific spell you recover early in the scenario. Even that spell won't land much, unless you find a way to trap the creatures, slow them down, or otherwise cut through their invisibility.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: In Where Doom Awaits, if Seth successfully summons Yog-Sothoth it's over — not just for you, but for the whole humanity.
  • Run or Die: In Lost in Time and Space, Yog-Sothoth is ever-present, but you're not supposed to fight it; you must complete your task and reach the portal to escape, all while being pursued by the angry Outer God.
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • The campaign opens with one right away. The faculty you choose to look for first will be the only one you can potentially save. By the time you get to the second scenario, the kidnappers have come and gone. You can still do some good, but if you take too long, the cult will have the time to nab Armitage as well.
    • Extracurricular Activities ends on another. Save the students from The Experiment, or stick to your original mission — find Professor Rice. No third option available.
  • Schmuck Bait: Lost In Time and Space offers you possibility to fight Yog-Sothoth himself and even offer a unique ending if you win. While technically it is possible, albeit hard, to win this battle, what no one tells you is that no one survives it, not even those who managed to run away; and all of this would be in vain anyway, because Yog-Sothoth runs away in the last moment.
  • Starfish Aliens: Yithians are recurring enemies in this campaign, particularly during Lost in Time and Space.
  • Starts Stealthily, Ends Loudly: The House Always Wins starts with infiltration, with thugs not attacking unless provoked. Then casino gets attacked by monsters sent by Seth Bishop, and everything goes to hell.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Depending on the players' performance, some or all heroes of The Dunwich Horror may be sacrificed to Yog-Sothoth.
  • That's No Moon!: In Lost in Time and Space, when Yog-Sothoth actually appears, investigators at first mistook him for the actual moon. Then he started becoming larger, and larger...
  • Time-Limit Boss: In Extracurricular Activity, The Experiment, once unleashed, moves each time the last agenda reaches its doom threshold. Its destination? Dormitories. In order to win, investigators must either save the students, save professor Warren Rice, or find a way to defeat The Experiment before it reaches the dormitories, otherwise it ends in a bloodbath.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: If investigators just slaughter Silas Bishop, instead of trying (unsuccessfully) to cure him, they would face more enemies later in game, due to remains of his body dissolving into smaller monsters.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Brood of Yog-Sothoth in Undimensioned and Unseen are not Elite, and are vulnerable to card effects which similarly threatening enemies are immune to—being blanked, insta-killed, and so on. This can be used to bypass their Puzzle Boss nature. Return to the Dunwich Legacy, however, took this into account, by introducing "Imperceptible Creature" treachery, which takes away this vulnerability from whatever monster it's attached to.
  • You Are Already Dead: "Beyond the Veil" treachery, when it gets revealed, goes into investigator's threat area, and stays here until the right moment. It does nothing... until that investigator runs out of cards in their deck, after which it deals them whopping ''ten points of damage, which is enough to put down even most tough Guardians without assets to soak up damage. And then there're other treacheries and effects which force you to discard cards from your deck. If you are low on cards and have no means to cancel or discard that treachery, your only chance of survival is to live until the end of scenario or resign.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: In Where Doom Awaits, Seth will always be able to open the rift to summon Yog-Sothoth. Your choices before that point will determine how much time you have until he actually summons his master, and whether Seth will still be around to stop you.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Club Clever is heavily infested with rats, who are unusually aggressive.

The Path to Carcosa Cycle

     The Path to Carcosa Tropes 
  • Ax-Crazy: While no cultists of any Eldritch Abomination out there are exactly sane, Hastur's servants are often outright lunatics and maniacs, down to and including Knife Nut psychos to pyromaniacs.
  • Bedlam House: The Unspeakable Oath is set in Arkham Asylum. While infiltrating it is relatively easy, escape is much harder. Any investigators who fails to escape would become irrevocably insane.
  • Big Bad: Hastur. All of this, from ill-fated play to a dark ritual in Paris is part of his plan to escape from his prison, by merging Carcosa and our world.
  • Creepy Cockroach: Swarms of cockroaches are recurring enemies in Hastur's areas of influence.
  • Draconic Abomination: Byakhees are widespread in this campaign, particularly during A Phantom of Truth scenario.
  • Eldritch Location: Carcosa, city of King in Yellow, doesn't abide normal rules of our world, and makes devastating effect on sanity of anyone witnessing it.
  • Gimmick Level:
    • The Pallid Mask, instead of normal map, has catacombs which generates in unpredictable way on the go.
    • The Black Star Rise starts with no Act deck — and two Agenda decks. But one of the two decks are genuine, and other hides the way players may achieve their goal. But which is which wouldn't become apparent until only last agenda card remains.
    • Dim Carcosa wouldn't cause instant defeat on losing all Sanity (which is good, considering extreme amount of horror-based effects it has), allowing to accumulate horror well past the point investigator would be already dead. However, several scenario-specific threats becomes more lethal if investigator stockpile horror, including some outright lethal.
  • Glamour Failure: In The Last King, if investigators take too long or bother them too much, certain party-goers would mutate into monsters and become hostile.
  • Go Among Mad People: Your main mission during The Unspeakable Oath scenario is to infiltrate Arkham Asylum by pretending to be new patients, in order to find one of the last persons who knows what's going on.
  • Healing Factor: In his monster form, Jordan Perry quickly regenerates health each turn (and he is already toughest of the party goers), making it significantly harder to put him down.
  • Here We Go Again!: Campaign epilogue, which can only be accessed if at least one investigator was still possessed by the end of Dim Carcosa, implies that those investigators would attempt to perform "King in Yellow" again.
  • Karma Meter: Game keeps track of "doubts and "conviction", essentially you either outright rejecting anything supernatural going around, or believing in all that and trying to "follow the rules". Pretty much any major decision awards one of them, with occasional chances to avoid either. How many marks you accumulate would determine which final boss you would face and ending you would receive (including game over if you fail your last battle).
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Your goal in The Last King scenario is not to "win" (in fact, this scenario lacks any win condition), or kill all monsters, but to gather as much info as possible, and retreat with it while you still can. At least one investigator must retreat before it's too late, otherwise it would be All for Nothing: you would simply forget everything you gathered.
  • Mini-Boss: People behind The King in Yellow play were corrupted by Hastur, and now lead his cultists on their missions. Any scenario past second (excluding final one) has exactly one of them showing up in the middle of scenario (assuming you didn't kill them on the party) to cause you problem. They are nowhere near Hastur's level of power, but can cause problems nonetheless:
    • Sebastien Moreau always hits his targets, and hits hard; you can't cancel his attacks.
    • Constance Dumaine is slowest, but also hardest to actually damage.
    • Jordan Perry is extremely durable, and, to add insult into injury, heals damage every round.
    • Ishimaru Haruko is most fragile — but also the one you would really want to just avoid (only to notice she's amongst hardest to evade) — all because whenever she takes damage, she forces you to draw encounter cards.
    • Ashleigh Clarke prevents investigators from drawing cards during upkeep just by being in the same location.
    • Throughout the campaign investigators frequently deal with Beast of Aldebaran, huge and dangerous monster. It appears for the last time during Dim Carcosa, where it turns out that it was mutated Dianne Divine (if "Dianne" was even human to begin with).
  • Nasty Party: Setting of The Last King scenario; to learn more about ill-fated play which they just survived, investigators infiltrated the party set by people related to it. This is because they are not even humans any more. Not that human guests, being violently insane, are any better.
  • No Points for Neutrality: Played With. Attempt to avoid accumulating either doubts or convictions would only result in harder version of Hastur as final boss, and you receiving both physical and mental traumas (other endings have only one kind, depending on which boss you faced). But, if you survive this, you receive only ending where you are shown to be truly triumphant over Hastur, due to refusing to play by his rules (assuming you weren't possessed, that is), while others still let him make last laugh.
  • Paranoia Fuel: invoked This campaign aims to achieve this effect, as part of the madness theme. Just as Hastur screws with his victims, the campaign screws with its players, forcing them to doubt if they do the right things at certain points by implying some possible dire consequences, which may or may not really occur later (on the first play, you can never be sure), or outright screws with their mind.
    • Any outcome of any scenario save for the very last one alters chaos bag for the next scenario, but on the blind run you have no way to check wether it would be for the best or for the worst.
    • This campaign makes heavy use of "hidden" cards, which are supposed to be, well, hidden from your teammates, secretly waiting in your hand until the right time comes; they always result in nasty surprise for everyone involved when they finally set off, so if your friends starting acting weirdly, they may hiding something — or suspecting you of doing the same.
    • Several scenarios have their own quirks:
      • If you look at the reverse side of Act 1 in The Last King (there is no in-game reason to do so, so it was done either by mistake or out of curiosity), the game directly questions your sanity.
      • Echoes of the Past constantly adds up tension, by implying that something horrible would happen if Hastur's followers would find information they seek first, and then... nothing special happens, with the rest of campaign going pretty much unaltered; well, you missed opportunity to earn some (double-edged) story assets, and any outcome of any scenario affects chaos bag for the next one, but that's it.
      • The Black Star Rise has two agenda decks, one of which is genuine threat, and other is your actual goal, but you have no way to check which one is correct one until you finish the Agenda 2 of either one.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: In The Last King scenario, investigators infiltrate a party and meet the people behind recent events. At first, they look (somewhat) normal. Then they start mutating, one by one, and become hostile. Each one of them, unless killed here (with exception of Dianne Divine, who can't be killed), would appear as an (optional) Mini-Boss in subsequent scenarios. Each one of them has unique abilities which make them pain the ass to face. And then, in the very last scenario, it turns out that another recurring monster, Beast from Aldebaran, was no one else by Dianne herself — when she attacks you for the last time on Hastur orders.
  • Reality Bleed: Hastur's plot involves gradually merging Earth and Carcosa.
    • In areas plagued by Hastur's influence, weird things starts to occur, like bleeding walls or hostile ghosts' attacks.
    • In Black Stars Rise, this plan comes to its final stage when Hastur's followers managed to open the portal to Carcosa. The only way to stop it is to find a way to infiltrate Carcosa and confront Hastur himself.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies:
    • In The Unspeakable Oath, investigators must accomplish their task and escape before final agenda advances, or all involved investigators would be driven insane by Hastur's visions, permanently becoming asylum's inhabitants themselves. If this happens, investigations would be continued by the new team, who would learn of their demise from newspapers.
    • Hastur's plan involves merging our world with Carcosa. If he ever succeeds, humanity becomes his slaves. By the end of campaign, he comes dangerously close to actually accomplish this plan, so allowing final agenda in any of the two final scenarios to advance means instant defeat and insanity.
  • Speak of the Devil: If you heed Daniel's warning, each time an investigators says Hastur's name, they suffer 1 horror. Including during the scenario's setup. One of achievements in Return to the Path to Carcosa requires doing this seven or more times during single scenario and/or its setup.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: The Pallid Mask has an enemy, "Corpse Dweller", which spawns by discarding "Humanoid" enemies in play and taking their place. Problem is, nothing in the rules prevents it from discarding The Man in the Pallid Mask (also known as the Stranger); this doesn't count as him being defeated, and since there's no way to respawn him, this strips investigators of their only way to win scenario. This gets addressed in Return to the Path to Carcosa, where additional rulings specifically forbids Corpse Dweller from targeting the Stranger.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: You can kill all party guests at the end of The Last King. While this guarantees that they never appear again in subsequent scenarios, Hastur later uses the investigators' hidden sense of guilt against them, giving all investigators mental trauma.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: If Dianne Devine survives The Last King, she never appears again. Neither would be other monsters if you spare them at their second appearance.
  • You Are Already Dead: Dim Carcosa has unique set of cards, "Possession". They all can be discarded (requiring to pay some not exactly small price, unique for each card), but what makes them dangerous is that they would instantly kill any investigator the moment their total amount of horror exceeds threshold of their doubled max Sanity (which can happen very easily, due to scenario being extremely horror-heavy). Including on drawing them. And then Return to the Path to Carcosa adds High Priests of Hastur, who, instead of normal attack, immediately drives insane anyone who's possessed.
  • You Dirty Rat!: The Miskatonic Playhose in Curtain Call is infested with rats, who attack any nearby investigator on sight. It's unclear wether it was always like this, or this is Hastur's influence.

The Forgotten Age Cycle

     The Forgotten Age Tropes 
  • All of Time at Once: In Shattered Aeons, you can travel to different location in different times, including Atlantis right before its demise, the ancient world and a devastated city in distant future long after humanity's extinction.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Investigators must fight with Snake People of Valusia and Brotherhood, who're both hunting for the Relic of Ages. Although ultimately they are the lesser of your problems.
  • Cosmic Keystone: Unsurprisingly, Relic of Ages turns out to be this. It is key component to stabilise space/time continuum, and in ''Shattered Aeons" it becomes humanity's last and only chance for survival. And to get the best ending, you must not only to keep it intact, but also do some specific choices in order for it to reach its full potential.
  • Demonic Possession: Halfway through campaign, investigators would learn that Alejandro is controlled by the Yithian. Depending on how you play campaign, he can either shrug it and remember everything, or remain hostile to you. Unfortunately, it is not possible to save him on the path to the epilogue.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: The Vengeance points mechanic. Some actions (like killing certain snakes or his followers, or desecrating his temples) enrage Yig, "awarding" you with vengeance points. Certain game elements become more dangerous if you accumulate too many points, notably:
    • The Doom of Eztli has different outcome for defeated investigators depending on the vengeance points accumulated. If there're four or more points, each defeated investigator gets killed by angry snakes. If there're less than four, investigator survives unscarred (if not counting normal defeat-caused effects, like new traumas), but due to it by itself adding three points, it would work only for one investigator (two, if certain precautions, counter-intuitive on the first playthrough, are made).
    • Depths of Yoth provide you with progressively less time and more enemies if you test Yig's patience too much. It's entirely possible to skip all but the last two (out of seven) agendas this way.
  • Endless Game: Depths of Yoth in standalone mode has no victory condition, as the game doesn't end once the 5th floor is reached. Instead, the game continues further and further until all investigator are defeated, with final agenda's effects becoming progressively more dangerous with each new floor. The whole point is not to "win", but to set a new survival record.
  • Enemy Mine: In Shattered Aeons, two (out of five available) endings allow you to side with either Valusians or the Yithians, and save their civilisation, while dooming our own.
  • Escort Mission: In Shattered Aeons, if an investigator with the Relic of Ages gets eliminated (or it permanently leaves play for any other reason), the whole party loses. While they get their job done, their teammates must ensure their survival.
  • Evil All Along: Alejandro is helpful at first, but actually has his own agenda, due to actually being Yithian agent all along. It's possible to save him and release him from Yithian mind control, but not on the path to the Golden Ending.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Ichtaka actually starts on your side, but towards the end of campaign realises her Valusian heritage, and betrays you. It wouldn't happen if she trusts you enough to reject Yig's call, but this is impossible to achieve on the path to the Golden Ending.
  • Foreshadowing: There is a good reason why you receive additional chaos tokens every time you side with Ichtaca or Alejandro.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: In Shattered Aeons, the Formless Spawn; it's a... formless blob of... something, it's not related to either Valusians or Brotherhood, and there's almost no explanation in-story just what it is. Most likely, it was added to give players a Final Boss even if they miss the Golden Ending.
  • Gimmick Level:
    • Threads of Fate has three (four with Return to the Forgotten Age) act decks — and very limited time to complete them all. However, doing so awards players with various benefits for subsequent scenarios.
    • The City of Archives forces you to play as Yithians instead of your normal investigators, and is completely build upon trying to play around hand size limitations it forces on you.
    • Depths of Yoth has investigators constantly running away from ever growing horde of Snake People through several randomly-generated levels.
  • Golden Ending: If you do everything just right throughout whole campaign, you can go back in time and prevent the whole plot from happening.
  • Identity Amnesia: The main threat of The City of Archives. The investigators have been kidnapped by Yithians, and their minds are placed in Yithian bodies. As the agenda progresses, they gradually forget more and more, until they forgot it completely. This is also what happened to Alejandro, who potentially may be saved at the end of this scenario, depending on the path players took previously.
  • Increasingly Lethal Enemy:
    • The "Agents of Yig" encounter set exists to punish the investigators if they get too many vengeance points, with the enemies getting stronger the more vengeance points the players have.
    • The Formless Spawn starts with relatively tame Fight and Evade ratings, but keep accumulating them the more doom is in play; there's no upper limit other than agendas' doom threshold.
    • Return to the Forgotten Age introduced Stolen Mind enemy, which starts with low Fight stat, but progressively increases it as it keeps accumulating doom (which it does automatically every turn).
  • Know When to Fold 'Em:Threads of Fate has three separate act decks (with Return to the Forgotten Age adding fourth one). None of them are mandatory to finish the campaign (though Relic of Ages must be secured if you plan to reach Golden Ending), but completion of at least act 1 of each deck rewards investigators with bonus experience, and each deck on completion reward you with some bonuses. While tempting, being too greedy may result not only in failure to reach these goals, but also mental trauma for each not-resigned investigator once the agenda deck is finished. Instead, investigators must effectively use their limited time and resources to achieve as much as they can and retreat when there is no more time left to take further risks, while prioritising those goals which are most desired for subsequent scenarios.
  • Mental Time Travel: In The City of Archives investigators have been kidnapped by Yithians, and their minds are placed in Yithian bodies in the city of Pnakotus, which seemingly exists outside of time. Now they must find a way to escape, and return to their time and their true bodies. Problem is, they suffer from Identity Amnesia and must firstly remember who they really are. This wouldn't be easy, since the longer time goes, the higher it becomes to resist mind-altering, until it becomes irreversible.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: If you side with Ichtaca, Alejandro will not work with you, and vice versa.
  • No-Gear Level: The City of Archives comes as close to it as possible. Players have reduced hand size, restricted from putting "Item" Assets in play by default, and can't use any unique "Items" whatsoever (they are outright removed from the game). In combination with Yithian body having overall poor stats, relatively monsters and treacheries suddenly becomes much more problematic.
  • No Points for Neutrality: Zigzagged. Due to their recruitment requirements, you must decide who you want in your team (Ichtaka or Alejandro), and stick with them to the very end, or you would recruit neither one. However, deliberatly choosing to ally with none of them and "forging your own path", which makes the campaign even harder, is actually one of requirements for the Golden Ending.
  • Non-Standard Game Over:
    • In Depths of Yoth, if the investigators are defeated, they fall to the Depths of Yoth, and their survival depends on how long (from each "level" they fell) this fall was. If they fall from the first level, they die and campaign ends, even if you still have unused investigators left. Levels two and three injures them (leading to 2 and 1 physical traumas, respectively), but it's not instantly fatal, unless all investigators have already accumulated too many traumas. If all currently played investigators die after the fall, it also ends in a Game Over, even if there are still unused investigators left.
    • Shattered Aeons has two:
      • If investigator with the Relic of Ages gets eliminated, or otherwise permanently loses it, the whole party loses, because it is the key to stabilise the space/time continuum.
      • While formally it's still treated as "win", if you side with Ichtaca or Alejandro and help them to save Valusia/Pnakotus respectively, humanity is no more, and you can't transfer your investigators to a new campaign, so it may as well be a Game Over.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: In Shattered Aeons, if investigators took too long or failed to protect the Relic of Ages, time itself dissolves, and people's minds are too weak to survive this. Same result is achieved if the investigators take too long to defeat Yig during the Epilogue scenario.
  • Skippable Boss:
    • Throughout many campaign scenarios, you are pursued by the Harbinger of Valusia. It is a particularly tough enemy, but it can't heal its wounds between scenarios, so if you keep fighting it, eventually it dies. However, fighting it does not worth it: while you do save yourself some trouble by eliminating it, not only it does not award any experience, it also "awards" you with whopping 5 vengeance points, which can make your life much harder than if you simply avoid it, which isn't even that hard.
    • In Depths of Yoth, if you manage to avoid accumulating even single vengeance point during the campaign, Yig does not appear at all. Even if he appears, he may be avoided (and, despite him awarding a lot of bonus experience, it may be preferable preferable, since your actual goal has nothing to do with fighting giant snakes, and you have little time to waste.
  • Snake People: Majority of your enemies consists of serpent people, ranging in size from human-like to really enormous ones. Surprisingly (or not), Ichtaca turns out to be one as well, though depending on your previous actions, she may or may not reject her snake heritage.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Besides Snake People, several scenarios contain actual snakes, from "normal" ones to enormous man-eating ones called "Basilisks". All of them are hostile to investigators. And no snake is more sinister than Yig himself.
  • Stable Time Loop: Entire point of Turn Back Time is to try and prevent Relic of Ages from ever being disturbed. However, if investigators fail on this mission, this would lead to the Relic being found again, ensuring that time would be locked in eternal repetition of the same cycle, with no foreseeable future.
  • Starfish Aliens: Halfway through campaign it turns out that The Brotherhood cultists are not even humans, but rather Yithians.
  • Take a Third Option: You may choose to forge your own path, instead of siding with Ichtaca or Alejandro, despite it seemingly providing nothing but troubles. It's actually mandatory to achieve the Golden Ending.
  • Time Crash: By the time of Shattered Aeons time itself starts to collapse, and now it's up to the investigators to save it before it's too late.
  • Time-Limit Boss: In Turn Back Time, the boss fight with Yig must be completed before the final agenda advances (and Yig receives reinforcements), otherwise it would all be for nothing.
  • True Final Boss: Yig, if you successfully go back in time, is the final boss of the Epilogue scenario.

The Circle Undone Cycle

     The Circle Undone Tropes 
  • The Atoner: If Anette gets possessed by Keziah and survives events of In the Clutches of Chaos, she would offer her help in saving the world, to atone for unwillingly causing all of this; unlike Sanford, she actually recognises that this is her fault. You can accept it, or try to arrest her.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Most of campaign is consist of conflict between Coven (lead by witch Anette Mason), and Silver Twilight Lodge (lead by wizard Carl Sanford), until the end of In the Clutches of Chaos, where their whole conflict becomes insignificant in the face of Azathoth's possible awakening.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Both parties in Big Bad Ensemble, in their own ways:
    • Carl Sanford wants to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, no matter the cost, but even if he comes victorious out of his conflict with Coven, his plan goes horribly, horribly wrong, and if investigators fails to stop him in time, he only gets himself and the rest of the Lodge killed.
    • Anette Mason never was equal partner in her alliance with Spectral Watcher, and once she completes her task, she instantly gets possessed, and unless investigator interfere, leads her people to their doom.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The Piper of Azathoth has huge health not far away from actual boss, and can make a short work on everyone in its position unless dispatched quickly. It also has "Elite" trait, making it immune to many abilities normally able to one-shot regular monsters, and even if gets killed off", it can easily return to the game through "Daemonic Piping" treachery (which is part of regular encounter deck). Despite never being actual goal of any scenario, it keeps reappearing in many scenarios to make investigators suffer.
  • Dark World: Spectral Realm (at least, those parts you may visit) copies "real" world, but is much more dangerous and inhabited by hostile ghosts and other spectral monsters.
  • Dead All Along: If investigators fails The Wages of Sin scenario, Spectral Watcher, who was ready to kill them all, for whatever reason leaves them alone. Epilogue, however, reveals that Spectral Watcher actually killed them... and now, when they saved the world, it's time to go... or start another adventure.
  • Deal with the Devil: In the end of Before the Black Throne, If you can't complete ritual and lead investigator is unfit to join the Pipers to pacify Azathoth (or you refuse to do either of this), only remaining option (besides dooming whole Universe is to make a deal with Nyarlathotep.
  • Decoy Protagonist: In prologue scenario you are introduced to four new characters, who would be your Player Characters for this scenario. Then they all get kidnapped and/or killed, after which actual team of investigators arrive, to investigate what happened to them.
  • Demonic Possession: Witches' plan involved summoning Keziah Mason's spirit back into our world, and let her possess her descendant, Anette, so they would have great ally in their struggle against old enemies. Plan went bad very fast, since Keziah has entirely different plans in mind.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: While Carl Sanford and Anette Mason are main threat for the most of campaign, no matter with whom you sided and who wins in their conflict, they are dealt with before final scenario, Before the Black Throne, and final threat to our world is Azathoth, The Daemon Sultan.
  • The Dragon: Both Carl Sanford and Anette Mason are always accompanied by their most trusted underlings, Josef Meiger and Erynn, respectively. Of them, only Josef can be fought and slain.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: Make the "right" decisions at several plot points and lead Silver Twilight Lodge to utter triumph over Coven, then stay loyal to it even when directly questioned if you are sure in your decision, and investigators would side with Lodge in their "mission". Unfortunately, if you know what would happen very next scenario, you would also know how Sanford's plan would end. This resolution also specifically only one to lack experience reward (even failure has it), and very specific wording just screams that something is wrong.
  • Eldritch Location:
    • Spectral Realm, shadow version of our world, inhabited by hostile ghosts and spectral monsters.
    • Last battle would occur not on Earth, but in the centre of Universe, before the Black Throne of Azathoth.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: If Azathoth ever awakens, it would be end not just for our world, but for all Universe.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • In Union and Disillusion, you would side with Anette Mason against Silver Twilight Lodge, or vice versa, and bring them to triumph over other side and help them to achieve their goal. No matter whom you choose, they would backstab you afterwards, with exact reason varying depending on the side you favoured. Events of the subsequent scenarios would be largely the same, with only major change being which boss you would face.
    • In In the Clutches of Chaos, if Anette/Sanford survives mayhem they caused (which happens if investigators managed to stop them before they come too far with their plans), they would offer help in saving the world. You can accept it, refuse or try to arrest them (in Sanford's case, you can also replace him as new master of the Lodge).
  • Evil Is Not a Toy:
    • Carl Sanford wished to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, but vastly overestimated his ability to control forces he used for this. Ultimately this may result in him bringing humanity and the whole Universe at the edge of destruction, and quite possibly causing his own death before story would even conclude.
    • Anette Mason wishes to utilise Keziah's Azathoth-granted powers for the greater good of her people, naively thinking that this would work. It didn't, and end result is pretty much the same as with Sanford's ambitions — near apocalyptical.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Both sides of conflict are dark sorcerers, willing to let many people die to achieve their goals. Still, to deal with Spectral Watcher, investigators must decide who is lesser evil, and side with them.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The prologue flat-out tells you at the beginning that it's only going to end once all four of its investigators are defeated; you just need to get as many clues as possible to influence the main campaign itself. How those investigators get defeated determines if, in Union and Disillusion, they're still alive, dead, or neither.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Any time investigators side with Lodge in any way (starting from accepting offer to join the Lodge), chaos bag receives new "Cultist" tokens (absent by default); this isn't first time questionable decisions "award" new chaos tokens, and indeed, Lodge soon shows its dark side.
    • Carl Sanford's weird reaction to investigators (who were just accepted into Inner Circle) surviving Spectral Watcher's embrace foreshadows reveal of the epilogue — that investigators actually didn't make it; they just refused to die, continuing fighting till the end.
  • Four-Man Band: Investigators in prologue scenario must operate as a team and cover each other's weak points to... well, not survive, but to achieve the best result before inevitable defeat.
  • Gimmick Level:
    • In the Clutches of Chaos has no usual once-per-turn doom increasing. Instead, scenario uses unique breaches/incursions mechanic, which represents growing chaos. Breaches are placed at random each turn (and some scenario-specific effects may add even more), and once any location accumulates four or more, incursion occurs, which not only increases doom on agenda, but also spreads additional breaches on other locations — and yes, this may cause chair reaction.
    • Before the Black Throne is essentially set up in space. Not only level generates at random (thrice, once for each act), but there may be some "empty spaces" between locations, which normally can't be entered by anyone (though there's specific "hunter" enemy which can visit them during their hunt), but counts for determining distances between locations. "Empty spaces" are marked by cards taken from players cards (they would be shuffled back when empty spaces leave play by any means).
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Karl Sanford wants to steal Keziah's powers. Anette wants to resurrect her as powerful ally. No matter who of them succeeds, this results in disturbing Azathoth, majority of their followers dying, and potentially their own deaths as well.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: While Azathoth is the ultimate threat to humanity, Azathoth himself is asleep (in fact, if he ever gets awakened, it would cause The End of the World as We Know It); his sleep gets disturbed by either Anette Mason, or Carl Sanford, who both unwillingly interacted with him. Final task is not to fight him (he is invincible), but to ensure that he would continue sleeping.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose:
    • In Union and Disillusion, no matter which side actually wins (and wether you supported victors or losers), they would betray you (loser would abandon you while Coven/Lodge battle itself would cause massive destruction and injure any investigator present there; winner would simply turn on you once you cease to become useful, albeit you at least leave unharmed), and whoever prevails in Coven/Lodge conflict, escalates previous problems to near-apocalyptic level, either trough Mason's rituals, or through Sanford's incompetence, leading to the events of In The Clutches of Chaos scenario, only differing in which enemies you would face here.
    • In In the Clutches of Chaos, wether you stop Anette/Sanford or not, their ritual would disturb Azathoth's sleep, bringing Universe on the edge of destruction. Only thing which actually changes is wether they would survive this.
  • Heel–Face Turn: When their antics results in Azathoth's slumber being disturbed, bringing our universe on the brink of destruction, either Anette Mason or Carl Sanford (depending on path chosen) would offer their help. Anette also greatly regrets making mistake of trusting her ancestor, while her underling Erynn actually aids in purging Keziah's spirit.
  • Here We Go Again!: Epilogue consists of several entries, which may (or may not) happen depending on certain events during campaign. All but one of them suggests that this isn't the end.
    • If Anette gets arrested, she uses unknown magic to escape. This highly reminds about how Keziah's story once started...
    • If investigators replaced Carl Sanford as leader of the Lodge, they would become confident that they may protect humanity from otherworldly dangers. Considering all Sanford's talks about "greater good of mankind", this may be early signs of investigators going the same route as he did.
    • If investigators made a deal with Nyarlathothep, he would visit them eventually to force them to pay up their "debt".
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In on of the three possible (non-failure) endings the lead investigator sacrifice themselves and joins demonic pipers to put Azathoth to rest once again.
  • Increasingly Lethal Enemy: In The Secret Name, all enemies gain +1 health per current agenda, including very first one. While with bosses, this wouldn't change much due to them being tough already, this also applies to constantly spawning swarms of rats, upping them to quite dangerous 4 health at third agenda.
  • King Mook: Rats in The Secret Name can be accompanied by Brown Jenkin, who triples their damage just by being presented.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Unlike Carl Sanford, Anette Mason fights for her people, who was hunted and killed during Salem "trials", and she has no personal hatred for investigators, her main target is Silver Twilight Lodge. But, (unknowingly to her) her mysterious ally, Keziah Mason, serves Azathoth and intends to bring The End of the World as We Know It. She actually recognises her mistakes if she survives, and offers her help with fixing at least some of them; her close supporter, Erynn, was also unimpressed by results of her plan and calls her out on it.
  • Locked Door: Major part of For the Greater Good scenario involves obtaining different keys to enter restricted section of Silver Twilight Lodge's headquarters.
  • The Mole: Depending on your standing with the Lodge, you can exploit their trust to infiltrate their headquarters and learn more. If you perform well enough, they may even allow you into their Inner Circle.
  • Never My Fault: If Josef Meiger gets killed during On the Death's Doorstep, Carl Sanford would blame investigators for deaths in Silver Twilight Estate, no matter wether it was their fault, or not. Right after admitting that he provoked Spectral Watcher to attack on purpose, and without warning anyone.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Conflict between Anette Mason and Carl Sanford ultimately disturbs Azathoth in his dream. If he awakens, it would mean The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Non Standard Game Over: In Before the Black Throne, if, at any point, there are ten or more doom tokens on Azathoth, he immediately awakes and devours the Universe. It's possible to happen even before agenda deck finishes, mainly during agenda advancement, since Azathoth "consumes" all doom on cultists in play.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: According to Anette, Carl Sanford is this, since only thing he cares about is to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. And indeed, when he obtains powers of Spectral Watcher for himself, he drops all "helping humanity" demagogy, and starts gloating about his new found power. Investigators wouldn't even receive a choice to side with him unless they were fiercely loyal to him in all previous scenarios.
  • Predecessor Villain: Many of campaign's events can be traced back to Keziah Mason.
    • Whole point of The Secret Name is to uncover as much information about Keziah Mason as possible, and learn wether she's related to Anette Mason and her Coven.
    • In The Wages of Sin, investigators go to Hangman's Hill — the place of Witch Trials' executions — in hope to find ghosts of other old witches and learn something about Keziah from them.
  • Psychopomp: The island in ''The Union and Disillusion" is inhabited by the soul-catching birds, whippoorwills.
  • Puzzle Boss: In Before the Black Throne, you can't defeat Azathoth; he simply lacks any stats besides damage whatsoever. Instead, you must find how to pacify him.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: In Before the Black Throne, like in any game he appears in, if at any moment Azathoth awakens, it's instant game over.
  • Stalked by the Bell: In Before the Black Throne, investigators must find a way to pacify Azathoth before he awakes, otherwise it would mean The End of the World as We Know It. This threat is measured by Doom tokens on Azathoth; each time agenda advances, Azathoth receives all doom tokens from cultist currently in play, and when agenda deck ends, instead of immediate failure, game will continue, but any further doom would be put directly on Azathoth. Once there are at least ten doom tokens of Azathoth, it's an immediate apocalypse and game over.
  • Tarot Motifs:
    • First agenda in any scenario's agenda deck named after different Tarot cards.
    • There are also new Tarot assets, one for each class, including neutral, plus new basic weakness. They take separate "Tarot" slot, instead of one of standard ones.
  • Unreliable Expositor: Both Anette Mason and Carl Sanford claims that they are Well-Intentioned Extremist who wants to use their power for good of humanity, while another one is the main cause of all those troubles. While Anette did summon Spectral Watcher, at least she was just as unaware about its true intentions or true nature as everyone else, while Sanford probably just lies to cover his real motifs – Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Even if taking Sanford's motives to help humanity as sincere, he is still willing to risk his people just to prove his theory that Spectral Watcher gets attracted to large crowds of people. This potentially may end with his trusted underling, Josef Meiger, being killed, but Sanford considers it to be "price of the progress".
  • Void Between the Worlds: Before the Black Throne happens at the center of the Universe. Void is both common obstacle and lethal threat; any investigator who gets defeated here, would fall into endless space void, alive, leading to them being driven insane.
    Your steed does not catch you when you fall. Down and down and down, through endless voids of sentient blackness, you fall. And fall. And fall. And fall. You beg and scream and plead and pray for an end, even for a floor upon which to crash upon, but it never comes. You will still be falling when the universe ends.
  • Wicked Witch: Besides Anette Mason and her Coven, there are ghosts of victims of Salem Trials, and Keziah Mason herself, who are very hostile to the descendants of their prosecutors.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Witch House in The Secret Name is full of them, including Brown Jenkin himself. In fact, they are your only non-boss enemies for this scenario. Unlike most scenarios including them, here they may become an actual threat, due to increasingly high health value.

The Dream Eaters Cycle

Due to expansion containing two campaigns with two storylines (dividing story in two half, four scenarios each), which can be played either together, forming one big story (with two separate sets of investigators for each) or completely separately, tropes are divided for convenience. First part contains tropes related to expansion in general (setup, premise, new mechanics). Second and third parts contain tropes presented in respective campaigns. Fourth part contains tropes only presented in combined campaign mode, including epilogue (which is unavailable otherwise).
     The Dream Eaters Cycle in general and campaign set-up 
  • Actually Four Mooks: The "Swarm" mechanic allows one monster to impersonate several copies of itself, but they can't separate from each other.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The Black Cat's gender never gets stated anywhere in campaign (which only calls the Black Cat "it", like an actual animal).
  • Based on a True Story: Virgil's "Tales from Nevermore" are allegedly based on his personal experiences. Of course, no one believes this. When things he described starts happening to other people for real, attracts the interest of the investigators, kickstarting the plot.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: While simultaneous, each story has different antagonists, who don't interact with each other directly and have separate agendas and minions. Their goals are also mutually exclusive, which means even if they both succeed, they are be forced to fight each other for control; humanity, obviously, can't survive even one of them, let alone both at once, fighting each other.
  • Cats Are Mean: The Black Cat acts in a rather enigmatic way, making it unclear if it really can be trusted, and shows little empathy towards misfortune for anyone but itself. The game helpfully provides the opportunity to refuse its aid.
  • Dream Land:
    • The Dream Quest story is set in the Dreamlands, and involves people getting stuck here against their will. Whatever caused this, and whatever may end this, it is certain that the only place the investigators can receive their answers is Unknown Kadath.
    • The Web of Dreams story involves the Dreamlands and "Waking World" (Earth) gradually merging together, which, if not prevented, destroys both worlds. To stop this from happening, investigators must find another way into the Dreamlands and through it, into the realm of the Eldritch Abomination that causes all of this.
  • Forced Sleep: The group that enters the Dreamlands was supposed to just prove it's real and go back, but for some reason get stuck there. According to Randolph Carter, this is not normal, because Dreamers are capable to waking up just by willing it. Something forces them to stay, and this "something" gradually kills them.
  • Interface Spoiler: The mere presence of the Black Cat as a possible "Ally" card in the last Mythos pack reveals that its offer of aid was sincere.
  • Life Imitates Art: In-Universe. This is what kickstarts the whole plot. When things described by Virgil starts occurring to other people, the team of investigators decides that there might be some truth behind this after all. One group enters the Dreamlands to investigate this, while the othjer stays in the "Waking World" to guard them and control the experiment.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Gugs appear in certain scenarios in both campaigns. They are big, four-armed beasts with vertical slit-like mouth. They kill and eat anything too weak to fight back and too slow to run, up to and including humans.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The expansion was designed in a way which allows you to either play the two stories separately, or combine them together into one big campaign (plus epilogues) which alternates between two storylines, occasionally allowing investigators to interact with each other. If you play the campaigns together, each part has their own separate campaign log, chaos bag and pool of available investigators. Despite being "separated", during interludes the two teams contact each other and their interactions can alter the chaos bag for both campaigns; certain events, once they occur in one campaign, affect both, and the only way to achieve the Golden Ending is to fulfil certain conditions in both campaigns.
  • Zerg Rush: Th new "Swarm" mechanic. Each "swarm card" on a "swarm" enemy means an individual copy of this enemy, allowing them to amass more monsters than usual; fortunately, they can't separate from each other, and can be fought all at once, since any excessive damage transfers to another copy.

     The Dream Quest tropes 
  • Absurdly Long Stairway: In Beyond the Gates of Sleep, the Seventy Steps and Seven Hundred Steps.
  • Draconic Abomination: The Moonbound Byakhee in Dark Side of the Moon is a particularly big and dangerous byakhee, quite capable of tearing apart careless investigators. With high "alert", it hunts them.
  • Eldritch Location: The Dreamlands is a strange place, which does not abide the rules of the Waking World, and is inhabited by all sorts of weird (and often dangerous) creatures.
  • Fed to the Beast: In Dark Side of the Moon, if the investigators fail to escape from the Moon and get captured by the Moon Beasts, they recognise Randolph Carter and feed him to the Moon Lizard. The last that can be heard of him is his scream.
  • Gimmick Level:
    • Dark Side of the Moon has the "Alert" mechanic, which (independently for each investigators) gradually accumulates and alters the way things goes for them for the worse. In order to win, investigators not only have to do what they came here for, but also find a way to reduce "Alert" before it overwhelms them.
    • Where the Gods Dwell, instead of the usual boss battle, has (Me's a Crowd several versions of) Nyarlathothep secretly attacking them from the encounter deck, after which they must find a way to get rid of it.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: It becomes obvious almost immediately that Nyarlathothep is involved in the whole Forced Sleep plot, but not what this plot is supposed to achieve. Unless the investigators are on the path to Golden Ending, they learn nothing about his true goals even after defeating him.
  • Hope Spot: In Dark Side of the Moon, if you fail to escape the Moon, the lead investigator wakes up at the last moment, seemingly escaping both Moon-Beasts' trap and the Dream Lands, only to realise that this is another nightmare. Then they wake up from that, still in captivity, and things only go downhill from here.
  • I Choose to Stay: One of the endings for Where the Gods Dwell (and with it, The Dream Quest campaign) allows investigators to stay in the Dreamlands forever; obviously, it makes those investigators unavailable for import in other campaigns.
  • Increasingly Lethal Enemy: The "Alert" mechanic in Dark Side of the Moon; certain monsters, hazards and tasks becomes progressively harder the more "Alert" investigators accumulate, which, in turn, accumulates when certain negative events occur, like agenda advancement or failing certain Random Encounters. High "Alert" can and will slow down your progress, which, in turn, woill help to accumulate even more Alert. Having low Alert is mandatory to enter the White Ship and convince its Captain to smuggle you from the Moon (it's possible to argue with him with high Alert once you actually enter, but good luck passing a test with difficulty 5 or higher) and finish the scenario, but there are only limited opportunities to decrease it, with only one stable option towards the very end. Also, high Alert greatly increases the team's chances of being caught when attempting to escape from the Moon once the final agenda advances.
  • The Mole: In the Where the Gods Dwell, it turns out that "Randolph Carter" is actually Nyarlathotep in disguise, who tricked the investigators to visit Kadath, where they could easily be brainwashed for Nyarlathotep's plans.
  • Only the Worthy May Pass: In Beyond the Gates of Sleep, in order to enter the Dreamlands, investigators must pass Nasht and Kaman-Tah's trials.
  • Press X to Die: In Search for Kadath, if you antagonised the cats by forcing your way into the temple (an already questionable idea by itself), do not return into Ulthar; it spawns hordes of hostile cats who hunt you, and there's no benefit from defeating them: they are worth zero victory points, and cause lethal consequences later on. Even if you don't antagonise them, Ulthar provides only a small amount of clues, and nothing else,
  • The Quest: Once Virgil gets found, the main goal of the campaign changes to find Unknown Kadath, where investigators can find answers to their questions about the Dreamlands, and find real evidences of Dreamlands existence.
    • The main point of The Search for Kadath is to identify Kadath's coordinates, by investigating several crucial locations of the Dreamlands. This eventually attracts Nyarlathotep's minions' attention and leads to Virgil's – and, depending on their performance, investigators' as well – capture.
    • In Where the Gods Dwell, the investigators finally reaches Kadath, one way or another, only to find it abandoned; the whole expedition turns out to be a trap set by Nyarlathotep.
  • Red Herring: The campaign log tracks whether the investigators "strayed from the path" in Beyond the Gates of Sleep, and never uses this in any way. There are no benefits from not straying, either; conversely, players miss most of the experience this scenario provides if they abide the laws.
  • Rescue Arc: The whole point of Dark Side of the Moon is to rescue Virgil (and Randolph Carter, if he was abducted too), who was abducted by Corsairs in the previous scenario's resolution, from imprisonment in the city of Moon-Beasts.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: In Where the Gods Dwell, after surviving so many ordeals and finally arriving to Kadath, Virgil realises all of this was for nothing (with Kadath being long since abandoned, meaning he has no meaning to acquire any proof of his journeys), and suddenly gets confronted by Nyarlathotep, who kills him by stabbing him through his chest.
  • Temple of Doom: "The Temple of Unattainable Desires". King Kuranes specifically warns investigators that once they enter, they risk never leaving; while temple itself bears no particular danger, (at least in gameplay terms); it's home for some of more dangerous enemies in this scenario.
  • Title Drop: The cycle's name, "Dream Eaters", is also the name of Where the Gods Dwell scenario's fifth act, which involves stopping Nyarlathotep from devouring the investigators' own dreams, enslaving them in the process.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Force your way into the temple in The Search for Kadath, and cats (giant, angry, sapient and really dangerous cats, not your common stray cats) will be very angry at you. Make a mistake of returning to Ulthar afterwards to collect lost clues here, and they start hunting you. Also, they won't aid you in subsequent scenarios.
  • Violation of Common Sense: You are warned to not stay from the path, but besides the lone gug (whom you may or may not encounter), there are no punishments for doing so; in fact, you gets rewarded for breaking these rules and going adventuring. This likely was the entire point: only those who dare can reach Unknown Kadath.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: In The Search for Kadath, no matter the outcome, Virgil will be captured, either together with the other investigators, or when he briefly separates from them, forcing investigators to go to rescue him on the Moon.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: "Randolph Carter" (actually Nyarlathotep in disguise) uses Virgil to lure investigators to Kadath, and then disposes of him when he has fulfilled his purpose.
  • Your Soul is Mine!: Nyarlathotep consuming his victims' dreams is heavily implied to have effects similar to actually consuming their souls, at least partially. If investigators fail to stop him, thi happens to them, too.

     The Web of Dreams tropes 
  • Abandoned Hospital: Setting of Waking Nightmare is (almost) abandoned St. Mary's hospital... heavily infested with alien spiders.
  • Absurdly Long Stairway:
    • In Thousand Shapes of Horror, there is a very long staircase which leads to the Underworld (which is part of the Dream Land). Thanks to The Unnameable's influence, it may become much longer than it seemed at first.
    • In the ending where team returns back home, they would use the same staircase Virgil described in his writings to descend back into Waking World. Problem is not how to escape, problem is how to find that staircase, which requires counter-intuitive actions players likely wouldn't try on the blind run (especially in standalone, where's Black Cat, who may hint on it, isn't presented).
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: In A Thousand Shapes of Horror, The Unnameable can't be defeated; you must run from it (at first, it can only harm you directly in very limited area). But you still can (and must, in order to progress) damage it.
  • All Webbed Up: No spider-themed horror would be completed without people being put in spider-silk cocoons:
    • In Waking Nightmare, if you fail to defend St. Mary's from dream-lands spiders, it would end like this for all its inhabitants.
    • In Weaver of the Cosmos, some of possible locations actually represents cocoons with spiders past victims. They only add to whole horror of Atlach-Nacha's domain.
    • If investigators fails in their mission, in one of possible endings, the bridge between worlds would be completed, meaning whole Earth would become spiders' hunting grounds, with people who aren't consumed outright being put into cocoons. Countless cocoons. Investigators would actually try to break them, to no avail.
  • And the Adventure Continues: In Weaver of the Cosmos, if investigators survived, but didn't secure the short way into the Dreamlands, only escape route remains — to brute-force their way through first the Underworld, and then through the Dreamlands. If campaign is played as standalone, endings just cuts off, allowing players to decide by themselves wether they did it or not (though investigators are still may be imported). If game is played in combined campaign mode, then we learn more about their fate.
  • Antagonist Title: In Weaver of the Cosmos, titular Weaver is no one else but Atlach-Nacha herself.
  • Cobweb Jungle:
    • One of the "treachery" cards in spider-infested places is a cobweb huge enough you can actually stuck in it.
    • In Waking Nightmare, if infestation spreads out of control, cobwebs eventually would cover the entire building.
  • Demonic Possession: Fate of everyone whose dreams Nyarlathotep consumed; it allows him to possess their minds, so he would "awake" alongside them in Waking World, beginning his invasion.
  • Despair Event Horizon: In Weaver of the Cosmos, if investigators becomes trapped in Atlach-Nacha's domain, story ends with them realising they have next to zero chances to escape from the Underworld on their own, without any sort of direction.
  • Genius Loci: In A Thousand Shapes of Horror, The House With No Name and The Unnameable are one and the same... and are not happy to see unwelcome guests. And the longer scenario goes, the more dangerous The Unnameable becomes.
  • Giant Spider: Stronger minions of Atlach-Nacha, ranging from Leng Spiders (dog-sized) to really huge ones.
  • Gimmick Level: Weaver of the Cosmos makes heavy use of doom on locations (which, unlike most scenarios, is permanent here), but main gimmick is the final boss herself. Atlach-Nacha is a giant spider sitting in centre of enormous cobweb (that locations players travel through? they are corners of that cobweb), with players traveling between them and trying to firstly cut off some legs (every one of them counts as separate enemy), which would move between locations when whole monstrosity rotates. After doing so, you would face the Weaver herself. In both cases, Atlach-Nacha actively changes locations at random.
  • The Mole: In Weaver of the Cosmos, it turns out that "Randolph Carter" is actually Nyarlathotep in disguise, who only helped investigators just enough for them to reach Atlach-Nacha's domain, after which he almost immediately turns on them, and tries to cut out their only way to escape, ensuring they wouldn't interfere with his plans for Dreamlands. It wouldn't happen if he gets neutralised by The Unnameable beforehand, however.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: By the end of Waking Nightmare, whole hospital seems to return to its normal state... with exactly one exception: if doctor Maheswaran is dead, she wouldn't return, with no explanation.
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Ghouls returns as common enemies in Thousand Shapes of Horror. Besides them, there are also similarly looking ghasts.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: In Waking Nightmare, orderlies are controlled by spiders inside their bodies.
  • Reality Bleed: Dream Land gradually merges with "Waking world". If process would not be stopped, consequences would be catastrophic, for both of worlds. Just to get an idea, how bad it would be, take setup of Waking Nightmare, and apply this to the whole world: this what would awaits us all if the Great Bridge ever gets completed.
  • Spider People: Some of the most dangerous Atlach-Nacha's minions looks like weird hybrid of human and spider. This is also how Atlach-Nacha herself is pictured.
  • Spider Swarm: One of the weakest, but most numerous minions of Atlach-Nacha are actual swarms of small spiders; they are pathetically weak, but are very hard to run away from.
  • Suicide Mission: In Weaver of the Cosmos, if investigators becomes trapped in Atlach-Nacha's domain without any escape route due to mole's actions (which would happen before scenario even starts, if at all), their mission becomes this: they still can protect Humanity, but the only meaning to do so would also seal their escape route. There is'' a way to escape past that, but it requires preparing in advance.
  • Survivor Guilt: In Waking Nightmare, if Doctor Maheswaran dies (which happens only if you either takes her with you and then fails to protect her, or if the hospital gets overrun), lead investigator suffers mental trauma.
  • That Was Not a Dream: In the end of Waking Nightmare, the last doubts that this night's events really happened are shattered by strange patient you met in St. Mary's Hospital that night... Randolph Carter.
  • Title Drop: The Web of Dreams final scenario's name, Weaver of the Cosmos, is also the name of one of scenario's acts.
  • Void Between the Worlds: Atlach-Nacha's domain is enormous abyss of emptiness between worlds; she uses her mysterious cobweb to link worlds by creating "bridges".
  • You Are Already Dead: In Weaver of the Cosmos, even in the endings where Atlach-Nacha is stopped, investigators themselves may still die, depending on wether they have an escape route or not. There're several ways to secure it, but all of them require special preparations, which you may easily miss on the first try.
  • You Dirty Rat!: In A Thousand Shapes of Horror, rat swarms return, this time combined with "Swarm" mechanic, meaning there are even more of them. This still makes little to address their low combat stats, though.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: "Randolph Carter" (actually Nyarlathotep in disguise) helps investigators to reach Atlach-Nacha's domain, only to try and trap them here by cutting their only way to escape, dooming them even if they manage to defeat Atlach-Nacha. Unless investigators are on the path to Golden Ending (or have found the alternate escape route in previous scenario), he would succeed.

     Combined campaign (including epilogues) 
Since expansions uses letters "A" and "B" alongside numbers for numbering scenarios, for convenience, investigators from The Dream Quest are referred as "Team A", and investigators from The Web of Dreams are referred as "Team B".
  • All Your Powers Combined: In Where the Gods Dwell, Nyarlathotep's true form combines keywords, health and damage/horror of all his other forms, and uses best combat and agility stats amongst its forms.
  • Ambiguously Evil: When playing in combined campaign mode, near beginning of campaign Black Cat offers its help, and asks what it can tell to the other group (it wouldn't make this offer in standalone mode). The way how game describes Black Cat makes it unclear wether it's a good idea to trust it, and helpfully provides opportunity to refuse aid... which provides no rewards whatsoever.
  • And the Adventure Continues: In Epilogue 15; team A travels beneath the Leng monastery on order to find their friends, who are still trapped in the Underworld. It cuts off before we learn how they do this, though the brief summation states that two teams did eventually reunite.
  • Bookend: Scenario 1A (Beyond the Gates of Sleep) starts with the investigators ascending through two Absurdly Long Stairways. The Golden Ending for scenario 4B (Weaver of the Cosmos) results in the second team of investigators using these same stairways to escape back to the Waking World.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave:
    • In Epilogue 7, the Black cat tries to warn team A about team B's demise, so they won't try to return for them, only to realise that they can't hear it anyway.
    • In Epilogue 11, the Black cat warns team A about team B's demise, and pleads them to not try to search for them, since they are doomed. They heed it.
  • Golden Ending:
    • Each campaign, by itself, has four possible endings; in only one of them, the team actually safely returns back home. When played in combined campaigns mode, one of the 16 possible versions of the epilogue can be achieved if both teams survive and reunite in Waking World (specifically, Epilogue 6).
    • It requires taking the right decision at certain interludes and achieving specific tasks, in both campaigns, but it's possible to not only survive, but utterly defeat Nyarlathotep, completely ruining his plans and banishing him from the Dreamlands. If you also combine it with the epilogue where both teams survive and reunite, this gives you one of the (very rare in Arkham Horror) actual happy endings.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: In Epilogue 13, right after defeating Nyarlathotep, team A uses a secret passage to reach the Underworld in hopes of finding their lost friends... only to find out what happened to them, the Underworld and Earth. This realisation shatters their minds, driving them insane.
  • The Heavy: Nyarlathotep is only one part of the Big Bad Ensemble, but it's due to his actions the whole plot started in the first place, when he (simultaneously), under disguise, sent both teams on their missions; while the first team walked into his trap all along, he was allied with the second team right until they reached their goal, after which he decided to backstab them.
  • Hope Spot: In Epilogue 2, investigators from team B actually returns home triumphant... only to see that their friends from team A became possessed by Nyarlathotep and went completely insane. This is the fate which awaits all of humanity, very soon.
  • I Choose to Stay: One of the endings for The Dream Quest campaign) involves investigators from team A voluntarily staying in the Dreamlands forever instead of returning back home. Four (out of possible 16) epilogues deal with the consequences of this decision:
    • In Epilogue 9, after team B failed their mission, the Dreamlands remain the last and only "safe" place after the "Waking World's" demise. The Black Cat, realising they can't understand his warnings, decides that it's better if they simply forget about their past lives altogether; "they would prefer this to the alternative".
    • In Epilogue 10, team B returns home, hoping to find their friends already awake, not knowing that they simply decided to stay. The Black Cat actually calls that a dick move, though immediately admits that it would do the same in their situation: the temptation was just that strong.
    • In Epilogue 11, the investigators from team A learn about their Team B friends' demise, and are only stopped from rushing on their search by the Black Cat who warns them that there's no chance to save them now.
    • In Epilogue 12, the two teams reunite in the Dream Lands. The Black Cat tries to convince them to return home, but in rather lazy manner; whether team B actually stay after this remains ambiguous.
  • Kill 'Em All: In Epilogue 1, after both teams fail on their tasks, Earth becomes the battlefield for two antagonistic Ancient Ones''. This is the only epilogue to explicitly state that the campaign is failed.
    There are no survivors.
  • Me's a Crowd: When playing in combined campaign mode, players soon notice (unless each campaign is played by separate group of people who keep interactions "in-character", which the campaign guide actually recommends for the best experience) that both campaigns have separate, self-aware versions of Randolph Carter. It's not a coincidence; Both of them are actually Nyarlathotep in disguise, though his exact reason to stick around differs between campaigns.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Several epilogues involve two teams surviving... but failing to reunite afterwards:
    • In Epilogue 8, team A actually awakes... while team B remained trapped in the Dream Lands, eventually deciding to just settle there.
    • In Epilogue 14, team A travels into the Underworld to save their friends... just as team B found a way into the Enchanted Forest, through which they then escape back into the Waking World. It seems very unlikely for them to ever reunite now.
    • In Epilogue 16, team A travels into the Underworld, but, unfortunately, team B is currently in the Dream Lands — and they can't even safely travel back the same way. Their chances to meet each other after that are slim, at best.
  • Multiple Endings: When playing it in combined campaign mode, there are several possible versions of (rather short) epilogues; which one you receive depends on how both campaigns ends (each campaign by itself has four endings: failure and demise, triumph and return home, and two endings where investigators remain in the Dreamland or Underworld), with 16 possible combos. All epilogues are narrated by Black Cat, whether you trusted it at the start or not.
  • Press X to Die:
    • In Beyond the Gates of Sleep, refusing the Black Cat's aid provides absolutely no benefits; conversely, it cuts off many alternate endings, and the campaign's Golden Ending]].
    • Alienating the Cats of Ulthar is already a questionable idea, but if you actually kill those cats, then (assuming your investigator makes it to the end) you are suddenly and unceremoniously killed off right after the campaign ends. Killing cats in Ulthar is a capital offence, and the game is dead serious.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Epilogue 3; team B fight Atlach-Nacha, knowing that by cutting her off from the Waking World, they cut off their only way to escape, as well. Unfortunately, due to team A's failure, the other Eldritch Abomination reaches the Earth, meaning their sacrifice was for nothing. Even The Black Cat only partially succeeds at trying to assure itself that it doesn't care.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Epilogue 5; a seemingly triumphant team A returns from the Dream Lands... only to instantly be killed by giant spiders, whom team B failed to stop.
  • So Proud of You: In Epilogue 15, after team A travels into the Underworld to save their friends, who are still trapped there, the Black Cat breaks its usual cold demeanour and states that their bravery shows that not all is lost for humanity, and instead of the usually mean "so long, humans", asks the investigators to keep protecting the two worlds.
  • True Final Boss: In Where the Gods Dwell, investigators face Nyarlathotep. While defeating him usually ends the scenario, if certain requirements were met (in both campaigns), right after, they face the true shape of Nyarlathotep, formed from all previously defeated Nyarlathoteps' forms. On the bright side, he is no longer "hidden", making him vulnerable to conventional attacks. It forces them to fight a very challenging opponent without adding any more time (and failing here would still fail the entire campaign), but if they succeed, they don't merely escape with their lives, but banish him for real.
  • While Rome Burns: Epilogue 9; after successfully escaping Nyarlathotep's grasp, the investigators decide to, instead of returning home, stay in the Dreamlands to live a wondrous new life. The Black Cat calls them out on their naivety, reminding them that their bodies are still alive in the Waking World... and that other predators are already close.
  • You Are Already Dead: Thought that "law of Ulthar" (no one may kill a cat and live) was merely flavour text? Wrong. When playing in combined campaign mode, killing any cats in The Dream Quest is even worse idea than normal: when the campaign ends, just after the relevant epilogue has been read, your investigator gets swarmed by vengeful cats and killed. The end.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Epilogue 4; team B succeeds at their mission, and manages to escape Atlach-Nacha's domain, but fail to reach the only escape way to the Waking World. The Black Cat assures them to not even bother, stating that Earth will soon become a living hell, because their friends failed to stop Nyarlathotep, who has now started his invasion of Earth.

The Innsmouth Conspiracy

     The Innsmouth Conspiracy tropes 
  • Fish People: Deep Ones returns, this time as main focus of campaign.
  • Gimmick Level: In Too Deep has investigators dealing with barricades placed on the streets of Innsmouth, blocking their way through. There's a way to break them, but as scenario goes on, new ones may emerge.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: New blessed/cursed tokens. They work similarly to chaos tokens in that you draw them and they modify your total score during a skill check (increasing or reducing it, respectively), though they wouldn't replace other tokens by themselves, only modifying the score. After any such token is drawn, it must be removed from the pool, until something adds it again.
    • Sister Mary, new investigator introduced in this expansion, can add additional blessed tokens for free at the end of each round.
    • All classes received new cards specifically made for using these tokens in different ways.

Standalone Scenarios Tropes

Normal scenarios

     Curse of the Rougarou tropes 
  • Cursed With Awesome: Zig-Zagging Trope. In one of the endings, you can become a Rougarou yourself, with all of its battle capabilities, but it potentially can enter Blessed with Suck territory, depending on investigator; while it can set your basic Strength and Agility to 5, it would also set your basic Willpower and Intellect to 2. This, however, means nothing for Calvin Wright, since his basic stats are all 0 anyway, meaning his condition would be only improved.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Rougarou can be dealt with non-lethally, which reveals that it was a normal guy who was not able to control his actions. His final words before departing are wishing you luck with dealing with the Curse of Rougarou, and not end up as a mindless beast like him.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The plot involves dealing with Rougarou (werewolf-like beast from Luisiana's folklore) in New Orleans.
  • Swamps Are Evil: The scenario's events occurs in New Orleans' swamps. The Rougarou is not the only local danger, with local monsters ranging from anomalously big, but otherwise earthly fauna, like leeches and alligators, to monsters from Dream Lands, somehow materialised on Earth, like Gugs and Dholes.

     Carnevale of Horrors tropes 
  • City of Canals: The story is set in Venice.
  • Combat Tentacles: Venice is attacked by Cnidathqua, an enormously big tentacled beast. It's so huge, it doesn't even need to move to attack you.
  • Masquerade Ball: It was another carnival in Venice... until an Eldritch Abomination hungry for blood shows up, and things go to hell.
    • Since this is a masquerade, it's hard to tell innocent bystanders apart from local cultists until it's too late.
    • If you manage to prevent a bloodbath, you are rewarded with magical carnival masks.

     Guardians of the Abyss tropes 
  • And I Must Scream: Victims of sleeping curse are perfectly aware of their condition, while suffer from eternal nightmares.
  • Big Bad: Xzharah, "Chosen One" of Brotherhood of the Beast.
  • Burning the Ships: In Eternal Slumber, once the train is sabotaged, there is no escape; you must win together or die together. This's actually required to catch and interrogate one of cultists.
  • Dark Messiah: Xzharah is "Chosen One" of Brotherhood of the Beast, cult of followers of Dark Pharaoh Nefren-Ka.
  • Dream Land: Titular "Abyss" is part of the Dreamlands. This is actually how "dream curse" works, by forcibly putting victim's mind into Abyss, while their comatose body remains in "waking world".
  • Enemy Mine: It is possible to make alliance with Xzharah in The Night's Usurper. This rewards your with unique weapon, but all victims of sleeping curse (including your friends) would remain asleep forever...
  • Forced Sleep: In first scenario, Eternal Slumber, citizens of Cairo, Egypt just suddenly fell asleep, one by one, and no one can help them or understand reason behind this.
    • Story-wise, finding a way to cure it is the premise of first scenario and reason why investigators arrived in the first place. Fortunately, this condition is reversible, but only in "good" endings for both scenarios.
    • Gameplay-wise, this can happen to investigators themselves or their "Allies", through "Taken by Abyss" mechanic'. Anyone "taken by Abyss" gets removed from campaign for its duration, and can't be used in any way. If investigators are "taken by Abyss", they are unplayable (just like killed or insane ones), meaning you must chose another one to continue playing — and possibly save the ones stuck in eternal slumber.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Each victim of sleeping curse empowers Brotherhood's "Chosen One", Xzharah.
  • Religion of Evil: Brotherhood of the Beast, cult of Dark Pharaoh Nefren-Ka's followers. They are behind whole sleeping curse plot, for the sake of empowering their chosen one, Xzharah.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: In both scenarios, if investigators take too long to accomplish their task, they would all become victims of this curse, becoming "taken by Abyss".

     Murder at the Excelsior Hotel tropes 
  • Anti-Frustration Features: In the case investigators failed to solve the case, they can replay this scenario once, for free.
  • Clear My Name: Whole point of scenario is to prove your innocence in murder that happened that night. Lead investigator did commit that crime, but it was done under evil influence. If you manage to prove it, police would leave you alone. If you didn't, you would be released before they manage to charge you with anything, and receive another chance to solve this case... or give up, and choose to run (which means, receiving new weaknesses, either Detective or Madness ones, without any benefits).
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Not for investigators, but for Excelsior Hotel itself.
    • There are five possible culprits behind recent murders; each one would be behind this depends on which leads investigators find (they are randomised, and after you acquire two of them, you are forced to progress further, cutting other three out). This includes: Cult which attempts to interact with other dimension; Vengeful Ghost of murdered woman; Mi-Go involvement; formless goo-like Eldritch Abomination which came here to eat; and some evil brain in the jar with psychic powers.
    • Besides that, there are also two variations for each threat, depending on which two leads are used (one lead is always the same for both variations, while second one would differ, and alter your win condition against this threat.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: No matter the outcome, lead investigator did commit that murder, and it would haunt them for the rest of their life. In gameplay terms, this works as appropriately named "What have you done" weakness.
  • No Points for Neutrality: In order to recruit Sergeant Monroe, you must either leave everything as is and instead collect additional evidences, or clear every trace of your involvement. Anything in between would make Sergeant Monroe suspect you.
  • One-Hit Kill: Each time Dimensional Shambler deals damage to investigator, they must reveal chaos token, and if they reveal "auto-failure" token, they would be snatched by creature and immediately defeated (creature disappears, too, but it probably wouldn't make you feel any better).
  • Police Are Useless: Until investigators decided to investigate on their own, police spent over a month in futile attempt to solve this case. Depending on outcome of this scenario, they can either help you, or go after you.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: While sceptical initially, Sergeant Monroe would believe in your story and side with you, if you collect enough evidences of anomalous activities (including most recent murder which was done by you), or, conversely, hide anything pointing this murder to you (in which case he would ask you for help instead, but otherwise outcome would be the same). You also must avoid spilling any more innocent blood, including, of course, other cops.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Lead investigator to whatever evil force is behind those murders; in fact, most recent murder was done by lead investigator under that power's influence. If you provoke it to reveal itself, but fails to stop in time, they would use you to commit even more murders.

Epic Multiplayer scenarios

     The Labyrinths of Lunacy tropes 
  • Acid Pool: Second obstacle for "Group B" is room filled with highly corrosive poison. To neutralise it, one of them must must go inside and turn machine off; if they were injected with antidote, they would survive, otherwise, they would die. If no one does this in time, all investigators would be pulled here by force.
  • Alternate Universe: Each group exist in separate universe, meaning they can include same investigators, which is normally forbidden. But there is only one Eixodolon for all of them.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: In "Single Group" mode, since first two acts can't be advanced until corresponding agenda advances too, rules specifically allows to manually advance doom on current agenda in case players feel they completed what they wanted and just need to finish everything quickly.
  • Big Bad: Eixodolon, the being who abducted you and many others for its sick pleasure.
  • Control Room Puzzle: First task of "Group C" is to find which one of three levers would open the door, then one of them must pull the lever. If they pull the wrong one, they die. If no one pulls lever in time, investigator closest to levers would die (and if there is more than one candidate, they must chose who would die). Either way, surviving member would proceed to Act 2.
  • Deadly Gas: Several variations:
    • Poisonous gas is one of common "treacheries" encountered throughout whole scenario.
    • "Group A" would be killed by toxic, rot-inducing gas if they fail their first task.
  • Death Trap: Full spectrum of them: containers slowly filling with water, gas traps, dangerous gears, etc.
  • Drowning Pit: First task of "Group B" is free one of them from big glass container, which slowly gets filled with water. If only one investigator is presented, they would always start in the container.
  • Emotion Eater: Eixodolon becomes stronger as he consumes his victim's pain.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: This place looks like it was designed by John Kramer, and just as deadly. Gas traps and big, deadly gears are just the most common dangers.
  • Golden Ending: Each time Eixodolon gets defeated, it gets weaker. To finally kill it, all three groups must survive; if even one of them dies, Eixodolon survives and would continue its... "games".
  • Ground by Gears: Another common "treachery" is being stuck in some dangerous mechanism and being slowly crashed by it.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: If none of "Group B" investigators has been injected with antidote, whoever would go inside Chamber of Poison, would die. One of them must do this, otherwise whole team would be pulled here (and dies anyway).
  • Lock and Key Puzzle: First task of "Group A" is to find a key and open the gate. If they fail, they die.
  • Malevolent Architecture: This place was called "Labyrinths of Lunacy" for a reason. It looks like one big sadistic experiment... and you and your friends are the lab rats.
  • Poison Is Corrosive: Whatever it is in Acid Pool in "Group B's" Act 2, it's capable to quickly dissolve human flesh, unless you have an antidote.
  • Timed Mission:
    • Notably, first two Acts for any of three groups are timed; if they fail to perform required tasks before Agenda advances, minimum one member of the group would die.
    • In "Epic Multiplayer" mode, players may impose real-time limit for agenda (rules suggests using 60 minutes limit by default); past this point, players may play until next Mythos phase, after which agenda would advance immediately.
  • Trapped with Monster Plot: "Group C's" second task requires them to get rid of Eixodolon's "pet" before Agenda advances. If they fail, beast gets released. While it's not instant failure, beast is not an easy target.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Second task of "Group A". In this place, time moves... differently. They must find a way to deactivate this effect, otherwise, when it would be activated in full force, they would rot away in mere seconds.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: Each group awakes in unknown place and must figure out how to escape — preferably alive.

     The Blob That Ate Everything tropes 
  • Abstract Eater: Blob can "eat" things like precision (this sets basic Strength to 0), curiosity (sets basic Knowledge to 0), versatility (investigator can't use cards not matching his/her class), or concept of language (you may only speak in gibberish).
  • Apocalypse How: Class X-4; if investigators fails to stop Blob, it would devour entire universe, until it would be only thing left.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Only way to actually damage Blob is to force it to reveal its heart, then concentrate your whole attacking force on it.
  • Bait-and-Switch: "Blob devours your house. Search the collection for Your House (Core #124); it is devoured".
  • Big Bad Ensemble: While Blob is the main threat, every time investigators would try to reach any meaningful progress, they would face Mi-Go; it's unclear wether they are related to the Blob, but they certainly trying to exploit the catastrophe for their own profit, and constantly gets at odds with investigators.
  • Blob Monster: Titular Blob is enormous mass of green all-consuming goo. Also, all non-Mi-Go enemies are parts of this monster.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Blob really can eat ''everything’’, with whole four pages being devoted to the things it can possibly devour. Amongst other things, it may eat precision (sets basic Strength to 0), curiosity (sets basic Knowledge to 0), versatility (investigator can't use cards not matching his/her class), or concept of language (you may only speak in gibberish). This is also how final agenda's reverse side is called, which leads to, yes, Blob eating everything.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Blob can and would devour completely random things, ranging from investigator's cards (and investigators themselves) and ending with treacheries, enemies and locations, and even itself (non-fatally, unfortunately, but it would cause light damage).
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Certain things Blob may "devour" make no In-Universe sense whatsoever, and clearly directed at players; almost all such options are purely for fun (which is entire point of scenario). Amongst other things Blob may "devour" are light (so you would be reduced to using flashlights), investigator's mini-card (forcing you to substitute it with something), chaos bag (bag itself, not tokens), your cellphone and your soul.
  • Increasingly Lethal Enemy: Pet Oozeling, an "Ally" which you may potentially earn in this scenario, is nominally on your side, but each time you use its special effect, you risk instant defeat (with physical trauma) after that. After each use chance for that becomes increasingly higher.the
  • It Only Works Once: If any card with the "Melee" trait is used against a Grasping Ooze enemy, it is devoured after the attack, removing it from the game for the rest of the scenario.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: They aren't kidding when they say that Blob would eat everything. Lose scenario, and you would see this:
    Subject 8L-08 devours all cards in play and out of play, all cards in your collection, all cards that ever were, and all that ever will be.
  • Joke Level: One of the sillier and more humour-driven scenarios, mainly oriented for big, funny events; this contrasts with main game being grim, serious and story-driven.
  • Killed Off for Real: Everything which gets "devoured" is destroyed until the end of scenario; if Blob devours investigator, investigator dies.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • If you grab "It's got me!" treachery from the encounter deck, wether you survive depends on your ability to reach Research Site in time... and spend 1 countermeasure, which you may or may not have by this point.
    • What Blob would "devour" depends on tokens revealed; some options are actually benevolent, some are outright non-sensual, but most are malevolent, and some are nearly game-ending.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Many things Blob may "devour" are completely senseless ("your cellphone", really?), but other are lethal: it can (and would) devour your whole deck and your investigator, with fatal results.
  • Non Standard Game Over: If this scenario is played as part of campaign, when investigators fails to stop the Blob, they fail both this scenario and the entire campaign, because Blob eats everything.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • Pet Oozeling can instantly defeat any non-elite enemy... after which you must reveal chaos token(s) (number of tokens increases after each use), and if at least one of revealed tokens was auto-failure, you would be instantly defeated and suffer physical trauma.
    • Universal Solvent can be used to kill any non-elite enemy, assuming investigator passes (potentially very hard) Intellect check; check's difficulty depends on enemy's remaining health. Solvent is particularly lethal in the hands of Seekers.
  • Ray Gun: Amongst other possible rewards, investigators may obtain Mi-Go weapon, which fires "entropic energy".
  • Serial Escalation: First expansion to add possibility for multiple teams in the same game, The Labyrinths of Lunacy, was able to sustain up to 3 four-investigators teams. This scenario can sustain up to 96 investigators total.
  • Starfish Aliens: Besides Blob, investigators may also face Mi-Go — alien insect/crab/fungus hybrid from outers space. They actually have their own agenda, which, if not prevented, would cause some additional penalties, but if investigators actually succeed in stopping it, they would earn some additional rewards.
  • Timed Mission:
    • In Epic Multiplayer mode, time limit (by default 180 minutes) can be imposed; when it expires, every group still alive immediately fails scenario and gets devoured.
    • Getting rid of "It's got me!" treachery; either you do so under six rounds, or you gets devoured and die.
    • All side missions are timed in some way; investigators must prevent Mi-Go from reaching their goals or suffer consequences.
  • You Are Already Dead: "It's got me!" treachery; once you received that, you have six rounds to get rid of it, or you would be devoured. Only way to get rid of it? Spend 1 countermeasure, which are in very limited supply (there are ways to obtain more, but considering you are on the very tight time limit, you may not have time to spare). Additionally, you must be in specific location to do so.
  • Your Soul is Mine!: Blob can devour your soul. Yes, yours.

Challenge scenarios

     Tropes applying to all of them 
  • Loyalty Mission: These scenarios are based around specific investigators' backstory, and and allows them to upgrade their signature card to even stronger version. However, failure to succeed in this scenarios would result in their weakness being "upgraded" instead. If she starts scenario while already using "parallel" versions of their cards (upgrading both signature card and weakness), then it works in reverse (success would result in weakness being downgraded to basic version while signature card remains upgraded, while failure would only downgrade her personal card).
  • Origins Episode: These scenarios are based around investigators' backstories, and tells how they got involved in their quest.
  • Required Party Member: Scenario can't be played unless specific investigator is presented — both because this is their story, and because it's entirely build around their abilities.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You!: If investigator whose story it is gets defeated, entire scenario ends in defeat.

     Read or Die (Daisy's story) 
  • Escort Mission: Only Daisy may actually finish this scenario. The rest of the team, if present, act as her backup, since if she gets defeated, there's no way to win.
  • Fetch Quest: Daisy starts with all non-weakness "Tomes" being extracted from her deck and hidden across the Miskatonic University, requiring her to collect them back again. While not strictly necessary, due to the way Final Boss works, each "Tome" would make the battle easier (default skill check is 18 Willpower, but it gets reduced by 2 for each "Tome", up to still hight, but at least manageable 4 Willpower). Scenario's rules demands that Daisy must use at least 4 "Tomes" in her deck before attempting this scenario, to ensure that it would be at least playable.
  • Magic Librarian: This is Daisy's story, and is built around her "parallel" version (though it's still allowed to use default one).
    • "Parallel" Daisy is build entirely around her being a librarian; she trades her normal deck-building options for universal access to any "Tomes", and receives massive buffs when she puts many of them in play.
    • Daisy starts with Henry Armitage (librarian and Myth expert by himself) by default, who can provide her with two "Hand" slots more, specifically for "Tome" assets.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: "Necronomicon":
    • Whole mess was started by whatever evil force sealed within the book. If Mandy succeeds at her task, she manages to partially seal this entity, while on failure, it would remain at near full strength. Either way, she would take the "Necronomicon" with her for everyone's safety.
    • The "upgraded" version of "Necronomicon" now, instead of merely replacing her "Elder Sign" token with "Auto-failure" and taking one hand slot, forces her to treat it as the "Cultist", "Tablet" and "Elder Thing" chaos tokens at the same time, with all the chaos it involves, including scenario-specific special effects, which may and often would be much worse than merely failing the skill check.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: A scenario becomes unwinnable if Daisy gets eliminated, because only she can defeat Namer of the Dead — the evil spirit sealed within the Necronomicon. But scenario has no rules for such situation.

     All or Nothing (Skids's story) 
  • Heist Episode: Focus of this scenario is robbing O'Bannion's casino to obtain money to pay for Skids's mother's medical bills.
  • Illegal Gambling Den: Scenario is set in (masked as club) casino run by O'Bannion gang.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: While you would receive better reward if you leave with more resources, remember that you are on a time limit; not only you would lose whatever resources not delivered to the exit, but thugs would eventually bring heavy forces and just kick you out by force, resulting in physical traumas for anyone who failed to escape in time (and failing scenario if Skids was not amongst the ones who evacuated).
  • Run or Die: Sooner or later, thugs would catch up with your schemes, and go against you. After you accumulate at least 15 resources, your task changes to evacuating with what you earned before they summon the reinforcements and kick you out.
  • So Much for Stealth: Original plan involved stealthy stealing money from casino, and run away. Then casino's security caught up and started hunting for Skids and his crew, forcing them to grab everything they can and run.

Other scenarios

     Barkham Horror: The Meddling of Meowlathotep tropes 
  • Alternate Universe: Expansion is explicitly set in alternate universe, where instead of humans, Earth must be protected from forces of evil... by (sapient) domestic dogs. Forces of evil, in turn, are no one else but evil cats.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Cats in this universe are all servants of a dark god Meowlathotep.
  • Cats Are Mean: Exaggerated; they are not just mean, they are outright evil and serves dark god... called Meowlathotep.
  • Cat/Dog Dichotomy: Entire premise; it's a story about heroic dogs fighting forces of evil cats.
  • Fake–Real Turn: It started as April Fools' Day joke about fake "expansion", "The Dogwich Legacy", but due to fans demands real expansion with same theme was announced later same year.
  • Heroic Canines, Villainous Felines: In a world where evil cat servants of the dark god Meowlathothep threaten humanity, only one force can save the world — our faithful dogs. How? By becoming investigators themselves!
  • Joke Level: Instead of team of investigators fighting some eldritch horrors, this expansions is centred about team of dogs fighting some evil eldritch cats (aside from "this is alternate universe", there's no explanation, why; and do you really need it, anyway?). Originally just April Fool's Day joke in 2019, but due to fans' demands real expansion was developed and announced later same year, with actually playable "investigators" and working (yet not without some humour in their description) mechanics. This expansion may only played in standalone mode and only with dog characters provided with this expansion (this expansion's player cards also can't be transferred to non-dog scenarios; but, unless otherwise specified, you may use "normal" player cards when creating decks for dog investigators. Of course, developers are aware that players would try and use their favourite investigators anyway, which was directly acknowledged in announcement.
  • Mythology Gag: In every game he appears in, Ashcan Pete is accompanied by his dog, Duke. His counterpart in this expansion is (now playable) Duke... with "friendly human" Ashcan Pete as his signature ally. His stats are also inverted: Ashcan Pete had good Willpower and Agility, but bad Combat and Intellect (without Duke's help); as investigator, Duke has good Combat and Intellect, but bad Willpower and Agility.
  • Pun-Based Title: Barkham Horror.
  • Punny Name:
    • Main antagonist is a cat called Meowlathotep.
    • Every investigator is based on existing Arkham Horror character, but (save for Duke, who just swapped roles with Ashcan Pete) with name slightly changed to something setting-appropriate, since all of them are now dogs (like Bark Harrigan, or Kate Winthpup).
    • Pretty much anything which can be made into a dog- or cat-related pun, was made into one. Catling gun, Barkham, Meowlathothep...
  • Something Completely Different: Story set in Alternate Universe, with heroic dogs fighting against forces of evil cats lead by Meowlathotep. Not something you expect from Arkham Horror, right?


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