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Tabletop Game / Arkham Horror: The Card Game

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Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a cooperative 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. Players control investigators that try to penetrate the occult mysteries of Arkham, Massachusetts.

Play consists of investigators moving across a board created from connecting locations. The plot of each scenario is determined by "Act" and "Agenda" decks. The Act deck describes the actions that the investigators must complete to end the game favorably. Advancing in the Act deck is generally done with the collection of clues, though other actions are occasionally required. The "Agenda" deck describes the forces of evil and progresses slowly but surely as time goes on.

Depending on the actions of the investigators and the result of the Act/Agenda race, any given scenario will have multiple potential endings. Scenarios are generally linked together in a campaign, with the results of each scenario affecting the ones that follow. This being Lovecraft, happy endings are hard to come by.


Investigators are represented by decks that include their abilities, resources, and inventory. Cards are split into five roles that represent the broad archetypes of Lovecraftian protagonists, along with neutral, roleless cards:


Each player character has a special power that impacts play, as well as deck-building restrictions that limit them to particular cards and classes.

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.

One-Off 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: A trip to Cairo reveals a sleeping sickness where no one will wake again.
  • Murder at the Excelsior Hotel: Murder occurs at the prestigious hotel, and investigators must solve this case before police arrives 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.

Arkham Horror: The Card Game features examples of:

     General Tropes 
  • Action Survivor: Survivor-class investigators are not soldiers (like Mark Harrigan), or wizards (like Agnes Baker), or scientist (like Mandy Tompson), they are just right people in wrong place. But they compensate for lack of special skills with their savviness, and for lack of special equipment with improvisation.
  • The Big Guy: Guardian-class investigators have good Strength and hight Stamina, and their cards usually related either to fighting monsters head-on, or protect their teammates.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The Machete. A level 0 Guardian weapon 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.
  • 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.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Investigators and player cards are colour-coded depending on their class:
    • Guardian cards are blue.
    • Seeker cards are orange.
    • Rogue cards are green.
    • Mystic cards are purple.
    • Survivor cards are red.
    • Neutral cards are grey.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Many of the more powerful card effects (such as instant defeat and blanking) are explicitly limited to "non-Elite" enemies. This often makes such cards a Useless Useful Spell.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Zig-zagged.
    • For all campaign scenarios, if your character is brought down to zero health or zero sanity, you are defeated, not dead. You do however, take trauma, which makes it easier to defeat you the next time - too many traumas, and you're done for good.
    • Scenario resolutions can vary wildly. Doing poorly or making bad choices often means you've earned trauma. If you do very poorly, the plot can and will just kill everyone flat out, especially in the finale.
    • Character death or insanity is permanent for a campaign... but that just requires you as a player to pick a different character that gets involved and build a new deck for them, starting from scratch for the next scenario.
  • End of the World as We Know It: Full spectrum of them, from Merged Reality to Time Crash.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Minimum one per campaign.
  • Episodic Game: "Big" (so-called "deluxe") expansion pack would usually contain new investigators, couple of new player cards and first two scenarios. If you want to play full story, you must also purchase six "Mythos packs'', each with one new scenario and couple of player cards. Although if you wish, you can play any of them as standalone mission; campaign guide contains special rules for each one.
  • Expansion Pack: Each campaign eventually gets "Return to..." expansion, which would alter rules, replace some scenario cards and add 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).
  • Fatal Flaw: Weakness cards. Each investigator starts with at least one "basic" weakness and one unique for this specific character.
  • Four-Man Band: This is maximum number of players in every scenario (excluding some multiplayer standalone scenarios), and with this setup players can construct maximally balanced team.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: A theme of the Guardian class. Every Guardian Ally has a special ability that either triggers on damage/defeat or requires damage/discarding as a cost. On the extreme end, "I'll see you in hell!" instantly defeats you and all non-Elite enemies at your location at the cost of lasting physical damage if not outright death.
  • 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 simply lacks "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 Pyrrhic Victory.
  • Multiple Endings:
  • Old Save Bonus: After campaign completion investigators can re-used in another one with all cards they acquired before, including unique ones. This balanced by also carrying all traumas as well.
  • Power at a Price: A focus of the Mystic class. Many of their card effects are exceptionally powerful, but come with a risk of losing cards, actions or sanity.
  • Random Event: The encounter deck will deal you random enemies, obstructions, and horrors every round. Notably, every scenario builds this deck differently, so the darkness will always fit your setting.
  • Religion of Evil: Almost all plots involve one.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Resign action if often depicted in a flavour text as this, sometimes sounding like retreating character is Dirty Coward. Understanding when retreating is this, and when it is actually good tactic can mean difference between life and death.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: A Guardian card, Shotgun gives a great attack bonus, and scales its damage upward the better you test. The downside is you only get two shots.
  • The Smart Guy: Seeker-class investigators have good Lore and can either search for clues, or use their knowledge and skills to help their teammates.
  • The Sneaky Guy: Rogue-class investigators have good Speed and arsenal of dirty tricks, often Speed-based.
  • Timed Mission: Almost all scenarios are timed in one way or another; usually agenda deck has total doom threshold of 18. While you usually would not lose entire campaign by losing single scenario (except final ones), common consequences include traumas (which can be fatal if you accumulate too many of them), new weaknesses and even death or insanity of all involved investigators (at least those who failed to resign). And defeat in one scenario often make make other ones harder in one way or another.
  • Unluckily Lucky: The Survivor class's shtick. Many of their card effects represent good luck getting them out of the horrible mythos-tinged situations they stumble into.

     Night of the Zealot Tropes 
  • Big Bad: Umôrdhoth, "The Devourer Below".
  • Fed to the Beast: Can happen to Lita Chantler to appease Umôrdhoth, should he rise.
  • Forced into Evil: Some of the cultists of Umôrdhoth. 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.
  • 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.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "The Devourer Below".
  • 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: 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 fine a way to escape before they defeat you with shear numbers.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: While you can sacrifice Lita to Umôrdhoth, whole party would be punished by acquiring new weaknesses; this is also only ending in which investigators are not awarded any bonus experience.

     The Dunwich Legacy Tropes 
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: In Lost in Time and Space, Yog-Sothoth, once awakens, would pursue investigators until they escape or die. While it is possible (but is not advised, except probably for the challenge) to defeat him, what you really supposed to do is run.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: In The Essex County Express train is gradually consumed by transdimensional portal; your task is to reach train engine and restart the train before it consumes you as well.
  • Big Bad: Seth Bishop. Depending on your point of view, 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 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.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Yes, you can beat Yog-Sothoth. But if you try this, it would end in Total Party Kill.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: While Seth Bishop is leader of new cult and main force behind whole story, but after his defeat, investigators still must face his master... no other than Yog-Sothoth itself.
  • 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 rationalize what he'd seen, and strongly suggesting the same thing happened to Seth Bishop.
  • 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 the risky MacGuffin instead of destroying it, letting innocents die when you could prevent it, and cheating at cards in a speakeasy.
  • 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. Instead of receiving some additional rewards or at least instant victory, you would be "awarded" with unique Non-Standard Game Over and those investigators can't be imported to new campaign; at least, it's still counted 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 it's master, and by rescuing all or most of the prisoners, you now have up to *five* expies of the Dunwich Horror pissed off and rampaging nearby.
  • Psychopomp: The soul-catching birds, whippoorwhills, 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: If Seth successfully summons Yog-Sothoth, its over.
  • Run or Die: In Lost in Time and Space you are not supposed to fight Yog-Sothoth; you must complete your task and reach portal to escape.
  • 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, other than failing one or both.
  • Schmuck Bait: Lost In Time and Space offers you possibility to fight Yog-Sothoth and even unique ending if you win. While technically it is possible, albeit hard, to defeat him, what no one tells you is what you would die after that.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: For the heroes of The Dunwich Horror, depending on the players' performance.
  • That's No Moon!: Yog-Sothoth in Lost in Time and Space.
  • Train Job: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 to enter and seal it, and whether Seth will still be around to stop you.

     The Path to Carcosa Tropes 
  • Bedlam House: The Unspeakable Oath is set in Arkham Asylum. And while infiltrate it was relatively easy, escape is much harder. And any investigators who fails to escape, would become totally insane.
  • Big Bad: Hastur.
  • Eldritch Location: Carcosa, city of King in Yellow.
  • Go Among Mad People: Your main mission during The Unspeakable Oath scenario is infiltrate Arkham Asylum. Anyone who fails to escape, would be driven insane if they fail to escape.
  • 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 what those investigators would attempt to perform "King in Yellow" again.
  • Interface Screw: All over the place, as part of the madness theme. Act 1b of The Last King directly questions your sanity if you read it (there are no effects that advance Act 1a, so players should never see 1b except by mistake). Lists of dry rules effects explaining the consequences of your choices occasionally include items that directly taunt or second-guess you. An extended Dream Sequence in Phantom of Truth has all its paragraphs shuffled randomly.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Your goal in The Last King scenario is not "win" (in fact, this scenario lack any win condition), but gather as much info you can, and retreat with it. At least one investigator must retreat before its too late, otherwise it would be All for Nothing: you would simply forgot everything you gather.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: In The Last King scenario, investigators would infiltrate party and meet... ''people'' behind recent events. At first, they look normally. Then they start to mutate, one by one. Each one of them, unless killed here (except Dianne Devine), would appear as Optional Boss in subsequent scenarios.
  • Reality Bleed: In Black Stars Rise, Carcosa starts to gradually replace our world. Only way to stop it is find a way to infiltrate Carcosa and confront Hastur himself.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Hastur's plan involves merging our world with Carcosa. If he ever succeeds, humanity would become his slaves.
  • Speak of the Devil: If you heed Daniel's warning, every time any of investigators would say Hastur's name, they would suffer 1 horror. Including scenario's setup.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: You can kill all guest of party. While this guarantees what they would never appear again in subsequent scenarios, later it would cost all investigators 1 mental trauma.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: If Dianne Devine survives The Last King, she never appears again.

     The Forgotten Age Tropes 

     The Circle Undone Tropes 
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: In Before the Black Throne, once theres exactly ten Doom on Azathoth, it's over. Because of how agenda deck works in this scenario, it can happen surprisingly quickly.
  • And I Must Scream: Any investigator who would be defeated in Before the Black Throne would suffer this:
    "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".
  • Anti-Villain: Anette Maison is Well-Intentioned Extremist. Unlike Carl Sanford, she 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 she was (unknowingly to her) in alliance with no other than Keziah Maison herself.
  • Apocalypse How: If Azatoth ever awakens, it would be end not just for our world, but for all Universe.
  • 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. You can accept it, or try to arrest her.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Most of campaign is consist of conflict between Coven (leaded by witch Anette Maison), and Silver Twilight Lodge (leaded by wizard Carl Sanford), until the end of In the Clutches of Chaos, when their whole conflict becomes insignificant in the face of Azathoth's possible awakening.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Carl Sanford. He 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 killed.
  • Deal with the Devil: If you can't complete ritual and no one agrees to pull Heroic Sacrifice, only remaining option (besides dooming whole Universe is make deal with Nyarlathotep.
  • Decoy Protagonist: In prologue scenario you are introduced to four new characters, who would be your PlayerCharacters for this scenario. Then they all get kidnapped and/or killed.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: While Carl Sanford and Anette Maison are main threat for the most of campaign, no matter who wins in their conflict, they are dealt with before final scenario, Before the Black Throne, and final final threat to our world is Azathoth, The Daemon Sultan.
  • The Dragon: Josef Meiger to Carl Sanford, and Erin to Anette Maison.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: Take "right" decisions at several plot points and lead Silver Twilight Lodge to triumph, 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.
  • Eldritch Location: Spectral Realm.
  • Enemy Mine: You would side with Anette Maison against Silver Twilight Lodge, or vise versa. No matter whose side you chose, it would lead to same events
    • If Anette/Sanford survives mayhem they caused, they would offer help in saving the world. You can accept it or try to arrest 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.
  • Four-Man Band: Investigator in prologue scenario:
    • The Big Guy: Gaviella Mizrah, former member of Haganah and Josef Meiger's private security. She is main fighter of the team.
    • The Smart Guy: Jerome Davids, Josef Meiger's personal assistant and secretary. He is main clue-searcher of the team.
    • The Sneaky Guy: Valention Rivas, Josef Meiger's guest of honor. He has best Speed and second best Lore, and can spend resource to low skill check difficulty.
    • The Chick: Penny White, Josef Meiger's housekeeper. While she has no specific role, she has at least basic skill in any task (she has good best Will, second best Strength, and while she has worst Lore, it's compensated by her reaction ability to find clues each times she succeeds in any skill check.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Keziah Maison is this for Anette Maison and Coven; while Anette is motivated by her people survival, Keziah is allied with Azathoth and wants to bring End of the World as We Know It.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: One of the three possible endings; lead investigator sacrifice him/herself and joins demonic pipers to put Azatoth to rest once again.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Conflict between Anette Maison and Carl Sanford ultimately disturbs Azatoth in his dream. If he awakens, it would mean End of the World as We Know It.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: According to Anette, Carl Sanford is this.
  • Puzzle Boss: 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 Azatoth awakens, its instant game over.
  • Sadistic Choice: if you lack all ritual components, only way to save Universe at this point is either Heroic Sacrifice of one of team members, or deal with Nyarlathotep.
  • Unreliable Narrator: both Anette Maison and Carl Sanford claims what they are Well-Intentioned Extremist, while another one is main cause of all those troubles; while Anette's claims at least somewhat believable, Sanford's probably just Blatand Lie.
  • Unwitting Pawn: "Mysterious ally of Anette turns out to be spirit of her evil ancestor, Keziah. After Anette completed her task, Keziah proceed to posses her.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Anette Maison wants to help her people, who gets prosecuted for generation. Unfortunately for her, spirit she thinks would help her, is no other than Keziah Maison.
  • Wicked Witch: Besides Anette Maison and her Coven, theres ghosts of victims of Salem Trials, and Keziah Maison herself.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Witch House is full of them, including Brown Jenkin.

     The Dream Eaters Tropes 
Due to expansion containing two campaigns with two storylines (dividing story in two half, four scenarios each), which can be played either together (with two separate sets of investigators for each) or completely separately, tropes are divided to make distinguishing them easier. Tropes common in both storylines or tropes about expansion in general are mentioned separately for convenience.

Tropes in both storylines

  • Based on a True Story: Virgil's "Tales from Nevermore". Of course, no one believes this. But than, things he described starts to occur to other people for real...
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Each story has different Big Bad and his minions, but they are not working together.
  • Dreamland: The Dream Quest story is set here.
    • The Web of Dreams story involves Dream Land inhabitants invading "wake world". To stop them, investigators must find another way into Dream Land.
  • Forced Sleep: Group that dwells into Dreamland was supposed to just prove it's reality and go back, but for some reason get stuck there. According to Randolf Carter, this is not normal, because normally Dreamers are capable to awake just by willing so. Something forces them to stay... And this "something" gradually kills them.
  • Life Imitates Art invoked: In-Universe. This is what kickstarted whole plot. When things described by Virgil start to occur to other people, team of investigators decided what there can be some truth behind this after all. One group was put in dream to investigate this, while another stays in "wake world" to guard them and control the experiment.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Expansion was deliberately designed in a way which allows either play two stories separately, or combine them together in this manner. Downside is what each half would be only four scenarios long.
    • If you play campaigns together, each part has separate campaign log, chaos bag and pool of available investigators. Despite being "separated", during interludes two teams contact each other and events of one campaign can affect another, or vice versa (for example, very first interlude can change chaos bag of one of campaigns depending of chosen answer).
  • Zerg Rush: New Swarm mechanic. Each "swarm card" on "swarm" enemy means separate copy of it; fortunately, they can't separate from each other, and can be fought all at once, since any excessive damage would transfer to another copy.

Tropes in The Dream Quest storyline

Tropes in The Web of Dreams storyline

  • Abandoned Hospital: Setting of Waking Nightmare is almost abandoned St. Mary's hospital. Suddenly, spiders start attacking in masse, and most personal are either dead or missing. It goes back to normal in the end regardless of outcome, with one exception: if Doctor Maheswaran dies here, she is not restored.
  • All Just a Dream: In ''Waking Nightmare If you don't stop spider infestation from spreading, and let the hospital be overrun, when you return in the morning, it looks like nothing happened, and people continue to work as usual... except doctor Maheswaran now missing.
  • All Webbed Up: No spider-themed horror would be completed without this. If you fails to defend St. Mary's from dream-lands spiders, it would end like this for all it's inhabitants:
"The infestation has claimed the hospital in its entirety. Not a single room has been left untouched. You race through its halls, searching desperately for a way out, and find only web-covered walls, victims wrapped in silken cocoons, and dead hospital staff hanging from the ceiling".
  • Big Bad: Atlach-Nacha. As usually, she tries to create bridge between Dreamlands and Waking world, and if she succeeds, then it would be End of the World as We Know It.
  • Cobweb Jungle: One of the treachery cards. You can even stuck in it.
    • In Waking Nightmare if infestation spreads out of control, cobwebs eventually covers entire building.
  • Giant Spider: Stronger minions of Atlach-Nacha, specifically Leng Spiders.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: Despite all spiders and their webs are gone by the end of scenario even if you fail to defeat them by yourself, if Doctor Maheswaran is dead, she would not return, and no one knows where she is now.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: In Waking Nightmare, orderlies are controlled by spiders.
  • Reality Bleed: Dreamland gradually merges with "Wake world". If process would not be stopped, consequences would be catastrophic.
  • Spider People: Some of the most dangerous Atlach-Nacha's minions looks like this.
    • This is also how Atlach-Nacha herself is pictured on the box art.
  • Spider Swarm: One of the weakest, but most numerous minions of Atlach-Nacha.
  • Survivor Guilt: If Doctor Maheswaran dies (which happens only if you either takes her with you and then fails to protect her, or if hospital gets overrun), lead investigator suffers mental trauma.
  • That Was Not a Dream: Last doubts what this night really happens are shattered by strange patient you met in St. Mary's Hospital that night... Randolf Carter.

     Standalone Scenarios Tropes 

General tropes

  • Bonus Dungeon: They can serve as this during "main" campaign. To access them, each investigator must pay 2 experience points, but successful completion can earn them very valuable special cards.

Curse of the Rougarou tropes

  • Cursed with Awesome: In on of the endings, you can become Rougarou yourself, with its whole battle capabilities.
    • Can potentially enter Blessed with Suck territory for some characters; while it can set your Strength and Speed to 5, it would also set your Will and Lore 2.
      • This, however, is good option for Calvin Wright, since his basic stats are all 0 anyway.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Rougarou can be dealt with non-lethally. His final words before departing would be wishing you luck with dealing with Curse of Rougarou, and not end like him. And investigator-turned-Rougarou certainly clarified.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Plot involves dealing with one of them in New Orlean.
  • Swamps Are Evil: Scenario's events occurs in New Orlean's swamps. And rougarou is not the only one of local dangers.

Carnevale of Horrors tropes

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 he was injected with antidote, he would survive, otherwise, he 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. But theres only one Eixodolon.
  • Big Bad: Eixodolon.
  • Control Room Puzzle: First task of "Group C" is find which one of three levers would open the door, then one of them must pull the lever. If he pulls wrong one, he dies. If no one pulls lever in time, investigator closest to levers would die (and if theres more then one candidate, they must chose who would die). Either way, surviving member would proceed to Act 2. Puzzle involves guessing which one is correct one.
  • Deadly Gas: Several variations: Poisonous gas is one of common treacheries.
    • This is how "Group B" would be killed if they fail their first task.
  • Death Trap: Full spectrum of them.
  • Drowning Pit: First task of "Group B" is free one of them from big glass container, which slowly gets filled with water.
  • Emotion Eater: Ixodolon 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 most common dangers.
  • Golden Ending: Each time Eixodolon gets defeated, he gets weaker. To finally kill him, all three groups must survive; if even one of them dies, Eixodolon survives and would continue his... "games".
  • Ground by Gears: Another common ''treachery]].
  • 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 B" is find a key and open the gate. If they fail, they die.
  • Malevolent Architecture: This place was called "Labyrinths of Lunacy" for a reason. Its looks like one big sadistic experiment... and you are the lab rat.
  • Poison Is Corrosive: Whatever it is in Acid Pool in second group's Act 2, it's capable to quickly dissolve human flesh.
  • 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 of them would die.
  • Trapped with Monster Plot: "Group C" second task requires them to get rid of Eixodolon's "pet" before Agenda advances. If hey fail, beast gets released. While its 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 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 starts like this.

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, theres no escape; you must win together or die together. Also, this is only way to catch one of the Brotherhood of the Beast members.
  • Dark Messiah: Xzharah is "Chosen One" of Brotherhood of the Beast, cult of followers of Dark Pharaoh Nefren-Ka.
  • Dreamland: Titular "Abyss" is part of Dream world. 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 sleep curse (including your allies) would remain asleep forever...
  • Forced Sleep: In first scenario, Eternal Slumber, citizens of Cairo, Egypt just suddenly fall asleep, one by one, and not one can help them or understand reason behind this; now, team of investigators arrived to find a source of this "epidemic" and possibly stop it.
    • This same fate can occur to investigators or their allies, through "taken by Abyss" mechanic. Any ally who is "taken by Abyss" is removed from the game for duration of current campaign, while for any investigator it is equivalent of being killed or driven insane; and if investigators takes too long to accomplish their task, they would all become victims of this curse. This condition is reversible, but only in "good" endings for both scenarios.
  • 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.

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