Mansions of Madness: The Inner Sanctum Play Report

Emboldened by her previous success we gave The Inner Sanctum another shot, because fourth time is a charm, right? This time she would run a four-man squad. Or rather, one man and three women.

As with her latest run through Fall of House Lynch, Melissa randomly chose her investigators.

Carolyn Fern (Forbidden Alchemy)
Gloria Goldberg (Mansions of Madness)
Joe Diamond (Mansions of Madness)
Sister Mary (Mansions of Madness)

Warning: As with the previous play report this one will spoil one of the possible story choice combinations The Inner Sanctum. Though it does not reveal the exact location of any clues, it does reveal one of the conditions that the Keeper needs to fulfill in order to win.

As the Keeper, my objective was to get four cultists into the chapel so that they could summon a cthonian. Once summoned the investigators would have four rounds to kill it. Alternatively they could win if they found Clue 1 by the time the fifth event card was resolved. 

Melissa had two investigators make a dash for the study (as hinted by the prologue text), leaving two behind to explore the chapel because safety in numbers. Seriously: some mythos cards only work when the investigator is all be her lonesome. She got pretty lucky and found an axe, which meant that all of two of her investigators would be able to skip the No Weapon cards out of the combat deck.

I spent most of my initial threat on cultists, partially because I needed them to fulfill the objective, partially because the more you have, the more you get out of Dark Ritual (you draw one mythos or trauma card per cultist).

In the study Melissa discovered that she would need a key, so kept moving through the study and towards the secret passage...close to where my cultists were waiting.

Now, unlike Fall of House Lynch this scenario lets you spawn monsters by sacrificing cultists and spending threat. Good ol' shoggoth takes the most at three cultists and threat, but since Melissa only had two investigators really capable of fighting at this point I figured it would be a useful deterrent in both keeping her away from my fragile cultists and the chapel.

Since her investigators were split up I tried to get in a few licks on Joe Diamond, hoping to wound him or somehow take his guns away; with a simple combination of horror-inducing mythos and forced-movement trauma card I was able to get him to mad dash right into the shoggoth's, slimy, writhing tentacles.

I managed to wound him, slapping him with a trauma card that caused him to hurt himself or someone else when shooting his guns. Not exactly taking his guns away, but it was a start. Melissa brought in Sister Mary to help, managing to deal a bit of damage and--more importantly--stun it using her holy water. She was considering making a run for it until she noticed Joe's Lucky Break ability.

A three or less? On a d10? Those are terrible odds and of course she rolled a fucking 2.

Luckily by the time the second event card triggered I had six cultists and a cult leader (who had like, four health slapped off by Gloria), meaning that I received a hefty surplus of threat to cultivate cultists before feeding them to another shoggoth. What can I say, the turnover rate is murder.

I was able to keep Joe and Sister Mary separated from the rest of the investigators, and gradually wore down Joe's sanity to nothing. Thanks to all my cultists and excess of threat I had plenty of potent mythos and trauma cards (including some Sanity 0 ones that I had always wanted to use), and had even been planning a few terrible combos until Melissa noticed yet another ability: Gloria's Powerful Visions.

At this point I do not remember which she forced me to discard, but they were probably really good ones. The important and not at all petty thing is that I got her back. As in Gloria. I totally killed her ass with a mob of cultists that I like to imagine were riding the shoggoth.

I had so many monsters here that I had to represent them with their tokens.
In my defense it was not just because I had to ditch a pair of cards--which again I assume were totally awesome for me and understandably frustrating for her--but she was also trying to get to Clue 1. Since the objective had not been revealed she was able to bring in a new investigator, and as luck of the draw would have it she got to bring in the Jenny Barnes.

Jenny Barnes seems to be one of the better characters. She can start with guns, shoot them twice if she rolls well, and the Marksmanship and Dexterity to use them (and also get her ass out of trouble). Plus her Willpower is not too shabby, and her Health and Sanity are evenly balanced...unfortunately she died trying to get to the first clue. 

To add insult to injury the cthonian was summoned and the objective revealed, meaning that Melissa could not bring in anyone else. Not like it would have mattered; she only had a handful of turns to get to the clue before her four rounds were up, anyway.

Sure, it was a loss, but it still went a lot better than previous attempts (especially when you consider she randomly picked her investigators). If Melissa would have rolled better or used a skill point she would have evaded the shoggoth, gotten to clue 1 right before the fifth event was triggered, and won with one round to spare.

Eh, maybe fifth time is a charm?

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