- Any skill tests you perform nested within a parley action have their difficulty reduced by 2, too.
Reduce the difficulty of skill tests you perform during 'parley' actions by 2.
I can't offer a purely statistical justification for this card. It's hard to make a case for it in a generic deck. And yet... it will win you scenarios. It is the Robert Horry of cards -- mediocre numbers, magical late-game performance. I am almost positive that there will be a time in your campaign, if you start with this card, when you will fall in love with it. Recruiting Randolph Carter, coaxing Peter Clover out of the club, mollifying the suspicious Josef Meiger -- these are the tests that having you digging around for five minutes in the chaos bag because you're so terrified about what you might pull out. Maybe there are monsters bearing down on you. Maybe the chaos clock is about to strike 12. Maybe your interlocutor is programmed to jump you if you fail the check. You just know you can't fail. And if you have your Fine Clothes on, you probably won't. It seems like an absurdly situational card, because the tests it deals with (for the most part) are located on unique enemies or locations or other scenario cards -- the sorts of things you don't think much about when designing a general, all-purpose deck. Nevertheless, Parley actions are actually reasonably common, as previous reviewers have pointed out, and when they show up, you often HAVE to pass them to proceed. It's not like cluevering or dealing with monsters, where you often have a range of options. Partly for this reason, Parley actions tend to be some of the most consequential in the game. And their corresponding skill checks -- nasty indeed! All the more so because you tend to make them late in scenarios, when the ugly tokens (I'm looking at you, skull!) have gotten even uglier. Who cares if Fine Clothes does nothing but soak a bit of damage for three scenarios in a row? In the fourth, it's going to be the difference between ekeing out a win that you replay in your head for days, or pulling the -3 and staring at in your palm for days.
Okay, the Parley bit is interesting ... but - just how many Parley actions are there in the game so far? Not many, so let's ignore that...
1 cost for 1 health and 1 horror. And it's an Item, so Scavenging might work well with it. Also, it's the first body slot card to offer some level of horror protection, which is interesting too.
On balance, it's probably not as good as Leather Coat, but it's not disappointing for the cost, and I find horror is often more of a problem than health. It's also much cheaper than Bulletproof Vest in terms of XP.
One down-side - this has the creepiest card art in the game. Is that a mannequin? Scary.
Oof. What a card. Cripplingly over-specialized, and subpar soak and skill icons to boot. It is unlikely that you would seriously consider this card in a blind run of any campaign, and even on a re-run, you have so many more all-purpose options to deal with the enemies with parley actions.
...That being said, I am what you might call, a maniac who makes it his business to include EVERY card that exists in this game at least once in one deck or another, even the bad ones. And to my surprise, I have found a niche for Fine Clothes, in a Joe Diamond deck no less:
Astute players may realise where I'm coming from in volunterring Joe to include this sub-par card; it turns out that Fine Clothes synergises with exactly two cards in the game right now (as of The Search for Kadath): Persuasion and Interrogate. That's right, injecting parley actions into your deck provides insurance against the dead-draw nature of Fine Clothes in the wrong scenario, providing it with the opportunity to always be useful. Granted Persuasion and Interrogate aren't exactly great cards either, but their badness comes from a hard test to pass, rather than a mediocre effect. In that regard, Fine Clothes elevates them to a decent level of power, and Joe Diamond fits the bill for this combo, due to having both the ability to take both and cards, and a hefty 4 in both attributes, which combined with the reduction of difficulty that Fine Clothes provides, all but ensures the success of the parley tests.
That's not to say this is a good combo by any means. It is however a thought experiment in how to maximise the potential of Fine Clothes, and I don't think it gets better than that for our tuxedo wearing mannequin... save for one last possible combo; Adaptable. With Adaptable, and proper knowledge of the scenarios that you'll be facing, you can elect to include Fine Clothes on the missions where it's actually useful, and swap them out when they won't be. This absolves them of their downside of ultra-specialisation, and a -2 difficulty on tests that may be a major part of a mission can turn a scenario one difficulty down for all intents and purposes. As to which ones you should consider swapping in Fine Clothes for, that would be spoilers, so I leave it to you to imagine when dressing in your Sunday's best would be appropiate.