Q: Can multiple investigators in the same group purchase Charon's Obol? What happens if they do? A: Multiple investigators could technically purchase the card, but only one copy could actually be put into play when the game begins. Since each of them would be put into play at the same time, the investigators would decide which one is put into play first (with the lead investigator breaking any conflicts). The other copies of Charon’s Obol would not be put into play, nor would they be shuffled into their owner’s deck (as per the rules for the Permanent keyword). Only the investigator with Charon’s Obol in play would receive its benefits (or its consequences, for that matter).
Q: If I purchase a permanent card for my deck, like Charon's Obol, can I later remove it from my deck? A: Not unless an effect explicitly allows you to do so. Generally cards are only removed from your deck if you purchase a new card and must swap out an existing card in order to reach your investigator’s deck size. However, since Permanent cards do not count towards your deck size, they cannot be swapped out in this way. There is no rule which allows you to remove cards from your deck at will. - FAQ, v.1.3, May 2018
- Q: Does Charon's Obol trigger its effects if a resolution instructs me to replay a scenario? What about in between Heart of the Elders V–A and V–B? A: Charon’s Obol’s effects occur “When earning experience during the resolution of a scenario…” Therefore, Charon’s Obol will not trigger when you are instructed to replay a scenario, because such resolutions state that “No experience points are earned from your previous game.” However, in between Scenarios V–A and V–B, experience is earned, so Charon’s Obol will indeed trigger, even though players are not allowed to spend those experience points until after they have played Scenario V–B. - FAQ, v.1.4, September 2018
The Ferryman's Pay
When earning experience during the resolution of a scenario, if you were not defeated during that scenario, you earn 2 additional experience. If you were defeated during that scenario, you are killed.
I was extremely excited when I first saw this card. I thought I was going to immediately buy it in every Rogue deck I ever played. XP is incredibly powerful and fun in this game, after all. But the more I play with this card, the less I like it.
The odds that your character dies at some point in missions 2-7 of your campaign (if they die in mission 1 or mission 8, that's not really relevant for the Obol) are just way too high. Even if you run "I'm outta here!" and Cheat Death, I just think the risk is too great. Starting over midway through a campaign at 0 XP is a truly terrible feeling. In solo, maybe it doesn't feel quite so bad, but I really would not recommend this in multiplayer.
Note that "I'm outta here!" is far from a perfect failsafe here. Many scenarios don't have a resign space or have one that doesn't show up until the final Act. It won't save you then.
Moreover, Charon's Obol can also hurt you even if you don't die. This is because the Obol makes you play scared. Vastly increasing the consequences of dying makes it harder to play effectively. A very common situation in this game is the following: your investigator is severely hurt, down to 1 or 2 health or sanity remaining, but only a couple of turns away from a potential victory. What should you do? A normal investigator can go for the win. Sure, you might take a trauma, but that's not really a big deal at all. And you might win! With the Obol, you can't really do that any more. The consequences of defeat are too high to take otherwise profitable risks.
Furthermore, playing the Obol can force you to stuff your deck with durability cards (like the aforementioned "I'm outta here!" and Cheat Death), at the expense of better cards that actually help you win the scenario directly. This hurts your deck and can mean that your deck's power level isn't that much higher than a deck that doesn't run the Obol, but also doesn't have to run these cards.
Still, I can see the temptation here. If you like the thrill of risk and are OK with a strong chance of having to starting over, go ahead. But personally, I find the game much less fun when I'm running the Obol. And setting considerations of fun aside, if I were just trying to maximize my odds of winning the campaign, I do not think I would take it.
A few questions about Charon's Obol.
1.)Are you playing a Rogue? - Yep? Okay good! Stick around.
2.)Can you take the pressure of knowing that any game might be your last for this investigator? - Awesome! Take some free XP!
3.) No number 3. That is really it. This card is a playstyle card, but I think every rogue should take it regardless. If you are worried about getting taken down, you might invest in a copy of the next card, but I still think EVERY ROGUE should play this.
Unless you are in an all rogue group... then it is really a matter of first rogue to it (or to stick around).
Also, don't buy this late game. You need to buy this in the first scenario for optimal gains.
I think, the review by CaiusDrewart holds really well over the years, showcasing how bad this card really is. However, there had been two cards released in the meantime, that invite me to compare them to this card, just based on the XP earned from them (not taking into consideration other facts, like that you tend to play timid and therefore bad with it): Arcane Research and In the Thick of It.
It's no surprise, that Arcane Research beats the crap out of "Charon's Obol". It gives the same 2 XP per scenario two scenarios earlier, for a much lesser price. But at least the Obol should be much better than In the Thick of It? I mean, it's a class card vs. a neutral card. Class cards have to be better? And the neutral gives you just 3 XP, the Obol so much more, right?
To compare these cards, you have to put into account, that XP earned early in a campaign provide you with better cards for more scenarios, than if you get them later. XP earned in the sixth scenario are double the value than XP earned in the seventh, because you net profit from them in two scenarios, rather than just one. Therefore, XP earned after the first scenario is worth 7 times as much as after the seventh, and XP from the start of the campaign even 8 times. If we take this into account, the XP*scenario value you gain from these cards are the following (assuming a standard 8 scenario campaign without any side quests):
- (Double) Arcane Research: 14+12+10+8+6+4+2=56
- In the Thick of It: 3*8=24
- Charon's Obol: 10+8+6+4+2-2=28
You have to consider, that "In the Thick of It" gives you the 3 XP for 8 scenarios. While "Charon's Obol" delays your other purchases after the first scenario by 2 XP, which would be actually worth 14. Sure, you get them back a scenario later. That's why I count them only as -2. Hence, from a strict mathematical point, the XP you gain from the Obol are only slightly more than the ones from "In the Thick of It", at a much higher risk. So go for the Obol, if you think, the game is boring without it. To raise the stake and gain some thrill out of it. But never ever buy this for the gain in XP instead of "In the Thick of It". You are much better served with the neutral card in that case!
Another option would be taking "In the Thick of It" to purchase the Obol at the start of the campaign. This is of course the highest stake, but at least it offsets the XP cost of the Obol. The XP*scenario value gained from this combo is 64 (assuming, you get to the last scenario with this investigator), the same as from "Arcane Research" plus 8 times the spare point from "In the Thick of It". This indeed looks much better. But it also increases the risk of succumbing to the Obol, starting with 2 traumata from the beginning and making being defeated in the first scenario relevant. I still think, it's bad, for the reasons mentioned by CaiusDrewart.
This card is powerful but as one might expect, you are playing with fire here. Just be aware that you spend 2 xp to get it and then it grants you 2 xp each time from then out. This means that should you buy this after scenario 1 (the only reasonable time to get this) you don't really get "bonus" xp until the conclusion of scenario 3, as following scenario 2 it just pays for itself.
(MILD SPOILER) Without spoiling too much there are scenarios which kill your investigator if they are defeated Obol or no Obol. So the total number of scenarios you have to survive with Obol is slightly lower than one might initially think since you would be killed with or without Obol in these cases. (END SPOILER)
It is also worth noting that Ursula and Leo can take this card. Easy to miss it.
Complete list of people who can play this as of FA: Skids, Wendy, Jenny, Sefina, Lola, Leo, Ursula, Finn.
This is worth getting if you are comfortable with the risk involved. But you must get it early, otherwise just leave it behind.
I'm starting to hate this card. First, it's Exceptional so it costs 4xp, you won't take any advantage of it until advancing to 5th scenario. Second, it is a selfish card: if you are defeated you are killed, that probably means that you broke the whole campaign. In my case, I've used it twice playing with two friends (I own the game so I'm the host)
- In the first campaign I was defeated in the first scenario after purchasing it (prior, I couldn't upgrade my deck bc I spent all XP in this card). So, what do you do after that? what do you tell your friends?
- In the second campaign, after the feeling of the first time, I decided to resign too early so my partner was defeated.
This is not risky, it's selfish unless you plan to ignore the "killed" side of the effect.
Ok, so I have a probably very niche question:
So the card reads "When earning experience during the resolution of a scenario, if you were not defeated during that scenario, you earn 2 additional experience. If you were defeated during that scenario, you are killed."
My question focuses on the last "that". My reading is that if you were defeated but did not earn any experience, you wouldn't die. Because the "that" is referring to a scenario in which you earned experience during the resolution. Is this reading correct?
I have a question about how this card interacts with setup for City of Archives.
You're instructed to remove all unique item cards from your deck during setup, but the Obol is permanent.
Does it get removed or not? I know the RR states that permanent cards cannot leave play, but is the Obol already in play by the time you work through setup? I have a feeling it is...
As I play through Arkham Horror I like this card less and less. Some scenarios just aren't meant to be survived. The small exp buff this provides isn't enough to deal with the instant death from failing these scenarios.
Maybe good in a campaign that doesn't have an auto fail... but otherwise skip.