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Customizable. When you purchase Grizzled, choose and record two Traits on its upgrade sheet.

If this is a skill test on or against an encounter card (including fighting, evading, or parleying), Grizzled gains for each of the chosen traits that encounter card possesses.

David Hovey
The Scarlet Keys Investigator Expansion #101.


Traits chosen: _____

Specialist. Choose another trait: _____

□□ Specialist. Choose another trait: _____

□□□ Nemesis. If this is a skill test on or against an enemy with a chosen trait and the test is successful, you may attach Grizzled to that enemy. Reduce the difficulty of tests on or against the attached enemy by 1.

□□□□ Mythos-Hardened. If this skill test is on a treachery with a chosen trait and the test is successful, you may add both Grizzled and that treachery to the victory display.

□□□□□ Always Prepared. After you draw an encounter card with a chosen trait, return one copy of Grizzled from your discard pile to your hand. (Max once per round.)



(from the official FAQ or responses to the official rules question form)
  • Q: How does Grizzled work with locations? Locations are encounter cards but the text on the card is "If this is a skill test on or against an encounter card (including fighting, evading or parleying)...", which doesn't list 'investigating' among the examples. Does investigating count as a skill test against an encounter card, and therefore enable me to get extra wild icons if a matching trait is listed on the Grizzled upgrade card? A: Since location cards are considered encounter cards, Grizzled is able to be played when resolving a skill test on a location. The examples given on Grizzled are not an exhaustive list of how it can be used; you can commit it to an investigation test. (September 2023)

  • Q: I would like to have more informations about skill tests on or against an encounter card. "Encounter Cards" vs "Scenario Cards" (added in FAQ, section 'Card Ability Interpretation', point 2.15) These two terms are used interchangeably to mean any non-player card used in a scenario, such as the contents of the encounter deck, locations, acts, agendas, the scenario reference card, etc. Grizzled states "If this is a skill test on or against an encounter card (including fighting, evading, or parleying), Grizzled gains for each of the chosen traits that encounter card possesses." With this information, I understand that I can use the ability from Grizzled on/against a lot of cards. I would like to know if an investigate action is considered as a test on/against a location, Circle on the location The Geist-Trap, encounter deck cards as Terror in the Night, Realm of Torment, enemies in general, Gavriella Mizrah the enemy, tests on cards as Heretic... I would like to be sure that I can use the ability of grizzled on/against all these cards. A: Yes; the ability on Grizzled can be used toward each of those examples so long as those cards have the trait chosen on Grizzled’s upgrade sheet. (Including investigation tests, tests on treacheries, tests from enemies, tests on story cards.) (Rules Form, January 2024)

  • Q: Can Alessandra Zorzi take Grizzled? A: Yes, Alessandra Zorzi can take Grizzled, because the word “parley” is physically printed on the card. (February 2024)

  • Q: Can I commit Grizzled when investigating a location that has one of its chosen traits? A: Yes. Location cards are considered a type of encounter card, so if a location has one of the chosen traits for Grizzled, you can commit Grizzled to the investigation skill test. (FAQ v2.2, February 2024)

Last updated


With the permission of @Kelega from the Miskatonic Malcontent, I want to share this external link that breaks down in detail and with graphs on which traits to choose for every campaign up until TSK.

The author shows:

  • What traits appear the most in each campaign
  • What traits do enemies have in each scenario of each campaign
    • What is the best combination of 2 or 3 traits to cover most enemies in each scenario of each campaign
  • What traits do treacheries have in each scenario of each campaign
    • What is the best combination of 2 or 3 traits to cover most treacheries in each scenario of each campaign

Warning This is full of spoilers, of course, but as Grizzled is mechanically made for guessing what the most common trait used is, if you have already been to this campaign and want to tech your deck, then this is all you're looking for.

For 6xp (Always Prepared and an additional Trait), you can either build yourself a repeatable enemy management tech or a 2-card constant +3 against treacheries.

Valentin1331 · 60584
While it's useful to have statistics on Trait frequency, this shouldn't be the sole decision point whether to chose a trait or not. Some encounter cards are more impactful than others. So even if a trait is frequently represented, it might all be on relatively harmless cards. Furthermore some cards have a higher impact on certain investigators than others. Grasping Hands can be quite dangerous for Daisy with 2 Agility and 5 stamina, but Rita just laughs when drawing this card. So I'd rather take a look whether my investigator has a problem with a specific set of cards and take this into consideration when choosing traits for Grizzled. — PowLee · 20
I completely agree, and the author covered that by actually making a list of tests induced by each treachery trait. I will not say the campaign name to prevent spoilers, but there are charts and then a summary that sounds like this: "Many Terror test Willpower, but there are a lot of Hazards that test Agility or Combat as well. Some Terror test intellect" — Valentin1331 · 60584
Not only, what PowLee says. It also matters, if the encounter cards actually have some test applied, or just provide a testless effect, like "Ancient Evils" or "Dissonant Voices". Of course, once you are "Always Prepared", traits on testless cards can become relevant, to draw Grizzled from the discard pile, then be able to commit it on somebody elses encounter card. — Susumu · 351
@Valentin: Yes, but also the consequences of a failed test is not equally bad for all investigators. Grasping Hands Example: If Daisy autofails she takes damage equal to 60 % of her Stamina, Rita takes 33 %. So this is also something to consider. — PowLee · 20

Awesome for Patrice. Her signature weakness becomes trivial once you upgrade it to "always prepared"(still okay if you don't). The "monster" subtype trait is frequent enough for it not to be a dead draw. You can slam the extradimensional trait to have a juicy +5 on that particular test, or be content enough with +3 and put "humanoid" or "terror" on it to help your friends to deal with those pesky cultists/deep ones/frozen in fear.

mugu · 149
Correct me if I'm wrong, but Always Prepared wouldn't trigger with Patrice's weakness because that is not an encounter card. — celtics345 · 1
For purpose of Always Prepared, it counts; enemies and treacheries are encounter cards the second they leave the deck. Hidden treacheries are def still in play after that, not sure about hidden enemies. — Lailah · 1

It's a fairly expensive (in xp) skill card, so it's pretty easy to just avoid it. The fancy thing it does is 5 xp for Always Prepared, which is a lot even if you've got 2 copies, and it's limited to once per round. Usually it's pretty similar (+/- 1 symbol) to Unexpected Courage, and the traits portion limits it to monsters or treacheries, and can't be used to investigate or do tests on location cards.

Humanoid and Monster traits will get you a card that's useful against a bit under 100% of enemies, and enemies are only around 1/3 of the encounter deck. Adding Elite and Ancient One means it will give you 5 symbols against most of the more difficult monsters. The good news is, those 4 traits will get you almost all enemies (and double coverage against difficult monsters) in all campaigns for 3 xp. I'm not sure what combo's you would need to cover all of the tests in the encounter deck, but I can't imagine 4 traits would be limiting if you're careful.

Nemesis instead of Always Prepared (or with fewer traits; elite covers the monsters you'd want to use it on) sounds useful if you're willing to have a card in your deck just for fighting difficult monsters. Not a bad plan.

If you can find the traits that cover all of the really nasty treacheries, Mythos-hardened might be a way to thin the encounter deck. But that requires knowing about them ahead of time.

Iduno · 3
Locations are also encounter card, so in theory, you could choose a trait like Arkham or Cave to help you there, not that I would recommend doing so. — Susumu · 351
You definitely need game knowledge to have this strike gold. I'm currently play forgotten age, and I have 'hex and humanoid' then serpent, then trap and it always sees use, especially if you get the always prepared upgrade. — Therealestize · 66
Pnakotus helped me 6/6 City of Archives. 6 ?s added to tests of 3 pretty much guaranteed a success barring the autofail. — osumariokartman · 1
.... but now I see that all Pnakotus locations are also Ancient... which would have helped in other scenarios. Oh well, I just really wanted to beat that scenario, I wasn't thinking lol — osumariokartman · 1

The basic or specialist-ized versions seem like they reliably give 3 or more wild icons almost all the time if you do a little planning and jumping through hoops. But Survivors have always been able to get lots of wild icons on 1-2 XP skills and occasionally on 0s. This one is solid but not especially exciting as far as that goes.

Mythos-hardened seems pretty bad outside of extremely niche counterplay situations. I rarely want to spend that much XP just to prevent one copy of one treachery from coming back, let alone limiting myself to a subset of traits and requiring a test and locking up an otherwise good card. "Fool me once..." and The Eye of Truth put this to shame.

Nemesis seems okay as multiplayer support (take elite trait for boss fights) or to enable Exploit Weakness, but I have little to say about it. No, the only really interesting part of the card, IMO, is Always Prepared, which lets you return one of these cards to your hand once per round if you draw the right kind of encounter. In one sense, 5 XP feels like a lot to spend on a card with no action compression at all, just to pass tests. On the other, a lot of decks do run multiple 2-3 XP assets that are mainly for skill boosting and test-passing. If we can actually make this trigger at least every other round, it might be worth while.

One nice thing about Always Prepared is that while Nemesis and Mythos-hardened only trigger if you actually commit Grizzled against the encounter card, Always prepared doesn't require you to be testing against the card at all. You get it back in your hand to do whatever you like with as long as you drew the right type of card. I believe it should even work when you draw weaknesses from your own deck, if the traits match.

This will be especially valuable if you have special incentives to commit cards to tests (Sea Change Harpoon), other uses for cards in hand (Wendy Adams, Cornered, Celaeno Fragments), or a tendency to draw extra encounter cards (Kicking the Hornet's Nest, Drawn to the Flame, Nature of the Beast, Nine of Rods).

I can especially see Patrice Hathaway taking this traited with "monster" and some common treachery traits like terror, hazard, or madness. She'll get one in the discard early and pull it back every time she hits a monster in the encounter deck, draws into her personal weakness, or fishes out a treachery, and she can just throw it into an invetigate or away for vioin money. If she misses she can fish with Drawn to the Flame and Nature of the Beast for more matches. "Ashcan" Pete can do most of the same stuff.

William Yorick can go tell others to "Let me handle this!" or take First Watch to make sure he gets his triggers in. (Calvin Wright also gets some of these options).

It's never going to be as viscerally exciting as firing up a Lightning Gun, Seal of the Elders, or The Black Fan, but I think it has enough value to be worth a shot.

It probably shouldn't be among the first two traits, she chooses, but if Patrice takes "Extradimensional" as a third or forth option, (and obviously has "Monster" as one of the initial traits), this cards give her 5 icons against her Watcher. — Susumu · 351

With always prepared, you draw this card from the discard when you draw an encounter card, before applying its effects FFG answer: With the Always Prepared upgrade, you return a copy of Grizzled from your discard pile to your hand after you draw the encounter card but before resolving its effects. The intent is that you have the copy of Grizzled available to use for that encounter card.

MarcMF2 · 4