Research Librarian

Oh, you bespectacled, bookish, innocent old man. You harmless, selfless, peace-loving soul! How much you have been made to suffer in your Arkham career! It makes me shiver to think of it. The investigators use you, and then they lose you. They send you into the stacks for that all-important tome that only YOU know how to find. Then they whisk it from your hands and, by way of thank you, kick you, screaming, into the jaws of the next ghoul who wanders by. You serve the investigators, and then the investigators serve you (to the ghoul, that is).

I cannot save you from your fate, you bow-backed bringer of books, you ambler of aisles, you sorter of scrolls and meal of monsters. But I can honor you by providing an updated review of what you add to our decks, all while receiving nothing -- oh, worse than nothing! -- in return.

LikeAssur's review below was right for the moment (three years ago), but since then much has changed, and the humble research librarian has become an increasingly excellent asset. Here are the main changes:

1) We now have quite a few very high-powered tomes. Pnakotic Manuscripts and The Necronomicon occupy the top shelf of the updated tome library. The new Old Book of Lore is also quite good. These tomes cost quite a bit of XP, so it's be a shame for them to molder at the bottom of your deck all scenario. Research Librarian prevents that from happening. Think of it this way. You know that granddaddy of all search cards, No Stone Unturned. It costs a gigantic 5xp. If the best couple cards in your deck happen to be tomes, then in many situations the research librarian is just as good, at 0xp! If you don't have an ally out, he's actually better, crazy as that sounds. In the past he may have only been able to find you, at best, the Encyclopedia. But our man ain't dealing that weak sh*t anymore. Like that kid in Breaking Bad, he's got the REAL stuff now. It ain't always blue, but it IS always magic.

2) There is an easy, SO easy way to offset the Research Librarian's 2 resource cost. Just stick a copy or two of Astounding Revelation in your deck. Since the RL searches your whole deck, Astounding Revelation is guaranteed to trigger every time you play him. I do hesitate to recommend this strategy on humanitarian grounds, though... I really don't know how many mind-blowing revelations this poor guy can take. It just seems mean, every time you send him for a tome, to also demolish all his safe assumptions and confront him with the terrifying magnitude of the mythos.

3) The Research Librarian can now be recycled. If you have him in your deck, also consider a copy or two of Calling in Favors. This card lets you pull the librarian back to your hand, and go fishing in your deck for a stronger ally, offsetting the cost of the new ally by two. Thus, the RL not only lends you sweet books for free that you, because you're a crappy friend, never return; he'll also introduce you to his cool best friend Dr. Milan, who, because you are a REALLY crappy friend, you'll start hanging out with separately.

There are two takeaways here. 1) The Research Librarian is a giving, lovely person who makes our decks better in so many ways. 2) We do not deserve him! The RL deserves an investigator willing to invest in a committed, long term relationship. I will be that investigator! When I get around to it, I'm going to post my Literary Lives Matter deck to Arkhamdb, which will have the research librarian as the only ally, NO tomes because, seriously, he's an ally, not an errand boy, and two copies of Trusted, so my man knows he's appreciated.

10/10 review. That poor Research Librarian deserves so much more respect from people — Zinjanthropus · 10

A binder filler, unfortunately. Depending on the scenario, it could be better than an Unexpected Courage or worse, but the reward when it DOES work is not enough to justify it. I'm hard pressed to think of a single deck I would include this in, even a Marie Lambeau Doom deck. There are a few things that could be done to make this card, if not good, at least playable:

  • Reduce the threshold to get the bonus, maybe to 2 and 5. It would only be worse than Unexpected Courage if there is 0 or 1 Doom, and becomes better quicker.

  • Remove the word "Instead" at the end. In other words, it becomes an Unexpected Courage at 3 Doom, then twice an Unexpected (???? Icons) at 6 doom.

I don't think either of these options makes it a staple, great card. They just push it into being playable in the Doom archetype.

JunkerMethod · 14
Both Patrice and possibly Amanda do just fine with this card. Definitely not binder fodder imo, but like most Mystic skills it’s below par. — StyxTBeuford · 1066
Live and Learn

Finally, this card found its place in a new investigator, Stella Clark. Because otherwise, this card is just not worth it. There're only two situations in this game, either you want to fail or win a skill check. And this card falls right down the middle. Yes, it's cheap, but you'd better get a successful check with one token pull, rather than two! Especially, if you resolve a non-number one. It's a trap you're getting into. Stay away, if able.

ambiryan13 · 13
I use this card as a third or fourth Unexpected Courage or Lucky. The goal of this card (like Lucky or Unexpected Courage) isn't to push your already failing stats into +1 or +2 of the test (e.g., taking your 3 willpower to 5 in order to pass a test of 4), it’s to give you almost guaranteed assurance that you’ll pass the test after you just happened to have failed a test you were already over (e.g., failing a willpower test of 4 despite having willpower of 6). Obviously there’s possible triggers for failing the test, and you have to take it over again...but I’d rather spend one action on a failure+success than spending an action on a straight up failure. Looking at it this way, it helps save other cards you might have thought about throwing into a skill test. — jdk5143 · 1
It's got synergy with Look What I Found as well. Fail by 2 and get 2 clues, then retry at +2 and get a third clue for passing.. — bee123 · 24
I hugely disagree with this review. — Tsuruki23 · 1011
Live and Learn is a crazy amazing card. It’s not Lucky!, but often functions similarly in letting you attempt tests you have no business passing without commits, and has amazing synergy with cards that play off of failure- Take Heart, Dumb Luck, Look What I Found, even Drawing Thin. It being 0 resources also makes it better in Dark Horse decks than Lucky oftentimes. It’s a beautiful card, and while Stella will probably be the best home for it, I take it in most investigators that also want Lucky. — StyxTBeuford · 1066
Truly spoken as someone who's never tried to get clues as solo Rita :P Also, it's worth mentioning that basically all 0xp Survivor (taboo) card draw requires failing (Rabbit's Foot and Take Heart), and even Drawing Thin makes you more likely to fail, so being able to redo a test with +2 is pretty strong. Gotta dig Peter Sylvestre out somehow. — Zinjanthropus · 10

As a card, it's natural to associate Enraptured with spell recharging. But I actually don't think that's where this card shines. The problem is that to trigger the effect, you have to succeed on an investigation attempt. Mystics, the people who could do with some extra spell charges, do poke around for clues reasonably often. BUT, when they do, they usually test Will instead of Lore, thanks to an asset like Rite of Seeking or Sixth Sense or perhaps the upcoming Clairvoyance. Enraptured, meanwhile, only has a lore icon, which doesn't help in any of those cases. You sort of have to go out of your way to trigger it, maybe by taking a basic investigate action with a small boost when you're all set up to take a buffed investigate action from an asset.

But that's not to say the card is a dud! See that tome on the dude's lap? Could it be the nice translation of the The Necronomicon? Has our starry-eyed dreamer been dipping into some Pnakotic Manuscripts? Does he enjoy updated versions of old classics? My point is: there are quite a few powerful tomes that use secrets. Most of these are in the seeker class, which means that the ideal taker of Enraptured, in my view, is a tome-loving seeker -- Daisy, basically, though Amanda and Mandy might take a gander at Enraptured as well. Amanda could potentially trigger it three times on a turn, and pump her Pnakotic manuscripts like a pair of old-school reeboks!

I think you could also add a charge to The Pendant of the Queen. Seems like a pretty strong use of the card. Also Rook. — Zinjanthropus · 10
Nice! Forgot about that one. — Mordenlordgrandison · 95
Or Mr Rook — Django · 2534
Zoey Samaras

Zoey looks straightforward. A statline of 4/2/4/2 leaves very little room for interpretation. You don't fear the mythical, you're not interested in gathering clues, you kill things and you don't run. You get money for engaging enemies, so you get rewarded for what you do anyway.

Therein lie a few pitfalls I fell for. Sometimes, running is the better option. For example after you depleted your last shot on your lightning gun, but before you could play your extra ammunition. Sometimes you need to pass a book test anyway and your inflexibility hurts you. And most of all, you're not gonna be rich. Especially are you getting more money after entering combat repeatedly. But you do want money to get ready for combat in the first place. It's hard to fight an unspeakable monster with your bare fists, and it hurts to play your beat cop after engaging the head cultist.

Guardian is a pretty money hungry faction, as most of their powerful cards are assets costed at 3+. A few of them cost 5 or 6. And you don't get much access outside of the faction cards. And guardian cards reflect Zoey's investigator card. You're bad at clues and bad at running. Rejoice though, as guardians do get some great economy cards. Stand together, "I've had worse", Ever Vigilant are card that can alleviate all this money hunger.

Take great care what you do with your 5 other class slots. It's the same as for all Dunwich Investigators, but Guardian cards are, like Seeker cards, very inflexible in what they're goot at. You get better at fighting things, protecting others and somewhat better at willpower tests. That doesn't mean that you should try Rite of Seeking, since:

  1. It is expensive at 4,
  2. You cannot upgrade it to get a +2 willpower boost and
  3. It's even more expensive to increase your willpower with assets like Holy Rosary at 2, Police Badge at 3 or Brother Xavier at 5.

Additionally, a lot of Zoey's unique power is in her signature card. Yes, that is a bad thing. Zoey's Cross can do 1 damage at will, since you get spending money for it the very moment you can activate it. This is incredibly useful, it deals with 1 health enemies like Whippoorwills and Rat Swarms better than any other investigator and gives you flexibility to deal that 1 extra damage tha would be left after you swing your Machete, or that 1 extra health left after you shoot your Lightning Gun. And if that is not the case, you can still take the 1 resource. The problem is, YOU HAVE TO DRAW IT FIRST. Unlike Sophie, which starts in play for Mark Harrigan, or the text written on Roland Banks or Tommy Muldoon or anyone else, you may spend half your games without access to the best part of your investigator.

Mataza · 5
I really like Zoey. A guardian who can resist will treacheries is a great guardian, indeed. Spectral Razor is a great fight option for herf, i you're not playing Taboo, Drawing Thin can be an answer to your resources troubles. — mogwen · 146
Mr. Rook worked out great as a meatshield/weapon&cross-finder in my last campaign with Zoey. You just have to pry him out of the cold, dead fingers of your designated seeker first. And you need to hurry before he's tabooed to oblivion, of course. — olahren · 544
Like all guardians ever, Zoey should be using Stick to the Plan. And if she is, a single Astounding Revelation is an excellent use of an out of class slot. — TheNameWasTaken · 3