De Vermis Mysteriis

So this card is extremely interesting to me, maybe one of the most interesting cards in this cycle so far. It provides a new effect in mystic, being able to recur your events, but comes with some significant restrictions.

I think first of all I want to discuss the value of the effect here. It can sort of be considered to be a form of card draw, since you are getting access to a new card. But if you have multiple events in your discard pile it can also be card selection, rather than just gaining an extra card you get to choose from several. Then, with the same action as drawing the card you get to play it. So in a sense it can be considered to be compressing an upgraded draw action and a "play an event" action into a single action. Then you add on the resource cost reduction, and it can sort of be considered to be 3 actions worth of effect in one action. However, I think this is actually underselling the power of the card. Because you aren't just getting to draw and play a card but you are also getting extra uses of a given effect. If you are building around this card and playing lots of powerful Spell and Insight events then you may be doubling the number of times you get to use the most powerful cards in your deck. That's much more powerful than just drawing a card. So obviously, this effect has to come with some downsides or it would be busted. The downsides are pretty significant, so I want to break them down one by one.

Firstly, putting a doom on itself to use the ability means one of a few things: Either you are waiting to use this during the midnight hour, you are losing a turn to use it, or you are combining it with something like Moonlight Ritual to handle the doom. Most likely you are probably wanting to do some combination of those things, and think this flexibility with how you handle the doom makes this cost a little less steep than it initially seems. Most scenarios will give you at least 2 free uses of this card during the midnight hour, with many giving you more than that. 2xp, 2 resources and a pre-emptive action to get to recur 2+ events is already fairly reasonable though not amazing (and of course bear in mind that you might not be able to draw in time to use all those midnight hours). Some knowledge of scenarios helps here as there are some scenarios that have significantly more than 2 midnight hours (Depths of Yoth comes to mind) so there may be campaigns that this over-performs on in this regard.

Adding to these considerations around the midnight hour, you can also add the fact that sometimes you just have spare turns on some scenarios, or have events that are worth more than a single turn. This is probably a less common scenario due to some properties of the specific events this can be used with (I'll discuss this in a minute), but it bears mentioning. The Pallid Mask in particular has a very long last agenda, with your time instead being constrained by the specific act 3.

Managing the doom on this card with Moonlight Ritual can also be worthwhile, this lets you go ham on using this card every turn and then clear it off right before the agenda advances. Amusingly, Moonlight Ritual is Insight and spell traited, so you can actually use this to replay your ritual and clear off all the doom including the one you just placed. Worst case, you can also manage the doom by just playing an asset over this too. If you are building around this plan then you're going to want to be running a lot of events that are generically powerful, so that you can expect to fire one off every turn without having to contort your gameplan too much. This is a little easier said than done because of the sort of cards that are Spell or Insight traited, but I'll get to that.

The next restriction is the symbol. This makes the card a little awkward, as Fast cards now take an action, cards with Fight or Evade now provoke attacks of opportunity. The former case isn't the end of the world, making Fast cards slow is sort of off-set by the cost reduction, but you'd still rather be using this on cards that take a full action normally. The latter though makes those cards a lot less appealing, get out of dodge cards like Banish are suddenly a lot less safe, and trying to repeatedly fight using spell events is going to run out your health pool very quickly. This also importantly means that reactive cards like Ward of Protection can't be recurred, which is a shame because those are some of the more powerful cards to play multiple times.

It also removes the event from the game, this basically makes sense for this sort of recursion card and I dont think there's a whole lot else to say about it.

This also only works on Spell and Insight cards, which is quite a long list particularly in Mystic. So this gives us a set of restrictions on the sort of events we want to include to synergize with this card: spell or insight cards that are still functional and worthwhile as a and which are ideally worth losing a turn for. There's also the minor point that in theory you can re-play cards that you've committed to tests rather than ones you've played, so like I suppose if an event has good icons thats worth considering.

I've gone ahead and compiled a list of noteworthy cards by class:

Guardian

Emergency Aid - This seems potentially very worthwhile, saving yourself or an ally from death is usually worth more than a turn, and this can be used as a throwaway event for a midnight hour usage.

Scene of the Crime - You will suffer AoOs if the enemy is engaged with you, but you can use this when an enemy is engaged with someone else, or an aloof enemy. It is even more restrictive than De Vermis Mysteriis normally would be, because of the bold restriction. However, you're likely already playing this card in a lot of guardian decks so its all upside.

Mystic

Astral Travel - if you were playing this card anyway you'll probably want it for 1 resource less. There are some scenarios where jumping about the map is saving you a lot more than 1 turn worth of actions, particularly in Carcosa. However, for a lot of scenarios where Astral Travel is good its only actually good once. Escaping the Doom of Eztli for example. There's the corner case where you commit Astral Travel to a test to evade an enemy and then use the book to play it from your discard and get out of there, which is fun.

Drawn to the Flame - This is definitely one of the more powerful cards to play repeatedly. Unfortunately you dont get to make use of the resource discount here but getting 2 testless clues multiple times in a scenario is very powerful and may often be worth losing a turn if the shroud of the location is particularly high, or the punishment for failing a test particularly severe.

Moonlight Ritual - I mentioned this above but this feels like a bit of freebie include if you are planning on going ham with the book.

Recharge - Hey now we're getting somewhere, what's better than extending the shelf-life of your spells once? Doing it twice! My feeling is that if you want Recharge you probably want it multiple times. Obviously if the first use discards your spell then you might not have a target for the second one, which does mean this card has diminishing returns somewhat. I think there's also the slight cross purpose where Recharge wants you to have use spell assets but Mysterious Vermin wants spell events, but I think this balance can be negotiated.

Storm of Spirits - Usual caveats about AoOs apply here, though this is one that you are actually a lot more likely to be using on a monster engaged with someone else, since you likely want to use it when there's multiple enemies in play.

Rogue

None, sorry.

Seeker

"I've got a plan!" - AoOs etc. this card is great for helping out with boss killing, though it does come at a hefty resource cost so playing it a bunch of times might not always be viable. When you do have the money for it though this will potentially threaten 8 damage from one card which is Not Bad.

Cryptic Research, Preposterous Sketches, Preposterous Sketches - Probably only worth it during the midnight hour but 3 cards for an action is a perfectly good rate, and if you're building around Mysterious Vermin then it can help you to find it in the first place.

Deciphered Reality - Yeah so this is good. When I talked about cards that are worth losing a turn to replay, this is basically what I was thinking about. Of course you need 7 resources to play this twice which is not pocket change, but the payoff is 2 clues from every location in the game, which is obviously ridiculous.

Logical Reasoning - Same basic points apply to this as to Emergency Aid, when it saves someone from death its usually worth a turn, and its fine to chuck out on the Midnight Hour just to get a use in.

Persuasion - AoOs etc. This card is already scenario dependent, if there are lots of humanoids its usually pretty good. That means you'll know if you want this card, and if you do you may well want a way to repeatedly play it.

Truth from Fiction - So I wrote a review for this card that needs updating, but basically its an archetype card. If you're playing the secrets deck its good, and its probably good multiple times. Incidentally, the investigator for the Secrets deck is most likely Daisy who really likes this tome so hey.

Working a Hunch - Again, this card is likely going to be in a lot of decks anyway. Even at the cost of an action a test-less clue is often worthwhile. It's probably not worth a doom, but its flexible enough that you'll usually be able to fire it on the midnight hour anyway.

Survivor

Alter Fate - It's a little tricky to make this work, it's not reactive in the same way as Ward of Protection that makes it totally unusable, but it is still dependent on the encounter cards you draw to be useful. You wont be saving as many actions as you usually would using Alter Fate, and you may have to pay a doom too as you cant rely on drawing those encounter cards during the midnight hour. Overall its got a low floor and a fairly low ceiling, but in some campaigns every investigator that can take Alter Fate will take it and its sometimes going to be useful to recur it.

In terms of investigators that can play this card, Item and Tome traits dont open this up at all so far so its only characters with default access to Mystic level 2 cards. I think the noteworthy ones are:

Jim Culver who's broad access to level 0 cards makes him a fairly interesting pick. Of course, he can only pick 5 but perhaps a relic Jim with Unearth the Ancients could be fun, of course he has to find a way to pass that test so maybe not... plus the Mystic relic pool is fairly handsy which competes with the book for slots.

Marie Lambeau. Marie loves this card, not only does she have access to a lot of the better cards to use with it but it also gives her another reliable and powerful way to get doom in play to activate her ability. I think this card is likely to become a staple of Marie decks, and may skew her deck building a bit more towards spell events for her ability.

Daisy Walker another home run Tome for Daisy in a cycle that's been full of them. Daisy has access to Deciphered Reality which is probably the most powerful thing you can do with this card. She also is the poster girl for the secrets deck, meaning she might want this card for Truth from Fiction. In general though, her card pool probably has the largest variety of strong insight and spell events, and now she can play them with her Tome action.

Norman Withers its a weird one for Norman, he in theory has access to some strong cards to use with it but he's very xp hungry when it comes to mystic cards so its hard to imagine him having any spare for this. Unlike Daisy he has to pay the full cost for the action too.

Sefina Rousseau she runs a lot of events, many of which will work with De Vermis Mysteriis. She doesn't get any toys from rogue deckbuilding though so she's restricted just to the mystic ones. However, all the mystic events that work with this card are level 0-2 so she really has the same access as the pure mystics, with an additional incentive to load up on events. I think this card may well find a home in some more mystic focused Sefina decks.

Lola Hayes, so you do actually have to be in the class of the event you are playing in order to use this, which again restricts it just to Mystic cards. But again, this means Lola has basically the same access as main class mystics so maybe thats not so bad. Plus, discarding a tome full of doom to her weakness makes it not feel so bad.

Luke Robinson, the spoiled investigator from The Dream Eaters also looks like he might want to glance in this cards direction.

I think in conclusion, this card is clearly very powerful in its effect but the significant costs and restrictions on it limit it to specific decks and specific investigators. I think the power of this card is only going to grow as the number of generically powerful insight and spell events grows.

birdfriender · 113
Unearth the ancients can’t play Mystic cards. Otherwise a very thorough review. I agree with your final point that the card isn’t great yet but will be. Too few of the good spells work with the book’s restrictions at the moment - although I think Daisy is the one who makes a case for it with some pretty strong high level insights that are great to recur. — Death by Chocolate · 10
Knowledge is Power

What a card, right?

I've played just a few times with it, using Norman Withers and it was absolutely fantastic. Saves an action and a charge in one go. The obvious scenario is of course to use a standard military-oriented spell (Daisy or Norman option) and be happy about the economy. But there's more. It's fast. Which means that you can do all those things while having an enemy on your back and not causing any attack of opportunity:

Having it in your hand, along with Mists of R'lyeh can save you some time and money too. In this situation you may decide not to setup at all and just rush your way through a scenario, until an enemy shows up.

Interaction with Blood Pact is also something fun to consider. This card then essentially becomes a better version of Steadfast

So what else to say? A fun card to play and plan around.

Onetribe · 162
I may be missing something, but what's the Blood Pact interaction? BP adds doom to itself, not a spell, so you don't get a free boost. — TheNameWasTaken · 3
Blood Pact is a Spell asset, so Knowledge is Power can be played to trigger its free trigger ability without paying its cost (and the doom is part of its cost). — Death by Chocolate · 10
Track Shoes

Track Shoes is an amazing card.

3 resources for an unconditional stat boost is already very good. Combine it with Peter Sylvestre for a +2 to Agility, and Trench Coat for +3 Agility on Evasion attempts. Investigators who are built for evasion will obviously enjoy the passive boost the most: Finn Edwards gets a free evade action to take advantage of it, and Rita Young is good at turning evasion into damage or even extra movement. That's reason 1 to run Track Shoes.

Notice that the reaction ability on Track Shoes doesn't care if there are enemies at the location you move into. It simply initiates the test before any enemy engages with you. Now, if that test succeeds, you move to any location connected to it. Notice also that all reaction abilities without the "Forced" keyword are inherently optional- you may choose to trigger the test. It is possible that you might not want to, for example you may want to move normally first, then move again into a room with lots of enemies, THEN trigger the shoes to move a third time in two actions skipping that room full of enemies you want nothing to do with. That kind of versatility is important, and definitely makes an evasive investigator just that much better at dealing with a clogged board of enemies late in the scenario (happens often in solo for low combat investigators like Wendy Adams). Combine this versatility of movement, this ability to be anywhere you need to be at anytime, with cards like Gravedigger's Shovel and "Look what I found!" to clear clues at the exact location you need to. Combine with Resourceful on a subsequent Track Shoes agility check to successfully recur the aforementioned clue getting cards. The combo potential here is brilliant. That's reason 2 to run Track Shoes.

The icing on this rubber and steel cake is it's a free skill check almost every turn. Drawing Thin, Rabbit's Foot, and Take Heart all love Track Shoes. Pump the difficulty to 5 with the first, have the second in play, and play the third during the check. 4 cards and 2 resources OR 3 cards and 4 resources gained from a test that you probably don't mind failing anyway. Worth noting of course is that you could accidentally succeed, so this strategy is probably more advisable for Calvin Wright (with low stats) and Silas Marsh (with his ability to at least conserve Take Heart if it does succeed) than it is for Rita or Finn, but both Calvin and Silas can have enough evade to eventually make use of the shoes' movement ability if they want to. That's reason 3 to run Track Shoes.

So what have we learned? Track Shoes is great for evasive investigators to evade things better. It's great for solo investigators trying to run away from everything instead of fighting. It's great for positioning the dedicated evader or clue-getter of the group. It can turn one move a turn into a double move if you need it, but if you don't, it turns into card and resource generation almost every turn with the right infrastructure backing it. The only big issue with Track Shoes is that you NEED to move every turn to get any real advantage from its skill test, whether for movement or for economy. And yeah, it's a bit expensive, and yes you can only have one in play. But still, for me this has become an almost auto-include in most Survivor decks, and definitely an auto-include for Finn even without the economy support. Probably the only Survivor who doesn't run this card is William Yorick who would rather fight anyway and needs to succeed at skill checks to take advantage of his ability- he doesn't therefore throw in the economy cards necessary to make failures into goodies.

Can I have two of them in play at the same time and benefit +2 agility? Is It correct? — Fedro · 1
You could, if not for the fact that Track Shoes is footwear and it says limit 1 footwear per investigator. — TheNameWasTaken · 3
And it is a bit of a shame too since it doesn't have the best icons around. But you've got a decent amount of choices for Agility boosting. For example along with Peter Sylvestre you could take Charisma and throw in allies like Cat Burglar or Lola Santiago. Plus there's always Key of Ys. — StyxTBeuford · 5
Telescopic Sight

This card is just aggressively bad. Let's start with the functionality, because that's where all the other choices on the card fail to accurate reflect.

Telescopic Sight requires a two-handed firearm. Now that seems okay at first, but then you remember that Marksmanship allows you to do this with any gun. And it provides an extra damage to boot. Now you may make the case that Marksmanship is only one use. But at best, Telescopic Sight is one use per turn. Yes, it exhausts for some reason.

You cannot make the snipe shot at Elite targets. Typically Elites are the scariest enemies, and the ones you're least likely to want to end your turn engaged with. So being able to plink away at them from range would be useful. Naturally, they have taken that away from the card. Please note that Marksmanship does not have this problem.

You cannot shoot an enemy in your face. That's really bad when using a two-handed weapon, as it means you now need a Bandolier so you can carry a second weapon or an alternative means of removing an enemy from your face to be able to continue using your weapon. Please note again, Marksmanship does not have this problem. This is the entire reason Springfield M1903 is bad.

You also cannot shoot into a connecting location if an enemy is in your face period, even if they are not the target of the attack. As someone with a gun, this is often going to be a thing that happens when trying to kill enemies. Marksmanship still doesn't have this problem.

Finally as a card it has the no Will sampler platter of icons which isn't exactly where a Guardian wants to be. Cards without doubled icons are a hard sell for me, unless you're always intending to play them for their primary function. This one doesn't have a good primary function, so it should at least make up for the 3 XP cost with good icons (which it doesn't).

So I keep bringing up Marksmanship which in itself isn't exactly regarded as a stellar card. It's cheaper for a single use than the scope, does more damage than the scope, and requires less XP than the scope. And did I mention you can put it on Stick to the Plan? Two scopes is 6 XP, but Marksmanship plus Stick to the Plan is only 7 XP for the ability to guarantee you'll see the card. Still doesn't require a two-handed weapon either, it's going to work on your .45 Automatic (2) if you're a mad lad.

Swekyde · 10
I tend to think there has to be something coming up in a future cycle that will make this card viable. Not sure what that might be though, and sometimes cards are just bad. Still though, at 3xp with all the obvious drawbacks you just set out, Matt better have something in mind for it. My guess is that there's going to be an investigator coming up in a future cycle who will naturally tend towards a sniper style of play, or perhaps a guardian with a unique ability that gives them an extra hand slot. We do often see cards released at the back end of one campaign which are baffling until the next campaign comes out. — Sassenach · 28
The Chthonian Stone

Let's look at this card line by line.

  1. It's unique. You can only have 1 in play.
  2. It cost 3 which is a decent amount of resources, especially for mystics.
  3. It's both an item & a relic. It's cursed.
  4. It costs 0xp and can be in your starter deck.
  5. When commited to a skill, it adds , which isn't as great as for mystics.
  6. It seals a , , , or removing it from the chaos for the entire team. This is very powerful.
  7. It only returns to your hand when YOU reveal the eldersign.
  8. It takes up one of two hand slots, which are seldom used by mythics.

First analysis is that it's very strong.

Math suggests that with 16 chaos tokens in the chaos bag (15 after playing) while performing 2-3 skills tests a round it'll last an average of 3-4 rounds before returning to your hand. This is still largely chance based. This equates to 1 resource per round.

Pairing with cards like Time Warp or Seal of the Seventh Sign can add to this cards duration.

In multiplayer, playing this as a final action is a great benefit to the whole team, especially if you go first.

Can be searched for with Backpack or Dr. Elli Horowitz

Able to cast after Emergency Cache.


Now lets compare to Protective Incantation who is very simular.

THE CHTHONIAN STONE

  • Pro: Uses hand slot.
  • Pro: Overall cheaper per round than Protective Incantation, but also luck based.
  • Pro: Starting card.
  • Con: higher initial cost.
  • Con: Unique item. Limited to 1.
  • Con: Commits a .

PROTECTIVE INCANTATION

  • Pro: Able to have 2 in play.
  • Pro: low initial cost.
  • Pro: Able to remove 1 chaos token for entire scenario.
  • Pro: commits
  • Con: Upkeep cost
  • Con: Uses arcane slot
  • Con: Costs xp.

Final Anslysis: I Think The Chthonian Stone is a great card, but probably only as a one-of as the second copy is dead in your hand and only commits a . Most scenarios have one token that is worse than others & this can seal it up. It's extremely powerful in multiplayer & gets stronger with more members. You normally get 3+ rounds with it in play, with Time Warp you can double it's duration. Cheaper per round than than Protective Incantation and doesn't use a valuable arcane slot for mystics.

You could run 1x The Chthonian Stone and 2x [Protective Incantation] (/card/04031) and seal up to 3 chaos tokens, but that gets expensive really quick & there is no easy way to do this keep up the resource dedication.

I especially like this card for Jim Culver and Norman Withers decks.