Charon's Obol

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?

PanicMoon · 1
Every scenario has the investigators earn experience as part of its resolution, even if the amount earned was zero, so I think your reading is not correct. To the best of my recollection, every resolution that doesn't involve the investigators being killed has the phrase, "The investigators earn X experience, where X is equal to the amount of victory points in the victory display." It is during this step that the obol would trigger and kill you, even if X=0. — SGPrometheus · 224
There are a few exceptions where no experience clause exists. Although without explicitely looking them up, the one I specifically remember involves redoing the scenario instead of advancing. — Death by Chocolate · 14
That's an interesting case Death by Chocolate brings up. It does specifically say to resolve investigator death IIRC (or maybe it was just defeat?). I always assumed that was code for "Yes, you still get Obol'd, even though everybody else gets to try again." lol — Zinjanthropus · 16
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 · 16
We all must make some sacrifices for the greater good — Django · 2631
I always knew Django was a front for Carl Sanford... — Mordenlordgrandison · 113
The research librarian is hard done by, but at least this review gives him the recognition he deserves. All hail the research librarian! — SGPrometheus · 224
Interesting read. I definitely think you've nailed the head on the coffin with this one. I think cards that search your entire deck are VERY powerful and I am always wondering if we will get upgrades for cards like Flare or Prepared for the Worst that will expand to search more cards, if not the entire deck. However, I got to ask, is he any good with Mandy? Because Mandy's treachery shuts down the search, doesn't it? And it's bound to be there if you're searching the entire deck (unless you've managed to discard it I suppose). — LaRoix · 5
@LaRoix I'd include the librarian in Mandy even without any tomes - specifically to force her weakness and make all future searches safe. — TheNameWasTaken · 3
I prefer rook in Mandy. Just 1 more resource for 2 soak, 3 searches and weakness removal — Django · 2631
@TheNameWasTaken So I like the idea of getting a treachery over and done with but... are you saying you'd play Research Librarian for the sole purpose of removing Mandy's signature weakness? Because Shocking Discovery will prevent you from getting the tome. So if you play Research Librarian turn 1, you are effectively spending a card, an action, and two resources for a 1/1 soak and an encounter card. I'm usually all for getting rid of weaknesses so I don't have to worry about them, but man. Guess it comes down to how important it is to get rid of Shocking Discovery vs improvising if it ruins a search mid game. — LaRoix · 5
Prophesy

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 · 15
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 · 1338
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 · 15
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 · 1070
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 · 1338
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 · 16
While I love this card, and often find it to be a 2 resource cheaper Swift Reflexes with an unexpected courage attached in many decks. However, I'm not a fan of it with Drawing Thin because the 'redone' test is still at +2 difficulty for no additional gain. — Death by Chocolate · 14
That’s true, but it’s still a possible synergy if you’re trying to engineer failure by letting you fail and then take the test at even. The larger point is that Live and Learn has a lot of uses and I struggle to not include it in the majority of Survivor decks. It’s particularly great in solo Yorick/Rita for clue getting. — StyxTBeuford · 1338
@Death by Chocolate: Yeah, I probably wouldn't bother redoing a Drawing Thin investigation with Rita, though maybe with someone who has better int. My point is just that, if you want to dig out your key assets for most Survivors (or even get clues at all with some), you're probably going to need to redo some tests, Live and Learn is a great way to do that without wasting an action. — Zinjanthropus · 16
StyxTBeuford I deeply disagree that it has a synergy with Take Heart, Dumb Luck, Look What I Found, Drawing Thin. Full disclosure, I play on Expert and a +2 bonus almost always isn't enough to beat a check. And getting a +2 for your 2 intellect (Patrice or Yorick) is going to make a huge impact on the test. You would fail it the second time with the chance of getting into more trouble. — ambiryan13 · 15
Basiclly what i saying is - this isn't an Expert Card! — ambiryan13 · 15
ambiryan13 If you are playing expert, yes you’ll need more than a +2, but that’s two closer to hitting the breakpoint you need. AND it just let you trigger a fail by card which is reliable value on expert for ‘success-less clues etc.’ - if your concern is fail penalties and you don’t see value in that package of cards in expert - that’s a different issue all together, and may very well be the case. But for a boost based deck like Silas who can use skills to succeed rather than a suite of assets. It’s pretty reasonable to be sometimes aiming for successes and other times aiming for failures, and this helps you do both in a single action. — Death by Chocolate · 14
I also think an assessment of a card based on Expert is a relatively poor one as most people dont play on Expert anyway. This card functions brilliantly Easy to Hard that I’ve seen, and if you combo it with effects that trigger on failure it’s like getting Unexpected Courage plus another effect in one card. It’s definitely worth it and I take it in most of my Survivor decks along with Lucky! — StyxTBeuford · 1338
Enraptured

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 · 16
Nice! Forgot about that one. — Mordenlordgrandison · 113
Or Mr Rook — Django · 2631
Don't forget Luke's Gate Box! — Death by Chocolate · 14
I actually run this in my Father Mateo deck with Alyssa Graham and a Summoned Hound. 3 Intellect is not impossible to work with; you don't need much more (if anything) to combine with Enraptured to make a simple investigate action and get not only a clue, but a spell charge for whatever you like. As the dedicated clue hunter for my group, this works especially well with lvl 4 Rite of Seeking in a 4 player game since there's often a single clue left lingering. It might seem silly to play it in a deck with a willpower investigation spell, but Alyssa also helps protect from weaknesses and the Unbound Beast, and the Summoned Hound can, like I said, help you nap the last clue or fend off an enemy in a pinch. Enraptured is not the best card ever, but every time I draw it, it always gets played and I always use the extra charge from it. And if it can save me from having to spend more actions or resources to do it, then that's just icing on the cake. — LaRoix · 5