Asenath Waite and Brown Jenkins
I loved Brown Jenkin from the first moment I read Dreams in the Witch-House. He was an amazingly creepy character, seemingly anchored in old-school satanic imagery, but yet instead he turns out to be a gateway into Lovecraft’s mathematical and scientific Beyond. On one side, we have a cackling witch with her familiar, the dread Black Man and his hellish contract, and child sacrifice . All conventional terrors. But then it turns out that the witch and her familiar are visiting other dimensions, interacting with alien races, and even the Black Man is not the devil, but something much worse. And it’s all based on transcendental mathematics. What a head trip. And even more, my mind swirled with the implications. Why did Keziah want to kill children? What does this have to do with using advanced geometry to visit other universes? Why did the hero need to sign his name in blood, for a multiplanar being? Do they care about contracts, even? And where the heck did Brown Jenkin come from? As we dig deeper into the mystery it’s clear that the Christian Hell and Lucifer have nothing to do with this menace. It’s all from Beyond. What a tale.
Some history: way back on the very first Cthulhu Wars kickstarter, just before it started, we were discussing adding a figure for a first-person marker. My partners at the time wanted me to add something that was a “little bit sexy” to use their words. Not cheesecake, really, but not just another horrible monster. I think they felt some of Kingdom Death Monster’s success was due to the buxom female sculptures included (me, I liked KDM’s monster). “So, Sandy,” they asked. “Did Lovecraft write up any attractive women?” Internally, I rolled my eyes. Then, I decided to play a joke on them. “Yes!” I replied. “There are two prominent ones. Asenath Waite, a sophisticated society woman, and Lavinia Whateley, a fresh blonde farm girl.” (Albino counts as “blonde”, right?) +I didn’t tell them anything else about those two “attractive women”. (Those who are wondering why this was a practical joke should read “The Thing on the Doorstep”, and “The Dunwich Horror” to find out the real truth behind these two characters.)
My partners selected Asenath Waite, and so she became the very first first player marker we did. Rich Luong did a great job in portraying her. (Those interested in seeing her without her cloak of tentacles should check out Fenris Games “Succubus Queen” figure.)
Anyway, she has not been available since the original campaign back in 2013. Now, we are releasing her again, though in a different color (thus maintaining the exclusivity of the original model – as Petersen Games has always defined KS exclusivity). In addition, she now comes with a loyalty card and abilities, should you wish to use something else as your first player marker, which would free her up for unit duties.
HOW DOES SHE WORK?
Asenath is a Terror, in game terms, though her combat is 0. (Zero combat terrors seem to be cropping up of late, what with Brown Jenkin and all.) She has THREE special abilities. Her first is Seductress, which enables any player to summon her. “Why would they do this?” you ask. Good question, since even if another player summons her, she stays under her original owner’s control. Her second ability is Eidolon, which means she cannot be moved by the Move action. She can still be Pained, retreated, or affected by move-like abilities such as Submerge.
So once she is summoned, she tends to stay put, until she is killed.
This is where her third ability comes into play: True Vision. This kicks in during the Doom phase. At this time, the player with the highest “ranking” unit in Asenath’s Area gains an Elder Sign. (This is in addition to any Elder Sign gained via doing a Ritual of Annihilation or other means.) The unit ranks, from lowest to highest, are: Cultist, Monster, Terror, Independent Great Old One, Faction Great Old One. (In case of a tie, all participants gain the Elder Sign).
What happens in play? Well, other players try to get their highest-ranking nearby unit into Asenath’s area by the end of the action phase, so they can get their Elder Sign. Meanwhile, the owner is trying to kick them out of the area, to preserve Asenath for himself. If another player manages to kill Asenath, he can re-summon her somewhere more convenient for himself. The end result is everyone is fighting over her area, hoping to score their Elder Sign in the next Doom phase.
She results in a lot of interaction and play value.