What is the effect of Sycophancy on a player who performs the Ritual of Annihilation with 0 gates (for gaining the Elder Signs afforded by his GOOs)? Can he choose to gain one less Doom even of he gains 0 Doom from the Ritual?
Yes, although I don’t know why someone would perform a Ritual of Annihilation with no gates. That player just gains 0 Doom, not -1 Doom.
In our game, Yellow Sign had 28 Doom, 0 gates (due to the Dark Pharaoh in Hastur’s area) and both Hastur and the King in Yellow in play. He decided to perform the ritual with 0 gates to get the two Elder Signs that he needed to win. The TchoTchos, after performing the ritual and getting their Elder Signs, had 29 Doom, so determining the effect of Sycophancy with 0 gates was very important. According to the TchoTcho player, if you gain 0 Doom from your gates, you can’t gain “one less Doom”, so you must choose the other option and give 1 Doom to the TchoTchos.
I don’t believe that is correct. Yellow Sign could still choose to gain 1 less Doom, which would still be 0 Doom YS earns that Ritual. (I think, I’m an avid fan of CW, not Sandy who is the designer.)
But if I’m reading your example correctly, I don’t think it would matter anyway. Yellow Sign would get at least 2 Doom from those Elder Signs, so even if they had to give Tcho-Tcho a Doom, Yellow Sign would still win.