The Haunter of the Dark
One of the “missing pieces” of Cthulhu Wars has always been Nyarlathotep’s multiplicity of shapes. Of course, we give a shout-out to it in the Crawling Chaos spellbook of “Thousand Forms” which is supposed to work by Nyarlathotep using his forms to befuddle and confuse and spread insanity amongst his competitors. But … we didn’t actually HAVE the forms in model form.
I was interested in getting these into the game in some way, but how? I couldn’t just suddenly give Crawling Chaos a bunch of new models. It’s a well-balanced, popular, faction, and giving him a bunch of new abilities would throw off the game. As I pondered, I decided that perhaps the best choice was for me to let EVERYONE have access to the new Masks, but then let Crawling Chaos have a special relationship with them.
Introducing the Haunter of the Dark
In general, I am extremely excited about the quality of the sculpting and art for Onslaught 3. It is filled with figures that are just amazing – the new acolytes, the Yothan, Hound, Bloated Woman, etc. Every model is top-notch. And now we’ve nearly got the cash to produce the new Haunter of the Dark figure –even among the great Onslaught 3 figures, it’s one of my favorites.
The Haunter of the Dark is a full-on Great Old One. It is awakened as with most independent Great Old Ones – you need a Gate with your own Great Old One. In the Haunter’s case, you spend 6 Power to get the loyalty card, putting it in the same high-end category as game-changers such as Atlach-Nacha, Cthugha, or Daoloth. (Most Independent Great Old Ones only cost 4, or even 2.)
If you’re Crawling Chaos, you can awaken the Haunter for just 5 Power, and you don’t need a Great Old One, so obtaining it is a lot easier, BUT every other faction does get an Elder Sign when you do this.
The Haunter is explicitly a combat critter. It has a combat of 1 per enemy spellbook (so in theory 0-6, but in practice usually at the high end). I wanted to reflect the fact that one of the Haunter’s best-known characteristics is that it can’t survive well in the light. Therefore, it actually starts with a weakness, representing this disability – Fly The Light. This “ability” states that post-Battle, if the enemy scored only 1 Kill, it MUST be applied to the Haunter. If the enemy scored 2 or more kills though, you can target them normally.
The Haunter’s spellbook is really easy to get – just spend 1 Power as an action. Trivial. In fact, normally this is the first thing you’ll do after awakening the Haunter, which gives your enemies a one-turn window to try to take it out, before you get this frightful pre-Battle ability. It’s The Shining Trapezohedron. Before rolling combat dice, your enemy has to roll 1 die per unit he has in the battle. For each Kill he rolls, he must eliminate a unit (his choice).
You’ll notice that the Haunter is at its best when battling large armies. You see, a large enemy army is likelier to roll 2 kills when they attack (thus keeping the Haunter safer), AND they are likelier to roll some kills in the pre-battle Shining Trapezohedron. The Haunter is kind of expensive to move, since you typically want to keep some meat shields with him, but there are ways to mitigate this, and his lethality is worth it.
He is absolutely a problem for factions who like to mass big armies (like the Tcho-Tchos or Windwalker), which of course may encourage these factions to try to obtain the Haunter for themselves.
How Do I Stop the Haunter?
The best way is to launch a smallish spoiling attack – if you can inflict just ONE kill on the enemy, it’ll have to be taken on the Haunter of the Dark.
You can also react to its presence by spreading out your forces, instead of amassing a horde. This may slow you down somewhat, but the Haunter of the Dark is supposed to have an impact play after all. And it does!