Have you found the Yellow Sign?
The Start space on the Yellow Sign board costs nothing, and gives you the King in Yellow card. Place this card by your priest board. It acts as a new action space that only you can activate (while you have control of the King).
To use the King in Yellow, place an acolyte on the card (it cannot be your priest!), then pay the cost: 1 each of treasure, blood, and magic. Then add an acolyte from your asylum directly to your pool, ready for action. If another player takes control of the King in Yellow while you have a acolyte on him, that acolyte goes to your escape space.
Once the King has been unlocked, the start spaces of 3 ritual tracks become available on the cult board. These tracks must also be unlocked, step by step, and cannot be accessed until at least 2 Elder Signs on that track have been shattered: the first Ritual Start space, and at least one space past that. Because of the way you shatter Elder Signs and unlock spaces, you can never use all 3 ritual tracks in their entirety in any one game. When you have a cultist on a ritual track, he returns to your pool when, at the end of the Action phase, no more spaces beyond the one he is currently on are unlocked. You could, therefore, have a cultist already on a ritual track, and if the next site was unlocked before he’d reached it, he could continue along the track.
One of the tracks costs you a chamber to embark upon: discard any of your chambers, placing any resources in it on your exposed resources space. The other 2 tracks are free to you! However, you must select an opponent, who gains 1 magic or 1 blood (depending on the track).
The Zoog (monster)
The Zoogs were invented by Lovecraft in his tale “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath” which isn’t really horror, but actually adventurous fantasy, and one of my favorite fantasy stories. It’s also one of Lovecraft’s two “novels”. I mean it’s still pretty short by modern standards. My copy is just 138 pages long. By comparison, Stephen King’s “The Stand” is over 8 times as long (over 1100 pages). I think even Mr. King would agree that “The Stand” is far from 8 times as good as “Dream-Quest”. Just shows how tight Lovecraft’s writing was. Consider that the iconic and world-renowned Cthulhu itself was made so by a story less than 40 pages long.
Anyway, in Evil High Priest, Zoogs are sometimes just another monster, but occasionally they really pay off. The ability is that when an investigator strikes that has a Post-Raid ability, if you discard your Zoog to defend, you get to take control over that effect. For example, in the Blood Ceremony box, out of 10 investigators, four have targeted post-raid effects (Miskatonic Professor, Journalist, Police Detective, and Parapsychologist). Of course certain Dark Ritual investigators also have this feature.
Since these post-raid effects are often nasty (or sometimes beneficial) the ability to control them is highly useful. And since the Zoog ALSO gets to defend against the raid at the same time, it’s icing on the cake. Imagine you are in a game and the Miskatonic Professor attacks. First you sack your Zoog, stopping most of the attack. Then post-attack, instead of being forced to cash in one of your spellbooks, you can make your hated enemy take the hit. Pretty fine. Sometimes this discourages other players, so they are less likely to unlock an elder sign, knowing they won’t control the post-raid effect. That’s fine, too. However, not all investigators have a post-raid ability, and the Zoog’s ability is useless against those. In addition, the Zoog’s ability does no good when you launch the raid (since the raid’s instigator gets to target post-raid effects anyway). On the other hand, even if you don’t get to use the Zoog’s ability, it’s still a 5 point monster, so you’re not really losing anything. So … to celebrate the Zoog, we have decided to give you TWO investigators as well, both of which have post-raid abilities.
Zoog’s effect – of course, you are safe from losing your cultist. So he’s a pretty sweet monster. (Or is the Zoog a she? I’m not sure.)
The Dilettante (investigator)
The dilettante is of course a spoiled rich kid, who seeks to justify his existence by oppressing our cult. I guess in the eyes of normal society he’s a hero, but naturally we as cultists still dislike him.
He adds an extra die to his attack, which is fearsome. But because of his wealth, he doesn’t value money, so he ignores your treasure. Of course your magic, blood, spellbooks, and elder signs are still at risk, but often folks keep treasure nearer the mouth of the sanctum, so you may get away without losing too much. Also in his attack, the dilettante bribes and pays off folks, including you, so at the end of the raid you end up with an extra 5 treasure. Again, this is post-raid, so even if you got wiped out, you still end up with 5 treasure.
Example: The Dilettante is launching an attack. It would normally be a 2-die attack, but thanks to the Dilettante’s deep pockets, it bumps up to 3, and a fearsome 14 is rolled. The players groan. Sandy, who launched the attack, has 2 blood, 1 magic, and an elder sign in storage. Unfortunately, no one is in a position to stop the attack at all, so everyone is completely wiped out! (This, while unusual, isn’t unheard-of.) But then post-raid, Sandy gets 5 treasure. The end result of the raid is that everyone is broke, except Sandy, who immediately goes about investing his wealth in useful rituals or trades. He’s a leg up on the rest – even losing his elder sign may have been worth it as an equalizer.
Zoog’s effect – pretty simple. If someone else launches the Dilettante’s raid, you get the cash reward at the end instead of him. Nice, eh?
The Alienist (investigator)
We already bypassed the Alienist in an earlier poll we took. BUT we figured you wouldn’t mind if we shoe-horned him into this stretch goal! Particularly because he pairs so well with the Dilettante & the Zoog.
“Alienist” is an old word for psychiatrist, or other mental health worker. I am not sure why it fell out of vogue, because it’s a terrific word. Maybe it didn’t have enough syllables to lend gravitas to the self-importance that is a modern “clinical psychologist”. (Like calling a janitor a “custodial engineer.”)
The Alienist’s raid is no different from any other investigator’s. Well I guess that statement is technically not true, because some investigators have pretty wack attacks. But at least it’s a normal straightforward attack. However, AFTER the raid, the Alienist goes to work on a cultist and cures him of his madness! While this might sound good at first, it means that cultist no longer is interested in bringing about the rise of the Great Old Ones, and leaves the cult forever. In other words, you pick a rival player, and he gets to choose one of his meeples and put it back in the box, out of play. He plays the rest of the game with only 5 total cultists. The victim can pick any of his cultists, and of course is likely to pick one still in the asylum. Which makes sense, as the Alienist probably works there.
The Alienist is more fearsome early in a game, when his effects are cumulative over time – if he’s one of the last 2-3 attacks, he is far less of a problem.