Elder Sign: Omens takes place in the Miskatonic Museum. The museum is stocked with encounters called adventures, each consisting of one or more tasks. Some adventures need to be resolved quickly because they cause widespread negative effects. For instance, the above screenshot show us looking at the koi pond adventure in the upper left. But let’s see what’s going on with that pulsing red circle in the administration office, down there in the lower right.
After the jump, we need to find help
The adventure is called “We Need to Find Help”. It consists of a single task, represented by the big cirlce. The icons around the edge indicate what dice have to be rolled to accomplish the task. An investigator needs to roll two peril (skulls), one lore (scroll), and three points of investigation (magnifying glass). The bottom of the box shows the penalty for failure on the left and the reward for success on the right. If an investigator fails, he loses two sanity and a stamina. Ouch. But if he succeeds, he earns a common item and a spell.
But more importantly, this adventure is imposing a negative condition on the entire game. See that banner at the top of the box and the little red lock icon in the upper left? This adventure has locked all red dice in the game, rendering my badass items useless. No Lamp of Alhazred, no Nameless Cults, no King in Yellow. You can see global effects like this on the main screen here:
Each of those colored dots represents a potential die roll during an adventure. By default, every investigator rolls six green dice. Using items or abilities can add a special yellow and/or red die. But monsters and global effects can lock dice, basically reducing your resources. As you can see here if you squint (my kingdom for an iPad!), the lock on the red circle indicates I can’t use any red dice. That’s why I’m going to resolve We Need to Find Help first.
Each investigator takes his turn in order. Up first is Ashcan Pete, who can expend his shotgun to guarantee a peril die roll. Since we need two perils for this adventure, I consider this the perfect job for my hobo with a shotgun!
Here’s the set up:
Each square along the bottom of the screen represents a die. All green dice have the following six faces: one investigation point, two investigation points, and three investigation points, each with a magnifying glass icon. Peril with a skull icon, lore with a scroll icon, and terror with a tentacles icon. I click on the book icon to the right to roll my six green dice:
Uh-oh. I get, from left to right, terror, investigation three, lore, lore, terror, and terror. The shotgun can change any single die to a peril, but that’s only going to give me one peril. I need two perils. So I have to discard a die and re-roll five dice. Here’s my re-roll:
Uh-oh redux. There’s still no way to get two perils. So I have to discard another die and re-roll four dice. Here’s my re-re-roll:
Ultimate uh-oh. I’m down to four dice. If I discard a die to re-roll again, I’ll only be rolling three dice. But I can’t satisfy this particular task’s requirements with fewer than four dice. Ashcan Pete and his shotgun have failed. He loses two points of sanity and one point of stamina. Now Darrell Simmons is up.
By the way, see that purple die? An investigator can lock a single die when he re-rolls, which gives you some control over the course of successive re-rolls. If you have multiple investigators in a single location, they can lock dice for each other. If there’s one thing horror movies have taught me, it’s to stick together.