The Secret Order
A Look at the Hunters from For the Greater Good
"Blake stooped over the gleaming bones and noted their peculiar state. Some of them were badly scattered, and a few seemed oddly dissolved at the ends. Others were strangely yellowed, with vague suggestions of charring. This charring extended to some of the fragments of clothing. The skull was in a very peculiar state—stained yellow, and with a charred aperture in the top as if some powerful acid had eaten through the solid bone."
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Haunter of the Dark
For the Greater Good, the eighth deluxe expansion for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, will soon bolster the Agency's ranks with new characters, supports, events, and conspiracies. In our earlier previews, we've looked at how these cards add new strength to the Government subtype, how they bury the truth beneath layers of conspiracy, and how they add new characters and new strengths to each of the game's eight different factions. However, we have not yet seen all that this expansion has to offer; there is another order we have not yet explored.
Much as the Seekers of Knowledge expansion introduced Explorers to Miskatonic University and The Key and the Gate introduced Yithians to Yog-Sothoth, For the Greater Good introduces a new subtype to the Agency, Hunter. Even among the ranks of the Agency's covert operatives, these new Hunters are mysterious figures. Their very existence borders on mythical, and though they're bound to make a powerful impact upon the faction's play style, they don't appear in the same numbers as the Yithians first appeared, nor with the same focus on synergies as Miskatonic University's Explorers. Instead, as we shall see, the expansion's fifteen Hunters (three copies each of five different characters) are more individualistic and bring wildly different abilities to the table.
Still, there is a unifying focus that lies at the heart of this new subtype, as developer Damon Stone reveals.
Developer Damon Stone on the Hunters of For the Greater Good
One of the new features of For the Greater Good is the introduction of the Hunter subtype, which denotes the members of the secret order, Hunters of Ardenne. The Hunters tirelessly continue a great work that began within the Order of Saint Hubert, patron saint of mathematicians, hunters, and knights. After one of the Order's knights survived an encounter with some strange thing that he realized saw him as prey, he turned to his brothers and sisters in order to make sense of the entity. Those that joined him in his efforts eventually formed an order within the Order, dedicated to studying the most mysterious and terrifying creatures that encroached upon the domains of man.
It wasn’t until Abbess Allegria Di Biase came to prominence that the Order’s secret cabal broke away and renamed itself Hunters of Ardenne, and they took upon themselves a new purpose, not just to study the mysteries and horrors, but find a way to fight against them. And fight they did, drawing upon both modern science and absolute faith to push back against all entities that would seek dominion over humankind.
Mechanically, the Hunters are characters whose abilities are geared toward giving you the advantage during story resolution, rather than manipulating the game state outside of the story phase. For example, the Relentless Stalker (For the Greater Good, 5), boasts both Willpower and Toughness, making it easier for him to survive the dangerous Terror and Combat struggles, and his two Combat icons and Combat struggle booster can even help him to hold a story against much larger numbers. Meanwhile, Grete Wagner-Blackwood (For the Greater Good, 12) has such a commanding presence and gains such strength from her zealotry that characters who are unable to match her in their loyalty are unable to count their icons in struggles where she is committed.
Centuries have passed since the Hunters of Ardenne first began their studies. Over that time, the world has changed. The church has changed, and science has benefitted from many significant advances. Still, wherever the unfathomable terrors of other worlds seek to cheat their way into our world, the Hunters wade into the darkness, wielding faith, fire, and science to burn away the shadows and cleanse the world.
Faith, Fire, and Science
What does it mean, in Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, to harness the combined powers of faith and science to confront and defeat the most horrifying creatures to find their way into our reality? We explore these ideas in a sample deck that pairs the Hunters from For the Greater Good with the Abbess Allegria Di Biase (Terror in Venice, 1), a few Church Operatives (Terror in Venice, 3), and a couple of the Agency's favorite weapons, the Shotgun (Core Set, 14) and Prize Pistol (In Memory of Day, 22).
"The Great Work Never Ends"
- 2x Abbess Allegria Di Biase
- 3x Church Operative
- 3x Grete Wagner-Blackwood
- 2x Hunters of Ardenne (For the Greater Good, 19)
- 1x Jenica Capra (Lost Rites, 61)
- 3x Officer Gibson (For the Greater Good, 4)
- 3x Paul Lemond (Core Set, 4)
- 3x Peerless Tracker (For the Greater Good, 11)
- 3x Relentless Stalker
- 3x Supernatural Investigator (For the Greater Good, 2)
- 3x Veteran Monster Hunter (For the Greater Good, 14)
- 3x Beneath the Burning Sun (Secrets of Arkham, 5)
- 3x Prize Pistol
- 3x Red Tape (For the Greater Good, 27)
- 3x Shotgun
- 3x Cover Up (Perilous Trials, 22)
- 3x Eldritch Nexus (Core Set, 154)
- 3x The Great Work (For the Greater Good, 33)
This deck is centered around The Great Work, which grant you complete protection from your opponent's events, along with any effects that can trigger from the discard pile, so long as you can keep your opponent from committing charaters to the conspiracy.
To that end, the deck focuses on supporting its cheap rush potential with a number of wounding effects, such as that of the Prize Pistol and Veteran Monster Hunter, that can repeatedly trigger from in play. In fact, since the deck features a total of seventeen different Hunters, and because all copies of the Veteran Monster Hunter can trigger their Response abilities each time you play a Hunter, you should be able to blast your way through the ranks of nearly any opponent who would hope to scare you away in the Terror struggles. Against other foes, your standard Agency Combat superiority and Weapon attachments should help limit the number of characters your opponent can keep on the table or afford to commit to The Great Work.
Of course, the world of Call of Cthulhu is full of horrifying surprises, and that means that, despite your best efforts, it's possible your opponent may find a way to commit one or more characters to The Great Work and trigger effects from out of play. Even then, your deck might frustrate his dark ambitions. Faith and science (or bureaucracy) combine in the forms of Red Tape, Church Operative, and Hunters of Ardenne. Together, these cards grant your Hunters complete immunity to your opponent's triggered effects while they're committed to stories, force your opponent to discard a card in order to target one of your characters, and cancel the first effect your opponent triggers each turn. It's entirely possible to find a scenario in which your opponent will have to trigger one effect just to have it cancelled in order to discard a card from hand in order to target one of your Agency characters with a second effect.
If it comes together, the deck should force your opponent to play the game "by the book." No more cheating in Dreamlands Fanatics (In the Dread of Night, 47) or other similar characters. No longer will you live in fear of Naomi O'Bannion (Denizens of the Underworld, 1) and her ability to trigger Tactics from the discard pile. If your opponent wants to play events or trigger any of these effects, he'll have to send characters to The Great Work, and that's where your Hunters can pick them apart, one by one.
Arm Yourself for the Coming Hunt
Will you stand with the Hunters of Ardenne and join their quest to purge the world of terrifying evils? The time is coming. Pick up your shotgun, load it with ammo, and ready yourself for the hunt. For the Greater Good arrives at retailers later this week!