Articles Up Your Game Adjusting the Starting Common Items in Arkham Horror
 

Adjusting the Starting Common Items in Arkham Horror Hot

I am one of those individuals that loves the potential for a good story from my games. Consequently, I am drawn to those games, such as Arkham Horror, that just exude theme. Unfortunately, a good story can become derailed at the beginning due to some minor inconsistency - some feature which manages to pull one out of one's suspension of disbelief. Speaking personally, this occurs on a fairly regular basis during the set-up phase of Arkham Horror when the random items are assigned. Many are the times that I have wondered why my Magician character would start the game with a Time Bomb, rather than some Dusty Manucripts. And why on earth would a doctor have a Tommy Gun and a supply of Dynamite laying around his office?

In an attempt to correct this problem, I have created the following tables for each Arkham Horror character. For each random, common item a player is to begin the game with, roll two six-sided dice and consult the appropriate table instead of drawing one from the deck. That item should then be pulled from the common items deck and be added to that player's inventory. If the same item is rolled twice, the player should reroll until he or she gets a different common item. In keeping with the special abilities of the characters, the Drifter and the Salesman should roll twice for each item and keep the choose the one that they prefer.   Because the nature of the tables is to skew the characters away from starting with the more "unusual" common items, it might be advisable for each to player start the game with an additional common item and consequently an additional roll on the appropriate table. Hopefully, this would make up for some of the loss of "firepower" that your fellow players might righfully mourn. Also, I feel that even those characters that start with no commons should get one opportunity for an item (why not share the fun?), so I have contructed charts for those characters too.   Those investigators are marked with an asterisk.

I have included 2 tables for each character.  Table A uses all the items that come in the base game, plus any common items that come with that particular investigator's expansion.  If you have that investigator sheet, you will be able to use Table A.  Table B utilizes all common items in every expansion, and is therefore much more colorful.

I hereby dedicate this varient to those of you who are actually disappointed when your Muscian starts the game with the Flamethrower.

Editor's Note: Below is an example of the tables. You can download a pdf of the tables for all the characters at the bottom of this article. You must be logged in to download the file.

 

 

Urchin (Table A)

Urchin (Table B)

Exp. Leader (Table A)

Exp. Leader (Table B)

2. Makeup Kit

2. Ley Line Map

2. Old Journal

2. Old Journal

3. Lantern

3. Knife

3. Research Materials

3. Camera

4. Knife

4. Map of Arkham

4. Food

4. Food

5. Map of Arkham

5. Lucky Rabbit's Foot

5. Calvary Saber

5. Calvary Saber

6. Food

6. Food

6. Lantern

6. Lantern

7. Old Journal

7. Old Journal

7. Carbine

7. Elephant Gun

8. Dark Cloak

8. Dark Cloak

8. Knife

8. Flare Gun

9. Cross

9. Cross

9. Rifle

9. Knife

10. Ancient Tome

10. Ancient Tome

10. Dusty Manuscripts

10. Carbine

11. .18 Derringer

11. Athame

11. Dynamite

11. Telescope

12. Kerosene

12. Molotov Cocktail

12. Flamethrower

12. Flamethrower

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

The King is Yellow is a member of Fortress: Ameritrash.

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Comments (16)
  • avatarGary Sax

    Good idea, I can see what you mean. I think we like to explain the absurd stories (this version of the Professor is a secret gun nut and pyromaniac!) but this is a great idea for those who want more authenticity.

  • avatarShellhead

    This is a pretty cool project, but I'm always entertained when characters get incongruous starting equipment. Though I do get a bit of a kick when a character actually gets highly appropriate starting gear. However, this does remind me that one of these days, I'm going to do some Strange Aeon cards for the specific starting gear, like the shotgun/whiskey/motorcyle cards for Wilson. I'll print them off and sleeve them with those special small sleeves from FFG, so I don't need to fish through the item decks at the start of each game.

  • avatarubarose

    Are the tables purposefully built with the probabilities of rolling certain numbers on 2D6 in mind?

  • avatarShellhead

    Usually my search-fu is strong, but not at F:AT. What happened to the last custom Arkham thing that was posted here? The one with the ordinary townfolk encounters?

  • avatarubarose
    Quote:
    Usually my search-fu is strong, but not at F:AT. What happened to the last custom Arkham thing that was posted here? The one with the ordinary townfolk encounters?

    It was posted as a blog not an article. It's a lot harder to find stuff in the blogs because entries are indexed by blogger rather than by category.

  • avatarGrudunza

    I assume this is the same list I saw a while back posted on TOS, but regardless it's a good idea. Like others, I enjoy figuring out a backstory explanation for how Sister Mary ended up with the Whiskey, or whatever, but nonetheless I appreciate the effort to make this and I'll probably try it out at some point.

    Shellhead, are you referring to the Streets of Arkham guardian? If so, here's the link: http://fortressat.com/index.php?option=com_myblog&show=the-streets-of- arkham.html&Itemid=240

  • Mr Skeletor

    How did you do attachments like that!
    Wow!

  • avatarThe King in Yellow

    Are the tables purposefully built with the probabilities of rolling certain numbers on 2D6 in mind?
    Absolutely, Uba. For instance, you'll notice that Gray's Anatomy is sitting in the "7" slot on the doctor's table. The stranger items are skewed towards the "2"s and "12"s. I put quite a lot of thought in determining what would go where. I could have bored everyone for explanations under each investigator, but I figure only a few OCD people would truly care what my rationalizations were.

    I assume this is the same list I saw a while back posted on TOS, but regardless it's a good idea. Like others, I enjoy figuring out a backstory explanation for how Sister Mary ended up with the Whiskey, or whatever, but nonetheless I appreciate the effort to make this and I'll probably try it out at some point.
    @Grudunza - I hope someone else didn't have the same idea. Maybe you're thinking of the first one I did some years ago. At that time though, the latest expansion was "The King in Yellow," and I felt is was time for an update.
    As far as the nun with the booze... From being raised Catholic, I can assure you that booze and cigarettes were an important part of the papist diet. In fact communion wine was still permitted during the Prohibition era. The more you know!

  • avatarThe King in Yellow

    Oh, thanks for all of your kind words as well. I appreciate the support.

  • avatarGrudunza
    Quote:
    I hope someone else didn't have the same idea. Maybe you're thinking of the first one I did some years ago. At that time though, the latest expansion was "The King in Yellow," and I felt is was time for an update.

    I'm sure it was yours... same thing with the 2d6. I just happened upon it a while ago while poking through the variants there. Yup, here it is: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/245924/adjusting-common-items-for-characters That's you, alright.

    Another thought along these lines is to have some kind of a list for what items you're likely to get from certain locations when you happen to gain an item from an encounter there. Much as I like Last Night on Earth, I always thought the search/Item system would be better if it was specific to each location... so for example, you're more likely to find the baseball bat in the Gym. Again, it can be fun to come up with the story of how the dynamite ended up being found at the Church, and in a way these kinds of games create more funny situations with their randomness, but in terms of realism, some more specific connections between things would be good.

  • avatarubarose

    I uploaded the wrong file. The correct file is now attached and can be downloaded. You have to be logged in to download the file.

    My apologies to The King in Yellow and anyone who downloaded the crap file. The correct file is 25 pages of tables. It is not a pdf of an image of the Fortress: Ameritrash website.

  • avatarThe King in Yellow

    Grudunza, I think the two of us think alike in that regards. Way back, I made a chart of items (including many of my own design) to be gained in the large chambers of my old TSR Dungeon! board game, because it bothered me that there were no weapons in the Armory room.

    And no apologies needed, Uba. I'm barely computer-literate myself, so I admire anyone who can wrestle info from varied sources and make it functional in a different format.


  • avatarGary Sax

    lol ubarose

  • avatarMrZir

    Count me among those who prefer the character's starting items to make sense. Thanks!

  • Gronak

    Nice idea. The formatting of the last 2 pages is messed up.

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