Q: Read the Signs vs Locked Door. Are triggered abilities on encounter cards considered to be "on the location"? My understanding is that locked door has a permanent ability, not triggered. But we were curious about the fact that locked door prevent any investigating, could read the signs be played if it would allow instead to ignore permanent abilities as well? A: You are correct, but there are two reasons why Read the Signs does not interact with Locked Door. The first is that the text on Locked Door that prevents you from investigating is not a triggered ability, it is a constant ability. Read the Signs says “you may ignore any effect or keyword on your location which would trigger during this investigation.” Therefore only triggered abilities (keywords and Forced abilities, for the most part) are ignored. But secondly, Read the Signs only allows you to ignore effects or keywords on the location itself, not on cards attached to the location. Locked Door does not grant any text to its location, it simply reads “The attached location cannot be investigated.” Even if this were a forced ability, Read the Signs would not allow you to ignore it, since it isn’t text on the location, it’s text on a card attached to the location. (This would be different if it said something like “The attached location gains: ‘some forced ability’”)
Q: A recent ruling on Neither Rain nor Snow stated that keywords like Alert and Retaliate (and presumably Haunted) are not "effects of the skill test" and in fact trigger at some point after the test ends [NB this ruling has been overturned, see Neither Rain nor Snow]. This raises three questions. First: what is the exact timing of the resolution of Alert et al. and do other effects have priority over them? Specifically, is Live and Learn resolved before or after resolving attacks/haunted effects? Second: Is there a difference between cards that reference "effects OF a failed skill test" (NRNS) and "effects FROM a failed skill test" - Live and Learn and more importantly, Self-Sacrifice? The latter has traditionally been assumed to allow the committer to resolve effects like Alert etc. rather than the performing investigator but this ruling makes that murkier and calls into question the intended use case of that skill. Third and finally, taking the wording of Read the Signs into account are we now to understand Haunted to be a keyword that triggers in St.6 but in fact sets up a delayed effect that resolves at a later timing point? Otherwise I'm unsure how Read the Signs is supposed to ignore Haunted (which is it's traditionally understood use case.) A: 1) Neither Rain nor Snow can cancel Alert/Retaliate (and Haunted), treating all as “effects of the failed skill test.” 2) If playing Live and Learn, Alert/Retaliate would have resolved already during Step 7 of the initial test, as “effects of the failed test.” 3) Yes, Read the Signs was always intended to be able to ignore Haunted, a “keyword on your location that would trigger during this investigation.” 4) There is also no mechanical difference between “effects of the failed test” and “effects from the failed test.”
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I generally like this card very much, use it even more than Drawn to the Flame. It's a big pro for me, that it has the Spell-trait for the synergy with Arcane Initiate and now also Robes of Endless Night. In multiplayer it can chain to big-clue-turns, if you cast it before using any version of Rite of Seeking as last action. Sure, that's also possible with Drawn to the Flame, but if you then draw an enemy, you have to take care of him first. Finally, and that's more of a personal thing: I have only one core set, and from RtS I can take two copies without proxying.
However, one thing, I never really considered was the "ignore" part, even though I played quite a bit of Diana Stanley. The trigger condition is very niche, how many locations are there actually, where it matters? Even worse for other investigators, many locations that might trigger (including, but not solemnly the ones with the "Haunted" keyword) only care, if you fail the test, something you want to avoid anyway on an event, that costs two resources. Sure, once in a while, you might draw the autofail, but I at least always look to cover the second-worst token, if I play RtS,it's normally not that hard. For Diana this still matters. After all, the card ignores the effect, does not need to cancel it and triggers her ability even on success. But for others not so much. Still I wanted an overview, where there potential locations, that care about this card, and because there was no review her yet, that covers this aspect, I thought it was time to provide it. Obviously, we are running into SPOILER-Territory here, so if you don't like that, I'd advice to stop reading after the next paragraph. I will not cover "Return to" cards past Dunwich for now, as I have not played them yet, but I plan to update them and any upcoming campaigns whenever I'm ready for that.
Some notes regarding which locations work with the cards, and which won't, as this is quite tricky. It must be a triggered ability, so cards like Arkham Woods or Yard won't work, because they are constant abilities. I'm also pretty sure, that a card like Museum of Egyptian Antiquities won't be ignored, because it triggers after you investigate, so too late for RtS. However, if a card says "After you successfully investigate" (and there are some), it is fine to ignore, because just like "After you fail a skill test while investigating", this is checked in ST.6 and triggered in ST.7, so before the test has ended. I think, I found all the cards, that are eligible to be ignored, but if you think, I missed one, please mention it. Very much appreciated.
(Return to:) The Night of the Zealot
There is not a single location, that would trigger in the core box, however three in the "Return to" box. Two of them are in "The Gathering". Even though one is "basically Haunted" without the keyword, so not very interesting for anybody except Diana, the other effect might sound familiar from Rite of Seeking and is sure nice to ignore. Both of the cards you will see reliably in any game of "Return to the Gathering", unlike the third card, which is randomly chosen or not among the "Arkham Woods" location in the third scenario. But if you get it, you'll sure like to ignore it.
(Return to:) The Dunwich Legacy
The Orne Library won't trigger, because it is a constant ability and furthermore even a cost you have to pay, before you are able to play the card. However in "Return to Extracurricular Activity" it may be swapped with the Warren Observatory, which has a nice effect to ignore. There are quite a lot of "basically Haunted" cards in Dunwich, one in "The House Always Win", four of the eight "Exhibit Halls" in "The Miskatonic Museum" (one of them from the "Return to" set) and one of the two original Burned Ruins in "Blood on the Altar". If you are playing with the "Return to" set, you have a 1 in 3 chance to draw the new Burned Ruins, that triggers on success. The biggest impact in this campaign have the alternate versions of Base of the Hill and Ascending Path from "Return to Where Doom Awaits". While the locations from the original scenario had been a road block for any investigating with , including with RtS, the bug fix from the Return version can be exploited in true solo to use the clues on advancing the act, rather than putting the side locations into place. Both location provide only 3 clues, and you need 2 to advance, so there won't be enough clues for that clearly unintended cheese in multiplayer. (Though with 2 players, you could bring one of the side locations into play, and if it doesn't happen to be Destroyed Path, get the two remaining clues from the Sentinel Hill location.) Finally in "Lost in Time and Space" Prismatic Cascade is sure nice to clear with RtS, while Towering Luminosity from the "Return to" set is yet just another "After you fail a skill test".
(Return to:) The Path to Carcosa
In general, all eligible locations in this campaign trigger one way or other on successful investigations, which is particular nice, as they have either one or two shroud. But only two of them, in The Unspeakable Oath and A Phantom of Truth, have 2 clues, all the other only 1, which is less nice for solo investigators. The location in Curtain Call deals you 1 horror, if you succeed by 2 or more, while in Black Star Rise you are punished with doom for succeeding by 1 or less. In "Dim Carcosa" there are even 6 locations, 3 versions of Ruins of Carcosa and 3 of Dim Streets, each triggering after discovering the last remaining clue. You won't have the card from "Curtain Call" in every game, and neither all six from "Dim Carcosa", but a total of 10 locations, where you can ignore something is quite high, and it might be worth considering RtS for that aspect alone, in particular in a 2 player campaign.
There are just a couple of new cards in the "Return to" box: Prop Shop from "Curtain Call" does not sound that interesting: it's another "basically haunted" location, and even one with an effect, which might be desirable to choose to not ignore, to increase the odds on further investigations. Exceptionally meh in solo, as there is only 1 clues on the location. The Museum Storage in the Historical Society (from "Echos of the Past") on the other hand is an A++ effect to ignore: it places a clue from the location to the cultist farthest from you (flipping it to it's doom side), if you reveal a , , , or during the test. Regardless of failure or success.
(Return to:) The Forgotten Age
Here you will find only 6 locations: Ruins of Eztli in "The Untamed Wild" threatens you with drawing an encounter card on a failed investigation. Investigating Grand Chamber ("The Doom of Etzli") and Perilous Gulch ("Heart of the Elders" B) might end up with doom on the location. The last three are all from "Shattered Aeons": Plateau of Leng is probably not worth considering. It has a very minor triggered effect and only 1 clue, regardless of #. Atlantis triggers independent on the location an is revealed during a test. Of course, with RtS you could only ignore it, if you are investigating while in Atlantis with this card. Mu's effect triggers on revealing , , or and would be sure nice to ignore.
The "Return to" box adds two cards to the pool of Rainforrest locations, that can potentially see play in several scenarios. Waterfall is again a "haunted" card without the keyword, but also the only one of the "Return to" set, where the negative effect can't be avoided with the propper supplies. Riverside Temple requires to shuffle an encounter card for each clue into the exploration deck, but that can be avoided with Chalk. The other two cards are from "Heart of the Elders, Part 2": Chthonian Depths adds a doom, when taking the last clue (unless you have torches), the Subterranean Swamp is again "haunted", but only without a pocket knife. With 2 clues it is also more yielding than the others, which all just provide 1.
(Return to:) The Circle Undone
In "The Witching Hour" 3 of the 7 "Witch-Haunted Woods" have triggered abilities, that let you loose resources or cards for every clue you discover or even spawn an enemy on discovering the last clue. And they all come with 2 clues and Victory 1. Even though, there are always only 4 of the locations in the game, and some of them maybe not within reach for you, I would say RtS is worth considering for any for the effect alone, if nothing else at least for the first scenario. "At Death's Doorstep" features Meiger's Office as last location in this campaign, that is not Haunted, and still can be ignored. In the second half of the scenario six of the seven locations become Haunted, which is not ideal for Diana to level up , as it's probably too late in the game. She might still get use out of it, if she has played her Twilight Blade or after pulling the . "Secret Name" has six Haunted locations, technical even seven, but one is without clues, and I don't think Diana would like to play RtS just for healing. In "The Wages of Sin" all 7 locations are Haunted, but only after they are flipped. "Union and Disillusion" is the scenario, where Diana definitely wants to keep this card in the starting hand. All except the starting locations are Haunted right from the beginning. And finally "Before the Black Throne" has again one Haunted location.
There are five new haunted locations in the "Return to" sets: the spectral version of Wine Cellar from "At Deaths Doorstep", The 9th Ward and The Price Manor from "The Secret Name", a new version of Hangman's Brook from "The Wages of Sin", and finally Winding Gulf from "Before the Black Throne". There is also a new Arkham Woods location that lets you mill the encounter deck on over-succeeding. (Very easy at 1 shroud and only 1 clues, so who would use RtS here?) And also a new version of Witch-Haunted Woods, that lets you draw a Hex on the last clue, again with shroud 1, but at least 2 clues and Victory 1.
The Dream Eaters
There are a decent amount of eligible locations in The Dream Quest, six in total, but all but one 2 location are 1, so far from ideal for solo investigators. 4 locations are in "The Search for Kadath", where the card was released: Sarnath, that triggers on succeeding by 1 or less, Ruins of Ib, that trigger on revealing a or , Mt. Ngranek, which is a weird one, as you can bypass the triggered effect by other means, and the City-Which-Appears-On-No-Map, which is the 2 location, but triggers only on failing the test. "Ruins of Ib" is probably the meanest of all, requires you to remove an asset from play, while Sarnath only deals you 1 horror.In "Dark Side of the Moon" you will find Temple of the Moon Lizard, which has a scaled effect on how many clues you discover. So RtS can potentially save you from taking 2 horror or discarding 2 cards, in a multiplayer game. Finally Cold Wastes from "Where the Gods Dwell" are triggered by revealing a , , , or and deals 1 damage or lets you loose an action.
The Web of Dreams on the other hand has only two locations, both 1: Morgue from "Waking Nightmare", which requires an "infestation test" after clearing the location and Sea of Bones from "Point of No Return", which is again very situational, whether you want to ignore the effect. If you know the consequences, you might either face an XP enemy for the first time, which can be desirable, or return him into the game back from the victory point display, which is definitely not.
The Innsmouth Conspiracy
There are no triggered abilities in the generic "Tidal Tunnels" (just constant, that can't be ignored), so "Innsmouth Conspiracy" comes with only 3 Scenarios, having eligible locations. "The Vanishing of Elina Harper" comes with the most: 5 locations. However, from the two, that start in play, one is another defacto-haunted location (though a rather impactful) and the other has an effect, you normally don't want to ignore. The three hideouts are more interesting. There is still a "haunted" location, which adds doom to the board on failure and has 5 shroud, which can be lowered with the doom you place on it, so definitely a location to consider, albeit rather for the high shroud, at least in multiplayer. The second removes the top card frm the lead deck, if you clear it from clues. An effect, you definitely like to avoid, as it could be an important lead. The last one looks yet like the best from the campaign. Other than the other hideouts, it has 2 clues, so it will net you both clues even in solo. It is also a location with just 1 shroud, but a severe penalty on over-succeeding, as it will water down the lead deck with encounter cards. On each test, so getting multiple clues in one action is further recommended.
There is not a single further location until the penultimate scenario, but even that one is as uninteresting, as it get's. "Haunted" to deliver you 1 horror, with 1 clues. The final "Into the Maelstrom" comes with 2 copies of a Tidal Tunnel on which you could potentially avoid raising the flood level. This would be pretty high impact in Act 2. Alas, it's a location from Act 1, so I wouldn't bother with the effect.
This card joins the ranks of a growing list of events that grab 1-2 clues. I think Read the Signs is not the best of these, but also not the worst. In general, events like this get one clue for 2 resources and a card (Working a Hunch or 2 clues for 2 resources, a card and an action (Scene of the Crime, for example). Some cost less but have limitations (Eavesdrop) or drawbacks (Drawn to the Flame). Most require skill checks but a few are test-less (Working a Hunch and Scene of the Crime.
Good things about Read the Signs include lack of limitations, special requirements or punishments, and a bonus that is better than all the other similar events that require skill checks. The ability to ignore a location effect is probably pretty limited (only works on keywords effects triggered during the investigation), but of note “ignore” triggers Diana Stanley’s power. However, overall Read the Signs is probably second only to Working a Hunch in terms of flexibility, and so is less likely to be a dead card sitting in your hand compared to many of the other similar events.
The main consideration when deciding whether to include a card like Read the Signs is that its effect should provide a major advantage over a regular investigate action. So it is less valuable with strong investigators like Daisy Walker and Norman Withers. Diana Stanley is a special case because it could activate her power. Sefina Rousseau loves it, as pointed out by others, since she needs events and since she would rather avoid possible enemies coming from Drawn to the Flame, so I think Read the Signs either joins DtoF or replaces it for Sefina. Many other mystics would at least consider this card, since they tend to have 3 or less intellect.
This card is commonly compaired with Drawn to the Flame. Both cards can discover 2 clues with 1 action. Here is pros & cons.
- Read the Signs has spell traits. This cards can work with Arcane Initiate, Dayana Esperence, Agnes Baker.
- Read the Signs initiates investigate test. Enraptured can be committed to get 1 charge/secret.
- Read the Signs can ignore some effects by investigation or discovering clues.
- Read the Signs don't cause to draw any encounter cards. Sometimes, a encounter card break your plan.
- Read the Signs has 2 costs. Many suffers leaks of the resources, and 2 costs may be critical.
- Read the Sings cannot detour some penalty of investigation, such as Obscuring Fog, Locked Door, Orne Library.
- Read the Signs requires the test, and may be drawn. For hard/expert, the effects of some tokens (, -8...) may cause bad effect.
This card is best used when it can be applied to a "succeed by" combo. For example Deduction, Perception, for those with access to Seeker up to 2, Quick Thinking for any with access to Rogue 0. Generally with cards that just need a win, like Deduction, Eureka!, Enraptured, this will also do the trick. Using this card just to get 2 clues for 2 resources, meh - there are better Mystic cards, or your class has access to better in-class cards.
Haven't had a chance to play this yet, but at first glance it seems like a prime taboo candidate. The minimum that any investigator who can take it would be investigating at would be 6, but that's really only the off-class or splash card people and it assumes no boosts to either will or int are in play. For most players you're going to be able to get up to 9 or 10 very easily when using this card, which is enough to smash almost any shroud level in the game. As such it effectively amounts to "pay 2 resources to discover 2 clues while ignoring all triggered effects". It compares very favourably to Intel Report in that respect and is arguably superior to Drawn to the Flame since it doesn't require the drawing of an encounter card. Granted, this is not testless and can still fail, but I'd suggest that in most cases failure is very unlikely and the consequences for failure are not very severe. I'm surprised that this is available at level zero, or that they didn't make it cost a little more.
What exactly does it mean "which would trigger during the investigation"? Things like Haunted are included? Location effects like "When you discover the last clues at this location: ..." ? Does this card automatically make blank the text on a location?