Today I'd like to introduce you to the Shifted Condition and how it uses new Replace mechanics to force unique narrative opportunities and changes in play-style mid-game.
First, I want to introduce you to a new Mythos card that shows one story-line implementation of the mechanic and has a chance to implement these features:
The Great Shift is meant to represent a global event affecting all of mankind in a very odd way. As you can likely surmise, it has the ability to change who people are - in Eldritch Horror's case, our heroic investigators. This is accomplished through the Shifted Condition mentioned above. Shifted Conditions come in one of two types: male or female, as seen below:
When directing players to draw a Shifted Condition, cards can tell the player to do one of two things: 1. To draw a Shifted Condition for a specific sex or 2. To draw a Shifted Condition in general. In our example above, The Great Shift does not give specific instructions to draw one sex or the other, so players would simply draw the first Shifted Condition they encounter regardless of the sex on the card. When directed to draw a particular sex, players would therefore draw the first Shifted Condition matching the requested sex.
Shifted Conditions are flipped immediately after drawing. They were implemented as Conditions purely so that a variety of surprising scenarios could play out randomly.
The backsides of Shifted Conditions always involve the investigator transforming into someone else. Most of the time, they should be more of an inconvenience rather than truly dangerous. Sometimes, they may even be beneficial. For example, a near-death or heavily negative conditioned investigator could be saved by The Great Shift. However, there do exist two Shifted Conditions (One for each sex) that can instantly devour an investigator if drawn. All of the current card backs can be seen below:
Female Shifted Conditions:
Replace: Some cards will call for you to Replace you investigator. When Replacing your investigator, do the following:
Discard your current investigator's investigator sheet and token. Then draw a new investigator of the sex directed (Draw both their Investigator Sheet and token), following the rules for how you should draw them (Randomly, you select, etc.) You cannot draw any investigator who has been previously discarded this game.
When an investigator is Replaced, the newly drawn investigator is always set back to their maximum Health and Sanity. All other conditions and possessions are retained by the newly drawn investigator unless specifically stated otherwise. You will always gain the newly drawn investigator's starting possessions as well.
The newly drawn investigator continues play from the same space that the player's previous investigator was on. This, along with retaining possessions, helps build the narrative that they are the same investigator, simply transformed.
The goal with Shifted Conditions is to play a role in deepening the narrative aspects of the game. It's no longer just "Will this character survive?" or "Will we save the world?" Rather, now our investigators have to worry about how their quest might change them. The question they should be asking is "Even if we win, who will I end up as?"
Even in victory, our investigators could find their entire existence completely uprooted.
Imagine the rotund Charlie Kane having to leave his political ambitions behind and study martial arts after finding himself trapped in the lithe form of Lily Chen. Would she long for her old life or embrace her new one?
Or perhaps Rex Murphy might find some respite from his tumultuous past as a different man? Maybe one who isn't of such a cursed nature? He should hope, then, that he doesn't get shifted into Silas Marsh, exchanging one curse for another.
I find that there's a certain terror in the loss of self, and these mechanics are designed to play around with that idea. I hope that you find them as intriguing as I do! As always, please let me know what you think and share feedback you might have! I want these to be a fun addition to the game for anyone interested, and the more help I can get with them the better they'll be! Thanks!
- The Merry Raven