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During the Encounter Phase of each round, investigators must each complete one or more encounters. There are many types of encounters, most of which draw cards from their own specific deck. Other encounters may be initiated by Monsters, Mysteries, or other events.

Encounter Order

When the encounter phase begins, investigators resolve an encounter, starting with the Lead Investigator going clockwise. If you would have multiple possible encounters, resolve them with the following order of precedence:

  1. If a card effect (such as Lost in Time and Space) requires you to complete an encounter, this encounter supersedes all other encounters
  2. If there are one or more Monsters present on your space, you must enter a Combat Encounter with those Monsters in the order of your choice. If, after all Combat Encounters, there are no Monsters remaining on your space, you may resolve another encounter of lower precedence.
  3. If, at this point, there are multiple encounters available to you, you may choose one encounter to resolve.

Following this section on this page, all information stating along the lines of "the investigator may choose to complete X encounter type if..." assumes that the investigator has gone through this checklist beforehand.

Regular vs. Complex Encounters

Encounters can be split into two categories: regular, and complex. Regular encounters will usually have one test or task that the investigator needs to successfully complete in order to resolve its effects. Complex encounters, on the other hand, have three sections to them and will usually require two tests/tasks to be completed.

A complex encounter will be split into three sections. The top section will have a white background and will usually contain an initial test or task. If the investigator passes the test/task, he may move onto the pass section of the card, otherwise he resolves the fail section of the card. In some rare cases, the initial section will allow the investigator to choose which section to resolve.

The pass section of a complex encounter has a yellow-gold background and usually contains a second test or task that the investigator must complete. The fail section of a complex encounter has a red background and may contain a second test, or just simply have an effect to resolve.

Types of Encounters

There are 11 main categories of encounters, some having their own subtypes. These main categories are:

Each type of encounter is explained in greater detail below:

General Encounters

An investigator may always choose to complete a General Encounter. General Encounters are split into three categories, based on the space on which they are chosen: City, Wilderness, and Sea. Every General Encounter card has an encounter for each type of space; the investigator only resolves the encounter for the space that he is on.

General Encounters generally have a bad risk/reward ratio, and are usually only chosen if the investigator cannot choose any other type of encounter. That said, some effects of General Encounters can be positive.

A list of the General Encounters may be found here.

Location Encounters

An investigator may choose to complete a Location Encounter if they are on a major area; major areas have a distinct color group and large portrait on the game boards. Each Location Encounter card is split into three sections, each for one area in its color group; the investigator only resolves the encounter for the area that they are in.

If a location has been devastated as a result of a Disaster, a Location Encounter may not be drawn.

Each major area's Location Encounter has an effect that is most likely to happen on any given card drawn. For example, most San Francisco Location Encounters will improve an investigator's Observation upon successful resolution. This data is given in the table below:

Area Name Color Group Most Likely Effect
San Francisco Green Improve Observation
Arkham Green Gain Incantation Spells
Buenos Aires Green Gain Ritual Spells
London Orange Spawn Clues
Rome Orange Improve Will
Istanbul Orange Improve Influence
Shanghai Purple Improve Lore
Tokyo Purple Harm Monsters
Sydney Purple Improve Strength
Snowy Mountains Light Blue Gain Clues
City of the Elder Things Light Blue Gain Clues or Artifacts
Plateau of Leng Light Blue Gain Clues or Artifacts, or Other World Encounter
Miskatonic Outpost Yellow Gain Unique Assets
Lake Camp Yellow Gain Assets
Frozen Waste Yellow Gain Assets
Alexandria Red Gain Glamour Spells
The Bent Pyramid Red Gain Artifacts
Cairo Red Gain Relic Unique Assets
The Sahara Desert Brown Improve Skills
Tel el-Amarna Brown Gain Clues
The Nile River Brown Recover Health Health and/or Sanity Sanity
Celephaïs Dark Blue Gain Task Unique Assets
Ulthar Dark Blue Gain Talent Conditions
Dylath-Leen Dark Blue Gain Assets

Other World Encounters

An investigator on a space containing a Gate may choose to complete an Other World Encounter; Other World Encounters are the primary way in which investigators close Gates. Other World Encounters are complex encounters; the pass effect usually allows players to close the Gate that they are on. The fail effect may allow the investigator to still close the Gate if they pass a test, but more often than not the fail effect will only allow them to pass through unharmed if they succeed.

The most common test skills in Other World Encounters are Lore and Will. During the fail effect, Strength is also a semi-frequent test. A list of Other World Encounters can be found below:

Encounter Name Tests Clues No. Total No. Core No. FL No. MoM No. SR No. UtP No. SoC No. DL No. CiR No. MoN
The Dreamlands Strength, Lore, Influence No 4 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
The Past Observation, Lore, Will No 8 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 3
Yuggoth Strength, Influence, Lore No 9 4 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 0
Lost Carcosa Will, Influence Yes 14 4 1 0 1 1 6 1 0 0
The Future Observation, Lore, Will No 8 2 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 3
Plateau of Leng Observation, Lore, Strength No 6 0 1 4 0 0 0 1 0 0
Great Hall of Celaeno 8 4 0 0 1 1 0 0 2 0
City of the Great Race 9 4 0 1 1 1 0 0 2 0
The Abyss 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
The Underworld 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Unknown Kadath 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0

Mystic Ruins Encounter

An investigator on a space containing the Mystic Ruins token may choose to complete a Mystic Ruins Encounter; Mystic Ruins Encounters were introduced in the Strange Remnants expansion. They are used when Syzygy or Antediluvium is the Ancient One, or if the In Cosmic Alignment or The Stars Align Prelude card is in play. They are extremely similar to Expedition Encounters; Mystic Ruins Encounters are complex encounters.

The Mystic Ruins deck consists of eight sets of five cards, with each set corresponding to a space on the map where the token may be found. The back of each Mystic Ruins Encounter card displays the location of the token in the top right corner of the design; at the beginning of the game and whenever a Mystic Ruins Encounter is drawn, the Mystic Ruins token should be relocated to the space indicated on the back of the top card of the deck. The eight locations that the Mystic Ruins token may be found are: Space 2, Space 3, space 7, Space 8, Space 9, Space 21, London, and Shanghai.

A list of the Mystic Ruins Encounters may be found here.

Expedition Encounter

An investigator on a space containing the Active Expedition token may choose to complete an Expedition Encounter; Expeditions are always encountered on non-city spaces on the game board. Each Expedition space is indicated by a postcard image of its area. The Active Expedition token is always located on the space indicated on the back of the top card of the Expedition Encounter deck.

If the Litany of Secrets Prelude card is in play, players should split the Expedition deck roughly in half. In this way, there will always be two Active Expedition tokens on the board (although they may coincide on the same space). The Expedition decks are otherwise used as normal.

In total, there are 6 Expedition spaces on the game board: The Amazon, The Pyramids, The Heart of Africa, The Himalayas, Tunguska, and Antarctica. However, Expedition Encounters were introduced for the nine main cities as well in Mountains of Madness, Under the Pyramids, and Cities in Ruin.

A list of the Expedition encounters may be found here.

Dream-Quest Encounters

An investigator on the Dreamlands side board on the same space as the Dream-Quest Token may undertake a Dream-Quest Encounter. These are in play whenever Hypnos is the Ancient One, or if the Otherworldly Dreams Adventure is in play.

Dream-Quests may be on one of four spaces: The Enchanted Wood, The Moon, The Underworld, or Unknown Kadath.

A list of Dream-Quest Encounters may be found here.

Devastation Encounters

An investigator on a space that has a Devastation marker on it after a Disaster has taken place on it may resolve a Devastation Encounter. They are in play whenever Shudde M'ell is the Ancient One, or if the player is using a Prelude that uses Disasters.

A list of Devastation Encounters may be found here.

Defeated Investigator Encounter

If an investigator is on the same space as a Defeated investigator, they may spend their encounter to do an encounter with that defeated investigator. The investigator follows whichever checks are written on the back of the investigator's sheet, and removes the investigator from play after this is completed. In general, encounters with defeated Investigators will grant the player the defeated investigators Possessions and will typically retreat Doom if a successful skill check is passed.

Effect-Initiated Encounters

Some Conditions like Detained will immediately trigger if the Investigator still has the Condition when the Encounter Phase begins.

A Mystery, Rumor, or Adventure may instruct the player to perform a certain type of skill check or action "instead" of having an encounter, in which case the investigator follows the instructions on the appropriate card.

After the Encounter

Some cards, like Mineralogy Research, or some mysteries like Disaster Relief Effort give the player the option of performing a skill check, spending clues, or other action "after" they undergo their Encounter Phase. If this happens, the investigator performs this action before the next investigator starts his own Encounter Phase.

If the player is unable to complete an encounter for any reason, like a Monster remaining on the space, then the player may not perform any after-encounter actions.