Ye Essential Saltes

The following are entries from an anonymous diary found in a Boston second-hand book store.

January 29th, 1925.
Here we are, finally arrived in Arkham. The house is much larger than our townhouse back in Boston but we shall just have to spread ourselves out. Lucy, our beautiful Siamese, has settled in already. She has found herself a new favourite patch in the sun on the window sill. It is Charles’ first day at the new shop tomorrow and he is a little nervous, but I have told him Mr Hutchinson is sure to be very pleased with him.

January 30th.
I cannot decide what to do about the carpets. They are spotless in the hall but looking a little worn on the stairs. We might replace them only on the staircase, but then they would not match. I wonder if we can afford new carpets throughout. Charles enjoyed his first day at the bookshop. He says they have a wonderful collection of antique folios, especially as Mr Hutchinson has such good connections at the University.

February 2nd.
There is so much that needs doing around the house. The drapes do not match the furniture we brought from Boston but I cannot decide what colour to have instead. I prefer a deep red, but Charles says a blue would feel cooler in summer. I am so glad to have a husband who takes an interest in the household!

February 5th.
Janet has come to visit and says she loves our new house. Mother is apparently in good spirits despite not being strong enough to make the journey. Charles was very cheery at supper and was telling us about an opportunity that Mr Hutchinson might make available to him. Unfortunately I do not remember the details as I was paying more attention to Janet’s gossip from Boston. I cannot believe Mary Wilbur is no longer engaged to Captain Thomson and is now being courted by Mr Cooper!

February 7th.
It was sad to see Janet leave. Charles said it was nice to have family visit now that we are such a distance from them. He took me shopping for drapes and said that with his upcoming promotion we can even afford the new carpets! We chose the red drapes because Charles agreed that feeling warm in winter is more important than cool in summer.

February 10th.
Charles did not come home from work last night. I sent Tilly around to the bookshop to enquire as to his whereabouts. (Tilly is our maid here in Arkham, young and earnest but a little forgetful and I keep finding small items broken around the house. I should speak to her but I do so dislike dealing with the help). She returned with a typewritten note from Charles saying he had been working late and was still busy today. I asked her how Charles looked, but she said it was Mr Hutchinson who came to the door and gave her the note. Thank goodness I have complete faith in Charles and do not believe he could be consorting with another woman!

February 11th.
Mrs Evans has suggested I host a luncheon to help introduce us into the local Arkham society. What a wonderful idea, I do so love to host a function. I shall begin planning immediately. Charles returned from work looking a little worse for wear. He must be very tired as he could hardly find his way around the house. I do believe Mr Hutchinson is working him too hard. The new drapes were delivered today and they look splendid.

February 17th.
I declare I shall have to go shopping for the carpets by myself as I cannot get Charles to pay attention to the designs. He spends all his time reading his history books about the last 200 years. He says he must find out what has happened in the world, although heaven knows how wars and politics can be more important than choosing the right pattern for the stairs! Today I caught him staring at his hand and slowly flexing his fingers. I asked him if his hand was hurting him, and he said on the contrary it felt as good as new, then gave a strange laugh. I am making good progress with the luncheon menu. I wonder if I can get good seafood here in Arkham.

February 20th.
Mrs Evans agrees that the luncheon should be for only a select few and she is to help me with the invitations. She says she trusts me completely with the menu. What a dear she is! Charles has moved the contents of his study down into the basement and placed a lock on the door. He says this is to protect the valuable books that Mr Hutchinson has entrusted to him. It seems a lot of bother as the lock on the front door is perfectly good. I have not seen Lucy today, she is not at her usual spot on the window sill. Perhaps Charles has seen her, I will ask him. I have chosen a delightful carpet pattern and I will show this to him too.

February 23rd.
I simply cannot get Charles’ attention about the carpet. He has been so grumpy of late, I am tempted to have a word with Mr Hutchinson about how hard he is working him. Charles kept muttering about needing more salt and how essential it was. I suggested that Tilly would have plenty of salt in the kitchen and he snapped at me saying that it was ‘essential salts’ he needed not ‘salt’ and then he got a distant look in his eyes and trailed off. He is definitely under a great deal of stress. I may ask Dr Willets to come and take a look at him. There is still no sign of Lucy, I fear we may have lost her. I think I shall have salmon as the second course of the luncheon.

February 24th.
I do not believe it. Tilly has left, without even a note or a goodbye. Charles says she has gone to visit her sick mother in Maine. How inconsiderate of her, with my luncheon coming up only next week. What am I to do? Charles was no consolation, saying that we can always get a new maid and giving that strange laugh he has adopted recently. He is spending far too much time with his books as he keeps using old fashioned phrases. No one says ‘ye’ and ‘thou’ nowadays. I do hope he restrains himself at my luncheon, as it would be an awful embarrassment if he acted so oddly in company.

February 25th.
I contacted the agency and would you believe they have no maids available until the end of next week, and with my luncheon on the 1st! Luckily, they can provide us with a butler to fill in until then. His salary will be higher than a maid’s, but I am sure this won’t be an issue for such a short time. Charles was very unhappy about having a butler instead of a maid, saying it must be a woman and that a man will not do. I assured him it was for the best since the 1st is such an important day. He looked surprised at my mention of the date, I do hope he does not have another appointment for the same day. This luncheon could be our introduction to the best of Arkham society!

February 28th.
Johnson the butler has proven to be a godsend. He can cook reasonably well and has fixed one or two small problems around the house that Charles had neglected. I have most of the preparation complete for the luncheon tomorrow, with only some final touches needed in the morning. Charles was particularly distracted throughout the day, muttering that tomorrow is nearly here and that he doesn’t know what he is to do. I assured him I had it all in hand, but at supper he hardly touched his food and spent the whole meal just staring at me strangely. Tomorrow is an important day. So much has been leading up to it. I do hope everything goes as planned.

The diary stops here. There are no further entries.

Tucked into the pages is a newspaper clipping from the Arkham Advertiser dated March 2nd, 1925:

Mysterious Blaze Claims Life
A terrible fire took hold of a townhouse in Mason Street on the evening of February 28th, destroying the building and taking the life of one Charles Hopkins, bookseller, who perished in the blaze. The other members of the household, Mrs Emily Hopkins, wife of the deceased, and Mr Edward Johnson, the butler, escaped with only minor cuts and bruises. Onlookers reported that the flames burned in unusual colours such as greens, yellows and pinks, but the Fire Department had the blaze quickly under control and no nearby property was damaged. Mrs Hopkins is currently recovering with her sister in Boston.

Expansion boxes

I bought two more deluxe expansions for the Call of Cthulhu LCG. These were The Key and the Gate, which is the Yog-Sothoth set, and The Order of the Silver Twilight, which introduced the new eighth faction. Both of these are quite old, but I have only just got round to getting them.

YithianThese sets both have 165 cards, which are three playsets of 55 different cards. In each set, 40 of the cards are for the main faction (either Yog or Silver Twilight) and the other seven factions get two cards each with the last card being neutral.

The Yog expansion seems to have two main themes, one is the Yithians and the other is sorcerers and spells. The Yithians are an alien race who have mind control powers. Their cards focus on effects that put cards into the discard pile (useful for a mill deck) and effects that work from cards already in your discard pile. This make the Yithian cards good for combo decks. In fact for a long time there was a Yithian combo deck archetype that dominated the tournament scene until the key cards for the combo were restricted.

YogThe sorcerer and spell cards all support each other to create neat card synergies. For example, there is an ancient one Yog-Sothoth which is cheaper to play for each dead sorcerer in your discard pile, and a Wilbur Whateley sorcerer character who makes casting spells cheaper.

The Order of the Silver Twilight is a secret society operating across the globe, based in secret Lodges in each major city. It is made up of corrupt politicians, businessmen, the wealthy and the elite.

It has secret practices and initiation rites and while its original purpose back in the thirteenth century was supposedly to protect the human race, now its goal is world domination.

This expansion is interesting because you rarely see an entirely new faction (i.e. colour) being added to any collectible card game. This is because typically this will disturb the delicate balance between the existing factions.

WizardIn Call of Cthulhu’s case this is quite good flavour-wise as this adds a fourth human faction to fit with the four non-human factions, even though these humans are not really ‘good’.

The Silver Twilight’s style of play seems to be around bouncing either your own or your opponent’s cards back into hand, plus sacrificing your cards to fuel powerful rituals. This makes the Order another combo-style faction. They are generally considered more fiddly to play than the other factions, but seem to blend with the others nicely.

I already had a fair few Silver Twilight cards from other expansions and asylum packs that came after their expansion so it will be nice to be able to use those properly now that I have their ‘base set’.

To get a feel for how these sets play, I put together a couple of quick decks with cards from only these two expansions. Neither are any good, but like the core set decks hopefully they will demo the play styles.


(This deck is all about sorcerers, spells, and hopefully summoning Yog himself).

Total Cards: (50)

CT60_005Character: (21)
3x Decrepit Wizard (The Key and the Gate)
3x Fthaggua (The Key and the Gate)
3x Lost Oracle (The Key and the Gate)
3x Nadine Eskiy (The Key and the Gate)
3x Professor Nathaniel Peaslee (The Key and the Gate)
3x Wilbur Whateley (The Key and the Gate)
3x Yog-Sothoth (The Key and the Gate)

Support: (19)
3x Elder Chasm (The Key and the Gate)
3x Frozen Time (The Key and the Gate)
3x One-In-All (The Key and the Gate)
3x Rite of the Silver Gate (The Key and the Gate)
3x Song of the Spheres (The Key and the Gate)
2x Summon Spectral Hunter (The Key and the Gate)
2x Ys (The Key and the Gate)

Event: (10)
2x Calling the Williwaw (The Key and the Gate)
2x Mists of Lethe (The Key and the Gate)
3x Temporal Slip (The Key and the Gate)
3x Vortex of Time (The Key and the Gate)


Silver Twilight

(This deck is all about bouncing cards back to hand and repeatedly playing cards with ‘comes into play’ effects).

Total Cards: (50)

CT33_023Character: (27)
3x Disgruntled Chef (The Order of the Silver Twilight)
3x Recruiter for the Lodge (The Order of the Silver Twilight)
3x Lord Jeffrey Farrington (The Order of the Silver Twilight)
3x Silver Twilight Enforcer (The Order of the Silver Twilight)
3x Knight of the Outer Void (The Order of the Silver Twilight)
3x Lodge Housekeeper (The Order of the Silver Twilight)
3x High Wizard of the Order (The Order of the Silver Twilight)
3x Young Initiate (The Order of the Silver Twilight)
3x Arcane Hunter (The Order of the Silver Twilight)

Support: (12)
3x The Oubliettes (The Order of the Silver Twilight)
3x Silver Twilight Lodge (The Order of the Silver Twilight)
3x Crystal of the Elder Things (The Order of the Silver Twilight)
3x Sigil of the Order (The Order of the Silver Twilight)

Event: (11)
3x Steal the Soul (The Order of the Silver Twilight)
3x Brazier Enchantment (The Order of the Silver Twilight)
3x Pose Mundane (The Order of the Silver Twilight)
2x You Know Too Much (The Order of the Silver Twilight)

Possibly the single best thing about The Key and the Gate expansion is that it includes Nikola Tesla, with a super powerful ability to win stories outside of the story phase!