So yeah, Arkham location encounters. I was pondering the “only kind of bad” encounters investigators might face in Stable locations, versus the extremely dangerous encounters they might face in the Unstable locations. No one location should be so dangerous as to be completely unapproachable.

…And by that same logic, no location should be too approachable. Writing about the Inner Sanctum got me thinking about how to balance the different encounters between Stable and Unstable locations. The worst encounter you can run into at an Unstable location is the opening of a gate. You also might run into a monster … or an ally.

But what is there to balance the good encounters at a Stable location? I was thinking about the differences between the Stable and Unstable locations, and I thought of a really basic connection they share — that’s “advancing the game state” in favor of the villains. Gates add doom tokens. It’s a supernatural sort of doom.

I thought, maybe the nastiest encounters at Stable locations should be the Blights from The King in Yellow expansion? In lieu of putting a blighted ally in play, the investigators might opt to increase the terror level. Neither is a particularly happy option, but I like how they represent a more mundane sort of plot advancement.

Beyond the obvious “terror versus blight” challenge, there’s the added benefit of giving a location’s encounters a new sort of theme. If a location’s ally is in, say, half the encounters, the investigators face potential disaster if a Blight negates one or more “good” encounters. Maybe the Blight is what brings about the “bad” encounters?

The whole Arkham Horror encounter project has been really helpful for determining what goes into making a good encounter. There’s a delicate balance of risk and reward to strike for each location, and having an exhaustive list of both is important. You also want some big consequences to show up wherever you can fit them.