This manual is a work in progress. It's probably very messy at this point, but I have every intention on improving it!
In "Daily Chthonicle" you control six player characters, the reporters of the Daily Chthonicle newspaper. Your goal is to solve all the mysteries in the town, both supernatural and mundane, and report on them to your readers.
But Daily Chthonicle isn't just a regular supernatural newspaper. The editor (you) and all the reporters are part of a large informal and inofficial network of exorcists, demon hunters and investigators, who all have dedicated their lives to solving the supernatural mysteries and protecting the fragile human society from the horrors of beyond.
So, while eliminating horrors and infestations might not be the work you signed up for, it is without a doubt part of your everyday routine. If it isn't for the gratitude of the town's inhabitants, who prefer their districts without any monsters lurking around the corners, and are willing to express their gratitude in solid currency as well, you will have to deal with all kinds of nasties even just because they usually stand in your way towards the Truth.
But worry not. Your reporters are weathered out and tough, many of them capable alchemists and enchanters already, or just about to become such. They are more than ready for the task at hand, but will frequently need assistance, either from their friends and contacts, or professional demon hunter retainers in the town. And, when assistance simply isn't available, there are always spells and powerful artefacts to counter the advantages of your adversary.
The Daily Routine
Twice a day, 2AM and 2PM, your regular daily issue gets printed and your budget is refilled from the wallets of satisfied readers.
This is important because allies and equipment needed to deal with obstacles come for a price. Some items need to be bought each time they are used, some just need ammunition or maintenance. The game makes no distinction between the two, so either it is an ammo clip for your pistol or tommy gun, a can of dog food or a lockpick, equipping it has a fixed cost for every separate encounter.
The only exception to this rule are reporters' personal items, which are always automatically used, for free.
Artefacts have no cost, but they come in limited numbers. Once spent it is spent forever unless you happen to find another of the kind.
The office also has its own inventory. When equipping a reporter, the item will be taken from the office inventory, if available. If not, the item will be purchased if there is sufficient budget available.
The player starts the game with 0$ budget, but the inventory is stocked up with some essential items to make the beginning easier, and using these items early on can make a distinct strategical difference.
The spells are free of charge, however, in order to cast a spell one of the reagents or samples from the laboratory must be used. Only magically initiated reporters - enchanters may use/drink the spells.
To magically initiate a reporter, either send them to Train Magic, have them Read a Tome (if available), or wait for their experience to accumulate until they level up automatically. The reporters gain experience by publishing stories. The more readers their stories have, the more experince will be gained.
For the daily edition, three most promising stories are selected from the bilboard (currently the disused business chart in the main office is used for that purpose).
The daily edition is focused on action, phenomena, monster banishing and encounters. Supernatural, horror, action is what your readers want most.
The special edition, however, is a different story. It may only be printed when three most intriguing mysteries of the moment have been solved and supported with evidence. After three cases have been closed, the special edition is issued, which also marks the end of the chapter.
The end of the chapter ends any global or personal events that were active during the chapter. It also ends any quests that remained unsolved. According with the activities of your reporters in separate districts, those districts will also show their gratitude by raising a certain amount of funds for you. Those funds may be spent in the upgrade shop that is accessible via the office phone.
The goal of the game is to solve all the cases and progress through all the chapters to the last one.
The Skirmish Game Rules
The skirmish rules are a little different. They are meant to represent the periods of crisis in the town, those moments when supernatural forces are no longer hidden from the eyes of mainstream public, but entirely out in the open, for example ancient gods walking the streets and personally delivering ruin and chaos.
To reflect that, the player starts the game with a $25000 budget. It is the money raised by the town's inhabitants for you to get rid of their problems. Also instead of with the special edition, which is absent from the skirmish mode, the chapter ends when all required quests are solved. People are less interested in mysteries being solved, and more in monsters being rid of. The daily edition, however, is still being issued to cover the immediate news.
The district funds are not separate from the player's budget in skirmish game. All available upgrades may simply be purchased using the regular budget.
In skirmish game, a district will only offer upgrades when it is currently present on the map and free of any encounters.
To start an investigation, send a reporter to any of the districts present on the map. Once each reporter is assigned, you may accelerate the time by clicking on the clock or the time indicator in the status bar. If any of the reporters encounter anything or anyone, the time will stop and allow you to make any decisions related to the encounter.
Any of the following encounters may come up the reporter's way:
- A person.
- A piece of evidence.
- An interesting site.
- A supernatural phenomenon.
- An obstacle.
- An adversary.
Encountering a person, the reporter will usualy acquire some kind of statement from them, if they have anything to tell. After that, you may either continue investigating or follow that particular person. While you can follow anyone you want, it is generally more profiting to follow suspicious characters, ie someone you already gained some encriminating intelligence on.
When following a person, your reporter might get intercepted, especially if the suspect is under protection or surveillance by any of the factions present in the town.
Thus, it may sometimes be wise to equip the reporter accordingly before following.
Sometimes, the reporter will encounter a distraction while following a suspect, or perhaps it is the suspect themself leading the reporter there to shake them off. It is upon you to decide whether the reporter should investigate the potentially rewarding distraction (a locked door, for example) or stay on the cause instead. Mind however that, sometimes, following the right person will lead you straight to the very crucial piece of evidence, a place that you might otherwise find a lot later and only after having fought through difficult obstacles and monsters!
Another time, your suspect will be attacked by some supernatural force. In such a case, you may decide to assist them or go on your way. Assisting prohibits you from visiting the equipment shop, because it is an instant decision and there is no time for that. But the encounter allows you to take a glance at your suspect's inventory, which offers you a chance for evaluating your odds. Assisting will list the suspect as one of your contacts thence on, which also grants you any according contact bonuses.
Place and Evidence Encounters
Places and evidence must be investigated in order to solve the cases. Sometimes, they offer new clues and information, sometimes they confirm what you already know. In either case, they are essential to the investigation. A case needs at least some proof and may only be declared solved and closed when sufficient evidence has been found and collected.
When investigating a place, certain equipment can come in handy:
In some places, useful items and even cash may be found next to information and proof. While some might call such 'lucky finds' nothing else but 'plain simple theft', it is also true that such places and treasures usually belong(ed) to people who either had ill intentions or are now dead, or most likely both. Thus, the morality of these acts is left for you, the player, to decide upon, and equip the reporter accordingly.
If you decide that defeating evil and finding the truth is more important than trifle morality issues, use items such as lockpicks, burglary kits and crowbars. The "unlock" spell might also come in handy.
Sample tubes, forensic kits and field laboratories will be used to gather any samples from the scene. While these are mostly useful with phenomena, they sometimes produce results in other places as well, such as ritual sites and murder scenes.
For improving your odds at finding useful items, money, samples and reagents, the ecto recorder, dog and "Perception" can also prove helpful.
Horror and Sanity
Some places are distressful in of themselves, without having any mosters present. An especially gruesome murder scene, a horrifying phenomenon or a very dark cellar can have a very negative impact on someone's psyche. In cases like that, articles of faith such as holy relics and sacral items will prove beneficial, but also the "Resolve" spell can be used for this purpose. A dog's company cannot hurt either, nor can a swag of something stronger from the tankard. In the end, even just holding some kind of weapon in one's hand can offer some reassurrance.
In terms of investigation, the phenomena are very similar to places and evidence. The reporter investigates a phenomenon and writes a story about it.
In addition to that, however, it also gives the reporter an opportunity to detect the source of the phenomenon.
If ecto recorder is equipped, the reporter will scan the phenomenon and figure the type and power level of the source.
If sample tube, forensic kit or field laboratory (or any combination of) are equipped, the reporter will sample phenomenon residue. The residue also gives insight into the power of the phenomenon's source, but even more importantly, it is imbued with inherent power of the source and may be used as a spell.
Gangs, mad scientists, ghosts, zombies, humanoid monsters and monsters as far away from humanoid as possible... Any and all of them will eventually stand in your way to the truth.
An adversary may be encountered in four different ways:
1) You surprise them, which grants you some tactical advantage in battle, however this bonus may not be used if you visit the equipment shop.
2) They surprise you, which means there is no escape and no equipment shop at all. If your reporter is already injured, this is really bad news.
3) They attack another character, which gives you opportunity to assist them, but prevents you from visiting the shop. You may decide to skip the opportunity, of course.
4) A normal encounter, which is fought in two stages, stealth and battle. This kind of encounter always happens if the adversary is already present on the board at the time when reporter was sent there. If, by some kind of magic, it appears after that, it may still surprise the reporter (or the other way around).
In cases 1, 3 and 4, the encounter may be evaded, and will be automatically evaded if the reporter is either (at least) injured or (at least) terrified. To evade the encounter, the reporter must return to the office. The encounter will remain on the map and block the location until the same or different reporter is sent there again.
If a reporter returns to office with an upturned encounter, that particular adversary receives an opportunity to cast any spells or powers it may have.
The case 2, spells, powers and magical vortex are absent in the "Easy" game. In "Tutorial" game, only cases 3 and 4 are possible in the first chapter.
To prevent case 2 from happening, equip your reporter with ecto recorder, a dog, occult divination items such as tarot cards and crystal ball, or cast the "Perception" or "Wits" spell on them. On the other hand, you might just load them up with weapons and armor depending on what kinds of threats you might expect.
When equipping the reporter for an adversary encounter, any useless items will be marked as such and disabled in the equipment shop. Useless spells will not be listed and allies will have useless items grayed in their inventory.
Artefacts, however, may be used at the player's discretion, and the game leaves it for the player to discover their use. Most of the times, their usage can be deduced simply by taking a look at their name. Other times, some experimentation might be needed. But either way, in case of victory, the game reports which items and artefacts were most useful after the encounter, and much can be learned from that.
Using burglary equipment with adversaries that used to be human, such as ghosts, zombies and monster spawn, will allow the reporter easier access to the treasures that the deceased could still be hoarding from their past life. If you manage to surprise attack them, however, such equipment is less useful because the adversary lacks the necessary time to conceal the items before the battle.
Using sample tubes and other sampling equipment will allow the reporter to collect the residue and trace samples after a succesful battle. The samples may only be gathered if the supernatural being was either banished or wounded. The samples are frequently imbued with the creature's power, and are of the stronger variant than the samples collected at phenomena sites.
Wounding an enemy may only happen if the weapons and spells that are used are strong enough. If not, the creature may still be defeated and chased off, which will eventually result in its banishment, but there won't be any samples to collect. In addition, a reporter may follow a wounded monster, learn some more about it in the process, and attack it again. The stories of such epic confrontations are very well received with the readers. Even more, if the monster is thus banished before it can escape and hide, it will not be able to come back again stronger.
Handling obstacle encounters is similar to handling adversaries, the main difference being, there is no stealth phase, so in most cases, stealth items will be useless. This, however, is not true for some types of investigations where stealth items may also be used.
Unlike adversary encounters, which are mostly limited to monsters, phantoms and mortal hostile beings, an obstacle encounter can be pretty much anything, from a wall to be climbed on (or brought down... or flown over...) to the surface of another planet, nightmare visions, a kidnapping investigation or even a car chase. Each requires different approach but the basic principle is always the same: read the encounter's description and threat level, as it tells you what items, spells, artefacts or allies to use.
Some obstacle encounters will reward the reporter using any sampling equipment on them with certain samples and alchemical reagents. Behind others, useful equipment or even rare artefacts, may be found.
How Equipment is Spent
As already covered in the first chapter, each time an item is equipped, its cost must be payed, unless there is a surplus in office inventory.
In an obstacle or adversary encounter, all the equipment and spells that were cast are spent. If the reporter is carrying any useless items, they will also be spent without exceptions, because well, in the heat of the battle, everything goes.
When investigating a place, evidence or phenomenon, however, the equipment is only spent when necessary. Sample tubes, forensic kits and lockpicks are spent when samples are found or when any treasures may only be gained by using them. Other equipment, such as dogs, ecto recorder, weapons and outfits, however, are carried on up to the first obstacle or adversary encounter, when they may either be used (and spent) or exchanged for others in the equipment shop.
This allows the player to prepare for certain encounters in advance. If a phenomenon is telling you there is a ghost ahead, equipping items for exorcism might be a wise idea, because then you can spend the initial tactical advantage bonus in combat instead of spending it on visiting the shop. Because in such case, the stealth phase of the combat is skipped, you can focus the equipment on weapons and defense while leaving the stealth items and spells aside.
It also allows the player to use the same item more than once for the price of one. For example, equipping a dog will assist the reporter with any number of phenomena, places and evidence she encounters in a row, up to the first obstacle or adversary encounter, where it can also be used again (still for initial price of one).
Contacts and Retainers
Contacts are your reporters' associaties, friends, mates, love interests or relatives, everything according to individual reporter's personality and history.
Retainers are other supernatural investigators "inside the loop & know" whose service may be bought when needed. They, like any other character from the game, may become your contact if you assist them while under supernatural attack.
In the beginning of each chapter, your contact will issue special offers related to the district they represent. Those offers may be accessed at any time using the office phone, and are purchased using the money from your budget, not district funds.
Some chapters will open with a personal event. Personal events involve one of your contacts and a reporter most tightly connected to them. For example, a contact that has been framed with a murder may end up arrested (along with your reporter), or another contact who has gone mad due to having been tormented by horrible monsters, might snap, kidnap your reporter and start a ritual that prevents all spells from being cast.
But otherwise, both contacts and retainers may be hired as assistance with obstacle and adversary encounters. Contacts are more than 50% cheaper, however, and do not charge for any equipment not used in a specific encounter.
Note that at least one of your ally's items must be useful against the encounter for them to be available at all.
Any contacts who are associated with a reporter offer additional 50% discount, but only to that particular reporter.
While hiring an ally for an encounter is usually the safer way, sometimes that simply isn't possible and you will need to manage some other way. On the other hand, succesfull single-handed actions against considerable threats will usually be rewarded with a temporary boost of the reporter's resolve or similar.
When an ally is used for the encounter, that ally may cast a Level 1 spell. They may do so even if the reporter herself does not have the spell casting ability. Thus, a maximum of two spells may be used per encounter.
Events, Troubles and Quests
Global and personal events that govern a specific chapter frequently come hand in hand with some troublesome global effects. Some will diminish the power of spells or even prohibit certain spells from being used. Others might disable certain equipment, stun the dogs or occupy your allies. Even others will boost monsters with specific abilities.
The troubles are listed on the global event card, which is shown at the beginning of each chapter, and may be viewed by clicking on the window in the office to the left of the main screen. There is at most one trouble per chapter on "Easy" game, at most two on "Medium" and three on "Hard".
If conditions are met, a quest associated with the trouble also appears on the map. For example, the occultist society might be in some kind of trouble and your solving it will allow them to counter the negative effect with a positive ritual... or perhaps it is the cathedral whose priest was kidnapped and so rescuing him will enable him to calm down the restless dead spirits in town.
No matter what, locating and solving the correct quest will thus invert the negative effect into a positive one, to last until the end of the chapter or the event ending for some other reason, such as solving its central quest.
A quest is a sequence of one or more tasks, piled upon a location on the map. As long as the quest is there, the location is otherwise inaccessible and the reporter sent there will only be able to encounter the quest itself.
To complete a quest, all its tasks need to be completed one after another. To complete a task, all its encounters need to be completed in one single sequence. That means, the reporter returning to office restarts the task to its original state. However, the internal encounters of the task may sometimes change, so you should not expect the next attempt to be exactly the same.
This means if a reporter fails to overcome an encounter, the task will be reset. If the reporter is injured or terrified and must return to office, the task will be reset.
For cases of urgency like this, however, there are some experimental medical drugs available on the market. They are expensive and come with side effects, also, a reporter may only used them once per chapter, but they allow you to calm the reporter down or treat their wounds and injuries "in the field", without having to retire to the office.
The drugs may be found in the equipment shop, and will only appear there when the reporter has a treatable issue.
When a task is completed, it will be removed from the board and if there are any more tasks left for the quest, the next will appear on the board. After completing a task, the reporter may safely return to office, however, the player is not told when a task ends and another one begins. The quests have a distinct pattern so the sequence of tasks can easily be learned. Also, a hint: tasks usually end with an adversary or an obstacle, while the next task most frequently starts with an obstacle. There are usually no less than three encounters in a task, and only tasks considered harder have more.
A Combat Example
Let's say your reporter is facing a "hideous and freezing" monster. If you decide to take it down single-handedly, that means a single spell may be used.
Two of the many possibilities are:
1) Use the "Resolve" spell to fortify the reporter against "hideous" ability.
2) Use the "Flame" spell to counter the monster's "freezing" ability.
In case 1, you might combine the spell with any defensive or healing items, such as body armor or first aid kit, as the "freezing" ability is quite harmful and often results in frostbite. Alternatively, you might try warming up the situation with gasoline...
In case 2, something to calm the reporter down and enhance their faith, might be more appropriate.
But then again, you could also use the "Stealth" spell, combine it with any other useful stealth items, and try to maximise the tactical advantage bonus that comes from succesfully sneaking up on the adversary.
If the threat level of the adversary or obstacle drops after you initially engage it, this is a hint telling you that your spells, items, artefacts and allies were well chosen. It does not, however, guarantee success.