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First of all, what's the sequence of events in using this item?

  • If I would go insane/unconscious before using the flute, does that mean it would be useless to use the flute as I would be unable to actually make the combat check?
  • What is the difficulty of the combat check?
  • By area, does the the card mean all monsters currently in the exact same street area or location as you, or all monsters in the same street area and 2-3 corresponding locations?

according to the AH wiki:

You must pass a Horror Check before using the Flute. If there are more than one monster in your area, you only need to pass one Horror Check.

What is the difficulty of the horror check? Is it as if you were making a normal horror check before engaging in combat?


Second, how can I know when to buy/use the Flute? It's extremely expensive in terms of both cash and sanity/stamina. It seems as if most of the time you'd be better off saving the money for an actual weapon that you can use more than once, and with the massive sanity/stamina cost it seems like it would only be worth using on the absolute strongest of monsters, like the Hounds of Tindalos or God of the Bloody Tongue.

Am I underestimating the power of this item? How do you tell if it's a good idea to buy it if it comes up in your 3 unique items? How can I tell if a situation warrants the tremendous cost of its use, especially since the investigator will be so weakened afterwards they will likely have to rush to both the hospital AND the insane asylum before being able to continue fighting without fear of loosing half their items, which would've been the penalty of failure against the monster you were fighting anyway?

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This card is notoriously unclear. Although many of us have house rules that address some of your questions, a full and official answer will have to wait for the next Arkham FAQ, which will supposedly provide a ruling. There is no date for when that FAQ will be released, though. –  ire_and_curses May 25 '11 at 19:48
    
If you're interested in (protracted) discussion about the pros and cons of various ways you could interpret the card, these discussion threads are useful: BGG, FFG –  ire_and_curses May 25 '11 at 19:50

1 Answer 1

The card specifies area because it could be either a location or a street. I'm pretty sure they already had the 'neighborhood' terminology worked out when the base set came out and they didn't use it here for a reason. The flute's use is basically 'Instead of rolling a combat check against a monster when you normally would, you can use the flute instead.' So you need to survive the monster's horror check before you can use the flute. If you don't survive the horror check, you don't make it to the combat phase, so you can't use the Flute.

Note that as the flute kills everything in the location/stree that you use it in, you can enter combat with a weak monster(Cultist, horror check auto-success), use the Flute, and kill everything in that space, which happens to be a Gug/Dhole/Color/Servitor/Mask/etc.

So with a regular gate opening, the flute doesn't give as much bang as it could, as there's usually only 1-2 monsters in a location. But after a monster surge or two and there a location full of monsters that just happen to all move on the same symbol, the flute becomes a great way to take out a horde that would've dealt that damage to someone anyway.

Granted, the Flute is also useful if you just happen to not have the resources available to take out something with good odds, as you strictly only need enough sanity to survive failing the horror check to use it. You don't even need the 3 stamina 3 sanity to use it you know! As the Flute does damage and isn't a cost, you could use it at 1/1! You'd be devoured of course, but that's the cost...

In my gaming group, it's pretty rare that someone will choose to buy the Flute over something reusable when they go shopping, but if it happens to be gotten for free, no one complains.

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