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The Arkham Horror errata says on page 6:

Q: Some Items state that they cannot be lost or stolen unless you choose to allow it. When does this ability come into play?

A: It would come into play when an investigator goes insane, gets knocked unconscious, or defaults on a bank loan. It would also come into play when any other game effect specifically instructs you to lose an item or tells you an item is stolen.

This answer is vague. Since you are choosing which items to lose when you go insane or unconscious, the only way I can see this answer making sense is that they are claiming these particular items could cause you to not lose half of your items (rounded down).

My interpretation is that if you have two items, both of which can't be lost unless you allow it, then you can retain both when you go insane/unconscious. What if you have 4 items that can't be lost and 2 that can. Do you get to lose only 2 of the items in this case? If you have merely 1 item that can and 1 that can't, is it basically no different than if you had regular items (and would mean you are simply choosing the one to get rid of)? This leads me to think that this quality of items only really comes into play if greater than "half of your items rounded up" have this quality. i.e. 3 out of 4, 4 out of 5 items, 4 out of 6 items, 5 out of 7 items, etc, in which case you could avoid losing the full "half rounded down" amount. Do I have this right?

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While the ruling may seem a little bit weird, everything they say in the errata section makes sense.

During an unconscious or madness scenario, you are the one looking at your items and choosing to remove them. You still count the amount of items you have, as a whole. However, you are allowed to pick which ones get removed to satisfy the requirements of the event.

So, for example, you have six items in total and two of them have the "KEEP" status (the status we're talking about). You get knocked out. At this point, you have to choose three items to remove, because you have six items total. Since you're the one that gets to choose, you would see three of these items go away and may choose one of the KEEP items to remove to fulfill the requirement. This seems all by the rules at this point.

However, let's say you hold all of the KEEP items. Now, you have two KEEP items and one other item. Let's say you keep going and find another KEEP item. You now have three KEEP items and one normal item. You go mad now, for whatever reason. At this point, your total is calculated again. Four total items mean that you have to remove two items from your inventory. The logic of the board dicates that either you, as the player, decide to remove two items of your own or it forces you to remove two items. You can still choose, if you wish, to remove a KEEP item to satisfy the request. However, since you cannot be forced to remove these items, you can instead have the logic of the board remove your one normal item. Once it's done that, the board would then need another item...but since all the rest of your items are KEEP items, it fails to take any more items from you. Thus, you are now able to keep all of your items.

That is the basic way the rule works in terms of the knocked out or insane status.

  • Ok, I think what I'm reading especially in your large paragraph is that you're agreeing with the thoughts I put forth in the latter part of my question, that it is once you have a strong majority of these "keep" items that they prevent the game from taking half your items. – Joey Jul 1 '15 at 14:27
  • Correct. Sorry if I was being wordy. :( – CrystalBlue Jul 1 '15 at 14:44
  • @Joey I never thought this made much sense. In practice, you pretty much only ever have one or maybe two "can't lose" items, so you always have plenty of other things to lose, and it never even comes up. It really feels like if they bothered writing that on the card it should actually matter sometimes. But... that's what the rules say. – Cascabel Jul 1 '15 at 15:19
  • having never played AH yet, my guess was that the quality of something not being able to be lost/stolen unless intended was more for cases where you're told to lose a random item or somehow by virtue of using a generic item in some situation can risk having it lost, but I don't know if these situations exist. The Q/A in the faq did seem off when I read it though, but maybe the point of those faqs is to cover extreme edge cases sometimes. – Joey Jul 1 '15 at 16:08
  • I agree with Jefromi. There are VERY few items that have the KEEP property. Once you get to playing the game, you'll see. – CrystalBlue Jul 1 '15 at 20:07

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