Following on from last week’s quick look at the Permanent keyword, it’s time to explore one of the other keywords in AH:LCG that didn’t make it into the core set.
Aloof is also one of my favourite keywords of all time; it communicates the kind of stand-offish, above-all-those mortal-shenanigans that any Elder God fearing enemy should adopt.
But, how does it all work and what does it mean?
How does it work?
An enemy with the Aloof keyword doesn’t engage with an investigator and it can only be attacked by an investigator if that investigator has engaged it.
Everything else remains the same.
So it spawns normally, Hunter triggers it normally (though it doesn’t engage if it moves to an investigator’s location), Prey triggers normally etc.
If you engage it, then evade it, the normal rules apply. It becomes exhausted, can’t go hunting if it has that key word and readies at the end of the Enemy phase as usual.
What does it all mean?
Let’s break this down a bit.
If there’s an Aloof enemy that you want to kill, then you need to firstly engage it. Therefore there’s an action-economy hit for Aloof enemies and that means if you’re currently tight on actions you need to carefully evaluate the relative merits of spending an additional action killing an Aloof enemy versus accomplishing other goals.
Aloof enemies don’t provoke attacks of opportunity and don’t move with the investigators. Typically they have the Hunter keyword though, as the abilities on Aloof enemies have so far been used as a kind of ‘mobile debuff’ effect. However, if you hang at a location for an action longer than you would, drag the Aloof-Hunter to you, then move as the first action on your turn you can avoid that debuff.
Again, this means that you need to consider the relative merits of that additional action hit; if you were only going to draw or gain a resource first next turn this might be a more effective way to work. It is also only relevant if the enemy is both Aloof and a Hunter.
There is also a situation in at least one published scenario where enemies have the Aloof keyword and then lose it. There’s no clear guidance what happens in this situation, particularly if you’re investigator is in the same location as the enemy(ies) when they lose the keyword.
When I played through this, I decided that the balance is that they would then become engaged with the investigator at that location as the rules for Enemy Engagement are pretty clear:
“Anytime a ready unengaged enemy is at the same location as an investigator, it engages that investigator, and is placed in that investigator’s threat area.”, Rules Reference p. 10.
Aloof enemies lurk in the background either menacing with the intent to engage or providing direct consequences to investigators in the same location.
Aloof enemies with the Hunter keyword follow the investigators as normal, spreading their malevolence in a mobile fashion.
They provide an action impediment if you want to kill them as you drag them out of their hidey holes so you can murderise them. Or alternately you can nuke them from orbit 1920s style!