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‘’’Creeping Curse’’’ is an ability from the Mindflayer class, in the Gloomhaven Campaign.


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Ability Gloomhaven Campaign


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The Plagueherald (aka Cthulhu / Squid Face) is a ranged class from the Gloomhaven unlockable characters. It specializes in giving monsters Poison, Curse and Muddle. This 2nd Edition Gloomhaven Plagueherald guide focuses on building and playing a damage-focused Poison & Curse Hybrid Plagueherald.

Plagueherald Poison Curse Hybrid Guide Structure

This article is a complete guide to playing a Poison Curse Hybrid Gloomhaven Plagueherald that focuses on dealing damage and giving Poison and Curse to monsters.

The Plagueherald guide covers all levels from 1-9 and evaluates each card for how well it fits with this build. This is a second edition Plagueherald guide.

Hi! This post may contain affiliate links to online stores. If you click a link and buy something, I may get a commission at no extra cost to you. See my affiliate disclosure.

This Plagueherald guide follows this structure:

  • Why a Plagueherald Poison Curse Hybrid build?
  • Plagueherald Poison Curse Hybrid strategy
  • Level 1-9 cards and decks
  • Plagueherald Perks
  • Plagueherald Items
  • Plagueherald Enhancements
  • Plagueherald Experience
  • Plagueherald Combos
  • Plagueherald Names
  • Conclusion

This guide does not contain campaign spoilers or items beyond starting items.

Plagueherald class miniature and character board

Why a Plagueherald Poison Curse Hybrid build?

There are several different Plagueherald build types that I’ve seen, read about and tried out myself. They roughly break down into the following five builds.


I’ve played this build and it’s extremely effective. It’s awesome when monsters can’t even touch you and your allies because they keep drawing Curses! The great thing about Curse is that it remains powerful as you level. Null damage at level 1 might mean it stops 3 damage. At level 9 it might stop 8.

It’s also effective in a 2 player-4 player party as the number of monsters scales with the number of players. So the number of hits its blocking remains balanced.

Even though the Curse build is a very effective Plagueherald build, I didn’t find it hugely fun. Perhaps because the character I’d just retired focused on damage negation so I wanted a change.


The Poison build is more damage focused, rather than the Curse build’s support focus. I generally enjoy playing damage and ranged characters more than melee or support, so it naturally appealed to me more. Poison gives all allies including yourself a +1 damage to all hits, so in a 4 player party like the one I play in, this can add up to a lot of extra damage in a turn.

Poison doesn’t level as well as the null damage on Curse does. That +1 doesn’t have as much impact at level 9, but the abilities compensate for some of this by boosting the damage on Poisoned monsters.

You also have to balance the payoff of Poisoning an ally for a bonus. Sometimes it’s worth it, sometimes not.


I’ve not played the tank build myself. The ranged abilities and low HP of the Plagueherald don’t lend themselves hugely well to it. They do have some shields, Disadvantage and Muddle abilities, so they can step in and off-tank occasionally, however, I think it would feel quite intense!


Using a mixed bag of abilities like Heal to help allies, Poison to boost allies damage, Curse to weaken monsters, Muddle to give them disadvantage etc a Support Plagueherald is possible. Which seems a little strange for a buzzing, chirping swarm of insects…

While you can totally run this build for your character, it didn’t appeal to me. I wanted to have more synergies between my card choices and playstyle, rather than a versatile take each turn as it comes kind of approach.

Poison Curse Hybrid

This is the build I went for and the one this Plagueherald guide follows. I found that with either a full focus on Poison or a full focus on Curse you run into the same problem. You’re so good that you max out your impact! You Poison all the monsters in the room easily, or the monster modifier deck is already at the maximum number of 10 Curses. Which wastes your next Poison or Curse.

My build placed the emphasis on Poison over Curse generally as I focused on damage output rather than support. However, it includes both effects for the reason mentioned above. Plus, at some levels, the Curse ability was a better fit or better value than the Poison ability.

Plagueherald Poison Curse Hybrid Strategy

Negate damage by losing a card

With our hand limit of 11, we can afford to lose a card to protect our squishy selves if we need to. Hopefully, this situation won’t arise very often though!

Curse early if you can

If we eliminate a monster while doing damage with an ability that has Curse, we don’t get to add the Curse card to the deck. That’s because Curse is applied after damage. Story-wise if the monster is dead, it can’t be cursed.

The best thing we can do is go early on turns when we’re using a Curse ability. We generally have pretty slow initiative cards though, so try to save your faster cards for Curse turns.

Avoid Poisoning allies

Some of the Plagueherald Poison abilities affect all allies and monsters. While you can occasionally choose to affect allies for boosts it might annoy them if you do this often! So try to save it for when it’s absolutely worth it!

Heal Poisoned allies quickly

For when it is worth it to Poison or Wound allies, make sure you heal them quickly so they aren’t affected long term by your actions! You have an adjacent lower heal action available from level 1 and a ranged heal from level 2. Make sure you remember to use them, lest the monsters gain the upper hand against your allies!

Stay out of the way

Kind of an obvious strategy for a squishy class, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. Even at level 9 our max health is only 14, so we don’t want to attract any monster attention! Luckily, we only have a couple of Range 2 abilities, the rest are range 3 so we can keep a good distance most of the time.

Keep the Curse cards next to you

Just to make your life easier, keep the Curse cards next to you and put yourself in charge of adding them to the monster deck when necessary. It makes for much smoother gameplay for everyone. Plus, you can see how many of the 10 monster cards are waiting to go into the monster deck!

Poison, Curse or Muddle

What you do on each turn for the best impact will change throughout each scenario.

If the monster deck is full of Curses, get some Muddle out there so they flip the Curses faster. If you’ve got a little pile of Curses waiting to go into the monster deck, then spread some Curses around. If your allies are about to dive into a group of monsters, get some Poison on them to give them all a +1 to each hit.

That’s the beauty of this build, you aren’t wedded to just Poison or Curse, you can do both to maximise your impact on each turn.

Plagueherald Poison Curse Hybrid card analysis

Loads of things affect the evaluation of a card. Such as party composition, build type, and situation. No card is inherently bad or good, some just fit better depending on what you’re looking for.

For the Poison Curse Hybrid build I looked for cards that had (in this order):

At each level, I wanted a decent amount of movement abilities and not too many losses.

Plagueherald cards

There are 30 cards in the Plagueherald deck from level 1-9. They are all in a beautiful shade of minty green!

There are a fair number of area of effect abilities across the deck. Every damage ability is ranged and usually includes some negative effects like Poison, Curse or Muddle. Air and Dark elements are used to boost abilities.

Level 1 Plagueherald cards

We can just grab all 11 level 1 cards and play because we have an 11 card hand limit. Sometimes it can be fun to do this and try out the class with the base cards to get a feel for it before you start making decisions on how you want to build your character.

But let’s see how these starting cards fit in with a Poison Curse Hybrid.

Biting Gnats

Level 1 Plagueherald card Biting Gnats

Top ability

Ranged? Check! Decent damage? Check! Two targets, for 2 damage at level 1 and a range 4 is pretty awesome! We scoop up an easy experience point too.

We even have a couple of enhancement dots on the damage and target to boost this little ability futher.

Bottom ability

A reusable Move 4 is awesome at any level and we’ve got one at level 1!

Overall Biting Gnats card rating

Fantastic card and decent damage at level 1. We have a very middling initiative of 47, but good initiatives are hard to come by for the Plagueherald anyway!

Creeping Curse

Level 1 Plagueherald card Creeping Curse

Top ability

Sweet! 3 damage at range 3 with a Curse. And it’s resuable! This is one of our staple cards at level 1. We can even enhance the damage if we want to.

The 72 initiative makes it trickly to apply the Curse because we’re hitting the monster after our allies, so we may just finish it off! The best bet is to pair this with a faster card.

Bottom ability

The Curse bonus is nice if you can get it. In reality, you won’t be sidling up alongside monsters that often!

Overall Creeping Curse card rating

The reusable top is awesome! The Move 2 is basically a standard Move with an occasional bonus. Again a poor initiative at 72.

Foul Wind

Level 1 Plagueherald card Foul Wind

Top ability

This is the first level 1 card that I left behind. I’m happy to play losses if they are worth it, but this one is hard to set up. At level 1, all 5 of our Air generating abilities are losses, and it’s only with Air that we can get the +1 this ability offers. This ability means we need to play another loss card to use this. That’s expensive to me.

We can only generate 5 Air by ourselves and this gives us 6 tracker slots, so we’d need an ally to create another Air for us, or get a loss ability back somehow.

It would be cool adding that +1 to our AoEs, but there are other ways to get damage boosts for those – having Poison on the monsters already or with items.

Bottom ability

Loot 1 is ok, but it’s not like we’re surrounded by dropped monsters and shiny gold. We’re buzzing around at the back hurling Poison.

The only time we’d use this is when we’re leaving a room. But even then, then to be efficient on our turn, we’d want to pair this with a Move action in the top slot on another card so we can Move and Loot in the same turn. We don’t have a top slot Move anywhere in our deck.

Overall Foul Wind card rating

An easy pass. The 35 initiative would have been nice because it’s quite fast for us. But it’s not worth using a standard action to get.

Gathering Doom

Level 1 Plagueherald card Gathering Doom

Top ability

Deja vu anyone? That’s right. This is the exact same ability as the top of Creeping Curse. It was good on that card, and it’s good on this one!

Bottom ability

What a nice way to end a scenario! Scoop up all the loot within 2 hexes, get an experience point and create a nice breeze to cool our allies down.

Overall Gathering Doom card rating

Fabulous top action that we’ll use over and over and a bottom action to use at the end. 76 initiative isn’t going to help us apply that Curse, but at least it’s a solid high one for when we want to go late.

Grasping Vermin

Level 1 Plagueherald card Grasping Vermin

Top ability

0 damage? Sigh. It’s ok if the monsters are already Poisoned because we’re actually doing +1 to them all. But that means we need to set this up.

We could play Vile Pestilence on the turn before to apply Poison, then play this on the next turn and hope the monsters are mostly in the same spots. But that’s a lot of set-up.

It would be worth it if the status effect was awesome, but Immobilize is unreliable. Monsters may already be next to allies or they might have ranged abilities.

It doesn’t tick the boxes of what we’re looking for in this build.

Bottom ability

We’re not playing tank or off-tank with this build so we don’t need a persistent Shield from our range 3 position. We really don’t want to be taking -1 from our damage to have it either!

Overall Grasping Vermin card rating

Not a great fit for us. Can see how both abilities could be useful for an off-tank build though.

Paralyzing Bite

Level 1 Plagueherald card Paralyzing Bite

Top ability

It’s always a special moment when I see Stun on an ability. The only status effect we can’t add as an enhancement because it’s game-breaking at scale!

This is a nice little controller that can give our tank a moment if they need to heal or we have a monster that’s about to do something awful! Oozes anyone?

Bottom ability

This is perfect for sprinting to the end of a get to the exit scenario! We won’t mind losing it at that point either.

Overall Paralyzing Bite card rating

Great supporting top and a good loss for the right situations. The 31 initiative is pretty fast for us as well.

Scattered Terror

Level 1 Plagueherald card Scattered Terror

Top ability

There’s a lot going on here! We’re looking at 6 damage across 3 monsters if they’re all in range 3, that is. The Pierce will help us get through some Shields but we can usually get through them without too much trouble at level 1.

It’s quite an expensive loss.

Bottom ability

There usually aren’t that many monsters targeting us on a turn, so we don’t really need this ability. Great for an off-tank though.

Overall Scattered Terror card rating

The top loss does less damage than the other top losses we can choose at level 1, and the bottom isn’t useful for us. The 11 initiative is the best thing about this card. So we could always just ignore the bottom text and replace it with Move 2 and bring it along for the initiative.

Spread the Plague

Level 1 Plagueherald card Spread the Plague

Top ability

In the eyes of a Plagueherald, Poison is a blessing, so of course they want to give it to allies as well as monsters!

Your allies may not like you much for it, though. But I think they’ll get over it when you only use it occasionally to boost an AoE targetting 8 monsters and you remove it with a heal afterwards!

In a larger party with another ranged class, it’s usually not too much of an issue to Poison them. They’re safely away from the action like you are and you can always remove it on the next turn by healing them with Winged Congregation. In a smaller party where your ally is bearing the brunt of the monsters hits, it’s a riskier play.

Bottom ability

Wahoo! A bottom ranged ability! Always lovely to see one of these. Now we can do damage twice on turns when we don’t need to Move.

Overall Spread the Plague card rating

The top loss is actually quite fun to use if you’re in the right party. For all the rest of the time, you’ve got a brilliant reusable bottom ability. The 27 initiative is quite quick for us too.

Vile Pestilence

Level 1 Plagueherald card Vile Pestilence

Top ability

I’m seeing red! Lots of it! And it’s wonderful!

This ability will put a smile on your face every time you use it. It’s a fantastic choice when you enter a new room to splash Poison all over the unsuspecting monsters. Use it when you first enter and it’s less likely that your allies will have moved into the area of effect by that point so they won’t be affected.

Ideally, pair Vile Pestilence with a fast initiative card like Winged Congregation or Scattered Terror so you can get it applied before your allies take their turn.

Then you and your teammates get a +1 damage on all your hits in that room. All those +1s over 7 monsters and several allies benefitting from them, adds up to a lot of additional damage!

Bottom ability

You will very, very rarely use this Move 3 because it’s all about the top ability that you’ll use every rest cycle!

Overall Vile Pestilence card rating

Incredible top that’s super important for this build. A middling 61 initiative, but we want to pair it with a faster card anyway.

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Winged Congregation

Level 1 Plagueherald card Winged Congregation

Top ability

You know those scenarios where uneven ground and traps seem to be everywhere? Well, now you don’t need to care anymore! You can just fly right over them.

This is one of those abilities that seems like it’s not hugely necessary, but you’ll be glad you have it when the ground is covered with stuff!

Bottom ability

I mostly used this for removing Poison from allies after using Spread the Plague. That ability works really well with the Move 2 because I could move up to them first, then remove the effect.

Overall Winged Congregation card rating

A humble looking card but does a lot for us. The 16 initiative is much needed, flying is a great ability to have in our repertoire and the Move 2 with Heal 1 is perfect for removing the Poison we apply to our allies.

Wretched Swarm

Level 1 Plagueherald card Wretched Swarm

Top ability

“No turn for you!” You say as you smugly play this ability. 7 monsters out of action for an entire turn can change a scenario that’s going badly, back into your favour. No wonder this is a loss.

It doesn’t even matter that the damage is only 1. If you’ve used Vile Pestilence in the turn before, they’re all Poisoned too, so that’s really 2 damage to 7 monsters with stun. Amazing!

Bottom ability

Exactly what we want to see on the bottom of a card with a loss on top. A high reusable Move that we can use until we’re happy to play the top later in the scenario.

Overall Wretched Swarm card rating

Love this card! The top feels amazing to play and can give your party the boost it needs to win. The 84 initiative isn’t great for when we want to Stun because we want to do that as early in the current turn as we can, but we can pair it with something faster. And for all the rest of the time, we have a decent late initiative.

Level X Plagueherald cards

At level 1 we can also choose from the level X cards. For this hybrid Poison Curse build, they have some pretty cool abilities.

Plagueherald level X cards - Blistering Vortex, Epidemic, Virulent Strain

Blistering Vortex

Top ability

3 damage across 3 hexes gives us a 9 damage loss. It’s ok for a level 1 ability – especially if the monsters are already Poisoned because then it becomes a 12 damage ability.

We’ll get a couple of experience points for using it which is always nice to grab and some Air will waft around too.

Bottom ability

Generally speaking, we don’t need the Shield because we aren’t getting hit. Which makes this a Move 2 most of the time.

Overall Blistering Vortex card rating

The top loss is ok for level 1. We likely won’t benefit from the Shield, but we would always benefit from the 21 initiative!


Top ability

Pretty sweet 6 damage reusable ability here. The only drawback is that it’s range 2 which is a hex closer than we’d ideally like. But that’s not too bad. We can just make sure we’re not the monster’s next target by using it after our allies and positioning smartly.

The main issue is that with a range of only 2, it can be tricky reaching 2 monsters while also positioning ourselves in a safe place.

Bottom ability

This is such an interesting persistent ability. After every single move you Poison everyone adjacent to you – friend or foe. For a ranged build, it’s not an ideal fit because we don’t want to be next to the monsters! Plus, if we want to Poison an ally for a bonus effect, we have Spread the Plague which allows us to do it at 2 range.

This ability is only really helpful for an off tank build that’s in melee range regularly.

Overall Epidemic card rating

It’s an ok card at level 1 for another reusable top ability.

Virulent Strain

Top ability

Look carefully at this ability. What’s missing?

Range! It’s rangeless. Very nice.

All the Poison we spread around when we enter a room comes in very useful. A monster with a high shield but almost no health left? Boom! Gone! Thanks to the 3 direct damage this ability does.

Bottom ability

Because we just can’t get enough of the green effect, here’s how we can apply even more of it! I found that I used the top of this card more than this ability though, because Vile Pestilence gets pretty much every monster in the room anyway!

Having said that, in some rooms where the monsters were spread out into a couple of groups, this ability did come in useful. The perfect time to play it was after a monster from the first infected group had started to mingle with the second group.

Overall Virulent Strain card rating

The top ability is a great way for us to get through Shields, the bottom is helpful only sometimes. A 50 initiative is right in the middle so not great for planning.

Level 1 Plagueherald Poison Curse Hybrid build

With this build, we’re looking for ranged damage, Poison and then Curse abilities. In that order.

In our starting hand we have a bit of all the things we’re looking for. We could do with more abilities that apply Poison and more bonuses for when monsters are affected with it.

It would also be nice to see some higher single target damage options for when we want to take a monster down quickly. Plus, more reusable top damage abilities would be good and some faster initiative cards.

Level 1 Plagueherald deck

Gloomhaven Plagueherald Poison Curse Hybrid Build Level 1 cards

At level 1, I found most of the choices straightforward. There were only two cards that I spent a while deciding over – Scattered Terror and Blistering Vortex.

For both cards, we’ll be using the bottom ability as a Move 2. The tops are reasonably similar. They are both range 3, 3 target losses which create Air and 2 experience. Terror will do 2 damage on each target with Pierce 2 so long as they are in range 3. Vortex will do 3 on each target so long as they are within a set hex formation.

Scattered Terror has a faster 11 initiative to Vortex’s 21. So it comes down to whether we want more flexibility with targetting and a faster initiative or 3 higher damage. I went with Scattered Terror for the initiative and targetting flexibility.

  • Biting Gnats
  • Creeping Curse
  • Gathering Doom
  • Paralyzing Bite
  • Spread the Plague
  • Vile Pestilence
  • Winged Congregation
  • Wretched Swarm
  • Scattered Terror
  • Epidemic
  • Virulent Strain

Level 2 Plagueherald cards

Level 2 Plagueherald cards - Rot Maggots and Under the Skin

Rot Maggots

Top ability

Ooh, look at that! A Poison icon. That looks like something we want. Or does it?

4 damage on a single target sounds fabulous. It’s a shame it’s a range 2, but we can just be smart about when we use it. Ideally when the monster isn’t also adjacent to an ally!

Following this ability up with the bottom of Virulent Strain can be a cool way to spread Poison through a group of monsters.

Bottom ability

These little heals are perfect for removing the Poison we might apply to our allies from Spread the Plague. We can also use it to top up the health of front line allies that are helpfully keeping the monsters away from us!

Depending on how liberal you are with Poisoning your teammates, you may use this heal more often than the top ability.

Overall Rot Maggots card rating

The top looks awesome initially, but it’s not perfect. We need to be careful when we use it. The lower heal ability is nice and versatile with the range 3 we want. 69 initiative will not help us to plan.

Under the Skin

Top ability

Another reusable 3 damage, range 3 ability just like we have on Creeping Curse and Gathering Doom, but this time we get Pierce instead of Curse.

Another reusable top is fine, and the Pierce helps with Shields, but it’s nothing hugely special. Pierce doesn’t scale as effectively as Curse.

Bottom ability

Move 4 that’s spammable. Always a good thing to see!

Overall Under the Skin card rating

The reusable top is a reliable way to get through Shielded monsters and the bottom is solid too. A decent card.

Level 2 Plagueherald build

What to pick up

Because we have other cards which work well with the top of Rot Maggots, it’s a good choice for our build. Under the Skin is a solid card for damage but doesn’t offer anything hugely special.

What to drop

Scattered Terror. It was our 2nd to last card choice anyway!

Level 2 Plagueherald deck

Gloomhaven Plagueherald Poison Curse Hybrid Build Level 2 cards
  • Biting Gnats
  • Creeping Curse
  • Gathering Doom
  • Paralyzing Bite
  • Spread the Plague
  • Vile Pestilence
  • Winged Congregation
  • Wretched Swarm
  • Rot Maggots
  • Epidemic
  • Virulent Strain

Level 3 Plagueherald cards

Level 3 Plagueherald cards - Fetid Flurry and Succumb to the Gift

Fetid Flurry

Top ability

Sweet! A 4 damage, 3 range reusable ability! We even get to add a Curse to the deck providing we don’t deal the final blow.

The 26 initiative will help us with that!

Bottom ability

Unfortunately, we don’t have any use for Air otherwise this would be awesome. It’s the first reusable ability we have that will create Air. All the others are losses until this point. The Move 2 by itself doesn’t give us anything we don’t already have.

Overall Fetid Flurry card rating

The top ranged ability is awesome and we’ll use it over and over again. The 26 initiative is great to have too. The bottom is just a normal Move but we won’t really use it.

Succumb to the Gift

Top ability

An instant monster removal ability provided they are Poisoned. Well, it’s easy for us to get Poison on a monster. But is it worth losing a card to get rid of that monster? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on how the scenario is going!

It’s only a normal monster and we have no easy way to get our loss cards back.

Bottom ability

This is a strange one. If we’ve Poisoned our allies for some bonus damage or just because they were in the way, generally speaking, our allies want that Poison removed asap! We do that using a heal on the lower half of a card. So to delay that removal by one more turn to add a Bless to their deck, would be an odd choice.

You could pair this with Vile Pestilence, Poison all your allies and then Bless them all, but that would mean those in melee range are going to take more damage! Taking more damage to dish more out with Bless is like a weird retaliate.

Overall Succumb to the Gift rating

Like all cards with a top loss, we want a good reusable ability on the bottom. Blessing poisoned allies isn’t it. Plus, there’s a 70 initiative just to make it even worse. Not a great card in my opinion.

Level 3 Plagueherald build

What to pick up

Fetid Flurry. The 26 initiative and reusable high-damage ranged Curse is much more reliably usable than either ability on Succumb to the Gift.

What to drop

Epidemic. The range 2, target 2 can be quite troublesome to use and it puts us at a closer range than we’d ideally like. We will do 2 less damage with Fetid Flurry but we will be adding a Curse to the monster deck to make up for it.

Level 3 Plagueherald deck

Gloomhaven Plagueherald Poison Curse Hybrid Build Level 3 cards
  • Biting Gnats
  • Creeping Curse
  • Gathering Doom
  • Paralyzing Bite
  • Spread the Plague
  • Vile Pestilence
  • Winged Congregation
  • Wretched Swarm
  • Rot Maggots
  • Fetid Flurry
  • Virulent Strain

Level 4 Plagueherald cards

Level 4 Plagueherald cards - Nightmarish Affliction and Storm of Wings

Nightmarish Affliction

Top ability

The effects went in two by two. Hurrah! Hurrah!

This card is amazing and absolutely perfect for a hybrid build! We get to dish out two Curses and two Poisons with every use. Plus we generate a Dark, which will be extremely useful at level 5 and 6!

We even get some enhancement dots if we want to splash some cash on them. An additional target will set us back 175 gold, but it’s well worth it.

Bottom ability

Compared to the top ability, this pales in comparison. However, it could be helpful if you really need to stop a melee ally getting swarmed with monsters. To be honest, I never used it!

Overall Nightmarish Affliction card rating

It’s all about the top ability! Absolutely amazing. You’ll use it every scenario and love it! We only have a 43 initiative, but you can’t have everything.

Storm of Wings

Top ability

Without the bonus, this is a 4 damage ability and the bonus takes some setting up. Not only would we need to use the bottom of Fetid Flurry (rather than its ranged Curse top) to generate the Air, but we’d also need monsters in the right position to hit extra targets.

With a range of 4, and keeping a range of at least 1, we’d get a maximum of 2 more monsters. So a total of 12 damage but a set up that includes missing out on the 4 damage from Fetid Flurry. I don’t think it’s worth it.

Bottom ability

The highest reusable move we’ve come across so far. But it’s not as though we’re short on movement. We can do without it.

Overall Storm of Wings card rating

The Move 5 is pretty decent if we are hanging onto the top for a while. The 91 initiative is great for going late.

Level 4 Plagueherald build

What to pick up

Nightmarish Affliction. It’s one of the best cards we get!

What to drop

We’re bringing in a card without a Move on the bottom, so ideally we want to swap it out for another without a Move on the bottom. I dropped Paralyzing Bite. We weren’t using the Move 6 loss very often so won’t miss it.

In terms of stopping damage received by allies, the two Curses on Nightmarish Affliction will block the same damage as the Stun. Granted, we can’t control when.

Level 4 Plagueherald deck

Gloomhaven Plagueherald Poison Curse Hybrid Build Level 4 cards
  • Biting Gnats
  • Creeping Curse
  • Gathering Doom
  • Nightmarish Affliction
  • Spread the Plague
  • Vile Pestilence
  • Winged Congregation
  • Wretched Swarm
  • Rot Maggots
  • Fetid Flurry
  • Virulent Strain

Level 5 Plagueherald cards

Level 5 Plagueherald cards - Accelerated End and Willing Sacrifice

Accelerated End

Top ability

For a Poison thrower like us, using this ability after Vile Pestilence which infects 7 and Nightmarish Affliction which can infect another 2, this is amazing. That’s somewhere between 9 and 18 damage! And we can do it again! Because it’s a reusable ability.

It feels epic! And is a great excuse to use a Stamina Potion!

Because it’s direct damage it makes light work of low health monsters with shields.

Bottom ability

Compared to the top, this looks a lot less interesting. But it’s a good secondary option. There are times when we don’t need to move and we want to hand out some more Poison. The 5 range means we can pretty much reach any monster.

Overall Accelerated End card rating

The top ability is ace and never gets old. The bottom is perfectly fine sometimes. 62 initiative isn’t amazing, but we’re used to that.

Willing Sacrifice

Top ability

If there’s a healer in your group, you could use this every turn to do an extra 3 damage per turn. That’s not a bad trade, one of your health for 3 monster damage and that’s on top of the other damage you’re doing. With our hand limit of 11, we can afford to have a persistent loss in play without getting exhausted.

It’s not something I tried.

Bottom ability

Because we’re trying to avoid Poisoning our allies, there are limited opportunities to use this. Plus, we need to set it up with Air from the lower half of Fetid Flurry. This means we’d miss out on using its damage-dealing top.

Overall Willing Sacrifice card rating

If you’ve got a healer, you could give the top of Willing Sacrifice a go. The 84 initiative will help us go late if we want.

Level 5 Plagueherald build

What to pick up

Accelerated End.

What to drop

Virulent Strain. We can now deal significantly more than 3 damage to Poisoned monsters with our new top ability. We also have a more reliable way to deal Poison to 3 monsters with no need for them to be adjacent to each other.

Level 5 Plagueherald deck

Gloomhaven Plagueherald Poison Curse Hybrid Build Level 5 cards
  • Biting Gnats
  • Creeping Curse
  • Gathering Doom
  • Nightmarish Affliction
  • Spread the Plague
  • Vile Pestilence
  • Winged Congregation
  • Wretched Swarm
  • Rot Maggots
  • Fetid Flurry
  • Accelerated End

Level 6 Plagueherald cards

Level 6 Plagueherald cards - Black Tides and Stinging Cloud

With these two cards side by side, one immediately looks more appealing, but let’s see if it’s true on closer inspection!

Black Tides

Top ability

A single target, range 3, 4 damage ability is something we had available at level 3 on the top of Fetid Flurry. And that hands out a Curse too. It makes the top of Black tides look very underwhelming.

Perhaps if we wanted the Air, it might be worth it, but we’re all about the Darkness.

Bottom ability

Move 4 with a lovely Dark generator. That would be nice to have so we have another option to power Accelerated End.

Overall Black Tides card rating

The top does the same damage as our level 3 card’s top ability and while the Dark on the bottom would be nice, it’s not worth taking because of the top.

Stinging Cloud

Top ability

These big red circles are lovely, aren’t they?

Even if all the monsters in that area of effect aren’t Poisoned we’re looking at a potential 14 damage. If they’ve all been poisoned with Vile Pestilence already, that increases to 21! Boost it with Spread the Plague beforehand and that’s another +1 to each hex. Soo, 28!

You may not get a monster in every hex but you’ll still do a lot of damage. It’s reusable too. Awesome.

And if that wasn’t enough, we can use Dark to power it up, Muddle everything and get them to flip 2 modifiers per turn, doubling the rate at which they’ll draw Curses! Accelerated End will be competing for the attention of that Dark though, so see which works out better for you depending on how many Curses are in the monster deck at the time.

Bottom ability

A perfectly fine Move 3, with a Shield we’ll likely not need.

Overall Stinging Cloud card rating

It’s all about the top here. It’s amazing the amount of damage it can do! You may want to pair it with a faster card like Winged Congregation to use it when monsters are in the perfect position!

Level 6 Plagueherald build

What to pick up

Stinging Cloud.

What to drop

Creeping Curse or Biting Gnats are the two cards I thought about dropping at this level. In the end, I went with Biting Gnats. I wanted to keep the Curse from Creeping Curse more than the 1 extra damage. At level 6, the Curse blocks far more damage than the 1 extra from Biting Gnats deals and I found that I didn’t need the high movement most of the time.

Level 6 Plagueherald deck

Gloomhaven Plagueherald Poison Curse Hybrid Build Level 6 cards
  • Stinging Cloud
  • Creeping Curse
  • Gathering Doom
  • Nightmarish Affliction
  • Spread the Plague
  • Vile Pestilence
  • Winged Congregation
  • Wretched Swarm
  • Rot Maggots
  • Fetid Flurry
  • Accelerated End

Level 7 Plagueherald cards

Level 7 Plagueherald cards - Airborne Toxin and Baneful Hex

Airborne Toxin

Top ability

In the first edition, Airborne Toxin used to have a range of 2. That 1 extra range was a game-changer. With the Air boost, you’d be able to reach all the monsters in the room in a couple of uses. What a way to fill that modifier deck with Curses!

With a Range of 1, we can’t really do much. To make it half useable, we need to boost it with Air from the bottom of Fetif Flurry, and even then, we’re getting a bit close to monsters.

It’s a shame, because Curse and Muddle work wonderfully together! But apparently too well. That’s why it got nerfed, right?

Bottom ability

If we didn’t already have loads of Poison dealing cards with Vile Pestilence, Accelerated End, Rot Maggots and Nightmarish Affliction, we might be interested in this loss. However, we don’t find it very difficult to affect an entire room.

Overall Airborne Toxin card rating

The top has been nerfed so much that it’s quite difficult to affect many monsters with it. The bottom is something that we don’t need. Plus, the other card on offer is much, much better…

Baneful Hex

Top ability

What’s better than a monster drawing a null? Drawing a null AND taking 3 direct damage when they do! Now that’s what I call a critical fail!

The best thing about Baneful Hex is that it’s totally passive. You put in play knowing that you’ll deal bonus damage so long as you sprinkle Curses into the monster deck. If we get 10 Curses into the monster deck and they are all flipped at some point, that’s 30 damage in a scenario. It’s amazing.

Get it into play before you start handing out Curses because you never know how quickly they’ll be flipped!

Bottom ability

I don’t think I ever used this ability! I guess if you’re playing the off-tank it could be fun to use but you’d maybe still want to play the top later.

Overall Baneful Hex card rating

It’s all about the top! This ability is such a damage booster. We even get a pretty fast initiative on the turn we play it. Lovely!

Level 7 Plagueherald build

What to pick up

Baneful Hex.

What to drop

Creeping Curse. The bottom of Baneful Hex is a direct upgrade and so is the top in a roundabout sense. Instead of doing 3 damage once with the top of Creeping Curse, we now get to do 3 direct damage every time a monster flips a Curse. It’s a shame to take a Curse out when we’re adding an ability that benefits from them being in the deck, but it’s still worth it.

Level 7 Plagueherald deck

Gloomhaven Plagueherald Poison Curse Hybrid Build Level 7 cards
  • Stinging Cloud
  • Baneful Hex
  • Gathering Doom
  • Nightmarish Affliction
  • Spread the Plague
  • Vile Pestilence
  • Winged Congregation
  • Wretched Swarm
  • Rot Maggots
  • Fetid Flurry
  • Accelerated End

Level 8 Plagueherald cards

Level 8 Plagueherald cards - Grim Bargain and Spreading Scourge

Grim Bargain

Top ability

Anytime we’re doing something negative to our teammates, it’d better be worth it. And this actually is.

We can add 2 targets to our next ability. Applied to Nightmarish Affliction, that means getting 4 monsters with Curses and Poison in one turn. Do that twice and we’ve almost filled the monster deck with Curses!

However, it’s any ally within Range 2. If you’re in a party like I was, I was within range of one ranged ally most of the time. That poor ally is going to be the one with their deck littered with Curses! You can of course shimmy up to melee allies to spread the Curses around but that means using actions to move more than is really necessary for us.

Plus, we can already keep the monster deck topped up with Curses pretty well by now.

Bottom ability

The best candidate for this ability would be Stinging Cloud. We’d do 4 damage over 7 hexes if just used on the base damage value of 2. That’s a lot of damage! Especially if the monsters in the area are already Poisoned, then we add another 1 to that. 5 x 7 = 35 damage!

But, we can already do 28 damage without needing to lose a card for it by boosting our damage with Spread the Plague and making sure the targets are Poisoned first. We don’t need to carry this double loss card around with us for that big one off.

Overall Grim Bargain card rating

A double loss card with some interesting options. I’d really like to have a seen a reusable ability on one half that we can use until we’re ready to use a loss, though.

Spreading Scourge

Top ability

These red AoEs keep getting bigger! Now we can hit up to 12 hexes in one go! We don’t even need to use Dark to get Muddle on these monsters! Perfect! It frees that Dark up for Accelerated End and the monsters will be flipping through the deck and getting to our Curses quickly.

All these swarming insect abilities make me almost feel sorry for the monsters. Almost.

Bottom ability

A direct upgrade to the bottom of Rot Maggots, now we can heal all our allies in one action from the damage we may or may not have inflicted ourselves! Fabulous.

Overall Spreading Scourge card rating

A great card with two reusable halves. Awesome!

Level 8 Plagueherald build

What to pick up

Spreading Scourge.

What to drop

Rot Maggots. The top of Spreading Scourge does significantly more damage even though we’re going to lose a Poison. But we have more ways to deal Poison now than we had at level 2.

We also have a direct upgrade to the lower heal by way of an additional target. Good job too, we’ll need it at level 9!

Level 8 Plagueherald deck

Gloomhaven Plagueherald Poison Curse Hybrid Build Level 8 cards
  • Stinging Cloud
  • Baneful Hex
  • Gathering Doom
  • Nightmarish Affliction
  • Spread the Plague
  • Vile Pestilence
  • Winged Congregation
  • Wretched Swarm
  • Spreading Scourge
  • Fetid Flurry
  • Accelerated End

Level 9 Plagueherald cards

Level 9 Plagueherald cards - Convert the Flock and Mass Extinction

Convert the Flock

Top ability

Getting to level 9 is an exciting moment in any class! “What will the capstone abilities be?” I eagerly think.

Well. I was hoping for better than this.

12 damage across 3 and hands out 3 Curses. And it’s a loss so we can only do it once per scenario. Seeing as we’ve been able to get 2 Curses into the monster deck in one action since level 4 (and it also deals Poison and is reusable), it makes this ability look pretty dull at level 9.

Bottom ability

We haven’t gone with a build that inflicts Poison on allies regularly, so the benefit of this to us is limited. Even if we have Poisoned all 3 of our allies in a 4 player group this only gives +1 for each two allies damaged, so we only get a +1.

The number of potential allies increases with summons, but they tend to be squishy and that 2 damage is quite a lot to them. So yeah, takes some setup to get the damage bonus and we also have the aftermath to deal with removing Poison from our allies.

If we really want a +1 on our damage from Poisoning allies, we can always use the top of Spread the Plague instead.

Overall Convert the Flock card rating

Both abilities aren’t great. Neither offer anything we can’t already achieve with other cards. If we wanted to save the top ability, we’d have to use the bottom regularly to make this card worth it. And it’s not something we’d want to use all that often.

Mass Extinction

Top ability


Filling our allies decks with Curses is not something a typical Gloomhaven class would do. But we’re not typical. We’re a swarming mass of insects.

With this ability, we can stuff the monster deck almost full of Curses in one turn at the start of a scenario.

Follow it up with Stinging Cloud and those Curses will be flipped incredibly quickly and we’ll do 3 damage to each monster when they do, plus that additional 1 damage from Wound. 4 damage without us doing anything actively.

To keep our teammates happy, we can use the bottom of Spreading Scourge to heal them all and remove Wound right away. We can’t do anything about their Curses unfortunately, but it’s only one Curse per deck and hopefully, they have something that gives them Advantage for important turns!

After all, 3 Curses for our team, means 6-8 Curses in the monster deck + Wound on them all. So we come off better!

Bottom ability

Wahoo! An upgrade on the top of Accelerated End! But it’s even better because it’s on the bottom so we can use Accelerated End along with this on the same turn.

If we use Nightmarish Affliction top and the bottom of Fetid Flurry on the turn before, we can boost Accelerated End with Dark and Mass Extinction with Air and do 6 damage to every Poisoned monster!

Overall Mass Extinction card rating

The perfect capstone card for our hybrid Curse and Poison build! If the monster deck is already pretty full of Curses, we can use the bottom. If it isn’t we can use the top.

Level 9 Plagueherald build

What to pick up

Mass Extinction.

What to drop

Gathering Doom unless you really want the gold for enhancements. But to be honest by level 9, you’re really powerful even without enhancements!

Level 9 Plagueherald deck

Gloomhaven Plagueherald Poison Curse Hybrid Build Level 9 cards

So here’s our final deck! I love this Poison and Curse hybrid. Baneful Hex is what makes it. You get to hand out support by way of Curses, but they also do damage when they are drawn. That double-whammy feeling never gets old!

  • Stinging Cloud
  • Baneful Hex
  • Mass Extinction
  • Nightmarish Affliction
  • Spread the Plague
  • Vile Pestilence
  • Winged Congregation
  • Wretched Swarm
  • Spreading Scourge
  • Fetid Flurry
  • Accelerated End

Plagueherald Perks

Gloomhaven Plagueherald Perks Sheet

Like a with all Gloomhaven classes, it’s always a good plan to start by removing the negative modifiers. It increases our overall damage and well as making our flips more reliable.

After those, I took the ignore negative scenario effects perk. It’s always going to give us a benefit we can use.

After that, I added the rolling Curse cards. Most of the time, the monster deck will have space for another Curse when we flip one – especially at early levels when our Curse generation is a bit slower.

Then I added in the Stuns. Drawing one of these and putting a monster out of action is always a welcome bonus!

I took the Poisons after this. Even though we’ll be doing our best to spread Poison far and wide, sometimes we’ll flip one of these that means we can add it to another monster.

I put in the +1s with Air after that. Occasionally, you’ll flip one at level 9 so that you can use it to boost Mass Extinction without needing to use the bottom of Fetid Flurry. Freeing us up to use the top of Fetid Flurry’s 4 damage ability.

Keeping a thin modifier deck increases the chances of flipping the cards you want (namely, Curses and Stun). So it’s up to you if you want to take the add two +1 cards and the Immobilize cards to bulk up your modifier deck. Immobilize is the least attractive modifier to flip because we don’t know if it will be useful or not. It’s pretty useless on a monster with ranged abilities.

  1. Replace one -2 card with one +0 card
  2. Replace one -1 card with one +1 card
  3. Replace one -1 card with one +1 card
  4. Replace one +0 card with one +2 card
  5. Replace one +0 card with one +2 card
  6. Ignore negative scenario effects and add one +1 card
  7. Add two rolling Curse cards
  8. Add one rolling Stun card
  9. Add one rolling Stun card
  10. Add three Poison cards
  11. Add one +1 Air card
  12. Add one +1 Air card
  13. Add one +1 Air card
  14. Add two +1 cards
  15. Add two Immobilize cards

Plagueherald Items

Plagueherald starting item cards - Eagle-Eye Goggles, Boots of Striding, Minor Stamina Potion and Minor Power Potion

I take a look at which starting items would be best for our Plagueherald here. I only look at starting items so there are no spoilers!

Eagle-Eye Goggles

30 gold

With our big AoEs, Advantage on every card flip for each hex can add up to a fair bit of bonus damage!

Boots of Striding

20 gold

We do ok for movement. But because we’re often at the back of the room and then need to move forward when the monsters are cleared, a little extra help goes a long way.

Minor Stamina Potion

10 gold

To help us get our most powerful card combos back.

Minor Power Potion

10 gold

A fantastic way to boost our AoEs. For example, 1 extra damage over 12 hexes on Spreading the Scourge is a lot of potential extra damage!

Plagueherald Enhancements

Enhancements can be expensive (especially the best ones!) so we want to make sure we’re getting a good return on our investment. I like to enhance cards that have reusable abilities so I get the benefit of multiple uses per scenario. I also like to enhance cards that are in my hand for a long, long time.

Add Curse on the top of Nightmarish Affliction

225 gold

While we have Vile Pestilence to help us deal out mass Poison, we don’t get a mass Curse ability until level 9, so adding extra Curses helps us to keep the monster deck full of them! 225 gold is a lot of gold to enhance this ability, but we get to deal 4 Curses with each use, rather than 2, so it’s still worth it.

Add Target on Nightmarish Affliction

300 gold

This is the dream enhancement for the Plagueherald! It’ll also have you dreaming of gold! It’s a pricey one because we’ve already enhanced this ability once.

But Instead of dishing out 2 Poisons and 4 Curses (thanks to our previous enhancement), we can now hand out 3 Poisons and 6 Curses! That’s the monster deck over half full of Curses in one go!

Add Curse on Fetid Flurry top

125 gold

For a more affordable option, an extra Curse on the top of Fetid Flurry allows us to put 2 Curses in the monster deck every time.

Plagueherald Experience

Plagueherald class board showing levels and hit points

The Plagueheald levels quite slowly because the majority of the experience points are given on loss cards, or when an element is consumed when casting. Biting Gnats, Epidemic, Paralyzing Bite and Virulent Strain will help you to level until they are replaced.

You can see we remain squishy and only have 14 health even at level 9. It’s why we try to stay out of the way!

Plagueherald Combos

My favourite combos are both at level 9 using Mass Extinction top and bottom. One for the Curse led part of our hybrid build and one for the Poison led part. The effectiveness of both combos shows how all the little points of damage stack up as you level.

Cursemonger combo (level 9)

Turn 1

  • Lead with the early 27 initative of Spread the Plague but use the top ability of Mass Extinction first. Get those Curses and Wounds on all the monstgers. The earlier in the turn you get Curses into the Monster deck, the sooner the monsters can start drawing them!
  • Spread the Plague bottom to get a 3 damage ranged hit in.

Turn 2

  • Lead with the slightly better 61 initative on Stinging Cloud and use its top ability to consume the Dark we created on our previous turn to deal up to 14 damage and Muddle up to 7 monsters and get them flipping Curses faster!
  • Use the bottom of Spreading Scourge to heal our allies and remove the Wound we gave them on our previous turn.

Poisoner combo (Level 9)

Turn 1

  • Use the top of Vile Pestilence to Poison up to 7 monsters.
  • Use the bottom of Spreading Sourge to heal any allies caught in the Vile Pestilence Poison AoE!

Turn 2

  • Lead with the 26 initative on Fetid Flurry, but use the top of Nightmarish Affliction first to hand out some damage, Curses and Poison and to create Dark.
  • Use the Move 2 on Fetid Flurry to create Air.

Turn 3

  • Lead with the 62 initiative on Accelerated End, then use the top of ability and consume Dark and deal 3 damage to all Poisoned monsters.
  • Use the bottom of Mass Extinction and consume Air for 3 more damage to all Poisoned monsters.

Plagueherald Names

Our Harrower Plagueherald is a chittering, buzzing, swarming mass of insects with a hive mind. It believes that poison makes a society stronger. I used these traits and the fact that my Plagueherald build focused on Poison and Curse, to come up with my Plagueherald name of Jinx.

I also imagined that family heritage is not really needed for beings made from a hive mind so family names aren’t needed. I also felt that if the Plagueherald had a proper name, it would be pretty much impossible to pronounce for Gloomhaven adventurers so instead, it would go by a given name that was easier to say in Common.

Here are some other Plagueherald names to inspire you!

  • Tick
  • Venin
  • Blurr
  • Ant
  • Moth
  • Speck
  • Bug
  • Hex
  • Ruin
  • Legion

Another party member called their Plagueherald, Plague Harold which made me laugh!

Conclusion – Gloomhaven Plagueherald Guide – Poison Curse Hybrid Build

I really enjoyed my hybrid build Plagueherald. It is amazing how powerful you feel when you affect huge numbers of monsters in one turn or mix in a stack of Curses in one go!

A poison-spreading insect swarm is a creative take on a ranged class which added to the fun for me. I’m not sure why anyone would choose to adventure with a Plagueherald, but Gloomhaven is a strange place!

I’ve created guides for all the locked classes! If you enjoyed this Plagueherald guide, check them out! Listed here by their code names: Triforce class guide, Two Minis guide, Eclipse / Moon guide, Sun guide, Lightning Bolt guide, Circles guide, Angry Face guide, Three Spears guide, Saw guide, and Music Note guide.

I’ve created build guides for all the Gloomhaven starting characters – ranged build guide for the Cragheart, tank build Brute guide, Tinkerer crowd control build guide, Mindthief damage and stun guide, Spellweaver AoE guide and a Scoundrel single target poison build guide.

If you enjoy Gloomhaven as much as I do, it’s natural to want to upgrade it to improve your gaming experience. I especially like these cards sleeves and this organizer insert on Amazon, and this incredible 3D 108 piece custom Gloomhaven scenery set on Etsy! Seriously, go check it out!

For more upgrade ideas, check out my article 15 Awesome Gloomhaven Accessories and Upgrades.

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Gloomhaven RuleBook

DISARM – If a figure is disarmed, it cannot perform any attack abilities on its turn. At the end of its next turn, the DISARM token is removed. STUN – If a figure is stunned, it cannot perform any abilities or use items on its turn except to perform a long rest (in the case of characters). At the end of its next turn, the STUN token is removed. Players must still play two cards or rest on their turn, and if a player plays two cards while stunned, the actions played are not used, and the cards are simply discarded. MUDDLE – If a figure is muddled, it gains Disadvantage on all of its attacks. At the end of its next turn, the MUDDLE token is removed.

CURSE – If a figure is cursed, it must shuffle a CURSE card into its remaining attack modifier deck. When this card is revealed through one of the figure’s attacks, it is removed from the deck instead of being placed into the attack modifier discard pile. Note that there are two separate curse decks: 10 cards with a in the lower left corner and 10 cards with an . cards can only


be placed in the monster attack deck (when a monster is cursed), and cards can only be placed in a character's attack deck (when a character or character summon is cursed). Thus, a maximum of only 10 curse cards can be placed into any one deck. The following are positive conditions . Figures can apply positive conditions to themselves or allies through specific actions. Positive conditions cannot be prematurely removed. INVISIBLE – If a figure is invisible, it cannot be focused on or targeted by an enemy. Invisibility does not affect a figure’s interactions with his or her allies. At the end of its next turn, the INVISIBLE token is removed. Monsters treat invisible characters exactly as if they were obstacles. STRENGTHEN – If a figure is strengthened, it gains Advantage on all of its attacks. At the end of its next turn, the STRENGTHEN token is removed.

BLESS – If a figure is blessed, it must shuffle a BLESS card into its remaining attack modifier deck. When this card is revealed through one of the figure’s attacks, it is removed from the deck instead of being placed into the attack modifier discard pile.

ELEMENTAL INFUSIONS Some abilities have an elemental affinity associated with them (either Fire , Ice , Air , Earth , Light , or Dark ). If any of these symbols is visible by itself in an action’s description , it means that by performing any part of the action, the figure must infuse the battlefield with that element. This is represented by moving the corresponding element’s token to the “Strong” column of the elemental infusion table at the end of the turn in which the ability was used. a



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5 small Gloomhaven rules you might not know

As with every complex, multi-level game, in Gloomhaven there are rules you tend to omit, forget or simply misinterpret. Recently, our company was enlarged by the fourth member, and even though he thoroughly read the rulebook, he approached us with question: Guys, what was the most common mistakes you committed during the initial scenarios of Gloomhaven? I want to avoid them in our play!

Well, we prepared – spontaneously – the list. To be quite honest, we had some laugh seeing what funny mistakes we did in the past. Still, I think it is worth sharing with other players as it might help to avoid those pitfalls. The list is more or less chronological, although with some issues we dealt pretty quickly and some were with us for long time.

Video version of the article:

Other articled in the world of Gloomhaven / Frosthaven: Strategy guide - BruteStrategy guide - SpellweaverStrategy guide - DoomstalkerStrategy guide - TinkererOur Gloomhaven Campaign in chronological orderGloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion – Voidwarden and DemolitionistGloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion – Red Guard and HatchetFrosthaven – starting classes (1/2)Frosthaven – starting classes (2/2)

Read with understanding

Very simple suggestion but so necessary. Really, read carefully, with understanding, not only rules but cards, FAQ, etc. Especially if English is not your native language. Example: attack is different thing than attacks and completely separate from attack action. We misinterpreted some of the items and action cards initially so be careful with this.


Only damage traps inflict a direct hit to health as per the table at the end of the Rulebook – the higher scenario level, the more sever the effect. Still, there are tons of scenarios where additional effects – stun, wound, poison – are also applicable. There are also such cases when trap has only negative effect, no damage. We sometimes forgot to check and missed that. So please, as mentioned in first paragraph, pay attention when reading!

Scenario level calculation

Such an easy thing to miss. It occurred that some of our scenarios we played on Hard, not Normal level as we made a mistake in formula – we simply did not divide by two the average level before rounding it up! We managed to pass those adventures successfully and then consciously switched to higher difficulty levels, but initially it really puzzled us why it was so hard to win them!

Negating the damage with cards

There is a clear passage in the rule book, that player can choose one card to lose from his or her hand or two cards to lose from his or her discard pile to
negate any damage. We forgot about that crucial rule once or twice – especially easily done in the heat of the battle – which costed us one scenario and very difficult ending of another. Be aware of that!

Healing action vs. poison / wound

  • As per rules, if you are poisoned and the heal ability is used on you, the POISON token is removed, and the Heal has no other effect.
  • On the other hand, when a Heal ability is used on a wounded figure, the WOUND token is removed and the Heal continues normally.
  • Third possible occurrence, is when character is wounded and poisoned. Healing then removes both POISON and WOUND tokens but the heal still does not heal damage.

Of course, in our initial games we messed those things. Nowadays there are no errors during our game-play regarding the Heal ability, but a home-rule was created: we thought it a little unfair that it is so easy to get rid of wound, so in our plays when you are wounded, you spent 1 Heal point on removing the WOUND token and the rest on regular Heal.

Advantage / disadvantaged– rolling modifiers

One of the most troublesome things for us to grasp were correct application of advantage / disadvantage and rolling modifiers.

The rulebook says: An attacker with Advantage will draw two modifier cards from their deck and use whichever one is better. If one rolling modifier card was drawn, its effect is added to the other card played. If two rolling modifier cards were drawn, continue to draw cards until a rolling modifier is not drawn and then add together all drawn effects.

So, when you draw a rolling POISON and “2x” symbol – wow – you not only inflicted double losses but also a poison with advantage. But when you got rolling POISON and “Null” – although it is advantage – you score 0 damage (but poison effect works). That seems counter-intuitive but as designer explained, playing with thin attack deck and making it more powerful by rolling modifiers brings possibility of failure.

I felt it very painfully with my small Scoundrel deck (14 cards) when I added rolling poisons there. Well, Null was not a rare occurrence there unfortunately.

On the other hand, having a disadvantage and drawing a rolling modifier results in cancelling the latter. But if you got x2 and rolling poison – despite this being at disadvantage – you get double damage!

Advantage / disadvantaged – unused blesses / curses

A small thing, which we recently learned but it seems we played it incorrectly previously – again, touching advantage / disadvantage situations. Remember – you should always remove any blessings / curses once you have drawn them; so, unlike the regular Null or 2x cards, the blessings / curses do not get re-shuffled back into the deck after you have drawn them once. They get taken out of your deck after they have been drawn the first time and returned to the common pool. So, when you have advantage and get Curse and +1, you of course use positive modifier but Curse is still removed from the deck!

Difference summon vs spawn

That was somehow tricky form the start and even today we scratch our heads to make sure we play the summons and spawns correctly. I would like to provide some brief differentiation for fellow readers as it also helped us.

Key difference 1: Summoned monsters never act in the turn that they are summoned. Monsters that are spawned in the middle of the turn act just like monsters who are revealed when a door is opened in the middle of a turn.

Key difference 2: When a monster summons another monster, it must be brought in an adjacent empty hex, as close as possible to a character. If there are no adjacent empty hexes, there will be no summon. While when monsters spawn, they must also spawn in an empty hex. If their spawn hex is not empty, they will spawn in the nearest empty hex to it, regardless of if it’s adjacent.

Still, we need to remember about one similarity of those two types – when a monster dies, a money token is only placed on the hex where it died if the monster was not summoned or spawned.

How long the effects last

The conditions – both positive (strengthen) as well as negative (muddle, stun, immobilize, etc.) were source of confusion for us for some time. Especially the question – how long do they last?

The rulebook says conditions lasts until the end of your / monster next turn. The FAQ clarifies that next turn means your next full turn. So, if you start a turn with the condition in effect, then at the end of that turn, it is removed. If a monster stuns you on its turn, then your next turn (whether that happens in the current round or the following round) you would be under the effect of stun, and then it would go away at the end of that turn. If you manage to get stunned on your own turn, you would immediately suffer the effects, then you would also suffer from the effects on your following turn in the following round before the effect wore off at the end of that turn. This also applies to conditions on monsters.

Another tricky thing was with the question – when my positive effects which I put on myself, start to be active? The answer is immediately! Look at the picture above. If in my turn I first play top of Smoke Bomb, the strengthen from this will immediately work on the bottom of Crippling Poison played the same turn. Maybe not the most powerful combination in this case, but I hope you know what I mean 🙂


In many scenarios we played the loot incorrectly. In many that really did not matter. Still, when you perform end of turn loot or a loot action on a treasure, you open it immediately. This is important, as you might encounter a crippling trap! If you get an item, it goes to your backpack, but you cannot use it that scenario.


Sometimes we forgot that if you create the element, you cannot use it yourself that turn! They become strong only at the end of the turn of character / monster which created it. Then, if there are monsters consuming particular elements, all monsters of that type use it, not only one of them! It is just enough it is available at their beginning of turn / initiative.

Just to be clear, you can create element and in the same turn consume the one produced by monsters / your buddies in the group. You just simply cannot do it for yourself.

Prosperity ticks

The Gloomhaven prosperity is one of key elements in the game. While in the end we did not made any mistakes in that aspect, we couple of times had a real issue to understand how it works.

In essence you can get the prosperity ticks by something you will discover after opening envelope B – you are getting a “minor-tick”. Not a full prosperity increase, but one of the minor-ticks leading to it. We had also missions which said at the conclusion+1 prosperity. Again, it was only that small mini-tick, not the full level of town prosperity. You can get used to it with experience.

When scenario ends?

The scenario ends at the end of the round that the objective is achieved. If you have accomplished your mission, you still have until the end of the round to loot coins and open treasure chests. The round does not end immediately when the last enemy dies – if that was your objective. And of course, you can still can have some character exhausted (but if all of them dies, scenario is a failure!) . We missed that rule couple of times – usually to our detriment (as a lot of loot was still available!)


What I presented above was a list of difficulties / errors our group were facing. Familiarizing our new player with them really helped to bring him up to speed. Should you be interesting in more rules explanations, I strongly recommend reading the official Gloomhaven FAQ.

On a side not, if you played Gloomhaven, what were your most common and notorious errors?

PS. I omitted one section completely – monster movement. That is so vast and large topic that requires separate article. But that is for another time!

Like this:




Gloomhaven curse

Every time an individual player retires a character, that player gains one extra perk to apply to all future characters they create. This effect is cumulative, so when a player retires their second character, their next character would gain two additional perks. Though this effect is applied to players, if one player is controlling multiple characters at once in a campaign (like for solo play, for instance), they should consider each "hand" they control a different player for this bonus.

The "b" sides of the "L" and "D" tiles are misprinted and have their art rotated by 180 degrees in relation to their puzzle piece connections when compared to the images in the scenario book and random dungeon deck. When setting up these tiles, make sure their puzzle connection orientation is correct and don't use the art as a reference.

Component count typos: The component list in the front of the rule book should say there are 28 "1" damage counters, 240 monster standees and 3 sealed envelopes. Also, there is no smaller envelope with a sun icon on it, as depicted in the picture.

Typo in special conditions for opening envelopes: The second item should read "The Drake's Command" instead of "The Drake's Request". When you achieve this goal, you earn "The Drake Aided" global achievement. Also, it is optional to open the envelope and earn the achievement, but once it is done, it is permanent.

The curse deck is split into two equal decks of 10 cards each. One deck is exclusively for putting curse cards into the players' attack modifier decks, and the other is exclusively for putting curse cards into the monsters' attack modifier deck. So no single attack modifier deck can ever have more than 10 curse cards in it. When a curse card is removed from a player's attack modifier deck, it is returned to the player curse card deck, and a curse card removed from the monster attack modifier deck is returned to the monster curse card deck. If curses are distributed at the beginning of a scenario, distribute them as evenly as possible to all those affected, with players deciding cases of ambiguity.

Player Rules

Can I Say X Or Y At The Beginning Of The Round When Choosing My Cards?

As long as you avoid specific numerical values and card titles, you can say whatever you want.

Can I Play A Card Just For The Experience?

You have to perform at least one part of the action on the card to gain the experience. If it just says "Attack", you have to attack an enemy to get the experience. If it has "Attack" and "Move", however, you can just move and not attack and still get the experience. A larger experience symbol sitting on its own on an action is not meant to be tied to any specific ability in the action.

Can I Choose Not To Gain The Experience From Using An Action?

No, experience is not optional.

If I Am Level 9, Can I Still Earn Experience?

You can still track experience when you are level 9 as a metric for how well you are doing in the scenario, but experience no longer gives you any long-term benefits.

Can I Choose To Not Perform Specific Parts Of An Action And What Is Considered A Negative Effect?

You can choose not perform any or all parts of an action except the following:

  • Negative effects: Effects that when performed will (not may) reduce hit points, lose cards, or apply a negative condition to yourself or an ally.

  • Stand alone infusions (i.e. not attached to a specific ability). Note that infusions gained from modifier cards are considered attached to the attack so they can be skipped. Also, at least one ability on the action must be performed in order to gain the Infusion.

  • XP granting abilities, whether stand alone or attached to another ability. If stand alone, at least one ability on the action must be performed in order to gain the XP.

  • +/- X ability adjustments from modifier cards. You cannot change the order of the abilities in the action, though.

Can I Decide Not To Loot Money Or Treasure Tiles In My Hex At The End Of My Turn?

End-of-turn looting is not optional. If there are money or treasure tiles in your hex at the end of your turn, you have to loot them.

Are There Restrictions On What I Can Loot With A Loot Ability In Regards To Line-of-sight Or Obstacles?

The specific mechanics are that you can loot all hexes within range X of you, where X refers to "Loot X". This means that if you can target the hex with an attack in that range, you can loot the hex. This means loot is unaffected by monsters or obstacles, but is affected by line-of-sight.

Any Enemy Or Scenario Effect Forces Me Onto A Hex With Loot, Can I Automatically Pick It Up, Like End-of-turn Looting?

No, end-of-turn looting happens only at the end of your turn. You cannot automatically pick up loot at any other time.

If I Loot, Say, An Armor Item From A Treasure Tile And I Am Already Wearing Armor, What Happens?

You can own any number of items (but only one copy of each). It is not limited only to what you can equip. So when you find armor in a chest and already have armor, you still get to keep the armor you got, you just won't be able to equip it until next scenario. Actually, since you can only equip items in between scenarios, even if you weren't wearing armor, you'd still have to wait to equip the armor you just got.

So What If I Loot An Item I Already Had A Copy Of?

In this case, you would immediately gain the sell value of the item you looted (half the buy value), and place that copy of the item in the city's available supply of items if it was not already there.

If I Play A Card For Its Basic Action, But The Corresponding Action On The Card Has The Lose Symbol, Do I Still Lose The Card?

No, only if you perform that specific action text does the lose symbol take effect.

If I Recover Cards During My Second Action, Can I Recover The Card I Just Played With My First Action?

Yes. As soon as a card is used, it is placed in the appropriate pile, so if your first card played is lost, you could recover it with your second card if it allows for such.

What Is The Designation Of Cards In My Active Area?

Are they considered in my hand or in their own class or what? Cards in your active area are technically considered discarded or lost (depending on whether there was a lost symbol on the action you played to put them there), even when they are in your active area. When you recover discard cards (by resting, for example) or lost cards (through special actions), you have the choice of picking up corresponding cards in your active area or leaving them in play. This also means they are not in your hand and cannot be put in your lost pile to negate damage (unless you are move two discards to your lost pile, as per the normal rules).

If I Consume An Element In The Strong Column, Does It Go Down To Waning Or All The Way Down To Inert?

Whenever an element is consumed, it always moves down to inert, no matter where it started.

Can You Explain The Timing Of Elemental Infusions?

Yes, the main take-away here is that any elements you create on your turn do not get moved to the strong column until the end of your turn. This means that you cannot create an element (that wasn't already present) and then consume it on the same turn because it won't be available to be consumed until the end of your turn. On the up side, this also means that if an element is already strong or waning at the start of your turn, you can create the element again with your first action, consume the existing element with your second action, and then the element will still go up to strong at the end of your turn even though you just used it.

Is There Any Difference Between An Attack Effect (elemental Infusion, Negative Condition, Etc). Caused By Attack Modifier, An Item Card, Or One Printed On The Ability Card Itself?

No, whether an attack effect is added by a modifier card, an item card or the ability card itself, it functions exactly the same.

When I Do A Long Rest, When Do The Effects (healing, Getting Your Discards Back, Refreshing Spent Items) Take Place?

Your full rest happens on initiative 99, so you have to wait until the end of the round to gain the effects.

If I Have Zero Cards In My Hand And Two Cards In My Discard, Can I Still Long Rest Even Though I Will Become Exhausted At The Beginning Of The Next Round?

Absolutely. You can stick around for one more round as a meat shield. Also consider the following question.

If I Long Rest, Do My Summons Still Get A Turn During The Round?

Yes, they will act directly before initiative 99 as normal.

Do Summons Perform End-of-turn Looting?

No, only characters perform end of turn looting.

If A Summon Has A "-" For Its Move Or Attack, Can I Grant It Move Or Attack Actions, Respectively?

It depends. The "-" means that it has no base for that stat. So you cant' grant an "Attack +2" action to a summon with a "-", as that is a modifier to an undefined base, but you can grant it an "Attack 2" action, as that sets the base. The same applies to movement. Also note that summons (or monsters) with "-" movement can still be pushed and pulled.

If I Long Rest, Do I Still Technically Have A Turn For The Round?

Yes, on initiative 99, you perform the effects of the long rest, and it is considered a turn, so you can still use items or do other things you would normally be able to do on your turn (unless you are stunned, in which case you are only allowed to perform the effects of the long rest).

What's The Difference Between An Attack And An Attack Action?

And attack is a single attack on a single target that flips over a single attack modifier card. And attack action constitutes all the attacks made with a specific action (entire top or bottom half of an ability card). If your attack action is, say, "Attack 3", then there is only one attack in your attack action. If it is "Attack 2, Target 3", then your attack action consists of three separate attacks.

If An Ability Allows Me To "kill" An Enemy, Is That Considered An Attack?

No, unless the ability says "attack", it is not an attack.

What If I Consume An Element To Turn An Attack Action Into A Kill Action?

So long as you consume the element and trigger only the kill effect, the word "instead" negates the attack, and it is no longer an attack.

If I Kill An Enemy With My Attack Damage, Can I Still Apply The Effects Of The Attack (i.e., Curse, Push, Etc).?

No, added attack effects are always applied after the damage. If you kill an enemy with the damage, then it is no longer around to be pushed onto a trap or cursed.

Do I Have To Push Or Pull The Full Amount?

Like any added effect, you can choose not to apply it, but if you do, you have to use the full push or pull effect. The only time the full push or pull may not go into effect is if there are obstacles or figures in the way and you may chose a blocked direction even if an unblocked one is available (note, however, that you can push or pull enemies through other enemy figures, they just can't end the movement in the same hex).

Also keep in mind that if multiple push or pull effects are applied with the same ability (due to attack modifier cards), you can choose to apply or not apply them separately (e.g. if your ability applied a "push 1", and your attack modifier card applied a "push 1", you could decide to push 0, 1 or 2 since they are separate effects).

Can I Target Allies With Push/pull Abilities?

No, allies cannot be targeted at all, even if the ability isn't an Attack.

Can Flying Monsters Be Pushed Into Traps?

The can be pushed into hexes with traps, but doing so will not trigger the traps.

If An Enemy Dies From Trap Damage, Who Gets Credit For The Kill?

The credit goes to whomever causes the trap to be sprung, not the whomever who made it. If the enemy moves onto a trap on its own, no one would get the credit.

If An Enemy Dies From Wound, Who Gets Credit For The Kill?

No one.

If I End My Turn On A Hex With Hazardous Terrain, Do I Take Any Additional Damage?

No, you only take damage when you enter the hex.

When Exactly Does Retaliate Trigger?

Retaliate triggers after all effects of an attack have been applied. If the retaliating figure dies from the attack, the retaliate does not trigger because the figure is removed from the board beforehand. If the retaliating figure is pushed out of the range of its retaliate, it also does not trigger. However, if it is pulled into retaliate range, it would trigger.

Is Retaliation Targeted? If I Am Invisible, Can Monsters Still Retaliate Against Me?

Retaliation is not targeted, so it is unaffected by invisibility. You can still be retaliated against while invisible.

Can I Hit My Allies With Area Attacks?

No, unless the action specifically states that you do. An area effect ability shows you the hexes that you can target with an attack, and you cannot target allies with attacks under any circumstances, so, in general, allies are safe from your abilities. Certain classes (the Cragheart, for example), however, have abilities that specifically state that allies in certain situations suffer damage or gain negative conditions, but these cases are clearly stated on the ability cards.

What Are The Line-of-sight Rules?

Line-of-sight is necessary for all attacks (including every hex of an area attack) and all other abilities that specify a range (including looting, which technically has a range). Any non-attack ability that does not specify a range does not require line-of-sight.

Can I Target Empty Hexes With An Area Attack?

While you are not technically "targeting" the empty hex, the hex of an area attack that is within the range specified by the attack can be empty. It can even be a wall, so long as there are enemies in the attack area that are in your line-of-sight.

Are There Any Line Of Sight Or Adjacency Restrictions On What I Can Target With A Melee Area Attack (area Attack Containing A Grey Hex)?

The only restriction, as above, is that you have to have line of sight on a figure to target it with an attack. Other than that, if the hex is in the configuration shown on the card, you can attack it.

If My Area Of Effect For An Attack Is Chiral (not Equal To Its Mirror Image) Can I Use The Mirror Image Of The Area Instead?

Yes, in addition to applying any rotation to an area of effect, you can also use the mirror image of the area.

How Does Add Target Interact With Area Attacks?

Add Target always adds a single extra target within the range of your attack to the attack, and this target cannot be an enemy already targeted by the attack (a single attack ability cannot target the same enemy multiple times). So if you got an Add Target effect on an area attack, you could pick one enemy within range but outside of the area (because all enemies in the area are already getting attacked) to get hit by the attack as well.

All conditions and other effects of the attack (other than effects that would add additional attack targets) would apply to the added target, as well. Each instance of the Add Target effect adds an additional target to the attack using the above guidelines. Note that if an attack ability targets everything within a specified range, Add Target would do nothing since you are already targeting everything in that range.

If I Take One Point Of Damage From An Attack And Have Multiple Abilities (from Ability Cards Or Items) Which Give Me Shield When Taking Damage From An Attack, Do I Have To Use All Of Them?

No. You can choose which Shield bonus to apply in this case, and once the damage is reduced to zero, it is no longer a source of damage, so any other bonuses do not have to be used.

What Exactly Is Considered Using An Item?

Any instance of you applying the effects of an item card to a situation is considered a use.

When Exactly Can I Use An Item? Can I Use It In The Middle Of A Movement Or Other Ability?

You can use an item pretty much whenever you want, within the restrictions of what is written on the item card. So if it says "on your turn", use it any time you want on your turn, including during a movement or after you have taken all your actions. The only restriction is that if an item affects an attack (e.g. adds a bonus, adds an effect, adds advantage or disadvantage), it has to be used before an attack modifier is drawn.

Is There Any Limitation To The Number Of Items I Can Use On My Turn Or Even During The Same Ability?


If I Apply Poison With My Attack, Does It Immediately Give Me +1 On The Attack?

No. All added effects of an attack are only applied after the amount of damage is resolved. The one exception to this is PIERCE, which is applied at the same time as the damage.

If I Have Both The Wound And Poison Conditions And Am Healed, What Happens?

Both conditions are removed and no actual healing takes place.

Does A Long Rest Cure Wound And Poison? Does Drinking A Potion Cure Wound And Poison?

Yes, these are both considered "Heal" effects and thus interact with WOUND and POISON like other "Heal" abilities.

If A Heal Or Other Beneficial Ability Specifies A Range, Can I Target Myself?


How Do The Heal Rolling Modifier Cards Work?

Any time a "Heal" attack modifier card is resolved, the figure who flipped it heals the amount specified. This heal can remove wound and poison like any other heal.

If I Get Stunned Before I Have A Chance To Play My Cards For The Round, Do I Have To Discard Them, Or Can I Take Them Back And Do A Full Rest?

You have to discard them.

If I Have Advantage Or Disadvantage, How Do I Determine Whether One Attack Modifier Card Is Better Or Worse In The Case Of Effects Beyond The Typical +/- Modifiers? How Do I Know When Something Is Ambiguous?

All added effects (negative conditions, elements, healing, etc). have a positive but undefined value.

Thus, these would be the rulings in the following cases:

  • +1 vs +2: +2 is better
  • +1 Stun vs +1: +1 Stun is better
  • +0 Stun vs +2: Ambiguous
  • +1 Stun vs +1 Fire: Ambiguous
  • +0 Muddle vs +2 Stun: Ambiguous

Is It Ever Possible To Do Damage With An Attack After The "no Damage" Attack Modifier Card Takes Effect?

No. If this card is applied to your attack, you do no direct damage with the attack under any circumstances.

If A Condition Lasts Until The End Of My Next Turn, What Exactly Does "next Turn" Mean?

"Next turn" means your next full turn. So if you start a turn with the condition in effect, then at the end of that turn, it is removed. If a monster stuns you on its turn, then your next turn (whether that happens in the current round or the following round) you would be under the effect of stun, and then it would go away at the end of that turn. If you manage to get stunned on your own turn, you would immediately suffer the effects, then you would also suffer from the effects on your following turn in the following round before the effect wore off at the end of that turn. This also applies to conditions on monsters.

Can I Voluntarily End Positive Conditions On Myself Like Strengthen And Invisible?


Am I An Ally Of Myself?


If I Draw Two 'heal Self' Rolling Modifiers In The Same Attack, Is One Heal Performed Or Two?

Heals from rolling modifiers stack into a single Heal.

Are Abilities That Target A Single Figure With An Attack But Damage Additional Figures Via Other Non-attack Effects (like Suffer Damage) Still Considered Single Target Attacks?


Can You Perform A Move X Ability But Do 0 Move?


Do Persistent Cards That Trigger "at The End Of Your Next X Turns" Also Trigger At The End Of The Current Turn?


Should Curses And Blesses Be Removed From A Player's Modifier Deck Immediately When Becoming Exhausted So That Other Players And Monsters Can Use Them?

As per the rules, they are not removed until the end of the scenario.

What Is The Difference Between "ability +x" Vs "ability X" Character Ability Cards Granting Other Figures Extra Actions?

"Ability +X" makes an adjustment to an existing ability while "Ability X" grants the figure a new ability.

What Happens If A Figure Is Poisoned And A "heal All" Ability Is Used On It?

The heal ability is treated just like other heal abilities, so the poison is removed but no damage is healed.

Can You Use A Heal Ability On A Figure That Is Already At Full Health?


Can You Perform An Elemental Infusion Or A Gain Xp, Either Of Which Are Printed As Stand-alone Segments Of An Action, By Itself Without Doing Another Ability Of The Action?

No. This also applies to the lost card symbol. You must perform some ability of the action to actually lose the card.

When A Multi Target Attack Has A Gain Xp Effect, Do I Get Xp For Each Target?

Only if the card specifically says so.

Can A Figure Still Perform Actions Prevented By Immobilize And Stun Even If Those Actions Are Granted To The Figure Outside Their Turn?

No. The "on their turn" phrase listed in the condition section of the rule book should not be there.

When Is An Ability Considered A "targeted" Ability?

When the card says "Target" or "Attack".

How Does Stun Work With Persistent Effects And Passive Items?

Stun does not affect them, they function normally.

Can I Use Items Outside Of My Turn?

Only if the item is used as a reaction to an enemy action. Otherwise, items cannot be used unless it is your turn.

Does Overkill Damage Count For Abilities That Say "amount Of Damage Inflicted"?


Can You Do A Short Rest In The Last Round Of A Scenario?


When Summons Attack Obstacles, What Initiative Value Do The Obstacles Have When Resolving Tie-breakers For Monster Focus?

Obstacles have 99 initiative for resolving focus ties.

What Exactly Is The Timing Of A Figure's Turn?

A figure's turn starts when the previous figure ends their turn and ends when the next figure begins theirs.

What Happens When A Figure Becomes Immune To A Condition That It Already Has?

The condition is removed. Note this does not apply to Curse and Bless. Those immunities prevent the card from entering the modifier deck; they do not prevent existing curse/bless cards from being drawn and applying their effect.

Monster Turns

I'm Just Confused About Focus. Can You Explain It?

Finding a focus for a monster can be tricky in certain circumstances, but it follows some very basic rules.

First of all, is the monster performing an attack on the ability card it drew? If not, pretend as if it is performing a melee attack (i.e. it wants to be adjacent to an enemy).

Next, find the minimum distance it needs to move to get within range (and line-of-sight) to attack an enemy. It doesn't matter if the monster can't get within range with the movement it has, as long as there is a path to eventually get within range, it will still consider this path the optimal path. The enemy/enemies that are within range (and line-of-sight) at the end of this shortest path are considered the "closest".

Side note on negative hexes (traps or hazardous terrain): negative hexes are considered obstacles when determining this path unless there is no path except through the negative hexes. The path can be ten steps long if the enemy avoids the negative hex and two steps long if it goes through the negative hex, it will still choose the ten-step path as long as it is available. Basically, monsters will move through as few negative hexes as possible.

In the case where the monster can move the same number of spaces to get within range (and line-of-sight) of multiple enemies (either because it starts its turn within range or multiple enemies or through some other situation), proximity (i.e. number of hexes they are away, not counting through walls) is then checked as a tie-breaker for "closest".

Okay, now, if there is only one closest enemy within range at the end of that path, that is the monster's focus. If there are multiple closest enemies within range (and line-of-sight), the focus is the enemy among those tied who has the lower initiative for the round.

Note that there may be some cases where a monster can't find a focus at all. In order to obtain focus on an enemy, there must be an unblocked path to an open hex where it could eventually move to and target the enemy. If an enemy can't find a focus, it doesn't move or attack on its turn and just performs any other abilities written on its card.

Can You Explain In More Detail How Monsters Interact With Invisible Characters?

Invisibility works the same regardless of whether it is an invisible character or an invisible monster. Monsters can't focus on invisible characters, move through them (unless flying or jumping), or target them with any attacks or other targeted abilities (an ability like "CURSE, target all enemies within range", for instance, wouldn't affect the invisible character even if he/she were in range). Monsters essentially treat invisible characters like obstacles, but may occasionally affect them with non-target effects (such as splash damage). Once again, however, an invisible character will never be focused on by a monster.

Invisibility can create an edge-case where a monster is unable to find a focus, either because all of its enemies are invisible, or an invisible character is standing in a door or some other one-hex passageway to prevent a monster from finding any viable path to get within range of an enemy. Blocking a passageway like this doesn't always result in not finding focus. Flying or jumping enemies can ignore the obstacle (invisible character), and ranged enemies may still be able over it, depending on the value of their range and the positions of the other characters.

If A Monster Can't Get Within Range To Attack With Its Movement, Will It Still Move Closer?

Absolutely, monsters will always use the minimum movement required to get as close as possible to a hex where they can attack their focus, attempting to get into a position where they can attack with maximum efficiency if possible (e.g. avoiding disadvantage (first priority) or maximizing attacks on other targets (second priority)). Closeness is measured by the minimum total number of hexes the monster needs to physically move to reach the desired hex.

Will A Monster Move Away From A Character If It Is Adjacent And Is Performing A Ranged Attack?

Yes, as a general rule, monsters move a minimum amount to maximize their attack, so they will move one hex away to lose disadvantage.

If A Monster Ability Card Doesn't Specify An "attack" Or "move" Ability, Do They Still Perform That Ability?

No. Monsters only do what is written on their card for that round.

If An Ability Card For A Monster That Normally Has Range Shows A Hex Configuration With A Grey Hex (normally Signifying A Melee Attack), Is This Attack Still Considered Ranged?

No, in this case, it would perform a melee attack.

If A Monster Is Disarmed, Will It Move As If It Has An Attack?

No, disarm negates all effects of having an attack. A monster will move as though it doesn't have an attack, which means it will just try to get as close as possible to its focus.

If A Monster Has Bonuses Like "shield" Or "retaliate" On Their Ability Card, Is That Active For The Whole Round?

No, bonuses only become active once the monster takes their turn based on the initiative on the ability card. It then lasts until the end of the round, where it will either get shuffled back into the deck or replaced with the next round's ability card.

How Are These Bonuses Affected By Stunning A Monster?

Note that the bonuses are not simply given by the monster ability card. Monsters would have to perform a "Shield 1" action to gain the Shield 1, so these bonuses only activate if a monster is not stunned on its turn.

When A Monster Type Activates, Do They All Go On The Same Turn, Or Does Each Individual Monster Have A Separate Turn?

Each individual monster has a separate turn.

If A Monster Type Consumes An Element Due To Its Ability Card, Does Only The First Monster Who Acts Gain The Effect Or All The Monsters?

When monsters consume an element, all monsters of that type gain the benefit when they activate.

If Two Different Monster Types Reveal The Same Initiative On Different Ability Cards, Which One Goes First?

The players decide.

How Do You Distinguish Between Summoned Enemies And Other Enemies (since Summoned Enemies Don't Drop Money Tokens)?

You can place extra scenario tokens (grey circles) on summoned enemies if you have difficulty keeping track.

When Something That Summons Monsters Dies, Do The Monsters It Summoned Die Too?


If A Boss Is Immune To Curse, What Happens If It Draws A Curse Card?

The card affects the boss normally (i.e. the boss does no damage). Note that it is only immune to the condition, which is the act of shuffling the CURSE card into the deck.

Are Bosses Elites?

No, bosses are their own class of monster and are thus unaffected by abilities that target normal or elite monsters. Also note that named monsters specified in the scenario book are their own class of monster as well.

Are Obstacles With Hit Points Considered Enemies? Can They Poisoned, Wounded, Etc.?

Obstacles with hit points are technically considered enemies for all ability purposes, but they are immune to all negative conditions.

If A Door Is Closed Due To Specific Scenario Rules, What Happens If Revealed Monsters Are Stuck In A Room With No Enemies To Attack?

Closed doors behave like walls. The monsters are still revealed, so they would still play a card at the beginning of each round, but, until the door is opened, they wouldn't be able to find a focus, and so would not move or attack and just perform any other abilities on their card, as per the normal rules.

Do Negative Conditions From Monster Ability Cards Stack With Traits Of The Same Negative Condition (ex: Monster Has Curse Trait For Every Attack And Draws An Ability With A Curse As Well)?


What Happens If A Flying Monster Is Over A Stun Trap And Another Monster Attempts To Move Over That Stun Trap?

A figure cannot end their turn in the same hex as another figure so treat the flying monster as an obstacle when determining the non-flying monster's movement.

If A Monster Ability Card Lists A Melee Attack (like "adjacent Enemies" Effects) But The Monster Stat Card Specifies A Range X, Is The Attack Melee Or Ranged?

It is melee, the monster ability card takes precedence.

When A Monster Is Controlled By A Character, Is It Considered An Ally Or An Enemy Of Other Monster While It Is Being Controlled?

It is considered an enemy by other monsters.


When I Level Up, Does My Experience Go Back To Zero?


How Exactly Does My "pool" Of Ability Cards Work? What Can I Add To It When I Level Up?

Your pool of ability cards is the set of cards you can choose to add to your hand when you start a scenario. The cards in your hand are the cards you actually play the scenario with and their number is limited based on the class you are playing. When you are starting out with a level 1 character, your pool consists of all level 1 cards, plus the three "X" cards in your deck as well. All other cards are unavailable to you. When you level up, you can take a single card of your new level or lower from the deck of unavailable cards and add it to your pool. In this manner, a level 9 character will add eight more cards to their pool over the course of leveling up from level 1.

If A Perk On A Character Sheet Has Multiple Check Boxes Next To It, Does That Mean It Requires That Number Of Check Marks To Unlock It, Or That I Can Acquire That Perk For One Check That Number Of Times?

The second case. If a perk has two check boxes, you can gain that perk twice for one perk allocation each.

Can I Choose Not To Level Up When I Have The Experience Or Not Gain A Perk When I Have Three Check Marks?

No. If you are in town and you have enough experience to level up, you are forced to do so, immediately gaining all benefits of leveling up. If you have three check marks, you must immediately gain a perk.

If I Lose A Check Mark, Can That Make Me Lose A Perk?

No. You cannot go below the threshold of a perk, experience level, or prosperity level when losing check marks, experience, or prosperity, respectively. So if you have three check marks (enough to gain a perk), and then lose a check mark, nothing happens. You don't lose a perk, and you don't go into check mark debt.

If We Fail A Scenario, Can We Immediately Retry It?

Yes, your party location is still considered to be at that scenario, so you can fully recover hit points, cards, etc. and immediately do the scenario again without doing a road event, or you can return to town or do another scenario, but that may necessitate a road event before starting a scenario depending on the linking rules.

Do I Do A Road Event When Traveling Back To Gloomhaven From A Scenario?

No, you only do a road event when traveling to a scenario.

If The Party Wants To Go Directly To A Linked Scenario But Wants To Swap Out Characters In Between, Does The Party Have To Go Back To Gloomhaven, Thereby Forcing Them To Take A Road Event Before The Linked Scenario?

If the character being swapped in has already been created, then you don't have to go back to Gloomhaven, but if you want to swap in a character that hasn't been created yet, you would have to return to Gloomhaven to create it.

Do I Get The Money And Treasure Tiles Left On The Ground When I Finish A Scenario?

No, all loot left on the ground is lost once the scenario is over. You have to pick it up during the scenario. If you want the treasure tiles that you weren't able to pick up, you will have to play through the scenario again.

How Do I Track Lost Prosperity?

Note it next to the prosperity track and then scratch out the note the next time you gain prosperity.

Do I Keep My Personal Quest Secret?

There's not an official rule on this, so do whatever you want. I like to keep mine secret.

Which Event Rewards/penalties Affect A Single Character And Which Affect All Characters?

If a result starts with "Gain", "Lose", "Discard", or "Consume", the result is distributed among all characters however they choose if the word "collective" is included (i.e. "Lose 10 collective gold". means that the party loses 10 gold total). The result affects each character separately if the word "each" is included (i.e. "Lose 10 gold each". means that a party of 4 would lose 40 gold total). The exception to this is if the result is gaining an item. In that case, only one character gets the item (decided among the players).

If a result contains "Start scenario with.".. it affects all players, unless it says "One starts scenario with.".. in which case it only affects one player.

There are a few cards with typos where the "collective" or "each" is not included (see below). As a rule of thumb, if something is missing, assume it says "each". TYPO - City Event 04: "Lose 1 check". should read "Lose 1 check each". TYPO - City Event 06: "Gain 5 experience". should read "Gain 5 experience each". TYPO - City Event 22: "Gain 1 check". should read "Gain 1 check each". TYPO - City Event 46: "Lose 5 gold". should read "Lose 5 gold each".

Which Treasure Tile Rewards/penalties Affect A Single Character And Which Affect All Characters?

All treasure results (with the following two exceptions) affect only the character that loots the treasure tile. The exceptions are the "Random Side Scenario" reward, which unlocks a new scenario for the entire campaign, and the "Random Item Design" reward, which places a set of items in the shop for anyone in the campaign to purchase.

For The Bless And Strengthen Enhancements, What Abilities Count As Targeting Allies Or Yourself?

If an ability has a targeting qualification below it (e.g. "Self" or "Affect all allies at X range" or simply "Range X"), and it is a beneficial ability, then you can enhance it with Bless/Strengthen (as long as it has a dot, of course). A "Move" ability does not count as targeting yourself.

If I Play A Random Dungeon From The Random Dungeon Deck, Do They Trigger Road Events And City Events Like Normal Scenarios?

No. Random dungeons will not progress the campaign in any way. This means they do not trigger road or city events, unlock new scenarios, gain town prosperity or anything else that would impact the campaign world. They can, however, help with character progression, in the form of experience, gold, checks, and personal quests.

If A Scenario's Requirements Have An Achievement Listed As "incomplete", What Does That Mean?

It means that you can only play that scenario in campaign mode if you do not have the listed achievement.

If A Scenario Is Actually In The Town Of Gloomhaven, Would Interacting With The Town Both Before And After The Scenario Be Considered Separate Visits (for The Purposes Of Donating To The Sanctuary And City Events)? Yes. Do I Have To Win A Scenario To Complete It?


If I Loot A "goal" Treasure Tile In A Scenario And Then Go Back To Do The Scenario Again, Is The Treasure Tile Still Looted?

No, unlike numbered treasure tiles, "goal" treasure tiles are reset at the end of every scenario and must be looted again.

If I Unlock A Character Class Through Means Other Than Retirement And It Is Already Unlocked, Do I Still Get The Bonus Of A Random Scenario And Item Design?

Yes. No matter how a character class is unlocked, if you trigger the unlock and it is already unlocked, you gain the bonus of a random scenario and item design.

How Are Sanctuary Donations And City Events Handled When Playing Scenarios In Casual Mode?

Sanctuary donations and city events can only be done if the last scenario played was in campaign mode.

Personal Quests

What Scenarios Are Considered To Be Inside Gloomhaven?

Any scenario marked on the zoomed-in inset in the top right of the map is considered to be in Gloomhaven (even 58 and 86).

What Scenarios Are Considered To Be Inside The Dagger Forest?

3, 28, 29, 38, 43, 44, 48, 55, 56, 59, 81, and 91.

What Scenarios Are Considered To Be Inside The Lingering Swamp?

19, 32, 45, 49, 61, 62, 68, and 79.

What Scenarios Are Considered To Be Inside The Watcher Mountains?

9, 13, 63, 65, 73, 76, 80, 82, and 85.

What Scenarios Are Considered To Be Inside The Copperneck Mountains?

, 14, 15, 16, 24, 25, 33, 34, 39, 40, 41, 42, 46, 54, 66, and 84.

What Scenarios Are Considered To Be Inside The Misty Sea?

17, 30, 37, 47, 64, 70, 74, and 93.

What Scenarios Are Considered To Be Crypts?

Any scenario with "crypt" in the title. 4, 5, 6, 19, and 53.

If I Have To Kill A Certain Number Of Something, Do I Have To Land The Killing Blow?

Yes. You also get credit for kills if your summon lands the killing blow.

If I Fulfill The Conditions Of My Personal Quest And Then Do Something So That They Are No Longer Fulfilled, Do I Still Retire?

No, you must be fulfilling the conditions of your personal quest at the time you retire.

For Quest Cards 510, 513, 521, 526, And 529, I Have To Fulfill Some Condition And Then Unlock A Scenario. Does The Scenario Unlock Automatically Once The Condition Is Fulfilled Or Do I Have To Do Something Else To Unlock It?

The scenario is unlocked when you fulfill the condition. You don't need to do anything else to unlock it.

For Quest Cards 510, 521, 522, 526, 528, And 529, Do These Have To Be Different Scenarios?


For Quest Card 514, Can I Experience This Even If I Am Exhausted?

Yes. Note that your own exhaustion does not count, though.

For Quest Card 515 And 520, Do I Have To That Many Monsters Total Or That Many Of Each Monster Listed?

That many monsters total.

For Quest Card 517, What Counts As Different Monster Types?

Each monster stat card (the large square ones) depicts a different monster type. So, for instance, Inox Guards and Bandit Guards are two different monster types and each different boss is a different monster type.

Do Random Scenarios Count For Quest Card 518?


For Quest Card 519, Can I Lose Progress For This If I Lose Check Marks Through Events? Do I Gain Progress If I Gain Check Marks Through Events Or Bonuses Other Than Battle Goals?

No, only battle goals count as progress towards this quest. It may be necessary to track this separately in the notes section.


What Is The Exact Order Of My Choices At The Beginning Of A Scenario In Terms Of Battle Goals, Ability Cards, And Equipped Items?

The first thing you should do when starting a scenario (after going through a Road Event when applicable), is look in the scenario book to get the map tiles set up, all the monsters you will be fighting prepared, and apply any negative scenario effects. Next, you should deal battle goals and choose one. After choosing your battle goals, then you can decided which items you would like to equip from the ones you own (adding in -1 cards to you attack modifier deck when applicable) and which ability cards you would like to start with from the pool of those you have available to you.

If I Am Forced To Discard Cards Because Of An Event, When Does That Happen?

Even though events happen before setting up the scenario, you should wait until you've selected your hand of cards to decide which ones to discard.

Does Consuming Items During A Road Event Make Them Unavailable During The Scenario?


If I Have A Perk That Lets Me Ignore Scenario Effects, Can I Ignore The Negative Effects Of Event Cards?

No. You can only ignore the specific effects outlined in scenarios as scenario effects. These will be listed in the special rules of a scenario and have the format of "Do such and such as a scenario effect".

What Damaging Effects Are Modified By Attack Modifier Cards?

Only attacks (specified by the "Attack" keyword) are modified by attack modifier cards. Traps, hazardous terrain, retaliate, wound, and any "suffer X damage" text do not cause attack modifier cards to be drawn.

Are The Same Differentiations Used When Mitigating "damage From An Attack" Versus A "source Of Damage?"?

Yes, when something reduces damage from an attack (namely, Shield), it is specifically referring to a figure making an "Attack" and flipping over an attack modifier card. If you are reducing or negating a "source of damage", that can be anything: attacks, traps, hazardous terrain, retaliate, wound, suffering damage from choosing a different card to lose when short resting, or any other "suffer X damage" text.

Can You Explain The Difference Between An Unoccupied Hex And An Empty Hex?

An unoccupied hex has no figures (monsters, characters or character summons) present. An empty hex has no figures, tokens (money or otherwise), or overlay tiles of any kind (except corridors, open doors, and pressure plates) present.

Can I Or One Of My Allies Spring A Trap That I Lay? Can Monsters Spring Their Own Traps?

Yes, traps have no memory once you place them. They become hazards for everyone.

If I Lay A Trap On An Open Door, And Then The Door Closes Because Of A Scenario Rule, What Happens To The Trap?

It is removed from the board.

What Exactly Is Considered A Wall?

The edge of any map tile and the entire area of any partial hex along the edge are considered walls unless they are covered by a corridor tile. Doors are also considered walls when they are closed. Where the edge of a complete hex on a map tile comes up right to the edge of the tile, there is a dark border to remind you that a wall exists at that edge, though it does not technically begin (for cases of line-of-sight) until the edge.

If two map tiles are set next to each other such that these dark edges line up (i.e. the border of the first and second room of the first scenario), the wall is considered to still be there as a one-dimensional line.

If An Enemy Is On The Other Side Of This One-dimensional Wall Line From Me, Can I Hit Him With A Melee Attack?

No. All range, even range 1 melee attacks, can't be counted through walls. In fact, for all intents and purposes (including looting), these two hexes are not adjacent and considered two hexes apart.

In Cases Of Ambiguity Where Players Decide The Outcome, How Should The Players Decide? Should They Do What Is Best For Themselves Or Worst For Themselves?

It is up to you. That is why you are deciding. It is assumed that you would decide whatever is best for you, but, again, it is up to you.

If A Character Becomes Exhausted, And Then I Open A Door To A New Room, Does The Room Populate Based On The Non-exhausted Player Count, Or The Original Player Count?

The player count that you started the scenario with.

If My Leading Card Is Revealed At The Start Of A Round, When Exactly Is My Second Card Revealed?

They are both revealed at the start of the round, just put your leading card on top. Once everyone has chosen their cards and revealed them, both of each player's cards are open information.

What Is The Round Tracker For? Do I Need To Complete All Scenarios Within 12 Turns?

No, the round tracker is only for specific scenarios. Unless the scenario has a specific reason for having you track rounds, don't worry about it.

If I Am Exhausted During The Scenario, But It Is Still Successfully Completed, Is There Any Penalty For Being Exhausted?

No, you earn everything that you would have earned if you hadn't become exhausted: completed battle goals, tallied money and experience, bonus completion experience, any rewards in the scenario book granted for completing the scenario like bonus gold or experience.

Does Becoming Exhausted From Lack Of Cards Affect My Hit Points In Any Way For The Purposes Of The "fast Healer" And "masochist" Battle Goals?

No, you can still achieve those battle goals after being exhausted if your hit points were in the correct range when you were exhausted.

Do I Regain All My Hit Points Once A Scenario Is Finished?


Do Bless And Curse Cards Stay In My Deck Once A Scenario Is Over?

No, these and any -1 cards with a star in the corner should be removed from your deck at the end of a scenario.

Is There A Purpose To The Bless And Curse Punch Board Tokens?


I Know That If I Run Out Of Standees For A Monster, No More Are Placed, But What If I Run Out Of Bases?

Try to find a suitable replacement. Standee bases shouldn't limit monster numbers. How does failing a scenario interact with the permanent death variant? With the permanent death variant, whenever a scenario is failed through any condition, the scenario doesn't end until the end of the round in which it was failed. At this time, if any of the characters are still alive (possibly exhausted but not dead), then they would still survive.

Is It Possible To Prematurely Fail A Scenario To Avoid Death Or Wasting Time?

Not technically, no, but if there are no monsters on the board and no more will be placed on the board without player action, then all players would be free to play out however many rounds it takes to exhaust themselves without danger. If all players agree, you can save yourself the time and call the scenario failed early.

What Is The Red Starburst Symbol Next To Traps On The Monster Cards From The Random Dungeon Deck?

This symbol indicates the trap is a damage trap.

What Happens If I Run Out Of Condition Tokens?

Condition tokens are not meant to limit their total usage of the condition (unlike Curse and Bless). Use another token or make a note to keep track.


As a general rule, if an item adds some effect or bonus to your attack, you must decide to use it before attack modifier cards are drawn.

Equipped items are active from the beginning of the scenario, such that if an item reacts to an enemies actions, it can do so immediately.

Item cards with circles to track multiple uses act exactly like persistent ability cards, in that if the situation applies, you must use the item in reaction and lose a charge. Additionally, it should be noted that if the card has a spent icon in the lower right corner, it is not technically spent until all charges have been lost, and so cannot be refreshed through resting or other abilities until all charges have been used.

If an item card does not have circles to track multiple uses, then you can decide when to use it - it is not mandatory. If an item says "Heal X damage", this is functionally equivalent to "Heal X, Self".

It interacts with wound and poison like any other heal ability.

Continue Reading

5 small Gloomhaven rules you might not know

Well. So, Uncle Seryozha will come soon to make love to me. And he would really like it if you don't hide in your computer this time, but show interest and spy on us. Did you finally understand what I want from you.

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The rest earn money for study or dowry, or they are simply bored. Especially visiting Swedes. What, don't the clients offend. How can they, but what are the laws for.

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