Q: I have Ritual Candles in play and take a test. Step 3 occurs, where I pull a symbol. I trigger Candles as a . Step 4 occurs, and the effect is to reveal another token. I return to step 3, where I pull a . Can I trigger Ritual Candles again? (I know you can't when you reveal multiple tokens simultaneously (say through Olive McBride) but I'm less certain here.) A: You sure can! Actually, you can even when revealing multiple tokens with Olive as well, as long as they aren’t being ignored/canceled. For example, if with Olive you revealed a , a and an , and then ignored the , you could still trigger Ritual Candles twice—once for the , and once for the .
Q: [part 2, following on from previous Q&A] I thought you can't with Olive because of this rule on triggered abilities: "Each triggered ability may be triggered only once each time the specified condition on the ability is met. For example, an ability that is triggered "After X occurs," may be used once each time "X" occurs. Additionally the FAQ entry Resolving Multiple Revealed Chaos Tokens: "[...] when resolving multiple chaos tokens, any game or card effects which trigger if a certain chaos token is revealed—such as the text “If the named chaos token is revealed during this skill test…” on Recall the Future—will trigger if any of the resolved chaos tokens meet the specified conditions. Such an effect will not trigger twice if two of the designated tokens are resolved." A: [part 2] Each ability can be triggered once each time the specified condition is met. In this case the condition is “after a (symbol) token is revealed during a skill test.” Therefore, if two symbols are revealed during a skill test, the reaction may be triggered twice. (This would be different if it read “1 or more tokens.”) As for the second ruling [the FAQ], that doesn’t apply here. That ruling is specifically talking about effects within another ability that trigger if a chaos token is revealed, such as the horror-dealing effect on Shrivelling. Those are not independent reaction triggers, they are delayed effects that trigger if a particular type of chaos token is revealed (in other words, they are a binary state; they either trigger or they don’t).
The ritual candles to me are something that I thought were considerably good at first glance, but started to come around on them after further investigation.
The typical approach that I tend to take for any test that matters to me is to get to the +2 range in a 'standard' scenario. I mention 'standard' because my opinion of ritual candles changes when we start thinking about 'hard' difficulty and beyond. In 'standard' difficulty level play the +2 that I aim for on checks is going to succeed the majority of the time regardless of whether I draw a , , or (less so on the symbol). That means that the ritual candles are doing nothing for me in those situations that I really care about it. In the hard difficulty level you can still aim for a +2 and all of a sudden the candles are now bringing that -3 into the +2 range of success for the investigator and the chances for success go up significantly.
So as far as using it for standard scenario play, I am a little down on the card, but in hard mode play I am feeling positive on the card.
The other way to play when you get the ritual candle when there are several -2 symbols would be to then just provide a +1 to your skill check and possibly get an extra pull of the bag that would be in your favor. You still have a -2 or two in the bag that are now bad for you though. However, you do keep the negative effect of the symbol from affecting you at that point that the -2 didn't. By putting yourself at a +1 with the ritual candle you fail on -2 pull but might pass on a "-1 if you fail, drop a clue at your location" which is a better situation to be in.
If you have no hand-slots in use as is on some characters, the ritual candles can provide some improvements, but on the most part, I am somewhat down on it unless I am playing on harder difficulty levels and then at that point I find it quite beneficial.
I generally find the Ritual Candles to be an (cheap and less effective) equivalent of Dark Horse. Let me explain. The Ritual Candles gets you +1 on roughly a fifth to a third of the Chaos Bag, so at best, it's equivalent to +0.2 to +0.33 static boost to all your stats, for 1 resource, which is not bad. For example, it's 25% of the Core Set's normal difficulty chaos bag.
I tend to find better than any other class just because they are the only class capable of using so easily all their slots (hands, arcane, body, accessory, ally), they have a level-0 to enough cards of each slot-filling type.
As of today (end of Carcosa), I don't think there's much level-0 cards to fill in your hand slots to begin with. investigators can actually use the Flashlight and the Knife but most of them do not need more combat (Agnes) or clue-gathering (Marie) abilities. So If you're looking to optimize slot-filling your investigator, you should definitely consider the Ritual Candles, at first.
However, though I think it's an underrated card, it certainly isn't top-tier, that's why I recommend swapping them as soon as possible with the Spirit Athame, since you're usually performing Spell tests anyway.
What about two of these, two Protective Incantations, and 2 Recall the Futures? That covers a LOT of ground. It seems to me that a setup like that could be very viable for Sefina, who can rely on Rogue for pretty much everything else, including funding the Incantations. It's also extremely cheap -- even in the xp needed to purchase -- and Sefina can get to them pretty quickly. I'm a big fan of Suggestion + Pickpocketing 2, and it ruins that, but with such incredible odds of succeeding at any test in general, and with Sefina at a natural 4 in Agility, it seems to me like the trade off could be very worth it. Heck, I might even still run Pickpocketing 2.