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Lone Wolf Adventure Game: Heroes of Magnamund
by KENNETH T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/30/2018 14:04:28

if you have Lone Wolf Adventure Game, you will want to get this excellent expansion. Beginning with 17 pages on character creation followed by character types or Roles in chaoter 2 with a great variety of 13 new types and races in depth, to add to your Kai Warriors - from Brothers of the Crystal Star (Magic users), Dwarven Gunners, Ice Barbaians, Kloon Sages, Magicians of Dressi to Buccaneers and the fun Noodnic Scaveners...this book adds a huge amount of character variety to your Lone Wolf world and game sessions. To further personalise your characters you have chapters on Archetypes and Equipment. This expansion turns the Lone Wolf game from a fun adventure game in the Magnamund setting to a full-blown, colourful RPG with plenty of character options to make this your go-to game for the long term. Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lone Wolf Adventure Game: Heroes of Magnamund
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Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay First Edition - Shadows Over Bögenhafen The Enemy Within Part 1
by J C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/15/2018 19:48:01

The book is missing the GM map, and Players map of Bögenhafen which should be on pg 109 & 110 but theres nothing there, with out it, the game can not really be run.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay First Edition - Shadows Over Bögenhafen The Enemy Within Part 1
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Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay First Edition - Shadows Over Bögenhafen The Enemy Within Part 1
by Nick W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/09/2018 12:15:36

What a great adventure! Very dark and gritty, superb for conversion to other systems if WFRP is not your thing. Excellent background for other adventures in the Empire. Well worth it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - Ruins of the North
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/07/2018 01:04:24

Overall, this is a pretty good scenario pack-- there are a few spots within it that really bug me though, and thus I cannot give it five stars. Right off the top, there's a situation early in the first of 6 adventures (mentioned in my discussion post) that as written will completely derail the adventure and incur a truly unreasonable amount of shadow points for a "misdeed" that really isn't that much of a misdeed. There's a couple of other little spots in there that similarly provoke a "what were the writers thinking?", especially in the fifth scenario as well... if the book didn't include those problem issues and clear signs of the railroad tracks you're supposed to drive the players down, it would be a clear 5 stars.

Nice effort-- but some consistency and not overly penalizing people for deeds which are in fact, rather reasonable even for heroes to commit under the circumstances, would be nice. This is 'One Ring', not 'Call of Cthulhu'... falling to the shadow in TOR shouldn't be as inevitable as losing your SAN facing the Great Old Ones....



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - Ruins of the North
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The One Ring - The Darkening of Mirkwood
by Ryan P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/26/2018 16:15:34

The Darkening of Mirkwood sets out to complete the mandate Cubicle 7 gave itself in the original Core-rule book for The One Ring, telling the story of the Darkening of Mirkwood, the 30 year time of troubles from the expulsion of the Necromancer from Dol Goldur by the White Council to the Death of King Bard. The Darkening of Mirkwood completes the goal given in the Fellowship Phase and the end product exceeds it overall but not without some hitches.

First and foremost Cubicle 7 must be commended for their commitment to both Tolkien's world, its lore, and their attempt to make their own stories within it and facilitate the same for the rest of us. The atmospherics of the book its prose, wordsmithing and voice are phenomenal especially in the early sections beautifully titled "The Last Good Years". The authors did an excellent job of casting a pall of foreboding doom over the adventures within the text, something that you can always feel at your back, leering over you but never, ever see when you look behind. The Mirkwood campaign says right from the start your quest is doomed but the fate of your characters over this 30 year period and those of the people they love is mutable. You are given the prospect of Hope in the authentic Tolkien context, and you may yet steel or preserve a place of light in the Great Forest where the Enemy does not hold sway.

It is here that I come to the campaign book's most defining and excellent feature, the integration of player characters their personalities, backstories, and expanded selves into the campaign's events. Dozens of sidebars and parenthetical texts are devoted to giving you the option to put one of your Fellowship's characters in a prominent place in the campaign, usually for the native Woodmen culture but also for Elves and Beornings and some for the Dwarves and Men of Lake-Town, Dale and Erebor. There's no planet of the hats here either, the divisions in these cultures and realms, already present with the Enemy defeated and potentially stoked by his agents for the benefit of Evil, are expertly written into the game's narrative, allowing the opportunity for your own breaking of your fellowship as the goals of each faction change and diverge with the Darkening of Greenwood the Great. Glimpses of characters and events from Heart of the Wild and Adventures in the Wilderland also help to provide a sense of continuity, that these events do not exist in a vacuum. The actions your characters took during these adventures provide unique rewards especially for those who are looking for some version of a happy ending to this story.

Since it's a 30-year campaign, the development of relationships, specifically familial ones, is encouraged and while we all know these lands are fated to fall into Darkness, your characters do not and especially in the early years, building something new, something better now that Darkness has obstensibly retreated, seems like an excellent idea. Build a bigger settlement next to Dol Goldur, let the wayward kin of the Woodsmen join the Folk-Moot, and everyone is getting married, shacking up and getting busy, and your characters are encouraged to do the same. This adds an element of dramatic potency to this game that is explicitly outlined in the introductory pages and advocated throughout the campaign: that of passing the torch to the next generation, of reluctantly or enthusiastically letting your successors take up your burdens in the fight against evil. This concept of "Heroic Heritage" is actually even codified into a game mechanic and other opportunities to add some family history that is relevant to your quest are added as well.

You are given the broad opportunities to reshape Mirkwood and forge its destiny in the face of ther return of the Enemy, giving the Mirkwood Campaign a strategic or city/colony building element rarely seen in tabletop rpgs. You can devote resources to restoring the Dwarven Road, building those new settlements I mentioned, reclaiming various old haunts of evil and in keeping with the campaign's narrative, some of these choices become more desparate and reckless as darkness starts to close in again. While in the begining restoring that Dwarven Road seems like an easy and obvious choice with wide support from personalities and characters within the campaign setting, the decision to retake the Grey Delve, the old Dwarven holdfast in the Mountains north of Mirkwood, seems like a risky prospect at best. The leaders of the different realms are now indifferent after 20-odd years of struggle against the returned Enemy and while giving the Dwarves another mountain seems like a good idea, the Campaign makes this out to be both a monumental task given the sparse resources you yourself will have to gather and not necessarily a worthwhile one once you've got your expedition assembled.

Once again, in this way, the reputation, standing and legacy of different characters interacts heavily with the course of the Campaign and in the end it really does make it or break it. Your efforts and accomplishments really do have consequences and Cubicle 7 did not leave it in the hands and heads of the players to invent them. How expertly they did this really goes to show how much they know their customers in the Tolkien Fandom or at least the world they love, or probably both.

As you might by now understand I'm a sucker for atmospherics and the Darkening of Mirkwood delivers this in spades especially in the early chapters. In the middle though, it starts to get a little lazy and several choices or narrative paths are just hand waived away while others are given beautifully thoughtful resolutions that depend entirely on which of the many permutations of endings you've decided upon. They start skipping years, like amateur fiction writers that started out with an idea but never really carefully plotted it out and realized they might have set their goals a little too high. This is the campaign's only failing. While marketed as an "Epic 30 Year Campaign" it falls just a little short of that goal. While chock-full of moments both grand and subtle, beautiful and dark, Cubicle 7 starts to rely on the quality of their prose by the last days of the campaign rather than adding more content and the book is a bit shorter than one might imagine. Now some people might say "great! no filler!" but none of the missions contained within this book could ever be considered anything of the kind. Generic and banal are not words ascribed to the Mirkwood Campaign and is not something it aspires to even when it attempts a rare moment of levity (to their credit Cubicle 7 leaves the tone of the campaign entirely in the hands of the players) to break the weight of despair that might overcome player and character alike.

The Darkening of Mirkwood campaign is a superb addition to what is already widely considered the most faithful adaptation of Tolkien's Legendarium for tabletop roleplaying and you can tell it was written by a bunch of Tolkienites with the hearts of fangirls, the minds of scholars and deft hands of weavers who spin stories that border on literature in the quality, authenticity and atmospheric synthaesia of the final product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Darkening of Mirkwood
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Doctor Who Roleplaying Game: The Black Archive
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/09/2018 08:52:57

Have you ever wondered what happens to all that alien tech the Doctor encounters in his travels? If so, wonder no more but come round to a very secret location under the Tower of London and find out! Collected by UNIT, it is studied and tested and, where appropriate, put to use. And, of course, it can feature in your games too.

After a brief Introduction, the book dives straight in with the Advanced Operations Manual, the first of nine chapters. This is all about UNIT itself and provides everything you need to include them in your game right up to running a party of UNIT operatives. Despite being organised on military lines, they employ a lot more than soldiers: there are achivists, operatives, wheelmen, and xenobiologists (X-Docs) as well. They also apparently have an equal opportunities programme of unparalleled extent - they also hire aliens. Details for creating failed Cybermen, Fish People and Zygons are here, and it's relatively straightforward to use information on other races published elsewhere in this game line. There's also a scheme for unusual human beings who have the potential to develop psychic abilities. Plenty to have fun with. In terms of game mechanics, as well as the alien material there are many new Traits and areas of expertise that should prove helpful in building UNIT characters. Finally there are archetype UNIT staff if you need one in a hurry, and a selection of notable UNIT personnel who may turn up.

Next up, The Black Archive itself. In this chapter, we read the history of the Black Archive (or at least, as much as is known of it) as well as the security measures taken to protect it and its subsiduary locations around the world. Much of this needs to be read in conjuction with The UNIT Sourcebook - to make the most of this book, and certainly if you want to make it central to your game, I'd recommend getting hold of a copy. The discussion moves on to look at the primary roles of the Archive and its personnel: just reading through them presents ideas that could develop into adventures... then the discussion on finding buried treasure comes replete with more ideas! Next a whole bunch of adversaries and rivals - often wanting to get their hands on the same alien stuff the Archive is after - are presented.

The following chapters look more closely at specific aspects of the Archive beginning with the Athenaeum, which is the main information gathering and research area. As various facets are explained, Plot Seeds are provided from which entire adventures can be developed. Rules for developing artefacts are provided, primarily as a selection of good and bad Traits that each artefact may have. Moving on, the Armoury talks about a selection of exotic weapons, defensive systems and the like - plenty of examples complete with associated Plot Seeds; then the Motor Pool chapter delivers similar material with respect to means of transportation.

Next up, the Cabinet of Curiousities contains a wide range of artefacts deemed safe to be loaned out to UNIT agents as the need arises, some even become almost routine equipment for particular individuals. A wide range of items is presented, along with their Plot Seeds of course. There is also a comprehensive Hospital which can investigate and treat (if necessary) a wide range of lifeforms. Loads of medical devices and the tales you can tell with them are to be found here.

The final two chapters, Omega Locker and Enigma Vault, deal with those artefacts that are not understood suffiently - or are plain too dangerous - to let any agent use them. The Omega Locker is for the dangerous stuff, the Enigma Vault for the items that still baffle the best minds UNIT can bring to bear. They need to be used with caution, but could make for some very intersting adventures...

You could build an entire campaign around the Black Archive, or have items pop up in the course of other adventures. There's a lot to play with here... if UNIT will let you! If you like artefact-based adventures or even have a fondness for the strange items that turn up on the TV show this is a book worth having, likewise if you fancy running an organised group that is making good use of time/space travel to expand knowledge.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Doctor Who Roleplaying Game: The Black Archive
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Doctor Who - The Gamemaster's Companion
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/08/2018 08:38:01

Intended to help you run adventures in the very best Doctor Who style, this book comes in two parts. The first is a collection of hints and tips to empower your game, and the second is three complete adventures to get you going. Needless to say, the adventures are designed to showcase some of the ideas suggested in the first part.

Beginning at the beginning, so to speak, the first chapter is Starting Out and it talks about preparing to run a new game. Perhaps this is your first time ever on the far side of the GM screen, or you may be a veteran GM running the Doctor Who RPG for the first time, or maybe you are just starting a new campaign - you will still find something to think about here. The first suggestion is quite startling: tell your players what your core concept is and kick it around a bit, refine it collaboratively. You'll need to keep it pretty broad else all the fun of finding out what is happening in the adventure will be spoilt. However, it's worth discussing things like which Doctor you are using (or era/style at least), do the party want to be UNIT operatives or random folk picked up along the way, are you all more interested in Earth-based adventures or in bouncing around all of time and space... things like that. It may be that the group knows what sort of characters they want to play (or if they want to play ones who have appeared on TV), so you can then go off and build adventures that are suited to them.

Two major questions are whether or not the Doctor will be a player-character and how much you want to stick to 'canon' (i.e. be true to what has appeared in the show on TV). For some people canon is vitally important, others maybe don't watch the show as avidly or don't think it matters if things pan out differently in your game. But once everything is settled, it is probably worth setting up individual characters as a group exercise and then working how come they are adventuring together. (I was once asked to introduce my church Young Women's group to role-playing, so took the Doctor Who RPG along and used every single Companion I could find - we had about a dozen Young Women - and ran an adventure in which it was the Doctor's 1,000th birthday so he gathered loads of past Companions for a party!) There are plenty of ideas thrown out here, use them or come up with your own.

Next, a look at Adventures. Now we have a concept and a bunch of characters, what are they actually going to do? Adventure-writing is an art in itself, and here the model of creating an episode of the TV show is used to good effect by exploring what each of those folks whose names whiz past on the end credits actually contributes. Of course, your life is easier. You have a limitless budget for your production and you don't need to write a full script as the players will provide a lot of it once you've set the scene, indtroduced NPCs and problems and so on. We then get into good advice on putting together a plot, notes replete with ideas that, if you like them, could easily be developed into a full adventure. There's adventure structure and pacing, all kinds of useful things here - many of general application to writing compelling adventures for any game, but all of use for this one. The chapter ends with a random adventure generator that could keep you going for literally ages.

Then we turn our minds to Villains and Making Monsters. Even if we have already determined our adversaries, there's more to be done before they can face the party. The main villain benefits from having at least as much care and attention lavished on his development as any player-character. There are also many ideas to help you construct good original monsters and aliens. The next section looks at Settings, the places in which the adventures will occur. Important here is how you describe them, what you choose to describe and so on... but first you need the overarching concept for that space station, planet or wherever it is that the action is going to take place. Then you can get down to the details and decide how you are going to introduce them to the group. Even the most exotic setting has parallels with things they are familiar with - most of us haven't visited a space station but we all know what to expect in an airport, for example.

The final section in the first part of the book looks at Running Games, Campaigns and Stock Footage. This is mostly about actually running the game when all the prep work is done and the players are sitting expectantly around the table. There's plenty of good advice about pacing, keeping people engaged, providing a bit of order when things get chaotic and everybody's shouting and so on. Read it now, because you won't be able to refer to it once the game starts. On campaigns, there's a look at what makes a real campaign as opposed to a string of completely unrelated adventures. Plot arcs, quests, recurring villains... loads of ideas, and plenty of references to things that happened in the show, feel free to use them especially if your group have not been obsessive watchers of the show right back to the 1960s. You also may face issues like players wishing to change character or a character dying, there's advice for handling such events too, as well as on ending a campaign with a proper finale rather than fizzling out. And stock footage? On the TV screen, that's when something happens relatively frequently, so it gets filmed once and then replayed every time it's needed. Here, it's a collection of ready-made NPCs and settings to drop in when you are stuck, maybe the party jigged left when you expected them to go right.

Finally we get to the adventures: Death Comes to Toytown, The Grip of the Kraken and The Bellagio Imbroglio. The first one begins with a toyshop where passing drunk students claim that the toys come alive at night... then the characters wake up and find that they ARE toys, in the toyshop! In The Grip of the Kraken there's a monster dragging starships to their doom, and needless to say it grabs the ship the TARDIS happens to be on at the time. In the last adventure, The Ballagio Imbroglio, the party finds themselves in a 1778 Venice replete with intrigue and with individuals such as an aging Casanova popping up, not to mention the Inqusition... All three provide plenty of action and problem-solving to keep your group happy.

I'd rate this fairly essential for Doctor Who RPG GMs, and indeed pretty useful whatever game you want to run. Much of what's here is applicable to any game system and you'll find yourself applying its principles across the range of your GMing activities.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Doctor Who - The Gamemaster's Companion
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The One Ring™ Roleplaying Game
by Frank C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/04/2018 16:54:32

Good Game, System is very true to the Middle Earth world, System is not very hard to follow but does have some quirks that take a bit of running through. Only Con so far is there isn't a bestiary book that makes it easy to reference all the potential mobs in one location.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring™ Roleplaying Game
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Cthulhu Britannica London: The Journal of Campbell Thompson
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/31/2017 12:27:42

Whilst this makes a nice bit of atmospheric Mythos fiction, its real joy is if you are running The Curse of Nineveh campaign. Reginal Campbell Thompson is, you see, the archaeologist who dug up the artefacts that are causing trouble all over London, and you can use this as a rather magnificent player hand-out! Indeed, the opening item is a note from Theodore Rayburn-Price, the party's benefactor, suggesting that it might be of use to them...

It opens as Campbell Thompson is about to leave Marseilles to travel to Iraq, and notes several conversations with fellow-passengers on the steamer on the way to Constantinople, from where they were to travel overland to the dig site. It's a detailed account that lets you follow his route and picture the places and people that he sees - even if not for the line drawings that pepper the text. It all sounds remarkably ordinary - not that such a trip is ever ordinary - to begin with, but once excavations have begun things begin to go astray, beginning with a weird Arab berating them and threatening all manner of curses and evils should they continue the dig. They continued work of course, and then begin to describe what they found... and what then occured. You do not, in the regular course of things, expect long-dead mummies to arise, however much racket you make to disturb them.

The excavation continued, and an impressive list of artefacts catalogued, along with illustrations. The unfortunate events also continue, with one of the party being murdered, a vertiable plague of nightmares, and more violence much of it from this strange band of Arabs. Indeed most of what happens admits of a logical explanation and yet...

A note at the end gives suggestions as to how you might use this journal in your game. The obvious one is to use it as intended, as a massive player handout during The Curse of Nineveh campaign - best given to the party near the end of a session so that they can read it without being distracted during play. Alternatively, you might choose to run the excavation itself as an adventure, allowing the party to have all the dreadful experiences that, in the text, befall Reginald Campbell Thompson and his team. Either could prove interesting...



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cthulhu Britannica London: The Journal of Campbell Thompson
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Cthulhu Britannica London: The Journal of Neve Selcibuc
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/30/2017 10:19:45

Presented as the journal of one Neve Selcibuc, a young journalist, this serves double purpose as a piece of Mythos fiction and - more excitingly - a mammoth in-character resource that Keepers running The Curse of Nineveh campaign can had to the players as background and indeed clues.

The tale Neve has to tell is quite dramatic beginning with someone leaping off a passenger ship to their (presumed) death leaving a small but ancient artefact, and various alarms and excursions that follow as she visits an English country house then spends time in London, with deaths and a kidnapping or two and some unexplained fires. There's even a gunfight! Stirring stuff, as the Mythos disturbs 1920s Britain. It all ties in well with the content of The Curse of Nineveh, and opportunity is provided in that work's text for this volume to appear should you have it to hand, as Neve Selcibuc features as an NPC.

It's nicely-presented, and the writing has a certain gentle charm, highlighted by line drawings that complement the text. As an in-game resource, it enhances the information available in the campaign but may prove rather too much for players to want to deal with during actual play - it may be preferable for you lend it to them to read between sessions. To help you use it to best effect, there are some notes at the back with suggestions as to the role it can play in your game. The particularly interesting thing is that only the last few pages tie in to the actual plot of The Curse of Nineveh, yet there's a whole raft of other peculiar events which could be used to develop a plot of your own, to run in parallel with the main campaign or at another time as you prefer.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cthulhu Britannica London: The Journal of Neve Selcibuc
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The Ballad of Bass Rock - Call of Cthulhu
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/29/2017 06:20:24

This is a short adventure designed to be run in a single session. Set in Scotland, it tells the tale of a pleasure cruise that goes horribly wrong... It will work well with a new party, perhaps even with people who have never played Call of Cthulhu before.

The Keeper's Information explains the background: what exactly is on the island of Bass Rock and what it is doing. It then explains how to get the investigators involved. They don't even need to know each other, they just have to have decided to go on a boat trip, a day trip to Bass Rock just off the coast of Scotland near Berwick (off the east coast to the south of Edinburgh). It's a real place, by the way, so you can supplement the map in the book with real ones if you wish.

The trip is intended to last about four hours, and everything starts off well. Then the weather turns nasty. Sensibly, the boat's captain chooses to cut the trip short, lowering the sail and starting the motor to return to port. Fate - or at least the plot - has other ideas...

The adventure is well-resourced, with an excellent description of the shipwreck combined with clear notes on what the investigators must do to reach the shore. Once ashore on Bass Rock, they will have to survive the night. The resources continue with good details of what is to be found on Bass Rock, player handouts and a useful 'plot map' to ensure nothing is missed.

Although simple in form, the adventure is well-planned and well-paced, with plenty of advice in ramping up the tension and horror as the night progresses. Game mechanical information is provided as needed, e.g. a description of an unstable gantry is accompanied by the DEX rolls required to keep your footing on it, which makes it very straightforward to run. It certainly would make an excellent introduction to Call of Cthulhu, or a neat interlude within a campaign.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Ballad of Bass Rock - Call of Cthulhu
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Cthulhu Britannica London: The Curse of Nineveh
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/28/2017 09:37:44

This mammoth work comprises a campaign set in London during 1925-1926. Intended to be used in conjunction with the Cthulhu Britannica London box set, it is made up of seven parts based around artefacts brought back from an archaelogical expedition to Nineveh. The Introduction explains all this in detail along with background material about what was going on in Nineveh in ancient times and the history of the excavations themselves. This includes references to The Journal of Reginald Campbell Thompson which is available separately as both a novel and something that makes an epic in-character handout to give to your players - Campbell Thompson was the expedition leader. A timeline for the whole campaign and key players are also presented here. Notes on each are extensive, including what they are after and what they are prepared to do to attain their objectives. This enables you to plot their actions throughout the campaign, rather than having them only reacting to the party's actions.

Next comes information on how to set up the campaign. It's assumed players will create characters specifically for it, and to facilitate party formation an organisation called the Wentworth Club is provided: they'll all be members. This is a typical London club, although it has recently decided to accept ladies as well as gentlemen into membership. The club is based on a shared interest in folklore, mythology, history and the occult. Full floorplans and details of some leading members and club staff are provided. Furthermore, there are notes on creating suitable characters for the campaign, likely middle or upper class fellows with appropriate interests for Wentworth Club membership. These interests may be professional or they may be hobbies. There are also options for those who don't want to be club members and a note about integrating replacement characters. Of course, if you are running other London-based adventures (or decide the party is based there) the Wentworth Club makes a good focal point before or after you run this campaign, if you do so at all.

The rest of the book contains the seven adventures. Six relate to separate artefacts from the Nineveh excavation, the final one reveals the underlying plot and brings matters to a head. Interestingly, depending on party actions, events in later chapters may be set in motion even before they have finished the investigation at hand, so it's worth being familiar with the entire campaign before you start (although things are quite well sign-posted as you go through the text). This gives an excellent feel of the world carrying on regardless, making events feel more real to the party.

The first chapter begins at the Wentworth Club at a memorial banquet for a deceased member. Here the party meet one Theodore Rayburn-Price, who is to become a benefactor and mentor of sorts. At the time, though, he is concerned about a young lady journalist who is investigating the rumour of a curse attached to an artefact... which of course soon ends up in the party's hands. (If you have it, so does the young lady's journal - The Journal of Neve Selcibuc, published separately - which she is happy to hand over. From then on - and indeed throughout the campaign - there is a wealth of clues to follow up, people to meet and incidents to investigate.

This campaign is classic Call of Cthulhu at its best, and any Keeper ready to tackle an epic campaign that will take months if not a year or two to complete could do a lot worse than consider this one. Resources in this book alone are excellent, and the companion Cthulhu Britannica: London box set and the two journals mentioned above serve only to enhance it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cthulhu Britannica London: The Curse of Nineveh
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Cthulhu Britannica London Boxed Set
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/27/2017 10:49:55

This is a massive and invaluable resource for anyone contemplating running Call of Cthulhu adventures set in 1920s London. It is formed of three parts: An Investigator's Guide to London, A Keeper's Guide to London, and Adventures in Mythos London. There's also ancillary material - posters, maps, and handouts.

Beginning with An Investigator's Guide to London, this is intended as a comprehensive reference for players and as such doesn't talk about the Mythos. After a timeline of 1920s London, it quite sensibly begins with ways of getting to the city from both North America and Europe, as well as from the rest of the UK; and then touches on that most British of preoccupations, the weather. Once there, it's a big place so there's a section on how to get around. It is already a cosmopolitan city, and the people who live there are the next facet to be explored. This includes the 'class system' - a concept beloved of sociologists, but with a real and biting reality in the 1920s where it really did matter - the role of ethnic minorities, of which there were plenty. and some new/modified occupations and skills should you be contemplating a Londoner as a character.

The next few sections cover London life: shopping, how news is distributed, entertainment, and law and order, before moving on to a very detailed survey of the city itself in 'The London Guide' which begins with Central London and spreads outwards, reaching the commuter belt. Then follow specific places such as Royal Palaces, military facilities, hospitals, London University, graveyards and the River Thames... places which the party might have reason to visit in their explorations. It's illustrated by plenty of maps, although these are a bit small and cramped and you have to peer to see much detail: they are, however, contemporary to the 1920s and give a wonderful period feel. There's lots of indidental information and illustrations as well, and overall presents a delightful and pretty accurate of London in the 1920s. This can be safely handed to players as reference material, if their characters are familiar with London or have access to a good guidebook.

The Keeper's Guide to London, unlike the preceeding book, is jam-packed with Mythos material and references. It begins with a discussion about bringing the Mythos to life, covering dreaming, hiding, creeping and screaming... a fascinating discussion about how what has gone before influences the present, and how so much lies beneath the surface just waiting to be discovered (or to erupt!); then there is the Keeper's History of London, a far darker thing than the historial information in the preceeding book, the sweep of power and counter-bid that has made it the place it is today. There is a collection of unusual locations, all with connections to weird events or people and notes on how to use them in your game, and then a cavalcade of people: occult organisations and their members, potential allies and information sources, and a couple of clubs - investigators of suitable social standing might be invited to join. Then we turn to a series of Mythos Threats, and finally a collection of Mythos and related tomes. There are enough libraries in London to poke through, after all!

The third book, Adventures in Mythos London provides three full adventures. The first, Terror on the Thames, is a short linear adventure suitable for novice players and any group where the investigators have not yet met one another, as it makes for natural and unforced untroductions, with some useful suggestions as to how you can get all your investigators aboard whatever their background. It all begins with an innocent party aboard a river boat... but ends in tears.

This is followed by Those Poor Souls who Dwell in Light, which concerns the antics of a rogue vicar who ought to have known that the correct way to heaven is not through magic and crystals of power. The final scenario is The Non-Euclidian Gate, which drags the investigators into the often cut-throat world of antiqurian rare book dealers, and the scarcly less tame one of a girls' school. All three adventures have plenty going on and numerous clues to discover to lead the party to the threat, if not to a means to deal with it.

Overall, if you want to run a London-based game of Call of Cthulhu - or anything set in the 1920s (you can always leave the Mythos bits out if necessary) - this is an excellent resource to have to hand.



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Cthulhu Britannica London Boxed Set
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Cthulhu Britannica: Shadows over Scotland
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/26/2017 12:55:12

This work provides an introduction to Scotland as a setting for adventure, and presents no less than six full adventures ready to be played. The Introduction begins with essential background to 1920s Scotland for the Keeper, including a map with major rail routes and a sweeping overview of Scotland - a rich and varied landscapes with mountains, bogs, woodland and more. It's mysterious, beautiful and wild; people have fought over it for centuries, and in the darkness the Mythos stirs. Notes on Scottish life in the 1920s point out that it matters what your social standing is, and that few families remain untouched by the Great War. Standards of living are lower than in the rest of the UK, and social unrest is not far behind. The arts are flourishing, however, with painters, architects and the stage popular and innovative.

Some Scottish dialect and a good summary history of Scotland follows, taking us from the Stone Age through Romans, the nation that flourished between 1000 and 1500, up to the Industrial revolution of the 1750s and to the present day (or at least the 1920s). Scattered comments inject Mythos elements to what otherwise is a competent summary of Scottish history; and there is a timeline of Mythos activity. The chapter rounds off with notable figures of 1920s Scotland, the party may not meet them but they will have heard of them and might read of them in the papers.

We then embark on a more detailed exploration of Scotland in three chapters which cover the Lowlands, the Highlands and the Islands. Each contains a wealth of material starting with the geography then moving on to culture and people, flora and fauna, the climate and - of course - the Mythos in that region. Much of this last is presented in a way that makes it easy to develop each topic touched on into an adventure for your party. Each 'Mythos Threat' is introduced, then there are sections on investigation and possible encounters as well as all the game mechanics and NPCs you might need to run them.

The Lowlands chapter also contains details of Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews with maps and notes on famous locales. Edinburgh University apparently boasts a professor who studies the Mythos (oddly, he wasn't there twenty years later when my mother studied there!). The Highlands section naturally has space devoted to Loch Ness and possible monstrous inhabitants even though Nessie really only caught the public imagination in the 1930s, as well as notes on Aberdeen, Fort William and Inverness. In the Islands chapter, Kirkwall on Orkney, Portree on Skye and Stornoway on Lewis are detailed, and there are notes on the steamers the party will need to travel around the isles.

Armed with this alone, you'd have plenty to run games in Scotland even without the six adventures which follow. The first is Death and Horror Incorporated, set in the underbelly of Glasgow where the party stumbles upon a dark nexus of evil that spreads around the gaol, the cathedral and Glasgow Royal Infirmary. This is a nicely free-form investigation where the party can wander at will gathering clues, but probably would work best with experienced players. It begins with an appeal from the Lord Provost (city mayor) for aid in dealing with a spate of murders... and ends in a desperate battle in the bowels of the earth.

Next, The Hand of Abyzou takes place in Edinburgh and begins when the party learns that an old acquaintance has been committed to the Royal Edinburgh Asylum for the Insane... apparently he'd been babbling about a cult of sorcerers and unearthly terrors in the vaults below the city. This is followed by Uisge Beatha (the Gaelic for Waters of Life, generally used to describe whisky). In rural Aberdeenshire, the heir to some lands arrives from America and visits a distillery that is part of his property for the first time and found rather more than he'd bargained for. Deciding that the locals were probably involved in what appears to be pagan activities (and him a staunch Baptist), he instructs his lawyers to find suitable investigators... and there is plenty for them to find!

The fourth adventure is Heed the Kraken's Call, which takes the party to Loch Ness. A famous naval explorer who announced his intention to survey the loch and plumb its depths has been murdered and his ship set alight. The police are baffled by certain aspects of the crime, and need specialist help. Again, this is a freeform investigation with plenty for the party to discover before they find out what's really going on and try to deal with it. Ample notes are provided to accommodate the party's investigations wherever they choose to go and whoever they speak with. Will they find Nessie?

Then comes The Forbidden Isle which takes the party to the Isle of Rum, where some fellow called Sir George Bullough plans to turn the island into a luxurious playground for Britain's rich and famous... but faces stiff Mythos opposition. Can the party help? Finally, Star Seed leads farther north, to Orkney where a strange artefact has been unearthed by an archaeologist. This adventure is aimed at novice investigators, but has enough meat to keep more experienced ones entertained.

All these adventures are well-resourced with background material, excellently-detailed NPCs to interact with, many intriguing encounters and plot twists and a useful 'Plot Map' that helps you ensure that all critical points are covered. They all have wonderful flavour that help them come alive as you read, never mind around your table-top. With the additional material covering Scotland as well, this is a magnificent addition to your collection as a resource as well as for the adventures.



Rating:
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Cthulhu Britannica: Shadows over Scotland
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Cthulhu Britannica: Avalon - The County of Somerset
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/25/2017 07:51:51

Somerset, found in the south west of England, has always been a little strange and in this book its potential as a setting for Call of Cthulhu adventures is explored - very successfully! Complete with details of geography and local legends, a collection of NPCs, three complete scenarios and several more adventure seeds, there's all you need to make it happen.

The Introduction sets all in context, explaining the pleasant nature of the area and the underlying stories. Innocuous legends about dragons and witches, giants and fairies, have - the author claims - a deeper and darker origin in the Mythos. Seeing as that's where he grew up, he ought to know! Finally it introduces the (sadly fictitious) scholar Noah Ainley-Chant, a 19th century antiquarian and occultist, whose comments surface throughout the book.

Scene set, we next turn to the History of the region, which goes right back to prehistory. First, though, is a note on the Somerset dialect - Keepers being encouraged to develop some facility in it to render their NPCs more distinctive (but preferably not sounding like pirates, a common misconception!). It seems that the area was inhabited by humans, or their precursors, since the dawn of time even if they have left little more than the odd bone or shard of flint behind them. Erudite comments from Noah Ainley-Chant pepper the pages adding an air of verisimultude to what is a fairly accurate summary anyway. Adventure hooks are added where appropriate, just in case the text itself doesn't spark any ideas. History sweeps on, through Roman times and the Dark Ages (when the name King Arthur arises), Saxons, Middle Ages, and - via the Monmouth Rebellion - right up to the present day.

Next up, Geography. Physical features - rolling hills and lots of rivers - rub shoulders with numerous archaeological sites, before moving on to Locales, which provides details of areas of interest that may be sites for adventure or merely places that attract the investigators' attention for some reason or another. Many are linked into local legends, of which more anon. Many more plot ideas are scattered about here, as well. There's a more extensive section on the city of Bath, which covers its history as well as what it is like in the present day (or at least, in the 1920s). Hospitals, hotels, public buildings and other places to visit are listed here. A map is given but you may prefer to source a better one from an historical map site, and there's a chart of prices for 'taking the waters' for both 1890s and 1920s. Note that the waters are rather sulphurous and unpleasant (something not mentioned here) even if they are supposed to be good for you.

Then comes an extensive section of Legends and Customs. Many are location-based, linking back to the previous section, and there are many observations from Noah Ainley-Chant and plot ideas mixed in to the entries. However fanciful a legend may be, somewhere once there was some element of fact, a real event, item or person that triggered it. Dig deep, you never know what you might find. Here, of course, the root of each legend is given a Mythos twist. They make fascinating reading: standing stones, wassailing, witchcraft, and more.

The three full scenarios follow. Blood and Water mixes Grail legends with the Mythos, an unholy and sanity-wrenching mix that involves the Monarchy. Set in 1923, it begins with the death of Princess Helena Augusta Victoria, one of Queen Victoria's children, and some shady antics attributed to her husband a few years earlier... but it all begins when the party witnesses someone being thrown into a river! The plot thickens, cultists emerge, and the prize of immortality is dangled...

Next is Strange Little Girl. Madness and revenge power this tale, a creepy tale that begins with a strange letter received by one party member, who soon realises that it's intended for someone else of the same name and involves a strange girl and an occult investigator who seeks to banish her to the darkness from which she came.

The final full adventure is St.Swithun's Hole. It's a horror story involving vast underground caverns and begins, as many adventures do, in an inn to which the party has been invited by an antiquarian friend who has a tale to tell and a spot of caving to suggest. There's plenty to find down there for the brave and stout of heart (although not stout of figure, like many caves there are narrow bits you have to wriggle through).

As if these were not enough, there's an array of six adventure seeds you can develop into full adventures, as well as appendices covering cider, magic and local NPCs. Overall, a magnificent introduction to a fine area of Britain, ripe for investigation and well-suited to the Mythos, which has been masterfully entwined with real-world information about Somerset.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cthulhu Britannica: Avalon - The County of Somerset
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