DriveThruRPG.com
Find Category
 Publisher Info











Back
Other comments left by this customer:
Trail of Cthulhu: Out of Space
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/14/2017 13:08:23

The introduction - Behind the Pallid Meme - to the first adventure by Robin D. Laws gives a quite disturbing glimpse into the author's imagination (and a shameless plug for some of his short stories that I think I'm going to have to track down...), flaoting some interesting ideas for a really warped campaign which alas isn't the one herein, although this first scenario, The Repairer of Reputations, is strange enough to fit right in.

Then on to The Repairer of Reputations itself. This adventure has an intriguing basis: it takes a piece of speculative fiction written in 1895 but set in 1920 and dumps the characters straight into the middle of its plot in a fine alternate history. The story is called The Repairer of Reputations by Robert W. Chambers, inventor of The King in Yellow stories about a play so warped it drove all who read or see it insane, which was adopted by Lovecraft and his followers and woven into Mythos lore.

Chambers' story itself is reproduced here, well worth a read if you have not encountered it before and, of course, pretty-well essential if you are going to run an adventure based upon it! It tells the tale of a hideous conspiracy, one which is stopped (barely) in the story but in the adventure things are changed around a bit and it is the Investigators (naturally) that stand between a mostly-peaceful, idyllic even, alternate America and the machinations of Things That Should Not Be, a plot that would place a minion of Hastur on a newly-created imperial throne.

Next we read of the alternate history, giving America a surface tranquility but at a cost our modern minds would view as being far too high to bear. A truncated character generation system is presented to provide semi-pregenerated but personalised characters for your players who will fit in to the alternate America as it is their home. They are further developed during play, giving an almost story game air in places as once the Investigators have had a chance to introduce themselves, one is selected by the Keeper to begin the scenario and he then has to call on others as their particular talents are needed, with scope to define that Investigator's persona as they are introduced into the action.

As the adventure begins, all this is laid out clearly for the Keeper, but you will have to ensure that your players know what is expected of them. It is very much an adventure of interaction and investigation, the plot unfolding before their eyes... but violence lurks closely underneath the urbane surface, and there is ample opportunty for a brawl as the adventure reaches a climax. Various conclusions are provided, from which you can choose the most appropriate outcome based on character actions.

This is an intriguing and well-presented adventure, by its very nature a one-off, with a subtle nightmarish air to it. Pick your players carefully, with the right people it will prove a memorable game indeed. Or perhaps you'll take the ideas Laws was kicking around, and turn it into a complete campaign...

Next up is Flying Coffins, here introduced by an essay The Jolly Old RFC in which author Adam Gauntlett with a historical tale about how a bright red HP Sauce delivery van, pressed into service as an ammunition transport, led several of their aircraft to safety in filthy weather under German pursuit. It goes on to discuss the nature of the early RFC and the air war, themes to bring into your game as appropriate.

The background material explains which Mythos creature is to blame - they're to be found in the atmosphere around 20,000 and resent these pesky impertenent humans in the flying machines intruding into 'their' airspace. At least they don't care if the intruders are British or German, they are annoyed by all of them! Or at least, not until one of the Germans paints a 'good luck' sign on his aircraft - unfortunately one suggested by a sorceror relative who showed him how to draw a Yellow Sign. The spine of the adventure is laid out, and with the help of no less a worthy as Arthur Conan-Doyle (currently working as a war correspondent) and the urging of Military Intelligence, the Investigators find themselves engaged in aerial duels with a leading German ace...

There is a section on aerial combat, both game mechanics and an idea of tactics, with quite an elegant system to handle an aerial dogfight between two aircraft. There's an example to demonstrate the system in action, and details of the aircraft used by both sides in the conflict. Anti-aircraft fire, attacking ground targets and other aspects of earlu aviation warfare are also covered. There is plenty here to empower some exciting combat in the air during your game.

It all begins with a sortie to destroy a German observation balloon somewhere over the Western Front. During the ensuing dogfight, the Investigators notice a flying creature hauling a pilot bodily out of his aircraft and flying upwards with him, casually tearing his head off as it leaves! From then on the adventure intensifies as the Investigators try to find out what is going on and then after several aerial encounters comes the climax of the adventure, with Allied forces making a big push on the ground with aircraft of all nationalities swarming overhead.

Six pre-generated characters are provided, and there are some good photographs of appropriate aircraft. If for whatever reason you don't want to play members of the Royal Flying Corps a few changes to names and backgrounds - and to the aircraft they fly, of course - will enable you to play American, French or even German aviators instead. This adventure provides an interesting glimpse into how the Mythos can disrupt conventional warfare (even if it's almost by accident), a neat bit of alternate history that provides for an exciting scenario. The rules for aerial combat work quite well, even if you don't want to add the Mythos into the mix and prefer a 'straight' WW1 aviation game or campaign.

Next, Jason Morningstar introduces his Many Fires adventure with a Commentary in which he explains that the scenario was spawned by a chance remark in a biography of General Pershing (who features in the adventure) that led him to a tragedy in which his wife and all but one of his children died in a house fire. It's an interesting look at how an adventure comes to be written, how the ideas develop mixing fact and imagination until the whole is ready to be presented - which it then is. It's an unabashed Pulp-style adventure set in northern Mexico, with plenty of adventure and action, evil cults and wielders of magic to keep everyone on their toes. Basically, the Investigators are asked to accompany an ageing General Pershing to Mexico to finish what the Mexico Punative Expedition of 1916 began, dealing with rebels... but of course there's a bit more to it than that.

Pre-generated characters, with backstories that weave them into the plot, are provided and their use is recommended unless you want to run this as part of a larger campaign with existing Investigators. If you are doing that, some hooks to help you get them involved with the trip are provided. There's plenty of background on Mexico and the people involved available for Investigators to discover through the usual channels before they go - and a big section of Secret Background for the Keeper's eyes only: the lowdown on what is really going on... and what Pershing is really up to.

The adventure itself starts with the party leaving Cuidad Chihuahua for the Valle de Bustillos where all the action takes place. Plenty of material is provided about places to visit and people to interact with, this should help bring the adventure to life and fuel the action. There's all sorts of folk here from natives and even a bunch of Mennonites to rebels and members of a fire-worshipping cult. Following the clues should eventually lead the party to witness the climax of the adventure: a scene straight out of Indiana Jones with cultists enacting a ritual to summon their deity... will they manage to stop them?

Following this is a magnificent array of resources and information for the Keeper, with plenty more NPCs, weird drugs to sample and more. Finally, there are character sheets for the pre-generated Investigators. Each has their own background showing their involvement not just with the adventure at hand, not even just with Pershing, but with each other as well. This needs to be handled carefully as it has the potential to set them against one another - not all groups of players like that, but you know your players better than the authors! Amend as necessary. There are also some beautiful handouts (even if the list thereof refers to 'Page XX' several times - look it's about the only proofing error here apart from confusion between 'discrete' and 'discreet' in one of the character sheets!): maps, documents, newspaper clippings and the like. It's a well-presented alternate history adventure with plenty of pulp action, neatly weaving Mythos fiction through known historical fact to provide something that proves extremely entertaining to run.

The next adventure is Hell Fire by Adam Gauntlett, who has provided an essay on London in the Time of King George to introduce it. He paints a picture which lives up to his claim that it's a setting that seems designed for a perfect horror game, and reading what he has to say spawns ideas for adventure aplenty! And that's before he suggests a few plot ideas of his own that interested Keepers may wish to develop. The adventure itself set in the 1760s mostly in England with a side trip to the Colonies. It revolves around preserving the reputation of the Hell Fire Club, an organisation dedicated to rational philosophy (God does not exist... in a day and age when everyone believed or at least gave lip-service to religion) and fine literature (as in, pornography) - not perhaps the most respectable body, yet many otherwise upstanding members of society belong to it.

There is plenty of background for the Keeper including what is actually going on and the REAL threat to their comfortable Club life, notes on the times and relevant rules changes: some alterations to skills and rules for adjudicating a duel. These are normally conducted with a sword, and all gentlemen should know at least the basics of wielding one. Fortunately pre-generated characters are provided, and it's probably best to use them. Unless you are really into this period of history, it will probably be a one-off adventure.

The adventure begins when the Investigators meet in a coffee house (consider the origins of Lloyd's of London, it's either that or a similar establishment) with a fellow Club-member who wants help. A lady is trying to force him into marriage, most unsuitable - I mean, she's the sort of person who's been posing as a life model - but has some letters of his she is threatening to use to take him to court in a Breach of Promise case if he won't. He's arranged for her to visit tonight and wants the party to go and purloin the letters whilst she is out at his place. Needless to say, it's not the letters they find when they go round... and what are those American fellows doing?

Events develop thick and fast, with an emergency meeting of the Hell Fire Club, various events on the streets of London and assorted avenues of enquiry to follow up all amply provided for... and there is an inquisitive journalist poking around, and some ladies of negotiable affection to deal with as well. There probably will not be too much combat (unless the party fights a lot of duels) but there is plenty of interaction, and to put matters properly to rest will involve a trip to Bermuda to deal with those Colonials! A suitably dramatic climax provides an opportunity to save the day, indeed the entire New World. This is an interesting adventure that - like all good alternative history - blends historical fact with plausible plotlines, weaving the whole into something that might have been... it makes for a cracking adventure with plenty going on!

The final adventure is The Millionaires Special set on R.M.S. Titanic, complete with iceberg. No essay this time, but the adventure itself is jam-packed with interesting background material. In this adventure, the Investigators - all travelling aboard and in First Class, no less - meet a gentleman who has a mummy (the Egyptian sort) that he's going to donate to an American museum but is eager to show it off to anyone who is interested. There's a legend that anyone who looks at this particular mummy's face is doomed, but that's all a silly superstition, isn't it?

The background for the Keeper explains how the being doomed stuff is not quite as silly as it sounds (with a little bit of help from the Mythos, of course) and provides a spine for the adventure. This begins with a luncheon date with the mummy's owner and ends (naturally) with a certain iceberg... There's some interesting background on the trans-Atlantic trade of the time, and a quite detailed timeline of the Titanic's voyage. Rather neatly, all the encounters and events of the adventure are included in the timeline, making it clear what is going on around the Investigators as well as whatever they are focussed on at the time. There's a goodly sprinkling of NPCs who do not have anything to do with the plot, another nice touch to remind players that the world does not revolve around their characters... subplots such as shipboard romances or gambling games are also encouraged.

There are vivid descriptions of scenes, the Titanic was noted for her luxury and there is plenty to draw upon here as you set the scene for your players. Six pre-generated characters are provided, or you can use/generate your own, but they will need a high Credit Rating to be in first class. Additional rules material is provided for everything from playing cards to surviving in icy waters. The actual sinking is handled well, and perhaps at least some of the Investigators will survive... or will something else catch up with them? There are some general notes about handling subsequent events should you have survivors on your hands.

Overall, it's a good exciting adventure which could probably be played out in a longish evening. Fact and fiction are woven together well but as always when dealing with real events, be aware of your group's needs - I have a role-player friend who lost an ancestor on the Titantic and was very upset and annoyed about the movie, I'd not invite him to play this... but for those without such a connection it makes for an excellent game and knowing what will happen adds a certain edge.

The adventures in this compilation are still stand-alone, there's not been any attempt to link them - nor do I think it would have been possible. The additional essays are interesting, probably not enough to make it worth buying if you have all the adventures already, but if you do not it's an excellent way to get your hands on a collection of memorable and fascinating scenarios that explore the possibilities of this game to the full.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Trail of Cthulhu: Out of Space
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Out of Body, Out of Mind
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/13/2017 08:24:26

Cunningly, the background information is divided into two parts - the knowledge characters would have is printed on the back of the booklet, and there's more 'DM only' information inside. Indeed it's suggested that you read the text on the back to the players before you start the game! It all concerns a now-peaceful realm with a turbulent history full of warlords and battling mages, the pacification being the work of a member of the nobility who turned on everyone else, beat them into submission then imposed peace on the land some 600 years ago. It was thought that his impressive exploits were due at least in part to his magic items, which were buried with him... only it seems that someone or something is now attempting to retrieve them, no mean feat as the tomb is placed over a lava pit! Oh, and is guarded by an order of paladins for good measure.

The DM Background explains what was really going on and the lengths the paladins have taken to secure the site. It's not quite clear who is trying to break in, though. Anyway, the party is asked by the current ruler of the realm to go investigate and deal with anyone trying to steal the items. Getting to the location is left up to you, the scenario starts with the party faced with their first task: getting in to a tomb that is suspended over a lava pit by massive chains. Unless they can fly, they'll have to climb across. From then on in, it's a prowl through an extremely well-trapped tomb with the potential of unleashing a dreadful evil upon the world... although there is a friendly ghost to help. Apart from him, everything else they encounter is only interested in combat.

There is a new magic item (quite tasty) and a new and quite nasty monster which is at the heart of the problem. The map is clear, and all the traps are explained clearly however the ways to survive or even disarm them depend mostly on die-rolling rather than figuring them out. This is an adventure you could drop into any remote part of your world that has a suitable volcano, just change any names as necessary. Some suggestions for further adventures are included, or of course it could be run as a one-off if preferred. It is quite deadly given the traps and the fact that nothing there (apart from that ghost) want to do anything other than fight. The layout is good, and the traps ingenious, however, and if the party realises what is in there and manages to prevent its release to the world there's a good feeling of satisfaction to be had. Best take your bard along, the party will want - and indeed deserve - to have their exploits sung about!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Out of Body, Out of Mind
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Jerimond's Orb
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/11/2017 07:49:09

This is a neat little scenario to drop in and use as a side adventure for a beginning party seeking to grow a reputation of being good fellows to go to when you have problems. A once-prosperous village is having difficulties, and it's up to them to find out what's amiss and sort it.

There's very little background for the DM, indeed there isn't really any for the party either - first they know about it all is getting attacked by a hitherto-unknown monster (a new one, introduced in this adventure). It apparently comes on them whilst they are camping at night, this is not clearly explained. From then on, they need to go to a nearby village where they will need to interact with the locals to find out what is going on. Apart from the initial monster attack (and a potentially-puzzling aftermath), the first part of the adventure is pure role-play although there are plenty of opportunities for combat later on... even if all with the same monster! (As in, several of them appearing rather than just one specimen.)

The village is well-described and set up in such a way that it's easy both to locate it wherever you want in your campaign world and expand and reuse it later on. There are various locations to visit and it is clearly laid out which clues to the mystery can be found where. There's also a nearby tower, which used to belong to one Jerimond, a mage who befriended the village during his later years before he died, which they can visit. There are no plans for either village or tower, however, and you will likely feel the need to sketch something out. As well as a new monster, the pivotal magic item (Jerimond's orb, of course) is described at the end.

With a nice balance of investigation and combat this should provide an enjoyable evening's play, although this is not quite a pick-up-and-run scenario: you will find that studying who knows/thinks/is doing what will repay the effort and as mentioned above you may wish to draw or find suitable plans for the village and tower. The scope for making it fit into both your world and your ongoing campaign is excellent though. There's also potential to run it as a quite scary adventure with unknown monsters plauging terrified villagers...



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Jerimond's Orb
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Against the Barrow King
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/10/2017 07:14:05

This neat adventure is just the sort of thing for a party of low-level adventurers to enjoy as they build their reputations as people to turn to in times of trouble. The people of a remote settlement called Glenn Hollow fear they have upset the 'Barrow King', a supernatural being they believe lives in ancient burial mounds not too far from the settlement - and they hail a bunch of adventurers as a welcome source of aid.

The work opens with a DM Background which lays out what is actually going on and a brief Adventure Summary which boils down to 'Go and fix the problem'. Notes for finding a suitable location for Glenn Hollow in your own campaign world are provided, and then it's on with the adventure itself.

It's assumed that the party is on the road one autumnal evening when they arrive at Glenn Hollow. Just why they are in that area is left to you to determine. The village elder lays out the problem and asks for help, and it's off to find the burial mounds next morning. There's very little description of Glenn Hollow, so if the party wants to hang around and talk to folk you will need to invent something. The area of the burial mounds isn't mapped either, although there is a good map of the Barrow King's tomb and what lies beyond... the associated descriptions are clear, and brief details of the denizens and how they'll fight are provided. Everyone that the party encounters wants to fight to the death, there is no scope for any kind of interactive save a dialogue of steel and spell.

There is a new creature, a construct called a chirurgeon, and a new magic item - a greataxe called Fiend infused with chaos - introduced here, and there's a little bit of mundane treasure to be found if the party has time to go rummaging, but the real reward is the virtuous glow of having got rid of something quite evil, and of having rescued some villagers too. A few notes are provided on directions further adventures might take.

Overall this is a simple but neat 'delve' adventure which shouldn't take more than a single session, best used as a sidetrek in your campaign or a standalone adventure when the group is in the mood for some hack and slay adventuring.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Against the Barrow King
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Trail of Cthulhu: The Many Deaths of Edward Bigsby
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/08/2017 11:23:38

Remarkable, not to say peculiar goings-on in London, as the Investigators are visited by a stranger seeking their help - who dies before he can explain the problem. Then the police arrive, not about this body but about another one that has their address in its pocket... only it seems to be the corpse of the same person, Edward Bigsby! It only gets worse, dead Bigsbys turn up all over the place!

Introductory material lay out what is going on, which Mythos being is involved - the Investigators may even encounter him if they make too much of a mess of things! - and a strange mechanism that is causing the duplications to occur. It also presents the Spine of the adventure, and then we're off...

Much of the action is set in Soho, a part of London that was very Bohemian in the 1930s (and still is, for that matter). There's a fair bit of background to help you bring it to life for your group. It's a bustling place with a varied population, with artists and poets rubbing shoulders with drug dealers and card sharps. People from all over the world are found here: Irish, Australians and Chinese to name but a few. There are gangs and criminals and ladies of negotiable affection... plenty going on even before the adventure starts.

As for the action, there's a cult to investigate, a Chinese restaurant crawling with triads to visit as well as a museum ... and of course most Investigators will want to find the man who sent Bigsby to them in the first place. Plenty of action and interaction to be had in what is a fun and busy scenario. And just when the Investigators think they are done... the police turn up again.

It's an inventive and neat adventure with a lot going on, yet well-constructed. It would probably make quite a good film. Notes at the end suggest ways of linking it in to a Bookhounds of London campaign if you are running one, but it works just as well if the Investigators - or at least one of them - are based in London for any other reason. Just watch out for green doors!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Trail of Cthulhu: The Many Deaths of Edward Bigsby
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Trail of Cthulhu: Eternal Lies
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/07/2017 08:14:10

The Introduction attempts to lay out the epic scope of what is being attempted here (a four-page table of contents is a giveaway as to its size...), with a tale running from the past into the future involving two generations of Investigators... yet it is designed to be customised or adapted to suit each group's needs, modular enough that bits can be taken out for those for which this is too much, or added to if you want to incorporate it into an existing campaign or have other ideas that might fit in. Or both. These opening notes are a bit strange, though. Since when was there a role-playing campaign in which what happens is NOT influenced by the choices made by the characters? Rightly denounced as railroading, there's little point in role-playing if your character's actions have no effect on the alternate reality in which you are playing.

This slightly odd Introduction out of the way, we come to a section Players' Background and Investigators. This is written as if it was to be available to the players - yet as just about all of this 300-odd page book is for the Keeper's eyes only, not many players are going to be buying a copy! Here it goes on a bit more about the pivotal role of the characters, the Investigators and presents three options: use existing Trail of Cthulhu characters, create new ones specifically for this campaign or select from the ten pre-generated characters provided. It goes on to discuss how to create characters that are suited to the campaign, ones who are likely to respond positively to the opening 'hook' of the wealthy daughter of an occultist being willing to provide money and other resources to those willing to investigate a family mystery. There are very player-directed thoughts about playing existing characters (mostly how to role-play them to good effect in this campaign if they've been around the Mythos block before) and on creating original characters which will fit in from the start. Creative use of Drives and Sources of Stability (recommended for this campaign) are also discussed.

We then move on to the Keeper Introduction. Here we are back to the concept that this campaign is different from most, in that this book contains a collection of clues, scenes, characters, motives, secrets, and ideas that, taken together, form the shape of a story which you and the Investigators will tell together. It's a tale that covers over a decade and spans the world (and perhaps beyond) filled with vaunting ambition and petty desires, with the chance to save the world or lose your own soul (or both). What's here is an outline, a framework, a collection of ideas, and Keepers are encouraged to mix it up as they like and be responsive to whatever the player-characters get up to - however much it drags you away from the campaign outline. That's how I run my games anyway, but it is refreshing to have this laid out so clearly in a way which will support - rather than frighten - people who have been more inclined to stick to the script until now. If you fancy developing and improving your game mastering skills, particularly in being more freefrom and flexible, it's almost worth getting this book for that alone (and even if you don't normally play Trail of Cthulhu.

Next the campaign structure - three acts, beginning, middle and end - and summary of what might happen are discussed. If you have this in mind, you can then mess with it as becomes appropriate. Starting with the hook of a daughter curious about the secret her occultist father took to his grave, there are a myriad of locales to visit - across America and around the world - as the Investigators follow up clues beginning with the book the daughter gives them, and find themselves hunting down cultists and even avatars of a dread godling. The climax of all this, in a very suitable location which I'm not going to mention (some pesky player might be reading this review!), turns out not to be the end at all, and there's more to be done before the unwitting world is saved. At least for now. It all begins in an insane asylum, and may end up there too...

The resources provided are magnificent, loads of detail that you can make use of as you make each location and event come to life for your group. It's all fairly modular, and much can be taken in whatever order suits the party. They'll wind up in the same place in the end. There are notes to help you deal with a campaign slanted towards the Pulp mode, with details of a 'hybrid mode' that introduces more Purist elements for those groups who prefer that style.

If you enjoy epic world-spanning adventures, the chance to save the world or die trying, with opportunities to display courage or cowardice, unleash violence or cower in the corner, interact and brawl... then this is the campaign for you. It's a masterpiece of the combination of a taut storyline with great freedom for the party in how they go about dealing with it - many campaigns and games promise such, but here it is laid out clearly and well supported throughout. And that's before you get to the handouts!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Trail of Cthulhu: Eternal Lies
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Trail of Cthulhu: Dulce et Decorum Est
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/04/2017 07:39:28

This is a collection of resources for those who'd like to run Trail of Cthulhu adventures set during the Great War, including two completely new scenarios as well as Sisters of Sorrow, the already-published one involving sailors in a German U-Boat who fall foul of Deep Ones. The introduction talks about many aspects of running a Great War-themed game, perhaps summed up in the title. 'Dulce et Decorum Est' is part of a Latin quote from the poet Horace, 'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori' or 'It is sweet and honourable to die for your country'. That's the spirit with which many went to war...

... but of course, they didn't expect to encounter the Mythos! So, is it Pulp or Purist? Purist aims for a philosophical horror, while Pulp strives for action - so you might be forgiven for thinking that as it's a war setting, action is paramount and this will be a Pulp campaign. Yet even amidst the action, reflection and introspection on the sheer horror of war - remember they described World War 1 as a 'war to end all wars' - may give scope for some Purist elements to sidle in, especially if the stories you want to tell are not in the thick of military action.

Whilst this is by no means a historical treatise, when dealing with real history (even if you're going to twist it out of all recognition) it's worth getting the basics straight. So there is a good detailed timeline starting with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo that sparked things off and covering all parts of the world and the oceans right through to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in July 1919. Next comes some rules stuff, with new and amended skills and abilities of a military nature, the rules for a gas attack... and even how to deal with Investigators who survive the war and continue adventuring. Many people playing games set in the 1920s and 1930s will have had characters with a military background... here's a change to gain a vivid and personal one!

This is followed by notes on the war in the air, with WW1 being the first in which there was any significant use of aircraft. The detail here will enable you to run dog-fights in the skies and provides a hanger-full of different aircraft and their characteristics to ensure all combatants have the appropriate ones. Next comes a look at the war in the trenches, with copious detail on the hardships and hazards on this fairly distinctive (and unpleasant) way of waging war. There's also that new-fangled invention the tank to contend with. War at sea is also covered - including the true tale of a 'Ghost U-Boat' that might be repurposed for game needs.

The solid factual material is followed by some Mythos notes. Warfare always delight the likes of Mordiggian, the Charnel God, so there's an extensive introduction showing how he can fit in. Basically, he's in his element! With little concern for actually interacting with anyone (or even accepting worship), he just wants everyone dead. So perhaps he'll be trying to instigate even greater bloodshed. He may cause strange apparitions, and there may be those who try to call upon him to aid their cause, their side, by offering to rain death and destruction upon their opponents and thus feed his appetite for death. Various Mythos tomes are touched upon, as well as the effects - particularly on people's Stability - of Mordiggian taking a personal interest on the battlefield. Should anyone be unwise enough to try it, there's also a ritual to summon him... unlike many rituals, this one can be cast during combat (in fact, Mordiggian quite likes that!). There's an example cult, woven beautifully out of the real-world habit of handing out white feathers to men who did not appear to be 'doing their bit' and other people influnced by Mordiggian for you to use in your plots, too.

Next comes a discussion of settings for your campaign. There's a lot of scope once you have decided on a Great War game, and this discussion is designed to assist you in making the necessary choices. There are more options that throwing your Investigators into a battle, perhaps they are active on the home front, supporting the war effort. Or perhaps they are in Paris, a city in a strange frenetic state, starving, freezing yet exciting to behold. And of course, there is the battlefront: the trenches spread across France, or maybe somewhere like Palestine and the Middle East.

Then come the actual scenarios, beginning with Vaterland. This is set in 1914 New York (with America, of course, still neutral - they didn't enter the war until 1917 unless, of course, your game changes the course of history!) aboard the premier German vessel of the Hamburg-American Line. This vessel, the Vaterland, is currently stranded in New York harbour, as although they are officially neutral the Americans don't intend to let Germany have her back any time soon. The Investigators take the role of journalists investigating what is going on aboard... the least of which appears to be a death cult operating somewhere below decks. This was a real ship, and there's a lot of detail to help you create the right atmosphere, as well as plenty of material about those to be encountered there - some real and others fictional. Chief, perhaps, of the real people is William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper mogul. And of course Treasury Agents. Lots of them, all convinced that the crew of the Vaterland are up to no good. In that they are probably right, although they were thinking about spies and saboteurs... It all begins with a gala party, then things (as they do) take a turn for the worse, with a cult ritual and dimension warps that take people to some quite unexpected places. With a good mix of intrigue, interaction and out-and-out terror and plenty of opportunity for combat, this works on several levels depending how your group likes to play. Six pre-generated characters are provided, but it will work fine with appropriate ones of your own.

Next, Dead Horse Corner is set in the trenches of the Western Front, with the Investigators tasked to find out why a trench has been abandoned without trace by the people supposed to be there. It's written from an Allied point of view, but change a few names and it will work as well from the German side. There's a lot of sloshing through muddy trenches and foes (both Mythos and mundane) to fight. Again, pre-generated characters are provided, all members of the British Army of various ranks. If you choose to use your own characters, they too will have to be military personnel. Nobody else is out here. There's potential here to bring home the awfulness of trench warfare, and Purists can create a bleak atmosphere of despair.

Finally, there's Sisters of Sorrow, set on a German U-Boat. This is a creepy and claustrophobic adventure in which the Investigators take on the roles of members of the submarine's crew, and pre-generated characters are provided. It's likely this will be a one-off adventure, so it is probably best to use them. There is some excellent historical background on German underwater warfare and the U-boat service to help you set the scene (this can be shared with players), and enough explaination for the Keeper as to what is actually going on. It will help if the whole group has a good feel for life on an early submarine, so be sure to discuss everyday details with them before and during play.

The actual scenes for the adventure are well-paced and designed to bring out the claustrophic nature of life aboard an early submarine. If you're looking for background, hunt down a copy of the 1981 TV series Das Boot - although that was a WW2 submarine, it has the same sort of atmosphere you are aiming at. Whilst many events are inward-looking, concentrating on what is going on aboard, there are external events including enemy ships on the surface, an abandoned sunk U-boat and strange noises from outside the hull. Even whalesong sounds spooky if you are in a submarines...

Playtest notes suggest that this adventure can very easily end in a bloodbath which nobody survives, although some smart - or lucky - groups did defeat all challenges and emerge victorious. It seems that those groups where one of the Investigators is the Kapitan of the U-boat have a greater chance of survival; you may prefer this route if you'd rather not kill any more PCs than you have to!

If you fancy taking your Mythos adventures back to the Great War, this is an excellent resource. The adventures probably work best as one-offs rather than as a linked campaign as it's quite difficult to see how the same people could be involved in such disparate adventures. Any one of them (if the characters survive) could be the beginning of (or indeed a part of) a campaign of your own devising. Well worth your attention if you have a mind for wartime adventuring.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Trail of Cthulhu: Dulce et Decorum Est
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Cthulhu Apocalypse: Slaves of the Mother
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/30/2017 14:08:30

Continuing the post-apocalyptic campaign, this work contains three linked adventures which are set three years after the end of the last part of Dead White World, in 1939. To start with, the group needs to decide what has been going on these past three years. The Investigators are assumed to have survived, unless any player wishes to start off a new character, and they need to have found some kind of refuge. This will need a supply of fresh water untainted by those white flowers and access to a food supply - canned food, probably. There may be other folks there, or the Investigators might be on their own. Alternatively, they may have been leading a nomadic life, one step ahead of whatever monsters are out there. Suggestions are made as to how various Skills might be used to help cover these missing years, and find out a bit about what is going on.

At the end of the last adventure in Dead White World the party had to make a decision. They are now living with the result: England is now either overrun with strange white flowers or crawling with Deep Ones. Throughout, notes are provided to cater with both options, with them being referred to generically as 'Creatures'. The scene is set in the Introduction with explanations of the likely state of play depending on what the party is having to contend with, this will help you set the scene as the game begins. Thereafter, when the effects are different depending on what is there, this is clearly indicated.

Then on to the first adventure, Bright Futures, which is set in Brighton on the south coast of England. For some reason, Brighton is free of the Creatures, so the Investigators seek refuge there. The question remains, why do the Creatures stay away? Discovering the answer will likely make the party want to leave, even if they are not forced out ny the gang that's controlling the town. If the party decide to put a stop to what is going on, Brighton will soon be overrun by the Creatures, but is the price of keeping them at bay too high?

The next adventure is The Nation Set Free, and concerns a military plot to develop a weapon, a bomb, that has the potential to defeat the Creatures. The price of success may, however, be too high... and everything about the research when the party travels to Cambridge is a bit odd. Rather a lot of assumptions about player-character actions are made in this adventure, but fortunately some advice is provided as to what to do if they refuse to cooperate. What with more Mythos creatures hanging around, the count-down beginning and growing indications that the bomb isn't going to do precisely what is intended lead to a rather fraught climax in which options seem few and none of them good.

The final adventure - assuming the party survives the last one - takes them to Brichester where they can uncover the horrible truth behind the entire apocalypse. Things have changed rapidly since the end of the previous adventure, nature appears to be reasserting herself with unparalleled vigour - this may also be affecting the Investigators themselves, too. Things only get stranger from then on in, with crazy librarians and even more Mythos beings swarming across the plot. Ultimately, can they find a reason to live rather than throw themselves into oblivion? Should they survive, England is lost, but there is remarkably a serviceable aircraft to take them away...

These adventures get stranger and stranger, to the point it's hard to distinguish what is normal and where madness lies. Careful preparation is needed to understand what is going on, while to keep the game on track you may need to railroad the party a bit. It is strange, disturbing... and meets the worst nightmare of what a Mythos-driven apocalypse might actually be like.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cthulhu Apocalypse: Slaves of the Mother
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Trail of Cthulhu: Sisters of Sorrow
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/29/2017 11:23:29

Dark, dank and claustrophobic adventure set on a World War 1 German U-boat with the already precarious life made even worse by Deep Ones somewhat annoyed by the turmoil underwater warfare brings - all those torpedoes and depth charges disturb them, you see. And then they find an ally aboard...

The Investigators take on the roles of members of the submarine's crew, and pre-generated characters are provided. It's likely this will be a one-off adventure, so it is probably best to use them. There is some excellent historical background on German underwater warfare and the U-boat service to help you set the scene (this can be shared with players), and enough explaination for the Keeper as to what is actually going on. It will help if the whole group has a good feel for life on an early submarine, so be sure to discuss everyday details with them before and during play.

The actual scenes for the adventure are well-paced and designed to bring out the claustrophic nature of life aboard an early submarine. If you're looking for background, hunt down a copy of the 1981 TV series Das Boot - although that was a WW2 submarine, it has the same sort of atmosphere you are aiming at. Whilst many events are inward-looking, concentrating on what is going on aboard, there are external events including enemy ships on the surface, an abandoned sunk U-boat and strange noises from outside the hull. Even whalesong sounds spooky if you are in a submarines...

Playtest notes suggest that this adventure can very easily end in a bloodbath which nobody survives, although some smart - or lucky - groups did defeat all challenges and emerge victorious. It seems that those groups where one of the Investigators is the Kapitan of the U-boat have a greater chance of survival; you may prefer this route if you'd rather not kill any more PCs than you have to!

If you want a tight, atmospheric evening where Mythos involvement blends naturally into events, look no further.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Trail of Cthulhu: Sisters of Sorrow
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

RMS Titanic: The Millionaire's Special
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2017 09:20:04

OK, we all know that the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank on her maiden voyage... but what else was going on? In this adventure, the Investigators - all travelling aboard and in First Class, no less - meet a gentleman who has a mummy (the Egyptian sort) that he's going to donate to an American museum but is eager to show it off to anyone who is interested. There's a legend that anyone who looks at this particular mummy's face is doomed, but that's all a silly superstition, isn't it?

The background for the Keeper explains how the being doomed stuff is not quite as silly as it sounds (with a little bit of help from the Mythos, of course) and provides a spine for the adventure. This begins with a luncheon date with the mummy's owner and ends (naturally) with a certain iceberg... There's some interesting background on the trans-Atlantic trade of the time, and a quite detailed timeline of the Titanic's voyage. Rather neatly, all the encounters and events of the adventure are included in the timeline, making it clear what is going on around the Investigators as well as whatever they are focussed on at the time. There's a goodly sprinkling of NPCs who do not have anything to do with the plot, another nice touch to remind players that the world does not revolve around their characters... subplots such as shipboard romances or gambling games are also encouraged.

There are vivid descriptions of scenes, the Titanic was noted for her luxury and there is plenty to draw upon here as you set the scene for your players. Six pre-generated characters are provided, or you can use/generate your own, but they will need a high Credit Rating to be in first class. Additional rules material is provided for everything from playing cards to surviving in icy waters. The actual sinking is handled well, and perhaps at least some of the Investigators will survive... or will something else catch up with them? There are some general notes about handling subsequent events should you have survivors on your hands.

Overall, it's a good exciting adventure which could probably be played out in a longish evening. Fact and fiction are woven together well but as always when dealing with real events, be aware of your group's needs - I have a role-player friend who lost an ancestor on the Titantic and was very upset and annoyed about the movie, I'd not invite him to play this... but for those without such a connection it makes for an excellent game and knowing what will happen adds a certain edge.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
RMS Titanic: The Millionaire's Special
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Trail of Cthulhu: Flying Coffins
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/22/2017 13:58:11

This adventure takes us back to the First World War, to early 1918 with the Investigators as intrepid pilots in the British Royal Flying Corps. The German pilots seem unnaturally successful... and of course, Mythos creatures are behind it all. How will our brave aviators get on?

The background material explains which Mythos creature is to blame - they're to be found in the atmosphere around 20,000 and resent these pesky impertenent humans in the flying machines intruding into 'their' airspace. At least they don't care if the intruders are British or German, they are annoyed by all of them! Or at least, not until one of the Germans paints a 'good luck' sign on his aircraft - unfortunately one suggested by a sorceror relative who showed him how to draw a Yellow Sign. The spine of the adventure is laid out, and with the help of no less a worthy as Arthur Conan-Doyle (currently working as a war correspondent) and the urging of Military Intelligence, the Investigators find themselves engaged in aerial duels with a leading German ace...

There is a section on aerial combat, both game mechanics and an idea of tactics, with quite an elegant system to handle an aerial dogfight between two aircraft. There's an example to demonstrate the system in action, and details of the aircraft used by both sides in the conflict. Anti-aircraft fire, attacking ground targets and other aspects of earlu aviation warfare are also covered. There is plenty here to empower some exciting combat in the air during your game.

It all begins with a sortie to destroy a German observation balloon somewhere over the Western Front. During the ensuing dogfight, the Investigators notice a flying creature hauling a pilot bodily out of his aircraft and flying upwards with him, casually tearing his head off as it leaves! From then on the adventure intensifies as the Investigators try to find out what is going on and then after several aerial encounters comes the climax of the adventure, with Allied forces making a big push on the ground with aircraft of all nationalities swarming overhead.

Six pre-generated characters are provided, and there are some good photographs of appropriate aircraft. If for whatever reason you don't want to play members of the Royal Flying Corps a few changes to names and backgrounds - and to the aircraft they fly, of course - will enable you to play American, French or even German aviators instead.

This adventure provides an interesting glimpse into how the Mythos can disrupt conventional warfare (even if it's almost by accident), a neat bit of alternate history that provides for an exciting scenario. The rules for aerial combat work quite well, even if you don't want to add the Mythos into the mix and prefer a 'straight' WW1 aviation game or campaign.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Trail of Cthulhu: Flying Coffins
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Trail of Cthulhu: Hell Fire
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/20/2017 08:24:00

This a historical adventure, set in the 1760s mostly in England with a side trip to the Colonies. It revolves around preserving the reputation of the Hell Fire Club, an organisation dedicated to rational philosophy (God does not exist... in a day and age when everyone believed or at least gave lip-service to religion) and fine literature (as in, pornography) - not perhaps the most respectable body, yet many otherwise upstanding members of society belong to it.

There is plenty of background for the Keeper including what is actually going on and the REAL threat to their comfortable Club life, notes on the times and relevant rules changes: some alterations to skills and rules for adjudicating a duel. These are normally conducted with a sword, and all gentlemen should know at least the basics of wielding one. Fortunately pre-generated characters are provided, and it's probably best to use them. Unless you are really into this period of history, it will probably be a one-off adventure.

The adventure begins when the Investigators meet in a coffee house (consider the origins of Lloyd's of London, it's either that or a similar establishment) with a fellow Club-member who wants help. A lady is trying to force him into marriage, most unsuitable - I mean, she's the sort of person who's been posing as a life model - but has some letters of his she is threatening to use to take him to court in a Breach of Promise case if he won't. He's arranged for her to visit tonight and wants the party to go and purloin the letters whilst she is out at his place. Needless to say, it's not the letters they find when they go round... and what are those American fellows doing?

Events develop thick and fast, with an emergency meeting of the Hell Fire Club, various events on the streets of London and assorted avenues of enquiry to follow up all amply provided for... and there is an inquisitive journalist poking around, and some ladies of negotiable affection to deal with as well. There probably will not be too much combat (unless the party fights a lot of duels) but there is plenty of interaction, and to put matters properly to rest will involve a trip to Bermuda to deal with those Colonials! A suitably dramatic climax provides an opportunity to save the day, indeed the entire New World.

This is an interesting adventure that - like all good alternative history - blends historical fact with plausible plotlines, weaving the whole into something that might have been... it makes for a cracking adventure with plenty going on!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Trail of Cthulhu: Hell Fire
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Trail of Cthulhu: Many Fires
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/17/2017 08:55:00

This is an unabashed Pulp-style adventure set in northern Mexico, with plenty of adventure and action, evil cults and wielders of magic to keep everyone on their toes. Basically, the Investigators are asked to accompany an ageing General Pershing to Mexico to finish what the Mexico Punative Expedition of 1916 began, dealing with rebels... but of course there's a bit more to it than that.

Pre-generated characters, with backstories that weave them into the plot, are provided and their use is recommended unless you want to run this as part of a larger campaign with existing Investigators. If you are doing that, some hooks to help you get them involved with the trip are provided. There's plenty of background on Mexico and the people involved available for Investigators to discover through the usual channels before they go - and a big section of Secret Background for the Keeper's eyes only: the lowdown on what is really going on... and what Pershing is really up to.

The adventure itself starts with the party leaving Cuidad Chihuahua for the Valle de Bustillos where all the action takes place. Plenty of material is provided about places to visit and people to interact with, this should help bring the adventure to life and fuel the action. There's all sorts of folk here from natives and even a bunch of Mennonites to rebels and members of a fire-worshipping cult. Following the clues should eventually lead the party to witness the climax of the adventure: a scene straight out of Indiana Jones with cultists enacting a ritual to summon their deity... will they manage to stop them?

Following this is a magnificent array of resources and information for the Keeper, with plenty more NPCs, weird drugs to sample and more. Finally, there are character sheets for the pre-generated Investigators. Each has their own background showing their involvement not just with the adventure at hand, not even just with Pershing, but with each other as well. This needs to be handled carefully as it has the potential to set them against one another - not all groups of players like that, but you know your players better than the authors! Amend as necessary. There are also some beautiful handouts (even if the list thereof refers to 'Page XX' several times - look it's about the only proofing error here apart from confusion between 'discrete' and 'discreet' in one of the character sheets!): maps, documents, newspaper clippings and the like.

It's a well-presented alternate history adventure with plenty of pulp action, neatly weaving Mythos fiction through known historical fact to provide something that proves extremely entertaining to run.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Trail of Cthulhu: Many Fires
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Cthulhu Apocalypse: The Apocalypse Machine
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/16/2017 09:18:47

This work contains advice and additional rules for running Trail of Cthulhu in a post-apocalyptic setting (as if either the Mythos or an apocalypse weren't enough to cope with on their own). This pitches the Investigators as some of the few human beings to have survived whatever disaster occurred, trying to cope with the situation... and finding that the Mythos has survived as well! Or may even have instigated the apocalypse...

Information here ranges from designing your own apocalypse to new Occupations, Skills and Drives appropriate to a post-apocalyptic world (and notes on how existing ones will work in the new setting). Apocalypse World assumes a Pulp style of play, although it may not be quite what you are used to. It also splits the setting into two periods: Aftershock, when the apocalyptic event has just happened, and Wasteland, set some time later when things have settled down a bit, or at least folk have realised that this is their new reality.

To start with, however, you will need to decide what happened to bring about the apocalypse, to destroy the world as you know it. Certain criteria are set. Humanity is well-nigh gone, some 99.99% of human beings have died in the event although the Investigators have survived (or their ancestors did if you have taken your Wasteland plot a generation or two into the future). The effects must be global, there's no scampering off to take refuge in an unaffected part of the world (well, maybe the Antarctic bases have survived...). Oh, and Mythos entities are taking the opportunity to arise, even if it wasn't them behind the apocalypse in the first place. So, the cause of the apocalypse may be human-driven, it may be the Mythos or it could be a vast natural disaster - the next dinosaur-killer asteroid, perhaps. Or a disease, or earthquakes or... get the picture? Life on earth is quite fragile when you start thinking of ways to wipe it out.

This is a thumbnail sketch, and there's even a diagram provided... but there are also whole sections on Causes, Disasters and the Casualties of the event to help you set it all up. Depending on your chosen Cause, humanity may or may not have any hope of surviving, see any prospect for a long-term future. Whatever the mechanism you decide on, the world ended on 2 November 1936 (if it was something that happened relatively slowly, like a disease spreading, it started earlier but things came to a head then). This means that if you want a nuclear holocaust, you will have to mess with history a little as research into atomic weapons did not begin until 1939. Some notes on how to go about this are provided.

Interestingly, though, you are encouraged to go beyond the suggestions, to redraw the diagram. To set the tone of your game, you are invited to visualise four dials. Their settings will influence what your game is like. The Humanity dial looks at how survivors relate to one another. Do they work together or is everyone they encounter a threat or a resource? The Time dial tells you how long ago the apocalyptic event happened. At zero, it's... happening right now and your Investigators have a grandstand view. If it's high, the Old Days are things of memory, or even forgotten. All people know is the harsh reality of now. The Weird dial is a measure of how strange things have become (apart from the collapse of civilisation itself, that is). Are there mutants or people with psychic powers wandering around? What sort of monsters are loose upon the world? The final dial is the Adrenaline dial. This measures the balance between madcap pulp-style adventures and grim struggles for survival. Will the Investigators watch the world they knew decay around them... or will their adventures give them the opportunity to do something about it? Either can work, or something inbetween, it all depends on the style of post-apocalyptic adventure you want.

Next is a survey of Occupations. Some are existing ones - what on earth is a Socialite to do now? - and others are new to the situation. All give ideas about how an Investigator with that Occupation can use his skills to best effect. Remember that it will depend on how long ago the apocalypse happened: if it's happening now Investigators can have modern Occupations that they will have to adapt to the new situation, but if it was many years ago when the Investigators were children or not born at all, they may never have had the chance to follow certain careers.

A section on Drives follows. What makes each Investigator want to actually investigate the horror around him, rather than hunkering down and concentrating on survival? Some of the regular Drives in Trail of Cthulhu won't really work at all in this setting, but others really come into their own. There are some new ones too, like Preservation of Knowledge and Witness (who wants to record what is going on, even if he isn't sure there's a posterity to record it for). Then comes a list of Investigative and General Abilities, honed to the apocalyptic setting. There's one change from the core rules: having an Ability does not mean that you automatically have access to whatever tools or equipment you need. Finding them can be part of the adventure, after all. There are examples of how to use each Ability, and suggestions for the Keeper as well.

Next comes Sanity and Stability, beginning with a look at Sources of Stability and how they work in this setting. With most human beings dead, this may mean - especially if the apocalypse has only just happened - that your Sources of Stability have died too. Perhaps it is their memory that keeps you going. Or maybe you don't know what happened to them and the search and hope is your motivation, what you cling to. Of course, this - and Pillars of Sanity - provide targets for the Keeper. There's plenty here to help you make use of them in the game. Mental illness and defence mechanisms round out this section.

The Equipment section comes next. Some things, hitherto rare, are easy to find - or to take at will (consider a jewellry shop - now you can pilfer it to your heart's content, with no store owner to complain, no police to arrest you!). Others will have to be scavenged for, you cannot go down to the shops to get them. And you might have competition for resources. There are rules for scavenging and for making equipment here, as well. Another way of getting hold of the things you need is barter. Find someone who has that thing, and bargain with him as to what he wants for it. Perhaps something else that you have (or can acquire for him), or maybe you can do him a service. A defining characteristic of the post-apocalyptic setting is that normal activities become much harder... but don't get too bogged down, unless the focus of your campaign is on actual survival.

The next section is The Afflicted. Of those who survived the apocalypse, some are... not the same any more. They may look different or have new and strange mental powers. Needless to say, 'normal' humans treat them with suspiction if not outright hostility - and many Afflicted hide their differences as a result. The cause of these changes will depend on why you had an apocalypse in the first place... and it may be that nobody knows just why (the Keeper should, but he might not be saying). Moreover, Afflictions can be acquired - and there's an interesting way to weave these into your Investigator, by giving him Affliction Points rather than Improvement Points: they are used in the same way to improve his capabilities, only now those increased capabilities have a strange origin, an unnatural expertise that cannot be explained in a normal manner. There are other weirdnesses as well, and of course all are pretty disturbing particularly when encountered for the first time. There's a discussion of psychic abilities and what can (and cannot) be done with them. For those who choose to use Affliction Points to improve Skills, there's an interesting discussion of how the way you use that Skill will change. All quite disturbing to behold, no wonder Stability checks may be called for!

This is followed by a section of Mythos Entities, remembering that with the apocalypse (whatever its original cause) they're now able to walk the face of the earth more freely than before. Here are notes on many of them, what they are after and what the might do now that they've been unloosed! Finally in the 'open to all' part of the book (although it's possible that the Keeper may restrict quite a lot to keep the underlying mechanics secret) is a very useful section of Tips for Players, which all prospective players really ought to read. Here it reminds them that each adventure has a core question, which the Keeper should lay out. Don't stop until it has been answered! There are thoughts on using Drives to best effect, investigating horror no matter what, not getting sidetracked (particularly by mundane matters like day-to-day survival... yes, it needs doing but that's not what the game is about), and building relationships. Read it and be mindful of it during play.

Moving on, Building Mysteries is designed to aid Keepers in devising and running a strong campaign in the apocalyptic setting. Starting with the basics, it walks through deriving a fundamental question for the Investigators to answer, building an adventure spine and weaving in people and events to make it all interesting. It makes for interesting and inspiring reading, and could prove useful for anyone planning post-apocalyptic adventures, even if outside of this particular game system (indeed this whole book would make good background reading!)

Finally, The Decaying Earth lays out a timescale for the collapse of civilisation as we know it. It can help you determine the state of affairs right now in your game, and provide a roadmap for what's going to happen down the line. It's unlikely that the Investigators will make much difference as nature reclaims everything. There's also a chart to help you determine how difficult it is to find things as time goes on. It may be surprising to see how hard it will be to find books... there again, they are made of paper and if you are short on fuel to stay warm or to cook, they may get repurposed.

Overall, if you want to bring the world as we know it to an end in your game, this is a very good manual. Of most use, of course, if you play Trail of Cthulhu but there are enough useful ideas and concepts that I'd recommend it whatever ruleset you run your post-apocalyptic world under. It looks at a wide range of considerations without getting bogged down in trivial detail, and makes for a thought-provoking read.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cthulhu Apocalypse: The Apocalypse Machine
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Trail of Cthulhu: The Repairer of Reputations
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/10/2017 07:39:26

This adventure has an intriguing basis: it takes a piece of speculative fiction written in 1895 but set in 1920 and dumps the characters straight into the middle of its plot in a fine alternate history. The story is called The Repairer of Reputations by Robert W. Chambers, inventor of The King in Yellow stories about a play so warped it drove all who read or see it insane, which was adopted by Lovecraft and his followers and woven into Mythos lore.

The first part of this book is Chambers' story itself, well worth a read if you have not encountered it before and, of course, pretty-well essential if you are going to run an adventure based upon it! It tells the tale of a hideous conspiracy, one which is stopped (barely) in the story but in the adventure things are changed around a bit and it is the Investigators (naturally) that stand between a mostly-peaceful, idyllic even, alternate America and the machinations of Things That Should Not Be, a plot that would place a minion of Hastur on a newly-created imperial throne.

Next we read of the alternate history, giving America a surface tranquility but at a cost our modern minds would view as being far too high to bear. A truncated character generation system is presented to provide semi-pregenerated but personalised characters for your players who will fit in to the alternate America as it is their home. They are further developed during play, giving an almost story game air in places as once the Investigators have had a chance to introduce themselves, one is selected by the Keeper to begin the scenario and he then has to call on others as their particular talents are needed, with scope to define that Investigator's persona as they are introduced into the action.

As the adventure begins, all this is laid out clearly for the Keeper, but you will have to ensure that your players know what is expected of them. It is very much an adventure of interaction and investigation, the plot unfolding before their eyes... but violence lurks closely underneath the urbane surface, and there is ample opportunty for a brawl as the adventure reaches a climax. Various conclusions are provided, from which you can choose the most appropriate outcome based on character actions.

This is an intriguing and well-presented adventure, by its very nature a one-off, with a subtle nightmarish air to it. Pick your players carefully, with the right people it will prove a memorable game indeed.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Trail of Cthulhu: The Repairer of Reputations
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Displaying 106 to 120 (of 2298 reviews) Result Pages: [<< Prev]   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
Back
You must be logged in to rate this
0 items
 Gift Certificates