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Chthonian Stars Core Setting $15.00
Publisher: WildFire
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/30/2011 12:48:25

Let me start with saying that I am a lover of nearly all things Cthulhu but that I have never played Traveller (in any of its incarnations). All the same I was very excited to see this release and hoped that I could use the material in a space themed CoC game. I have read a couple of the Miskatonic University imprints and liked those but found them lacking for building a campaign. After having read Chthonian Stars I find my review barely creeping into four stars (to my surprise as much as any one's). Let me clarify and say that the writing is great, the art very well done, the layout professional and easy to use. Yet...what I feel I got was a Traveller book with a little Mythos dashed in. Not the other way around. It is never fair to compare one game to another but in this case I think it is appropriate. Cthulhutech (while dismissed by some) is a science fiction setting infused with the mythos. Chthonian Stars seems to have it tacked on. Short of the fiction the Mythos doesn't even appear until nearly the end of the book. The "section" on magic is basically "make up some rules on magic that fit your game. Player characters shouldn't use magic." The horror check system seems very thin. Where in games that are horror themed (particularly Mythos games) sanity loss is an integral part. Most of the fiction from Mythos stories illustrates the erosion of the protagonist's mind. The creatures were ok but brief. A mere single page write up. For a core book that may assume you have never played a Mythos game before there seems to be many creatures missing, perfect for extraterrestrial games (Moon Beasts, Byakhee, Chthonians, Dimensional Shambler, Formless Spawn oh I could just go on and on). At the same time the inclusion of some creatures that have no fictional origin (Seethari, Terofex, Nyphelous???) and seem more like typical sci-fi baddies. Planets and moons get a scant two page write up with mostly hints of "dark goings on". In conclusion I would definitely say there is stuff I will use. It seems this idea could very cool with more development. The upcoming release of The Void may rememdy all this and thus you may want to wait for that release. If you wanted a different take on a Traveller game still confined to the Sol solar system this would probably be a direct hit. On sale the price makes this pretty good to mine for ideas, even for just a basic hard sci-fi game. For hard core Cthulhu nuts wanting a alternative to Cthulhutech wait for The Void.

[4 of 5 Stars!]