Per Ardua is a basic modern investigative horror adventure written for Call of Cthulhu using the 2nd Edition mechanics. It is usable within the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. The investigation takes place in and around the village of Manderton in Britain.
Per Ardua is a very straight-forward, linear adventure for Call of Cthulhu. At times, it’s a little too linear and lacks much of the flexibility that should be given to players. They layout is overly simple and some of the writing is clunky. It could benefit from a lot of editing and a much cleaner layout and presentation.
Publication Quality: 6 out of 10
Per Ardua’s layout and presentation are very simple but mostly effective. However, there is no table of contents or page numbers and an excessive amount of white space. There are a few illustrations that I find interesting, but are generally too small to be truly effective. There are a set of text boxes in the back supposedly designed as entries in various printed material, but lack any type of design to look like anything other than text boxes. The one thing that truly stands out in Per Ardua are the maps. They are not flashy, but they are effective and well thought-out.
Storyline: 5 out of 10
The storyline is a little bland, lacking much character and setting depth. It develops throughout the adventure, although it feels a little rushed. There is a complete lack of background concerning the storyline and most of the adventure takes place outside of it. It wouldn’t take much work to further flesh out the storyline and give it some flavor, but that means more work for the Keeper.
Desire to Play: 6 out of 10
The adventure is not a bad one. In fact, if you are running a game with new players, it’s simplicity is ideal. Advanced players would probably rifle through it fairly quickly. The biggest problem I have is that during the final scenes, the players could feel very railroaded with the lack of available options. The way the adventure is written makes too many assumptions about game-play and general outcome.
Overall: 6 out of 10
Per Ardua is a decent Call of Cthulhu adventure. It has many of the basic aspects of a Cthulhu adventure, although without much detail. It may actually work better as source material for other adventures given the amount of seemingly accurate or at least plausible content. It could work well to introduce players to Call of Cthulhu, but I wouldn’t recommend it for more seasoned players.
[3 of 5 Stars!]