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Magic World
by Richard T. H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/04/2015 07:59:11
Magic world is a simple D100 fantasy RPG. It uses Chaosium’s BRP system and is quite similar to the call of Cuthulhu game. I’ve found combat relatively quick in comparison to other RPGs. Instead of grinding away a few hit points per strike, combat feels fast and fluid. The character’s attributes effect their skill chances of success and the skill list is comprehensive. Magic is plentiful and powerful and the bestiary extensive.

All of this sounds good but we can say this about most games. What I like about MW is the way you can keep most of the rules in your head. There isn’t the need to spend hours looking up some obscure rule. Now this isn’t because Magic World is overly rules light. It’s because the rule system is homogenous. Once you grasp one concept most of the others just fall into place. Secondly there aren’t endless lists of feats, cults and combat styles to learn. Tell the referee what your dong and they’ll calculate in a few seconds the modification and or Effects.

Yes this is a fantasy game but we do want so cohesiveness within the frame work and it’s a relief for me that there aren’t any 98HP fighters going around or abstract game mechanics that have to be computed before the fun begins. This is because although MW is new, it’s actually old. It has grown out of other Chaosuim games from Elric to historical RQ and has been refined and play tested through decades of RPG evolution via these other systems.

It’s the game I play the most. It’s the one I introduce other new gamers to RPG with. It’s my go to fantasy RPG. The system is smooth and works really well and it's never let me down. I think it’s probably the best Fantasy RPG system in the market today.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Magic World
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Dead Light
by Eric S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/04/2015 03:28:16
Played beautifully. This is what Cthulthu *should* be. The antagonist creature very easy to play for the Keeper without pushing human motives--very much a 1950s kind of relentless evil, a la The Blob or Stephen King's The Mist. Meanwhile there's no railroading; the PCs were smothered by their own choices in every direction. The most beautiful moment for me as Keeper was when the PCs realized they would endanger themselves no matter what they did and decided they would just be as courageous as they could be. Ending a bit anticlimactic (due to player choice) but it worked out for a very fun evening.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dead Light
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Christmas in Kingsport
by Shannon M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/21/2015 00:36:32
There are some really good ones and some mediocre ones. That said, I think "Silent Night" by Bob Brinkman is a great one-shot in modern day Arkham and perfect for running during Xmas (which I have done for the last two years). For a dreamier scenario Oscar Rios' "Xmas in Kingsport" revisits the characters playing children (his first being from Halloween Horror 2005). I'd give an honorable mention to "Gaudy" as well.

OVERALL GRADE: B to B plus.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Christmas in Kingsport
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Last Rites
by Ed S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/06/2015 12:53:10
My one star is based on the pdf scan. The pdf resolution is slightly blurry. It is insulting because I spent money on this to support the publisher when I could have just as easily downloaded a 'free' version that is bright, crisp and clear.

Seriously, this pdf looks like Chaosium chose to use some 3rd rate torrent or scribd version as their own.

Disappointing to say the least.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Last Rites
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The Green
by Andrew M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/01/2015 08:30:58
Typically solid work from Chaosium that takes a well-worn fantasy trope -- living in the trees -- and says "lets break that down and see what it would actually take to have a society there; why would people live in such a challenging way?" I mean there's a reason we don't live in the trees now. It's impossible. The Green shows us how it could work, given of course the existence of magic and goblins and ape dudes.

The presentation is very good. The photoshopped photographs are a bit funny looking, but the style is unified throughout so it suits itself just fine. The writing is clean and intelligent. All in all, a very good overlooked product for people who want a challenging, internally realistic take on this idea. Fully statted for BRP in the typical clear style of Chaosium.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Green
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Horror on the Orient Express
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/17/2015 09:56:39
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/10/02/tabletop-review-horror--
on-the-orient-express-digital-edition-call-of-cthulhu/

After more than TWO YEARS since being funded, a final version of the Horror on the Orient Express remake has been sent to the 1,374 Kickstarter backers that made it happen. Sure it was originally scheduled to come out in August of 2013, but it’s very rare that tabletop games make their estimated release date. It’s part of the industry. What matters is that it is here now – at least for Kickstarter backers who pledged at least $20 to the project. For everyone else, you can get this massive PDF collection for a “mere” $499.95. Now don’t worry – this price will drop after the official release of the physical product in a few weeks. This hefty price tag is to make sure that the Kickstarter backers (or those who have Sanity Points in the single digits) have a few weeks to themselves with this. Considering the physical product can be preordered for about $120, it’s safe to say the PDF collection itself will be under $100.

Now if you joined me back in January of 2014, you already know that I’ve extensively looked at the first four books in this collection (Chaosium sent me the proofs – that’s why I could cover it nearly a year before the actual release) and did a photo collection of some of the many ancillary items that can be obtained with (or separately from) the physical edition of the game. I won’t be rehashing those. Instead I’ll be covering everything but those parts of the collection in this review. For those interested in reading very long and detailed coverage of the first four books and some physical swag, here are the links:

Add-on & Ancillary Items (http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/01/10/tabletop-preview-a-loo-
k-at-horror-on-the-orient-express-ancillary-and-add-on-items-
-call-of-cthulhu/)
Book I: Campaign Book (http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/01/03/tabletop-preview-horro-
r-on-the-orient-express-book-i-campaign-book-call-of-cthulhu-
/)
Book II: Through the Alps (http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/01/10/tabletop-preview-horro-
r-on-the-orient-express-book-ii-through-the-alps-call-of-cth-
ulhu/)
Book III: Italy and Beyond (http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/01/17/tabletop-preview-horro-
r-on-the-orient-express-book-iii-italy-and-beyond-call-of-ct-
hulhu/)
Book IV: Constantinople and Consequences (http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/01/24/tabletop-preview-horro-
r-on-the-orient-express-book-iv-constantinople-and-consequen-
ces-call-of-cthulhu/)

I should also mention that I will also do a review of the physical product when that is finally release, although that will be more a pictorial of all the bells and whistles. I will review the story collection Madness on the Orient Express that was a stretch goal funded by the Horror on the Orient Express Kickstarter as well. Man, you are probably getting sick of all the Horror on the Orient Express coverage I’ve done this year but honestly, I’ve been waiting for a new version to go with my Fifth Edition version since I was in high school, so I’m even more excited for this than the Seventh Edition books coming my way. Now, let’s look at what else is in Horror on the Orient Express besides those core four books we looked at in January and February.

Book V: Strangers On the Train. This is the final core campaign book for Horror on the Orient Express. I didn’t cover it in my original preview pieces, mainly because Chaosium had not sent it to me. Now I have a copy and can delve into some detail about what you’ll find in this ninety-four page booklet. As this is the biggest piece I haven’t covered, expect this to be the largest section of the review.

Strangers On the Train starts off with a look at famous people who could be found riding the Orient Express. This two page brief is broken into three sections: 1890-1900, Around 1900 and After 1920. From there, the book goes into a list of non-essential NPCs to populate the train with. This list of over forty characters (more if you count the “entourage” each NPC has with them) includes both passengers and staff and also can make for potential PCs once one of the original characters dies in the campaign. You’ll have to flesh the stats out a bit in this case, but if there’s a particular NPC a player gravitates toward, this might be a fine option for you. The “List of Passengers” is quite long and it’s arranged not by page order but by alphabetical order. Of course alphabetical order is by first name or beginning of a title, so take a good long look at the list or you’ll get confused thinking the actual layout of this section is in alphabetical order as well. Much of “List of Passengers” is a direct reprint from the original campaign, although the list was in a small loose leaf (Unstapled) pamphlet. There is new art in this re-release of the campaign though.

Book V then concludes with “Investigators.” There are twelve premade characters here for your use. The first six come from the Bradford Players recording of Horror On the Orient Express, which can be found over at Yog-Sothoth.com and the other six were created by Kickstarter backers. All characters are given Seventh Edition stats, so you’ll have to do a bit of converting if you want to use with an earlier edition.

Book VI: Handouts for the Investigators. This is a 196 page book and a new addition to the campaign from previous printings. Previously the campaign was only numbered up to Book IV and the handouts pamphlet was about sixteen pages in length. This is a greatly expanded booklet with a page count worthy of being considered a full campaign book in its own right. The production values are also greatly increased. It is all stuff you have seen before though. It’s just a collection of all the handouts and maps in the first four books, collected for easy use and printing. After all, you don’t want to show the players one of the handouts in a campaign book and let them see snippets of content they aren’t meant to view! I really like this addition, especially the PDF version, because I don’t cut up my books and I hate folding/creasing them on a Xerox machine or scanner to make actual handouts for players. This is a great move by Chaosium.

Le Guide du Voyageur: The Traveller’s Companion. This is another new piece for the updated and expanded 7th Edition Call of Cthulhu version of Horror on the Orient Express. This fifty-two page supplement is meant to really enhance the look and feel of the campaign for those that want a more immersive experience. The piece is written completely in-game and it acts as a little booklet from the Orient Express and its concierge to its travelers. You get travel advice, menus, information about the routes, sites to see and so much more. This is perhaps my favorite aspect of the Horror on the Orient Express remake as it’s so well done. Sure some gamers won’t appreciate or even make use of this, but this little travelogue is pretty fantastic and it’s something I’ll give to each player who takes part in this campaign the next time I run it to really help them get a feel for what the level of class and care the Orient Express was known for in its heyday.

Air Routes of Europe in 1923. This is a one page PDF and it’s exactly what the same suggests. It is a map of Europe complete with air routes that were used back then. This should help players who are trying to circumnavigate the region or who might have missed the Orient Express and are trying to catch up quickly. It’s worth noting that Italy, Portugal and Ireland lacked air routes at this time – at least according to the map.

Routes of the Orient Express. Another self-explanatory one page PDF. This is a full colour piece showing the routes of the five different Orient Express routes throughout Europe, along with a sixth “lesser services” route. Each route is assigned a different, distinct color so you should be able to follow the map quite easily. Unless you are colorblind or only can see in black and white. Then you’re screwed. The map also a nice little legend details major cities, capitals, and locations important to the Horror on the Orient Express campaign. There are also close-ups of three regions to let you and your gaming troupe better see these areas which will come into play as you go through the campaign.

Orient Express Bumper Sticker. Exactly what you think it is.

Sedefkar Simulacrum. A print and play version of the McGuffin that the campaign revolves around. A VERY different version from the one in my old 5e set. I like the new design.

Train Car Plans. Five pages of diagrams showcasing the layout of the Orient Express cars. You have a dining car, a sleeping car, a cathedral car and more. Everything you need to give a visual representation of the train is right here.

Scroll of the Head. This is a one page PDF describing what the Scroll of the Head is and how to use it in the campaign. It also gives some neat ideas on how to make the scroll look aged and weathered. It also references a “How to Use Supplemental Items” sheet that should be in the boxed set, but unfortunately, it’s not in my PDF collection. Boo-Urns.

Overall, the updated and expanded version of Horror on the Orient Express is truly fantastic. If you missed out on the original back in the day for whatever reason (Age, lack of funds, didn’t play the game), you really need to pick this up to see just what an incredible job Chaosium has done on this boxed set. Sure the original version was terrific in its own right, but this new expanded version really makes the overall experience that much more immersive and entertaining. Unless you are dead set against Seventh Edition for whatever reason. Even then, it’s worth picking up Horror on the Orient Express because it contains a conversion guide. It’s also cheaper than trying to buy an unused version of the original edition on the second hand market. Of course, you’ll want to wait for a price drop on the digital because five hundred dollars is insane, even for a terrific job like this, but once the Kickstarter backers have everything in their hands, expect the price to drop to something far more reasonable. Of course, you can still pre-order the physical version if you missed out on the original Kickstarter campaign. You won’t get as many bells and whistles, but it’s still a fantastic deal for anyone even remotely interested in Call of Cthulhu. I can safely say that Horror on the Orient Express has been worth the wait.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Horror on the Orient Express
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Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Quick-Start Rules
by Chris B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/12/2015 10:54:12
Call of Cthulhu is a great setting, and this is a simple yet solid rules system.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Quick-Start Rules
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The Strange Cases of Rudolph Pearson
by spiros s. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/03/2015 13:53:07
This was surprisingly well written. I enjoyed it tremendously. Just the right blend of Cthulhu mythos and mystery, with some very decent character development.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Strange Cases of Rudolph Pearson
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Machine Tractor Station Kharkov-37
by eric t. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/09/2015 23:20:11
This scenario reduces the colour out of space to something more to akin to a DnD monster. The inevitability and incomprehensible motives/nature of the colour, what makes it interesting, is ignored in favour of a series of repetitive encounters. Running the scenario my players very quickly picked up on what to look for and it became a game of avoidance.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Machine Tractor Station Kharkov-37
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The Xothic Legend Cycle
by Rodrigo C G R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/27/2015 14:34:26
It's really comforting to know that Chaosium fiction is now in electronic format. The Xothic Legende Cycle it's a good starting collection for the neophyte, and a fundamental reading for anyone exploring the Mythos.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Xothic Legend Cycle
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Halloween Horror
by Shannon M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/08/2015 23:16:35
Get this for the Oscar Rios scenario

One of the scenarios is more of an outline than a complete scenario and the other is a pretty standard investigation for experienced CoC gamers.

But the Oscar Rios scenario is the best hitting much of the New England folklore and allowing the players to play children on the eve of Halloween who must save their extended families. That scenario in itself is worth the price of admission. I've run it four times now and plan to keep running it as long as victims, errrr players, are interested.

OVERALL GRADE: B to B plus.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Halloween Horror
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Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Quick-Start Rules
by Michael D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2015 07:01:41
Did you like Call of Cthulhu, Editions 1 thru 6? Did you buy the modules, and other products? Own Cthulhu Invictus, Achtung Cthulhu, World War Cthulhu, Atomic Age Cthulhu? Do you own Chaosium's Basic Role Playing Game? Did you like them all? Did you find that with a little tweaking here and there, you could run 1st Edition modules with 6th edition? Did you enjoy a system so universal that you could, quite literally, use Cthulhian horrors to "enhance" your Stormbringer, Hawkmoon, or any other Chaosium setting? Did you like having a system so incredibly universal, that it all fit, nearly seemlessly to other systems/worlds?

Well.... Get ready to THROW THEM ALL AWAY!!! It's a BRAND NEW SYSTEM!!! And it is NOT COMPATIBLE with the old stuff. So... you've got a library full of great products... now useless with the new system.

Along with the website changes (Like those?), looks like Chaosium is changing their system. This is NOT an improvement.

Hopefully, they will publish some form of FREE conversion guide.

But if you are a Call of Cthulhu veteran, who truly loved the product, system and world... give the new edition a miss.

This quick start guide is worth the money spent... Nothing.

7th Edition appears to be nothing more than a fleecing of fans of Call of Cthulhu.

In the immortal words of every Call of Cthulhu player.... RUN!!!!

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Quick-Start Rules
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Beyond the Mountains of Madness
by Brett D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/13/2015 14:34:01
This is a massive and complex adventure for Call of Cthulhu. Looks good, but Keepers will ened to do their homework to run it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beyond the Mountains of Madness
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Dead Light
by Dan C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/23/2014 20:37:03
I found that this scenario served as a great introduction to the new edition of the COC rules. I ran it with the free quickstart rules for five friends who had never played an RPG.

The scenario provides numerous opportunities for roleplaying and allows the keeper to present the mechanics at whatever pace best suits his players; this was very helpful in my case as a steep learning curve might have turned off my players.

My players liked the plot, but I believe it was the atmosphere that really hooked them.

I was surprised by the quality of the writing and the editing. I have read perhaps a dozen or so collections published by Chaosium--and many more third-party products--which I'd describe as "easy reads". Here is an excerpt from "Dead Light":

"Looking out into the storm between the flashes of lightning, a farmer’s truck has just swerved to avoid hitting the gas pumps. The farmer babbling incoherently about a 'Dead Light' he saw on the road and who is now passed out at one of the tables, sweating feverishly with Sam, the station’s owner, and Walter the pump jockey fussing helplessly over him."

This is not an easy read. And a staggering amount of the text in "Dead Light" uses this sort of sentence structure. I found it very distracting. It made referring back to the text difficult during prep and gameplay.

If you can get past the writing style then the scenario itself serves as a nice, quick introduction to the new edition of COC or to horror roleplaying in general. My group loved it. If you simply enjoy reading RPG material and doubt you'll actually have the chance to run it, I would not recommend this product.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dead Light
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Ripples From Carcosa
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/09/2014 06:20:36
Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/07/23/tabletop-review-ripples-
-from-carcosa-call-of-cthulhu/

Ripples From Carcosa originally started life as a Monograph, which is a Call of Cthulhu piece usually done by a single person. The art is minimal, the editing and layout are done by the author and they are generally barebones pieces that cost a lot less compared to full-fledged releases, but quality on these things varies. Something about Ripples From Carcosa convinced Chaosium to re-release it with new art, edited and added content and a snazzy new full color cover. Now this isn’t the first time a monograph has been given an upgrade so to speak. Cthulhu Invictus, for example, started off as a simple Monograph and now it is a full-fledged setting! I actually own the original Ripples From Carcosa monograph and while I enjoyed it for what it was, I wasn’t really sure what they were going to do to it. Well, the fact the new version has twenty pages more content, new art, some editing and retolling, in addition to the new PDF being HALF the cost of the original Monograph – well, why wouldn’t I throw money at this thing???

Well actually, before we get to the positive side of the review (which admittedly sounds like a commercial for this piece), there are three minor reasons why you might not want to pick this up. Let’s get those out of the way in case they are dealbreakers for you. The first is that this new version of Ripples From Carcosa is done with Seventh Edition rules and Mechanics. Now, 7e isn’t out yet, which may make you want to wait to purchase this as. As well 7e has some very mixed reactions from the CoC fanbase, which happens with any game whenever a new edition comes out. So if you are interested in Ripples From Carcosa but don’t want to put the time into using the conversion guide in the back of this release, or you have no interest in moving on to Seventh Edition, considering getting the Monograph version. The second reason is that Ripples From Carcosa takes in three different settings: Cthulhu Invictus, Cthulhu Dark Ages and End Time. Because of these three different setting, you might feel like you need to buy all three books to play Ripples From Carcosa. You don’t, but as some publishers do like to do that passive aggressive hard sell of their other products in that fashion (Paizo, I’m looking at you), you might read this as a hard sell of these other books, which drives up the cost of Ripples From Carcosa a LOT. Thankfully, the book tries to alleviate this feeling by giving advice, tips and setting information about all three time periods. This helps, but not as much as if you were say, a Keeper that owned the three books Ripples From Carcosa references and are experienced with all three. You can still run Ripples From Carcosa just fine and you don’t need the three other sourcebooks to make it work, but I can’t deny you will get more out of the adventure with a keeper who has done his or her homework and is somewhat familiar with both Invictus and Dark Ages to make the imagery of the pieces come more alive.

Finally, anal retentive Mythos pursists might have a problem with the way Hastur and the King in Yellow are portrayed in this collection. Here you’ll find the Great Old One as extremely malevolent, cruel and downright evil. We’re talking supervillain or tying a damsel to a railroad track evil. Obviously this is quite different from how the original authors Ambrose Bierce and Robert Chambers presented these characters. It’s even very different from Lovecraft’s take on Hastur, which was different from the original authors of these characters, which is my point. This is one author’s interpretation of the characters and while it is very different from the creators, that doesn’t make it inherently bad. The adventures are still extremely fun and well designed. I mean, I’m a pretty diehard Chambers fan and I have enjoyed both versions of Ripples From Carcosa in spite of this interpretation of these characters because it’s a GAME. It’s not as if this version will somehow erase the original (correct) versions of these characters from the collective unconsciousness. Sure, this version of Hastur is similar to what Derleth did with the character but in the exact opposite direction (Derleth made Hastur kind of the “Good” Great Old One), but you know what, as diehard a Hastur/KiY fan as I am, I enjoyed Derleth’s very different interpretation of the GOO and I enjoyed Ripples From Carcosa even if the Hastur here is as far from the more benign god both Bierce and Derleth saw him as. If the thought of Hastur as sort of a mustache twirling Nyah-ha-ha’ing “I can’t pay the Rent/You must pay the rent!” evil-doer makes you angry enough to want to go to some message board and start venting with copious amounts of profanity, then man, just don’t buy this. Also, learn to take games less seriously.

So let’s talk Ripples From Carcosa. This collection features three adventures, each from a very different time period, roughly 1,100 years apart each time. The collection is designed to be a short campaign, although there is no real reason why you can’t play these adventures as stand alones if only one or two calls out to you. Each stage of Ripples From Carcosa features pre-generated characters. You don’t have to use them, but segments of each adventure were written with these characters in mind, so if you run different characters than the ones included, the Keeper has a bit of work to do to ensure things run smoothly. As well, all three adventures are interconnected with each time period using reincarnations of the previous characters. At certain points in the adventure, the characters can receive Cthulhu Mythos and Hastur Lore points earned from their previous incarnations. This is really neat and helps to make the campaign stand out as something really unique. Each adventure is very different from the last, so it’s not like you’ll be replaying the same thing three different times with only the backdrop changing. The end result is a very memorable campaign where even if your characters die horribly or go totally insane in one adventure, you’ll get another shot at stopping Hastur’s machinations down the road. Unlike a normal campaign where you are probably pulped by tentacles, locked away in an asylum or take your own life.

The first adventure, “Adventis Regis” takes us to the time of the Roman Empire. The Investigators are having a lovely time at a resort town, where they and their families are relaxing, playing and seeing the sites. One of the highlights of the trip will be a performance of a new play by Livius Carbo, who has been a bit of an eccentric shut-in as of late. If you’re a fan of Call of Cthulhu at all, you can probably connect the dots here. Anyway, as the date of the play’s first public performance draws closer, things start to get a bit creepy and people seem to be a bit out of sorts. No matter, you’re on vacation, right? Well, when the PCs get back from a scenic cruise, everything has gone to hell. An entire town has gone insane. Whoops. Can the Investigators survive long enough to discover what has happened and if there is a way to stem the tide of madness?

This is a really fun adventure that in some ways reminds me of a survival horror video game. It’s less terror oriented and more action-packed that most CoC pieces, and players will really have to be on their toes here. Stealth skills are VERY helpful here, but only one or two of the pregens has it at a decent enough level. Oddly enough the slave character has a higher Stealth than the professional Thief. Anyway, “Adventis Regis” isn’t necessarily a hard battle, but it is different enough from a lot of Call of Cthulhu adventures that the usual tropes of Library use and the like won’t be of much help here. The piece is creepy like a modern horror movie rather than filled with a sense of alien dread, and that’s okay as “Adventis Regis” is a fine way to start off this collection and helps set the stage for the two adventures to come, along with the eons-long grudge the Investigators will have with Hastur.

The second adventure, “Herald of the Yellow King” is our Dark Ages piece and it is somewhat similar to a few other King in Yellow adventures out there in that the players have to stop a local town (their own in this case) from melding with Carcosa. This is a pretty long adventure as character will be travelling all over the countryside to several small villages trying to piece together the strange occurrences in the fiefdom. It’s a very creepy piece and is by far the most traditional Call of Cthulhu adventure in the collection. The different villages and what befalls them are a great part of the fun and really helped to make this my favorite adventure of the three. There’s a lot of weird happenings, a mystery to solve and at the core of things, a truly tragic tale where all of this horror could have been prevented had people not been well…the kind of thoughtless jerks people usually are.

Although combat is a big part of the adventure, and there is a good chance the Investigators will thrown down with the King in Yellow itself, words and writing will actually win the day here (as opposed to the previous adventure) which really helps to showcase how different each piece in this collection is, even while they as so inter-connected. I also loved how the adventure has six different endings. Now that’s well thought out! This adventure also has the best artwork in the collection. There are some amazing KiY images here.

If you are only going to play a single adventure out of Ripples From Carcosa, this will probably be the one you pick. It’s also the easiest adventure to adapt to another system. I found this converts very easily to Dungeon Crawl Classics and Lamentations of the Flame Princess for example. It’s the right time period and it’s sufficiently weird enough that fans of those games would never know they were actually playing something steeped in BRP mechanics.

Finally we come to “Heir to Carcosa,” which will be the piece people will either really like or really hate. It’s set in the middle of the 22nd century in a reality where Earth has been taken over by Great Old Ones. The time was right, R’lyeh rose and things went quickly to hell. The Investigators are now part of a colony amongst the asteroids along with some Elder Things, a few Yithians and some occasional M-Go that act as trading partners. It’s an interesting concept but one that is more Derleth than Chambers, Bierce or Lovecraft so some people might dislike it on that grounds.

Anyway, the Investigators in this time period are happily living on the colonies when their Mi-Go trading partners let them know about a ship from Earth in the general vicinity. The colony orders you to intercept the vessel and prevent it from returning home, lest they reveal their whereabouts of the colony and risk it being conquered in the same manner as Earth. From there you get all sorts of craziness. You find out the earth ship is as insane as its crew members (almost HAL style), you get an unexpected and interesting tie-in with the first adventure in the collection. You get a slight flashback to our own current era (kind of) and you even get to encounter the daughter of Hastur and perhaps even kill her! This does not make pappy too happy by the way. “Heir to Carcosa is a bit of on-rails adventure compared to the previous two as it is very straight-forward without a lot of room for deviation. It’s perhaps the least satisfying as it just kind of peters out in the climax without any real resolution (run until Hastur gets bored or eats you), although you do get a schmaltzy end to the story and campaign as a while. The idea of all these races working together in space to avoid GOO detection was a fun concept and the adventure itself where you’re exploring a creepy lunatic spaceship, playing psychoanalyst to a computer via virtual reality and trying to take out the daughter of Hastur is all very outside the usual things you encounter with Call of Cthulhu adventures. Although it’s not something I’d want to play regularly, as a one-time end to a campaign or for a change of pace, this was a lot of fun.

So Ripples From Carcosa still remains as enjoyable as it ever was. I remember when it first came out I described it to people as, Hellraiser: Bloodlines with Mythos creatures instead of Cenobites and without Alan Smithee.” With an eleven dollar price tag for the PDF, this is a real steal. Sure it is VERY different from the usual CoC campaigns and adventures, but that’s kind of the point. There’s only so many times you can play the same old Deep One or Shaggai related adventures without things getting humdrum. Ripples From Carcosa takes a chance by doing something very different: allowing players to experience three different time periods in one mini-campagin and being different enough from the usual Call of Cthulhu pieces that it stands out as a truly memorable experience. Aside from the four potential dealbreakers I mentioned at the beginning of the review, this is a great way to not only test out Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition but also three other available settings besides the usual Gaslight/1920s/Now options we all tend to cling to.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ripples From Carcosa
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