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Achtung! Cthulhu: Secret War Documents
by Antoine T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/06/2015 22:23:00
In the British Telegram ... There's 2 times a "From" and nowhere to put the destination. It's a pretty big mistake, you can't miss it.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Secret War Documents
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the heads up! We\'re getting that fixed and will advise people to download the corrected version as soon as it\'s ready!
Mindjammer - Hearts & Minds Adventure
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/05/2015 08:05:21
This book introduces a fascinating world to explore as well as a full-blown adventure. The world of Olkennedy was colonised a long time ago and has been out of touch for ages, the Commonality has just made contact with them and both sides are quite fascinated. Olkennedy is interesting in its own right, with a single massive crater being the only inhabitable place and several hominid species coexisting with more recognisable 'humans'... but of course, change is not always for the best and it may all blow up in everyone's face!

It's all about culture shock. The Commonality, of course, wants to 'reintegrate' Olkennedy, but there are various ideas of what that might mean or how it is to be accomplished. And then there's the various peoples of Olkennedy: what do they want? Things are likely to get worse before they get better, and a civil war is quite probable. The adventure is designed to accommodate characters of a wide range of types, and can be run as a one-shot or as a more extended sequence.

First, though, there is a detailed run-down of Olkennedy itself. Its remarkable geography is outlined in a very believable manner, along with the history of its colonisation (and before) and even some of the local wildlife such as land clams and sailfins (which are flying reptiles, not fish). Everything you need, in short, to run your own adventures here. Scenario hooks and other encounters are provided here, along with maps, city plans, and details of the various peoples you'll encounter.

Next, we get on to the adventure itself with a discussion of how, depending on who they are, you can get the party involved. They might be diplomats or military, operatives of one agency or another, traders, scientists or... let them come up with their own reasons for being there when things begin to go awry. There's a default plot thread and a sequence of events that will happen no matter what, and it is up to you and the party how they will interact with what is going on. It gives an excellent feeling of reality, with things happening for different reasons than just because there is a group of player-characters standing around! The impression is that, party or no party, these events will take place... it is just that the characters have the opportunity to influence the outcomes and may even - should they so wish - be able to bring peace and avoid civil war. Or they might find it to their advantage to forment it and take sides!

The adventure section is jam-packed with useful stuff: NPCs, locations and events. Each event can go in several directions, depending on what the characters decide to do. It's made up of four main episodes and an epilogue, and should provide the characters with a memorable visit to Olkennedy, whatever their reason was for going there in the first place... and it all begins with them being caught up in a riot!

Here are a wealth of resources that should provide your group with some memorable adventures, something to get a Mindjammer campaign off to a flying start or provide a solid sequence of events somewhere during an existing campaign. Every action will have consequences, and the party will have the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to Olkennedy's history - will it be war, war or jaw, jaw - a civil war or a negotiated peace? Run this adventure and have a blast finding out!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer - Hearts & Minds Adventure
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Mindjammer - Hearts & Minds Adventure
by Brass J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/30/2015 17:53:50
This is what Mindjammer needed – a well-thought out and designed adventure. Sarah has taken the adventure outline out of the CR and expanded it into a full adventure in four parts; plus giving a lot more detail to the world of Olkennedy. Throughout the text are references back to the CR; when read in conjunction this gives a good insight into adventure design and how to run the adventure.
The adventure itself is in four Episodes; each Episode is in a sandbox format; following the initial Hook each section of the Episode is presented with several options for the PC’s to follow. Basically, a civil war is brewing on Olkennedy; the PC’s can take sides or try and remain neutral (unlikely). Also; there are several sub-plots which they can get involved in.
One thing is obvious – Sarah does not think small. This is not a series of minor encounters like “Go and steal an item off an important person”. Instead, the actions and events are on a planetary scale; with PC’s making decisions and taking actions that can affect entire cultures and economies. Space opera on a grand scale; but all cross-referenced within itself and to the CR to make it easy for the GM.
I am writing a set of adventures for Mindjammer; having read “Hearts and Minds” I am revising some of my basic concepts. This has set the bar very high indeed and I expect that subsequent adventures will raise the bar even higher.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mutant: Year Zero FREE Preview
by Marcus B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/02/2015 08:53:30
This is a great preview. It has the introduction and the whole of the character creation chapter. While there is no equipment and not much background here it is enough to build your character without owning the core book. By adding an equipment chapter this would be a full fledged players handbook. Well done.

The game itself is great with interesting mechanics, a crazy world and a metaplot that sets players on a journey from the beginning. Highly recommended if you like gamma world or apocalypse world or other post apocalyptic games.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mutant: Year Zero FREE Preview
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MUTANT: Year Zero - Roleplaying At The End Of Days
by michael c. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/27/2015 14:30:17
Excellent artwork and layout. There's not a lot of fluff--the developers knew what to put in and what to leave out. The rules are easy to understand and not intimidating to new RPG players. First session went excellent! The Mutant: Year Zero is perfect for game masters that are pressed for time; players are involved in world creation from the start, rather than passively waiting to see the world as presented by the GM. Also, during character creation, players define initial relationships between the other players and some non-player characters. This really got the game off to a quick start! I was able to start the first encounter with the players picking sides in a deadly conflict. Players justified their reasons for doing so with a quick peek at their character sheets.

We played without the specialized dice and cards that are available with the boxed set, no problem. Regular d6 dice works fine.

Enjoy!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
MUTANT: Year Zero - Roleplaying At The End Of Days
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Achtung! Cthulhu: Terrors of the Secret War
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/15/2015 08:44:03
Ostensibly a bestiary for Achtung! Cthulhu this is a little different because instead of, as in Call of Cthulhu, presenting the actual statistics of assorted Mythos deities - something no character is going to be able to withstand (they'll end up gibbering wrecks if not mashed to a pulp) - they've gone for an approach based on what they are likely to do and what might stave off the horror for at least a while.

Chapter 1: Dread Beginnings explains all this and more. If you've been reading/playing earlier Achtung! Cthulhu books, you might have noticed - particularly if you're a long-time Call of Cthulhu player - that most of the threats have been lesser, albeit nasty enough, manifestations of the Mythos not the real big guns. Now the gloves are off! A collection of real terrors is presented here, along with scenario ideas and a revised mass combat system designed with cinematic action in mind - and all dual-statted for Call of Cthulhu and Savage Worlds. Chapter 2: Death or Glory attends to the details of what is called the Simple Mass Combat System which will enable you to pit Mythos Terrors and their hordes of minions against hapless ranks of World War 2 soldiery, hopefully aided by some courageous Investigators who have done their research. Naturally rules for sanity loss are included, while the system itself is a simple turn based one where the Terror always acts last, performing one of the actions that it is capable of, as will be described in the next chapter. This chapter ends with an example of the combat system in practice. It really is quite straightforward, yet allows the characters to really have an effect.

The main part of the book is Chapter 3: The Faces of Terror. Here an array of some 24 Horrors (including Cthulhu himself) are presented in a standard format. This begins with a vivid description suitable for either reading alound when the Terror in question shows up or presenting (suitably edited and redacted) if the characters buckle down and do some research in advance. Next come some plot hooks suggesting ways in which you can engineer a face-to-face encounter with the Terror, followed by details of what will be effective against it (in most cases, causing it to retreat or otherwise come to the conclusion that easier pickings can be had elsewhere). Then comes the fun bits: the actions that the Terror can perform and how these are moderated in combat. If that Horror tends to hordes of minions, there's details of them as well.

If these are a shade too deadly for you, Chapter 4: Masters or Servants? offers some servitor races that can cause plenty of trouble but are not quite so overwhelming as the Horrors themselves. They do come with proper stat blocks, unlike the Horrors, and can be fought normally. Otherwise, each is presented in the same way as the Horrors.

Next, Chapter 5: Unconventional Weapons presents some 'weird science' contraptions that look almost as deadly to the wielder as they are to the target: try them out if you dare. Finally, Chapter 6: The Grimoire has a goodly collection of spells for those brave enough to learn and cast them.

The whole is presented in the standard 'bunch of papers out of a file' style complete with atmospheric pictures and marginal notes that makes it a feast for the eyes as well as the mind. The way of enabling you to bring the heavyweights of the Mythos right into the middle of combat without ensuring the total destruction of the entire party is really rather neat: all in all this is an excellent supplement for the game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Terrors of the Secret War
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Achtung! Cthulhu: Guide to the Eastern Front
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/05/2015 08:50:05
This supplement deals with World War 2 on the Eastern Front, that is, the conflict between Germany and the Soviet Union. As the introduction points out, it is less familiar in the west than events in Europe or other parts of the world, due in part to the long Cold War that followed the ending of overt hostilities with former allies becoming enemies eyeing one another balefully through the Iron Curtain.

Chapter 1: Welcome to the Eastern Front sets the scene with a brief introduction to the Achthung! Cthulhu setting, mention of the dual-statted nature of this work with game mechanics provided for both the Call of Cthulhu and Savage Worlds rulesets and a chronology of events running from 1831 (when the founder of the cult Theosophical Society, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, was born) right through to May 1945, taking in revolution and developments in occultism right along with mainstream history. Plenty of neat little details about notable individuals too.

Next, Chapter 2: Tundra, Taigia and Steppe looks at the dark nature of the conflict, two totalitarian states clashing leaves little room for individual opinion and intolerance and brutality are the order of the day. This section concentrates on Russia, explaining the history and the nature of daily life during the war years. There are notes on major cities, rationing and many other things that affect the population - and anyone else roaming around, of course. What transpired as the Germans advanced is also covered, as well as the Baltic States, Poland and Yugoslavia.

Then Chapter 3: The Soviet War Machine looks at the forces arrayed against the Germans, including organisation and their unique mindset - part based on the Russian character and part imposed by the Communist regime. This is followed by Chapter 5: Heroes of the Soviet Union - nothing to do with the decoration of the same name, this tells you how to generate Russian characters under both rulesets covered, and includes new occupations including vor (Russian organised crime) and military ones such as the cavalry (the Russians continued to use the horse in battle until 1943!). If you are interested in getting your character a medal or two there's a very simplistic chart, it is worth finding out more and relating awards to exploits that you have in your backstory or perform during play!

Characters in order, Chapter 6: Weapons and Gear provides the information that you need to kit him out. (Or her, unlike everyone else, the Russians allowed women to enlist in every aspect of the military.) There is also a new weapon quality: Unreliable, to reflect the often poor quality and dodgy supply chain with which Russian troops had to contend... it would be later on that Mikhail Kalasnikov came up with the simple and durable rifle bearing his name! Chapter 6: Across Land and Sky discusses transportation issues and presents a range of Russian vehicles, including tanks (LOTS of tanks!) and aircraft.

Next, Chapter 7: The Weird and Wonderful turns attention to matters occult, including an establishment by the name of the Brain Institute who, amongst other things, make use of Mi-Go technology in their experiments. There's a heady mix of other organisations, cults, individuals and expeditions to get your teeth into as well, ending with a gazetteer of occult activity - plenty to spawn ideas for adventure here. Chapter 8: Hidden and Forgotten Knowledge follows, mixing genuine Russian occultism with Mythos lore seamlessly.

These are followed by Chapter 9: Beasts and Behemoths - an array of monsters - and Chapter 10: Cogs in the Machine, which contains several notable historical figures and a regular army of NPCs for you to make use of, all dual-statted of course. Finally (just in case all that has gone before hasn't given you enough ideas) Chapter 11 provides some adventure seeds and Chapter 12 presents source material that can help you develop atmosphere as well as provide even more ideas.

An enlightening book that provides plenty of resources if you wish to take your campaign into the frozen lands of Mother Russia!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Guide to the Eastern Front
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Achtung! Cthulhu: Guide to North Africa
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/02/2015 11:35:50
In many ways, North Africa seems tailor-made for the concept of mixing World War 2 action with the Cthulhu Mythos... after all, it's got Egypt in it! But as this book reveals there is a lot more to be found than the secrets of ancient Egypt, although they do come in handy in the fight against the Things That Should Not Be.

After an introduction that tells of the wartime exploits of the lead author's father (somewhat similar to tales told by my dad!), Chapter 1: Welcome to North Africa sets the scene and provides a time-line from 1869 (the opening of the Suez Canal) right up to 1945, although as far as actual combat is concerned, things went quiet after the middle of 1943. There's still plenty of scope for espionage, archaeological investigations and more, however.

Chaptet 2: A Sea of Sand and Stone then talks about the desert and more, starting with a gazetteer of the countries along the Mediterranean coast from Egypt in the east, including notes on those all-important places, oases. Water is vital when travelling in these parts, of course. The notes provide brief yet vivid pen-sketches of many places most have heard of in passing, such as El Alamein or Tangiers. This is followed by a discussion on the war in East Africa, down the east coast of the continent and involving countries such as Sudan, Somaliland and Kenya; many of which were drawn into the conflict due to being colonies of various European powers. The chapter ends with a detailed look at Cairo, the capital of Egypt and seat of much intrigue although untouched by actual combat. It's a melting pot of a city and an excellent setting for many an adventure.

Next, Chapter 3: Secrets and Lies discusses the tremendous amount of espionage and other secret operations that were rife in the region during the war. Plenty of scope here for plots, be it the activities of the British Special Operations Executive (and you thought they spent their time parachuting into France, didn't you? Nope, they spread their net far and wide...) or even the antics of the world's press, sniffing out stories despite censorship and military needs for secrecy. The Americans and the Germans were not far behind with their own clandestine affairs.

Then Chapter 4: The Shifting Sands of War provides game mechanical resources for creating and playing area-appropriate Investigators, complete with both Call of Cthulhu and Savage Worlds rules. Fancy being an archaeologist or even a Bedouin tribesman? Or perhaps the Kepi Blanc as a member of the French Foreign Legion is more your style? Details of how to set up characters in these and other suitable occupations are provided. Naturally the Long Range Desert Group and the newly-fledged SAS are there too; and there is scope to play Australians, South Africans and New Zelanders as well.

Characters generated, you will need some equipment and Chapter 5: Coffee Pots and Jerry Cans should meet your needs. The uniforms worn by various armies and specialist groups is covered with special note to footwear (a soldier's best friends are his feet and they need to be taken care of!)... whilst apparently every Italian soldier has his own personal expresso coffee pot. There is an array of weapons and some rather more esoteric items as well.

Next Chapter 6: Ships of the Desert covers the whole range of issues about travelling in the desert, it's not only about camels (although my favourite riding animal is included, of course). Here we read about getting to North Africa in the first place, and getting around by various vehicles on land and in the air, not to mention the perils of navigation when landmarks are few and far between. Once you have your means of transportation the next chapter (Chapter 7: Just Deserts) covers survival and the dangers that the environment poses to the unwary and unprepared.

Chapter 8: A Most Dangerous Game then explores the occult forces at play in the region and with ancient Egypt there's plenty to be had! The Germans have been investigating here since the mid-1930s under the auspices of the Ahnenerbe and more conventional archaeologists have found more than they bargained for as well. Here is told the origins of the Necronomicon, possibly the most infamous text in Mythos lore. Locations for investigations abound, if you can but hang on to your sanity long enough to explore them. There are mysterious societies and cults to join, infiltrate or combat, and plenty of mysterious and powerful people to provide opposition and others who may prove to be friends or allies. This chapter is definitely one for the GM or Keeper alone!

Chapter 9: Of Magic and Magicians goes further into the murky depths, detailing arcane treasures and strange magical knowledge that go only to fuel the region's reputation as an exotic, romantic and mysterious place. There are several tomes that belong in very secure libraries and a handful of new spells to cast... if you dare.

The next two chapters - Chapter 10: Beasts, Real and Imaginary and Chapter 11: Friend and Foe - provide a host of creatures and people to interact with and to fight against, including known personalities of the time as well as generic examples. Finally, there are adventure seeds and suggestions for sources of inspiration in the final two chapters to set you up for some memorable adventures, campaigning in North Africa.

Everything is presented in the by-now familiar 'bunch of papers' style, with atmospheric pictures, scribbled notes and sidebars with snippets of information, all skilfully blending history, Mythos and more. Where's my camel?

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Guide to North Africa
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Achtung! Cthulhu: Guide to the Pacific Front
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/19/2014 08:25:26
This supplement equips you to take your Achtung! Cthulhu adventures across the world to the Pacific Theatre, where ferocious battles in the Pacific islands and Southern Asia and the perils of jungle warfare are mixed with the emergence of ancient evils. Chapter 1: Welcome to the Pacific sets the ball rolling by setting the scene with a time-line of events pertinent to the Far East from 1854 right through to the events of the Second World War. Mostly historical, it is enlivened by snippets of information - often presented in the form of 'notes' apparently pinned to the page - that add colour and suggest ideas as wekk as adding further material about people and events of the times. It ends in April 1945, with a note that if you run the forthcoming Achtung! Cthulhu: Assault on the Mountains of Madness campaign, events in Europe from 1944 on are likely to be world-changing enough to disrupt matters here in the Pacific.

Chapter 2: The Land of the Rising Sun gives an introduction to Japan, a mysterious land that until the 1830s had deliberately isolated itself from the rest of the world. Since the succession of a new emperor, rapid changes turned the nation from feudalism and mediaeval standards of living to a modern technological country ready to take its place on the world stage. This is coupled with an aggressive military stance directed against China and Russia... and the development of many secret societies whose tentacles reach out through every part of Japanese society. This sets the background against which Japan enters the Second World War by attacking Pearl Harbour in December 1941, dragging the United States into the conflict.

Next, Chapter 3: The Balance of Power looks at the state of affairs in the Pacific region during the run up to World War Two, as well as giving a brief overview of how events unfold as time progresses. It's to be noted that few people had much idea of the situation there unless they have some connection with the area, this applies to Investigator characters as much as anyone else. Apart from China, Thailand and Japan, much of the region is under colonial control from elsewhere - and even a fair bit of China's territory is under Japanese control.

This is followed by Chapter 4: In Captivity, which expands on earlier references to the cruelty of the Japanese to those they invade as well as to prisoners of war. Although game mechanics are provided, it is probably best that characters do not find themselves in captivity.

Next comes Chapter 5: New Beginnings. This provides rules for generating characters who come from the Pacific region as well as providing appropriate new career paths and other material, with mechanics for both Call of Cthulhu and Savage Worlds. There are also additional military careers and training packages relevant to this theatre of war. Characters sorted, Chapter 6: The Whole Kit and Caboodle provides all the weapons and equipment that they could dream of, with Japanese weaponry included as well.

Chapter 7: The Best Laid Plans discusses the challenges of conducting combat operations in the Pacific region. This includes notes on Japanese combat doctrine and methods as well as the perils of jungle warfare... and as if that wasn't enough, Chapter 8: Exotic Beasts and Vile Beings provides plenty of wildlife and more hostile adversaries with plenty of detail of Chtulhu Mythos presence in the area. Piling more on, Chapter 9: Artefacts, Spells and Tomes delivers information on notable items and books that might be encoungtered and a few new spells to cast.

Then Chapter 10: The Many Faces of War provides a raft of NPCs from famous people to generic soldiers and civilians that the characters might encounter in the course of their adventures. Chapter 11: Adventure Seeds provides several ideas for plots to be run in the Pacific region, although they are just brief outlines and will require work before they can be played through. Finally, Chapter 12: Suggested Resources provides reference to books, films and other materials that can set the scene, provide further information or just get you into the right mood for a Pacific campaign.

Overall, this is a comprehensive introduction to a lesser-known aspect of the Second World War with sufficient Mythos involvement to keep any investigator intrigued.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Guide to the Pacific Front
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Achtung! Cthulhu: Investigator's Guide
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/17/2014 08:35:13
Aimed at players - whether of Call of Cthulhu or Savage Worlds - this book contains a wealth of material to help them understand the alternate history of a World War 2 with added Cthulhu Mythos elements, and hence to play their characters more convincingly.

Chapter 1: Welcome to the Secret War sets out the basic premise, beginning with a timeline of events running from November 1918 to April 1945. Despite comments about Mythos involvement, this is straight history... the weird bits get mixed in later! After all, to begin with the characters probably know nothing about it.

Next, Chapter 2: Keep the Home Fires Burning looks at life on the 'home front' - as opposed to the battlefield - telling how the war affected those not actively involved in combat just as much as it did those in uniform. There's a lot here from working life to fashion and food, even popular music of the day. Again this is historically accurate without the merest taint of Mythos, just as is intended for the game: ordinary folk got through the war without hearing about such things (much as it was only after the war that many Nazi atrocities were revealed). Chapter 3: Home Sweet Home continues this theme with a timeline of events in civilian life. A few suggestions about the style of adventures you might have on the home front are included, but this book is really for players rather than game masters (although they too ought to read it, it does not duplicate the contents of the Keeper's Guide to the Secret War). It all goes towards putting your adventures into context, however.

With the Home Front adequately covered, what of those who took up arms? Chapter 4: In the Service of One's Country gives an overview of the armed forces, intelligence and auxillary services mainly from an Allied point of view, although the German military machine is also covered. (Indeed, the whole book assumes characters will be drawn from Allied countries.)

Now that the scene has been comprehensively set, Chapter 5: Your Country Needs You! delves into the game mechanics involved in creating a WW2 Investigator character. There's an overview of the different nationalities from which he might come and a review of civilian and military occupations. Skills, pay scales, everything that you need to know about various occupations are included... and there's even a section on how to introduce a modicum of Mythos knowledge even before play begins by creating a bit of backstory to explain it - and perhaps explain why it's YOU and not someone else who gets embroiled in the sort of missions that are the basis of gameplay in this setting. For those intending military characters there is a review of the process of character generation under Call of Cthulhu rules, which in the original cater well for having a military background but are less good if you want your character to be in service when play begins. There's even a (somewhat inaccurate) note on the decorations he might have received. It also covers the civilian who has just enlisted (or who will do so during the course of the game). Unless you have a much-loved character which the game master agrees, it's recommended that you use these rules in conjunction with your chosen ruleset to generate your Achtung! Cthulhu character, as they've been written with the era and setting in mind.

Getting down to nuts and bolts, Chapter 6: Getting Your Hands Dirty introduces and explains new skills appropriate to this game, with Call of Cthulhu mechanics. Fear not, Chapter 7: The Savage Practice of War covers similar material under the Savage Worlds ruleset, if that is your game of choice. Chapter 8: Tools of the Trade mainly concentrates on weapons, with a wealth of detail about the different ones popular with various nations and units, complete with statistics for both rulesets.

To wind up, Chapter 9: Quick Play Guide summarises everything you need to know to create and play your character under either ruleset, and Chapter 10: Suggested Resources covers books, films and more that will enable you to understand the period better and get into the right mood.

Overall, this is an excellent introduction to playing in the Achtung! Cthulhu setting and ought to be read by players and referees alike.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Investigator's Guide
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Achtung! Cthulhu: Keeper's Guide
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/16/2014 08:22:07
This tome is intended as the essential reference work for mixing the Cthulhu Mythos with World War Two - primarily aimed at the GM/Keeper but providing a lot of detailed background for anyone wishing to explore adventuring in a 'weird war' style.

After a brief Introduction by Chris Birch, instigator of the concept, it's on to Chapter 1: From the Shadows. With a brief piece of atmospheric fiction, it launches into an explanation of what this game is designed to present: an alternate history of WW2 in which the Nazis are attempting, through their known interest in the occult, to recruit the forces of the Mythos to aid their quest for world domination. Whilst most of the material is generic, specific game mechanics are provided for both Call of Cthulhu and Savage Worlds, with tags to indicate them in the text as well as game-specific chapters to deal with topics like combat, strategy and Sanity loss. It then jumps into a timeline from 1907 through to April 1945, weaving fact with fiction. It's illustrated with period photographs and snippets of information on various individuals and events - all laid out to give the impression of a dossier - and is designed so that you can set your action whenever you choose. Of course, later events may be somewhat different depending on the outcome of your group's adventures.

Next, Chapter 2: Inside the Reich deals with the notion that this is an historical horror game and hence delivers some (mostly) historical detail. This type of game works best when you have a good grasp of the real-world history on which your alternate history is based and covers developments in Germany from 1920 on. It looks at the potentials for playing German characters and issues the stark reminder that the Nazis were nasty enough without help from the Mythos. Not everyone will be comfortable playing a German character - although again it must be remembered that not all Germans were as evil as Hitler... war is not football, you do not get to choose which side you support. Notes here make a good job of picking their way through propaganda to give a clear picture of what the average German, especially the average German soldier, was really like. It is an interesting argument which boils down to the concept that the Nazis were not evil due to Mythos influences even in this game, they were evil enough to seek out and attempt to weaponise the Mythos.

Chapter 3: Might Makes Right? moves on from general discussion of German history to talk about the military. Everything is covered from organisation to uniforms to everyday life in the ranks, giving a good impression of the German war machine of the time. There's quite extensive discussion of prisoner-of-war camps which may come in useful should Allied player-characters fall into enemy hands! This chapter ends with a wide selection of sample stat blocks for both German and Allied military personnel. Many real-world units are included, complete with historical notes.

Chapter 4: The Other Secret War then looks at the Great Game, the role of intelligence agencies, spies, signal interception and the like that went on behind the scenes. Here the history and operations of the real-world British, French, American and German intelligence services are covered in quite some detail. The 'Secret War' that is the main thrust of Achtung! Cthulhu is handled in the following chapter, Chapter 5: Secret and Occult Societies. This details many such societies in different countries around the world, mixing known occultists with invented ones quite seamlessly. Organisations and individuals (all with dual stat blocks) provide a ready source of contacts and ideas for adventures, as do the more detailed accounts of some of the ongoing operations, particularly those conducted by the Germans.

Next comes Chapter 6: Planes, Trains and Things That Go Bang. It is much more than an equipment list, with notes on travel by air, sea and land - including border crossings other than the conventional stroll up and present your passport - as well as details of military vehicles and vessels (in enough detail to keep the average wargamer happy) and equipment. The equipment covered here is German, British and Allied equipment is covered in the Investigator's Guide. More esoteric devices invented by German occultists are also included here. Every item is, of course, provided with both Call of Cthulhu and Savage Worlds statistics.

Chapter 7: Into The Fray opens with the immortal words "In case you hadn't noticed, there's a war on" and proceeds to discuss the perils of attempting to run a conventional role-playing style adventure in a combat zone as well as translating common battlefield events into convenient role-playing terms so that if your characters get involved, for example, in an aerial dogfight, you now have the rules to make it all happen within the context of the game. Chapter 8: Rules of Savage Engagement provide additional Savage Worlds game mechanics for use in military combat situations. This being a Mythos game, there is also a table for Sanity loss for those who find themselves caught up in the horrors of war.

This is followed by Chapter 9: Artefacts and Tomes which looks at some of the potent items and books that are around, particularly in Germany, to threaten or entertain the inquisitive seeker of occult knowledge. Several are based on real items held to be of almost-mystical significance by the real-world Nazis, now neatly embuded with power for game purposes - the Blutfahne and the SS Totenkopfring for example. There's a good library of dark and dangerous tomes too, some will be familiar to Call of Cthulhu veterans, but here they are provided with Savage Worlds stats (get the CoC ones from the core rulebook). Now you have all that occult knowledge, Chapter 10: Deadly Illusions and Cursed Knowledge shows you how to use it - in particular, how to cast spells and use artefacts to their full potential, as well as how to use the Knowledge (Mythos) skill to good effect as you try to puzzle things out, preferably before going insane or getting eaten. Budding spellcasters will find a goodly grimoire of spells here. Most are standard ones, so presented only with Savage Worlds mechanics, but there are some new ones with the mechanics for both game systems provided. If that's not enough, Chapter 11: Horrors and Monstrosities provides a vast array of monsters and worse with which to bedevil investigators. There's also a good overview of the Cthulhu Mythos for those new to it.

Next is Chapter 12: Allies and Nemeses, which introduces a wide range of notable individuals the characters might have an opportunity to meet and interact with during the course of the game. Many are real-world historical figures, others feature in Achtung! Cthulhu adventures or feature in this alternate history. Yet others are examples of ordinary people whom they might encounter. There is also a collection of choice generic locations that might come in handy. And now you have people and places, all you need is Chapter 13: Adventure Seeds to start coming up for ways to use them. Some nice ideas here, but you'll have to flesh them out to make full scenarios of them.

Chapter 14: Quick Play Guide is a useful ready-reference for Call of Cthulhu Keepers as to where they can find all the rules they'll need (Savage Worlds referees have all the Cthulhu-related rules they need in this book, of course, and the Savage Worlds rulebook for everything else). Finally, Chapter 15: Suggested Resources provides inspirational references to books and films - even a list of museums you might want to visit.

Presented in a style that suggests a sheaf of government paperwork, adorned with annotations and clipped-in phots and sketches, this book is a masterful exposition of how to weave an alternate history around the Second World War, and should put even the newest Keeper/Referee in a position to run an Achtung! Cthulhu game well.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Keeper's Guide
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Achtung! Cthulhu: Trellborg Monstrosities - Call of Cthulhu
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/09/2014 08:15:37
In this adventure, intrepid investigators are sent to the frozen wastes north of the Arctic Circle in 1943 to hunt for mysteries behind enemy lines in Norway and Finland. Resistance reports have alerted the British intelligence services to unusual activity - and the presence of a well-known German occultist - in the vicinity of the village of Trellborg in Finland.

After an outline of what is going on, the mission briefing is supplied in two versions: one for military characters (who could be the pre-generated ones provided) and one for non-military investigators - who will find themselves being sent on a crash course in winter survival, canoeing and Nordic skiing before they are sent on the mission. They also meet a mysterious specialist who will accompany them whose name is Seraph and who is indeed 'on the side of the angels'.

The adventure itself is a reasonably linear narrative that builds to an epic climax, but there's plenty of flexibility built in to give characters freedom of action. It involves an arduous journey deep into enemy territory and darn chilly to boot. Structured as a five-day mission, each day has several scenes that provide the main meat of the story. It all begins with the party being dropped off from a British submarine somewhere off the Norwegian coast and having to make their way ashore in canoes. Here they will meet the Norwegian resistance and make their way overland to the scene of the action. Well, that's the idea, but there are some perils along the route...

As the adventure unfolds there are plenty of opportunities for combat, an encounter with a bear, and a chance to learn quite a lot of Norse mythology - some real and some most convincingly invented for this story! There's a lot going on and no time to get bored although there is plenty to get scared about.

The adventure itself is followed by pre-generated characters, a collection of allies and adversaries (including a new Mythos monster) and a rules section that covers such essentials as Nordic skiing, canoeing and arctic survival, as well as new spells and equipment. This is followed by a handout - a multi-page work entitled Diary of a Madman which the characters ought to find along the way and which might provide them with some clues as to what is going on. It repays careful study.

It's an atmospheric and exciting adventure based on a novella written by the adventure author and also available from Modiphius. Indeed if you are running this adventure, the novella will give you added atmosphere and descriptive material.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Trellborg Monstrosities - Call of Cthulhu
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Achtung! Cthulhu: Heroes of the Sea - Call of Cthulhu
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/08/2014 09:04:12
Set amidst the turmoil of the Dunkirk evacuations, this adventure sets the heroes against more than the Nazi hordes. Sent into Dunkirk just as most of the British were leaving, the intrepid investigators are in search of a missing secret agent who has vital intelligence regarding a threat known only as Operation Needle.

It opens with notes from the author about the delights and dangers of setting an adventure against the backdrop of World War 2 - to catch the excitement and make a good game without trivialising a time when many good people lost their lives - before launching into the background of the adventure itself. Section D, the characters' employer, does not know much about what their missing agent has discovered but are convinced that it's something that they need to know, hence the mission with which they will be tasked. This is followed by details of what is actually going on, a foul plot indeed to drown the escaping British troops by arcane means. The scene is set well, with copious details of the real history of Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Dunkirk, complete with atmospheric illustrations, a comprehensive timeline of events and a map of the Dunkirk bridgehead. Even before you get to the adventure proper, there is plenty of scope for encounters that may prove hostile, even deadly, to the unwary.

Next comes the actual adventure, presented as five 'episodes' which can be played through as appropriate based on character actions. Scattered throughout are options galore to enable you to cope with just about anything that the characters might decide to do. There are even a couple of different ways to get them involved - what if they are Germans? Or the more traditional academic sort of investigators rather than soldiers/agents? Although the real timeline for Dunkirk is provided it is recommended that the Keeper be flexible and fit it around the adventure, rather than rushing the adventure to accommodate historical fact.

There is plenty for the investigators to do during the adventure, and despite the setting much is 'traditional' investigative fare although there are of course plenty of opportunities to engage in combat. There's even the chance to get aboard a U-Boat, whilst the investigation should take them beyond the confines of the waking world into a very strange realm indeed. The options continue thick and fast, with notes as to how to handle any eventuality from them solving the adventure before reaching Episode 4 to what to do if they get captured...

Four pre-generated characters are provided for groups who wish to dive straight in to the adventure. On the rules front there are some new skills and spells which might prove useful during the course of the game as well as notes on shell shock and how to handle guardposts and skirmishes effectively. Several tanks and other warlike vehicles that may be encountered are presented. Finally, some in-character resources in the shape of the initial briefing pack and loads of handouts - all very atmospheric and looking the part.

It's an exciting adventure, blending the Mythos skilfully with known history and delightfully open-ended, with good support for the Keeper whatever the investigators do; it would be difficult to derail the adventure, even if they might end up changing the course of the war! Of such things are good alternate histories made...

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Heroes of the Sea - Call of Cthulhu
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Achtung! Cthulhu: Three Kings - Call of Cthulhu
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/01/2014 10:30:49
Achtung! Cthulhu is a setting for Lovecraftian role-playing in World War 2, and this is the first adventure in that setting. As if the world wasn't already tearing itself apart, what would be the impact of having the Cthulhu Mythos involved as well? With, of course, evil Nazi scientists trying to harness their powers...

The adventure is set in the summer of 1939 when the world was slowly realising that there was no escape from conflict (my mother, just about to go to university, was worried about the effect that a war would have on her social life!). Czechoslovakia has just been invaded by the Third Reich and although the UK is not yet officially at war they are receiving dire news from resistance figures and the new-born government-in-exile that a member of the resistance has information about atrocities being committed that would make wonderful propaganda when war does begin in earnest. So 'Section D' - a branch of the British Secret Intelligence Service has assembled a team to find out... you can either have your players generate appropriate characters using the Call of Cthulhu rules, or use the pre-generated ones supplied with the adventure.

Material is presented atmospherically with realistic-looking documents, indeed the adventure itself looks as if it escaped from wartime files (there's a printer-friendly one included in the PDF version to save on ink).

The underlying plot is laid out for the Keeper's eyes, and then there are several 'likely episodes' laid out for you, leaving the whole thing quite open-ended and allowing you to react to character actions and approaches to the investigation with ease. Each episode in turn has a number of scenes which may or may not take place as the action unfolds. Obviously, this is an adventure that repays thorough preparation, it would be quite hard to just pick it up and play. Loads of alternatives - beginning with ideas on how to use the adventure with less military-minded characters than the provided ones - are scattered throughout, so that you can tailor the adventure to suit the characters and how they want to go about matters without floundering and having to improvise too much. Even more impressive are all the little details - from local cuisine to likely languages spoken - that will help you to make the whole thing come to life in a shared alternate reality.

Put simply, the characters have to break into a castle and find out what's going on there. Of course, it never is that simple...

Support is good with stat blocks and notes about those who you might meet, details of roving patrols and how the castle is defended, maps (in both Keeper and player versions) as well as new rules from skills like parachuting to how best to handle capture of the characters (a real threat) and new occupations within the cloak and dagger world of intelligence operations. There's even a full Operational Briefing that, if your characters are Section D agents, can be handed directly to them repleate with maps, scribbled comments and SECRET stamps. Very atmospheric!

With the single caveat that some groups may not feel comfortable with an adventure set in World War 2, this is - for those groups who are happy with the situation - a straightforward yet exciting introduction to the concept of Cthulhu-meets-the-Nazis. Memorable adventure is to be had!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Three Kings - Call of Cthulhu
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MUTANT: Year Zero - Roleplaying At The End Of Days
by Jason D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/17/2014 05:04:14
I like it, but have not gotten a chance to play it yet, as I'm waiting for the print copy and the special dice.

That said, the content of the pdf is quite impressive. It hits a nice sweet spot between the gonzo nature of Gamma World and the grimmer setting of Aftermath, with a relatively light system and a nice focus on the setting, with the characters expected to become involved in their environments and strive for survival and progress.

The art is perfect for the setting and the production quality is high, with a clean layout and everything presented in an intuitive and easy-to-comprehend fashion.

I can't wait to run it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
MUTANT: Year Zero - Roleplaying At The End Of Days
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