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Achtung! Cthulhu: Three Kings - Call of Cthulhu $14.99 $9.99
Average Rating:4.1 / 5
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Achtung! Cthulhu: Three Kings - Call of Cthulhu
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Achtung! Cthulhu: Three Kings - Call of Cthulhu
Publisher: Modiphius
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
Publisher: Modiphius
by Gareth T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/15/2014 13:57:49
A very atmospheric adventure which gives for than a nod to TV shows such as Secret Army. Whilst I enjoyed running this there are a couple of warnings needed.
Playing with a WW2 background has meant though that if not careful the Cthulhu Mythos threats actually seem quite tame compared to the threat of the Nazi occupation. This is not a bad thing per se, but the temptation to increase the Mythos threat or play down the feelings of the unknown in newly occupied Czechoslovakia needs to be avoided. The foreshadowing of facing the Nazis before the Mythos makes this adventure work.
Perhaps a bigger criticism is that this adventure is designed (it seems to me) to be fight heavy - and that would be a mistake also. Having the NPC soldiers all set to be good at fighting (far better than my scholarly investigators) means the true threat is taken down a notch. Then again having PCs know they are outmatched and having to try harder to avoid combat is entertaining.
The only other warning it that my players correctly asked "is this just like the Wolfenstein games" right at that beginning. Errr - yes was the answer but I had to tweak a few bits (especially the recommended way of playing the last two chapters). If your players have not already said "is that a castle full of Nazi's doing experiments to create zombies" you should be fine.
Despite those criticisms this a very different take on Cthulhu and reffing PCs being spies in WW2 was the most fun I have had with Cthulhu for ages! This adventure may need alot of tweaks for many groups but is very well worth it.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Three Kings - Call of Cthulhu
Publisher: Modiphius
by Thomas R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/16/2014 13:19:50
So I bought the .pdf and started running 'Three Kings', Call of Cthulhu version, with our regular RPG group. This is something that has been tempting me fiercely and I jumped at the chance to run it when the opportunity came along. Our first session was just last night... We had a lot of fun, and I am impressed with 'Three Kings', but I'm going to be a little bit critical of this adventure module.

Great artwork, but a busy layout, this has been said elsewhere and I agree. The document looks good, but important information is hard to scan because of page clutter. I do appreciate the .pdf being well annotated and bookmarked for use on a tablet. While some of this is clunky, requiring multiple 'stabs' to navigate to a topic, all the important information is easy to find!

Other reviews mention the repetition of information, that it amounts to 'padding' to increase the page-count. But I don't mind having useful information at my fingertips, even to the point of redundancy, providing it helps the gaming session maintain momentum or if information is repeated as part of reference or 'player only' sections to be printed out or otherwise distributed.

The plot line is fun and clearly geared towards action. The GM and players are given direction without too much detail so it's easy to tailor the story to suit your group. The adventure is presented in a scene-by-scene format, but it isn't stuck rigidly on a rail. Draw inspiration from your favourite films and linking the different elements of the Three Kings plot-lines together will be exciting and fun.

A few things jump out and are worth spending some time on before gathering your buddies at the table...

All the characters sporting MP38 smg's have a wicked good, 70% skill. Every one of them. Regardless of faction, or role. It looks a lot like a straight up cut-and-paste error. By contrast the average weapon skill for player and non-player characters alike, is around 30-40%. Consider tweaking this for your game sessions.

None of the otherwise excellent pre-generated characters have any additional sneak or hide skill, just the basic 10%. Could be bad news for a team of operatives parachuting behind enemy lines.

None of the basic German adversaries (troops & officers) have a Spot Hidden skill, but the best aspects of the random encounters with patrols call for Spot Hidden rolls.

Now these aren't game breakers; it's easy enough to come up with some suitable numbers before going into your game. But they could be real stumbling blocks for a GM eager to dive right in. Be prepared and fun will follow.

Recommended. Terrific value value for $9.99.

For Call of Cthulhu GM's with moderate experience. Expect mucho gun-play and daring-do.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Three Kings - Call of Cthulhu
Publisher: Modiphius
by Dirk V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/11/2012 18:53:46
Okay, we almost never do previews, but for once we’ve decided to break our own rules. The reasoning is simple: the first two scenarios for Achtung! Cthulhu: Zero Point will only be released in print in January, but both are already available as PDF downloads. We haven’t been able to play the campaign yet, but have flipped through both PDFs and are impressed by what we have seen so far.

Three Kings – Zero Point Adventure 1 and Heroes of the Sea – Zero Point May 1940 are two stand-alone adventures which are also part of an overarching campaign set at the backdrop of early World War II. Both stories obviously use the Cthulhu mythos created by gothic horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, but each will be appearing in 3 different formats: one which uses the Call of Cthulhu (sixth edition) rules set, one for Trail of Cthulhu and one based on the Savage Worlds mechanic. The stories are essentially the same, but we commend Modiphius for not cramming all three rules sets in each book, as a lot of RPG companies used to do in the past (and sometimes still do). This way, you can just buy the book that fits your favorite system, without having to pay for – or ignore – any redundant pages.

Both scenarios assume the Player Characters belong to the military and present 4 pre-generated characters that fit that angle – 1 or 2 short for many bigger RPG troupes. However, much to author Sarah Newton’s credit, she adds two alternative approaches that allow players to either use spy characters or more traditional Call of Cthulhu personas – usually meaning academics and researchers.

Three Kings is set in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, the new moniker for a large part of Czechoslovakia ever since Hitler has issued a statement out of the Prague castle proclaiming that the area would become part of Greater Germany. Emil Hacha, the former president of Czechoslovakia, seems to be in charge in name only, as it is assumed that the Nazis are in control through the brand-new Reichsprotektor Konstantin Von Neurath. All political parties have been abolished and the legal status of the local Jewish populace has been withdrawn. However, the British intelligence has gotten wind of strange activities going on in castle Karlstein, where the Nazi’s are conducting horrible scientific and medical experiments on living test subjects. Needless to say, the PCs are sent to the area to find out what’s going on and to make contact with a new resistance movement called the Three Kings…

Heroes of the Sea is set about a year after the events in Three Kings. 300.000 armed forces belonging to the British Expeditionary Force and their allies are trying to retreat to Dunkerk. The mission has been dubbed Operation Dynamo, but according to new information, the Germans already have their own mission in place designed to thwart the Allies’ plans. It is supposedly called Fall Nadel (‘Operation Needle’) and the PC’s are sent in to penetrate enemy lines and make contact with a spy called Agatha Marcham, whose code name is WOTAN.

One can hardly emphasize enough how beautiful both adventures look. They’re in full color, even though you get a print friendly version as well if you buy and of the PDFs. Expect some great artwork, a lot of maps and a lot more. Author Sarah Newton has obviously done her research, whilst the art by Dim Martin and the layout by Michal E. Cross is nothing short of beautiful. If you would like to find out how good both adventures really are, and how relevant all of the additional data is, please stay put for our upcoming January/February issue and updates! We’ll publish full reviews as soon as we’ve read the ‘printed’ versions, but truth be told, we are pretty sure that this is a great campaign!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Three Kings - Call of Cthulhu
Publisher: Modiphius
by Mysterious B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/28/2012 12:09:29
Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia provides the backdrop for this excellent one-shot adventure. Investigators in a pulpy romp must transverse the delicate and conspiracy ridden resistance to find a deep level operative and find out what the Nazis are up to. Clearly, this is a pulpish romp (although, not driven by pulp rules) in days before the formal onslaught of World War 2, in which player/investigators must work against two time limits lest Karlštejn never look the same again and Germans might have the long sought after tactical that might allow them to win the coming war. Replete with interesting handouts and props to be incorporated into play and interesting NPCs designed to make players heroes and create a truly memorable gaming experience. As with all Cthulhu adventures there are plenty of shades between the black and cosmic horror of the Mythos and the white of the investigators own actions. One of the concerns which the writers worried about was how to make Cthulhu horrific without demeaning the horrors of the war itself – I can testify that they succeed and surpass on that account. The art is very moody, at first, it screams pulp but closer investigation shows that it perfectly fits the adventure. Only thing that I found was missing was character portraits of the PCs and NPCs which I always find is a nice touch in any adventure.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Three Kings - Call of Cthulhu
Publisher: Modiphius
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/12/2012 14:57:37
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=22761.

Three Kings is part 1 of the Acthung! Cthulhu campaign, for Call of Cthulhu, taking place during World War II. While its roots lie within WWII horror thanks to the Cthulhu Mythos, the campaign (or at least this module) has a pulp-like feel to it and lies somewhere between investigative horror and pulp action. Considering the characters are military-styled agents, the campaign leans less toward the survival aspects of horror and more toward the extermination of it. While this isn’t the core of a traditional Call of Cthulhu setting or game, it is a new way of implementing the Cthulhu Mythos theme using the Call of Cthulhu rules in a setting that allows the players to experience a piece of World War II history flavored with horrific aspects. If you keep this in mind, you won’t be disappointed when playing the campaign.

OVERALL

Three Kings is well-written adventure and a good starting point for a campaign. Although it doesn’t follow traditional design for Call of Cthulhu, it does contain elements that allow you to survive through a full campaign and places the characters in the midst of a gran story unfolding between the events of World War II. Albeit more action-oriented than investigation, it still is a module that I recommend for those who enjoy a little pulp-styled adventure in your Cthulhu Mythos.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
Three Kings is a beautiful book visually. It appears to have been designed for print, however, as the layering of the PDF makes the pages load dreadfully slow. When I read this on my Nook, some pages took almost half a minute to load. While this is annoying, the layout, formatting, and illustrations of the publication make it stand out. I find the text to be very easy to read and the formatting allows it to flow smoothly. The illustrations have a very early-20th Century look to them through the use of dark colors and lack of definition (this is good because it supports the theme). The maps are a great bonus and I love the loose-leaf design. When you look at the book, it looks like a briefing one would get before entering the field for covert operations. It should be noted that on my laptop, once each page has been loaded, going back and forth through the PDF does not take extra time to load.

Storyline: 8 out of 10
Three Kings has a good storyline that develops well from beginning to end. While there are several holes in the actions being taken by the characters (in relation to the content), much of this can be easily filled-in with the fluff material contained throughout and by simply following the general direction of the adventure itself. While many of these holes do seem to be very deliberate, giving the characters maximum flexibility in relation to how they proceed through the adventure, it would be nice to have suggestions on how to keep things moving forward should the adventure begin to stall. Regardless of this, the overall storyline is still a good one.

Desire to Play: 8 out of 10
Like Delta Green, Acthung! Cthulhu takes a very different approach to Call of Cthulhu. Characters are not professors (although they could be), archaeologists, reporters, and police officers; they are instead agents of the soon to be MI-6 out of England. Being that they are performing what could be called a covert operation, you would expect a more militant approach to the adventure. And that’s what you get, a more action-style Call of Cthulhu adventure that is more akin to pulp than it is to horror. While many may feel this strays from the concept of Call of Cthulhu, it is merely another way of utilizing the game system. If you view the adventure as it’s meant to be written, you will enjoy it a lot more.

Overall: 8 out of 10
Three Kings is an interesting deviation from the normal Call of Cthulhu adventure. It provides a little more survival power to the characters and involves them in more than just the Cthulhu Mythos. While the end Mythos creature is an important part of the adventure, it is not an integral part as the adventure encompasses more than just that. It’s a different approach, but a very well-developed one.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Three Kings - Call of Cthulhu
Publisher: Modiphius
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/04/2012 08:15:47
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/06/04/tabletop-review-achtung-
-cthulhu-zero-point-part-1-the-three-kings-call-of-cthulhu/<-
br />
The Three Kings is the first part of a trilogy of adventures for Modiphius’s Achtung! Cthulhu line. It uses the Call of Cthulhu rules system, which has had an amazingly good year with releases like Cthulhu by Gaslight 3rd Edition, Children of the Storm and more. Even non-Chaosium publishers have been putting out some really great stuff for CoC this year as Goodman Games’ A Dream of Japan shows. With all this in mind, I was pretty excited for Acthung! Cthulhu as I really enjoyed the pre-WWII adventure in Children of the Storm and was interested to see how a full WWII era campaign would far.

…as it turns out, not very well. Don’t get me wrong: there is definitely some potential to be had here. It’s just you can really tell that this is a first time publisher’s first ever piece as you flip through it. It’s got some formatting, typographical and layout issues and the full colour PDF is layered very poorly, causing tablets like the Kindle Fire and iPad to have problems loading it. You’ll be able to read it on there, but expect some bits to load later and a good deal of stalling between some pages. These are all things that will improve with time as Modiphius learns and grows as a company. The other problem with The Three Kings however isn’t something you can really fix and that’s that this adventure just doesn’t feel like a Call of Cthulhu adventure. It’s more action than investigation, more violent than cerebral, and the Mythos creature in question might not even show up in the adventure, and when it does, it more or less takes a back seat to zombies (Ugh. ENOUGH with zombies already – and this is coming from a person who wrote for All Flesh Must Be Eaten!) and it just feels thrown in rather than having any real relevance to the story. Any large Mythos creature could be interchanged without a lick of difference and that’s not a good sign. A monster should be a key part or the cornerstone of the adventure and not something just pulled from the core rulebook. The final and worst problem with the adventure is that the writers suggest blowing away said monster with Nazi weaponry, including tanks. This should pretty much be a red flag to all Call of Cthulhu players as this is pretty much the opposite of what CoC gamers want from an adventure. There’s a reason there was such an uproar with Dark Corners of the Earth and the whole “Kill Dagon with a rocket launcher” incident. So as the majority of Call of Cthulhu gamers are looking for adventures that are heavy in thinking skills and low on hack and slash violence, this isn’t an adventure I can recommend to most of them, because it’s the exact opposite of that.

Now that said, if you’re looking for something more akin to a Dungeons & Dragons style dungeon crawl, just with Nazis instead of orcs, Czechs instead of villagers and a castle in Prague instead of a castle in some fantasy realm, you pretty much have it here. Truly, this adventure would be better off with a system like Top Secret, Chill, or something else that is geared for a spy motif. Neither the mood nor story really fits the Call of Cthulhu setting. It’s more akin to survival horror/espionage mash-up than anything remotely close to what a Mythos writer like Chambers, Bierce, Lovecraft et al would have written. That doesn’t make this a BAD adventure; it just means it’s not a good fit for Call of Cthulhu. I’m eager to see the Expeditions or Savage Worlds variations Modiphius is planning on releasing as it might feel more thematically correct there.

So we’ve established this adventure isn’t a good fit for Call of Cthulhu but it DOES use the basic rules and system of Chaosium’s BRP (Basic Role Playing System) decently. There are quite a few noticeable modifications to the system however, which is always a clear cut sign that the adventure should be using a different system because it’s not an easy fit. There’s also some odd statements like, “The Call of Cthulhu rules don’t deal with combat between vehicles. Now not only is that statement poorly worded and grammatically incorrect, but it’s also not true. I’ve seen quite a few adventures that have vehicle based combat, ranging from the 1920s era to Cthulhu Invictus which even has chariot combat rules. Just because something isn’t in the core rulebook doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I do like the new skills (Cryptography, Jury Rig and Scrounge) along with the parachuting rules so again, there are some good ideas in Acthung! Cthulhu; it’s just the inexperience with the system shows.

The actual Three Kings adventure is twenty pages long, with the other twenty four pages being devoted to art, maps, pre-generated characters, NPC stats and more. I think the maps are the best part of the PDF. It’s just too bad the full colour version of the PDF loads so slowly/funny as they are definitely better looking in colour.

So now let’s talk about The Three Kings itself in terms of content. The adventure consists of five “episodes,” each of which are comprised of several scenes. The fifth episode is optional and I do agree with the writers that it will be anticlimactic to actually run it, but it does add a bit of realism to the adventure. Do not think that this adventure is going to have your characters in libraries researching must old tomes or exploring the home of a recently deceased dilettante solving mysteries. No, in The Three Kings, players are members of Section D (what would eventually become MI-6) who are parachuting into Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia in an attempt to uncover some wartime atrocities being committed by the Third Reich. Uncovering what is going on in Prague may be just what England needs to officially declare war on the Axis. The players’ mission is to go into Prague, make contact with the resistance movement there, and discover just what kind of shenanigans the Nazis are up to.

In the first Episode, players will be trying to enter Prague undetected. In the second, they’ll be trying to make contact with the Resistance. In Episode Three you’ll have the same goal but this time you’ll be trying to contact a priest under the codename of ANGEL. Episode Four has you storming a castle and dealing with both the undead and perhaps even a Mythos creature while Episode Five has you fleeing the Prague and returning to England with the information you’ve discovered. Again, as I’ve mentioned throughout this review, this adventure really doesn’t jibe with a Call of Cthulhu feel. It’s very fast paced and action-oriented. There is a lot of fighting and very little detective work. As a one –off, this adventure might be a nice change of pace. However, Modiphius is planning a full line of adventure (Indeed, it’s meant to be a CAMPAIGN!) for CoC in this fashion. So what might seem like a nice one-off for a Keeper and his troupe, definitely will feel tired and forced if they play any other of these adventures. What’s here is okay, but definitely feels shoehorned into the system and setting. It just doesn’t have the slightest bit of Lovecraftian feel towards it. It’s more Hammer than Mythos.

All in all, if you really want to run a hack and slash adventure in a Call of Cthulhu setting where players will be shooting up Nazis and zombies instead of casting spelling of researching how to hold back the old ones, this adventure is an okay one. I’d strongly suggest “The Tracate” from Children of the Storm as a better example of how to blend Nazis, WWII era happenings and the Cthulhu Mythos instead of this. What’s here is okay, but it’s like trying to get some D&D players together and telling the players that today they’ll be in Spelljammer and that they have been hired by Mr. Johnson to break into a corporation and plant false evidence of wrongdoings there so said company gets some negative PR. It might be a cute idea, but that’s what we have Shadowrun for. Actung! Cthulhu uses the Cthulhu system decently enough but it fails to capture the mood, theme and inherent reason why people play Call of Cthulhu in the first place. You can purchase The Wasted Land for less if you really want wartime Cthulhu stuff.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Three Kings - Call of Cthulhu
Publisher: Modiphius
by Whitney M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/25/2012 09:06:09
Here are the key points of this high quality product:

† Excellent art, layout, and plot structuring that make reading and running this an easy job for your GM.
† The tone of this campaign nicely evokes pulp and thriller themes that fit well with the setting.
† The kind of respect for source material and a spirit of accuracy that harkens back to the roots of Call of Cthulhu.
† I worry this might be a wee bit deadly for Call of Cthulhu specifically, not a problem for other systems.
† This is definitely episodic, so you'll probably want to purchase the series if you plan to play this campaign.
† The material is for this campaign specifically, suggestions for a longer campaign are given, but this isn't a setting book per se.

For a full review and audio version see: http://agameofwhits.blogspot.com/2012/05/ep21-achtung-cthulh-
u-review-zero-point.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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