The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=19449.
Digging for a Dead God is a story module for Call of Cthulhu set in Africa just before the outbreak of World War II. I say story module in echo of John Wick’s own words. Rather than being an adventure full of things like stats and a boss fight, Digging for a Dead God contains a few key events, but otherwise leaves everything up to the GM. Mr. Wick provides a helpful section at the end of the story to help flesh things out into an adventure as well as the six characters intended to be used in the scenario.
Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
The production quality of Digging for a Dead God is quite high from what I can tell from the PDF. The layout is logical with easy to read fonts. The artwork is well-selected and doesn’t distract from the text. Not much else to say. If you printed it out on nice paper and bound it, I expect it would be a great looking product. The only two things I didn’t like about it was how the sidebar John Wick mentions appears suddenly and occupies an entire page, which interrupts the flow on a straight read through, and the stats of the pre-generated characters are hard to read.
Before the review continues, let it do so with the understanding that I am assessing this product under the assumption that the person using it will be happy to invent most of the details of the story, aren’t adverse to inter-PC conflict, and likes horror. If that isn’t the case, you should drop the following two scores by half.
Storyline: 9 out of 10
The adventure is both internally consistent as well as the type of story one associates with Call of Cthulhu; that is to say, horror, rather than a shoot ‘em up. The story also lends itself to being the kickoff for a larger campaign set during World War II. As previously mentioned, there is a lot of room for a GM to make the module fit whatever they had in mind for their campaign. Alternatively, it can be used as designed, as a one-off, without any trouble.
Desire to Play: 8 out of 10
This is a refreshing way to spend an evening or kick off a new campaign. Depending on your group though, it might be more fun to make up 6 PCs rather than use the ones provided, although that will disrupt certain interparty dynamics. Compared to similar adventures I have seen in, for lack of a better term, skeletal form, this one is quite good. It lays out what you need to play and not much else, allowing for plenty of customization either beforehand or on the fly.
Overall: 9 out of 10
As I said, what you get out of this adventure really has to do with your taste in adventure design. Personally, my PCs always just blow the plot up anyways, so I find something like Digging for a Dead God’s design, with only the major plot points established, to be highly useful. John Wick’s plot isn’t the sort of thing I would normally come up with, but there is enough room in his design for the addition of elements that I like and that I am comfortable using. I typically don’t do one-offs and I’m more of a fantasy guy, so the premade PCs and default setting are a bit of a turn-off. That said, the beauty of having only the theme mechanics of the system mean it can be moved easily not only within setting, but also rule sets.