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Trail of Cthulhu: The Black Drop $5.95 $4.94
Average Rating:4.3 / 5
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Trail of Cthulhu: The Black Drop
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Trail of Cthulhu: The Black Drop
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/30/2017 07:43:42

Cabable of working well in both purist or pulp modes (or a combination of both) this adventure is set in the remote Kerguelen archipelago (far south in the Indian ocean), which is just about to be abandoned. Oddly, just as the settlers depart, a German expedition arrives with mysterious purpose... and what lurks there, in the bleak rocks?

The background explains all for the Keeper and lays out the terrible choice facing the Investigators. You may decide to keep this as a one-off, or notes are provided if you prefer to weave it into an existing campaign (but bear in mind that this adventure may well be the party's last if you do). Pre-generated characters are provided and they are, of course, all embedded into the story. If you are using your own characters, assorted reasons for why they might be there are provided.

The adventure itself begins on the voyage to the Kerguelen Islands, and there's plenty of interaction to be had (and clues to be picked up) before the ship arrives there... and a bleak, cold and unwelcoming place it is, too. Everyone is dropped off, their ship has other matters to attend to and will be back to pick them up in a couple of weeks. There's a flurry of activity with the last few settlers packing up, the German expedition turns up having lost one of their number and again there are plenty of opportunities for interaction and to find yet more clues... and then things begin to go wrong. Murder and arson are the least of it...

The Investigators will be able to wander the main island pretty much as they please: there's plenty to be found... and a fair bit going on. And eventually they will find... well, the climax involves a dark and dreadful deity, cultists hell-bent on restoring his power and even greater fanatics trying to stop it. Anyone not ending up a sacrifice or in some other way dead will be very lucky indeed.

There's a wonderful sense of bleakness and approaching menace, a creepy cinematic atmosphere that thickens with every moment. NPC notes, handouts, a couple of photos of wildlife, and maps of the islands (and a ship plan) help you keep on top of everything and create a chilling adventure that will live long in the players' minds (there's a good chance that their characters won't survive to remember anything, though)... and all under the threat that if that deity isn't stopped things look bad for the entire world.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Trail of Cthulhu: The Black Drop
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Michael H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/10/2012 13:52:21

The Black Drop was the first of Jason Morningstar's Trail of Cthulhu adventures. It's available as a 40-page PDF or in the Out of Time compilation of adventures. In either format, it consists of a three-column, gray-scale layout with some nice artwork and a very usable layout although it's tough to use on a tablet.

As written The Black Drop is designed to be easily adaptable to either the Pulp or Purist style of play, depending on the mood of the table - all that it really takes is a few tweaks to the tone of the Keeper's descriptions and scene framing.

The Black Drop pays homage to horror stories set in cold, remote places (e.g., Beyond the Mountains of Madness and even John Carpenter's The Thing), without really being derivative of any of them. It takes place Kerguelen archipelago in the southern region of the Indian Ocean. Its locations and history are also based in reality – this includes the names of several notable NPCs on the islands. However, unlike real history, things in the Kerguelen Islands will take a much more horrific turn as the adventure opens.

The premise for the investigation has the investigators aboard a freighter steaming into Port Couvreux in the Kerguelen Islands. The French government has has decided to abandon its failed settlement in the remote islands, and the ship's crew and passengers have been sent to either aid in the colony's abandonment or are taking advantage of the situation to visit the islands one last time. Meanwhile, further down the coast, a mysterious German-funded expedition has arrived, likely for no good purpose (the adventure is set in the 1930s so we're talking about Nazi Germany here). As expected, the investigators quickly find themselves wrapped up in a sinister plot involving an ancient evil about to rise again, cultists, Nazis, and a battle to save humanity.

The investigation itself is fairly straight forward, with a variety of clues that ultimately will lead the group (hopefully) to the the climactic finish. To its credit, the investigation has a very flexible structure that will let players head in a variety of directions rather than being forced down a very specific path to the end. There's also quite a bit for the Keeper to define and flesh-out in order to make the adventure their own, tailoring it to the style and tastes of the group. That said, there's more than enough detail for a novice to run straight out of the book.

Similarly, the pregenerated characters that are included are a good fit for the adventure, but are left undefined enough for players to make them their own. However, unlike some other Trail of Cthulhu adventures, the pregenerated characters aren't quite as tightly integrated in to the story and therefore The Black Drop is easier to fit into an ongoing campaign, using player-generated characters.

I really like The Black Drop: it's a dark, bleak adventure with the potential for a mixture of investigation and action. While I'm more of a fan of the more Purist-style ToC adventures, that's more of a matter of taste and The Black Drop can easily be adapted for that style with a minimal amount of effort given the quality of the writing and the nature of the story, and thus The Black Drop is well worth investigating.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Trail of Cthulhu: The Black Drop
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Timo S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/07/2011 00:36:38

This adventure in my mind is worth 5 easily. Its an innovatiove horror story with a clever twist and very lovecraftian feel to it. If you buy it and feel the same way I do, please review it here. Note I try to rate products on a scale of 1-5 so that 2 is something I might buy and use, 3 is good, 4 is exceptional and 5 is amazing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Trail of Cthulhu: The Black Drop
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Jeffrey V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/03/2010 12:28:57

This is another one-shot scenario for Trail of Cthulhu. This one is not as restrictive (or as unrelentingly grim) as The Dying of St. Margaret was, and can be played effectively as both a pulp adventure and a "purist" adventure -- though most of the material is written from the purist perspective. This scenario is a killer and most of the investigators participating are quite likely to die in the process, however intriguingly, this one is set in the Kerguelen Islands (in the far south of the Indian Ocean) and for the source material on the Kerguelens alone it is well worth $5.00. The plot is suitably mysterious complete with a secret society, Nazis and French officials, and various red herrings to drag across the players' paths. The nemesis in the scenario is horrifying and very likely (in fact almost certainly) to kill the players' characters. There are several plot hooks that can be used to get to and from this adventure, along with some nice hints that could lead to other scenarios of your devising -- if anyone survives this one, that is. It's not really intended to fit into any on-going campaign, and given the unlikelihood of survival on the part of the investigators, that's not really surprising.

As usual, DriveThru's reproduction of the book is simply outstanding. I'm giving this one a "4" overall because despite the usefulness of the backstory, the adventure itself is more suited to a convention play than an on-going play group. Still, it's as well written as most of the Pelgrane Press efforts are, and shows a loving attention to detail. All in all, well done.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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