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The Cthulhu Hack: The Haunter of the Dark
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/01/2018 04:52:39

Review from Mephisto 67, translated from German (find orignal German review below)

The Haunter of the Dark is not only the name of a story by H.P. Lovecraft but also the title of an adventure for the role-playing game Cthulhu Hack. The book consists of two parts: the annotated original story and the adventure that is based on it. The book begins, however, with a general introduction on how to use H.P. Lovecraft's original stories - which players may already know - as a basis for a role-playing adventure. The general structure of Lovecraft's stories is analyzed and used as a template for building adventures. The "onion model", which summarizes the layers of dangers and revelations, is also described here as an example. The original story of H.P. Lovecraft, printed in this book, is also commented with symbols to symbolize typical elements of role-playing and rehearsals. This shows which tests and challenges would have affected the protagonist in terms of game rules if he had been the character of the role-playing game. The adventure itself takes up the content of the Lovecraft story and continues it. The author also addresses the question what the horror creature of the narrative could really be all about. With The Haunter of the Dark, the author delivers an interesting adventure approach, as he shows some great ideas for adapting Lovecraft's original stories in the role-playing game in addition to the adventure itself. The idea of commenting the story with symbols and remarks is also a successful approach. This makes The Haunter of the Dark a very fitting interpretation of the original material.

Deutsche Version

The Haunter of the Dark ist nicht nur der Name einer Geschichte von H.P. Lovecraft, sondern auch der Titel eines Abenteuers für das Rollenspiel Cthulhu Hack. Dabei besteht das Buch aus zwei Teilen: einerseits der annotierten Originalgeschichte und andererseits aus dem darauf aufbauenden Abenteuer. Den Anfang des Buches macht jedoch eine Einleitung, die sich allgemein mit dem Thema befasst, wie man die Originalgeschichten von H.P. Lovecraft – die Spieler eventuell bereits kennen – als Grundlage für Abenteuer verwenden kann. Dabei wird auch der allgemeine Aufbau von Lovecrafts Geschichten analysiert und als Schablone für den Aufbau von Abenteuern verwendet. Als Ansatz wird hier auch das »Zwiebelmodell« beschrieben, das die Schichten von Gefahren und Offenbarungen zusammenfasst. Die in dem benteuerband abgedruckte Originalgeschichte von H.P. Lovecraft ist zudem mit Symbolen kommentiert, um typische Elemente des Rollenspiels und Proben zu symbolisieren. Daran kann man erkennen, welche Proben und Herausforderungen den Protagonisten spieltechnisch betroffen hätten, wenn er der Charakter des Rollenspiels gewesen wäre. Das Abenteuer selbst greift den Inhalt der Lovecraft-Geschichte auf und führt sie weiter. Dabei widmet sich der Autor auch der Frage, was es mit der Schreckensgestalt der Erzählung wirklich auf sich haben könnte. Mit The Haunter of the Dark liefert der Autor einen interessanten Abenteueransatz ab, da er neben dem Abenteuer selbst einige gute Ideen zur Adaption von Lovecrafts Originalgeschichten im Rollenspiel aufzeigt. Auch die Idee, die Geschichte mit Symbolen und Bemerkungen zu kommentieren, ist ein gelungener Ansatz. Damit ist The Haunter of the Dark eine gute Interpretation des Originalmaterials.

(a copy of the book was provided by the author)



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Cthulhu Hack: The Haunter of the Dark
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From Unformed Realms
by Tore N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/09/2017 12:23:17

Since From Unformed Realms is essentially system-less, it serves as a great resource for creating new strange monsters for many games. I have personally used it for The Black Hack itself, and for Portal Rats, but not for The Cthulhu Hack itself (yet). Next up I plan to use it for Macchiato Monsters.



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The Cthulhu Hack: Save Innsmouth (Chapter 0)
by Chad R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/29/2016 08:59:02

I ran Save Innsmouth for my students at the Tabletop Game Society I founded at the high school where I teach. In honor of Halloween I suggested we break from the D&D 5E campaign I am running to play The Cthulhu Hack.

I must say, running this one shot for my students ranks up there as one of the most tense and satisfying game experiences I have ever had in my 34 years of playing RPGs.

Well done!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Cthulhu Hack: Save Innsmouth (Chapter 0)
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The Cthulhu Hack
by Dylan R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/12/2016 08:41:06

Brilliant! Simple, yet structured enough to keep the game interesting. If you like The Black Hack (and usage dice for resources) and have an interest in Cthulhu Mythos (or want to learn more about it), buying this book should be a no-brainer. It contains a well written primer on Cthulhu Mythos for the uninitiated. The rules also make converting adventures from other rulesets very simple (all you need for antagonists is Hit Die, and if the adventure you're using doesn't have HD, dividing an NPC's HP by 6 and round up for a HD number works well).



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From Unformed Realms
by Steve D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/07/2016 21:04:07

First things first, Paul offered me a free copy of this product, but after I read it, I went back and paid for it. I expect to make use of it in a few different ways and the price wasn't exactly going to break the bank anyhow.

The charts here are well-organized and useful. They include some options you'd probably consider mandatory for a horror game (like tentacles) and some things you might not have thought of (like acquired - a creature which steals limbs from previous victims). The same goes for several of the other categories. Some of the categories go pretty far-afield, like creatures which excrete urine or semen at will, but honestly those are both pretty horrifying.

For myself, I kind of see a couple of places where I can use this quickly. I'm running a Champions game were some of the villains are playing with magic they don't really understand. Using these charts to generate the creature will make it easy for me to then stat out the character. With the release of Horror Adventures for Pathfinder, there's going to be even more call for creatures and this might help me make them.

Overall this is a great collection of tables with some very inventive options as well as some of the expected options. It's a great product and I'm glad Paul suggested I check it out.



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The Cthulhu Hack
by David H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2016 14:16:35

Another fine member of the Black Hack family, this time adding Cthulhu to the mix. This game would work great for any sort of investigative or pulp/noir scenario, though, and not just Lovecraftian horror. The use of the Black Hack "resource die" concept applied to investigative scenarios works well here.



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The Cthulhu Hack
by Mark C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/12/2016 19:23:09

If you don’t own Paul Baldowski’s The Cthulhu Hack, buy it now. In just a little more than 40 pages, The Cthulhu Hack gives you a complete game that launches its players into deadly conflict with the soul-shrivelling horrors of a Lovecraftian world. The Cthulhu Hack stands severed head and mangled shoulders above every other game of its genre that I’ve read or played.

For a more lengthy review, visit my site.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Consult Appendix Z - No 1: Brace For Impact!
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/02/2013 12:26:36

Like battle plans, scenarios never survive first contact with the enemy... er, sorry, characters... and it's always handy to have something to come up with on the fly to cope with untoward choices. Roll your dice and it soon will be THEM dealing with the untoward events!

Designed as a generic resource for any game system that accommodates interstellar travel, the concept is simple. Just roll three six-sided dice - either serially, or if you have 3 of different colours, all at once. One gives the section, then another a sub-section within it and the last the detail of whatever is going on. It seems more complex to explain than it is to actually do, sorry. Naturally, you can just read through and select something that seems appropriate, or you may prefer to use this as an aid to adventure planning rather than trouble-shooting pesky characters who do not go where you expected!

No assumptions are made about HOW you are travelling between the stars, just that you are doing so, hence there are no jarring references to a specific ruleset. At most you might be 'emerging into normal space' - but those sort of encounters are ones that occur in the outer reaches of a planetary system so it doesn't really matter how you got there. It should be a trivial matter to dress your description appropriately to suit however interstellar travel is conducted in your chosen game.

The actual events are ones that empower you to either make a full adventure out of dealing with whatever is happening or just mention it and carry on with whatever else you want to happen. There are alien encounters, spacial anomalies, system failures on board ship (including something getting soggy... that bugbear of mine, the 'inertial dampener' - why do people think inertia can even get wet?) and some truly weird events.

Never be stumped for something to do in space when your characters are getting restless....



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Consult Appendix Z - No 1: Brace For Impact!
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Creator Reply:
Thanks, Megan. Now, you'd think after 20+ years of watching Star Trek I'd know the inertia only needs damping and not a sponge bath. File updated - and feedback always welcome! -- Paul
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