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Casting Call of Cthulhu
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/06/2018 15:46:50

The Call of Cthulhu monograph series varies tremendously in quality, and Casting Call of Cthulhu is one of the best. It contains dozens of NPCs for use in modern-day Call of Cthulhu games as people who might be informants or provide specialized assistance to the investigators.

A key element of why the Casting Call of Cthulhu is so effective is its organization. The NPCs are listed by the "field" they are in - art, crime, law enforcement, media - meaning that when the players suddenly, out of nowhere, want to go to the press (for example), you have several to choose from. The characters presented are diverse, and each are given fully humanizing qualities - you never know what characters the players will seize on as appealing, so having a solid background, goal, and personality helps bring them quickly to life.

Call of Cthulhu isn't a game that lives or dies by its recurring NPCs - this is a tremendous first step towards filling out a setting that can otherwise feel empty and isolating as the horror genre tends to be.

The missteps in the piece involve some typos (a problem throughout the monographs) and some archaic terms that don't reflect how best to describe a diverse set of peoples. (C'mon, "Oriental"? I get that Gary Gygax used it but Said published Orientalism in 1978. Can't we have caught up by now?)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Casting Call of Cthulhu
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Moonglow
by Konrad R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/06/2018 01:27:36

Well written and complete with everything you need to just read it and start playing almost immediatly.

  • Handouts (maps, NPC lists for the PC)
  • 4 Character sheets (every character can be male or female) + 1 blank sheet
  • Complete scenario, perfect for one evening
  • Inspired by Lovecraft works but in futuristic setting

I will certainly try with the CoC rules as well as a Dread game. It's a perfect fit :)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Moonglow
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RuneQuest Quickstart
by Jorge J. V [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/02/2018 20:50:02

The text was poorly edited, the combat rules are wrong and can't be followed as written. It needs a better copyeditor or line editor.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
RuneQuest Quickstart
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An Invitation in Yellow
by Denice K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/26/2018 19:59:41

Ran this with my CoC group and it was incredible! It has a great mix of suspense/horror, loved the handouts and really satisfying conclusion. Thanks!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
An Invitation in Yellow
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Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Quick-Start Rules
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/22/2018 23:37:06

Call of Cthulhu's written adventures are some of the best on the market. But The Haunting isn't one of them. It's a very straightforward scenario, but, as written, little of the investigation during the scenario actually helps the investigators rid themselves of the menace at the final location. Thankfully, Alone against the Flames is an excellent adventure to introduce you to the mythos, as well as give you ideas how to run a CoC adventure.

As for the ruleset, CoC's skill check system is easy to pick up for roleplayers familiar with other roleplaying games. However, the way most CoC adventures are designed, investigators have to follow a trail of clues -- and if they fail their skill checks, the game master has to find some way to put them on track again. 7th edition added a "push" mechanic which allows a player to attempt another skill check, which helps address this problem, but we now play a homemade rules-light system that takes care of this.

Finally, of course, these rules are free, and you only need to print about ten pages for each player so they have their own set of rules. No more "passing around the rulebook". I'm not sure what the best free adventure is, however.

SPOILER: I highly recommend removing the glowing symbols at the Church, since they're not even explained why they're there. You may wish to modify the tome found at the Church to contain a spell that will help the party at the climax.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Quick-Start Rules
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The Pipeline: A Call of Cthulhu Scenario for the 1980s
by Ian C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/03/2018 08:15:44

The Pipeline is more than just a Call of Cthulhu scenario. Inside you will find some really good options for making the environment come to life, adding a bit of NATURAL horror to the usual supernatural! This product also contains great handouts, maps, new equipment, NPCs, and more... greatly adding to the value of the product in my opinion.

The environmental options are really well presented and they make sense. They provide you with a lot of options, while not forcing you to add anything you don't want should you feel the game is already deadly enough for your particular group. Personally, I like my horror games as deadly and scary as they can get, so I'm certain I'll get good use out of these new rules!

The next part of the book is the scenario itself. The guys have really done a great job with the presentation here, laying out a thorough and easy to follow timeline and really going into great detail on all of the locations and scenes. Oh, and there are a LOT of them, too! This is not a one shot scenario, and I expect it to last at least three sessions for most of my usual groups. The locations and scenes are laid out in a sandbox fashion, and aside from the timeline of events that will occur without player character intervention there isn't any railroading to be found here.

The handouts presented are plentiful and of great quality. They do a great job of supporting the aesthetic of the scenario, and are easy to make use of whether gaming at a live table or via online play.

The final portion of the book details dozens of potential NPCs, presents 8 pregen characters should you need them, and detail some of the new/unique equipment for this scenario. All of this is supported by some great images and artwork!

In conclusion, this is an excellent supplement for Call of Cthulhu, on par with some of the great official Chaosium releases in my mind! It looks great, reads great, and pretty soon I will get to find out just how great it plays!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Pipeline: A Call of Cthulhu Scenario for the 1980s
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Orient Express tickets
by Marcin M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/25/2018 15:23:04

Great addition to the campaign. Played with those tickets, and marking every major station really helped feel like we have achieved some milestone in our journey.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Orient Express tickets
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The Night Door
by Edward P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/21/2018 10:01:02

Jon Hook is one of my all-time favorite RPG writers, so getting this scenario was a no-brainer for me. The Night Door doesn't disappoint! It's a creepy mystery with a lot of surprises for the players. It comes with a printer-friendly version which is awesome! Keep them coming Jon!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Night Door
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Cinematic Environs: Arctic Lands [Call of Cthulhu Edition]
by graeme p. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/21/2018 04:08:12

Includes very handy condtions for Keepers and are well laid out. They create easy dynamic landscape that could create far more memorable games, especially ones with travelling across biomes which can be hard for keepers to keep interesting. Coupled with the 100 arctic encounters which are also useful to pull out on the fly to spice it up and you have a well armed Keeper able to infuse what is would be a boring slog over terrain into something exciting.

But it is padded with very general information and basic tropes. If it either expanded other sections like Arctic horror into something with useful information or cut it altogether and focus on the cinematic angle it would benefit the PDFs scope.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Cinematic Environs: Arctic Lands [Call of Cthulhu Edition]
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Mizuumi no bakemono
by LUDOVIC D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/07/2018 17:32:22

This scenario is a very good start for a quick, funny and nice introduction to the Myth of Cthulhu in Japan. It is not common to have a Cthulhu adventure in this country, so it is particularly interesting. The choice of the main Japanese “monsters” is also well chosen as they remind you some of the monsters of the Myth and are quite common in Japanese Mythology (Read the author comments).

The author is also definitively creating a real Japanese Atmosphere where he leads you to his Story. Everything is well documented, so it is not difficult to find his path into the adventure and feel the vibe of it.

I think that this Scenario is particularly well adapted for new players who want to experiment some Cthulhu adventures in modern time and not common place like Japan.

The translation in French of the PDF is a very good initiative and definitively a “plus”! (Thanks for it!)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mizuumi no bakemono
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Plague
by Alex S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/28/2018 23:46:44

Players loved it. Daunting at first to run that many NPCs at once, but the end result was 3/4 screams of terror and 1/4 screams of delight as investigators split up and started busting in and out of apartments like a madcap farce gone horribly awry. Randomized epidemiology gave ample rope for PCs to theorize as they made their way through things.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Plague
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This Old Haunted House, Too
by Dan C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2018 20:04:03

This is an excellent "battle map" resource. The houses included range from simple farmhouses to sprawling mansions to full-on, walled-off estates. It covers architectural styles from the mid-1800s to 1910 or so. A few maps list the kitchen as a "hall"; I mention it just to save other readers from momentary confusion. The diagrams are otherwise clean and easy to read.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
This Old Haunted House, Too
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RuneQuest - Roleplaying in Glorantha
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/24/2018 03:40:15

The new RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha by Chaosium is an incredible product. Blessed with fantastic artwork, lovely layout and writing that could only come from the heart of someone who truly, absolutely loved the setting, reading RuneQuest was a heck of an experience.

Myths and Stories

RuneQuest’s setting of Glorantha has seen many incarnations and rightfully so. It’s a land that feels like a real myth, and the practices of the people in the land and their magics and beliefs are so grounded in what could have been that simply exploring that could fuel me for entire campaigns.

It’s rare that I find a setting so well adapted to sandbox campaigns, where the point is to help your community see the next year with healthy children, a larger herd of cows and the blessings of your Gods. Gone are the traditional “Chosen One” and “Murderhobo” formats, replaced instead with the simple (but difficult) task of living.

As I Live And Breathe

Few settings are so well explored in terms of the daily lives of its denizens as Glorantha. I remember early on that I came to RuneQuest hoping that it could deliver the same sense of culture as Legend of the Five Rings.

Now I find myself praying that the new edition of Legend of the Five Rings can relay their setting with the same care and attention to detail as Glorantha was presented in RuneQuest.

Everything and everyone has a place and a role, and Adventurers are motivated and constrained by their role in their communities. It’s a beautiful social ecosystem that never feels contrived or made-up. And even in the absence of some world-shattering horror or Big Bad Evil Guy, there’s plenty to do.

The Rules

RuneQuest is a product of an older era of game design, and it shows. It’s not quick, easy or narrative. The rules don’t fade into the background as you play, and combat determines the smallest thing from where you hit to how much damage it does, and if it harm’s the target’s armor. I see a lot of slow combat and plenty of rules look ups early on and feel a great need to own a GM’s screen.

And that suits me fine.

RuneQuest is a stellar example of a game that knows what it wants to do. Combat is detailed because we’re playing out a simulation that is ugly, dirty, and likely to leave everyone injured. Magic is detailed, and full of requirements and considerations and options for ritual add-ons because you’re entreating spirits or gods to show you favor.

The rules aren’t there to obscure the moment: they’re there to highlight it.

So while I won’t reach for RuneQuest for Fast! Furious! Fun! I will use it when I want to tell a tale of heroes that reads like the Literary Epics rather than a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie.

Downsides

Not everything is perfect though. RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha is a fantastic product, but it does feel incomplete. Without a bestiary (a concern now addressed with the release of the book just a few days ago) the book itself is less of a complete experience.

Also missing are chapters devoted to teaching people to run RuneQuest. While there is no shortage of inspiration, I had hoped that it would include more advice on how to start and what kind of adventures one could run for it. I’m approaching this review as a GM who has run all sorts of games so what might be obvious to me may be a concern to new GMs who picked up RuneQuest only to find that there wasn’t enough support for them right out of the gate.

I know there’s a GM book in the works somewhere, but I wish that and the Bestiary came out at the same time if only to give the full experience.

Conclusion

RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha is a glorious game, and much like reading the epics, is extremely rewarding if you sit down and put some effort into reading it. The rules are complex but fit together in the manner of a Swiss watch, and the setting only makes it even more impressive.

It’s not fast, nor narrative, nor does it want to be. It knows it’s place, and doesn’t try to reach out to other spaces when it completely dominates at what it is. I would highly recommend it to GMs looking for a setting that can sandbox extremely well, has a wonderful sense of mythic realism, and isn’t intimidated by the reputation it has.

Chaosium has wowed me consistently from day 1 with my experiences with Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition, but RuneQuest is the one game that has knocked me off my feet and made me a believer.

Get it, study it, and fall in love with it.

I know I have.

Thanks for reading my review. This is a fraction of a huge 10-article "Let's Study" review series on my blog that you can find over at https://philgamer.wordpress.com/tag/runequest/ There you'll find a breakdown of the contents and impressions of the major chapters of the book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
RuneQuest - Roleplaying in Glorantha
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山里にて(At the Mountain Village)
by Steven R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/16/2018 17:19:54

This was the first Miskatonic Repository scenario that I have run for my group, and I must say that it was a whole lot of fun. At The Mountain Village takes place in the Taishō period, so the time frame is firmly in the Call of Cthulhu 1920s era. It's a very straight forward narrative that gives both keeper and players a lot of room to rollplay, and room for keepers to add their personal touch to the scenario. One thing that stood out for me was that there wasn't a mythos-driven explanation that informed Japanese beliefs, which can happen in weird fiction and in Call of Cthulhu games. All in all, I'd run it again, especially as something to introduce new players to the game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
山里にて(At the Mountain Village)
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Cthulhu Now
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2018 20:40:54

Though other campaigns have gone further, this really pioneered the idea of Mythos gaming in the modern day. Forensic Pathology and the adventures still seem worth a look.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cthulhu Now
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