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    Trail of Cthulhu: The Black Drop
    Publisher: Pelgrane Press
    by Mike P. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 12/30/2018 16:37:59

    Holy cow! This is a beatiful piece of work. Centered around a real place with a slew of real-world informational bits, this bleak but inspired scenario is incredibly well-written. The kernel of the story is fairly simple, but the attention to detail, excellent characters, and well-developed encounters make for a memorable scenario.

    I bought this alongside another adventure for CoC as two possible options for a one-shot and this module hits every single note that the other adventure didn't, providing a scenario that I couldn't have just written myself. It's sandbox with lots of potential exploration routes. And, the author has done the best job of SHOWING not TELLING that I have seen in a while. The author also has a wonderful vocabulary (I had a flashback to my early days reading Gygax et al and looking up several words in the dictionary [albeit with an iPhone instead of a book]).

    My only criticism is that I wish there were some more zoomed in maps (of the village, the layout of the meteorologist camp, etc.) and that the pre-gens had an easily printable "sheets" to hand to the players.

    It's dense with information and has a lot of moving pieces, so I'd recommend reading through this adventure a couple times to really grok the flow of things. But, I cannot wait to see it in play and let my players get rolling on this!

    For the incredibly low price of $6, this is a must-buy.

    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Trail of Cthulhu: The Black Drop
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    Curse of the Yellow Sign Collected
    Publisher: John Wick Presents
    by Mike P. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 12/29/2018 23:34:08

    Wow. So, I don't know what that other reviewer is smoking. My review is based entirely on the first Act - Digging for a Dead God.

    Folks, if you want the adventure, here it is: Nazi officers find the entrance to an ancient tomb in the jungles of Africa and if they open it a ghost escapes and whispers evil shit into their ears and they are Nazis so like do that evil shit -- inside the tomb is a skeleton, some treasure, and a podium with a hand print (think the end of Total Recall).

    THAT'S IT. That's the whole fucking adventure. Sorry. "Sandbox." No other details are provided about the tomb. What happens when you put your hand in the imprint? No fucking clue. Make it up. What is the skeleton? No fucking clue. Make it up. What happens when characters stare upon the Yellow Sign? No fucking clue. Make it up. Or, as the author puts it: Nazis find a door, open it, and bad shit happens.

    It couldn't be summed up any more plainly because that's literally the meat of the adventure.

    Seriously. In large part, Wick puts the onus on the players and the Keeper to actually write the adventure. Well, for fuck's sake. If I had known the synopsis on the product description was THE ACTUAL ADVENTURE I could have saved $10 and dreamed up all the cool shit myself.

    Here's what is NOT in this "scenario":

    • an interesting location to explore beyond a veneer of "tomb with some unexplained shit"
    • insight into any fucking thing that might be why this place is here or what its purpose might be
    • more nuanced and interesting character motivation
    • some actual fucking psychological effects for failed sanity rolls in this place
    • any number of possible events that might occur during the session for the Keeper to draw from (e.g. a British soldier is captured, one of the villagers starts an uprising against the Nazis, a list of spooky events to randomly roll or pick from, OR ANY FUCKING THING THAT I COULDN'T JUST COME UP WITH RIGHT NOW TYPING THIS -- it's YOUR JOB AS THE AUTHOR TO PROVIDE COOL SHIT SO I DON'T HAVE TO)
    • Something fucking interesting to say about the Man in Black, especially what he might want the various specific characters to do

    Also, this is not a fucking "sandbox". A sandbox has interesting choices to make based on the environment. Calling this a sandbox is an insult to every actual gaming product providing some semblance of an actual location-based scenario. There are supposed to be "sidebars" with conditional effects that are entirely missing. What happens when the players use dynamite instead of strength to open the door? "See non-existant sidebar".

    I would give this 1 star, however, there are a few tidbits of character motivation in the admittedly neatly designed character folios. It's nothing mind-blowing: one of the Nazis wants to kill everyone, one has a secret that another is using to blackmail him (though the actual handout doesn't fucking explain this to the player who has the secret... so the Keeper is once again required to do the heavy lifting here), one is a spy, and one wants to "keep his men safe" (barf).

    DO NOT BUY THIS MODULE. Just read the synopsis and use that to flare up your imagination -- that's all you'll find here anyway. And, you can find the map and character handouts here: http://www.johnwickpresents.com/yellow/act1.html

    [2 of 5 Stars!]
    Curse of the Yellow Sign Collected
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