Feb 072014
 

4181fPsreVL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_[1]By Paco Garcia Jaen

World War II to this day mesmerises historians and non-historians. Its effects are still felt and we now look back and wonder how some of the atrocities could have possibly happened. I’m not sure any other war has received as much media coverage as WWII, with movies, games, books, more movies and many more artistic expressions covering the subject.

And at a time like WWII, the real and the fantastic can meet to tell fascinating stories and provide with fertile grounds for anyone’s imagination. All this comes with a risk, though.

World War Cthulhu: The Darkest Hour was a product that people have been looking forward to for many years. A gaming supplement for Call of Cthulhu that would provide with gaming material to set adventures in the already perilous theatre of World War II and gave the chance to fight for the survival of our world? Count me in!

And thus Cubicle 7 made it happen.

The book had been in development for a fair length of time. And rightly so. Rushing the production of a book like this could lead to mistakes that would turn the useful into offensive very, very quickly. So how has Cubicle 7 done?

Well, the book itself is actually quite impressive. A hardcover tome with a cover that is genius in its simplicity – and just as wonderful to look at – holds back no punches in conveying the darkness that the pages hold.

The layout by Paul Bourne let eyes glide through the pages as if they were made of silk. There has been fantastic attention to detail and a tremendous and careful consideration to the location of pictures and ornaments throughout this book.

The art direction is just as well looked after, with a number of illustrations combining a good mix of styles to enhance the mood of each chapter and section, so all and all, a very nice book to look at that makes me wonder what a truly gorgeous edition it would be if we could have it in full colour.

The chapter organisation is just as well curated. Starting with an introduction of the book itself and tackling head on the Cthulhu Mythos, Nazis and the whole mood of war times, a quick – but extremely helpful – history of the British Intelligence services , from MI5 and MI6 to Naval Intelligence Division, Intelligence Corps, Royal Air Intelligence and the Special Operations Executive. The aim is more to give a description of their ethos and activities, as well as the relationship between them, so they can be successfully used in homemade campaigns. And that it does very well.

There’s plenty of intrigue and motivation on all of these organisations and I found quite fantastic how this book paints a picture in which all of them are trying to do the right thing for different reasons and in different ways. Petty squabbles and struggle for resources amongst the reasons that turn these organisations into ineffectual machinery that does what it can with what it’s got.

However the mysterious N takes the spotlight in this book. A network of secret agents that work both for one of the public intelligence organisations whilst carrying out missions to stop the menaces from beyond destroying our planet. This is the mysterious network set up by N, whose one and only interest is to stop the many creatures from beyond our universe from destroying our planet. And you are about to be recruited by him.

Adding this organisation serves twofold. Firstly it gives the perfect motivation to join the battle against the Mythos. The second, and possibly the most important, is that it detaches the players from the war itself a bit, by aiming its focus to the supernatural and turning that into an even bigger threat than war itself.

On the second chapter World War Cthulhu introduces the rules to create characters able to operate in the theatre of war. Guidelines to create your own investigator, a new character sheet and a full example of how to create your character from start to finish, new skills,occupations and rules to adapt existing investigators to World War Cthulhu. To top it off, some intelligence procedures and small unit tactics. Basically, all you need not just make sure your character has all she needs to operate during war times, but also to get the atmosphere and frame of mind ready to have an able character.

The crew at Cubicle 7 haven’t spent too long on this part of the book and, truth be told, they didn’t really need to. You already have all you need in the core rule-book and this is just supplementary information to make adaptations. And as such it works very well indeed!

The Keeper’s Handbook is, as you would expect, the longest at nearly one hundred pages. Pages that are packed with data and information. A description of N’s network, its opponents, mission designs and advice on how to run those missions open this chapter, setting you up to get the most out of the Mythos right away and regardless of where you want to place your adventures. However, and to make sure nothing is left to chance, there is a fair amount of information on the effects of war in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

The rules of engagement also provide with extra guidance on ambushes, parachuting and other activities so popular – and let’s face it, exciting – for your characters to try out. This chapter will probably make you want to keep the book nearby, as there are quite a few new rules and situations you’ll want to refer to from time to time.

The equipment section is just as well populated. As well as a comprehensive list of equipment one could buy during WWII, but also how much they’d cost you in the black market and general availability. The best thing about this section is how it also gives instructions about discretion. Basically, anyone looking for something that’s not easy to find, like a vehicle or guns, would raise suspicions from the likely spies nearby. That’s bad news. The last thing the investigator’s want is the Nazis following close on their tracks when they’re trying to stop a Great Old One from raising and consuming all that’s knowable!

The one and only thing that I missed in this section were more illustrations. Admittedly, with the Internet at our disposal we can find all the illustrations we need, but having illustrations of the different – and numerous – weapons and vehicles described would have been a very nice touch.

The last part of the book is an adventure and campaign setting; The God in the Woods.

Let me see if I can make this clear enough: If what I have already described is not enough to get this book, or it’s just not interesting for you, this adventure should suffice to justify the purchase of this book.

The adventure sees the investigators being deployed in rural France, more precisely in Saint-Cerneuf-du-Bois, where one of N’s occultist friends has gone missing in very strange circumstances. The town, on the border of occupied France, sit at the edge of a forest in which not everything is what it seems. In fact pretty much nothing is what it seems. I don’t want to spoil anything, so will say no more.

OK, that’s not entirely true. I will also say that the adventure has a cult, lots of locations, plenty of non-player characters, history, intrigue, danger and it is damn scary!

I kid you not. This adventure, although it might seem traditional at first sight with its cult and Mythos entity, has been wonderfully crafted to be seriously scary. Plenty of opportunities for the unknown and surprises have been clearly put together. Whether you want to use this adventure as a starting point to introduce your players to war, or use the town as a centre of operation and centre of a longer and bigger campaign, there’s a bit of everything in here.

Seriously, I can’t praise this adventure enough!

Conclusion

Once again, line manager Dominic McDowall manages to put together the perfect team to create a wonderful product. Starting with the superb art direction and fantastic layout, the writing doesn’t lag behind with clear and concise information that doesn’t feel redundant or heavy with too many details.

The best bit about this book is how it manages to deal with the whole horror of war. Although the scenario is indeed contemplated, the authors run away from creating a Nazi army fuelled by the knowledge of the Mythos, which would turn the whole war effort into some sort of gigantic cult, thus providing some reasoning behind the atrocities committed during the war.

Instead, World War Cthulhu gives you a completely parallel, but perfectly seamless, dimension to war, leaving you to get on with your business of saving the world while dodging or dealing with the situation.

Although I must admit I’d *love* to see a full colour version of this book and more illustrations, there isn’t much to fault on this book. Totally, totally fantastic!

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Dec 292013
 

Eternal_Lies_cover_mockup1By Paco Garcia Jaen

Apart from being a truly terrific game, Call of Cthulhu also gave us in the 80s and 90s some truly fantastic adventures based on the works of Lovecraft. Masks of Nyarlathotep, Beyond the Mountains of Madness, Horror on the Orient Express, etc. are titles of adventures that should be in any serious (and some not so serious) enthusiasts. They were gritty, they were tough and they were very, very atmospheric.

Eternal Lies pays homage to those amazing adventures and provides with an adventure campaign that takes the players around the globe trying to unravel a mystery that took place 10 years before the adventure starts and confront another that reveals itself as they find themselves in the middle of a plot to destroy our planet as we know it.

In this occasion, though, this adventure is not for Call of Cthulhu. The game this adventure fits is Trail of Cthulhu instead, published by Pelgrane Press and written by Kenneth Hite and Robin D. Laws. However, and for reasons that will become clear as you read this review, this shouldn’t deter you from considering purchasing this adventure.

The first thing that caught my attention was the authors. Will Hindmarch, Jeff Tidball and Jeremy Keller. They are all well established and talented writers on their own right, so I was curious and excited about what they could bring. Excited enough to actually join the play test team and have a go at it myself. Stupidly enough, and because the adventure was, simply put, perfect, I didn’t submit a full report. Shame on me.

That left me seriously desperate to see this finished, which took over a year. Was it worth it?

Totally!

Firstly the book. This is a hard back and very high quality book with nearly 400 pages of well packed content. The layout is the standard layout Pelgrane has us well accustomed to. Three easy-to-read columns with more than enough illustrations, icons and cartography to make sure we never get lost. And believe me, any help is welcome as this adventure is truly huge.

So, from the production point of view, I really have no objections. It is certainly worth the money you pay for it if you buy the book and the attention to detail leaves nothing to be desired.

Then you start to read and you can relate to fish after about 10 minutes. The adventure hooks you right away and pulls you towards it mercilessly. You can try to get away from it, but the pages keep turning, you keep reading and the whole experience becomes a truly enjoyable discovery.

To make matters even better, the whole adventure is full of fantastic advice, not just on how to run this adventure, but advice that will serve you very well in any other game, like the use of linking scenes, side stories and what to do with the PCs downtime and use their pillars of stability and sanity as motivations to continue with the adventure.

At the start of this adventure, the players are contacted and hired by a wealthy woman to find out what happened 10 years before, when her father and friends saw themselves involved in something that she doesn’t know anything about but had some serious consequences in their lives. What she doesn’t know is that they tried to stop the summoning of a monstrous entity and failed. Soon after the players accept, they will find themselves in the path of a mysterious substance called Nectar, a sort of drug that’s making quite a stir in the drug-taking community. To avoid spoilers, I will only say a cult is behind the substance and they are trying to get as many people hooked on the substance as possible. Why, who or what is truly behind Nectar is something you’ll have to buy the book for. Trust me, it’s worth it.

The players will have to take their characters all around the USA and then around the world in a huge campaign that has a lot of twists and turns, all of them perfectly managed and well controlled to make sure things don’t get out of hand.

This is a very long campaign and, to be honest, it shouldn’t be rushed. There is so much information in this book, and all the clues, hooks, plot points, scenes and characters have been so well laid out and carefully thought of that one is never far from the answer you need to help your players.

Furthermore careful consideration has been given to how the information is presented for the Keeper. One of my gripes with long adventures is the way information is sorted around the papers to make sure they are accessible and also with the amount of useless information presented. In this book everything has been geared to help and complete or compliment the adventure. Everything has been explained, from a timeline to how to use the material. General advice is scattered around and some ideas suggested on how to use the NPCs, locations, travel times… The lot.

Conclusion

Although Eternal Lies has what many people have considered to be an unoriginal plot (a cult trying to destroy the world and some characters trying to stop them) the way it’s been done and the reasons why it’s been done justify it without a problem.

Firstly I have to say it didn’t bother me at all that it had a plot device that’s well known. It didn’t because, as well as being perfectly congruous, it’s not “in your face” all the time. As the adventure unravels, the cult becomes more prominent, but never the full focus of the mission. They just happen to be there because it’s the way the main antagonist has to infiltrate humanity (see how I’m keeping things vague!). So don’t let the cult put you off, it really is there for good reasons.

The rest is perfect. It is, by far, the best product I’ve seen in 2013 that didn’t come out of a Kickstarter campaign. Beautifully written, very well illustrated and bound for life, as you’d want to make sure it can sustain the heavy duty opening and closing that running it needs.

One thing I haven’t mentioned is the ending of the adventure. I will not give details, but I will say the finale is as epic as you’d expect and want for, and they manage to make it so it is congruent and doesn’t feel farfetched – which considering we’re talking about a Cthulhu-esque adventure, it’s one hell of an achievement.

And things don’t stop there. Pelgrane Press is supporting this adventure quite well, with interactive maps, a whole musical suite to aid the mood of the adventure and ongoing conversations in forums, comments in their website and some plans for a podcast with a play through the adventure with an alternative ending to avoid spoilers (at the time of writing this review this was a plan that was being considered, so keep an eye on the Pelgrane site, subscribe to their newsletter and email or contact them to tell them to produce it… the more we ask for that, the more chances of it happening!).

So, I think it won’t come as a surprise if I give this adventure the full five stars treatment. I can’t recommend it enough and I doubt, very much, that anyone will regret buying this book.

Have an insanely amazing time!

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Aug 122012
 

delta-green[1]Meld of Cthulhu Mythos and contemporary conspiracy theory.

By Megan Robertson

Publisher’s blurb: “Welcome to America at the end of the Millennium. Do you know who is pulling the strings? Delta Green does. This outlaw conspiracy operates within the U.S. government, fighting a clandestine, unauthorized, and highly dangerous rear-guard action against the forces of darkness. This exhaustive sourcebook describes the decades-long history of Delta Green as well as its allies and adversaries. It includes extensive source material on a wide range of topics, including factual profiles of more than thirty U.S. military/intelligence agencies with investigator occupation templates for each. Also included are two scenarios and a mini-campaign, plus guidelines on setting up a long-term Delta Green campaign. This is the longest CoC supplement ever published, and it’s jam-packed with information.”

Megan’s review

Many years ago, in a scene that came straight out of these pages, a car drew up outside my house and the driver handed me a copy of this book before whizzing off again! Unfortunately, it was a loan, but the release of a PDF version gives me the urge and wherewithal to sit down and review it.

It opens with a facsimile letter, the rant of an aging veteran steeped in disgust at the modern world and in the urban myths of conspiracy theories about Roswell aliens and military-industrial complexes… or is it a clear-headed look at what many do not, cannot see? This is followed by the Introduction, blending the real reasons for general public mistrust of government seamlessly into the alternate reality of Call of Cthulhu where the Cthulhu Mythos is all too terribly real and ready to drive those who investigate it insane. This book brings the whole Mythos bang up to date, bringing forth a group, Delta Green, dedicated to combating it wherever it dares raise a slimy tentacle, keeping the world, unknowingly, safe one day at a time.

Chapter 1: The Big Picture continues in similar vein, beginning with a discussion of the rationale behind the work: that the original Call of Cthulhu rules never provided for a real reason why anyone should risk life and sanity combating an evil that, apart from the odd shady cultist, didn’t really impact that much on the world as a whole. Moreover, as private citizens, they often had as much opposition from the forces of law and order as from transdimensional beings with lots of tentacles. The final motivator was to provide a solid contemporary setting for those who found the 1920s just too remote and out-of-date. Here, then, is a contemporary setting with characters as government agents involved in a conspiracy to protect the world from a lot more than bank robbers, serial killers and terrorists. The first section rounds out with an overview of the rest of the book and some wise advice for Keepers (GMs) contemplating running a Delta Green game.

Next comes The Mythos in the 1990s, looking at how the Mythos itself has evolved and adapted to fit into modern times. People are less scared of monsters but they are scared of serial killers and terrorists. Even more, the seeds of destruction are sown not by creatures from outside but by humankind’s own behaviour. This continues with a series of notes about how many of the groups and creatures familiar to 1920s investigators have modified their modes of operation over the decades.

As the Mi-Go feature largely within the world view as presented by Delta Green, the next section is devoted to The Fungi from Yuggoth. First and foremost, remember that they are ALIEN. They don’t think like us, their motivations are incomprehensible… and yet the Keeper needs to get his head around them. Various thoughts and notes are provided here to give said poor Keeper support in portraying the Mi-Go and their machinations effectively. Their story of more intense interaction with humanity begins at Roswell…

Next the development of US federal agencies is charted in the section Big Brother From Then Til Now, and presents an interesting rationale for the proliferation of agencies: none was to be permitted too much power, too wide a scope. Much of what is presented here is real-world history, if somewhat idiosyncratic in scope, and is certainly sufficient to enable even non-American gamers to navigate their way through the ensuing ‘alphabet soup’ of US federal agencies with interests both domestic and international that may crop up during the course of the game. There’s even a comprehensive timeline to put everything in place.

Now that the scene has been set Chapter 2: Delta Green looks at the organisation that is central to this game. The origins of Delta Green date back to a 1928 raid on Innsmouth, and from there weaves through real-world agency organisational history to its present role, with a strong detour through the realms of conspiracy theories, especially those involving parapsychological research, the supernatural and the occult – and of course including Roswell. This encounter brought about a divergence, with Majestic-12 more interested in aliens and Delta Green chasing after more terrestrial issues… or were they? Anyhow, following various debacles, Delta Green was disbanded, at least officially, in 1970. But it lingered on as a more informal body of like-minded individuals within governmental agencies, still working to counter the Mythos threat by destroying utterly anything that it encountered. Remember the embittered veteran whose letter opened this book? A leader of this informal version of Delta Green, his death at the hands of Majestic 12 assassins led others to realise that a more organised structure would be beneficial so in 1994, Delta Green was reborn, still an unofficial conspiracy but now an organised one within the ranks of legitimate federal agents spread across the whole gamut of government service. A detailed timeline puts all this into perspective, and the chapter rounds off with extensive notes on key players within the organisation. Each is provided with full game stats, so may appear as necessary within your adventures.

Next, Chapter 3: Majestic-12 looks at the main rival to Delta Green. The story begins with the arrival of alien beings at Roswell, and continues relating what is ‘known’ by the authorities… and suspected by conspiracy theorists the world over. Majestic-12 was formed to study these alien arrivals and their technology, as well as anything else UFO-related, working with the intention of harnessing what they learned to the good of mankind (or at least, that of the United States). Many of their researchers went mad, killed themselves or just vanished. Much of this early ‘history’ is standard conspiracy theory fare, but around 1980 it moves into new realms to fit game needs. Current knowledge, structure and personalities are discussed, to be revealed as thought necessary should characters become interested or involved (not necessarily voluntarily) with the organisation. And then comes the ‘truth’ – what, within the context of the game, is really going on, definitely material for the Keeper’s eyes only, then the chapter ends with yet another timeline, this of Majestic-12′s activities and discoveries, and full details of key players in the organisation with full game stats.

Another organisation follows in Chapter 4: Karotechia. This group perpetuates the Nazi fascination with the occult and is based in South America, working to establish the Fourth Reich. From its formation in 1939, the organisation is deeply embedded in Nazi ideology, and maintains links with white supremacists and other unwholesome groups. They also believe that they are in communication with the immortal soul of Adolf Hitler, for which an alternative explanation is provided for the Keeper’s use. There are notes (and stats) for leading members, the intention being that the Karotechia provide a lesser opposition to Delta Green operatives, a suitable challenge for characters to cut their teeth on.

Next up, Chapter 5: Saucer Watch discusses a UFO research organisation, a well-funded and sceptical group which may prove useful to characters investigating this area of the paranormal. Several of their headline investigations are detailed, along with Keeper’s notes about what was really going on and which Mythos entities were responsible. Characters not seeking law enforcement or other Federal careers could conceivably be members of Saucer Watch instead of Delta Green, although it is also likely that at some point in the campaign Majestic-12 might decide that they were just too much of a nuisance and put them out of business with extreme prejudice.

This is followed by Chapter 6: The Fate, yet another group with which characters might interact. They are unusual in that they do know about the Mythos but their reaction is an interesting one: if mankind is doomed, they intend to grab as much power as they can and enjoy it while they may! Led by an exceptional sorcerer they have links to organised crime and the music industry, and may be helpful or otherwise to the characters.

Then come a series of Appendices, which actually take up about half the book! They start with an extensive bibliography for those Keepers who want to delve even further into ‘real’ conspiracy theories to add more flavour and depth into their games, as well as more credible recent history of real-world organisations and events. Then there’s a glossary of slang and other terminology that could prove useful. To add another layer of realism, there’s extensive detail on security classifications, complete with guidelines on producing realistic hand-outs that look like they came from the CIA or FBI… When things That Should Not Be are encountered, a section on Mythos-related manuscripts, including their game effects, should provide plenty of material. There are even some rather nice facsimile documents you could use as hand-outs.

Next comes a section on adventures. Plenty of ideas have probably been spawned by what you have already read, but an entire introductory adventure is provided to get you going. It starts with the characters not being members of Delta Green, depending on their actions this status may well change. It’s a cracking little adventure that ought to get the characters, ideally ordinary FBI agents, thinking in wholly new ways. More adventures follow, including a whole mini-campaign, to keep the ball rolling, designed to be interleaved with events of your own devising. Even if you just use these, there is plenty to keep your agents firmly in the middle of trouble.

Then there is a section about character creation. Based on the core Call of Cthulhu rules with assorted modifications to create federal agents who are at least potential – if not already – Delta Green operatives, they provide all you need to know to direct your players through the process. It also includes creating wider Delta Green ‘cells’ of operatives; and is followed by even more detail on federal agencies, to provide background and verisimilitude for your characters. (There’s a note in the PDF that some of this has changed in the wake of the ’9/11′ terrorist attacks, but if you wish to accommodate such detail you will need to do your own research into the likes of the Department of Homeland Security!) Occupation templates and even sample characters are included for a whole alphabet soup of agencies, branches of the armed forces, and other organisations. There are also new skills, reflecting the contemporary setting… and some modern firearms, as they are sure to be required upon occasion. The book ends with a comprehensive index and a character sheet customised for this setting.

This work is a skilful blend of popular conspiracy theory and Mythos lore, providing a meaningful way of bringing Call of Cthulhu into the modern world without just continuing the standard activities of 1920s investigators. The provided adventures are exciting, sweeping your characters straight into the thick of things. Overall, I’m very glad its found its way back into my hands!

Book Details:
Authors: Dennis Detwiller, A. Scott Glancy and John Tynes
Publishers’ Reference: PAG1005
ISBN: 1-887797-08-4
Paperback, 304 pages
Date: 1996

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Jan 272012
 

Cthulhu_Britannica_Scotland[1]By Paco Garcia Jaen

It is no secret I am a fan of Cthulhu based games. Even though Lovecraft was pretty much forced upon me by a friend who’d insist I had to read some of it and read The Call of Cthulhu begrudgingly, I couldn’t help falling in love with the game. As I read a few more books and got to understand, or at least think I understand, some of Lovecraft grief and sense of impotence, despair and doom (I went through a few rough years. What can I say?), I have paid a lot of attention to the way Chulhu games are written. If they don’t have a few ingredients to their recipe, they have failed.

Those ingredients are not easy to define, but one that really has to seep through is the author’s understanding of the mechanisms of Mythos dynamics. With that I mean the relationship of Mythos with the places they inhabit, their origins, the consequences of their actions… And most importantly the relationship between the author and the book.

There is a point to all this.. bear with me.

Shadows Over Scotland is a hard back, black and white book, part of Cubicle 7’s Cthulhu Britannica series. It is the product of quite a lot of writing by Stuart Boon, and believe me when I tell you there is a lot of material in here! This book is a weighty 280 pages divided in 5 chapters.

The first chapter is a fairly short introduction to Scotland in the 1920’s, a bit of history of the region written for the keeper, a Mythos timeline and some notable figures of the time. When I say it was written for the keeper, I mean that. This part of the book offers the history of Scotland from Pangaea until now, including when, where, who and how from the Mythos inhabited, or indeed inhabit, the country to this day.

Although it’s just a few pages long, the excellent blend of real history and fantasy is very well managed, so it manages to grab you from the start without becoming a chore to have to go through to understand where you are at. Good start

The following three chapters are descriptions of the three main areas of Scotland. The Lowlands, the Highlands and the Islands. Through this chapters, Boon gets closer to the history, geography, culture, wildlife, Mythos life, people and some of the cities in every area.

Edinburgh, Glasgow, St. Andrews, Aberdeen, Fort William, Inverness, Kirkwall, Portree and Stornoway are described in some detail. A map of the city centre is provided, with the main landmarks and roads neatly marked. The  maps are simple, but very effective and very much in keeping with the overall “old looking” style of the book.

The landmarks are given with plenty of explanation about their connection to the Mythos creatures and they’re pretty much ready to be used. However, enough flexibility has been given to those  locations so they could be altered to host any of the creatures that have set foot in Scotland in the last few million years, so you won’t feel constrained by the descriptions.

Almost the same can be said about the People of Note. They are just as well described and as well linked to Scotland as the landmarks, but, for obvious reasons, they’re not as flexible. They are provided with all the stats and percentages though, so, again, they can be dropped into any story right away.

The three chapters form some half of the book. Truly plenty of space for Boon’s imagination to run wild. And run it does!

Both established and completely from-scratch creatures are provided. From the ever present cultists, Deep ones and Mi-Go, to the unique and truly horrific Thane of Cawdor and the indestructible Rogryndr the unnumbered. From the repulsive and lethal Old Maggie, to the almost comic Salty Bob (beware, comic and harmless are indeed not the same!). Stuart Boon manages to match his creations to the land truly well. At no point a doubt crept in my mind as to whether they should, or could, be there or not.

Sometimes he does leave numbers deliberately vague. For example the number of Ghouls in Edinburgh’s Necropolis, or the number of people tainted by the Deep Ones in coastal and island towns. However, he does provide numbers for one of the biggest Deep One cities off the coast of Scotland (won’t tell you where, though… get the book).

This trick happens to work very well, leaving the keeper with plenty of space to make adventures more or less difficult to match the party.

The second part of the book are 6 scenarios or various difficulties and length. Most of them are rather difficult and the party will probably suffer greatly to reach the end, so don’t think you can bring beginners into this adventures without considerable amends.

I will not go into detail about every adventure plot. It would take a long time and would probably ruin some of the surprises the adventures come with. Instead I will tell you that they involve from the Deep Ones to unique monsters and creatures like you have never seen before.

Cleverly enough, Boon uses the adventures to actually expand the locations, people, tradition and general knowledge of Scotland he introduced in the first part of the book. Thus this part feels like you are learning without having to try, and it is fun too.

As the difficulty hasn’t been hampered for these adventures, neither have the scenes and people. Madness is truly present and the actions of the antagonists do reflect this. There is sheer brutality in some of these adventures, and situations that, if you think about it for too long, are truly disturbing. Very, very good!

A really useful addition to the adventures is the plot map. A simple grid to help you map the relationship between the NPCs, locations, motivations and the clues that lead to each one. No more flicking the pages to find out who’s in the Necropolis and what clues are there. It’s all in one page and available at a glance. Excellent!

Conclusion

This book is setting a standard to how resource books for Call of Cthulhu should be.

For starters the layout and art direction is very friendly. Two columns of easy to read font. Good graphic design throughout the book, great illustrations, very much in line with the scary tones of the book… it works and it doesn’t feel heavy to read, even with vast amounts of information being delivered all the time.

Furthermore, the PDf has been very well indexed and the layout works fine on tablet too. Even with the serif font, which is a bugbear of mine.

There is only one little point that I wished they had done something about. Some of the locations maps in the scenarios don’t have a scale. Rooms, halls… there is no easy to way to figure out how big they actually are, which is a shame. Still, it probably won’t detract from the fun of the place, so hardly something to complain about. Just one aspect I would have liked to see.

There is one thing to do with this book, and is to take it in parts and not take the whole thing in one go. If truly the number of Deep Ones, Cultists, Mi-Go, Serpent People, Ghouls and other creatures are there, you wouldn’t be able to throw a stone without hitting a Mythos creatures. I wouldn’t do that if I were you.

therefore I would say don’t take everything in one go. Taylor what you need from this book and leave a few things out. For example of your adventure/campaign features Mi-Go heavily, don’t add too the Serpent People and the Deep Ones… leave them out and use them in another campaign.

there is so much in this book that a few other books could easily span off it. Mi-Go over Scotland, Deep Ones Under Scotland, Serpents of Scotland, Horros from Scotland… there is plenty to inspire you to come up with more and more material of your own.

Remember what I said about the relationship of the author and the book?

Well, Stuart Boon has proven, beyond any doubt, that he can understand the land he’s writing about, an the Mythos that populate it. I can’t ask anymore from anyone.

Full 5 stars for this magnificent tome (and a few shady comets with something wriggly inside).

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