Achtung! Cthulhu: Zero Point

By on 3 July 2013

Reviewing scenarios is a hard thing to do without giving too much away and spoiling things for potential players. That said, I’m going to try anyway.

I’ve never been a fan of Cthulhu – too many bad experiences as a player. But I do love me some good, old fashioned, pulpy World War II action. With that in mind, Modiphius‘ Achtung! Cthulhu line interested me from the moment I saw a proof copy of the first scenario at UK Games Expo last year (thanks to a chance meeting with the author, Sarah Newton). Especially considering it was being released as both a Call of Cthulhu product and a, Savage Worlds-powered, Realms of Cthulhu one.

Since then, Modiphuis have launched (and successfully funded) a Kickstarter for a whole campaign setting and I look forward to receiving those books and PDFs in due course. In the meantime though, Chris Birch at Modiphius was kind enough to send me a print copy of each of the Savage Worlds/Realms of Cthulhu Zero Point scenarios released thus far: Three Kings and Heroes of the Sea – I apologise to him for the length of time it’s taken to review them though.

Each scenario comes with a heavy, glossy, full-colour card cover and black and white interior (as opposed to the PDFs which are full-colour throughout). The first thing that struck me were the covers. Both are very good and were one of the things that drew me into the products in the first place. The artwork inside is also very good but, unfortunately, loses something in the transfer to black and white. It’s the same with the maps. They are good but, as you would imagine, the full-colour versions available in the PDF are so much better. I can understand why the print version isn’t full-colour but it is a shame. Still, it’s easy enough to pick up the PDFs as well and print out the maps yourself if you really want to.

The layout, in general, is very good and effort has been made to make the pages look like and feel as if they are from the time period with maps and images “paper-clipped” to the pages and notes “scribbled” in the margins.

The scenarios themselves, although part of a series, don’t follow immediately after each other. Three Kings is set in Czechoslovakia in 1939 while Heroes of the Sea is set during the Battle of Dunkirk a year later. Each scenario is loose enough to enable most GMs to tailor it to their players (pre-generated characters are provided though) without feeling completely skeletal and there are plenty of opportunities for the players to interact with the world around them without feeling that they are being railroaded along a scenario. Heroes of the Sea, in particular, provides some handy tables for random encounters during what must have been a very chaotic and confusing time. Additionally, there is plenty of background information on the time periods in question (with suitable statistics for various pieces of equipment and additional rules as required) without bogging down into too much detail. In terms of plot (which I won’t go into for fear of spoilers), the antagonists in both are well thought out and motivated.

Overall, I really like these scenarios. The only thing I disliked was the lack of colour on the maps but, as I said, that’s easily fixed with the purchase of the PDFs.

7/10

You can buy this product from DriveThruRPG/RPGNow.

About Dave McAlister

Dave has been roleplaying for over 30 years, having played and/or run most mainstream systems with the espionage genre being an early favourite. So much so that, in 1999, he started Modus Operandi. That same year he joined the Sarbreenar "Living" campaign team as their plotline controller before moving across to the Living Spycraft campaign team (as UK Regional Branch Director) in 2003. 2003 also saw the birth of UK Role Players as well as Dave's first freelance writing appointment (co-writing World Militaries and consulting on both US Militaries and Battlegrounds, all for Spycraft). Since then, Dave has concentrated on supporting the UK gaming scene. He has organised and run several small, one-day, events and was the RPG Area Manager for Gen Con UK in 2004. His current favourite systems are Dungeons & Dragons (specifically 5th Edition), Savage Worlds and Cinematic Unisystem. He has a (currently neglected) blog at dave.mcalister.org.uk and runs a D&D 5e SRD website at DnD5e.info.

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