- The Dark Times ‘zine Now Available
- The Mug and Meeple
- [Mongoose Publishing] Traveller: Pirates of Drinax: The Cordan Conflict
- [Mongoose Publishing] Paranoia: New Expansion Decks – Mutants & [REDACTED]
- [Ennead Games] Dungeon Feature Volume 6: Fountains
- [Burning Games] Dragons Conquer America: The Coatli Stone Quickstart
- [DramaScape] Mayan Temple
- [Mongoose Publishing] Traveller: Pirates of Drinax: Friends in Dry Places
- Human 2.0: Tabletop Roleplaying in a Biopunk Dystopia
- [Ennead Games] Spell Options 7: Blade Barrier
Achtung! Cthulhu: Zero Point
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.