Month: June 2014

Entry Twenty: The Great Old Ones (Spoilers)

This is one of the scenario collections that Chaosium released in 1989, a collection of scenarios that could be played separately, but suggestions were given to try to string them into a loose campaign. I have mixed feelings about the book as a whole, but I readily admit there are scenarios in here that I really like.

First Scenario: The Spawn

The book opens with one that I had serious issues with when I first read it, for a few reasons, one my own flaw at the time. Like most people who started playing CoC from a heavy Dungeons and Dragons background had a transition period, where part of the approach was thinking that the monsters should be ‘beatable’ and the scenarios all be ‘winnable’. Not that this one can’t be won, but running in with combat as a goal for victory is a quick way to lose a party.

The scenario deals with a copper mine and its corrupt owners, who have a deal with some of the game’s nastiest monsters, a nest of chthonians that are using the depths of the mine as a breeding ground, and some of the workers as a food source. Using the time specified, you have a subplot involving the IWW during its embattled final years, and a Native American tribe nearby that have the keys to the party’s best chance for survival and victory.

So why did I have such issues with it? I admit the characters are well written, the scenario is engaging, and the threats can be beaten in the game’s context, though not by direct confrontation in at least some senses. But it does have chthonians, a type of monster I have already admitted I have some issues with, and not just with one, we have a nest here, a lot to deal with, and enough that finding the nest in the wrong way is almost certain doom. But my other issue is that the source of the help that comes from the Native American tribe and its history comes more indirectly from Yig. Not my favorite Great Old One, the way he is often used in a ‘play him against the other Mythos threats’ way kind of grates on my nerves. To be fair, he is one of the least hostile of the Mythos entities, and he, as originally written has something of a ‘live and let live’ attitude. But playing him against the others tends to annoy me. I will concede that in this instance it is handled well, and reading it now I find it a lot less troublesome a scenario than I did when I read it in my twenties. I give it a guarded plus now, when before I just tended to avoid even rereading it.

Second Scenario: Still Waters

This scenario is a lot of fun to read, but I found the execution a bit tricky in some points, I’ll explain. The party is sent to collect a book from a bibliophile in a small Louisiana town, and while the man has a bit of a shady reputation, the party has no real reason to suspect any real danger (well, except for the fact they’re playing in a Call of Cthulhu scenario). The small town is an extremely small one, and when the party finally makes it to the residence of the bookworm and his daughter, they find a missing persons case, with the bodies of his servants left behind.

Depending on how in depth the investigators get, secrets are uncovered and we discern the bibliophile was, himself, pretty much a villain, along with his daughter, but they are effectively shadows in this scenario as they died shortly before the action of the scenario at the hands of other book collectors who are worse by any criteria, having shed their humanity and sanity long before.

The two entities, and their servant, are preparing to flee the scene of the crime. To be honest, I think the timeline added into the scenario is an irritant, if the party doesn’t act relatively quickly they will find an abandoned building with nothing but bodies behind, and I think the party would find it a frustrating conclusion leaving more questions than answers.

The two entities are a type of creature called a Thrall of Cthulhu, a process that a worshipper can enter voluntarily with effort over time, and these two had been in the past sisters. In a strange part of the scenario, the conflict with these two has an odd element of comedy added as their personalities belie their action with dialogue reflecting genteel ladies entertaining guests as they attack viciously.

It is the humor I have issue with, not that I don’t find humor in the game, but I find it tends to grow best from the players for the most part. Not that I wouldn’t include it, just that it felt a little artificial.

Overall, a very good scenario, just one you may want to tinker with.

Third Scenario: Tell me Have you Seen the Yellow Sign?

At this point, I am declining to review this particular scenario, for a very good reason. Golden Goblin Press is on the verge of releasing a new compilation of scenarios, Tales of the Crescent City. Included in it will be an updated version of this scenario, the author having agreed to rework it a bit. I am one of the people who contributed to the Kickstarter, and just got the pdf. I will be presenting a totally spoiler free review of that volume as soon as I’ve gobbled it up, and will give a review at that point, and a comparison of improvements (as well as I can do without spoiling anything). I hope it helps some of you who may be on the fence about getting it later (keepers only, please) to make up your mind, it looks awesome so far.

All I can say at this point is that this scenario is set in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, and uses that as the backdrop, with a non-spoiler given by the title, Hastur is behind it, with aspects of the King in Yellow as its theme.

Fourth Scenario: One in Darkness

This is a fun scenario. It involves gangsters, a savage monster that is a tough battle, an avatar of Nyarlathotep. With a pulp feel and a major monster as the ‘boss battle’, a group playing it pulp style can solve it one way, a group playing it investigative style can beat it too. it is versatile and variable, with only one caveat, and even that is provided for in the game.

A gang on the run has released said demon when confronted by the police, and while his gang escaped (with casualties), the demon is lurking in the sewers, the law is still closing in. The gang leader had access to the summoning as a gift from his mother, a less-than skilled sorceress who doesn’t know how to dismiss it. The means to dismiss it becomes an object for the party and the mother, and those who currently have it are on limited time.

The major weakness in the scenario is the major strength of the monster, it is only vulnerable to magic weaponry and while the means to create some is in the campaign, taking the time to do so increases the risks. As written a good but tough scenario. With tweaking, you can make it fit into your campaign more smoothly.

To be honest you can avoid the creature being an avatar of Nyarlathotep, it is effectively unintelligent, little more than a mindless marauder, unless you decide to play with it.

Fifth Scenario: The Pale God

With this scenario, we encounter one of the lesser Great Old Ones, a creature from Ramsey Campbell’s writings. In the backstory, a subterranean labyrinth includes a gate to the Severn Valley, so the monster du jour doesn’t need to be translated from its original location. The potential for this to complicate the lives of the players is not overlooked. I have a minor issue with this, though, as there wasn’t a massive reason for the gate to exist as such, or more accurately, wasn’t a reason for the gate to be used by Eihort instead of the players (or perhaps both parts of the labyrinth may connect to a third location here Eihort lurks). It does seem that the relocation of the players may have been a driving force in the scenario however, as it does form a link to the final adventure in this compilation if you’re playing them as a campaign of sorts.

A strange coincidence left me a bit at odds with this scenario when I first read it when it was a fresh release, and it is the name of one of the minor npcs. No reason they shouldn’t have used the name. just that it happens to be the same as an npc’s name from my first Call of Cthulhu campaign back in the earlier 80’s. Bertram Chandler. Just a coincidence, but it unnerved me.

The scenario brings up a wonderful point that I truly loved, and continue to love. I touched on it lightly in my keeper’s blog, and it really warrants a full entry (I’ll check there to make sure I haven’t already done one before I do another)

The scenario begins with the party meeting someone who literally dies at their feet after asking to meet them at a public, though at the time empty place. His death is a bit gruesome and provides a clue as to what the investigators are risking facing if they’ve done all the reading. This is where the part I hinted at in the prior paragraph elevates this particular scenario with what boils down to a fabulous piece of advice for keepers in general, not just in this scenario.

A nice little set of clues deal with a mystery that will lead to a house with a history, a buried maze that, as I’ve said, leads to a gate that extends to more of the maze, and a confrontation with Eihort, or at least his brood. Solving this scenario puts the investigators at risk of finding themselves stranded a quarter way around the world without a good explanation of why and where.

The suggestion hinted at earlier boils down to a core point. Players of the game tend to know the monsters in it, and keepers new to the game sometimes fall into the trap of describing an encounter as ‘you meet a group of deep ones’. This is problem enough without the players, halfway through the description of the monsters encountered nodding and going ‘okay, it’s ghouls.’ So, when possible, and as long as possible, change things up. Describe things, but don’t make the descriptions easy to interpret or predict. In this case it suggested changing color or shape or both to some extent. Obviously this won’t work for everyone…Cthulhu is Cthulhu. And Yog Sothoth is..well there are multiple forms, but some of them will ‘give themselves away’ early. But a lot of things can remain mysterious all the way through the campaign. Starting with this wonderful idea, I’ve had three subsequent campaigns where certain creatures were encountered, but none of the investigators, all seasoned players of the game, recognized some of these monsters during play, even the recurring ones. They had to come up with their own names for them, and only in one case did a player at the end of the campaign ask about a type of creature and correctly identify one of the creatures. Now this won’t work on some of the staples, (ghouls, deep ones, they’re just too well known, but…their first encounters are always a bit more when you introduce them by description)

Sixth Scenario: Bad Moon Rising

This is the scenario that most people who’ve read this book remember first, even if I think you will find that ‘Yellow Sign’ is the most popular of the scenarios. You get a guided tour of impossible things, and if you play it out, the players get to really have their minds messed with over the course of play.

The players stumble across some evidence of a hidden British base, and because let’s face it, at some level, CoC investigators are ‘meddling kids’ without the luck of being able to pull the mask on the monster of the week, they in this scenario find themselves encountering a location that qualifies as highly secret and sensitive information. The tricky part in this scenario is finding a way to get the players involved without simply getting arrested and dragged away from it. This is viable as far as its presented, but when you look at the entire work, this is part that is really just guiding the players to the ‘real scenario’. It is well presented, but not nearly as memorable as what follows, and I could never shake the feeling when reading it that it would be easy for a party of investigators to derail the scenario at this point.

A cave in England leads to a base that has been under some investigation by the authorities, who have determined that the far side is a site on Earth’s moon, near an outpost, more or less abandoned by the Great Race of Yith.

Set in the 20’s, it is interesting to see how the technology of the time was used to address the issues of the airless environment, but it is only suggested as to how the solutions were arrived at. The players become involved in the exploration of the outpost, for the story, and that’s where things get strange.

Less abandoned than on standby, the players have one of the few chances to encounter a member of the Great Race (I can only think of one, maybe two other place this happens in a published scenario offhand), and the member springs a bit of a trap on the players as the one form of physical time travel open to the Yithians, suspended animation, and the players find themselves ‘transported’ into the far future, where the players are the ‘guests’ of the Great Race in the next species they inhabit, the hive mind insectoids.

The scenario crosses into bizarre territory at this point, keeping in mind that the Great Race are not necessarily fully evil but they are extremely alien, and not compassionate towards other races. They have an experiment they plan on using the humans for, after they’ve had a little personal ‘fun’ at the humans’ expense (in other words, minor experimentation with a relatively low mortality rate before the big experiment).

The investigators, the survivors at least, along with something of a stowaway (no, this time I’m not giving this one away), are set in a device to travel even further into the future and into space as well, at an accelerated rate (einstein’s time dilation pushed to the extremes) to test a theory, even though the Great Race know that they will likely never get the data themselves. The investigators get a chance to watch the end of the universe, and the cyclic reformation of it, along with hints at the forces behind all universes. It may play a bit with metaphysics in a way that may not appeal to some keepers, but it is well presented. My only beef with that part of it lies in the improbability of the players being able to find their way back to Earth in a reborn universe, assuming it is completely cyclic in nature, and assuming that even an Earth exists in the next one. There is a bit of an explanation offered for this, though I’m not completely certain about that part, myself. It is enough of a mind trip that even if a keeper doesn’t want to use it, I suggest it as a fun read.

Interlude, me on a soapbox, regarding Piracy

I have a reason for bringing this up at this point, and I know that what I say wont’ change anyone’s mind, I just wanted to state my position on matters at this point. I am not trying to spawn a flame war, or a debate on creator’s rights, or on access to information, though I do have my own point of view which I will go into here. You have every right to disagree with me, though keep in mind that there are legal and ultimately ethical repercussions to your point of view, agree with me or not.

A lot of stuff for Call of Cthulhu has been available for free online, and as long as there is no attempt to make money from it, or to compromise the author’s acknowledgement, there is no problem with making this available, in my opinion. One of my problems with this is the aftermath of a bit of my history, in the past I have acquired many of the free scenarios and lost the original source or author information. If I cannot locate said information I will say so when I discuss a scenario. If I can find the current and/or original source, I will say so.

Second, a lot of stuff for Call of Cthulhu is currently in print, hardcopy or pdf for sale. I will not knowingly do anything to contribute to any illegal distribution of any material that will give the rights holders a royalty. The financial return on gaming content isn’t huge, it’s hard enough for them to make a living without keeping them from getting royalties they are entitled to. And if they don’t make enough money, they will stop producing product…this is a simple equation.

Third, and here’s where things can get tricky to some extent, there is a lot of stuff that is not currently in print. In this case, any means of acquiring them does not give a royalty to the original rights holders as your only ‘legitimate’ source of these works is to buy a used and/or collector’s item, from a gaming source, a gamer, or ebay (or some combination of the above). I am inclined to be more flexible on this issue, however, if something was not released for pdf distribution, it stands to reason that the origin of that electronic version was at some point a violation of creator’s entitlement to royalty (unless it went out of print before such an option was even available, but even there it’s gray territory).

Having said this, I will stand by my position, unless I know that something has been made available for free, I will not knowingly contribute to distribution that may constitute circumventing author’s or publisher’s due. Nor will I knowingly contribute to anything that will lessen he market value of collectible items.

I do realize that when I discuss things that may be out of print, I could be potentially increasing possible demand for them. I just ask that you respect what rights you can, and I know that nothing I say will change the mind of any of you. Those of you whose ethics are in accord with mine already agree with me to the greater extent. Those of you who disagree most likely rolled your eyes and did a ‘tldr’, and are jumping to the next posting. But I have made my point to all who will listen.

Support the game to keep it alive. If you like the game, piracy threatens it. If it’s out of print, you may have a more firm footing, but you are still reaching a bit into shadows.

I want to do a few more of the Chaosium releases before I start doing some of the ‘free’ scenarios, will get into it soon.

Side note: I have announced elsewhere that I am dividing some of my efforts into picking up Campaign Cartographer again and trying to go further along with that excellent mapping program. There will be a third blog coming up that will just reflect that progress. One of my long term goals in it is to make Campaign Cartographer versions of as many Call of Cthulhu maps as possible. But that is a bit down the road.

Twilight Memoirs (kind of spoilers)

I am bringing up Twilight Memoirs at this point because I recently brought up this book while going into a scenario’s construction over in the Keeper’s blog. This monograph is high on my list rather unique in what it is and what it isn’t and what it does.

Instead of full scenarios, this book has three player’s aids/handouts with a short summary of the story behind them, and a few seeds to build them into scenarios. The book has three diaries, from the point of view of a character who had their own adventure, and the players find these items as part of an investigation into them. Of the three I love two of them and admit the third is good, my issues with it are more matters of personal taste than anything else.

Diary One: The Journal of Henry Radcliff

This diary covers a period of just over a month in the life of a man who was already experiencing a fall from grace, a scandal never elaborated on in the journal that cost him a job and standing in the community, he is left with a menial job in a library that exposes him to a book with its own secrets. His reading said book erodes his already fragile sanity, and he eventually finds himself surrendering to madness and seeking out the entity named in the book, a figure that the support article following the diary indicates is a unique rogue mi go and a few of its followers among its kind.

This journal is very powerful and it is the one that I described in entry 23 in the Keeper’s Blog “Putting it together, the second adventure in my upcoming campaign.” It became part of said second adventure, along with several other handouts I created as secondary documentation, and links to the whole adventure. If you just take it as written and make it a more linear scenario using the support article you can still make a great adventure out of it.

Diary two: The Research Log of the Kenning Expedition

I will admit this one I don’t care for as much. It is the diary of an archaeological expedition to explore ruins recently encountered. The expedition is chronicled by the team’s leader, and as the players can expect, the truths uncovered are darker than the original expedition dreamed. Fragments of the history of the people from before are gleamed, but a horror begins to stalk the expedition, with it being triggered from an unexpected source. The journal is set adrift as the last party member meets his ill-defined doom.

My issue with this scenario deals more with the entity being referred to in it than anything else, it (spoilsers) is Yig and his worshippers behind the incidents. First, anyone conversant with the Mythos could see what entity lurked in the wings, though admittedly there is at least one nice surprise, though one the players may or may not unravel (nope, not going to spoil that part). I have some personal issues with Yig and how he is normally handled in scenarios, I will go into that at greater length when I review Mansions of Madness and the Great Old Ones, as both of those books have scenarios that deal with more of my issues with him. I will admit that how Yig is handled here is not as problematic for me, and I can actually see using this scenario as written. It does involve a rather specific travel mode and professions to link to it however, and this makes it a bit hard to fit into a campaign unaltered. With some work I can see making it part of a campaign, but it would take a bit of tweaking.

Diary Three: The Diary of Helen Dubouis

This one is another winner for me, and while not as crazed as Radcliff’s, Helen’s story is touching, creepy and scary, and can make a great campaign addition. The exact tie in may be a challenge, it may be necessary to introduce her or a relative of hers as an npc earlier in the campaign to draw the players in.

Another person with a fragile sanity is shaken by a tragedy, in this case the death of her husband and child in a senseless accident. While trying to cope with this loss, she encounters a strange force in the nearby forest, an intelligence that is seductive and mysterious, in its way, and gives her a chance to get her family back in a way, at least a proxy of them.

To gain this twisted version of her family, she surrenders her sanity and then yields herself to this entity, then vanishes with the new version of her family into the shadows.

The party in theory encounters her diary while investigating her disappearance, which leads to an encounter with the entity that was behind Helen’s final madness.

This is an encounter with a minor entity but something at or near Great Old One power, and the tragedy of Helen is one that the players can relate to most likely and will be moved by. The hope to save her, although probably too late to do so, can be a great motivator, and there is a possibility that some of the players may find the villain’s snare tempting as well.

So..all in all, three solid pieces, background to make three scenarios, or to improve existing scenarios.

And more, the idea of making such involved handouts is a good inspiration. I don’t know if the return on these was enough to warrant further Twilight Memoirs volumes, but if I run into them I will grab them eagerly.

Out of the Vault: the Resurrected Vol III (and indirectly Vol II) (Spoiler Alert)

This, the third volume of Pagan Publishing’s Resurrected series presents ten scenarios reprinted from the first ten issues of its magazine The Unspeakable Oath. Volume I was a single scenario, Grace Under Pressure, which I reviewed earlier. Volume II had three scenarios in it, and for some reason, all three scenarios were reprinted in this volume, the first three scenarios.

Scenario 1: Within You, Without You

This scenario is a very trippy scenario where the party finds themselves in an environment with reality bending around them, and potentially including them. A wizard’s ritual utilizing the populace of a town in the distant past has repercussions in the present as the magic involves Yog Sothoth, and past and present overlap and blend. Buildings and residents in this town begin to literally merge.

The residents become forced hybrids that are hard pressed to survive, and the players have a limited time to confront and resolve this problem before the merge becomes a full blown catastrophe for all in the town in both periods.

A guardian creature, an elaborate device, the wizard’s wicked plans, and the players get to thwart the schemes of a wizard exploiting Yog Sothoth, and manipulating time and space. A good scenario, and a seriously trippy adventure.

Scenario 2: The Travesty

A hotel is subjected to strange occurrences, the party is hired to resolve it. A creature is contained by wards that need to be replenished, and the ‘fixing it up’ time is past due. The creature is a strange travesty of human form, drawing parts of its appearance from the mind of past and present victims. The party is isolated by a storm, and the environment also appears to change a bit as the creature uses fears of the potential victims to keep them inside the hotel.

Can the party learn enough in time to reset the wards, re-imprison the creature, save the day? Less of a Mythos scenario than many, it can still be a good ride. I will admit that the scenario as written has the creature in some version of jester’s livery and that lessened my ability to relax with it on first read.

It could make a good scenario for an interlude in a campaign, far from safe, but a change of pace, I would not want to see it take more than one or two sessions in the middle of a campaign though.

Scenario 3: The House on Stratford Lane

There is a missing child, believed to be kidnapped, a small neighborhood on edge, vigilante mentality growing as an eccentric local is becoming a suspect in the eyes of his neighbors. This is a really good scenario and can push the characters into odd dangers, as the eccentric local is inadvertently dangerous as he has independently developed a gate that exposes him to madness from the Mi go.

The missing girl? The neighbor pushing suspicion onto the eccentric is the actual kidnapper, and the risk of her not being found in time is very real, and lurks in the background as things go to hell around the players. I really like this scenario, though I am always a bit nervous when the mi go show up in a scenario, they get used a lot and there are enough differences in how they get handled it is easy for a Keeper who doesn’t keep things aimed along their own interpretation for them to end up a bit ‘jumbled’. This does bring up a point I feel strongly about when dealing with any published scenario.

To some extent, the various alien species are only marginally defined in how they behave, and therefore when people write scenarios, they are applying their interpretation in how it was defined, and extrapolating from that. Similarly, their own added twist to the campaign universe may or may not match your own view as a Keeper, and it is up to you to decide,’ do I twist things to match my interpretation, adapt my interpretation to include theirs…?’ Frankly I suggest the first, because it is your campaign. As long as you and your players are okay with your take on it, it should remain your take.

Having said that, I stand by my statement, this is a good scenario and a party can really enjoy this one. Because there is an implied timetable it won’t be a long journey but it can be a very intense and fun one, and fit in pretty much any campaign.

Scenario 4: The Beast in the Abbey

This scenario is very good for what it is, but it has the potential to be a big miss too, there is a monster released by a thoughtless act breaking a ward, the party is brought in to try to solve things (the exact hook is up to the Keeper), and there is a chance for the party to learn enough to seal it back up or trying to beat it in straight out combat.

There is a brilliant bit of misdirection in a red herring that appears to be a horrible threat itself, but is pretty much unrelated (for once I am going to try to avoid spoilers on this one). It is set in such a way that it can be added easily as an extra ‘red herring mission’ in the Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign, or a followup to the Coven of Cannich scenario in the Shadows of Yog Sothoth campaign. It could be moved in time and locale as needed, would need some tweaking, but it is a good scenario. It shouldn’t be a ‘centerpiece’ scenario, but could be a good single session investigation.

Scenario 5: The Lambton Worm

This scenario is pretty strongly tied to a British legend and location. It can be relocated if need be, but needs a lot of tweaking. The core situation however can be placed in other areas, the legend reworked, but a Keeper should be aware of the original legend and be willing to do what work is needed to shift it away from the established legend if you are doing so. (Minimal research under the scenario’s name can unveil the original legend)

A mound where the legended dragon has been buried is the covered body of a dhole, somewhat dead, imprisoned and for all intents and purposes inactive, with an elder sign worked into tis brain, holding it imprisoned. The players deal with some forces trying to undo the elder seal, with another trying to maintain it, and the party in the end tries to decide what to do if anything.

I have to admit this scenario I’m a little indifferent to, mainly because ultimately, there is very little the party can do in it, and I usually prefer scenarios where the party’s actions have impacts on the course of events for the scenario and the campaign, and the party’s main potential impact if they change anything is to make things worse, so it is a scenario I never fully warm to as written.

Scenario 6: Blood on the Tracks

As with many of the scenarios in this collection, this one fits into a campaign as an interlude, a one shot, but it has the potential to introduce a running villain to complicate a campaign if the Keeper is so inclined. Murders on a train, body imitation, a mystery to try to find out who the killer is.

The villain proves to be villains, a vampire and his disciple, and while the investigators can defeat it in the straight sense, it is presented in such a way that the chance for at least one of the villains to slip away to vex the players later is presented. This is something that is only rarely brought up in published scenarios, so it is a breath of fresh air, and also stands as a reminder to Keepers to keep that thought open, look for those villains worth keeping in other scenarios as well.

Scenario 7: Dark Harvest

This scenario is a lot of fun to read, I have not had a chance to Keep it yet, but am hoping to in the near future. (it is also the first Call of Cthulhu scenario I read that was not actually a Chaosium release, I read this scenario in the original magazine appearance, way back. My not having run it in any play is purely an oversight on my part, and one I kind of kick myself over.

The investigators run across news about a man who reported stumbling across a Mythos cult in Iowa, with mocking reception from the local public. His subsequent death a few weeks later is met with less mocking, and the investigators are drawn to investigate. The connection between this cult and its ‘sister cult’ in Goatswood is part of the backstory, and the exact manifestation of the deity worshipped in this environment is a bit of nice background that may or may not be uncovered as the scenario unfolds.

This scenario is populated by a hidden cult, a terrified few non cultists in the know, and people who don’t have a clue and don’t really want to know, it’s a fun investigation, with the danger always lurking, and something easily driving the investigators into active paranoia trying to get to the truth.

Scenario 8: What Goes Around Comes Around

Another great scenario in my opinion, this one focuses around a series of inexplicable deaths in a small area, occurring at semi regular intervals, where parts of bodies are left behind, with no clues to modern science what happened to the victims.

The ‘culprit’ in this case is literally an equation on a chalkboard, the last work of the first victim, a breakthrough in quantum mechanics that forms an intermittent gate, which opens to another space, wandering a certain distance in the local area when certain factors conjoin, and the victims, at this gate’s juncture, are left part here, part there, literally.

Finding the ‘culprit’ and resolving it are tricky and difficult, more because of where things are than anything else. The actual resolution of the scenario can be handled by some water or a simple chalkboard eraser. But to understand the what and why, which would be the only reason to do it, this is the tricky part, and investigators who don’t use their heads will never solve this one.

Scenario 9: All Good Children

This scenario is itself a good scenario, though it does bring up something I have an issue with, namely Dreamlands. This scenario is only tangentally connected to the Dreamlands, and in this case it does not suffer in the usage. I will elaborate on my issues with the Dreamlands after discussing the scenario itself.

A man in the distant past using a gate to travel from our world to the Dreamlands became lost in rage and despair when his daughter tried to use the gate, he bound one of Azathoth’s servitors into his daughter’s body. This warped legacy guarding the gateway is not happy in its dead flesh prison. Sending dreams it tries to lure people to its location in hopes that it can find its way to freedom. A friend of the investigators is the hook for the scenario, who has tracked down some information on this gateway. The creature is controlling those who have stumbled across it, and a complication in the form of an ancestor of the man who started all of this who has the naïve dream of harvesting the power of the guardian.

Dreams as communication, the creature’s goals, the mad descendant, the scenario gives the party the chance to resolve this, it’s a good scenario and worth a careful read, it can make for a nice scenario, I would expect it to take a few sessions unless you really want to rush it.

About Dreamlands. I admit I don’t care for that whole thing in Call of Cthulhu, although I will also say that the stories that are the source of the Dreamlands setting are among my favorite of Lovecraft’s works. To elaborate, while nearly all of his stories connect to some extent, he had a body of stories that were set in a mythic fantasy world that he himself compared to the fantasy world of Lord Dunsany’s work. This world includes locations such as Sarnath and Ulthar, and the like, and it was was tied to the ‘real world’ of his other fiction through dream travels in the Randolph Carter stories. The stories set in this world are less horrific than his other writing, overall and read as fantasies, though with a weird element that does include horrific elements. To me they are separate bodies, and even though his writing included a bit of an overlap, they are thematically different travelling to the Dreamlands through the skill of dreaming and dealing with this other world just doesn’t click as well to me.

I can accept the Dreamlands as a parallel world, to be connected to through various means of dimensional travel, but otherwise, I don’t like to connect the two worlds, and I rarely use anything with a Dreamlands component unless it is only tangentally connected, or can be extrapolated as a parallel world. A person having a separate avatar in the Dreamlands with a spate life there is also an aspect I don’t care for. Nothing against people who do include it, but it doesn’t work well for me, so having said that much, anytime I run into a Dreamlands scenario it is problematic for me. Reviews on scenarios with a Dreamlands element will suffer because of this, so fans of Dreamlands will understand if I am curt with Dreamlands scenarios.

Scenario 10: In Media Res

This book closes with a scenario that you cannot fit into campaign play, it is a one shot, but can be an amazing role playing challenge. It is a bit hard to call the player characters in this scenario heroes, as they are inmates of a mental health facility for the criminally insane, plagued by recurring dreams. However the relevance of this suffers a little bit because, as the title hints, the story begins in the middle, and the characters have to find out what went before as much as they have to find their way forward. The player characters have just finished a grisly ritual, the aftereffect of which is that they have lost their memories of who they are, what they were doing, and what’s going on.

So to recap, the party is standing in the aftermath of a grisly ritual, the party doesn’t know who they are, what’s going on, except for the evidence that they did what seems to have happened around them, and they have to figure out what happened and what is going on. Flashbacks begin to give them pieces of the puzzle and the story unfolds in bits and pieces as the players explore their surroundings.

I think this is a very good one shot scenario if you are dealing with players who can handle morally ambiguous characters well. If this is something your players can’t handle well, I would not recommend it.

So there you have it…ten scenarios, all of which are at least good, even if some of them only have limited application. If you can find this book, you won’t go wrong.

Blood Brothers One and Two (Spoilers)

Blood Brothers was a bit of an experiment for Chaosium, a series of scenarios for Call of Cthulhu that were specifically designed as ‘one shot scenarios’ with two features in mind.

First, they are not designed to have any connection to the Cthulhu Mythos unless a Keeper adds it. Since the game from its inception brings up the idea of some scenarios having no direct Mythos connection, this part is not in and of itself a major issue.

Second, each is supposed to refer to particular style of movie. Sometimes this involves a minor gimmick, sometimes a specific approach.

Each scenario comes with a cast of pregenerated characters to fit the scenario and setting, sometimes integrally so. In a boxed text with each, a brief summary of the style is given, along with some films of the appropriate type cited.

Ultimately each book is a mixed bag, and I have to say that I feel the second book is considerably less successful than the first. I have found myself, however, keeping the term ‘Blood Brothers Scenario’ for any scenario for the game that has no or minimal connection to a Lovecraftian feel and/or the Mythos, particularly if it emulates a style of movies. The free scenario “The Atomic Beast” and “The Return of Old Reliable” in Atomic Age Cthulhu are both examples of what I refer to as a Blood Brothers Scenario; the first for having no actual connection per se, and the second for only having a tangential connection, and both of them having the style of the ‘mad atomic science’ movies and early sixties.

Another effect of this, some of the scenarios ended up, for lack of a better word, silly. Humor is often an effect of playing in Call of Cthulhu, sometimes in the game itself, sometimes in nervous energy, and additionally in the frequent effect that comes from any gaming environment. One of the ultimate effects, however, is that in Blood Brothers, this humor, this silliness, strains the play near or past the breaking point, depending on the Keeper. Some of the scenarios do not work for me on this basis, and I will go into it with each. To point out an awareness of this feature, including its potential as a pitfall, the first volume includes statistics for adding Abbot and Costello as NPC’s in the book’s introduction. If you can accept the implied silliness as a subtext in the game, then you may be able to use more of the scenarios in these books than I. I do not mean to imply that I do not enjoy these books, I will admit that some of my favorite scenarios for the game are in these pages. I will also mention my thoughts on these scenarios being worked into campaign play if I feel it is possible and/or worth the trouble.

A point does come up at this stage, where I have to pose the issue of ‘how many usable scenarios in a collection make it worth the price?’ And again, this falls to the individual Keeper’s taste, the quality of a few very good scenarios can make a purchase worth it to me, even if a fair percentage of the book are, for me, ‘duds.’

Book One, Scenario One: Uncle Timothy’s Will

This scenario uses the movie theme of “Haunted Ghostly Places.” A generally isolated setting with characters threatened by one or more “malevolent otherworldly beings” is the shortened form of this style, though to some extent, that simple description fits most horror films. This type tends to have a uniting thread as to why the characters are together and often a connection, however tenuous, to the beings in question. In the film in question, the investigators are all relatives of the titular Uncle Timothy, whose will is to be read at his estate. Each of them has character flaws and/or troubles in their past that motivated them to attend the reading.

Timothy is, while dead, not quiescent in it, having been a wizard who uses a demonic pact and a bizarre ritual to attempt to gain ongoing life and increased power, and the deaths of his potential heirs is part of his plan. To help him in this, two servants who are under his control, the aforementioned demon, and some animated dead, as well as the threat of Timothy himself form the ultimate threats to the survival and sanity of the investigators in this variation of the haunted house motif. To me this scenario is very successful, nicely creepy, although potentially slow to start, it has major potential, hearkening to a feel reminiscent of many films of the Amicus anthology movies of the seventies and a few somewhat like it. This scenario is very playable, and while difficult if not impossible to put into campaign play, if you can find a way to get campaign characters into it, can make a wonderful change of pace scenario. If worked into campaign play, it is not too difficult to twist the demonic entity into a Mythos entity, if you wish, but there is no reason to change it that much. I would, however, suggest that in campaign play, leaving the demon unexplained as much as possible. Failing that, it excels as a one shot.

Book One, Scenario Two: Oath of Blood

This scenario uses the simple motif “Vampires.” Cinematic vampires evolved from Bram Stoker’s Dracula as well as a few other pieces of fiction from the same time frame, and most perception of vampires came from those roots as well, borrowing back and forth from films and books. The vampires in this scenario have nothing to do with the vampires of later fiction and cinema, no erotic seduction, just a predatory evil.

The investigators in this case, however, aren’t much better, though more ‘mundane’ in their evil, being underworld thugs working for Dutch Schultz. In this, the scenario does use one of the more amusing tropes of the Call of Cthulhu game, bringing characters from real history into the fictional universe and allowing them to gain verisimilitude thereby.

The investigators are mortal criminals who are facing the threat of a vampire gang competing with them for control of the local underworld, and having a limited window of opportunity to become ‘the lesser of two evils.’

This scenario has less of a moral compass than you normally find in Call of Cthulhu, a game where moral quandaries are far from unknown, but if your players can handle it, this can be a fun one shot, taking an evening or two of play depending on pacing. If you want to work it into campaign play, then the players should either start as the criminal characters, or may be forced to work with the local mob in order to make that choice of the lesser of two evils suggested above.

Book One, Scenario Three Nemesis Strikes!

This scenario uses the Theatrical Madman theme in a somewhat more literal means than many of its predecessors. The elaborately staged thematic killings of a group of victims with something in common hearkens back to the Phantom of the Opera in any of its incarnations, and several of Vincent Price’s more enjoyable films from the seventies. (in the boxed text, an interesting case is made to tie this thematic villain to vigilante style superheroes, citing Batman and Darkman as examples).

In this case, the investigators are literally investigators, if not by profession, then by inclination and motivation, on the periphery of a madman who is killing a group of people who were indirectly responsible for the death and damage that broke his life and mind.

As in most of these stories, most of the intended victims are not salvageable through the course of the story, and also as in most of these stories, even though a vicious killer in his own way, the madman is more the protagonist than the villain in the piece. The resolution of this story is more about discovering the ultimate truth than it is about stopping the reign of terror.

I found the specific gimmick a bit difficult, but to be honest, less of a stretch than a few I’ve seen and enjoyed in movies. I have not had the opportunity to run this one because of how much of a ‘predetermined’ course of events is integral to it, and similarly it is very difficult to even try to fit into campaign play. I would recommend it as a one shot, and even though I haven’t been able to play it out, would recommend it fairly highly.

Book One, Scenario Four: The Land that Time Ignored

Using ‘Dino-Rama’ as the theme, this is, for me at least, the first real clunker in the collections, and it is in part because of its very thematic selection. The lost world movies with modern humans, cave men and dinosaurs living side by side in a limited environment (complete with badly faked dinosaurs and one native group of cave people close enough to modern humans to include the romantic interest) is a recurrent theme of many movies of questionable quality running through multiple decades. The fact that many of these borrow from (if not outright try to recreate) works on these themes by Doyle and Burroughs does not do the works of the authors any favors. Cheap effects, weak plots and usually bad effects mixed with worse acting have made an entire genre of films that are uncomfortable to watch outside of their era of origin.

An expedition to a valley that houses two warring tribes, one savage, one effectively modern, populated by ‘dinosaurs’ is actually very reminiscent of most of the films involved, so in this sense it is a viable homage. With a group of fans of these films, it can be a satisfactory game, but otherwise, I would have to give this a pass.

Book One, Scenario Five: The Mummy’s Bride

This scenario calls forth the Mummy movies, up to the Hammer version of the late fifties. And while part of the plot does harken to at least one later mummy movie and hint a tiny bit at movies that came after the publication of this scenario (yes, the first two of the films with Brendan Fraser dealing with mummies), it tends to owe considerably more to the earlier films.

A ‘living mummy’ seeks to be reunited with his lost love, and the body of her duplicate, who coincidentally is related to an archaeologist on the edge of opening her tomb. The twisted take on love through the ages is a recurrent film trope, which is why there is some resemblance to the later films, which are indirect and vague remakes of sorts. While well written, I have some issues with the mummy trope, and this would only work for me as a one shot, and I have other reasons for not going into it, though I would have no problem with bringing some of these characters in to replace other mummies in a campaign scenario.

Because of the antiquity, because of Nyarlathotep, because of “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs”, Egypt and mummies, or at least Egyptian tombs are a frequent scenario location (Thoth’s Dagger, The Cairo section of Masks of Nyarlathotep, chapters in the Fungi from Yuggoth/Day of the Beast campaign, in the Raising up mini campaign, and others, the list gets longer the more I think about it), if one tries to utilize all the scenarios then player characters start to assume that every tomb will be filled with walking wrapped undead, and every trip to Egypt will invariably lead to a tomb, and to walking mummies.. I do feel that Call of Cthulhu is at its best when it avoids predictability, so I would use any Egyptian scenario with a mummy component sparingly.

For these reasons, this one goes into my personal ‘no’ pile, though it is well written for what it is, and I can say it would be a good choice for anyone wanting to use it for a one shot. Because of the improbability of the uncanny resemblance and happening to be connected to the investigation, I think it would be a stretch to try to fit it into a campaign, though.

Book One, Scenario Six: The Dollmaker

This one uses the ‘killer dolls’ theme, focusing specifically on the animate ventriloquist dummy as its focal point. I tend to have an issue with this and the animated scarecrow theme (more on that one later), having difficulty in finding it scary enough for real ‘horror’. The idea of an animated simulacra is not new to horror fiction, going all the way back to legends of the golem and various animated statues up through the Frankenstein monster, to the Child’s Play movies, with many stops in between, but the more they fall back on the doll sized, particularly the ventriloquist dummy, the harder it is for me to ‘buy into it’.

I will concede the backstory and all of its manifestations by the end of the scenario make this one surprisingly workable as a read, but ultimately not to my taste. It is well written enough that if you do opt to use it, it can be a very good scenario, and can even be tweaked into campaign play with some work (if you’re willing to use effectively vaudevillian characters as investigators it may even be a campaign starter).

The investigators are performers in various ‘variety acts’ who determine that a ventriloquist and his dummy are more than they seem, and when they investigate, they eventually find a dollmaker’s shop with animated mannequins and dolls of various types as the antagonists in the final confrontation.

A fun read, just hard for me to really buy into, personally.

Book One, Scenario Seven: Ancient Midget Nazi Shamans

This one is just too bizarre. The title, a clear play on a certain comic book turned into a kids show turned into a movie series turned into….has no other connection to said comic book, and while it does accurately state its focal characters it comes across a bit lighthearted, and the scenario tries to be anyting but.

Using the ‘gremlins’ theme, this has a touch of the changeling to it (though inaccurately), and harkens to a fair number of ‘small humanoid monsters’ movies that hit a strange peak in the eighties. Most of the movies in this subgenre included a fair bit of tongue in cheek humor and to make this scenario work, that has to be kept in mind, and worked into play if possible.

This one doesn’t work for me, I have to admit. It has a few interesting ‘gimmicks’ in its presentation, notably the fact that to play it, one actually plays three separate scenarios, sequentially, with the bulk of the player characters playing different characters in some of the scenarios.

First, an American unit raiding a Nazi research facility during World War II rescues among its victims a small malnourished child that they assume has been to some extent mutilated by the experiments the Nazis performed on it, and one of the soldiers adopts the child.

We transition to a later scenario with the players now taking the part of classmates of Klaus, the child from the first scenario, in post war America, and the player characters learn that Klaus is more than visually different from his classmates, as evil grows in the Heartland, with Klaus’ secret leading to the resurrection of others of Klaus’ kind (the Nazis, it turned out, had not created Klaus, but found and restored him to life, a savage shaman of a prehuman species seeking to bring others of his kind back.

The third scenario occurs a month after the second, as Klaus has resurrected more of his tribe and the smaller savages spring an attack on the small town over the Thanksgiving holiday. This is where the entire scenario reaches its ‘meat and potatoes’ and the investigators find themselves in a fight for survival of self and species in this town.

To be honest, I think that if you made more of the third part and presented the first two as an expository backstory it could work better. The gimmick of playing out the exposition to me weakens the scenario itself and lessens the investigators’ involvement in their characters. Granted, it’s a fair bit of exposition, but I think that if presented as part of a ‘prep sheet’ before the scenario so the players have the backstory under their belt before the game begins it can make a very good one shot.

Having said this, I have not tried to present it in this fashion, have not really had a chance to, but upon reflection, I think that I would be able to present and play through it under those circumstances enjoyably. However, this is also a scenario that I feel cannot be well worked into campaign play unless pre-existing characters are tangential to the central story characters and drawn into it by circumstance or association

Book One, Scenario Eight: Honeymoon in Hell

This one, using the “mad scientist” theme , is one of my favorites in the Blood Brothers books, is hard to fit into campaign play as written, but can be worked in with some effort. As a one shot it plays very well, however.

The investigators are three couples who have a tentative friendship based on marrying on the same day and picking the same general area for their honeymoon, circumstances throwing them into a trip in the everglades, the scenario set in the forties in the Everglades, the party finds themselves lost in the swamp and attacked during a storm by alligators acting in an unnatural manner. The party seeks shelter and finds themselves at the hands of a mad scientist whose past inadvertently created the abnormal alligators.

The investigators themselves become the next subjects of his mad science, and they have to fight to save themselves from the growing nightmare and from the resumed attack of the alligators.

A fantastic scenario with a wonderfully chilling presentation, a difficult resolution, to my tastes.

It would take a lot of work to make this a campaign scenario but if it could be done, could make an interesting and intense scenario, with intense repercussions.

Book One, Scenario Nine: Dead on Arrival

Here we have another great scenario, using the ‘Zombies’ theme. This is pretty much guaranteed as a one shot, as written, but with the ending rewritten could be fit into a campaign, but it would change the campaign setting pretty irrevocably, at least in the general location affected.

Like most movies, this is a zombie outbreak scenario with a goal of survival up to a point, and then the bitter resolution of most zombie movies, an ultimate failure. It uses the cinematic ‘living dead’ style zombie as opposed to the ‘voodoo’ type zombie.

I don’t have much to say about this, other than that I think this is a great scenario and a brilliant example of the genre it embodies, a great one shot. (I will also comment that this scenario led me to consider converting the various zombie types from the All Flesh Must be Eaten game into Call of Cthulhu on occasion, though I have never actually done so)

Book One, Scenario Ten: The Swarming

Here we go into the ‘Werewolves’ movies. We go more into the Howling type than the Werewolf of London or Wolf Man films, dealing with packs instead of a lone creature or individual dealing with a curse. This is a good scenario as written, but problematic for me. Werewolves have never been among my favorite villains in stories, and as pack villains they have a group dynamic that makes them very difficult to overcome in a scenario.

My difficulties with this scenario are purely a matter of taste, not a matter of any actual problem with the scenario, and I do think it could be brought into campaign play without too much difficulty but again, unless the players ‘clean house thoroughly’ it could be a ‘world changer’ much like the zombie outbreak discussed above.

Book One, Scenario Eleven Spawn of the Deep

Another great scenario, and this one can be put into a campaign very easily. The ‘Fish People’ theme is not a huge one in cinema, mainly falling to the Creature from the Black Lagoon and its sequels, and Humanoids from the Deep, which owes a huge amount to Shadow Over Innsmouth. The temptation to substitute the fish men in this scenario for Deep Ones will present itself to any Keeper wanting to put this scenario into campaign play, but I strongly advise against it. These are not the insidious Deep Ones with their temptation and gradual absorption of the fishing towns, these are aggressive creatures with a mating mechanism far more vile and evil, making them a viable short term threat.

In fact, if you want to put it in a campaign and be particularly wicked, you can structure a followup scenario or variant where Deep Ones cooperate with humans to eliminate this threat because it upsets their agenda as much as any human one.

Book One, Scenario Twelve, Trick or Treat

Again a problematic scenario for me, mainly because of the animated scarecrows. Automatons don’t tend to work for me as monsters, so this scenario is not one I resonate with. Using the theme ‘druids, Satanists and demons’ we are dealing with the wrath of a wizard on a group that stumbled on a secret gathering.

My other problem with this scenario is the theme itself, as with many scenarios, muddies the waters on the differences between druids and Satanists and cultists. The additional complication in the differences between modern pagans and possible druidic faiths and variations of those faiths can make for involved and complicated stories.

That aside, this is a nice, claustrophobic scenario that works very well as a one shot or as an ‘investigators origin’ scenario, but investigators who have been around the block a few times would tend to be more proactive against this threat (and in roleplaying, this is a complication as players used to the game may be more openly confrontational even in the face of the supernatural elements of the story)

Book One, Scenario Thirteen: Horror Planet

The theme of ‘Gross things from Outer Space’ closes the first book in a science fiction scenario that takes a party to another solar system and confronting an alien ecosystem and horrid aliens that find humans of use as food or resource. This one is very hard to even consider as a campaign scenario unless you use a science fiction base setting.

The players find themselves confronting a brain eating/body controlling parasitical alien and are subjected to a teleportation system that leaves the party far away, dealing with others of its kind and alien predators as they try to find a way back to Earth.

This is a good scenario, not a great one to my taste, can become something of a mini campaign if played right, and in the hands of the right Keeper can be a good game.

Book Two, Scenario One: Nightmare in Silence

The first scenario harkens as its theme to the silent horror films, specifically ‘the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’, ‘the Golem’, ‘Nosferatu’ and ‘Waxworks’ (The original, not the one from the eighties). It relies fairly heavily on the gimmick of recreating the silent movie motif. A romantic interest, a golem, a vampire, all fall together in a strange mélange.

This one doesn’t really click for me, using first the somewhat simplistic storylines of the period and second pushing the gimmick over roleplaying. An amusing read, but I would not consider playing this one, personally.

Book Two, Scenario Two: Chateau of Blood

This film specifically harkens to the ‘Hammer Horror Films’ to the point of naming it as the theme. A somewhat generic European 19th century, a reclusive noble and his lovely daughter, a nearby town with superstitious villagers, a secret, a monster, all combine to make this a very nice recreation of the feel of a Hammer Horror film, though it does have a few twists, including a type of monster that was largely absent from the Hammer films, and a twist or two towards the end that make for an interesting ride.

It is devoted largely to creating the theme feel and as such is not a good candidate for addition to a campaign, but a fun read, and a good scenario with a reasonable challenge.

Book Two, Scenario Three: An Alien Kicked Sand in my Face

Here the silly ramps up, as the theme ‘Teenage Horror at the Beach’ comes to the fore, and this scenario doesn’t even try to take itself seriously. Aliens against teenagers, beach movies, teens against adults, all of this comes up in this parody of more than one genre, and of a few films that actually parodied the same things ‘back in the day’.

I am sorry but I have to admit that although I laugh once or twice reading it, it is a bit painful to read too, and I cannot seriously consider playing this one. Sometimes a scenario is just for reading.

Book Two, Scenario Four: Alive and Kicking

Another loser in the deck, we have the ‘detached body parts’ theme ‘hopping up’, this time a leg is the killer appendage, and a soccer player the unwitting (and unwilling) donor.

The degree I cringe over this one makes me nostalgic for volume one’s dinorama tribute.

Book Two, Scenario Five: El Tigre, y la Primade de Destruccion

Here we get the masked luchadore genre, and ironically, that isn’t the worst part of this one. Aliens that kidnap people including a superstar luchadore isn’t the worst part. The fact that the scenario is ultimately a Mary Sue scenario, the players are supporters of the superstar, and against the backgrop of the luchadore genre, this is even more painfully apparent.

Book Two, Scenario Six: The Evil Gun

This one cites ‘a new sort of western’ as its genre, pointing at the spaghetti western. The fact that it reads as a much nastier play on the concept of the movie High Plains Drifter leaves me with the impression it is a commentary on how that particular film almost defies genre by itself.

It becomes a great scenario, but the possibility of victory becomes harder to achieve in the face of that, since ultimately as evil and vile as the Stranger is in this version, he is ultimately a tool of justice…just this version doesn’t mind running over anything else in his path.

Book Two, Scenario Seven: Dead on Arrival 2

Another zombie scenario, a sequel to the first books’ entry, I obviously wanted to like this one.

Ultimately though this is not really so much a scenario as a narrative, the players don’t really actively change anything in the course of events, they are passengers in this one, even to a greater extent than the Mary Sue luchadore scenario.

Heavy sigh, moving along.

Book Two, Scenario Eight: Carnival Knowledge

The theme is ‘killer clowns’ this time, and this scenario seems to owe as much to gallo movies, but the plot is fairly evident. Killer cannibal clowns are preying on attendees, and it is up to the investigators to thwart the killer clowns.

A tough and fun scenario, and an easy one to put into campaign play, potentially even to the point of inserting it in some of the existing carnival scenarios (Dark Carnival or Flesh Festival from Curse of the Chthonians and Plan 09 from Halloween respectively, come immediately to mind). A fun, violent scenario, a good break if several scenarios have played out as very cerebral. This is fairly straightforward, but a Keeper can add to it to make it more of an investigation if you wanted.

Book Two, Scenario Nine: Simply Red

We close on another high note, with the splatter genre, the scenario having a family on vacation run afoul of a small group of killers. To go into much detail gives away a lot, and while I would have probably written a different one, it’s a good springboard for ideas if you want to do more (and once you start down that path, you have a lot of good splatter villains to parley into a scenario).

Adding the novelty of the family dog being one of the player investigator characters, this scenario is intense fun, and a good play, and good inspiration.

As you can see, volume two comes up much shorter than volume one, in my book, but the gems in volume two are amazing. I don’t regret either purchase, but I will admit I would have liked the second volume to have had some other scenarios replacing the weaker ones.

extremely brief entry, poll of sorts, feedback request

I have come to the realization that a lot of the scenarios I own are out of print as such, and this is not a major concern, if I get keepers to prowl ebay and collector’s shops and the like I am all in favor of that. But I have discovered as I tried to confirm pages where I acquired the various free scenarios of my past that several of these pages are no longer up.

I was wondering if there would be interest for me to continue reviewing scenarios that may be harder or impossible to find without my contributing to their dispersal, assuming I can find such a means, shy of emailing them on request.

I will not violate copyright and have no intention of distributing anything illegally, would only distribute things that are and/or were available for free legitimately when I found them, but I don’t want to throw reviews out that may make a keeper want to seek out a scenario only to have that keeper discover that the scenario is not in any distribution at this time.

I would appreciate feedback and any suggestions on this, email to me at

Should I continue to review modules that are from web pages no longer available? And if so, should I develop a system for making them available for keepers interested in reading them? I have to admit that many of them I copied from web pages have been converted to pdf format, and I have sometimes lost the original authors’ names, may have to hunt a bit to try to determine that, will always try to give credit appropriately.

This is posted on Friday morning and I am hoping to post at least one review before the end of day Saturday, as part of the latest time frame update.