Every Week It's Wibbley-Wobbley Timey-Wimey Pookie-Reviewery...

Friday, 16 September 2016

Fenland Fears

The Colour Beyond Time: A Medieval Mythos Mystery is scenario written by John R. Davis, the author of The Jack Hack. It is a medieval mystery adventure with Lovecraftian flavour that describes itself as “An adventure for use with any eldritch horror & mystery roleplaying game.”, essentially a plot without a system. What this means is that the GM can use the system of his choice to run the scenario, be it Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition, Savage Worlds, Maelstrom Domesday, or Cryptworld, so long as the system has a means of handling mental shock and instability. Cthulhu Dark Ages would be an obvious fit, although at time of publication, details of this supplement are only hinted at in Cthulhu Through the Ages.

More specifically, The Colour Beyond Time is designed to be played by between three and five players—plus GM—and is set in an area of fenland, much like that of Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Lincolnshire, and Norfolk, in roughly the year 1100 AD. The player characters are in service of the recently appointed baron, Philip De Guiarme, sent out to assess the southern extent of his barony. This includes the village of Honningsby, an isolated place on the coast. As the scenario opens, they are on their way there, stopping first at the hamlet of Farabridge to stay overnight. Here the party first learns of the dark doings in the Honningsby and its surrounds over which 'greenfire' fell from the sky some months past… Once in Honningsby, the characters will find further strangeness. Villagers seemingly frozen, visions—of both the future and the past, and more.

The Colour Beyond Time is an odd little scenario. There is little combat involved and there is no real confrontation with the alien being that is the cause of the weirdness that has befallen Honningsby and its surrounds. Rather, this is an investigative and interpersonal scenario in which medieval men encounter the aftereffects of a Mythos event. Even the educated amongst them will have little understanding of what has gone on and perhaps never truly will.

Physically, The Colour Beyond Time is a 2.64 MB, five page, black and white PDF available from RPGnow.com. It is best described as decidedly rough and unsteadily ready. Although the artwork is excellent and the layout workmanlike, the scenario is begging for a proper edit. The cartography is also rather scrappy.

Overall, The Colour Beyond Time: A Medieval Mythos Mystery feels underwritten and underdeveloped. It is more of a Mythos vignette than a full scenario, but it is not without a sense of isolation and brutal ignorance that more than fits the setting. It could have been expanded in places and perhaps the inclusion of a set of pre-generated player character backgrounds might not have gone amiss. Nevertheless, there is potential for an session or two—at most—in The Colour Beyond Time: A Medieval Mythos Mystery and perhaps interest enough to examine the forthcoming sequel, After The Mountfall Madness. That is not really too bad for a scenario that costs $1.