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Friday 14 June 2019

Bud’s RPG Review for Free RPG Day

Now in its twelfth year, Saturday, June 15th is Free RPG Day, and to promote tomorrow’s event, Reviews from R'lyeh has got together with Bud of the YouTube channel, Bud’s RPG Review to share each other’s review of a highlight of a previous year’s Free RPG Day. Our choice is The Derelict: A Tale of Terror for Call of Cthulhu, the first release for Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition from Chaosium, Inc., now available as part of the anthology, Petersen’s Abominations: Five Epic Tales of Modern Horror.

Bud has been kind enough to present a video of my review from Friday, 19th August 2016 which you can watch here as well as find other great videos of his hands giving insightful thoughts on roleplaying games, card games, and board games. In return, Reviews from R’lyeh presents the text of Bud’s own review from Tuesday, September 6th, 2016.


Hello, and welcome to Bud’s RPG review where I give my thoughts on roleplaying games, card games, and board games.

Today’s review is the Free RPG day adventure The Derelict by Chaosium for Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition. In the UK, Free RPG Day is something I have difficulty with. In the city of Liverpool, we don’t have any gaming shops that support it – the nearest shop is Fanboy3 which is 45 miles away in Manchester, so the logistics involved in getting to the shop in order to get a free adventure, even for a collector like myself, were just not feasible. I searched eBay for this, to no avail. So, you can imagine my delight then when Chaosium announced that they would make this available to buy on Print-On-Demand from Lulu. This was further bolstered by the news that the adventure was written by the Godfather of Call of Cthulhu (as it says on the cover), Sandy Petersen with Mike Mason.

Now, I have never bought a POD title before and I have to say, I am fairly impressed. The book itself was £3.16 (just over $4) and the postage was £2.99 (about $3.90). That is less than it would have cost me to drive to Manchester and back and pay for parking – so no complaints on the price. Having not seen the free version, I can only imagine that it looks pretty much the same as this version. 

Right – from this point there will be spoilers, so if you have plans to play this, then this is your one and only warning to stop.

So to the cover – I noticed the absence of the Call of Cthulhu logo on the front – for some reason they have only put it on the back. Not sure why. Onto the art – I love this cover. For me, it harkens to the golden age of roleplaying and those early 1980s adventures.

Okay – so onto the inside. There are spoilers from this point forward, so don’t say you weren’t warned. 

The basic premise of the adventure is a combination of John Carpenter’s The Thing combined with a slasher flick. One scenario has the group – a gang of rich Hollywood stars travelling across the Atlantic to the port of Liverpool on an expensive yacht in order for the owner to sell it to a buyer there. On the way, they stumble upon a refrigerated cargo liner called the Groenland Tropisch between Greenland and Iceland that has run aground of an iceberg and looks deserted. The salvage for towing a huge ship like this back to report is a lot, so the guy who owns the boat decides to investigate.

The second scenario they present is one of a salvage team that has been sent to collect the vessel and tow it back to port.

All good so far.

Upon boarding the ship, the investigators find it in a state similar to the Norwegian’s camp in The Thing – blood and damage everywhere.

Unbeknownst to the investigators, the ship and its crew stumbled across a creature from Norse mythology called the Sciapod, which the writers have pulled from Erik the Red’s Saga. The Sciapod itself is a fearsome opponent that has to be defeated by the investigators by using guile and coming up with a plan – which is hinted at using the C02 bottles contained within the cargo hold – I imagine a straight fight with the Sciapod would lead to a few party deaths.

As adventures go, I can’t imagine this lasting any more than three nights. It’s pretty straightforward as Call of Cthulhu adventures go – but that is not to say it is poor. It is really well fleshed out throughout – even the pre-generated characters are pretty well done, and all have interesting back stories. One interesting point to note is that the adventure is set in 2007-8, which would imply that it is Delta Green friendly, but I – m not entirely convinced that it is suited to that setting.

In conclusion, this is not a bad excursion. If I had received this on Free RPG Day, I would be pretty pleased as it is pretty decent and it is for Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition which doesn't have an abundance of adventures available for it currently. As a free RPG, I would give this an 8 out of 10 – as a paid for adventure, I will give it a 7 out of 10. It really is for collectors only, but you shouldn’t feel like it isn’t worth buying – it is quite cheap.

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