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

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Beyond the Sanity of the Solar System

Salo’s Glory is a near future Science Fiction scenario for use with Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition. The eleventh title in the ‘Fox Country’ series from publisher Stygian Fox, it is a one-shot designed for three to six players and be played in a session or two. Mankind has expanded and explored to the furthest reaches of the Solar System, and begun to go beyond. One such exploratory vessel is the Galilee Heavy Industries I.E.V. Tryphena. Here on the edge of interstellar space, the crew of the Tryphena come across not one, but four astounding mysteries. First is the presence of a ship identical to their own, also named the Tryphena, but powered down, seemingly abandoned, orbiting a cold planetoid. The second, third, and fourth consist of signals. One signal is the distress signal coming from the abandoned ship’s shuttle, the other two come from stone structures at the north and south poles of the planetoid. The question, what happened to the crew of the other Tryphena? Why did they abandon their ship? What exactly lies on the surface of the planetoid?

The plot of Salo’s Glory is all about the uncovering of its four mysteries. This is driven by two factors. First, by the curiosity of the players and their characters. Second by the directives of Galilee Heavy Industries which address the actions to be taken by crews under certain circumstances, many of which will occur during the scenarios. These will push the Player Characters to explore further, uncover first clues, then truths, and perhaps reveal what is going on. The plot is actually fairly simple and straightforward, though the Player Characters may not necessarily come to fully understand what is going on. The horror should build and build as the Player Characters push deeper into the mysteries, bolstered by the dark, the sense of isolation, and the alien nature of the situation.

Salo’s Glory is supported by extensive deck plans for both the old Tryphena and its shuttle, plus numerous handouts. The deck plans are done in a style similar to that of Traveller and are accompanied by good illustration of the ship which puts the deck plans in context. The handouts, consisting mostly of crew logs and Galilee Heavy Industries directives are disappointingly plain in comparison. The navigation readout for the planetoid is nicely done. The six pre-generated Player Characters which make up the crew of I.E.V. Tryphena nicely reflect a diverse range of backgrounds and genders, although there are similarities in their descriptions and the fact that they all talk with an accent, usually slight. The background for one or two of them is rather underwhelming, and perhaps the relationships and attitudes between the crew could have been developed a little further. The scenario also includes a list of the skills used throughout the scenario.

Physically, Salo’s Glory is generally well-presented. The artwork is good, the deck plans clear, with perhaps the only elements to really disappoint are the aforementioned handouts and the maps of the areas on the moon at the North and South Poles, which are plain in comparison to the rest of the book.

As a Science Fiction one-shot scenario for Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition, what Salo’s Glory does not have is Sanity rewards, although it does have suggestions as possible subsequent adventures depending upon the actions of the surviving Player Characters. Salo’s Glory is for the most part straight forward, easy to run, and player driven, and would make for a decent convention scenario if its pacing was sped up. Ultimately, Salo’s Glory is a short Science Fiction take upon At the Mountains of Madness which dials up its Cosmic Horror and sense of isolation against otherwise pedestrian horror elements

1 comment:

  1. Interesting, I'm tempted to check it out to use it for Star Frontiers.