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

Monday 28 November 2022

Jonstown Jottings #70: Spirit Hunt

Much like the Miskatonic Repository for Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition, the Jonstown Compendium is a curated platform for user-made content, but for material set in Greg Stafford’s mythic universe of Glorantha. It enables creators to sell their own original content for RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha13th Age Glorantha, and HeroQuest Glorantha (Questworlds). This can include original scenarios, background material, cults, mythology, details of NPCs and monsters, and so on, but none of this content should be considered to be ‘canon’, but rather fall under ‘Your Glorantha Will Vary’. This means that there is still scope for the authors to create interesting and useful content that others can bring to their Glorantha-set campaigns.


What is it?
GLORANTHA: Spirit Hunt is a scenario for use with RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha.

It is a five page, full colour, 1.13 GB PDF.

The layout is clean and tidy. It is art free, but the cartography is excellent.

The map can be found here.

Where is it set?
GLORANTHA: Spirit Hunt is set in or near Esrolia. It is suggested that it be set in the hills between Helerdon and the Doktados mountains.

Who do you play?
Player Characters of all types could play this scenario, but as written they are expected to be connected to Esrolia. A Player Character with either Hate (Lunars) or Hate (Lunar Empire) can be driven to undertake this scenario.

What do you need?
GLORANTHA: Spirit Hunt requires RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha and the Glorantha Bestiary.

What do you get?
GLORANTHA: Spirit Hunt details the hiding place of the Nyctalope sent by the Red Emperor in 1610 ST which successfully assassinated Queen Valinalda of Esrolia. The Player Characters are either sent by one of the Esrolian Queens or Ernalda’s priestess to destroy the spirit, have to do so as part of a heroquest, or simply stumbled across the lair. The scenario provides the basic background, a set of random encounters, and the floorplans of the ruined shrine where the Nyctalope is hiding.

Although the map is excellent, GLORANTHA: Spirit Hunt is uninteresting. There is perhaps an engaging and intriguing scenario which explores the hunt for the spirit which assassinated Queen Valinalda, GLORANTHA: Spirit Hunt is not that. The Game Master could develop it further, especially if one of more of the Player Characters is from Esrolia, is related or has links to one of the Queens, or actively hates the Lunars. However, there is no roleplaying or interaction involved here, no mystery, no anything except combat. So why bother starting with this when there so little to work from?

Again, the Game Master should download the map by Dyson Logos and use that to create her own scenario. It would be unlikely to be any worse or more uninspiring than GLORANTHA: Spirit Hunt is and it is definitely less expensive.

Is it worth your time?
YesGLORANTHA: Spirit Hunt is straightforward and easy to run, and requires relatively little effort to prepare.
NoGLORANTHA: Spirit Hunt is another self-contained mini-dungeon which the author kindly leaves much of the interesting detail, stats, and flavour to be found in the back story—as is his standard practice—for the Game Master to develop herself. Cheap, cheerless, characterless, and charmless. Not mostly, but completely.
MaybeGLORANTHA: Spirit Hunt is straightforward and easy to run, and requires relatively little effort to prepare, but the Game Master could easily come up with an alternative which was interesting and involving.

Miskatonic Monday #156: Along Came a Crystal

Between October 2003 and October 2013, Chaosium, Inc. published a series of books for Call of Cthulhu under the Miskatonic University Library Association brand. Whether a sourcebook, scenario, anthology, or campaign, each was a showcase for their authors—amateur rather than professional, but fans of Call of Cthulhu nonetheless—to put forward their ideas and share with others. The programme was notable for having launched the writing careers of several authors, but for every Cthulhu InvictusThe PastoresPrimal StateRipples from Carcosa, and Halloween Horror, there was Five Go Mad in EgyptReturn of the RipperRise of the DeadRise of the Dead II: The Raid, and more...

The Miskatonic University Library Association brand is no more, alas, but what we have in its stead is the Miskatonic Repository, based on the same format as the DM’s Guild for Dungeons & Dragons. It is thus, “...a new way for creators to publish and distribute their own original Call of Cthulhu content including scenarios, settings, spells and more…” To support the endeavours of their creators, Chaosium has provided templates and art packs, both free to use, so that the resulting releases can look and feel as professional as possible. To support the efforts of these contributors, Miskatonic Monday is an occasional series of reviews which will in turn examine an item drawn from the depths of the Miskatonic Repository.

Publisher: Chaosium, Inc.
Author: Alonso R. Serrano

Setting: Jazz Age Lovecraft Country
Product: Scenario
What You Get: Seventeen page, 2.60 MB Full Colour PDF
Elevator Pitch: All that glisters is not gold.
Plot Hook: A hunt for a missing geologist lands the Investigators in a hole.
Plot Support: Two NPCs, five handouts, one map,
and two Mythos monsters.
Production Values: Variable.

# Potential addition to a Miskatonic University campaign
# Creepy use of replicated sound
# Keeper could prepare the soundbites
# Decent handouts
Geologically themed one-shot
# Crystallophobia
# Petraphobia

# Needs an edit
# Short investigation
# More action than investigation

# Short investigation leads to a confrontation with a near unstoppable geologically alien monster.
# Along Came a Crystal uses the replication of soundbites to creepy effect. 

Sunday 27 November 2022

An Excellent Engineless Elevensome

There is a gap between the one-shot and the campaign that is rarely filled. The gap between the one or two session scenario and the campaign that will run over the course of years in multiple sessions. The gap between one-shots like Viral and Lady Blackbird and full campaigns such as Impossible Landscapes and The Curse of Strahd. It is this gap where the shorter campaign takes place, somewhere between say four or five adventures and say, a maximum of twelve. Yet the hobby does not often offer campaigns of such length, tending towards the extremes in terms of length rather than the median. That though, is not an issue with Odd Jobs: RPG Micro Settings Vol. I. This is a collection of eleven mini- or micro-settings, each complete with a background, character options, NPCs, a detailed mini-campaign, adventure seeds, bonus material, and more. Taking in everything from collecting ghosts to return to Earth from across the Solar System and running the rails between bubbles of stable reality to playing the stock market which measures and tracks the worshippers of your god and searching signs of intelligent life on a distant planet as you become that life, this anthology brings a together a plethora of weird and wonderful campaign ideas designed to be played in three to four sessions (but can go longer if the extra content is used).

Odd Jobs: RPG Micro Settings Vol. I is published by MacGuffin & Co. following a successful Kickstarter campaign and the first thing that you really need to know about it is that it is systemless. There are no stats of any kind in the book. Which means that the Game Master will need to put in some extra effort when preparing one of the book’s campaigns, providing the necessary stats and abilities, and so on. However, after explaining what a roleplaying game and a micro-setting is, the authors do discuss the choice of system in the book’s introduction. What is great here is that they suggest a number of different roleplaying games, pairing them with each of the various micro-settings in the book. These range from Fate Condensed, The Black Hack, and Cthulhu Hack to Savage Worlds, the Cypher System, and Dungeons & Dragons, Fifth Edition. Now any of the micro settings in Odd Jobs: RPG Micro Settings Vol. I can be adapted to the rules system of the Game Master’s choice, but the suggestions can lead a Game Master and her players to try out a new set of rules or if they already know one set of rules, the Game Master can pick up this book and prepare the setting paired with her preferred rules straight away. (And then look at the other settings.) It should be noted that two of the settings carry content warnings, but these are kept short and to the point.

Each of the settings and campaigns in Odd Jobs: RPG Micro Settings Vol. I follows roughly the same format. It opens with three pages of background, followed by a page or so each of character ideas and locations. These initial pages are for both player and Game Master, but the remaining pages, beginning with ‘Secrets’ are clearly for the Game Master’s eyes only. This is followed by a list of NPCs, the mini-campaign itself—consisting of four adventures, the latter full of surprising twists, before being rounded off with a handful of adventure seeds and some bonus content. The latter can be as simple as a bonus adventure, but can also include further character ideas and tables for creating random elements in the setting. The book itself is rounded out with bonus content for all eleven campaigns.

Odd Jobs: RPG Micro Settings Vol. I very quickly gets on with the first setting and campaign—and it grabs the reader from the off. ‘Ghost Ship’ combines Dead Like Me with Office Space, but in space! When somebody dies, their spirit passes on, but only on Earth. Which is a problem when someone dies off-world. Someone has to collect the ghosts—some of whom are not always friendly and need to be harpooned!—and return them to Earth. The setting classifies the ghosts by belligerency, and has the Player Characters as ghost collectors discovering that there is much more going on and that some of the ghosts really do not want to go back. It is followed by ‘Twisted Rails’ in which the Player Characters crew a steam train ferrying freight and passengers from one Bubble of stable reality to another, riding the rails which have been laid across the chaos in between that resulted when reality broke down. The Player Characters will have to contend with rail pirates on parallel lines attempting to capture their train. This campaign is accompanied by tables for creating new Bubbles. The third campaign, ‘Not Far to Bermuda’, gets a bit weird. It is set aboard the Wanderlust, a large passenger liner which has been on the Atlantic Islands Cruise for at least two-hundred-and-ninety-four days. Fortunately, the food has not run out, though it varies unexpectedly, and whilst discipline and society has not exactly broken down or broken out into violence, it has coalesced into a series of cliques which need to be carefully navigated. This is where the Player Characters come in, being members of the hospitality staff, such as poolside entertainer, excursion leader, or events manager, whose old roles seem to have fallen away as the trip has continued. Quite where the ship is and where it is going is the focus of the campaign as the voyage continues.

‘Guardians’ is a flashback to the seventies and rural France with the Player Characters as nuns whose reputation and conduct has resulted in their being seconded to the ‘les Sœurs de Notre-Dame de la Vérité’ (‘The Sisters of Our Lady of Truth) whose duty is to guard ‘la Fosse de l’Enfer’, literally a ‘Pit of Hell’. This campaign can vary in tone from dark comedy to psychological horror and comes with a table of options for the dark secrets that each of the nuns is harbouring, and plenty of suggestions as to what exactly is in the pit. This is potentially the darkest of the campaigns in the anthology. ‘Atlantis City’ goes under the sea to explore what happened to the mythical lost city when it was sunk in ages past. It turns to gambling and becomes a den of vice and criminality, the aquatic equivalent of Las Vegas or Atlantic City. As the Player Characters take over a casino, they have to contend with the Kingdom of the Merfolk and the Deep Ones of the Deep Collective attempting to muscle in on the vice trade along with rival casino crews and city politics which have been dominated by the same family for millennia. The other darker setting in the anthology is ‘Duskhollow P.D.’, which combines hard-boiled detective stories with horror in a weird interzone urban sprawl where the rain never stops and where the crimes can involve cults, sorcerers, revenants, and more, including something squamous. This campaign differs from the others in that there is no one secret to what is behind the nature of the city, but several which the Game Master can pick and choose from, and rather than run a campaign with a beginning, middle, and end, be run as a series of one-shots into which the Game Master can insert the clues. Of all the campaigns in Odd Jobs: RPG Micro Settings Vol. I, it is not a case of ‘run and done’, but intermittent cases which can be run in between other campaigns.

‘MIX: Missing In X-mas’ is the jolliest of campaigns in Odd Jobs: RPG Micro Settings Vol. I, but starts with a bang. It is Christmas night and Santa Claus has gone missing somewhere over Germany. Where could he be? This is no Nightmare Before Christmas, but the Player Characters—Elves, Reindeer, Gingerbread Persons, Snowpersons, Nutcrackers, and Toys—have to leap into the breach to continue the deliveries as well as discover quite where Father Christmas has got to. The campaign comes with a big table of presents to deliver and plenty of drops down the chimney to go wrong and get out again without any child being the wiser to the presence of the Player Characters. ‘Primetime Colosseum’ is a campaign in which the Player Characters are gladiators in an Ancient Rome where myth and magic are real, including resurrection potions. So gladiators can fight and die and come back and fight again. The various roles are not so much inspired by classic gladiator types, but by modern wrestling. The campaign itself sees the Player Characters and their gladiatorial school hit primetime, find fame and fortune, and suffer the consequences. Of all the campaigns in the anthology, ‘Wizard’s Staff’ feels the most familiar in which the staff and assistants of the notoriously evil enchanter Balphior who have to step up and fill in after he goes and dies in unsurprisingly bizarre circumstances. They are going to have to cover in his absence and survive the avaricious interest of others if they find out about their master’s death. This requires a degree of cunning and subterfuge, but can be comedic too.

The penultimate campaign is ‘Start-Up Culture’. This is a world in which the gods are real and their power and influence via the number of worshippers they have is tracked on the OSE or ‘Oracle Spiritual Exchange’. The players get to create their own god, such as the ‘God of Reluctant Teamwork’ or ‘God of Lazy Afternoons’, and power said god up the OSE by proselytising and gaining worshippers. Rounding out the anthology is ‘Fixer Upper’, a piece of straight Science Fiction in which the Player Characters are robots surveying a planet—the ‘Fixer Upper’ of the title, in the far future to determine three things. If it is suitable to be inhabited by humans, if it needs to be terraformed, and if it is already occupied by a species exhibiting ‘Personhood’. As the players roleplay through the campaign, their robots not only explore more of the world, but begin to diverge from their programming to the point where they are the ones exhibiting ‘Personhood’. It is a fascinating philosophical piece in the vein of Philip K. Dick with which to close the anthology.

Physically, RPG Micro Settings Vol. I is very nicely presented. It is done in full colour, with artwork and typography which is different for each and every campaign. This gives each a distinct feel and makes them standout when browsing the book.

Odd Jobs: RPG Micro Settings Vol. I offers some memorable, fully developed campaign ideas which it combines with flexibility in terms of choice of system and running time—any one of them could be run in the suggested three to four sessions, but also easily extended with the plentiful story hooks and seeds. Odd Jobs: RPG Micro Settings Vol. I is an exemplary elevensome, full of good ideas and entertainingly brilliant concepts that you will want to run as a Game Master and roleplay as a player.


Both Reviews from Rlyeh and MacGuffin & Co. will be at DragonMeet on Saturday, 3rd December, 2022.

Saturday 26 November 2022

Cosmic Anarchy

NO FUTURE: Lovecraftian Horror Meets the Punk Revolution
would normally be reviewed as part of the Fanzine Focus strand, but it is not really a fanzine. Although originally intended to be part of Kickstarter’s ZineQuest for 2022, the publisher decided to do it on its own via Itchio, when Kickstarter moved ZineQuest from march to August to coincide with Gen Con, its format—A4 rather than A5, its singular content, and the production standards all move it away from the ’zine ethos and look and towards a more professional product. As a result, it stands somewhere between a fanzine and prozine. It is a trend which has been growing with each successive ZineQuest, to the point where it is quite difficult to determine the difference between a fanzine and a publication simply using the format and the promotional support of ZineQuest to present a whole scenario or even an RPG. NO FUTURE: Lovecraftian Horror Meets the Punk Revolution does itself no favours in making a such a determination. Although the cover can be described as Punk Art and Punks are the protagonists of its scenario, the style and layout of the first issue’s content evokes neither Punk Art nor a fanzine sensibility, and the glossiness of the first issue just does not scream Punk! However, whether or not NO FUTURE: Lovecraftian Horror Meets the Punk Revolution is ’zine or not ’zine, it does not meet the criteria to fit the Fanzine Focus strand, but it does include content which is interesting and which does involve Punks.

NO FUTURE: Lovecraftian Horror Meets the Punk Revolution – Issue #1: “The Five Techniques” is published by Pent Up Press and contains a single scenario designed to be run using Trail of Cthulhu or Cthulhu Dark. The former is the clue orientated roleplaying game of Lovecraftian investigative horror from Pelgrane Press and the latter the rules light RPG of Lovecraftian investigative horror designed for simple, minimalist play. It could easily be adapted to the roleplaying game of Lovecraftian investigative horror of the Game Master’s choice. What makes the scenario stand out is its time period—the 1970s, its setting—Northern Ireland, and its protagonists—members of punk rock band. The set-up is this. The would-be Investigators are members of The Gutters which formed in London. The band’s bassist, Ciaron McCarthy, has died and his bandmate, Mickey Grayes, has persuaded everyone to give Ciaron a proper Punk wake in his home village of Conhale in County Armagh in Northern Ireland. This sets up some fantastic tensions. The Punks themselves are very much the ‘fish out of water’ amidst the tensions of the Troubles. Not just their clothes, but their anti-establishment sentiment will make them standout in the conservative society of Armagh, already tense from the locked down presence and influence of the British Army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary supposedly keeping them safe from the IRA.

The Investigators will feel and experience this tension almost from the start. The journey from London has been long and tiring when the Punks are stopped by an IRA checkpoint and questioned. The villagers are reluctant to talk to the interlopers, but will warm to them with a drink or two. The British Army will take a seemingly mild interest too—at least initially. All whilst the Investigators suffer odd dreams, or even daydreams of dreams, spiral patterns are marked here and there, and then one of their number runs off…

As written, “The Five Techniques” is systemless, but the scenario includes notes on running it in either Cthulhu Dark or the GUMSHOE System of Trail of Cthulhu. The latter comes with stats for some NPCs and new Investigative and General Abilities, all musical in nature. For either system, there is a set of tables for creating the background of the Punk, covering ‘Creating Your Punk’ and ‘Getting the Band Together’, as well the scenario’s set of dreams and four decently done handouts.

Whether run for Cthulhu Dark, Trail of Cthulhu, or another roleplaying of Lovecraftian investigative horror, “The Five Techniques” is more folk horror, more Green Room meets Junji Ito’s Uzumaki, rather than Lovecraftian horror per se. It also adheres to the style of play of Cthulhu Dark in which the Investigators can only confront the Mythos. They cannot fight it directly, for it is too powerful, too unknowable, and such efforts are doomed to end in failure, resulting in the Investigators’ deaths or insanity. Thus “The Five Techniques” is more Purist than the traditional Purist mode of Trail of Cthulhu to the point where the motivations of outré threat are never explained and the Game Master is not expected to explain them either. Only in the epilogue which each player gets to narrate for their Investigator is there time to wonder at what happened and the horror of it. Here though, is where “The Five Techniques” does not support the Game Master as the scenario does not say about the responses to what happened for those living in and around Clonhale, whether the villagers, the British Army, the R.U.C., or the I.R.A. There will be consequences and it would have been useful to be given pointers as to what they might be.

Physically, NO FUTURE: Lovecraftian Horror Meets the Punk Revolution – Issue #1: “The Five Techniques” is busily presented with plenty of decent artwork and good handouts. The writing is decent and the plot sufficiently straightforward that the Game Master can easily run this in a single session or as a convention one-shot. In addition, the scenario has a pleasing historicity, which includes the appearance of Northern Ireland’s most famous Punk band.

The seventies is a period which has been little explored in Lovecraftian investigative horror, and much of what has, has been inspired by the Grindhouse, exploitation cinema of the period. NO FUTURE: Lovecraftian Horror Meets the Punk Revolution – Issue #1: “The Five Techniques” shifts Lovecraftian investigative horror to the seventies in a historical sense and location, placing the unknowable against a framework of real-world tensions, making the already fraught situation all the more fraught, the result being a unique scenario for Lovecraftian investigative roleplaying.

Just Another Bug Hunt?

The search and rescue call was coming from somewhere in the asteroid ring. It was faint and difficult to track. But you found the source and you did it before anyone did. Which was good, because the source, a science station on Asteroid N0 looked cold and abandoned. Whatever happened here was a while ago. If it was abandoned or empty and nobody else had got there before you, that meant salvage. Maybe some tech or Gems you could sell back at the Iron Ring, the inhabited heart of the Tenebris System, last refuge of humanity following the Gem War and the slow contraction of the universe. The domes of the station on Asteroid N0 looked like easy pickings with whomever had sent out the distress call dead or long gone, and nobody to get in your way. And if there were any survivors, they would probably be so grateful that they would either pay you or not even be bothered when you took your payment in kind. So you all went in because it was going to be easy. That was you first mistake. The abandoned station was inhabited, but not by man. Pink insect-like things, with ragged wings and four eyes on each side of their heads, and a sharp needle-shaped proboscis that extended out of their mouths again and again. They reacted to your lights and they got between you and your shuttle. No way you could get back. Which meant you were trapped and needed to find a way to get past them, maybe get some answers, find out what happened here …Or just find a way to survive. Just seven hours of oxygen left.

This is the set-up for STATION X3N0: A Science Fiction Roleplaying Game Situational Module. Published by Squid Ink Games via Deeply Dapper Games following a successful Kickstarter campaign, STATION X3N0 is a scenario for Death in Space, the Swedish blue-collar Science Fiction survival roleplaying game about hope and co-operation in the face of nihilism and an uncaring universe. It is designed to be played or used in one of three ways. First, as a solo adventure, or ‘solo station crawl’, in which the station’s various locations and the clues to what happened are revealed procedurally. This can be done by the one player or even by a group of players, but without the Referee. Second, as a standard module with a group of players and their characters. Third, as a source of material.

Almost two fifths of STATION X3N0 is dedicated to solo play. The module opens with a pair of pieces of fiction before explaining what the module is and how to use it. Beginning in Room 0.0, the player sets out to explore the rest of the station, moving from room to room, location to location, discovering clues and records of the missing station personnel’s activities, building an idea of what happened at Station X3, and hopefully finding a way to get past the alien monsters or off Asteroid N0. Some locations are linked to specific locations and the player can decide to simply move to one of these, but he can also roll d66 to randomly generate the next location. (An alternative method using a deck of playing cards isa also included in the book.) This leads to a chaotic feel and layout as play proceeds, but it also adds a degree of weirdness to the already claustrophobic nature of the module. Whenever the player enters a new area, he marks this off on the ‘Area Tracking Log’ which is at the back of the book. He also rolls two six-sided dice and if he rolls doubles, marks this off a box on the ‘Disturbances Track’. This has several rows and several boxes marked in bold. When a box in bold is marked off, the player rolls for a random encounter, with more dice being rolled for boxes marked off on the lower tracks. This means that as a player explores further into the station and rolls more doubles, the more dangerous and deadlier the encounter is likely to be. In addition, the player has a limited supply of oxygen—just seven hours.

As the player explores, he will find objects and clues. The objects his character can pick up and take with him, but the clues require careful examination. There are over forty clues to be found, and they can be computer terminal messages, audio transcripts, and physical notes. Some of the terminals are unlocked, but others are locked or broken. This means that the player will need to find a way to unlock the terminal or repair it, the latter requiring components which the player will need to find. However, repairing a terminal takes time, as does reading more than the one clue available at a terminal, in either case, the player marking off another box on the ‘Disturbances Track’. What this highlights though, is that in play of STATION X3N0, a player is not always going forward. This is because it is primarily location driven, and a player can return to locations that his character has previously visited.

Played as a group, but without a Referee, STATION X3N0 is different. Of course, the players cannot split up and the play and exploration are both co-operative and interactive. Even in the claustrophobic environs of the station, there is a sense of support rather than isolation. For the second option, played as a group with a Referee, as a standard roleplaying adventure, STATION X3N0 can still be played with the locations generated procedurally, but exploration and actions are still against the clock using the ‘Area Tracking Log’ and its ‘Disturbances Track’. However, the Referee is provided with further information to help her run the scenario. This includes an actual map of Station X3’s layout, full stats and writeups of the station’s fourteen missing staff, and the complete background to the station and the events, and details of the aliens. This provides everything that the Referee needs to run the scenario, although the fourteen staff write-ups do not necessarily add anything to game play.

Lastly, the third way in which STATION X3N0 can be used is as a source of material and content that the Referee can use in her games. To that end, the Referee is advised that she should do this if she wants and there is additional advice on adapting the scenario to other roleplaying games of blue-collar Science Fiction survival horror, most notably the Mothership Sci-Fi Horror RPG – Player’s Survival Guide and Alien: The Roleplaying Game. This is useful, certainly in the case of the former.

Physically, STATION X3N0 is well presented. It is decently written, the clues are engaging, and the artwork decent. Where some readers may have a problem is the use of colour on the book’s black background. A lot of the entries are in white boxes with black text, which is easy enough to read, but other sections are purple on black, and whilst that may ad to the scenario’s sense of claustrophobia and isolation, it is not always easy to read.

STATION X3N0: A Science Fiction Roleplaying Game Situational Module has one big problem. Its formatting and flexibility in how it is played, together with the clues and location details all add to a claustrophobic, atmospheric play experience, really shine through. Its design means that it can be played by one player and experienced, and then that player could take the role of the Referee and run it for other players, which is an option rarely offered in a scenario. However, as a story and a set-up, STATION X3N0: A Science Fiction Roleplaying Game Situational Module does not offer anything original, just another encounter with aliens in space which want to implant their eggs in you. And despite STATION X3N0 being set in the Death in Space universe, it does not make use of its setting and consequently, it feels like it should be for another blue-collar Science Fiction survival horror roleplaying game. For example, the Mothership Sci-Fi Horror RPG. In fact, STATION X3N0 would work great for the Mothership Sci-Fi Horror RPG. That said, if you want to play a bug hunt, xenomorph encounter style scenario for Death in Space, then STATION X3N0 gives you that and it does it well. Did Death in Space need a bug hunt, xenomorph encounter style scenario? Well, that it is open to debate. What is not, is that it definitely does not need another one.

STATION X3N0: A Science Fiction Roleplaying Game Situational Module is an entertainingly atmospheric adaptation of the classic trapped with bugs in space set-up with a strong sense of isolation and horror for Death in Space which surprises with its flexibility.

Friday 25 November 2022

Holiday Hullabaloo

is one of those originally clever fantasy settings that you wonder why nobody had ever though of it before. Originally a setting for the d20 System and published in 2002 as Xcrawl: Adventures in the Xtreme Dungeon League, what it did was take the concept of dungeoneering and turned it into not only a spectator sport, but an arena sport, in the process combining the razzmatazz of American sports with the bloodiness of Roman gladiatorial combat. Xcrawl is set in an alternate fantasy eighties where America is ruled by Emperor Ronald I and all of the fantasy races of Dungeons & Dragons have survived to the modern day, many living in the underworlds below each of the continents, whilst others sign up to work as ‘monsters’ and NPCs in the area. The Player Characters form teams and by successfully beating defeating Xcrawl runs, work their way up the different leagues, becoming famous and picking up sponsors on the way. The setting was adapted to Pathfinder, First Edition with the Maximum Xcrawl Core Rule Book, and it has been announced by Goodman Games that there will also be a version compatible with the publisher’s flagship Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game in the form of the Xcrawl Classics Roleplaying Game. Until then, fans of the Xcrawl setting or fans of the Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game, can experience the setting with the scenario, Dungeon Crawl Classics 2017 Holiday Module: Xcrawl New Year’s Evil.

Dungeon Crawl Classics 2017 Holiday Module: Xcrawl New Year’s Evil is a short scenario for Second Level Player Characters which can be used in one of two ways. First, it can used as written, with the Player Characters are dedicated Xcrawlers looking to break into the next league up. Second, it can be run as some kind of weird dream for Player Characters who come from another fantasy setting and awake to find themselves fully aware of where they are and what they are about to do. Either way, the players will be using standard Dungeon Crawl Classics Player Characters rather than those creating the earlier versions of Xcrawl. Of course, with the forthcoming version of the Xcrawl Classics Roleplaying Game—or its XCC beta rules—the Judge could run Dungeon Crawl Classics 2017 Holiday Module: Xcrawl New Year’s Evil using a version of those rules and thus the appropriate Classes of Athlete, Blaster, Jammer, Gnome, Half-Elf, and Half-Orc. (Alternatively, pre-generated Player Characters can be downloaded here.)

Dungeon Crawl Classics 2017 Holiday Module: Xcrawl New Year’s Evil is set in Toronto on New Year’s Eve and the Player Characters are members of a Division III team which has unexpectedly found itself entered into the Toronto New Year’s Eve Xcrawl. If successful, they are assured of sponsorship and opportunities for promotion. All it will take them is heroic play, dedicated teamwork, and the occasional grandstanding. However, the gods—or rather the one god—has decided to intervene and turn the event into a raucous, alcohol-sodden festival which can be enjoyed by everyone, including the Player Characters, the event staff, and the audience, and if that disrupts the event, that just adds to the fun. Drink is a recurring motif throughout the adventure and is supported with rules for various degrees of inebriation, from being tipsy to wrecked. Also included are a glossary of terms particular to the setting and several rules that the setting requires. These include the Mojo Pool, which each Player Character has and which provides points that can be spent as modifiers in play. They can be gained for rolling a natural twenty in game and for exciting game play, but all are lost whenever a player rolls a natural one. However, a player cannot use them on his own character, but instead must give them as bonuses to his fellow players’ characters. This encourages teamwork, of course.

A Player Character can also grandstand and work the crowd. This is a Personality check and earns a Player Character a point of Fame. Expressed as a percentage, this is measurement of the Player Character’s recognition. However, it does not actually have any mechanic effect in Dungeon Crawl Classics 2017 Holiday Module: Xcrawl New Year’s Evil. So unless the Judge has access to the Xcrawl Classics Roleplaying Game, the inclusion of the Fame rules have no effect as the scenario takes place entirely in the area.

The Toronto New Year’s Eve Xcrawl consists of twelve locations and is, like most other Xcrawl ‘Dungeons’ a linear affair. This makes sense, since an Xcrawl can be run again and again and a team’s progress can be measured against that of other teams, and infamous Xcrawls can be rerun at a later stage, in the case of the Player Characters, likely with a tweak or four to take into account the fact that they have gone up a Level or two or three. In the main, the Xcrawl itself consists of three big set pieces, although that was not originally the case, since the meddling god has also made a few changes to the Xcrawl and it no longer runs quite as smooth as the designer originally intended. There is jousting, a sailor cap-wearing devil with horrid biting pugs—one under each arm, paper monsters, riddles and puzzles to solve, and a finale in the cubicle from beyond the grave, complete with Office Zombies, Maintenance Skeleton, and Ghoul Bosses. There are a few side rooms along the way, but these do not represent any significant danger to the Player Characters after the meddling of the god. It should take a session, perhaps two, to play through the whole of the Xcrawl, after which the Player Characters should acquired some decent treasure, sponsorship gifts—some are also available at the beginning of the scenario depending on which sponsor the players selected, some fame, and perhaps a chance at promotion to the next league.

Physically, Dungeon Crawl Classics 2017 Holiday Module: Xcrawl New Year’s Evil is cleanly and tidily presented. The map is easy to read and the artwork throughout good.

The change from the Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game to the Xcrawl Classics Roleplaying Game requires a little adjustment and getting used to because of its very modern setting—at least by the standards of Dungeon Crawl Classics. However, its novelty value is worth it, because the setting is different and the emphasis in an Xcrawl is all on action with some puzzles to solve, and playing to the crowd by being heroic, and so on. Of course, the novelty factor will go when the Xcrawl Classics Roleplaying Game appears, but until then, Dungeon Crawl Classics 2017 Holiday Module: Xcrawl New Year’s Evil is a diverting, entertaining one-shot.

Friday Fantasy: Strict Time Records Must Be Kept

There are several things that you need to know about Kelvin Green. First, he is entirely wrong about which version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is the superior. Second, he hates your Player Characters, and consequently, the owners of those Player Characters will hate their Referees. Third, he is very likely to be wrong about which version of D.O.A. is the superior. The latter is relevant because the plot of that film begins exactly like that of Kelvin Green’s latest scenario. Or vice versa. This is because the protagonist of D.O.A. begins film not only poisoned, but dying. This is exactly how your Player Character—and every other Player Character—begins play in Strict Time Records Must Be Kept. Poisoned. Dying. No saving throw. Kelvin Green is a bastard and he made your Referee a bastard for doing this to your Player Character. So now what are you going to do? Go find the antidote, that’s what. Find the antidote, then beat up the person responsible. No, not your Referee. Certainly not Kelvin Green. You could, and that would be understandable, but best not to. After all, who else is going write cruel, evil stuff that you can hate? No, have your Player Character go beat up the NPC responsible. Kill him if you want. Take his money. Do that to all the people watching you go through the dying agony of your Player Character (did I forget to tell you that your dying Player Character will have an audience as he thrashes about in desperation?) and the dying agonies of the Player Characters belong to your fellow players. So, poisoned. No saving throw. Dying. Find the antidote, kill the NPC responsible, and take his treasure. What more of a revenge plan do you want?

Strict Time Records Must Be Kept is a scenario for use with Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Roleplay. Like other scenarios published by Lamentations of the Flame Princess it is set in the game’s default early Modern Period. However, it is not more specific than that. It defaults to an isolated forested mountain, which could be anywhere in Europe. In fact, the time period is not necessarily set in stone either, and with some slight adjustments it could very easily be set earlier or later, without really having an effect upon the situation. The situation is this… Over the course of the campaign, whenever they got hurt, the Player Characters have consulted a highly skilled, if slightly eccentric doctor. They have consulted him so many times that they formed a friendship of sorts, and so happily accept his invitation to stay at his mountainside retreat. It is at dinner at this retreat that their host makes a confession. He has dosed their meal with a slow-acting poison. Fortunately, he has the antidote. Unfortunately, he has hidden it around somewhere in the house and he is not going to tell them where it is. Also, the poison will kill them in twelve hours. Fortunately, the other guests are safe. Unfortunately, the other guests have paid for the privilege of being entertained by the increasingly desperate antics of the Player Characters as they search the house from top to bottom—and beyond. Cue countdown…

Hence Strict Time Records Must Be Kept.

Strict Time Records Must Be Kept is a player-driven, against the clock scenario with consequences. Not just death, but also tremors, hair loss, upset stomachs (this is being polite), bones losing density, and worse. Then death. What the Player Characters must do is find the antidote. Now given that this whole set-up has been done without the Player Characters receiving the benefit of a Saving Throw versus Poison, this all sounds very cruel. It is. It is also fits the Old School Renaissance, because as the author points out, if it was good enough for A4 Dungeon of The Slave Lords (which although did not start with the Player Characters being poisoned, but with their waking up naked, in a cave, with none of their equipment, they did not get a Saving Throw either), it good enough for him.

To help the Referee there is a countdown along with the effects of the poison and a checklist of the various NPCs and creature to be found in the Doctor’s mansion. There is advice too, for the Referee, on handling time in the scenario, the various NPCs they are likely to encounter, the various options that the Player Characters might take to extricate themselves from the situation (such as making a race down the mountain for the nearest helpful doctor or hospital), and so on. There are other options covered too, the least worst of which is running the scenario as a one-shot.

Just over half of Strict Time Records Must Be Kept is devoted to describing the grounds of the Doctor’s estate and the many rooms of the mansion. The various rooms and locations are described in some detail, although the floorplans themselves are not detailed with any furniture or other fittings. Nevertheless, the floorplans are handy to use and several of the scenario’s puzzles are included as handouts. The layout of the house itself is fairly normal, but the nature of oddities and weirdness and the trap and puzzles that can be found within its four walls means that the scenario lends itself towards the funhouse style of design. That said, given the time constraints of their predicament, the Player Characters are unlikely to explore all of the mansion and its surrounds before they either find the antidote to the poison or the poison kills them. What they will need amongst their number is a Specialist, as that Class’ skills will get a lot of use throughout the scenario.

Although the scenario includes a list of its NPCs at the back, what would have been useful is a list of the possible hiding places where the Doctor could have put the antidote. Otherwise, the Referee will have to through and mark them as possible locations as part of her preparation to run the scenario.

Physically, the scenario is decently presented. The artwork is decent, it is well written, and barring the issue with the antidote location, all easy to set up and run.

The set-up to Strict Time Records Must Be Kept is all contrivance, one part The Crystal Maze, one-part psychological torture (porn) of the Player Characters, let alone their players. The question is, would you as the Referee really run this as a scenario for your players and their characters? How cruel and evil do you want to be to them? That is the question for the Referee. Yet for all that cruelty, there is no doubting the roleplaying possibilities that the situation would lead to—the desperate fights for survival, the rage at the injustice of the situation, the rush to find the antidote. If Strict Time Records Must Be Kept is cruel—and it is, ultimately, the players need to think of it not as their Referee being the bastard who imposed its situation on them, but switch it around and see it as a chance to roleplay out something they might find in fiction rather than gaming. If their Player Characters survive, what a tale they and their players will have to tell.

Monday 21 November 2022

Miskatonic Monday #155: Flesh Wounds

Between October 2003 and October 2013, Chaosium, Inc. published a series of books for Call of Cthulhu under the Miskatonic University Library Association brand. Whether a sourcebook, scenario, anthology, or campaign, each was a showcase for their authors—amateur rather than professional, but fans of Call of Cthulhu nonetheless—to put forward their ideas and share with others. The programme was notable for having launched the writing careers of several authors, but for every Cthulhu InvictusThe PastoresPrimal StateRipples from Carcosa, and Halloween Horror, there was Five Go Mad in EgyptReturn of the RipperRise of the DeadRise of the Dead II: The Raid, and more...

The Miskatonic University Library Association brand is no more, alas, but what we have in its stead is the Miskatonic Repository, based on the same format as the DM’s Guild for Dungeons & Dragons. It is thus, “...a new way for creators to publish and distribute their own original Call of Cthulhu content including scenarios, settings, spells and more…” To support the endeavours of their creators, Chaosium has provided templates and art packs, both free to use, so that the resulting releases can look and feel as professional as possible. To support the efforts of these contributors, Miskatonic Monday is an occasional series of reviews which will in turn examine an item drawn from the depths of the Miskatonic Repository.

Publisher: Chaosium, Inc.
Author: Pete Burgess

Setting: 1920s Miskatonic University
Product: Scenario
What You Get: Sixty-four page, 87.60 MB Full Colour PDF
Elevator Pitch: Re-animator Rise Wild! 
Plot Hook: Students witness a bloody attack as curfew draws near.
Plot Support: Twelve NPCs, six handouts, four pre-generated Investigators, six maps and floorplans,
 two Mythos tomes, and one Mythos monster.
Production Values: Excellent.

# Miskatonic University horror
Excellent production values
# Superb artwork
# Action horror!
# Hemophobia
# Kinemortophobia

# Needs a slight edit
# Complex backstory
# More action than investigation
# What if the Investigators do not get involved?
# Requires careful preparation by the Keeper

# Blood-splattered horror in the halls of Miskatonic University in a superbly laid-out and grisly illustrated sequel to H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘Herbert West: Reanimator’
# Science versus SCIENCE! in a deadly night of action horror.

Miskatonic Monday #154: Through a Dream, Darkly

Between October 2003 and October 2013, Chaosium, Inc. published a series of books for Call of Cthulhu under the Miskatonic University Library Association brand. Whether a sourcebook, scenario, anthology, or campaign, each was a showcase for their authors—amateur rather than professional, but fans of Call of Cthulhu nonetheless—to put forward their ideas and share with others. The programme was notable for having launched the writing careers of several authors, but for every Cthulhu InvictusThe PastoresPrimal StateRipples from Carcosa, and Halloween Horror, there was Five Go Mad in EgyptReturn of the RipperRise of the DeadRise of the Dead II: The Raid, and more...

The Miskatonic University Library Association brand is no more, alas, but what we have in its stead is the Miskatonic Repository, based on the same format as the DM’s Guild for Dungeons & Dragons. It is thus, “...a new way for creators to publish and distribute their own original Call of Cthulhu content including scenarios, settings, spells and more…” To support the endeavours of their creators, Chaosium has provided templates and art packs, both free to use, so that the resulting releases can look and feel as professional as possible. To support the efforts of these contributors, Miskatonic Monday is an occasional series of reviews which will in turn examine an item drawn from the depths of the Miskatonic Repository.

Publisher: Chaosium, Inc.
Author: Genevieve Colter

Setting: H.P. Lovecraft’s Dreamlands
Product: Scenario
What You Get: Twelve page, 895.13 KB Full Colour PDF
Elevator Pitch: “Stranger in a strange land.”
Plot Hook: Grab. Tickle. Drop. Dream.
Plot Support: Staging advice, one spell, one NPC, various Mythos creatures, and two gods.
Production Values: Plain.

# Begins in media res
The gods as guides!?
# Single session scenario
# Investigator choice determines plot
# Dreamlands interlude or Dreamlands introduction?
# Easy to adapt from other periods and places
# Suitable for one Investigator and the Keeper
# Oneirophobia
# Mycophobia

# Begins in media res
# The gods as guides!?
# Needs an edit
# The Keeper will need to provide stats

# Interventional interlude which introduces the Investigators to the Dreamlands and has them interacting with the very gods! 
# Simple player and Investigator choices dictate the story and perhaps allusions to come in the Waking World.

Sunday 20 November 2022

The Fungi From Yuggoth II

Back in the early days of Call of Cthulhu, naming conventions for campaigns and supplements drew more on the literary titles of the source material rather than being inspired by the contents of either the campaign or the supplement. Thus, there are campaigns called Shadows of Yog-Sothoth and The Fungi from Yuggoth—later renamed Day of the Beast—neither of which were about Yog-Sothoth or the Fungi from Yuggoth, although the later do appear in the campaign. When Shadows of Yog-Sothoth does appear for Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition, it seems unlikely that it will be renamed since it was the first campaign for the roleplaying game, and should The Fungi from Yuggoth or Day of the Beast return, it could be good candidate for adaptation to Pulp Cthulhu: Two-fisted Action and Adventure Against the Mythos. However, there is a campaign worthy of the name, The Fungi from Yuggoth and that is A Time to Harvest: Death and Discovery in the Vermont Hills.

A Time to Harvest: Death and Discovery in the Vermont Hills – A 1930s Era Campaign Across New England and Beyond is notable for several things. Originally presented as a six-part Organised Play series for Chaosium’s ‘Cults of Chaos’, it takes place at the beginning of the 1930s, is primarily set in New England on the edge of Lovecraft Country, it uses Miskatonic University as its base—with the Investigators as students, it is designed to be an introductory campaign, and it involves the machinations of the unknowable Fungi from Yuggoth—or Mi-Go—as its central threat. Many of which are firsts. Thus to date, there has been no campaign involving the Mi-Go, although they have featured in many a scenario, including many set in Lovecraft Country. Similarly, there have been no Lovecraft Country campaigns, though there are plenty of scenarios set there. Nor have there been any campaigns involving Miskatonic University. Of course, there have been introductory campaigns. A Cold Fire Within: A Mind-Bending Campaign for Pulp Cthulhu for Pulp Cthulhu: Two-fisted Action and Adventure Against the Mythos being the best-known example. If so, then A Time to Harvest is its counterpart for Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition, and further, casting the Investigators as students is an appropriate introductory from which to involve them in Lovecraftian investigative horror. Although the idea of roleplaying students at Miskatonic University goes all the way back to the eponymous scenario in the 1983 anthology, Pursuit to Kadath from T.O.M.E., no supplement or campaign has effectively carried that through until A Time to Harvest.

A Time to Harvest can be run just using Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition. It can even be run using Pulp Cthulhu, and the campaign includes notes and adaptations to that end. However, the campaign suggests a number of extras which would prove useful. The first of which is for the Keeper to read H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘The Whisperer in Darkness’ as it serves as the inspiration, and sets the tone, for the campaign. The second is to reference a number of other supplements. Notably, H.P. Lovecraft’s Arkham will be useful for source material on the town where Miskatonic University is situated, and of course, the Miskatonic University supplement will be useful in expanding upon the information given in A Time to Harvest, which includes Occupations for students at the New England college. Lastly, it should be noted that A Time to Harvest does carry several content warnings. Understandably, A Time to Harvest is a horror campaign and it does involve obsession, in particular, romantic obsession, possession, and murderous minors, but there is advice for the Keeper on handling all of these elements should they be inappropriate for any of her players.

A Time to Harvest begins in the summer of 1930. A group of students—including the Investigators—are going on a field trip to the town of Cobb’s Corners in rural Vermont where one team will conduct geological research and the other collect anthropological data on local folklore. What is strange about this is that it follows a previous expedition which resulted in the death of one student and the disappearance of several others. It is against this backdrop and the often-overbearing presence of the town’s puritanical sheriff that oddities and strange incidents begin to occur. The leader of the fieldtrip—a fellow student—behaves erratically, the locals are at first welcoming, but then seem angered by the students’ presence, the weather turns against them, and whilst staying at the ramshackle farmhouse which has been rented for them, the students begin to suffer strange dreams… Ultimately, this second field trip to Cobb’s Corner ends in disaster, and very likely horror. The Investigators will in part be blamed for this, even though they are not really responsible, and consequently they have reason to feel aggrieved. Now as an introductory campaign, this first part of A Time to Harvest is more complex than perhaps it should be. There are two plot strands to be followed as the Investigators are divided between the anthropology team and the geology team, and some of the later scenes do require careful timing. Further, the Keeper has a large cast of fellow students to roleplay, her portrayal important for subsequent events in the campaign. These difficulties, such as they are, should be offset by careful preparation upon the part of the Keeper, but even so, the start to A Time to Harvest is more complex than that of Chaosium, Inc.’s other starter campaign, A Cold Fire Within: A Mind-Bending Campaign for Pulp Cthulhu.

The second chapter begins with the Investigators back at school, chastised and the subject of gossip. Out of character activities and attitudes amongst their fellow students should become apparent and arouse their curiosity. Forces beyond the Investigators’ understanding at this point, are operating in the hallowed halls of Miskatonic University and will likely move against them too before carefully sowing the seeds of chaos on campus and carrying out their primary objectives. The Investigators by this time should at least have their suspicions, especially if the Keeper has been roleplaying the now-antagonists well, but an entertaining optional scene atop Hangman’s Hill should leave the Investigators with some idea of what is going and a sense of urgency. The finale of chapter is combative in nature and if their Investigators survive, provides a cathectic climax, and it is followed by an optional chase. In fact, both optional scenes add a lot to the understanding of the Investigators and their players, and are great set-pieces.

In the third part, the Investigators gain an unexpected ally—Federated Oil and Chemical—whose owner takes a dedicated interest in the activities of what are now their joint enemy. In return for their co-operation, the head of Federated Oil and Chemical expects their aid in its forthcoming investigations into the activities of the Mi-Go. For the most part, there is a chance here for the Investigators to rest, recuperate, heal, and even restore a little Sanity and perhaps a little of their reputations, as well as learn something about the Mi-Go (and the Mythos in general). However, an optional trip to Canada reveals that sometimes suspicions about Mythos activity can be taken too far and the bloody finale exposes the Investigators to the dangers of the Mythos in general, rather than just the Fungi from Yuggoth. Whatever the outcome, the Federated Oil and Chemical field trip returns the Investigators, along with a small army of security men to Cobb’s Corners, this time armed and dangerous. Of course, such preparations are all for naught against the knowledge and technology of the Mi-Go, as the Investigators are forced to take drastic action to save themselves and their friends. The final part of the campaign has the Mythos rise wild and walk amongst the houses and surrounds of Cobb’s Corners in a maelstrom of maliciousness and mayhem with the Investigators likely caught in the middle. In addition, there is an alternate ending which continues the campaign which takes the Investigators to a place very far away in a fitting nod to the original the Fungi from Yuggoth campaign. More of a secret strike mission, this is specifically written for use with Pulp Cthulhu, although it can be adjusted to be run using standard Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition rules—though advice would have been useful to that end considering that A Time to Harvest is designed as an introductory campaign.

In terms of support for the Keeper, the campaign is well-appointed. The town of Cobb’s Corners and its inhabitants are described in detail—since the Investigators will be returning to it again and again; the Mi-Go are greatly expanded from their core write-up in the Call of Cthulhu Keeper Rulebook with multiple variants of the Fungi from Yuggoth given; Miskatonic University is covered in a good overview, including floorplans of various buildings; there is extra staging advice where needed; and there is a set of pre-generated Investigators, ready to use at the start of the campaign or as a source of replacement Investigators. Each includes background, thumbnail portrait, and options to be run using Pulp Cthulhu. There are notes too at the end on how to carry the campaign on, with the Investigators either back at Miskatonic University or still working for Federated Oil and Chemical.

Apart from one or two horror elements that some players might not want to have to deal with—hence the content warnings—the only potential problem with the campaign is the opening chapter and first half of the second. The Investigators and the players are likely to be on the back foot during these opening scenes, often blamed for events outside of their control, and feeling as if they are being punished. There is not really any way around this, except to advise the players to keep at what is potentially an initially disheartening play experience. Veteran roleplayers may have less of an issue with this, but as the beginning to an introductory campaign, it could be off-putting to those players new to Call of Cthulhu.

Physically, A Time to Harvest is very well presented. Both artwork and cartography are excellent throughout, the handouts are good too, and they are of course reprinted at the back of the book. There is a useful index too.

A Time to Harvest is a campaign in which the forces of the Mythos are proactive. There are clear and obvious thought processes behind their plans, whether this is attempting an objective, striking at the Investigators, or taking advantage of the efforts of others. There are moments too when the Investigators have the opportunity to take the fight back to them, whether that the campaign is being run for Call of Cthulhu or Pulp Cthulhu, but even if armed—and the campaign gives multiple means of the Investigators acquiring firearms—it is of course not going to be enough in the face of the Mythos. The scope of the campaign is kept enjoyably small and focussed, but it still hints at wider forces and presence of the Mythos without belabouring the point, which is perfect for an introductory campaign.

Ultimately, the choice of foe gives the campaign a distinctive feel too. A Time to Harvest is modern and dynamic, scientific horror rather than eldritch horror, and cosmic horror of a Science Fiction bent. A Time to Harvest: Death and Discovery in the Vermont Hills gives the Mi-Go—the Fungi from Yuggoth—the campaign they have been waiting for, Miskatonic University itself a great starting point for a campaign involving staff and students, and for the players and their student Investigators, a summer of horror and scientific madness they will never forget.


Both Reviews from Rlyeh and Chaosium will be at DragonMeet on Saturday, 3rd December, 2022.