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

Monday 29 May 2023

Miskatonic Monday #196: The Terror in the Tapestry

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: Ryan Sheehan

Setting: Dark Ages England
Product: Scenario
What You Get: Thirty-two page, 22.80 MB Full Colour PDF

Elevator Pitch: What would drive someone to commit tapestry theft?
Plot Hook: Part of a holy tapestry has been stolen. Can the thief be found?
Plot Support: Four pre-generated Investigators, two handouts, eight NPCs, one map,
one Mythos spell, one Mythos tome, one Mythos artefact, and two Mythos monsters.
Production Values: Serviceable.

# Scenario for Cthulhu Dark Ages
# Can be run using Cthulhu Through the Ages. Better with Cthulhu Dark Ages.
# Set near Totburh, setting for Cthulhu Dark Ages.
# Nicely detailed ritual
# Good mix of action and investigation
# Ophidiophobia
# Homichlophobia
# Textophobia
# Pentiliarphobia

# Needs a slight edit.
# Plain map.
# Some terminology could be called ‘problematic’
# Odd means given of obtaining the ritual

# Solid scenario for Cthulhu Dark Ages themed around an interesting artefact
# Suitable addition to a campaign set in and around Totburh

Miskatonic Monday #195: The Cult of Gl’thol’tic

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: Jess Charle

Setting: Jazz Age Massachusetts
Product: Scenario
What You Get: Thirteen-page, 39.00 MB Full Colour PDF
Elevator Pitch: Small town murder mystery, plus the Mythos
Plot Hook: Can your god be summoned before they come for you?
Plot Support: Two handouts, five NPCs, and one map.
Production Values: Plain.

# The very definition of a ‘fixer-upper’ scenario
# One-shot with the players as cultists
# Call of Cthulhu Investigators as the enemy
# Small town mini-murder mystery
# Pretty map
# Paranoia
# Capiophobia

# Needs an edit
# Player Characters are not supposed to know they are cultists
# Murder mystery mostly incidental
# No staging advice
# No sense of the Player Characters being investigated
# No option for the Player Characters to act against the Investigators
# No pre-generated Player Cultists
# Bryce Wane. Millionaire Vigilante. Industrialist. Notorious playboy. Fights crime as ‘Rat Man’.
# Yes. You read that correctly.
# Bryce Wane. Millionaire Vigilante. Industrialist. Notorious playboy. Fights crime as ‘Rat Man’.
# No. Not kidding. Really is an NPC in the scenario.

# Potentially interesting scenario with Player Characters as cultists undone by severe lack of development
# Lack of pre-generated Player Cultists significant omission 
Bryce Wane. Millionaire Vigilante. Industrialist. Notorious playboy. Fights crime as ‘Rat Man’. 

Sunday 28 May 2023

Terror of the Terminators

In almost forty years of The Terminator films as a franchise and intellectual property, it is surprising to note that there has never been a roleplaying game based on them. After all, the concept is pretty simple—an unstoppable killing machine comes back from the future to kill the mother of the resistance leader who will defeat its A.I. master in the future—such that it is probably one of the easiest Science Fiction/horror time travel plots to adapt to the system of the Game Master’s choice. Yet still no roleplaying game when there have been two roleplaying games—one from Leading Edge Games and another from Free League Publishing—based upon the Alien franchise. Leading Edge Games did manage a set of miniatures wargaming rules, TERMINATOR 2 Year of Darkness – Miniatures Combat System and several sets of miniatures, but not a roleplaying game. Fortunately, Scottish roleplaying publisher, Nightfall Games, best known for the dystopian roleplaying game of corporate horror, SLA Industries, gained the licence in 2020 and following a successful Kickstarter campaign, published The Terminator RPG and The Terminator RPG Campaign Book, plus The Terminator RPG Quick Start. One notable inclusion in the writing team for The Terminator RPG is Andrew E.C. Gaska, the franchise consultant for 20th Century Studios on Alien, Predator, and Planet of the Apes, who was also on the writing team for the Alien: The Roleplaying Game.

The Terminator RPG is based upon The Terminator, the original film by James Cameron from 1984 and then on the seventeen or so comic book storylines published by Dark Horse Comics between 1990 and 2019. The Science Fiction horror roleplaying game enables play in two time periods. The first is the future of the here and now, or at least an alternative here and now. This is the future of Judgement Day, in which the A.I. Skynet attempted to destroy its creators and the rest of humanity in nuclear, biological, and chemical conflagration before sending out increasingly sophisticated machines to wipe out humanity, whether through brute force or infiltration followed by brute force. The Resistance arose, led by those who had been preparing for Judgement Day and the rise of the robots, most notably, John Connor, to defeat Skynet and its forces. By the end of the 2020s, the Resistance would prevail, but not before Skynet developed temporal technology with Time Displacement Equipment, enabling it to send Terminator units back into the past and attack those who would become a danger to it in the future. Thus, the war against the machines became not a war of resistance and rebellion against Skynet, but a war through time, a hunt for Skynet’s agents across the later twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. This opens up the second time period, the 1980s, and whilst it would be possible to run campaigns in both periods without any crossover, travelling back from the 2020s opens up the possibility of some entertaining ‘fish out of water’ style roleplaying. In general, the emphasis in The Terminator RPG is on the period of the 2020s, but there is still plenty of information about the 1980s to run a campaign set there.

A Resistance Fighter in The Terminator RPG has a Role, such as Engineer, Hacker, or Scout. This provides a Resistance Fighter’s initial stats and a Resistance Ability. For example, the Grunt has ‘Physical Training’ which enables the Resistance Fighter to trade in a Skill die on a Strength or Dexterity related Skill Test and ensure that the result on the Success die is always a ‘Messy Success’ whatever is rolled. The Grunt also has extra Hit points. The Pilot, for example, has ‘Mechanised Warrior’, which enables the Pilot to control a vehicle passively and specialise in a particular type of vehicle. The Resistance Fighter has six stats—Strength, Dexterity, Knowledge, Concentration, Charisma, and Cool. Stats are rated between zero and six, whilst the skills are rated between one and four. A Resistance Fighter also has FATE, a replenishable representation of his luck, and he can have Traits, such as Addiction, Arrogant, Exceedingly Cool, or Vision (Good). He also has Hope Points, which are divided between three categories—Body, Brains, and Bravado—and indicate the ways in which a Resistance Fighter can emulate the cinematic style of The Terminator. For example, with Body 2, Brains 3, and Bravado 1, Minguez the strategist could ‘Go Crashing In’ to dive into a room and gain a single charge or ranged action before combat begins, to make a ‘Luck Guess’ and gain a free bonus to a Knowledge or Concentration skill roll, or ‘Lead From The Front’ to lead soldiers into battle and bolster their morale. To create a character, a player selects a Role, assigns seven points to the stats, receives the base skill ranks for the Role and spends thirty-six points to purchase more skill ranks, and selects traits—both negative and positive so that they balance. A Resistance Fighter does not have to have any traits and there are relatively few of them, with fifteen negative traits versus only seven positive traits.

Name: David Renko
Role: Historian
Strength 1 Dexterity 1 Knowledge 5
Concentration 1 Charisma 2 Cool 1
FATE 1/1
Brain 2 Bravado 1
Hit Points: 16 Willpower: 16
Closing: 2 Rushing 5 Encumbrance: 4 Initiative: 3
Resistance Ability: Natural Academic
Diplomacy 3, Education: Academic (Mathematics) 4, Education: Natural (Physics) 3, Endurance 1, Interrogate 1, Language: Russian 3, Lore: Skynet 3, Melee Weapons 1, Oratory 2, Pistol 1, Rifle 1, Stealth 1, Survival 1, Tactics 1, Time Science 1, Unarmed Combat 1
Anxiety (Rank 1), Natural Aptitude: Time Science (Rank 1)

The Terminator RPG allows for two further Resistance Fighter types. One is the Cyborg as per Terminator 2: Judgement Day. There are no specific rules for creating this Resistance Fighter type, but guidelines suggest building it as a Grunt with the additional traits of ‘Learning to Run’, ‘All Hope is Gone’, and ‘Unstoppable’. The other is the Fated. They are NPCs or Resistance Fighters already known to Skynet (and so cannot have the associated negative trait) and worse, are in its crosshairs. The obvious character from The Terminator for this is Sarah Connor.

Mechanically, The Terminator RPG uses the ‘S5S’ System first seen in SLA Industries, Second Edition. This is a dice pool system which uses ten-sided dice. The dice pool consists of one ten-sided die, called the Success Die, and Skill Dice equal to the skill being used, plus one. The Success Die should be of a different colour from the Skill Dice. The results of the dice roll are not added, but counted separately. Thus, to each roll is added the value of the Skill being rolled, plus its associated stat. If the result on the Success Die is equal to or greater than the Target Number, ranging from eight and Challenging to sixteen and Insane, then the Operative has succeeded. If the results of the Skill Dice also equal or exceed the Target Number, this improves the quality of the successful skill attempt. However, if the roll on the Success Die does not equal or exceed the Target Number, the attempt fails, even if multiple rolls on the Success Dice do. FATE can be spent to reroll the Success Die or any of the Skill Dice. It can also be spent to add a modifier to a Skill Test or a Resistance Test.
For example, David Renko is part of a resistance squad which has broken into a Skynet facility and discovered that it has Time Displacement Equipment or TDE. Unfortunately, the TDE was partially damaged in the assault on the facility and the date to when the Terminators have been sent back is not readily accessible. The resistance squad’s hacker has already managed to get the TDE computer working and Renko needs to determine the date from the accessible data. The Director—as the Game Master is known in The Terminator RPG—sets the Difficulty of the Skill Test at Challenging or 11. Renko’s player assembles his dice pool. This consists of the Success Die plus a Skill Die for his Skill rank of one in Time Science plus an extra Skill Die. To the result of each die, Renko’s player will add the Skill rank of one in Time Science. Renko’s player rolls five on the Success Die, and three and five on the Skill dice. This a serious failure as none of the dice rolled a success. Renko’s player decides to use Renko’s of Natural Aptitude: Time Science, which at Rank 1, allows him a reroll in the skill. This time he rolls an eleven on the Success Die and a nine and a five on the Skill Dice. This is a Messy Success, which means that Renko can identify which year the Terminator units travelled back to, but no more. So, his player uses a point of FATE to reroll the Skill Dice. He rolls both of them and gets an eight and a ten. Adjusting the results with Renko’s Skill Rank of 1 in Time Science, the results are eleven on the Success Die and on one of the Skill Dice. This counts as a Solid Success and narrows the temporal destination for the Terminator down to a month.
In terms of the rules, The Terminator RPG runs implacably through the key elements of the setting, starting with combat. This is a major aspect of the setting so receives no little attention here, and is designed to be deadly, fraught, and highly tactical. It takes into account offensive and defensive manoeuvres, rate of fire, recoil, damage inflicted on armour, cover, aiming, and so on. Against ordinary opponents, combat is designed to be desperate and dangerous, but this only escalates when Terminator units become involved. As well as being physically dangerous, the unstoppably callous nature of Terminator units is extremely stressful and frightening, which can trigger Fear Tests, which typically occur when the Fear Rating of the situation is above a Resistance Fighter’s Cool stat. Failed Fear Tests lead to a loss of Willpower. As well as seeing a Terminator, being trapped or attacked, witnessing the brutality of Skynet, the loss of a close one, can all lead to Fear Tests if their Fear Rating is high enough. The rules also cover vehicle combat, traps, biological warfare and toxicants, and more, whilst the rules for traps cover disarming them as much as building them, so that the Resistance Fighters can lay traps as much as disarm them. Similarly, particular attention is paid to infiltration and exfiltration, as stealth is a key part to survival and moving around in the wasted world of the future as well as learning to get by in the bright and brazen world of the eighties.

Another major feature of The Terminator RPG is Hacking. The rules cover hacking and computers in both the past and the future and the radical differences in terms of technology. One of the given Roles in the roleplaying game is the Hacker and he will primarily be hacking electronic devices and computer systems. In general, hacking small systems requires only a simple skill test, but for bigger systems and where it is narratively appropriate, the hacker can attempt to infiltrate a system consisting of a series of connected nodes represented by a ‘Network Architecture Diagrams’. The player rolls Computer skill tests to generate points of Progress which can be expended to move deeper into the network, create a backdoor, capture a node, exploit a subroutine. If alerted, Network Security, or ‘NetSec’, will spread through the system attempting to locate the hacker and halt his progress, the Director rolling for and handling this process. In effect, hacking is in effect a two-player mini-game between the Hacker’s player and the Director. Fortunately, it is intended to take place at the same pace as combat rounds do, so it can be run in parallel with them if need be. It needs careful study by both the Hacker’s player and the Game Master, and although there is an example hacking attempt given of the system included, it would be a good idea for the Director to run through this at least once to understand it before bringing it into play.

In terms of technology, The Terminator RPG has lengthy sections devoted to both equipment and the machines of Skynet, the latter longer than the former. One nice touch is the equipment is organised not by name or type, but by the skill required to use each item, thus combining their description, the rules for their use, and their effects effectively under they are used. So, for example, dogs are listed under Animal Management, Time Displacement Equipment under Time Science, and everything from a flatbed truck to a main battle tank under Vehicles. Also covered are beam weapons, particle beam weapons, and other weapons deployed by Skynet. Then when it comes to the machines of The Terminator setting, The Terminator RPG covers much more than seen in the original film. So obviously the HK-Tank, HK-Drone, and T-800 Terminator, but The Terminator RPG also draws deeply from the comic book series published by Dark Horse Comics. So there are basic T-000 models, humanoid Hunter-Killers, as well as T-700 or ‘Data Junkies’, which pose as the homeless and are sent back into the past to collect data and then hide until after Judgement Day; the T-K90 or ‘Labrador Deceivers’, which hide amongst the Resistance’s dogs and acclimatise them to the presence of metal; and even T-R80 or ‘Cyberbats’, used as reconnaissance units. This offers a wide variety of threats and suggests possible story ideas for the Director to use and develop. This is all backed up by the discussion of the various components, features, and design of Skynet’s machines, so that the Director can understand how they work. Unsurprisingly, there is a focus on the T-800 as seen in The Terminator, including what happens when one loses various components. All of the machines given have game statistics as per a Resistance Fighter, but with high armour values and special rules which vary from model to model. Notable amongst the models are those developed by MIR, the Soviet Union’s answer to Skynet, which has an interesting relationship with its American counterpart.

In terms of background, The Terminator RPG also explores the rapid technological progress of the late twentieth century which ultimately led to the development of Skynet. This includes other corporations which contributed technologies later incorporated by Skynet, giving the Resistance another set of targets in the past. Numerous NPCs, drawn from both film and comic, are also given, complete with full stats, starting with Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese in 1984, John Connor in 2029, Lieutenant Ed Traxler, LAPD, in 1984, and more. If there is a potential issue here is that a lot of these NPCs will be unfamiliar to the players and the Director—especially the Director, forcing her to scurry off in search of the Dark Horse Comics. A nice touch is that every NPC entry includes notes made by Doctor Peter Silberman, providing an often-deluded psychological profile for each person, as well as an assessment by Skynet itself. The Director gets to choose which of the two assessments is worse…

The Terminator RPG terminates with not one, but two missions for the Director to run. Neither is original. The first, ‘The Phone Book Killer’, is based on the story seen in The Terminator, whilst the second, ‘The Killer in Me’, is based on the graphic novel, The Enemy Within. In both cases, the missions are designed to emulate rather than simulate the stories on which they are based. Thus in ‘The Phone Book Killer’, set in 1984, the Player Characters can be members of the LAPD investigating the case of the Sarah Connor murder spree or as Resistance Fighters sent back to stop the T-800. In the case of the latter, this will mean the players taking the roles of Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese, and essentially roleplaying the events out to see how they might differ, though there is scope for other Player Characters to get involved too. As a police investigation, the key Player Characters are Ed Traxler and Hal Vukovich, but again more Player Characters can be added, including Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese. Essentially, this is more of a toolkit to set up and explore the events of the story.

‘The Killer in Me’, the second mission is much more straightforward in its set-up and plot and is not the toolkit to set up and explore the events of its story that ‘The Phone Book Killer’ is. However, it does have the benefit of unfamiliarity, so the players and their Resistance Fighters can come to it unaware of its plot. Set in the 2020s, the Resistance Fighters are assigned to Lompoc Base, north of Los Angeles. The base is in danger of being overrun by Skynet, so when the base receives a message from a missing comrade that he has a cache of weapons and some survivors, both of which can help the base, its commander orders the Resistance Fighters to investigate. This requires a 150-mile trip, not through enemy territory, but under it via the sewerage tunnels. As the title of the mission suggests, this is a far more dangerous assignment than the Resistance Fighters will expect.

Physically, The Terminator RPG is very well presented. It is well written, the artwork is really good—the depictions of the various NPCs look right and the Terminators look scary, and throughout, there are plenty of examples of the rules and suggestions for the Director.

If there are issues with The Terminator RPG, they are relatively minor. For example, the list of Traits for Resistance Fighter creation seems paltry at best, and having ‘The Phone Book Killer’ as one of the two missions could also be seen as a cheap cop-out. Arguably, the former is more of an issue than the latter, limiting options in terms of Resistance Fighter creation, whereas the inclusion of The Terminator storyline as a playable scenario lets you roleplay and explore a situation which many a gaming group has already done inspired by the events of the film already, but do it with proper guidance and advice on how to do it differently. The inclusion of ‘The Phone Book Killer’ essentially lets you roleplay a story or situation you have been waiting forty years to do and do it with the licenced roleplaying rules.

Perhaps more problematically, is the roleplaying game’s complexity. The Terminator RPG looks complex and in some places it is. Then again, it has to be. This is roleplaying game and setting which involves near-unstoppable killing machines, which take tactics and ingenuity to destroy rather than brute force; computer systems which require infiltration against a faster, better, more capable enemy; and both desperation and courage. Yet, The Terminator RPG is not overly complex by the standards of most roleplaying games, simply requiring patience to learn and get used to the mechanics. (As an aside, the most obvious licensee back in the day would have been Leading Edge Games, since it had the licence for the TERMINATOR 2 Year of Darkness – Miniatures Combat System. However, it would have produced a roleplaying game based on The Terminator akin to its Aliens Adventure Game and that would have been complex. So, complexity is relative.

If there is a complex aspect of the roleplaying game, it is in the hacking rules, and that is to be expected. Hacking computers is not simple, especially if they are designed by an advanced A.I. Even then, the hacking rules are not that complex in comparison to other roleplaying games, but they do require attention and they do need to be learned how they work lest their inclusion slow play down.

Lastly, there is the issue of the source material for The Terminator RPG. The original film is readily available. The comic books from Dark Horse Comics not so readily. The Director will probably need to track them down. The inclusion of a bibliography would have been useful to that end, let alone for reference. That is the single real omission The Terminator RPG. However, the lack of relatively ready availability of the collected comics means that the Director’s players are unlikely to be as familiar with them and so she can easily plunder them for story ideas.

The Terminator RPG includes everything that a Director and her players need to run a game inspired by the original film—campaign ideas and advice, full stats and details on numerous killing machines, guidance on handling time travel, and fear in the face of the Terminators! The Terminator RPG is the roleplaying game we have been waiting for, for almost four decades, enabling us to enter the future and past of James Cameron’s Science Fiction dystopia, overcome our fear in facing the Terminators and take the fight to Skynet.

Saturday 27 May 2023

An Elvish Endeavour

Long ago, at the beginning of the 13th Age, war raged between the Elves and the Dwarves. The Elf Queen commanded the magic of the wild and the fey capable of defeating her people’s enemy, but could not truly control it. Liris, a nature goddess, voluntarily underwent a ritual to contain this magic by binding her into a vault. The ritual was a success and it bound both the magic and the three elven districts—Greenwood, Darkwood, and Lightwood—to the Elf Queen’s own Thronewood. With the magic, the Elf Queen helped withstand the Dwarven assault and as time passed, the relationship between the Elves and the Dwarves eased and they became allies. Yet the power which Liris helped contain and control and so save the Elves corrupted her and drove her to attempt escape and wreak revenge upon those she blamed for her imprisonment—even though it had been voluntary upon her part. The Elf Queen and her greatest spellcasters from all three districts offered a Key up to perform a great ritual which would ensure that the vault imprisoning Liris would remain closed. Then the Keys were returned to their respective districts and placed in three mystical towers, hidden from those who did not know the means or routes to find them. More recently, the Elf Queen senses that the ritual keeping the vault containing Liris is weakening and needs to be performed again. For that, she needs the three Keys from each of the three districts, but relationships between the Elf Queen and the three districts were not they once were and many of those who readily knew the locations of the three towers have long since died. As the magical bindings on Liris’ vault weaken, her dark influence is being felt across the Thronewood and beyond as shadows and sorrow deepen. With her strength dedicated to withstanding Liris’ influence and preparing for the forthcoming ritual, the Elf Queen needs agents she can trust to find the three mystical towers, assail their heights (or depths), and return in time for her to perform the ritual which will save her kingdom.

This is the set-up for Elven Towers, an adventure for the Champion Tier for 13th Age, the roleplaying game from Pelgrane Press which combines the best elements of both Dungeons & Dragons, Third Edition and Dungeons & Dragons, Fourth Edition to give high action combat, strong narrative ties, and exciting play. The adventure requires access to both 13 True Ways and the 13th Age Bestiary to play and mostly obviously, will hook in Player Characters with Icon relationships with the Elf Queen or her allies. Options though are suggested for involving Player Characters with other Icon relationships, even ones so adverse to the Elf Queen that they would be prepared to betray both her and the efforts of their fellow adventurers should the need arise! Several ways of handling the interaction of the Player Characters with Court of Stars are offered, each of varying complexity or detail. The simplest is to run it as a group test, but alternatively, the Player Characters can attend the court and get involved in its activities and events, fully interacting with the various courtiers and hangers-on. There are plenty of NPCs detailed here as well as some nice means of handling the effects of Liris’ growing influence and the Player Characters being unsuccessful in their interactions with the Court of Stars. This includes increasing the amount of time it takes to get information, temporary penalties to saving throws, and temporarily delaying the increase of the Escalation Die in combat.

Once the Player Characters have worked out where the three Keys are located, they can set out to each of the locations. Consisting of the Tower of Memory in Greenwood, the Tower of Dreams in the Darkwood, and the Tower of Fate in the Lightwood, they can be tackled in any order, but they all adhere to the same format—a montage travel scene followed by three or four encounters between the Court of Stars and each tower, and each tower consists of four encounters before a finale. The encounters, inside the tower or outside of the tower, are essentially big set pieces, each different, but themed along the lines of the region the Player Characters are travelling through and the tower they are trying to reach. The format provides room for the Game Master to insert encounters of her own, if thematically appropriate, but to fair, the given encounters will be challenge enough. The Tower of Memory and the Greenwood are home to the Wood Elves and are forest-themed with the Tower of Memory being a giant tree. The Tower of Dreams and the Darkwood are home to the Dark Elves—or Drow depending upon the Game Master’s campaign—and the Tower of Dreams may be entered via a tree, but is actually in a spire protruding down into the Underworld. Many of its encounters veer between dreams and nightmares. The Tower of Fate is in the Lightwood and is home to the High Elves, with the Tower of the fate ascending to the Overworld. Many of the encounters in the Lightwood and the Tower of Fate relate to oracles, fate, and destiny.

The design of the scenarios as a series of big set pieces, means that the author gets to be inventive. For example, in the Tower of Memory, the Player Characters have to race across a rope bridge high above the forest floor, the missing slats of the rope bridge hidden by illusion, harassed by a Pixie knight and a Drunken Sprite Swarm; on the way the Tower of Dreams in the Darkwood, an ambush involves a Player Character being dragging back and forth behind an enraged wild boar and then back again after confronting equally enraged Owlbears, the whole encounter threatening to collapse into chaos; and a surprisingly creepy encounter in the Tower of Fate in the Lightwood in a cave of birthing pools left over from the Elves’ first creation of the Orcs a very long time ago, that should really resonate with any Half-Orc Player Character or Player Character with Icon Relationships with the Orc. The final encounter atop each tower always includes facing agents of one or more of the other Icons and there are stats and suggestions on how to tailor the forces of each Icon to each encounter. This allows the wider involvement of the Player Characters’ Icon Relationships, including both those with Icons who oppose the Elf Queen and those who might have interest in limiting or disrupting her power and influence.

Not all of the encounters in Elven Towers involve combat, though most of them do or will result in combat. Answering riddles or sharing secrets are a common feature, and is making trades. The sharing of secrets involves a roleplaying upon the part of the players, whilst riddles some deductive reasoning, though rules are given for skill checks and rolling dice for those players adverse to riddles. Trades will often see the Player Characters give up minor magical items, Revives, even Icon Relationship rolls—temporally!—and more. All of the encounters include advice on staging them and if necessarily, scaling them up to make a tougher battle.

Finally, the Player Characters will return to the Court of Stars with the three Keys—or not. The Player Characters may not necessarily gain all three Keys to Liris’ vault and the fewer Keys they have, the more difficult and dangerous the ritual that Elf Queen has to perform, becomes. The Player Characters get invited to a big party before the ritual to celebrate their success in obtaining the Keys and an even bigger party if the ritual is a success. The Player Characters are, of course, invited—or is that expected?—to help defend the ritual, which leads to a big boss, end of adventure-level fight. There is scope here too, for the Player Characters to betray the Elf Queen, if that is what their Icon Relationships demand. How that plays out is down to the Game Master, but if the betrayal succeeds, or the ritual as a whole fails, there could actually be a change in one of the Icons! However, if the ritual succeeds, there are rewards aplenty, including powerful magical items, the Elf Queen’s favour—which mostly means she will use them as her agents again, no matter what their Icon Relationships are, and even gaining or improving an Icon Relationship with the Elf Queen.

Physically, Elven Towers is well presented. The artwork is excellent and individual encounters are all easy to use and reference. However, some of the maps are a little dark and murky; the text requires a slight edit in places (one monster inflicts over three hundred points of damage, when it should be just over thirty); and an index would have helped. There are lists with page numbers for all of the monsters.

Elven Towers is an adventure that the Game Master will want to run if she has an Elf amongst her Player Characters or a Player Character with a strong Icon Relationship with the Elf Queen. The adventure is harder to run without either of these, but once involved in the adventure, Elven Towers is an entertaining, often exciting affair, with plenty of opportunities for roleplaying alongside the big, sometimes bigger, fights. Elven Towersis a grand quest in traditional fantasy and fantasy roleplaying style, well designed and executed with plenty of variation that reveals some of the secrets and nature of the Elf Queen and her realm.


Pelgrane Press will be at UK Games Expo
from Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th, 2023.

Space Crime

There is a big difference between making ends meet and making a living when it comes to operating a starship. With expansive docking fees, fuel costs, and repairs to be made, let alone paying the crew, making a profit is never easy, unless that is, you pick up a contract from a crime boss. A crime boss like Algoth Nieminen, who just happened to take over and expand the Jitana Syndicate to the point where it is the primary crime organisation in the binary. Now he has a cargo which he needs transporting both carefully and speedily and he is short of his usual ships and crews. He will not say what it is, but it is sensitive and highly illegal. He will, however, say where it is. The cargo is aboard a ship which has been impounded and the held at the impound yard in orbit around Kandhara. So all the crew has to do is, fly to the Shan system, infiltrate the Kandhara Independent Impound yard, get aboard the ship, steal the cargo, and deliver it as Algoth Nieminen, as promised, right? Wrong. We not entirely wrong. The crew do have to fly to the Shan system, infiltrate the Kandhara Independent Impound yard, get aboard the ship, steal the cargo, and deliver it as Algoth Nieminen promised, but it is nowhere as simple as that. First, there are three ships and crews who worked for Algoth Nieminen in the impound and one of them has the cargo. Second, Algoth Nieminen has hired four other crews to retrieve the cargo and will only pay the bonus to the crew which successfully retrieves the cargo. Third, there is a detective who wants to make a name for himself—and if that means arresting Algoth Nieminen and breaking up the Jitana Syndicate, then all the better.

This is the set-up for The Kandhara Contraband: A System Agnostic Sci-Fi Adventure. Published by LunarShadow Designs, this as the title suggests is a rules free, mechanics free, stats free scenario for the Science Fiction genre. So more plot than numbers—and more set-up than plot—this is also a scenario which involves space crime. Which narrows it down to the types of roleplaying game it will work with. In terms of generic roleplaying games, Savage Worlds or GURPS or FATE Core would all work easily with this plot. In terms of setting, the set-up and theme points to two obvious choices. Star Wars is the most obvious, whether that is the D6 System version from West End Games or Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. The other option is the Firefly Roleplaying Game published by Margaret Weis Productions. But whichever system or setting the Game Master decides to run The Kandhara Contraband, the key elements are crime and space travel.

Half of The Kandhara Contraband is dedicated to the set-up and describing the other interested parties in the adventure. This includes the three syndicate ships and their captains who got impounded, as well as the four rival ships and their captains that Algoth Nieminen has also hired to retrieve the cargo, plus of course, the police detective. These are all given a good paragraph or two’s worth of description, which in most cases is accompanied by a question, which the Game Master has to put to her players. For example, Jacinda Sedius is the captain of The Icarus, a ship which though the same make and model as the Player Characters’, but is often on the verge of breaking down and in need of much maintenance. Captain Jacinda and her crew has suffered a rash of bad luck and really needs the payout that successfully retrieving Algoth Nieminen’s cargo would bring. The accompanying question is, “Ask the PCs about a time they have previously helped Jacinda and her crew. How many drinks does he owe them?” The Kandhara Contraband asks similar questions for each of the NPCs in the scenario, as well as at Kandhara Station, the orbital station. The effects of this are twofold. First, it involves the players in the creation of elements of the scenario, tying locations and NPCs to their characters and into the setting or game that the Game Master is running, and in the process setting up background details and roleplaying hooks. Second, if The Kandhara Contraband is run as a convention scenario—and it is about the right length to do that, even if there are no suggestions as to how to that or pace the scenario—each time it is run, it will be different for the Game Master.

The second half of The Kandhara Contraband is devoted to the scenario’s locations, which consist of the barren mining world of Shan, Kandhara Station, the orbital station above Shan, and the Kandhara Independent Impound Yard, and the final destination for the cargo. Here individuals, facilities aboard Kandhara Station, and events are all described. Most of the detail is spent on Kandhara Station, as it is here that the Player Characters will find the crews of the impounded ships and learn more about the cargo—which is very much far from ordinary.

Physically, The Kandhara Contraband is a plain and simple affair. Behind the decent cover, the scenario is unaccompanied by either maps or illustrations. Otherwise, the layout is tidy and the booklet a clean affair.

The advice for the Game Master in The Kandhara Contraband is brief. For the Game Master with experience of running a fairly improvised scenario, this should not be an issue. A less experienced Game Master might well have wanted more help and advice, or at least a summary of the events and hooks which help her more readily prepare the scenario and give her some idea as to what might happen once the players and their characters get involved.

The Kandhara Contraband: A System Agnostic Sci-Fi Adventure is plot and set-up. Both though, are more than enough to get a good session or two’s worth of Sci-Fi action and intrigue going, as well as provide content that the Game Master can easily add to her campaign and the players add to their characters’ backgrounds. Of course, it is going to need some effort upon the part of the Game Master to supply the stats, but once she has that, the Game Master is ready to run her Player Characters into trouble and hopefully, back out again, hopefully with The Kandhara Contraband in their cargo hold and out again.

Friday 26 May 2023

Friday Fantasy: Gang Lords of Lankhmar

Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar #1: Gang Lords of Lankhmar is a scenario for Goodman Games’ Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game and the first scenario for the Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar Boxed Set. Scenarios for Dungeon Crawl Classics tend be darker, grimmer, and even pulpier than traditional Dungeons & Dragons scenarios, even veering close to the Swords & Sorcery subgenre. Scenarios for the Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar Boxed Set are set in and around the City of the Black Toga, Lankhmar, the home to the adventures of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, the creation of author Fritz Leiber. The city is described as an urban jungle, rife with cutpurses and corruption, guilds and graft, temples and trouble, whores and wonders, and more. Under the cover the frequent fogs and smogs, the streets of the city are home to thieves, pickpockets, burglars, cutpurses, muggers, and anyone else who would skulk in the night! Which includes the Player Characters. And it is these roles which the Player Characters get to be in the Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar #1: Gang Lords of Lankhmar, in which they they get recruited by a gang and that gang goes to war with the rival gangs on its block. As the situation escalates and the tit-for-tat situation turns bloody, can the Player Characters keep their gang safe and avoid the attention of either the Thieves’ Guild or the Overlord’s constabulary before either starts handing out bloody lessons?

Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar #1: Gang Lords of Lankhmar is designed for First Level Player Characters and it is as different from other Dungeon Crawl Classics scenarios as could be. In a typical Dungeon Crawl Classics scenario, there is an issue which threatens a tribe, a village, or some other organisation, and the Player Characters are instructed to go out and either deal with it or investigate it. In Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar #1: Gang Lords of Lankhmar, the Player Characters help initiate a situation and then manipulate it, before trying to weather the consequences and come out on top. Consequently, there is a sophistication to the scenario and more moving parts than us usually found in the average scenario for Dungeon Crawl Classics. The scenario takes place in the slums between the Old Slave Barracks on Chapel Street, Rookery Way, the Shrine of the Rat God on Squalor Row, and Pimp Street. Here, three gangs run the roofs and work the streets with smalltime protection rackets, gambling dens, pickpocketing, and more. They are the Knife Twisters, the Pimp Street Scuttlers, and the Forty Owlets. All three are consist of petty criminals and crooks and strictly small fry, not worth the notice of the Thieves’ Guild or the Overlord’s constabulary, but that is about to change.

The scenario begins with the Player Characters coming to the notice of, and being hired by, King Korvul—perhaps after their Meet in the scenario, ‘Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar #0: No Small Crimes in Lankhmar’, to be found in the Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar Boxed Set. King Korvul wants the Player Characters as part of his gang because he wants to be boss of the block, which means taking out the Pimp Street Scuttlers, and the Forty Owlets and taking over their operations. The Player Characters are disrupt the operations of the Scuttlers, play one gang off against each other, and protect the gang against reprisals. If the Player Characters can put up with King Korvul’s ego, then this is a pretty good deal. However, once the other gangs get wind of his aims, things do not go to plan and the Player Characters are going to firmly in the crosshairs.

The play of Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar #1: Gang Lords of Lankhmar is built around three moving parts. The first of these is a timeline of detailed encounters which take place over the course of eight days. The second is a  ‘Neighbourhood Tension Tracker’ which presents a series of consequences which can occur as the shadow war between the gangs escalates and the bloody feuds break out into violence on the streets and action in the alleys. These consequences can come multiple sources, including the other gangs, and the Thieves’ Guild and the Overlord’s constabulary. Neighbourhood Tension begins at three and can rise to above forty or more, driven by assaults on other gangs, deaths of other gang members, acts of arson, and more. Bribes will alleviate it though, at least as far as the constabulary is concerned. So at a Neighbourhood Tension of eight or more, members of the rival gangs prowl the neighbourhood spoiling for a brawl with the Player Characters, whilst the Player Characters begin hearing that there are strangers about, asking questions about them. At thirty-five or more, the Thieves’ Guild dispatches assassins to kill the Player Characters, who are also declared enemies of Overlord and Wanted posters are put up with their names and faces on them!

 Third is the encounter areas, which in turn detail the major locations for the area where the scenario is set. This includes the bases of operation for all three gangs and the Dogfish, a dive bar roughly equidistant between them, all complete with maps, as well as other locations. There is also a table to randomly detail and populate (or not) the other tenement blocks in between, this being the city of Lankhmar, details of the roofs above and sewers below. pride of place though goes the centerfold map of the neighbourhood, which the Judge really needs to copy and put out on the table in front of her players so that they can plan their campaign against the other rival gangs.

There is a problem with the set-up in Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar #1: Gang Lords of Lankhmar and that is that the Player Characters have to join the Knife Twisters for the scenario to really get going. What if the Player Characters wanted to join the Pimp Street Scuttlers or the Forty Owlets instead? The Forty Owlets is less of an option because it is an all-female gang, but not so the Pimp Street Scuttlers. The players and their characters may be put off by King Korvul being such an oligeaniously odious man and might want to side with another gang. This is not an option that the scenario explores, but had it done so, the scenario could have been a more rounded toolkit. However, there are enough details given that the Judge could make this change if necessary, but it would take some effort upon her part.

In play 
Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar #1: Gang Lords of Lankhmar is a busy scenario with a lot going on in comparison to other scenarios for Dungeon Crawl Classics. This is both in terms of the Player Character actions—the scenario is very player-led—and NPC reactions, and there is a lot of interplay back and forth between the two. So the Judge is going to need to track both and the result of the ‘Neighbourhood Tension Tracker’.

Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar #1: Gang Lords of Lankhmar is decently presented. The scenario in general, well written, the maps clear, and artwork constantly captures the grimy and grimy nature of life on the streets of Lankhmar.

Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar #1: Gang Lords of Lankhmar is a busy scenario and a different scenario. It is primarily player-led, it focuses upon one small location which the Judge can bring to life, and potentially, it sets the Player Characters up with a base of operations in Lankhmar, gives them a small source of income, and provides them with something to care about with both the gang and the neighbourhood—if only as petty crooks. Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar #1: Gang Lords of Lankhmar is great first scenario for the Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar Boxed Set, which rightly focuses on crime in the City of Sevenscore Thousand Smokes. In the process, it provides opportunity aplenty for action, roleplaying, and skullduggery for Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar.


Goodman Games will be at UK Games Expo
from Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th, 2023.

Friday Fantasy: OS2 The Heart of Chentoufi

The world of Okkorim was rich and verdant. Then the Empire of Ydrissid rose and fell and so we have the Blighted Lands. The sorcerers of the Empire of Ydrissid commanded great magic and not only established dominion over Okkorim, but also out onto other planes. Key to their power were the ‘eanifisilat’ or ‘dragoncoils’, the focal points where magical power coalesced around slumbering elemental dragons. Yet over time, the power of the ‘eanifisilat’ began to fade, eventually dwindling to nothing and the sorcerer god-kings of the empire sought other means to maintain their arcane power. They could not recreate the ‘eanifisilat’ which had enabled them at their height, to send whole armies across the empire in the blink of an eye, but they could create artifacts imbued with the power of the elemental dragons—air, earth, fire, and water. One of these artefacts is the Occulus of Senrahbah. Like many of its type, it would lost in the years that followed the collapse of the Empire of Ydrissid due to the Wrath which turned its territories into the Blighted Lands and many lesser empires and nations rose and fell. Several factions in the port city of Chentoufi believe they have determined the location of the Occulus of Senrahbah. If there is even the slimmest possibility of holding a sliver of the power of the sorcerer god-kings of the Empire of Ydrissid, then these factions will do their utmost to either obtain it, or prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. Enter the Player Characters…

This is the set-up for OS1 The Eye of Chentoufi, an adventure compatible with Dungeons & Dragons, Fifth Edition which saw the Player Characters cross back and forth across the city of Chentoufi and then finally below it in order to locate the ‘Occulus of Senrahba’, also known as the ‘Eye of Chentoufi’. Having outraced several factions either wanting to obtain the Eye of Chentoufi for themselves or deny it to everyone, they encountered and defeated Yusepefesos, the greater water jinn, supposedly protecting the location of the ‘Occulus of Senrahba’ and there the scenario came to a conclusion. OS1 The Eye of Chentoufi is notable for several things. First and foremost, it is set in ‘Luke Gygax’s World of Okkorim’ and thus co-authored by Luke Gygax, the son of E. Gary Gygax, the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons and thus the hobby itself. Second, it is the first part of a trilogy, which will continue with OS2 The Heart of Chentoufi and OS3 The Fate of Chentoufi. Third, it can be run as a tournament scenario, in just a single four-hour session, and there are notes and points awards so that the players’ progress can be tracked and scores compared at the end of the tournament. Alternatively, it can played through in two or more sessions with the addition of the scenario’s optional scenes. Fourth, it was written as a special tournament scenario for Gary Con XIII, the convention held each March in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

OS2 The Heart of Chentoufi picks up where left OS1 The Eye of Chentoufi off. Designed for a party of Seventh to Ninth Level Player Characters, it is also a tournament scenario, having been run at Gary Con XV. A portal behind the body of Yusepefesos opens up on some stairs that lead deep into the earth under the city of Chentoufi. Across its three acts, the adventure will take the Player Characters not only deeper below the city, but deeper into its past and that of the Empire of Ydrissid and its secrets. The Player Characters first discover an imperial prison followed by a series of giant-worm chewed tunnels, known as the ‘Carve’, and below that, the ‘Dahloom’ or ‘Everdark’. This is akin to the Underdark of the Forgotten Realms and the scenario plays up its alien nature, being damp, even sometimes wet, unlike the Blighted Lands of the surface world above.

The majority of the encounters in the adventure are combat related. The Dungeon Master though, with have fun roleplaying
‘Varneezer’, a crotchety old Halfling adventurer, who is very much out of his depth. He is not, rather just out of his time, and there are some nicely done clues included in his suggested dialogue. The combat encounters tend towards the epic, each of the three parts of the scenario involving or ending in a big fight. Ultimately, the scenario ends with the Player Characters still in the hunt for ‘Eye of Chentoufi’. Their reward for their efforts feels much bigger than that of OS1 The Eye of Chentoufi, they are none the wiser as to the location of the trilogy’s MacGuffin.

Unfortunately, OS2 The Heart of Chentoufi suffers from many of the same issues as OS1 The Eye of Chentoufi. The primary problem is that there is not enough context for the benefit of the players and their characters. There is no background information that is readily presentable to the players, whether on the Blighted Lands or the city of Chentoufi. So, the players will have difficulty getting a feel for the setting as a place, let alone motivation for their Player Characters. This starts with the beginning of the scenario—en media res, and in context of being a direct sequel to OS1 The Eye of Chentoufi, that is fine if the players have played it. Not though as a standalone scenario which it is suggested that OS2 The Heart of Chentoufi could be run as, because not enough attention is paid to why the Player Characters are there and what they are doing. Some of this could have been alleviated with some pre-generated Player Characters, but there are none. Which makes no sense for a tournament scenario, especially one set in a background which is not vanilla fantasy. The background to Okkorim, the Blighted Lands, and Chentoufi all have an Arabic or Middle Eastern feel, much like Al-Qadim: Land of Fate. Some of this information could have been presented in a set of pre-generated Player Characters, which could also been used to provide motivation for the players and their characters and have been used to showcase what can be played in the ‘Luke Gygax’s World of Okkorim’ and its differences between it and Dungeons & Dragons, Fifth Edition. This is a missed opportunity—though Luke Gygax does promise that the setting of Okkorim will be presented in a supplement of its own.

The scenario also starts of in an underwheming fashion. Or rather with a puzzle whose solution defaults to either a skill roll or a Comprehend Languages spell. The puzzles were the highlight in
OS1 The Eye of Chentoufi, so why not present the first puzzle as a puzzle rather than a mechanical problem which does not serve the story? That way, the players could have been rewarded with points in the tournament for their deductive skills rather than combative skills. Further, whilst the highlights of OS1 The Eye of Chentoufi were its big puzzle encounter, this is really the only puzzle in the scenario, which makes it all the more disappointing. Further, in comparison to OS1 The Eye of Chentoufi, there are far fewer optional scenes in OS2 The Heart of Chentoufi. In fact, there is only one, and arguably, that scene is not optional, since it provides information about what happened to ‘Eye of Chentoufi’ and who was responsible, thus setting up event for OS3 The Fate of Chentoufi.

OS2 The Heart of Chentoufi has some great features, much like OS1 The Eye of Chentoufi.
Each of its three acts starts with a summary of the plot for that act; there are suggestions as to what music to play during various scenes (with links to YouTube for the PDF version of the scenario); and both the monsters and the treasures are decently done. opportunity.

Physically, OS2 The Heart of Chentoufi is hit and miss. The artwork is excellent, as is the cartography, and on the whole, the scenario is a fine-looking book. However, the editing is inconsistent.

OS2 The Heart of Chentoufi is simply not as good a a scenario as
OS1 The Eye of Chentoufi. It is too linear, there are far fewer optional scenes which helped add detail and colour to the first scenario in the trilogy, the scenes are all combat-orientated, and its lacks the puzzle scenes which were the best feature of OS1 The Eye of Chentoufi. Instead, OS2 The Heart of Chentoufi does have a fun NPC for the Dungeon Master to portray. Some of the issues with the scenario are due to it being designed as a tournament scenario, others not, but ultimately, OS2 The Heart of Chentoufi is the middle part of a trilogy and feels like it, connecting the beginning and end parts of the trilogy, and not necessarily in an interesting way.


Luke Gygax will be at UK Games Expo
from Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th, 2023.

Monday 22 May 2023

Miskatonic Monday #194: Twelve Black Feathers

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: C.M. Arnold

Setting: 1890s Baltimore
Product: Scenario
What You Get: Thirty-two-page, 8.03 MB Full Colour PDF
Elevator Pitch: Ravens & Resurrectionists in 1890s The X-Files style
Plot Hook: A murder of ravens
Plot Support: Staging advice, four pre-generated Investigators, nine handouts, one map, several NPCs, and one non-Mythos monster, non-monster monster.
Production Values: High.

# Scenario for Cthulhu by Gaslight
# High production values and excellent photographs
# One-shot or an X-Files style campaign starter
# Nicely thematic mystery
# Non-Mythos, Mythos scenario
# Introduces the ‘Department of Concurrence’
# Kabourophobia
# Pteronophobia
# Ornithophobia
# Gynophobia

# Needs a slight edit
# Clue links not as clear as they should be
# The ‘Department of Concurrence’ undeveloped
# Baltimore... it had to be ravens.
Non-Mythos, Mythos scenario

# X-Files: Life on the Street style one-shot or campaign starter
# Solid, but short mystery which needs a little more development beyond its high production values