Realms of Cthulhu

Realms of Cthulhu is a Savage Worlds setting book created by Reality Blurs for the express purpose of giving players a way to play games based upon H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos within Savage Worlds games.  The book also goes a long way towards helping players and GMs convert Call of Cthulhu materials into Savage Worlds compatible ones, which opens up hundreds of adventures and supplements for Realms of Cthulhu.  Those of you who have listened to our Midnight Harvest podcasts will probably have noted that we use this book for that adventure.

The hardbound book is well put together with pictures and little extras that really lend to the overall feel of the book.  Setting rules are laid out near the beginning of the book, the most obvious of which is the Sanity rule, which is a Savage Worlds adaptation of Chaosism’s Sanity rules.

What’s Insiderealms_of_cthulhu

The book starts out with information that everyone needs to know including details about creating an investigator, changes to skills, hindrances and edges as well as new ones specifically created for RoC.  This is followed by information about available equipment during the three different time periods covered within the tome: the 1890’s, 1920’s and modern.  This is a great quick reference, especially if you are playing in one of the earlier time periods and need to know what type of weapons actually existed during those times (no machine guns in the 1890’s!).

The aforementioned Sanity rules are included in the Setting rules section along with one of my favorite rules: Fate is Unkind which disallows players from using a benny if he/she rolls a double one.  This rule has a tendency to raise it’s head at the most exciting of times.

After that we get into the murky waters of the Keeper’s section which includes detailed information on the Cthulhu Mythos, how magic works within RoC and a great chapter devoted to helping you craft your own Mythos Tales.  The book also contains a full adventure, detailed information about a slew of Mythos Creatures and a short section specifically dedicated to helping you convert from Call of Cthulhu to RoC.

The Verdict

This book is a wonderful resource for any Savage Worlds player interested in playing a Horror/Suspense style game.  While those looking to create Cthulhu style games may get the most out of RoC any group that enjoys playing in a realistic setting with horror and suspense elements will find a wealth of information and help within the pages.  While it is possible to buy this book (along with most Savage Worlds books and supplements) as a PDF I would encourage anyone truly interested to grab an actual copy of the book.  Being able to flip through the tome while your players look on, with dread Cthulhu staring at them from the cover, can really add some tension and fun to the game.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Achtung! Cthulhu – Zero Point Part 2

Two things I love: Cthulhu and the Savage Worlds system.  You tell me you’ve got a Cthulhu themed Savage Worlds adventure and I say “WooHoo!”  So yes I’m excited about the Zero Point Part 2 being released by Modiphius Entertainment and I’m not at all ashamed to admit it.  Achtung! Cthulhu takes place during World War 2 and  Part 2 – Heroes of the Sea takes place during the Battle of Dunkirk with a Cthulhu twist as “a sinister conspiracy threatens the lives of the retreating Allied forces!”  In order to play you’ll need a Savage Worlds rule book as well as the Realms of Cthulhu book to supply all of the sanity checking rules needed to deal with Cthulhu inspired horror.

The players take on the roles of solders, agents and resistance fighters struggling to defeat the Old One menace and help the Allies retreat before the Germans or the Tentacles kill everyone involved.

Although The Goblin Beat will play with the Savage Worlds rule set there is also a Call of Cthulhu version of all of the Achtung! adventures.  That means all of you percentile die lovers out there can get in on the action as well.  I can’t wait to run these adventures for our group.  If you have already ran one of these Achtung! adventures tell us what you thought, you can be sure we’ll review them after we get a chance to play them as well.

source: modiphius.com

The Dungeon Survival Handbook

Into the Unknown: The Dungeon Survival Handbook is a D&D 4e supplemental guide that goes along with the most recent season of D&D Encounters.  This guide is divided into sections providing general information about dungeons and has sections that will be interesting to players and others geared more towards dungeon masters.  There has been some grumbling about this because there are large sections of this guide that are useless to you no matter which side of the DM screen you sit.  This is a valid criticism and were I a player that never ran games I wouldn’t be overly happy with the book since only the first few sections give information that is strictly for players.

What’s inside?

For players the first few sections of this book contain all of the juicy bits.  First and foremost for my players were the new races.  There are three new playable races including Goblins, Kobolds and Svirfneblin.  Goblins as player characters got everyone here at Crimson Bastards particularly excited to the point that we will be running a one-shot adventure very soon featuring goblin characters.  There are also a few new character themes and backgrounds which are dungeon and underdark related and give a little extra color to your dungeon oriented characters.

Most of the remainder of the book gives general information about dungeons: who/what creates them, what you might find inside of them, the different types of dungeons etc.  There are also some interesting notes sprinkled throughout the book with tidbits about the history of dungeons throughout all editions of D&D and how they have affected the game going forward.  I found the history of the Far Realms section extremely interesting as my entire current campaign sprouted from the idea of using D&D’s version of the Great Old Ones to kick things off.

There was a time in D&D when the best thing about any book, especially a DM related book, was the back of the book where all of the appendices and tables were kept.  It was possible to spend an entire gaming session making rolls for random treasure and creating unique magical items for party members.  The back of this book therefore took me back to those glorious days when I found the appendix for random dungeon creation.  Here you can roll for the creator and master of the dungeon, the followers and the monsters that dwell within the dungeon itself.  There are even tables of quirks to help you to give the dungeon a more interesting feel.  Where my players have been solely focused on the Goblin entry of this book all of my time and excitement has been here, in the back of the book.  These tables are great even if you don’t want to use random generation as they give you lists to choose from for each part of the dungeon and help to get you thinking of what fun things you can add to make yours unique and exciting.

Verdict

This book is definitely a niche product.  If you are a player then the worth of the volume is fairly limited unless you plan on handing it to  your DM (which is okay, DMs love free books to help them think of ways to kill you…I mean challenge you) to use as a source of inspiration.  If you are a DM planning to create some dungeons for your own campaign then this book might be for you.  The writers obviously spent a great deal of time coming up with some of the most fun and interesting ideas out there and it can only help to have this book at your side as you plan your next adventure.

Rating: ★★★¾☆