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Holiday Dorastor: Risklands
by JAY [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/03/2024 00:55:19

A great supplement that I have been waiting for. My players have almost finished their adventures in Pavis. They will flee to Riskland with a specific golden coin and begin their adventures in Dorastor....

This book, along with Secrets of Dorastor, provide tons of adventure hooks for adventuring in the Land of Doom. The flavor is excellent and it's easy to adapt to my campaign. Thanks so much!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Holiday Dorastor: Risklands
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Welcome to Little Creek
by Harald [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/02/2024 22:04:53

This is a lovingly made scenario with an eye for detail, a big but detailed setting and -rare- a believable reason for the player characters to get involved. The details are charming, the pictures a a nice bonus. The pregenerated characters are historically plausible, mixed in sex/gender, background and social standing. Minor details keep this from perfect scores: the pregens have skills at the 10% level. Maybe realistic, but I do not usually roll under 10%, so I feel these points are, to some extend wasted. There is also the couple of waitresses that "drive to work". Good for them: cars were hideously expansive in that era, but maybe their uncle was a salesman and left them the car. These are minor details, irrelevant against the great work put in. SPOILER: What really breaks the scenario for me is the basic idea. If you do not mind N setting up a place for permanent sacrifices -and a point to recover from defeats- this may make sense. Not my idea of Outer Gods, though.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Welcome to Little Creek
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Bad Tidings
by Harald [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/01/2024 22:09:46

This is a very well made scenario, taking four pregenerated characters -balanced ones that make sense in the historical setting- into a lonely place with a classic monster facing a (ficitous) monstrous aspect of history. If one does not mind Nazi occultists this is a great tale to be told. The pregens are mixed in political believes and sex/gender. I do not expect all of them to make it out alive, to be honest: but this is Call of Cthulhu. BTW: burning down the house will NOT work in this case. Recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bad Tidings
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Bad Day at Duck Rock
by Austin C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/01/2024 12:56:08

When there’s smoke in the air and Ennio Morricone’s warbling Western sting fills your ears, you know someone is destined to have a bad day. Hopefully, that won’t be you!

This week we’re taking a look at A Bad Day at Duck Rock, Peter Hart’s first foray onto the Jonstown Compendium. Bad Day is an 88-page adventure set in the heart of Sartar which draws on themes from classical tabletop adventures and Western films alike. Providing illustrative support is Gloranthan veteran Dario Corallo (who, by the by, has produced several RuneQuest art packs—an insta-buy for prospective Jonstown Compendium creators).

So without further ado, let’s saddle up!

Disclaimer: I’ve received a free review copy of the PDF in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, Peter! This review contains minor spoilers.

WHAT’S INSIDE? Bad Day is divided into two major sections: the adventure (37 pages) and the Dramatis Personae (42 pages). The adventure adopts, in general, a sandbox approach to telling Bad Day’s story through the description of major locations. These are primarily the eponymous village of Duck Rock, and the nearby Cave Complex within which lurk a band of Chaotic baddies.

And what baddies they are! The band menacing the area worships the dreadful Thanatar. This cult is one of my favorites due to its signature spell: Create Head. The Thanatar worshiper cuts off a victim’s head, binds their spirit inside, and can wield all their magic. It’s a nasty, nasty ability, and a great deal of fun if you’re the gamemaster. While Thanatar’s full write-up will be published in the forthcoming Chaos volume of Chaosium’s Cults of RuneQuest series, all spells needed for this adventure can be found in the Red Book of Magic. Hart does suggest that gamemasters pick up the RuneQuest Classic reprint Cults of Terror if they seek additional information about the cult. Ultimately, a version does at least remain in print.

In general, I’d describe the plot as occurring in two phases:

What the Hell happened? What are we going to do about it? The story begins with the adventurers entering Duck Rock to seek rooms at the inn and sell bronze on behalf of their employer. Meanwhile, said employer has gone to visit some friends at a local farmstead. Since he never shows up in town, it’s left to the adventurers to figure out what happened. Snooping around is quite likely to result in a skirmish with some of the baddies. This leads to discovering the cave complex and the revelation that something really is going on.

I’m simplifying this somewhat; there’s quite a bit more at play than my linear outline suggests. The possibilities range among meeting local magical entities (such as a naiad or an only-slightly-evil vampire), an assassination attempt, stopping (or helping) a Humakti get revenge, and visiting the site of a dead durulz deity.

This is pinned together by an in-depth gamemaster background at the start of the adventure, and a timeline of past, present, and future events. Naturally, the players’ choices may well change these events. Once all the details are woven together, the basic takeaway is that the adventurers have one week to save their employer. Otherwise, he’ll get sacrificed to Thanatar with Create Head!

The Dramatis Personae are for the most part a long collection of statblocks. Some gems worth mentioning include the description of a vampiric Dancer in Darkness’s tactics when casting sorcery, a lovely little myth about vampire bats, and the inclusion of a giant in search of his missing hand. As the page count suggests, this section provides exhaustive statistics for each non-player character mentioned in the adventure (and many which are unnamed in the main text as well).

PRODUCTION Bad Day is polished substantially above what I would expect for a creator’s first RuneQuest adventure in text, illustration, and layout.

The text reads very well, largely using an admirably concise style without becoming dull. Bad Day is a credit to both the author and the editor! Information is presented logically and thoroughly throughout the adventure. In particular, Hart does a good job juggling the openness of sandbox adventures with the need to avoid endless “if… then…” sequences to cover player choices. This is tricky, but Bad Day pulls it off with grace. I think the use of a timeline worked very well, here.

There are occasional typos or inconsistencies (such as “Spot” instead of “Scan” to see an assassin). These are infrequent, and never threw off the meaning of a sentence. Throughout, Bad Day exceeds my expectations for textual polish among indie publishers, and honestly is quite close to the standard I strive for in my own work.

(Insert the obligatory noise that Austin is over-picky about textual polish—I’m well aware.)

With a handful of exceptions, the illustrations are all by Corallo, and are in his well-known “cartoon-like” style. (At least, I think that’s an accurate adjective?)

The use of a single artist for the art worked very well. Corallo’s illustrations provide additional unity to the adventure. While I often favor visual diversity, the persistent style in Bad Day set a consistent tone to positive effect. Due to the adventure’s moving parts the visual consistency manages to depict the non-player characters, but avoids distracting the reader.

The cartography—I believe also by Corallo—is simple and effective. Perfect for an adventure. The isometric map of Duck Rock in particular is quite charming. I appreciate that the creators used maps without much visual fuss. They’re accompanied by both scales and cardinal directions, making the maps easy to understand and use.

The layout is not complex—largely following the template provided by Chaosium—and functions well. Simple graphic design which presents the adventure’s text clearly is superior to pretty graphic design which obscures information. I pretty much never actually noticed the graphic design while reading. To me, this says it was a full success. In particular, I want to call out Hart’s effective use of headers and boldface to organize information, locations, and so on.

My only substantial recommendation on the layout is to break up the Skills section of the statblocks. I like to do so with bullet lists, but a boldface style for each skill category would work too. This would improve the ease with which the eye scans the skills to find the needed rating.

CONCLUSION A Bad Day at Duck Rock is an intriguing and compelling adventure. It is not morally grey; you’re here to kill the bad guys. Yet, those bad guys are nonetheless drawn in very realistic terms. Evil doesn’t mean stupid, and Hart shows that he’s quite aware of that fact throughout the sandbox. The character description, tactics, and ambitions is likely the strongest narrative element in the adventure.

I do have some reservations about this adventure’s complexity. It is, quite clearly, flexible and robust. The players would have to do something really wild to throw it entirely off the rails. Yet these properties arise because, I feel, the adventure leaves the gamemaster to do a fair bit of legwork. For example, shifting between different sections to determine how the non-player characters respond or making ability rolls against non-player character abilities to determine how not-quite-off-screen events play out (a scuffle in the next building, for example).

I’d recommend a bit more “stage direction” for the gamemaster. The adventure says the players went into town, and then begins describing the town. There are many useful story elements in the town’s description. However, it wasn’t always clear to me how I’d answer the question “OK, what happens next?” during the first half of the adventure. In reflection, I suspect the answer is to put the map in front of the players, and ask them where they go around the town. A little guidance in this vein can go a long way.

The adventure’s definitely worth running. I just might recommend it for more experienced gamemasters rather than newbies.

I do also question the quantity of statblocks in the Dramatis Personae. In particular, there’s a number of named characters who are companions to a more important non-player character, each with their own section. Randomization and personalization can add enjoyable color, but I don’t think it was effective in Bad Day. I found myself skimming through the statblocks, rather than intrigued by the varied abilities. Like I said above, there’s some gems in this section, but overall I suspect most gamemasters will pick a “typical such-and-such” then rely on the focal characters.

A Bad Day at Duck Rock exemplifies why I’m lukewarm about giving “scored” reviews. Oscillating back and forth between a 4 and a 5 (mostly due to half the book being statblocks), I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to weigh this based on price. And the price is good.

In my mind, $10 for 40 pages of engaging, well-illustrated story which has been polished for ease of use is absolutely worth buying. When I run this I’ll use the Dramatis Personae, sure, but that’s not the focus of this product. I suspect most groups will get at least two to three sessions out of this adventure. That’s a ton of entertainment for ten bucks. It’s ripe for replaying, too, with how the sandbox sets up varied threads through the plot.

A Bad Day at Duck Rock deftly presents a story older than RPGs: a group of strangers ride into town looking for a drink and a bed, and discover someone’s been killed or gone missing. What happens next is up to them.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bad Day at Duck Rock
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Nochet: Queen of Cities (RuneQuest)
by Tuomas [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/29/2024 10:58:19

About as perfect as a supplement can be. Insane amount of detail, intrique, fun, mayhem, politics, people and cults in a logical and exciting setting. My only complaints are that I can't give 6 stars and now I have to change my campaign so that the players end up in Nochet. Not really a problem since this books oozes ideas for roleplaying.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Nochet: Queen of Cities (RuneQuest)
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Creator Reply:
Thanks! Glad to hear you're enjoying it, and look forward to hearing about any future adventures in Nochet!
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SKELETONS
by Edward [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/29/2024 06:53:23

This book is an elegant collection of dozens of skeletons rolled up and statted for you to insert into your game.

These aren't your great uncle Gygax's one hit die turnable by a level 1 cleric skeletons!!! These are just as fearsome than the creatures that were once wrapped around them, if not more.

You get human skeletons of varying amounts of armour/weaponry, but there are also dinosaur, crocodile and big cat skeletons.

Something you probably haven't seen in any supplement before is the selection of Dark Troll skeletons! In this volume, fairly so, the troll's bones themselves are made of stone, and are naturally quite strong.

They have solid hit points, weaponry and attack rolls, and could really really mess the whole afternoon of under-prepared adventurers.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
SKELETONS
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Lucie's Dispensation
by Harald [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/28/2024 03:13:23

This is an adventure set in France, 1918. It offers a fresh but plausible approach on Cthulhoid horror. Maybe a little more magic than everybody likes, but I like this approach. It goes very well with the Hidden Magic style of CoC. The writing is good, the idea splendid. Higly Recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lucie's Dispensation
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Call of Cthulhu: Arkham
by Jacob [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/26/2024 09:00:13

This is a very solid rework of the old Arkham books. If you have the old book, this is an updated version of that, with the goal of not straying outside of the area those books were covering.

If you don't have the old book, and you're interested in Arkham, this book is great! The only downside is it doesn't include the adventures of the prior edition, but it uses that space to make Arkham itself more gamable.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Call of Cthulhu: Arkham
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No Silver Linings
by Conor [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/25/2024 17:01:40

Excellent scenario - really good scope for role play and investigation culminating in a showdown with very cool baddies with interesting lore behind them. Highly recommend.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
No Silver Linings
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Cultist Armoury: Handout's for The Haunting
by Clay [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/25/2024 11:27:37

These are so good. The handouts look great, and authentic. They are peppered full of subtle details that add depth to an already great adventure.

The only thing even close to a complaint that I might have is that addressed are sparse and don't include house numbers, but registries existed for things like that so it's easy to hand wave, and it makes it easier to move locations around.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cultist Armoury: Handout's for The Haunting
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Treasures of Glorantha: V2 — Relics of the Second Age
by Brian D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/24/2024 04:27:47

If you've seen the previous Gold best-selling volume in Austin Conrad's Treasures of Glorantha series, you'll have some idea what to expect from this new book. The previous volume was a very cleanly presented compendium of interesting magical items, every one of them historically and mythically appropriate to the game setting, alongside two more powerful magical materials, and useful advice on treasure rewards and sharing.

This new volume is an impressive step forward, with art and layout pretty much as good as it gets on the Jonstown Compendium - very close to professional quality. I'll be buying the print version the day it comes out, as this is a genuinely gorgeous looking book. I'll especially highlight the art by Armazém Fantástico and Ludovic Chabant, which is top notch, as is the cover by Laura Galli. The text is well-written, edited, and proof-read throughout. The PDF is properly bookmarked and internally hyperlinked, which is a helpful feature that I wish more authors would provide.

Treasures of Glorantha Volume Two presents relics from Glorantha's Second Age - a period where vast transgressive magical empires transgressed against the norms of reality, ruthlessly exploiting myth, magic, and draconic power, until the world rebelled and left them in ruin. It also offers an optional new system for magical powers: "Vows of Power" made to the gods in return for magical boons. These initially feel a little on the too-powerful side - but they do come with associated commitments and risks, emphasising character passions and behaviours rather than being purely transactional, as most RuneQuest magic is.

The main "plunder" section lists 30 items, all with detailed histories that place them firmly within the setting, and often very detailed descriptions of their powers, and the associated requirements to activate them. As the author says, there are no +1 longswords here. Indeed, many of the items have complex multi-tiered powers, some with effects at a scale that can make these items the focus of several scenarios, or in one or two cases even an entire campaign. These more powerful items tend towards the legendary end of the scale, and I think some of them may sit best in the hands of NPC antagonists. Three items are supported by spirit cults, and there are related new Rune and Sorcery spells.

Fans of Gloranthan lore should be particularly delighted. Amongst the book's pages there are artefacts relating to the machine god Zistor, Alakoring Dragonbreaker, Arkat, EWF dragon powers, Kimos, Errinoru, Tolat, Jajagappa, Lopers and more. For those less well-versed, the powers of the items remain largely self-explanatory.

This high quality book is clearly a labour of love. It describes many fascinating artefacts, most of which could inspire a GM's scenario or campaign plans (some may be too geographically or culturally specific for any given game). It will likely take some thought for a GM to work out how best to use them, especially for the more powerful items - there's nothing here that will just be found randomly on the floor of a cavern, hidden under some debris. These are treasures that can drive a storyline - and in some cases, perhaps make history.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures of Glorantha: V2 — Relics of the Second Age
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the kind words, Brian! They're much appreciated.
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Carnival of Madness: A Call of Cthulhu Scenario for the 1970s
by Marcus [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/23/2024 09:20:35

Absolutely incredible. I ran this for my group as a one shot, and everyone at the table had a brilliant time. It has a different atmosphere to most Call of Cthulhu modules, but it was still incredibly creepy and intense. I strongly recommend it



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Carnival of Madness: A Call of Cthulhu Scenario for the 1970s
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Flash Cthulhu - Café au Morte
by Nicolaas [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/23/2024 08:11:28

It is an excellent encounter that can be used for a spur-of-the-moment session or worked in to spice up an existing campaign—highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Flash Cthulhu - Café au Morte
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Treasures of Glorantha: V2 — Relics of the Second Age
by Nick B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/23/2024 00:33:10

A second collection of plunder for RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha. All of these treasures originated in the fabled Second Age, being creations of the sorcerous Middle Sea Empire, the draconic Empire of the Wyrms Friends, or stranger powers yet: a handful even come from distant Pamaltela. An opening chapter has rules allowing any adventurer to swear mighty vows and gain powerful boons, effectively creating their own gifts and geases or heroquest rewards. After that are thirty new magic items, each described using the classic Plunder format. These items originated all over Glorantha: an appendix gives the last known or probable current location of each Treasure.Every item is woven into Gloranthan myth and history: many are unique (e.g. Alakoring’s sword Dragonbreaker; Tolat’s Red Sword of Victory), some are more common (potions of Liquid Hate, brewed from distilled tears; Mythographic Wheels, running permutations of mythology as they spin), others can vary in power (did you merely inhale the breath of a True Dragon, or the greater Inner Breath of Arangorf?), and most bring as many potential complications as advantages to their users. Reading this collection provides many valuable insights into the wonders of the lost Second Age, the abuses of the God Learners and the perils of Draconic self-mutilation. The book is beautifully illustrated throughout, comparable to Chaosium’s own publications; one picture of the Machine God Zistor is a work in progress sketch, and I can’t wait to see it finished!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures of Glorantha: V2 — Relics of the Second Age
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Creator Reply:
I'm delighted to hear you enjoyed the book. Thank you for the high praise!
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A Midsummer Night's Darkness
by David W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/22/2024 21:33:53

Tremendously fun and exploring a dynamic, yet often ignored part of history, this ia a well designed rollicking good adventure with a lot of nice histroical shout outs.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Midsummer Night's Darkness
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