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Achtung! Cthulhu - 7th edition Keeper's Guide
Publisher: Modiphius
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2020 13:55:14

Mythos secrets to use against Section M agents - a Mephisto review

Achtung! Cthulhu 7th Edition

The horror of the Great Old Ones of the Cthulhu mythos is timeless, and various roleplaying games have covered the fight against this horror from the Stone Age to the distant future. Achtung! Cthulhu takes the plot from the primary setting of the '20s and '30s further into World War II.

Achtung! Cthulhu focuses on the secret war, in which the horrors of the mythos play a role on the battlefields. The world is not only threatened by the horrors of war. The player characters are recruited by the mysterious secret Section M, which fights for the Allies against cthulhoid dangers and occult secret societies like the Black Sun. As a result, the characters usually have a military background (although civilians are also playable) and are sent on dangerous missions by Section M.

The setting is much more action-oriented, and, in contrast to the classic Cthulhu, investigative work has less importance. While the rules initially focus on "smaller" creatures of the mythos, the player characters are allowed to save the world at times in the published campaigns.

Achtung! Cthulhu follows the classic tradition and is divided into two books: All information about the Cthulhu mythos is contained in the Keeper's Guide for the game master. Here enemies, conspiracies, spells, monsters, and the like are included.

In the new edition, the rules are adapted to Cthulhu in the 7th edition. All background texts and other information are unchanged from the previous version. The rules to play the setting with Savage Worlds rules are removed, so the books focus on one rules system. Accordingly, redundant information from the Cthulhu core rulebooks like the regular spells or books of the mythos is now missing. Therefore new material like spells or enemies - including experiments of the Nazis with mythos powers - is now provided.

Achtung! Cthulhu is a significantly different setting from the classic Cthulhu because here, the action is more important than library research. Fights are more frequent. Because of the background with Section M, this setting offers a clear structure for campaigns. With the military context, the players get much more robust and better-equipped characters. Personally, for me, the approach of combining the real horrors of war with the fictional horrors of mythos does not always feel right, and, e.g., the Black Sun as a mixture of Nazis and cultists seems a bit one-dimensional. Whether you need game statistics for tanks to use them against the horrors of the mythos is also questionable, in my opinion. On the other hand, the approach that the characters are in the service of a secret organization and have to pass dangerous missions as agents provides a lot of potentials. World War II is a background where major mythos outbreaks are possible, which are overlooked in the turmoil of war. In the end, the background is a matter of personal taste or what you make of it. Based on the ideas and the extensive material, Achtung! Cthulhu definitely offers a challenging and exciting setting for the fight against the Great Old Ones.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu  - 7th edition Keeper's Guide
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Achtung! Cthulhu: Under the Gun (7th Edition)
Publisher: Modiphius
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2020 13:51:06

A quick mission for Section M agents - a Mephisto review

Under the Gun

Compatible with the new rules for Achtung! Cthulhu, Modiphius has also released Under the Gun, a short intro adventure. The investigators are called to Dover, where a fantastic discovery has been made here while building defenses inside the chalk cliffs. It's up to the players to investigate.

Under the Gun is a very short adventure, which is especially suited to introduce new players to the setting of Achtung! Cthulhu. Players are allowed to complete a short investigation before they have to engage various enemies in combat. In this respect, the adventure is suitable to get to know the basic setting as well as typical rules - especially the combat rules. In fact, from my point of view, the background of the story would have had much more potential, so that the game master can either expand the setting or use it as a first introduction to the world of Achtung! Cthulhu. As a quick setting for the first start, Under the Gun is quite suitable, but for veterans, it might be much too short.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Under the Gun (7th Edition)
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Things from the Flood RPG: Rulebook
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2020 13:48:33

More mysteries of the Loop in darker times - a Mephisto review

Things from the Flood

The dreams and hopes of the 80s are over. The technical advances and miracles promised by the particle accelerator, known as the Loop, have not come true. A mysterious flood has turned part of Färingsö into a wasteland overnight. Because of the black water, possibly contaminated with strange substances, the area has been evacuated. Not only have the Loop's robots developed an anomaly called machine cancer sometime later, but this mysterious malfunction, resulting in tumor-like growth, has soon affected other machines as well. The Russian artificial intelligence program has proved a failure, and the last of these robots have fled and gone into hiding before being destroyed. Even the attempt to save the Loop by a take-over by the Krafta corporation was unsuccessful. And the company has not remedied the damages either. Also, the magnetrine ships, which promised so much potential as a flying, energy-saving means of transport, have eventually turned out to be a failure.

Things from the Flood continues Tales from the Loop, leading the roleplaying setting from the 1980s to the 1990s. While the 80s were still full of promise and optimism, these alternative 90s turn out to be a time in which these hopes were shattered. The characters who were still children in Tales from the Loop have now become teenagers - with all their advantages, but above all, with all their problems. The complicated relationships between the characters play a significant role, as well as their problems and the things they are ashamed of. As before, the characters are created from ten archetypes, defined by four attributes and several skills. The game mechanisms are simple: For the tests, attributes and skills are added for the dice pool. Every 6 rolled on the six-sided dice is a success. Fights do not really matter to the teenagers either - in a real fight; the characters have no chance. Accordingly, there are no health points or health levels but failed tests can cause the player characters to suffer so-called states leaving them scared or exhausted, which makes their tests more difficult. If things go very badly, permanent scars may remain, or player characters may even be eliminated from the game entirely.

While the basic system of rules is simple and pragmatic and fits well with the background, Things from the Flood takes an in-depth look at how individual stories need to be constructed to maintain the mysterious atmosphere of the game. The idea here is that the area around the Loop still holds countless secrets for the player characters to stumble into. The game tries to combine these mysterious elements, which revolve around strange machines, robots, time travel, or maybe even aliens, with the everyday problems of the characters. In keeping with the setting, in which many things seem to have gone wrong, the characters also have their teenage problems - be it families that break up, alcoholism of the parents, or even severe lovesickness.

While the book presents the 90s with some specified events, the focus to convey a certain atmosphere of the 90s. The primary setting is the Loop in Sweden or for the alternative scenario of the Loop in America (here it's a rupture of the Hoover Dam that leads to a flood). Some of the fictitious developments are presented as facts, but several elements remain open in such a way that the game master can find his own truth here - or simply leave these questions open.

The book then presents tips for playing the game. On the one hand, there is the so-called Mystery Landscape, which is intended as an open-world approach and puts many secrets on the map. It is up to the player characters which of these stories they want to explore. Besides, there are four complete adventures, which can be played individually or linked together and which pick up the primary themes of the game.

Of course, this book is also influenced by the illustrations by Simon Stålenhag, whose mixture of everyday motifs with strange technology perfectly conveys the atmosphere of the game. Actually, it is the other way round: the roleplaying game is inspired by the stunning visual worlds of Stålenhag.

For me, Things from the Flood is an excellent roleplaying game that creates a perfect combination of its elements. The mixture of the complicated teenager life with the 90s offers an intriguing setting. The idea of letting the player characters dive into mysterious conspiracies on the one hand, and on the other hand, still addressing their everyday problems creates a thrilling contrast. The rule mechanisms are accordingly simple but easy to understand and coherent so that, above all, the story stays on the centerstage. The design and development of the setting seem logical and offer an exciting world in which there is a lot to explore - also for the game master, who is given enough degrees of freedom to develop his own stories. This excellent approach combined with the outstanding illustrations, which offer a glimpse into a world that is so familiar on the one hand and yet so alien on the other hand, results in a roleplaying game that is really appealing to relive one youth in the 90s - enriched by robots, conspiracies, monsters and other things that for us back then only existed in the corresponding TV series. I think that Things from the Flood is an absolute recommendation and a real roleplaying highlight for those who are attracted to the genre.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Things from the Flood RPG: Rulebook
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Yours to Keep: A Changeling: The Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition Jumpstart
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2020 13:44:53

Small appetizer from the world of Changeling - a Mephisto review

Yours to keep

Coinciding with the 20th-anniversary edition of Changeling, there is also a corresponding jumpstart book for the World of Darkness system, which focuses on the changelings – fairy creatures in our world.

The book consists of two parts – the background and rules section and an adventure. The background is presented here in a concise form and introduces, for example, the kith (the types of changelings), and the houses in which they are organized. The rest of the setting is also summarized within four pages and offers only a rough sketch. As a refresher for changeling veterans, this approach may work, but for newcomers, information is very scarce. The combat rules and cantrips (the magical powers of the changelings) are also present in a compact and correspondingly superficial manner. Since the adventure contains several ready-made sample characters, only their cantrips are explained directly with the characters.

The adventure Yours to keep takes the characters to Point Avalon, a setting in which several power groups meet, which are not only divided between Seelie and Unseelie courts. The adventure is structured into short scenes and has a fairly clear course, but the game master has to make some decisions who is responsible for which developments. The book concludes with the five ready-to-play characters.

The idea of the jumpstart for Changeling is undoubtedly a good one, as this system is likely to be one of the least known games in the World of Darkness line. But to combine an overview of setting and rules with an adventure within about 40 pages is too ambitious. For players who know Changeling or at least have heard about the basics, the setting chapter is a good starting point for a quick re-entry. The same goes for the rules. In my opinion, the adventure doesn't guide a novice gamemaster well enough, either. Although the jumpstart made me want to read Changeling 20th Anniversary Edition, I think this appetizer is too small, so it's only suitable for a first quick impression.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Yours to Keep: A Changeling: The Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition Jumpstart
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Legacy of Lies: A V20 Dark Ages Jumpstart
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2020 13:42:19

Quick start into the Dark Ages of Vampire - a Mephisto review

Legacy of Lies

During the War of Princes, Marcus Verus, Prince of Chester, faces a tough decision in the world of Vampire: Dark Ages. If his plans become known, they could quickly force his opponents into action. To protect himself, he needs the help of some unknown, young vampires - and this is where the player characters come into play...

Legacy of Lies is the jumpstart book for Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition Dark Ages, designed to give a first impression of and a quick start into the game. The book, therefore, consists of two parts: a rules introduction and a complete adventure. On about 40 pages, a quick introduction into setting and rules is given, which presents a large part of the aspects of the game well, but doesn't contain the full set of rules, of course. For example, only five of the clans are mentioned, but their basic disciplines are included here.

The adventure is aimed at beginners, who can start directly with five ready-made characters (character creation is left out in this book). In several elaborate scenes, the vampires work in the service of the Prince of Chester. They have to enter into a multi-faceted conspiracy that needs to be solved. This mission may require diplomacy, as well as a few fights. The setting is well suited for a more extended chronicle based on the plot. A few starting points are provided for this.

Legacy of Lies is in itself an excellent starter package for Vampire: Dark Ages, which presents the essential rules and background information as well as an adventure to try out the setting and game mechanisms directly. In the electronic version, it has (in contrast to the more expensive softcover) a low price quite suitable for trying out the game. However, once you've tasted blood regarding Vampire: Dark Ages, you won't be able to get around buying the core book for the full anniversary rules.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legacy of Lies: A V20 Dark Ages Jumpstart
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The Cthulhu Hack: Mother's Love
Publisher: Just Crunch Games
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2020 13:39:34

Three stories about a dark mother - a Mephisto review

Mother's Love

Even though Mother's Love sounds like a heart-warming title, knowing that this is an adventure book for Cthulhu Hack quickly twists this feeling. Of course, the book is about Shub-Niggurath, whose spawn and cultists are the central theme in the three adventures. In one case, the story revolves around a missing child, and an orphanage in northern Canada (Deep Roots), another around a theatre troupe that is in mortal danger on Malta (Ggantija), and the third one combines the mythos with Greek myths (Gifts of the Flesh)...

The three stories are quite varied, even though the same mythical entity lurks at their core. Deep Roots is a pretty classic story, that can quickly come to a bad end. Ggantija skillfully uses Maltese history combined with bigger conspiracies and presents the players with a hard challenge. Gifts of the Flesh combines a different myth with Shub-Niggurath and thus takes the characters into a somewhat surreal setting.

Even though I liked the basic idea of the last adventure much better than its elaboration, and as the story of the first adventure is quite conventional, from my point of view, the episode on Malta offers a great combination of action and thrilling background. Mother's love offers three exceptional interpretations of a Mythos power for Cthulhu Hack, which unfortunately doesn't come close to the – in my view – outstanding predecessor Three Faces of the Wendigo. Despite this comparison, Mother's Love still offers three challenging adventures for Cthulhu Hack.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Cthulhu Hack: Mother's Love
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Urban Shadows: Los Cazados
Publisher: Magpie Games
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2020 13:36:50

Werewolves Powered by the Apocalypse - a Mephisto review

Los Cazados

An evil, supernatural force tried to break through to earth a long time ago in Central America – but it was beaten back by brave warriors. In revenge, however, a curse struck the warriors, changing them into a mixture of wolf and human. With the European conquerors, new evil spirits came to reassemble this dark power, which is only called La Madre, and the werewolves became "Los Cazados" - the hunted...

Los Cazados is based on the Apocalypse World rules and loosely ties in with Urban Shadows. On just five pages, Los Cazados offers a sketch of a setting and a few rules to play this game independently. The three statistics are arranged in a way that a high value is not necessarily good. The statistic Furia, for example, makes it easier to unleash the inner wolf to stop opponents – but it makes it difficult to live together with family and allies. However, many tests are not based on the statistics but get bonuses/penalties based on the circumstances, which are checked by simple questions. In addition to their fighting skills, Los Cazados also have rituals that help them.

Los Cazados looks like the extremely condensed version of Werewolf with Mexican backgrounds. The setting is, at best, loosely associated with Urban Shadows. Even though many elements are familiar, the game setting is described very vaguely. A roleplaying game could hardly be more compressed, but it requires some previous knowledge about Apocalypse World to understand the concepts fully. The concepts Los Cazados convey are exciting and can – if the group finds its own truth – provide a fast start to play werewolf setting.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Shadows: Los Cazados
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Bluebeard's Bride: Book of Mirrors
Publisher: Magpie Games
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2020 13:34:16

Modern settings for a dark fairy tale - a Mephisto review

# Book of Mirrors Actually, I hadn't expected that a unique roleplaying game like Bluebeard's Bride would get many sourcebooks, but the Book of Mirrors proves that this assessment was wrong for the third time. The Book of Mirrors is a book for changing the scenery of the game and offers five new scenarios. Instead of letting players play different personality aspects of Bluebeard's Bride and guide her through his castle of horror, the Book of Mirrors leaves the background setting of the original fairy tale. Only the first scenario, based on Bluebeard's son, continues the original story. The other settings are about a teacher in an almost empty 19th-century boarding school during the winter holidays, a mentally ill patient in a 1910 sanatorium, a showgirl within a circus troupe of freaks in the 1950s and a correctional officer in the 1980s.

As before, the players guide the protagonist, playing aspects of her personality. They work their way through specified rooms confronting her with strange situations and horror – often related to the image and role of women. In the end, the players have to decide whether to trust or oppose Bluebeard – sometimes presented in the form of the school principal, sometimes in that of the circus owner – which leads to different, defined endings.

The Book of Mirrors presents some exciting setting ideas, although the mechanism of the game and the personality aspects are not changed, with a few exceptions. Especially the inspiration for themes, images, and horror is a bit thin, and the illustrations that have so impressively shaped the core book are also rare. From my point of view, this book, therefore, looses potential, even if the setting ideas themselves are, in my opinion, much more accessible and concise than the original fairy tale setting.

(Björn Lippold



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bluebeard's Bride: Book of Mirrors
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The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2020 13:30:33

Monster-hunting in a grim fantasy world - a Mephisto review

# The Witcher The witchers are a special species. Originally they were bred to hunt monsters that were born through something called the conjunction of the spheres. The witchers are no longer normal humans, but mutants with lightning-fast reflexes and enhanced senses. Well equipped and perfectly trained, they face the fight against all kinds of monsters that terrorize the world. However, as these monsters become increasingly rare, the services of the witchers are also less and less needed. In the meantime, they became also feared and hated as mutants.

In fact, mistrust and hatred are omnipresent in the world of Witcher, because there are always open conflicts between the humans on one side and the elves and dwarves on the other side. Elves and dwarves have been pushed back into a niche and sometimes face open persecution. Some of them, therefore, resist with violence. After the betrayal of some mages, most of the magic users are now suspicious and feared in many places. The fact that the northern kingdoms are divided, and there is the threat of war with the empire of Nilfgaard has made times even darker. All this provides the dark backdrop against which adventurers can try to make their fortune - or simply survive.

The Witcher in roleplaying

The Witcher has become a well-known figure in the roleplaying scene - probably less because of the original novels by Andrzej Sapkowski, but more because of the computer roleplaying game series. In the meantime, a pen&paper roleplaying game has been released, which takes place in the world of the monster hunter.

The roleplaying game presents itself as a typical fantasy roleplaying game in which the players first choose one of the races and then a profession accordingly. When choosing whether characters are humans, witchers, elves, or dwarves, not only their abilities play a role, but also the social status of the individual groups. For example, in the north, elves are hated, and dwarves are only tolerated, while in the empire of Nilfgaard, these races are considered equal. Before the profession is chosen, the so-called life path is followed, where random dice results and tables can be used to define the background. This is about what happened to the family, the status of the family, friends, descendants, etc. and what special events happened in the life of the character.

The next step is to choose the professions, which always have a defining special skill that only they can master and which can later be expanded in three directions. It also determines which skills the character can invest points for at the beginning, which magical abilities (if any) are available, and which starting equipment can be selected. The professions include classics like bards, mages, fighters, priests, and, of course, witchers. But also professions like merchants, doctors, or craftsmen are available. In the game, the statistics are represented by attributes and skills. Tests always work according to the principle that an attribute and a skill are combined and added to the roll of a ten-sided die. The result must either beat a fixed difficulty or achieve a higher value than the opponent.

A special feature of the special abilities of each profession is that they can be expanded from their starting value in three different ways in three levels so that a fighter can develop more easily into a marksman, a bounty hunter, or a melee fighter.

The world of Witcher

The game provides a large arsenal of equipment, here above all weapons and armor, which besides the usual suspects, also contain the specialties typical for the setting. In the case of armor and weapons, there is the possibility of upgrading them. In general, Witcher offers a system to create or improve items by crafting yourself. Crafting always assumes that you have a so-called diagram (i.e., a kind of building instruction) and the necessary raw materials. Besides the production of equipment, an alchemy system also offers the possibility to produce special mystical brews.

In Witcher, magic works in such a way that a mage has to channel the magical energies through his body, which is a risk. If these energies become too strong and get out of control, they can cause damage. Magic is divided into four elements and their mixture. It offers different spells at three levels. In addition, there are the priests, who have their invocations, the quick, magical gestures of the Witcher, as well as rituals and witchcraft, which all work a little differently and offer many possibilities for magic.

Tough battles in a dangerous world

A large part of the rules is devoted to the topic of combat. The combat system is designed in such a way that both hit zones play a role, and critical hits can quickly lead to heavy damage. The approach of this fighting system is that fights should remain dangerous and always unpredictable to pose a threat in the brutal world of Witcher.

The rest of the book introduces the northern kingdoms and the empire of Nilfgaard. It also provides the character profiles of the most important characters from the Witcher series at the beginning of the book. In a separate chapter, the game master is taken by the hand and gets hints on how to deal with topics such as racism between humans, elves and dwarves, and the dark setting. Of course, the book does not do without a whole series of monsters that can serve as enemies. Especially the Witchers get their own chapter because their character creation is a bit different, and they can have special equipment. A short adventure provides a practical start for the setting.

The Witcher picks up a popular novel and computer game setting and presents it as a game for classic pen&paper gaming. It is a little bit striking that here the Witchers represent the most exciting game characters at first sight, but usually, only one Witcher should be included in the group. This can lead to imbalances in the group, even if the other professions are not really disadvantaged. The rules are based on classic concepts like professions, etc., but present them in their own style. Even when the setting is introduced, the reader quickly realizes that knowledge of computer games and/or novels is certainly an advantage. For example, the typical weapons of the country are described, but illustrations are missing. The short sections about the local kingdoms rather overwhelm the reader with facts than to create a picture in his head. It was undoubtedly a challenge for the authors to write something about the areas that have not been in focus in novels and computer games so far. With its solid layout and well-presented color illustrations, Witcher is visually well designed.

In my opinion, the fantasy system is mainly aimed at those who specifically want to play within the setting of Witcher. But also those who are looking for a dark fantasy setting, where intrigues threaten before a looming war, where monsters roam the countryside, where nobody can really trust anybody, and where a fight ends badly often, should take a look at this system.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG
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Cthulhu - Die Davenport Chronik
Publisher: Pegasus Press
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/09/2020 12:06:31
Die Davenport-Chronik

Die Davenport-Chronik ist ein Abenteuerband mit insgesamt vier Abenteuern, die ursprünglich als Support-Abenteuer – also für Demo-Runden auf Messen und Conventions – konzipiert wurden. Gemeinsam ist allen vier Abenteuern, dass sie die Familie Davenport als vorgefertigte Ermittler nutzt.

Das Buch beschreibt zunächst die Erschaffung der Familie Davenport, die aus den Familienmitgliedern, deren Anhang und Bediensteten besteht. Die sechs Charaktere liegen sowohl in einer „normalen“ Version als auch in einer Pulp-Variante vor.

Das Abenteuer Echos trägt den Horror zu den Davenports ins Haus und konfrontiert die Spielrunde mit einem Mörder, den es unbedingt zu stoppen gilt. Das Laboratorium der grausamen Gnome führt die Spielrunde in die Filmstudios von Berlin und auf die Dreharbeiten zu einem Horrorfilm, dessen Schrecken schon bald real werden. In Requiem könnten sich die Investigatoren in einem Luxussanatorium ausruhen, würde der Mythos dort nicht mit aller Macht einbrechen. Im letzten Abenteuer, Helter Skelter, müssen sich die Investigatoren schließlich aus einer geheimen Forschungsanlage befreien – natürlich inklusive infiziertem Forschungspersonal und experimentellen Superreaktor.

Auch wenn die Familie Davenport formal das Bindeglied zwischen all diesen Geschichten ist, sind diese durchaus auch als One-Shots (als die sie für Supportrunden sicherlich konzipiert sind) geeignet. Für Einsteiger sind diese Abenteuer vor allem deshalb interessant, weil sie jeweils verschiedene Aspekte des Spiels in den Vordergrund stellen. Das erste Abenteuer dreht sich um eine klassische Ermittlung, bei der mehrere Spuren verfolgt werden müssen. Das zweite Abenteuer bietet mehr Action und konfrontiert die Charaktere mit einer deutlicheren Bedrohung. Im dritten Abenteuer bekommen die Spielercharaktere die volle Ladung Horror geboten und können hier besonders die Regeln zu geistiger Stabilität kennenlernen. Das vierte Abenteuer ist actionreicher Survival-Horror, der sich mit seinem Pulp-Hintergrund nicht ganz ernst nimmt. Alle Abenteuer haben ihren eigenen Charakter, so dass für jeden etwas dabei sein dürfte. Damit bietet Die Davenport-Chronik eine abwechslungsreiche Auswahl von Abenteuern insbesondere auch für Einsteiger.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cthulhu - Die Davenport Chronik
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CTHULHU: Nautischer Nachtmahr
Publisher: Pegasus Press
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/09/2020 12:04:20
Nautischer Nachtmahr

Die Tiefen der See – und die Schrecken, die sich darin verbergen – sind ein wiederkehrendes Motiv in den Geschichten des Cthulhu-Mythos. Der Abenteuerband Nautischer Nachtmahr für Cthulhu greift daher gleich dreimal die Hochsee als Kulisse für Abenteuer auf. Zudem spielen alle drei Geschichten in der Neuzeit, also vor dem Hintergrund von Cthulhu Now.

In Menschenfracht übernehmen die Spieler die Rolle von blinden Passagieren an Bord eines Hochseefrachters, der steuerlos im Meer treibt und dessen Mannschaft bereits Opfer von schrecklichen Ereignissen wurde. Die Spielercharaktere müssen hier um ihr Überleben kämpfen. In Eisgefängnis darf die Spielrunde an Bord eines sowjetischen U-Boots in den 1980ern eine geheimnisvolle Entdeckung in der Arktis machen. Das Abenteuer Tangaroa spielt in einer Forschungsstation am Grund des Meeres, wo das Grauen die Spielercharaktere auf engstem Raum erwartet.

Die drei Abenteuer sind durchaus abwechslungsreich, aber alle als One-Shots konzipiert. In diesem Sinne nutzen sie auch spielfertige Charaktere, die zur Dynamik des Settings beitragen. Auch wenn bei zwei Abenteuern der Cthulhu-Mythos stark gegen eher generischen Horror bzw. Survival-Horror zurücktritt, schafft es das Abenteuer Eisgefängnis eine durchaus cthulhoide Story aufzubauen. Wer Cthulhu im hier und jetzt spielen will, ist mit Nautischer Nachmahr gut beraten.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CTHULHU: Nautischer Nachtmahr
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Cthulhu - Horror Americana
Publisher: Pegasus Press
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/09/2020 12:02:22
Horror Americana

Mit Horror Americana setzt Pegasus seine Reihe von Cthulhu-Abenteuern fort. Wie bereits bei Terror Americana stehen hier zwei Abenteuer in den USA im Vordergrund – einmal in den 1920ern und einmal in der heutigen Zeit.

Totes Licht ist eine relativ einfache und einsteigerfreundliche Geschichte, die mehr auf Survival Horror beruht als auf weitgehenden Recherchen. Die Spielercharaktere werden hier auf die schrecklichen Ereignisse reagieren müssen, wenn sie überleben wollen – was aber nicht bedeutet, dass sie nur körperlich gefordert werden.

Schreie und Flüstern für Cthulhu Now lässt die Spielercharaktere (idealerweise zwei Spieler) Polizeiarbeit in Chicago erledigen und dabei auf die Spur eines Serienmörders und einer größeren Bedrohung stoßen.

Während Totes Licht eine Übersetzung ist, handelt es sich bei Schreie und Flüstern um ein deutsches Abenteuer. Totes Licht hat eine durchaus spannende Grundgeschichte, wenn auch der grundsätzliche Handlungsbogen der klassische Stoff vieler Horrorfilme ist. Was hier störend wirkt, ist die Qualität der Übersetzung, die durchaus hinter anderen Cthulhu-Publikationen zurückfällt: Einige Formulierungen sind offenbar allzu nah am Original übersetzt worden. Schreie und Flüstern ist klar als One-Shot konzipiert, da hier die Handlung stark auf die Spielercharaktere als Polizisten zugeschnitten ist und auch deren persönliches Leben einbezieht. Was als klassische Serienkillergeschichte beginnt, steigert sich schnell und deutet auch einen größeren Hintergrund an. Schreie und Flüstern kann eine kleine Spielrunde durchaus fesseln. Aus meiner Sicht ist es damit das stärkere Abenteuer in diesem Band. Grundsätzlich bekommt man aber auch hier wieder zwei Cthulhu-Abenteuer zum fairen Preis.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cthulhu - Horror Americana
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Cthulhu - Königsgambit in Kamborn
Publisher: Pegasus Press
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/09/2020 12:00:09
Königsgambit in Kamborn

Königsgambit in Kamborn ist der erste Cthulhu-Abenteuerband, der die kleine Stadt Kamborn in Norddeutschland als Hintergrund in den Mittelpunkt stellt. Das berüchtigte Arkham und Kamborn haben dabei zwei sehr wichtige Merkmale gemeinsam: Beide Städte sind fiktiv und in beiden sind cthulhoide Mächte äußerst aktiv. Wenn man der Einleitung glauben darf, wird man in Folgepublikationen auch erfahren, warum heutzutage niemand von Kamborn gehört zu haben glaubt…

Das Abenteuer Der Monolith spielt in den 1920ern und konfrontiert die Spielercharaktere mit der Frage, warum so viele Bewohner eines kleinen Dorfes sich inzwischen von der christlichen Kirche abgewandt haben. Natürlich ist die Wahrheit dahinter durchaus finster und fordert die Spielercharaktere heraus, Schlimmeres zu verhindern.

Das zweite Abenteuer, Blutrausch, führt von einem brutalen Mord in die Universitätsszene von Kamborn – und wie Cthulhu-erfahrene Spieler wissen, kann dies nur der Auftakt für schrecklichere Ereignisse sein.

Die beiden neuen Abenteuer dieses Bandes haben zwar scheinbar ein gemeinsames Bindeglied, das aber nur schwach ist. Im Endeffekt sind die Geschichten unabhängig – vor allem, da die Stadt Kamborn hier nur das grundsätzliche Setting liefert. In gewisser Weise sind beide Geschichten klassische Cthulhu-Abenteuer, die – trotz Freiheitsgraden für den Spielleiter im ersten Abenteuer – weniger Überraschungen als vielmehr archetypische Geschichten bieten. Auf jeden Fall versprechen beide Abenteuer soliden Spielspaß, und die Einleitung dieses Bandes lässt mit Spannung erwarten, was zukünftig noch mit Kamborn geplant ist. Wer klassische Cthulhu-Abenteuer in den 1920ern sucht und Deutschland als Handlungsort bevorzugt, bekommt hier wieder einmal zwei Abenteuer zum günstigen Preis.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cthulhu - Königsgambit in Kamborn
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CTHULHU: Abenteuer aus der Gruft II
Publisher: Pegasus Press
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/09/2020 11:58:23
Abenteuer aus der Gruft II

Mit Abenteuer aus der Gruft II erweckt Pegasus weitere klassische Abenteuer zu neuem Leben. Den Anfang macht Finstere Glut. Das Abenteuer führt die Spielercharaktere ins Duisburg von 1924. Nicht nur ist die politische und wirtschaftliche Lage nach dem 1. Weltkrieg extrem angespannt, sonderbare Todesfälle im Bergbaumilieu sind nur der Auftakt für bedrohlichere Entwicklungen. Das Abenteuer Die Sucht nach Leben wiederum führt auf eine Hochzeit nach München. Als eine junge Frau verschwindet, liegt es an den Ermittlern, sie wiederzufinden – und weiteres Grauen zu verhindern.

Anstelle eines dritten Abenteuers liefert Abenteuer aus der Gruft II gleich zehn kurze Szenario-Ideen, die jeweils auf ein oder zwei Seiten zusammengefasst sind und ein breites Spektrum abdecken: mal geht es um sonderbare Fastnachtsbräuche, mal um den berüchtigten Riesen Rübezahl, usw.

Auch Abenteuer aus der Gruft II liefert eine Menge spannendes Spielmaterial. Mir persönlich hat das erste Abenteuer aufgrund der Einbindung in den historischen Kontext und des Lokalkolorits sehr gut gefallen – auch wenn die Geschichte vergleichsweise klassisch abläuft. Während das zweite Abenteuer im Gegensatz dazu nur wenig Münchner Flair versprüht und ein paar klassische Elemente aufgreift, so sind es hier doch einige der Details, die dieses Abenteuer spannend machen. Sehr gut gefallen hat mir die Idee der zehn Kurzabenteuer, denn auf diese Weise bekommen Spielleiter Material für viele Spielabende, die sie optimal an die Anforderungen ihrer Gruppe anpassen können. Kurz gesagt gilt für diesen Band: Es ist gut, dass diese Geschichten aus der Gruft geholt wurden, um ihnen neues Leben einzuhauchen.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CTHULHU: Abenteuer aus der Gruft II
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Cthulhu - Abenteuer aus der Gruft I
Publisher: Pegasus Press
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/09/2020 11:56:51
Abenteuer aus der Gruft 1

Der Titel dieses Abenteuerbandes deutet es an: Hier geht es um drei Abenteuer, die man vielleicht für tot gehalten hat, denen aber mit einer Neuveröffentlichung für die 7. Edition neues Leben eingehaucht wird. Die schreckliche Welt des Paul Wegner entführt Investigatoren aus der heutigen Zeit in eine grauenhafte Realität, der sie nur entkommen können, wenn sie deren Geheimnis ergründen. In Eisige Tiefen verschlägt es die Investigatoren auf eine einsame Insel – aber nicht für einen romantischen Strandurlaub, sondern für einen brutalen Kampf ums Überleben. Auch dieses Abenteuer basiert auf Cthulhu Now. In Blues für Marni geht es um die Welt des Jazz und des organisierten Verbrechens.

Alle drei Abenteuer sind im Original lange vergriffen. Die schreckliche Welt des Paul Wegner ist sicherlich das ungewöhnlichste und packendste Abenteuer, dessen Themen für manche Spielrunden aber vielleicht schon zu weit gehen, da der Schrecken hier menschlicher Natur ist. Eisige Tiefen ist ein typisches Überlebensabenteuer, dessen Hintergrund ein wenig konstruiert wirkt und die Spieler permanent zum Reagieren zwingt. Blues für Marni greift nicht nur die Jazzwelt und die Rassentrennung der 1920er auf, sondern erzählt auch eine originelle Geschichte, bei der aus meiner Sicht die Spieler allerdings etwas zu sehr als Zuschauer am Rand stehen.

Die drei Abenteuer bieten einen ganz guten Querschnitt und ragen mit ihren zwei Abenteuern für Cthulhu Now aus den üblichen Veröffentlichungen heraus – allerdings sind sie eher als One-Shots zu spielen. Damit bietet Abenteuer aus der Gruft 1 ein paar gelungene Herausforderungen, die in der Ausarbeitung jedoch etwas besser sein könnten.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cthulhu - Abenteuer aus der Gruft I
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