Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Mysteries of Mesoamerica

The Mysteries of Mesoamerica is Pagan Publishing's supplement for Call of Cthulhu devoted to central America and the north of South America, detailing its ancient peoples (Olmecs, Toltecs, Mayans, Aztecs, etc.) and their cultures and religion, along with four dark and bloody scenarios. It is not a campaign book, the four scenarios being set in different years of the early 20th Century, but a Keeper can use them as precursors to a campaign that runs into the 1920s. Superbly and bloodily illustrated by Blair Reynolds, the book is information rich, but is not easily accessed. No index, and no easy organisation bar chapters, the book also lacks really useful information and maps for Mesoamerica 1914-1927, and worse, Keeper advice on using its contents.

A nice touch is the “P.C. R.I.P.” feature which describes
and illustrates the playtest investigators killed in each scenario plus their last words. The scenarios are as dark and nasty as any Pagan Publishing scenario, and are the book’s best feature, showing how the Mythos exploited Mesoamerican religions, instead of Mythos figures being equated to Mesoamerican deities. All work as one shots or as intermittent adventures for investigators who are Mesoamerican archaeologists, the early ones introducing them to the Mythos, perhaps ready for any campaign. Not an easy book to use, The Mysteries of Mesoamerica is more theory than applied knowledge, the sourcebook being an interesting read, but feeling under developed in comparison with the scenarios. Worth a Keeper buying it for the scenarios than the background.

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