Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Terrors From Beyond

Terrors From Beyond is a new scenario anthology for Call of Cthulhu from Chaosium, Inc. It brings together 6 adventures set in the 1920s and 1930s (only technically, because one scenario is set in 1930) each designed as one-shots rather than for use with a Keeper’s own campaign. The scenarios need either 4 or 6 players with a strong stomach, some scenarios dealing with strong adult and in one case, distasteful themes. It opens without introduction to the very short Ghostlight, set on Scottish lighthouse with vanished staff and a single solution which will leave the investigators dead if not found. A Method to Madness is barely longer, and inventively has the investigators as asylum inmates beset by weirdness. The U.K. located Death by Misadeventure involves the traditional death of a relative and is the easiest to use in an existing campaign. Brian Courtemanche’s Grave Secrets is set in New England, does not involve the Mythos, but has the most tasteless theme.

Brian Sammons’ The Dig is about a Miskatonic University archaeological trip subverted by an insane cultist, with the players as students. It feels long and calls for the Keeper to be heavy-handed for the investigators to follow the plot. David Conyers’ The Burning Stars is the book’s best, set in Haiti 1930 and starts with the investigators waking up with amnesia. What happened in the last seven days? Terrors From Beyond is nicely illustrated, but poorly edited, and suffers without a theme. It feels rushed despite the long wait.

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