If you’re in the mood for some good horror encounters with the dark forces of the Great Old Ones, then the new Age of Cthulhu line from Goodman Games may be of interest. Vincent Darlage reviewed the first installment in this set of game modules. (Links to other Cthulhu resources at the bottom of this post.)
by Harley Stroh
Goodman Games (48 pp. Softcover, $12.99)
Reviewed by Vincent N. Darlage
This time, intrepid investigators are on the hunt for things man was not meant to know in Egypt, rather than Arkham or Dunwich – a nice change, so far as I’m concerned. A Lovecraftian horror is locked beneath Luxor in Egypt, and is unleashed, bringing with it a new era of darkness that will blast all of mankind, unless the intrepid player characters can stop it. The adventure is heavily focused on investigation, not on combat, which was nice to see.
The finding of the clues and the free-form nature worked well for me; Luxor doesn’t seem to railroad the players much, if at all. I especially liked the investigation summary on page four. The summary goes through each scene and lays out in a few sentences what is revealed and where it leads. For a free-form adventure, this is essential as it details which scenes have which clues. More adventures need to do things like this.
The only real downside is that the book is laid out in a soft brown ink which I felt was difficult to read. I had the distinct impression the maps were originally drawn in color, which did not look so good when displayed in brown. I liked the handouts in the back, but the one on page 43 requires destroying the character sheet on page 44; likewise the ones on page 38 necessitate destroying the text on page 37. Permission to photocopy is granted, but I am not sure how the brown ink would transfer. It is hard enough to read in the original. A minor quibble is that the adventure really didn’t delve into any cultural aspects of Luxor which might have impacted game play (language, attitudes, value differences, etc.).
The artwork, other than the brown ink, is atmospheric and interesting. The cover is incredible. The book is well-organized. Everything is easy to find, and moves along from section to section without difficulty. It is a top-notch effort on the part of the author, the cartographer and the artists.
Note: Those seeking more about Cthulhu might wish to read the book review of Cthulhu’s Reign, edited by Darrell Schweitzer, in Black Gate #15. If you’re interested in checking out more Age of Cthulhu supplements, here are the other modules available:
- Age of Cthulhu 2: Madness in London Town
- Age of Cthulhu 3: Shadows of Leningrad
- Age of Cthulhu 4: Horrors from Yuggoth
- Age of Cthulhuu 5: The Long Reach of Evil
This review originally appeared in Black Gate #14.