Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Rending Box and Cthulhu Apocalypse

At Dragonmeet I picked up two scenarios by Graham Walmsley, both Cthulhu scenarios aimed at Trail of Cthulhu but neither of which really feel tied into that system's key mechanics of detection and investigation.

Apocalypse details the end of the world as a Thirties Mythos inspired bio-weapon runs out of control. The Rending Box (which comes in its own box and is a beautiful piece of packaging) is the conclusion of a trilogy which has the Investigators delivering a box containing the truth about the universe.

I'm kind of halfway through reading both at the moment and the immediate impact is Graham's beautiful turn of phrase when describing scenes. It's strong prose though also makes me question whether this really works as a scenario rather than a film script. There's an emphasis on story that seems like it might be beautiful rail-roading with little for the players to do but watch a brilliantly described backdrop unfolding.

Sunday, October 03, 2010


Finally you get to play the metal men with really huge shoulders! This is a really hefty book and it opens with one of the better descriptions of the game universe I've seen. However I lost interest very quickly and started skimming through to see how they had solved the problems with the military genre.

Although it is still early days it does seem that there are some interesting ideas by focussing on the preparation and execution of missions. Rather than finding your own way through the game you are telling a story through very defined and narrow windows into the world. This worked just fine for Dawn of War 2 (although the pacing was often off) but it is going to be important to see what the mechanics for the relationships and interactions between the PCs are.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dark Sun

I've been skimming through the new Dark Sun books and the overall impression is underwhelming. The main problem seems to be this formula that new D&D books take. They are so busy sticking to the format of the new game they forget to tell you what you should be interested in this background and what makes is compelling as a gaming situation.

Mars Colony

This new indie is a small but beautiful book illustrated with colour photographs from NASA's missions to Mars. The game is a bit unusual, designed for two players. One of the player takes the role of someone sent to resolve the problems at the Mars Colony and the other effectively seems to play the GM.

One thing I found interesting about the book is that this would have been a seen as a scenario once. The addition of a specific rules system for the scenario doesn't really change that either.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Prince of Darkness

This is an old-school adventure which starts with a good old railroad introduction. It's an interesting twist on the Dragon Warriors grim medieval feel with a bit of Roman pre-history and Viking present. The central idea of the PCs finding a dissolute prince among their adventuring companions is sound but the format of floorplan and encounter key now seems impossibly tired.