Friday, October 21, 2011

Review - Realms of Cthulhu (Reality Blurs)

 What says Hallowe'en better than CTHULHU!!!

Realms of Cthulhu (Savage Worlds Campaign Setting)

           This RPG uses the Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition, which is required to play. No additional material is required. Produced by Reality Blurs, in print and PDF format under a license from Chaosium Inc.

First Glance:
            On the cover is a beautiful picture of Cthulhu in the depths of the ocean. As you start to page through the book, you notice quality. Lots of mood appropriate artwork, ancient sigils and full color thick glossy paper. (Though technically you should be able to produce a Pulp RPG on pulp paper to get the right feel…) The background page is even designed to look like a musty old tome. 

Main Review:
            As a setting for Savage Worlds, it requires the Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition to play.  This is a 160 page book, of which only 35 pages are for the players, which leaves lots of campaign and special rules for the game master. The player section consists of character creation rules. Which edges are not available, Archetypes for investigators, starting cash for the different eras, 1890, 1920 and modern. Two new Knowledge Skills (Mythos) and (Psychology) are introduced, as are new hindrances and edges which are very appropriate for a Cthulhu Mythos. Next comes the Equipment section with example gear from the different eras, my favorite I think is the Luxury Cars for the 1920s era, including the Duesenberg and Rolls Royce Phantom.

            Next comes the Setting Rules, which are for both Players and GMs as it lets you customize what type of setting you want to run in, and introduces the sanity rules which use mental toughness. A gritty damage system is introduced which is even more deadly than the savage worlds damage system, this system can be used for both physical and mental damage depending on what style you’re using. For Example if you’re playing Heroic Horror, you use pulpy/pulpy while the Dark Spiral play type uses gritty/gritty, making the game extremely lethal. A few other options are included for Gamemasters while REALLY want to off the characters quickly. The harsh system removes the wild dice until they rank up to Seasoned, for example, and even then it’s a d4 until Veteran.
The sanity system is perfect, it definitely goes along the lines of the Fast, Fun and Furious.

Game Mastering:
            Amazing. The rest of the 124 pages is for the Gamemaster’s eyes, (AKA the Keeper in Cthulhu games.) With lots and lots of advice for running a Cthulhu Mythos game no matter which era you choose to run. A Full 20 pages is dedicated to Matters of Magic, detailing many grimoires, and of course casting Mythos spells, five version of the Necronomicon are detailed out.

            In the Mythos Tales section, a lovely “Mythos Tales Generator” is given which can generate an in depth adventure in minutes. For creating unique Mythos creatures a delicious “Creature Generator” is provided. Four nice Mythos Tale frameworks are given so you can have a ready adventure at hand pretty easily for a pick-up game.

The final chapter is the Citizens and Denizens, covering the supporting cast, which gives stat blocks for lots of  citizen types, from the Archaeologist, to the Military Officer, even the retired adventurer. The next section is Cultists and Creatures, covering standard cultists archetypes. Wild Cards are designated by the Elder Sign. The Nightmares are all covered, not with stat blocks in the case of the elder gods, they’re covered by write-ups in the Titans and Gods section. Many of the creatures are covered, from the Hounds of Tindalos, to the Mi Go, and even the Star Spawn of Cthulhu.

Epic! The artwork is appropriate and full color. While some isn’t on par with
Some of the best art in the industry it all fits the genre and is of good quality.

Replay Value:
Excellent. One of the things about Cthulhu style play is that you don’t expect to survive, well not with your mind intact anyway. So while you’ll remember how your character died, or snapped, you will be ready for the next adventure, with new and gruesome ways to die.

Comprehension Level: Excellent. The additional rules are well written and easy to understand.

Humor: It’s horror, not a lot of humor here, leave that for Cthulhu Munchkin, or the malicious laughter on the lips of the Keeper of the Forbidden Lore.

Family Rating:
PG-13/R, This is a dark setting as I said, it deals with the most evil of elder gods, the occult, drugs and black magic. Knowledge of the Mythos helps as well, and H.P. Lovecraft’s writing isn’t exactly on the kid’s shelf. Now for the teenagers, nothing beats a good Cthulhu tale late at night, better than  a ghost story if the atmosphere is right.

Price Tag:
This will set you back $39.99 MSRP for Print or PDF (price at time of writing is $25 on RPGNow).

Worth the money, with all the information contained, and the rule additions, this setting is a great value.

Overall Rating:
EPIC! If you enjoy Call of Cthulhu but prefer Savage Worlds this is a great resource, also the sanity rules will be making their way into my Savage Rifts game. (With some of the monsters…mwuahahaha)