Friday, 20 November 2020

Spot Reviews: Castle Amber, Cthulhu & Apocalypse

6 days of bonus extra heavy lockdown because one person was a superspreader. So I'm blogging plenty, watching youtube, model making and reading. I've finished my moon room and hoping to work on rest of venue with some stencils. (Busted a guy lying so 3 days off this lockdown! cost the state billions but still hunting a cluster)

Call of Cthulhu:
Cyhulhu Dark AGes, Chaosium

This is pretty good and I felt it was a bonus that it didn't make my 1st ed feel obsolete or useless. By focusing on a corner of England I suspect many will find more digestible than a book covering Europe and more. Also probably easier to slide from dnd to this. No news of sourcebook. My only cranky thing is compared to other books in this lot are my 50-year-old eyes find it harder to read tiny serif font on toned paper. I've never been a fan of the texturised paper look and I thought Chaosium did it well. I like artists from other books work that helps fit all the times together. Nice adventures which is a must in a new setting and overall a good package probably better than the original and bonus for not deleting the past volume.

Darwins World: The Lost Paradise
Im still trying to grab Darwins world stuff and im a bit unclear about editions and versions. Still a few things I would love. It is one of the big three to me for post-apocalypse gaming with Gammaworld and Mutant Epoch. As usual figures in the art are wooden but functional and at least we had one. The insect race goons vs their queen made me cringe but creepy humans probably did engineer them. Expands previous books to cover north-west coast American continent. Its less wasteland and more green than all the stuff I've read through to date. More on indigenous people and local crazy factions. Consistently good and dense with lots of ideas for any post apoc settings. If my GW players ever get off Beaver Island and go west Id use lots of this. Gammaworld 2nd ed gave fantastic campaign detail for a year of ruincrawls and its a shame they never added to that first ruin setting every module in a new area. So probably Mutant Epoc would be the only other world-building in the mutant apocalypse genre. Sor some reasons more are coming out. A dnd5 kickstarter looks nice but still a bit glamorous and magical to me. Many new ones coming out fail to replace past efforts or ad anything new. I dislexicly read the name wrong until I wrote this and had it wrong about a year.

Punkapocalyptic The Roleplaying Game
So i got the KS as I thought it was punk and apocalyptic. After a look through I thought it reads more like a tabletop miniatures game. Then I looked online and found it was one. I also wondered if it was a boardgame for a bit. is the page for it and it has more atmosphere than the RPG. Art says miniature game which i thought was ok and grungy but other friends instantly saw as a turn-off. Physically the book is nice. The layout is fine though I'm not sure yellow paper is so great for everyday use (vs the coffee table hardback book world). As an RPG of an interesting looking skirmish game it possibly works. As a gonzo post Apoc genre RPG that fans of that genre go there is not a lot new here. The mission focus on an adventure makes sandbox structure surplus while exploration and survival is a feature of many games. Killing cool mutants and cults and nazis is a fun part of the genre too but this game focuses on that and the world-building is simplistic. It has pretty mutant monsters but not lots of resources for decorating or colouring the world. Looting is not so much a feature. If anything the setting feels like the Cursed Earth and Judge Dredd in lots of ways - high tech cities secured and fortified by the mostly ruined world. I get a sense of fun on the web page I dont get here ( It has more swearing than almost any RPG 16+ but it doesn't follow through on much more of that or earn it more than a cartoon. It does have a short adventure and lots of guidelines on missions and a bit of in-between tables. It has many elements I like but its probably not for me. It did get me interested in their minis products and model making. Not sure If I will keep it yet might try a few more times to get into it.

Castle Amber Goodman Games
This is the5th volume of the original adventures series and probably one of the best. I had some people say they don't get or like Castle Amber. This was Ravenloft before Ravenloft, it feels like an ancestor of Maze of the Blue Medusa and has ties to Clark Ashton Smith. It has ties to gothic genre haunted houses and Edgar Allen Poe but it is not a dungeon really. Its a big drug coma dream haunted house. You can avoid conflict and even help people or kill through everything though It would be deadly to do so. The adventure would take more than one session with the otherworld treks and could easily be run 3-4 sessions. I did a bunch of tables for genre stuff like this which I have had to rebrand for reasons so It has always been an interest of mine even though I never owned it till recently but had read it. If you read something 35 years ago and it influenced you Its worth a second look. So as one of the reimagining series it is one of the best. So only one edition of the module so only one copy of the original. Includes a gatefold. Adds extra floors and rooms using basic d&d monsters which I thought was a nice touch, Family tree and the section on a family with portraits was a great help. Its a good read and I gobbled up half in one day vs dnd5 mad mage I struggle to read any without passing out (which is good when my sleep out of wack). This book has nice big text and i can read easily without glasses in poor light so that's a plus I'm growing to like more. Id probably tie it with vol v then 2 then one with barrier peaks as the poorest of the series. I want to run it and look forward to being inspired by it again.

Sandy Petersen's CThulhu Mythos
As my players have got to Lv 12 and are starting to act like demigods this book will get used (I used in 3 days of getting it for a shoggoth stats). Its a bonus I have the Cthulhu Wars boardgame and lots of the minis as illustrated here which is a bonus. Wow its a good read and enjoyable and dense. I doubt Id use the races but I like ghoul the most. I do like the dnd5 race and class mods and It had me imagining dnd5 characters which I seldom do even reading dnd5 books (which im trying to grok again). Most of the book is monsters really. So I was surprised I would enjoy it and kinda would like to play a deep one sorcerer in the saltmarsh. I got 4 of the Ghoul Island books from their quarterly subscription service too. I was barely convinced by adds for these but I saw the 4 and the corebook in a bundle and grabbed it. They are not so amazing value. As they repeat content in every book and reuse art assets I'm unsure if even edited into one book would have impressed me more - about 30 pages of content per hardback a bit steep. They are pretty but have not grabbed me like core book did. Id likes to see the next series but I'm on hold for now. If you use slimy elder gods in your DnD this is a pretty good book for any version of dnd.

I also recommend Realms of Crawling Chaos for Labyrinth lord also. The mythos magic item tables are one of the best d100 things ever done an apparently I am an expert.


  1. Do you have the latest edition of Cthulhu Dark Ages? If so, do you need the core book or is it stand alone like the earlier edition? I'm really interested in this but haven't invested in the core book yet so...


    1. good question

      If you had modern keeper book and this would be smoothest but if you can read and divide by 5 you can probably use it with any older edition of the game but would have to make occupation lists. Possibly the quickstart free book and this book could work but keeper book has good stuff for any mythos stuff and other setting books riff of it. Gives you mythos principles and monsters you can put in various periods or to inspire you

      Possibly any BRP quickstart or ed and this would be close to enough with similar probs to old eds but you get no mythos basics

      The older ed works with older edition more easily. You could get this book and a $10 dollar copy of 5th ed or any pre 7th ed book.

      PDF of 7th keeper +physical copy of this would be a affordable option

      Im gonna run my own older ed+ringworld BRP homebrew with both versions of dark ages books

      The 7th ed cthulhu players book isn't very useful but it would help players know what they need and setting knowledge of the 20s and shopping knowledge. There is a bit of extra rules on extra skill for experience rules that are good for war veterans, crooks, police etc where you get some extra skill points so not essential. It even overprices an automatic weapon but pulp book keeps it right

    2. My BRP link page has my viking dark ages campaign stuff and character sheets

    3. Thanks for the info. Very helpful. And the point to your links.


I love and welcome feedback but not spambots
Good feedback and suggestions inspire me to write more