Thursday, 9 April 2020
Island of Ignorance The 3rd Cthulhu Companion
So I have been reading through my Call of Cthulhu stuff while I am on enforced solitude. Seen one friend I last month. No TP in any shops still sigh.
Anyway, I am a big fan of Golden Goblin press and always like their layouts, writing and scenarios. My favourite non-chaosium publisher. I have some Stygian Fox gear and I haven't got into it. The paper stock of one I find difficult to read and made me afraid of handling it.
So I enjoyed the older companions of Cthulhu. The first had various oddments and some great scenarios from back in the day when you could do a scenario in 8 pages. The second had wonderful size charts and several adventures plus at the time a compilation of spells up to date at that time.
This book has a high standard of layout. Some of the text on black is a bit this and why we have Black fonts because sometimes printing can make thin fonts vanish. It's also an optical effect that black on white looks smaller. Other than this the use of Kickstarter Portraits is kind of inappropriate often and do you really want your face to be used as the portrait of a child rapist as a reward? Hair, clothes and so many details make this approach incongruent with the setting. The type and fonts are lovely. The trigger warnings for adventures I guess are what we do now and I guess we are not going to establish warning symbols for cannibalism and rape. It is Call of Cthulhu. The bad guys do need to do bad stuff. Horror ought to be unsettling. Especially to justify turning investigators into judge jury executioners and terrorist vigilantes.
The maps and handouts are delicious.
So onto the meat of this book with content for pre 7th ed games.
The Golden Goblin is some detail for publishers of Unspeakable Cults and an entity for use in your games.
The Walshes: A Cthulhu Cult is a handy criminal cult.
Massa Di Requiem Per Shuggay describes a opera and it's history featuring Insects from Shaggai and a good fragment to build a scenario around.
Johnny Came Marching Home a guide to playing military veterans, detailing branches of service, veteran support, disabilities, addiction and mental health.
Dwellers In Darkness detail cult of Bugg-Shash and a new monster which had me dreaming of it for days and seems very useful. Provides several cultists and books. This is best of articles and has lots of use for 3&1/2 pages.
The Knija Mrtua details a mythos book a good adventure seed.
The Silks of Irem describes an alternate to gate boxes with lots of lore and history that might inspire adventures.
Raggedy Clothes and Worn Out Shoes, a look at hobos which is great. They have since done a book on Hobo adventures I look forward to.
Consumption is a great and possibly one of the most grisly adventures with no monsters I have ever read. Plus the villains are well connected in Arkham and things could turn bad for investigators. Possibly a good early adventure to wean people onto more supernatural horror later. You could play through this and know nothing about the mythos. It will teach players to not trust authorities. Reading It I thought Id go to police here but of course, the cult have plans for that possibility.
Let The Children Come To Me. Trigger warning here is needed as this adventure is explicit where most would skirt around some of these details. Sometimes its easier to add these elements than remove them. I'm sure people do both. The adventure though is good and features Shubby in all her goaty glory. Once again you get telegraphed the law won't help quite a bit. I will run this but there is no way of players even knowing some of this detail so only I bear the burden (sigh). The fighting here could get quite intense so a gangster investigator wouldn't hurt.
.The Lonely Point Lighthouse is a solid adventure you could avoid combat and make some strange choices. I think I have like 5 lighthouse adventures now but they are a classic horror environment (DrWho Horror of Fang Rock a classic). Nice to be not in an overused setting and has a good twist. There is another scenario with a similar dilemma and a baby deep one in a freak show and If you like your deep ones sympathetic this is good. Showing monsters not always being jerks who instigate problems is good to break up the familiar kill em all school of problem-solving. This would be a good intro scenario as well.
With Blue Uncertain Stumbling I didn't really get into. The hook I would make more personal and possibly meeting the witch prior would be a good move. I like using the dead sorcerer and worms trope that Brian Lumley books deal with often. Set in Key West which is different and deals with Tuberculosis and Immigration authorities which If you like current events in a game this might count. I do like elements of this and definitely has workable elements but I would modify it.
Darkness Illuminated is fantastic. Once again a mythos monster might seem sympathetic but everyone even the MiGo vivisectionists are horrible people. Also good to have adventure featuring science and corporations which there should be more of. Lots of good dilemmas and problems to solve.
The remainder of the book has 18 pregens, some made effort to dress up plus handouts. I like it when you get a plain readable version of handouts because if nobody in a room using a magnifying glass can read your clues it is not great. These are very atmospheric, however.
Overall I enjoy the feel of these and mostly I would read as is. Bugg-Shash is sure to appear soon.....
Highly recommended 4/5