From: Chaosium Inc
Reviewed by: Ron McClung
Blackwater Creek is a new RPG Adventure from Chaosium Inc.
This is a little different review in that I am only reviewing one adventure in a booklet of two. The only reason I am doing this is because I actually ran this adventure and feel it deserves a review. With all that has been going on with Chaosium over the 7th Edition Kickstarter and such, I thought I might throw a little love in their direction.
This adventure came as part of the PDF portion of the Kick Starter fulfillment. Nope, I have not gotten the tangible part of the fulfillment but I am patient. I wanted to five into 7th edition and run a session as soon as I got the PDFs. See my review of CoC 7e here. This is part of the Keeper Screen packet, and as part of the fulfillment, I got the images for the Keeper screen that I neatly Photoshopped into something that fits my customizable GM Screen.
From the page # 5: “Most horrible of all sights are the little unpainted wooden houses remote from travelled ways, usually squatted upon some damp grassy slope or leaning against some gigantic outcropping of rock.”
As mentioned, there are two adventures, the other one bring Missed Dues. Both these adventures have a common theme in that the investigators can be part of the criminal element. In the case of Blackwater Creek, it gives the option of either the gangsters/bootleggers or the traditional investigators. What I tried to do when I ran it was run it with two groups – one gangster group and the other investigators. I had hoped that the conflicting interests would create some great role play. Running this as a one shot, people tend to open up in the role play because whatever drama they create won’t carry over into a campaign.
The premise of the story surrounds a lost colony in rural northwestern Massachusetts and a town that is involved in illegal whiskey production. I am going to try my best to avoid spoilers but it might be difficult. At its core, it is a very simple story of a forgotten hidden entity and the consequences of its rediscovery.
The brief history establishes the ancient evil and its’ nature. This creates the link to the adventure time period, as archaeologist investigate prehistoric sites that unbeknownst to them are linked to this ancient evil. Enter the players who are investigating something related to the consequences of this discovery.
The devil, as they say, is in the details. And that’s where the adventure is interesting.
From the page # 5:: “Two hundred years and more they have leaned or squatted there, while the vines have crawled and the trees have swelled and spread.”
The first detail that makes this adventure good is the options for player characters. Creating multiple ways to enter in creates great opportunity for role play and story making. The bootleggers give the players an opportunity to play amoral characters that may not necessarily care about the overall implications of a dark evil infecting our world. They may just want to survive. This is why I wanted to create two separate groups – the standard one and the not so standard one – to give them an opportunity to explore these motivations and role play them out.
Secondly, the creature concept behind the whole adventure is simple and easy to manipulate to the Keeper’s liking. I can’t say it overly original but some aspects of it are inspiring. Without going into much detail, I found it very easy to embellish a little to increase the kind of horror I wanted. The Keeper needs to read through that part fairly thoroughly to get the concept that the author is trying to get across, because you can easily stray from the core concept and then in doing, change the basis of the adventure as a whole.
Thirdly, the consequences of failure could lead to an epic story. It starts out to be s small town problem but immediately grows into something that could affect the whole East coast and perhaps beyond. This could easily lead to major campaign with a little work and imagination.
The adventure itself is well structured. It’s not a railroad track of events, but more like a series of locations that the players might visit. There is no time structure to it so the investigators can do their things at their own pace. This gives the keeper enough time to create new and unusual ways to freak the players out.
The locale of this adventure is a town – very open locale. It’s easier to set up the horror feel in a more enclosed area like a house or caverns. The Keeper needs to create a feeling of remoteness and isolation in this adventure, which is more of a foreign concept today with people being so connected. What I did was have a few minor encounters on the outskirts of the town for people to get the feeling of being out in the middle of nowhere. I also added rain to create an awkwardness to it, as well used it to camouflage the first creepy things they encountered.
The ending is pretty epic, but also deadly. If they Keeper wants to carry the investigators onward, there may need some modifications to the end. The adventure can run a little long for a convention standard 4 hours slot, but with modification, it can be done. It comes with pre-generated bootleggers which makes it easy to pick up and run the adventure.
In conclusion, overall this is a great adventure. The people I ran it in really enjoyed it. I did not get to run it the way I wanted to, with only 4 players showing up where 8 said were coming, but it happens. It has a lot more potential for role play that I intend on exploring at some point.
For more details on Chaosium Inc and their new RPG Adventure “Blackwater Creek” check them out at their website http://www.chaosium.com, and at all of your local game stores.
Codex Rating: 18
From: Chaosium Inc
Type of Game: RPG Adventure
Written by: Scott Dorward.
Edited by Scott Dorward, Paul Fricker, and Mike Mason.
Scenario Pack layout by Nicholas Nacario.
Cover illustration by Chris Huth.
Interior illustrations by Pat Loboyko, Chris Huth, and Chris Lackey.
Cartography by Steff Worthington.
Number of Pages: The whole PDF is 100 pages, the adventure is 40 pages
Game Components Included: Single PDF with two adventures and pregenerated characters.
Game Components Not Included: Core Call of Cthulhu 7e rulebooks
Reviewed by: Ron McClung