Kontamination, Achtung! Cthulhu Adventure

From: Modiphius Entertainment Ltd
Reviewed by: Ron W McClung

Kontamination is a new RPG Adventure/One Shot from Modiphius Entertainment Ltd.

When I try to run a published adventure, I sometimes find myself asking if the adventure was written with the GM in mind.  For me, it’s important to convey the story of the adventure to the players in the most succinct and clear fashion with minimal page turning and book diving as possible.  However, not everyone retains the same information at the same rate and every GM is different.  So what is the way to best write an adventure?  Keep it as simple as possible in terms of wording and stat blocking, and make key aspects of the adventure easy to reference if at all possible.

Kontamination is an adventure with the intention of being a one shot.  It was written by a guy who admits he has never played a table top RPG.  Sam Richards is the writer and also the creator of Tweet RPG, a web site that has since changed to StoryMechs.com.  From the web site: “Tweet RPG is a free online role-playing experience, which utilizes Twitter to provide users with an innovative new way of enjoying text-based adventures.”  Kontamination was written using the Tweet RPG means of crowd-creation.  I only found this out after running it and found that very surprising and innovative.

This is also one of the few times I actually ran an adventure I am going to review.  I had 8 players (which was more than I really wanted) on a Saturday afternoon, and with that many, the game ran a little long. But I found it very adaptable.  The game itself was a great success.  I had also run the first adventure released for Achtung! Cthulhu called Three Kings, and Kontamination could not be more different in a lot of ways.

From page #3:
“What’s good need not be secret, and what’s secret is not good.” – Unknown

The adventure is a very contained and focused story that has a lot of flexibility in each encounter but is restricted in the confines of a specific mission.  In fact, the characters are taking on a secret mission within an actual historical mission.  The adventure boldly puts the players in the roles of German soldiers, and if you are using the pre-generated characters, the writer provides hooks into the adventure that act as manipulation points, giving the characters more motivation to accomplish the mission other than simply they are loyal Nazis.  The pre-generated characters are in fact not necessarily loyal Nazis but rather people trying to survive the horrible war.  The GM is encouraged to create characters in the same vein if he does not use the pre-generated characters.

It takes place during the Battle of the Bulge or from the German’s perspective, the Ardennes Offensive.  During this time, the Germans conducted a covert action called Operation Greif, where German soldiers dressed in Allied uniforms and using Allied equipment caused disruption and confusion behind enemy lines.  The Reich Main Security Office has gotten intelligence of a super secret operation within the Operation Greif was being conducted by a super secret group called Nachtwulf and not even the Security Office knew of them.  This concerns the lead of the Reich Main Security Office and the players are brought in to act as operatives to investigate.

This is where the adventure first gets a little challenging for the GM and the players.  Although it does not seem like a big thing, it can be confusing to those not prepared for it.  The players have a real name, an operative name within Operation Greif and then later they get their Allied soldier name.  The pre-generated characters smartly placed the name they were going to use the most as their primary name – the Operation Greif name.  The Allied name was rarely used when we played and their real name was never used.  I made up flash cards with the Allied names and ranks and randomly handed them out during the mission and took them back when it was not needed.

It is also gets a little challenging in the equipment department.  The group should start out with just the bare necessities but they switch between Allied equipment and German equipment throughout the adventure.  If keeping up with who has what gun when is important, I recommend making flash cards with game stats of all the available weapons and handing them out at the right times.  This also makes the quartermaster scene in the beginning a lot more fun.

From page # 3:
“The Second World War is drawing to a close, but combat still rages on.”

I won’t get into the detail of the overall plot beyond the intro, but it is well defined in three key episodes and those are broken down into a number of scenes.  The strict structure of the military mission does have the tendency to feel like the GM is railroading the players, but in playing it never really did feel like that.  I think the players felt like at any time they could take control of their characters and do what they wanted but the backgrounds and hooks provided in the pre-gens helped keep them on track.  They all stayed within character and stayed true to their motivations.

My only major complaint was the way the adventure was written.  Although well written with a lot of painstaking detail (which I enjoyed), it was not quite written with the GM in mind.  I found myself struggling at points to find the right stats for the bad guys, or the right text I needed to read to the characters.  I do not like to do a lot of reading to the characters, but in a one shot the key moments that might require reading is the intro.  Although they did provide that “Read to the characters” text for the Reich Main Security Office mission introduction, they needed to also do the same thing when given the mission instructions for the Nachtwulf mission (the mission within which they were to accomplish their own secret mission).  There are key aspects that needed to be clearly stated to the characters and I would have preferred to have succinct and precise text to read to them.

The creatures they end up facing are soldiers manipulated by a Mythos-based apparatus.  Instead of providing stats for the creatures, the creature was provided in the form of a template to apply to whomever ends up having the procedure applied.  Although creative and interesting, to run this as a one shot, especially if you want to run this as a one shot in a convention, time is of the essence.  In combat, I do not want to be referencing back and forth between the template and the character that was converted.  That slows combat down and in most RPGs, combat is slow enough.  What I recommend a GM doing is prepping a few typical “converted” bad guys ahead of time so they are ready for combat.

The characters also are part of an overall plot that basically treats them as expendables.  There is enough plot development before the final episode that the players may conclude as much before they get to the epic climactic battle that happens at the end.  In my case, the players smartly figured it out and took matters in their own hands, short circuiting the overall story.  The GM should be prepared for that if they have good players.  The intended battle at the end of the adventure that I never got to is absolutely epic.  I hate that we never got to it (although my game ended well) because it is set up very well.

When diving into an adventure based in a setting like Achtung! Cthulhu – non-fictional historical meets fiction horror – I wonder what the author is going to focus on.  Basing something in something historical, you run the risk of turning your session into a history lesson.  And, although I am World War 2 history buff, I never assume all my players are too.  An ideal Achtung! Cthulhu would focus on both in a good balance, always remembering that the players are really here because of the horror, fantasy and fictional aspects and less about the history.  I honestly believe that Kontamination accomplishes an amazing balance between the two aspects of the setting.

In conclusion, Kontamination is well written from a content point of view but from a RPG structure point of view, I think it needs a little work.  The story is amazingly well put together and fluid and it was very fun to play.  The players all had fun.  I highly recommend this as a one shot at home or at a convention.  The GM needs to do a little more preparation beyond just reading it, but if he does that, the session will go very well.

For more details on Modiphius Entertainment Ltd and their new RPG Adventure/One ShotKontamination” check them out at their website http://www.modiphius.com/.

Codex Rating: 16

Product Summary

Kontamination
From: Modiphius Entertainment Ltd
Type of Game: RPG Adventure/One Shot
Written by Sam Richards & Matthew Pook
Created using the Tweet RPG system (www.tweetrpg.co.uk)
Additional Material by Dave Blewer, Bill Bodden & Lynne Hardy
Edited by Lynne Hardy, Matthew Pook & Michal E. Cross
Artwork by Dim Martin
Graphic Design, Layout & Cartography by Michal E. Cross
Produced & Art Directed by Chris Birch & Lynne Hardy
Number of Pages: 54
Game Components Included: One PDF adventure
Game Components Not Included: Core RPG rulebooks
Retail Price: $11.99 (US)
Website: http://www.modiphius.com/

Reviewed by: Ron W McClung

 

 

Achtung! Cthulhu: Keeper’s Guide to the Secret War

Achtung! Cthulhu: Keeper’s Guide to the Secret War
From: Modiphius Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Achtung! Cthulhu: Keeper’s Guide to the Secret War is a new RPG Core Book from Modiphius Games.

Having reviewed the Investigator’s Guide, it is only natural to take on the next book in the series – the Keeper’s Guide.  For me, as a keeper or game master, this is where the meat of the story begins.  This is where the setting really comes out for me.  Included in this book, among other things, are Allied and Nazi forces & intelligence agencies, Occult organizations and Mythos-based missions, new tomes, secret weapons, artifacts & equipment, key characters & vile creatures, and new rules and strategies for World War II combat & survival.  Like the Investigator’s Guide review, I thought it best to go chapter by chapter and comment on each.

From page # ii:
“There’s a whole Shoggoth’s worth of Cthulhu villainy, enough for any Keeper to have his investigators dead, insane or running for their lives in no time!”

Chapter 1: From The Shadows seems like a very familiar chapter.  The Investigator’s Guide started out in the same fashion, with a timeline of key events in World War II.  However, in the Keeper’s Guide, this timeline contains key events in the Secret War, as well.  Some events actually happened and are re-tooled to link back to the Secret War.  I would not recommend just skimming this chapter.  There is an amazing amount of detail and inspiration in this.  This is where you can get your story arches and adventure seeds.

Chapter 2, entitled Inside The Reich, takes you into Nazi Germany – the people who suffered through it and key events in the Third Reich history.  Of course, chances are players in A!C will want to play Allied characters, but there is the off chance the players might want to play German characters instead.  It can be a difficult thing to wrestle with as a Keeper, but this chapter helps in a lot of ways to put Nazi Germany in perspective.  While it tries to give you a balanced view of the average German citizen and/or soldier, it makes no bones about the horrible atrocities the Nazis performed during the war.  There is a very well written portion by Kenneth Hite called Sympathy for the Devil that is a really good read.

“Man is a military animal, glories in gunpowder and loves parade.” – Philip James Bailey

Chapter 3: Might Makes Right? takes the reader into the organization within the various armed forces.  The A!C is set during of time of massive world conflict, where the ways of war rule the day in many parts of the world.  This chapter provides an amazing amount of detail (but it does not overwhelm you) about the common terms used in military structure, ranks, troop organization and military policy.  It also describes various things in the life of a soldier – supply lines and acquiring needed material and items, medical services and other essential aspects of life in the military.  Being captured is also a possibility in a time of war and can easily be a way to start out an adventure.  This chapter provides good insight into that side of the war.  The chapter ends with a series of military NPCs (in both Call of Cthulhu 6th edition and Savage Worlds rules) helpful in the World War II military world.

Chapter 4: The Other Secret War looks at the history of the British, American, French, and German intelligence services.  Every war has its facets and layers.  The top layer of any war is the men and machines in places in the fields and the bravery shown as each side battles for territory.  Under that layer are the men and women that battle in the shadows searching for information on the enemy while seeding misinformation to the enemy, all in an effort to help the top layer do their jobs better.  It’s not always successful but it is an important role in the war.

This chapter deals in the complexities of World War II espionage.  All the major allies in the European theater are covered in fine detail.  The reason for this detail is because players will more than likely be working for or dealing with these organizations in their A!C adventures.  Adventures could easily start out as simple intelligence missions that explode into the world of Lovecraftian occult.

Chapter 5: Secret And Occult Societies, as the title implies, covers a wide variety of cults, cabals, and covens.  Traditionally, they play a pivotal role in many Mythos stories.  Throw the various motivations and twists of war time, and these secret societies explode with adventure possibilities.  In these pages are several secret societies and why they exist.  Motivations behind these groups vary, including protecting ancient artifacts, protecting the nation as a whole by use of their supernatural abilities, furthering a Mythos entity’s goals, and generally causing havoc because they hate a certain group or another.

If a good handful of twisted and dark cults, societies and factions isn’t enough, the book presents Section M, a special British-based multinational organization started by the British Section D.  It was formed after realizing there was more out there than just your standard challenges of wartime espionage.  Section M was formed to handle issues of a more supernatural nature.  The book describes the origins of this very important group and also gives a handful of important NPCs.  Also included is Majestic, the American answer to Section M.  The book includes similar information for Majestic as well.

The Cult of the Black Sun is the feared cult behind the scenes in Nazi, Germany.  A sort of Lovecraftian version of Hydra (Marvel Comics), its origin is deeply connected to the Dreamlands and the sinister beings within.  Its tentacles reach as far back as the late 1800s when its founder explored the Dreamlands and found the Valley of the Black Sun.  From there was born the foundation of what is to become one of the most powerful and feared secret societies within Germany.  Secretly linked to Hitler’s Thule Society, the Black Sun uses the society as a front to accomplish its sinister goals during the rise of the Nazi party.  Once Hilter begins his journey to power, the Thule Society is forced to disband but the Black Sun remained in the shadows. As the Nazis seize power, the Black Sun integrates itself with other facets of the party, including the Ahnenerbe – Himmler’s Ayran think tank.  The Cult of the Black Sun takes up a considerable amount of this chapter with amazing detail, interweaving it with key events and groups of real history.  The Cult of the Black Sun is set up as the big bad guy in the setting, one that the players will more than likely face through a multitude of fronts, related cults and other secret factions.  The section ends with a series of NPCs that make up the Black Sun, including individuals as well as generic soldiers of the Black Suns, like the Canon, the Norn, and die Troten – lower level leaders and drones of the Black Sun.  There is some incredible art here as well.

I could go on because there is so much more in this chapter, but suffice to say this is one of my favorite chapters.  There is plenty of meat for a Keeper to chew on and come up with great horror and supernatural hunting plots.

Chapter 6: Planes, Trains, And Things That Go Bang is the chapter of travel and stuff.  The first half of the chapter covers travel and the various means to accomplish said travel.  It contains a comprehensive list of air and sea ports and describes the various ways people traveled across country.  Several of the more common land and air vehicles are stat’ed out in both Call of Cthullhu and Savage Worlds.  Following this is the common equipment for characters from each country – weapons primarily – as well as some improvised or custom weapons and equipment.

Chapter 7: Into The Fray takes the reader into the war from a Call of Cthulhu rule system perspective.  Previously published rules on various important aspect of war and combat are re-printed here.  Rules for aerial combat as well as tank combat rules are presented here “ … with the emphasis on roleplaying rather than number crunching.” (p159).

Chapter 8: The Rules Of Savage Engagement is similar to Chapter 7 with a little extra rules where needed, like Aerial Bombardment rules and other special battlefield rules.  Also contained within these pages is a very special part of the Lovecraftian world – Sanity.  This is the area that surprised me the most.

From page # ii:
“The Keeper’s Guide to the Secret War is the essential Achtung! Cthulhu wartime reference for any Keeper or fan of the Cthulhu Mythos.”

The first Achtung! Cthulhu product to be released was the award winning adventure Zero Point: Three Kings.  From the Savage Worlds point of view, the Three Kings adventure was written using Realms of Cthulhu rules set.  I thought when the Guides came out, they would stick with that rules set.  I didn’t really think was anything wrong with them.  To my surprise, they changed to a slightly different approach, at least where Sanity is concerned.  Both use the same derived Sanity stat but that is where the similarities stop.  There are three levels of Fear in Achtung! Cthulhu that creatures, tomes and spells have – Nausea, Horror and Terror.  Each has the potential of one or more levels of Dementia.  As they are gained, temporary insanities can become a problem for the character.  Gaining too much Dementia can result in permanent insanities and eventually total insanity. Horror and Terror have their own table and are referenced only when a one is rolled on the Trait die.  Dementia comes from these tables.

I am not a big fan of tables but they make it somewhat acceptable because you reference it only when a 1 pops up on the Trait die (no matter what comes up on the Wild Die).  If they make a Keeper screen, these tables would obviously have to be included.

Chapter 9: Artefacts And Tomes contains a wide variety of items for the Keeper to throw into his adventure to help or hinder the characters.  These include, of course, mystical items like Mi-go Bio Cloak or the Pyramids of Leng.  They also include items thought to be mundane but in truth have mystical powers.  The Die Blutfahne is one particular Nazi flag that, through some very dark and mystical events, has some very mystical powers to those loyal to the cause.  In total, there are 9 artifacts list here.

The tomes list several tomes that can be found in the Call of Cthulhu core rulebook and thus only have Savage Worlds stats.  There are also some original tomes that have both rules.  There are an additional 9 tomes here.

Chapter 10: Deadly Illusions And Cursed Knowledge expands on the aspects of magic using, learning spells and its effects on the human psyche.  The rules listed are primarily for Savage Worlds as most of the spells and rules surrounding spells can be found in Call of Cthulhu 6th Edition.  As Savage Worlds does not have Magic Points, so to speak, this system uses Sanity as the “cost” to cast.  Some cost a Sanity point directly while others require a Spirit roll.  There are a good many spells, some from the Call of Cthulhu line and some new.  Of course, the new spells have both Call of Cthulhu and Savage Worlds stats.

Chapter 11: Horrors And Monstrosities is where I thought they would have saved themselves a lot of paper by simply maintaining compatibility with Realms of Cthulhu, but because of the path they chose to take primarily in the Sanity rules, they had to republish many of the standard Cthulhu Mythoscreatures in Savage Worlds rules.  I am sure there is a reason for it.  The question is are they all that much different from the Realms of Cthulhu?  Browsing through both books, I do notice a significant difference between the interpretations of common creatures while at the same time, there are some that are in one book and not the other.  So neither are better or worse than the other.  I just think they are both configured for their own particular setting.

What most readers would find interesting are the new creatures they have added to the Mythos, especially created for the Achtung! Cthulhu setting.  Servitor races like the Bloodborn or the Cold Ones gives you new options to creep your players out.  Twisted created like die draugar or die gefallenen are also very cool new creatures added for the setting.

While the previous chapter covers the dark and twisted, Chapter 12: Allies And Nemeses covers the real life heroes of the time and the mundane everyday NPCs.  A short description of all the major figures of World War II is given and a variety of generic NPC stats are also displayed.

Chapter 13: Adventure Seeds is 4 pages of great adventure ideas for the Secret Wars, with ideas inspired from real events and gives a slight twist to them to fit the setting.  This is a must-read for Keepers.

Chapter 14: Quick Play Guide is a quick reference guide to Achtung! Cthulhu, for both Call of Cthlhu and  Savage Worlds players.  And the book ends with a great chapter of Suggested Resources.

In conclusion, The book is a phenomenal piece of work.  It is attractive, easy to browse, well written, intelligent and well thought out.  It has everything a Keeper needs to inspire and run his Achtung! Cthulhu game.  The hard back version is a gorgeous book that I am proud to have on my shelf.  To run A!C, I highly recommend this book.

For more details on Modiphius Games and their new RPG Player’s GuideAchtung! Cthulhu: Keeper’s Guide to the Secret War” check them out at their website http://www.modiphius.com/.

Codex Rating: 19

Product Summary

Achtung! Cthulhu: Keeper’s Guide to the Secret War
From: Modiphius Games
Type: RPG Keeper’s Guide
Written by: Chris Birch, Dave Blewer, Bill Bodden, Alex Bund, Russ Charles, Adam Crossingham, Lynne Hardy, Kenneth Hite, Sarah Newton & Matthew Pook
Edited by: Lynne Hardy & Michal E. Cross
Artwork by: Dim Martin
Graphic Design, Layout & Cartography by: Michal E. Cross
Produced & Art Directed by: Chris Birch & Lynne Hardy
Proofreading by: Richard Hardy, Matthew Pook & Kickstarter Backers
Number of Pages: 295
Game Components Included: One PDF or hardback book
Game Components Not Included: Core RPG book (Call of Cthulhu or Savage Worlds)
Retail Price: $44.99 hard back; $22.99 (US)
Website: http://www.modiphius.com/

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

 

Achtung! Cthulhu: Investigator’s Guide to the Secret War

Achtung! Cthulhu: Investigator’s Guide to the Secret War
From: Modiphius Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Achtung! Cthulhu: Investigator’s Guide is a new RPG Player’s Guide from Modiphius Games.

Two of my passions are H.P. Lovecraft Cthulhu Mythos and World War II history.  When these two are combined, I will dive into it head first every opportunity I have.

I started my journey into Achtung! Cthulhu with running their first adventure, Three Kings. At the time, the Three Kings adventure, from the Savage Worlds side of things, was written for the Realms of Cthulhu.  It also could be run in classic 6th Edition Call of Cthulhu, but because of the more tactical nature of World War II, I felt that Savage World fit it better.  Imagine my surprise, however, when I found the Investigator’s Guide and the Keeper’s Guide both using a different system in Savage worlds – one of their making. I suppose that makes sense to some degree.  They would be beholding to two different licenses, I would think.  I am not 100% sure how those licenses work.

The first thing you notice about the book is that it’s absolutely stunning.  Layout, art, and everything is top notch.  It makes you want to dive into the book right away. The book is 154 pages hardback or PDF, with ten chapters.  It had a very successful Kickstarter, one that many took part in and are kindly thanked by Lynn Hardy in the Forward.

From the website:
Achtung! Cthulhu is a terrifying World War Two setting, fully compatible with the Call of Cthulhu, Sixth Edition and Savage Worlds roleplaying games. This is the Investigator’s Guide, with everything players need to create and run character’s in the late 30’s and 40’s.”

Chapter 1: Welcome to the Secret War is made up primarily of a timeline of real world events during World War 2, primarily focusing on the Western Front.  It is noted in the book that there will be future supplements covering other theaters.  This timeline is by no means complete, of course, but it does cover some interesting aspects of the war.  What I like a lot in this section especially are anecdotal pieces of trivia that are interspersed throughout the timeline’s events.

Chapter 2: Keep the Home Fires Burning handles information on how things were on the British and American home front.  From jobs, the work force, consumer goods, and rationing to fashion, music and movies, this chapter has enough information to get a good feel for things at home.  Chapter 3: Home, Sweet Home is a timeline of events that effected the various home fronts – Britain, France, and the Unites States of America.  Even though there was a war going on, there were still significant things that occurred at home that are worth noting.  From political actions to inventions, things still happened in other parts of the world.

Chapter 4: In the Service of One’s Country details the various ways people serve their country – military services, intelligence service and others.  Achtung! Cthulhu gets your character not only deeply involved with Lovecraftian investigations but also the war, so he or she is more than likely going to be involved in one of these services one way or another.  The military services of Britain, France, the US and Germany are covered here, as well as the various intelligence and national law enforcement agencies.

Chapter 5: Your Country Needs You! takes all the previous information and connects it up with the character generation system of both Call of Cthulhu 6th Edition and Savage Worlds.  What is interesting on the CoC6 side, the character generation system is a little more detailed and structured than your standard CoC6 character generation. In this chapter, the writers dive into a detailed and extensive character generation process for Call of Cthulhu. Perhaps more key to a World War II setting than in normal 1920s Call of Cthulhu, this book spends a considerable time on nationality.  Characters are more than likely going to play a British or American character but this guide provides a means to add more detail.  Characters also choose an occupation like in classic CoC, and Achtung! Cthulhu provides a table listing the more appropriate occupations for the setting.  Additionally, it provides options for Covert Occupations – things a character may be doing secretly in a time of war.  Occupations are slightly different in Achtung! Cthulhu.  Bonuses are added to them as additional differentiators and are a nice touch.  Of course, there are also military occupations available, which are much more detailed then just “Soldier” from the classic rules.  They go into considerable detail on how to build a military character with the various branches, ranks and skills.

What I like a lot is their addition of Mythos Background Seeds, which collectively are a means to hook the character into the Secret War – the Mythos war being fought behind the scenes of World War II.  They provide a nice set of tables of options that you can either roll on or choose from or simply use as inspiration for your own ideas.  This is presented as an option, but I highly recommend using it as part of your character creation process.

From the website:
“Discover the secret history of World War Two: stories of amazing heroism, in which stalwart men and women struggle to overthrow a nightmare alliance of steel and the occult; of frightening inhuman conspiracies from the depths of time; of the unbelievable war machines which are the product of Nazi engineering genius – and how close we all are to a slithering end! The Secret War has begun!”

Chapter 6: Getting Your Hands Dirty extends further into the Call of Cthulhu 6th Edition. This chapter expands on many of the relevant skills to fit in the World War II setting.  It also adds a few new skills for the setting.

In Chapter 7: The Savage Practice of War, as the title implies, are the Savage Worlds rules for Achtung! Cthulhu.  Although I have had a lot of experience with Call of Cthulhu, I have spent the past year running Achtung! Cthulhu in Savage Worlds.  In many cases, it references the previous chapters’ tables and other generic, non-game system specific information – a smart use of space and information.  Like in CoC, Achtung! Cthulhu adds a few extra things to the Savage Worlds character generation that a new player should pay close attention to.  Along with the obligatory Sanity stat (which is pretty much the same as Realms of Cthulhu), it adds a little more structure to a character’s skill selection especially if they go into the service.  Like in the CoC section, it provides structured guidelines for many career choices available in the setting.  Additionally, it provides a good number of new Hindrances and Edges for characters to choose from.

Key to the character in any Lovecraftian role playing setting is Sanity and I always thought that Realms of Cthulhu handled it well in the Savage Worlds rules set.  You don’t get a clue of it here in the Investigator’s Guide, but Achtung! Cthulhu takes a slightly different approach to it.  See our review of the Keeper’s Guide for that.

Chapter 8: The Tools of the Trade is what one would expect from a equipment chapter.  Starting with standard equipment, primarily military, items are fully stat’ed out for both CoC and Savage Worlds. Also included are a number of covert items to be used in the Secret War by the players.

Chapter 9: Quick Play Guide is a section that gives you a quick reference to everything presented in the book, from character generation to important combat rules.   Page numbers and/or chapter numbers are given for this book as well as Call of Cthulhu 6th Edition, and Savage Worlds Deluxe or Deluxe Explorer’s Edition.

Chapter 10: Suggested Resources is easily overlooked by the reader, but I highly recommend going through it.  There is a good variety of helpful resources to help a player and a keeper to capture the essence of a World War II Lovecraftian adventure.

In conclusion, Achtung! Cthulhu: Investigator’s Guide is a brilliant book, gorgeously laid out and full of useful player information to play in this setting.  I love the setting and I love this book.  I plan on running this regularly at the convention I attend.  What I like most about it is that it is intelligently put together and written, and that you can see that the writers and creators have a true passion for the setting.  It’s an enjoyable read and very inspiring for players and game masters a like.

For more details on Modiphius Games and their new RPG Player’s GuideAchtung! Cthulhu: Investigator’s Guide” check them out at their website http://www.modiphius.com/.

Codex Rating: 19

Product Summary

Achtung! Cthulhu: Investigator’s Guide to the Secret War
From: Modiphius Games
Type of Game: RPG Player’s Guide
Written by: Chris Birch, Dave Blewer, Alex Bund, Adam Crossingham, Lynne Hardy, Sarah Newton & Matthew Pook
Edited by: Lynne Hardy & Michal E. Cross
Cover Artwork by: Pintureiro
Interior Artwork by: Dim Martin
Graphic Design, Layout & Cartography by: Michal E. Cross
Produced & Art Directed by: Chris Birch & Lynne Hardy
Proofreading by: Richard Hardy, Matthew Pook
Number of Pages: 154
Game Components Included: One PDF or hardback book
Game Components Not Included: Core RPG book (Call of Cthulhu or Savage Worlds)
Retail Price: $32.00 hard back; $14.99 (US)
Website: http://www.modiphius.com/

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Interview with Chris Birch (Modiphius Games) about Mutant chronicles

First and foremost, tell us a little about yourself, your gaming experience and your writing experience?

I first played D&D at age 9 with my brother, his girlfriend and friends, this is when it was huge. I then found a copy of Steve Jackson’s Ogre in a tiny village shop, loved it! Scratched my head over the ratio combat and then discovered the world of ‘tabletop games.’ I started playing war-games, boardgames, anything I could get my hands on. I’d often not have people to play games with when my brother moved away to university so I’d invent solo rules. Fast forward a few years, I came up with a game system with my friend Stuart Newman and later we went on to design the FATE based Starblazer Adventures which was so much fun and SO exhausting! I then co-wrote Legends of Anglerre with a fantastic team including Sarah Newton.

How much of the original rules system are you preserving? How much is new? Will it be backward compatible?

We’ve taken the 6 stats and expanded to 8, we’ve kept the d20 (albeit with a new core system), hit locations and the awesome life path character generation (although you can also point buy your character too). Otherwise it’s a fresh new system designed for fast cinematic play, lots of cool gear and spaceships – that’s something new for example. In the 2nd Ed it was a heavily combat-focused game and now we’re adding in the ability to control spaceships. There’s corporations, social skills, lifestyle, allegiances and much more.

Are you advancing the timeline of the setting or keeping it about the same time?

We’re winding the clock back 700 years to when the Dark Symmetry, a malign foul corrupting force, is released and infects computer systems and equipment leading to the downfall of the modern age. This allows you to have adventures during the collapse of technology, as it turns on man, literally! Exploration and investigation of strange cults and rumoured creatures, leading up to the first great war with the Dark Legion. Alternatively you can wind forward 700 years and play in the same timeline as the original RPG. It’s up to you and you get all the information you need on both timelines in the core book.

What about Mutant Chronicles attracts you?

The over-the-top exaggerated heroic action, the dark noir styling, the diesel-punk vibe, the brightly coloured iconic art by Paul Bonner

You are calling Mutant Chronicles a “dieselpunk sci-fi RPG.” This is first time I have seen it referenced in that way. When Mutant Chronicles first came out, those type of terms – “steampunk” and “dieselpunk” – were not all that common. So is this a reinvention of the property to fit a more modern genre or was Mutant Chronicles “dieselpunk” before it was cool to call it so – a game before its time, perhaps?

I think it was actually diesel punk ‘style’ back then, the term just wasn’t really in use. I still love the ‘techno-fantasy’ term too as it really tells you about the vibe of the setting, the cool gear, the madness of the Dark Legion and the epic adventure!

Do you think the comparisons to Warhammer 40K are fair? What makes it different from that property?

It’s set in a more recognizable time, with more familiar factions. At the time characters were exaggerated but Mutant Chronicles made the massive shoulder pads their ‘thing.’ It’s what identifies it and makes it so cool.

What are you most proud of in this work?

I was a big fan in the 90’s; I owned many of the games, so bringing together such a talented team to work on the game and bring it back fresh and ready for action is what I’m proud of.

What did you think of the Mutant Chronicles movie?

It’s a Hollywood movie. It’s a miracle that there’s a multi-million dollar movie with the Mutant Chronicles name, with the same characters, the same corporate names even if the story is not what fans wanted. The styling is a pretty good representation of Imperial and Capitol, so overall I think it did a great job of promoting the brand to a massive audience. We’ve had tons of people sign up who said they saw the film first and so have gone on to discover our awesome gaming world. Just go and watch a few D&D films and see how bad it really could have been 🙂

What is in the immediate future for Mutant Chronicles after your Kickstarter?

Get the core book finished, get the Guides and Campaigns finished, get them out to backers! There’ll be a lot of merchandise to produce, lots of writers and artists to manage, and that’s all part of making it happen. We’re just so excited to see the new system taking shape and we’re already planning a long line of additional products to expand the range.

Mutant Chronicles was not only an RPG, but there was a collectible card game, a miniature wargame, board games, video games, novels, and comic books. It was a pretty extensive property. Do you see or are there plans for Modiphius getting involved in any of the other areas?

Who knows! It depends on the success of the kickstarter, as we’re obviously going to be pretty busy, but once you’re designing one set of products it’s not hard to expand into another similar product.

Thank you for your time and good luck with Mutant Chronicles. We look forward to reviewing it.

Thanks!