Title: Three Kings
Publisher: Modiphius Enterainment
System: Call of Cthulhu – 6th Edition
Author: Sarah Newton
Art by: Dim Martin
Category: Horror / WW2 RPG
Cost: £9.99 (Print and PDF Bundle) – order here
Three kings is a Second World War scenario set in the Cthulhu universe. It is set in July 1939, before the breakout of the war and is the start of the Zero Point campaign. However it can also run as a standalone adventure that will introduce players to the horror of life under the Nazis as well as the more traditional horror tropes. The book is written for 6th edition Call of Cthulhu under licence from Chaosium.
The book itself is of very good quality. There are 35 pages of written reference and adventure with additional maps, hand-outs and pictures at the back. The pages are well laid out, but have a grey tinged background that would make copying of the maps and hand-outs difficult – I will try that later….. Nope – all photocopied fine!! However the whole scenario is laid out like a file, with pictures and additional information added with tape and pins (not real ones but just to give the impression).
The scenario itself is set in Czechoslovakia after the German invasion. The players take the roles of secret agents, sent to investigate strange occurrences at Castle Kraza and also to make contact with the “Three Kings”, the heads of the local resistance. Once there the agents become embroiled in a plot that involves rescuing prisoners and horrors not of this world. It is also a chance to show that there is more going on than any investigator could possibly imagine.
Firstly, I have to say the amount of research done by Sarah Newton is truly magnificent. The initial scenes in London, where Section D (an off-shoot to MI6) is based and also the de facto Czech government are very well summarised with just enough characterisation to give the GM the flavour of the scene. What is good about these initial scenes is that the GM can put as much or as little detail into this as they want, depending on the group. It is quite possible to give the necessary information to the party and put the players on the plane quickly (which is also detailed) and the get the action underway. To aid with this, there is an operational briefing at the back that can be given to the players.
The adventure itself is well paced and well laid out. Again, there are no text boxes but instead different encounters are initially sketched out for the GM to use. Different circumstances are given, depending on how the characters react, giving a sand-box feeling to the whole thing. This runs well but does need the GM to keep track on where players have been and who they have met. The scenario winds its way nicely to the final encounters in the castle, where the dastardly plot is finally thwarted (we hope). However the ending is left very open, with the GM able to decide whether to keep the players in the area or on a night plane back to blighty!
The final pages of the book are given to the appendices. Firstly there is a selection of pre-gen characters to use. Then Sarah expands on the 6th edition rules and give guidance on how to incorporate the equipment and new skills. It ends (rather grimly) with a quick overview of what could happen if the Nazis capture a PC and the techniques to gather information…..
Final few pages are for handouts and maps. Note these are not in colour. There are also some very nicely atmospheric pictures to show the players. The artwork throughout the book is very dark and in keeping with the whole flavour of the book. I personally really like the style.
In Summary this is a very promising first foray into World War 2 and the Cthulhu mythos. The whole period is sympathetically handled and very well researched. I think this makes a very good one shot that players and GMs can try, to see if this is a setting that is right for them. I cannot wait to see where this goes, as the results from the successful Kickstarter begin to arrive.