Achtung Cthulhu

ReviewHeroes of the Sea

Posted by Sir Keith Wed, March 19, 2014 08:20:53

Heroes of the Sea.

Name: Heroes of the Sea - Achtung Cthulhu

Publisher: Modiphius Enterainment
System: Call of Cthulhu – 6th Edition
Author: Sarah Newton
Art by: Dim Martin

Category: Horror / WW2 RPG

Cost: £11.99 - (Print and PDF Bundle) – order here
Pages: 63
Year: 2012

SKU: CHC53511
ISBN: 978-1-909126-73-2

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Heroes of the Sea is the second book in the Zero Point Campaign for Achtung Cthulhu and can be used as a continuation from Three Kings. Using the Chaosium 6th Edition rules, the scenario is set during the Allied retreat and the Battle (and evacuation) from Dunkirk. The book is intended for several sessions of play and adds an element of danger and threat not fully appreciated in the first book.

The book itself continues Modiphius’s high quality product line. There are 51 pages of adventure and information, with over 8 pages of maps and handouts for the players at the back. The pages are laid out similar to the first book, like a file with the pictures etc laid out at different angles. Additional information is shown to be pinned to the book and this helps to quickly identify key points to the Keeper.

The date is May 1940. The German invasion of Poland earlier in the year has forced the United Kingdom and her allies to declare war. However the Fall Gelb “Plan Yellow” has meant that the German forces have cut off the main body of French troops and the BEF are forced to fall back to Dunkirk. Here the forces try to establish a foothold as the main body of troops are evacuated by a flotilla of naval ships and 1000s of little boats that brave the German attacks. In this chaos the British agent Wotan must be found as she has vital information about Fall Nadel and a secret German operation off the coast of Dunkirk. The Germans have uncovered an ancient relic of great power that could win the war before it has even started…..

Wow – attention to detail is the key word of this book. A lot of the information I have given above comes from a fantastic little timeline on page 6 of the book that really gives everyone an idea of the key events of the period and what they meant. Trying to tie Lovecraftian Mythos into such a period was always going to be a challenge but I can only say I am in awe of the empathy and sympathy that Ms Newton shown the subject matter.

The scenario plays out in different episodes. Firstly the agents must find Wotan amongst the chaos and the dangers of the Dunkirk field of operation. There are several ways that this can be accomplished and it is up to them how they wish to proceed. Each option is given a quick overview with the keeper and a load of random encounters are provided. This follows the same sandbox device given in Three Kings and so allows an element of freedom to the players.

Episode 2 brings the investigators to find a Nazi U-Boat in the besieged town of Nieuport. Here they encounter a SS group and hear of the mysterious Maglemosian. Again the players are given choices to invsitgate this or to try to foil the attempts of the Nazi’s to retrieve a prehistoric statue from the seabed. Depending on the choices the investigators may end up doing episodes 3, 4 or both!

Episode 3 is set in the Dreamlands and the Nazi outpost named Maglemosian. This is an alternative Dunkirk area that seems like the far past. Have they travelled in time or dimension (or both)???

Episode 4 is around the German U-Boat and the retrieval of the strange statue. The investigators discover the ultimate goal of the SS and try to disrupt or destroy the underwater expedition.

Episode 5 is the finale with an ancient ritual underway and the sea level beginning to rise and act in strange, unnatural ways. Can the investigators reach the stone circle of Les Sept Pecheurs and save the allied forces from destruction??

As you can see I have not gone into much detail above and used the summary on pages 15 & 16 to give a flavour of what can be expected. This is a long scenario and as mentioned previously it should be played over several sessions. The adventure is very well detailed and the epilogue on pages 39 & 40 include Churchill’s famous “Never Surrender” speech – a nice touch! There are also five appendices that give four pre-generated characters; new rules; vehicles; an operational hand-out (a really nice touch and something I really appreciated) and hand-outs.

In summary I would say this represents true value for money. If you have tried Three Kings and got even a modicum of enjoyment from it then this would not be a waste of your time. To be honest I think this is worth the cost just to read. Ms Newton is an author at the very top of her profession and this comes through in the book. I am really impressed with the quality and the detail given. The new rules help if you have not picked up the Achtung books (and why not??!!)

I cannot recommend this highly enough.

ReviewThree Kings

Posted by Sir Keith Sat, February 22, 2014 16:06:13

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
Pages: 32
Year: 2012

SKU: CHC53510
ISBN: 978-1-909126-72-5

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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.