2012: The year in Lovecraftian RPGs

It’s that time again… time for my year-in-review recap of 2012’s Lovecraftian RPG releases.  I suppose the first thing I should mention is that caring for the homunculus is rather time intensive and my free time for reading has greatly diminished. I find that books sit on my nightstand longer and longer and my desire to sacrifice sleep to finish another scenario shrinking. C’est la vie. Without further ado (and with apologies for the delay), let’s get started —

Three Fourteen Games:

Central de Maquinaria Jarkov-37 : A Spanish translation of my 2003 monograph Machine Tractor Station Kharkov-37.  Since I wrote the original (and can’t read much Spanish beyond an elementary school level) I shan’t review this one.  I will say the chaps at Three Fourteen Games were lovely to work with and the art is pretty nifty.

Arc Dream Publishing

The Unspeakable Oath #21: Another product I had a hand in, albeit a smaller part than the above, I was happy to see at least one issue of the ‘Oath’ get at least one issue out this year.  While I enjoyed the whole issue, my favorite article was probably the short scenario “Sukakpak”, which presented a very Lovecraftian scenario in an unusual setting.

Chaosium

Cthulhu by Gaslight (3rd Edition): I’ve picked this one up, though I must confess to only having read about half of it… it fell victim to my preference to sleeping when the teething homunculus permitted it. I enjoyed what I have read so far. I think Kevin Ross’ changes and refocusing of CbG served to strengthen the title immensely. I look forward to actually reading the scenarios…

Mysteries of Ireland (monograph)

Terror from the Skies

The Phantom of Wilson’s Creek (monograph, PDF only)

All three of these titles are awaiting my ordering them. While Terror from the Skies is getting mixed reviews, I’ve heard good things about the monographs, one of which was written by one of the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion’s many contributors (in this case, one of the proof-reading team).

Cubicle 7

The Ballad of Bass Rock (PDF only)

Folklore (PDF only; preorder available but publication expected to be in Jan/Feb 2013)

I’m not a huge fan of reading PDFs. My laptop is far less pleasant to read on than a book and I’ve yet to invest in an eReader, so I tend not to buy PDFs unless they come bundled with a book. This is why I’ve not picked up The Ballad… while I do have (and have begun to read) Folklore. I like was I’ve read so far, but fuller comments require fuller reading.  I’m glad this thing is finally out.

Goodman Games

A Dream of Japan

The Timeless Sands of India

I’m shy of buying Goodman Games’ Age of Cthulhu books after having read and found wanting their first two titles. I have heard that the line has improved so I’ll probably give the latest titles a try when finances allow.

Modiphius Games (Achtung! Cthulhu)

Zero Point Part One: Three Kings Kings (PDF Only)

Zero Point Part Two: Heroes of the Sea (PDF only)

First off, for quite a while I thought they were called “Mophidius” games for some odd reason.  Oops.  Secondly, I don’t really buy PDFs.  I’m interested in how World War Cthulhu… err.. Achtung! Cthulhu turns out and I’ll probably get the print version when its out.

Pagan Publishing

Bumps in the Night

Hey, its one I actually got… a solid scenario collection very much in the John Crowe style.  He favors realistic scenarios that are often challenging, detailed, and often a little twisted.  “Bumps” isn’t Pagan’s best book ever, but it is a quality scenario collection.  I particularly liked the first and last scenarios.

Pelgrane Press (Trail of Cthulhu)

The Millionaire’s Special (PDF only)

Flying Coffins (PDF only)

Sisters of Sorrow (PDF only)

I love Adam Gauntlett’s scenarios (and really should post about his very interesting blog some day) but I’m waiting until they’re published some time in 2013.

Sixtystone Press

Investigator Weapons Volume 1: the 1920s and 1930s (PDF only)

My only PDF only pick up this year, “Investigator Weapons…” was truly a great read.  It is everything you might want to know about the firearms of the Classic era (aka 20s and 30s).  I’ve read it, used it, and will continue to do so in the future.  I look forward to when it’s finally in print… and when Volumes 2 (Modern) and Volume 3 (Gaslight) are published.

Solace Games

Arkham Case Files: Deep Morgue (PDF only)

I haven’t read it, but have unfortunately heard that it isn’t all that good.  Maybe next time Solace Games?

Spectrum Games (Macabre Tales)

Secret of the Dead Man’s Satchel (PDF only)

The Shadow of Krampus (Free, PDF only)

I’m sad to say I have yet to check out Macabre Tales.  Anyone got an opinion on it?  How do Dominos work in an RPG?

So, in short, some good books have come out this year but I’ve lacked the time to read all the books.  I can definitely recommend Cthulhu by Gaslight, Folklore, Bumps in the Night, and Investigator Weapons…  I think the latter is my favorite work of the year and will certainly be the book I return to most.

Here’s to 2013 and a new crop of books.

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2 comments on “2012: The year in Lovecraftian RPGs

  1. Stuart Boon says:

    An excellent round-up of the year’s publications. I hadn’t realised there were so many and I’ll have to chase down a few you’ve highlighted. Thanks, Bret!

  2. Conrad Kinch says:

    Thank you for the summary – I’m not a fan of PDFs myself, but I was very impressed by the Investigators Weapons volume. I’ve always rather liked the 2nd Edition of Gaslight, but I’ve ordered a copy of the new chap, just to see.

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