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Call of Cthulhu: Achtung! Cthulhu Three Kings

Achtung! Cthulhu: Three Kings

Achtung! Cthulhu is a setting for Lovecraftian role-playing in World War 2, and this is the first adventure in that setting. As if the world wasn't already tearing itself apart, what would be the impact of having the Cthulhu Mythos involved as well? With, of course, evil Nazi scientists trying to harness their powers...

The adventure is set in the summer of 1939 when the world was slowly realising that there was no escape from conflict (my mother, just about to go to university, was worried about the effect that a war would have on her social life!). Czechoslovakia has just been invaded by the Third Reich and although the UK is not yet officially at war they are receiving dire news from resistance figures and the new-born government-in-exile that a member of the resistance has information about atrocities being committed that would make wonderful propaganda when war does begin in earnest. So 'Section D' - a branch of the British Secret Intelligence Service has assembled a team to find out... you can either have your players generate appropriate characters using the Call of Cthulhu rules, or use the pre-generated ones supplied with the adventure.

Material is presented atmospherically with realistic-looking documents, indeed the adventure itself looks as if it escaped from wartime files (there's a printer-friendly one included in the PDF version to save on ink).

The underlying plot is laid out for the Keeper's eyes, and then there are several 'likely episodes' laid out for you, leaving the whole thing quite open-ended and allowing you to react to character actions and approaches to the investigation with ease. Each episode in turn has a number of scenes which may or may not take place as the action unfolds. Obviously, this is an adventure that repays thorough preparation, it would be quite hard to just pick it up and play. Loads of alternatives - beginning with ideas on how to use the adventure with less military-minded characters than the provided ones - are scattered throughout, so that you can tailor the adventure to suit the characters and how they want to go about matters without floundering and having to improvise too much. Even more impressive are all the little details - from local cuisine to likely languages spoken - that will help you to make the whole thing come to life in a shared alternate reality.

Put simply, the characters have to break into a castle and find out what's going on there. Of course, it never is that simple...

Support is good with stat blocks and notes about those who you might meet, details of roving patrols and how the castle is defended, maps (in both Keeper and player versions) as well as new rules from skills like parachuting to how best to handle capture of the characters (a real threat) and new occupations within the cloak and dagger world of intelligence operations. There's even a full Operational Briefing that, if your characters are Section D agents, can be handed directly to them repleate with maps, scribbled comments and SECRET stamps. Very atmospheric!

With the single caveat that some groups may not feel comfortable with an adventure set in World War 2, this is - for those groups who are happy with the situation - a straightforward yet exciting introduction to the concept of Cthulhu-meets-the-Nazis. Memorable adventure is to be had!

Return to Achtung! Cthulhu: Three Kings page.

Reviewed: 1 December 2014