Two unsettling encounters on the road
With the rise of the automobile in the 1920s, people were no longer tied to the railways as a means of getting to distant locations. For those who could afford the relative luxury of a car, the expanding United States’ highway network brought with it the opportunity to travel and see new places, as well as visit those that the railways didn’t reach—and all at your own pace, too.
But the new road network also meant that strangers began making their way into once isolated and secluded locations. Places where they may not be welcome, and where old secrets have been hidden for generations. Who knows what lurks behind the lace curtains of the houses you drive past? What dangers lie in wait for the unwary along the out of the way highways and byways?
Dead Light and Other Dark Turns contains two scenarios for Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition dealing with the theme of roadside adventure, along with six story seeds for the Keeper to expand and develop. In the classic Dead Light scenario, now revised, a chance encounter with a distressed young woman leads the investigators into the hideous aftermath of a crime gone terribly wrong. While in the brand-new Saturnine Chalice scenario, seeking help from a nearby homeowner after their vehicle runs out of gas traps the investigators in a house where nothing is quite what it seems.
Both scenarios can be used as standalone adventures suitable for one to two sessions’ worth of play, or they can be slotted into an ongoing campaign as the investigators journey between locations, and come with six ready-to-play investigators. Suitable for use with either the Call of Cthulhu: Keeper Rulebook or the Call of Cthulhu Starter Set.
What's New in this Version of Dead Light?
This new edition of Dead Light features new art throughout by Magda Meiszczak, Doruk Golcu, and Caleb Cleveland, with the scenario revised and reorganized to address a few minor issues in the original (such as the reference to an NPC, Walter the Pump Jockey, who does not actually appear in the scenario). We have included five player handouts providing further insight into the plot and agendas of the characters concerned.
In addition, the book includes a new scenario, Saturnine Chalice, by Matthew Sanderson, which also takes place during a roadside stop that leads to danger and mystery. Carrying on the roadside theme of both Dead Light and Saturnine Chalice are six new adventure seeds, each with ideas for encounters on the road that Keepers can use as inspiration for short sidetracks, one night games, or to develop into full-blown scenarios.
What the Critics Say
"A strong, lean collection that provides a lot of high-quality playtime... a definite recommendation for keepers and players across the spectrum of experience."—Never Read the Latin.
"STYLE 5, SUBSTANCE 5 - Saturnine Chalice… is one of the best adventures of this length ever written for Call of Cthulhu, and a new favourite to pull on unsuspecting players, especially new ones… The plot will make jaws drop. It is sinister, it is devious, it is complex, it is evil. Dead Light is better than the first time, the six adventure hooks offer interesting ideas, both formulaic and exotic, and... what more does an adventure collection need to do anyway?"—Antonios S. RPGNet.
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PDF Product Name: [Dead Light and Other Dark Turns - PDF]
PDF Product Link: [/dead-light-and-other-dark-turns-pdf/]
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Physical Product Name: [Dead Light and Other Dark Turns]
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- Rule Set:
- 7th Edition Call of Cthulhu
- Year Released:
- Black & White PDF
- Page Count:
- Alan Bligh, Matt Sanderson, Lynne Hardy, Mike Mason
- Cover Artist:
- Wayne Miller
- Interior Artists:
- Magda Meiszczak, Doruk Golcu, Caleb Cleveland, David Oliver
- Stephanie McAlea, Miska Fredman
- Nicholas Nacario, Miska Fredman
- Nicholas Nacario
You're travelling on the road and your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere... Yes, it's a well-worn opening for countless horror stories (and before that, it was the coach accident -- see, J. Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla") so why not use it for Call of Cthulhu? Especially given that the second scenario in here, "Saturnine Chalice" is possibly the best original offering for 7th edition CoC thus far. So, if the first scenario "Dead Light" is very good, I'd recommend buying this for "Saturnine Chalice" alone. Both scenarios, however, especially the second, are designed more for experienced than novice Keepers (and possibly players). Warning: this review contains spoilers. Although the author of "Saturnine Chalice", Matthew Sanderson, lists a number of excellent sources of inspiration, I suspect a lot is owed to Lewis Gilbert's 1995 film "Haunted" as well. The investigators stop at a house where everyone inside is, contrary to appearances, actually dead -- all of them being essentially phantoms controlled by a trapped Shapeless One from the Court of Azathoth. The Shapeless One wants to trick the investigators into removing the wards that imprison it; the characters need to find a way to send the Shapeless One back where it belongs without being killed. How the Shapeless One came to be trapped and who the people in the house were, is a satisfying plot. Suffice to say, it involves Nyarlathotep, amateur occultists and a genuine magic text, The Book of Abramelin, resulting in a devious and dangerous puzzle for the investigators. Due to the nature of the puzzle and the sheer range of investigators' actions, however, an experienced Keeper is probably required. For what it's worth, though, this Keeper would reduce the Shapeless One's omniscience within the house -- require that it maintain focus on it's ghostly puppets, for example -- otherwise, it will have foresight of anything the investigators attempt, making their odds of success nonexistent. Nonetheless, this is one scenario no experienced player should miss. The point at which their investigators realize they've been hobnobbing with dead people all along will be one of their fondest gaming moments for years to come. "Dead Light" is also very good. It perhaps needed further development -- I'd have provided a potential timeline as to the eponymous Dead Light's actions once the investigators holed up in the cafe (so, for example, I'd start by having one of the Brewers -- the most obviously expendable NPCs -- visit the outhouse and be destroyed first to kick things off). I'd also list some further potential moves for the Dead Light in response to likely actions by the investigators. There is a nasty sting in the tail with this scenario's end though, so be warned. Again, I'd recommend this scenario for Keepers who have run at least a few CoC sessions before this. There are also a series of scenario seeds at the end, which took me back to the good old days of the Unspeakable Oath. All are perfectly decent, although none of them were out of the ordinary. Chaosium sells this for $14.99 -- absolutely a steal for "Saturnine Chalice" alone. Finally, none of the usual 7th ed. wokeness, which is good, but better yet, H.P. Lovecraft is mentioned by name. Apparently the stars are right!
I had my investigators run the short (4 hour) scenario Dead Light while driving back from Dunwich in late November as part of our ongoing campaign. The elements battered their auto, and they had to stop once a young woman ran out into the road. All was not what it seemed... I plan on running the new scenario "Saturnine Chalice" after awhile, once some time has passed and the investigators are on the road in Lovecraft Country once again. Both scenarios are great and well worth the purchase price.