Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying During the Reign of Joseph Stalin
The Terror is a one-session scenario for Call of Cthulhu set in the Soviet Union during the reign of Joseph Stalin. It begins in February 1932 and is centered in the frozen city of Moscow. The Terror is designed to emphasize the atmosphere of Stalinist Russia, and to pit the investigators against each other within an environment of paranoia. The scenario was originally run as part of the Cthulhu Masters Tournament at GenCon, and was revised for publication. This scenario references the fifth edition Call of Cthulhu rules.
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THIS IS A DOWNLOADABLE BOOK. By Troy C. Wilhelmson. 30 pages. 8.5 x 11"downloadable watermarked PDF book with cover images, created from electronic production files.
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Without spoiling the plot and secrets for any wandering investigators, I'll do my best not to talk to much about the plot itself in this review, except for in a general sense.
First of all, I have to say that Terror was a fun investigation to play. Both me as Keeper and my players had fun roaming the streets of Moscow during the cold winter, always feeling the set of eyes watching their every step! Like they were told from the very start; "No one can be trusted." The atmosphere was pretty much spot on, save from me allowing one a rifle instead of a pistol (Hey, I don't want them to die right away, okay?). Laughs were shared, gruesome scenes were explained, and Russian accents flew left, right and center. And not to mention the mythos creatures that made my players flee in terror after failing to damage it. Good times.
However reading through the scenario several times in order to prepare it, I noticed a few things that disappointed me; firstly the timeline in the beginning of the print doesn't match up with the evidence collected by the investigators. In one instance, a wife explains that her husband was at home all day, while the Keeper timeline states he wasn't home until the afternoon. And that's not the wife lying, that's what was written in the scenario. And the inconsitency also applies to the handouts, which can't make up its mind whether or not it's 1932 or 1938.
Another complaint is a set of clues that leads nowhere. At some point during the investigation, the players have the option of visiting two different institutions, which the scenario states is optional. It is not. In order to actually finish it, they HAVE to visit a high-security building to get information on an adress, which they can ONLY get there. The other institution is pretty much a dead-end for them, even if the scenario suggest otherwise.
All in all, Terror was an enjoyable scenario to run for experienced players. Some of my players were new, but they still enjoyed it even with a sense of railroaded-ness. What bugged us the most was the unpolished feel of the whole scenario, as if the writer hadn't read through it before releasing it. Now any Keeper will have little trouble adopting and changing whatever is needed, but I'm a stern critic. There I can recommend Terror, but not without certain reservations.