This is the last of the Acthung Cthulhu books that I got with the bundle that I ordered back in July. I have enjoyed reading these books and look forward to at some point in the future finishing out my collection, but that will not be for a couple of months at least if not well into the next year.
This is the third book that I have read in the crossover series, and it is the one that I am most conflicted over. In many ways this is a book in two parts, one really good, and one very disappointing.Like the rest of the books in this series, it is also split into two parts, so let us begin.
The disappointing, is the first section of this book fortunately it is only about 36 pages five of those pages a really about things that miniature gamers need to understand when they play a role-playing game. To me, this information was not inspiring and definitely not useful. The majority of this chapter covers how the Dust universe differs from both reality and the Acthung! Cthulhu universe the only problem with it is it didn’t have any narrative flow, no anima. It was just a series of facts and dates without that something to really make it sing in my imagination and make me want to jump in and play now. Which you would think would be easy enough to do especially with the premise of giant armored walking tanks being used in the battlefields of World War Two. We also get some new equipment for the setting including the armored walking tanks of the setting. This is easily the most interesting thing about this section. The last thing that I found odd was the inclusion of the character stats from the adventures to follow in this section of the book.
The good, is that the two (not one as in previous books) adventures are really good and more like mini campaigns as opposed to one shots. They have great story lines through them, but leave a lot of room to be fleshed out during play. The first one takes place in the Dreamlands and includes an assault on the Black Sun’s stronghold there and ends with a trip to New Jersey that sets up the War of the Worlds radio cast hoax as a cover-up. This adventure is primarily intended for characters from the Dust universe, but suggestions are made as to how to modify it for Acthung! Cthulhu characters. Following that we get a second adventure that includes time travel, and a race across the country to stop the end of the world. This adventure relies much more on railroading which is unfortunate. There are several events that have to happen and if the game master has not prepared for them very well, things are going to go very badly with one of the enemies and one of the good NPCs having plot immunity and the good NPC being used to provide answers anytime the players are at a loss as to what to do/where to go next.
Overall, I am the most conflicted about this book, when I originally heard about it, I was not inspired by it because I didn’t look up what it was about. When I saw the cover, I started looking forward to reading it. After finishing the first section, I was less inspired. The first adventure made up for a lot of what I felt was lacking in the first section, but the second adventure (while still a great story) was less well done.
And on a final note, a lot of this could be used if you are looking for a way to run a Gear Krieg game using Savage Worlds. Gear Krieg is a Dream Pod 9 RPG/Miniature War Game that you can find here. It uses their Silhouette Game engine and while interesting as a setting, the system is too crunchy for my taste (much closer to a GURPS or HERO system game than anything else). And with that said, I am off to read my next book.