Tabletop RPG Review: Strange Aeons

Strange Aeons cover

A collection of three scenarios for Call of Cthulhu, I’d say this is a mixed bag, if generally good and worth reading for a Keeper.

The first scenario has a fairly simple concept, but its setting and the fact that the characters are all meant to be sent by the Inquisition to ferret out heretics means that some seriously complicated issues must be dealt with. I think it would be better for more experienced, more mature players, but the plot doesn’t seem challenging enough to reward. With some re-working, I think it could be a pretty cool story, especially if you were to use it as a ‘flashback’ story to supplement a more traditional 1920s or Gaslight era game.  That way some of the simplicity of what’s ‘really going on’ could play into something larger and more far-reaching.

The second story is set in the ‘future!’ of 2015 where events take place on a Moon base. There are some cool ideas in this, but the scenario is frustrating because it doesn’t feel like a stand-alone, yet is presented as one. This feels like part of a larger campaign, or series of loosely connected stories.  There are lots of hints at more coming before and more to come, but none of it is realized. It seems like something that should be revisited as part of a larger, perhaps Moon focused, campaign book.

The final scenario is by far the most involved, and takes up much of the second half of the book. It’s set in late Elizabethan England, and features William Shakespeare, among others. There is a lot to like about this one, but I still think it would need some work. I like tying The King in Yellow with the feverish creativity and deadly plagues of the time. If you were to do a King in Yellow/Hastur themed campaign, this might make a good ‘prequel’ or ‘introduction,’ to set the tone and some of the themes.

I like the idea of this book. Take several non-traditional time periods and set Call of Cthulhu stories in them. Great. It probably needed two or three more adventures, though. And I really do think “Blood Moon” should be redone as part of a larger scenario/campaign.

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