Tabletop RPG Review: The Compact Arkham Unveiled

Compact Arkham Unveiled cover

If you’re a Keeper for Call of Cthulhu, and you’re thinking about setting your game in Arkham, you should almost certainly get a copy of this.  Keith Herber (without any Sasquatch) gives a nice, info-packed guide to the storied city where so many of Lovecraft’s tales of horror were centered.

It starts with a brief history of the city, exploring some of its founding fathers, and the religions and political reasons for them setting up shop on the ‘ol Miskatonic River.  Including elements from Lovecraft’s tales and some general history, it brings things up to date (‘date’ being 1928), with Arkham having evolved from a mercantile village into a college town.  Along the way, some very strange things have happened, and the town bears some scars.

Pages 20 to 91 contain descriptions of people and places you might find in the city.  Most are a paragraph or so, a few longer. Wherever the Investigators might want to roam, there’s plenty of potential danger and interest.  There’s enough story fuel in this book that an Arkham-based game could go on for a long, long time, if you so desired. There’s some, but not a lot of information on Miskatonic University, but there’s a specific supplement for the school, anyway.

That’s about it.  There are no sample adventures.  There’s a handy ‘directory’ in the back, that also serves almost like an index.  The book is short, but I expect useful. I could see them revisiting a book like this for the 7th edition of the game.  I’d love to see a deeper exploration of Arkham at various eras. What was it like at its founding, during the Civil War, at the turn of the 20th Century?  There’s probably enough here for an experienced Keeper to build on, and with a bit of real world historic research, flesh out the setting for other times. But it would be nice to have it here, nonetheless.


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