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Mograg

Achtung Cthulhu Shadows of Atlantis

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Mograg

Just received my hardback copy of 'Achtung Cthulhu - Shadows of Atlantis' by Modiphius Press.  Gorgeous, sturdy hardback book, full-color throughout, with top-shelf production values.  It even has a black ribbon bookmark sewn into the binding.  A big book, too...fatter than the 'Achtung Cthulhu Keepers Guide to the Secret War.'  I've only skimmed 'Shadows of Atlantis'...it was just delivered today...but I found myself delighted with its high production values.  Anyone else have this very nice book on their Call of Cthulhu bookshelf?  Any thoughts?

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SJE

I'm reading through it was a slowly sinking heart- once more they've got the ratio of dry, boring factual history to pulp action ratio entirely wrong (90:10). Should pagecount in the Egypt chapter be spent discussing the British mandate or the importance of retaining control of the Suez Canal or should those pages be spent on giant rolling boulder death traps from cursed tombs? Modiphius chose incorrectly.

 

Once more Acthung Cthulhu! betrays its exclamation mark to be the least pulpy Pulp game that I've read. Still an excellent supplement for GURPS WW2 or any historical gaming you are doing.

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crazy_cat

Thats disappointing to hear. Or should that be 'thats disappointing to hear!'

I'm still waiting for both campaigns - and have avoided the PDFs as I like to read actual books. Here's hoping Mountains of Madness delivers.

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SJE

Have to say, the more I read, the more I'm reminded of the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion- the book does paint a good picture of some exotic 1920's locations such as Tibet and India.  As a background piece its really excellent in its research.

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G.Roby

Haven't read it, but I hoped they turned down the pulpyness a bit, for a gain of Indiana Jones feel. Less strange monsters, more exotic places, fist fights against nazis in and on great locations. mystic artifacts and a creepy monster and strange magic here and there. 

My first glimpse into the book delivers exactly what I was expecting and hoping for. I hope it delivers... I deeply hope, that you are wrong here. please...   :unsure:

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SJE

Haven't read it, but I hoped they turned down the pulpyness a bit, for a gain of Indiana Jones feel.

 

I'm not sure that I understand you.  Turn down the pulp, but make it more Indy (who is the ultimate in Pulp adventure) ?

 

Also did you find the core books very pulpy? I  found them so dry and historical that I didnt think they were pulpy at all except for the one chapter with mask wearing Nazi wizards.

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carpocratian

Thanks for the mini-reviews, and the links to the other one.  I was tempted to buy the main Acthung book when it first came out, but there was something about it that made me hold back.

 

There are gaming books I buy to GM/play, those I buy as references, and those I buy just to read (since it's hard to find players who like playing unusual games).  The GURPS books are a good example of ones I buy as references, with no intent to play, since I dislike GURPS mechanics.  I only buy used, heavily discounted copies of GURPS books, though.  It sounds like the Acthung books fall more in that category.

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SJE

If it helps, Assault on the Mountains of Madness is massively pulpy- it's the first AC! Title that I think is worthy of that genre- heck it's got berg ship air craft carriers made of ice and wood pulp, plus Goliath class Nazi tanks.

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PoC

Just received (thanks to @Chrisbirch at Modiphius). The colour hardcover editions of Shadows of Atlantis and Assault on the Mountains of Madness.

 

Excellent production values.

 

achtung-cthulhu-atlantis-mountains-1.jpg achtung-cthulhu-atlantis-mountains-2.jpg

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nclarke

BTW the wood pulp and ice aircraft carriers were a British invention and work was actually done on those in Canada. The material was supposedly named Pykrete after Geoffrey Pyke the eccentric inventor who was related to the possibly better known Magnus Pyke of 70's and 80's British TV fame.

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Nephalim18

Shadows of Atlantis Review

This is my review of the "Campaign".  I have GMed it.  It's an honest review based on my experiences.  You may agree or disagree - simply put, that's your prerogative!  I would say there are some "Spoilers" but I'll merely mention locations.

 

Background Content

Undoubtedly very interesting!  The problem is there is too much irrelevant information. Personally, I would have preferred the information on each plot location to have been in the relevant source books & a minimised, more highly focused outlook kept for the scenario.  So, yes, there is content (whoop-de-do!) but 90% of it is absolutely and utterly immaterial to the plot line or locations within the sections.

Scenarios Per Location

At best woeful - the writer/writers have no idea how to pace a Cthulhu game.  Each Scenario Location has so little content, that you could (even with a lot of RP) get through each area in a four to six hour gaming session.  There are some maps - mainly of city points - but nowhere near the amount you need - maps are generally poor throughout.  There is some plotline - but it's just dire!  It feels as if the writer expects any GM to backfill the areas to make them workable.

Book 1

The start of the campaign (Vienna) is a horrid "lead by the nose" pathetic attempt to engage the players - it simply doesn't work & feels awfully contrived

Rome is slightly better & may have made a better start for the campaign.  The lack of detail for the scenario, so painfully over the top in describing Rome, leaves you wishing the writer would just admit defeat and go back to writing slogans for Cat Food. Egypt - see Rome for lack of detail & plotline

Book 2

No sooner are the players utterly underwhelmed with Book 1, their characters are whipped away from them for new ones (yes you can keep the characters if you work at it). My group kept their characters.  Nepal - nice idea - but so hard to get the players up there to take part.  We ran it as a "dream sequence" before they touched down in India - with all the picked up information from the roof of the world.  India - sheesh - a lack of maps again.  Far too much needed from the GM to make the game run smoothly.  Persia - rinse and repeat...

Book 3

South America - the same issue as Book 2 - you are encouraged to give the players new characters again - WHAT THE HELL!!!

Book 4

The Finale - The Greenland Team - again, you are encouraged to have the players run with new characters...I can't even bring myself to comment anymore - it's just so substandard.

 

Conclusion

Shadows of Atlantis looks great - a lovely looking book. As soon as you start to scratch the surface you'll find that the flaws are considerable.

Basically, a novice GM could not pick this up and run it - there's too much to do to make it playable.  Compared to Masks of Nyarlathotep (or any of the Pathfinder Adventure Paths or even Classic D&D Scenarios such as Temple of Elemental Evil) this is an expensive book with minimal plot, limited direction and an extremely unsatisfying storyline.

Achtung! Should be amazing - it should be a pulp filled extraordinary "Indiana Jones meets Cthulhu whilst beating the Nazis".This is not amazing - at best, it's a relatively nice source book with some minor un-fleshed-out scenarios that leave both GM and Players (if played as written) highly unsatisfied.  Personally, I would not recommend this "Campaign" to anyone.

 

Production Values: 88%

Background Information & Content: 75%

Scenario Content: 4%

Campaign Structure: 1%

 

Overall: 42% - but realistically as a campaign - 2.5% with a pretty book & irrelevant background information.

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willmize

These are actually the reviews I love the most - NOT someone who makes a living reviewing, nor someone who hasn't even GM'd the scenario/campaign.

We, as GM's/players NEED to know this!

Just how efficient is the s/c to play?

Is it put together well, with us in mind, or just the writers wants/needs to show off in mind?

I'm not a CoC Achtung! guy, I like their FATE version better, but I sure as heck would not buy this, and that saves me money, and them more bad word of mouth.
Thank you for this review!

 

- Bill

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numtini
20 hours ago, Nephalim18 said:

Overall: 42% - but realistically as a campaign - 2.5% with a pretty book & irrelevant background information.

 

I've been playing this campaign as a player (different Keeper at least AFAIK) for the last several months and we just hit South America. From a player point of view, I would regard the above review of 2.5% as quite charitable. At least as it's played out for us, a lot of this has felt like we were being really being railroaded into the scenario then left to twist in the wind. Most scenarios also have some kind of rhythm as to how one finds information and advances the scenario, but this one just leaves me confused most of the time as to whether I'm supposed to investigate or just shoot first and ask questions later. 

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Robin

I went into the Achtung Cthulhu Kickstarter for all the stuff and I still haven't made time to read any of it yet. To date, I've not read anything that encourages me to make time to read any of it.

 

As a more general comment, there seems to be a real demand for high production values these days, but far less for interesting, useful and original content. I don't necessarily blame developers, as this is apparently what a lot of people want... but personally I end up kicking myself for wasting money on books that are ultimately art projects.

 

Regards,

 

Robin

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numtini

I don't know. The market definitely favors high production values, but when I looked at something like the Stygian Fox stuff, it's clear that there's some great new material being produced. Really ditto for the Pelgrane and Delta Green stuff.

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Nephalim18
On 04/12/2018 at 17:20, numtini said:

I've been playing this campaign as a player (different Keeper at least AFAIK) for the last several months and we just hit South America. From a player point of view, I would regard the above review of 2.5% as quite charitable. At least as it's played out for us, a lot of this has felt like we were being really being railroaded into the scenario then left to twist in the wind. Most scenarios also have some kind of rhythm as to how one finds information and advances the scenario, but this one just leaves me confused most of the time as to whether I'm supposed to investigate or just shoot first and ask questions later.  

 

In honesty I have made the whole thing work - added in loads of extra content, suspense and plotline...so my players have really enjoyed the experience.  My main gripe is....as a GM picking up a campaign book....I expect a campaign - not some pathetically rushed tosh. It pains me to see 5 and 4 1/2 stars on some websites for this product - and not even out of 100 but 5!  Methinks that the writers / publishers have gotten to the sites and had favourable reviews published - on UK Amazon this had 1 star (and that was an over eager reward) - unsuprisingly the product was pulled!

 

Just to get the scenario up to speed & playable some of the things I included are...

  • A battle against a basilisk & a 17th century imprisoned evil priest under a catherdral in Prague
  • A train top fight (OMG how is this not in the scenario already!)
  • Dogfights (one player killed a Messerschmitt pilot with a critcal rifle hit)
  • The assassination of one of the player characters...by the party for being a Nazi collaborator (when the player got kicked out the game for cheating dice rolls :P - I mean who cheats at make-believe???)
  • The introduction of the Brotherhood of Baphoment as a side line encounter in Athens (after the players fled Rome - one player now has the Spell - Baphomet's Armour, which surrounds him with a faint bulls torso outline - See Flesh Ward) which ended in a full out gun fight & the rescue of a damsel in distress.  Athens is not in the storyline at all.
  • A captured Shoggoth being used as a power source
  • The return of a Nazi enemy they thought they'd killed (ressurrected with full on facial scar, leathers and a mean streak a mile wide)
  • A whole cricket match in India (players...are such filthy tick-whores!!)

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Rayven

OH NO! I was  totally looking forward to getting this to! It looked so beautiful. :S

 

I'm not a novice to running COC but I'm not a great Keeper. :S How hard is it to make this work in real time game? Does anyone have some strong recommendations?!

 

@Nephalim18 Your comments look to be a lot of help, I can't wait till I get more time to read through and understand what I'm looking at a little better as I'm at work right now! Any other recommendations to running this one?

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Nephalim18

My group was a English Retired RAF Pilot - South African Smuggler - American Physicist (Professor) - American Adventurer (informally nicknamed Idaho Williams - lol) - An Austrian Survival Expert

 

Be prepared to add in extra elements to keep the plot line flowing - more than happy to further explore my additional ideas utilised if that helps.

Nepal - was a complete 'Dream' event - one player died in it - and lost 2 permanent Str, Sta & Dex for the pleasure - was weezing thereafter and walked with a limp

From Persia to South America - I used a portal to move the players over

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Ric

I have only skimmed the Vienna chapter so far. As my characters are all Soviet GRU operatives, I have to do major rewrites of all the A!C stuff anyway, so I guess I am less put off by having to do a lot of fill-in work than other Keepers. Still, it conforms to my general perception of so many publications nowadays - it's all about production values. I am an old guy, happy with dense text publications, as long as they are well thought out, well plotted and well crafted. Where I like to see production values is in the props. Regards maps, with Google nowadays maps can be sourced quite easily.

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