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Review – Age of Cthulhu: Shadows of Leningrad by Goodman Games

June 14, 2010 | | Comments 1
Age of Cthulhu: Shadows of Leningrad is the latest offering by Goodman Games. It is volume 3 of their 1920’s horror RPG adventure line, for use with Chaosium’s BRP system and the Call of Cthulhu RPG.
This installment brings players into Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution, at the very beginnings of the communist Soviet Union. But of course, while this adventure takes place in a fascinating period of history, there is something strange and maddening afoot.

Mike Ferguson has done an excellent job writing this adventure. The plot of this story is non-linear (players can go to different locations in different orders), which is difficult  to do in an adventure that is heavily investigation based. However, this module does well in seeding the story and continuing the flow of discovery. The plot is interesting, captivating, and most importantly, Cthulhuesque.

The author also does a great job blending the history into the adventure. I am no historian, and I did not fact-check his work. That said, I can tell you, that the ambience and scenery feels authentic.

One issue that can plague high-investigation adventures, is the combat encounters. It is the nature of the beast that the players are constantly being “jumped” or running into the wrong crowd, when they aren’t the ones looking for the fight. However,  this adventure does a great job of tying the combats to the story. Thus, keeping the dark horror feel throughout the game.

And speaking of creatures, the final combat includes one of my favorite creatures of all time.  A creature that rarely sees ink time in an RPG game. I am not going to say what it is for spoiler reasons, but the front cover provides some hints.  It was very exciting for me personally.

One of the things that I have seen the Call of Cthulhu line of adventures do better (as a whole) than most other games is its use of handouts. “Shadows of Leningrad” is no different. The handouts are well done, and very interesting. And of course, very Cthulhuesque. One is particularly creepy.  You will know when you see it.

Everyone is familiar with the stacks and stacks of new books when going into your local game store.  So, who should pluck this adventure from the pile?

If you regularly play Call of Cthulhu, this is a great investigation to add to your to-do list. If you are out slaying dragons and orcs, but long for something different, you can’t go wrong with this one. If your game group is wanting something requiring more thought, puzzle solving, and investigation, this is what you seek.

I can do nothing but recommend this adventure. It is available now at your FLGS, the Goodman Games online store, or via PDF at various online RPG retailers. It is priced very well at $12.99 (8.99 for the PDF). You should get 2-3 gaming sessions out of this product, depending on how thorough the players investigation and roleplaying is. If you are unfamiliar with the BRD system, you can download a free quick start guide for the Call of Cthulhu rules on the Chaosium website.

For the sake of the world, while investigating in the Shadows of Leningrad, please try to maintain your sanity! Else, the Great Old One will takes us all!

Enjoy,

Haaldaar

Full disclosure: This adventure was provided for review by goodman games.

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About the Author: My first experiences with serious gaming came from the Hero Quest board game. I then made the next step to the RoboTech RPG and a lunchtime meeting of AD&D Oriental Adventures. My interests now are pretty much the same. Boardgames and RPGS. Some of my favorites boardgames are currently Settlers of Catan, Wings of War, Battlestar Galactica, and Space Alert. For RPGS, it is Aces & Eights and Chronicles of the Shattered Empire (Arcanis). But I am always down for a good round of Dungeons & Dragons.

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