Posted on May 25, 2010 by Flames
It’s 1954, and you’re a sailor or scientist aboard the USS Bairoko, an “escort carrier” detailed to support secret nuclear bomb tests in the Marshall Islands. The bomb goes off in the Bikini atoll, the ship gets a light dusting of radioactive fallout, and now the crew is acting crazy, distress calls are coming in from monitoring stations around the blast site, and strange blips are showing up on the radar screens. What do you do?
Bill White writer of Castle Bravo, and creator of the Ganakogok RPG says:
I think of Castle Bravo as Lovecraft meets atomic horror. I forget where I saw this–maybe the Illumina tus trilogy–but somewhere it’s been pointed out that some of Lovecraft’s monsters can be read as prefiguring horrors of modernity. When Azathoth is described as a “seething nuclear chaos,” in other words, what else can we picture but a roiling mushroom cloud rising over ground zero? One of Castle Bravo’s playtesters, a fellow named Sam Zeitlin, made a similar point. “Maybe,” he said, “the real horror is the atomic bomb.”
I give Pelgrane Press high marks for its playtesting process; I got a huge number of detailed reports from GMs and players telling me what they liked and disliked about the adventure, and I was able to use many of their suggestions to make running it easier for the Keeper, and to improve the storyline. I revised the playtest draft extensively after running it at Dreamation in February 2010. If you played a previous version, you will not recognize the adventure; it’s much more coherent as a narrative, more tightly focused as a design, and creepier as an experience while still preserving the central Lovecraftian conceit.
The adventure in its final form takes advantage of that insight, and I think the adventure is satisfying as a result.
Castle Bravo is available at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop.