Posted on November 18, 2009 by spikexan
Available at RPGNow.com
Super Genius Games brings us another piece of Lovecraftian horror with After Lovecraft: The Cold Case of Robert Suydam. Lovecraft’s creations have been responsible for a tremendous amount of gaming material. The After Lovecraft project takes an innovative approach to Lovecraft’s work. This line transforms Lovecraft’s writing into in-game materials. Since many of Lovecraft’s tales come from the First Person perspective, they make wonderful “diaries.”
You can even download the source material at supergeniusgames.com should you or your players need it (or you want to trick it out as an in-game prop). Because awesome people work at Super Genius Games you can also find a copy within the game as a handout.
The smart layout to TCCoRS consists of some simple black bordering that shifts into blood splattering at the outside of each page. Major headings have a slightly off (some say demented font) that works for this game while the rest of the book is a single-column style with rather large font. It may not be nursing home font, but it’s close. Character sheet handouts are a little on the bland side, but do have all the things one needs to play with them.
Kent Bonifield, the game’s sole artist, has an intriguing style that works most of the time.
His creepy cover art depicts a group of children standing upon a rooftop. One girl stands on a rafter that protrudes from the building like a makeshift plank. Her open-stretched hand suggests she just let something fall over the side, but her role in the story does suggest at least one other possibility for her strange pose (and I ain’t giving it away). I like the sketchy artwork throughout the book for the most part. The cover is nice and I like the face depictions on the character sheet.
In truth, the only piece I don’t like is on page 18. It shows the cast members in the midst of a firefight. Some of the dimensions seemed a bit off to me as the heroes battle cultists in true pulp style. Artwork isn’t overabundant in this book, but it seems appropriate for the book’s size.
Dakan’s writing makes for a good scenario. It offers a clear story with a little bit of wiggle room for those lovable players who just continue pulling the rug out from underneath the story. The book starts with an overview of what to expect in optimum conditions. From there, it breaks the story into acts. I’d say that this game is hard to get into a single night’s session. Because it can be used with pre-existing characters, it’s hardly an issue.
Dakan shows a remarkable attention to detail without dragging down the read during the eighty-plus page book. His NPCs are colorful characters that can easily keep players on their toes (a few red herrings exist to throw paranoid players). Statistics for NPCs come throughout the book as they are needed rather than at the end of the book in one section. I find that I like this approach a bit better, but prefer when all the NPCs are gathered in an appendix as well (in case I need to print them out). For this size story though, it works the way it’s written.
Players and Keepers should enjoy this story in that it seems like small fries until the jumbo-sized ending. There is even an option of play where a group of Investigators tried to complete this adventure, failed, and left the new Investigators with a big ol’ whopping mess to clean up. My scores for TCCoRS are:
Layout: Four out of Five Dice (the border isn’t so original, but I like the clean layout and neat fonts)
Artwork: Four out of Five Dice (I need to see more from this artist to see how I much I really like his style; however, I like it well enough here)
Writing: Five out of Five Dice (Good adventures at a different pace)
Overall: Five out of Five Dice (Love the inventive approach to Lovecraft . . . Lovecraft as Gospel)
Review by Todd Cash