Posted on November 28, 2011 by Billzilla
Available at RPGNow.com
Open Design LLC
Red Eye of Azathoth, published by Wolfgang Baur and the Open Design LLC, is an unusual adventure for Call of Cthulhu. This campaign pack has the investigators following an evil madman through centuries of effort to summon the Daemon Sultan Azathoth to earth, an event that would cause our planet’s near-total destruction.
In a unique twist, players take on the roles of different characters in each separate scenario – each time battling the same villain, who has possessed a different victim to further his diabolical ends. The pack is presented as being playable either as an extended campaign, or as a series of stand-alone adventures. Red Eye is currently only available in download or print on demand format. You can ask for it at your Favorite Local Game Store (FLGS) but chances are they can’t get it for you.
The premise of REoA is that evil entities seeded a phony, vague prophecy to lure someone into opening a rift in space so that Azathoth may enter Earth. Further, the dread god must be awakened to unleash the full force of it’s mindless fury on the world. A comet, the harbinger of Azathoth’s close proximity to our planet, passes close to the earth every hundred years as a signal that the time is right.
An ancient Chinese sorceror, Lei Peng, discovers this prophecy and, thinking it pertains to him, seeks to perform the necessary rituals. He also discovers alien technology that will allow his spirit to move from the Dreamlands to possess another human from a different time or place in order for him to be in the right location at the right time for each phase of the ritual. The alien technology requires someone to find one of these brass orbs in order for the scholar to possess that person, which means the likelihood of the scholar being present in consecutive arrivals of the comet is pretty slim. Further complicating matters are Denizens of Leng, who want to steal the technology of Lei Peng’s brass orbs so that they may possess humans, allowing the Leng-ites to inhabit other times and places besides the Dreamlands en masse, and to inflict their corrupt and terrible whims on on unsuspecting world. They do not want Azathoth summoned to destroy that which they fought so hard to conquer for themselves, though they do want to help achieve some parts of the ritual.
Red Eye of Azathoth represents a formidable challenge to the players as well as to the Keeper: in each scenario players must adopt the role of a completely different personality. Not only that, it’s conceivable they may not know what their previous selves learned in the past event. Utilizing a new skill, Incarnum, the Keeper assigns points in this skill to each of the Investigators. Players may roll against this skill in an attempt to remember critical pieces of information relating to this threat from past life experiences. The time periods of the various scenarios are 887 AD in Viking-ravaged Britain; 1287 AD in feudal Japan; 1487 AD in Spain during the Inquisition; 1587 AD in the Roanoke Colony in the New World and 1887 AD in the Arizona Territory.
One possible drawback to this group of scenarios has been the relative lack of success for Call of Cthulhu scenarios set in times other than the 1920s/1930s. However, the style of this adventure pack would lend itself perfectly to convention play. Conventions could easily host an ongoing tournament using the Red Eye Of Azathoth, with players on a literal timetable to complete each scenario in succession over the weekend.
This is an interesting concept for a Call of Cthulhu adventure. The players are required to do actual role-playing as opposed to going in guns blazing; most of the settings pre-date reasonably accurate gunpowder weapons anyway, so they’ll have to rely primarily on their wits to solve the problem. Each adventure represents a significant challenge in its own right; stringing them all together requires the Keeper to keep track of the previous adventures, as the results from the past scenario has a very concrete affect on events in the current chapter.
Red Eye of Azathoth is unlikely to appeal to every fan of Call of Cthulhu and the Lovecraft Mythos. However, it is a lovingly-crafted series of adventures that will present an interesting challenge to players with a good attitude and a reasonably high curiosity level. It is a challenging series of adventure to be sure, but well worth the effort to stave off the forces of trans-dimensional evil.
Rating: 3.5 out of Five stars