Tag Archive | "gumshoe"

Flames

Pelgrane Week: Top 10 Gumshoe RPG Reviews

Posted on May 2, 2011 by

Publisher Week | Pelgrane Press | FlamesRising.comOver the years, FlamesRising.com has provided several reviews from games and music produced by Pelgrane Press.

To kick off Pelgrane Press Week today, we dug into our archives. In this round up of our top ten Gumshoe RPG reviews, we highlight your favorite games, supplements and gaming aids.

Take a trip with us into the keep as we remember what we liked (and what we didn’t) about games like Trail of Cthulhu and Mutant City Blues.

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Flames

Pelgrane Press Week and Contest at FlamesRising.com

Posted on May 2, 2011 by

Pelgrane Press LogoFlamesRising.com is pleased to announce a new type of theme week for our readers. From Monday, May 2nd 2011 through Friday, May 6th 2011 we will highlight a specific publisher.

To launch our new theme week, we have chosen Pelgrane Press as our featured publisher. If you’ve been following our site, you may recall we have provided you with popular previews, interviews, reviews and articles in the past. Based on this publisher’s popularity in the hobby games industry and with horror fans like you, we felt Pelgrane Press was a worthy choice.

Not familiar with Pelgrane Press, its Gumshoe System and its recently announced Stone Skin Press fiction imprint? For starters, why not check out our Cthulhu Apocalypse: The Dead White World Preview, which is the first part of the highly anticipated Cthulhu Apocalypse series by Graham Walmsley. From there, we recommend reading our recent interview with Robin D. Laws, our interview with Ken Hite and our interview with composer James Semple.

For Trail of Cthulhu RPG fans, don’t forget to check out our FlamesRising.com exclusive. Robin Laws provided us with Inmates: A Campaign Frame.

Curious about the Gumshoe System? Want to play games like Trail of Cthulhu and Esoterrorists but haven’t had the cash? To celebrate our first-ever publisher theme week, Pelgrane Press is sponsoring a contest here on FlamesRising.com!

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Flames

Cthulhu Apocalypse: The Dead White World Preview

Posted on April 12, 2011 by

The first part of the highly anticipated Cthulhu Apocalypse series.

The Investigators are rendered unconscious by a train crash. When they wake they discover the world has died. White flowers cover the ground and they see, beneath the delicate petals, the faces of the dead. No other human is in sight, everyone is gone.

The struggle to survive the apocalypse takes the Investigators through Britain, across the sea to America and beyond the veils of reality.

The Dead White World contains the first three scenarios for Cthulhu Apocalypse by Graham Walmsley, author of The Purist Adventures.

Flames Rising is pleased to present an exclusive preview of this new Trail of Cthulhu product from Pelgrane Press.

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Flames

Trail of Cthulhu: The Big Hoodoo

Posted on February 8, 2011 by

The stories of rocketships and rayguns you read under cover of dark are coming to life before your eyes. Will you become a victim of Parsons’ ‘Big Hoodoo’?

The Big Hoodoo is Lovecraftian noir in 1950s California with a ripped-from-history plot centered on the explosive death of real-world rocket scientist, science fiction fan, and occultist Jack Parsons in a garage laboratory in 1952. The investigators are iconic figures active in the science fiction scene at the time of Parsons’ death, and their inquiries lead them from the mean streets of Pasadena to the edge of the Mojave Desert and the mountains of southern California as well as the beaches of Los Angeles.

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Megan

Shadows Over Filmland RPG Review

Posted on July 14, 2010 by

This work opens with ‘Double Feature,’ a scholarly essay comparing and contrasting 1930s horror movies with Lovecraft’s work: similar themes but different treatments. Lovecraft describes everything in detail while movies suggest with light and shadow, much being left to the viewer’s imagination. Many elements are common to both, but the movies have more random, innocent victims while most of Lovecraft’s bring horror upon themselves; and in the movies the monsters usually are defeated by the final reel… even if they return in the sequel! Your games will likely draw on both horror movies and the written word, and those pesky Mythos horrors have a habit of popping up in the next adventure.

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Hard Helix RPG Review

Posted on June 14, 2010 by

Hard Helix is a series of scenarios for Mutant City Blues, written by Robin Laws. The whole thing clocks in at 78 pages, including intro text and all that. This is to say, the scenarios are compact. I’ll lay it out on the table; this is a good thing. If you’ve read my review of Mutant City Blues, you’ll know that I greatly appreciate the design concepts presented. Hard Helix keeps those up. It’s a supplement packed with content from beginning to end. Robin doesn’t waste words, here.

The first adventure is Hard Helix, something of a political exercise. It has a relatively large cast, and sets up some interesting ‘canon’ characters for the setting.

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Megan

Trail of Cthulhu: Rough Magicks RPG Review

Posted on June 7, 2010 by

The Introduction lays out the intention of this work: to provide an optional systematic approach to magic that can be used within a Trail of Cthulhu game by the characters and/or their antagonists as the Keeper so chooses. Well, the antagonists probably will be using magic at times, but not necessarily according to a set of rules; their spells may be created as appropriate for the needs of the adventure being played.

The first chapter – Which Magic? – goes into greater detail about sources. Naturally, Mythos literature looms large, but Lovecraft was by and large unclear about the underlying mechanics of his magic, using it to create the desired effect without much regard to what was going on.

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Armitage Files (Trail of Cthulhu) Review

Posted on May 26, 2010 by

The Armitage Files for the Trail of Cthuhlu line offers an old idea with a fresh approach. This smart-looking book centers around ten documents (authentic looking pieces ready for handing out to players) and how Keepers can use said documents in a campaign. I call this an old idea because in-game props are a tried and true staple of gaming. Even before LARPing was an acronym, game masters handed out handwritten notes, recorded messages, weapons, or something tangible for their players to enjoy.

It’s great to have something physical to link the real world to the fictional setting. Right? Those props usually end up not amounting to very much beyond cool memories. In this book, Laws tries to show Keepers how to get serious play from in-game props.

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Flames

Castle Bravo (Trail of Cthulhu) Available Now!

Posted on May 25, 2010 by

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?

Castle Bravo is available at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop.

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Flames

The Watchers in the Sky a new adventure for Trail of Cthulhu

Posted on March 30, 2010 by

Your friends cannot be trusted, your knowledge means nothing, and everything you hold dear turns to dust.

Blending Lovecraft with Hitchcock, The Watchers In The Sky is the new adventure from Graham Walmsley, the author of The Dying of St Margaret’s.

A madman feeds the birds, paranoid they are watching him. Later, the same strange birds stare from the rooftops, warping the laws of physics and chemistry. And, when the Investigators dissect one of the creatures, they find something monstrous inside.

The Watchers In The Sky is available at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop.

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Flames

New Trail of Cthulhu Books Available Now!

Posted on September 12, 2009 by

Rough Magicks

A magic supplement for the best-selling and award winning Trail of Cthulhu, written by the master of Lovecraft Lore, Kenneth Hite.

The latest eldritch tome for Trail of Cthulhu unfolds the darkest secrets of Lovecraftian magic to the shuddering gaze of Keepers and Investigators alike! Read it … if you dare!

This book assembles the core of Lovecraftian magic from hints and allusions — and blasts all certainty aside with twelve contradictory explanations for it!

Rough Magicks is available at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop.

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Megan

Trail of Cthulhu RPG Review

Posted on July 30, 2009 by

The Introduction dives straight in to the basic premise, that ancient and insane deities exist and are still trying to invade Earth and that someone has to stop them, whatever the cost to life and sanity. It then moves on to the burning question: there’s already a Call of Cthulhu RPG dealing with just that, so why a new game? The answer lies in the Gumshoe ruleset, developed by Pelgrane Press for the purpose of running games based around investigation and discovery, and built so that any adventure depending on certain clues being found will have those clues found! It’s designed for people – Keepers and players alike – who want to concentrate on figuring out what the clues mean, rather than having to wonder if they actually have all the clues. This game also aims to enable two styles of play – the Purist style of intellectual analysis which enjoys watching the horror unfold knowing that it will end in madness; and the Pulp style which allows for a more physical approach, value the actual struggle against evil… and pays a bit more regard to character survival. The best games mix a bit of both – certainly Lovecraft’s writing did! – but as parts of the rules favour one or the other style, they are marked so players can choose the bias they prefer, if any.

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Flames

Mutant City Blues RPG Review

Posted on April 3, 2009 by

Pulp meets mutants. Can you picture it? Robin D Laws can, and did well.

The opening fiction caught my attention immediately. In two illustrated pages, it manages to cover most pulp detective crime scene tropes, and set the stage for a slightly tongue-in-cheek mutant x-factor (sorry, I had to.) Then the stage is set with a description of the game’s setting. Arbitrarily ten years in the future, the world has undergone the biggest ten years worth of change possible; due to an odd illness, people began exhibiting superpowers. Simple enough statement, but the quality comes from the explanation of how these mutants have changed sports, entertainment, law enforcement, et cetera. It’s serious, while still being able to put a gratifying smile on the reader’s face.

Review By David A Hill Jr

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Flames

Mutant City Blues RPG Available Now from Pelgrane Press

Posted on February 21, 2009 by

A stand-alone GUMSHOE game of contemporary super powers.

Ten years ago, 1% of the population gained mutant powers.

1% of the citizens means 1% of the criminals!

…and you’re the cops who clean up the mess.

EVER SINCE the Sudden Mutation Event, people have been able to fly. Phase through walls. Read minds. Shoot bolts of energy from their fingertips. Walk into dreams.

Police work will never be the same.

MUTANT CITY BLUES runs on GUMSHOE, the acclaimed investigative rules set powering the hit new game Trail Of Cthulhu. GUMSHOE offers a simple yet revolutionary method for writing, running and playing mystery scenarios. It ensures fast-flowing play, always giving you the informational puzzle pieces you need to propel your latest case toward its exciting final revelations.

Mutant City Blues is available at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop.

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Flames

The Doom from Below RPG Review

Posted on December 2, 2008 by

The Doom from Below is a stand-alone (ish) Call of Cthulhu scenario from Super Genius Games. It can be, with minimum effort, tied directly to the events in their previous adventure Murder of Crows. The PDF weighs in at 38 pages (35 of these pages are pure meat) and seems quite generous for a one-shot adventure intended for four investigators.

First, a little blurb about the adventure itself. The Doom from Below takes investigators to the depths of a two-hundred foot chasm. The descent itself is semi-treacherous while The Things Not Meant To Be Seen at the bottom are even creepier.

Review by Todd Cash

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Monica Valentinelli

Four Shadows (Trail of Cthulhu) Music Review

Posted on November 3, 2008 by

When you listen to instrumental music or a movie soundtrack in the background while you’re playing game, it’s very challenging to find music that fits a Cthulhu game. Part of the problem is that there are a lot of droning, repetitious soundtracks that sound the same from song to song. The other side to that, of course, are the soundtracks so recognizable that no matter how softly you play them, every one of your players knows what songs you’re playing. In gaming, music often plays multiple roles to heighten or enhance a mood, to “speak” to the theme of the game and to be playable whether the dice is rolling or not. In a lot of ways, music played for any game has to have a lot of variety because there’s a lot of activity going on in game that will “drown out” the music playing in the background.

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Flames

Dissonance: Music for Esoterrorists

Posted on October 28, 2008 by

James Semple, sound designer and musician offers you four new contemporary tracks for your Esoterrorists game, or any game of contemporary horror. The music here incorporates contemporary rhythms, electric guitars and sound design elements in addition to the expected orchestral and cinematic elements.

“You’ve outdone yourself with the Esoterrorists and SSF themes. My reaction to the latter was, “I want to see this movie!”
– Robin D Laws, creator of the Esoterrorists

Dissonance: Music for Esoterrorists is available at RPGNow.com.

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Matt-M-McElroy

Stunning Eldritch Tales RPG Review

Posted on September 30, 2008 by

Four Heart-Pounding Pulp Adventures for Trail of Cthulhu

The first supplement for Trail of Cthulhu this book has four new adventures written by Rodin D Laws. These pulp-style adventures are a good companion for the core book, helping folks get started with the Gumshoe system from Pelgrane Press. The book itself is 82 pages (including the handouts) and has a cover by the talented Jerome Huguenin. Most of the book’s layout is a three-column format with occasional sidebars and dark black-n-white images that show off some of the scenes for each adventure.

On with the adventures…One of the things I’m going to try to avoid in this review is revealing too many details about the adventures and the mysteries within them. That way, folks will still be surprised when they get the chance to play along. Hopefully I’ll still be able to provide enough information to let you know how useful the book is and whether or it will add to your Trail of Cthulhu game.

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Matt-M-McElroy

Trail of Cthulhu Reprint and PDF update

Posted on May 31, 2008 by

The first print-run of Trail of Cthulhu is just about sold out. That is pretty damn cool. This has quickly become one of my favorite RPGs. The Gumshoe System is easy to learn and fun to play. Check out Grim’s review of the first three Gumshoe books for a bit more detail on the system.

So, even if the first printing is gone you haven’t missed out. You can pre-order a copy of the upcoming second print over at Indie Press Revolution. The books will be shipping in the early part of July.

There are also some great deals on Trail of Cthulhu eBooks at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop. Instant download, no waiting…

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Matt-M-McElroy

New Trail of Cthulhu Releases

Posted on May 7, 2008 by

The folks over at Pelgrane Press have been busy with all kinds of new Trail of Cthulhu updates.

Over at RPGNow you can scoop up the Trail of Cthulhu Player’s Guide for $10.95. This slimmed down volume contains everything you need to play in the game. Of course, your GM should probably have the complete book, which is available at Indie Press Revolution (in a mix of options, including bundle deals) and in eBook format at RPGNow.com.

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