Categorized | RPGs

Investigator Weapons: Volume One (Call of Cthulhu) Review

Posted on May 22, 2012 by spikexan

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    When I first got this assignment, I was underwhelmed. Why on Earth would I care about guns from a century ago? I’m not the manliest guy in my gaming group. I zone out when people start talking weapons and cars. Tell me you’re shooting at the red convertible with your rifle and I’m good. I know for the Purists out there that is a lot more to it than that, but that’s your game, not mine. I’ll research a little out of love for my gamers, but I’ll be researching the occult side of the horror game quite a bit more.

    I mention all of this because this book seemed to be akin to the ultra-horrible World of Darkness: Combat book or some lame D&D PDF for an arrowhead. As much as my ego forbids me to say this, I will: I was wrong about this book.

    Maybe it’s the history buff in me or maybe I just like old weapons more than I thought. Whatever the reason, the angle this book took won me over. Now that I’ve gotten all personal with you, let me tell you about the darn thing.

    What you get with this PDF is 130+ pages of information about weapons of the era along with a few extra files for charts and specially crafted Investigator sheets. And I should point out that this book is geared towards the player, not the Keeper (though any Keeper worth his or her salt will make excellent use of it).

    Starting with the cover art, I liked the look. It breaks away from typical Call of Cthluhu or even Delta Green by having sexy Goth-inspired gun-molls emptying a Tommy gun while a grizzled Senior Citizen reminds you just how dangerous one has to be to make it to 65 while battling the Mythos’ many minions. The artwork is a mix of drawings, photography, old advertisements, and more. It’s a terrific blend of flavors the fit the writing so very well. The layout of the book is simple, but with enough fonts and layout tricks that it has a certain Great Gatsby feel to it. The great charts seemed free of contradictions though I confess I should let one of my weapon-loving friends take a closer look at those bits.

    Vortisch’s take on the subject won me over after only a few pages into the book. Yes, this is a book on weapons of the 1920s and 30s. A slew of gun and knife drawings like those from the old Palladium collections would have left this gamer cold. Instead, he opens with rule tweaks for Call of Cthluhu. Readers get rules for shooting when it’s too cold or too hot, shooting at something underwater, quick draws, and much more. It then delves into the world’s views on weapons during these twenty years. Want to know how Australian authorities might react to your group of Investigators having a shootout in downtown Sydney? See page 20. Page 25 tells readers where their characters can purchase guns in key cities, along with a street address for those lazy Keepers.

    And it is in these details that this book comes out a winner. By the time I reached pictures of guns with their stats beside them, I was hooked. Pistols lead to rifles, which leads to bigger and better things. Before the reader knows it, they are on the chapter about flamethrowers and grenades.

    And everyone knows how fun it can be to lob that single explosive in the ever-forgiving Call of Cthluhu setting.

    70% or so of the book is game stats for firearms, but each weapon gets enough treatment into their history and the likelihood of happening upon them that the research to make this book happen impressed me repeatedly. I didn’t want to like this book, but I did. I think fans of the game or weapon buffs will too.

    Review by Todd Cash

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