So its been a while since we did any serious reviews here at Miskatonic, the most recent being the intriguing game of Lovecraftian horror, “Macabre Tales”, with its initially bizarre sounding but actually very satisfying dominoes based game mechanics. Well then all of a sudden I have had a chance to take a look a flurry of different products and over the next few days will post my thoughts along with a few recommendations for our readers.
Having mentioned “Macabre Tales” already, lets start with an adventure for that very system; “The Secret Of The Dead Man’s Satchel” from Spectrum Games (www.spectrum-games.com). This 15 page adventure is nicely presented, the artwork is of the standard found in the main rules and it is written in a clear and concise fashion. It is designed to work, like the main game, with just two players – a GM and a primary protagonist – reflecting the majority of Lovecraftian tales. That said it is easily adjusted to accommodate two or three players. The adventure is set in 1931 US and requires a City location with a nearby rural community. The story itself – without giving out any spoilers – revolves around the receipt of a mysterious package which lures the character(s) into some extremely perilous encounters. There are parts of the tale that players and games-masters alike will recognise, there are some classic elements to the story, but it is in no way derivative.
With two pages of NPC details, a page of handouts, and a nice synopsis, the scenario proper divides neatly into three acts with a final “Wrapping Up” or epilogue to sort out any repercussions of the adventures outcome.
In my opinion its a great one night adventure, brilliant fun for two players, but I believe it works even better with a pair of player characters. If we were the kind of website that gave marks out of five this would definitely get four and a half and I’d only hold back that half because I know that there are people out there who won’t warm to the dominoes mechanic employed within “Macabre Tales”. For my part however, I think it is genius and I will find any excuse to make people I know play this game. Available as a watermarked PDF from DrivethruRPG for $3.99 (currently discounted to just $2.99), this is great value for anyone who has invested in the “Macabre Tales” rule set.