Monday, May 22, 2017

The Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion

Call of Cthulhu is known for it's big campaigns, whether it's the Mountains of Madness, or the Horror on the Orient Express. These types of campaigns are one of the things through with Call of Cthulhu has made it's reputation. However, there is one of these that stands above the others, and that is Masks.

I don't even have to give it's full title, most people already know what I'm talking about just with that one word. I can't think off the top of my head of any other RPG property this works with.

I have tried to run Masks twice in my life, and both times it ran out of steam. This is not an issue with the game as such, just the length of the campaign requires a little commitment, and for the stars to align in a certain sense with players real lives and availabilities.

This Companion was first released as a 550 page pdf back in 2013. The Kickstarter was finally funded (as a fundraiser for back in 2015, and the book finally came into my hands a couple of weeks ago.

There are many other posts, threads and unboxing videos around that talk about this book's arrival, so I won't go into that too much, but I would just like to comment o the size of this tome. In a way that makes sense to me, at least. That is in comparison with the actual campaign book itself.

The version of the campaign book I have is the 1996 3rd edition version of Masks, The Complete Masks of Nyarlathotep, This is a 224 page book. Please see here, some photographic comparisons of this original campaign to the newly arrived Companion.

The Companion clocks in at 729 pages. That is over twice the page count of the original book (and we're not talking about a padded out book here. The text is pretty comparable to the first. Clean, yet full. Add to that the hardback cover, and we have something that approached 3-4 times the thickness of the Original campaign book. 

Needless to say, I have not yet read all of this book (even if I have had the pdf for at least 5 years, but as I have previously mentioned, I'm not very good at reading pdfs). But what I have seen and read is of the highest quality for any gaming book, not just Call of Cthulhu, which, when we think that this was essentially an amateur work (in terms of writers) by fans, is really no faint praise. My only slight complaint is that the rules present in the book have not been updated to 7th edition. However, the simplicity of this conversion combined with the fact that there are really not many rules/stats i this book, really makes this a non-issue.

For now, I am running Horror on the Orient Express, but the arrival of this book has sparked interest in Masks. If I can keep the players, this is back on the list.

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