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Mythos Society Guide to New England
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Monica G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/20/2019 12:53:44

The Mythos Society Guide to New England is a sourcebook that doesn't contain any actual rules or adventures, but is well suited for use with the Call of Cthulhu and Cthulhu Live roleplaying games. The book primarily gives historical information about New England, of course--New England being the primary setting of the works of H. P. Lovecraft, creator of the Cthulhu Mythos, on which Call of Cthulhu and Cthulhu Live are based. The focus is on the myths and legends of supernatural or strange happenings in New England--the sort of things that would form the basis of a great Call of Cthulhu adventure.

A note for those who aren't familiar with it, Call of Cthulhu is a horror role-playing game published by Chaosium, that has been around since the 1980s. It is based on the work of H. P. Lovecraft, who wrote about evil alien monsters and black magic. Cthulhu Live is a live-action role-playing game based on Lovecraft's writings, in which players dress up in costume and act out their characters. Most of H. P. Lovecraft's stories were set in New England, thus this book is a useful aide for writing adventures based on Lovecraftian horror. Though, I should note that the book offers nothing specific to Call of Cthulhu. It's completely rules-agnostic, and usable in other role-playing games as an aide for writing adventures, or it may even be usable for authors writing short stories.

As for the contents of the book, it has a lot of great information on the six states of New England. The beginning features a nice overview of everything from the climate to the economy. Chapter 2 goes into the history of New England, with a focus on the period between WW1 and WW2. This includes a nice timeline of historical events through the 20s and 30s, the period in which most Call of Cthulhu games are set. This is followed by chapters that provide some early histoy of the region--largely about historical theories about the earliest of settlers and natives, as well as a great deal of information about native tribes. The last three chapters are probably of the most use to those looking for scenario ideas. Chapter 5 covers legends of monsters of New England, such as sea serpents and demonic whales. There are no stats or rules for these monsters, but ideas of monsters that could be adapted to any game with some work. Chapter 6, of course, covers witchcraft--which is a subject that Lovecraft explored in several stories. There is a nice overview of the subject and a list of individual witches that might fit into a scenario. The last chapter rounds out the book with a lengthy list of legends associated with each state. The authors of this review recognized a lot of what was in the list, but we felt there could have been a few other local legends included. The book still does a good job of covering most of the main legends in a good amount of detail. This is a great jumping-off point for writing up horror scenarios set in this region, with dozens of ideas that could form the basis of an adventure.

Overall, this is a nice book to have if you're a keeper for Cthulhu Live or Call of Cthulhu, or a game master in another horror role-playing game. It would even be useful for non-horror settings that take place in the 1920s or 1930s, such as the RPG Capers or even some Savage Worlds settings, and has some nice reference material for games set in the Prohibition or Depression era. Using the book to its full potential requires some creativity and effort on the part of a game keepr, but it can certainy plant the seed of a great adventure.

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Mythos Society Guide to New England
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