Wednesday, August 27, 2014

(Review) Tales of the Crescent City

For months I've been harping on the Tales of the Crescent City Kickstarter from Golden Goblin Press, from stretch goals, to communication, to the free pdf, to the extra freebies they threw in when they shipped the book to my door. 

But now that I have a physical copy of the book, what do I think of it?

 In reviewing each scenario, I'm also including my Stat Crunch breakdown.   This breakdown lists the skill checks that are mentioned in the text, total possible SAN loss, total SAN reward, and any other possible bonuses, such as max Cthulhu Mythos gain.

Tell Me, Have You Seen the Yellow Sign?
Anthropology x1
Bargain x2
Biology x1
Chemistry x1
Climb x1
Conceal x1
Credit Rating x7
Cthulhu Mythos x11
Dodge x1
Fast-Talk x2
Hide x1
Law x4
Library Use x3
Listen x1
Lockpicking x2
Natural History x1
Navigate x2
Occult x3
Other Lang: French x2
Persuade x1
Psychology x7
Spot Hidden x2
Track x1

Max SAN loss:  8-156
Max SAN reward: 4-27
Bonus:  +6% to Cthulhu Mythos
             +1d6% to Credit Rating.

Originally published in Great Old Ones, Kevin Ross updated and revised it for this collection.  It's the classic "Reporter dies by mysterious causes.  Ready?  Investigate!"  scenarios, only set in Mardi Gras.    This one could very well be a campaign ender, under even experience players/characters, but you may not even discover what you need to with ELEVEN Cthulhu Mythos checks.   Still, there are multiple avenues to get to the end, and the end is not a complete disaster.  If your running a New Orleans campaign, this is more a subtle finale that a good opening.

Bargain x1
Credit Rating x5
Cthulhu Mythos x2
Fast Talk x5
French x3
History x1
Library Use x2
Navigation x5
Persuade x4
Pilot: Boat
Psychology x2
Spot Hidden x3

Max SAN loss: 2-18
Max SAN reward: 0
Bonus:  +2 Cthulhu Mythos
Credit Rating Loss: -10% 

Bloodlines covers the scenario of what happens when the first investigators perish and the second group find all their stuff.  There's little actual research involved here, as the information is handed to them in spades and the the investigators just need to know when to tread carefully.  The second part's ending is anti-climatic, as all clues head to a location where nothing can truly happen.   The third act does make an interesting moral quandry for the party, which helps explain no SAN reward being offered.  Still, most non-idiotic investigators should be able to stay alive, avoid angering dark Gods, and be hapy to get out alive, and Bloodlines offers a fairly easy filler scenario, with just enough leads to connect to other scenarios in this book.

Archaeolgy x1
Bargain x1
Biology x2
Chemistry x2
Credit Rating x2
Cthulhu Mythos x5
Fast Talking x5
First Aid x1
Grapple x1
History x2
Hypnosis x1
Law x2
Library Use x11
Medicine x3
Natural History x2
Occult x5
Other Lang: French x1
Persuade x4
Pharmacy x2
Psychoanalysis x3
Psychology x5
Sneak x1
Spot Hidden x4

Max SAN loss: 10-82

Max SAN reward: 6-31
Bonus: +1 Cthulhu Mythos

The Investigators befriend a doctor that's been attacked, and then are forced to deal with an Egyptian diety.  Mutliple character types get to shine in one of the three parts of the scenario:  Con men in the first, Researchers in the second, and Scientists in the third.  While the max SAN loss would only result in truly catastrophic events, the possible SAN reward appears to be way to high for the challenge faced.

The Quickening Spiral
Credit Rating x2
Fast Talk x4
Library Use x4
Occult x1
Pilot Boat x2
Psychology x2
Persuade x5
Spot Hidden x4

Max SAN loss: 3-31

Max SAN reward: 0(!)
Bonus: +4 Cthulhu Mythos
Bonus: +10% Credit Rating
A mysterious plague hits New Orleans and only the investigators can solve it!  Very straightforward with few rolls to obtain information.  The information is just doled out like a family style dinner.   Worse yet, they can save New Orleans from a deadly plague, but don't get the chance to earn any reward.  It's got the opposite problem as with Needles.

Song and Dance
Art: Music x1
Art: Dance x1
Climb x1
Credit Rating x8
Cthulhu Mythos x1
Fast Talk x10
Jump x1
Library Use x6
Locksmith x2
Medicine x1
Occult x3
Other Lang: French x1
Persuade x11
Pilot Boat x1
Spot Hidden

Max SAN loss: 3-31
Max SAN reward: 0(!)
Bonus: +4 Cthulhu Mythos
Bonus: +10% Credit Rating

This is one of better layered scenarios in the book.  Greek Mythology.  Pre-Mardi-Gras festivities.  Worldwide events. Dance Contests.  What more do you need.  There are plenty of allies to help the investigators' cause, as well as plenty of enemies to hinder.  There is a very heavy reliance on the social skills, but that and Credit Rating are king in New Orleans high society.  Again, we see no particular SAN rewards for successfully completing the scenario, although  the physical gifts may well make up for it.

Five Lights at the Crossroads
Credit Rating x2
Cthulhu Mythos x2
Fast Talk x4
Library Use x1
Listen x1
Locksmith x1
Medicine x1
Occult x7
Other Lang: French x1
Persuade x3
Psychoanalysis x1
Psychology x1
Sneak x1
Spot Hidden x2

Max SAN loss: 8-152
Max SAN reward:  2-12
Bonus: +1% Cthulhu Mythos
Bonus: +1% Occult
A mysterious, gruesome death leads the investigators on a wild goose chase towards a potentially  cataclysmic end.   The notes state the this scenario could serve as a coda to a New Orleans campaign.  I'm leary to use it for anything but that.

Asylum: The Return of the Yellow Sign
Accounting x1
Archeology x1
Art (Literature) x1
Credit Rating x11
Cthulhu Mythos x3
Disguise x1
Hide x2
Law x3
Library Use x5
Listen x7
Locksmith x1
Occult x5
Persuade x5
Spot Hidden x9

Max SAN loss: 19-158
Max SAN reward 8-44
Bonus: 2-7% Credit Rating

The second of Kevin Ross' selections, this one returns to the same subject matter "Have you Seen,"  although it's got a heavy dose of Mythos inevitability at the end.  Still, if the investigators choose wisely, they do have a decent chase of survival.  Although the Cthulhu Mythos checks have calmed down a bit (and bit more reliance on NPC occultists), the ELEVEN Credit Rating checks may hamper the investigation.

All in all, Tales of the Crescent City is a fantastic book.  Most of the scenarios allow terrible horror with some narrow chances of redemption... and that's just dealing with New Orleans high society.  My only quibbles are on the Keeper side, as some scenarios give Monty Haul scale rewards while in others, death is the only reward you can earn.  Still, I'm incredibly satisfied with this product from Kickstarter campaign to hard copy in my hands.   I may need to run a one shot or two for the group, since the current CoC campaign is engaged far from New Orleans.

On the Gaming with the Gnomies Five Gnome Rating System, I give Tales of the Crescent City four gnomes.

No comments:

Post a Comment