Monday, July 31, 2017

(Review) Tales of the Caribbean by Golden Goblin Press

Back in September 2015, I was one of close to 500 people who pledged towards Golden Goblin's Tales of the Caribbean.  It arrived with acceptable delay and since we've wrapped up our Cthulhu campaign for awhile, it was placed on the shelf until I got some beach side reading time in Gran Turk, the Bahamas, and the balcony of the cruise ship that took me there to start the Summer.

Tales of the Caribbean is a 148-page softcover collection of seven scenarios set in various locations in the Caribbean.  They do include a NPC to possibly create continuity between them, but each scenario can stand perfectly fine on their own. 

As I regularly do with Cthulhu scenarios, I'll do a quick overview of each one and a StatCheck breakdown.  Cool locations and events are great and all, but if the investigators can't handle the skill checks, then you shouldn't run without some adjustments.  I'll list what skill checks are written into the scenario, maximum SAN losses/gains if all situations are encountered/obtain, as well as any special bonuses, and Cthulhu Mythos knowledge that can be gained in the scenario.

The Devil Cuts In by Phredd Groves 
A Christmas tradition on the island of Monserrsat goes horribly wrong. 

Art: Music x1
Charm x2
Climb x2
Credit Rating x1
Cthulhu Mythos x1
Fast-Talk x2
First Aid x3
Jump x1
Library Use x7
Medicine x3
Other Language: Creole x1
Other Language: Latin x1
Other Language: Montserratian x1
Persuade x2
Psychoanalysis x1
Psychology x1
Sleight of Hand x1
Spot Hidden x5
Stealth x1

Max San Loss: 7-105
Max San Gain: 4-32
Bonuses: +2% to Cthulhu Mythos

Toil in the Fields by Jo Kreil
Investigators are sent to Haiti to retrieve the body to the son of an old friend.  But what happens when they find the young man, still alive on the streets of Port-Au-Prince?

Archaeology x1
Chemistry x1
Conceal x1
Credit Rating x3
Cthulhu Mythos x2
Fast Talk x3
Geology x1
Law x1
Listen x2
Locksmith x4
Medicine x1 
Occult x4
Other Language: French x2
Persuade x3
Spot Hidden x4
Stealth x3

Max San Loss:  8-57
Max San Gain:   6-23
Bonuses:  Cthulhu Mythos +5%, Occult +4%,

Crimson Eyes & Azure Pools by Jason Williams 
Investigators are summoned to when a research vessel with Miskatonic University staff and students is found abandoned in the Bahamas.   

Climb x1 
Fast Talk x1 
First Aid x1
Library Use x1
Listen x3
Occult x1
Persuade x3
Spot Hidden x8
Track x3

Max San Loss:  13-60
Max San Gain:  6-45
Bonuses: Cthulhu Mythos +1%

Wrath of the Sulfurer by Dave Sokolowski
The investigators are rushed to St Vincent to act as observers for a volcanic eruption.

Anthropology x2
Archaeology x2
Art: Painting x1
Bargain x1
Credit Rating x3
Cthulhu Mythos x1
Dodge x4
Fast Talk x1
First Aid x2
History x1
Library Use x1
Listen x3
Medicine x1
Occult x2
Persuade x3
Psychoanalysis x1
Psychology x1
Spot Hidden x2

Max San Loss: 6-41
Max San Gain:  5-26
Bonuses:  Nothing

Black as Pitch at Midnight by Oscar Rios
The investigators arrive in Trinidad and get caught up in an old rivalry started half a world away.

Library Use x1
Medicine x1
Other Language: Hindi x2
Psychology x2
Spot Hidden x1
Tracking x1
Not a lot of skill checks, but there's definitely a warning that this scenario needs experienced players/investigators.  

Max San Loss:  8-44
Max San Gain:  16-47
Bonuses: Nothing

Servant of God by Jeff Moeller
Investigators are hired to solve a murder of a Vatican Monsignor in Cuba.

Accounting x1
Library Use x6
Other Language: Spanish x2+
Persuade x1
Spot Hidden x2

Max San Loss:  12-28
Max San Gain:  3-18
Bonuses: Cthulhu Mythos +1%, Occult +1%

Night Forms a Cover for Sinners by Oscar Rios
The investigators are asked to follow up on an M.U. grad student doing research in Puerto Rico.

Botany  x1
Chemistry x1
Climb x1
Drive Auto x2
Other Language: Spanish x2+
Psychology x3
Spot Hidden x1+

Max San Loss:  7-24
Max San Gain:  4-26
Bonuses:  Cthulhu Mythos +1%, History +3-5%, Occult +5-7%

Tales of the Caribbean is great for a number of reasons.  First off, there are seven distinct scenarios included.  Each could be reasonably dropped into an existing campaign as a either a vacation interlude or an exotic mission from the hum-drum New England lifestyle. 

Second, the traditional Lovecraftian New England Mythos is turned on its ear with the Caribbean culture and climate.  

Third, by and large, they are survivable scenarios, that could easily escalate out of control depending on Investigators' action.  Black as Pitch at Midnight is the exception, but that is the only scenario that provides a warning to Keepers.  Tough characters and experienced players might get out of that encounter with smart, malevolent experienced entities with their wits or the lives, but not everyone is coming out with both. 

Finally,  *spoilers*  no Deep Ones or References to Atlantis.  Even visits to Cthulhu standards come in with new dressings.  And after reading Crimson Eyes, Azure Pools while on my cruise to the Bahamas, I looked at some of their souvenirs in a completely different light. 

With all that being sad, I give Tales of the Caribbean five out of five gnomes.  

A print copy of Tales of the Caribbean is available for $39.95 from Golden Goblin Press.

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