Saturday, October 28, 2017

Two products deserving a second look; England Upturn'd, and Clockwork & Cthulhu

... or how I was wrong about two great game products.
I chimed in to Bryce Lynch's review of England Upturn'd  and agreed with many of his points sited. Then I found myself returning to England Upturn'd again and again during my Clockwork & Cthulhu campaign. Not only that, but I mentioned in game I thought the Clockwork & Cthulhu sourcebook from Cakebread & Walton was "a bit thin" in game to my players. I need to reassess these two opinions in light of the milage I have gotten out of these products for my BRP Cthulhu &  Chivalry campaign. 

England Upturn'd by Barry Blatt is still an adventure I would not run whole cloth, but very rarely do I use an adventure as presented so this should not be taken as a knock. The module does provide information on the political divisions found within English society during the civil war. As a "Yank" I am not well versed in the scope and sweep of the English Civil War and I think most people running a period piece game will find the description of the different "sides" in this complex and consequential war useful. Barry puts in enough to run you initial adventure. After this if your game continues you will want to pick up some real history. No adventure is going to give you, nor should it, a comprehensive view of this conflict. I believe some of my initial frustration with England Upturn'd was mostly my perturbation realizing I had to do some of my own research to run my campaign to my satisfaction. But what these 128 pages gives you are useful disease and weather tables, laundry list of useful NPC's, plenty of plot hooks and enchanted items, useful locations and maps, and art which puts forth the absolute brutal nature of the times. As a PDF the value is met and exceeded.

Clockwork & Cthulhu, yes it only clocks in at 159 pages but there isn't a piece of this book I have not used. My first impression of the three scenarios was meh, but I have gotten so much milage out of just one of the scenarios it is kind of ridiculous. Same for the mythos, bestiary and factions chapter. When you have had to tape the book together and it becomes heavily tabbed and highlighted, well, I find this the operative definition of "utility".

At the end of the day these two publications have given my campaign game an essential framework which I and my players have been able to embellish with our own ideas and given us all a "believable" world in which to run around in burning warlocks and demons and such. So if you plan on running a sixteenth century English campaign I recommend these two books highly for the Game Master.

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