An Informal Review of Goblinoid Games’: Realms of Crawling Chaos
I have to admit, I do not read or watch much in the horror genres anymore. However, I am a Lovecraftian Horror fan and reread H.P. Lovecraft’s works over and over again.
Recently, I purchased the PDF version of the well-crafted Realms of Crawling Chaos. From his introduction of the campaign guide, it is obvious that Dan Proctor feels similarly about Lovecraft’s works as I do – that they should be approached in a fresh sense as they were presented and not so much as others have interpreted them over time. So, with a half-skeptical eye, I read through the 66 pp. supplement and tried to find out if there would be anything I would like or dislike.
First off, if you are looking for a places or world guide, this isn’t it. I would just recommend you read Lovecraft’s tales and let them build it for you. In one sense, this was refreshing. The almost near-codification that other Cthulhian games have created of such things is therefore avoided, giving the Gamemaster or Labyrinth Lord complete control over their campaign. It does talk about Lovecraft’s type of dark fantasy and an overview of the “worlds” in Lovecraft’s works. Realms of Crawling Chaos gives the GM/LL much to use in creating a campaign setting or inserting the creations of Lovecraft to your current one. That is one of the things that I like about the Realms of Crawling Chaos; it is adaptable for many game systems and types of play, while still giving you a solid foundation and many great features.
The Character Races section is very well done. The White Ape and White Ape Hybrid races particularly pleased me. The Thief Skill Adjustments table might need tweaking to be a bit less favorable to the White Ape, but besides that I was really digging them as a Race/Class! There are others there, but I would encourage you to pick up a copy and check them out.
All of the arcane Lovecraft potions and elixirs in the New Magic section are devilishly wonderful. My campaigns have always included Lovecraftian elements and now I have some potions to slip into those elements of it. The Fluid of Reanimation is a well-done adaptation for Labyrinth Lord and other game systems. I can see this being something made available to a party of adventurers where no Clerical or other resurrection means are accessible. If you have read the Herbert West tales, then you know the results can be quite interesting at times. I am glad this chance has been kept in Crawling Chaos.
Even if all of the previous material was not a wonderful as it is, the Monsters section alone would have made the purchase of Realms of Crawling Chaos worth it. Now I have all of the creepy critters and freaky beings of Lovecraft’s writings given stats, abilities and hints as to play. I especially kept my tentacles and eyes on the treatment of Cthulhu, himself. The way Cthulhu is presented makes him both very powerful and in accordance with how he is presented in Lovecraft’s works. The characters can certainly enjoy battling this iteration of the Great Old One!
It is the quality products produced by Goblinoid Games and those partnering with them that make them so attractive. They can be fitted seamlessly into LL or almost any Retro Clone game system. The Gamemaster is encouraged to use their own ideas and to modify things as suits their taste. I haven’t mentioned it yet, but the artwork captures the genre and is visually appealing.
There are even more goodies that I have not touched on: Artifacts and the very cool Reading of Eldritch Tomes, Psionics and Literary Sources, but you should inspect these for yourself. I will give you a hint, though. After reading Realms of Crawling Chaos, on a roll of 14 on a d20, you may be struck feebleminded.
Get Realms of Crawling Chaos and you too can unlock the gateway to other dimensions, if you dare. I hear the chant of the cultists who have discovered that I possess this tome of forbidden secrets, so I must go quickly now. Remember you have been warned!
Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn…