The Stars Are Right

The Stars Are Right

The Stars Are Right
From: Chaosium, Inc
Reviewed by:Ron McClung

The Stars Are Rightis a new Adventure Sourcebook from Chaosium, Inc. The Stars Are Right!is a collection of modern day adventures forCall of Cthulhu RPG (CoC). This is the second edition of these particular adventures and also contains two new adventures.

From page #7:
“The line that separates petty human evil from ravening horror is easily crossed.”

Love’s Lonely Children, by Richard Watts – the first adventure – takes the investigators deep into the dark world of drugs, sex and rock & roll. Immediately upon reading the first few pages, I felt that this was not really meant for younger readers. The evil and darkness this delves into is meant for more mature minds, although one could say most horror is anyway. A very imaginative GM could take this to several layers of twisted-ness and horror. It follows the strange and ghastly experiments of a pornographer who has exhausted all possible worldly vices and is looking for more from beyond the physical world.

Nemo Solus Sapit (orNone is Wise Alone), by John Tynes, takes place in a fictional pacific coast city previously mentioned in a CoC adventure, At Your Door, but this time it takes the investigators to a progressive and modern psychiatric facility. Although the adventure gives an alternate beginning, the recommended start to the adventure is to actually commit one of the insane characters in the party to this facility. Being insane already, it assumed that this is a “disposable character” because he does not last long in the adventure and acts as a plot device for the rest of the adventure. It is an interesting way to introduce a group to an adventure and an interesting adventure overall. It is definitely for advancedCoCplayers.

This Fire Shall Kill, by Andre Bishop, takes place on the Pacific Coast again and begins with the burning of the a character’s home. This is another innovative adventure with an interesting start or hook. An adventure that has the players investigating a group of evil firefighters, I would think this may offend those that might be still over-sensitive of the portrayal of firefighters as evil in this day and age. However, I am sure that wasn’t an issue when this was written. It deals with a series of mysterious murders and the sinister cult of the fire god Cthugha.

The Professionals, by Fred Behrendt, takes an interesting turn once again, delving into the political realm (which is a very dangerous place to go for me because I am a very politically-minded person). An insidious alien intelligence is secretly imposing itself into American politics, and the players are just a few of the pawns in the intrigue it has hatched. The plot is so deep and winding that the text even says that the investigators may never completely understand what is going.

Fractal Gods, by Steve Hatherly, is an interesting adventure that also hits close to home for me – dealing with computers. The mystery surrounds a computer programmer and artist who toyed with ancient knowledge he should not have and opened a door to another dimension letting in horrors beyond his imagination. Although some of the technology is somewhat dated, it is still very inspiring and interesting.

From page # 82:
“Beyond the mundane worlds of man are countless other dimensions and planes of existence.”

The Gates of Delirium, by Gary Sumpter, is an adventure that personally links the characters to a young lady in trouble in New York City. It is a twisted tail of arcane drugs, a mad scientist, extra dimensional hauntings and a young girl’s fragile mind. It is an interesting light tail that could act as a start of a larger campaign. This is also one of those adventures that is not necessarily fixed in the modern era.

The Music of the Sphere, by Kevin A. Ross, takes place in Nebraska, near the Great Plains Cruciform Array (GPCA) – a radio telescope facility. The player investigators are drawn into the adventure through a murder investigation that leads to the GPCA and an alien discovery it made a few months ago. This is a cool adventure that can turn into a very interesting “Aliens/The Thing” type of adventure, with the location more or less isolated from civilizations and the investigators more or less on their own. This adventure quickly devolves to a game of survival as the players are caught between two forces of evil. I’d run this game, without a doubt.

Darkest Calling, by David Conyers, is an investigation within the hot and dry deserts of Arizona and American Indian culture. This also is an adventure that is timeless, with little modification. It deals with a long vanished Indian tribe and their secret of a trapped creature in a well. I would say, along with theGates of Delirium, this is what I would call a standardCoC-investigation.

The Source and the End, by William Jones, is another standard adventure that can be placed in any era. It takes place in an old mining town lost to the ages that is infested with something dark and sinister. It is a longer but more fast-paced adventure because time is of the essence for the investigators.

When the Stars Came Right Again(essay), by Steven C. Rasmussen and D.H. Frew, is without a doubt an interesting, if not wordy read. Amazingly well written and very eloquent in its presentation, this essay fictitiously summarizes the occult powers one can derive from astrology. It is quite an educating read about gates and their relation to the positions of the stars and planets.

In conclusion,I have to say that back in the day, when I was really intoCall of Cthulhuand running it as often as I could, I focused on the 1920s era because I felt there was a certain vulnerability to the characters in that era that added to the horror. Running in the modern era seemed to take away from the horror for me. However, with the advent of the dark modern crime investigation genre likeCSI:and its spin-offs as well as many of the shows that tried to copy it, I can see whereCthulhuhorror in the modern era could really work. Upon opening upThe Stars Are Right,I already got the CSI-feeling and developed an urge to run these twisted and horrific adventures.

The overall writing is varied, because there are so many different writers involved in this project. Some are great, some are good, but nothing is bad. Some but not all have a concise summary of the adventure in the Keeper’s Information, which I like to have upfront. They are all well laid out and give the GM plenty of information and options to make sure the characters are not railroaded (a common peril inCoCgames).

For more details on Chaosium, Inc and their new Adventure Sourcebook “The Stars Are Right” check them out at their websitehttp://www.chaosium.comand at all of your local game stores.

The Stars Are Right
From: Chaosium, Inc
Type of Game: Adventure Sourcebook
Written by:Richard Watts, John Tynes, Andre Bishop, Fred Behrendt, Steve Hatherly, Gary Sumpter, Kevin A. Ross, David Conyers, William Jones, Steven C. Rasmussen and D.H. Frew.
Cover Art by: John T. Snyder
Additional Art by: Blair Reynolds, Steven Gilberts, Chris Hill, Jason Whitley
Number of Pages: 176
Game Components Included: One softback adventure book
Game ComponentsNotIncluded: CoreCall of Cthulhurulebook
Retail Price:$ 23.95
Item Number: 23100
ISBN: 1-56882-177-8

Reviewed by: Ron McClung