miércoles, 22 de mayo de 2013
Photo-reviewing: The House of R'lyeh
Here it is! Directly from Chaosium’s Headquarters in the golden California, the highly expected (at least by me) House of R’lyeh. It is going to take me a while to read it properly and give you some deep thoughts about it, so meanwhile I bring you a few pictures.
Cover by Scott Purdy, absolutely fantastic. Just one thing, do we know for certain that Cthulhu has teeth (or even a mouth under those tentacles):
A classic, Chaosium blue back:
The introductory page of each of the five scenarios, starting with “The Art of Madness”, by David Conyers:
“The Crystal of Chaos”, by Brian Coutermanche:
“The Return of the Hound”, by Glyn White:
“The Jermyn Horror”, by David Conyers:
“Nameless City, Nameless Terrors”, by Brian M. Sammons:
The layout is pretty simple, with two columns written with a large font size, similar to what we found in Atomic-Age Cthulhu. Is this going to be a new standard? On the one hand, I like big letters because it is easier to read with this crappy eyes of mine, on the other hand, isn’t a little bit like cheating? It is roughly a book as big as H.P. Lovecraft’s Arkham, but it certainly has less stuff. There is no watermark as such, but there is a gargoyle (or something like that) on each page. Certainly not the best choice for me.
There are not many pictures in the whole book and most of them are very small, the usual passport-picture for the characters, and none of them are full-page (or even half page). Still, the existing ones are good.
A ghoul from “The Art of Madness”:
A character from “The Return of the Hound”:
And the Temple of Cthulhu, from “Nameless City, Nameless Terrors”:
These pages with maps, pictures and notes don’t look bad at all, do they?
And some old pictures that make the “The Jeremyn Horror”, the coolest scenario (visually):
I found two things that made me think very badly of the publishing/editing process (as I said, merely from its appearance . The first one is an uninportant detail: the statistics of the NPCs are written in two different style, small font size for the first two adventures and average size for the other three. There is a further “problem” regarding NPCs statistics, sometimes appear at the end of the scenario, sometimes they don’t. I do not think this is a big deal, but suggests me that they could have worked the editing a little bit more, choosing one format, whichever one, for the whole book.
Here you have an example of the small font:
And another one of the large one:
The other one is, in my opinion, a far more relevant issue. There are no handouts. Or to be precise, they are, but they are spread over the adventure, and as very simple text box. The only exceptions are some of the handouts for “The Return of the Hound”, which do appear as an appendix, although their appearance is even simpler than the regular pages: a white, one-column text.
This is an example of the “Papers”:
And this is one from the aforementioned appendix:
It think this last problem could be easily fixed with a little bit of work from Chaosium, offering a downloadable file with all the handouts (and if possible, in such a way that they are a little bit more than just plain text).
Aesthetically the book is nothing to write home about, but from what I have been able to skim, the content looks pretty interesting. Dear friends, wait a couple of weeks for the final verdict. Dear Chaosium friends, please, please, please make your books more attractive. They do not have to be pieces of art, but something that tells us that is worth having the physical book rather than having just the pdf.