Call of Cthulhu Keeper Screen
While DnD may be the current front man of tabletop RPGs, Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu enjoys a large popularity among players, especially here at Encounter Roleplay. The creepy atmosphere combined with Lovecraftian horrors offers a unique experience not found in many games. The amount of supplementary materials may not be as extensive as the DnD library but there are a few quality products available including the nice Keeper Screen.
As far as most TTRPGs go the DM screen has never really been a required accessory. It is nice to have and usually has some helpful information for the person running the game on the back and of course keeps your player’s eyes off of your sneaky rolls, but you can run the game without it. Chaosium knows this and in order to entice customers to purchase their screen they package with several useful items including maps and 2 short adventures (probably one-shots based upon their page length).
The maps are full color and measure 17×22 inches and folded into quarters. They include a city map of Arkham, MA, “Lovecraft country” Massachusetts in 1922, and a world map that lists mysterious and mythos sites around the globe. These maps are nice and impressive, I particularly like the Arkham map as it appears it was made with water colors and is very pleasing. There are a few color handouts for the 2 adventures but one appears to be sized up from a smaller image and looks blurry, which is unfortunate.
There is also a 22 page booklet which includes summary tables taken from the Keeper’s Rulebook. Things like firearm and poison damage tables, mythos tomes, and manias are included here and more. It’s nice to have and keeps you from having to thumb through the book to find out the damage for a shotgun for example.
The screen itself is made from a nice hard cardboard and has a very beautiful and atmospheric painting on the back, credited to “Ardila”. Inside it includes the typical summaries of combat rules, rolls for extreme difficulty, sanity checks and everything else you need for a quick reference to keep the game running smoothly.
The absolute best part of this screen pack are the two adventures titled “Missed Dues” and “Blackwater Creek”. They are fully detailed with prologues, npc details, creature summaries, maps, adventure hooks, player character sheets and everything else you need to run a CoC game. I won’t spoil too much from these adventures but they both take place in classic 1920s Lovecraft era, but at least one of them can be easily converted to a modern time period without too much fuss. It involves a missing colleague from your university who went off to the sticks to conduct an archaeological dig, but after a few letters, each more distressing than the last, you receive no more replies and must go out and discover his fate. Both of these tales are exciting and well thought out. They would be a blast to play, and are short and simple enough for a new keeper to run without difficulty.
While most keeper screens could either come or go I really recommend this pack for the extra goodies it provides. The maps, reference material, character sheets, handouts, and especially the 2 adventures make this screen stand out from all the others.