Review: Arc Dream Publishing – The Unspeakable Oath 19 (Call of Cthulhu)

The Unspeakable Oath 19
The Unspeakable Oath is a magazine dedicated to all types of Cthulhu Mythos role-playing written by a collaboration of authors and published by Arc Dream Publishing.
By Aaron T. Huss

Learn more about The Unspeakable Oath here.
Purchase The Unspeakable Oath 19 here.
Download The Unspeakable Oath 19 here.

The Unspeakable Oath is a magazine dedicated to Cthulhu Mythos role-playing, not just standard Call of Cthulhu. This concept is brought to fruition quite well within issue #19. Not only do you get some of the to-be-expected style content for Call of Cthulhu, you also get content for Trail of Cthulhu and Deltra Green and a new ultra-light rules system called Cthulhu Dark. The best part about all this is that everything is in the style of the Cthulhu Mythos and can be farmed for all aspects of Cthulhu gaming. The Unspeakable Oath continues to be the ultimate handbook for Cthulhu role-playing.


Issue #19 contains a fair amount of short, to-the-point pieces for quick incorporation into any Cthulhu Mythos role-playing game (as they are primarily system-agnostic). However, there are a few lengthier pieces that really stand-out.

The rules for Cthulhu Dark are found within this issue. Cthulhu Dark is an ultra-rules light (and I mean ultra) system based on sanity. When I read through this short core rules guide, it resembled an H.P. Lovecraft story much more than many of the Cthulhu role-playing games out there. It’s not to say that this will replace them all, but it does a fantastic job of pinning real-world people against the horrors of the Mythos in a non-winning struggle. Your characters will probably all die or go insane every single game session, and I would recommend attempting a campaign. However, if you’re looking for a quick filler game or a Halloween one-shot to grab that horror appeal, this is a great alternative to other systems.

The second piece I would like to highlight is called Cheating Madness. Sanity and thus insanity are large parts of all Cthulhu role-playing and the big question looms: How do you handle a character that goes insane? Cheating Madness addresses this issue and doesn’t actually give you mechanics to cheat insanity, but rather it gives you ways to incorporate it into your game without causing it to derail or come to a screeching halt. In other words, don’t let madness ruin your game, take it in full stride and use it as a plot tool.

The third piece I’d like to highlight is a Delta Green antagonist called Bernice Cartfield. The one reason I find this piece to be so valuable to role-playing is because while it’s written for Delta Green, it can be used anywhere, even outside of the Cthulhu Mythos if desired. It is an extensive write-up of a fairly disturbing person with various ties to the world of the Mythos. It is an extremely interesting read and contains multiple plot points and adventure hooks to create an entire adventure or launch an actual campaign. All because of one person…


I love the direction The Unspeakable Oath continues to take. It does a wonderful job of incorporating new Mythos material while expanding upon existing material. It also shows love for the entire gambit of Cthulhu role-playing by incorporating Delta Green, Trail of Cthulhu, Cthulhu Dark, and reviews that focus on content outside of Call of Cthulhu in addition to the Call of Cthulhu content. I’m truly looking forward to perusing future issues.


Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
The Unspeakable Oath is a beautiful magazine. The layout is wonderful, the formatting is superb, and the illustrations are beautiful; I especially love the covers they continue to use. This magazine sets an excellent standard for those looking to create similar products that incorporate a multitude of content. Also, this format of product allows you to obtain a lot of valuable content at an extremely low price.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
What mechanics within The Unspeakable Oath 19 are perfect, especially Cthulhu Dark. They do a perfect job of grasping the Cthulhu Mythos and its inherent concepts through new spells and bestiary along with presenting a number of great objects to seed your adventures.

Value Add: 8 out of 10
The Unspeakable Oath 19 has a ton of content for the Keeper, but very little content for the player. I understand the desire to present tools and scenarios the Keeper can quickly and easily incorporate into the regular game sessions, but offering a little love to the players is a good way to keep them coming back to the magazine. This is especially difficult if the Keeper plans on running one of the given articles inside the magazine and ensures the players do not read it. However, there is still a lot of great, valuable content.

Overall: 9 out of 10
The Unspeakable Oath is a great way to get your Cthulhu Mythos fix for a low price. For Keepers, it presents you with a ton of great content for your regular game sessions without having to buy piles of expensive books. While creating your own is rewarding and a lot of fun, sometimes the rushed Keeper needs something fast. With the incorporation of non-standard Call of Cthulhu content, Arc Dream Publishing and the crew is showing how much they appreciate all aspects of Cthulhu role-playing and not just the one system that started it all.

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment