Review: Arc Dream Publishing – The Unspeakable Oath 20 (Call of Cthulhu)


The Unspeakable Oath 20
The Unspeakable Oath 20 is a modern investigative horror magazine dedicated to roleplaying in the universe of the Cthulhu Mythos written by a collaboration of authors and published by Arc Dream Publishing.
By Aaron T. Huss

Learn more about The Unspeakable Oath 20 here
Purchase The Unspeakable Oath 20 here
Find other Cthulhu Mythos products here

Issue #20 of The Unspeakable Oath magazine is much like its ancestors. The magazine is dedicated to multiple aspects of Cthulhu Mythos roleplaying with this issue only containing Call of Cthulhu and Delta Green material (made for Call of Cthulhu, for now). A lot of the same great content you expect from issue to issue is here including short scenarios, full investigations, adventure hooks, and items to spark multiple scenarios. The pillar article for issue #20 is a piece discussing Assassins and their roots in the historical Middle East.

CONTENT

The Unspeakable Oath 20 contains a lot of the same pieces you’ll find in other issues such as The Eye of Light & Darkness collection of Cthulhu Mythos reviews (for all types of products), Tales of Terror one-page adventure hooks, Mysterious Manuscripts that provide new in-game references to the Cthulhu Mythos, and Arcane Artifacts for building an entire scenario around.

The flagship pieces for issue #20 start with She Just Couldn’t Stay Away, a modern-day scenario for Call of Cthulhu involving a very twisted set of events that never seem to end.

The Assassins is a lengthy article discussing the historical aspects and roots of assassins through their Middle Eastern heritage. The Assassins and their predecessors were linked to a number of deaths that can potentially change how we look at history (if that person survived, what would things have been like). While a number of uses is possible, their connection with the Mythos is included as well as methods of incorporating them into Call of Cthulhu. However, much of the article is given over to historical information.

Let’s Learn Aklo! is the final flagship piece of issue #20 being a scenario for Delta Green and a timeline that seemingly moves backward.

OVERALL

If you are looking for a great collection of Cthulhu Mythos roleplaying content for a great price, there’s little need to look any further than The Unspeakable Oath; especially if you’re a Keeper or are looking to run something completely new. There is lots of information here and investigation opportunity at such a great price that there’s very little reason to not pick up each issue, if only to read the scenarios and add to your own Cthulhu lore.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
As always, The Unspeakable Oath 20 is a wonderful looking book. The overall layout is kept simple and unlike some previous issues, the space is used very well providing a high amount of value for what you’re purchasing. There is no shortage of great art and some of the illustrations invoke a great amount of inspiration in and of themselves where the attached content only serves to enhance the visual aid. While I would like to say that I expect as much from Arc Dream Publishing, it’s proper to say that they did an excellent job of assembling issue #20.

Mechanics: 7 out of 10
Truly the only mechanical piece in The Unspeakable Oath 20 is The Assassins article. There’s a lot of history delving into the historical past of assassins and their roots, but it also contains a lot of content that I failed to connect to Cthulhu Mythos roleplaying. There’s a lot of build-up and a lot of explanation, but more connection to in-game use would be preferred (and provide those connections directly next to where the content appears). However, near the end of the piece there are a handful of in-game uses for what is found, but a lot of the history seems lost in regards to those mechanics. That doesn’t mean the content is bad or not useful, it just means that connecting it to in-game use may prove difficult. It borders on information overload.

Storyline: 10 out of 10
The Unspeakable Oath 20 has two full scenarios: She Just Couldn’t Stay Away for Call of Cthulhu and Let’s Learn Aklo! for Delta Green. Both scenarios have excellent storylines with plots that are filled with suspense and situations that may fry your investigators brain. They are both written in an easy to follow fashion with no shortage of interesting points throughout. Plenty of sanity losing opportunities and I will not go further to avoid spoiling anything.

Value Add: 8 out of 10
There’s a lot of meat within The Unspeakable Oath for how much you pay. This issue has lots of Keeper information while The Assassins can be a great piece for players to get involved with along with the regular series of reviews for everyone’s reference. Although if you are a player, I’d advise keeping your eyes away from the scenario content to avoid ruining your experience. There’s just too much sanity-crushing information here that you wouldn’t want your investigator to become immediately insane.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Another excellent entry into The Unspeakable Oath library. There are plenty of great scenario opportunities and by incorporating The Assassins material into your games, you may find unexpected directions and lots of new opportunities for excitement using content you weren’t expecting (because the Cthulhu Mythos hasn’t dealt with this type of thing before).

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