Keeper’s Guide is a core setting guide for the Acthung! Cthulhu World War II horror (Cthulhu) campaign setting for Call of Cthulhu and Savage Worlds, written by Chris Birch, Dave Blewer, Bill Bodden, Alex Bund, Russ Charles, Adam Crossingham, Lynne Hardy, Kenneth Hite, Sarah Newton, and Matthew Pook and published by Modiphius Entertainment.
By Aaron T. Huss
Disclaimer: Roleplayers Chronicle was provided a copy of Acthung! Cthulhu Keeper’s Guide by Modiphius Entertainment.
The Keeper’s Guide is the Game Master’s handbook to the Acthung! Cthulhu setting, along with being a source for the seedier background material for plots and themes within the Acthung! Cthulhu campaign. It contains mechanics for both Call of Cthulhu and Savage Worlds. While the original Acthung! Cthulhu campaign modules are designed for Realms of Cthulhu from Reality Blurs, the Keeper’s Guide no longer appears to require that setting guide. This book presents two new pieces to the Acthung! Cthulhu core setting: the Axis and the occult/mythos. It also augments the already present Allies information by giving the Keeper a collection of filler they can add to their adventures and campaigns to fill the gaps within the story and background. This includes things like Allied NPCs, a full look at intelligence agencies, and some behind-the-scenes things that the players and player characters may not realize. This means the Keeper can present a complete backdrop of both sides of the war without getting bogged down in fiddly bits like creating Allied NPCs for the PCs to interact with.
Probably the most important pieces of the Keeper’s Guide is the Axis forces and the occult/mythos. As much information that was presented for the Americans and British in the Investigator’s Guide is presented for the Germans in this book. This is a pretty in-depth presentation of what it’s like to create small and large forces to create obstacles for the PCs to get around. The occult and mythos side of things (including the various secret societies and intelligence agencies) are presented as protagonists for the PCs to encounter. Once again, World War II is being presented in a very complete manner to simulate that backdrop, keeping the setting cohesive with the era it’s presented in. Amongst all this content is a huge collection of adversaries covering soldiers, intelligence personnel, cultists, and mythos beings. There’s a good chance that a Keeper would never need to create their own adversaries and can simply stick to those presented in this book.
There is one section within the Keeper’s Guide that I question its placement of: vehicles. Not just German vehicles, but also American and British ones. These are military vehicles, ones the characters could feasibly come into contact with, steal, or maybe requisition. I can understand how they’re presented in this book as a part of the backdrop, but they’re really detailed and presented in a way that says “Hey, the characters can use these.” This even includes mechanics for aerial combat. Again, this is something the players should have access to, but I can see why it’s presented in this book.
Keeper’s Guide is an amazing book. It’s filled with resources and characters for the Keeper to use. It’s also filled with loads of information to further flesh out the World War II backdrop with the added concentration on the Germans and a deeper behind-the-scenes look at the war (such as what life was like behind the lines). If you want to create games within this period, with or without the Cthulhu Mythos, this is an awesome book to have. If you want to incorporate the Cthulhu Mythos, even better! As with the Investigator’s Guide you can make the argument that this book as a dual-purpose use and makes an excellent period-specific setting guide.