Review: Reality Blurs – Realms of Cthulhu

Product Name: Realms of Cthulhu
Publisher: Reality Blurs
Author: Sean Preston
System: Savage Worlds
Setting: Realms of Cthulhu
Theme: Cthulhu Mythos, Horror, Investigation
Type: Core

This review was originally posted at The Mystical Throne.

One of the best parts about having a campaign setting book for a generic-universal setting is that you don’t have to worry about all those pesky rules. As such, this book is jam-packed with goodness bringing together two of my favorite things: the Cthulhu Mythos and Savage Worlds. As much as I like the Call of Cthulhu RPG, I love the fast game play for Savage Worlds and cannot wait to get this to the tabletop!

I will not lie to you, the art on the cover of this book is the first thing that I saw when skimming the internet and it had me hooked. This is one of the greatest depictions of Cthulhu I’ve ever seen. The body is properly proportioned, his tendrils are not overwhelmingly large, it’s chalk full of details, and he’s actually depicted underwater where he currently resides in the city of R’lyeh. To add to beauty of the art, the one picture of Cthulhu takes up the entire front cover so that you can see the amount of detail it contains. The cover art itself is enough to have on anyone’s Cthulhu Mythos bookshelf.

Once you get past the awe of the front cover, the inside pages do not let down. It amazes me how much this book brings the Cthulhu Mythos to life within the Savage Worlds system. It’s difficult to pick out only a few key points, so I’ll just note them all.

Character Creation
Realms of Cthulhu keeps in-line with the character creation methods presented within the Savage Worlds system. The nice part is that the book gives some options for who the players can create without removing the flexibility. Of course, to go with the character types presented in the book, there are some new edges that are particular to character types typically found in a Cthulhu RPG.

This is one of the areas where this book really shines. Realms of Cthulhu has created a new mechanic for Savage Worlds concerning insanity/corruption/madness. This gives your game a feeling of horror and suspense instead of simple adventuring and investigation. The way this has been created truly feels the same as the already established methods of portrayed in other Cthulhu games.

But they haven’t stopped there. One of my favorite additions to Realms of Cthulhu is the options of play style. Reality Blurs (Sean Preston) has created 4 distinct styles of game play that one may pursue within a Realms of Cthulhu campaign setting. These styles range from the pulp-style adventure and heroics to the terrifying madness styles of a true horror setting. This really adds a huge amount of re-playability to every scenario along with giving the Keeper the flexibility of creating a setting that is desirable for all types of players. Even if one doesn’t want to play Cthulhu horror, this new addition of play and mechanics is a great addition to many Savage Worlds adventures.

Magic in the Cthulhu Mythos has always been mysterious and dangerous. Realms of Cthulhu gives Keepers and players options for using the magic presented in Savage Worlds (although sparsely) along with introducing the magic of the Mythos which is corrupting and dangerous. Can you imagine calling down the powers of Cthulhu or Hastur?

Keepers Tools
I have never seen a book filled with such wonderful tools for a Keeper (or game master) to use for creating a detailed and 3-dimensional setting without having to refer to numerous other sources. The book presents us with a Mythos Tale (setting) generator, a creature generator (which can be particularly nasty), possible plot points, and even an assortment of tales that can be used or modified for creating a new tale.

Once again, this book has shown me something I haven’t seen before. A very large grouping of adversaries. Realms of Cthulhu obviously has a lot of places to go for information on the creatures of the Mythos, but how to translate that to a game can be difficult. This book gives you all of that information in an easy to read and reference manner. Not only can you call down the deities of the Mythos, but now you have their stats to go with it!

Call of Cthulhu
So what if you want to convert your Call of Cthulhu RPG to Realms of Cthulhu or vice-versa? This book has you taken care of. There is a comprehensive conversion listing for going between the two systems. This presents itself with a wealth of opportunities for any Keeper to grab source information from both systems to run any type of game imaginable!

There’s not much to say about the layout of the book as it doesn’t get bogged down with the rules published in the Savage Worlds book. The book is written in a very fluid way going smoothly from subject to subject. The Table of Contents could probably be a bit better, but you are still able to find what you need with ease.

I love the illustrations within this book. There isn’t too many, but there are several full page full color illustrations which really keep the readers interest going. I’m a fan of well-placed art though-out an RPG book, but often times you find a lot of small art that gets redundant. The art within Realms of Cthulhu never gets boring and I would never consider it to be too much or too little. I only hope this practice of using full page full color illustrations continues throughout the series of published books.

With such a rich and long history of written material, a book such as this does not need to repeat that material and overwhelm the reader with a bunch of writing that makes the book seem redundant with other books. However, there is an amount of Mythos Tales in the book to create interest and introduce the world to someone who may not know it. The sections of explanation are just enough and leave lots of great room for further supplements. The better attempt at explaining the Mythos is done by giving the Keeper ideas of how they can enhance their campaign settings or scenarios.

I may be slightly biased, but I love this book! I rate it a 10 out of 10 due to the art, content, implementation of new rules and mechanics, and for the simple fact that it’s not too much or too little for not only the price point but for what you would expect from a Savage Worlds campaign setting. The only bad thing I can say about Realms of Cthulhu is that Reality Blurs (and Sean Preston) have given me another line of books where I want to own every single one! I look forward to the upcoming releases.

Overall Rating: 10 out of 10

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