This was my first foray into the Pulp Cthulhu setting. At first I wasn’t sure about the idea, having played the standard “we investigators who are about to die” style Call of Cthulhu for years. What I got was a cross between Indiana Jones and Hellboy. So, in short, awesome action movie fun with a beautifully realized Lovecraftian back drop.
The Two-Headed Serpent is sure to please your players, but is written for you, the keeper. The staff at Chaosium have put together a marvelous globe trotting tale of monster filled, paranoia inducing, world ending mayhem.
In this gem of a book you get 9 chapters that give a keeper a whole lot work with, as well as a mess of new tomes, artifacts and technologies to use in other adventures. The entire book is presented in a consistent Art Deco style with the maps even represented in a period style common to 30’s architecture journals. The Art interspersed hits the pulp magazine nail on the head, capturing the over the top action and grandiosity that is pulp. The charcoal portrait drawings also lend this book a look all it’s own. The story line is terrific full of hidden agendas within hidden agendas surrounding the investigators with double and triple agents. And, if you love a night of paranoid twitchy investigators throwing around wild accusations as much as I do, you couldn’t find a better campaign.
The investigators get to play secret agent and explorers right from the start as this campaign starts off with a bang. The locations are interesting and very well represented historically, the hand-outs are excellent, the villains are memorable, and the plot is fantastic. But, for my money, what really makes this book stand out, is the way suggestions are laid out on how to mitigate some of the running off the rails investigators tend to do….all the time. I especially appreciated the notes from play testing. These sidebars were very amusing, but also quite helpful in trying corral my players’ hijinks and get them back on story. There are suggestions on how to get important clues and plot devices in front of investigators even if they decide to kill pivotal NPCs. That makes this a great new keeper’s first long campaign. It almost acts as a strategy/technique guide, and is sure to save the new keeper many of the frustrations and spur of the moment plot revisions that inventive players make necessary. This book is a solid buy for new and experienced keepers alike.