Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pre-release Review of He Who Laughs Last

He Who Laughs Last is a modern day Cthulhu Dark scenario, written by Dave Sokolowski, and current being funded via Kickstarter. I was given a pre-release copy of the scenario for review. Since this was pre-release, no format editing or layout has been done so I will not comment on that; only the content will be discussed.

For those who don't know, Cthulhu Dark is a rules-light Lovecraftian horror rule set written by Graham Walmsley. Its purpose is to focus on the story-telling aspects of RPGs, as well as the investigation and sanity-wrenching discoveries found in a Cthulhu mythos game.

The scenario is set in modern-day Los Angeles. Without going too much into the plot and revealing spoilers, the PCs are contacted by the father of a friend who has just committed suicide. He suspects more is going on and asks the PCs to look into it. As the PCs dig deeper, they find horrors beyond their imagining.

Sound like a typical Cthulhu scenario? Well, its not. Sokolowski does a very good job of creating an original plot, twists that will throw the players for a loop, and an ending that is worthy of any Lovecraftian game. He gives the Keeper a number of great NPCs and locations to work with, while still maintaining the sandbox of L.A. that the PCs can play in.

Additionally, the scenario contains the Cthulhu Dark rules, a few house rules, and thoughts on how to run a Cthulhu Dark scenario. The last bit is much appreciated, as this will help a first-time Cthulhu Dark GM run the game more effectively.

The scenario is not without its faults, but these are few and far between. Based on this draft, it needs to be streamlined a bit more, but this is something that will likely get taken care of in the editing process. I would have also liked to see a few more thoughts on running the scenario, based on Sokolowski's experience.

Overall, He Who Laughs Last is a scenario worth the time of any GM. It provides an original plot, memorable locations and NPCs, and a time the players will enjoy.

The kickstarter has already funded and is well on the way to its stretch goals. I recommend everyone to jump on and grab it while you can.