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Masks of Nyarlathotep
 
$19.22 $14.42
Average Rating:4.5 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
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Masks of Nyarlathotep
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Masks of Nyarlathotep
Publisher: Chaosium
by David L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/06/2014 17:53:30
A great adventure that offers the players lots of choices.

The good: A globe trotting adventure that takes the players to 6 different countries across the world. An adventure that leaves the players complete freedom on where they wish to go and what they wish to do. Quite a few red herrings that receive just as much detail as the rest of the adventure giving the adventure a far more open feel then any comparable adventure. The investigation is well thought out with lots of clues and options meaning that no clue is so essential that missing it derails the adventure.

The bad: Call of the Cthulu is in general more deadly then most other game systems and Masks is even worse about it. It is quite possible that the players could suffer a total party kill/insanity even after doing everything right.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Masks of Nyarlathotep
Publisher: Chaosium
by Pieter S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/04/2014 04:29:05
The Good: Takes the characters all over the world showcasing some rarely seen regions of the world in the twenties, allows the players a lot of freedom to explore the world with the tools for the GM to handle it, contains a few solid side tracks (some of which were more fun than the main adventure).
The Ugly: Had to redo the sanity costs for most monsters and events (especially for a long running campaign) and the large amount of occult material (never have been a big fan of coppious amounts of spells), due to the fact that the PCs only learn the deadline late on in the game, they felt rather rushed at first which created problems with studying occult material and recovering from bouts of madness.
The Bad: It is challenging to avoid combat even with more mundane type of opponents, making it a rather aggressive type of CoC adventure that does not mash very well with my own expactations.

Personally I also had to make some adaptations to actually push the players into actions. The adventure relies a lot on proactive play, so the adventure is not particularly well suited to new CoC players (at least not the people I gamed with), unless you as the GM are ready to make some adjustments. If I am ever going to rerun the adventure, I will definitely approach it more like a campaign, than a single big adventure, likely giving the players more time, reducing the chance for combat/making it more investigative and separating the parts more to create seperate adventures.

Side note: internet can be handy when determining whether or not it was time for a ritual, felt more natural than a random dice roll ;)

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Masks of Nyarlathotep
Publisher: Chaosium
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/17/2013 09:42:03
This is a review of the PDF, not the campaign itself.

The quality is crisp and clear, which is the main reason I purchased this (to supplement my physical copy and make clearer prints for the handouts.

However, the reason I marked it down was because it has NO BOOKMARKS. This is a large-scale campaign of almost 250 pages, and there is no navigation in this PDF. And with it being watermarked and protected, there is no way to ADD bookmarks. This severely impacts the functionality of this PDF in session use.

I advice purchasing the physical copy of this scenario over the PDF version, until Chaosium fixes this glaring issue in its professional release of the PDF.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Masks of Nyarlathotep
Publisher: Chaosium
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/27/2012 07:13:24
Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/04/27/tabletop-review-masks-o-
f-nyarlathotep-fourth-edition-call-of-cthulhu/

Wow. What can be said about Masks of Nyarlathotep that hasn’t been said before. It’s one of the longest published adventures of all time, regardless of systems. It’s one of the most famous adventures of all time. Having won many awards and is often cited as one of, if not THE best adventures of all time. As a long time Call of Cthulhu fan, it may surprise you to learn my first exposure with Masks wasn’t until the third edition, otherwise known as The COMPLETE Masks of Nyarlathotep as the Australian chapter was excised from the campaign since it was crazy long already and placed into Terror Australis: Cthulhu Down Under. Despite my love of Call of Cthulhu, I only ever picked up one boxed adventure and that was Horror on the Orient Express, which still remains my favorite Call of Cthulhu product of all time and it vexes me that it’s not in PDF. Maybe someday…

I love the third printing of Masks of Nyarlathotep, but it’s been out of print for wow…at least a decade now, so it’s wonderful to have it back in print and in PDF format. Let me start by saying I’m exceptionally pleased with the price tag. In the mid 1990s, this thing went for $40 for the printed version, so with time and inflation being considered, paying less than twenty dollars for this Fourth Edition is such an insane deal that every Call of Cthulhu gamer should be thrusting money towards Chaosium, begging for them to take it. Masks of Nyarlathotep is that good. It’s also THAT LONG. Masks of Nyarlathotep is a massive undertaking. It covers an entire year of in game time, which each of the six sections taking multiple play sessions to get through. If you game once or twice a week with your friends, expect to be playing this adventure for months if not a full year yourself! It’s an awesome experience, but for people who can’t make the time commitment to the campaign, you might be better off just reading the adventure and enjoying it that way instead.

Two other quick words of advice on actually running Masks of Nyarlathotep. The first is that the Keeper should make a lot of the random based rolls ahead of time to streamline things and keep the game moving. This is a long undertaking after all, so if you have everything prepared ahead of time, you won’t have to stop in the middle of a gripping scene and roll to see how many cultists there are, or how many people hear the Investigators breaking and entering. The other piece of advice would be to make sure players realize their original characters will probably not survive the full campaign. There is a LOT of PC death in this, so make sure they are prepared for back-ups based on the location where the PCs currently are in-game. Masks of Nyarlathotep involves a lot of globe-trotting so if a character dies in say, Shanghai, it doesn’t make all that sense to replace him with a Samoan cricket player. I remember one time, I actually had a player sacrifice his beloved character, so he could make someone new with a few particular skills they knew they would need to properly proceed. A bit too meta for my liking, but you’ll see things like this happen in order for the team as a whole (and the world) to survive the machinations of the Crawling Chaos. Also, it made for a great scene that evening. ;-)

This fourth edition of Masks of Nyarlathotep is wonderfully done. The artwork is amazing and there’s so much detail in the little things, from character statements to scrawled insane blathering meant to be written by one of the NPCs. The Keeper is going to have to print a decent amount of the PDF off as handouts for players though, so don’t try running it straight from your Kindle Fire, Ipad or other e-reader type device. It’s important to print these bits off as it really makes the game cover alive for the players. Masks of Nyarlathotep can be a very tactile adventure at time so have some paper and scissors ready in preparation for your trip around the world. The only downside to the fourth edition is the same as the third in that the box set was truly something to behold. The box set consisted of

2 business cards & 1 matchbox kit on glossy card sheet
1 booklet of handouts
1 New York booklet (blue cover)
1 London booklet (maroon cover)
1 Cairo booklet (yellow cover)
1 Nairobi booklet (brown cover)
1 Shanghai booklet (green cover)

…and of course the box. Everything is still here (along with the Australia bits), but from an aesthetic standpoint, the first two editions were just amazing for the level of detail and the all the different booklets. On the other hand, this fourth edition is much cheaper and far easier to keep a hold of everything, especially if you get the PDF. No worries about losing the handouts or business cards here! I do miss the first edition box art though…

So what is Masks of Nyarlathotep about? It’s hard to explain without completely spoiling the story. After all, a good deal of the fun is figuring out all the crazy conspiracies going on, which ones tie together and how, and then stopping the literal decimation of the planet. The stakes have never been higher in a Call of Cthulhu adventure, because if Nyarlathotep succeeds in its plans, not only does the world get ravaged by the Outer Gods, but by the Great Old Ones as well. This my friends, is a big deal.

What starts off as a routine meeting with a friend of the Investigator(s) quickly spirals into a horrifying murder mystery with only snowballs into something much bigger from there. Players start off in New York City, but from there the adventure becomes amazingly free-form (especially for the time period in which MoN was originally written. This was light years ahead of what was being done for RPG tabletop scenarios). Investigators can find themselves visiting London, Cairo, Shanghai, Australia and Kenya (Not necessarily in that order) Each leg of the adventure contains red herrings and/or side quests to trip players up and keep the clock counting down to doomsday. Player death and Insanity are commonplace here and the end results is one of the most memorable adventures ever written for Call of Cthulhu or any other RPG system. Even if you don’t play Call of Cthulhu, you should be picking this up simply to see both how a large scale adventure is done and why so many people in the industry consider this one of the best things the entire industry has ever produced. If you read this review and don’t outright purchase the PDF or the physical copy of Masks of Nyarlathotep, then shame on you.

If you are looking for an adventure that will keep your players (and their characters) busy for months, the opportunity to save the world while fighting off legions of cultists (in proper Call of Cthulhu fashion), or you simply want to see why so many people consider this one of, if not THE, greatest adventures for an RPG system ever written, then go purchase Masks of Nyarlathotep the second you get done reading this. This will easily be the most intense, as well as the most memorable, published adventure you’ll ever experience. Just get it. Just get it and experience it. That’s all I can really say.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Masks of Nyarlathotep
Publisher: Chaosium
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/23/2012 23:18:12
Masks is by far one of the most interesting and compelling adventures I have had the pleasure of reading and playing. I don't want to divulge too much of the plot for the sake of those who will still end up playing the game, but I will try to at least mention the high points of this adventure.

Masks presents a strong investigative / pulp adventure vibe, and while it is still the traditional and horrifying jaunt through the Cthulhu Mythos, there's plenty of travel, research and adventuring to satisfy the needs of many a gamer who enjoys the era of play. The presence of so many varied and interesting NPCs each with their own secrets and agendas that can run counter to the players in the most interesting of ways.

Masks is a tightly linked series of adventures that forms an entire campaign, and as such, it requires a lot of dedication from its players. This isn't a beer and pretzels adventure by any stretch of the imagination. Masks requires a lot of attention, care and note-taking to get through, and sometimes even the most careful investigator might end up in over his head.

I would highly recommend Masks of Nyarlathotep as an essential part of an CoC library. The campaign itself is long, and at some parts quite possibly unfair, but for a dedicated team of Investigators, it's all worth it for the memory of being able to take on Nyarlathotep and live to tell about it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Masks of Nyarlathotep
Publisher: Chaosium
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/15/2012 02:02:46
Originally published over twenty years ago, in 1984, Masks of Nyarlathotep is one of Chaosium's best known campaigns for good reason. Not only does it provide a wide geographic variety of adventures players and Keepers will enjoy, it's also a very well designed adventure, avoiding many pitfalls other Call of Cthulhu adventures fall into. Masks was written by Larry DiTillio, whose writing credits also include executive story editor for the science-fiction series Babylon 5.

The adventure begins with the gruesome murder of a friend in New York. Investigators explore overseas to England, Egypt, Kenya, Shanghai, and western Australia. Locations range from London museums, to Egyptian pyramids, Kenyan mountains, Australian deserts, and Chinese import warehouses. NPCs run the gamut from high society to mysterious wisemen. Not only will investigators encounter cults dedicated to different aspects of Nyarlathotep, but will meet a memorable variety of mythos creatures as well.

From a Keeper's standpoint, the adventure is exceptionally well-designed. All too often, I've run a Call of Cthulhu adventure only to hit an unexpected dead end, as the players failed to find a critical clue called for by the adventure. Some fumbling improvisation usually moves the plot forward, but the author in Masks provides multiple ways to obtain the clues the investigators need to proceed in their tasks. For those Keepers who enjoy adding their own touches to an adventure, the author suggests various adventure seeds to enhance game sessions. Meanwhile, Keepers who do not will not be required to do so. Each country has three to five separate adventures, including red herrings, which investigators should encounter more often than they seem to do. If there's any caution to note, Keepers should be prepared to play the part of a very wide range of NPCs. If you have a co-GM, or a player who's joining for just one session, enlist them to play a few NPCs!

In my opinion, I think the PDF format is superior to the dead-tree version. Both hardcopy and PDF have a handout section that can be photocopied or printed out. However, with a PDF, a Keeper can do much more. The Keeper can print out maps and 1920's prices for players to refer to. The adventures contain atmospheric evocative artwork the Keeper can print out to show the players what their investigators see. Players inevitably forget the orally presented (and often critical) information their investigators discover. The Keeper can print and give this information to the players. And, when PCs also inevetibly expire, NPCs encountered in the adventure can become PCs. The Keeper can print out their stats and backgrounds to provide them to the players. If a player misses several sessions, or a new player joins in a few months into play, the other players can simply give the handouts to the player to catch up (assuming they're organized better than your typical Arkham professor's research notes).

I'm very happy to see Chaosium release Masks of Nyarlathotep in PDF format. Its $20 pricetag is also 2/3 the price of the dead-tree version. Not a bad deal for one of Call of Cthulhu's mostly highly regarded adventures.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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