Tabletop Preview: A Look at Horror on the Orient Express’ Ancillary and Add-On Items (Call of Cthulhu)
by Alex Lucard on January 10, 2014

Surprise! In addition to today’s look at the second book in Chaosium’s upcoming remake of Horror on the Orient Express, we have a special treat for you today. The gang over at Chaosium sent me a box full of physical merchandise related to the campaign to take a look at and show off to you, our readers.

You see, unlike a lot of published adventures that might have an illustration or a few handouts, Horror on the Orient Express has always been a much more immersive experience. The original 1991 version was full of diagrams, handouts, replicas of advertisements and/or posters, detailed drawings of train cars and even a cut out Sedefkar Simulacrum. It was light years beyond most tabletop products when it was released and to this day, it’s something of a gold standard and no doubt a major influence on the amazing roleplaying products the HPL Historical Society puts out. Well, since Chaosium has tried to make the remake of Horror on the Orient Express bigger and better than ever before, they’ve tried to do the same with not only the materials that come with the boxed set version of the campaign, but have also created a lot of add-on merchandise that Kickstarter backers could purchase during the campaign in addition to their core pledge. Many of these items will also be available to the general public, as well.

Now, Chaosium did not send me everything. So you’re not going to get a sneak peak of the leather steamer trunk, the Clandestine Game Case, the soundtrack, the tote bag or the miniatures. As well the Madness on the Orient Express anthology isn’t ready yet, so there’s no way they could have sent that either. As soon as I get some or all of the above from my actual pledge, I can do a follow up piece if you would enjoy viewing/reading it. What you will see though are thirty-one pictures, each detailing the quality and production values of all the supplementary bits meant to make Horror on the Orient Express one of the most memorable tabletop experiences you’ve ever had. Of course whether it will be or not is up to you and your gaming troupe. You can also click on each picture in this collection to see a larger and more detailed version. We only have so much space in our layout design after all.

Now, one quick note before we enter the deluge of pictures. Although I am a Kickstarter backer and many of these items were things I would be getting in my order (both from the campaign and add-on purchases), these are not part of my pledge so Kickstarter backers, please don’t hit Chaosium up with a bunch of emails saying “Where’s my stuff?” They’re not ready for a wide-scale release yet. This is simply reviewable material similar to all the core rulebooks, adventures, sourcebooks and supplements we get in here at Diehard GameFAN from publishers. Now, let’s look at what awaits you if you throw money at Horror on the Orient Express



First up, a mysterious envelope. Could it contain a missive from a scholar of forbidden lore, warning me of their impending demise and asking me to look after a collection of cursed artifacts?



No, it’s actually a thank you card from the Chaosium crew detailing what they sent (and did not send) me. You can click on through (like with all of the pictures in this collection) to read the entire note.


Next up, a look at the Horror on the Orient Express coffee mug. Most Kickstarter backers will be getting at least one of these. I know there was one at my pledge level and I ordered another as an add-on, which gives me a total of three once my order arrives. It’s a nice dark blue with an Orient Express logo as well as a list of cities the Simplon Orient Express took. Beneath that is the url for Chaosium’s website. It’s a very different shape that the mock-up Chaosium originally showed on their Kickstarter page, but the mug looks nice, is extremely solid and my wife has already claimed it as her coffee mug. You could add on a mug for $13 during the Kickstarter, so my guess is the price for one of these will be around there (probably a little more) for non-backers.


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A closer look at the mug.


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What could this be? Perhaps one of the infamous Sedefkar scrolls? Perhaps a spell to contact the Crawling Chaos? A way to command a Haunting Horror?


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No, it’s actually one of the placemats for the dining set that comes with higher levels of the boxed set. The dining set consists of four coasters, four napkins, four placemats, four seat assignment cards and two menus. I was only sent the coasters and placemats so I can’t comment on the whole package. The placemats are very thin and as you can see from the photo, they were curled up tight enough that I needed the coffee mug and a mysterious golden object to weigh down one side in order to take this picture. Otherwise it would have curled over. They are very nicely done and they bear the same design as the coffee mug. I’d be a bit worried about using these as they are so fragile, though. The dining car set had an add-on price of $12 during the Kickstarter.


No doubt you were wondering what that golden circle was in the lower corner of the previous picture. Well, here a much better shot of the Ithaqua (My personal favorite Great Old One) medallion which can play an important role in your Horror on the Orient Express campaign. You could only get the medallion as either part of a $300 or higher core pledge, or as a $23 add-on. I added one on to my personal pledge and I’m very happy I did now as this is going to be a joy to actually use in the campaign. Letting players look at and feel the real thing is going to add a nice new dimension to the campaign. The medallion is extremely solid and heavier than I expected, but not so heavy that you can’t wear it with ease. I’m extremely impressed by the production values on this thing, from the rendition of Ithaqua itself, to the strange alien glyphs covering the thing.


A closer look at the front side of the medallion.


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A look at the back of the medallion. This thing is just gorgeous and easily the highlight of the pieces Chaosium sent me.


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One of the Cats from Ulthar (who you will encounter in a sidequest entitled “The Dreamlands Express”) showing off what a fabulous fashion accessory the Ithaqua medallion can be, even for those of the feline persuasion.


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A commemorative coin of sorts. Note the date of 8-14-2013. This was probably the date the remake was supposed to launch but well, delays and tabletop gaming are like air and breathing.


The back of the coin.


Behold the luggage tag. These are really nicely done. They are brown leather and bear the same Orient Express insignia we’ve seen on many of the other items. If you lift up the flap, you can write your name and address on it. I didn’t take a picture of that because we all know what the inside of a luggage tag looks like. These were five dollars per tag to add to your pledge. It seemed like a lot for a tag during the Kickstarter campaign but man, these are really nice and if you travel as much as I do, they’ll see a lot of use and the quality means they will hold up for a long time.


A close up of the design on the luggage tag.


Here’s a look at two of the coasters from the previously mentioned dining cart pack and two packs of toothpicks. Originally the toothpicks were going to be matches but you know…legalities and all changed that. The toothpick package on the left shows the back of the package, while the one on the right shows off the front. Again, we see the same Orient Express logo, a list of cities and the Chaosium URL on the coasters. These things are just like any other coasters, but flavored for the campaign. Both pieces are cute and should add a bit of flavor to your gaming table.


Another look at the coasters and toothpicks.


Behold – a strange brown parcel! What could it contain? Secret documents obtains from the Brothers of the Skin? A Map that shows the last known location of the head of the Sedefkar Simulacrum?


No! It’s a collection of faux passports and postcards for use with your game!


A second look at the items. It’s roughly the same photo but if you click through the writing on each item is more legible.


A look at the front of the United Kingdom, Italian, German and Turkish passports.


A look at the back of the United Kingdom, Italian, German and Turkish passports.


A look at the inside of the Italian and United Kingdom passports.


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A look at the inside of the German and Turkish passports.


The American passport in all its glory.


Finally, the French passport. During the Kickstarter you could get an international passport pack for $20 or a pack of eight American passports for $16. Please note these are obviously replicas from the 1920s, so don’t try to actually use one of these for international travel. You will be laughed at and/or shot depending on which country you attempt this in.


The front of six of the seven postcards sent to me (The London one was Vertical and thus it didn’t look right with the others, so it got left out. Sorry.).


The back of the six postcards. As you can see they’ve either been faux stamped or written on, so you can’t actually mail these. At least not without causing some confusion at your local post office.


Ah the final brown wrapper, what could be in this?


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Why, it’s a faux advertisement for the Orient Express in francais (I can not get WordPress to make a word with a cédille, alas). There is also a notepad done up in the style of telegrams. Both are very cute. The telegraph notepad is part of the desk accessories add-on pack with was $12 during the Kickstarter campaign. You’d get a copy of this notepad, an Orient Express notepad, four sheets of Orient Express letterhead, four envelopes and two pencils.


A close up of the important announcement regarding your trip aboard the Orient Express.


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Our final picture in this collection is a closeup of the telegraph notepad.



So there we go, a look at many of the items you can look forward to seeing in either your Horror on the Orient Express boxed set campaign or that you could purchase as add-on items during the Kickstarter campaign. Again, many, if not all of these items will also be available for sale to non-Kickstarter backers through Chaosium’s website…at some point. When this will be and how much each individual piece will retail for is not information I am privy to. Hopefully Chaosium will have answers for us shortly.

If you’ve made it with to the end of our pictorial journey, then you have no doubt seen the high production values and level of quality that went into all of these extras. Whether you want to purchase any of them is really a matter of opinion and of course, there’s no need to do so in order to actually PLAY Horror on the Orient Express. These are all flavor pieces to use with your friends or to just have around your house for various other uses. If this is your first look at the upcoming Horror on the Orient Express remake, I invite you to take a look at my long-winded previews of the first two books in the collection. Remember I’ll be previewing the third book next Friday and the fourth a week after that (Book V: Strangers on a Train will not be previewed as I don’t have a proof of it). I hope you enjoyed looking at these flavor pieces from Horror on the Orient Express as much as I did.

Book I: Campaign Book
Book II: Through the Alps



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