Tabletop Review: Age of Cthulhu: Transatlantic Terror (Call of Cthulhu)

Age of Cthulhu: Transatlantic Terror (Call of Cthulhu)
Publisher: Goodman Games
Cost: Free (To Kickstarter Backers)/TBD (Everyone Else)
Page Count: 12
Release Date: 07/18/2014

Although currently unavailable to everyone else, Goodman Games released one of the stretch goals from their recent Age of Cthulhu Kickstarter to backers. This very short scenario should only take a day or two to play. It is set in the 1920s and although it comes with pre-generated characters, it can easily be played by your regular Investigators from this era.

Transatlantic Terror has the characters on a nine day cruise from New York City to Belfast, Ireland. Along the journey characters will be living it up as first class passengers and even be allowed to attend an on-board wedding between two of the NPCs. Depending on how observant players are, this could be all that happens to them on this scenic cruise. If the characters are a bit too nosy for their own good however, they could uncover a plot by Serpent People that goes all the way to the White House! Of course, knowing CoC protagonists AND the fact they are trapped on a boat for nine days, the odds are pretty good the players are going to encounter more than just a happy couple celebrating their newfound marital bliss. Transatlantic Terror is a pretty hard adventure to finish in a positive manner though, I’ll warn you that now. Even if you have some pretty top notch players, the chances of them saving the intended victim of the Serpent People is going to be almost impossible. By the time players even get a hint of what is going on, he’s already dead. Still, I love the concept of being trapped on a boat with some Cthulhu Mythos characters as it’s always a fun time. Transatlantic Terror is nowhere as lethal to Investigators as say, The Owglass, but it is one that will test players’ wits and mental resolve as there aren’t a lot of dangling clues out there for them.

The black and white artwork in Transatlantic Terror is pretty terrific. I absolutely love the cover although I have to admit, it reminds me more of Killer Croc from Batman rather than a Serpent Person. That’s okay though, because the cover is as fantastic as it is spoiler-laden. I also love the picture of the R.M.S. Adriatic at night with a strange bulging bundle slowly sinking into the sea. There’s a surprising amount of art for this little twelve page PDF, and all of it is great.

Now, this isn’t to say everything about Transatlantic Terror is great. There are a few stumbles. The Table of Contents for example, is extremely erroneous. It doesn’t match up with the actual adventure itself and it goes up to page 14, while the PDF is only twelve pages long. Whoops. At least it’s not as terrible as the ToC in Horror Stories From the Red Room. Another notable error is that two of the Serpent People Antagonists are listed in the Pre-Generated Investigators section rather than in the Non-Player Character Appendix. Double Whoops. Although, this did get me thinking how much fun and adventure written FOR Serpent People or Ghouls could actually be.

Overall, Transatlantic Terror is a fun addition to the Age of Cthulhu line. I’m not sure how much I would have paid for this on its own, but as a free add-on from the Age of Cthulhu 9 Kickstarter, I’m quite happy with this little bonus. Transatlantic Terror isn’t going to shake up your game by any means, nor is it some monumental adventure you’ll be talking about years after the fact, but it is a fine, short little diversion, putting Investigators and Mythos creatures on a boat out in the middle of the ocean, which is a situation neither will really be comfortable with once the zaniness starts happening. Keep your eye out for Transatlantic Terror if/when it becomes available to the general public.

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