John Taber
United States
Santa Clara
California
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-== What is it? ==-

The Trail Of Cthulhu Resource Book (RB) & Keeper’s Screen (KS) is an accessory for Trail Of Cthuhu (TOC). The screen and resource book were primarily written by Simon Carryer with additional information from Adrian Bolt, Lee Valentine, and Kenneth Hite. The RB was published by Pelgrane Press in 2008.

The KS is three panels at 8.5″ x 11″ in portrait format. The three outside panels are in color. The three interior panels are in black and white. The KS is made out of a light card stock.

The RB has a color cover and an entirely black and white interior. The book is 8.5” x 11” and is 68 pages in length. I am reviewing a print copy that I bought. I have used the RB and KS when I ran a TOC campaign.

-== What I Like ==-

The KS screen has very nice artwork o the exterior panels. In shows a picture of a group of intrepid explorers outside of a creepy looking sphere in a mountainous terrain that could be somewhere in Tibet. It fits perfectly with the main TOC book.

There is a good selection of tables in the KS. When running my campaign I found that most of the data I needed was on these charts.

The RB starts with a detailed look at all of the Investigative Abilities, General Abilities, and Occupations. The text has a lot of depth, includes examples of how Spends might be resolved, shows a LOT of research, and has GREAT box text. In fact this materials is so good that it almost feels like content that was edited out of the main TOC rulebook. Fantastic stuff.

Next is a section with NPCs that the Keeper can use during play. I love the layout of this section. Each NPC is given a quote, a summary, a sample stat block, some quirks, and hooks that include how the situation can be escalated. This layout for NPCs should be used by Pelgrane in other products.

The last section of the RB is a recap of the Sanity rules. There is a lot of great detail here in a very compact space. This section is very well written and should be cut into future version of the main TOC rulebook if possible.

-== What I Don’t Like ==-

The card stock of the KS is not that thick. It bends quite easily. I would have liked to see it be a bit thicker.

I prefer to have GM screens in landscape format. I think it provides less of a barrier between me and my players. A neat option would be to have landscape versions available in the PDF version of the product.

The package also includes a link to a web site with period pictures that can be used during the campaign. I thought this was a really neat idea but there could be more pictures available.

-== Summary ==-

The The Trail Of Cthulhu Resource Book (RB) & Keeper’s Screen (KS) is a detailed product that really aids the GM in running a TOC campaign. I thought the material was well presented and evocative. This is simply a product that I think every TOC GM needs to own. Go buy it already!

I give it 9 out of 10 paws.
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Paul Baldowski
United Kingdom
Stockport
Cheshire
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I really love the Resource Book. A great source of inspiration in pulling together a Gumshoe session.

I agree on the flimsy screen - I keep losing it amongst papers and stuff. That wouldn't happen with my Warhammer 40K screens, thick as they are.

I must say that the screen gets little use though - as the Gumshoe system is fairly easy to grasp and weapons hardly warrant such a long table. I realise the finer details vary, but ultimately, it's a scale of -2 to +2 most of the time, and generally 0 or +1 for most rolls, unless a character have decided to go one-on-one with Cthulhu using fisticuffs and Queensbury rules.
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Brian Cox
United States
Sugar Land
Texas
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Is the gentleman with the BroStache invited to this party?
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PaulBaldowski wrote:
...unless a character have decided to go one-on-one with Cthulhu using fisticuffs and Queensbury rules.

This just made me laugh on a few different levels.
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