25 March 2013

Dark Streets

Speaking of Cthulhu-related gaming stuff, I wanted to mention that my favourite RPG book of 2013 so far is (hands down) Dark Streets from Cakebread and Walton.

Dark Streets is a setting supplement for the Renaissance RPG (which is based upon OpenQuest, adapted for ‘black powder’ era settings).  However, Dark Streets should be easy to use with Call of Cthulhu (Renaissance  and CoC share the same d100/BRP ‘DNA’, after all), and most other d100-based systems.

The setting itself is London in 1749 -- a dynamic, rapidly growing city, but also a den of iniquity and crime.  The historical information is well presented and (thankfully) not too overwhelming.  There is just the right amount of information for non-historian Game Masters to run adventures in this setting with aplomb.

The players’ characters are members of the Bow Street Runners, London’s first police force, run by chief magistrate Henry Fielding (with help from his blind brother, John Fielding, who occasionally receives ‘visions’ in his dreams that help him anticipate highly unusual crimes).  The premise of the setting is that, in addition to all the prosaic crime to which Londoners are victim, there are darker, eldritch things going on as well -- things that threaten the very future of humanity.  (I guess there is no need to be coy here: I refer, of course, to assorted ‘Cthulhu Mythos’ creatures and associated human cultists, all of which are up to no good.)

One way to think about Dark Streets is that it is, very roughly, the Laundry (or perhaps Delta Green) set in the mid-18th Century.  The PCs work for a government authority (with hopelessly inadequate resources, of course!), investigating things about which the public must not know, but from which they must be protected at all costs.

In short, I strongly recommend Dark Streets to anyone interested in running a Cthulhu Mythos game in a great, flavourful setting that is a little different from the standard 1920s one.

(The RPG Pundit also likes it.)

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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who lives primarily in Toronto but teaches in Milwaukee (sometimes in person, sometimes online).