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Masks of Nyarlathotep update: The Fate of the Carlyle Expedition

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Two books... that's bizarre considering the size of the original, even double that size would still be a reasonable book, not too clunky. Unless it is incorperating the MoN Companion, then that is entirely unstandable

Love the art direction. This feels more like a film release than an rpg campaign release!

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1 hour ago, Mankcam said:

Two books... that's bizarre considering the size of the original, even double that size would still be a reasonable book, not too clunky. Unless it is incorperating the MoN Companion, then that is entirely unstandable

Love the art direction. This feels more like a film release than an rpg campaign release!

Don't forget, the new version has an extra chapter (Peru!), more background extra bits throughout on guidance for Pulp etc, and loads more art and maps than previous editions. Rather than one very big thick book we decided on two volumes in a slipcase as more practical and attractive.

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Thanks for the added info MOB.  I don't want to be "that guy", but I'm sure you understand that a lot of people's gut reactions to splitting a product is "cash grab."  If they are coming together in a slipcase, then the division is clearly more a practicality thing. 

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Masks of Nyarlathotep, the greatest Chaosium campaign of all time!? The bigger the better.

Love the cover art by the way...

Edited by Addison

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8 hours ago, MOB said:

Don't forget, the new version has an extra chapter (Peru!), more background extra bits throughout on guidance for Pulp etc, and loads more art and maps than previous editions. Rather than one very big thick book we decided on two volumes in a slipcase as more practical and attractive.

Sounds great, I didn't realise it was a slipcase. I'm already putting some money aside for this, thanks for the update!

Edited by Mankcam

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5 hours ago, Rick Meints said:

The new edition of masks is going to be around 512+ pages in length. That's a pretty big book if done as a single book.

Didn't realize it was going to be that big, given that the 2010 release was 248.  They're really doubling the page count?

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Yes, the page count is increasing quite a bit for the new MoN. The other reasons we think a slipcase set would be ideal is:

1. It's not a boxed game and won't be taxed as such (books are not subject to taxation in some countries), keeping the total cost to buyers down.
2. It can be sent media mail in the US, which saves US buyers on postage.
3. You get two manageably sized books instead of one really BIG book, which can suffer from binding breakdown problems.
4. The Handouts can be more separate items in their own pack, and not in book format, which people hate cutting apart.
5. All the items are bundled together in an attractive and practical container and not just wrapped together in shrink-wrap.
6. The slipcases we make are harder to damage than the average game box. (HOtOE suffers from box corner splits.)

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21 hours ago, klecser said:

Didn't realize it was going to be that big, given that the 2010 release was 248.  They're really doubling the page count?

Hopefully!

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59 minutes ago, Rick Meints said:

Yes, the page count is increasing quite a bit for the new MoN. The other reasons we think a slipcase set would be ideal is:

1. It's not a boxed game and won't be taxed as such (books are not subject to taxation in some countries), keeping the total cost to buyers down.
2. It can be sent media mail in the US, which saves US buyers on postage.
3. You get two manageably sized books instead of one really BIG book, which can suffer from binding breakdown problems.
4. The Handouts can be more separate items in their own pack, and not in book format, which people hate cutting apart.
5. All the items are bundled together in an attractive and practical container and not just wrapped together in shrink-wrap.
6. The slipcases we make are harder to damage than the average game box. (HOtOE suffers from box corner splits.)

Makes sense.  Thanks for the detailed examples!

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I need to ask a heretical question: What is it about MoN that people consider so great? I have to admit, I've only read the German translation of the campaign, never played it, and that was years ago. It hasn't really left a big impression with me besides that lots of it seemed to make no sense in terms of the back story, and that there was a totally random, in no way mythos-related werewolf adventure somewhere in there. Basically, it was a massive disappointment in reading, and I decided definitely not to run this with my group.

This is an honest question, especially since I've never played it and read it only once, and that was ages ago. It may very well be that I simply didn't get it. So can someone outline in two or three sentences what makes MoN great (and sell me on giving this new, improved version a try)?

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Sorry but I don't feel OK with this. This is somewhat of a "disease" today, when size and glossy coverings is more important than the actual content. I am gamemastering ("keeping") the Horror on the Orient Express 2nd ed these days, and I have a lot of complaints about it, compared to the first edition. Almost all the extra material/scenarios is subpar or present such a large step-off from the main story that they only represent unnecessary obstacles to getting the campaign underway and in a flow. It's a lot like when Peter Jackson decided to make the Bilbo movie in three parts. It didn't make the film better IMO, quite the opposite.

There's too much focus on the size and not the actual writing.

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On 01/12/2017 at 7:33 AM, Jakob said:

I need to ask a heretical question: What is it about MoN that people consider so great? I have to admit, I've only read the German translation of the campaign, never played it, and that was years ago. It hasn't really left a big impression with me besides that lots of it seemed to make no sense in terms of the back story, and that there was a totally random, in no way mythos-related werewolf adventure somewhere in there. Basically, it was a massive disappointment in reading, and I decided definitely not to run this with my group.

This is an honest question, especially since I've never played it and read it only once, and that was ages ago. It may very well be that I simply didn't get it. So can someone outline in two or three sentences what makes MoN great (and sell me on giving this new, improved version a try)?

This is what various reviewers have said about Masks over the years. Click on the links for the full account of what they say.

"...widely considered one of the best RPG adventures ever made" —Gizmodo.

...a milestone for Call of Cthulhu and for RPG campaigns. It expanded our ideas of what roleplaying game adventures could be and raised the standards for the industry and the RPG art form."—The New York Review of Science Fiction.

"...the holy grail of horror, and in my opinion the best, most frightening, atmospheric, awesomely realized campaign for any game."—Dennis Detwiller (Delta Green).

"...probably the single most celebrated campaign ever created for Chaosium’s unhallowed-groundbreaking Call of Cthulhu RPG. Recipient of a Best Roleplaying Adventure award, Masks of Nyarlathotep remains, as its credits declare, “a roleplaying classic,” over two decades after its first appearance in 1984."—The Lovecraft e-Zine.

"Hands down, the greatest RPG ever designed is Sandy Petersen’s Call of Cthulhu... and Masks of Nyarlathotep (would) have to be in anyone’s top five (scenarios)."—Ken Hite (Trail of Cthulhu, Vampire).

"Masks of Nyarlathotep is considered by a great many gamers – including the author of this review – to be the pinnacle of commercially produced adventures. It has become the yardstick by which other scenarios are often measured."—Flames Rising.

"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."—DieHardGameFan.com.

"a masterclass in adventure design"—Bell of Lost Souls.

"Even if you have never played Call of Cthulhu, it’s a masterclass in adventure design and worth checking out"—Bell of Lost Souls.

"Now, for the uninitiated, Mask of Nyarlathotep is probably the War & Peace of Call of Cthulhu, if not of the whole horror gaming genre. Granted, Beyond the Mountains of Madness is bigger, and Horror on the Orient Express is probably creepier, but for globe-trotting variety, implied menace, cast of characters and locations, plot intricacies and sheer gaming goodness, Masks of Nyarlathotep remains a classic, sort of the standard against which Call of Cthulhu scenarios are evaluated."—Karavansara

Edited by MOB
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I guess I'll just have to read a few of these reviews, then, to get a better picture ... Ken Hite and Dennis Detwiller are certainly two names that I associate with great rpg design.

I just wondered whether the love for MoN might mainly be a nostalgia thing, or whether the campaign still feels exceptional and relevant. As I said, I'll probably have to give it another try. Still, if anyone feels like sharing what makes the campaign great for her or him, I'd appreciate that very much!

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I think there's something to it being a historic milestone in RPGs, though I'm not sure I'd call it Nostalgia. I think it's also about Chaosium as a whole, not just Cthulhu or MoN.

But as a gamer from the 80s, there were 16-50 page "adventures" from all the other companies and Chaosium was just churning out these incredible campaign boxes several times that size, and like nothing anyone else was doing. That's not limited to MoN or Cthulhu, I'd put the dual Pavis set as part of that as well. I think why MON gets the most attention is that it's a great adventure, but it's the best of this period and really the culmination of that entire wave of Chaosium not just pushing the industry forward, but shoving it aggressively with a roll of 01.

Edited by Numtini

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10 hours ago, dracopticon said:

...Horror on the Orient Express 2nd ed ... the extra material/scenarios ... represent unnecessary obstacles to... flow... There's too much focus on the size and not the actual writing.

I agree but: I ran the updated HotOE multiple times without the extra scenarios and found it to be excellent! The extra work into the product really seemed to pay off.

That said: I agree that most writers focus more on increasing word count rather than reducing it for flow and ease of use. But given the source material (HPL) and the target audience (people that like reading HPL), my preference for succinctness is probably in the minority.

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On 30/11/2017 at 8:33 PM, Jakob said:

 and that there was a totally random, in no way mythos-related werewolf adventure somewhere in there.

If I was in charge I'd actually cut out the werewolf adventure from the new edition - it is totally out of context and not even near the main England setting geographically. It is a real needle scratch off the record moment when it drops. Plus, as stated, totally non-Mythos.

Having just been an investigator and finished Masks I think it still stands the test of time but it really does need guidance for the Keeper on ramping up or down the danger/pulp so the investigators don't end up with TPKs every other session.

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On 9.12.2017 at 4:01 PM, groovyclam said:

If I was in charge I'd actually cut out the werewolf adventure from the new edition - it is totally out of context and not even near the main England setting geographically. It is a real needle scratch off the record moment when it drops. Plus, as stated, totally non-Mythos.

It's funny that that's the only thing that really stuck with me this long after reading the campaign ... probably it's really just such a radical scratch-off-the-record moment.

Edited by Jakob
typo

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On 12/9/2017 at 7:01 AM, groovyclam said:

If I was in charge I'd actually cut out the werewolf adventure from the new edition - it is totally out of context and not even near the main England setting geographically.

Yeah: that particular red-herring is quite a long distance away. I mean: a werewolf in London would be fine, but...

My groups were happy with scenario, but I gave them the disclaimer beforehand that it was only a side-quest and not relevant to the main quest. I also tried to portray the curse (and metamorphosis) in more Lovecraftian terms.

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On 12/11/2017 at 12:56 PM, mvincent said:

I mean: a werewolf in London would be fine, but...

Ahh-ooh?

I guess it'd be for the better if the scenario was cut, I mean the main villain isn't that evil. He's just an excitable boy.

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