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Al-Azif Unearthed: The Unraveling. RPG Review

Al-Azif Unearthed: The Unraveling – A Classic-era Scenario for Call of Cthulhu, by John Crowdis, C2023 , Price: £7.89, Website

Review by Seth Stauffer 

Tragedy is perhaps a perfect theme for Lovecraftian horror, and that is the undercurrent through a mission that begins in a warzone, includes a mysterious artifact with a troubled past, and leads to a bizarre situation in a creepy hotel. The Unraveling by John Crowdis comes from the Miskatonic Repository for Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu. Do the characters have the resolve, and the luck, to see it all the way through?

One of my favourite parts of this adventure is that there is a little exegesis at the beginning of the module articulating its history. I don’t know that I think this sort of thing should be in every RPG product, but I appreciated having a deeper understanding of how this particular supplement came to see the light of day. Crowdis’ The Unraveling is a passion project, something that is reflected throughout from cover to cover. 

Although it lacks a little polish, the quality is fantastic, and it feels like it could have been professionally published. It adheres well to iconic lore and makes references to personalities and concepts fans of Lovecraft will recognize. Crowdis’ knowledge of the source material is spot on.

This is billed as the first part of a serialized campaign, and it feels that way since nothing is really resolved. As a story cliffhanger works, but as a game it feels off because the rest of the campaign doesn’t appear to exist yet, nor is information available as to when the next section might be forthcoming. This is a perfectly respectable standalone product, but the since the next step isn’t available at the time this review was written it leaves one wanting. It could have had a slightly tidier resolution, but perhaps that’s a good sign. Always leave them wanting more, right? The Unraveling is a quality offering from the Miskatonic Archive, and hopefully, a sign of great things to come from that source. It’s a fun, albeit tough investigation and makes great use of the Cthulhu mythos. Player characters will feel the effects of having pushed through this one. After the dust has settled it feels like it shouldn’t be over, even though it is.

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