CAPSULE REVIEW – HORROR ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS – CALL OF CTHULHU RPG CAMPAIGN


The Horror on the Orient Express boxed set by Chaosium.

The Horror on the Orient Express boxed set by Chaosium.

Chaosium is offering a pretty good bargain for a long-distance passenger train trip with stopovers in cities that include Paris, Rome and Constantinople, all for around $100.

There’s only one caveat to this deal, you’re bound to run into some terrifying encounters which may lead to the loss of your sanity or life.

The deal comes in the form of a massive roleplaying campaign boxed set, weighing in at more than 8 pounds (!),  that takes place in the 1920s.

Horror on the Orient Express is an RPG campaign set that includes five campaign books, a book filled with handouts to pass out to your investigators (the players), a traveler’s companion pamphlet, a 1920’s European map, passports, stickers, postcards, a matchbox…did I mention this box is massive?…train schematics, a “Scroll of the Head” and cut-out body parts of the cursed Sedefkar Simulacrum.

The boxed set was funded through a Kickstarter campaign (seems like most of the best RPG releases are produced in this way now a days) in 2012 and was definitely worth the wait.

Map included with the Horror on the Orient Express boxed set by Chaosium.

Map included with the Horror on the Orient Express boxed set by Chaosium.

Even if you don’t play the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game, now in its 7th edition, or role-playing games in general, it’s a fascinating and VERY detailed read not only for its thrilling, comprehensive adventures and smart plots, but its immersive qualities as well.

The campaign has all you would expect from a Chaosium production of this magnitude; exhaustive information on the culture and events in the countries featured, a variety of characters – some who may not be what they seem (isn’t that the best type of people?), and horrors and artifacts that test mental limits.

Of course there’s also the memorable, deliciously-disturbing adventures/scenarios whether it be a ghost haunting a dinner at an extravagant hotel or investigating the disappearance of an archeologist which in turn leads to an insane doctor and his…”creations.”

Horror on the Orient Express is billed as a “massive and legendary campaign” and it definitely fits the bill as one, since getting to the end of it all may be an epic and worthwhile endeavor that could practically take months depending on how often you play, and of course if the players survive to see the end.

But like all the best of the Call of Cthulhu campaigns, one of the most entertaining parts of this game is how you get to that end, whether it be near death or nearly insane.

The books included with the Horror on the Orient Express boxed set by Chaosium.

The books included with the Horror on the Orient Express boxed set by Chaosium.

Some of the many extras that's included with Horror on the Orient Express.

Some of the many extras that’s included with Horror on the Orient Express.

Cut out pieces for the Sedefkar Simulacrum which is also included with the Horror on the Orient Express boxed set.

Cut out pieces for the Sedefkar Simulacrum which is also included with the Horror on the Orient Express boxed set.

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