Goblin Press presents the long-awaited 3rd Cthulhu Companion with the release of Island of Ignorance!
  • Goblin Press presents the long-awaited 3rd Cthulhu Companion with the release of ISLAND OF IGNORANCE!


    Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu RPG has long been a perennial favorite in the Role-playing Game Community, offering fans of Lovecraft’s unique horror stories a playground amidst the terrible dread of the Cthulhu Mythos. The CoC RPG has seen seven editions of the game system and setting – thirteen if you count the four special printings of the 5th edition, the 25th and 30th Anniversary editions - along with more than fifty supplements, since its release in 1981.

    Over the years, many other authors and game publishers have contributed to the expanding product line of Call of Cthulhu RPG products, offering versions of the game for other systems like D20 and Savage Worlds, as well as new releases for the various editions of CoC.
    Golden Goblin Press is one such company, and has created a substantial product line of supplements and settings for Call of Cthulhu over the past few years. And in May of 2013, Golden Goblin Press successfully Kickstarted a new Cthulhu Companion, the first one released since the Second Cthulhu Companion was published by Chaosium back in 1985. Taking its title from the opening of Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulhu, the 3rd Cthulhu Companion, Island of Ignorance, sets out to offer new material for Keepers to add to their 6th Edition CoC campaigns.

    Island of Ignorance

    • Editors: Oscar Rios & Lisa Padol
    • Writers: Geoff Gillian, Daniel Harms, Scott David Aniolowski, Tyler Hudak, Eckhard Huelshoff, Tom Lynch, Brian M. Sammons, Mark Shireman, Oscar Rios, Jeff Moeller, and Jon Hook
    • Illustrations: Reuben Dodd (cover & interior); Alyssa Faden (cartography); Dean Englehardt (player handouts)
    • Publisher: Golden Goblin Press
    • Year: 2013
    • Media: PDF (198 pages)
    • Price: $15.00 (Available for purchase at the Golden Goblin Press site)


    Island of Ignorance
    is a collection of articles and scenarios published by Golden Goblin Press, designed as a supplement for Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu RPG (6th Edition). Tagged as the 3rd Cthulhu Companion, Island of Ignorance contains eight articles discussing a range of issues useful for both players and Keepers, from new Mythos creatures to new Investigator professions. The 3rd Cthulhu Companion also includes five new scenarios for use in a CoC campaign, 18 pre-generated Investigators ready-to-play, along with maps and handouts for the players.


    Production Quality

    The production quality of Island of Ignorance is very good, utilizing a layout style similar to Chaosium’s CoC products, and showcasing truly amazing writing from the contributing authors. The material is imaginative and well-constructed, and the articles and scenarios make for quite a pleasurable read.

    The layout and design of Island of Ignorance was nicely aimed to bring the era of the 1920s to mind. The art deco styles of the borders on titles and pages, along with the font choices, were tastefully done, providing real lux to the whole work. Important side notes and text are placed in black boxes with white lettering which makes them “pop” to the reader’s eye.

    The PDF of Island of Ignorance is equipped with a table of contents, which is, regretfully, not hot-linked to the appropriate pages within the ebook. Typically, this would not be an issue, except that there are also no PDF bookmarks included, which does make the process of navigating through nearly 200 pages of content somewhat of a chore.

    The artwork in Island of Ignorance is just excellent, and quite evocative of the heavy ink style of black-and-white illustrations used in official Chaosium releases. Obviously, the art style fits quite well with the contents, and the Mythos-related pieces are really quite creepy. The cartography is also nicely done, and range from simple graph paper style to artfully hand-drawn maps, and form part of the bundle of handouts for Keepers using Island of Ignorance. The other handouts consist of graphically designed clues such as clippings of newspaper articles, crumpled notes, and old parchment pages. They are beautifully rendered, and provide the players with a great resource during play.

    (To see the handout bundle for Island of Ignorance, it is available for free download from the RPGNow site.)


    Shiny New Unspeakable Horrors

    Lovecraft aficionados will undoubtedly recognize that the name of this 3rd Cthulhu Companion from the opening lines of The Call of Cthulhu (1928):
    “We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.”
    And like the homage in the title, the writers who contributed to Island of Ignorance amply demonstrate their devotion to Lovecraftian lore and the play style of the Call of Cthulhu RPG. Both the articles and the scenarios offer some solid new content to CoC, which is likely to appeal to many of the RPG’s fans.

    Among the eight articles, two are specifically aimed at providing more options for players to create unique Investigators. Island of Ignorance makes it possible to play an ex-soldier come home from Great War or a hobo wandering hither and yon investigating occult happenings. These two occupation options are full detailed, with discussions about how they would be perceived by 1920s culture, and what skills would be appropriate for an ex-military or tramp investigator.

    The other six articles are geared more toward the Keeper, providing substantial information about a range of topics from artifacts to Mythos monsters. The first of the articles is a bit ironic, discussing the history and lore of “The Golden Goblin” – a strange gold statuette from which the fictitious Golden Goblin Press in Lovecraft’s story “The Black Stone” took its name. Obviously, one hopes the real Golden Goblin Press doesn’t have one of these accursed statuettes lurking around their offices, as its quite a dangerous little artifact! Other artifacts such as “The Devil’s Opera”, “The Knjiga Mrtva” (Book of the Dead), and the strange “Silks of Irem” are also featured here in Island of Ignorance. In addition, there is an article describing a family of rumrunning cultists from Massachusetts, and another offering the lore behind a Great Old One invited by Brian Lumley in his story “The Kiss of Bugg Shash”. All the articles are highly detailed, and are likely to inspire any number of scenarios and encounters of the Keeper’s choosing.

    Like the preceding articles, the five scenarios in Island of Ignorance are all very well written and feature a wide range of investigation locales and challenges. Here is where the handouts discussed previously come into play, and they provide both useful information and great props for players at the gaming table. Without offering too many spoilers in this review, suffice it to say the scenarios are quite creepy, some downright horrific and contain scenes both disturbing and grisly - one even carries a warning about its disturbing content. But overall, the blood-and-gore is appropriate to the situation, and definitely enhances the quality of the investigations. It should be noted that some of the villains and NPCs in these scenarios are graphically enhanced pictures of some of the Kickstarter contributors, and it does add a nice touch to the supplement.

    The 3rd Cthulhu Companion closes with a selection of 18 ready-to-run Investigators, complete with character portraits using more altered pictures of Kickstarter contributors – and the costume styles used for these portraits are excellent for the time period. The character sheets are very nicely designed, and contain all the score and characteristics for each investigator. Although the Investigators already have certain life-facts established, such as their Occupations, Age, Birthplace, and College Degrees, the personality of the character is not discussed allowing a player to bring the persona to life as he or she prefers. It should be noted that there are examples of the ex-soldier and hobo occupations in the mix, so players and Keepers will have no trouble giving the new content in Island of Ignorance a try.


    Overall Score: 4.2 out of 5.0


    Conclusions

    There are so many good things to recommend about Island of Ignorance (3rd Cthulhu Companion) by Golden Goblin Press that it would be hard to find much fault with the product. The writing, lore, and investigation storyline are excellent, and the new content presented in the 3rd Cthulhu Companion is likely to be great additions for many Keepers’ campaigns. The art, handout, and maps definitely enhance the material and scenarios, and using the pictures of costumed Kickstarter contributors in the book was an inspired idea.

    While the lack of navigation tools like page hyperlinks and PDF bookmarks might be a bit frustrating for readers, the quality of the content more than makes up for the frustration. Island of Ignorance might well be a must-have product for Call of Cthulhu RPG Keepers, given how much content is packed into this product for a very reasonable price, indeed.

    Editorial Note
    : This Reviewer received a complimentary copy of the product in PDF format from which this review was written.

    Grade Card (Ratings 1 to 5)

    • Presentation: 4.0
    • - Design: 3.5 (Writing superb; solid design; annoying to navigate without PDF bookmarks)
    • - Illustrations: 4.5 (Excellent cover; cool interior art; awesome handouts for players!)
    • Content: 4.0
    • - Crunch: 4.0 (Excellent use of rules and Mythos; cool new content)
    • - Fluff: 4.0 (Great lore pieces; scenario story and plot are first rate!)
    • Value: 4.5 (Great price for all the new content!)
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