Here’s
a rarity: an RPG book I have run recently. This is Doors to Darkness
(2016). The subtitle is “Scenarios for Beginning Keepers.” The
intention here was to provide Keepers fresh to Call of Cthulhu thanks
to the lovely new 7th edition rules  five scenarios to run with extra
training wheels. Even if you’ve been at this a while, I highly
recommend this book. Primo stuff here.

All
of the scenarios are straight forward enough on the Keeper side of
things. Potential for high death tolls is kept mostly down, at least
in three of the scenarios. All of them save one are interesting and
feel fresh (the cover scenario, which involves a serpent man’s
underground sanctuary, feels very D&D and trades in some
“degenerate human” tropes I don’t personally find appealing).
Standouts for me are Servants of the Lake, about a motel with
ambiance worse than Psycho, and Genius Loci, about a dark influence
haunting Danvers Mental Hospital. I ran both and they went over well,
particularly the hotel.

As
for being for beginning Keepers, sure. There is lots of advice
sprinkled around and none of these have piles of NPCs to manage or
labyrinthine subplots. What you see is what you get.

However,
I’m not a beginning Keeper and I had a bit of trouble running the
scenarios right out of the book. As much as I like reading prose
adventures, the older I get, the more I wish folks would dispense
with sentences and paragraphs and adopt bulleted lists, flow charts
or other easier to manage ways to convey information. As much as I
adore this book, I really hate having to generate notes to properly
run something without pausing to fish something out of a dense
paragraph. Putting all the information in standard prose makes all
the information seem equally important when it is not. This isn’t a
big deal in the scheme of things, but as a book geared toward
beginners, I fear it might still be overwhelming.  

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