Dead Light and Other Dark Turns (2019)

Man, this book. Dead Light and Other Dark Turns (2019) is an all-timer, folks. It contains two full scenarios that are solid gold classics, plus a pile of adventure seeds.

First off is Dead Light, which was originally a holiday gift for backers of the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition Kickstarters, a kind of mea culpa for delays in fulfillment (if I recall correctly). It is a survival horror scenario, with investigators stuck at a diner during a wild storm that has loosed…something. It plays a bit on the sort of dynamics you see in Alien, Evil Dead and you basic zombie movie, with players trying to survive the threat, manage the freaking out non-player characters and solve the mystery in a short window of time. Its a great, deadly pressure cooker.

The real surprise is the second scenario, Saturnine Chalice, in which the players car(s) die in sight of a deeply strange house. This one mixes Mythos stuff with traditional ritual magic and a small dose of David Lynch, to great effect. There is clear inspiration drawn from the (excellent, underrated) horror film A Dark Song (2016)(the soundtrack for which, it so happens, works very well for the scenario). The beats for this scenario are very different from the usual Call of Cthulhu investigation and it becomes effortlessly bizarre. There’s a nice puzzle to work out too. I ran this for my group last year and it remains one of the most memorable scenarios we played.

For the level of quality on display in this book, it is a bit of a bummer that it is one of Chaosium’s second-tier of print production for the Call of Cthulhu books (cheaper paper, black and white throughout). This one deserves the luxury treatment!

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