Thursday, October 20, 2016

Reviews: The Children of Chill

For years now Goblinoid games has been rolling out Pacesetter branded products thanks to their acquisition of the Pacesetter rights.  In fact, they have been publishing Time Master longer than Pacesetter did.  Time Master was fun, but the Pacesetter game that I enjoyed the most was Chill.  But you all knew that.

Goblinoid Games has faithfully recreated the horror feel of Chill in three different and compatible games.  I am actually going to talk about these with the newest one, Cryptworld first.

Ethics in reviews statement: I purchased the PDFs and softcover versions of these books myself.  Though I was given special thanks in Cryptworld for some advice I gave on some early drafts of the game.  All links are affiliate links which allows me to buy more games.

Cryptworld
90 pages, black & white interior, color cover.
Authors: Daniel Proctor (+Dan P) and +Tim Snider.
Cryptworld is the spiritual and brand successor to the first edition Chill game.  In many ways it represents what Chill could have become if it had not gone down the path of 2nd Edition and Mayfair games.  The Jim Holloway cover is very much in line with the original Chill boxed set.  In truth it is less "iconic" but I like it better.
The rules for the game are distilled down to their very essence.  This is for all purposes a "retro-clone" of Chill.  But it is more than that too.  Where Chill 2 was about fighting all sorts of creatures organized into the Unknown and Chill 3 is a modern monster hunting tale of SAVE; Cryptworld takes it back to basics of humankind versus the monsters.  This Kolchak the Night Stalker, Tales from the Crypt, Friday the 13th (TV Series), and all the wonderful tales of monsters and horror from the 80s.
Character creation is faster than I recall it being in Chill 1 or 2.  There are still plenty of options to create anytime of character you might want.  Like all versions of Chill you are not going to make Harry Dresden style characters (that's for Majus), but making the Winchesters is easy.
Goblinoid Games did not get the rights to SAVE, but that is fine really.  There is a section in the book covering other organizations that characters can belong too and all are worthy replacements for SAVE.  In particular, I want to run a game where all the characters are reporters for the Weekly Inquisitor.  That would be a blast really.
There are plenty of monsters, especially all the old favorites. There is also not a lot of duplication of monsters from other products so that is a nice value add.
There is also a great section on running games for the "Crypt Master" or CM. One of my favorite names for a Game Master ever.
Crypt Master is not just a spiritual successor to Chill, it is a worthy one.  If you have any materials from 1st or 2nd edition of Chill you will find them largely compatible with this game.

Monsters Macabre
64 pages, black & white interior, color cover.
This is a monster book. For use with Cryptworld, but also compatible with Majus, Rotworld and yes even Timemaster and 1st ed Chill.
There are so many good and new monsters here that it is worth it just for this alone. Really, there are such great things as the Mongolian Death Worm, the Batsquatch and plenty of old favorites.
The book is more than just monsters. There are plenty of great ideas on how to play and use these monsters in your game.  These sections are great for nearly any modern horror or urban fantasy game.
I rank it right up there with "Chill Things" in terms of utility for my games.

Majus
100 pages, black & white interior, color cover.
Author: Michael Curtis
Majus came out before Cryptworld and after Rotworld.  It uses the same Pacesetter system that all three games share with Time Master and 1st Edition Chill.  Majus though takes a different path and gives us a world of mages, magicians and high magic.  So in sense, everything I have always wanted in my own Chill games.  Like Cryptworld and Rotworld, the Pacesetter system is revised here to be quite easy to use.
What seperates Majus from the Cryptworld is not just the magic the characaters can now wield, but also the tone.  This is described as "Magic Noir" so think hardboilded detective stories mixed with a global magic conspiracy.  Whether you want to use this or not is upto the individual CM (in this case "Cabal Master") but I think you would be missing out on a really great feature of the game.
This game can also provide new background, magic and ideas for your Cryptworld games as well.
The monsters in this game are largely a different sort that what is found in Cryptworld, so buying both games will give you extra monsters and features.  There is some overlap, but that is mostly system related material.

Rotworld
64 pages, black & white interior, color cover.
Author: Daniel Proctor
Rotworld is one of the first of the modern horror games using the Pacesetter system from Goblinoid Games.  It is very much of the vien of humans vs. zombies found in All Flesh Must Be Eaten and shows like the Walking Dead.
Rotworld uses the old Time Master system that Proctor bought from Pacesetter. He did not however buy Chill, so he can't say it is compatible with Chill 1st Edition. But with some work it is and that is why I picked it up. I love Chill and plan to see what sort of goodness Rotworld could add to a Chill game. OR the other way around. Either way this small game (65 pages) packs a punch and shows that "Old School Gaming" is more than just making the next retro-clone of Holmes Basic or AD&D 1st ed.
There are not a lot of monsters in this book, outside of zombies, but there is plenty of text on character creation, combat and skills. There is a good Game Master section (Corpse Master, CM again) about how to setup and run a game. Rotworld is a fine game. It won't unseat AFMBE as the premiere Zombie survival game out there, but it is a lot of fun and great for an evening's distraction or even gathering up a bunch of friends with fond memories of gaming in the early 80s. For the price it really can't be beat. Actually it would still be a steal at twice the price.

I have the softcovers of these books but I am thinking of printing out the PDFs to put into a binder so I have everything I need in one place.



2 comments:

Brett B. said...

I love what they've done with this stuff. So much so that I included conversion notes in Bloodshadows 3E. I prefer Cryptworld over Chill 2E and 3E, because it has that original campy feel.

Jeff Duncan said...

Cryptworld is best described as 80's horror mash. I didn't like the mechanics in relation to how it functions with weaponry, but over all (since I played a session after my review) the system is pretty decent.

Curious. What sort of advise/thoughts did you give. Can you give any details?

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