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Minireview: Snows of an Early Winter (Call of Cthulhu)

Snows of an Early Winter is a somewhat unusual Call of Cthulhu scenario; instead of the “classic” 1920s setting it’s set in the modern day (in New York city), and it has a tone that is quite different from usual CoC scenarios. In some places it’s closer to Unknown Armies in feel. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I cannot help thinking this scenario isn’t a perfect fit for CoC. As a general modern-day occult scenario it’s quite good, though. It’s quite open-ended and provides the PCs with tons of options instead of a clear path; of course, this also means that it may be a bit challenging to run. The scenario provides a bit pile of handouts for the players, and many of the “Mythos” elements here are unique to this scenario, helping keep veteran players on their toes.

The plot concerns a series of bloody murders on New York streets, possibly related to a strange cult with links to the movers and shakers of the city. Events move from street (or even gutter) level up to the expensive penthouses, and the ending has the potential to be quite explosive. It’s generally quite well-written, though it could have used a few more editing passes – some details are a bit confusing, at least on first read, and I suspect the GM would need to do quite a bit of work to get this to run smoothly (partly because of the free-form structure given here, which in itself is a good thing). To its credit, the scenario contains lots of “how to run this” -type hints and commentary.

There’s quite a bit of violence, and some of the events are quite disturbing. It’s also almost gonzo in places, which enhances the UA feel. I’m pretty sure this thing could also plugged into Delta Green without too much trouble, and may be more at home there than in “straight” CoC. In any case, it’s a pretty good if a bit unusual scenario, worth taking a look at.

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