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HP Lovecraft's Arkham (Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game) Paperback – 1 Mar 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Chaosium Inc.,U.S. (1 Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568821654
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568821658
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 21 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,057,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
HP Lovecraft's Arkham aims to describe the entire town (characters, locations, shops and cults) as it stood in the late 1920s, about the same time that Lovecraft's main stories (Dreams in the Witch House, Mountians of Madness and Shadow Out of Time) are occurring. Overall the writers do an excellent job of bringing the city alive and filling it with plot hooks for Keepers to flesh out into full adventures.

Arkham covers everything the Keeper could want, from the churches to the newspapers, to the doctors and the gangsters, and most importantly it covers the Cthulhu Mythos elements in town. There's the Arkham Witch Cult (could have done with more detail, like what they actually do over than sacrifice babies), local occultists the Eye of Amara and also the people in the know at Miskatonic University (who could probably do with reading their own library, the amount of tomes they've missed!). On top of this there are three scenario (all quite decent, especially the fun looking 'The Condemmed', although most of 'Hills Rise Wild' actually happens near Dunwich, it does demonstrate what can be done with the material) and conversions for the d20 system.

A criticism is the (in my opinion) horribly jarring 3d artwork for the portraits and drawings, giving the impression the book's full of screenshots from some Alone in the Dark clone, although in a few cases the art does portray a sense of creepiness. A shame considering books like 'Tatters of the King' or 'Kingsport' have fine artwork in them.

Overall a really great book that anyone with an interest in Call of Cthulhu or Lovecraft should consider buying, as it creates a truly detailed world for the Keeper to throw the investigators into.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ms. V. F. Hadley on 4 Jan 2006
Format: Paperback
I didn't find this as detailed as the H.P. Lovecraft's Dunwich book, but still, it is presented in the same excellent format & comes with a map of Arkham & a mock news sheet to tease / tempt / confuse players with.
Miskatonic university could have been described in more depth but seeing as Chaosium have just bought a book out for this I'm guessing that covers the problem.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Ground Zero of Cthulhu Mayhem- Welcome to Hell! 9 Sep 2004
By Spunk Monkey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The wonderful thing about roleplaying games are their endless possibilities for action- one can literally do anything within the framework of the rules; the only limit is the glass ceiling of your imagination. Though there IS the limitation put forth by the necessities of playing a particular module or campaign- if the game takes place in Canada, it is probably a good idea to go there and not to Somalia. With this book, all limitations are gone.

The homebase of H.P. Lovecraft's Call of Cthulhu investigators is in all probability Arkham, perhaps being their place of employement or residence. With this new Sourcebook, H.P. Lovecraft's Arkham, we now have a literal blueprint of the town. Who lives where, what is the criminal underground like, what are the industries and buisnesses, public transporation, what do the govement and police consist of, etc. It literally creates an entire world for the player to exist in.

We have not even bothered to play any of the game scenarious at the back because just existing in the town and creating our own situations have been fascinating enough. For example, we had the investigators encounter and befriend an underground movement of Anarchist whom attempted to unionize the immigrant factory workers, wipe out the Arkham govement, simultanously blew up the three power stations in the town and the water tower, did battle with the national guard and took over!

There is literally endless possibilities for play. Think Grand Theft Auto times a thousand. The book is brilliant and besides having the original Call of Cthulhu sourcebook, I see this book as being absolutly essential. There are gangs and cults and underground movements and plenty of beasts and forbidden tomes and strange people and places to go and situations to become involved in, besides ones that the Storyteller creates herself. Included is also information on the Miskatonic University and its professors, campus, and library.

Also included is information pertaining to the surrounding area around Arkham for those Investigators brave enough to leave town, for, indeed, there is much that is truly monsterous writhing about the periphery.

Although I see this book as essential, if you dig it, there are other simular and exciting books for those wishing to expand your play world- there is H.P. Lovecraft's Kingsport, H.P. Lovecraft's Dunwich, and Escape From Innsmouth. Thus opening up the possibility to wander throughout four complete, though completly unique and hideously decadent, towns all within reach of each other. I can't wait for the release of the hardcover Miskatonic University sourcebook.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Sourcebook for a city of shadows 16 April 2005
By Alexander Scott - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
First, let me say that this is a huge book. At 250 pages, you are really getting your money's worth. The town info is great, lots of useful characters, and the scenarios are excellent. I do have some complaints - the layout is more primitive than the other books, especially the neighborhood maps. On the other end of the scale, all the portraits are computer generated. First, it looks pretty hokey (maybe CGI was not as good back then?); second, the facial proportions are wrong for many of the people. This isn't a big deal for, say, Dunwich, but Arkham is somewhat repesctable and misproportioned faces just clashes with the attempted realism of CGI.

The standard layout of these books is to have a story by HPL featuring the town, to discuss town history, to break down the town into neighborhoods and show each one in detail, and then to have scenarios.

The opening story is "Dreams in the Witch House", which is probably the best available. I really like opening these books with a story by HPL - it is a reminder of how the whole thing got started. The neighborhoods take up a lot of space and describe a great many people, places, and things to meet in Arkham. I wish they would have spent some time talking about architecture in the town history section - I still don't know the difference between "gable" and "gambrel". Some real problems: street names are not clearly marked on the neighborhood maps, even when they are referred to. The combined map is not reprinted in the neighborhood section, nor is each neighborhood map shown as one piece; we only see fragments at a time. I think the Kingsport sourcebook does this best, so I assume that the layout people were still pefecting their craft at this early stage. As always, the town directory is helpful considering especially that there are so many entries that an index is needed to quickly find anything. All of the scenarios are great, although one ("the Hills Rise Wild") really would have been better in the Dunwich book, which was short on good scenarios.

Also included is a tear-out map of Arkham on very nice paper, and an issue of THE ARKHAM ADVERTISER, which also becomes a handout.

In all, this is a very informative sourcebook, with plenty of people, places, and things for investigators to explore. The only drawback, besides the poor maps, is that the spooky atmosphere was not convreyed very well. Reading the other sourcebooks, I definitely felt the atmosphere; Arkham didn't do that for me. It could have been better, but was still great.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Arkham anyone? 22 Jan 2008
By Skyman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Great book with a map inside that you can tear out. I used this book exclusively for a CoC group I ran for a whole year long. I really appreciated the block to block set up with the various places of import and the mythos related possibilities. This is a great place to have players start from and explore.
Five Stars 23 Aug 2014
By L. Scot Gowers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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