Comic Book Curious

The Light at the End Provides a Great Start

February 7, 2022

I’ve never played Call of Cthulhu.

It’s never been something that’s really pulled me in. I enjoy the Arkham board games from Chaosium, but my TTRPG group never did well with horror games, so none of us ever thought to pick up the books and dive in. It wasn’t until this was put in my hands that I’d ever given it any serious thought…and now I want more.

The module cover for Light at the End

Credit: Mike Shelak

The Light at the End (available exclusively through Drivethru RPG) is an introductory module; it’s equally appropriate for a group of new players looking to get their first experience with the Call of Cthulhu universe, or even TTRPGs in general, but it’s brilliant in that it could just as easily serve as a side-quest or short-form adventure between campaigns for experienced players. The difficulty is easily scalable, so GMs can easily tweak the details and present a healthy challenge to hardened investigators or a choose-your-own-adventure type challenge to newbies.

The adventure takes place, of course, in 1920’s Arkham, Massachusetts, where the players will be tasked with tracking down a lost collection of documents. But their benefactors are more than they seem, and the wild claims of a desperate wife could very well lead the party to discover just why these documents went missing…or they could draw the party into being lost alongside them.

What really blew me away about this module was the sheer balance of it all. Mike does a truly amazing job of establishing a scene, giving the pertinent details, laying out the clues, and then leaving it alone. Nothing is oversaturated or overblown - it’s almost minimalist, which gives both the GM and the players the ability to fill in any blanks on their own, but it’s never so skinny as to require the GM or players to do the work. Even better than that is the fact that it’s creepy…written with just enough unsettling information that the characters feel like they were pulled out of true crime stories from the turn of the century. There’s mystery, but it’s not impossible to solve and it doesn’t rely on some random, obscure player knowledge or require you to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Cthulhu mythos. There’s action and horror, but it’s appropriately intense - the goals feel achievable, and it drives you to keep pressing forward.

Ultimately, I have to say this is one of the best modules I’ve read for any game system. If you’ve never played a Call of Cthulhu game, this is a perfect jumping-off point from which to get started. If you have, then I think this will provide a nice single-session adventure for you. Either way, buy it, play it, love it.

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