Product– Ghoul Island Act 1: Voyage to Farzeen
Producer– Petersen Games
TL; DR-Solid book that tells you what it is. 95%
Basics– What horrors lurk under Farzeen? This is the first part of an epic heroic fantasy campaign from Sandy Petersen. This adventure starts off with mutiny aboard a ship, involves the crew being battered by horrible dreams, losing the crew, finding the city of Farzeen, and eventually finding the crew after they flee to a temple below the island. Along the way the players meet monstrous deep ones, less monstrous ghouls, and an ancient evil long forgotten below this island.
Mechanics or Crunch-This is a solid adventure. The math checks out as it’s just applying the basic 5e rules for the crunch. It uses Sandy Petersen’s dread rules, so you will need the Cthulhu Mythos book for that. Overall, a solidly put together adventure full of fun fights and exploration for low level characters. 5/5
Theme or Fluff-This part is where expectations have to be set early. I honestly think the best way to play Call of Cthulhu is a one shot. People in a normal world, thrown into a crazy situation, damaged beyond repair, then left to deal with the horror for the rest of their lives. That’s good cosmic horror. This isn’t that, and the book is VERY up front with that. This is heroic fantasy with horror thrown in. This adventure isn’t written to be 20 levels of just sheer cosmic horror. You get to be awesome stomping a deep one. Also, some of the main characters are ghouls. Some players are going to miss this, but Lovecraft ghouls are not DnD ghouls. They are more dog men really. It’s things like that that will require your players and you to adjust expectations. Nothing is bad, but you have to read this and see exactly what the author intends. 4.5/5
Execution– PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? no…That’s honestly my only gripe here. The layout is good. Text size is good. Art is well done. There is even a separate book that is the Farzeen Gazetteer that gives you background on the town and island. That’s an amazing value for 15 bucks considering this is a full length adventure and a whole small book on the island itself! Just hyperlink and this would be one of the best products this year. 4.75/5
Summary-Sandy Petersen’s team put out another top notch product here. It has solid crunch for the adventure. The story is good, but you HAVE to read what it is and what it is not. I also love the pieces of this thing. My gripes are small-I always want PDFs with hyperlinks now, and I went in expecting only cosmic horror all day long. If you can get past those small issues, then you have an incredible start to what is shaping up to be an amazing campaign with the resources you need to make a fun, in depth game for your players. 95%