Secrets of San Fransicso brief review

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Secrets of San Fransicso brief review

Post by fox01313 » Sun Nov 24, 2013 10:34 pm

Secrets of San Fransicso
By Cody Goodfellow with David Conyers, Brian M. Sammons, Elizabeth A. Wolcott, Hilary Ayer, Janice Sellers, Badger McInnes. Cover painting by Paul Carrick.
CHA23108 - ISBN 1-56882-187-5

First attempt at a book review but after adding this to my collection I’ve been quite delighted on the amount of depth to this one sourcebook which is now how I’d like to see sourcebooks done in the future for CoC. While not as in-depth as the Cthulhu by Gaslight book (CHA23123), it comes pretty close on the amount of content in this book. Still would really enjoy getting someone more familiar with the bay area to look through it to see what additional color they might add to it.

The book is set in the CoC classic 1920s era set in the northern California area. The book goes over in some detail in the 100 or so pages with the history of the area, the city, major events like the earthquakes/fires that took out most of the city, real & fake societies as well as a handful of notable celebrities like Sara Winchester, Ambrose Bierce & Clark Ashton Smith. Inside are also a couple of new spells, minor monsters & artifacts/tomes for investigators to find their doom with. One thing that impressed me about this book is that about every 5 pages or less there are little blocks of scenario hooks with either a person or place mentioned in that section, most scenario hooks are usually a few sentences but some are a little longer up to a larger section of the page.

I glanced through the 4 scenarios (to not spoil myself as I’d like to go through them first before trying to run them) in the other half of the book, so I can’t really comment on them but they look detailed enough that they should be fun with some interesting variety to them. There’s some more Chinatown centered scenario hooks in the book but it would have been nice to see some larger scenario surrounding the Cthulhu mythos mixed with the investigators mixed with Chinatown (as the film Big Trouble in Little China is mentioned in the back as suggested movies).

Only real fault as mentioned is the Chinatown section is rather glossed over so it appears that the Secrets of Japan (CHA2392) book might be also needed for some of this book to put in or get ideas in dealing with the eastern religion or culture/sayings in the setting. Apart from this slight issue easily fixed with the other Secrets of Japan sourcebook, some of the maps seem off where a small beach map might take up a larger amount of the page than it needs while a large hotel map of the Fairmont has details of the ground floor but a smaller 2nd floor map would be good to see how the general hotel room layout was at the time. A few typos, like an npc’s .38 gun doing 1d0 damage & probably intentional but a few of the minor monsters in the book with a 0/1die sanity loss that I’d feel should have 1 point as they’re unnatural enough to possibly unnerve someone. Despite my own minor issues with this book it’s highly recommended as a rich looking setting to occupy & recruit investigators going along the west coast.

edit-After a short delay I managed to track down at a nearby game/comic store the Secrets of Japan (CHA2392) book & apart from being modern Japan setting strangely enough it is also only got a few pages on a few of the religions with it mostly covering belief structure & some new skills. So looks like it could be slightly incorporated but at this point there are other secrets books out there (LA & NYC) that might have some more things to incorporate into San Fransisco's Chinatown with their own cultural areas.
"That's funny, usually the blood gets off on the second floor." -Mr. Burns in The Shinning episode (Treehouse of horror V)

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Shannon Mac
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Re: Secrets of San Fransicso brief review

Post by Shannon Mac » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:49 am

It's a great PDF. I've used a lot of ideas and 3 of the 4 scenarios for my COC camp.
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