RPGs that time forgot... Blood Brothers

Blood Brothers
Tag Line: 13 Tales of Terror
Makers: Chaosium Inc. for Call of Cthulhu

What is it?
A collection of 13 short, one-shot scenarios for Call of Cthulhu, but based on old horror movie tropes rather than the Lovecraftian Mythos. So for example, there's a werewolf scenario, a phantom of the opera scenario, and evil doll scenario, etc. Each includes stats for appropriate PCs and discussion and recommendations on appropriate movies.

Neat Stuff
-The book reeks of B-movie goodness, offering stories that might even have flashback in them and other cinematic tricks, including a Land Before Time-type story where the dinosaurs must be described with their obvious special effects (jerky movement or make-up on lizards).
-A story is titled Ancient Nazi Midget Shamans. 'nuff said.
-Sanity rules are updated to reflect movie fear effects, like screaming, your hair turning white, etc. And there's a silly paragraph on how to make your movie 3-D.
-Totally gratuitous stats for Abbott and Costello.

Bad Stuff
-Not all stories are up to par. I find the haunted house scenario a bit thin, for example, and the zombie adventure is nothing more than how to run an attack on various locations (though admittedly, that's a lot like a zombie movie).
-As is common with such collections where brevity is indicated, some information you might deem important might be excluded, creating plot holes or fuzzy timelines.
-The hand outs take up space and aren't really typeset any differently than the rest of the book, giving me little incentive to actually cut them out or even photocopy them.

From Honeymoon in Hell: "After this, married life will probably be an anticlimax."

How I've used it
I've used three of the scenarios in my Dream Park game. Ancient Nazi Midget Shamans, modified not to force the players to play children in Part 2, actually won "favorite scenario of the year" in our group's annual awards. Not only that, but the Gremlin kid Klaus was named "best NPC", and the game spawned the "best moment" as one character stopped bullets with his helmet, blew up a suburb, and generally screamed "Die you Nazi fuck!!!" a lot (a big wave to TiCass). Blood Brothers was pretty big that year, because The Land That Time Ignored won best menace (this is the dinosaur scenario, but I through some multi-genre in it by giving the apes and the PCs super-powers with special fx just as bad as the dinosaurs'). And the "best death" occurred in the Honeymoon in Hell story (basically Island of Dr. Moreau with crocodiles and a honeymoon cruise aboard the boat from Anaconda): A PC had to be killed by another after he started "changing". Had we kept playing that game, I'm sure I would have used even more scenarios. In fact, I'm surprised I never used the gangster vampires adventure. One day... one day...

In conclusion
Fun to read and to play, Blood Brothers offers crazy non-Mythos stories with plenty of humor and nice art. The usual early Chaosium quality is there, and plenty of variety both in scenarios and the kind of pre-generated PCs (Hell Planet includes a space monkey would can only speak with sign language!). Based on the strength of this product, I eventually purchased Blood Brothers 2, but that's a story for another day...


Michael May said...

Obviously I'm way behind in my blog reading, but wanted to say that I love the idea of doing annual awards for your RPG group. I wish our group was still that vital.

Siskoid said...

Though it fit the Dream Park idea perfectly (the players play role-players and are watched by the public on the DP Network), I would recommend doing this annually or perhaps biannually. It's great fun. I would usually run it like an award show with musical numbers (either from the talented in the group or off CDs), and I give out little plates with images from the adventures on them to the winners.


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