A free trip into a new system - a Mephisto review
A quick trip to France
Achtung! Cthulhu is a roleplaying game that started with an unusual rulebook that supported two game systems at once - the classic Cthulhu game system and Savage World - and for which there are several rule versions for Fate or PDQ, for example. Now Modiphius, however, focuses, Achtung! Cthulhu on its own rule system 2d20, and in the run-up to the two essential rulebooks, publishes a quickstart for testing first.
This quickstart consists of two parts: on the one hand, the short rules and, on the other hand, a first introductory adventure. The rules and background give a brief insight into the world of Achtung! Cthulhu and the conflict between Section M on one side and the Black Sun and the Nachtwölfe on the other, transferring the Cthulhu setting to the backdrop of World War 2.
The rule system is based on rolling d20 for tests, rolling below a difficulty. Therefore, a 1 is an excellent result, while a 20 is a bad roll, causing additional problems. The dice are rolled against the sum of an attribute and a skill. The number of successes is determined by how many d20 beat the target value. Additional successes allow players to gain Momentum, which is used to bring positive game effects into play. While two d20 are rolled by default (hence the name 2d20), Momentum points and other mechanisms can be used to gain up to three bonus dice.
Another option is giving the gamemaster Threat, a currency that the gamemaster can use to buy additional threats and complications later. Also, non-player characters can use Threat the way player characters use Momentum. Luck - in the form of Fortune - gives players additional options. Of course, the rules system of the starter focuses heavily on combat. In fights, the player characters first accumulate stress; only greater damage causes injuries. The topic of magic is only briefly touched upon in the quick starter. The possibility of casting counter-magic offers the player characters a way to ward off the dark magic of their opponents.
Another new concept in the 2d20 system is the so-called truths, which are similar to the aspects in Fate. They describe and define something in the game world, which then has rules implications. Similar to Fate, players have the ability to define truths through the use of Momentum.
A quick trip to France is a short adventure in which the player characters are sent out to France. Here, Black Sun activity has been reported and needs to be investigated. The adventure begins with the parachute drop over occupied France and with searching and contacting the resistance. Eventually, the player characters must penetrate the Black Sun's fortress, where, of course, a sinister ritual must be stopped at the last second. While the plot looks pretty archetypal, the adventure is primarily set up to introduce various rules, mechanics, and concepts, making this a good tutorial for new players. Of course, there is a small arsenal of pre-made characters (character creation rules are missing from the quick starter) that players can start with right away.
If you would like to get a first glimpse into the world of Achtung! Cthulhu and its implementation for the 2d20 system will get a great chance to get some insight here. Both the basic rules are well summarized, and the adventure offers an interesting introduction to the setting. And as this frist trip is for free, it is worth trying it out.