Paul StJohn Mackintosh

Writing * Poetry * Dark Fiction * Weird * Fantastic * Horror * Fantasy * Science Fiction * Literature

A review of The Foulness Island Vanishings, by Glynn Owen Barrass & Friends

Stygian Fox is producing original Call of Cthulhu 7th edn. scenarios at a rate of knots nowadays, and this Second World War Era volume by the illustrious (and industrious) Glynn Owen Barrass is a shining example. The Foulness Island Vanishings: A Corrupting Infiltration In A Time Of War, in full, is, unsuprisingly, set on the real-life Foulness Island off the south-eastern coast of England in 1941, and mingles wartime paranoia with far more malign influences. The whole scenario breathes a very strong sense of time and place, like something out of a Second World War propaganda film – perhaps Went the Day Well? with its bizarre breakdown of English village life – and contains a lot of useful setting information that could be applied elsewhere. And although the scenario is fully written out for CoC 7th edn., it doesn’t look hard to tweak for Achtung! Cthulhu or other appropriate systems.

As for the scenario itself, its 84 excellently illustrated colour pages make full use of the island’s diverse locations and inhabitants in unveiling the story of a very strange infestation indeed. The maps, handouts, and house plans match the high visual quality of the rest of the book. The horror tropes are at times pretty unpleasant, and the scenario carries a Mature Gamers rating for a reason. There is certainly plenty of human evil on display, redolent of wartime atrocities, but the Unnatural brings in its own level of veriest awfulness to boot. By the end, Investigators certainly won’t feel that they’ve had a drab wartime ration of adventure and horror.

If Stygian Fox continues its present tear of high-quality Cthulhu Mythos material, I think we’ll all be the better for it. Production values are superb, and easily match the quality of the core 7th edition materials. And Stygian Fox’s choice of subjects seems to be sweeping an attractively wide field. For now, take a mental time-out from sequestration to enjoy another time and place of isolation and menace, and experience the foulness of Foulness.

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