Friday, May 22, 2020

Highway of Blood Review

Highway of Blood is a Call of Cthulhu grindhouse adventure set in the 1970's. Released by Critical Hit Publishing, it's available in pdf and print on demand from DriveThruRPG. While its spelled out on the cover, this one isn't for everyone and it contains the following topics, which could be triggering to some: drug use, disturbing sadistic violence, rape (implied), torture, cannibalism, body horror, and violence against children.

The adventure center includes inbred mutant rednecks, snake people, high speed car chases, and a town appropriately named Abattoir. This adventure oozes style. The layout and font color choices are appropriate and it's an easy read. Pertinent information is placed in strategic spots. There are several GM tips scattered throughout to help make the experience the best it can be. I really like the music recommendations for different set pieces. When I run this I will use them like one of the suggestions as an eerie prophetic/commentary. 

In regards to GM advice, the book does an amazing job of discussing the harsh topics presented here and how to deal with them at the table. There is a whole page to talk about how to present these things to your party, consent, and what to do. This info is right up front and discussed before the rest of the adventure. In an era where the topic of consent is at the forefront of discussion, this is a nice move on behalf of the publisher. 

The writers set out to make an adventure that feels like a grindhouse/slasher flick and they succeeded. Things are entertaining and feel like a movie. I kind of want to make a trailer for the adventure. If I had a better computer to work on I would. Given the setting and cinematic nature of the adventure, this one is built for one shots. However, there are several crunchy bits that can be incorporated into your on going Call of Cthulhu chronicle. The following are included in the various appendices:
  • Nonlethal weapons
  • Car chase rules
  • Extensive desert environment rules
  • NPC's (4 unique and 1 minion)
  • Monsters (4 total)
  • Spells (2)
  • Magic items (2)
  • Radioactive materials rules
  • Vehicle stats (5)
 Like all good Call of Cthulhu adventures, Highway of Blood has several handouts to give to players to help immerse them in the adventure. 

If you can't tell, I'm a big fan of this one. If you want something different for your Call of Cthulhu games or are just a fan of grindhouse things, check it out. Honestly, I'm already thinking about how I can use this for World of Darkness, Dark Places & Demogorgons, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, and even Vigilante City (using the investigator options presented).

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