What Do I Know About Reviews? Seventh Inning Slaughter (Achtung Cthulhu 2d20)
It’s August, so it’s the perfect time to look at an adventure set on the Fourth of July! Fine, I may be running behind on some of the reviews and first impressions I wanted to do last month. Bear with me.
The full version of Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20 from Modiphius hasn’t yet come out, but I’ve already looked at several adventures. Because the final rules haven’t been published, you’ll need the quickstart rules for the game, and if you want to play this now, you’ll probably be using the pregen characters.
The previous adventures I’ve looked at for this game have involved operations in Europe, defaulting to before the United States entered the war. This adventure takes place after the United States has entered the war, and includes North American characters.
This is an adventure horror scenario, but it is still worth examining what the most potentially problematic content will be. This doesn’t just involve Cthulhoid monsters and Nazi sorcerers, it involves the human body being warped in some pretty graphic ways.
Seventh-Inning Slaughter! Is a 28 page adventure. There is a credits page, a table of contents, a poster handout page, a page with a map of the ballpark, and four pregenerated characters. In addition to having the standard weathered pages, page borders, and headers of other Achtung! Cthulhu adventures, there are also sidebars for tracking the progress of the baseball game, inning by inning.
Unlike some of the other adventures in the line, this adventure doesn’t assume that the characters are already working for Majestic or Section M. If you are using the pregenerated characters, two of them are baseball players on the field, and two are spectators.
The adventure takes place in Rockford Illinois, at an All-American GIrls Baseball League game. FDR is in attendance, which has caught the attention of a Nazi sorcerer affiliated with Black Sun (the Nazi black magic division). Jorg Becker is planning on summoning an ancient evil under the ballpark to assassinate the president.
Jorg has several clones helping him set up the ritual, giving the player characters the chance to notice multiple versions of the same man around the stadium. In addition to noticing the strange man that appears to be everywhere at the ballgame, there are increasingly disturbing supernatural events that happen during the game, some in the stands, and some on the field, that the player characters may need to deal with. If you use the pregenerated characters that are baseball players, you have the option to affect the outcome of the game each inning.
During the seventh inning stretch, Jorg very obviously attempts to complete his ritual, allowing the player characters to directly engage him. Why don’t people in the crowd help you against him? Maybe because half of them have been transformed into very terrible things.
Noticing Jorg’s clones and the various supernatural effects may give the PCs clues as to what’s going on, but they don’t really have the opportunity to stop Jorg, just potentially prepare for the confrontation. The primary objective becomes making sure the ritual doesn’t summon the elder evil below Rockford, Illinois, and making sure that FDR isn’t killed.
The pregens include two baseball players, who are sisters, a mechanic and inventor that was a former military pilot, and an older scholar that is the pregen that has supernatural abilities. The more I see characters with spellcasting and other supernatural abilities, the more curious I am to get a look at the character creation section of the final game.
I was a bit concerned about this adventure being a little too uncritical of the United States in this era. It’s very easy to make World War II content that uncritically casts America virtuous and pure, and while the Nazis are clearly horrible people that needed to be opposed, America wasn’t without serious flaws in this era (and in the present). That’s why I appreciated that the sisters playing for the Kenosha, Wisconsin team are Indigenous people, one of which is an Indigeonous rights advocate.
There is one implication on the character sheet for one of the sisters that I’m not thrilled with. After mentioning that Ruth sticks up for her indeginous religious beliefs, one of her truths is “Superstitious Homerun Queen.” For just about any other ball player, I would just assume they have some pre-game ritual superstitions that are often attributed to baseball players. But when it’s associated with someone that practices indigeonous religion, it could be taken to mean that her religion is being dismissed as superstition. I don’t think that’s the intent, but it’s one of those implications that can occur without intention.
The game doesn’t explicitly say to do this, but I think that, given that everyone is assumed to have weapons with them, including the ballplayers having weapons in the locker room, there should be something to tip them off that something may be going down. I would likely frame this as someone from Majestic sending them a cryptic warning before fully inviting them to join at the end of the adventure.
For the horrific descriptions in this adventure, it’s a fun scenario, juxtaposing fun Fourth of July activities with a creeping, dangerous threat that slowly becomes impossible to ignore. I especially love the somewhat ironic final lines of the adventure, making the fireworks display more of a surreal contrast.
I mentioned in the pregen section that I think the set up could use just a wee bit more to tip the PCs off to something happening during the game. While I like the idea of the growing threat culminating during the seventh inning stretch, it may also feel a little frustrating to the players that they can pick up on clues every inning, but they still can’t confront the villain until the appointed time.
Qualified Recommendation–A product with lots of positive aspects, but buyers may want to understand the context of the product and what it contains before moving it ahead of other purchases.
This is a fun scenario, and it provides some North American operatives to add into the other pregens that have been introduced, but unless you play with the timeline a bit, this is the last adventure in the current timeline of adventures that have been published for this line. I think for players that are on board with the fun of an “event” based adventure will enjoy this, but players that might be more investigative may be less satisfied with a scenario that is more of an amusement park ride than a puzzle to be solved.