KULT: 2ND EDITION
Target Games AB/Metropolis Ltd., 1997
What you get/need
KULT: 2ND EDITION $22.00
Concept - 6
Take the basic premise of Call of Cthulhu: we live each day of our lives oblivious to the horrors that surround us. Now throw in the concept that mankind is behind it's own worst horrors. Throw in a nice portion of splatterpunk violence, and mix in a generous amount of conspiracy and paranoia. Season with insanity, and bring to a bloody boil. Now you have Kult, the *only* horror rpg out there worth mentioning. This is one of the few horror games I've ever played where the players volunteered to roll to maintain their sanity, because what was described to them threw them for a loop, not just their characters. Be warned: people with low tolerance for brutal realism, the easily offended, and those with a loose grasp on reality should NOT play this game. No, I'm not bulls****ing you. Yes, it can get just that twisted. Prepare to have your characters literally dragged through hell, or worse.
Character Creation - 5
The use of archetypes makes this fun and quick. However, for those who have to have a "unique" character, the rules also allow for that. Character generation is based on point allocation, although from what I've seen, this doesn't diminish the variety of characters open to the players. In this game especially, giving the character a good background is vital to making it work. Unique to this game is their concept of mental balance, where the flaws or merits you pick also determine how sane or insane you are. Yes, you can play some truly twisted characters. But trust me, it's a lot more fun to play ordinary people who somehow get stuck in some escalating ugliness....
Playability - 4 1/2
The basic system itself involves rolling a 20-sided die and comparing it to the skill or ability(Strength, Ego, etc.) in question. If you roll under your score, you succeed. If you don't, you fail. If you roll a one, fantastic! If you roll a 20, chances are you're screwed in a nasty way. Unfortunately, the rules get somewhat cluttered with one too many charts and tables. The good news is, compared to first edition, this one flows so much better! (Especially combat and the magic system!)
Writing - 5
Print should have been a little larger, they should have kept the first edition cover art, and the character sheet is generic enough to make a tax form look funky. But the interior art is much improved, and I can actually follow the rules without having my mental balance plummet. The atmosphere of the game is creepier in a Twin Peaks/Millenium sort of way, as opposed to the Clive Barker/splatterpunk style that predominated in the first edition. All in all, a good improvement. Proof that shadows can be just as menacing as a chainsaw.....
Highs - Mood-setting interior art, gruesome boundary-pushing horror, excellent opportunity for serious roleplaying, and guaranteed to wierd out even the most jaded Call of Cthulhu player. Vast improvement over the original!
Lows - Too intense for the squeamish, boring character sheet and cover art, and still some unnecessary clutter in the game.