Thursday, February 05, 2015

Horror on the Orient Express arrives!

I've mentioned it off and on over the last few months that Chaosium's expanded and revised edition of Horror on the Orient Express was finally nearing completion after nearly 2 years. I had the honor of being able to pick up my copy in person, and am the first to have all of the pieces except for the clandestine game kit, which should be arriving early. So I feel I should share some of my initial impressions with you, and of course photos.

Here, we have the fabulous steamer trunk that's arguably the piece de resistance of the whole set. I received trunk #121. It's sturdy, a good weight, with clasps and buckle straps, and a strange, foreboding sense of impending doom, as such cases should have. And it holds a good many of the materials that come in the rest of the box. But to carry it all, you'll also want to use the tote bag.

This is an incredible box with a tremendous heft to it when you get it. Definitely don't drop it anywhere near small children, pets or familiars. Here, you can see some of the passports you get and one of many Orient Express manilla envelopes that will contain the extras you need to really take your sessions to the next level this year. You can also see the autographed thank you from everyone involved in this amazing venture.

Among the fun things you'll get are little travel and tour stickers and a calendar for 1923 with some very atmospheric illustrations of the destinations of the Orient Express at the time. This will definitely come in handy for many other campaigns for players. Below you can see the various pieces of the fabled Sedefkar Simulacrum. I was disappointed that Delphes' indiegogo campaign to present us a true sculpted Sedefkar Simulacrum did not come to pass, but this die-cut one is absolutely marvelous when you see it fully-assembled before you. (I'm not going to spoil that for you, however.)

The mugs that come with the set are of good quality and I'm quite enjoying them. My young nieces were quite insistent we have a tea-party with all of the placemats, cocktail napkins and drink coasters. 

Tonight, I just finished listening to Alex Otterlei's fine soundtrack to accompany the campaign. With 18 instrumental tracks, the majority of them set the mood nicely for the various legs of the campaign.  The CD liner notes also provide a nice bit of flavor for each of the tracks and it is well illustrated.

I received two t-shirts with this set, the standard Horror on the Orient Express shirt, and the special Kickstarter backer shirt, which is my favorite of the two because of the Lovecraftian schematic.

The Medallion of Ithaqua does not disappoint. It's a solid piece of arcane work that also greatly fascinated my youngest niece who laid claim to it for the better part of the afternoon before naptime.

You get a set of miniatures particular to the Horror on the Orient Express thanks to the sculptors of RAFM. Overall, they're well made and finely detailed. But be prepared to do some filing in order to get several of them to fit into the slots of the bases they come with. These are supporting characters and NPCs, and two major monstrosities, so you'll have to provide your own investigators. The set includes train car maps that are to scale with the miniatures which are very well-detailed.

An anthology of short fiction (but alas, no poetry!) of various stories of madness and the cosmic weird was included. I haven't had a chance to read all of them yet, but so far it's been fine reading.

Postcards galore add to the ambiance for everyone. There's plenty of stationary and other props that will really help to set the mood once you actually get started with the campaign.

As for the campaign itself, it's six books of significant length that many of us already have the pdfs for, so I won't go into a big discussion of the contents but I will say it's very nice to actually have them all in your hands, tentacles or pseudopods. You can easily spend a year going through all of them. There is no shortage of material in this set.

When Horror on the Orient Express first came out, it rightfully earned its place among the classics of role-playing games. I think this edition, too, will become one we talk about for many years to come. That's it for now about this set, but for my fellow backers, I hope this has been helpful for you to see some of the exciting things coming your way. It's been a long wait, but it's worth it. See you on the train!

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