Episode One: A Rude Awakening
Every now and then something crosses my path to remind me that for all the hard moments I’ve had in my life, I’ve had the opportunity to do some very cool things. One of those things was creating Rattenfanger Radio, and getting to work with On Spec Magazine to turn some of their short stories into modern audio plays. I grew up listening to re-runs of shows like The Shadow, Escape, and X Minus One, and with the rise of podcasting, producers were looking to the past and creating a new future. Some of those producers, like Decoder Ring Theatre, are still active and producing a decade later. Anthology programs, like The Sonic Society, thrive and prosper showcasing this rediscovered art.
At the same time, both video and tabletop games have been tapped for some of the worst motion pictures that the Hollywood machine has ever cranked out. So I was both elated and cautious when I discovered that Modiphius Entertainment was going to be putting out an audio series based on their Achtung! Cthulhu games.
I started with the teaser clip. It was basically what I expected, an unnecessary prologue scene that was probably best left on the cutting room floor. But the production value was very good, so I wasn’t really deterred.
Episode One finds us in a Paris bar, the date is October 1939. Professor Richard Deadman arrives from America, to meet British Section D agent Audrey Worthington. Over the course of the episode the two encounter face nazis and monsters alike, in a great introduction to the series.
I’ve never played the Achtung! Cthulhu RPG games, so I’m not familiar with the details and organizational whos-who in this show, but I am familiar with the overall setting. If you aren’t, it is basically the Cthulhu Mythos created by H.P. Lovecraft dropped into WWII. Both the true history and fictional lore surrounding the nazi’s research into the occult is well documented and Achtung! Cthulhu takes that and blends it (mostly) seamlessly with Lovecraft’s Mythos.
The show isn’t without its faults, but none are disastrous. The most glaring oddity to me was the credits in the show refer to the title as “Achtung! Cthulhu: The Secret War”, all the advertising thus far have simply said “Achtung! Cthulhu: Audio Adventures”. That may be something that changed and was missed, post-recording, or it may be that the remainder of the show will be labeled as The Secret War. We’ll just have to wait and see.
This episode is designed to set the stage (which it does well) and there will be another 10 episodes released later in 2018. The exact release dates, cost (because there will be one), and what platforms will carry the show have not been announced yet, but the A Rude Awakening is currently available for free on Modiphius Entertainment’s website www.modiphius.net, as well as on DriveThruRPG.com and future announcements are sure to pop up on their Facebook page, facebook.com/Modiphius as well.