While Chaosium provided their fans with solo adventuring under their Alone Against series, they also published another similar solo play style in the book titled Does Love Forgive? The book was originally published in Poland by Black Monk Games on Valentine’s Day of 2020 as the two scenarios in this book center around love and relationships. These scenarios were written as one-on-one scenarios meaning one Keeper and one Investigator are required. The adventure does require you own a copy of either Call of Cthulhu: Keeper Rulebook (7th Edition) or the Call of Cthulhu Starter Edition. The book was translated to English for Call of Cthulhu fans in the U.S. The book was written by Lynne Hardy, Airis Kamińska, and Anna Maria Mazur (who also provided the translation).
The 64 page, full color, PDF or softcover book provides everything a Keeper needs to run the adventure. The Investigator for the first scenario should be a private detective. The second scenario does not require a particular occupation but needs to work with the Keeper to determine their relationship to two NPCs. It is strongly recommended to use the optional Spending Luck (page 99 in the Keeper Rulebook) as the adventure can be unforgiving should you fail.
Important Note: Both of these scenarios are written about love and relationships. Keepers and/or Investigators may feel uncomfortable role-playing out certain conversations or romantically charged scenes. It’s up to both parties to determine the boundaries of these scenes and to call out if a scene crosses those boundaries.
The first scenario is titled Love You To Death and takes place in Chicago on February 15, 2929, the day after the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. The scenario starts off with an old time friend named Hattie May coming to you to find her lost German Sheppard named Highball. The dog went with Hattie’s husband to his mechanic shop the day before and her husband was killed in a shooting. But, there’s been no word on Highball or what happened to him. The search and recovery of Highball leads to the search for Hattie! Her disappearance is a malicious and darker event that has the player and Highball in a race against time to save Hattie’s soul.
I truly enjoyed the way this scenario is written as it has very strong roleplaying elements along with the expected Call of Cthulhu mystery. The connection between the Investigator and Hattie could truly bring out some excellent roleplaying scenes that by the time you get to the end, the story could be joyous or absolutely heartbreaking. Highball, to me, is the true star and creative Keeper can have a lot of fun with the Investigator along the lines of Lassie like situations. The villain in the story is well thought out and their motives are clearly described for the Keeper so the Investigator should have to think on how to handle the end scene. This isn’t as simple as “kill the monster”.
The second scenario is titled Mask of Desire and takes place in New York City (or any other city with a large musical influence) in September 1932. The Investigator is roommates with two NPCs, Anna Konrad, an aspiring singer, and Lucas Reston, an artist being forced to take over his father’s law firm. Lucas has been very supportive of Anna’s career and has gotten her an opportunity to audition to join Nancy Turner on her European tour. If Anna passes the audition it would be a huge step in her singing career. Lucas has been trying to get Anna noticed in the musical community, even hiring her a talent agent named Emily Webster. Is Lucas a supportive friend or is there something more going on? Emily has scheduled Anna, Lucas, and the Investigator to a party at Madame Panthea de Tisson’s apartment to get Anna in front of more people of the artistic community.
At the party, the Investigator will meet a variety of characters and may notice Madame de Tisson’s interests in masks. An armed intruder bursts into the party like a raving madman that will eventually be subdued and taken by Madame de Tisson to her room. Also, the Investigator may notice the Madame and Lucas having a secretive conversation away from the party. The story continues into the next day where Anna and Lucas leave for the day and a mysterious package arrives at the home. What’s in the package can change the character’s lives forever.
This story provides a lot more roleplaying elements than Love You To Death and is also more open-ended. The drawback is what happens relies completely on the Investigator taking action. At the party, if the Investigator chooses not to mingle, they can miss a series of clues. There are a variety of things that can take place from the moment the package arrives. If the Investigator chooses to do nothing and doesn’t pursue it further, the majority of the story will be skipped until the day of the audition. And certain things may happen at the audition that won’t make sense if the Investigator wasn’t more involved. This can put the burden on the Keeper to keep the Investigator engaged into taking action. Now, if you have an Investigator who is checking every nook and cranny of the story, Mask of Desire becomes a very fulfilling tale with action, intrigue, and love.
I’m very on the fence on the way Lucas’ motivations were written. On one side they seem to be very genuine in support of Anna, but his potential actions on what to do with the mysterious package seems to contradict that support. I will say that if the Investigator decides they are a love interest of Anna it really puts a better spin on the story than a platonic friendship.
Overall, Does Love Forgive? provides two intriguing Call of Cthulhu stories for a Keeper and Investigator. These are solid roleplaying opportunities one on one with a Keeper and Investigator with some difficult decision-making with each story’s end-scene. The roleplaying emotional impact for these scenarios can be grand and that itself makes them worth the purchase. Does Love Forgive? is available in both PDF and softcover over at Chaosium’s website.
Rating: 8 on a d10