"Carcosa - The Necronomicon Gamebook" is the second literary adventure signed by Valentine Sergius and illustrated by Albert Dal Lago e Jacopo Schiavo per Meningi workshop, campaign launched on the platform Kickstarter last October and funded in just 4 hours (!), which we had a taste of Lucca Comics and Games this year (2019).

Go with the intro!

"The clouds break like waves along the coast,
The suns twins sink into the lake
As the shadows lengthen
in Carcosa.

Strange is the night where black stars rise,
And moons never seen sail the skies
But even more mysterious is the lost Carcosa.

The Hyades will sing songs,
Where the rags of the King stir in the wind
But here they will die unheeded
While Carcosa turns off.

Singing of my soul, my voice is dead;
You too die, silent, like tears never plants
Destined to dry up and perish
In the lost Carcosa. "

Cassilda's Song in The Yellow King, Act I, scene 2; from The Yellow King, RW Chambers
The cover of the book portrays the Yellow King from whose shroud sprouts tentacles of madness
This time too it will not be a walk

Sources of inspiration and style of "Carcosa - The Necronomicon Gamebook"

"Carcosa - The Necronomicon Gamebook" is an adaptation of some short stories by HP Lovecraft ("Nyarlathotep","The dweller of the dark","The one who whispered in the darkness","What the moon brings"), Ambrose Bierce ("A citizen of Carcosa") And Robert W. Chambers ("The yellow king“) Dreamed in the shadow of the fading city of Carcosa. Like last time, we are faced with a narrative that unfolds along different paths, each of which can be tackled with different approaches, among other things there has been a considerable increase in the paragraphs from the last volume to this one (from 80 to 110) . The adventure flows as in the previous title, the puzzles are a bit more complex but fun to decipher and all this contributes to making the level of involvement high. Once again reaching the only really positive ending will be no small feat!

The story of “Carcosa - The Necronomicon Gamebook” up to this point

The adventure begins at the end of World War I., which in the previous title was only at the beginning, and after the period of forced "recovery" in an adequate structure (read asylum), following the events that occurred in Kingsport. This time too we will be forced to confront a new, looming and creeping insanity, while we will find ourselves facing the monstrous creatures that still haunt the city (you have taken a look at our guide on Monsters of Myths?). Will we be able to stem the terrible power of the Yellow King or is humanity as a whole destined to succumb to the most gruesome of destinies?

The Yellow King lord of Carcosa
The Yellow King

Game mechanics of “Carcosa - The Necronomicon Gamebook"

About the rule system we discussed it in a previous article (Thu), nothing has been added and nothing has been changed since the last volume, also because everything worked and really works! Indeed, in pure 80s-90s book game style, if we have finished the previous adventure we have the possibility to take an object found there with us. The artifact is not strictly necessary to complete this book, but it certainly is an extra help!

The certainty of having everything we need with us

Also this time we will live an exquisitely Lovecraftian adventure and we will be forced several times to have to choose horror and madness to tear from the clutches of the unknown the thin thread that helps us unravel the tapestry of the events that underlie our reality. Again the physical death or the definitive break of our psyche will not be a mere consequence of an unfortunate roll (but it can happen, indeed it happens almost immediately in one of the first paragraphs of having to finish the game due to the randomness of the dice), as a backbone of the game!

Carcosa - The Dream Lands

In facing the Yellow King the card is necessary to take note of the damage we suffer and the objects we find
New adventure, new dreams, or rather… nightmares?

As in the previous title, in some paragraphs we will have the opportunity, by falling asleep, to slip into the Dream lands. The section always consists of 10 paragraphs and gives you the opportunity to bring, or leave something, with you, as well as increasing your chances of going crazy and / or dying!

“Carcosa - The Necronomicon Gamebook”… conclusions

Abstract: 'anything said before the "but" is worth nothing'.

From a title that carries the name inside Carcosa, I would have expected something more inherent in Carcosa itself. The forgotten city, built on the shores of Lake Hali, a lake where the twin Suns are reflected, where the night is illuminated by strange moons and the sky is dotted with black stars. I would also have hoped to see Cassilda, Camilla and "The Unknown".

There are references, several paragraphs are written in a prose contiguous to the works of Bierce and Chambers, there are also Yellow Sign and the Yellow King, there is Nyarlathotep, but there is no Hastur of which the Yellow King is an Avatar!

The story, however, seems almost a continuation, albeit independent, of the aforementioned adventure, it seems to be living a "Dagon - The Necronomicon Gamebook 2"! Perhaps one could push more on the dream dimension and other realities, precisely to grasp the very evanescence of Carcosa, and therefore neglect a bit the "earthly" events of Kingsport.

The Necronomicon Gamebooks, Dagon and Carcosa

But despite what was said above (do you remember the premise?), "Carcosa - The Necronomicon Gamebook" it's a great adventure, a worthy sequel to the previous volume! The minds behind the project have done an excellent job, think about how many products, inspired by the work of the Providence solitaire, are coming out in the last period, here, this work is a little gem, an excellent challenge with which lose your wits, in short ... a mandatory purchase for lovers of the genre!