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Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: Masks of Nyarlathotep

Length: 7 hrs and 5 mins
5 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Summary

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre: Masks of Nyarlathotep is an epic tale of globe-trotting adventure inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, presented as a 1930s-style radio drama. Dark Adventure Radio Theatre presents the tale with an absurdly large cast of professional actors, exciting sound effects and thrilling original music by Troy Sterling Nies. 

Now, in partnership with Chaosium, we've adapted their most famed and beloved game supplement of all time -  Masks of Nyarlathotep - into a fully dramatized super episode of Dark Adventure Radio Theatre. And if you've never heard of or played the game - don't worry, you don't need to know anything about the game to enjoy this super-sized episode. The death of a dear old friend and an inquiry into a doomed archeological expedition spiral into a global investigation with dire repercussions. 

Can a handful of intrepid investigators make a stand against an insidious and bloodthirsty cult? Can a diabolical conspiracy be thwarted before a doomsday plan comes to fruition? Is there any hope for mankind against the machinations of an Elder God or will they meet only despair, death and madness?

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2018 Chaosium, Inc. (P)2019 HPLHS, Inc.

What members say

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My Spooky and Kooky Adventure!

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre is so much fun to listen to. Their adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft’s work are great and Masks of Nyarlathotep is as well. The actors did a great job, and the story itself is exciting. What’s not to love about chasing cultists around the world while trying to solve a murder mystery? My only criticism would be some performance issues, specifically that the “group chuckles” were painfully forced and sometimes Hazel was a bit over-the-top, but these are little things.

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Cthulhu fhtagn

Excellent work by a fantastic cast. Really enjoyed this and I hope they produce many more.

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  • Danny Cannon
  • 08-01-20

Great Lovecraftian style adaptation!

If you are looking for a narrated story by H.P. Lovecraft, skip this. HOWEVER.... if you enjoy his style of writing and are up for a bit of dark humor and frivolity, well then..., This is a perfectly done, over the top, '30's style radio play, commercials included. I didn't even catch how hilarious the commercials were until about the 2nd or 3rd one. After that, they were as much fun as the play. I love the use of dramatic musical overtones, old style sound effects, and the commercial breaks. Yes, the drama is a touch overly dramatic. That's purposeful. Take it as a vehicle used during radio plays to express things so you can see them with your ear. Please remember that even though this is definitely a legitimate Lovecraft Universe story, it does have a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor. I'm getting more of these. I absolutely loved this one.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anita
  • 27-12-19

most excellent!

I do love a really good radio play but this this takes me back well back to before I was but still!! remarkably done
if you play Call of Cthulhu and are familiar with masks of nyarlathotep the tantamount tour-de-force campaign, you'll love this. If you're playing through it still might be safe to listen to might give you some ideas. If you're running it! Cool beans to listen to this before or after and during. So much fun so so so much fun. If you don't know anything about any of those things, even if you don't know anything about HP Lovecraft, this is a fantastic tale of Adventure! Go for it just go for it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sean Patrick Tracey
  • 25-11-19

Another great one!

Absolutely loved it. Story was very well done, great cast at HPLHS. Please keep doing the Chaosium modules, between Brotherhood of the Beast and this one just great stuff.

2 people found this helpful

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  • alikabok1966
  • 28-01-20

Simply outstanding!

HPLHS, they set the benchmark on radio dramatizations and readings of HP Lovecraft's works. Outstanding

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-01-20

Excellent story!!!

Great story, awesome presentation. It was full of action and adventure. Gripping story I actually found myself tooth,g for the characters and really got into the story. Also, the story was paced well enough so you weren't always sure what wad going to happen and the commercials were hilarious.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jessica
  • 03-01-20

good but not very Lovecraftian

while thos is a charming adventure story that goes a long way towards recapturing the feel of old radio dramas, it doesn't especially recapture the spirit of classical Lovecraftian fiction.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ryan P.
  • 26-02-20

fun, fantastic adventure

having played Call of Cthulhu for years, I loved this retelling of a classic. Worth at least a listen. I'll be giving it a few.

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  • Chris L.
  • 25-02-20

A wonderfully acted journey

this was a blast to listen to from start to finish. in fact, i enjoyed it so much, i purchased every other HPLHS audio drama !

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  • joey
  • 10-02-20

commercials.

horrible commercials interrupting the main story. And promoting smoking, drinking and racism. great story though.

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  • C.T.
  • 10-02-20

Bloody, Hilarious, and Pulpy story that I loved

MASKS OF NYARLATHOTEP remains one of the greatest RPG supplements of all time. It was created in 1984 by Larry DiTillio and Lynn Willis before being updated in 2018 by Mike Mason, Lynne Hardy, Paul Fricker, and Scott Dorward. Its premise is simple: nasty no-goodnik cultists are going to destroy the world and the Investigators have to go on a globe-trotting adventure to stop them. The campaign was famous because it incorporated multiple elements that made it enjoyable as well as flexible in a time when most modules consisted of, "go to Dungeon, kill everyone inside the Dungeon." While it followed the Shadows of Yog-Sothoth game that tried something similar, most people genuinely agree that Masks was the superior of the modules.

The original campaign was not without its flaws. Much like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, it was a story that took a somewhat too stereotypical view of Native peoples in order to facilitate its Pulp feel. It also was a work that presumed the Investigators would be white male protagonists given the story substantially changes if it's 1920s men of color or women running around shooting up the place. The campaign also had the flaw of being something of a meatgrinder with stories of whole parties being wiped out a not-uncommon occurrence for Keepers. Generally, the ideal Call of Cthulhu game is player characters investigating sinister goings on, finding a monster, and hopefully having deduced its weakness before using it. Masks of Nyarlathotep is a story best served with Thompson Machine Guns, two fists, and plenty of dynamite.

As such, I was very excited about hearing that the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society was going to do an adaptation of the campaign to their Dark Adventure Radio series. The premise of them are that HPL didn't remain a obscure but beloved magazine author but was adapted to radio like the Shadow and Superman. The radio plays are deliberately Pulpy (I'm going to overuse that word but it's the best one for it) with dramatic cliffhangers, deliberately ridiculous commercials (asbestos teddy bears!), and overacting. It's very enjoyable and fits the style of the Call of Cthulhu games greatly. It makes me wish they'd adapt other campaigns like the Horror of the Orient Express.

The radio play is adapted from the 7th Edition rewrite of the module and benefits from having a slightly-more self-aware narrative that acknowledges the racism, sexism, and imperialism of the time. It's mostly done in a cheeky and humorous style with the assumption being the characters know that colonialism and misogyny is bad.

Hazel Kalifan, one of the protagonists, is a real "Annie Oakley type" and does more as the central heroine to make a statement than any direct statements by the narrative. I'm also fond of her supporting cast in elderly Suffragist Victoria Woodhull, Zeke the two-fisted adventurer who would have been the star decades ago, and Cecil the insurance investigator.

Overall, the story is enjoyable from beginning to end but does suffer a little bit toward the end. The problem boils down to tonal imbalance and mood whiplash. Basically, the story can't quite decide if it's a rollicking Pulp adventure or a somber horror story that not everyone is expected to live through. It's actually true to the original campaign in that respect but the "Kill Em All" heavy body-count by the end (no spoilers on who makes it through and who doesn't) leaves the ending feeling less triumphant than the climax should be. Mind you, I only played Masks of Nyarlathotep with Pulp Cthulhu rules and heavy modification so maybe my expectations of the story were different.

In conclusion, Masks of Nyarlathotep is an amazing radio play that I encourage everyone to shell out the 30 bucks I paid for the mp3 for. It's about six to seven hours long and is about the length of a decent-sized audiobook. There's a more expensive version that comes with a lot of props for the adventure but I didn't really see the need for that. I'm sure there's plenty of Call of Cthulhu collectors that would enjoy that.

8.5/10