Publisher's Blurb & extra description:
Published by Brichester University Press, ‘The Black Seal’ is a new British gaming magazine for modern day Call of Cthulhu. Behind the A4 glossy cover lies 84 pages of well researched and informative articles dedicated to Chaosium's Cthulhu Now and Pagan Publishing's Delta Green settings. The first issue (Winter 2001/2002) entitled 'Strange Britain, Secret Country' concentrates on CoC/DG activities in the UK and contains nearly 20 articles ranging from new NPCs and Delta Green PISCES material, through to the start of a new UK-based DG campaign and a mythos gazetteer of the British Isles - to name just a few.
To thoroughly cover all the material in the magazine would make this a very long review, however a brief overview of the current contents may be worthwhile to whet the appetite. They are as follows:
'Unusual suspects' - two detailed NPCs with attendant adventure hooks and player handouts.
'Mental Health in the United Kingdom' - a factual introduction to modern mental health laws, including information on institutions and a selection of adventure seeds.
'Let Sleeping Gods Lie' - a new PISCES section 'H', dealing with the UK's historical and archaeological legacy of the Mythos. A well-researched piece providing a potentially very useful organisation for Keepers to use.
'Dangerous Places' - describing a Mythos locale with possible adventure ideas.
'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' - procuring illegal firearms in the UK. A much needed article for anyone running modern day adventures.
'The Further Files of Prof. Grant Emerson' - following on from the Delta Green: Countdown reports. Here detailing the aftermath of a run-in with a servant of Glaaki.
'With Extreme Prejudice...' - detailing JAGUAR special forces groups which fill a similar role to MJ-12's NRO Delta agents.
'Zodiac Clearance' & 'Drive Through Carefully' - the beginnings of a British DG campaign where an idyllic piece of little England is not what it seems (is it ever?); with a simple yet fetching hand drawn map and well produced handouts.
'Tale of Terror (s)' - Steve Hatherley's legacy lives on. A couple of tales for Cthulhu Now and Delta Green.
'A Landscape of the Stones' - an examination of stone circles, standing stones and ley lines. Highly readable and well researched with useful 'box out' texts for rapid assimilation of information and ideas. There is also an excellent bibliography that makes one realise just how lacking other articles often are in this department.
'The Tombola Cipher' - your very own secret code based on the UK National lottery results! This feels like a blast from the past - pages of tables for Players and Keepers to devour. Yet to be tried, but looks fun.
'Firearms of the UK and Irish Police and Military' - the corollary of the 'Lock, stock...' article. Weaponry as used by government agencies. As much gun information as most sane people would ever want to know. Some may remember Pagan Publishing's 'Weapons Compendium' in a similar vein.
'The Mythos Gazetteer of the British Isles' - literary and RPG Mythos happenings in Britain. An update to that which originally published in Games Workshop's 'Green and Pleasant Land' (1987). Good clear maps. The Gazetteer covers all eras. If it's updated again I would like to see an additional key to identify exactly which era an entry belongs to, making life a little easier for Keepers.
'British Investigator Templates' - a list of military and civilian agency profiles and character templates in the style of Delta Green: Countdown; ranging from 16 Air Assault Brigade and the Ghurkhas, through to the BBC, the Nuclear Safety Directorate and more.
'Green Box' - the latest gear for the well-equipped investigator. Featuring the Heckler & Koch MP7 PDW, the SB-100 series secure briefcase and the Casio GPS Watch. Lovely photos, lovely kit. Now I know what I want for Christmas...
'Reviews' - no magazine would be complete without a review section. Here Nick Brownlow casts a critical eye over two recent Chaosium products: 'Ramsey Campbell's Goatswood and Less Pleasant Places', and 'Unseen Masters'. My own review of Unseen Masters is somewhat more generous, as always each reviewer has their own take, and it all provides more information for the prospective buyer.
Finally there is a one page piece on 'What is the Black Seal?' and an afterword by the Editor Adam Crossingham (there is no introductory editorial). AC explains the reasoning behind starting 'The Black Seal' and the advantages of running modern day CoC games. Of particular interest are brief details of the forthcoming issues. The next is a PISCES special, looking at Britain’s Paranormal Intelligence Section for Counter-intelligence, Espionage and Sabotage and a later issue deals with Cthulhu and the 'Nam...