© 1994 by the respective writers
[TUO3 inaugurated our letters column, a staple of any magazine. The amount of space devoted to letters has varied from issue to issue — TUO8/9 had the most with six full pages. Despite appearances, we don't really get a lot of letters commenting about the Oath. Hint, hint! — John Scott Tynes, 1994]
Well, having had the chance to really look over the premiere issue of The Unspeakable Oath, I can now give you some fair opinions and comments about the whole thing: first off, I really liked the cover, although I don’t see what it really has to do with the Mythos! It was pretty neat, though. The majority of the text was exceptionally good, although I may disagree with a point or two, but that’s okay — that’s what zines are for – to let various views of shared interest be voiced. The artwork was mostly good as well … “Within You Without You” was an interesting scenario …
My last criticism is not to be taken personally as it is just an observation I made, and it certainly doesn’t detract from the zine: I think you should watch the Hastur references — it seemed that that in nearly every article Hastur, Carcosa, Hali, or The King in Yellow are mentioned. I know Hastur is your favorite Great Old One, as he is one of mine as well, however the Cthulhu Mythos is so rich I think it presents a better package, as it were, to use various references to all aspects of it, and not just a single, small corner of the pantheon.
So, not bad, really; I’d give The Unspeakable Oath an A: very, very impressive for a first issue and I have to ask myself that if the zine continues, and I certainly hope it does, just how incredible it might become?
Lockport, New York
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Just the other day, I was finally able to appropriate a copy of your little gem of a magazine. Truly, most impressive! I hope you can keep up the high quality of articles contained within it.
This may seem overly nit-picky but I feel that the article by Mr. Crowe on firearms (a very useful article for myself) should have this note added to it. It comes from an issue of National Rifleman I read several years back.
The Webley Mark I Revolver would chamber the .455 Webley Auto round. However, as seeing that it was a more powerful round the gun had about a 50% chance of exploding when fired. The Webley Automatic Pistol could use either round safely. The key point here is that the British Military did not point this out when they started to issue the newer .455 Auto rounds and subsequently there were many incidents. It also should be noted that as the Mark I Revolver was in use up to WW2, both types of ammo were available, and sometimes confused (especially by investigators fumbling for a re-load).
Erik M. Solie
Santa Ana, California
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While at work today, I read through the first issue of The Unspeakable Oath and was impressed. The cover illustration is remarkable in its pain and grotesqueness. It’s one of those things that you don’t want to look at but can’t help it so you do anyway. The viewing of this artwork should necessitate sanity loss (fortunately, it is much too late for me).
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Praises to Nyarlathotep! Praises to His mighty name! Praises to Him in song, and dance, and blood-letting! Praises to His many dark forms, and those that worship them! Praises to the Black Wind! Praises to the Walking Chaos! Praises to the Shambling Mass and the Writhing God! Praises to the Bringer of Pestilence, the Lord of the Flies, the Black Pharaoh, Herald of the Dark Moon, and Destroyer of Lights! Praises to the Father of Harlots, Father of Shadow, Father of the Nile, Father of Knives, Father of Festivals, Father of Fires and Nightmare, and Father of Ashes. Praises to the Messenger of the Great Old Ones! Praises to the Messenger of the Sunken Church! Praises to the High Lord Priest of the Bloody Tongue, and the High Lord Priest of the Red Finger! (continues for the better part of a page, gradually lapsing into raving incoherency)
Shea (Blair) Reynolds
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Just thought I’d drop you a line to say how impressed I was with The Unspeakable Oath. I presume that you are familiar with the British zine Dagon? It started out as a CoC-zine but became more scholastic about the fiction itself — our [British] equivalent of Crypt of Cthulhu if you like. TUO appears to be everything Dagon could have been had it not moved away from the gaming aspect. You will know, if you’ve seen Dagon, that this is meant to be a compliment!
My least favorite thing in the book was the guns article. This is no reflection on the article itself which was obviously well written and researched — it’s just that I’m not that into guns, and I try to avoid gunplay in my campaigns. I tend to set things in England anyway so the type of guns that get used are either shotguns or service revolvers (maybe the odd rifle or two if I’m feeling generous) which are adequately covered in the basic rules. The way I see it is that CoC monsters fall into two main categories — those that you should be able to defeat without gunplay (or minimum gunplay) and those that you can’t defeat no matter how big a gun you’ve got!
The highlights of the issue were those relating to The King in Yellow. This is precisely the sort of thing I look for in a zine. It was informative, interesting, well-researched and above all, detailed. The rules and background information given in `official’ packages are through necessity basic and it is up to zines like yours to fill in the details to `flesh out’ people’s campaigns. It is something I hope will continue in future issues — likewise the addition of new races and deities from the more obscure stories of the Mythos.
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I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed issue #1 of The Unspeakable Oath. Not since the cessation of Crypt of Cthulhu has such an entertaining digest been available, but where Crypt dealt with Lovecraft gaming only as a tangential subject, you devote the entire issue to it. Bravo!
I especially commend the short adventure of your creation, “Within You Without You.” It reminded me of a minor detail one often overlooks when writing a “home” adventure: This Stuff’s Disgusting! I am currently converting your premise to fit into my Gaslight campaign with Solace/Saulous being transplanted to [Scotland's] Outer Hebrides …
I can see by the stars that it’s time to go, but I look forward to your next issue with the greatest enthusiasm.
Keith M. Huey
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I am a 23 years-old Italian student of literature, and since seven or eight years ago I am a role-player too. A few days ago I had the chance of reading the first issue of The Unspeakable Oath, owned by a friend of mine, and I was impressed by the quality of the material contained in it … Here follows a rating of the articles contained in the first number of The Unspeakable Oath, rated from 1 up to 10 plus a little comment.
The Dread Page of Azathoth: 10
(I cannot imagine something better to start with. I really like the writing style; I write fiction, but I guess that you never studied Italian…)
Firearms in CoC: 7
(Very well done and useful, I’m sure, but not for me; I’ve never been one for firearms vs. monsters.)
Good Tidings From Shantak Claus: 9
(No comment: I’m still looking for that piece of lung…)
New for Cthulhu: 7
The Ponape Predators: 5
(I still have tens and tens of monsters I never used, and this one doesn’t add too much to the Mythos.)
The Road To Hali: 10
(Well done, well written, immediately useful to anyone possessing “Tatterdemalion” and “Tell Me …” like me; I can’t ask for more.)
A Tale of Terror: 9
(Really this guy knows how to scare you! It’s a pity that the ideas are not already developed to full adventures; of course, the first idea is the best.)
Creating and Using Mythos Tomes: 7
(Useful, but probably a lot of Keepers have developed their own systems or they flesh their Mythos Tomes out without using one.)
Within You Without You: 9/6
(The opening is a mind-shattering experience, with its weird imagery of singing children, etc., then develops in a more light-hearted adventure, quite good, but not up to my expectations.)
Message in a Bottle: 6
(Nice, with an exotic flavour, but I prefer the atmosphere you created with The Dread Page of Azathoth; I really would like to read more.)
Of course my comments are personal opinions, even if they can sometimes sound like judgements … I can’t wait for the next number of your zine.