The last, greatest of the old school Call of Cthulhu RPG world-spanning campaign boxes was Horror on the Orient Express (which I’ll call “HotOE” going forward).
HotOE is a horror mystery scavenger hunt across Europe, taking place on the legendary rail train service Orient Express. Prior box sets (Masks of Nyarlathotep, Spawn of Azathoth, etc) contained a few novel player handouts like business cards and a matchbox. HotOE dialed this up to the max. The 1991 box is stuffed to capacity with handouts to enhance the game, an unusual feature for the time, but something that’s become normalized in present day Kickstarter campaigns.
All these parts and pieces are troublesome in the used market today. I’ve sold plenty of HotOE sets over the years, and a few were missing items. I’ve got a nice complete set in the shop at the moment, so it seemed appropriate to make a photo reference post.
Horror on the Orient Express [BOX SET]
1991 … Chaosium 2331 … ISBN 0933635761
“Orient Express is a massive adventure for the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game. Beginning in 1920s London, the investigators journey to Paris and thence to the ancient city of Constantinople. With luck, they also return home. Four books are contained within, Through the Alps, Italy & Eastern Europe, Constantinople & Return, and Strangers on the Train. In addition there are numerous player handouts: a European route map; luggage stickers; scrolls; passports; 25mm cardstock plans of the train that can be laid end-to-end; and fragments of an ancient artifact collected along the way.”
Other printings (or, as Wikipedia calls it, “disambiguation”)
Before I get into the 1991 set, it’s worth a quick look at the other incarnations of HotOE.
The 2014 2nd edition box set (NKG link | PDF at DTRPG) was a result of Chaosium’s Kickstarter campaign. It actually fetches more in the collector market than the 1991 set. Also note the separate Steamer Trunk, which was one of the higher pledge rewards of the KS. This campaign, and the subsequent 7th edition Call of Cthulhu rulebook, nearly killed the company.
Currently in print is a 2-volume hardcover set, which puts HotOE in financial reach of a CoC referee. (Amazon)
Box & Contents sheet
Box is made from a flimsy paperstock, loads from the top panel.
Book 1: Campaign
HotOE was an ensemble effort by many creators; see the Credits.
Book 2: Through The Alps
Book 3: Italy And Beyond
Book 4: Constantinople And Consequences
Player Handouts booklet
Strangers on the Train
Routes of the Orient Express Map
Passports, Luggage Tags
Scroll of the Head
Train Car Plans
Four cardstock train car map sheets, numbered 1/4, 2/4, etc.
Period Poster and Chaosium flier