I’m a long time fan of the Call of Cthulhu RPG, owning 62 various products in the line by my count, and have several Cthulhu Master’s tournaments under my belt to prove it. But pretty much the line has been lagging for a long time. The last “big thing” that shook it up was the release of Delta Green, back in 1997. (The 2001 release of d20 Cthulhu sank beneath the waters without a trace.) Other than that, it’s been a bit of a litany of republishing all the same damn stuff, lightly reworked, as “Dreamlands v7.8” and the like. Chaosium just about went down for good for a while there and is only barely starting to get back in the saddle.
However, there has been a burst of activity lately, and I find it odd I haven’t heard much about it. First, there’s the “variant” Cthulhu games, like the True20 Shadows of Cthulhu, the GUMSHOE-based Trail of Cthulhu, and the ENnie-winning CthulhuTech.
But besides that, I was surprised to see actual new third-party classic CoC modules in my FLGS. Looks like more people are getting into the licensed supplement biz. Goodman Games has put out Death in Luxor and Madness in London Town. John Wick has written Curse of the Yellow Sign, Act 1: Digging for a Dead God. Pagan Publishing, long time licensee, has released The Mysteries of Mesoamerica and plans to release an adventure anthology, Bumps In The Night, this year. Super Genius Games has Midnight Harvest, The Doom From Below, and Murder of Crows out already and has The Horror At Red Hook, A Peculiar Pentad, and October Surprise in the pipeline. Even Chaosium got out Terrors from Beyond and appears to be set to release new products, including Cthulhu Invictus (Romans!) and Secrets of New Orleans (THAT’S NOT GUMBO!!!).
This is kinda exciting. The BRP system used for Cthulhu, being straight percentile, has its flaws but it’s super fast for anyone to pick up; it makes a great con game. For gamers and genre folks, Cthulhu has become like ninjas, pirates, or sexual repression, a ubiquitous trope shoved into everything. But the original game was really quite good, and it’s nice to see activity and new products so a new generation of gamers can discover the thrill of being held helpless by cannibals, or shooting an invincible cackling wizard, or going nuts and cutting up your friends…
So yay! If you haven’t ever tried Call of Cthulhu, pick it up – version 6 is the newest but to be honest every version is mostly the same. Get whatever your FLGS has and try one of these new adventures! If you need some investigators generated real quick – well, you can always use my favorite batch of CoC characters, the Scooby Doo crew!
Is anyone out there playing some real CoC these days? Report in here!