The Price of Evil
Adapting / January 31, 2017

The Price of Evil provides an interesting mechanical approach for generating spirit infested real estate on the fly. Written by Zzarchov Kowolski for Neoclassical Geek Revival and other Old School Renaissance games, The Price of Evil is a handy tool for The Cthulhu Hack. The Toolkit To create a haunted house you need a pack of cards. You can generate a house in advance or, at a pinch, do something on the fly. You follow one of the standard layouts provided – including fixed features like a lobby and master bedroom – dealing out cards and interpreting the value and suit to determine the purpose and contents. A heart denotes the default states, while the other suits equate to valuables (diamonds), accoutrements of the occult (spades) or damage (clubs), whether through vandalism, infestation, the elements, or the passage of time. The play of cards determines the presence of certain rooms depending on the floor, all drawn within the limitations of the layout. Drawing more than one Unique Room leads to the presence of a Junk Room instead – which reminded me of investigating the old Corbitt House in The Haunting. The sort of house generated suits those Lovecraft would have been familiar with in his time,…

Occupational Colour
Adapting / May 25, 2016

There are two layers to a character in The Cthulhu Hack that mean if you want to emulate Other Game Systems of Unspeakable Alien Horror. Class sets down the skeleton of the character. Class determines basic things like Hit Points, Hit Dice (relevant to healing and levelling up), expertise with arms and armor (the latter less relevant and discounted in 1920s games) and Special Features. (Der Unaussprechlichen Hack will propose the options of doing away with all but one Class or adding more. All good things to those who wait…) Occupation skins a Class. Occupation adds on the fluff of a career, with Starting Gear and cash in hand. In principle, Occupation does not show you’re any better or worse in the skills you possess, as Class determines Flashlight and Smokes Die. You certainly could argue with the GM that a Linguist will know more languages than a Medium, but an investigation doesn’t work that way. A Flashlight roll might mean what the Linguist discovers in a book written in an archaic Welsh dialect the Medium finds in notes from a séance they held in 1916 in a manor house outside Cardiff. Anyway, I’m drifting off topic. Occupation sets the colour of…

Adopt, Adapt and Overcome
Adapting , Adventures / May 18, 2016

While clearly named The Cthulhu Hack, in honour of the dread Old One, the nature of the Hack means you can handle any investigation using the system’s associated mechanics. Both Smokes and Flashlights serve as a medium for a little luck, a bit of insight and a knack for finding the half-hidden or forgotten. Like the investigators in a US procedural or a British Christie-style murder mystery, the Cthulhu Hack‘s investigation rules give essential clues mixed with the tension of a dwindling pool. In a non-Mythos game, you could swap out Sanity for Fatigue or Stress – they all stem from the same source, but Sanity has a strong connection with certain types of game. There’s also nothing stopping you from folding the idea back into The Black Hack or one of the other derivatives – or using The Cthulhu Hack system with fantasy or sci-fi trappings. The Career Paths might need a tweak and you’ll need to improvise the equipment list a bit – but you could also just co-opt that sort of thing from a favoured setting. Blood and Lumber Take the Shadow of the Demon Lord, for example. The recently released adventure Blood Will Run involves the characters investigating…