3rd Party 0 comments on Pax Cthuliana

Pax Cthuliana

I’m midway through running the system-free investigation Pax Cthuliana from NEVR publishing (who also publish the Insight RPG). I went through the read through and prep a fortnight ago and ran the first half last Tuesday – which proved sufficient to get a review up and posted on Geek Native.

I mention in the review that the adventure would work fine without a system – all loosey goosey and story-focused – but, at the same time, it doesn’t take too much to nudge a little crunch in around the defined locations and meetings with personalities. You have a bucket-load of superb quality handouts and clues to pass on to the gathered investigators, but that’s not to say they should pay for the insight with a measured taxing of their Resource Dice, using The Cthulhu Hack.

I can see where the Kickstarter money went on this adventure – because few games have such fine play materials and certainly don’t usually stretched to a purpose-written original soundtrack. As I suggest in the Geek Native review, you can do something more yourself with scattered props and red herring paperwork on the tabletop – as you can do with any game. The visceral, hands-on experience really adds something special to the event – which, in this case, will be my last roleplaying game of the year (most probably).

Anyway – check out the Geek Native review and then treat yourself (and your players) to a long evening (or dual session) of Pax Cthuliana. It includes various ideas on expanding the adventure (which I feel play more into the hands of adding a little extra crunch from a system) and the possibility of making this a bookend for a campaign (your choice which end; one definitely would be harder to achieve than the other!).

Releases 0 comments on Bundles of Foreboding

Bundles of Foreboding

In time for Christmas, but also to make it easier to pick up a bunch of The Cthulhu Hack books without searching, I have created three Bundle offers on RPGNow/DriveThruRPG – with a swanky new bundle graphic.

The Cthulhu Hack Core provides you with the essentials – as someone else put it, the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manual – for running the game. You get the v1.5 copy of The Cthulhu Hack, the guide in stories and adventures of The Haunter of the Dark, and a horde of random horrors with From Unformed Realms. That’s $13.33.

The Unformed Bundle focus on the creatures and horrors – and can be ported to other games very easily. Here you get From Unformed Realms along with recently released The Dark Brood, which focuses on the hellish progeny of Shub-Niggaruth. That’s $6.66.

Finally, you will find the brand new Investigations Bundle, which combines the guide in stories and adventures of The Haunter of the Dark with five ready-to-play investigations: modern day student hikers documenting the last days of the derelict Innsmouth in Save Innsmouth; locals of a small town on an island off Maine waking without recollection of their purpose, but keenly aware that something’s horribly wrong in Thro’ Centuries Fixed; and three chilling encounters with the Wendigo, served up by three different authors, in Three Faces of the Wendigo. That’s $18.00.

As per standard charging on the One Book Shelf stores, if you have a book already, you don’t pay for it twice. They deduct that individual book (or books) from the total – so, you still save on the PDFs you don’t have.

The Core Bundle
Releases 2 comments on Release The Dark Brood

Release The Dark Brood

The Dark Brood offers a selection of content that brings the fecundity of Shub-Niggurath front and centre to your game of The Cthulhu Hack; loosing her mindless progeny upon the unsuspecting world. Oddly enough, I started writing this as a basic bestiary entry – perhaps even just a single creature post on this site; in many ways, Mark Chance’s posts over at Spes Magna had got me thinking. Mark had posted a few examples of using From Unformed Realms to create creatures and villains for various game systems – and I wanted to bring some of that home to Just Crunch. However, once I got writing, I couldn’t stop. I had four creatures, then five; then I realised that they had a commonality that seemed a gift for writing more about Shub-Niggurath and its strange influences. Before you know it, I had several thousand words and a cover image!

The supplement includes:

  • An overview of the Black Goat of a Thousand Young and the manifestations of its presence
  • Six ready-to-play samples of the Dark Brood as examples of using From Unformed Realms to generate endless new monstrosities
  • Two investigation seeds with suggestions on hooking your group in and what they’ll uncover
  • Four new Mythos spells associated with practitioners close to Shub-Niggurath, including Flesh-to-Stone
  • A collection of more than two-dozen ideas on adding the influence of the Dark Brood and Shub-Niggurath into your investigations, which you can use as hooks, flavour, or creative sparks for your next investigation

Written for The Cthulhu Hack, The Dark Brood has the simplicity to allow simple porting to other investigation horror games; alternatively, the creatures and spells – written with the same system as The Black Hack – can be used with any of the many variants of that game system.

The Cthulhu Hack: The Dark Brood is available now through RPGNow and DriveThruRPG for $3.95. Or grab the Unformed Bundle, which includes both The Dark Brood and From Unformed Realms for $6.66.

Releases 0 comments on Three Faces Released in Print

Three Faces Released in Print

After a successful release through One Book Shelf at RPGNow and DriveThruRPG, I’m happy to say that you can also get physical print copies of Three Faces of the Wendigo through the All Rolled Up web store.

It’s easy. Hit Add, then Cart – and you’re ready to buy (unless you care to add anything else into the shopping cart first!). Enter your name, email and address, then someone will come back to you with an invoice for the total payment including shipping/postage.

If you’re coming to The Cthulhu Hack for the first time, you can also buy All Books for 10% the standard price of the individual books – that The Cthulhu Hack, From Unformed Realms, The Haunter of the Dark, Thro’ Centuries Fixed and Three Faces of the Wendigo for £30.

I will make every effort to add the book as a Print On Demand elsewhere, but this takes time – so, I’ll post an update when it’s ready.

Adventures, Releases 0 comments on Strength of the Wendigo

Strength of the Wendigo

The remit for Three Faces of the Wendigo – write an adventure with the Wendigo at the heart of it. In the hands of three writers you get three chilling takes on the same theme with a very different perspective.

Each writer – Richard August, John Almack and myself – came at the tale independently. John kicked off and completed his investigation, “Lovely, Dark and Deep“, first – a story set in the Jazz Age, but far, far away from the bright lights and the music. If there’s commonality in these adventure, it comes from exposure to the distant wilds, the rugged settlements and territories far from the beaten track.

John noted: “What I really like about this anthology is that the relative strength of the Wendigo depicted in each scenario perfectly matches the era in which it is set.” Indeed, the entity at the heart of “Wolves in the Mountain” sets a high watermark in malevolence – but each adventure will have the investigators questioning their slim possibility of survival in the face in the inhuman horrors.

“Wolves” and “Tainted Meat” lie at least a century apart, but both tell a story about communities pushed to extremes and challenged with survival. There’s nothing stopping a GM running each of these investigations with the same group – they’re perfect for filling a trio of sessions with Lovecraftian horrors.

They’ve all been tested in “convention conditions”, so they might equally serve well as one-shot fillers or as games to take to a convention yourself and run in a 3 – 4 hour slot. One adventure comes with pre-generated characters, but the simple character generation of The Cthulhu Hack means that you can get up and running without preparation or use existing investigators.

On top of that, the simplicity of the system means that there’s nothing stopping you from using these adventures with other systems and substituting systems on-the-fly, if you wish. Whatever flavour of Mythos game system you prefer, they scale up or down in either direction – it’s why The Cthulhu Hack exists, not as a replacement but as an alternative. TCH shines when you just want to get your game on at a moments notice, but absolutely works for longer term games if you wish. Other systems angle toward the campaign first and, therefore, guide you through a more structured and thorough character generation.

However you choose to use it, Three Faces of the Wendigo – available now from RPGNow and DriveThruRPG, and soon through All Rolled Up – provides three different adventures, each with their own influences, whether Blackwood, Ithaqua or the rich folklore of the Algonquin tribes. I enjoyed bringing it all together – and I hope you get a thrill out of playing or running these investigations.

Adventures, Releases 0 comments on Three Faces of the Wendigo

Three Faces of the Wendigo

“That stern quality of the tangled backwoods which can only be described as merciless and terrible, rose out of these far blue woods swimming upon the horizon, and revealed itself. He understood the silent warning. He realized his own utter helplessness.”

– Algernon Blackwood, “The Wendigo”

Three authors. Three chilling tales of malevolence and inhuman appetite for The Cthulhu Hack.

Three Faces of the Wendigo features:

Wolves in the Mountain by Richard August

A man staggers into an isolated town with a story of murder and madness. A small group ventures into the wilderness, in search of the truth. But out in the mountains there lies something darker and stranger than they can possibly imagine… and blood. Lots and lots of blood.

Lovely, Dark and Deep by John Almack

Wherein the investigators go on a hunting trip in the Canadian wilderness, but soon wonder who is the hunter and who the prey.

Tainted Meat by Paul Baldowski

Out in the deep woods, a tiny settlement has fought to survive and won. When the travelling investigators arrive, they find proud, tough people and are welcomed with warmth and hospitality. Hard times behind them, why would anyone want to leave?

Designed as stand-alone investigations, suited to running as one-shots or over two sessions. Written for The Cthulhu Hack, adaptable to any game of investigation horror.

These adventures contain mature themes. The Cthulhu Hack: Three Faces of the Wendigo available now in PDF, from RPGNow and DriveThruRPG. Available in print from the start of December – at Dragonmeet (2nd December) and then from All Rolled Up.

Releases 0 comments on The Cthulhu Hack Core

The Cthulhu Hack Core

The essential core books for The Cthulhu Hack in a PDF bundle offer.

That includes two adventures – Save Innsmouth and The Hacker of the Dark – along with character creation, character advancement, creatures, magic, new horrors, investigation creation guidance and character sheets.

Everything you need to start playing your own games with new horrors and guidance on using Lovecraft’s own stories as source material for your adventures.

Hooks, Releases 0 comments on Brace For Impact

Brace For Impact

For those moments when your players hit the JUMP button too soon or warp right out of the path the adventure has set for their rendezvous with doom, Brace For Impact! takes a leaf out of the random table book established by From Unformed Realms.

Brace For Impact! offers 18-pages packed with tables presenting high sci-fi encounter seeds based at the point of arrival for your unsuspecting characters, with room for taking notes and generating odd details like a ship names, types of debris, and failing systems.

It won’t replace an adventure – but, at a pinch, it will create the seed for an encounter, the in media res moment for a mission, or distract the players just long enough for you to improvise the meat of something else.

Releases 0 comments on LULU of Cthulhu

LULU of Cthulhu

I’m pleased to announce the release of four books to Print on Demand through Lulu. From today, you can find The Cthulhu Hack, From Unformed Realms, The Haunter of the Dark, and Thro’ Centuries Fixed under my “Author Spotlight” on Lulu.

In practice I hope that makes it simpler for those not in the UK to get hold of these books in print. I will also look to add them on OneBookShelf, but that requires a slightly longer process.

As The Cthulhu Hack now features four books on Lulu, it means you can also take advantage of their various ongoing and occasional offers. Most of the time you will find TRGE15 offering a BUY 3, GET 4th FREE offer. At the moment, if you want to buy these and more, JULYYAY could offer you a more substantial discount.
The four Cthulhu Hack books available as

Releases 5 comments on The Cthulhu Hack v1.5 Released

The Cthulhu Hack v1.5 Released

‪I have released the new version 1.5 of The Cthulhu Hack on RPGNow, available to everyone and accessible to all with the existing edition in their onsite Library.

Fast, flexible Lovecraftian tabletop horror upgraded. This is Lovecraftian roleplaying for the gaming group with no time for thick rule books and endless mechanics!

It’s entirely the same system as that released in 2016, but honed and refined over more than a year of open play, convention gaming, and more than 1,000 downloads. Centred around survival and investigation, the game keeps mechanics simple and character generation simpler.

New flexible character generation. New optional rules. Expanded format with an adventure and 2-page example of play to get you up and running. And backed by the usual range of supplements and adventures, all compatible whatever the edition – including horror generator From Unformed Realms and adventure design guide The Haunter of the Dark (nominated for a 2017 ENnie Award).

More than twice the content of the original in the same page count!

Take Lovecraft and the Mythos back to basics – and may Cthulhu have mercy on your battered soul!

The Cthulhu Hack v1.5 on RPGNow

Extras 0 comments on Dry Wipe Character Cards

Dry Wipe Character Cards

Rather than paper sheets, new boxed sets will come with A6-sized dry wipe cards. You can still print your own sheets, obviously, but these will provide a reusable alternative.

They’re laminated on one side and they work with any dry wipe pen — or even felt tips.

I would recommend the Staedtler Correctable pens (available from All Rolled Up, along with all the in-print books for The Cthulhu Hack), but you can use whatever you have to hand.

They’re available from the All Rolled Up store, £5 for a pack of 10.

Releases 0 comments on Nocturnal Rites – a Free Quickstart

Nocturnal Rites – a Free Quickstart

the-cthulhu-hack-quickstart-rpgnowToday sees the release of a FREE Quickstart for The Cthulhu Hack, the game of investigation and cosmic horror. The Quickstart contains:A 2-page overview of the game and its core mechanics

  • A 2-page overview of the game and its core mechanics
  • A 2-page quickstart encounter “Nocturnal Rites”
  • Two pre-generated characters
  • A sheet of simplified character sheets

The character sheet works just fine as an alternative for the existing designs but simplifies the information on the front to make it easier for newcomers to pick up.

The Cthulhu Hack Quickstart provides just enough detail to play – and provide a perfect lead into the full game and the expanding range of supplements and adventures.

And this weekend, you can take advantage of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sale to pick up The Cthulhu Hack at 15% off.

3rd Party, Adventures 0 comments on Debate Night in America

Debate Night in America

debate_night_in_americaTwo powerful figures square up for a final debate certain to spell defeat for one – and recent media attention seems to have swung hard one way. The investigators have a chance to uncover the truth, but they have precious little time to do it and an immovable deadline looming.

I’ve been a fan of Nathan Hill since I picked up a copy of his excellent sci-fi game Foreign Element – and then ran an adventure on a suspiciously orange planet. Nathan has chosen a particularly apposite moment to release Debate Night in America, an adventure he’s written for The Cthulhu Hack, but suited to any game of conspiracy-fuelled, supernaturally-steeped investigation.

thro-centuries-fixed-debate-night-in-americaThe adventure invites a sense of impending doom in a very strict, tight timeline – and I might even suggest you could swing something close to an actual countdown by running it at a pace of 15 or 20 minutes real time equals 60 minutes game time. An actual clock on the table that you advance, with the absolute certainty that the televised debate goes ahead at 7PM – that should have the players focused and increasingly frantic.

Entirely viable as a one-shot for an evening or a convention game. I also found that a reference at the start of the final paragraph on page 18 had me thinking that you might have a cross-over with Thro’ Centuries Fixed – and my inference yesterday that I see a campaign potential in the mix. You’ll get it if you’ve read both adventure and the source story for Thro’.

Nathan has made Debate Night in America available as a Pay What You Want and I ask you to donate a fancy coffee’s worth for his effort!

Adventures, Releases 0 comments on Thro’ Centuries Fixed

Thro’ Centuries Fixed

thro-centuries-fixed-the-cthulhu-hackYou wake groggy; your body stiff, your sight obscured. You stir; vigour oozing slowly back into your muscles like you’ve slept for an age. As your vision clears, you find your surroundings unfamiliar, the colours and light queer. You struggle to call out for help, but cannot find the words; You struggle to remember much of anything – were you drunk? Drugged? Sick?

Perhaps, with hindsight, you were better not knowing…

Thro’ Centuries Fixed is a new adventure for The Cthulhu Hack or your Mythos-based horror investigation game of choice. A modern era adventure, flexible enough for a one-shot or a short series of sessions.

Events, Releases 1 comment on Thro’ Centuries Fixed and More

Thro’ Centuries Fixed and More

img_0081Next week, I’m releasing a new adventure for The Cthulhu Hack through RPGNow and DriveThruRPG, entitled Thro’ Centuries Fixed.

It’s another contemporary adventure, like Save Innsmouth, and well suited to one-off play; it could also be adapted to a different setting / period and might be used as the kick-off to a campaign.

For those interested in adapting adventures, this one has roots in another adventure released under Creative Commons. I like the flexibility in sharing creativity like that and you might compare the original to the Thro’ Centuries Fixed to see how I reworked it.

The Cthulhu Hack version has doubled the length of the original adventure, including additional notes on locations, the creatures involved and the timeline of events. The original used a generic location somewhere close to Lovecraft Country, but the new one drops the events into a secluded part of Maine.

As with The Haunter in the Dark and the matrix version of The Haunting, I hope that this adventure will provide further useful assistance in taking adventures from other systems and converting them. In many cases, it’s easier to gut the old system out and replace everything almost wholesale using the original as a guide, especially where specific horrors are concerned. I find it useful to reference Lovecraft himself rather than taking the description of a creature in a game system. Reading the origin stories of an entity offers you the chance to gather your own thoughts and interpretations. You can also take note of how Lovecraft (or other source writers) describe their horrors and setting.

The release of Thro’ Centuries Fixed will be the last release for 2016. If you haven’t taken advantage of the current Cthulhu Hack Halloween bundle on RPGNow and DriveThruRPG to grab anything you missed so far, you have a few days left. And in December, I’ll be attending Dragonmeet, in London, to sell all The Cthulhu Hack books in print (along with All Rolled Up), individually and in boxed sets, as well as running a game in the evening somewhere in the hotel.

Releases, Uncategorized 0 comments on The Cthulhu Hack Halloween Bundle

The Cthulhu Hack Halloween Bundle

img_0081As RPGNow / DriveThruRPG have kicked off their Halloween event, I’ve added The Cthulhu Hack Halloween Bundle to your options.

If you have something already, the site deducts that from the whole — so, you can round out your collection.

The bundle includes:

  • The Cthulhu Hack – Fast-play system of investigation and cosmic horror
  • From Unformed Realms – Detailed generation of random horrors and their hideous powers
  • Convicts & Cthulhu – Horror and isolation in the Australian outback of the 1800s
  • Outpost Generator – Fast drop table generation of outback settlements
  • The Haunter of the Dark – Guidance on creating adventures from Lovecraft’s own stories, including a sequel to The Haunter of the Dark
  • Save Innsmouth – Students working against the Man take a last glimpse of a Prohibition relic before demolition

Bundle runs until the end of the Halloween event.

The Cthulhu Hack Halloween bundle on DriveThruRPG