Release The Dark Brood
Releases / December 10, 2017

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…

September Setting Sale on RPGNow
Sale / September 17, 2017

September is the time for changing up your game’s setting – and for The Cthulhu Hack that means picking up your copy of From Unformed Realms and doing something unexpected with it. As a toolkit, you might create a whole creature from scratch, allowing the dice to guide the physical make-up of the monstrous entity and then adding the stats later. Mark Chance has posted a bunch of uses for From Unformed Realms on his blog, including creating twisted entities for Mutant Futures, lurking Murkling for Barbarians of Lemuria, Chitinoid Chaos for Marvel Super Heroes, and snake guardians for Bloodshadows. Alternatively, you can make a roll or two to spice up some of your existing adversaries and antagonists. As a review of From Unformed Realms on RPG Geek said –  “it’s an evocative and easy to read source of inspiration for just about any otherworldly monster. I like how it cuts straight to the weirdness – horrific or simply dangerous – and lets you build the monster around those core abilities. I fully intend to use this in fantasy games – at least high-fantasy ones, where ‘realism’ isn’t a concern.” From Unformed Realms is a system-free toolkit suited for many settings and…

The Cthulhu Hack Core
Releases / September 9, 2017

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.

Random Tables

I believe random tables have their place in the creative process. Like my collection of Rory’s Story Cubes or my three volumes in the classic Central Casting books by Jennell Jacquays, the table often provides an essential spark to my creative process. I don’t always include a random table in my books, but when I do there’s a damned good reason for it – it’s about introducing a spark or adding some spice. The Haunter of the Dark has 9-pages of random tables sandwiched between the guidance on creating and structuring adventures and the annotated story of the fate of Robert Blake. Connections Each of these tables ties neatly – and intentionally – into the story. Entered a site with a century long tie to a strange sect? Rummaging through the drawers of a forlorn artist? Tracking down a disgruntled ex-cultist? Broken into the cellar of an abandoned building? Picking up a copy of a local paper? Stumbled through the door to find a crumpled note lying in the dust? It’s all here and more. Whether you’re creating your own adventure or filling out the grey areas in a pre-written investigation, there are 20 short tables here (almost all of…

Your Haunter May Vary
Adapting , Random Tables / July 13, 2017

All Haunters are not born equal. The cosmic horror value of your Haunter may go up as well as down. You know the drill, right? You play a game and when the bad guys make their first tentative appearance the players read between the lines and leap ahead to tactics and strategies. They know how to handle a Deep One or a Shoggoth – and even though the antagonist hasn’t reared so much as a finger or eye lid yet, they’re ready for action with Plans A through G. Disappointing show, anyone? The Cthulhu Hack has this covered from two angles – and you should always consider adding your own spice into the mix. The cosmic horror should never become commonplace or boring; nor should the Lovecraft aficionado in your group present an insurmountable barrier to generating fresh new challenge. On the one hand, you have the generic assistance of From Unformed Realms. When I discuss this book at conventions, my pitch centres on the value of these tables as a way to create not only whole new monsters but to adjust the features or even just the spoor of the horror. The spoor, you say? Well, if you have…

From Unformed Realms – New Review
Reviews / July 11, 2017

A quick new review has gone up on RPGNow/DriveThruRPG for From Unformed Realms, posted by Tore Nielsen: Since From Unformed Realms is essentially system-less, it serves as a great resource for creating new strange monsters for many games. I have personally used it for The Black Hack itself, and for Portal Rats, but not for The Cthulhu Hack itself (yet). Next up I plan to use it for Macchiato Monsters. Link to the review for From Unformed Realms.

Coming Up, Looking Back
News / January 4, 2017

Just a brief one, as I noted The Cthulhu Hack got a mention alongside The Black Hack in the TableTop Games 10 Top Roleplaying Games of 2016. In addition, someone rightly pointed out that in Cthulhu Hack 2016 and Beyond I did not mention the GM Screen amongst the upcoming releases. OK – now I have mentioned it. I had a rough version of a screen in-hand for my game at Dragonmeet (the artefact in the middle of the picture with the map cover), but that really was something of an Alpha prototype for me to toy with. The prototype gathered some key tables from the core rules and From Unformed Realms. It proved useful in running Save Innsmouth, to hide some brief notes and the game booklet itself. I hope that any official and final GM Screen will serve a more original and pivotal function on the table. That remains a work in progress for the time being, with no specific release date. I also didn’t mention that I have an adventure supplement planned for late Spring that will gather together three short adventures themed around the same non-Mythos entity. I can’t go into much further detail than that at the moment. The call for adventure…

From Unformed Realms Review
Reviews / November 4, 2016

I like it when reviews catch me completely off guard. While I did offer copies of my books for review purposes a while back to a couple of people, I placed no pressure on them. What caught me by surprise here? Well, this is a review by someone who doesn’t particularly like horror or things Cthulhu, but this review is incredibly positive about the books potential. A fantastic and thorough review From Unformed Realms on RPG Geek, by Steve, really made my day. What caught me by surprise here? Well, this is a review by someone who doesn’t particularly like horror or things Cthulhu, but this review is incredibly positive about the books potential. From Unformed Realms, nominally a supplement for The Cthulhu Hack, is … a simple but detailed system for creating “horrific” and otherworldly monsters. But it’s nearly systemless – just a long list of ideas for charging up your monsters. As a fantasy gamer, I didn’t expect this to work for me – but I was pleased to find that From Unformed Realms is a great tool for any game that needs weird and malevolent opponents. From Unformed Realms was a very pleasant surprise to me. I expected…

Appreciation of Cthulhu
Events , Releases / September 7, 2016

The slight algorithmic disparity between RPGNow and DriveThruRPG keeps Popular Electrum Pick out of reach at RPGNow, despite The Cthulhu Hack securing it on the DriveThru site a couple of weeks ago. Definitely an odd number, whatever it is. I awake each morning and check the page to see if TCH has finally tipped the balance to level up! On a more general level, I really appreciate the support! I released the game a little under 4 months ago – so hitting Electrum on either site is a big deal. I got a solid review of The Cthulhu Hack on RPG Geek overnight and the Google+ community has a steady growth. I really got a buzz to see a group of gamers using the system for their Deadlands Noir: Case of the Jumbo Shrimp game on You Tube. Yesterday, I got two big boxes of the physical books for From Unformed Realms and The Cthulhu Hack: Convicts & Cthulhu. I’ll have these available at forthcoming events and through the Just Crunch Games web store on the All Rolled Up site. You will have the option to pick up the entire set so far – which includes all these physical books, a…

Happy Birthday, Mr Lovecraft
Events , Sale / August 19, 2016

In celebration of Howard Lovecraft’s 126th birthday, OneBookShelf is offering a 20% discount on all Mythos related games across their websites, including RPGNow and DriveThruRPG. That means you can grab a copy of The Cthulhu Hack and From Unformed Realms at 20% until 31th August. That includes the softcover! And while you’re at it, you can also pick up Pay-What-You-Want release The Cthulhu Hack: Convicts and Cthulhu and the Outpost Generator. And while you’re there, why not try the excellent The Many Deaths of Edward Bigsby (which still has my local players talking), the resource-rich goodness of Silent Legions, and my current bedside reading matter Achtung! Cthulhu. The Stars Are Right!

From Unformed Realms Review
Reviews / August 8, 2016

There’s a new review on RPGNow/DriveThruRPG for From Unformed Realms, which I engineered to some extent by offering free copies. I consciously offered copies of this supplement to people who didn’t ‘play Cthulhu’, because From Unformed Realms supports but isn’t constrained to The Cthulhu Hack. I wrote this as a generic, non-system specific supplement – and the review shows Steve’s appreciation of that: First things first, Paul offered me a free copy of this product, but after I read it, I went back and paid for it. I expect to make use of it in a few different ways and the price wasn’t exactly going to break the bank anyhow. The charts here are well-organized and useful. They include some options you’d probably consider mandatory for a horror game (like tentacles) and some things you might not have thought of (like acquired – a creature which steals limbs from previous victims). The same goes for several of the other categories. Some of the categories go pretty far-afield, like creatures which excrete urine or semen at will, but honestly those are both pretty horrifying. For myself, I kind of see a couple of places where I can use this quickly. I’m…

The Dragon and the Cow
Events / July 27, 2016

I have a couple of (reasonably) confirmed events – and games – upcoming. The Concrete Cow event takes place in Milton Keynes on Saturday 10 September 2016; Dragonmeet takes place in London on Saturday 03 December 2016. I will be running sessions of The Cthulhu Hack at both events. For Concrete Cow, I will be running an afternoon session of The Derelict: When the last chip falls and the champagne has run dry, the eternal socialite has to sell up and literally ship out – heading from Liverpool to New York to sell a yacht in the hope of staving off the burden of debts. With a small group of friends, their situation little better, the final cruise across the Atlantic seems like it might prove a farewell to bad times. Then the captain receives a faint distress call from a stranded cargo vessel and the obligation to render assistance at sea doesn’t seem so bad in light of the possible bounty from salvage opportunities… For Dragonmeet, I will be running a session of The Haunter of the Dark, in the evening between 8pm to midnight: Cautious investigators will hesitate to challenge the common belief that Robert Blake was killed by…

The Cthulhu Hack Cover
In Development / July 4, 2016

I have proof copies incoming from two sources for The Cthulhu Hack, and I’m looking into other alternatives. A wraparound affair that uses the front image in a mirror version for the back – along with a little blurb. One of the proof copies is perfect bound, the other saddle. I have a liking for the saddle, but ultimately we’ll see. I continue to seek alternatives for a better quality – and a hardback version. The hardback would have to wait for more material. I would likely add material from one or two upcoming supplements to make the hardback worthwhile. I’m pondering get a physical copy of From Unformed Realms sorted out for conventions and sale through the All Rolled Up web store. Currently also sourcing a possible cover image for The Haunter Hack. However, the whole focus of this supplement still hangs in a bit of a creative limbo – I’m not 100% sold on what works for the best. Ultimately, it’s about getting a Cthulhu Hack adventure together using existing material and the process you might go through to do that using The Haunter of the Dark as a base. This is about rooting out the Saves and highlighting the Resource rolls. Expanding narrative and…

The Cthulhu Hack – June 2016
In Development / June 27, 2016

I just wanted to post where I was up to on the current stack of upcoming material for  The Cthulhu Hack. Expect a slightly updated copy of the PDF of the core rules in the near future. As well as including a new Cthulhu cover image by talented artist Henning Ludvigsen – along with the existing ones so you have the option to do home printing with whatever version you prefer – the rules will have a minor tweak or two. There’s nothing major – just a little clarity. For example, David Black recently posted a clarification for Advantage and Disadvantage that makes perfect sense to include in the core. I have a partially completed draft of Convicts & Cthulhu that I’m working through a second time to fill in the gaps and plug holes. This will be a supplement to support playing convicts and guards in 19th-century penal colony Australia, as detailed in the excellent Convicts & Cthulhu supplement by Cthulhu Reborn. I also have a slightly less than complete first draft of The Haunter Hack, which guides you through the process of using Lovecraftian stories as a basis for simple games of The Cthulhu Hack. The text will break down elements of the…

Fire and Fury
Hooks / June 21, 2016

While created to generate quick horrors of the unknown for games like The Cthulhu Hack, there’s nothing stopping you from using From Unformed Realms as a way to kickstart monsters for other games. Throw a few six-sided dice (different colours help, deciding in advance which come first, second and third – but you could just read them left to right as they fall) or use an online randomizer, and you can set down the skeletal potentials of a new opponent. As a basic guide, for Hack games, add a Hit Dice for each ability or characteristic generated or – conversely – decide the power level of the horror and roll as many times as it has Hit Dice. So, I rolled three times, aiming for something 3HD – then rolled another die for form, which I didn’t count for hit dice. The entity shimmers and gleams with sweat (+1HD) Sharp and dark prickles cluster across its horny hide (+1AV, +1HD) Thorns can fire like projectiles – fluid scalds with an extreme temperature (+1HD) Ophidian Out of that I get: Ss’nda (3HD, +1 AV; when damaged, DEX Save or inflict 1d4 damage) Commonly mistaken for the salamander in folktale, the Ss’nda admittedly have much in…

From Unformed Realms
Releases / June 20, 2016

As a Gamemaster, you just can’t have something planned for every eventuality. Perhaps you have to step in to run something on short notice or the normal group can’t meet so you want something to change the pace. The Cthulhu Hack offers a simple system for investigative horror, but where to get the horror? From Unformed Realms offers you a trusty collection of random tables to provide a springboard for your creativity just when you need it most. Below the waist… all human resemblance left off. The skin was thickly covered with coarse black fur, and from the abdomen a score of long greenish-grey tentacles with red sucking mouths protruded limply. Their arrangement was odd, and seemed to follow the symmetries of some cosmic geometry unknown to earth or the solar system. On each of the hips, deep set in a kind of pinkish, ciliated orbit, was what seemed to be a rudimentary eye; whilst in lieu of a tail there depended a kind of trunk or feeler with purple annular markings, and with many evidences of being an undeveloped mouth or throat. The limbs… terminated in ridged-veined pads that were neither hooves nor claws. Of genuine blood there was…