Reviews 0 comments on Cthulhu Potpourri

Cthulhu Potpourri

A little review of The Cthulhu Hack, tucked away in a new “potpourri” review of The Black Hack on RPG Geek.

Like playing Call of Cthulhu but want something a bit lighter every once in a while? Try The Cthulhu Hack! The Cthulhu Hack is an investigative horror game where the players try to solve mysteries while staving off deadly horrors and creatures from beyond.

One of the interesting things that this game includes is “smokes” and “flashlights”. Now, these don’t necessarily represent actual cigarettes and flashlights, but they do represent your character’s ability to continue an investigation (flashlights) or their ability to get information or charm someone (smokes).

Each of these traits has a usage die, and every time you use an ability that links to one of these traits, you roll the usage die for it. So, for example, if you are searching for clues, you would roll your flashlight usage die. If you run out of the “flashlight” trait, then you have exhausted your investigative ability, your leads, or whatever else is appropriate.

This is great because it never leads to a moment where the adventure stops dead because of a failed check for clues. You will find something, and if you are out of the flashlight trait, then you know not to even bother looking (although there might be other ways to obtain the information you are looking for…). This also increases the drama of the game. Instead of running into every room the GM presents to you and say “I’m searching here, I’m searching there, I search again…” you have to really be careful and think about exactly what you want to do because the ability to search or interrogate people is a finite resource.

Some other aspects of the game that were added to the basic Black Hack formula are sanity (of course) and the ability to build classes, “free form” characters.

There are already a bunch of supplements out for this one, including a setting (Convicts and Cthulhu) and some adventures.

Reviews 0 comments on From Unformed Realms – New Review

From Unformed Realms – New Review

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.

Reviews 1 comment on The Case of the Jumbo Shrimp

The Case of the Jumbo Shrimp

noirI have come across an ongoing game using The Cthulhu Hack system as a ‘convenient system for Hangouts’ (given the simplicity of the mechanics) while reading a blog post about the system on The Guardian of the Arcana.

They’re playing a Noir campaign “The Case of the Jumbo Shrimp” with the system and have the session recorded and accessible on YouTube. Continue Reading “The Case of the Jumbo Shrimp”

Sale 0 comments on Pay What You Want – by the Sea

Pay What You Want – by the Sea

Stench of the Sea coverI enjoy writing stuff. I wouldn’t spend time creating the games and supplements that I do if I didn’t get a kick out of doing it. Therefore – you can now get Stench of the Sea on Pay What You Want. If you want to know why, read on – or go grab a copy and then come back.

At the same time, I buy stuff to play with care and attention to my pocket. I read reviews, consider the options, balance the possibilities, and I only pay what I can afford for the stuff if I have the option. That often means that I will hang around eBay for a few weeks, or months, waiting for a second-hand copy to come up rather than buying something brand new. Equally, I will consider Amazon Marketplace or picking up a PDF instead of a hard copy. I have no qualms about reading of the computer or even a smartphone.

In the end, I have a trimmed down library of games that I have purchased because reckon they fit me or suit my immediate needs. I can understand the principle there that many people hold back from purchases because they’re not sure. When you see a product for even a few pounds (dollars, euros, etc.) you might opt for the Wish List rather than the Shopping Cart because you don’t have any reviews to go on. You need someone else to take the plunge before you, and then you need them to write a review.

I don’t know what stats around review writing are, but I’m guessing you don’t get a 1:1 ratio on sales and reviews. I guess you probably get a 10:1 or 20:1 ratio on sales to reviews at best. I have found that wringing out reviews can take a lot of patience indeed, and much personal plugging to get attention. I have actually taken part in the Iron Reviewer Challenge on RPG Geek this year precisely because I want people to have reviews to read. If a bunch of mad people (myself included) pumping out solid reviews every week can make a difference and offer a greater wealth of review material to reference – all the better. I’m willing to make that sacrifice for the needs of the many.

Anyway, where was I going with this, you might ask… Or you may simply have drifted away already. I write because I enjoy it, but people often don’t buy because they don’t know what they’re paying for.

The solution – allow the potential customer to pay what they want for your product, or at least some of your product.

I write Stench of the Sea for the joy of it, and I put a fair amount of thought and time into creating something with a lot of extra facility and support for the gamemaster. Not only does the supplement contain an adventure, it also contains a mini-dungeon (with a map by Tony Dowler), notes on a coastal village where the characters can base themselves for a while, details of the key personalities, their relationships and goals, maps of local monster lairs, reference cards for key personalities, creatures, and treasures, and a system for generating mines and caverns that involves paper clips, a Sharpie and a bit of minor creativity. All crammed into 72-pages.

I thought it worth writing, and I also think it’s worth buying and playing. I ran it for my local group and they thoroughly enjoyed it (mainly because they mercilessly made fun of me for my vanity in publishing this adventure, but also because they’re cruel that way). In the end they didn’t feel it had enough Steam Dwarves and Cloud Elves in it (actually it has none of either, but they demanded them so I added them into the adventure when I ran it).

Enjoy – Stench of the Sea Pay What You Want on Drive Thru RPG

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