If you have been curious about ourAPOCTHULHU RPG, tomorrow is a good day to lurk around DTRPG. We’ve been told that the ineffable sages in that august emporium of PDFs has decided that tomorrow, the core APOCTHULHU rulebook shall be their deal of the day. Who are we to argue with such unknowable and ineffable beings.
What does that mean …? Well, it means that for 24 hours our core rule PDF will be sold at 80% off. Instead of the normal price of USD 22.95 (or whatever that is in your local currency), the asking price is USD 4.59. It’s a big savings.
Never has there been a better time to invest in the End of the World. If you feel the urge to also pick up our recently-released Multi-Campaign book for APOCTHULHU (not discounted), that would make a great on-ramp for many hours of Post-Apocalyptic Lovecraftian Gaming. You could even grab our PWYW APOCTHULHU Quickstart and get going with its nifty full-length scenario “Amber Waves” by Lovecraftian gaming veteran Chad Bowser [inventor of Cthulhu Invictus, Cthulhu Dark Ages 3e, lots of other cool stuff].
Go on, you know Cthulhu wants you to! (After all, what ELSE do you think all those weird dreams about sunken Non-Euclidean cities are supposed to mean?)
We’ve already shared a bit of sneak peek here on the blog into one of the four mini-campaigns that are collected together in this book. Now let’s take a look at another. Christopher Smith Adair is a pretty well known name in the Lovecraftian RPG writing circle — he has written a great deal of amazing stuff for Chaosium and its Call of Cthulhu licensees. When we approached him back in late 2017 to pitch an adventure for APOCTHULHU, we were delighted to receive his highly-original, quirky, and thoroughly brilliant version of the Post-Apocalypse.
His adventure, titled “Hold the Flood” is set in a version of the late 21st century, in which the world is recovering from a terrible and deadly pandemic, 50 years past. Back in 2017 when we were first talking about this it seemed an intriguing hypothetical game setting. Obviously in more recent times real-world events have crept up on us, making this particular kind of “Apocalypse” seem strangely resonant — although, to be perfectly honest, that’s an unhappy accident than anything else. It’s a coincidence that created a minor headache as we put together the published version of the book: obviously Christopher’s world is a fictional construct, but we also don’t want to present a Pandemic-based Apocalypse in terms that current readers might find disrespectful of real-world circumstances (which we are all personally navigating still). We hope we’ve navigated these difficult waters.
The thing that sets Christopher’s vision of the post-Pandemic world apart from others isn’t really the common tropes of survival and fear of a resurgence of the “Gray Plague”. Yes, those are concerns … but the tone of the setting and the campaign revolves around something far more hopeful and quirky: A troupe of circus freaks who have taken on the task of travelling from survivor settlement to survivor settlement, bringing much needed entertainment.
The player characters in this campaign are all performers in this larger-than-life troupe of carnies — Professor Mysterioso’s carnival. They travel by colorful mule-drawn wagons, visiting communities for a few days at a time before moving on to the next on their circuit. Communities relish a visit from Professor Mysterioso’s … even if each settlement might only host the carnival for a few nights every year or two. Such is their legendary status.
But when the circus troupe suddenly all become mysteriously ill shortly after departing their most-recent stop — a township called Astor — people begin to worry. Has the terrible “Gray Plague” re-emerged? Was there something or someone in that community that was the origin for the outbreak? Perhaps someone there knows the secret to rapidly containing it?
As the few among the crew not to have succumbed to the disease, it falls to the Survivors to save the carnival.
“Hold The Flood” is a fantastic campaign that will keep most gaming groups — especially those who can embrace its slightly surreal or expressionist flavor. It’s kind of like “Cabinet of Dr Caligari” meets “Terry Nation’s Survivors” … and if anybody out there can mentally fuse those cultural references, I will be impressed. Unlike many Post-Apocalyptic scenarios, this one has quite an investigative vibe — there is a mystery to be solved in the town of Astor, and the carnival folks must find answers to avoid the terrible plague outbreak which threatens their friends and colleagues. It’s a race against time … and one in which surprises abound which cast doubt on many things the survivors in this Post-Pandemic world thought they knew.
“Hold The Flood” is a 52-page setting and campaign available RIGHT NOW in PDF form as part of our “Terrible New Worlds” anthology — if it seems like the kind of thing that your gaming group might like, definitely check out the product page for more info!
More sneak previews of the mini-campaigns in “Terrible New Worlds” to follow …
Today we are delighted to be able to announce that our latest APOCTHULHU book, Terrible New Worlds, has slithered into the world in PDF form. It is a supplement which brings together four chunky Lovecraftian Post-Apocalypse campaigns, each set in their own distinct near-future dystopia. We’ve had the pleasure of working with a great team of writers on this project, and we’re absolutely thrilled by the diverse and imaginative takes they have imagined for a Mythos-fuelled “end of the world.”
APOCTHULHU: Terrible New Worlds is a 256-page book, but in addition to the core title we have included separate scenario resource packs for each of the four campaigns. These collect the handouts, maps, and other key reference material into a stand-alone PDF for easy use. The DTRPG bundle also includes a separate ZIP file which compiles the same resource material in isolated files — JPGs for the images, RTFs for text handouts — to make it easier to incorporate into a VTT game.
As well as all that bundled goodness, we have also made still more resource material available for these campaigns over on the APOCTHULHU Support Page, here on the CR blog. There you’ll find higher-resolution versions of resources plus fillable autocalc sheets for all pre-gens included with the campaigns.
We certainly plan to follow-up this PDF release with a print version of the book, but that will necessarily need to be later in the year. We’re looking into ways to make a POD release affordable for our customers, many of whom were dismayed (as were we!) by DTRPG’s huge price increases back in July. Watch this space for an announcement in the coming months!
Until then … we welcome your Survivors to venture forth into one of these Terrible New Worlds … if they dare!
We recently announced that the next title in our APOCTHULHU line is an anthology of four mini-campaigns, titled “Terrible New Worlds”. It is looking like it’ll be ready for an August release (fingers crossed).
The first of the mini-campaigns in the anthology is “A Small Price” by Dave Sokolowski. To whet your appetite for this nifty adventure, I’m happy to share some (spoiler free) notes about the unusual Post-Apocalyptic world that Dave has wrought.
This rather original “Shadow Apocalypse” was briefly sketched out in the APOCTHULHU core book, but is really brought to life in the mini-campaign.
“A Small Price” is an APOCTHULHU campaign set in a Post-Apocalyptic version of the United States where civilization has crumbled, and the world has become shrouded in an unearthly and impenetrable cloud. Day and night are now both tainted by a perpetual dull charcoal sky.
The cause for this terrible downfall stems from a great calamity five years ago. Hundreds of simultaneous explosions — occurring across every continent — spewed dirt up into the sky. But that was the least of their impacts. Those same explosions brought forth terrifying Shadow-wraith creatures, millions of them. When they arrived, these strange entities mostly lurked within normal shadows … but they also can seep into people’s bodies, possessing them utterly.
The world that is left behind is a shattered ruin of its former self. But the Shadows are still here … in fact, each year they seem to multiply. Some believe that it is the Shadows’ destiny to finally exterminate humankind from the face of the planet. But for now, there are small pockets of humanity scattered throughout the world that have survived their ravages. Some form nomadic groups which try to stay one step ahead of the poisonous touch of the Shadow. Other groups have hidden themselves in secure shelters where they are protected from the entities. There they eke out a meagre living … living forever in fear, always watching closely the shadows around them.
The campaign revolves around one such sanctuary, where a small and highly insular community is working hard to try to understand — and maybe overcome — the threat posed by the Shadows. When the Survivors encounter this curious community, they discover that some of the biggest challenges to survival can be those created not through external horrors but from inter-personal rivalries and conflicts.
“A Small Price” is designed for 3–6 players and offers a mixture of survival horror, research, and diplomacy. It takes inspiration from both Clark Ashton Smith and Ira Levin and requires cleverness and a strong survival instinct in order to navigate the myriad threats that lie around every corner.
More sneak previews of the mini-campaigns in “Terrible New Worlds” to come …
A few people have been in touch with us to ask how things are going with our upcoming anthology book of APOCTHULHU “mini-campaigns”, titled “Terrible New Worlds.” We’ve posted a little bit of information about this book, but now that things are getting closer to its completion I am planning on sharing a bunch more. I’m sorry that updates about our projects are so sporadic — when you’re a small publisher it’s not uncommon to get so caught up in whatever piece of the creative process you’re knee-deep in right now, and forget that it’s been ages since sharing any news here on the blog.
“Terrible New Worlds” sees us publishing four brand new Post-Apocalyptic Lovecraftian “mini-campaigns”, each set in a new and horrible dystopian future. We’re using the term “mini-campaign” to describe these pieces, rather than simply calling them “scenarios” because in reality each of the four is a chunky piece of gaming that would occupy any group for many sessions of play.
The nightmare adventures contained within these pages range from 50 to 85 pages. All up the book of four mini-campaigns run to approximately 256 pages.
I aim to post a short (spoiler-free) thumbnail of each of the campaigns in coming days, but I can reveal titles and authors now. The four terrible new worlds are:
“Hold The Flood” by Christopher Smith Adair
“A Throne of Corpses” by Emily O’Neil
“A Small Price” by Dave Sokolowski
“… even death may die …” by Fred Behrendt
More details and some art previews to follow … Estimated release for the book (in PDF format) is early August.
And In Other APOCTHULHU News …
We have been delighted to see that a group of awesome gamers has decided to run an APOCTHULHU game online as a “play by forum” thing over on RPG.net. The game is called “The Vulture Committee”. The GM of the game — friend of the blog Paul StJohn Mackintosh — has crafted an original and highly inventive Post-Apocalypse setting of his own. Here’s a link to the game’s thread.
In this setting, the end of the world was somehow brought about by mankind’s dabbling in Quantum Computing, brought to a head by the Cryptocurrency craze. When the mass use of parallel Quantum computers began in earnest, it opened gates — logic gates — and through them, SOMETHING slithered into our reality. Spreading like a digital plague, the non-human intelligence came to infect the world’s networks, mutating reality (and people) as it went. Fast forward several years and the world is now a fragmented place of desperate survivor groups, raiding parties, and other ne’er-do-wells, huddled together in communities to avoid the weird Unnatural manifestations that roam the wastelands.
Prior to the game starting off, Paul and a few other folks had some great discussions about how this unique setting might work. That thread is also a pretty good read.
We’re thrilled the read the adventure as it unfolds …
I want to provide a quick “Public Service Announcement” about looming big price hikes in all POD-printed colour books from DTRPG. Publishers (like us) who sell hardcover or softcover versions of colour-interior books have been advised that from July 1 the cost for printing each book (via Lightning Source / Ingram) is increasing.
A lot. Like +25-30%ish.
For our APOCTHULHU Core book — which is available as either soft or hardcover colour-interior — I’ve crunched the numbers provided by DTRPG and it looks like both of them will get $15 more expensive on July 1. That is not really good for purchasers, and it’s not really good for us.
The only saving grace is that DTRPG have hastily organized a sale from now until June 29, where affected print books are being sold up to 25% off their *current* price. We have signed up to that sale for both our APOCTHULHU Core and APOCTHULHU Quickstart books. If you have any interest in perhaps picking either up as colour-interior print books, we’d urge you to consider doing it during this sale.
We currently also offer B&W interior versions of these books via LULU, and none of this change affects those versions.
It’s worth noting that Cthulhu Reborn is far from being the only publisher who is affected by this change in DTRPG/LS pricing — so if there are other things you’ve been considering buying in print from DTRPG, I’d definitely suggest looking at the listings this week to see if they too are part of this big sale. Chances are most publishers are like us, lamenting the fact that customers are about to get slugged …
Finally, it’s also worth pointing out that this change doesn’t affect the print cost of Convicts & Cthulhu on DTRPG — because that book is B&W interior only.
There is no denying that the events of the past year have changed the way many people play roleplaying games, shifting many people’s gaming from face-to-face to online. This has definitely been true for APOCTHULHU games that we have run or participated in — those have 100% been “virtual”.
Lots of people seem to be gravitating towards different Virtual Table Top (VTT) platforms to add a little bit of extra collaboration to their voice-only games on Discord or Skype. We’ve done a bit of gaming on Roll20, and even developed an APOCTHULHU character sheet for that tabletop.
Recently, we’ve dipped our toe into the realm of Roll20 “modules” with the release of the R20 VTT version of “Amber Waves”, the introductory scenario that is in the back of the APOCTHULHU Quickstart (still a free download from DriveThruRPG).
The Roll20 Marketplace pretty much obliges us to charge a minimum price of US $4.99 for this module. BUT because we are so indebted to our loyal blog readers that we will happily send a free gift copy to anyone who contacts us via email to vtt [at] cthulhureborn.com … make sure to include your Roll20 ID (that is, the email address you use to log into Roll20).
If you don’t know what goes into a Roll20 Module … they basically combine:
the full text of the scenario (hyperlinked for convenient reference),
the scenario handouts,
scene graphics you can show to players are key moments,
maps for all significant locations (we added some new ones for “Amber Waves”), and
pre-filled character sheets for all pre-gens, NPCs, and critters.
So, they’re kind of like online game configs that are pretty much ready to run. You can just find some friends, fire up a new instance of the module, allocate each player a pre-generated character, and start to play. Since the character sheets automate some of the dice rolling conventions of APOCTHULHU (e.g., remembering that matching digits means crit or fumble), it can be a slightly easier way to learn a new game system.
We hope that the added convenience of having a pre-made Roll20 VTT version of “Amber Waves” encourages a few more folks to give the scenario a run … it’s a very fun little introduction to APOCTHULHU. I was lucky enough to play in an early Roll20 version of the scenario run by Chad Bowser (who wrote the scenario). It’s a perfect mix of creepy exploration, mystery solving, and pulse-pounding terror. With lots of green killer plants and creepy flying things 🙂
While we’re talking about online APOCTHULHU, it’s probably worth mentioning that we are always interested in hearing about any “actual play” recordings of our games that you decide to share online. In the past we’ve been thrilled to see these, and have sent some nice rewards (print books and merch from our Redbubble store) to the generous folks who have got in touch. If you’ve similarly shared the word about your APOCTHULHU games, we’d be happy to extend the same generosity to you! Get in touch via the same email mentioned above.
It’s been a while since we posted any updates about upcoming APOCTHULHU titles. Rest assured we’ve been hard at work on several future books relating to different Lovecraftian Post-Apocalypse settings. In fact we’ve been so busy working on editing manuscripts for the very next book — an anthology of mini-campaigns — that we’ve been rather neglecting the blog. Sorry about that.
Starting next month I will be writing a series of posts describing some of the horrifically good adventures and source material that will go into a couple of books we will release later in the year.
For now, though, I thought it might be fun to simply share some of the cool art that has been created for upcoming APOCTHULHU books. Today I’d like to showcase a selection of pieces for our anthology book “Terrible New Worlds”. We have a mock up cover for that book …
When it came to commissioning the custom illustrations for this book we looked around at a lot of different artist portfolios, searching for the right look and feel. During that search we stumbled upon the work of an incredible Polish artist named Anna Helena Szymborska. You can see a sample of her work on this portfolio page.
We initially gave Anna the commissions for one scenario, but were so delighted with her creativity and eye for the macabre that we ended up asking her to do ALL the custom pieces for the entire book. And then we got her back for another entire book project (more on that later).
All that is my way of saying that Anna is an outstanding horror/sci-fi/fantasy genre artists. If you’re a publisher of games, fiction, or comics who commissions art in any of those genres, you might want to check out her style.
Anna’s Art for Mini-Campaign #1: Hold the Flood
Anna’s Art for Mini-Campaign #2: Throne of Corpses
Anna’s Art for Mini-Campaign #3: A Small Price
Anna’s Art for Mini-Campaign #4: Even Death May Die
Intrigued by these illustrations? Keep an eye out for future blog postings where we preview the four mini-campaigns that make up “Terrible New Worlds”, our next APOCTHULHU title!
Since releasing the core rulebook for APOCTHULHU — just a few months ago — we have been excited to see a number of great (and mostly complimentary!) reviews published in a range of online venues.
Today, the much-read “Reviews From R’lyeh” posted their review … which is also pretty complimentary. You can read it here.
BTW for the several folks who have asked how things are progressing with future books in the APOCTHULHU line, the answer is … “very well, thanks for asking” :). We have the written manuscripts for the next two titles submitted and queued for editing. One will be an anthology of epic-sized-scenarios (each the same size as the ready-to-run adventures in the back of the core rulebook, ~50pp each). The other will be the highly-anticipated full sourcebook for William Hope Hodgson’s “Night Land” setting. For this, Kevin Ross has crafted a trio of amazing and imaginative journeys of exploration out into the pitch-black wastelands …
We are predicting both these books will be 2021 titles, with the scenario anthology arriving first. I don’t want to jinx things by setting actual release-dates yet, but rest assured we are working flat-out on getting these out there for folks to use in their Lovecraft and/or Post-Apocalypse games!
We’ve recently been stoked to see mention of APOCTHULHU turning up on several discussion boards and other RPG-related channels. As a micro-sized publisher, we don’t have a lot of funds (or indeed time) to devote to comprehensively advertising our game in all the different places that gamers lurk, so having some word-of-mouth recommendations out there is gold for us.
One interesting (and unexpected) theme that’s emerged from a few comments posted online is the idea of adapting APOCTHULHU to solo play (that is, for running by yourself without a GM). I guess the continued locked-down state of many parts of the world means that a lot more people are getting their gaming fix in this way … and the free (and we think pretty awesome) scenario at the back of the APOCTHULHU Quickstart makes a great self-contained solo game.
Or so it would seem based on this recent comment accompanying Bob V.G.’s 5-star review of the Quickstart on DTRPG:
This week, I soloed my way through APOCTHULHU Quickstart Rules. I used the Mythic Game Master Emulator as the solo engine. It is in a unique setting about a gritty life in a Lovecraftian Post-Apocalypse. I used the six characters that are included with the adventure. The adventure quest is to meet up with a scientist. When the characters get near the town, everything starts going wrong. While they were waiting for him to show up, they had time to explore a town for food and weapons. In the hardware store they found Adam Hanes, a teenager. They got some information from him and agreed to meet at his place later. After exploring for a few hours, they visited Adam and two things happened there, (1) Adam fell in love with the dog that was travelling with the adventurers and (2) Adam’s sister told them that the scientist was taken by the cultists. The dog was left with Adam and the characters went to the “Church of the Blessed Rain”. There was a huge shootout inside the farmhouse. The characters managed to kill the cult leader and three cultists. And then a grenade was thrown into the kitchen where the PCs were fighting. Mariano died. Sig was the second to die as they were escaping. They did not want to lead the remaining cultists to Adam, so they went back home. They were not able to find the scientist, so the quest failed. Maybe you will have better luck. This quickstart has 72 pages – 31 pages for the rules, 24 pages for the adventure, 13 pages for the characters, and 2 maps. It was designed for a game master and several players. Give this exciting adventure a try!
Bob V.G. on DriveThruRPG
Bob isn’t the only person who has thought of adapting APOCTHULHU for solo play … in fact we were most excited to see an entire product turn up on DriveThruRPG dedicated to just that purpose. “Sole Survivor” is a PDF written by Peter Rudin-Burgess who has a blog called Parts Per Million which somewhat specializes in solo RPG adaptations. While we haven’t seen a copy of Peter’s PDF, the video on the DTRPG page does sound quite intriguing.