It’s ENNIEs Voting Time Again

So, once again it’s that time of the year when gamers everywhere get to vote for which of the ENNIEs-shortlisted products they think was best of 2019. While this year’s crop of shortlisted titles certainly has a lot less Cthulhu/weird horror entries than we’ve grown used to, there are some great things there which I’d encourage you to consider when voting.

There are also a few products in there that feature work by yours truly. Those are:

While it has nothing to do with me or Cthulhu Reborn, I’m also really excited to see that Arc Dream’s Delta Green: The Labryrinth has been shortlisted for “Best Supplement”. That will definitely be my first vote!

Selections from the CthuReview 2019

For the past several years I have written a summary article each January which offers an overview of all Cthulhu-related tabletop RPG products that came out in the preceding year. I didn’t do that this January, since I was busy with other things (getting APOCTHULHU ready for press mostly). But the good folks at Bayt al-Azif magazine prompted me later in the year to compile a 2019-year-in-review type article for their wonderful mag. I haven’t had time to serialize that article here — though I still might do that at some point. But as this is ENNIEs season, I thought I’d extract what I wrote about each of the products that made it into the voting shortlists.

Since the two Pelgrane titles that made it to the shortlist were technically released in late 2018, I have also copied my comments about them from last year’s blog posts. Unfortunately, neither of the 2019 or 2018 review articles cover Chaosium’s second edition “Harlem Unbound” … so sadly I have nothing to copy here about that title.

Delta Green: The Labyrinth (Arc Dream)

Back in 2018, Arc Dream ran another in their ongoing series of massively expansive Kickstarter campaigns that start with a single book and ultimately spin off several further titles. The core of that particular campaign was a book titled The Labyrinth which was billed as DG co-creator John Tynes’ grand return to game writing. As mentioned above, I have a huge soft spot for John’s writing from his many great scenarios from the heady days of Pagan Publishing (back in the 1990s). So I was very excited to see what the older-and-no-doubt-wiser Mr Tynes would be able to add to the sprawling canon of the Delta Green universe. Late in 2019, I (and every other backer) got to see exactly that, when the PDF version of The Labyrinth arrived (the print version, plus all the “add-ons” unlocked in the Kickstarter, are still forthcoming).

On a fundamental level, what The Labyrinth delivers is a selection of four allies for your Delta Green agents, and four clear adversaries. “So what?”, you might think, lots of books do that. The real genius of this book lies in the nuanced way in which Tynes has crafted these organizations and individual NPCs, not just to make them feel recognizably “authentic” to the present day but also to feel ambiguous. The four allies are certainly helpful – or at least potentially helpful – but each has a dangerous or destructive element to them as well, usually something that isn’t obvious up-front. The adversary groups aren’t traditional robe-wearing Mythos cults, but organizations that have an agenda that aims to help some portion of the community – whether that be parents who are having trouble starting a family, or people who are lonely souls online. Their ties to the supernatural aren’t obvious, or necessarily motivated out of malice … so are they morally culpable for the horrors they create? Equally parts stunningly creepy and surprisingly inventive, The Labyrinth is an impressive piece of “world-building” (or is that “conspiracy-building”) which could fuel an entire campaign if you were willing to take its many ideas and extrapolate them into scenarios.

New Tales of the Miskatonic Valley, 2nd Edition (Stygian Fox)

One major milestone achieved by Stygian Fox was the partial completion of their Kickstarter for New Tales of the Miskatonic Valley, 2nd Edition. The PDF version of this book – which is a reprint and expansion of a title by Miskatonic River Press – came out very late in 2019; at the time of writing the print version is still forthcoming. New Tales, in its MRP incarnation, was widely heralded as a milestone book in terms of its well-written scenarios. The Stygian version keeps all those unchanged, adding one new scenario – an Innsmouth-based tale written by Seth Skorkowsky. All the illustrations, maps, handouts, and general look-and-feel have been updated to reflect the very high quality of graphic design which is typical of Stygian Fox books. In all fairness I should point out that the handouts for this book were contributed by yours truly (so I am not entirely unbiased in my assessment), but regardless I think that the book really is one of the more beautiful Call of Cthulhu titles in recent years.

Also noteworthy in this re-release are the all-new redrawn maps of each of the Lovecraft Country locations. These are more than simply recreations of old maps; almost all of them enhance the level of detail mapped out for their respective locations, adding to the collaborative world-building that has defined the game setting.

Berlin: The Wicked City (Chaosium)

Probably the most notable Chaosium Call of Cthulhu release of 2019 – certainly the most commented upon – was David Larkin’s sourcebook and scenario collection Berlin: The Wicked City. This is a curious title for current-day Chaosium to publish, albeit quite a welcome change. It provides a detailed and rather lurid portrait of Berlin in the 1920s, complete with its sleezy nightlife, murky politics, and licentious freedoms of sexual expression. While not many people would otherwise consider cabaret-infused Weimar Republic Germany as a setting for their Call of Cthulhu game, this book does a great job at showing the merits of such a choice. The book presents a lot of background to the several different facet, regions, and ideologies that a Keeper might like to weave into his or her Berlin-based scenario or campaign. This includes the murky politics surrounding the rise of the Nazi party. Not since the days of Gary Gygax’s 1st Edition DMG have I seen so many different terms for ‘prostitute’ grace the pages of an RPG book. But unlike many low-brow game books, the inclusion of such detail really is an essential part of the fabric of the setting … and it’s a topic, along with others such as non-traditional sexualities, that’s handled in a generally very sensitive manner in this book.

Many have also commented that Berlin: The Wicked City has one of the best cover illustrations of any recent Chaosium title, and I would tend to agree with that assessment. As a bold and brave approach to familiarizing readers with a setting that few would have previously encountered, this book deserves the praise it’s received. Whether it’s something you need for your game will depend ultimately on whether your tales of Lovecraftian horror are likely to venture onto The Continent and into the infamous heart of its vice capital.

Pelgrane’s Yellow King RPG + Absinthe in Carcosa (Pelgrane)

Pelgrane Press have established themselves in recent years as a mid-sized publisher that isn’t afraid to take on some absolutely massive honking projects, and largely deliver them on time. A couple of years back their Dracula Dossier product (line) for Night’s Black Agents was a modest Kickstarter which escalated into something bigger than Ben Hur. Their current Kickstarter – for Robin D. Laws’ Yellow King RPG seems somewhat cut from a similar cloth, aiming as it does to create a brand-new RPG with not one but four variant historical settings, each of them a wildly different take on the King in Yellow mythology of Robert W. Chambers.

Strictly speaking, the weird fiction of Robert Chambers is not part of the standard Cthulhu Mythos cycle of stories, but it’s been so closely rolled into virtually every Lovecraftian RPG that I think it’s reasonable to consider it, if not precisely “Lovecraftian” then at least a near neighbour.

Pelgrane’s Kickstarter for the Yellow King RPG funded in July 2017 but had an estimated fulfilment date of December 2018. This is a long lead time for a gaming project (which may have put off some), but it has proven a fairly accurate schedule – the final PDFs for all parts of the game being delivered in early December. Printed versions of the books are still pending.

Trying to describe the Yellow King RPG is not an easy task. On one level it’s easy to understand: it’s yet another Gumshoe-based game of weird investigation. It’s the style of investigative settings and adversaries that makes it something quite unique. Whereas pretty much all existing investigative Lovecraftian games have aimed to set their tales of dark cosmic horror in a recognizable historical or current real-world setting, the Yellow King RPG revels instead on putting players into slightly surreal worlds where normal history has been subverted by the influences of the King in Yellow. If you’ve ever read the original cycle of four “King in Yellow” stories by Chambers, you’ll probably recall how they seem to be set in slightly unsettling versions of the present or near future (e.g., a version of America where there is a Royal family and suicide booths on street corners). The core concept is that the influence of the King in Yellow (the entity, the play, both) is corrosive to normality and causes weird decadence to seep in and warp reality.

Thus, in the first book of the Yellow King RPG, players take on the roles of art students in a warped version of 1890’s Paris. Amid the fin-de-siecle decadence of the “yellow decade” they can run into manifestations which hint that things are not as they should be. The publication of a play called “The King in Yellow” has started to overwrite reality with an alien world called Carcosa. The second book in the Yellow King RPG set (titled The Wars) presents an entirely different set-up but one that is equally warped from established history – it is a version of 1947 where World War 2 has been extended by the alien influences of the Yellow King. Players take on the roles of soldiers fighting on these battlefields of shattered Europe investigating instances of weird supernatural manifestations.

Books Three and Four (Aftermath and This is Normal Now, respectively) provide two different “modern day” types of setting – or rather, places and times which are “twilight zone”-similar to reality as we know it. But in different ways. In Aftermath, the players take on the roles of survivors of the Continental War from Book Two, now living in the 2010s … but the devastating influence of the wars means that “modern day” America is a kind of brutalist totalitarian state where propaganda and society has a more 1950s bent and technology has languished in the 1980s. Conversely, This is Normal Now presents a world that seems on the surface like it is our familiar “real world” of the 2010s (or whenever the game is played) but weirdness and dark secrets lurk not far below – the discovery of which will expose the truth that this world is really nothing like the world we know.

It’s entirely possible to just pick one setting and run a game limited to just that, but the Yellow King RPG is written with an eye to linking the characters from different eras/realities to one another. This could be as a kind of epic multi-setting campaign, or via parallel concurrent game realities intersecting and interweaving with one another. In each of the four settings, the same Gumshoe-based rules are the order of the day, but most of the novelty of the game isn’t in the rules but in the ways in which the setting is presented. As such, it is conceivable that you could ignore the Gumshoe aspects entirely (if that system isn’t to your liking) and use the core material as a sourcebook for whichever weird investigative system you prefer. (But don’t tell Robin Laws I said that.)

In addition to the main four books which make up the Yellow King RPG there are two additional books unlocked during the Kickstarter – one is a book of fiction, while the other is a large “in world” game prop for the 1890s Paris setting. I can’t really comment much on either of those (since I haven’t read the fiction and was involved heavily in the creation of the prop).

Happy ENNIEs Voting!

Voting for the 2020 ENNIEs runs until July 12th and the announcement of winners will be made as a live broadcast that’s part of GenCon Online (July 31st, 8PM EST).


Free APOCTHULHU Fiction #2

Here’s another Lovecraft-related short tale of mankind’s Apocalypse, this time co-written with one of his (then very young) protegés, Robert H. Barlow. Not too many people know about Barlow, but in the latter years of HPL’s life he was a welcome friend to the (basically totally broke) Lovecraft, hosting him on several extended stays in Florida. HPL in turn encouraged the young man in his ambitions to become a weird fiction writer — this Apocalyptic story, “Till A’ The Seas” is one of the products of this shared passion.

When Lovecraft died in 1937, Robert Barlow was named as his literary executor in recognition of the ongoing kindness and generosity he had afforded HPL — though this assignation eventually counted for little as August Derleth approached the monetizing of the Cthulhu Mythos with a kind of singlemindedness that would brook the involvement of no other parties. Still, that’s a story for another day (and if you can see parallels with this money-grubbing theft and more recent developments in the game publishing industry, that is *definitely* a topic for another discussion).

In the meantime, here’s a tale of the end of the world written by the teenaged Robert Barlow, and almost certainly heavily rewritten by Lovecraft.

Click here for the 4-page PDF version of this typeset version of “Till A’ The Seas”, extracted from the WIP APOCTHULHU core rulebook.

 


Free APOCTHULHU Fiction #1

We are right now in the thick of layout for the core APOCTHULHU rules, which will be quite a weighty tome once it’s done. One thing we have decided to include in the front of the book is some representative Mythos fiction which paints some kind of picture of what the “End of the World” looks like from a Lovecraft perspective.

Because the fiction we’re using is all in the public domain, we thought it would be cool to also release the individual (typeset) stories as free downloadable PDFs. So … here’s the first one: H.P. Lovecraft’s odd prose poem of mankind’s downfall. Yep, it’s HPL’s “Nyarlathotep” (1920). In case you weren’t aware this is the piece of weird fiction where everyone’s favourite many-masked Mythos meddler was first introduced, or at least where the name “Nyarlathotep” was first published.

Click here for the 4-page PDF version of this short-but-mindblowingly-effective tale of hinted annihilation.

Another APOCTHULHU fiction freebie tomorrow!

 


Have Another Tot of Rum (Convict’s Birthday)

Today (or technically yesterday) marks the four year anniversary of the release of the original Convicts & Cthulhu core book. So … happy birthday to C&C.

In past years we have tried to time our C&C releases so that we’re able to put out something new to celebrate the anniversary, but this year things have been so crazy that we haven’t been able to do that. Hopefully the brand new campaign PDF that we released back in April will satiate your need for new Convict content for a little longer.

We can offer three pieces of news about the future of Convicts & Cthulhu, though:

  • We now have a draft manuscript ready for the next Ticket of Leave (#16) — it’s titled “The Devil to Play” and concerns itself with convict theatres in the colony;
  • We believe that despite the many changes to GenCon, we will still have a Convicts & Cthulhu event at the con. More details to follow;
  • In creating the APOCTHULHU RPG we have crafted a customised version of a d100 system that we will use as the engine for our (long-planned) standalone Convicts & Cthulhu game. The same engine might also be useful for other gaming projects that have been on our backburner … so watch this space.

In the meantime … we offer our heartfelt thanks to those of you who have downloaded and read our Convicts games. And for those who have been in touch with details about your game runs — thank you from the bottom of our hearts; it’s your enjoyment of this unique setting that keeps us creating.

So … another tot of rum to celebrate (then it’s back to the ankle line).

 


First Review of APOCTHULHU QS

The first review of the APOCTHULHU Quickstart rules was just published over on the Rolling Boxcars blog. It’s a bit of a mixed review (some pros and some cons), and definitely worth a read.

The TL;DR summary is that the reviewer generally praises the game’s rules and the presentation of the Quickstart, but is less sure whether the idea of a game blending horrors of Mythos encounters with everyday grimness of Post-Apocalyptic survival is something for everyone.

Of course we are also keen to hear what you folks, our loyal readers, think of the game … and whether you think that the central concept is TOO dark and gritty for your gaming group to enjoy. Drop a comment below if you have an opinion.


Released Today: APOCTHULHU Quickstart

The APOCTHULHU Quickstart PDF is available right now on DriveThruRPG. The 73-page PDF contains literally everything you need to get a game of Post-Apocalyptic Lovecraftian goodness up and running for your gaming group.

More specifically, it includes:

  • A streamlined version of the full APOCTHULHU rules (which will be released later in the year)
  • Rules for creating new characters (called “Survivors” in the APOCTHULHU parlance)
  • A set of six fully-detailed pre-generated characters
  • A suitably creepy sample Post-Apocalypse setting (“This Fecund Planet” as featured here in the blog in February), and
  • A 25-ish page scenario by Chad Bowser set in the same Post-Apocalyptic world.

The whole thing is a “Pay-What-You-Want” title on DTRPG, which means you can grab it for free if you want. Indeed, if the current world situation finds you in difficult circumstances we really WANT you to grab it for free. Alternatively, if you are interested in contributing some funds to allow us to make the core rulebook even cooler and prettier, your generosity will be very much appreciated by all of us here at Cthulhu Reborn.

Also today we have created a support page here on Cthulhu Reborn to provide resources for APOCTHULHU. Right now it contains a fillable autocalc version of the character sheet as well as pre-filled character sheets for the six-pregens included in the Quickstart. Feel free to grab these files if you think they’ll make it quicker and easier for you and your friends to dive into the game.

So … don’t delay … head over to DTRPG and nab yourself a brand new RPG. The Apocalypse has never been more Lovecrafty.


What Makes A Lovecraftian Apocalypse?

The book project that eventually morphed itself into the (soon to be released) APOCTHULHU RPG had a simple enough goal — to create a selection of game scenarios that were at the intersection of the cosmic horror of H.P. Lovecraft and the Post-Apocalypse sub-genre.

That sounds like something pretty easy to define, right?

Turns out, not so much. While Lovecraft’s fiction is full of non-specific prophecies of the fall of mankind and the return of the Great Old Ones (or other similar future agents of human extinction), they are short on details. On the one hand, this is fantastic when it comes to leaving ample room for game scenarios to paint different versions of the dystopian worlds left after the Apocalypse comes. But it does make it difficult to pin down exactly what features of a Post-Apocalyptic setting would make it resonate with Lovecraft’s sweeping visions of cosmic indifference and the mechanistic inevitability of mankind’s demise.

I mean, does the kind of world that features in your average post-Nuclear Holocaust story have that kind of “Lovecrafty” vibe? Maybe. What about your average “Walking Dead” kind of Zombie Apocalypse? Eh, maybe not so much. And what about the world presented in traditional Post-Apocalyptic RPGs like Gamma World? Almost certainly not.

Dean modelling Apoco-Hoodie

We thought a lot about this point while we were designing the APOCTHULHU game. In particular we thought a great deal about the problem of what might make an Apocalypse feel like it has a connection to Lovecraft’s world view.

Fortunately, while it’s true that the “Old Gent from Providence” dealt mainly in sketchy outlines when it came to describing life after the end of the world, there are two notable exceptions to this rule. Both are “stories” (or more accurately prose poems parading as stories) which describe a heightened version of how the world fell into oblivion and what came next. The first is something many readers will probably have encountered — the prose poem “Nyarlathotep” which HPL wrote in 1920 almost as the first part of (what would eventually become) his “Mythos” cycle. In this short piece, Lovecraft paints an eerie and slightly surreal sketch of how Nyarlathotep came from Egypt, touring around putting on a show demonstrating the modern marvels of electricity. Those who see this show are forever changed by it, while at the same time the world seems to be corrupted by these same forces … leading to a terrifying (if briefly sketched out) demise for humanity.

The other Apocalyptic tale which Lovecraft had a large hand in writing is a piece written in 1935 ostensibly by Robert Barlow (HPL’s young friend who generously hosted him on several trips to Florida late in Lovecraft’s life and who was appointed as HPL’s literary executor only to be somewhat gazzumped by August Derleth). With Lovecraft’s obvious assistance Barlow wrote a story called “Till A’ The Seas” which is a two part piece which is part prose poem and part story. It describes a future world in which the Earth has been devastated by the sun becoming hotter and hotter. In this world a few people survive, and the second half of the piece tells the tale of a few of them … in particular Ull, the man who would eventually prove to be the last survivor of the human race. The story ends on a massive downbeat tone with Ull perishing and the entire planet eventually lapsing into a state of “death.”

The last few paragraphs of this story have such a “Lovecrafty” type of depiction of the ultimate extinction of our world that they’re worth quoting here:

“And now at last the Earth was dead. The final, pitiful survivor had perished. All the teeming billions; the slow aeons; the empires and civilizations of mankind were summed up in this poor twisted form – and how titanically meaningless it all had been! Now indeed had come an end and climax to all the efforts of humanity – how monstrous and incredible a climax in the eyes of those poor complacent fools of the prosperous days! Not ever again would the planet know the thunderous rampaging of human millions – or even the crawling of lizards and the buzz of insects, for they, too, had gone. now was come the reign of sapless branches and endless fields of tough grasses. Earth, like its cold, imperturbable moon, was given over to silence and blackness forever.

“The stars whirred on; the whole careless plan would continue for infinities unknown. This trivial end of a negligible episode mattered not to distant nebulae or to suns new-born, flourishing, and dying. The race of man, too puny and momentary to have a real function or purpose, was as if it had never existed. To such a conclusion the aeons of its farcically toilsome evolution had led.”

Taking inspiration from these two scant examples of Lovecraft’s depiction of extinction of the human race — either at the hands of bizarre alien gods, or just due to the blind and unstoppable processes of cosmic decay — we’ve tried to put position APOCTHULHU as a game that is about less traditional Apocalypses than those found commonly in RPGs.

It’s not really a game that tries to be a Zombie survival horror game, nor is it really one which aspires to look at life after mankind’s own hubris or scientific blunders render the planet uninhabitable. You can probably use the rules in APOCTHULHU for those kinds of games, but it’s not what it’s designed for.

The kinds of “end of the world scenarios” where cryptic forces descend from the stars are, however, quite fitting for the Lovecraftian vibe. As are Apocalypses where ancient things rise up from hidden places in our earth … and yes, also those where the dreams of alien horrors force mankind to bring about its own downfall (perhaps by nuclear or biological blunders). Those are areas we’ve tried to develop in our sample settings as well as in the detailed lists of inspirational movies / TV / comics / novels / stories that form an appendix to the core APOCTHULHU rules (coming later in the year).

We hope that those ideas about what makes for a “Lovecraftian” Apocalypse are broad enough that you can pick up the game and still make a bunch of different types of game settings … but that all of them ooze the same kind of cosmic dread that is central to HPL’s (and Robert Barlow’s) vision of our world’s demise.


APOCTHULHU Rises This Friday

Our team of tireless Apocalypse Builders has been working on APOCTHULHU for a long time (since December 2017, in fact). So it feels a bit surreal to be finally announcing that the very first part of this epic project is just about to be released to the world.

Yes, that’s right — APOCTHULHU is almost here.

Well, at least the APOCTHULHU Quickstart is almost here. We will be releasing it on DriveThruRPG this Friday.

The Quickstart is a 73-page PDF which gives you everything you need to start playing a game of APOCTHULHU. The PDF will be a “Pay-What-You-Want” release … and we’re planning a softcover version later in the year.

As well as having a cut-down (but feature-complete) version of the game mechanics, the QS contains:

  • Rules for creating Survivors (the player characters in the panoply of possible Mythos Post-Apocalypses you can play),
  • A Two-sided character sheet,
  • Six Pre-Generated Survivors,
  • A ready-to-use Post-Apocalypse setting (in fact, it’s one of the four we previewed here on the blog back in February), and
  • A fantastic pick-up-and-play scenario by Chad Bowser called “Amber Waves”.

Except for dice (or online dice substitutes) it contains absolutely everything you need to take the APOCTHULHU game rules for a spin, either for a one-shot run of the supplied scenario or for an extended scenario of your own invention.

In the lead up to the Quickstart release this Friday I thought I’d share some additional info in the coming days regarding the game and its approach to tackling the subject of “Lovecraftian” Post-Apocalypse gaming.

As you’ll note from the description of the QS, one unusual thing about APOCTHULHU is that it isn’t a game which is tied to a single Post-Apocalyptic setting, but rather a set of rules for bringing any number of different such settings to life. This was an early design choice we made. The reasoning behind that was fairly simple … we noticed that there are an awful lot of different ways in which Mythos fiction hints that our world might end. Even in Lovecraft, there are hints of several different nightmare scenarios which “are foretold” as ways in which the unthinkably alien forces of the Mythos might unseat mankind from his illusion of pre-eminence. Picking just one such setting as the Apocalyptic fall of humanity inherently sidelines a lot of *other* cool ideas which would be equally fertile springboards for game scenarios. Furthermore, picking one possible dystopian future as the basis for our game would make it difficult for folks to use APOCTHUHLHU as a vehicle for playing things like “the continuation of classic campaign X, in the event that the Mythos Investigators *didn’t* save the day after all.”

With all that in mind we tried to build a game that would support any kind of Mythos “End of the World.” Do you want to explore a world in which civilization fell after Shub-Niggurath bestowed her terrible gift of fertility on the land? Or would you prefer an Apocalypse where Nyarlathotep’s smooth words seduced global superpowers into mutual annihilation? Would your players find it fun to explore the ruins of the world left behind after R’lyeh rose heralding the return of Great Cthulhu? All of these things are possible settings for APOCTHULHU.

Now there are perils to building a game which has no deeply-embedded “world” associated with it, the biggest being that the GM has more work to do in establishing the setting. We’ve tried to counter that in APOCTHULHU in two ways. First, the core book — which will be out later in the year — has a lot of material which aims to streamline the process of defining and establishing a custom Post-Apocalyptic setting. The second approach we’ve taken is also providing a diverse set of “pick-up-and-use” game settings that our awesome writers have already outlined. Several of these pre-defined settings are also further fleshed out by way of “ready-to-run” scenarios. The goal is to provide a spectrum of different resources: if you’re a world-building kind of GM, you have simple, elegant and flexible tools to customize things to your heart’s content. If you’re after a one-shot, the scenarios have you covered … and if you’re somewhere in the middle, the pre-defined settings are an awesome springboard for your own creative elaborations.

The Quickstart has a slice of most of these elements — it has a stripped back version of the core rules, which you can use in any Post-Apocalyptic setting you like, it has a pre-defined setting called “This Fecund Earth”, and a ready-made scenario called which is tied to that setting.

We hope that you’ll grab yourself a copy of the APOCTHULHU Quickstart when it hits the virtual shelves on Friday, to see for yourself how much fun the Mythos Post-Apocalypse can be. Well, maybe “fun” isn’t the right word …

 

MORE PREVIEW INFO TO COME


APOCTHULHU Creeps Closer

Back in February we spent some time sharing sneak peaks at some of the content for APOCTHULHU, a brand new RPG that we’ve been working on for … er … quite a long time (we started back in 2017, but that seems a lifetime ago).

Since February, everyone’s lives have been a bit of a jumble, but our plucky APOCTHULHU team has kept moving forwards on finalizing text and graphics for the first release in the product line — the APOCTHULHU Quickstart rules. All going well, this should be out within the next month.

Recently we completed the cover design for the Quickstart. Here it is:

Most of the layout for the Quickstart has now been done, so I can say with some confidence that it will be a 72-page book and contain:

  • A cutdown (but fully-featured) version of the APOCTHULHU game rules,
  • A nifty two-page character sheet,
  • Six pre-generated APOCTHULHU Survivors (complete with full character sheets),
  • A sample Post-Apocalypse setting — actually one that we shared here on the blog back in February
  • An awesome introductory scenario by Chad Bowser

Here’s a sneak preview at one of the pages that’s gone through almost-but-not-quite-final layout. As you can see we have tried as hard as we can to make the books in the APOCTHULHU line visually pleasing while retaining high contrast between text and background.

The Quickstart will be released first as a PDF, then later as a softcover Print-on-Demand book. We’re cautious about promising timely turnaround of physical books at this point — based on how long international shipping is taking, we expect print proofs to take their sweet time getting to us for review.

For the PDF we will be supporting PDF layering which means you can easily switch off glossy background textures altogether (if the classic look is more your thing).

Finally, because everyone seems to have to put together promo videos for their new game to be taken seriously, here’s our first experiment at video promotion. This really is just an audio-visual teaser … but we will be creating another video or two which melds similar snazzy visuals with some voice-overs that tell you actual things about the game! Facts in ads? There’s something wrong with me, I know!

 


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