Well, Convicts & Cthulhu has now been out for more than 3 months, and a lot of folks have taken the opportunity to download a “Pay What You Want” copy of the 96 page book, or even to put down some cash to buy a printed copy. Quite a few folks have also grabbed our first mini-supplement to the C&C setting, “Ticket of Leave #1: Night Terrors”.
Given the (pleasantly) suprising demand for Cthulhu-infused convict brutality, we are right now busily working away to create a few more supplemental releases that will expand out the C&C setting in a variety of interesting directions. I’m hoping to be able to share some news about those various future titles … but in the meantime I thought I would share some of the nice reviews that people have been posting online about C&C (just in case you haven’t yet dipped your toe into the setting but were curious to know what others thought).
By far the most comprehensive review that’s been posted to date has been this excellent piece by Eric Dodd (aka red wine pie) over on RPG Geek. Eric does a great job at summing up the background to Convicts & Cthulhu, its presentation and contents. His final conclusion is:
For the price of pay what you want, Convicts and Cthulhu is highly recommended to anyone interested in this place and period of history. It’s also a great appendix to Revolutionary era Colonial American gaming. As part of an entire new Australian line of 7th Edition Cthulhu gaming we’ll have to wait and see how Convicts and Cthulhu fits in.
Unfortunately, although the presentation is well up to the standard of most 6th edition releases, the fact it is not in the full colour style of the 7th Edition books may be holding up the release of all the Secrets of Australia book.
– Fascinating details about an intriguing time and place
– Strong social structures to play with
– Plenty of adventure ideas
– Limited locations may feel claustrophobic or depressing
– Criminals and bad guys might have little to care for
– Full background and sourcebook not yet available
There’s no reason not to take a look at Convicts and Cthulhu, even if it’s just for some reading about a fascinating period in Australian history. The ‘remote prison’ concept can be adapted for any low technology level game, from fantasy to horror. Even Traveller’s Prison Planet has some themes and ideas in common, as the ‘tyranny of distance’ overcomes the advanced technologies. There are more ideas available for little extra in the Ticket of Leave adventure and Cthulhu Hack Convicts and Cthulhu book, which I’ll look at soon. Hopefully this is just the start of the whole Secrets of Australia line, and we can get a new fill of Terror Australis.
Similarly enthusiastic is this review posted over on DrivethruRPG by an anonymous purchaser:
The sheer authenticity of Convicts & Cthulhu makes it a truly excellent source book for setting the scene and one that is engagingly written. The underlying historical research is amazing — this is more early Australian colonial history than entire classes of Australian children learn! — and sufficiently gritty to make you wonder what was going on in the backstreets of Sydney at the time. Forked lightning frozen in the sky, violent and inhuman murders from one end of the colony to the other, prophetic visions, rumours of undiscovered cities, the birth of would-be unicorns…all true — or, at least, all actually reported as having occured. C&C makes for a fascinating read from that standpoint alone. The production standards are good with detailed maps and illustrations of a high quality. The location descriptions and details are well conveyed. The scenario hooks on offer are extensive and there is helpful advice on character classes and skill sets appropriate to the era. The Aboriginal contribution to the history of the time is not neglected and everything from weapons to Yowies (the Blue Mountains sub-species, anyway) is covered. With this book in hand, early colonial Sydney is the place to be when it comes to bringing on the Shoggoths.
There have also been some positive remarks made by folks who have bought the physical print-on-demand edition of Convicts & Cthulhu. One such purchaser was Stephanie McAlea, herself a publisher of fine Call of Cthulhu RPG books under the imprint Stygian Fox (check out “The Things We Leave Behind”). Stephanie wrote here on Cthulhu Reborn:
I bought this from DTRPG. I wasn’t interested in the setting originally but thought I’d get it to nab ideas… It’s an amazing book. A great piece of work. I’m currently prepping an adventure for it. Well done!
Another purchaser, Kevin Lobzun, wrote:
I purchased the PDF and Print from RPGNow. The Print arrived yesterday. Awesome job, very professional looking, great writing. Thank you very much.
Last but certainly not least, Convicts & Cthulhu was also reviewed positively over on the Games vs Play blog by Leigh Carr. Leigh writes:
Every page is filled with easy to understand comprehensive information that will ignite a Keepers imagination, raring them to throw investigators into a situation which is already horrifying as it is! Times were tough back then and the book doesn’t sugar coat Australia’s dark past.