After a busy month in February, sharing glimpses of sample Apocalypse settings from our forthcoming APOCTHULHU RPG, things have been a bit quiet here in the Cthulhu Reborn blog. This has been largely due to the extraordinary and rapidly-changing global situation around COVID-19. While nobody associated with CR has been personally affected by the pandemic, everyone’s routine has been seriously shaken up. Chances are, you’re in the same boat. We do really hope that all of loyal customers and blog readers take care of themselves and those around them … The Lovecraftian RPG community is small enough that it feels (to me, anyway) a bit like an extended family, and it’s only natural to want to know that all the amazing gamers, writers, illustrators, editors and publishers we’ve worked with are safely out of harm’s way.
Like most other small game publishers, Cthulhu Reborn is very used to remote methods of working — in fact, everything we do is done online through various forms of virtual shopfronts, websites, and collaboration tools. So, the changes created by lockdowns and social-distancing regimes in different countries won’t in themselves slow our ability to create and release cool things. And unlike larger companies which have a payroll of staff to support, we only work through freelancers who get paid immediately on submission of their work. So, our current creative projects are already largely paid for and can move forward regardless of what happens to the gaming industry more generally.
Despite all the recent disruptions, we have still been (slowly) progressing a few different forthcoming releases. Here’s a round-up of what we’ve been up to.
On the APOCTHULHU front, things have been moving along quite nicely on the core book for this standalone RPG. In late February we took stock of everything that has been created for this project and were a little taken aback by the sheer number of words that have now been written. If we put it all into a single volume — rules, sourcebook material, and scenarios, it would probably weigh in at 500-ish pages. That’s an unreasonable size for any RPG title, so we’ve decided to split the material across two releases. The first will be the core APOCTHULHU RPG, which will comprise:
- Rules: the APOCTHULHU d100 system for running Lovecraftian-themed games in any number of different harsh Post-Apocalypse settings. These include rules for: Survivor generation, core mechanics, combat, sanity, activities between adventures.
- Sourcebook: guides and materials to help a Game Moderator build a Lovecraftian Post-Apocalypse setting of his or her choice. This includes resources to assist with: defining a setting, resource scarcity, special equipment rules, making creatures, tomes, rituals.
- Sample Apocalypse Settings: 8 sample short Post-Apocalyse setting write-ups, each about 3 pages long. These were listed in our February 6 blog posting, and the partial text of four of them was shared here also.
- [Exciting Special Sourcebook, details coming in a future update]: see below
- Scenario #1: Kick the Can by Jeff Moeller: a near-future scenario set in a world purged by cleansing fire
- Scenario #2: A Yellow And Unpleasant Land by Jo Kreil: an alternative Gaslight scenario set in a version of England where a very different monarch sits on the throne
- Appendices: notes on converting material from other games, suggested reading and viewing
All this material is 100% written and edited; all-up it comprises about 151,000 words which will make the book *at least* 256 pages, likely more.
As noted above, there is a very special chapter that we’re extremely excited to be able to include in this book, but which is really worthy of an update of its own (watch this space). For now, let me just hint that it is a significant sourcebook written by an extremely well-known and highly-regarded author of Lovecraftian gaming material. It details a strange and evocative setting based on a Post-Apocalyptic world from an epic novel of extreme weirdness.
Even though the layout and illustration of the core book will probably keep us busy for a month or more, we’re already starting to think about how/when we will release APOCTHULHU. We’re mindful of the fact that many people are facing significant real-world hardship and we don’t want to be insensitive in putting out a book of fictional “end of the world” scenarios while that’s happening. On the other hand, many people have expressed a keen interest in checking out this new game, so artificially delaying it until the world is “more sane” might disappoint loyal CR readers. It’s a bit of a quandry — if you have an opinion, leave it in the comments below this post.
We have things in the works for both of our other major lines — Convicts & Cthulhu and Dateline: Lovecraft — as well. For the former, Geoff has been putting in some extraordinary hours in historical research for another Ticket of Leave supplement. The topic for this ToL will be theatres in convict NSW, a subject that even seasoned historians seem to disagree upon. Regardless, this will make a great gaming supplement … and who knows, we may end up doing some original historical research as well (is it possible to submit a game PDF as part of a thesis? 🙂 ).
For Dateline: Lovecraft we are sticking to our original commitment to return all profits from sale of the core product to commissioning new scenarios. In January we received a new scenario from Jo Kreil called “Electrical Man” which we will put through our editing process (when time allows!)
For free Convicts and Dateline PDFs we have been seeing a sharp increase in the number of downloads in the past few weeks. I guess that means that more people are running online games and looking for some free content to share with their gaming friends. We’re humbled by the idea that people might be using our PDFs to help bridge the gap caused by social distancing. If you have any tales of amazing Lovecraftian games you’ve run using our free releases, please send them my way (there’s a contact form on the “About Cthulhu Reborn” page).
I will also be trying to write a few suggestions for linking some of our products together to make more extended gaming experiences — mini-campaigns and the like. So, keep an eye out for future blog postings on that subject.
Finally, I wanted to remind everyone that we also have several standalone Call of Cthulhu scenarios available as free downloads over on this page. These have also been getting a bunch more downloads in recent weeks, with people finding our site as a result of google searches for free CoC scenarios. All of the scenarios we’ve released have been downloaded and played many times by gamers around the world — we’re hoping to share links to some of the Actual Play recordings and blog summaries of how those games worked at the gaming table.
Phew … with all that out of the way, can I just reiterate my original message. We really hope that everyone is well, and is surrounded by friends and family who are likewise. Via online channels we can be further connected to a large network of fellow human-beings with similar interests — those people are kind of like an extended family, and like a family we should all band together to support one another. Be safe, people.