Category Archives: Convicts & Cthulhu

A Convict Went To Sea, Sea, Sea

Just a quick note to report that we’ve just finished up the editing for Convicts & Cthulhu Ticket of Leave #14. This will be our GenCon2019 tie-in scenario, written by our star-writer-and-GenCon-GM Extraordinaire, Matthew Ruane. We believe that all the spots in Matthew’s Convicts & Cthulhu sessions at GenCon are already full, but if you’ll be there and have a hankering to see how C&C plays at the table … definitely track down Matthew. I’m told that sometimes GenCon sessions have “no shows,” so sometimes you can just turn up at the right time and place and steal a spot in the game.

This Ticket of Leave will be titled “Hark, Now Hear The Sailors Cry” and be themed around the early whaling and sealing industries in Australian waters. This is new territory for Convicts & Cthulhu: pretty much every scenario we’ve released so far has been land-based and set in the general environs of the penal colony at New South Wales. This one takes Convicts out into much more uncharted waters — both literally and figuratively. It’s also given me an excuse to draw a deckplan for an 18th Century Whaling ship (think Moby Dick, but slightly earlier) … which was surprisingly fun to do.

And of course, a Ticket of Leave wouldn’t be a Ticket of Leave without a brand new art piece from our long-time collaborator Reuben Dodd (of Sorrow King Studios). While it might *seem* the illustration above might allow you to guess which Mythos creatures are the adversaries in this scenario, you’d probably be wrong … sometimes, even a tale with Deep Ones can have hidden depths 🙂

With the text, maps, and artwork for this new supplement now done we’re hoping to get this into layout ASAP. That means that we should get the PDF out to CR readers & DriveThru customers in a week or so!

 


Convicts & Cthulhu & Spies & Zombies

I may have mentioned already that Geoff Gillan, long time friend and collaborator of Cthulhu Reborn, recently launched his own self-publishing imprint for genre fiction. I have been fortunate enough to be able to read quite a few of Geoff’s published and unpublished novels and short tales, and really enjoy the deft and witty way in which he fuses genre themes and traditional formats into something new and exciting.

Geoff’s fiction imprint is called Mutant Brainchild, and just a few days ago its snazzy new website went live! This site is kind of the go-to place for the different fiction lines and releases Geoff has planned, including material that you can purchase (or download for free) right now.

As a celebration of Convicts & Cthulhu’s third birthday (see a few blog posts ago), Mutant Brainchild put out a short gaming-related post which ties the Convicts universe to the Cold War/Weird/Espionage world of Geoff’s “Man from Z.O.M.B.I.E.” series. For those who haven’t yet checked out those stories (start with the free sampler short!), it’s basically a setting which fuses 1960s gritty spy drama with the “weird science” notion that spy organizations have created post-human agents (“Zeroes”) which are the perfect, cold-hearted, agents. The C&C Birthday posting introduces the idea of a shadowy organization — the Revivification Bureau — that serves a similar purpose in the 1800s. A great free addition to the C&C setting!


Propping Up the Convict

As mentioned here last week, today marks the third anniversary of the Convicts & Cthulhu setting being released. In those three years we have released 15 supplemental PDFs to flesh out the setting with campaign ideas, scenarios, NPCs, and curious nuggets of historical detail. It’s probably fair to say that, by now, there is enough Convicts & Cthulhu content out there that you could easily run a lengthy campaign set in and around the penal colony of New South Wales

If you don’t already have all 15 of the supplements, they are downloadable either from our Download page (free), or by searching “Convicts & Cthulhu” on DriveThruRPG (“Pay-What-You-Want”).

What makes especially happy about this flourishing product line is that we’ve been able to bring these several hundred pages of content to you *entirely* as Pay-What-You-Want. That means that if you’re not in a position to shell out the (sometimes significant) cover prices for other publisher’s Lovecraftian RPG books — there’s always C&C as a cheap alternative. Heck, if you want to grab it all for free, you can (although chipping a little money our way certainly helps a lot when it comes to keeping the product line going).

On this occasion of C&C’s third birthday we wanted to give all our loyal readers a bit of a birthday present. We also thought it might be a good occasion to try something different — hence was born the idea for the “Convict Document Pack” which we are proud to be releasing today!

So, what is the “Convict Document Pack,” anyway? Well … in simplest terms it is a resource that helps you in the creation of realistic prop documents representing some of the most important records kept about convicts in the colony. If your convict was fortunate enough to be granted a “Ticket of Leave,” he or she would be given a (probably grubby) piece of paper proclaiming this status. Same for the rare cases where penal sentences were pardoned because a convict had done something spectacularly wonderful (or been somehow proven innocent after all). And if your convict survived long enough to serve out his or her entire sentence (assuming it wasn’t imprisonment “for life”), they would receive a “Certificate of Freedom.”

All of these important convict documents are included in this pack, in both flat (print & fill) form and also as fillable PDF forms. For the print & fill blanks we’ve included actual signatures for the two most important colonial Governors of the C&C era.

So … never again shall your convict Investigator’s special status need be a minor detail on the back of his or her character sheet. Now they can proudly carry their documents … and present them to snarky NSW Corp Redcoats who challenge them in the street! Further more, these blank documents make great starting points for GM-inspired handouts and clues as part of scenarios. In a similar vein, we have also included in this pack a fillable blank PDF of the single-page broadsheet newspaper produced in the colony, the “Sydney Gazette.”

Downloading the Convict Document Pack

Depending on your preference, you can download these docs either as a single ZIP file (17MB), or via the individual PDF download links below:

Convict Document Pack Info + Print & Fill templates [6.5MB]

Fillable Convict Prop Documents (blank) [4.1MB]

Fillable Convict Prop Documents (sample text) [4.1MB]

Fillable Sydney Gazette (blank) [2.1MB]

Fillable Sydney Gazette (sample text) [2.1MB]

We hope that these prop document resources will give you a set of handy tools to enhance your games of Lovecraftian horror set in the penal colonies. And if you wind up using them in some especially nifty way … feel free to drop us a note telling us about your brilliant prop-fuelled goodness (emails to feedback <at> cthulhureborn.com).

[As always, these resources are released here under a Creative Commons license which means basically that you can use these prop document templates for whatever personal use you can dream up. If you want to use them for a profit-making endeavor — say, for some splashy new TV Series set in the penal colonies — you’d need to contact us about obtaining a separate license.]

 


Convict News Muster

We have been a bit quiet on the news front here on the CR blog, but be assured that there’s still a whole bunch of work being done to create new content for all our established lines, and also to put together brand new settings as well.

Convicts & Cthulhu has been cruising along with small “pay-what-you-want” releases for quite a while. We released a small supplement earlier this year … but I was recently reminded by Geoff Gillan (C&C creator and principal writer) that an important date is fast approaching. Yes, that’s right: on May 30 it will be exactly 3 years since the original C&C book was published. Since then we’ve added reams of content — thirteen Ticket of Leave scenario/setting supplements and a couple of Muster (NPC) supplements as well.

We are also currently working on a 14th Ticket of Leave — to be written by Matthew Ruane and also run by him in two sessions at GenCon 2019. Both sessions are already sold out. By releasing his convention scenario, we’ll be able to help dozens more C&C groups also enjoy his scenario … so everyone wins (except perhaps the investigators who will probably be driven inexorably insane)! There are also vaguer plans for a 15th Ticket of Leave as well.

Despite these upcoming planned releases for C&C, Geoff & I both agree that it wouldn’t be fitting to skip over our “third birthday” without giving some kind of Convict-related gift to all the wonderful people who have downloaded and played our stuff. So, we are going to do something a little different — a document prop pack.

This pack will feature period-realistic versions of some of the key documents which your investigators might run into as clues relating to convicts within the colony. The convict docs will be released as both fillable PDF forms and also high-quality flat images which you can print and write on. And as an added bonus, this pack will also include a blank fillable template for the one-page Sydney Gazette (the one and only “newspaper” printed in the colony).

This pack will be released on May 30 … but the montage image above will hopefully whet your appetite and get you thinking about ways you might weave these beautiful and historically-realistic prop documents into you games of Convicts & Cthulhu!

 

 


Released: Convicts & Cthulhu Muster #2

Today we are very excited to announce the release of the second entry into our newest line of support materials for Convicts & Cthulhu, the C&C Musters. We debuted this format back in December — it’s basically a short supplement which examines a real-world historical figure through the lens of their potential for use in a Lovecraftian investigative game scenario. There are lots of ways to use historical character detail as an inspiration for new plots, NPCs, and even investigators — and the goal of the Musters is to give you the tools to do any of these with the background of an intriguing, real-historical figure.

C&C Muster #2, subtitled “The Master of Convicts” focuses on the eventful life of Nicholas Divine (sometimes spelled “Devine”) who served for most of the C&C era in an important government role of “Superintendent of Convicts.” This made Divine the man ultimately in charge of which convicts were assigned to which work gangs or other labour — obviously something that is important to you if you *are* a convict, but also if you are someone whose day-to-day life is enabled by plentiful free convict labour.

Perhaps even more interesting than Nicholas Divine’s official life are some of the details of his personal life. Sent out to New South Wales in 1789 aboard the HMS Guardian, Divine was an innocent party caught up in a dramatic encounter which left the Guardian fatally damaged thanks to an unfortunate encounter with an iceberg off the southern coast of Africa. This unusual situation came to be thanks to the ship’s captain making the decision, upon sighting the iceberg, to cautiously approach it to carve off ice to supplement the ship’s limited supplies of fresh water — as a sailing maneuver, it doesn’t go down in history as one of the Royal Navy’s finest (although to be fair to Captain Riou, the sudden night fogs that rose up shortly after the ice carving maneuver really didn’t help). But as an event with potential for exploitation in a Lovecraftian scenario … such an encounter is pure gold.

This PDF also includes some additional description of the 18th Century British practice of creating Prison Hulks — non-seaworthy ships converted to floating (temporary) prisons and left floating in the Thames or one of the major shipping harbours. Your convict’s backstory might very well incorporate some time spent aboard a Hulk (none of which BTW warrant the name “incredible,” quite the opposite in fact) … so it’s good to have some historical data to help fill in that part of his or her personal history.

C&C Muster #2 is an eight-page PDF available for download right now, from here on the Cthulhu Reborn blog. It has game statistics for the Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition rules.


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