Sharing the Apocalypse

If you’ve downloaded or purchased any of the APOCTHULHU books we’ve released this year, you might have noticed that they are released under the Open Gaming License (that is, the true Open Gaming License as originally created by Wizards of the Coast).

Why is that an important thing?

We’ve previously written here on the blog about the huge possibilities that are created through the open sharing of game mechanics and other content. While some parts of the Lovecraft RPG world seem to have spiraled in recent years towards bigger publishers trying to create proprietary closed games, there continues to be a huge general trend towards releasing content as free to re-use or remix. It’s a lot like the “open source” movement that has had a major impact on some parts of the IT industry, but for game mechanics and content.

We have always been excited by the possibilities created by the handful of D100-based games that have had their core mechanics released under OGL. In fact it was two such systems — Mongoose’s “Legend” and Arc Dream’s “Delta Green RPG” — that served as a direct inspiration for APOCTHULHU. Truth be told, there is no way that we could have created such a well-honed and balanced D100 system without the countless hours that went into making those earlier games … and those designers deciding to release their mechanics as open content.

Even as we have hugely benefited from OGL D100 rules, we want to make it easy for future gamers and designers to benefit from our own humble efforts. To that end we have compiled ALL of the open game mechanics from APOCTHULHU into a single document, our “System Reference Document”.

You can download it either directly via this link, or by going to DTRPG. It’s free either way.

Why might you be interested in the APOCTHULHU System Reference Document (SRD)? Well, if you are a game moderator or player you might like to take a look at the full (unillustrated) text of our game system. In fact, you could even play an entire game using the rules contained therein — all for free. Of course we think that the beautifully illustrated core rules make for easier reading, and that book contains mountains of setting and scenario content that aren’t in the SRD … but the system is described there in its full detail. If you are a game designer, you might be interested in nabbing a copy of the APOCTHULHU SRD if you wish to re-use some well-tested and extensive rules covering all aspects of a Lovecraftian D100 game (characters, skills, combat, sanity, etc).

If you do grab our SRD, you’re really free to do anything with it that meets to conditions of the Open Gaming License (see the end of the document for the full license text). That includes making future commercial products … as long as the licenses requirements around attribution and release are met. So, if you want to make the next great RPG and these rules will help you do that … borrow whatever you wish and make your dream system a reality!


Psst. Wanna Buy the al-Azif?

Normally we don’t fill this blog with promos about other people’s products … but I am going to make an exception today. Because today, dear reader, something very cool got released — issue #3 of Lovecraftian gaming magazine Bayt al-Azif.

You can download the PDF right now from DriveThruRPG, but the print edition is still a little way off.

Where once upon a time there used to be a whole bunch of gaming magazines which regularly included Lovecraftian game material, now there are only two. Bayt al-Azif is a kind of spiritual successor to the probably-dead-again The Unspeakable Oath. Like that earlier mag it covers a broad spectrum of games from the Lovecraftian family rather than just limiting itself to one or two. Also like TUO it offers a good mix of scenarios, helpful gaming resources, and even some material about gamers and the gaming hobby (which isn’t that common).

For issues #1 and #2, the fine publishers of Bayt al-Azif approached us to ask if they could reprint the “Year in Review” articles that I’ve been writing each January for the past few years. This year I didn’t actually manage to find time to write such a retrospective for the blog … so when they came asking for a contribution for Bayt issue #3 I needed to quickly research and write one especially for them. Well, I say quickly … but it still took over a week to pull everything together and write. There’s a lot of Lovecraftian RPG stuff released each year — especially if you try to cover ALL of it, not just the obvious CoC and DG material. Even with 10,000 words to devote to the topic there are still things that can only be mentioned fleetingly in passing.

In addition to writing the Year in Review article, I was also fortunate enough to contribute a handout for one the magazine’s scenarios … and we were able to scrape together some spare R’lyehan-coinage to take out a brand new full-page display ad promoting APOCTHULHU (see below).


The Apocalypse Laid Bare

Now that the first batch of physical copies of the APOCTHULHU Core Rulesbook is arriving, we’ve been getting some great feedback about the book.

Long time Cthulhu gamer (and writer) Max_Writer even went so far as to record a 9 minute video of his “unboxing” of the hardback book. This is great, because it shows pretty much the entire interior of the book as he pages through … so if you ever want to take a sneak peek, the link below is your gateway. In true Lovecraftian style, though, once seen … there’s no going back 🙂


Apocalyptic News

A few small updates about the APOCTHULHU RPG.

1. We have heard that the first batch of print copies of the APOCTHULHU Core rules — pictured above — are starting to arrive in people’s mailboxes (in North America, at least). That’s fantastic news. We hope that everyone enjoys the book … and gives the game a spin with their gaming buddies sometime.

2. After a few delays, we have now approved the B&W interior editions of the APOCTHULHU Core book for sale. We made these editions (a softcover and a hardcover) to cater to old school gamers who prefer classic and sparse interior layouts.

The B&W versions are available via completely different channels to the colour print editions (hopefully to avoid confusion). If you want one, you can order it direct from Lulu using these links:

Note that Lulu frequently runs promotions which include discounts to the normal retail price of all printed books. Right now there is a 10% discount code; these appear fairly often and are definitely worth looking out for.

3. Our very VERY good friends at Yog-Sothoth.com (aka YSDC) are running a give-away APOCTHULHU promo as part of their live broadcast this Friday (the 13th of November). If you’d like to be in the running to score a free Hardcover copy of the core rules, listen in to their Beyond the Vale show.

We think YSDC is the premier online community for Lovecraftian RPGs (which, unlike some others is also quite tolerant of a diversity of games and viewpoints). As such, we’re proud to support them in this small way 🙂


APOCTHULHU Core Available in Print

Halloween has come a little bit early here at Cthulhu Reborn’s non-Euclidean towers. For today we have the immense pleasure of announcing the first of the print editions for the APOCTHULHU Core Rulebook has gone on sale!

For the record, we are planning to make the rulebook available in four(!) different editions — two with full-colour interiors (hardback, softback), and two with streamlined monochrome interior layouts (hardback, softback).

Today, we’ve made the two colour editions available for sale — these correspond directly to the (default) appearance of the PDF that many folks have purchased on DriveThruRPG. Photos of the two colour books are scattered through this post.

One of the features of our launch of the PDF back in August was that early purchasers of the PDF would receive a discount voucher for purchasing the print edition (the discount amount equaling the PDF purchase price). We are working through implementing those discounts now … if you bought the PDF you *should* have received an email from DriveThruRPG with details of a discount voucher for the Hardcover rulebook.

I say *should* because … well … DriveThru’s tools for doing this kind of thing are a little basic, and also many customers opt out of receiving mail from publishers (to avoid spam). So, if you did purchase the PDF and have NOT received an email about the discount … please, PLEASE drop us an email at vouchers@cthulhureborn.com so we can sort something out for you.

Creating a massive (330 page) rulebook for a brand new RPG has proven to be an exhausting experience … although thanks to the help of an amazing and inspiring crew of collaborators, we’ve not only made it but also created a finished product that I’m really proud of. I hope that those of you who decide to pick up a hardcopy think likewise when it slithers its way into your mailbox.

Oh, and for anyone who is curious about the monochrome interior editions … we are still waiting on one of the proofs before putting them on sale. They won’t be sold via DTRPG, but instead via direct purchases on Lulu (and perhaps Amazon if we can figure out how to do that :)).


APOCTHULHU is on Roll20!

A small (but important) news update for APOCTHULHU today. If you are like most gamers, you are probably doing a lot more online gaming than you used to do. Social distancing and other pandemic-related factors has pushed a lot of RPG sessions and conventions into “virtual” mode.

If you have an interest in running APOCTHULHU as part of your online games, we would be chuffed … and to make that just a little bit easier, we have recently created a nifty APOCTHULHU online character sheet for the Roll20 Virtual Tabletop. So, if you use Roll20, you can now pick our character sheet from the list of (gazillions) of pre-defined character sheets when you set up a new online game.

The Roll20 sheet is pretty neat — not only does it contain all the key info on the APOCTHULHU sheet but most of the common dice rolls can be triggered by clicking buttons (skill names, stat names, resources ratings, bond values, etc). Plus the sheet knows about the dice-rolling conventions of APOCTHULHU with regards to criticals and fumbles.

Coming Next …

We will shortly be making an announcement about print editions of the APOCTHULHU core rules becoming available for order. We’ll also be describing how folks who’ve previously purchased the PDF of the core rulebook can claim a discount on the print edition of their choice.

Watch. This. Space.


APOCTHULHU Actual Play

UPDATE: We’ve been informed that for reasons outside our control, the folks at “Into The Darkness” have had to repost their APOCTHULHU Actual Play video at a new YouTube URL. If you’d like to watch it, the correct video can be reached by clicking this link.

Thanks again to “Into The Darkness” for making such an entertaining on-shot session. Prior to the old video being removed, it had already attracted a lot of interest and a number of enthusiastic viewer comments.


Several people have asked us already whether there are any instructional videos about APOCTHULHU, or which show the game system in action. Until now we’ve had to say “eh, not yet”.

But that all changed yesterday when the amazing “Into The Darkness” gaming group released a YouTube video of a recent APOCTHULHU one-shot they played. The scenario they played was a custom creation of GM Tyler Hudak (a friend of the Cthulhu Reborn family) — althought it’s a tale set in one of the nine Lovecraftian Post-Apocalypse settings included in the core rulebook.

Join Tyler and five desperate Post-Apocalypse Survivors as they navigate their way through the shadow-haunted reality of Dave Sokolowski’s “Under A Charcoal Sky” setting. In the actual play recording the characters are lured out of their compound by a peculiar looping transmission that starts to emerge from their AM radios. The female voice is apparently broadcasting live … but all she ever says is the same sequence of numbers. Over and over. And over. What does it mean? And what terrible fate will transpire if she ever stops?


Another Great APOCTHULHU Review

Paul StJohn Mackintosh is an RPG reviewer extraordinaire … and someone we sent a copy of the APOCTHULHU core book.

Suffice it to say that we were delighted by the complimentary things he had to say about our game.

Paul particularly calls out the detailed setting based on William Hope Hodgson’s novel “The Night Land” as a high-point of the core PDF, and we’d have to agree. Working with Kevin Ross, who wrote this awesome adaptation of Hodgson’s ideas to the gaming format, we were constantly impressed by the evocative “gameability” of this far-future Post-Apocalypse.

In Paul’s words:

Hodgson’s immensely distant sunless dreamscape, ruled by nightmare presences that besiege humanity’s last redoubt, was a formative influence on Lovecraft, but has remained very underused by RPG designers, no least because of the original novel’s turgid prose. Consequently, Apocthulhu and Kevin Ross are performing a real service to the horror RPG audience by disinterring Hodgson’s creations and framing them in such a well-proven, flexible system.

(from the review)

Most readers here have probably already checked out the APOCTHULHU RPG (either the core PDF, or the Pay-What-You-Want Quickstart) to see if it’s their gaming “cup-of-tea” … but if you’re undecided about it, maybe give Paul’s review a read and see if that helps.


This Week in the Apocalypse

APOCTHULHU is continuing to get a lot of attention — from us, of course, but also from a few other folks.

Earlier this week, Michael Fryda reviewed the APOCTHULHU core book and Quickstart on his YouTube reviews channel. Obviously the visuals show only the physical Quickstart book, since the full rulebook is still PDF-only (for a short while anyway). His review narration talks about both books … and is very thorough. The video runs to 32 minutes.

Also this week, Teilzeit Helden a German-language gaming magazine published an online review for APOCTHULHU which is similarly thorough (albeit in German, obviously). If you can read German, you can see the review here — it’s a great piece which looks at the ways in which APOCTHULHU differs from previous games and the ways in which it keeps up the well-worn heritage of Lovecraftian investigative games.

In terms of other news … there are a couple of other things worth mentioning:

  • We’ve just finished up creating the print master files for the APOCTHULHU core book; in fact we sent them off to the printer today. Before you get excited about books going on sale immediately, I should stress that it usually takes a month at least for print proofs to be created and mailed around the world … and all that has to happen before we can safely put books on sale. But, things are proceeding to plan so far.
  • APOCTHULHU will receive it’s (AFAIK) online convention premiere this weekend when superstar author and John Mellencamp fanboy Chad Bowser runs his Quickstart scenario for ConVocation, the YSDC-affiliated convention. I will be there and try to report on each and every bad Mellencamp pun that he throws into the game. My twitter finger might get tired … 🙂

%d bloggers like this: