A Plethora of Periodical Proppery (potentially)

UPDATE: Well, the Hudson & Brand Kickstarter managed to reach its Stretch Goal … so this will definitely be happening! (so ignore the “potentially” in the post title). Yay!

Just a quick post to say that Cthulhu Reborn have been asked by Stygian Fox to join its team for the Hudson & Brand book of Gaslight Goodies, currently entering its final day of Kickstarter fundraising. The book funded amost as soon as it went live, and has stormed through seven Stretch Goals.

If the book hits its next stretch goal (currently £1100 away, as I write) the book will receive an upgrade which sees six full-pages of Victorian-era newspaper props added to the back of the book. These will be co-designed by myself and Stygian Fox, and will be highly authentic in terms of content and presentation (something we *always* aim for :)).

So … if you have been wavering about getting on board with this excellent Kickstarter, and you love awesome propware … it might be worth checking out the campaign page once again. Cthulhu Reborn would really enjoy making some cool looking Victorian era newspapers for this book — so I hope we get the chance 🙂


We’re All Bundled Up!

Cthulhu Reborn are absolutely thrilled to announce that Mutable Deceptions, one of our non-free titles, is featured in the latest Bundle of Holding (“Bundle of Tentacles +4”). You can purchase the bundle at this page.

Mutable Deceptions 1 - Front Cover (400)

For those who are unfamiliar, the Bundles of Holding are really cool ways of buying a bunch of related gaming PDFs at reduced cost, and contributing money to charity at the same time. For the Bundle of Tentacles +4 the full list of goodies — all Call of Cthulhu related — that you will receive if you purchase the full bundle is as follows:

  • Tales of the Sleepless City: A collection of 1920s scenarios in New York City, also by Miskatonic River Press. A great book.
  • A Peculiar Pentad: An unusual sourcebook released by Super Genius games which details five curious NPCs which could form the core of a larger story.
  • Mutable Deceptions: Our PDF toolkit for making your very own authentic-looking 1920s newspaper clippings. Recently praised by the HPL Historical Society (the absolute legends of Lovecraftian prop-making).

This truly is an exceptional collection of Call of Cthulhu resources (and no, I am not just saying that because it includes my own humble product). Several of the titles in the bundle are among my picks of the very best books published in the last five years by any CoC publisher, so you really could do a lot worse for the $25 or so that the Bundle folks are asking. For reference, the normal price of all these items combined is about $107.

Plus … a cut of all profits from this bundle go to a cause which I personally support quite strongly: the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The Bundle of Tentacles +4 offer runs until Monday 14 November … so don’t wait too long. And the way the pricing works on the Bundles, there is an advantage to being an earlier purchaser rather than a late-adopter. So if you’re interested, consider grabbing it soon.


CR Gaming at PAX

For Aussie readers who might find themselves at next weekend’s PAX Australia convention in Melbourne, I thought I’d share some brief info about the FOUR (!) Australian-themed Call of Cthulhu games I will be running at the con. For everyone who isn’t attending … er .. maybe this small taste of what will be on offer might inspire you to run some similar (maybe Convicts & Cthulhu) games at your own local cons!

Game Sessions

All four of the games that I’m bringing to PAX are destined for future publication (in longer forms) — one is already included in Convicts & Cthulhu, the other three will be in future Call of Cthulhu titles published by Chaosium Inc.

  • Un-Fresh Off The Boat: In convict-era Sydney a plague-ridden convoy of ships arrives carrying both the investigators and the seeds of a rather unsavoury mystery. [included in Convicts & Cthulhu]
  • Red in Tooth and Claw: During the earliest days of World War I a fighting force of plucky Aussies patrol the waters around New Guinea in the submarine AE-3, having recently conquered the German colony. But as they are about to find out,  there are places in the remote and empty oceans where the threat of enemy detection is the least of your worries. [Written by Chad Bowser]

Aus Aeons Illo #F3final

  • Black Water, White Death: A call for help brings a group of 1920s well-heeled city types from Melbourne to the remote old-growth forests of NW Tasmania. There they become drawn into the curious mystery surounding an ill-fated convict team that escaped its bonds in 1832 and fled into the dark, eerie forests … and into a terrifying battle for sanity and survival. [Written by Phil & Marion Anderson]
  • Wilderland: This scenario is set in Australian wilderness during the days after the Apocalypse, two decades after the fateful day when the forces of the Cthulhu Mythos finally woke to reclaim ownership of our planet. Humanity still lives on in scattered pockets and dreams of one day re-establishing civilisation. Into one such desperate settlement a stranger arrives one day with a tale of hidden knowledge … [Written by Jo Kreil]

Australian Aeons Illo #B2

There is currently no schedule for when these games will run over the 3 days of the con (and some may run more than once), so if you happen to be attending and like the sounds of one of these games, track down the Chaosium table/booth/whatever in the Tabletop part of the con and sign up.

Panels

There will also be two panels run at PAX that will be of interest to Call of Cthulhu gamers (and more generally to those who keep an eye on what’s going on with Chaosium). They are:

  • Fri 11:00am-noon: Kickstarting Yourself to Death: Chaosium’s Cautionary Tale
  • Fri 9:30pm-10:30pm: The Cool of Cthulhu

Do You Zew Cthulhu?

Over the years Call of Cthulhu has been translated into oodles of different languages … so it’s no surprise that there are lots of people around the world playing CoC in tongues other than English. I was recently asked by one such gamer — a wonderful Polish guy called Wojtek — whether it would be possible to get a version of the 7th Edition CoC sheet created for Zew Cthulhu (as CoC is called in its Polish-language edition) version of the game. Now Zew Cthulhu isn’t even currently being supported by a publisher, but clearly that’s not stopping folks in Poland from picking up the newest edition of CoC and running it!

char-sheet-1920s-letter-polish-front-seg

Anyway … after some very enthusiastic discussions with Chaosium (in the form of Mike Mason and Rick Meints) all the rights issues were squared away, allowing me to create and release this Polish-language rendition of the 1920s CoC 7e sheet.

If you are a Polish CoC Keeper or player — or just really want to see what the character sheet looks like in another, somewhat beautiful and exotic, language — click on the links below!


Cthulhu Reborn @PAX Aus

While this news is probably only of interest to Australian-based readers of Cthulhu Reborn, I thought I’d share it anyway (in a brief and hopefully non-spammy way). What’s the news? Well Cthulhu Reborn will be making the trek to be at the PAX Australia game convention (November 4-6).

As well as generally hanging out with our friends at Chaosium (who will be arranging several neat things at the convention including a panel “The Cool of Cthulhu”), I am planning to run some demo sessions of Convicts & Cthulhu as well as a few other Aussie-themed scenarios from upcoming books. I will also be bringing along some printed copies of Convicts as well as Geoff Gillan’s awesome Machine King.

If you’re planning to be at PAX and think you might like to sign up for some Australian-based Call of Cthulhu gaming (or would just like to drop by and say hi), feel free to drop me a note using the form below …


Vive le Convicts! (ToL #2 Released)

Convicts & Cthulhu B&W Logo sml

In the wake of the surprise (but very gratifying) success of the Convicts & Cthulhu book — now a silver selling product on both RPG Now and DrivethruRPG — I have been asking Geoff Gillan, principal writer and historian for the book, for ideas for mini-supplements to enhance the setting. One of the first batch of ideas Geoff came back with was the idea of doing something about the French exploration of early Australia and the tensions between French and English explorers and colonists.

I’ll be honest — this wasn’t an area of history that I was even remotely well-informed about. This is despite the fact that the city where I live is rather close to the site where two of the great explorers of the early 19th Century — Englishman Matthew Flinders and Frenchman Nicholas Baudin — had a surprise (and somewhat tense) encounter in 1802, which thankfully didn’t escalate into conflict. But after reading through the material that Geoff wrote up I could completely see why he suggested exploring a French angle for Convicts & Cthulhu — in the era in question France and England were bitter foes, soon to become formal enemies in the Napoleonic Wars. The question of whether the French had an interest in laying claim to part of the newly-discovered continent of Australia was something that created much fear — both ration and irrational — in the minds of early Australian colonial settlers. And of course fear and paranoia is always great raw material to weave into a Call of Cthulhu story …

convicts-cthulhu-french-ships-smlThe other thing that Geoff’s historical material got me wondering about was whether any of those numerous French “scientific expeditions” to the coastline of Australia were really more … perhaps motivated by occult motives. After all, France is the home of many a great and accomplished occult tradition — who’s to say that some of those voyages weren’t subtly (or maybe not-so-subtly) infiltrated or directed by occult interests. After all, you have to wonder why France, of all the great European sea-faring powers of the days, placed such great emphasis on acquiring territory in the South Pacific during the great era of colonial expansion. It’s almost as if they were looking for something …

cr3005b-convicts-cthulhu-ticket-of-leave-2-cover-sml

Convicts & Cthulhu: Tickets of Leave #2 — “Tricolour Terror” packs all this and more into a 6 page PDF of resources and scenario ideas which provide Call of Cthulhu Keepers with everything they need to start populating their Convicts & Cthulhu scenarios with French characters, either as investigators or as bitter foes for the investigators. It includes historical notes, NPC write-ups for the most prominent French explorers, two new French-themed professions, plus a developed scenario-seed from which several different tales can be spun.

The PDF is available right now as a free download from RPGNow.


Reviews for Convicts & Cthulhu

Convicts & Cthulhu B&W Logo sml

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).

Australian Aeons Illo #D3

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:

VERDICT:

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.

Pluses:
– Fascinating details about an intriguing time and place
– Strong social structures to play with
– Plenty of adventure ideas

Minuses:
– 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.

Convicts & Cthulhu softcover pic1 (sml)

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.

Convicts & Cthulhu - Illo D7

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.


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