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!


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 …


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:


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.

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.

ENnies: Hawkins Papers Scores Gold!

Those of you who eagerly watch the annual ENnies awards (announced at GenCon Indy) might have already noticed that Pelgrane Press won an awful lot of awards this year … one of which was for the “Hawkins Papers” handout/addon set for the Dracula Dossiers.

Hawkins Papers - Second Letter to Dracula p2&3 (texture)

Cthulhu Reborn was heavily involved in designing all the prop-work for that set … so we’re obviously very excited to hear that it picked up the Gold for “Best Supplement”.

The huge awards success of the Dracula Dossiers, and Pelgrane Press more generally, is told in all it’s medally-glory by this photo of Ken Hite and Robin D. Laws. Congrats to all 🙂

ENnies: Vote for Cool Props

As many readers would be aware, it is once again that time of year — the time when the tabletop RPG industry holds its de facto vote, the ENnies, for the best products of the past year.

Hawkins Papers - Flash Messages 01-06 montage

While there aren’t any Cthulhu Reborn products in the running (maybe next year?!) … if you’re a CR supporter you *can* still vote for us, sort of. One of the products that has been nominated in the category of Best Supplement is Pelgrane Press’ “The Hawkins Papers”. Readers with a good memory might remember this product — it’s a prop-based add-on to the uber-successful “Dracula Dossier” Kickstarter (for the Gumshoe vampires-and-high-tech-espionage RPG Night’s Black Agents). It’s been mentioned here because Pelgrane hired Cthulhu Reborn to design all the props for this package.

You can see a sampling of the items we created for our friends at Pelgrane — along with some additional info — over on this page.

If you love detailed period prop-designs and would like to see RPG publishers include more of it in their future projects, I hope you would consider casting your Ennies vote the way of The Hawkins Papers. You can vote here.

Hawkins Papers - Quake Notes (card montage)

While you’re there you will also find other cool Cthulhu-related products that have been nominated. Pelgrane has a bunch (in fact, so many that they created a special ENnies sampler where you can see bits of all of their nominated products, including “The Hawkins Papers”). The Modiphius folks have also scored a few nominations for their Achtung! Cthulhu campaign “Shadows of Atlantis” … and Cubicle 7 have also been nominated for their Cthulhu Britannica: London box set.

Ticket of Leave #1 Released

Convicts & Cthulhu B&W Logo sml

The success of Convicts & Cthulhu (in PDF and now in print) has taken us here at Cthulhu Reborn a little bit by surprise … but it’s a good kind of surprise. In the spirit of trying to find ways to support gamers and readers who have taken a punt and downloaded C&C I have been madly scrabbling around to see whether there is any additional material we can release that will help folks as they run games in this (rather unusual) Lovecraftian setting.

I have also been pestering Geoff Gillan (prime creator of C&C) for anything he might have … and it seems that this tactic has paid off in spades (yay for pester power!). Geoff has come back to me with an entire short manuscript for a mini-supplement to the C&C core book. I have frantically typeset and illustrated this gem and released it as a free 4-page PDF, available over on RPGNow: Convicts & Cthulhu — Ticket of Leave #1.

Convicts & Cthulhu Ticket Of Leave #1 cover (sml)

The goal of this small bite-sized (4 pages) addition to C&C is to give Keepers a small self-contained nugget of information which includes a variety of different elements which could conceivably be put together into a short scenario or alternatively picked apart to provide pieces for an all-original scenario of their own devising.

We are hoping to release further “Tickets of Leave” further down the track (as astute readers may have deduced by the “#1” in the title of this supplement :-)). In the meantime, we hope that folks find this small PDF to be a useful addition to the Convicts & Cthulhu setting.

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