Summoning Cthulhu With a Care Bear Stare

You Just Died

I’ll just let that soak in for a moment while you wipe away the drool from your mouth.

I’ve been big into Cthulhu mythos, stories, and inspired movies, so it’s no surprise that many of my games have that feeling of horror, dread, etc.

However.. And I have a confession to make… I’ve never played Call of Cthulhu and the like.. Which is something I am looking to rectify…

So I’ve been looking at the different games to try and find one to play.

Here are the books:

Call of Cthulhu
Trail of Cthulhu
Realms of Cthulhu

I am not familiar with the system of Call or Trail. I love and know Savage Worlds. However I have read that Realms is more of a conversion with a few rules and etc and that it is handy/better to have a copy of CoC on hand.

I would be GRATEFUL to any advice, opinions, etc. Thanks!

Author: Mike Evans

I am the dude behind DIY RPG Productions. I have a fuck all punk rock attitude, love meeting new people, doing nature shit, and gaming (tabletop and console) and having a good time. I love craft beer (maybe too much), punk, grunge, and industrial music. I write books. Good for me.

8 thoughts

  1. I have Realms but have never played it (yet). It’s a great Savage Worlds translation of the CofC games. But still I think everyone should do at least one good old Call of Cthulhu game with the oringal system. It’s very easy and there’s tons of stuff.

    1. Thanks:) I’ve been reading about CoC 6th edition, and it’s pretty cheap for such a great product, and that’ s what I seem to be leaning more towards at this point.

      Have any experience with 6th edition (I know not much has changed over the past 20 years of the system)

  2. I’m playing 6th edition CoC. I had never played any of the earlier editions, but I looked at the 5th edition book and the only major differences was some page numbering changes. I’m sure there are other things, but according to the one player in our group who played a lot of an earlier edition, it’s pretty much the same game. I think they try to tweak/clarify rules, but don’t make a lot of major changes.

    I own Realms, and read the book, but haven’t played yet. I’m planning on running Realms eventually. As you said, it’s pretty much a port of CoC into the Savage Worlds rules. There are some instructions for converting CoC stuff they didn’t cover, but you can definitely run it without the CoC books. There are some really cool rules for making SW combat a bit more deadly (CoC is a notoriously deadly game). They also included rules to Sanity (both deadly in the CoC style and pulpy/cinematic in the SW style). Looks pretty neat.

    Both systems are pretty simple once you get going. Like Chuck said above, I think it would be worth any gamers time to try out a game of the classic CoC at least once.

  3. I have played quite a lot of CoC and recently I’ve tried ToC. I also have the CoC d20 and the Delta Green-supplements.
    CoC is based on the Basic-rules, it is true and tried and it does work, though it also some what old fashion no matter what edition, you employ. The d20-version is for a d20-book quite impressive. It covers several different periods and along with ToC it presents a new approach to Lovecraft’s Mythos – mainly an approach that dovetails neatly with recent scholarly research into Lovecraft’s authorship. Where earlier disciples attempted to codify the Mythos, the new versions return to the chaos and malleable Mythos of Lovecraft’s vision. The classic CoC is based on the dodifying tradition – but that does not rule out a great game, but it does represent some quite different approaches to the settings Mythos.
    Delta Green is based on basic CoC. It to plays out in contemporary time (the 90’ies, since this were when they were published), and it is an excellent take on X-files meets Cthulhu. Very evocative and very inspiring.
    Trail of Cthulhu is also very fascinating. I like it, as it has a new approach to sanity, one might say it fine tunes the sanity-system of CoC. It also moves the setting a decade forward from the 20’ties to the 30’ties, but the major change – besides the Mythos-approach mentioned above – is the employing of the Gumshoe-rules. The Gumshoe-system main purpose is address a series of problems with how you structure investigation in older roleplaying games, e.g. CoC. Some like it, other’s don’t, and it is really difficcult for me to say, which is better. I am still undecided. Recently I got to playtest a setting to ToC – Bookhounds of London – where you create a bookshop and it’s owners and base the campaign around them, and their struggle to collect books in a world of bibliophile people. Very charming, and we are planning to play more of this.
    I have no experience with Realms of Cthulhu, but it does seem to me, that it’s title is not based upon a short story or a collection of short stories, as the CoC and ToC are.
    If horror is the main purpose and not so much the Mythos-experience, I would also recommend Unknown Armies (whoch was also designed to address some issues with CoC), Dread, Dead of Night and Don’t Rest Your Head.

  4. Only Cthulhu game incarnation I have played is Call of Cthulhu. Even if BRP is a bit old fashioned system, it works really fine with CoC. Also there is tons of supplements for CoC to choose from as several shorter adventures and several longer campaigns.

    I am interested in Trail of Cthulhu’s Gumshoe system but meh, CoC BRP works just fine for the setting.

    I own 6th edition myself. In Cthulhu system the adventure, plot and mood are more important than the system the game is runnin on.

    So BRP Cthulhu is good enough. Well, wait, it is great!

  5. I’ve played all versions of Call of Cthulhu starting with 3rd, moving backward and forward to try out 2nd, upgrade to 4th (my favorite), and do a one-shot with 1st before moving on as the Stars became right, to 5th and 6th.

    As others have said, the system doesn’t change much from edition to edition, although it does expand over time (I guess no one expected characters to survive in 1st Ed) to include a greater amount of period specific period and the necessary rules to reflect those inclusions.

    For overall balance of mood with system, the 4th Edition still grabs my eye over the others, but 5th and 6th have their merits.

    Of the options for running the game, I would opt to use Call of Cthulhu, but you are going to have to determine what mood you want before you can decide. System is one question (ease of adoption and stability), atmosphere another (horror, pulpy horror,scary, just mystery), and the influence of the system on the atmosphere is a third consideration, and obviously only you and your group can weigh those factors.

    I feel the style and approach of Call of Cthulhu sets an appropriate tone for the sort of exploration of existence that Lovecraft might have wanted.

    As for discussions of the division of entities and levels of involvement (Derlith, et al versus the original cycle of authors) mentioned by Morton Greis above, while true, the characters should never have to face the Mythos on that level or from that perspective, so that is more of a meta-point for experienced players to sit and chat about over quaint and curious tomes of old forgotten lore in the nearest Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf with wireless devices and enormous mugs mixed and mingled about them, than a play issue.

    Whatever you decide, have fun and lose your mind.

  6. Thanks to everyone who has posted! I really appreciate it! I am going to get CoC and Realms of Cthulhu. I think Realms will probably be my winning choice because I absolutely love/gush over Savage Worlds.

    I’ve been looking at the Basic Role-Playing System, and while I’m sure it is fun to play and what not.. I just don’t think it grips me the same way D20 and SW.. or even WoD system. However I will nab the CoC book for inspiration and source material. I know that 3/4 of the book is just that.

    Again thanks to everyone for chiming in!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s