Switch to full style
TLG d20, Necromancer Games and general. Discuss any game not covered in another forum.
Post a reply

Cthulhu, Poeish RPG

Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:47 am

So I just watched Critical Roll’s Cthulhu – Not a huge CR fan, watched a few shows here and there … but I’d never seen a Cthulhu game played, been years since I’ve played Cthulhu myself, and never seen the 7e rules, so thought I’d give it a watch.

For the show itself, I will say it was interesting and a great example of the feel for Cthulhu. I know they are actors with prop specialists, and are beyond what an average game will be, but still I have to say it was a good show of an example of the game. Plus it was deadly and good use of insanity to build the suspense of a good horror game

Now, to my questions, … As you all may know I tend to be a touch less dark and total unyielding darkness and insanity so prefer Poe. With that, is there any of you who dabble in the darkness who ideas on how to tone down the inevitable dark insanity of Cthulhu to a more Poeish feel? I will say I wouldn’t neuter the darkness and insanity totally (Poe is dark and twisted with live burials for vengeance, insanity houses and the like) but the inevitable dark insanity of Cthulhu in a long term game is a bit much for my taste.

Also, what rules, other than Cthulhu, are good for a Poe ish game and of course what modification is needed?

AA – of course lose Gadgeteer, archer, maybe acrobat, and duelist; and mandatory sanity rules.

Victorious – Grim, use some form of insanity (easy enough to bring in from AA) restriction on the superset of the super powers

What other rules ?

Oh yeah, for you all who play Cthulhu, what are the differences of 6e & 7e ? I have a pdf of 6e I got years ago from RPGnow. Is it worth buying 7e ?

Re: Cthulhu, Poeish RPG

Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:37 pm

Here are some other games with definite nods to EAP:

Ghosts of Castle Nevermore

Imp of the Perverse

Masque of the Red Death (AD&D 2nd edition)

Unhallowed Metropolis

Regarding Cthulhu -- if you have 6e, I would not spend money to get the 7th. Heck, I still use 1st edition.

Re: Cthulhu, Poeish RPG

Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:49 pm

Oh, and another game... Ghastly Affair.


Re: Cthulhu, Poeish RPG

Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:33 am

I haven't really read much Poe in decades so my memory on his stories may be faulty, but my thought is that a Poe game would probably emphasize story over number crunching so I would look for a rules set which allowed for fast play and imagination over some of those "a rule for every situation" type games. I agree that Masque of the Red Death would be worth checking out. Or maybe Tainted Lands (Jim Ward) or Haunted Highlands material.

Re: Cthulhu, Poeish RPG

Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:44 pm

Thanks for the reply

Serl, good to see you back around here again by the way.

I can't believe I didn't automatically think of Red Death ... I've had it for years but was so focused on current and on Cthulhu that it slipped my mind

Same on Ghastly Affair

Rgr on 6e v 7e. part of me wanted it because it is 'new' but the part that has to work every day and has to pay the bills didn't want to pay for anything new that I don't need, so thanks.

Serl, if you paly run Cthulhu, do you have any advice on how to make it a touch less dangerous or insanity inducing, or is it just intrinsic in the game ? Is it too much trouble to modify it to back off that part of Cthulhu

Now ... what is more easy to run/play, what can I modify easily, ... what can I run or get someone to run

Re: Cthulhu, Poeish RPG

Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:44 pm

With Cthulhu, you can stay away from the sanity by veering on it, not actually directly encountering. Implied, present, but left in the dark as it were. This can be unsatisfying if there is not a 'final showdown' per se. The threats don't have to be otherworldly. That is, you can use the rule set as a generic percentage system -- the setting becomes whatever you throw at it.

Other options similar to Cthulhu (but not EAP necessarily) which don't have quite the same sanity mechanism...

Chill (either 1st or 2nd edition -- 2nd is much closer to Cthulhu.)

Dark Conspiracy (present / near future but could be modified to run in different eras.)


Meddling Kids -- very Scooby-Doo and intended to be an introductory game, for kids.

Deadlands Classic -- or I suppose the Savage Worlds version. A bit tied to its specific setting, but some changes can be made to fit elsewhen.

Beyond the Supernatural.

I could probably list others as well, but one of the defining features of Cthulhu is the going insane and losing it rule. It's like Ravenloft and the Dark Powers check for being evil. Seems ingrained to me.

Re: Cthulhu, Poeish RPG

Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:08 pm

Rgr on veering into it. If I do ever run it I think the middle road for it will fit me best. I would want it to be part of the game/setting, but not as focused as it looked like it was on the Critical Roll one shot. In one game they all had 4 or 5 or 6 (can't remember specifically) sanity checks. That seems a bit excessive to me. However, a check when you first see a brutalized werewolf gnawed corps, the first time the shadow thing that has been going bump in the night actually does more than just go bump, yeah on a sanity check for that.

I do love Beyond the Supernatural - it was the 3rd game I GMed back in the day after D&D and Star Wars. However, even if there are fear elements, I don't see it as 'horror'. It may just be how I ran it back in the day so that skews my look at it. Now that I think about it, it could easily be modified to have insanity etc. However, I think it would still be a little two number crunchy to fit the feel of a good Poe or Lovecraft game. I'm sure more clever GMs could well pull it off, but more than likely I would make it a modern game with slight elements of sci fi horror and fail it as a good horror setting.

Same on Deadlands. I played it years ago and loved it, and yes it has horror trappings, but didn't feel horrific. Of course that may just be how the GM ran it

Again thanks for the info and the bones for me to chew on.

Have a good one

Re: Cthulhu, Poeish RPG

Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:33 pm

Sorry, you asked about things you could run or have someone else do, and here's a very short list of various CoC adventures you might like.

The first three are freely available from Chaosium; the first is actually a solo adventure and the other two are intended for conventions (and are therefore not very long.)

Alone Against the Flames

What's in the Cellar

Camp Sunny

Ties that Bind

Edge of Darkness

Blackwater Creek

Re: Cthulhu, Poeish RPG

Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:55 am


I'll have to give them a look

They might help me get a feel for just how prevalent the dark insidious insanity is . Who knows, I may be making much ado about nothing and not need to much change the default assumption of it. Well it is Lovecraft and I prefer Poe so I'm sure I'll have to bump it down a notch or 2 at least.
Post a reply