Pin Me

An Overview of the Call of Cthulhu Role Playing Game, and Which Releases were d20 Based?

by: Matt Conlon ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have to run for your life through the streets of a dark New England town circa 1890s? I know, who hasn't, right? Well, wonder no more, cause I have a game for you!

  • slide 1 of 4

    "...Whence Cthulhu First Came..."

    Lovecraft1934 Howard Phillips Lovecraft, or H. P. Lovecraft was born August 20, 1890. He was a writer of science fiction, horror, and fantasy. Perhaps Lovecraft's most prolific work was the creation of the Cthulhu mythos, a mythological framework, in 1920.

    Cthulhu himself was a creature of pure terror. In H. P. Lovecraft's fictional works, Cthulhu had a doomsday-cult following based in Arabia, with reaches as far as China, Louisiana, and Greenland. Like his abominable character, followers were drawn to H. P. Lovecraft's work and he too developed a following that could be described as a cult following, although not a doomsday-cult. Unfortunately, Lovecraft passed away on the Ides of March, 1937. His following really began to solidify on 1940.

  • slide 2 of 4

    Chtulhu's Quest for Acceptance

    Cthulhu, having lost his creator and mentor wandered on, taking small jobs here and there in works like August Derleth's 1950s series called "Trail of Cthulhu". Still the alien embodiment of horror would continue to search for fulfilment, which he eventually found when approached by a publisher called Chaoisium.

    Chaosium commissioned a game called Dark Worlds, which would eventually become the first edition of what is now called "Call of Cthulhu", the role-playing game.

    Unlike most other games of this sort, Call of Cthulhu takes place in a darker version of this world. They must have saved some money and time with that, since the maps are already drawn!

    Also unlike other role-playing games, instead of playing the super hero or daring dragon slayer, players take the roles of normal folks. Detectives, artists, scholars, etc. Each player is given an allotment of Sanity points, and the game mechanics include guidelines on how the characters lose sanity points. Sometimes to achieve their personal goals, the players will be forced to sacrifice some sanity points.

    It's said that a properly run game of Call of Cthulhu should give the players an omnipresent sense of doom. The game is intended to get the players thinking more about how to avoid and maneuver around the next conflict, rather than go through it.

  • slide 3 of 4

    The Call of Cthulhu Role Playing Game - D20 Based

    The role-playing game Call of Cthulhu had 8 major releases between its first in 1981 and the year 2000. All releases during that Call of Cthulhu RPG 1st ed 1981 period used the Basic Role-Playing system which Chaosium also used for other games of their.

    In 2001, Wizards of the Coast contracted with Chaosium to produce a Call of Cthulhu role-playing game, D20 rules applied. This mixing of the two achieved two things. Now, for the first time, a player could play their favorite Dungeons and Dragons character in the Call of Cthulhu setting. This also introduced the Cthulhu mythos to the Dungeons and Dragons world, allowing dungeon masters the opportunity to use the gods therein.

    The contract with Wizards of the Coast expired. Chaosium continued to release D20 stats with their next few releases, but eventually stopped.

    Since then, there have been several releases and supplements that all use different systems, the most recent of which was In October 2009. The publisher was Reality Blurs, and they used Pinnacle Entertainment's Savage Worlds system.

  • slide 4 of 4

    Your Turn

    As always, I'd love to hear your comments about Call of Cthulhu, or any other information related to it, or anything I've said or done within the verbiage of this article! Don't be shy!