Cthulhu Goes West in Down Darker Trails
  • Cthulhu Goes West in Down Darker Trails


    Chaosium have just released the latest Call of Cthulhu setting sourcebook and this time round they’re packing their six-shooter. Down Darker Trails takes you to the American West of the 19th Century with everything you need to create Old West Investigators and send them down their pathway to madness. Down Darker Trails is useable with both Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition and Pulp Cthulhu.


    Saddle up! Get yourself a posse together and have a look-see what’s over that hill. There’s strange rumors coming in from the whisperin’ desert. You’d best put a round in that iron and make haste!

    Down Darker Trails is a new setting for Call of Cthulhu—the American West of the late 19th century. The era of gold rushes, outlaws and lawmen, discovery and expansion.

    Rub shoulders with the likes of Wild Bill Hickok, Crazy Horse, and Calamity Jane, while journeying through towns like Deadwood and Dodge City—names and places that have transcended history to become legend. Down these dark trails the taint of the Cthulhu Mythos stirs, ready to lure the unwary and tempt the power hungry with whispered secrets of cosmic knowledge. This is a West of hidden worlds, lost treasures and cities, dubious deals and unsavory alliances. A land filled with beauty, mystery, terror—and wild adventure!

    Here you will find the means to create Old West investigators, new occupations, new pulp talents, and new skills. Captured in text and image is the history of the Old West, famous individuals, playing American Indian heroes, notable places and sites, as well as inspiration and guidance on bringing the terrors and mysteries of the Great Old Ones into your games.

    Two complete towns, the gold-hungry Pawheton and San Rafael on the Texas border, are fully detailed, providing Keepers with ready-made inhabitants and locales from which to stage campaigns. Four different Lost Worlds are discussed, from the weird subterranean world of K’n-yan to the eerie Shadow Desert.

    Packed with advice on creating campaigns and adventures, including two complete introductory-level adventures:

    • Scanlon’s Daughter—a murder mystery set between two feuding Texas ranches.
    • Something From Down There—join the rescue of a group of missing miners whose digging stirred things best left forgotten





    Please note: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links”. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item the author of this post will receive an affiliate commission.
    Comments 12 Comments
    1. Piratecat's Avatar
      Piratecat -
      All right, dammit. Just take my money.

      This looks really good!
    1. Michael Silverbane -
      Someone should tell those dudes on the cover not to hide behind rocks with eldritch symbols on them. That is definitely not going to work out.
    1. Dannyalcatraz's Avatar
      Dannyalcatraz -
      Ïaaaaaa-haaaaaaw!
    1. EthanSental's Avatar
      EthanSental -
      Cool cover, wish I could get a group locally that could stay together more than 3 sessions for a Cthulhu setting. Everyone is into it at first and fizzles out as the players lose interest and then miss sessions to the point the campaign is placed on hiatus.
    1. Piratecat's Avatar
      Piratecat -
      I'm reminded of the old Vertigo Jonah Hex comics, where Jonah fought the Children of the Worm. Half-human, half-Cthulhian cowboy opponents!
    1. Over the Hill Gamer's Avatar
      Over the Hill Gamer -
      1. I wish this was now available in a print version.

      2. If you are interested in the print version but don't want to wait, I would advise people to purchase the pdf directly from the Chaosium website so you can get a discount when the print version is available. https://www.chaosium.com/down-darker-trails-pdf/ states: "Buy the PDF now and get a coupon for hardcover version later! So you want to purchase the hardcover version, but really want to get your hands on The Down Darker Trails PDF so you don't have to wait. We have you covered! When you buy Down Darker Trails now, we will send you a discount coupon that will offset the PDF purchase price once the hardcover version is available."

      3.
      Quote Originally Posted by EthanSental View Post
      ...I could get a group locally that could stay together more than 3 sessions for a Cthulhu setting. Everyone is into it at first and fizzles out as the players lose interest and then miss sessions to the point the campaign is placed on hiatus.
      I too have experienced Call of Cthulhu campaigns that fizzled. However, I am also currently involved in a CoC campaign (HoTOE) that has run on a bi-weekly basis for over a year. I find that when campaigns fail it is often with players whose experience and expectations are limited to DnD type RPGs where PCs gain great power as they increase in level. They are often disappointed with their weakling CoC characters who spend most of their time trying to uncover clues and avoiding monsters. They often prefer to ignore the clues and kill the monsters.

      I would advise some possible fixes:

      a) Try the Pulp Cthulhu rules. It's designed to be more survivable and combat oriented. Being more of a purist, I am not a big fan of these rules but they might help with new players.

      b) If playing 7th edition, utilize the Luck and Pushed Rolls optional rules. They are a lot of fun and can help pull your character out of a tight spot. Although in the case of Pushed Rolls they can also really put you in a bad spot, too!

      c) Manage expectations by impressing upon players that CoC is a more cerebral game. You are puny investigators, not fantasy heroes. Combat is typically a last resort and usually doesn't end well. If dealing with some sort of mythos creature, you had best do your research before confronting it. Most of all your players should enjoy putting together clues and figuring stuff out, as well as role-playing these interactions.

      d) Pick players who are interested in Lovecraft and understand the underlying ideas. Or who at least understand the harsh realities of horror movies.
    1. EthanSental's Avatar
      EthanSental -
      Thanks! I'll speak to the GM of our CoC games and forward him to your suggestions here.
    1. Piratecat's Avatar
      Piratecat -
      Quote Originally Posted by Over the Hill Gamer View Post

      I would advise some possible fixes:

      a) Try the Pulp Cthulhu rules. It's designed to be more survivable and combat oriented. Being more of a purist, I am not a big fan of these rules but they might help with new players.

      b) If playing 7th edition, utilize the Luck and Pushed Rolls optional rules. They are a lot of fun and can help pull your character out of a tight spot. Although in the case of Pushed Rolls they can also really put you in a bad spot, too!
      All good advice. I'll also suggest seeing if the Trail of Cthulhu rules (which use GUMSHOE) adapt easily; I'd be shocked if they didn't.
    1. Saplatt's Avatar
      Saplatt -
      Interesting!
    1. BrockBallingdark -
      Ok this caught my interest big time! My group are also metally locked into D&D heroes and would find 1920's Pulp Coc too boring. I love the idea of a Western Coc and will see if this works!
    1. VengerSatanis -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz View Post
      Ïaaaaaa-haaaaaaw!
      Haha.
    1. Piratecat's Avatar
      Piratecat -
      My wife: "You don't need this! I could run a western Call of Cthulhu game for you right now, without needing this supplement."

      Me: "Yes please! Do it!"

      My wife: "This looks really fun, but I'm just saying that..."

      Me: "No, I totally get it. And you should absolutely run an old west game of Trail of Cthulhu. This is a brilliant idea."

      My wife:

      Either way, I think I win.
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