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Kickstarter [Chaosium] Call of Cthulhu 40th Anniversary Classic Kickstarter is Live!

Michael O'Brien

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On a cold and rainy day back in 1981 Chaosium unleashed its Call of Cthulhu tabletop roleplaying game on an unprepared world...

To help celebrate the 40th anniversary of Call of Cthulhu, we've launched the Call of Cthulhu Classic Kickstarter, featuring a remastered version of this iconic boxed set and five of its first supplements (Shadows of Yog Sothoth, The Asylum & Other Tales, The Cthulhu Companion, Trail of the Tsathogghua, and Fragments of Fear).

The Stars must have been Right, as the campaign funded in 10 minutes!

We've now passed the first $100K Stretch Goal - the original Keeper Screen...


... and are rapidly approaching the second Stretch Goal at $200K: Dice!

Since the 40th anniversary is a "ruby" one, we sourced a blood red ruby-colored set just for this occasion. A free set of these dice will be going into each and every Classic Boxed set (1", 2" and 2" limited).

We will be shipping to backers from our fulfillment centers in the US, Canada, the UK, the EU, and Australia.

Chaosium hopes you will join us as we celebrate Call of Cthulhu's 40th anniversary! Support the campaign here:
Call of Cthulhu Classic

Chaosium President Rick Meints said,

"Because we want to deliver these boxed sets in time for the anniversary later this year, we've already got all of these books and boxes ready to print. Within two weeks of the Kickstarter ending, we're going to be sending out ALL of the PDFs to the backers. All of the files will be off to the printer shortly after that. No waiting on writers, or artists or layout to get this done. We print. We ship."

 

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Michael O'Brien

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Here we are, just 20 hours into this adventure and we have crossed the $200,000 threshold. The dice are rolling, and the stretch goal will be marked as "achieved". Thus, it's on to our next stretch goal:

$300,000 Stretch Goal - HANDOUTS UPGRADE!

Back in the day, the handouts in the early supplements left a fair bit to be desired. As just text on the pages in the middle of the book, you could pull them out and cut them apart (shudder). Most Keepers and players have grown used to something better than that, so here's what we can do when this stretch goal gets funded. We'll include all of the handouts in an upgraded format and collect them together as single sided pages. Printing extra copies from the PDFs won't stress you out, and little to no cutting will be part of the ritual.

Call of Cthulhu Classic
 

Michael O'Brien

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Publisher
Having passed $300,000 in our Call of Cthulhu Classic Kickstarter it's on to the next Stretch Goal:

$350,000 Stretch Goal - Arkham Poster Map​

Those character and monster silhouettes, not to mention any miniatures you may already own, deserve a big enough Arkham map to walk (and stomp) around on. Thus, if this stretch goal gets funded we will add a free printed color poster map of Arkham into each boxed set.

All $20 backer levels and higher will get a free PDF of this map!


 

Michael O'Brien

Hero
Publisher
Having passed $350,000 in our Call of Cthulhu Classic Kickstarter it's on to the next Stretch Goal:

$400,000 Stretch Goal - Out from the Shadows... (extra Silhouettes)​

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We were rather surprised when we saw how few classic Mythos monsters were included on the original Silhouettes sheet. Dimensional Shamblers, Elder Things, Flying Polyps, and even Shoggoths were nowhere to be found. Now that we have a big poster map of Arkham in the box we know that more such Silhouettes will be all the more fun to use.

Thus, if this Stretch Goal is achieved we will be adding a free printed page of new Silhouettes into each printed box set.

All $20 backer levels and higher will get a free PDF of the new Silhouettes created by Simon Bray.
 

Michael O'Brien

Hero
Publisher
326830663_ShadowofYogSothothcoverscan.thumb.png.0bc0130bb6b6210dcbdcf5cd8ff13288.png

Shadows of Yog-Sothoth (1982) was the first-ever Call of Cthulhu campaign, and is one of the five supplements we're reprinting in the Call of Cthulhu Classic Kickstarter, currently underway.

As Black Gate Magazine said about it back in 2013, "When Sandy Peterson’s Call of Cthulhu was first released as a boxed set in 1981, the entire industry took notice. Here was the first truly appealing contemporary (or, at least, semi-contemporary) role playing game, which drew on the horrifying cosmic milieu and fabulous bestiary of none other than H.P. Lovecraft. It was an instant hit. But by itself, Call of Cthulhu was just a fascinating oddity. It wasn’t until Chaosium released Shadows of Yog-Sothoth, A Global Campaign to Save Mankind a year later that we realized what the game was truly capable of."

Here's what reviewers have said about this seminal Call of Cthulhu work over the years:

Shadows of Yog-Sothoth (1982)

"The importance of Shadows of Yog-Sothoth cannot be overstated. The first campaign for Call of Cthulhu, it paved the way for many classics to come and it introduced the concept of the onionskin campaign. This has the investigators stripping away layers of information like the skin of an onion as the players progress through the campaign, revealing more of the evil cult’s plans and coming closer to the heart of the adventure." — Matthew Pook review, The Unspeakable Oath.

"Of course, the explicit linking of seven adventures into "a global campaign to save mankind" is precisely what made this product so revolutionary in its day (1982). Shadows of Yog-Sothoth was a complete, pre-scripted campaign in about 60 pages, giving the Keeper everything he needed to keep his players' busy for months. It's not hard to see why it was so well received by gamers and critics alike." — Grognardia.

"Shadows of Yog-Sothoth (1982) is the first campaign for Call of Cthulhu. Being the first, it is considered a classic [...] and it is, but it only shows some of the promise that would be achieved by the game in the future.... Of particular note is Carl Stanford, the primary antagonist. A cunning sorcerer, he’s probably one of the Call of Cthulhu game’s most memorable adversaries." — Vintage RPG.

"Chaosium makes an indelible impact on the role-playing hobby." — Video Review by RPG Imaginings:



"A gem of a piece that puts more modern fare to shame... It's the epitome of Cthulhu campaigns where investigators face the Great Old One himself and decide the fate of the entire world!" — Stephen Joseph Ellis review, RPGNet.

"Shadows of Yog-Sothoth should provide some exciting CoC play for even the most experienced investigators (despite the odd fact that Yog-Sothoth never makes an appearance, title or not), and I recommend it to all Lovecraftians." — William A. Barton review, Space Gamer #60.

"10 out 10: All in all the Shadows of Yog-Sothoth is an excellent and masterly campaign that demands a high standard of play throughout. It is well presented [...] and carefully managed throughout, and it provides, I believe, the most exciting and satisfying adventure available on the market to date. It might seem expensive but it is worth every penny." — Ian Bailey review, White Dwarf #44.

"The adventures are unusual and the atmosphere exotic and terrifying. Yog-Sothoth is a classic example of role-playing horror, with awesome monsters, desperate victims, and an atmosphere of mystery and menace. Since it provides enough material for a campaign of several months’ duration, it is an excellent value." — Ken Rolston review, Dragon Magazine #81.

"Opportunities for role-playing, investigation, and combat abound with nameless horrors and the depraved cultists who worship the creatures of darkness." — Jim Bambra review, Dragon Magazine #158.

"Shadows of Yog-Sothoth is an epic, self-contained campaign which first introduced role players to the kind of play demanded by CoC. Players who treated Cthulhu and his minions as simply big D&D monsters, chubby creatures ready to be harvested for their experience point value, were in for a rude awakening." — Black Gate.

 

Michael O'Brien

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Publisher
trailoftsathogghuacover.jpeg

"This one small scenario has done more to draw role-players to Call of Cthulhu than anything ever published for CoC, and I had the desire to exploit the concept to the max."

In a 2007 essay for Electronic Book Review,Trail of Tsathogghua author the late Keith Herber talks about his scenario in that book "The Haunted House", and how it builds on Sandy Petersen's original 'Haunted House' mini-adventure that came in the Call of Cthulhu core rules.

"I wanted a scenario that threatened to drive investigators mad, rather than simply tearing them to pieces. I also wanted to see if I could create a scenario so difficult to unravel that most investigating parties would eventually give up and leave without solving the mystery, without destroying the haunt that inhabited the house. I wanted an adventure that would leave players with stories to tell. Best of all, it utilized the moral ambiguity inherent to Lovecraft and CoC. The haunt isn't really bothering anyone - save the rich man who inherited the house. The investigators - who generally assume themselves to be "good" - are actually there to evict the supernatural tenant and will be paid money for destroying a creature who is actually bothering almost no one."

Here's what reviewers have said about this influential Call of Cthulhu work over the years:

Trail of Tsathogghua (1984)

"Man, Trail of Tsathogghua (1984) has the best cover art of early Call of Cthulhu books, hands down. Eisner award winning creator Steve Purcell is the culprit and I quite like his interiors too.

The standalone [scenario] “The Haunted House,” is a damn classic... the twist at its heart is so good. It is also maybe the Call of Cthulhu investigation with the most difficult to unearth solution. I expect a good number of players have given up without solving it. And it is in this scenario you can see Keith Herber’s future brilliance the clearest." — Vintage RPG.

"Best Call of Cthulhu adventure? 'The Haunted House' from Trail of Tsathogghua. Talking about it is a spoiler, but it's a brilliant premise." — Abject Questioner, RPGNet.

"One of the best covers of the Call of Cthulhu RPG." — The Outer Topic.

"If you've been happily devouring Chaosium's Cthulhu releases, rest assured that Trail of Tsathogghua is another top-notch effort. This is roleplaying at its finest, and I'm ready for the next one. And who knows . . . maybe it'll even have a title I can pronounce." — Rick Swan review, The Space Gamer #75.

 

Michael O'Brien

Hero
Publisher
Having passed $300,000 in our Call of Cthulhu Classic Kickstarter it's on to the next Stretch Goal:

$350,000 Stretch Goal - Arkham Poster Map​

Those character and monster silhouettes, not to mention any miniatures you may already own, deserve a big enough Arkham map to walk (and stomp) around on. Thus, if this stretch goal gets funded we will add a free printed color poster map of Arkham into each boxed set.

All $20 backer levels and higher will get a free PDF of this map!


BTW, RuneQuest fans, did you know this map Glorantha easter egg?
 

Michael O'Brien

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Publisher
asylum.jpeg

Late last week as part of our Call of Cthulhu 40th anniversary Becca Scott and friends played the scenario "The Auction". This adventure is part of the 1983 Call of Cthulhu release The Asylum & Other Tales, one of the five supplements we're reprinting in the Call of Cthulhu Classic Kickstarter, currently underway.

If you watch Becca and her investigators in action you can see just how easy it is to play these classic scenarios with the current 7th edition rules!



Here's what reviewers have said about The Asylum & Other Tales over the years:

The Asylum & Other Tales (1983)

"Considering its early release date (1983), The Asylum & Other Tales is quite a remarkable product, filled with lots of modular material for use by a harried Keeper. I learned a great deal about crafting good – and not so good – Call of Cthulhu adventures from it. In fact, thinking back on the book and its scenarios makes me wish I were refereeing a Call of Cthulhu campaign right now." — Grognardia.

"The Asylum is a collection of cases designed to make your characters feel cursed." — Vintage RPG.

"The title scenario and 'The Auction' are strong. Only 'Black Devil Mountain' really stinks (I suppose this scenario was written in 1983, and scenario writers hadn't quite got the hang of the whole "not D&D" thing yet). All the others are good, solid Cthulhu scenarios. All in all, a good package." — James Holloway review, RPGNet.

"9 out of 10: Asylum is a neat collection providing short interesting adventures... Quality-wise it compares very favourably with Shadows [of Yog-Sothoth]." — Jon Sutherland review, White Dwarf #47.

“Overall, this is a fine collection of Lovecraftian adventures will worth the attention of enthusiastic keepers and completist fans of H.P. Lovecraft.” — Anders Swenson review, Different Worlds #35.

"A worthy addition to the Cthulhu Mythos and should be snatched up hand and tentacle by all CoC Keepers.” — William A. Barton review, Fantasy Gamer #5.

"All together the seven scenarios in The Asylum & Other Tales present a snapshot of Call of Cthulhu writing as it was in 1983, just as the writers were laying down many of the ideas that authors have since revisited again and again. They feel rough and ready, but no less playable and whilst it it might one of the worst scenarios ever published for Call of Cthulhu, it is fortunate that all of the other scenarios more than make up for ‘Black Devil Mountain’... ‘The Auction’ is still a classic and undoubtedly the star of the anthology." — Reviews from R'lyeh.

 

Michael O'Brien

Hero
Publisher
Having passed $400,000 in our Call of Cthulhu Classic Kickstarter it's on to the next Stretch Goal:

$450,000 Stretch Goal - 34" x 11" Size Comparison Poster​

Today is shaping up to be an historic and epic day. Not only did we achieve another stretch goal "out of the shadows", but we are about to set a new record for the number of backers on a single one of our projects, 3698. That surpasses the number we had for our Miskatonic University: The Restricted Collection campaign in 2018. It's an honor to have so many of you join us for this campaign to bring back into print some of the "Great Old Ones". (update: we're now at 3740 backers!)

As for the stretch goal we just achieved, we will be adding a free printed page of new Silhouettes into each printed box set. All $20 backer levels and higher will get a free PDF of the new Silhouettes created by Simon Bray. Of course, that also means it is time for another stretch goal, and this one stretches out into a long poster...

Call of Cthulhu Classic Kickstarter

The Size Comparison Chart, in Monstrous Size​

 

Michael O'Brien

Hero
Publisher
cthulhu-companion-cover.png

The Cthulhu Companion was first published in 1983, and one of the five supplements we're reprinting in the Call of Cthulhu Classic Kickstarter, currently underway. It features a compilation of articles from a wide variety of writers, including additional skills for the game, details on prison systems of the 1930s world, an expansion of the Sanity condition, a selection of gods and monsters, and three ready-to-play scenarios. And, as the H.P.Lovecraft Wiki notes, even some poetry by HPL himself! The cover art is by Chris Marrinan.

Here's what reviewers have said about The Cthulhu Companion over the years:

The Cthulhu Companion (1983)

"5 STARS - This supplement contains two "scholarly" essays that are well enough written that I used them as player handouts in my original game when my player group was researching the nature of the "threat" during some "downtime" between adventures! In addition there are four new scenarios, one of which, "The Secret of Castronegro," was a particular hit with my group and became the stuff of legends as time went by." — Jeffrey V, DTRPG.

"7/10 – The scenarios are quite good" — Jon Sutherland, White Dwarf #51.

"Its only failure is that it is merely a good solid work instead of the brilliance I was expecting." — Steve Marsh, Different Worlds #36.

"...it is to be hoped that future supplements will maintain the very impressive standard of the Cthulhu Companion. The value for money is excellent, and no Call of Cthulhu referee can afford to be without it." — Graeme Davis, Imagine Magazine.

"To my knowledge... the Mesoamerica essay has never been reprinted, which is a shame. Written by Richard L. Tierney, a mainstay of American Weird Fiction best known for his series of Red Sonja novels and his Simon of Gitta stories, the essay is a fascinating exercise in comparative religion, revealing the secret truth of the Cthulhu Mythos lurking in the hearts of human faiths." — Vintage RPG

Your chance to get copies of these long out-of-print releases without paying collector prices:
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
Call of Cthulhu has been on my tabletop bucket list for a while, but the stars might be right to.pull the trigger with this opportunity.
 

darjr

I crit!
Call of Cthulhu has been on my tabletop bucket list for a while, but the stars might be right to.pull the trigger with this opportunity.
Also think on this, it’s future compatibility with the latest editions means it opens up the entire library of wonderful horror of all Call of Cthulhu
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Also think on this, it’s future compatibility with the latest editions means it opens up the entire library of wonderful horror of all Call of Cthulhu
For sure, been looking into it and it seems it would be smooth sailing to start with this boxed set and move out to more modern material as desired.
 

darjr

I crit!
On a personal note, if funding this puts money in the pocket of the live steamers promoting with their game that’s a sweet bonus. Also I think I like this kind of marketing. It’s both sales/marketing and tutorial and super entertaining.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
On a personal note, if funding this puts money in the pocket of the live steamers promoting with their game that’s a sweet bonus. Also I think I like this kind of marketing. It’s both sales/marketing and tutorial and super entertaining.
Watching some Call of Cthulu streamed by Cditical Role was a major inspiration to want to try the game (that and Arkham Horror being one of my all-time favorite board games, no thrill quite as cathartic as achieving a win state in that game). It has that smooth gameply style I like.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I have actually played Call of Cthulu d20, back in the day: set in the then-present day, encountering Eldritch Horrors on Telegraph Avenue and the UC Berkeley campus. Good times.
 

Michael O'Brien

Hero
Publisher
fragments-of-fear-cover.jpeg

As Phil Frances wrote in White Dwarf #75, "Chaosium’s companion packs should be pretty familiar by now, and the company’s intention to publish bits of lore too odd to fit in elsewhere is essentially an admirable one. The latest collection of oddities is the Second Cthulhu Companion, also known as Fragments of Fear…"

Fragments of Fear
was first published in 1985, and one of the five supplements we're reprinting in the Call of Cthulhu Classic Kickstarter, currently underway. The cover art is by Tom Sullivan.

Here's what reviewers have said about Fragments of Fear over the years:

Fragments of Fear (the Second Cthulhu Companion) (1985)

"All in all, worth every penny I spent on it. I strongly recommend it for the additional scenarios if nothing else, and it easily earns 5 stars from me." — Jeffrey V., DriveThruRPG.

"In the question and answer chapter (Sandy) Petersen explains reading Mythos tomes takes months because the authors badly handwrite obscure words, making occult and literary references unknown without further research. He answers the questions, “How do I learn a language in Cthulhu?” “Why must my character lose multiple SAN for seeing multiple monsters? and “Why can’t my character get used to seeing common Mythos monsters?” His answer to the last question changed the way my group plays, and my change your ways as well." — Guy Hail, Space Gamer/Fantasy Gamer #79.

"The best part of Fragments of Fear is the fold out size comparison chart, which displays the relative sizes of most of the monsters and gods in the game... the weirdest thing is a selection of quotes of historical ritual curses compiled by Sandy Petersen." — Vintage RPG.

"Best known for its foldout size comparison of various Mythos gods and entities." — Reviews from R'lyeh.

nb if we hit our next Stretch Goal that Size Comparison chart will be included as a poster!
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Michael O'Brien

Hero
Publisher
BTW the boxed sets and PDFs on offer are not only packed-full of nostalgia from the birth of the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game in 1981, but are also fully compatible with the 7th Edition of the game!

Call of Cthulhu Classic Kickstarter
 

Michael O'Brien

Hero
Publisher
4000 Backers and still just under a week to go! Thank you to everyone so far joining our 40th year celebration!

Remember, our strategy for delivery of this Kickstarter has three key phases:

ONE - Within 1-2 weeks of this campaign ending we will distribute to backers all of their PDFs. ALL of them. They're already done. For Digital only backers this Kickstarter will be done and delivered.

TWO - Within a month of this Kickstarter ending all of the print files will go to our print partner for printing, collation, and then shipment to our warehouses. We will also make last calls for address updates.

THREE - Once the boxed sets are in our 5 fulfillment warehouses (USA, UK, EU, AUS, CAN) we will ship out everyone's boxed set(s) in a very timely fashion.

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