Green Ronin Announces 'Cthulhu Awakens' RPG

Green Ronin has announced a new standalone Cthulhu mythos tabletop RPG. It will come to Kickstarter in February, and is described as an inclusive take on Lovecraftian canon, powered by by their in-house Adventure Game Engine. The game takes place at any time in the last century, which it describes as the 'Weird Century'.

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Green Ronin Publishing is proud to announce that its latest AGE System roleplaying game, Cthulhu Awakens, will begin crowdfunding on Kickstarter on February 15, 2022. Cthulhu Awakens is a complete roleplaying game where a diverse set of protagonists confront the horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos. It will be a 270+ page full color hardback book, with additional material unlockable through Kickstarter stretch goals.

Cthulhu Awakens deviates from Lovecraftian “canon” in the interests of creating an inclusive setting fit for the roleplaying campaign medium. In the game the original Mythos stories hinted at the truth, but it was obscured by their authors’ biases and fallibilities. Cthulhu Awakens creates a distinct vision of the Mythos that provides a new springboard for Cosmic Horror roleplaying. It allows you to play at any point between the 1920s and the present day, through a period it calls “the Weird Century.”

Cthulhu Awakens is a stand-alone RPG powered by Green Ronin’s popular Adventure Game Engine (AGE), a dynamic and easy to learn system whose games include Fantasy AGE, Modern AGE, Blue Rose: The Roleplaying Game of Romantic Fantasy, and the licensed RPGs Dragon Age and The Expanse. Cthulhu Awakens evolves the Modern AGE rules, customizing them for the Cosmic Horror genre, but the game is also substantially compatible with other AGE RPGs.

“The Cthulhu Mythos is one of the pillars of modern roleplaying,” said Green Ronin Publishing president Chris Pramas, “so with the success of Modern AGE it was only natural we explore it, but we wanted to make sure we had the right team and a distinct, inclusive direction for the game.” The writing and design team for Cthulhu Awakens includes Sharang Biswas, David Castro, Elizabeth Chaipraditkul, Hiromi Cota, H.D. Ingham, Khaldoun Khelil, Danielle Lauzon, Ian Lemke, Monte Lin, Jack Norris, and Malcolm Sheppard.

The February 15, 2022, Kickstarter will not only fund a physical release of the book estimated by the end of 2022, but it will also include stretch goals for things like adventures and VTT token packs, plus options to explore other AGE System games at a discount. The campaign also features a special offering for backers in its first 48 hours.


H.P. Lovecraft, creator of the Cthulhu Mythos (beginning with the short story The Call of Cthulhu in 1928) is well known for his racist views which are reflected in his works. Much of the Cthulhu Mythos itself, including Lovecraft's own work, has been in the public domain since the 1980s.
 

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lyle.spade

Adventurer
Anyone familiar with the system? Seems like they are wading into an increasingly crowded field.
I wrote a review of the Fantasy AGE version of this system a few years ago - you can read it on ENWorld here.

In short, I do not like the system. It offers some interesting mechanics to provide players with some variety of actions, but they end up making for a cumbersome experience at the table. Characters are pretty flat, mechanically, so if you're used to 5e-style growth you might not enjoy it. Also, if you like systems that provide clear guidance for creating encounters of various levels of difficulty, forget it - there's nothing in this to help there (not in the fantasy version, at least).

I ran it with a home-brew fantasy world for several months not long after it came out, using the core rules, bestiary, and GM's screen, and we all soured on it for a variety of reasons, and I sold all the stuff.
 

Ghost2020

Adventurer
Modern AGE is a slightly different system. It has 3 levels, Cinematic, Gritty and Pulp. Which I hope that this takes into account. They've modified some of the rules a bit. Seems to be a slick system that can do just about any modern setting.

The Fantasy AGE system had hit point bloat, and some other issues, which should be remedied with the revised corebook later this year.
 

Ghost2020

Adventurer
Interested to see what kind of value the stretch goals add. Green Ronin's crowdfunding to date has been "pay us MSRP plus shipping and maybe get a free PDF that most other companies hand out for free with physical purchase already but we don't because we're Green Ronin. "
Ugh, isn't that the truth?
 

I ran it with a home-brew fantasy world for several months not long after it came out, using the core rules, bestiary, and GM's screen, and we all soured on it for a variety of reasons, and I sold all the stuff.

GR lists those as the Basic rules and is now coming out with a Core book that will include bits from the Bestiary and the F:Companion.

I like the system, but I agree the Basic version seems rushed and it was greatly improved with the F:AGE Companion. OTH for beginners, I like the concept of rolling and getting a cool thing vs trying for a cool thing and hoping you roll lucky.

A lot of those lessons obviously went into Modern AGE, which has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to tweaking for a genre and different categories of Stunts. I can see myself preferring to use M:AGE for a modern game instead of using a 5e Modern.

AGE also seems to be GR house system in the same way Free League, Modiphius, and of course Chaosium. A core set of mechanics that are modified for each game.

For example with the Expanse, you don't have HP, you have Fortune. Which in addition to acting like HP can also be spent to modify rolls. There is also the Churn, which is building bad karma. It's the other shoe waiting to drop, especially if you've been on a roll for a while.
 
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I'm interested in seeing what they bring to the table regarding their deviations from "canon."

If I had to guess (and apparently I have to, since I can't resist) I'd imagine they're getting rid of some of the exoticism (all those mythos cults originating in non-Western cultures) and reframing the Deep One narrative and mythology to be less of a racist allegory. Saying that you're inherently inhuman and evil because of your grandparents' heritage is about as gross as it gets.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
If I had to guess (and apparently I have to, since I can't resist) I'd imagine they're getting rid of some of the exoticism (all those mythos cults originating in non-Western cultures) and reframing the Deep One narrative and mythology to be less of a racist allegory. Saying that you're inherently inhuman and evil because of your grandparents' heritage is about as gross as it gets.
If you read Shadow out of Innsmouth without the immediate assumption that "alien" means "evil" it reads entirely differently. It's a story of a town that has a beneficial relationship with a bunch of Atlanteans off their coast that gets raided by the US government and its citizens put into internment camps. IIRC the Deep Ones don't really even have any evil plans - they just have a mutually beneficial relationship with their relatives in Innsmouth.

The story reads very differently in an era where a movie like "The Shape of Water" gets a wide popular release :)
 

Saying that you're inherently inhuman and evil because of your grandparents' heritage is about as gross as it gets.

My MMO crew are playing Star Wars:TOR and we're at the storyline where we learn the ancient Republic has a prison planet where even the children of the prisoners are immediately incarcerated for their parent's crimes. All of us where like, "Even if we were playing Sith, we'd be busting down this house."
 

If you read Shadow out of Innsmouth without the immediate assumption that "alien" means "evil" it reads entirely differently. It's a story of a town that has a beneficial relationship with a bunch of Atlanteans off their coast that gets raided by the US government and its citizens put into internment camps. IIRC the Deep Ones don't really even have any evil plans - they just have a mutually beneficial relationship with their relatives in Innsmouth.

The story reads very differently in an era where a movie like "The Shape of Water" gets a wide popular release :)

I don't remember the title, but there's a series of stories about that exact take.
 


If you read Shadow out of Innsmouth without the immediate assumption that "alien" means "evil" it reads entirely differently. It's a story of a town that has a beneficial relationship with a bunch of Atlanteans off their coast that gets raided by the US government and its citizens put into internment camps. IIRC the Deep Ones don't really even have any evil plans - they just have a mutually beneficial relationship with their relatives in Innsmouth.

The story reads very differently in an era where a movie like "The Shape of Water" gets a wide popular release :)

That's a very charitable read right there, which sets aside the clear revulsion the protagonist (and no doubt our boy H.P.) has toward these low-born, racially impure bog people. I just did a big re-read of a lot of Lovecraft, and with rare exceptions (like The Whisperer in Darkness) I thought the racism was even worse than I imagined, based on the overall critical reassessment. Just vile nonsense all over the place. And even in Shadow Over Innsmouth we get the protagonist returning to his kind as the chilling horror story conclusion, plus the extremely rare-for-Lovecraft inclusion of someone--in this case the U.S. government--taking direct action against monstrosities, conducting a pogrom and military attack that cleanses the town and blows the hell out of its mixed-race inhabitants' even more benighted ancestors. Every ethnonationalist's dream!

A better writer, or one without Lovecraft's race panic, could have built some ambiguity into the story, with the protagonist eventually finding some beauty in the fish-smelling folk with their bulging eyes and flat noses, and even painted his final surrender as a kind of victory. Lovecraft didn't do that. Remember, this is the guy who once wrote Sprague de Camp that “To be a member of a pure-blooded race ought to be the greatest achievement in life!”

(And I know Lovecraft and his racism is a tired old topic by now, but I think Alan Moore's Providence does a great job of reframing what's interesting about his work while also absolutely skewering the dreary, ridiculous man himself.)
 

My MMO crew are playing Star Wars:TOR and we're at the storyline where we learn the ancient Republic has a prison planet where even the children of the prisoners are immediately incarcerated for their parent's crimes. All of us where like, "Even if we were playing Sith, we'd be busting down this house."

The Sith would have just executed them all or used them as slave labor, rather than just been prisoners.
 


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