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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darjr

I crit!
Player rolls and gets triple 6s
Player: my investigator will use 6 stunt points to push the shoggoth 20 feet back. Take-li-li that, sludge face!
Microscopic shogoth invaders enter your blood stream via the skin in the palm of your hands and begin to turn your meat into mor shoggoths until, a few weeks later, you melt into a pile of slimy shoggoths who begin a war to devour each other that eventually engulphs the fates of an entire midwestern city.
 

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Scarlet.Knight

Explorer
Microscopic shogoth invaders enter your blood stream via the skin in the palm of your hands and begin to turn your meat into mor shoggoths until, a few weeks later, you melt into a pile of slimy shoggoths who begin a war to devour each other that eventually engulphs the fates of an entire midwestern city.
But but but
It doesn't say that on the shoggoth stat block
pouts
 

Retreater

Legend
I was a big fan of Lovecraft when I first discovered him when I was a high schooler in the 1990s. Some of the fiction felt icky then, and certainly does now even more as times have changed and I've matured.
I do like Call of Cthulhu, but I think it's time to let Lovecraft go. I think it might be one thing if you have an RPG that has been around 40 years like Chaosium's, and you make efforts to update that (especially with titles like Harlem Unbound.) But to create a new RPG product line meant to capitalize on the public's knowledge of the writer and mythology, I think that's unnecessary in the bloated market and disingenuous in its intent.
And it's not like Lovecraft had a few problematic words here and there (like Mark Twain). Thematically, it was that he was xenophobic and racist. You can't remove that from his works. The core of his works and worldview is so problematic that I don't think it belongs in pop culture. The fiction can exist as an uncomfortable scholarly curiosity for students of literature, but to put it in games and plushies is like publishing an RPG based on "The Birth of a Nation (1915)."
 

MGibster

Legend
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.
That mutually beneficial arrangement includes human sacrifices. When the town arrested Obed and his followers, the Deep Ones showed up and slaughtered half the town to rescue their pals. The remaining townsfolk didn’t go along with the breeding program by choice.
 

Aldarc

Legend
The AGE System is fun, a nice mix of ease to run, learn, and play. I find that it's an easier game than 5e D&D when it comes to introducing neophytes to TTRPGs. I also took part in the playtest of the upcoming new rules for the Core Rulebook, alongside several other familiar names in this thread.

Cthulhu Mythos isn't really my cup of tea, but I am tentatively interested in this product.
 


I have very mixed feelings about how this material is being pitched. I want all games materials to be created in a way that fosters inclusion. I do feel as if, based on wording, this product is claiming that other Cthulhu Mythos games by other publishers in some way reinforce the failings of the setting's origins. I feel that does not give companies like Chaosium enough credit.
 

Retreater

Legend
I don’t think we should abandon Lovecraft. He’s not making anything from this.
Just because you're not giving money to an artist doesn't mean that you aren't giving them headspace, the value of your thought. That negativity can be insidious in geek culture, especially in impressionable young people. And elevating HPL as a master of the genre and pop culture icon is unwelcoming to many people. Frankly, it makes us look bad.
I do think we should keep our eyes open.
I agree. And that's why it's important to discuss works from authors like HPL ... in the proper setting. I think that pop culture, games, Pop Vinyls, plushies, etc., is not the place for that.

Imagine if Ed Greenwood had published the stuff HPL did and had that baked into the Forgotten Realms. Would you still want to play in the Forgotten Realms? Would it be okay if someone else tried to smooth over the themes and re-publish it? Or would you prefer to draw from the wealth of other fiction and creative artists to make something new without being tied to the reprehensible origins?
 

Aldarc

Legend
I have very mixed feelings about how this material is being pitched. I want all games materials to be created in a way that fosters inclusion. I do feel as if, based on wording, this product is claiming that other Cthulhu Mythos games by other publishers in some way reinforce the failings of the setting's origins. I feel that does not give companies like Chaosium enough credit.
I'm not sure this is the thread to discuss why that may be the case or relatively recent behind the scenes controversies regarding some of the high profile people associated with these other companies.
 

Just because you're not giving money to an artist doesn't mean that you aren't giving them headspace, the value of your thought. That negativity can be insidious in geek culture, especially in impressionable young people. And elevating HPL as a master of the genre and pop culture icon is unwelcoming to many people. Frankly, it makes us look bad.

I agree. And that's why it's important to discuss works from authors like HPL ... in the proper setting. I think that pop culture, games, Pop Vinyls, plushies, etc., is not the place for that.

Imagine if Ed Greenwood had published the stuff HPL did and had that baked into the Forgotten Realms. Would you still want to play in the Forgotten Realms? Would it be okay if someone else tried to smooth over the themes and re-publish it? Or would you prefer to draw from the wealth of other fiction and creative artists to make something new without being tied to the reprehensible origins?
I feel these are valid concerns. However, there are much larger targets of Geek properties that provide shelter to bad actors. Geekdom has a large problem of poor media literacy and satire. See WH40K. See Judge Dredd. See Starship Troopers. See the Empire in Star Wars.

As a mild derailment, part of the appeal of using HPL all over the place is that he is free and clear for everyone to use. When in doubt, release a Cthulhu version of your product. It costs nothing.
 


Just because you're not giving money to an artist doesn't mean that you aren't giving them headspace, the value of your thought. That negativity can be insidious in geek culture, especially in impressionable young people. And elevating HPL as a master of the genre and pop culture icon is unwelcoming to many people. Frankly, it makes us look bad.

I agree. And that's why it's important to discuss works from authors like HPL ... in the proper setting. I think that pop culture, games, Pop Vinyls, plushies, etc., is not the place for that.

Imagine if Ed Greenwood had published the stuff HPL did and had that baked into the Forgotten Realms. Would you still want to play in the Forgotten Realms? Would it be okay if someone else tried to smooth over the themes and re-publish it? Or would you prefer to draw from the wealth of other fiction and creative artists to make something new without being tied to the reprehensible origins?

Thing that got me is, Cthulhu and his ilk are completely non-racist. They don't care what color or sex you are. We're all insignificant scum. The Mythos is too big and incomprehensible for any human culture to understand.
 


Retreater

Legend
Thing that got me is, Cthulhu and his ilk are completely non-racist. They don't care what color or sex you are. We're all insignificant scum. The Mythos is too big and incomprehensible for any human culture to understand.
Except if you look at the HPL's fiction, who are the ones who typically bring the evil into the world? Where are the cults located? The South Pacific? The Pacific Islander wife in Innsmouth? The Mad Abdul who wrote the Necronomicon? The African Americans in the Bayou?
In his world view, it's the degenerate "other" people who intermarry, bring their cultures to "noble" Anglo-Saxon society.
So even if Cthulhu is non-discriminatory in his world-ending schemes, the writer clearly shows that non-white cultures are more likely to be swayed by the evil.

I'm not criticizing anyone for reading HPL or playing the games. I don't want my posts to come across that way. I'm saying only that for my tastes, for my sanity (if you will), I limit my exposure to HPL. It's not welcome in my headspace.
 

I don’t think we should abandon Lovecraft. He’s not making anything from this.

I do think we should keep our eyes open.

And sometimes I do see themes reinvested that I’d rather not. Not in this green ronin thing though.

It surprises me how many people haven't seen the new wave of Mythos stories in the last 8 years that turns this around, especially by POC writers. A lot of it became award winning stuff about the monsters both mythos and (racist) man.

Harlem Unbound, the RPG
The Ballad of Tom Black
Lovecraft Country (which was an HBO series)
The Innsmouth Legacy (“A mythos yarn that totally reverses the polarity on Lovecraft’s xenophobia, so that in the end the only real monsters are human beings.” –Charles Stross,)

Harlem-Unbound.jpg
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member

Retreater

Legend
It surprises me how many people haven't seen the new wave of Mythos stories in the last 8 years that turns this around, especially by POC writers. A lot of it became award winning stuff about the monsters both mythos and (racist) man.
I'm aware of these. Good on them.
So we have Harlem Unbound. Do we need to keep reimagining Lovecraft in ways that aren't deplorable? Maybe just say, "yes, he's a terrible racist. Let's not read him for fun anymore and make games based of his damaging worldview."
 

That's the thing about Lovecraft. His creations, his worldbuilding is very much informed and suffused by by his hatreds and fears. It's not just that he was more virulently racist than his contemporaries, but also that it's baked into his writings.

Thing that got me is, Cthulhu and his ilk are completely non-racist. They don't care what color or sex you are. We're all insignificant scum. The Mythos is too big and incomprehensible for any human culture to understand.

At this point I'd much rather read something by the new people working to redress the racism of Lovecraft than Lovecraft himself. Ballad of Black Tom is so good!

From time to time I think about revisiting Lovecraft's works, but then I look at my to-read pile and am reminded of all the better and/or more enjoyable things out there to read.

It surprises me how many people haven't seen the new wave of Mythos stories in the last 8 years that turns this around, especially by POC writers. A lot of it became award winning stuff about the monsters both mythos and (racist) man.

Harlem Unbound, the RPG
The Ballad of Tom Black
Lovecraft Country (which was an HBO series)
 

I'm aware of these. Good on them.
So we have Harlem Unbound. Do we need to keep reimagining Lovecraft in ways that aren't deplorable? Maybe just say, "yes, he's a terrible racist. Let's not read him for fun anymore and make games based of his damaging worldview."
Yep. That's going on as well.

For RPGs, there's a rising interest in the Yellow King since he existed prior to being adopted into the Mythos and Robert W. Chambers is hands down a better writer.(don't forget that HPL did a lot of borrowing back in the day when that was seen as flattery, not as theft.)

And the Yellow King RPG is crazy. You play in four different time periods/dimensions with PCs that are related to each other (if not actually being the same person.) Even cooler, the slipcase uses magnets to unfold into being a GM screen.

Not to mention the entire genre has been renamed Cosmic Horror as way to further divorce it from HPL.
 


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