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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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.
I think you have to read the source material to fully appreciate how deeply xenophobic it is. Not saying you haven't, but in the abstract it's possibly to downplay HPL's views. They show up again and again in the writing, though. And part of his innovation was connecting so many of his stories (and his contemporaries'), so when he talks about a race of savage yellow men overtaking the dominant white people in the dreamlands or some future epoch--I believe it happens at least twice, on separate occasions--that's the same universe as his more Mythos-focused stories.

That said, I still really love some games and narratives that have sort reclaimed or recontextualized Mythos stuff. Like Delta Green works, for me, in part because you're not really playing the good guys. That game is written by some very iconoclastic, antiestablishment folks, and it's no accident that you often play government agents who are disappearing civilians and suppressing the truth, on your way to losing all ties with friends and family and potentially breaking so bad you go over to the other side. So when in DG you're investigating a pharma company with roots in some cult-like faith in Southeast Asia, the tensions are right there, and, imo, they're unsettling by design.

But I think @Retreater makes a great point going forward. It's 2022. Do we really need to keep digging up HPL and then tying ourselves in knots justifying it? Let's tell some new stories.
 

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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."
Sith PC: Hey we maybe Sith, but we have standards at least.

Also reminds me a bit of the Grey/Light Side option for the Sith Inquisitor, which I really dig/enjoyed.
 


I always wanted to get into Fantasy AGE because I just want to simply jack its Stunts list and port it over right into the Stunt list for the Dragon Age Tabletop RPG, which is powered by the AGE system.


Totally want to play as a Dragon Age 3 Knight Enchanter who's in love, and in a relationship, with her Templar handler. Which makes things hella complicated for both of em.
 

If you look at Lovecraft's contemporaries and antecedents, there are many tales of cosmic horror and unknowable, unspeakable abominations being written before and during Lovecraft's era. Tons of stories without (or with far fewer, at the least) problematic elements from William Hope Hodgson, Arthur Machen, M.R. James, Clark Ashton Smith, and more. Sometimes I think Lovecraft just had the better marketing team after his death.

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.
 

Retreater

Legend
If you look at Lovecraft's contemporaries and antecedents, there are many tales of cosmic horror and unknowable, unspeakable abominations being written before and during Lovecraft's era. Tons of stories without (or with far fewer, at the least) problematic elements from William Hope Hodgson, Arthur Machen, M.R. James, Clark Ashton Smith, and more. Sometimes I think Lovecraft just had the better marketing team after his death.
Yes, many authors carried the Lovecraft torch with their pastiches. Some of those authors you mentioned I vastly prefer stylistically to HPL.
 

If you look at Lovecraft's contemporaries and antecedents, there are many tales of cosmic horror and unknowable, unspeakable abominations being written before and during Lovecraft's era. Tons of stories without (or with far fewer, at the least) problematic elements from William Hope Hodgson, Arthur Machen, M.R. James, Clark Ashton Smith, and more. Sometimes I think Lovecraft just had the better marketing team after his death.

But I think @Retreater makes a great point going forward. It's 2022. Do we really need to keep digging up HPL and then tying ourselves in knots justifying it? Let's tell some new stories.

Frankly it is also because a good chunk of his work is in the public domain while many other estates, like the ones for Clark Ashton Smith, are known to be either litigious and not overly excited to have a gaming project attached to their name. Especially when they see how small the offers are for a license fee that come from a medium to small RPG company.

RPG projects have such small budgets that free is much better than a license or fighting a C&D letter in court. That goes double for individual fiction authors.
 

Scarlet.Knight

Explorer
Green Ronin used to do fun stuff, like the Black Company and Thieves World. Now they are doing yet another Mythos game.
Probably has to do with the Lovecraft IP being free to use (unless I'm mistaken) while still being popular. Despite the abundance of Mythos games out there, I'm curious to see what GR's crew can pull off with this content.
 

Abraham Merritt is another one that comes to mind. The point remains that Lovecraft's work is not as special or unique as people made it out to be for decades. I remember talking to some Lovecraft "scholars" back in the 00s and they were so immediately dismissive of the other pulp authors.

Yes, many authors carried the Lovecraft torch with their pastiches. Some of those authors you mentioned I vastly prefer stylistically to HPL.

That's a shame, because I would absolutely love to see a Hyperborea, Poseidonis, or other CAS-based setting. DCC RPG would be a great fit.

Frankly it is also because a good chunk of his work is in the public domain while many other estates, like the ones for Clark Ashton Smith, are known to be either litigious and not overly excited to have a gaming project attached to their name. Especially when they see how small the offers are for a license fee that come from a medium to small RPG company.

RPG projects have such small budgets that free is much better than a license or fighting a C&D letter in court. That goes double for individual fiction authors.
 



MGibster

Legend
Yes, many authors carried the Lovecraft torch with their pastiches. Some of those authors you mentioned I vastly prefer stylistically to HPL.
I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't be a fan of Lovecraft's ponderous, elephantine, and maladroit prose. On second thought, now that I've written that out, yeah, I can see why people aren't a fan. I find his style somewhat endearing but probably in a similar way that someone might like a stinky cheese. I'll note that even authors who were influenced by Lovecraft sure don't write like him. Stephen King's Revival is a pretty good Lovecraftian story but certainly isn't written in the same style.
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
So Lovecraft and the Mythos are probably as big as they have ever been. Which is why we are getting this game...

But we don't need it. CoC is in a really good place right now, as is Chaosium. CoC is not a hard to learn game, its probably relatively easy to find a (virtual) table for it--not as easy as 5e, but compared to just about everything else, and there are plenty of great adventures for it, which are problematic only to the extent that your investigator will probably get killed.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
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. "
While I love a good discount, I don't mind paying MSRP+shipping for a quality hardbound book and PDF. I don't have everything Green Ronin has put out, but I absolutely love everything I've purchased from them. Blue Rose 5E, The Book of the Righteous 5E, and The Book of Fiends 5E stay on my bookshelf when other books make their way to the used bookseller. Lots of fond memories of their 3E content as well, from back in the day. One of my absolute favorite RPG publishers.

This campaign won't be for me, as I'm not looking for a new mythos game or gotten into the AGE system . . . . but I suspect it will be a quality release well worth the asking price.
 

So Lovecraft and the Mythos are probably as big as they have ever been. Which is why we are getting this game...

But we don't need it. CoC is in a really good place right now, as is Chaosium. CoC is not a hard to learn game, its probably relatively easy to find a (virtual) table for it--not as easy as 5e, but compared to just about everything else, and there are plenty of great adventures for it, which are problematic only to the extent that your investigator will probably get killed.

I don't know if we need it. Let them give their spin--maybe it'll work, maybe it won't. If it does, we have a new game to play; if not, we have some fun reading in the remainder bins.
 

Reynard

Legend
My attitude on any Lovecraft game is this: does your game do something interesting with the material that makes it worth my time and energy when there is SO MUCH material already out there. i can't think of a "setting" (I know, but close enough) that has gotten nearly as many iterations and variations in tabletop RPGs except "traditional" medieval fantasy -- and it's probably still close if you consider how many "traditional medieval fantasy" games incorporate some element of the Mythos.
 

Retreater

Legend
I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't be a fan of Lovecraft's ponderous, elephantine, and maladroit prose. On second thought, now that I've written that out, yeah, I can see why people aren't a fan. I find his style somewhat endearing but probably in a similar way that someone might like a stinky cheese. I'll note that even authors who were influenced by Lovecraft sure don't write like him. Stephen King's Revival is a pretty good Lovecraftian story but certainly isn't written in the same style.
Interestingly enough, when I seriously got into writing fiction, my first style was an HPL copycat (in style, not necessarily the problematic areas we've been discussing here). I wrote numerous short stories for horror anthologies, including Chaosium's fiction collections - which thankfully were not accepted for publication and are still unread.
What else happened around me ... some of my friends at the time were led to a very dark worldview that persists to this day, which I can't get into because of this site's real world avoiding discussions of politics/religion. Impressionable people in their late teens/early twenties being exposed to this stuff is dangerous. And trying to make it more palatable and accessible to modern audiences runs a risk of more of the same.
I'm not criticizing when POC put their talent into it. I am trusting that they do it with maturity and skill, knowing more than I do the dangers of HPL's philosophies.
 

MGibster

Legend
Impressionable people in their late teens/early twenties being exposed to this stuff is dangerous. And trying to make it more palatable and accessible to modern audiences runs a risk of more of the same.
You could say the same of A Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell, or Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's me, Margaret. No, I don't think exposure to Lovecraft is dangerous for anyone in their late teens or early twenties. Whatever was happening with your friends wasn't happening because they read Lovecraft.
 

MGibster

Legend
But I think @Retreater makes a great point going forward. It's 2022. Do we really need to keep digging up HPL and then tying ourselves in knots justifying it? Let's tell some new stories.
It's a saturated market to be sure. While I'm interested in seeing what they do with it, it's not a must buy for me. I've got Call of Cthulhu, Pulp Cthulhu, Delta Green, and a number of other games influenced by Lovecraft so this would have to give me something different. I'm with you, let's tell some new stories.
 

Retreater

Legend
You could say the same of A Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell, or Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's me, Margaret. No, I don't think exposure to Lovecraft is dangerous for anyone in their late teens or early twenties. Whatever was happening with your friends wasn't happening because they read Lovecraft.
Are there children's animated movies based on Catcher in the Rye? Plushies? Games? I think there are things we shouldn't take lightly and out of context. Lovecraft has all these things.
 

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