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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Reynard

Legend
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.
I would guess that the VAST majority of folks who have played a game with mythos elements have never read a single Lovecraft story.
 

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MGibster

Legend
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.
Okay, let's not take them lightly. But you haven't demonstrated why reading Lovecraft is any more dangerous than the other books I mentioned. And as far as animated movies, plushies, and games go, have you ever read any of the original Tarzan stories? Because you might find the racism and misogyny in there a little difficult to stomach.
 

Retreater

Legend
Okay, let's not take them lightly. But you haven't demonstrated why reading Lovecraft is any more dangerous than the other books I mentioned. And as far as animated movies, plushies, and games go, have you ever read any of the original Tarzan stories? Because you might find the racism and misogyny in there a little difficult to stomach.
I haven't read the original Tarzan stories, but I can see the point you're making by considering the Disney-ification of classic Grimm's Fairy Tales, which are obviously full of problematic and frightening material, yet made into toys, cartoons, amusement rides, etc. So I totally get it.
So if I consider HPL like the Brothers Grimm and Chaosium/Green Ronin/et al like Disney in this analogy, I suppose it works.
I'll drop my case. I'm not going to be winning any arguments here. I do understand your point, even if I don't like the concept of the product. Not everything is for everybody.
 


eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
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.
Hey, that's fair.

I own every Mutants and Masterminds 3e book and some other releases, and yeah, I generally like them too.

Obviously feel free to back whatever you like, I was just pointing out that from a value standpoint they don't really offer anything competitive to many (though, not all) other publishers.
 

Doctor Futurity

Adventurer
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.
This is the same argument from BADD in the 80's, that reading D&D led to a conversion to satanism. I think we can trust people to read Lovecraft and draw intelligent conclusions about the fact that his creative elements were tinged with his racism, and then extrapolate from that the interesting stuff while leaving behind the bad stuff. It's like this with many authors: try reading Ian Fleming, and note how far removed his works are from current era James Bond. Also note that there's a huge difference between "HPL plushie" and "Cthulhu plushie." Billions have Mickey Mouse plushies, but that isn't prompting them to line up and watch Walt Disney's black vault of racist content.

Cthulhu as an icon is fairly well divorced from its creator, and the vast majority of people who are "fans" only know of the concept of the mythos from tertiary sources. The concepts Lovecraft started have moved so far beyond him that discussions in this column about "removing HPL" from the game are only an issue because the specific RPGs under discussion still build from that foundation and the average gamer is a bit more familiar with the source, and a bit more well read. The fact that Green Ronin even feels the need to advertise as being inclusive is the weird thing....it seems to me, today, that the default state is for inclusivity; this is no longer a selling point, it is a necessary prerequisite.
 

MGibster

Legend
So if I consider HPL like the Brothers Grimm and Chaosium/Green Ronin/et al like Disney in this analogy, I suppose it works.
I'll drop my case. I'm not going to be winning any arguments here. I do understand your point, even if I don't like the concept of the product. Not everything is for everybody.
And I don't typically recommend Lovecraft to anyone. Not because of his views but mainly because I think his writing style is off putting to most people. My favorite story is The Shadow Over Innsmouth and part of that is probably because it's one of his most conventionally written story. I find that most folks who read Lovecraft generally fall into one of three categories: Authors, science fiction/horror fans, and gamers. I have a little Cthulhu Funko PoP! toy at my desk at work, and despite being the most recognizable of all Lovecraft's entities the only other people at work who recognized it were some nerds from the IT department. None of the "cool" boys and girls in the HR department had any idea what it was.

You're right, not everything is for everybody. It's okay not to like something for almost any reason. Even without the baggage, a lot of people can't get past Lovecraft's prose.
 

Aldarc

Legend
A vain attempt to move the discussion back to the product rather than Lovecraft:

I suspect that Cthulhu Awakens will follow the recent trend of resisting the language of "insanity" and "madness." There are fear, horror, and "distortion" rules in Modern AGE, but I am curious whether Cthulhu Awakens will opt for those rules or use a modified version.
 

Gnosistika

Mildly Ascorbic
@Aldarc I am curious too. I see every new addition to the AGE system as a positive expansion to the system and settings available. I like the idea of running a Cthulhu game using the system. I'd be curious to see if they set it default in the 1920/30 or go the route of Fate of Cthulhu and try something else. I hope it's the latter.

Come to think of it, it can always just add it to Threefold.

I can't wait for this. The AGE system is one of the few systems that I still run and enjoy. Besides it makes my life easier and that of the players
 

Aldarc

Legend
@Aldarc I am curious too. I see every new addition to the AGE system as a positive expansion to the system and settings available. I like the idea of running a Cthulhu game using the system. I'd be curious to see if they set it default in the 1920/30 or go the route of Fate of Cthulhu and try something else. I hope it's the latter.

Come to think of it, it can always just add it to Threefold.

I can't wait for this. The AGE system is one of the few systems that I still run and enjoy. Besides it makes my life easier and that of the players
Mythos-based games tend to be (but not always) more investigative and explorative in terms of their focus. So at the very least, I suspect this game would probably be great for using Modern AGE to run supernatural investigations.
 

Reynard

Legend
While the terminology might be outdated i think the insanity concept is important for a Mythos game. It serves a similar purpose to hit points for a genre in which combat should not be common or even desirable. I haven't played AGE, only skimmed through the core Fantasy and Modern books, so I don't recall how it manages dwindling resources like health.
 

Probably the biggest boon will be very nasty monster stunts that GMs can steal for their own creations. Especially for those times the GM wants the table to know that it just got serious.
 

Aldarc

Legend
While the terminology might be outdated i think the insanity concept is important for a Mythos game. It serves a similar purpose to hit points for a genre in which combat should not be common or even desirable. I haven't played AGE, only skimmed through the core Fantasy and Modern books, so I don't recall how it manages dwindling resources like health.
Sanity is not really part of the terminology of the Fear & Horror rules in the Modern AGE Companion. It uses Fear and Horror ratings/scores.
 


MGibster

Legend
I suspect that Cthulhu Awakens will follow the recent trend of resisting the language of "insanity" and "madness." There are fear, horror, and "distortion" rules in Modern AGE, but I am curious whether Cthulhu Awakens will opt for those rules or use a modified version.
I'm interested in seeing what they do with that. While I consider sanity and madness to be kind of a core requirement of Cthulhu stories, you can have a decent horror story without them. I wonder if they could achieve similar effects and call it something like Alienation.
 

Reynard

Legend
I'm interested in seeing what they do with that. While I consider sanity and madness to be kind of a core requirement of Cthulhu stories, you can have a decent horror story without them. I wonder if they could achieve similar effects and call it something like Alienation.
Horror often requires people making terrible decisions and acting out of strong emotions (not just fear). Those are hard to force by rules.
 

Aldarc

Legend
To what end? That is, do those ratings cause penalties? Status effects?
Not entirely sure. I know they are there in the Modern AGE: Companion, but I haven't looked at the fine details of how it all works.

I'm interested in seeing what they do with that. While I consider sanity and madness to be kind of a core requirement of Cthulhu stories, you can have a decent horror story without them. I wonder if they could achieve similar effects and call it something like Alienation.
Also consider the fact that D&D and a few other games (e.g., Shadow of the Weird Wizard) also moved away from the mental illness language of "madness" and "insanity." I believe the newish D&D Ravenloft uses "Stress" and also discusses the shift away from this language in its Cosmic Horror section.
 

Maybe it will more away from permanent insanity and be more temporary insanity or PTSD. After all, a lot of what happens could fit that better. And PTSD was not even a thing, as we understand it now, back when the original stories were written or the original game systems written.
 

Reynard

Legend
Maybe it will more away from permanent insanity and be more temporary insanity or PTSD. After all, a lot of what happens could fit that better. And PTSD was not even a thing, as we understand it now, back when the original stories were written or the original game systems written.
PTSD is not something to be taken lightly -- or, more importantly in this context, misrepresented in a game (much like the madness/insanity rules that have fallen out of favor). As someone who lives with a partner who suffers from PTSD, it doesn't look like the movies make it look and it isn't really something that I would expect to get treated properly in an RPG.
 

PTSD is not something to be taken lightly -- or, more importantly in this context, misrepresented in a game (much like the madness/insanity rules that have fallen out of favor). As someone who lives with a partner who suffers from PTSD, it doesn't look like the movies make it look and it isn't really something that I would expect to get treated properly in an RPG.

Well, with all that has been researched and figured out about it since the 80's, shouldn't modern RPGs cover it? Or should it just be ignored? Isn't that worse? Getting mind-raped by some Mythos creature is definitely going to cause some PTSD along with whatever other mental issues go with it. So it should be covered, but properly, not like games in the 80's treated mental stuff.
 

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