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
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
Probably not the best terminology to express what you mean.
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.
That's the debate, though, isn't it? It is different if a work is trying to directly speak to an issue than if that work is there primarily for entertainment. One of the biggest causes of PTSD is personally experienced violence. Should we include PTSD mechanics in our D&D games, given the amount of violence inflicted by and on our D&D characters?
 

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Should we include PTSD mechanics in our D&D games, given the amount of violence inflicted by and on our D&D characters?

For the players who would want that as an optional system? Sure. A couple of versions may even be out there somewhere on the internet. Besides, if having it in the game will help them heal in real life, that is a plus. As it is, there are already plenty of stories of people healing from various mental and PTSD issues just because they can play RPGs.
 

Reynard

Legend
For the players who would want that as an optional system? Sure. A couple of versions may even be out there somewhere on the internet. Besides, if having it in the game will help them heal in real life, that is a plus. As it is, there are already plenty of stories of people healing from various mental and PTSD issues just because they can play RPGs.
RPGs have proven to be a powerful therapeutic tool. This isn't terribly surprising because role-playing has long been used in therapy. I would be reticent to suggest, though, that a game could heal PTSD because it has PTSD mechanics in it.

Good, positive representation is important, especially for those that feel marginalized. I did not say you should never have PTSD in a game. What I said and stand by is that replacing suspect insanity rules with suspect PTSD rules is not going to help and, frankly, if the game isn't ABOUT how to deal with PTSD, it probably shouldn't be present in an meaningful way because then it becomes tokenism rather than representation.
 

MGibster

Legend
Horror often requires people making terrible decisions and acting out of strong emotions (not just fear). Those are hard to force by rules.
Yeah. One of the great things about Stephen King's The Shining is that we understand what motivates Jack to stay at the Overlook. Before the snow covered the pass, members of the Torrance's experienced odd occurrences, feelings of dread, and Jack considered just packing his family into the car and getting the hell out of Dodge. But he didn't. Jack is a recovering alcoholic whose friend got him the job as caretaker of the Overlook. This same friend might be able to get him his teaching position back as well. If Jack leaves the Overlook, it makes his friend look bad and screws up his chances of getting his teaching job back. And also, Jack is worried that if he leaves the Overlook he might not be able to get another job and might end up standing in the welfare line. Staying at the Overlook wasn't a good idea, but at least we understand why he chose to stay.

One of the biggest hurdles I run into with horror games, Cthulhu especially, is players who create characters who aren't motivated to engage the scenario. This is often the type of person who tries to "win" or outsmart the scenario rather than play through it. You know, the player whose character tries to have their character burn down the haunted house rather than investigate it and refuses to read anything for fear they might lose some Sanity. (And this isn't just a problem in horror games of course.)

I ran into that in the Alien rpg when running a scenario with premade characters. The captain of the ship's motivation for the first act was the follow company protocol when investigating a distress call because failing to do so would result in him and his crew forfeiting all pay. The player and I had a little disagreement over the captain's motivation with her thinking he was heartless bastard who only cared about profit over the safety of his crew and me thinking how devastating it would be for him or anyone on his crew to lose 6-12 months of their pay.
 

Reynard

Legend
One of the biggest hurdles I run into with horror games, Cthulhu especially, is players who create characters who aren't motivated to engage the scenario.
Cthulhu is tough because while Lovecraft had a great talent with imagery and mood, his characters are mostly flat and those that aren't are driven by their personality disorders.

I run all kinds of games but I am generally not good with straight horror. I like horror elements in things, or [blank]-horror games. For example, I am bout to start of Deadlands campaign, which is a western action horror campaign (and lets be honest, with most players it is going to be a Bruce Campbellian action horror comedy). Those GMs I have played with that create really good CoC games (mostly convention one shots) present scenarios with strong built in motivational factors. it's Contagion -- we have to find a cure -- but uh oh there's horrible monsters or cultists or whatever! It's a museum heist and by the time you realize it is a horror story it's too late -- now it is about escape. Etc.
 

MGibster

Legend
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.
This kind of takes me back to old school Palladium games where mental trauma could make someone homosexual (or heterosexual if they started out homosexual). I understand the euphemism treadmill, so changing the words isn't a hill I'm willing to die on and doesn't really bother me all that much. If people feel more comfortable changing the name from Sanity to Stress or something like that I'm fine with it. As the euphemism treadmill continues to move we'll just end up changing the name to something else a few years from now. But that's how language works.
 

MGibster

Legend
Cthulhu is tough because while Lovecraft had a great talent with imagery and mood, his characters are mostly flat and those that aren't are driven by their personality disorders.

I think it's important to note that I haven't seen a single game really try to emulate a Lovecraft story. Not even perennial favorite Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu. They've tried to evoke certain moods, use certain tropes, and of course use the various critters, but none of the scenarios really feels like a Lovecraft story to me. Which is fine. Like you said, his characters were mostly flat and they weren't typically featured in more than one story. And in a game we typically have anywhere between 4-6 characters who are investigating which creates a much different dynamic.

I run all kinds of games but I am generally not good with straight horror. I like horror elements in things, or [blank]-horror games. For example, I am bout to start of Deadlands campaign, which is a western action horror campaign (and lets be honest, with most players it is going to be a Bruce Campbellian action horror comedy).
You've really got to have players who are willing to buy into the fact that they're playing a horror game. I have one player who loves doing that and doesn't mind when horrible things happen to his character. I have others who will move heaven and earth to avoid having anything bad happen to their characters. Deadlands is one of my favorite settings....I don't really consider it horror, but that's not a hill I'm going to die on, but it's good fun.

Those GMs I have played with that create really good CoC games (mostly convention one shots) present scenarios with strong built in motivational factors. it's Contagion -- we have to find a cure -- but uh oh there's horrible monsters or cultists or whatever! It's a museum heist and by the time you realize it is a horror story it's too late -- now it is about escape. Etc.
I think most horror games are best for one shots or short campaigns. When I ran Trail of Cthulhu many years ago, I told the PCs to make characters that were either members of the NYPD or somehow connected to the NYPD. The campaign was relatively short and designed to end once certain goals were met.
 

Reynard

Legend
I think most horror games are best for one shots or short campaigns. When I ran Trail of Cthulhu many years ago, I told the PCs to make characters that were either members of the NYPD or somehow connected to the NYPD. The campaign was relatively short and designed to end once certain goals were met.
The one time I ran what I consider a successful horror campaign, it was play by post over Discord with the conceit that the PCs were all members of a shared BBS operated by "HAM radio internet" (it's apparently a thing) during a contagion lockdown (yes, this was in early 2020, why do you ask?) and things progressed into the weird and horrific from there with a Color Out of Space vibe mixed with ghosts and Men in Black (not the funny Will Smith kind). I really think the play by post aspect helped a lot in invoking mood.
 


MGibster

Legend
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.
The thing is, there are plenty of Lovecraft stories where the protagonist messes around with the mythos and doesn't appear to suffer from mental stress or deterioration. Some of them are even casting spells so that must mean they're reading tomes full of knowledge man was not meant to know. And in real life, there are plenty of people who go through horrific and or terrifying situations without suffering from PTSD. As an example, the bulk of combat veterans don't end up suffering from PTSD.
That's the debate, though, isn't it? It is different if a work is trying to directly speak to an issue than if that work is there primarily for entertainment. One of the biggest causes of PTSD is personally experienced violence. Should we include PTSD mechanics in our D&D games, given the amount of violence inflicted by and on our D&D characters?
No, why would we? D&D is a game of high fantasy with PCs who are larger than life heroes and the antagonist are comic book villains. Most Cthulhu games are going for a more down to Earth vibe. Though others certainly embrace the pulpier aspects of mowing down Deep Ones with a Chicago typewriter. I guess what I'm getting at is that what I'm looking for in a Cthulhu game isn't the same thing I'm looking for in a D&D game. Though you can certainly use rules for madness and fear in D&D. I just wouldn't.
 


jerryrice4949

Adventurer
Kind of surprised this is what Green Ronin is doing next. Seems like a crowded area. But honestly their decisions as of late just perplex me. Still cannot believe they never brought their most popular franchise Freeport to 5E.
 



MGibster

Legend
This might clear things up.
Oh, wow! They're using Alienation! I can only assume I'll get my .05 cent royalty check in the mail from Green Ronin for using my idea. I'm still not quite sure what Green Ronin is bringing to the table with their interpretation of Lovecraft's that's unique, but I'm still looking forward to finding out.
 

eyebeams

Explorer
Oh, wow! They're using Alienation! I can only assume I'll get my .05 cent royalty check in the mail from Green Ronin for using my idea. I'm still not quite sure what Green Ronin is bringing to the table with their interpretation of Lovecraft's that's unique, but I'm still looking forward to finding out.
I don't know how it compares to other forms of open ended gaming in a 100 year timespan that assumes classic Mythos fiction is unreliable, biased narration, but I applaud your appreciation of the term Alienation. We bopped around a few ideas before settling on it last year.
 

eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
So, I read the FAQ.

I'm still not clear on what this game does that takes deep breath CoC (and its many settings and sourcebooks), Delta Green, Trail of Cthulhu, Realms of Cthulhu, Shadows of Cthulhu (which is for Green Ronin's own True20 by the by), Cthulhu Dark, Cthulhu Live, Cthulhu Tech, Eldritch Skies, De Profundis, The Laundry, Tremulus, Achtung Cthulhu, World War Cthulhu etc etc don't already cover in part or whole. Well, besides filling a perceived need in an existing product line, I suppose. In that regard I suspect it serves a purpose.

Also, there was no other option than using Kickstarter? Really?


That certainly looks like an option. An option that was utilized previously. Personally, I don't take issue with using Kickstarter, but to say there is no other viable option (after listing how awful Kickstarter is ) when a previous crowdfunding campaign by the very same company on another platform made 250% of its goal strikes me as disingenuous.

I also didn't see anything regarding what sort of value the Kickstarter will offer to backers, so I suspect the usual bad Green Ronin terms. Though, I didn't suspect that would be any different.
 


eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
Oh thank goodness, I thought you'd be coming in with some sort of bias.
Never claimed I didn't have any. That's a conscious choice.

I'm under no obligation to unquestionably to nod along to your FAQ and just hand you money, in the same way that you are under no obligation to actually address the salient points that I made and offer snark instead. That's also a conscious choice.
 

eyebeams

Explorer
Never claimed I didn't have any. That's a conscious choice.

I'm under no obligation to unquestionably to nod along to your FAQ and just hand you money, in the same way that you are under no obligation to actually address the salient points that I made and offer snark instead. That's also a conscious choice.
Well, in terms of very specific business decisions, you'd have to ask the people doing that, which you can easily do by email or social media, if you feel like it. If you don't, cool. Like, I don't know which prior Kickstarters you're dissatisfied with because you didn't say, and even if I did, I probably don't have the specific knowledge. As for this one, which comes in 20 days, I have a feeling that more information will come out in, say, the next 20 days. It's not really my job to take your money, so you don't have to hand it over, no worries. I don't know where GIVE ME MONEY NO QUESTIONS ASKED was in the FAQ, which would defeat the purpose of it. In any event, if you have a specific question--say, a salient point, there are people (mostly not me) you can ask! If this is some kind of angry challenge, I'm not interested! Cheers!

In terms of asking that I prove this game has things 13 other RPGS don't within the confines of a forum post? 1) Sure it does. I look forwward to talking about it more in that spacious period of 20 days. 2) Fundamentally, the game is the way it is because it pleased the team writing and designing it to make it that way. AGE is fun, I know it pretty well, and there are some ideas that came out of interacting with the source material critically from the start, instead of to flavour a genre, create a process to emulate a genre, or act as a more direct literary exploration, that I look forward to sharing.
 

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