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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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.)
Moore’s Providence * chefs kiss *
 

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