LOVECRAFT IS DEAD - a short Cthulu noir game


Makin' cool stuff (She/Her)
So, there's a brilliant game called Умер Мужик (MUJIK IS DEAD) by Silverhoof games, with very simple yet effective mechanics that just works -- it without fail spits out a tragic story of a man, who's life is getting ruined by toxic masculinity. It's great, go read it. Then play it. It would take like an hour.

It's great, and it's also very heavy and packed with real-life stuff, so I've decided to hack it into something a bit more lighthearted -- and this engine just perfectly fits a lovecraftian horror game.



What you’ll need:​

  • 3-6 players prepared for the occult
  • A token to represent DETECTIVE
  • Regular six-sided dice, the only sane thing in this game

One of you will take on the role of the DETECTIVE wearing a trenchcoat and carrying a .38 Special K-frame. Otherworldly horror and your own personal demons will try to win over you and drag you into the darkness. Don’t let them. Stay strong as long as you can.

The rest of you are TEMPTATIONS. You are everywhere, at every inch of the world and you are inside the detective. You need to destroy his life and drive him past his breaking point. Choose one or make up your own:
  • ANGER: “violence is the only solution.”
  • FEAR: “run for your life.”
  • HUBRIS: “I’m too good to fail.”
  • DISTRUST: “I don't believe you.”

When the rules tell you to roll for a TRAUMA, roll a D6 and select any uncrossed trauma at that column. If you rolled 6 you can pick from any column.

At the left of the TRAUMA BINGO is SANITY TRACKER. The DETECTIVE can spend SANITY to:
  • Roll an extra D6. Spend one SANITY point to roll another die.
  • Resist a TRAUMA. When you suffer a TRAUMA, spend one SANITY point for each TEMPTATION in play to resist it.


The game is played in three acts, each divided into a several scenes. The first scene is always "A MYSTERIOUS CASE".
  1. DETECTIVE, describe a scene, portray something that demands a response, then leave it on a cliffhanger.
  2. TEMPTATIONS, describe what you will do if you win over a situation. Try to incorporate existing TRAUMAS in your narration — for each that applies you get another D6 (max. 3). Don’t overreach and remember your role — do it forceful if you are ANGER, panic and flee if you are FEAR.
  3. EVERYONE, roll your dice and keep the highest (so, if you rolled 4, 2, 5 — your result is 5). The player with the highest result wins and describes the outcome. If a TEMPTATION wins — she rolls for a TRAUMA, unless the DETECTIVE resists it. If the DETECTIVE wins — he gets a SANITY point. If it’s a tie — DETECTIVE chooses who wins.
  4. DETECTIVE, roll a D6 and moves his token by that amount of cells within the SCENES TABLE, following the arrows. If you end on a scene you’ve already had in this act, move to the next.

    Cross the current act in the cell — it would help you to keep track of already played scenes.

    If you need to go past the last scene within a current act — place the token at any scene other than A MYSTERIOUS CASE and roll for a TRAUMA.


An act ends when you have played a half or more of its possible scenes — 3 for ACT I, 5 for ACT II, 8 for ACT III.

At the start of each ACT, DETECTIVE loses one SANITY for each temptation in play as he keeps spiraling to insanity.


When there’s a line of 5 in TRAUMA BINGO (vertical, horizontal or full diagonal), TEMPTATIONS win and the DETECTIVE dies or goes insane.

When you ACT III ends, the DETECTIVE wins — he survived, but at what cost?
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