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Cthulhu Awakens Roleplaying Game

Created by Green Ronin Publishing

Spin epic Mythos tales of cosmic horror across the Weird Century in a complete, stand-alone roleplaying game powered by the AGE System!

Latest Updates from Our Project:

July: Before a Portentous Gathering
7 months ago – Mon, Jul 24, 2023 at 05:55:20 PM

The fires of last month have died down—well, around here, at least—but the soothing rain is a temporary respite before entering the fiery precincts of…the Midwest. Gen Con, that is. Green Ronin will be at booth #801, just to the left immediately after you enter through the center doors. While Cthulhu Awakens will only be something to talk about at the booth (and *maybe* look at—see below) we will have the new edition of Fantasy AGE, the swashbuckling sword and sorcery implementation of the Adventure Game Engine.

While Fantasy AGE uses the same core system as Cthulhu Awakens, and even has some Mythos allusions of its own, you’re here for the full, mind-shattering AGE Mythos treatment. Here’s where we’re at with that:

Core Rulebook: Back from proofreading and in the final stages of layout. In fact, we *very much hope* to get a PDF out to backers before Gen Con—Hal, working layout, seems about 90% certain it will happen. Less certain, but something we hope we can do, is to have a POD mock-up of the book at Gen Con itself. Note that this will be purely to show the game off, not to zip ahead of your preorders.

GM’s Kit: Unexpurgated Texts, the book of grimoires, strange tattoos, and video game cabinets that teach strange lore, and come with the kit, is back from proofreading, and joins the production queue.

Weirdness Overflowing—60s Adventure, Weirdness Overflowing—Cults of the Mythos, Quickstart, and Revelations of the Bacchae: These are in various stages of production.

As a reminder, in gratitude for your patience we’ll be giving all core book backers a copy of the Revelations of the Bacchae “dev-notes” scenario, based on the stream of the same name by Expanse and Fantasy AGE developer Ian Lemke.

DREADCRAWLS: Issue #0 has been proofed and laid out. It’s *very* close to PDF release.

Campaign Book: What? Campaign book? Not mentioned in the Kickstarter? Well, it so happens that I sent a request for proposals to a group of writer/designers, and we’re poking around with an idea for a campaign that spans across the whole Weird Century. Note that work on this is not interrupting work on fulfillment, most of which has moved out of design and into art, layout, and so forth—the mix of duties we call “production.”

That Door: In addition to iconic characters, Cthulhu Awakens features an iconic door designed by production designer and illustrator Jacob Walker. Here we see a couple of full-page illustrations to head off sections of the book. (Note that text and some design features are subject to last-minute tweaking. First, iconics Sean and Amy approach the door:

And, of course, it turns out Sean was *very enthusiastic* about what they found on the other side:

That’s all for this update. See you very soon!


~Malcolm Sheppard

June: Into the Burning Season
9 months ago – Fri, Jun 16, 2023 at 09:48:43 AM

Yes, it was burning all right, and still is a bit. Canadian wildfires turned the sky orange. I coughed a bit, but as I was hit pretty hard with post-Covid exhaustion I was content to stay inside, work, and watch the latest apocalypse rehearsal sort itself.

But I bring more constructive news than the wildfires. Let’s get to it:

Core Rulebook: After an intense developer proofing and a light revision building on some more recent AGE systems such as those in Fantasy AGE’s second edition, I sent it off for the third-party proofing we do with major releases. An external proofing helps compensate for whatever stylistic “blindness” in-house contributors might have.

The day before this time of writing, we got that proof back! The revisions are light. Now the job is to integrate them, polish the layout, and distill a PDF with useful features for electronic distribution, as well as files for the printer. Part of this includes adding some last remaining art. I know this is taking time, but we’re doing our best to get over the finish line and are very close to a PDF to share with you.

GM’s Kit: Unexpurgated Texts, the book of eldritch texts that comes with the kit, is currently undergoing external proofreading.

Weirdness Overflowing—60s Adventure, Weirdness Overflowing—Cults of the Mythos, Quickstart, and Revelations of the Bacchae: In the queue for production/layout.

Revelations of the Bacchae, the bonus “author’s notes” adventure adapted from Ian Lemke’s streamed game, is starting to get art in.

DREADCRAWLS: Issue #0 (the early backer reward) should, if things are going according to plan, come back from layout by month’s end.

The Cover? A Cover?

Also new? The cover of the standard edition—or an advanced draft thereof, as we may tweak it some more. This is, however, close to final and is joining the suite of images we have for upcoming promotion. Here!

~Malcolm Sheppard

May (Update) You Not Be Accursed as I Was
10 months ago – Tue, May 16, 2023 at 09:49:01 AM

Hi folks,

May has not been the *greatest* month for a simple yet, for me personally and for the project, very annoying reason: I got Covid. My isolating, many-vaxxed self knew it would happen—had in fact assumed it had happened already—but in 2023? Just seems a bit silly. Anyway, whether or not I got it before, I sure got it now. Today’s the first day I’ve really been symptom-free, and now I’m just exhausted from having been sick.

But I’ve been so much luckier than many.

Unfortunately, that made my primary task for the project take way more time than I wanted. Let’s talk about it.

Core Rulebook: This was the thing Covid made take too long. As I mentioned last month, we were ready to send it for proofing but some design changes in the new edition of Fantasy AGE made us take a hard look at some of the rules in the Cthulhu Awakens core to see if they would merit some of the improvements we made in Fantasy AGE. Well even though it took forever, including taking a break when I could barely focus my eyes on anything, I did finish it…about an hour ago.

I’m glad I did it, too, because I’ve made significant changes to stunts, some changes to actions, and generally improved the text’s consistency and readability—or will have done when the changes get implemented. It’s still going to outside proofing for quality purposes. Cross-referencing with the new edition of Fantasy AGE I think we have a better set of stunts and actions generally.

Meanwhile, some of the remaining art is coming in as we close in on finishing that aspect of it. Art has, in fact, also affected proofing, as in some cases artists didn’t perfectly match text descriptions. In Cthulhu Awakens we generally try to make sure there’s a textual description of any creature, character, or unusual object we illustrate.

GM’s Kit: I’ve applied proofing changes to the GM’s Kit’s source text so they should be consistent with one another. Significantly through layout as it includes Unexpurgated Texts, which is ready for proofing.

Weirdness Overflowing—60s Adventure, Weirdness Overflowing—Cults of the Mythos, Quickstart, and Revelations of the Bacchae: In the queue for production/layout.

DREADCRAWLS: All three issues (including the one offered to early backers as a bonus) are in layout. Changes to the core shouldn’t affect them.

Did You Know?

The Cthulhu Awakens Game Masters Kit is a little different from our prior GM’s Kits, which sometimes came with an adventure. Since we have a couple of adventures in the core book already, we decided to include the supplement Unexpurgated Texts instead, which details a dozen strange sources of eldritch wisdom from the setting. Here are a couple of preview pages. Remember that the fonts, colours, style, and so on can change between the draft and final layouts. Besides that, have a great month…and Covid sucks!

~Malcolm Sheppard

Cthulhu Awakens April 2023 Update
11 months ago – Mon, Apr 17, 2023 at 11:37:56 AM

Hi folks,

What’s up in April? Some things have made great strides, while others are only inching along. I’ve hit some good developmental milestones on the Quickstart and stretch goals, but delays have hit some post-development tasks. Actually, “post-development” has turned out to be a slight misnomer, for reasons I’ll explain below, as we get into things item by item.

Core Rulebook: Art is nearly finished, and I am looking at a draft PDF right now that has about 80% of the interior art. However, we ran into a challenge at the proofing stage, where we were having trouble booking a proofer as many of them are busy with other projects. We have a general policy where the primary proofer can’t be the editor or developer, because if we left mistakes, we may have biases that let us overlook them. What usually happens is that this proofer looks at the PDF, then the developer looks, then the staff look, and then everybody who gets the PDF before we go to print can submit issues and questions.

However, a certain event led us to reconsider the order we do this in: Fantasy AGE’s second edition. I was part of the development team on Fantasy AGE, and some of the incremental changes in it may be good for Cthulhu Awakens. Let me make it clear, though, that cross-compatibility is not a priority goal, though AGE games tend to be highly hackable between each other. Nor am I talking about any major revisions. This consists of seeing whether, for example, a Fantasy AGE version of grappling stunts would be an improvement over their Cthulhu Awakens counterparts. We could skip this, but then we’d have a game that might not be as good as it could be, and I didn’t get into this business to do a middling job. In the process I will also do an editorial-style proof, and then it’ll go to the pro proofer, and then everyone else.

GM’s Kit: This is in a holding pattern while I do the core proofing, above, since any tables have to be consistent between both.

Weirdness Overflowing—60s Adventure: I finally finished the art notes and map drafts (the lousy sketches a pro will turn into a real map) for this. It’s in the production/layout queue.

Quickstart: Also, in the production/layout queue after finished map drafts and art notes. As the Quickstart. This was an interesting one as it takes place in a real village in England, Hagley, though “our” Hagley has some weird and entirely fictional elements. I wanted to make sure it resembled the real Hagley in 1940, when the adventure is set, as much as possible, which involved some significant research. In any event it’s done now, and in the queue, and slightly spoiled, I guess! I don’t foresee any tweaks to the core changing it that much, if at all—the stunt table might get a slight refresh.

Weirdness Overflowing—Cults of the Mythos: This is not only back from editing, but I’ve completed my review and art notes so that it’s also…in the production queue. You may be noticing a common theme here!

Revelations of the Bacchae: This bonus item, based on the stream run by our own Ian Lemke, is…also in the queue.

DREADCRAWLS: The three issues (including the one offered to early backers as a bonus) remain midway through layout as we tackle everything else.

Speaking of the Draft Layout: Here’s a couple of pages from it. Keep in mind the following things:

1) It’s not finalized. Font, color scheme, and so on can change.

2) It’s not proofed. If there’s a flub here and there (and I see one now!) remember we haven’t gone through the full process of eliminating it.

3) There are a couple of things that are new to AGE. For instance, Cthulhu Awakens uses stunt packages representing the creature’s preferred type of combat, such as “Predator,” with an additional stunts on top of that noted.


~Malcolm Sheppard

Cthulhu Awakens March 2023 Update
12 months ago – Tue, Mar 21, 2023 at 10:49:11 AM

March has been busy at Green Ronin, as we got things ready for the new edition of Fantasy AGE, which dropped for preorder on March 20 (https://greenroninstore.com/collections/fantasy-age/products/fantasy-age-core-rulebook)!

Unavoidably, this needed a couple of days of all-hands attention, but it’s ready now, and in knowing that you may ask, “What about Cthulhu Awakens, the game this Kickstarter is about?” Don’t worry! As the core is in proofing, this didn’t delay it. Things continue to, uh, march onward. Art direction is wrapping up and we’ve started the process of getting print estimates for the core rulebook as we nail down its final form. Let’s look at the details for this and everything else.  

Core Rulebook: Earlier this month I worked with Hal, who’s designing the book, on some additional writing and editing to work with the core’s visual organization, but as I said, art direction and layout is on the home stretch, so we’re now at our first layout proof stage. At this stage, we send a draft layout of the book, with most of its art and design, to a third party to review the text. After that we’ll be performing an internal review of the text, and as developer, I’ll give it a personal round as well.

I should also note something I’ve been neglecting to report on: The VTT version! Steve Jones is directing this and getting all kinds of assets done. He’s shown me some great widgets for tracking eldritch workings, Alienation, and more.

GM’s Kit: Extremely close to completion. Any final changes to the core affect this however, so their timelines are linked.

Weirdness Overflowing—60s Adventure: I still need to get the art and map drafts done—this fell by the wayside when finishing some other projects. However, delays on it will not affect when the core comes.

Quickstart: I’ve just started on art and map drafting for this one. It’s set in a real-life English village, and it involves some additional research to determine the size and positions of certain historical and non-historical elements.

Weirdness Overflowing—Cults of the Mythos: Beyond the core and GM’s Kit, this has taken up the bulk of “Cthulhu Time.” The various parts of this supplement have been combined, edited by me, then sent to and editor, returned, and re-edited by me. We now call this text “finalized for Production,” meaning that once the art notes are done, it’s ready for art and layout.

DREADCRAWLS: Still in layout.

Revelations of the Bacchae: This one is finalized for production—all art notes and map sketches are done, and the text is finalized for layout. We’re thinking of doing something special with it, and I’ll keep you updated as usual!

Until next time, let’s look at some more art!

A warehouse fight hits different when there’s psychic powers involved.
It’s hard to tell the difference between gods and monsters—or perhaps there never was a difference.
The world is full of strange machines. This one implants bizarre knowledge, but building it is tricky.