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:

Cthulhu Awakens February 2023 Update
about 1 year ago – Tue, Feb 21, 2023 at 07:21:28 AM

February: the worst month. Unless it’s your birthday. Or maybe if you live in the Southern Hemisphere? All I know is over where I am the sky is overcast, the weather sucks, and there aren’t enough hours of daylight. And yet, against the dooms of the season, work proceeds.

Speaking of work proceeding, things are going a little slower than we originally estimated—and we’re sorry about that. The main delay has been in getting the illustrations and art direction (a fancy way of saying “making the pictures look like we say they need to look”) all together, because we want a good looking book, not to mention one that is visually in line with the text. One of the things we did wherever possible was to make sure visual elements that directly affect game play (what people and things look like in scenarios, for example) have textual counterparts for accessibility and general ease of use.

As always, I (or somebody else, if I’m busy, but usually me) will provide monthly updates about the state of things—and here’s where they are:

Core Rulebook: The text has been finished for a while. It’s currently in art direction and layout, working toward an internal proof once we get it all together. We’re still waiting for some important art and a few revisions to existing pieces. This is definitely one of the more art intensive books we’ve done.

GM’s Kit: We’re days away from an internal proof on this one, and the art is almost all done.

Weirdness Overflowing—60s Adventure: This is developed, edited, and awaiting layout. This delay is on me, as I need to sketch maps and provide art direction.

Quickstart: Also developed, edited, and awaiting layout. Also needs map sketches and art direction. What have I been up to where that’s taken time? It’s been…

Weirdness Overflowing—Cults of the Mythos: My time has been occupied working on this. After looking over the excellent draft I got I was still mindful that some of you were interested in special systems for cults, so as I mentioned in November and December, I asked Steve Kenson to devise special systems for them. Steve came up with an amazing system that provides tailor-made stunts for cult members and gives them traits based on organizational Alienation (that’s the system we use to represent the psyche-altering effects of the Mythos). This bumped the draft by 10,000 words—about a third of its final wordcount—and necessitated some extra work to integrate it with the original text.

DREADCRAWLS: In layout. The text for three issues (0, 1, and 2—if you backed in the first 48 hours you get 0 for free) has been polished and ready for a while.

Revelations of the Bacchae: This bonus release has completed art notes, but I do need to do some map sketches for it.

As I said, this game has a lot of art. So, as I sign off until next time, let’s look at some more of it! Note that some of these might look a bit different in the final book.

~Malcolm Sheppard

Indra Winchester studies eldritch lore through new and old media.
Bokrug, the vengeful Outsider god of lost Ib, still cursed in the Dreamlands.
Yithian operative Carnation and two hired ghouls face off with a shoggoth.
The Dark Twin eldritch working requires a certain casual attitude about death and personal identity.

Cthulhu Awakens January 2023 Update
about 1 year ago – Thu, Jan 19, 2023 at 10:58:59 AM

Hello, backers! It’s a foreboding new year, not just in terms of weather or the relentless march of time, but in some unspeakable developments in the roleplaying game industry!

So let me assuage any fears: Cthulhu Awakens doesn’t depend on or use Wizards of the Coast’s open game license, and no “withdrawal” of any version of it, regardless of its legal validity, will affect the game. The same goes for all AGE games, including Modern AGE, the new edition of Fantasy AGE (preorders and PDFs coming in February—see our recent Blog Post here), or anything else using that system.

Now that we’ve talked about that bit of mundane horror, let’s move on to the eldritch scene. How is Cthulhu Awakens doing?

· I filed the Game Masters Kit for production, including its included book, Unexpurgated Texts.

· I made a last-minute revision to the equipment system. Cthulhu Awakens uses a modular system for weapons to let you design weapons across the Weird Century or use simplified versions.

· I got back a number of edited texts for upcoming projects, some of which further posts will detail.

· I finalized the text of the Cthulhu Awakens Quickstart, which features a WW2-era adventure called “The God Beneath the Tree.” I just need to sketch a map and do art notes and it will be ready for production.

· I also finalized the text of an unannounced enhancement: a scenario outline based on the Revelations of the Bacchae stream run by Ian Lemke! What are we going to do with it? Good question. Give the stream and other Cthulhu Awakens bits a watch over on YouTube with this handy playlist.

· While that’s been happening, we’ve continued to work on the interior and approve art as it comes in.

And on that last note, let’s look at some new art—and exchange our farewells until next time!

~Malcolm Sheppard

Cthulhu Awakens December Update
about 1 year ago – Fri, Dec 16, 2022 at 12:01:03 PM

Malcolm Sheppard returns for this month's update!

Hello, backers! Winter’s come to get me where I live, so I’m bundled up tight against it—a season made by our planet’s movements through the airless chill of indifferent outer space!—as I type what we’ve been up to:

· I finished developing Brinkmanship, the 1960s-era scenario.

· Steve Kenson has added new systems support to Cults of the Mythos, “beefing it up,” as I alluded to last month.

· I sent several items to be edited. One of them, Unexpurgated Texts, is already back. Unexpurgated Texts is a collection of new occult tomes for Cthulhu Awakens, available as part of the Cthulhu Awakens Game Master’s Kit. Of course, one of these “books” is a 1980s arcade game cabinet, and another is a tattoo….

Just in case you missed it, the core rulebook has moved fully into art and layout—and there’s at least one unannounced item that’s been developed and is in editing. However, a lot of our work recently has been approving the large amount of art in the core rulebook.

Where other games have used the approach of literary tribute or genre mashup, Cthulhu Awakens begins with this premise: “What if we used the Mythos and its public domain elements as the core of a coherent game setting?” Sometimes artists have very set ideas about what Mythos entities ought to look like due to the long tradition of illustrating in this space, but in Cthulhu Awakens we have specific descriptions of entities, items, and phenomena and need the art to conform to those, especially where we’ve put our own stamp on things, such as in the industrial metamorphosis capabilities of shoggoths, or in our ghouls, who dream in two worlds.

I went into how the approvals process works in detail last month, so rather than rehash that, let’s just look at some of the art that’s come in. In some cases, pieces might be tweaked a bit before they’re part of the book. Things are looking good, at least in the context of cosmic indifference. Enjoy your holidays and the new year, and we’ll be back with more in January!

The history of intelligent life on Earth is a history of colonization by aliens and gods
The Antiquarian specialization, available to Cthulhu Awakens characters.
A murderous cryokinetic outburst attracts attention.
While Sean studies a prehistoric machine, Brian notices an imminent interruption.
The original shapers of our world left plentiful signs of their presence if you know where to look.

~Malcolm Sheppard

Cthulhu Awakens November Update
over 1 year ago – Tue, Nov 08, 2022 at 09:55:56 PM

Developer Malcolm Sheppard returns with this month's update! But before we dive into the nitty-gritty, be sure to go fill out your Backerkit Survey's if you haven't already! We are still waiting on about 15% of you to get those taken care of, and we really do not want to miss anyone when it comes time to lock in your orders.

And if you were a $1 pledge who was saving your spot in the pledge manager, (because perhaps you weren't super keen on giving Kickstarter money last spring) make sure you switch to the pledge tier you had in mind or select any add-ons you wanted. Pre-orders/late pledges are also available through Backerkit. So, if you are coming across this update and thinking to yourself "dang, I missed it!" it's not too late!

Take it away, Malcolm!

Hello, backers. 

Hallowe’en is done, and now we march into the unclassifiable months between bizarre holidays. What is this season? When did the apostrophe in Hallowe’en go away? Let us set aside these mysteries for this month’s update.

  • I completed development on the Cthulhu Awakens Quickstart, featuring Howard David Ingham’s scenario, “The God in the Tree,” drawing from modern British folklore and the memory of the Blitz for a compelling period adventure to introduce the game. Now it’s in the queue for editing.
  • I’m considering some ways to beef up Cults of the Mythos as final development continues.
  • I’m still plugging away at Brinkmanship, the 1960s-era scenario.

These are incremental progressions from last month, so they’re not so exciting, but in more engaging news, I’m approving art for the game.

The process for art direction at Green Ronin has a few moving pieces, but it basically happens like this.

1. The developer (me, in this case) creates a wish list of illustrations for the book. This is a combination of evocative pictures (I usually present our iconics in a situation actual Player Characters might be in), practical illustrations (such as a picture of an eldritch artifact or creature), and maps, when called for by scenarios. I usually attach them to the closest relevant header on a big spreadsheet, so the “Evil Doodad” header is accompanied by a description of said doodad.

2. The Art Director (Hal Mangold for most of Cthulhu Awakens) commissions artists, who draw preliminary sketches.

3. The developer goes over the sketches, checking them for adherence to the text, to the general creative vision of the game, and for individual quality.

4. The Art Director translates the developer’s comments into something the artists find useful. I know what I want, but not always how to describe it to pros, and Hal has a sense of what looks good, as is his purview.

5. The artists submit finalized pieces.

Cthulhu Awakens presents some additional challenges because the game covers the whole span of the Weird Century, so illustrations have to match various historical periods as well—and of course, we want consistency with how various Mythos entities are depicted. I’ve included some near-finished pieces to give you a sense of it, but the real challenge has been devising our own esthetic take on the true icons of the Mythos: the “gods” we call Outsiders. I look forward to you seeing them. Cheers!

Cthulhu Awakens Iconic characters
Iconic characters performing research…and standing on guard.
Old-timey man boxing with a monster
Boxing doesn’t get much more old-timey than with a creature from a forbidden past!

~Malcolm Sheppard

Pledge Manager is Live!
over 1 year ago – Fri, Oct 14, 2022 at 01:23:37 PM

Just a quick note this morning to say that we encountered zero issues during the early "smoke test" for the pledge manager, and so all survey emails are going out now! If you have not received an email by the end of the day, be sure to check your spam folder.

Please respond as soon as you can so you do not accidentally forget and miss out! Filling out your survey promptly will let us know how many copies we need print and ship. We will keep the pledge manager open for address changes for the next few months, which should give you plenty of time to consider any add-ons you may want, but once the books are ready to be sent to the printer, we will be locking addresses and charging shipping. 

Unfortunately, any unanswered surveys after we start shipping will be converted to a "tip" and we will not be able to fulfill your Kickstarter pledge.

Additionally, the Pre-Order store on Backerkit is live! If you know someone who missed this campaign, but still really wants the game, be sure to let them know! We will be shipping pre-orders at the same time as Kickstarter rewards.