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Working With Monsters – 7th Edition

page-1-processed It seems an age ago that we shared a couple of scenarios for use with Call of Cthulhu including “Working With Monsters”, a scenario for a small group of experienced investigators which proved to be a very popular download.

Having had my Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition rules for a while now I decided to revisit “Working With Monsters” and update it for use with the new rule set.  I was pleasantly surprised how easy and quick it was to do, and I have plans to update the follow up scenario “Working With Monsters Again” in due course.  I also took the opportunity to update the layout and to amend a few minor details which improve the overall playability.

As always you’ll find the download freely available to download and share in our “stacks”, we hope you enjoy it.  You can go directly to the download here or browse through the Download Stacks – see the menu bar above.


Mutant Year Zero – probably no happy ever after?

Every now and again, in amongst the dozens and dozens of games that I get to look at I find something that really piques my interest, something that is suitably familiar or perhaps very different.  Every now and again there is a game that I really want to play, or more likely that I really want to run.

Mutant Year Zero is definitely one of those games.

YearZero_coverIn fact, it is both familiar and yet different.  The familiarity comes from the simple nature of the mechanics.  It’s a little bit old school; simple archetypes with a point building system for character creation.  The numbers are simple to handle, skill levels, attributes and gear denote the number of d6 you roll for success.  And for that reason it’s a comfortable system to learn, it takes minutes not hours to pick up the rules and generate your first character.

But then, it’s also sufficiently different and innovative. Your character is a mutant and it is the mutant powers that will most likely keep her alive in the very hostile post-apocalyptic world of Mutant Year Zero.  But then, using those powers has a cost and one that will slowly but surely cause you to degenerate and die. Along the way you’ll become more powerful as your body continues to mutate, and this will kill you – if the environment, the deadly Rot, the others struggling to survive in this world don’t get you first.

For me another huge part of this game is its collaborative nature – your best chance of survival is with others by your side.  For that reason, character creation includes detailing relationships with the other player characters and also with significant NPC’s.  There is a strong community focus, you have grown up in an Ark – a refuge from the hazards outside.  You contribute to the development of the Ark, you have a role to play in its society and in decisions that shape how it grows.

I almost passed this game by, there are so many post-apocalyptic survival games and I was suspicious of the fact that you can buy custom d6’s with symbols instead of the 1’s and 6’s.  There is also a deck of cards which are referred to in the rules, and I’m always sceptical of games that “need” these little extra expensive goodies to work properly.  But whilst having played with them I would recommend the extras (especially the dice), you don’t need them, after all they are just d6’s and everything in the card decks can be found as tables and descriptions in the core book.  They are enhancements, not essentials.

I’ve played a few standalone games, (and I’ll be running one at this years ReuniCon RPG Day in Brighton on the 3rd September), and they work really well, but I think the real beauty of this game would be in playing an extended campaign watching the character’s stories unfold as they pursue their big dreams, as they develop their community and as they finally succumb to the inevitability of the environment.  This is a very story led game, there is an overarching metaplot detailed within the core book and it is up to the GM as to how much this plays into their specific game.

What will be important is survival, the need to eat and drink regularly, to track your bullets (not just for your weapons but as currency), to look after your health and to balance the use of your mutant powers, the need to “push” your dice rolls against the ongoing impact to and deterioration of your character.

One last thing that I think is worth a mention is the use of maps – not for the purpose of miniatures or pseudo-wargaming, but for discovering, recording and detailing the player’s environment.  You’ll start the game with a mostly empty Zone map – there are two provided with the setting, but you might find it interesting to create your own based on your home town or a favourite place.  My games have focussed on Brighton, the Palace pier partially collapsed and become the Ark for my adventurers, a defensible sprawl with a population of around 200.  The coastline, the towns, cities and the south downs have become the areas to explore and with rumours of a larger city – The Big Smoke – even further North across the Infected Rot lands.  Players will note points of interest scribble notes on the maps, share them with other explorers, discovering and creating their game world as they go.

Mutant Year Zero is a great game, it is balanced and intriguing, it makes for good story led collaborative roleplaying.  It will appeal across the age ranges and is accessible to both new and experienced players.  The core book runs to around 280 pages and the production values are also very high, the quality of the artwork, the comic book styling also makes you want to read it.

Available from the Modiphius store for £34.99 in Print/PDF or £14.99 for the PDF.

Another Lovecraft birthday sale…

Building on yesterdays Happy Birthday Howard post and once again not wanting to sound like an endless advert for the Onebookshop web sites; they are having an amazing Lovecraft birthday sale – for the next twelve days.  The sale includes “mountains of madness” for you and your players so take our advice and “shambler” along and prove what a “fungi” you are by treating yourself to something different.

Here are three recommendations from me for a slightly different Lovecraftian experience.

Firstly, go back to a time where it all began – Primeval Thule with the setting from Sasquatch Game Studio.

Thule“Thule, a primordial land of fierce barbarians, elder horrors, and savage wilderness. In this ancient age, humankind is a young race, newly arisen on a monster-haunted Earth. Cities of cruel splendor lie scattered across the great lands of the north like a handful of gems strewn from a dead thief’s hand.

This is a doomed age, a time of great deeds and inhuman terror destined to be lost and forgotten beneath the numbing cloak of endless winter. But for one glittering moment, Thule lives—and it is a fierce, cruel, splendid, and marvelous moment indeed”.

Available in both D20 and for Savage worlds I personally prefer the latter, there is also a wealth of other Thule material – The best Lovecraftian High Fantasy.

Secondly try a game system different to any other you will have played – Macabre Tales from Spectrum Games.

macabreMacabre Tales is the dominoes-based RPG of Lovecraftian horror that strips out the “contributions” of later authors and focuses solely on what Lovecraft himself created. Spectrum Games, known for accurate emulation of various genres in their products, offers a brand new take on role-playing in the terrifying and abhorrent world of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Will you emerge from the experience unscathed? Or will your mind snap in the wake of all the hidden abominations that lurk in the shadows, just out of sight of humankind? “

monstersLastly – but by no means least – use the sale as an excuse to pick up a copy of Monsters and Other Childish Things by Arc Dream Publishing (the folk that bring you Delta Green), and then whilst you have your finger on the button add Road Trip, a full-length adventure campaign to go with it.

In Monsters and Other Childish Things, Monsters are real.  You know this because you have one. He’s more fun and way tougher than all the other kids’ monsters. Try not to let him eat your friends.

“Monsters and Other Childish Things is a distressingly fun and funny roleplaying game about kids and the relationship-devouring horrors from beyond time and space who love them. Players take the roles of kids and the vicious monsters who are their best friends in all the world — and the source of all kinds of otherworldly trouble.”

This is a really great game – embrace your inner child – Think Monsters Inc.  but only if the script had been written by Lovecraft when he was having a particularly bleak day…  I love it.

road-tripRoad Trip provides a great campaign for this gem of a game – nine adventures centred around “The Best Summer Vacation Ever …and maybe the last!

“A crazy cult plans to destroy the world — not just a school or the boring grown-up shops at the mall, but the WHOLE WORLD — and it’s up to you to stop them.

Now you and your friends, and your horrible friendly monsters, are taking on the Cult of the Ur-Monster from one end of the United States to the other. You’ll explore creepy amusement parks, dusty tourist traps, and quaint roadside farms in the throes of violent revolution. Also, the land of Oz. “


With all that horror abounding in the world how could Howard not have a happy birthday – have fun looking at our recommendations and enjoy the birthday sale.

Happy Birthday Howard

August 20th 1890 Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born and it is fair to say that in his 46 years he managed to change forever the horror genre.  In honor of his memory we once again present our five top tips for doing something Lovecraftian.

1. Play a game of Call Of Cthulhu

Since 1981 people have been playing Chaosium’s Call Of Cthulhu Role Playing Game – it has become the definitive horror RPG, and frankly I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening than deep into a 1920’s setting, battling the horrors of Lovecrafts Mythos.  However the Lovecraftian mythos has spilled over to so much more than the roaring twenties and if you are looking for something a little different then you could do a lot worse than to pick up something from Modiphius’ Achtung Cthulhu range of titles.

AC-trans“In the Achtung! Cthulhu universe, a band of Allied heroes fight the Secret War against the Nazi Black Sun and their rivals Nachtwolfe. Powered with ancient secrets and terrible Mythos allies, Black Sun and Nachtwolfe are on the verge of unleashing terrible weapons upon the Allied forces.”

To celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the master of the macabre, we’re having a Lovecraft Lives sale with a massive 20% discount on all Achtung! Cthulhu titles!

To claim your 20% discount, just the use the code LovecraftLives when you checkout.  You can only use the discount once and the sale lasts for a limited time, so make sure you get in early and celebrate HP Lovecraft’s birthday with a whole new world of adventure!

2. Check out the Cthulhu Mythos PDFs available online

I hate sounding like nothing but an advert for the Onebookshelf marketplaces, but if you like RPG’s then you can’t ignore the fact that they have changed the way we buy our games and have probably done more to keep our industry alive than anyone else.  But that’s a debate for another day, all you need to know is that there is a mountain of material to indulge in related to the Cthulhu Mythos  at DriveThruRPG, DriveThruFiction and DriveThruComics.

3. Lots to see on Cthulhu’Tube

Well actually I mean YouTube, but there are no shortage of really cool Cthulhu Mythos clips to be found.  My favorites are and will probably always be the “Calls For Cthulhu” series.  Check out the available episodes here, or click below to watch my personal favorite – Episode 1.



4. Watch a movie

For sure there are some awful adaptations of Lovecraft stories into film, but there are also some fantastic ones and more importantly there are some movies that are inspired by and just would not exist if it wasn’t for the influence of Lovecraft’s tales.  My personal favorites are clearly the Reanimator films starring Jeffery Coombes, (see the trailer for the 1985 classic below), but for greater and wider inspiration check out “MIKE DAVIS’ LIST OF RECOMMENDED LOVECRAFTIAN MOVIES” over at The Lovecraft eZine.


5. Read a book!

I’m always staggered by my CoC players who actually haven’t read any of Lovecraft’s books.  So treat yourself and read some of his works.  If you have an e-reader (Kindle, Nook etc) then treat yourself for free and visit Cthulhu Chick’s blog and download her fantastic “The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft” which contains all of the original stories which Lovecraft wrote as an adult. It begins in 1917 with “The Tomb” and ends in 1935 with his last original work “The Haunter of the Dark”.

It is a great piece of work and to make it available in this way I think is a truly kind spirited thing as I am certain it was no small effort.  If you like it, then you could always consider hitting the button on the page to make a donation.

BURPS ReuniCon 2016 RPG Day

Another year flies by and once again the folks from BURPS are organising another ReuniCon RPG Games Day in Brighton on September 3rd.  This year they have a new venue for their event, being hosted by Brighton’s Friendly Local Game Store – Dice Saloon.

As always the event will feature a full day of RPG games organised and run by a group of experienced GM’s.  This year they hope to have GM’s representing both the Pathfinder Society and Chaosium’s Cult of Chaos as well as many others.

We like intimate events like this, they are a great way to meet new people and play some games that you might never have tried out before.    You can find full details of the event over at and tickets are available directly from Dice Saloon.  After all what could be better than a day roleplaying by the seaside?


You can also follow ReuniCon for information on their event on Twitter and Facebook.