Call of Cthulhu
Call of Cthulhu was first released in 1981 and has been going strong since. Investigators search for hidden knowledge, and when they find it, they encounter far more than they imagined possible. The powerful secrets they uncover will slowly drive them mad, if not killing them first. This is a game where caution and wits get you further than large-caliber weapons.
Here’s how the publisher describes Call of Cthulhu:
Playing the role of steadfast investigators, you travel to strange and dangerous places, uncover foul plots, and stand against the terrors of the Cthulhu Mythos. You encounter sanity-blasting entities, monsters, and insane cultists. Within strange and forgotten tomes of lore you discover revelations that man was not meant to know. You and your companions may very well decide the fate of the world.
Three Things About Call of Cthulhu
- You Don’t Win: Ask a Call of Cthulhu veteran about their favorite game sessions and they’ll inevitably describe how a character went insane, was eaten by Yog-Sothoth, or otherwise found a disastrous end. Fighting against impossible odds is a central theme of the game.
- d100 Mechanics: With some variations, the same straightforward percentile die system powers Basic Roleplaying, RuneQuest, and several other games.
- Longevity: A vast library of Call of Cthulhu materials have been released over the last three decades, and only minor modification is required to use them with the 7th version.
The Quickstart Rules
If you and your friends want to see if Call of Cthulhu might be of interest, the free quickstart PDF provides stripped down rules, a stand-alone adventure, and ready-to-play characters.
The Starter Set
Designed so you can jump into the action right away even if you’ve never played a tabletop RPG, the Call of Cthulhu Starter Set includes the most important elements of the core rules, plus a solo adventure, three standard adventures, ready-to-play characters, dice, and handouts for use in play.
- “The fact that it includes everything you need to run the game… and that you can even set up a mini-campaign of sorts out of it is a major bonus that no other boxed sets on the market offer.” — Antonios S., RPG.net
- “I’m finding this a fabulous addition to my CoC collection, and highly recommend it anyone who’s interested in learning this system or who want to dabble a bit in finding out what Call of Cthulhu is all about.” — Cheryl Nantus
- Get the boxed starter set from Amazon
- Get the PDF version from DriveThru RPG
- Get the PDF and boxed starter set from Chaosium, the game’s publisher
The Core Rules
The core rules come in two books, one for players and one for the gamemaster (“Keeper” in Call of Cthulhu lexicon).
- “Combat is still incredibly dangerous, sessions can be played with a minimum of dice rolling, and intelligent play still works better than going in guns blazing. I’d have to say it’s still my favorite RPG.” — Daniel Stack, 19th Level
- “If you enjoy tension and suspense, in beating the odds rather than just dialling in a victory, or you just enjoy cerebral games where you’re going to be relying on your wits to pull you through more often than a dice roll, then Call of Cthulhu might just be for you.” — Jay Draper, The Mad Adventurers Society
- Get the Keeper’s Rulebook PDF and Investigator Handbook PDF from DriveThru RPG
- Get the PDF and physical books from Chaosium, the game’s publisher
See Call of Cthulhu in Action
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