Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for Cthulhu by Gaslight

What do you get if you mix the horror of H.P. Lovecraft with the Gothic Horror tradition of the Victorian age? You get today's C post, Cthulhu by Gaslight.

I love Victorian era games.  They are my favorite actually.  Cthulhu by Gaslight has always been one of those rare hard to find treasures.  Whether or not you play it as a gothic game, a period horror game, a darkly inspired Sherlock Holmes meets Dracula game, or as a Call of Cthulhu game there is something here for all sorts of horror game fans.  It is the chocolate peanut butter cup of horror games; two great tastes that taste great together.

The book is divided up in terms of creating your Victorian age character, the Victorian world, Strange Britain, Gaslight Adventures and an a very nice Appendix on Victorian literature and some handouts.

The Victorian Age Character chapter is typical of a Call of Cthulhu game. Skills and professions are discussed. Some familiarity with Call of Cthulhu is helpful here since this book assumes you have a copy of Call of Cthulhu.  Te times assumed here are 1890 to 1900.  No discussion on Victorian Age characters is complete, or really can even begin without a discussion on social class, which we get during character occupations. This section is expanded over the 2nd Edition with inclusion of common terms from the age.

The Victorian World covers the world of the British Empire including it's place in the world, a time line of important dates and biographies of important people from the time.  My favorite part is the locations in and around London.  This chapter is well researched and great for any Victorian era RPG.

Strange Britain is a great overview of the occult scene in Britain in the 1890s.  Lodges, Fortean events, and a gazetteer of strange sites in the British isles. All of these are great for all sorts of games.  The Cthulhu mythos portion comes later and has some new ideas for old monsters, both mythos monsters and classic ones from the British Isles. The chapter continues with some fictional characters from the time.  Though one might want to figure out how some authors can appear with their fiction creations.  My favorite part though is the Martian Invasion.  H.G. Wells meets H. P. Lovecraft.  Some Victorian adventure campaigns are then discussed.

Gaslight Adventures helps Keepers (Game Masters) with some ready to run adventures; "Night of the Jackals" and "The Burnt Man".

The Appendix is full of great information about various sources of information on Victorian England, Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper and Britain in general.  Though if I have a quibble it is that the sources are a bit dated, nothing for example from the last few years.

All in all the 3rd edition is a great update of this great game.

You can buy Cthulhu by Gaslight from Noble Knight Games or DriveThruRPG for older editions and DriveThruRPG for the new 3rd ed.


Christie Wright Wild said...

Now there's a word you don't hear every day! Cthulhu. Hmmm...

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Hehe, Christie you should hang around in my circles. I hear "Cthulhu" almost every day!

DonnaGalanti said...

Never played a horror game but would be fascinating to learn about Strange Britain - and create my own character.

L said...

Horror, gothic, Victorian era!!!
sounds like my kind of thing!

nutschell said...

that word is a mouthful. How do you pronounce it? Great A-Z post!

Timothy S. Brannan said...

I pronounce it "Kuh-thool-too", my kids prefer "Kuh-thool-hoo".

Yeah, even my kids know about this guy.

Author Joshua Hoyt said...

I love visiting your blog and seeing the different games. Nice to see you in the A-Z challenge.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tim - I've never played a RPG (which, given my attractions and interests, I'm kinda surprised) so I'm pretty clueless on the subject. However, I did dive a little deeper into your site and read your FAQ.

I'm a Buffy fan too. Although, I think I missed most of the final season. I'm often drawn to witch-themed books too (mostly mystery vs. strictly fantasy). I've known a couple of Wiccans in my time, and have seen a few things that I can't really explain. It's been fun.

Anyhow, thanks for stopping by my blog earlier. Good luck during A - Z! :)

Terri Pray said...

My husband used to play Cthulhu games! Not one I ever got the chance to play though.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and hope to see you there again soon!

Erin M. Hartshorn said...

Stopping by from A to Z. I'll definitely be coming back; I love RPGs, though I've only played a few. This one sounds like fun. There can never be too much Cthulhu!


Donna McDine said...

Thanks for bringing this book to my attention. I enjoyed visiting.

Visiting through the A to Z Challenge. Lovely blog!

Best regards,
Award-winning Children’s Author
Write What Inspires You Blog
The Golden Pathway story book Blog

Sherri Lackey said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I like the the word Cthulhu. I'll have to hang out more on your blog if you throw interesting words like that around!

Buffy Armstrong said...

Sounds like so much fun! Maybe I need to reconsider my aversion to role playing games.

Sharkbytes said...

This is the second blog in the challenge using this word. It was a new one for me. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge blogs in April.