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Call of Cthulhu: Horror Roleplaying

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CALL OF CTHULHU is Chaosium's classic roleplaying game of Lovecraftian horror in which ordinary people are confronted by the terrifying and alien forces of the Cthulhu Mythos. CALL OF CTHULHU uses Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying System, easy to learn and quick to play. This bestseller has won dozens of game-industry awards and is a member of the Academy of Adventure Game Desi CALL OF CTHULHU is Chaosium's classic roleplaying game of Lovecraftian horror in which ordinary people are confronted by the terrifying and alien forces of the Cthulhu Mythos. CALL OF CTHULHU uses Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying System, easy to learn and quick to play. This bestseller has won dozens of game-industry awards and is a member of the Academy of Adventure Game Design Hall of Fame. In 2001 CALL OF CTHULHU celebrated its 20th anniversary. In 2003 CALL OF CTHULHU was voted the #1 Gothic/Horror RPG of all time by the Gaming Report.com community. CALL OF CTHULHU is well-supported by an ever-growing line of high quality game supplements. This is the softcover 6th edition of this classic horror game, completely compatible with all of previous editions and supplements for CALL OF CTHULHU. This is a complete roleplaying game in one volume. All you need to play is this book, some dice, imagination, and your friends.


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CALL OF CTHULHU is Chaosium's classic roleplaying game of Lovecraftian horror in which ordinary people are confronted by the terrifying and alien forces of the Cthulhu Mythos. CALL OF CTHULHU uses Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying System, easy to learn and quick to play. This bestseller has won dozens of game-industry awards and is a member of the Academy of Adventure Game Desi CALL OF CTHULHU is Chaosium's classic roleplaying game of Lovecraftian horror in which ordinary people are confronted by the terrifying and alien forces of the Cthulhu Mythos. CALL OF CTHULHU uses Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying System, easy to learn and quick to play. This bestseller has won dozens of game-industry awards and is a member of the Academy of Adventure Game Design Hall of Fame. In 2001 CALL OF CTHULHU celebrated its 20th anniversary. In 2003 CALL OF CTHULHU was voted the #1 Gothic/Horror RPG of all time by the Gaming Report.com community. CALL OF CTHULHU is well-supported by an ever-growing line of high quality game supplements. This is the softcover 6th edition of this classic horror game, completely compatible with all of previous editions and supplements for CALL OF CTHULHU. This is a complete roleplaying game in one volume. All you need to play is this book, some dice, imagination, and your friends.

30 review for Call of Cthulhu: Horror Roleplaying

  1. 5 out of 5

    Forrest

    Call of Cthulhu has made my list of #7RPGs (which is in need of updating to include Dungeon Crawl Classics, but I digress). This 7th edition takes the previous editions and ratchets the game up a notch, not by any hugely different mechanics (you'll still find the Basic Roleplaying system at its core), but by presenting a carefully-crafted approach not only to the Call of Cthulhu game, but to roleplaying in general. In fact, I recommend any game master of any roleplaying game to read Chapter 10: Call of Cthulhu has made my list of #7RPGs (which is in need of updating to include Dungeon Crawl Classics, but I digress). This 7th edition takes the previous editions and ratchets the game up a notch, not by any hugely different mechanics (you'll still find the Basic Roleplaying system at its core), but by presenting a carefully-crafted approach not only to the Call of Cthulhu game, but to roleplaying in general. In fact, I recommend any game master of any roleplaying game to read Chapter 10: "Playing the Game". This chapter is one of the best guides to how to run a game, especially a game involving mystery or horror, that I've ever read. I will be applying many of those lessons for years to come, and I am a game master with nearly 40 years of experience on the table. The book's presentation is exceptional. It is sturdy (unlike a certain 2nd edition of another very popular roleplaying game, which are known to crumble into sheafs of paper) and exquisitely crafted. Each chapter is host to a full double-page full-color painting and there are full-color paintings and sepia tone illustrations of extremely high quality throughout. It is as much a coffee table art book as a roleplaying book. The sewn-in red silk bookmark is a nice touch, as well. Even if you never play the game, you might just want the book for the artwork. On another level, you might just want the book for its treatment of the Lovecraftian mythos, tomes and grimoires, alien technology, and magic. You need not have a great grasp on the mechanics to appreciate Call of Cthulhu 7th edition Keeper Rulebook as a sourcebook. All creatures, books, artifacts, and spells presented here are well-researched and fleshed out just enough to let your imagination run wild if you are, for example, a writer wishing to explore the Lovecraftian universe. This is not to say that the book is without flaws. There are some niggling editorial misses, little things, but enough to be distracting. And while the chapter on chases is, I'm sure, brilliant, I just don't get it. After listening to two separate podcasts (The Miskatonic University Podcast and The Good Friends of Jackson Elias, for which I am a patron of both), I still just don't get it. It's probably the sort of thing I need to watch in action a few times to really grasp. After all, I'm a kinesthetic and visual learner. Someday, I hope to really understand this one. That said, the book is absolutely five star worthy, despite its flaws. Of course, the real test is "how does the book/how do the rules work at the table". I can attest from numerous Call of Cthulhu 7e sessions at Gameholecon and Garycon that the rules do, indeed, work very well (except for the chase rules, which I still need to play myself to understand). So if you've ever been curious, you could do worse than to splurge on a copy of the Call of Cthulhu Keeper Rulebook for yourself, then dive in and play. Or, if you want it for the art, or just as a sourcebook, that's fine too. There's no wrong way to use this book, except to not use it at all.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    This is an older edition of the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game. Third edition, that is. For people like myself who are playing 7th edition this is a great historical overview as to how the game came to be over the many decades. For myself, some of the old maps and scenarios may prove useful The CoC RPG is easily in my top three overall RPGs! OVERALL GRADE: B plus to A minus.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Susan Bin

    um why aren't you rpging this right now

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brian Sammons

    Perhaps the best role playing game of all time.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Devin

    While I was aware of the existence of horror roleplaying games as a young teen - a friend had a copy of Chill, and another friend had a copy of Beyond the Supernatural - Call of Cthulhu served as my most memorable introduction to horror roleplay, as well as my introduction to Lovecraft's work. One of the striking things about the game when I started playing was that it was set in the 1920s, a period I had known little to nothing about. It has since become my favorite horror game, in part because While I was aware of the existence of horror roleplaying games as a young teen - a friend had a copy of Chill, and another friend had a copy of Beyond the Supernatural - Call of Cthulhu served as my most memorable introduction to horror roleplay, as well as my introduction to Lovecraft's work. One of the striking things about the game when I started playing was that it was set in the 1920s, a period I had known little to nothing about. It has since become my favorite horror game, in part because of the simple mechanics, but also because of the evocative time period and the authors' excellent work in researching and explaining the period. Each successive edition has shown a marked improvement in this area. While Lovecraft may not be for everyone - I myself can only digest a few of his stories at a time before they begin to blend together - Call of Cthulhu is one of the best horror games on the market as well as one of the oldest. If you've never read Lovecraft in your life, the edition I have includes the short story "The Call of Cthulhu" in its entirety at the beginning of the book, so you're covered.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    About time I put this up here. The best roleplaying game of all time to me. I have been playing this game since I was 13 and still play it today 16 years later. Of all the games I have run as GM, this is the one I have run the most, and the most successfully as well. It is probably the only rpg (along with Dying Earth) where I know the rules by heart and do not have to consistently look up reading material. The percentage system is sublime, but most importantly, unlike most other games, leveling About time I put this up here. The best roleplaying game of all time to me. I have been playing this game since I was 13 and still play it today 16 years later. Of all the games I have run as GM, this is the one I have run the most, and the most successfully as well. It is probably the only rpg (along with Dying Earth) where I know the rules by heart and do not have to consistently look up reading material. The percentage system is sublime, but most importantly, unlike most other games, leveling up usually doesnt even come close to half of the physical and psychological damage your PC took in any game. But this is not a disincentive to keep playing! Far from it, playing the inevitable decline, madness, and death of a person who just had to investigate that which never should have been investigated is an amazing experience. For in this games, the players and game master can win-but the player characters can at the very best merely hope for the peace of death. Despite the fact that the mechanics work great for combat, this is a game of fear, of running and hiding. And this is even better. There is no other tabletop rpg like this one. If you play only one, make it this one.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jay Little

    Sandy Petersen and Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying game is one of the longest running, most enduring, and most influential RPGS of all time. Over the different editions, I believe it has been translated into more than a dozen languages. The game system is simple, but does an excellent job of evoking the otherworldly horrors and insanity-inducing encounters of Lovecrafts work. It is an important work in the RPG industry.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Terence

    I remember playing this a few times during my UCLA days with a group of fellow RPG enthusiasts (this was the era of 2nd Edition AD&D). The one thing I remember about the game was that the longer one's character dealt with the Elder Gods et al. the greater the chances that one would go insane.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jean-Francois Boivin

    I have these versions of the rules: 1st edition (box), 2nd printing 3rd edition (box) 3rd edition (UK hardcover) 4th edition 5th edition 5.6.1 (hardcover) 5.6.Corrected (20th Anniversary Edition) 6th edition (30th Anniversary 2011 Edition)

  10. 4 out of 5

    B. Barron

    Great Game.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Oliver Eike

    Most have heard the names Lovecraft or Cthulhu. Both are rather iconic in their own respect. So you have a roleplaying game by Chaosim set in Lovecraft's mythos, where you can, if your really unlucky, meet Cthulhu, and then be devoured shortly thereafter. You play as a investigator that look into anything from a haunted house to mysterious deaths at a nearby graveyard. Or you do battle against nerfarious cults trying to summon or advance the plots of eldritch horrors beyond human understanding. Most have heard the names Lovecraft or Cthulhu. Both are rather iconic in their own respect. So you have a roleplaying game by Chaosim set in Lovecraft's mythos, where you can, if your really unlucky, meet Cthulhu, and then be devoured shortly thereafter. You play as a investigator that look into anything from a haunted house to mysterious deaths at a nearby graveyard. Or you do battle against nerfarious cults trying to summon or advance the plots of eldritch horrors beyond human understanding. The game tends to have a pretty high deathtoll, but it still can serve as a great game with long stretching campaigns that extend over years. I have been part of one of these campaigns myself, so i speak from experience. But the game also has several adventurs published meant as a one-off. Like the Blood Brothers books. Where you get pre-made characters and just play an adventure for shitz 'n giggles. I remember those adventures with fondness myself, good ones ranging from zombie apocalypse horror stories to battling Nazi aliens. But the source work for the Call of Cthulhu book is something else entirly. It has some of the best source material published that i have seen, as well as some of the more iconic adventures. Like Horror on The Orient Express. Highly recomended for those who enjoy a bit of horror.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    I love that I can now consider RPGs professional reading! Credit to Chaosium Inc. for creating such a straight-forward, useful rulebook for Call Of Cthulhu. Chapter Ten, "Playing The Game," was particularly helpful in refreshing my memory as to how RPGs ought to be run. CoC uses a straight-forward percentile dice system that I appreciate for its simplicity. Am looking forward to running my first scenario! As a fan of H.P. Lovecraft's writing, and pulp-horror in general, this will be a go-to game I love that I can now consider RPGs professional reading! Credit to Chaosium Inc. for creating such a straight-forward, useful rulebook for Call Of Cthulhu. Chapter Ten, "Playing The Game," was particularly helpful in refreshing my memory as to how RPGs ought to be run. CoC uses a straight-forward percentile dice system that I appreciate for its simplicity. Am looking forward to running my first scenario! As a fan of H.P. Lovecraft's writing, and pulp-horror in general, this will be a go-to game for me. A few editing issues keep this from a perfect score; particularly, there are far too many typos present in the text! That, and the whole structure of chase sequences is particularly unwieldy as written -- I've read the chase rules twice now and still don't quite understand how to operate them. That said, the quality of the writing trumps the editorial sloppiness and the art, charts, tables, and scenarios included are all excellent! I look forward to reading the rest of the line.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dave Brothers

    This is a great update to an already beautiful system and only helps to streamline your inevitable descent into madness. There's more atmosphere, more horrific goodness, and fewer hurdles to slow you down. The distillation of more stats and mechanics to run on percentages simplifies some of the bean-counting. The Keeper's guide has lots of great resources for new and experienced GMs and the Player's Handbook is brimming with Lovecraft stories, lore, and metric tons of 1920's history to lend any a This is a great update to an already beautiful system and only helps to streamline your inevitable descent into madness. There's more atmosphere, more horrific goodness, and fewer hurdles to slow you down. The distillation of more stats and mechanics to run on percentages simplifies some of the bean-counting. The Keeper's guide has lots of great resources for new and experienced GMs and the Player's Handbook is brimming with Lovecraft stories, lore, and metric tons of 1920's history to lend any amount of authenticity you may want in your adventures.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    The classic horror roleplaying game, in the bizarre horror setting of HP Lovecraft and his contemporaries (in which the earth is inhabited by aliens that madmen collude with, including ancient god like aliens around whom cults have formed). I'm owned various editions, and have just picked up the 7th, so I'm still getting to grips with it. It's a great game but the quality of the game often depends on the quality of the scenario played with, and often how disbelief the players can suspend in conf The classic horror roleplaying game, in the bizarre horror setting of HP Lovecraft and his contemporaries (in which the earth is inhabited by aliens that madmen collude with, including ancient god like aliens around whom cults have formed). I'm owned various editions, and have just picked up the 7th, so I'm still getting to grips with it. It's a great game but the quality of the game often depends on the quality of the scenario played with, and often how disbelief the players can suspend in confronting cosmic horror.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rutha

    While I was aware of the existence of horror roleplaying games as a young teen - a friend had a copy of Chill, and another friend had a copy of Beyond the Supernatural - Call of Cthulhu served as my most memorable introduction to horror roleplay, as well as my introduction to Lovecraft's work. One of the striking things about the game when I started playing was that it was set in the 1920s, a period I had known little to nothing about.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    Basic Concept: Horror roleplaying based on the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. Probably my favorite RPG of all time. The roleplaying is way more important than number crunching, leveling, and min-maxing. It's very difficult not to have good stories with this game, but it's also sometimes very difficult to find a good group to play with. If you're a gamer and you haven't tried this game, you should, especially if you consider yourself more of a role-player than a gamer.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Yocom

    If you are a fan of Lovecraft, and like to play role-playing games, this is a must for your collection. I had the opportunity to read this for a review for Utah Geek Magazine, later posting the review on my own blog, [email protected] Those in my group that joined me in playing through same Call of Cthulhu really enjoyed the setting and the build. This is not a hack and slash game, but one of thinking.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Okay. This is certainly not for everyone. But if you're the type who enjoys role playing, you should give this a go. You'll have to roll an idea check after reading, because this corebook an *insanely* good time!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jared

    I always enjoyed the subject matter, so trying the game was a natural leap. Sat in on a session of Call of Cthulhu at a gaming con back in 94 and it was not only very imaginative, but the game mechanics were much more fluid than others I had played up to that point. It's certainly worth a look.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Richard Do

    the forefather of dark fantasy and the born of Lovecraft horror genre,even throughout the book we don t get any kind of ultimate chilling feeling,the mysterious of the story still managed to pull us into a deform,monstrous underground world that Lovecraft has borne

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Still one of the best RPGs of all time. The scenarios written for this game were of such high quality, they pushed gaming into new directions: The Masks of Nyarlathotep is rightly regarded as probably the best one ever written in any game setting.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sarah O'brien

    Classic horror gaming at its finest.

  23. 4 out of 5

    James

    Great RPG, played for years.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Serkan

    Only RPG system I knew was D&D. This system is way better than that. Realism is at it's best while keeping easy game play.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michael Redd

    One of the best RPG's out there...bar none.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    This was my first foray into the dark realms Lovecraft's world. Yeessssssssssssssss!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Preludes

    To play Call of Cthulhu, all you need is one person to act as Games-Master (who creates the story scenarios and controls the non-playable-characters) and another few people (2-6 usually works great, but you can have more or even less). You also need character sheets (found in this book) and dice (two D10s are essential, but sometimes you also need D6s etc). Then all you do is gather around a table and play out the scenario the GM has created, creating your own exciting story, using dice rolls to To play Call of Cthulhu, all you need is one person to act as Games-Master (who creates the story scenarios and controls the non-playable-characters) and another few people (2-6 usually works great, but you can have more or even less). You also need character sheets (found in this book) and dice (two D10s are essential, but sometimes you also need D6s etc). Then all you do is gather around a table and play out the scenario the GM has created, creating your own exciting story, using dice rolls to assist in keeping it exciting and varied as they decide the fates of certain actions by using the skills outlines on your character sheets to affect the success rate of the dice rolls. So that is a vague explanation of what a role playing game is. But what is it about Call of Cthulhu that is special and interesting? I had the opportunity to finally play Call of Cthulhu when I was at the Wargame and Roleplaying nationals in Cardiff this year (2012). Before that I had read the majority of the rulebook. For me, who had only played the World of Darkness system, it seemed complicated, and indeed the book didn’t do a great job of explaining the way dice-rolls are counted. By banding around sums and percentages as means to calculate success rates, it easily confused me. However, inreality, it is far, far easier. Basically you take two different coloured D10s and roll them to make a number of 1-100. one dice says the first digit (eg 0-10, 10s, 20s, 30s etc) and one dice says the second digit (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 etc). So if I roll the dice and one says ‘2’ and one says ‘9’ then that means ‘29’. On your character sheet, a skill is represented as a number. So, for example, ‘Spot Hidden 80%’. When you role the dice, if you get under 80 you pass, if you get over 80 you fail. It’s as simple as that. With the technicalities aside, the rulebook does do a wonderful job of letting you understand the whole purpose of the game, and the rich disturbing world behind it, which s based on Lovecraft’s novels. In short the aim is for your characters to survive the whole encounter without getting killed or going insane, and the book shows you just how fragile the nature of your characters is, and how terrifying the countless varieties of Lovecraftian monsters can be. Also, the golden rule of avoid combat as much as possible because chances are they’ll eat you. However, as with any roleplaying game, what happens on the table in a real game is very different to the set up in the rulebook. If you are planning on being a GM then, naturally, you absolutely need the rulebook. If you are just planning on playing it then, in the majority of games, the system is easy enough and flexible enough to allow you to pick it up quickly, and you are at an advantage for not knowing what the monsters are, because it heightens the terror of the game. My experiences with Call of Cthulhu were very good indeed. It creates a real tension and excitement as you navigate the game constantly as a baffled layperson, trapped in a carnival of horrors and desperately trying to hold on to their sanity and survive. Intelligence and strategy are favoured over combat, but there are enough terrifying encounters with the dark horrors to more than make up for the lack of constant combat. When you do face one of these beasties face to face, it makes it all the more exciting and panicked. The game encourages imagination and fantastic storytelling, and - allowing you to set it in the dark ages, 1890s, 1920s and modern day easily - there is great flexibility. In the games I played, for example, in one session we encompassed a 1490ad witch hunt with a modern day zombie apocalypse and in another session we were part of a small 1920s American village assaulted by a carnival of horrors. I found it incredibly entertaining and easy to pick up despite the daunting first glances at the rule book. Just remember, in call of cthulhu if half of your party ends up dead or insane by the end of the game, you’re doing it right.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Julian Meynell

    This is a review not of this edition but the current 7th edition. I haven't actually played the game yet, so it is really more of a review of the book itself than the game, for whatever that's worth. The physical presentation of the book is lovely and it has a built in book mark, which is fantastic. The are is exceptional as is the layout. The writing itself, I found to be a bit dry at times and it is hard to understand the rules of the game in comparison to other RPG products. As a result, I re This is a review not of this edition but the current 7th edition. I haven't actually played the game yet, so it is really more of a review of the book itself than the game, for whatever that's worth. The physical presentation of the book is lovely and it has a built in book mark, which is fantastic. The are is exceptional as is the layout. The writing itself, I found to be a bit dry at times and it is hard to understand the rules of the game in comparison to other RPG products. As a result, I read the book quite slowly compared to other RPG products. I have not played the game and this is obviously the acid test for any RPG. I would note that it does feel a bit old fashioned and a lot of the rules are unnecessarily complex. One could achieve a better effect with much simpler mechanics. This is especially true where it is trying to be realistic and gets a bit nit picky. Everything is on a percentile scale and it feels very old fashioned to care about the difference between a 66% and a 67%. Having said that, the product is very clever and avoids certain of the pitfalls of other games. It does not care, at all, about game balance, but is instead concentrated on narrative creation, which in my opinion is what an RPG should be all about. As a result, characters are not blanced. Monsters are not balanced at all. For instance, the Gods in it are as powerful as Gods and so on. I definitely want to play it and I'm excited to do so, but I am not sure when this is going to happen.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chris Van Dyke

    It's begining to worry me that I am the only person to have rated any of these games on GoodReads. Am I the only user to enter any RPGs? Fly that freak-flag, I say! I only played Cthulhu a few times in college. Of course, the premise is promising - its Cthulhu! Who hasn't wanted to do research at Miskitonic, uncover a dark and antedeluvian cult, or die gibbering and clawing at one's skin after seeing the precyclopian horror that man was not meant to know? And there-in lies the draw-back to this It's begining to worry me that I am the only person to have rated any of these games on GoodReads. Am I the only user to enter any RPGs? Fly that freak-flag, I say! I only played Cthulhu a few times in college. Of course, the premise is promising - its Cthulhu! Who hasn't wanted to do research at Miskitonic, uncover a dark and antedeluvian cult, or die gibbering and clawing at one's skin after seeing the precyclopian horror that man was not meant to know? And there-in lies the draw-back to this game; every character goes mad, every character dies a violent, often self-inflicted death. As a GM, the games suffer the same short-comings of a Lovecraft story (and horror in general) - lots of build up, lots of tension, research, and back-ground, then a sudden revelation which often can't live up to the build-up. Lizard men? Another shoggoth? Mere mortals cannot neven conceive of, let along fight, the great Yog Sogoth; while the concept of Cthulhian role-playing is fantastic, perhaps it is the game that man was never meant to play.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Krzysztof

    I have a friend who's a long-time Call of Cthulhu GM and player. He always said that if you want to run Call of Cthulhu, reading the rulebook is a mistake. He's 100% right. Out of this 300+ pages corebook, you need only read the first 100 (the rules themselves), or the first half of the book if you're feeling generous (pages 100-150 is some semi-useful fluff and GM advice). Do not bother with the other 150 pages, because there's almost nothing there worth reading. I skipped the Spells chapter and I have a friend who's a long-time Call of Cthulhu GM and player. He always said that if you want to run Call of Cthulhu, reading the rulebook is a mistake. He's 100% right. Out of this 300+ pages corebook, you need only read the first 100 (the rules themselves), or the first half of the book if you're feeling generous (pages 100-150 is some semi-useful fluff and GM advice). Do not bother with the other 150 pages, because there's almost nothing there worth reading. I skipped the Spells chapter and skimmed through the other stuff, only reading the pre-made scenarios thouroughly (those aren't bad, but you'll do without them). So I can't really recommend this. To be entirely honest, you're better off running Call of Cthulhu as a diceless game anyway, as I feel horror RPGs work best unassisted by dice and chance. Or just use another mechanic (I find World of Darkness to be great for atmosphere-driven games) and run your idea of what a Call of Cthulhu game is, instead of running something based on this book. You'll do much better and have more fun that way, GM or Player.

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