Our Latest Publications

Unspeakably Good – Recapping ChaosiumCon 2022

I learned of the inaugural ChaosiumCon at GenCon in September 2021 and anxiously awaited the official date for months. This would be the first official Chaosium convention and held auspiciously during the company’s 40th anniversary year. The fact that this historic convention would be held in the Ann Arbor area further fired our enthusiasm since we live nearby in the Detroit metroplex. We looked forward to running and playing games just down the road from our house and meeting Chaosium fans from near and far. The week approaching April 8 ran exceptionally slow. Final preparations and home games helped distract us until the day before the convention.    Thursday, Day 0 But we couldn’t hold

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Crawl of Cthulhu – Introduction

Call of Cthulhu entered the roleplaying world in 1981, during the golden age of dungeon crawling.  In the same year, TSR released the module entitled In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords (A4), and The Keep of the Borderlands (B2) had already thrilled fledgling adventurers for two years. While Chaosium’s new creation unleashed the potent combination of investigation and horror, a few early adventures leaned on established conceits born in fantasy roleplaying, including the dungeon crawl. The 40th anniversary of the game brings us the reprinting of the second-edition core rulebook, as well as a collection of early game supplements, including The Asylum & Other Tales and the Shadows of Yog Sothoth campaign. Between the

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The Terrible Triad (or Cthulhu’s Three Pillars)

Whether deep in dungeons, running in dystopian mega-cities, or solving cult murders, every single roleplaying game employs a simple core procedure:  The GM provides a situation. The characters take an action (dice may be rolled or not) The GM describes the results This procedural cycle continues until the scene, session, or campaign concludes. In D&D, 5th edition, the game and this action cycle rest on the Three Pillars, which are defined by the designers as roleplaying, combat, and exploration. Through each cycle, a Dungeon Master and their players rely upon the three driving pillars to fuel their meaningful decisions. Since its inception, D&D has leaned heavily upon combat and roleplaying to direct gameplay, but many

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Want to Run Call of Cthulhu – What do I Buy?

Seasoned gamer looking to finally try out Call of Cthulhu? Played a couple scenarios and want to try running adventures yourself? Trying to decide on the highest yield products to bring this classic investigative-horror game to your table? Ready to jump feet first into Masks of Nyarlathotep as a first-time Keeper? The gaming community provides a wealth of answers to these questions, and we want to briefly weigh-in, in and offer our personal suggestions we provide to folks we run games for at conventions, who ask “what should I buy now?” First, you don’t have to buy anything to play some outstanding Call of Cthulhu modules. Our first two recommendations are the Quickstart Rules and

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Spawn of Azathoth – Ulthar and Beyond

From the Mind of Keeper Jon Hook Welcome back to the Cult of Azathoth. As noted in the previous articles, this series about the classic Call of Cthulhu campaign, Spawn of Azathoth, by Keith “Doc” Herber. This article references the 2005 version of the campaign; the PDF is available now on Chaosium’s website. The rest of this article is full of SPOILERS. You’ve been warned. Previously, I described how the Spawn of Azathoth campaign is comprised of seven chapters, with only the first and last chapters set in place. The players and their investigators explore the mystery however they desire. This article describes the Ulthar and Beyond chapter since it was what my investigators wanted

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Mythos Tomes – Wondrous Intelligences

Location: Mortimer Wycroft’s shop (beneath his bed) Physical Description: Bound in faded red leather, some water damage and well-thumbed. Faded writing within cover reveals the book is property of the University of Sydney.  Author:  James Woodville, a successful merchant and later itinerant Puritan preacher, who lived in England during and after the English Civil War.  Publication History: English, 17th century. Very few copies of this blasphemous text exist.  Skim:  An ill-organized, maniacal but highly detailed religious text recounting the visions, dreams, prophecies, and teachings of Woodville, as well as graphic justification for his unusual sexual practices. Poor quality woodcuts accompany the disturbing text, and include depictions of strange conical “angels”, which represent a physical manifestation

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In Search of Player Engagement

While wasting time on social media recently, we came across a comment deriding gamemasters for complaining about how hard their job is. We certainly believe running a game requires a great deal of time, effort, and organization, which ultimately culminates at the table. Whether running a published campaign or just-in-time homebrew, you expect some payoff during the session. How does a gamemaster measure that return? We tend to look for player engagement. If a player shows up, plays, and wants to play again, then we feel satisfied at the end of the day. This relationship with engagement, though, remains complicated and requires examination so that gamemasters set reasonable expectations for themselves and their players.  Before

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Spawn of Azathoth – Providence

From the Mind of Keeper Jon Hook Welcome back to the Cult of Azathoth. As noted in the previous article, this series about the classic Call of Cthulhu campaign, Spawn of Azathoth, by Keith “Doc” Herber, will be full of spoilers. Also, I’ll be referencing the 2005 version of the campaign because it is the most accessible. The rest of this article is full of SPOILERS and spiders. You’ve been warned. The campaign begins in Providence, Rhode Island, in May 1927. It is assumed that the investigators are acquaintances of Mr. Philip Baxter, a retired professor of archaeology for Brown University. Baxter is also a founding member of the Tuesday Night Academy, an esoteric club of academics. For my game,

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Spawn of Azathoth – Introduction

From the Mind of Keeper Jon Hook Welcome to the Cult of Azathoth. My plan for this series of articles is to describe how I upgraded the classic Call of Cthulhu RPG campaign, Spawn of Azathoth, so I could run it with 7th Edition rules for the Into the Darkness players on their YouTube channel. You can find my run of this campaign here. This series of articles will contain spoilers for this campaign. You’ve been warned. If you’re a player who hopes to play in this campaign, please send your Keeper here; it’s my hope that they’ll find the inspiration here to run this most excellent campaign.  The Spawn of Azathoth campaign, (also known

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Mythos Monsters – Hunting Horror

“Stars swelled to dawns, and dawns burst into fountains of gold, carmine, and purple, and still the dreamer fell. Cries rent the aether as ribbons of light beat back the fiends from outside. And hoary Nodens raised a howl of triumph when Nyarlathotep, close on his quarry, stopped baffled by a glare that seared his formless hunting-horrors to grey dust.” H.P. Lovecraft, Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath Originally mentioned in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, these ravening terrors serve  Nyarlathotep as flesh-tearing hunters and intimidating totems of his dark power. Numerous elements of the published campaign provide Keepers with opportunities to incorporate the hunting horror as a prominent, recurring menace throughout all chapters. While every Nyarlathotep avatar

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