After a many years spent dreaming behind the light of dying stars, Games and Stuff is pleased to announce that the CTHULHUTECH Roleplaying Game is once again available for sale at the shop. Special thanks to Derek at Publisher Services for helping us to get this back on our shelves, something that we’ve spent many years trying to do. Without further ado, here’s George to talk about why the game ranks among his very favorite RPGs of all time.
So, I have collected a bit of Lovecraftiana in my day. I specialize in RPGs and occult material but have also collected my good share of board games and other stuff. That being said, I have pretty strong opinions about what is appropriate treatment of the shared world of the Mythos as well as what is a correct re-imagining of the genre’s soul. I would say that my tastes in Cthulhu stuff run toward the conservative insofar as tone and theme. So it is not hard to imagine what my initial reaction to CthulhuTech would resemble. I do not think that I can count the number of times I rolled my eyes and cursed all collective geekdom for what they had wrought with their juvenile penchant for mash-up and that wretched dog-urine stain called anime.
May my tongue be forever bound by the void-sigils of Azathoth’s idiocy for this transgression of sublime presupposition.
CthulhuTech now reigns supreme as my favorite Mythos universe game. It’s because beneath its Robotech-like metaplot is a rich loam of occult horror and paranoid knots of Cronenbergian body horror pinned to the floor of our ceremonial chamber by a level of immediate violence and catastrophe that insures that nothing boring can happen. It’s because behind all of that Japanimation-style art looms a blisteringly boundless game setting that has more gore-oozing entry points than the bloated mass of Shub-Niggurath herself. It’s that even though we have FTL and armories of gauss-canons braced to the arms of armies of sixty foot-tall warbots, if Ye Olde Ones actually do wake-up in the CthulhuTech setting, we are no better protected than we were in the good ole 1920s.
In most cases, the players take on the roles of members of the New Earth Government – or play a member of one of the human-interested secret societies that lurk within it. They are either Human or members of a near-human race called the Nazzadi. If that’s not weird enough, discuss it with your group and consider a human-opposed game for which there are several options both classic and new. Careers for your characters can be anything from the archetypal squadron of Mecha pilots or a cell of the Eldritch Society (an arcane shadow agency that ritually creates Guyver-like super-soldiers by grafting soul-eating symbionts to only the most tested and worthy of candidates.)
All this being said, CthulhuTech is absolutely loaded with the disturbing things one would expect in virtually every variety of horror. With that in mind, it excels at both cosmic horror (the dread that is the perimeter of the known) and body horror (the dread that is the monstrous enemy and our physical form are inseperable). I would like to say that the game accomplishes its ends with graceful subtlety but that would be a grievous lie. Many games say they are for mature audiences, CthulhuTech demands it. If you are squeamish or otherwise prone to extreme anxiety when presented with really invasive and controversial ideas of horror, sex, or violence, CthulhuTech is not for you.
The number one reason I find CthulhuTech compelling? It’s something entirely new made from the familiar. The reveals are not predictable and the weird seductive quality of the setting lets us take the investigation a bit further. It takes the cosmic terror and body horror to a different place and makes the experience immediately accessible and therefore playable. I won’t go so far as to call it the very best Lovecraft-inspired game, but it is absolutely my favorite.
-George Holland is our Assistant Manager and spends a lot of time eyeing the world suspiciously over the covers of strange and dubious books. He also runs the RPG.LAB program on Tuesday nights at 6pm (limited spots – appointment necessary).
-Today’s Cool Thing is a series of short articles featuring whatever cool thing the Games and Stuff staff is currently buzzing about.