Cthulhu Britannica Overview ‘And did those feet, in ancient time, walk upon England’s mountains green’
“If I could create an ideal world, it would be an England with the fire of the Elizabethans, the correct taste of the Georgians, and the refinement and pure ideals of the Victorians.” H P Lovecraft.
I love the works of HP Lovecraft, and more so the Call of Cthulhu RPG which his ‘weird and uncanny’ stories spawned, with its sanity (or lack of) tables, and unnerving sense of doom that each new discovery brings, edging the Human Race ever closer to the edge….!
The one thing that I always had an issue with though, was the setting. Whilst 1920’s America can be great fun, with prohibition, gangsters (who turn out to be cultists), and for some, the wide availability of weapons (of the kind that go BANG!), I yearned to run stories set in Great Britain.
For years, the ‘go to’ book if you wanted to play Cthulhu GB, was ‘Green and Pleasant Land’, published by Games Workshop (when they had the UK license) in 1987. Sadly, copies of G&PL are now rare, with copies changing hands for upwards of £60.00!
Then in 2009, Cubicle 7 released Cthulhu Britannica….
Currently there are four volumes – Cthulhu Britannica, Folklore, Avalon and Shadows Over Scotland.
I’ll be looking in detail at each volume over two articles, leading up to the release of Cubicle 7’s eagerly awaited Kickstarter; Cthulhu Britannica: London!
The first volume, Cthulhu Britannica, is a collection of 5 adventures, each one set in a different ‘era’; ‘Bad Company’ is set in the 1880’s, ‘Darkness, Descending’ the 1930’s, ‘Wrong Turn’ a contemporary adventure, ‘King’ the near future, and the final adventure ‘My Little Sister Will Make You Suffer’ the far future, with the end of the Human race in sight, completes the volume. Each adventure has a different writer which offers a distinct style, unique to the adventure. The writing is tight, well plotted and gives the Keeper all they need to run a good game. My personal favourite is ‘Bad Company’ which I have ran to great effect. I’ve not had chance to run either ‘King’ or ‘My Little Sister’, but hope to at some point (possibly adapting them to my Laundry campaign, but more on THAT another time).
Folklore, the second volume, gives the detail Keepers want and need to ‘Anglicise’ their games. Adding folk magic, fairies and all manner of monsters and creepies to your games. I like the idea of Folk Magic, based around the spirits of the land, causing all manner of havoc and terror to the inhabitants! The ‘Folklore’ section itself is written in such a style that make sit a joy to read, even if you won’t be using it in your games – each piece could be an adventure hook in the right hands, or even a red herring to those of a more malicious nature. This is continued in the section ‘Old Ones and Old Gods’ which gives hints and advice on transporting the Cthulhu Mythos Gods into a folkloric setting.
Finally, there are eight ‘Folklore Mythos Threats’, which for me, are worth the cost of the book on their own. Short enough to run in a single session each, or, if the Keeper puts in a bit of work, several sessions each, these adventure hooks are great fun. My personal favourite is ‘Daughters Of The Seas’, mainly as I have a soft spot for anything including Deep Ones…!
I’ll cover Avalon, and the award winning Shadows Over Scotland in the next instalment!