"Pax Cthuliana" is a dramatic scenario designed for experienced players set in the world of H. P. Lovecraft.
Through investigation, puzzle solving, time travel, knowledge of the Mythos, situational music, timed events and horrible scenes, the players will experience an interactive and unique scenario—an epic mini-campaign playable in one (long!) gaming night.
The setting is London 1927, though the investigators will soon discover the need to dig deeper into England's occult past. The scenario may be played as a standalone event or incorporated into an ongoing campaign—preferably its end, as the very world itself may collapse should the investigators fail.
Puzzle solving: The players need to draw a powerful sigil to keep the dark powers at bay, but the sigil consists of several symbols in a special pattern. During the scenario, more pieces of the puzzle become clear, but do they have the skills to fit them all together and complete the sigil before the world ends…?
Situational music: At three key events during the scenario, music plays an important role. Three specific soundtracks heighten the mood and accompany the situation, as well as function as a time limit for the investigators to complete certain tasks. The soundtracks are not provided with this Kickstarter but are easily found on any musical service like Spotify, iTunes, Google Play or YouTube.
Knowledge of the Mythos: As stated, this is a scenario meant for experienced players. They need to have some scenarios under their belt, as well as some basic knowledge of the Mythos. If they have never heard of R'lyeh before, then this scenario is not for them. Yet.
Cultural knowledge: The players will meet famous and historical persons of the time. They will also dig into England's past to uncover some horrible truths. Any real knowledge of persons like Christopher Wren, Aleister Crowley or a certain J. R. R. Tolkien could prove useful. Though such knowledge is not necessary, it could prove to tip the scale towards saving or ending the world...
Epic: From a small and seemingly irrelevant situation, the players will soon find themselves facing the horrors of great Cthulhu himself. As they discover more and more of the past and its shocking implications though puzzle solving and investigation, they will soon feel the burden of humanity's future on their shoulders. They have never, and will never again, be this close to total destruction.
Playing time: Initial playtesting of the raw material suggests a play time of about six hours. This could easily be expanded, as the scenario will come with optional false leads and expanded situations to suit your needs. This versatility may easily expand the scenario into a mini-campaign.
Two endings: In the very last moments of the scenario, it becomes up to the GM to decide how it ends. The “normal” ending will (hopefully) result in the players as victorious against the dark powers—this is a satisfying option for the players since they have fought hard with brains and skills to achieve their goal; huzzah! The “other” option is something completely different; this is an ending that will turn upside down everything the players have found out and believed throughout the scenario. This is an option that will leave their jaws dropping and produce “I did not see that coming!” reactions. It’s your choice. You're the GM.
Action-oriented or not?: Some players (or GMs) may want to solve some situations using muscles & guns, though this scenario is meant to be completed without firing a single shot. For those players (or GMs) an “alternative action approach” (AAA) is included where relevant.
Skill use: The purpose of the scenario is to create a special atmosphere where the Mythos feels eerily alive everywhere. As such, rules and skills are less emphasized so as not to “disturb” this purpose. The scenario may be played almost exclusively using the character's knowledge and ideas; only a few skill rolls are necessary. So how does it work? Let's say you find a strange book entitled The Book of Eibon. You are not meant to do a skill roll to discover what this book is; you're supposed to have heard about it before, both as a player and character. And if you stumble upon a lot of clues in a pile, you're not supposed to roll a Search, Luck or Library Use to find the “correct” clue; you're supposed to use your own wits and investigation throughout the scenario to figure out which are the correct ones. The use of skill rolls will be needed from time to time, but only to give alternative approaches to different situations, and never to interfere with the atmosphere.
Content: In many RPG scenarios, there exists an elaborate description of the NPCs, their history, their minds, plans, surroundings... You will not find much of that in “Pax Cthuliana.” We've read too many scenarios where the relevant information is somewhat “hidden” in too much description. Don’t get us wrong; it's entertaining to read about the family background, accent, tattoo and shoe size of the local bartender, but if his only appearance is when he gives the investigator a letter, that info is not very relevant for the players. “Pax Cthuliana” tells you what you need to know; the rest is up to you.
Mature content: What stands the Lovecraftian world apart from many other themes is the atmosphere of fear and horror; if played well, both for the investigators and the players. “Pax Cthuliana” follows this pattern; the fear is always lingering, but the “horror level” may be adjusted to your taste. The scenario may be enjoyed fully without a single drop of blood spilled, or you may choose to adjust some scenes to incorporate the ultimate horror targeting both your character and your own sanity. As such, it could potentially resemble the “alternative action approach” (AAA) mentioned above. Call it AHA if you'd like (please don't).
Fact and fiction: The scenario combines the real world with the Mythos. The characters you meet and their story/surroundings are mostly historically correct, mixed with the occasional Mythos element. A complete Fact & Fiction section at the end of the scenario keeps you up to date, but is yours to bend to your own will...
Quality: This is in a full-color page layout in US letter format! This scenario is a delight both to read and play.
About the creators
Jarle Haktorson is the writer behind “Pax Cthuliana”. He bought his first CoC rulebook (5th ed) back in 1993 and was intrigued. This was totally different from his former RPG experiences playing mostly AD&D (2nd ed). During his later studies, he realized he fit the classic CoC investigator, as he studied Latin, Greek, Coptic, history, religion, etc. It also helped that he worked in a mental institution during his studies, and so understood how sanity really works (and doesn’t work). He is currently the general manager of the Epix Haven gaming company (www.facebook.com/epixhaven), the leader of the local gaming club, and plays board games and RPGs as often as he can, at least once a week. He is proud to be a geek.
Even Vinjor Røssland is the creative mind behind the Insight Fantasy RPG and several other publications at drivethruRPG.com. He started playing RPGs back in the late 80s, slaying kobolds in D&D. Taking the GM-role some years later, he has entertained countless people through genres such as fantasy, sci-fi and horror. Even is in the creative advertising market, and has done all the layouts, book binding, advertising etc. for this scenario and campaign. Even is a gamer and a dreamer, and one of his dreams is this game.
Joseph Diaz has created the heart of this scenario with his superior illustrations. He has previously worked as a concept artist for productions like Game of Thrones, Warcraft, Europa Report and Sleepy Hollow. Never has Cthulhu himself felt so threatening or near as in “Pax Cthuliana.”
Two Starving Gnolls (TSG): When Jarle and Even sit down to talk, their heads spin with ideas. TSG was created to set those ideas into motion. As such, TSG functions as a development team to convert RPG ideas into playable material. “Pax Cthuliana” is the first such idea made a reality.
With help from you, this scenario could become even greater.
NOK 18.000 (about US/EUR 2000): Scenario map over London
The players will travel around London gathering clues, slowly understanding the graveness of their search. This period-accurate map will help both the GM and the players better navigate the world; there is one version for the players and another for the GM.
NOK 27.000 (about US/EURO 3000): More artwork and quality upgrades for clues
Most of the cost creating this scenario is related to the artwork. We wanted more, but couldn't risk this project not become a reality. This stretch goal will add more artwork to the scenario and upgrade all the clues, making the horrors come even more alive.
NOK 45.000 (about USD/EUR 5000): Custom-made soundtrack!
You read it right! Unlocking this goal enables us to create a custom-made soundtrack for the scenario! It will be available for ALL backers through download!
NOK 63.000 (about US/EUR 7000): Art book
A FREE art book to ALL backers containing all the sketches, images, clues, etc. used in the scenario, complete with discussions, “behind the scenes,” etc. Sent as PDF via DriveThruRPG.
NOK 90.000 (about US/EUR 10.000): Physical puzzle option
The players need to draw a powerful sigil to keep the dark powers at bay, but the sigil consists of several symbols in a special pattern. During the scenario, more pieces of the puzzle become clear. This stretch goal will give backers an option to receive a physical puzzle as an add-on. More on this as the campaign progresses.
NOK 135.000 (about US/EUR 15.000): Another scenario!
The world may be saved from destruction this time, but what about the next…?! This Stretch Goal will provide a completely new FREE scenario to all backers! More on this as the campaign progresses.
NOK 200.000 (about US/EUR 22.000): “Can we make it?!”
More on this as the campaign progresses.
What game system works with this scenario?
The short version: any (see the “Skill use” section above). Skill rolls play a minor part of the scenario. Where deemed necessary, a percentage system is used, like those found in CoC. It is easily modified to suit any system you'd like. We would also like to mention "Cthulhu Dark" by Graham Walmsley, as this is a rules-light system created to play Lovecraftian horror at its most intense.
Must the scenario be set in exactly 1927?
No, you could tweak it some +/- five years or so if you'd like. Some historical characters need to be adjusted somewhat though; the scenario includes relevant information on how to do this.
What does the title actually mean?
It's Latin for “The Cthulian Peace.” You do not want that to occur and neither do the investigators, so help them out!
Is this a production licensed by Chaosium?
No, and we are very aware of that. Hence, we only use our own illustrations and ideas, finding inspiration in H. P. Lovecraft's work available in the Public Domain. We do not use material (signs, symbols, characters, spells, etc.) owned by Chaosium. This scenario is a homage to Lovecraft's dark world.
How do you send the PDF files?
When the campaign is finished and the scenario is ready to play, you'll receive an e-mail; this will include a link for your free download of “Pax Cthuliana” at DriveThruRPG, the largest RPG download store.
What does “POD” means?
It means “Print on Demand,” so if you pledged for the PDF version only, but decide to have a soft-cover version later, you may POD; that means that DriveThruRPG will print and ship a soft-cover version to you. You will need to cover those costs, though (they are included in Reward #2).
May I choose any name/picture in the story?
(Concerning Reward # 4-5)
Well, we do not know you personally, so you're free to supply us with the name and picture you want—who are we to judge what people are called or how they look? :) We would hesitate though to supply names like Biggus Dikkus or provide photos of a badger (apologies to all people who look like a badger). Your name will of course also be mentioned in the credits!
May I provide any idea for the story?
(Concerning Reward #6)
Yes, by and large, you may. This scenario is designed using unique storytelling techniques, but the main story may be altered along the way should the right ideas come up. This reward is also the only option to be given the story beforehand—you'll need this knowledge to be able to think out and discuss your ideas with me. Your name will, of course, be mentioned in the credits!
Risks and challenges
Pax Cthuliana is currently in a developing stage. We need the opening to change some of the story should anyone go for Rewards #6, plus it takes some time to prepare the Scenario for PDF/soft/hard cover version. The fulfillment is via DriveThruRPG. This ensures a secure and predictable dispatch of both digital and POD versions of the book(s).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)