Fate of Cthulhu
The stars are right for Great Cthulhu's return—and it's your job to make them wrong again in this Fate-powered roleplaying game!
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Tue, May 21 2019 7:30 PM UTC +00:00.
The stars are right for Great Cthulhu's return. It's up to you to make them wrong again!
The Great Old Ones reach out from the future and into their past—our present—corrupting the timeline such that events and individuals turn towards the apocalyptic and lead to their inevitable rise. A small and battered resistance effort mounted by time-travelers and present-day heroes stands in their way.
You are those one-way travelers from a dark future and their crucial allies from the present day, working together to save the human race from looming apocalypse. Armed with foreknowledge of Judgment Day, you must succeed at a series of vital missions aimed at restoring hope to the future.
But the clock is ticking. The corrupting influence of the Great Old Ones is sure to affect you before the end, twisting you slowly and inexorably into something alien and unrecognizable.
Can you defeat the vast unknowable evils of the Great Old Ones before you become a monster yourself? Find out in Fate of Cthulhu, a new stand-alone tabletop roleplaying game from Evil Hat Productions!
Are you already a backer? Go to this backers-only post and download the prototype—a completely-playable PDF of Fate of Cthulhu—right now!
Looking to support a local retailer by preordering Fate of Cthulhu through them? Encourage your FLGS to back this Kickstarter at the Retailer Ally level. (If you're in the UK or EU, Leisure Games has up a page for folks interested in preordering the book. See our Shipping section further below for other options as well.)
Fate of Cthulhu is a stand-alone game powered by the Fate Core system from Evil Hat Productions. It will be around 256 pages in length, featuring color art in 6"x9" hardcover and digital PDF formats and a whole lot of tentacles (so, so many tentacles).
The idea for Fate of Cthulhu started with a simple question: what if Cthulhu operated like Skynet? In this game you'll face down Mythos-style threats with Terminator-style action and adventure, whether as a present-day Sarah Connor type, or an agent from the future already facing the creeping effects of corruption. This is Lovecraftian roleplaying made new again, with time-traveling operatives from a future apocalypse journeying back to the present day to warn others of the coming danger (and recruit them) to try to set the timeline on a new and hopefully better course.
You'll discover whether they succeed, and whether or not their success will lead to salvation or some fresh new horror, throughout the course of play. The future changes with each move the heroes make, the Old Ones always pushing back with their own dire countermoves, both inflicting new ripples on the timeline. Sometimes the best you can hope for is a less awful apocalypse—but somewhere out beyond the dark roiling clouds and tentacle-lashed landscape of mankind's ruin, there is a glimmer of hope, thanks to your sacrifices.
And the sacrifices will be many. To fight the tentacular and squamous, operatives must become so themselves. Through time travel itself or exposure to Old One threats during their missions, characters will gain strange new abilities and bizarre new anatomies as they absorb more corruption into their own flesh and psyches. In time, they might twist so far they become lost, turning into new agents of the Old Ones themselves... with any luck, they'll have a good friend nearby to put them down when it happens.
Does Terminator action with Lovecraftian style sound interesting to you? Learn more about Fate of Cthulhu in this Techraptor interview: PK Sullivan and Stephen Blackmoore on Fate of Cthulhu and Punching Elder Gods
- A corruption clock that fills up as you sacrifice more of your humanity to power or gain monstrous abilities (supercharged stunts), slowly transforming your character's aspects into new, corrupted versions of themselves.
- A system for tracking key events leading up to the apocalypse that the players change through their actions and choices during play, including support for ripple effects and time paradoxes.
- Modifications to stress and concession rules, including support for heroic last stands that sacrifice a character but help turn the timeline towards a better outcome.
- A rituals and spells system that offers great power at a cost, treating spells as secrets of arcane Elder technology that must be sought out in play.
- Five detailed example timelines plus rules for running them and making your own.
- The full Fate Core game system condensed to about 50 pages but still supporting the standard Core skill list, stunt building, and more.
Fate is a system focused on story, where both success and failure help to create interesting moments for players and characters. Fate models fiction, not physics. In Fate it's as much about the choices your time-traveling agents face and the story consequences of those choices, for good or ill, as it is about those visceral, dangerous fights to save the human race. (You'll get plenty of both.)
Do you sacrifice more of your humanity to gain the abilities you need to fight the Great Old One's minions? Or do you hold on to what makes you human and avoid turning into the very monsters you fight? When you choose to stick with or go off of your mission, how does it affect the future's timeline? Fate helps generate drama by pushing play toward answering these questions.
That's right: you don't need to buy any other books to play Fate of Cthulhu, though you're welcome to grab other Fate products and cross-pollinate with this one.
Fate is a nimble rules-light system that uses 4 six-sided dice and a pool of tokens to advance the narrative. While you can use standard d6's or poker chips if that's your jam, we do offer our own Fate Dice™ and Fate Points™ which you can grab as part of the Equipment Cache and Well-Equipped Elder God Squad reward levels. We put a lot of thought into the design of these items. If you love dice and game accessories as much as we do, you'll be very happy to put these on your table top!
The Prototype PDF: As a backer of this project, you get immediate access to the current version of the PDF before the Kickstarter campaign concludes (click here, or see the link under the video up top). We want to make it easy for you to decide if this game is for you, particularly if you're new to RPGs. The prototype PDF still lacks a lot of art and a few other finishing touches, but there's enough there for you to get started playing right now.
The Completed PDF(s): Backers at $20 and up will receive the final, art-complete PDF as soon as it's ready (after we get all the missing art made). They will also receive all digital stretch goals which are unlocked during the course of this campaign.
The Hardcover Book: Those backing at $35 and higher will receive one (or more, depending) copy of the 6"x9" formatted hardcover, color interior book with 256 pages and a matte finish on the cover. Will ship before the end of the year. You can increase your pledge by $35 for each additional copy you want to receive. Backers at this level also receive PDF copies of the final book and any digital stretch goals which are unlocked.
Your choice of Fate Dice™: Some of our reward tiers let you pick one of our 12-packs of Fate Dice™. We offer them in a wide variety of styles (including our popular and on-theme Eldritch set). They're $15 each, so if you want some extra packs, just increase your pledge amount appropriately.
A set of Fate Points™: This past year we released our branded Fate Points™ tokens, which are included on some of our reward tiers. They come 30 to a pack for $12. Want more points? Increase your pledge in $12 increments.
If you want to add any of the above items after the campaign's over, we'll make that possible with BackerKit (see "Shipping and Fulfillment," below).
Our first stretch goal is all about adding some extra bells and whistles to the book and showing you some horrific gratitude to boot.
When we hit this goal at $30,000 the Digital Apocalypse package (available to backers at $20 and up) gets its first new items:
- A PDF of the Fate Horror Toolkit (great for use with Fate of Cthulhu!)
- A PDF of the Fate Adversary Toolkit (also great!)
- High-resolution digital wallpaper of the book's cover art to haunt your digital workspace
The hardcover book will get some extra bits of polish and chrome too, to up the luxe factor:
- Spot-gloss effects for the cover (similar to what we've done with gloss accents on Blades in the Dark and Scum and Villainy)
- Printed endpapers (those are the usually-blank sheets of paper that line the inside of the cover of the book) that'll showcase the cover artwork without logos and text covering up its portentious doom
- We'll also be able to increase the size of our initial print run and hire a professional indexer to make sure the final book's index is top notch!
In addition to all the above, there's a community component to this stretch goal: we'll commit to providing an open-licensable version of the system components of the game (with our setting and Cthulhu derived IP taken out, for hopefully obvious reasons). By and large, this will be a "condensed Fate Core" plus a couple other bells and whistles, but we think there's potentially some real value in that. Til now, Fate Accelerated has been the primary "condensed Fate" for folks to build their third-party Fate games from; the 50-pages-or-so version we have in Fate of Cthulhu cleaves more strongly to Fate Core's defaults, while still leaving a lot of room for original content for folks looking to build their own stand-alone Fate games.
UNLOCKED! At $75,000 we'll add a partial preview of the Fate Accessibility Toolkit to the Digital Apocalypse package available to backers at $20 & up. See Update #8 for details on this stretch.
At $85,000 we'll provide EPUB and Kindle formats along with our PDFs for backers receiving the Digital Apocalypse package at $20 & up. See Update #8 for details.
Starting at $40,000 and at each $10,000 increment afterwards up to $100k, we'll expand the Digital Apocalypse package to include a new timeline by a new author, to expand your options for play. As we get closer to these goals, we'll fill you in on which Elder Gods and other doomsday threats we have for you to face.
Each timeline will run about 24-or-so pages of material, including several new pieces of art in each. Funding for each goal will cover the writing, editing, system development, layout, art direction, artwork, and digital release costs.
We've lined up a diverse set of authors to uncover new dimensions of terror for you and your friends to take on. Stay tuned for further messages from the future!
When the Colour rises from its hiding-place beneath the earth, all life crumbles to dust within its grasp...
Learn more about this stretch: Update #2
Shattered realities await those who dare try to control the blind idiot god who dreams the universe into being...
Learn more about this stretch: Update #2
An underground city beneath the sands of the Chihuahuan Desert and its inhabitants in service to a serpentine god counts down the days to humanity's end...
Learn more about this stretch: Update #3
Learn more about Alastor: Update #5
The King In Yellow was a mere test-drive. When Hastur rises, humanity must bend to his will as Earth turns into a living hell...
Learn more about this stretch: Update #4
Yog-Sothoth is the very means by which we travel to the past. But what happens when that method is also the same threat we're fighting against?
Learn more about this stretch: Update #6
A digitized Necronomicon goes viral—and that's just the beginning of the troubles that unfold from this dread book.
Learn more about this stretch: Update #8
When a global pandemic leads to a desperate time-travel gambit to save the cure, the knots the well-intentioned tie in the timeline are as bad as the disease...
Learn more about this stretch: Update #8
Cultural appropriation of Afro-Atlantic religious traditions triggers a zombie apocalypse. A Haiti-based international crew of necromancers and time-travelers must work together to undo this grave misdeed...
Learn more about this stretch: Update #8
Timeline, eh? Eh? You see what we did there.
We've put $20,000 of our own money into getting Fate of Cthulhu to this point. With your help we'll cross the remaining distance and get this off to press as soon as possible.
We already have the preliminary layout done (backers can take a look at that right now—check out the linked graphic right underneath the video, up top), which includes some of the art. We'll need to give a few months for artists to finish up the rest, starting once the campaign concludes in May, if not sooner.
Then it's off to the presses for manufacture. One advantage of Kickstarting is that it allows us to size that print run like Baby Bear’s porridge—just right. Our printer usually takes 2-3 months to turn around a book, although that timeline’s dependent on their availability. We’ve added some cushion to our delivery estimates, and we’re confident that we will ship this before the end of the year. We hope to beat that estimate, of course, but when it comes to book production it's best to put a buffer into your schedule.
You can be confident that we'll ship on or before our estimated delivery date, because that's been our consistent track record across a dozen other campaigns in the last seven years. Just ask our backers; we keep our promises. Our two most recent campaigns, Uprising: The Dystopian RPG and Tachyon Squadron, shipped within four months of conclusion. We've got a bit more to do here on the artwork front, but we're still very far along in the process, and we're confident we have all the remaining time-factors well in hand. For Evil Hat, it's not so much Kickstarter, as Kickfinisher.
Stretch goals have a separate production timeline. We consider them truly extra content, and that means we don't start production on the stretch goals until after they fund. We may adjust the planned goal order behind the scenes as we learn what the backers are most interested in.
We're excited to see what you unlock! Once the campaign concludes we'll put together a plan for getting the funded goals done. There are a lot of moving parts to coordinate (writing, system development, editing, layout, art direction, and artwork), but since these are digital-only they're not vulnerable to any manufacturing hiccups.
After the campaign is over (possibly a few months down the road) we'll launch a BackerKit for this campaign and invite the backers to set up their rewards.
BackerKit is a pledge manager: a separate website that gives you (and us!) greater control over what happens after the campaign than a simple survey would. You'll have the option to add on some items via BackerKit, tho for our sanity (already taxed by exposure to the dread gods) the selection will be limited. If there's something you want to have shipped along with your rewards that we don't list, just reach out and let us know.
Based on our average shipping cost scenario in the USA, we've set up shipping costs like so:
- For book-only shipments we're charging a flat $7 shipping fee (media mail + handling costs) for USA addresses.
- For shipments including dice and tokens that goes up to $12 (priority mail + handling costs).
Here’s the sad part: we’re only able to offer shipping to the USA. Our shipping options outside of the country would cost more than the actual book in most cases (and would badly distort the funding model we're using for this campaign). However, every reward offered in this Kickstarter will be available to our international fans.
If you live outside of the US, here are your options:
- If you don’t mind the high shipping costs, use a freight forwarding service that can give you a US-based shipping address and then get packages delivered to it, to you. Those costs will still likely be below what we could offer!
- Back the KS at the Digital Apocalypse and get all of the digital rewards that way.
- Back the KS at $10 to get access to the prototype version of the game. Later, buy the physical book via your Friendly Local Game Store when it hits distribution (we sell to a variety of international distributors in Canada, the UK, Europe, and Australia). Buy any stretch goals you’re interested in separately.
- Wait and buy the physical book via your Friendly Local Game Store when it hits distribution. Buy any stretch goals you’re interested in separately.
- Better yet, contact your local game store and make sure you're put on a preorder list (like with Leisure Games, see below) so they know there's demand for the game that they're being asked to fill. Without this kind of communication, the chances that a store will order enough quantities for you to be able to get a copy from them go down significantly.
- Leisure Games has a page up for people in the UK or EU who are interested in preordering the hardcover. https://leisuregames.com/pages/fate-of-cthulhu
Text length limits have forced us to move our creators' bios off of this page and into a separate document! Learn more about all these delicious folks at this link.
- Creative Director and Setting Developer: Stephen Blackmoore
- System Developers: PK Sullivan, Edward Turner, Leonard Balsera
- Project Management: Sophie Lagacé, Sean Nittner
- Editor: Joshua Yearsley
- Sensitivity Consultant: Misha Bushyager
- Layout, Graphic Design, and Art Direction: Fred Hicks
- Artwork: Tyler Walpole, Kurt Komoda, Sarah Dahlinger
- Marketing and Social Media Management: Tom Lommel
- Fate Line Developers: Leonard Balsera, Sophie Lagacé
- Product development: Chris Hanrahan, Fred Hicks
- KS Video: Shaun Hayworth
- Setting based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft. System based on Fate Core by Leonard Balsera, Brian Engard, Jeremy Keller, Ryan Macklin, and Mike Olson. Turn order system based on “Accidentally Designing Marvel’s Action Order System,” written by Fred Hicks and describing a variation on a method originally devised by Leonard Balsera.
- Playtesters (Alpha Iteration): Alden Strock, Avram Grumer, Catherine Ramen, Catherine Sharp, Charles Wulff MD, Dani Neary, Ehedei, Gareth Anderson, Gaylord Tang, Ian Franke, Iz Parsley, Jasmine M Minter, Jayson Stevens, Jonathan Mendoza, Joshua Kronengold, Kay "thekraftykat" Strock, Lisa "Dr. Cthulhupunk" Padol, Martin Terrier, McGravin, Megan Guth, Nate Nelson, Sarah Judd
- Playtesters (Beta Iteration): Alice Baran, Alicia Hansen, Avram Grumer, Badass Sparkington III, Belton Myers, Bradley Swartout, Brian Allred, Catherine Ramen, Chelsea "@little_red_dot" Steverson, Chris Johnson, Christopher Hatty, Cindy Mąka, Carissa Hayden, Colin Ringie, Cord Grabarz, Dale Prince, Daniel Perez, Drew Luchene, Fred Hicks, Gareth Anderson, Gaylord Tang, Janine Hempy, Jason Chapa, Jerry Lacy, Jessica E Lowe, Josh Flint, Joshua Chapa, Joshua Kronengold, Kai, Karen Ryan, Ken Andrade, Kristen Hughes, Lara Serra, Lauren Erwin, Lisa "Dr. Cthulhupunk" Padol, Matt Nute, Melissa Emrich, Michael Jannone, Morgan Hua, Nuutari Isa, Olkon, Quaz and Wally, R. Chris Anzaldua, Remley Farr, Shannon Rench, Sidney Icarus, Susannah Paletz, Suzanne Lybarger, Tirso Peguero, Tyler Crumrine
Risks and challenges
Evil Hat is an experienced RPG publisher. We've printed many roleplaying games in a variety of physical formats over the past few years. This puts us in a fine position to take on the risks and challenges that will arise. Experience tells us that things don’t always go as planned.
Here's what we can anticipate as potential problems.
The Text: While Fate of Cthulhu is largely done aside from the art and other polishing touches, it's possible that you will identify some glaring issue that we need to address before we take this fully to publication. That can add time, for sure. Luckily we have several talented writers available if we need a fix, as well as layout and editing people on standby, so any necessary changes should proceed quickly.
Printing: We have a strong, established relationship with our printers. We’ve got them on tap to print the books in whatever quantity we end up needing. But printers can run into problems all the same: supply shortages, unexpected delays due to company holidays or industry events, shipping problems, printing errors, and so on. We’ve got the experience to stay atop those potential problems and the flexibility to pivot and address them promptly. In the event of defective product, we will send a replacement at no cost to you.
Shipping: Packages get lost. We'll send replacements. Shipping can take longer than expected. We won't put the book on sale until all backer copies are shipped out. Shipping costs can end up higher than expected. We'll absorb the overage.
Finances: While Evil Hat has seen some leaner months more recently, we've made the necessary cuts to our expenses to make sure we can sustain the company throughout 2019 and 2020. Also, we've already invested time and money to get Fate of Cthulhu to this point with no pending expenses on the project outside of the ones we're funding here. Our bank account continues to look plenty healthy. If an unexpected cost arises, we've got the cushion to take the hit.
We often run two or more Kickstarters per year. This is a carefully planned process based on our 12+ successful Kickstarters in the past. Because Kickstarter fulfillment takes time, these campaigns can overlap. When it happens, that's something we plan for extensively. We make space for each Kickstarter, fulfillment, and distribution release in our schedule, and we work to ensure that resources are available to take each of our projects across the finish line.
If there's any risk or challenge YOU can think of that we haven't mentioned here, please write in and ask. We love to answer questions, and we do our best to provide an unparalleled customer service experience whenever possible. We intend to impress you.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter