cthulhu rpg

Different Tastes of Cthulhu

For many players, RPG horrors are incomplete without Lovecraftian settings. “Call of Cthulhu” was one of the first games in our hobby designed to instil fear in its players. Now, 42 years after the publication of its first edition, we have a wide array of games that try to terrify us with the inevitable doom brought by elder/outer gods.

With so many years of the core game, countless systems is trying to show us different ways to play in a Lovecraftian world. I decided to choose the 4 biggest, most popular of them. I hope you will enjoy this heavy private list. Without further ado, let’s check how we can play Cthulhu beside of Calling it!

Pulp Cthulhu

Officially published by Chaosium Pulp Cthulhu is rather an overlay on classic Call of Cthulhu than the game itself. Choosing this option, we still use BRP mechanics but with a twist to make it more action-oriented. In this game, fragile Investigators from the vanilla game are replaced by Heroes, and they are heroes indeed. Extra Talents, more Hit Points and more, all of it to let them face Mythos rather than run away from them. Many Keepers try to mix rules from Call of Cthulhu and Pulp Cthulhu to make the original game a bit more action-oriented, but without a pulp sprinkle.
Little tip: A mixed version or full Pulp is a great way to play Masks of Nyarlathotep, cause at some point in this long and rather deadly campaign introducing a new Investigator may be not easy.

Trail of Cthulhu

Are you tired of “one roll dependent investigation” from Call of Cthulhu? Try Trail. Gumshoe mechanics make investigations easier, more natural, and more satisfying than the vanilla game. It’s not hard to convert classical Cthulhu adventures to this well established system with 15 years of history. But for experienced Call of Cthulhu players trying this system may be as refreshing as frustrating, because Skill checks are more about resource management here.

Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20

If you are a fan of 2d20 mechanics, Achtung! Cthulhu may be the best incarnation of Cthulhu games for you. There’s a lot of pulp in this action oriented game. And Player Characters are facing Mythos boosted Nazis in the never ending World War II setting. Modiphius, publisher of this game have rather a vast array of Achtung! products including light, fast paced adventures. Definitely fun, full of weird science, and Mythos monsters fast action system.

Delta Green

Delta Green stands out as a unique entry in the Lovecraftian RPG genre. This game diverges from the traditional “Call of Cthulhu” mechanics, opting instead for a modern, covert, and often morally ambiguous approach to the Cthulhu mythos. In Delta Green, players take on the roles of agents belonging to a secret government organization dedicated to fighting the supernatural and extraterrestrial threats that the Cthulhu universe is infamous for. The setting is contemporary, with a strong emphasis on realism, conspiracy theories, and the psychological toll of confronting unimaginable horrors. If you are a fan of GUMSHOE mechanics and the X-Files, it’s the choice for you.

Choose your horror

All the games listed today strive to distinguish themselves from others. Whether it’s through a distinct mechanical shift from the 7th edition of “Call of Cthulhu,” a change in setting, or a combination of both, each game offers a unique perspective. I believe these four titles will provide you with a fresh view of the ancient ones and equip you to face their threats.