Review: Stealing Cthulhu

4 Feb

I recently received my copy of Stealing Cthulhu by Graham Walmsley with annotations by Ken Hite, Gareth Harahan and Jason Morningstar.

I have to say that I am quite impressed with this tidy little hardcover. What it lacks in design (pretty much typset in a basic serif font with basic layout) it makes up for in fantastic content. As Walmsley puts it “Its central idea is: by stealing, adapting and combining Lovecraft’s ideas, you can create scenarios that seem new and horrific.”This might sound like a limited premise but the book really does thoroughly investigate the Lovecraft’s stories and provides alternatives and ways of reworking overused tropes into new and engaging scenarios.

Stealing Cthulhu does assume you’re familiar with a few (but not too many) of Lovecraft’s stories. Personally I found this commendable. I’ve often felt that too many players/gamesmasters rely on a second hand knowledge of the mythos to play games. Such a shame seeing how excellent Lovecraft’s work is and how much there is to gain by trying to stay true to his setting. It’s not all tentacles, cults and Gatling guns.

The book has got me thinking about new ways of coming at Cthulhu scenarios particularly steering away from the dreaded ‘thwart the ritual’ finale. I’ll put my ideas in a new post shortly. I would unreservedly recommend this book for anyone who is looking at refreshing their way of handling the mythos and keen to inject some new material into their campaigns.

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4 Responses to “Review: Stealing Cthulhu”

  1. Graham Walmsley (@grahamwalmsley) February 4, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    Thank you for the review. I’m delighted you found it useful.

    (It’s not Times New Roman!)

    • RPG Plotter February 8, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

      Hey Graham, thanks for dropping by. I have amended the review for accuracy. Thanks for putting the book together, it’s great!

  2. Patrick February 7, 2012 at 11:52 pm #

    Sounds really interesting, actually. Looking forward to hearing more about it.

    • RPG Plotter February 8, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

      I imagine I’ll make reference to it here and there, but be talking more about the sorts of thinking it’s provoked in me.

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