Review: Cthulhu Rising

Usually Call of Cthulhu games are set into the 1920s, the Victorian age or modern times. But there are some exceptions. This week I want to have a look at two books that help Keepers running Call of Cthulhu games in the future.

Cthulhu RisingCthulhu Rising starts off as a classic SF setting. Humanity has reached the stars, FTL travel, extrasolar colonies, androids and artificial intelligence are commonplace. But behind all this lurks the shadow of the Mythos. Although the Mi-go have abandoned Pluto quite some time ago, they are still active on Earth. Several Deep Ones have migrated to the Jovian moon Europa and even deeper into space and Cthulhu still lies dreaming in the city of R’lyeh.

The first part of the book provides Keepers with extensive details on the politics of the 23rd century, the colonies and the future history. The second half of Part One focuses on the Mythos aspects of the setting. That way the basic setting and the GM material are somewhat separated. This allows Keepers to run Cthulhu Rising as a classic SF setting with no Mythos influences or they can pick and choose, which aspects of the Mythos they want to add to their game.

The rules section expands on Call of Cthulhu’s character creation rules, provides fitting backgrounds for the 23rd century and even adds Psychic Powers to the game. The combat rules of Call of Cthulhu are also expanded. The book concludes with an extensive list of equipment including energy weapons, power armor, and pretty much everything else an investigator might need.

All in all Cthulhu Rising is somewhat of a mixed bag. While I like the setting, the new Psychic powers and the overall presentation of the book, it does feel like a generic SF game with some Cthulhu tacked on, almost as if the Mythos sections were added as an afterthought. Don’t get me wrong, Cthulhu Rising is a great product, especially if you are into SF, but don’t expect the Mythos to be intertwined with the setting as in Cthulhutech for example.

I got my copy of Cthulhu Rising at DriveThruRPG. The 92-paged book sets you back $12.75. Later this week I will post my review of “End Time” which presents a totally different future…

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

2 thoughts on “Review: Cthulhu Rising”

  1. Nice review, I'm keenly interested in this one – is it a stand-alone or do I need the main rule book to play?

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