Cthulhu Invictus is a horror fiction role-playing game based on H. Lovecraft's story of the same name and the associated Cthulhu Mythos. The game is published by Chaosium with supplemental sourcebooks by Golden Goblin Press. The game takes place in the world of the Cthulhu Mythos, though in the time of the Roman Empire. With such classical monsters and creatures like the Satyr and Harpy included in the setting along with the monsters and entities of the Cthulhu Mythos.
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It was initially published as a monograph back in , with designers Chad Bowser, Deane P. Goodwin, and Andi Newton. The idea of Mythos adventures in Imperial Rome was a fascinating one and brought forth a full-fledged sourcebook in as well as a companion book. It is a color book and the digital version is nicely bookmarked, making navigation very easy.
For this review, Cthulhu Invictus will be used to represent the actual book while Cthulhu Invictus will describe the setting. The book indicates that it would be fairly easy to vary the year, from Republican Rome to the Byzantine Empire.
I suspect the truth of that statement is dependent on how obsessed one is with history, but Cthulhu Invictus is certainly a good starting point. I find it interesting that it is some five centuries before the writing of the Necronomicon. The book begins with an interesting sidebar, discussing why one would want to play Cthulhu Invictus. These reasons are with my paraphrased summaries :. Assuming one is sold on this idea, how well does the book deliver upon it?
Cthulhu Invictus avoids this problem — it is filled with ideas begging to be used. The opening chapter provides an overview of life in the Empire — things like social classes, family, money, religion, sexuality, the calendar, education, and entertainment. The section on sexuality, though brief, is interesting, as it describes very different assumptions from current western culture.
Homosexual relationships often with very different ages were accepted, Emperor Hadrian was quite openly homosexual, and Emperor Elagabalus was transgender. A little Googling confirmed these details on those two emperors. Chapter Two describes character creation rules.
There are some changes from Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition rules. Characters must also be identified as having a rural or urban background, as that will impact some starting skills.
Finally, there is a detailed section on Roman naming conventions, with some handy tables. Chapter Three covers Investigator Occupations — and there are many occupations here.
This is useful, given how the core Call of Cthulhu occupations are not really applicable to the Roman Empire. The breadth of the occupations is quite impressive, with professional occupations, like Advocates essentially lawyers , various kinds of warriors, laborers, mystical characters, political characters, etc.
Chapter Four describes Investigator Skills. Only those skills which are new or changed from the core rules are detailed here. Stealth, for example, is stealth. Science skills are quite different, reflecting the Roman understanding of the world. Unlike modern eras, armor is a reasonable form of protection — at least against more mundane threats. However, armor provides a random amount of protection from attacks, meaning even the heaviest armor has its weak spots.
Similarly, there are more detailed rules for shield use and parrying. Like in RuneQuest, shields and weapons will wear out as a result of being used defensively. I imagine that Cthulhu Invictus combat would take a little bit longer than a classic game, with armor and weapons doing a bit less damage. Chapter Six covers the Spiritual World. This includes Roman beliefs, a discussion of the common religions, and philosophical disciplines.
It provides an optional rule for faith and luck — more pious characters gain luck back in greater amounts and only need to spend half as much luck as normal. Indifferent characters suffer penalties in the same manner. Being pious does carry a financial cost. While Cthulhu Invictus has the same threats to sanity as a normal game, treatment for the insane is quite different and is covered here. Finally, there is a discussion of the different forms of auguries in the Roman Empire.
Chapter Seven is devoted to magic in the Roman world, including tomes and artifacts. It includes a discussion of fallen kingdoms such as the Hyperborean world of Clark Ashton Smith.
In this era before the Necronomicon , new tomes are required and a lengthy list is provided. An interesting list of artifacts is provided, many of which good fodder for entire adventures or even campaigns.
Call of Cthulhu is known for its horrifying monsters and Chapter Eight provides many more. This list focuses on Mythos takes on legendary creatures. There are many other creatures given such treatments, like centaurs, harpies, hydrae, etc. I suspect it could be possible to overdo using this, where every myth or legend has a Mythos origin, but it provides great inspiration — and in a pulpier campaign, why not use all of it?
I suspect Chapter Nine will be particularly essential for Invictus campaigns — it covers cults, patrons, and investigator organizations. This gives a variety of potential enemies, like Heralds of the Deep — worshippers of Cthulhu, including Deep Ones in their midst. Patrons give investigators access to powerful allies. And Investigator Organizations provide for a way to get and keep investigators together and provide them with additional resources.
Chapter Ten is all about Roman Legions and their enemies. This includes a breakdown of the legions in various provinces and the weapons of war they use. Chapter Eleven describes the provinces of Rome, including the types of Mythos threats they might face.
Though only nine pages long including three pages of maps , it covers the essentials. This includes neighborhoods, the layout not remotely a grid, unlike some Roman cities , getting around after dark, and the Port of Ostia, located downstream at the mouth of the Tiber River.
Famous locations such as the Forum, various temples, and the Colosseum are described. In addition to a high-level map of the city, there are maps of a Roman Insula apartments , urban and rural houses, and a villa. The book closes with some NPCs for Kickstarter backers this was above the level I backed and a pair of scenarios.
Perhaps a zombie apocalypse in the making? It feels a lot longer than its pages, and it packs a lot of material within it. Reading it, I find myself filled with ideas as to what I could do with it. Just like two classic-era games might bear little resemblance to one another, neither will two Invictus games.
This is in some contrast to the creatures created by H. Lovecraft, who often had no legendary analogue. However, that quibble aside, the creatures are wonderfully done, such that the core of the legend remains intact, but often going in surprising directions. It manages to perform the difficult task of both providing a vibrant setting and a toolkit simultaneously. The mere act of writing this review has me eager to try out a campaign in this era.
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Like Liked by 2 people. Like Like. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Skip to content. Some characters may even start knowing some magic. Note that Mythos Magic is still just as dangerous as it is in other eras.
International Appeal — the Empire is quite cosmopolitan, travel is easy. You might have one adventure in Britain, the next in Egypt.
Pulp or Purist — One can run a traditional Cthulhu campaign with deadly combat, sanity-blasting encounters, etc.
Or one can go pulp, with characters taking up their weapons and smiting the enemies of humanity. Weapons and Armor — Donning chainmail and a sword is cool.
Scrolls and Artifacts — There are lots of pre-human history civilizations, such as Atlantis and Hyperborea, who left behind artifacts to find. Monsters of Mythology — Creatures like Pegasi can be realized in Mythos form. Share with the world! Email Tweet. Like this: Like Loading April 26, at PM.
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Onward to Rome! A Review of 7th Edition Guide to Cthulhu Invictus
They pray that the Fates have woven a long skein for them, free from encounters with the Minotaur and Cerberus. Little do they know that things more horrible than the creatures of myth and legend inhabit the world. A dark god stalks the streets of Rome stealing the souls of the rich and the poor, the young and the old, to populate his empire on the other side of the wall of sleep. Thousands of miles away, on the coast of a freshly invaded island, Roman centurions huddle around campfires entertaining themselves with dice and ghost stories. They trust their fortifications to keep the barbarians at bay. But the barbarians are the least of their concerns. Outside the ramparts, small shapes scuttle through the darkness, looking for new hosts.
Together the Heavens and the Earth filled the world with their children, terrible monsters more powerful than the gods of man. Some sleep deep in the sea, some cast beyond the stars, and others trapped not in the spaces we know, but between them. When their father, the Heavens, so decrees, these monsters shall return and resume their mastery of the Earth. Cthulhu Invictus is a tabletop roleplaying setting for the 7 th edition Call of Cthulhu 7oleplaying game. It is a game of adventure and investigative horror set in ancient Rome. This 2 nd edition of the original Cthulhu Invictus setting is a complete re-imagination of the setting written specifically for the 7 th Edition Call of Cthulhu rules.
Cthulhu Invictus - PDF
We thank you for your support. This backer level does not include any physical or digital rewards, stretch goal bonus items, or allow physical add-on items. This backer level does not include any physical rewards, stretch goal bonus items, or allow physical add-on items. As a spirit all of your rewards are digital. Backers at this level receive a digital copy of the 7th Edition Guide to Cthulhu Invictus.