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Realms of Cthulhu $25.00
Average Rating:4.5 / 5
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Realms of Cthulhu
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Realms of Cthulhu
Publisher: Reality Blurs
by Ray W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/05/2012 00:57:44

Before reading this rule book I had no idea who H.P Lovecraft was or what was a Cthulhu, however as I was halfway through reading it, I was inspired to go out and learn about the mythos in general. Why do I mention this in a review about a rule book? It’s because this book captures the theme of Cthulhu perfectly. The book is well laid out and easy to follow. The art work really brings to life what the Cthulhu mythos is about.

This book does a great job of merging the world of Cthulhu with the Savage Worlds rule set, a rule set that is known for its fast pace and furious fun something that would not normally be associated with the world of Cthulhu. This book supplies a whole range of new archetypes for players to use when developing there investigators and a load of new edges and hindrances that are perfectly suited for a Cthulhu themed game.

The book also gives players and the GM a choice when playing the game on how gritty and dark they want their setting to be, it gives some good ideas on how best to achieve it within your own game, whether you want to ride the slipper slide into madness with no hope of escape or give each player the thought they have the chance to come away as the victor this book has it all. For any Call of Cthulhu players out there, Realms of Cthulhu has a really nice conversion chart at the back of the book on how to convert your character across and from what I have seen and heard it works very well.

Along with some very nice story hooks and a well thought out quest generator this is simply a beautiful book to read, and is a must for anyone who calls themselves a Cthulhu fan or wants to see what the whole fuss is about. Do yourself a favour and pick this one up.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Realms of Cthulhu
Publisher: Reality Blurs
by Thomas S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/13/2011 11:07:27

Grabbed this as part of a bundle with Agents of Oblivion, also by Reality Blurs. The book is well laid out. The art and style capture the feel of the setting and the game. The rule set is great. There are several options on the style of play you want, from pulpy to the mind-numbing descent into madness at a quick pace.

Doubt it will get used much at my table straight up, just given my groups preference of genres, but it will be a valuable resource when needing to just add a bit of flavor to other games we are running, and who know what is really lurking in the shadows watching.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Realms of Cthulhu
Publisher: Reality Blurs
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/02/2011 19:42:40

WHAT WORKS: Savage Worlds can only be played one way? Think again. Sean Preston and Reality Blurs tackled the enormous task of taking a game known for high octane adventure, and making it entirely feasible to run it as a dark, gritty, defeatist setting...or you can keep the dials turned up to 11 and scream back into the face of madness, as befits your group. That's a win right there. The character sheet is a fantastic design, and the PDF is a gorgeous piece of work.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: We'll go with...I dunno...could have used more Savage Tales. OH. Deity was mispelled Diety in one heading (at least on my copy of the PDF), SO THERE.

Conclusion: I would call this an almost essential buy for a Savage Worlds GM, especially as the options inside go a loooong ways towards helping you adjust your own games to fit the lethality or harshness you may want from it. I'm working through the Complete Works of HP Lovecraft myself right now, and so this review was very timely for me to do right now. Just an amazing product on every level, and a fine example of the potential of Savage Worlds.

For My Full Review, Please Visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2011/10/tommys-take-on-realms-of-cthulhu.html

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Realms of Cthulhu
Publisher: Reality Blurs
by William G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/15/2010 07:06:11

Outstanding product.

This is everything Savage Worlds should have had for the horror genre.

Excellent writing, excellent presentation, excellent content.

The Madness/Insantiy system works in a similar but slightly different way to the normal Savage world Damage system. levels of madness and levels of insanitys work very well. As do recovery mechanics.

The spellbooks and evil tomes section is a great balance between old style CoC and modern pulp, retaining ALL of the good stuff that makes Cthulhu Mythos such fun to research.

Monster section is a great brief on the Mythos with relevant stats. Excellent.

The Adventure/setting provided is great. not my cup-of-tea but a well written and useful section.

Adventure generator a useful tool for the newbie and idea drained or overworked GM

Cannot recommend this highly enough. If you have bothered to check out this product and read this review...you WILL LOVE this product.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Realms of Cthulhu
Publisher: Reality Blurs
by Michael W. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/07/2010 14:43:58

Realms of Cthulhu is a campaign setting for Savage Worlds published by Reality Blurs. The 160-paged book contains everything needed to run a Cthulhuesque campaign but the Savage World rules. A copy of the Savage Worlds Explorer Edition is needed. This review is based on the PDF version of the book, which has been thankfully provided by the publisher. Thanks again!

Although it might seem a bit strange, but Savage Worlds is actually quite a good fit for a Cthulhu campaign. Some of Lovecraft’s Mythos stories and definitely a few written by other authors can be considered part of the pulp genre. And if there’s one system suited for pulp, it’s Savage Worlds. But the majority of Lovecraft’s Mythos stories have a more depressing mood where the protagonists’ futile attempts to fight alien gods and bizarre creatures only end in failure and madness. Is Savage Worlds really suited for such a campaign style? I kept that question in the back of my head while reading Realms of Cthulhu and I was surprised that this might actually work. But let’s have a look at the contents of the book first. Realms of Cthulhu is divided into ten sections: Introduction, Equipment, Setting Rules, The Keeper’s Section, The Cthulhu Mythos, Matters of Magic, Mythos Tales, Mysteries of Drake Manor, Citizens and Denizens, and Converting Cthulhu.

Character creation in Realms of Cthulhu is pretty close to vanilla Savage Worlds with two exceptions: Corruption and Sanity. Sanity is your character’s mental toughness and starts at 2 plus half your Spirit minus Corruption. Corruption starts with 0 and is increased every time your knowledge about the Mythos increases. Realms of Cthulhu adds two new skills to the game: Knowledge (Mythos) and Knowledge (Psychology). All the standard skills from the Savage Worlds rules are also eligible for investigators. There are also a few new Edges and Hindrances to choose from like Unusual Lineage/Looks (Innsmouth look anyone?) or Psychotherapist. The section on equipment lists a few new weapons and vehicles for the three suggested eras of play: the 1890s, 1920s and today. There are some guidelines on how to calculate prizes for the different eras. Although this section of the book is pretty short, it’s more than enough for most campaigns. Realms of Cthulhu is about investigating and perhaps even fighting the unknown and not about acquiring loot.

The setting rules are what sets the mood for the game. Some aspects of the Savage Worlds game like Arcane Bachgrounds, Gadgetter and Weird Edges are disallowed because they don’t fit into the world.

Realms of Cthulhu has four campaign styles called Heroic Horror (Pulpy/Pulpy), Slippery Slope (Pulpy/Gritty), Dangerous Action (Gritty/Pulpy) and Dark Spiral (Gritty/Gritty). The first word in the parenthesis describes the lethality of the campaign, the second one the insanity.

Pulpy damage works pretty much like the one in the Savage Worlds core rules but the gritty variant is much more lethal. The Sanity system used by Realms of Cthulhu is modeled after the existing system of physical damage. But instead of physical injuries, investigators may get mental disorders or even become permanently insane if the mental shock was too great. In my opinion using the existing damage mechanics for mental damage, too, was a stroke of genius. That adds a level of depth to the game without adding any complexity. When you know how normal damage works, you understand the sanity rules. Of course no Cthulhu game would be complete with a list of mental illnesses and ways to treat insanity. And of course Realms contains both.

The Keeper’s Section contains everything the gamemaster needs to run a successful Cthulhu campaign. It sets the theme for the different eras and even four campaign ideas are given, complete with a reason for the players to work together, a synopsis and a detailed background. The most interesting campaign is probably The Frequency of Madness, in which the characters are asylum escapees that have battled the Mythos before. The books also gives a lot of tips on how to run adventures in Realms of Cthulhu, how to add elements of horror, how to properly use monsters and how to put red herrings to good use. While most veteran gamemasters will not learn anything new here, there’s a lot of good advice for any novice keeper.

The section on Matters of Magic lists various books of the Mythos included the dreaded Necronomicon, von Juntz’ Unaussprechliche Kulte and the Book of Eibon. These books may be used by the characters to get an deeper insight into the Mythos and eventually learn spells. The list of canon books is quite extensive and there are even a few tables that allow the creation of random books for your campaign.

Casting spells requires knowledge of the spell and a successful Knowledge (Mythos) roll. Each spell has a casting modifier which can be reduced by taking more time to prepare and cast the spell. The list of spell is again pretty exhaustive. The section concludes with some guidelines on how gamemasters can tweak existing creatures and NPCs by adding dark gifts, and some tips on how to add powers from the core Savage Worlds book to a Realms game.

The section on Mythos Tales starts off with a handy Mythos Tale Generator, These tables are meant to help the GM with coming up with a rough outline for an adventure and is similar in form and function to the Savage Tale generators in other Savage World campaign settings. A gamemaster who isn’t afraid to improvise can run games almost prep-free using this tool. The creature generator is another set of tables allowing the GM to create new creatures for his game, either totally random or hand-picked.

If you don’t want to prepare your own adventures, Realms of Cthulhu provides you with four two-paged Mythos Tales called “Fragments of Mu”, “Paradise Lost”, False Idols” and “Bayhaven Lights”. The section then concludes with Reality Blur’s addition to the Mythos: Drake Manor. Drake Manor is meant as a starting point for any Realms campaign. The gamemaster can either use Drake Manor as a backdrop to his own campaign or he may use the fully-fleshed out Mythos Tale as an introductory adventure. Mysteries of Drake Manor contains everything you need for running that adventure including fully stated-out NPCs and many tips for the novice GM.

The section Citizens and Denizens lists all the supporting cast the gamemaster could ever need from a humble antiquarian to the great Cthulhu himself. There are Savage Worlds stats for all NPCs and creatures listed but the titans and gods. But beings like Cthulhu, Hastur or Azathoth should be used as plot devices not actual opponents in combat. This section also gives some advice on how to use these powerful beings in play.

The last section of the book contains a guide for converting Call of Cthulhu characters and creatures to Savage Worlds. While I wouldn’t recommend converting player characters that way, it can be used to make existing Call of Cthulhu adventures compatible to Realms. Let’s return to my initial question: Is Savage Worlds really suited for such a campaign style? Yes, it is. Reality Blur’s Sean Preston delivered a great campaign setting that combines the fast, furious, fun rules of Savage Worlds with Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. The Sanity mechanic used in Realms makes perfect use of the existing damage mechanics and is not just a rehash of the Call of Cthulhu Sanity mechanic. If you are a fan of Savage Worlds and H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, you will definitely not be disappointed by Realms of Cthulhu!

One last note: The Realms of Cthulhu investigator dossier designed by Cheyenne Wright is actually one of best looking character sheets for any Cthulhu game I’ve seen so far! You can download the sheet here.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Realms of Cthulhu
Publisher: Reality Blurs
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/26/2010 12:48:11

Normally, I pass by adaptations of graphic-heavy print works into PDF, because they slow my computer to a crawl, are virtually impossible to use on the screen and are often hopeless to print out in black and white. However, Realms of Cthulhu, a Savage Worlds adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's pulp horror, takes some strong steps towards ameliorating this problem, and the game itself is excellent.

First, the format. There's a button right on the first "real" page of the PDF to turn off the main backgrounds of Realms of Cthulhu, making the text pages much more printer-friendly. For some reason, though, the same option isn't offered for the text in the sidebars or the headers, making them harder to read when printed. The layers section of the PDF would be the natural place to look for this, but the only other things you're able to turn off are the text itself and the page numbers/headers. Nevertheless, without the color background, most of the text, and all of the necessary text, is easily readable and able to be printed easily.

The layout is better suited to printing than to screen reading, in a two-column format. In addition, the size of the file means that paging through it on your screen remains a slow and laborious process. The bookmarks are well-selected and nested, not too numerous to choose from. Overall the presentation is quite good, again, given the product's print roots there's not much more that can be expected.

The game itself uses the Savage Worlds system to adapt the horrific world of H.P. Lovecraft. Due to the long-standing classic roleplaying game Call of Cthulhu, it's rarely necessary to tell a gamer what is going on in a Lovecraftian story. Savage Worlds is a good match for Lovecraft, having a pulp aspect to it that reflects Lovecraft's pulp horror sensibilities. There's an excellent section on adapting Savage Worlds to the needs of a horror game, including the possibility of making characters more fragile either mentally or physically. A new derived statistic, Sanity, is introduced, and I really liked that there are at least two ways of treating Sanity presented, with the various effects it has on the game if Sanity is (for example) easily lost versus difficult to lose. A great deal of time is spent giving good advice on how to design a campaign, something that many previous Cthulhu adaptations (perhaps taking their nod from the short story format of much of Lovecraft's work) overlooked.

There are several brief scenarios presented with a simple setup and a few brief conflicts connected to it, as well as a larger, more developed scenario. These are extremely varied and are easily adapted to whatever sort of game you've decided to create. A brief monster section rounds out the book - it could potentially have been twice as detailed, since the monsters of Lovecraft are among his most unique and enduring creations.

Realms of Cthulhu closes with a conversion section that will allow you to translate from other systems (including Call of Cthulhu) to Savage Worlds.

This is a meaty, thorough look at Lovecraftian horror, using a simple system that adapts well to the source material. It's definitely worth a look.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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