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Cthulhu Abides

Cthulhu Abides

The works of H P Lovecraft are public domain. This author claims no copyright over the
fictional characters, fantastic settings and literary concepts explored herein.
The written text is 2014 Jonathan Rowe
This edition 2015
Cover art is 2011-2014 Obrotowy, permission pending
Interior art is by Dominique Signoret, reproduced under Creative Commons license

Cthulhu Abides

Dreaming within
Haunted R'lyeh
Cthulhu abides

Cthulhu Abides

Cthulhu Abides

ROLLING DICE _______ 19 INSIGHT _________139
LIMITS ______________ 21 RUNNING A HORROR-
INSIGHT _____________ 21 MYSTERY STORY _ 76
PULP STUNTS _________ 22 A p p e n d i c e s _ 141
TEAMWORK _________23 I - DICE ____________ 142
PROFESSIONS ____ 32 NEW GOALS_________147
ATTRIBUTES __ 35 IV WEAPONS _______ 151
LEVEL____ 36 GODS __________ 102 VI GRIMOIRES _____ 157
MADNESS RULES _____ 42 ATHAMES ___________ 114 BYAKHEE ___________163
GOING MAD _________ 45 ARTEFACTS ______ 118 DEEP ONE ___________167
GHOUL _____________169
BONUSES ________ 49 THE DREAM LORES____ 121 MI-GO______________ 171
DYNAMIC MADNESS: (Oneiromancy) ____ 124 NIGHT-GAUNT _______173
COMBAT & WOUNDS _ 56 CULTS _____________ 127 SHANTAK (Hunting-Horror)175
HEALING ____________ 61 MYTHOS CULTS _____ 128 TCHO-TCHO ________ 177
INSIGHTS ____________69 ESOTERIC RUINS _____ 130

Cthulhu Abides


My fathers voice cracked when he spoke. The wind screamed between us.
Mark this, boy, he said and the wind caught Father, I cried to him. May we go now?
his words and snatched them away across the
But my father did not move.
glaciers edge.
The God is not Forgotten, my boy, while one
I drew the bearskin and shuffled to the edge of
man still knows its Name.
the crevasse. It dropped into smoking darkness
between the walls of ice. He turned to face me, his eyes crinkled into an
unfamiliar expression. Tears sparkled on his
My fathers fingers were raw with the frost, but
cheeks too.
he opened the bag without fumbling and lifted
out the idol of the Nameless God, still wrapped I am that man.
in skin. Do you see? he added.
Something opened up beneath my heart, a
I tried to answer but my lips were too frozen to sucking darkness as deep and cold as the
form words. I nodded instead, feeling the tears crevasse behind my father.
freeze on my cheeks. We had hiked for days to
Father, forget the Name, I called to him.
the glaciers summit and I was so weary I could
Come away home.
vomit, if only there had been food in my belly
to bring up. His unfamiliar expression was a smile. He shook
his head.
There was little kindness in my fathers eyes,
then or ever, and I feared he would strike me Swear an oath, I pleaded, on the ice and the
for my weakness, but he held back his fist. He winter wind. Swear never to tell the Gods
looked instead at the bundle in his hands. Name to anyone.
There are some things, boy, he said at last, He laughed. It was a mirthless laugh.
that cannot be forgotten. He held out the
Shall I command my tongue to keep that oath
object wrapped in skin at arms length. Do you
while I sleep? Or my nerves to keep it under
know what this is?
torture? No. He looked into the crevasse then
I nodded but his face hardened. back to me. Mark this, boy, he said and
stepped backwards.
Yes, I stammered at last. It is the Nameless
God. Then he was gone and the wind caught my cries
and carried them away over the glaciers edge.
Have you seen it with your eyes, boy?
It is years ago that he left me there, beside the
I shook my head.
crevasse. I am of his age now and my children
Nor shall you. Ever. But you are wrong, boy. are striplings, as I once was, learning to hunt
The God has a Name. the mammoths with their flint spears. My wife
is pregnant again.
The wind had grown stronger and its whistles
taken on a piping sound, like distant flutes, that The glacier advances, year upon year. The
seemed to come from the ice crevasse. mammoths move south and we must move
too, yet I linger. I remember the windy
The God has a Name, my father shouted,
crevasse, the plummet into darkness. The
but every man that knows that Name now lies
Nameless God lies under the ice. Deep but not
dead. Yes, all of them dead he added, all of
deep enough.
them but one. That Name will not be said again
to trouble the skies. No. Nameless the God I fear the spring thaw and give thanks when the
shall be. Nameless and Forgotten. snows return and the ice advances. One day,
ice will cover the world and then there will be
He dropped the bundle into the crevasse. The
no more dreams. The wind that blows from the
wind caught the skin covering and snatched it
crevasse carries a Name in its piping tones. I
away as the object plummeted. I saw dark
must return to the glacier. If I dont, then one
stone and the curves of a fish or a worm. Then
night, soon, I shall call that Name in my sleep or
the idol was gone.
whisper it to the child growing in my wifes
My fathers shoulders heaved and his strong belly. It is a Name that comes to me on the
arms, still outstretched, trembled. wind and it comes to me in my fathers voice.

Cthulhu Abides

The Mythos
Cthulhu Abides is a Pick-Up & Play Some of these authors, like August
(PUAP) RPG inspired by the horror fiction Derleth, were systematizers who tried to
of H.P. Lovecraft and Chaosiums Call of impose an overarching schema on
Cthulhu RPG and Pelgrane Press Trail of Lovecrafts ideas. Lovecraft himself
Cthulhu RPG. resisted this sort of thing, writing:
Howard Phillips Lovecrafts American if anyone were to try to
Gothic fiction was written in the 1920s write the Necronomicon,
and part of the appeal of games based it would disappoint all
around his work is the atmosphere and those who have
sensibility of the period Modernist and shuddered at cryptic
sophisticated, but poised uneasily references to it
between the horrors of the Great War
Nevertheless, this game is an attempt to
and the as-yet unsuspected bloodshed of
go back to Lovecraft and find a new way
the Second World War. Lovecrafts
of pursuing Lovecraftian roleplaying
distinctive take on science fiction
adventures. The original Elder Sign has
celebrates the pioneering and
been reinstated instead of Derleths
adventurous spirit of the age, a time of
more conventional pentacle and the
great explorers, discoveries and an
troublesome Cthulhu fhtagn couplet
exponentially widening universe, but it
translated afresh. The monsters and
also subverts those notions, suggesting
gods of the Mythos are recontextualised
humanitys scientific discoveries and
from the source stories and a rules
exploratory journeys will ultimately bring
engine here encourages some of the
it only madness and a new Dark Age.
flamboyance and swashbuckling verve of
The austere and bleak vision of Lovecraft's Dreamlands tales, while
Lovecrafts science fiction/horror is retaining the oh-so-human limitations
balanced by another strand in his work, that are crucial to the horror of his
the fantastical, tantalising mock-epic of science fiction tales. In place of lists of
his stories of Kadath, Sarnath and the spells there is a freeform magic system,
Dreamlands, inspired by Lord Dunsanys allowing Monsters and Sorcerers to call
whimsical fantasies. Many readers and upon whatever foul powers the GM can
games ignore this side of Lovecrafts devise, but also encouraging players to
imagination, but Lovecraft never stopped try to synthesize some sort of mystical
referencing it even in his more purely counter-attack, if only they have access
philosophical horror short stories and to the right books and are careless of
novellas. Lovecrafts legion of fans, their sanity.
friends and imitators have developed his
The biggest change these rules propose
sprawling baroque mythology still
is to treat Madness as a dynamic
further, often (but not always) focusing
characteristic, rising and falling
on the horror at the expense of the
throughout a story. Following Lovecrafts
fantasy and frequently downplaying his
own counter-Enlightenment thinking,
pessimism and sense of tragedy in favour
there are clear benefits to be gained
of a Pulp-style adventure fiction.
from going mad. The trick is in going just
mad enough.

Cthulhu Abides


Various alien races, insane Sorcerers and
The word Mythos is often linked to
the Cults worship these gods, and gain
Lovecrafts stories in two ways.
mystical power from their sacrifices, but
Generally, the Mythos refers to the
its not clear whether the gods notice or
whole imaginative world that Lovecraft
care. Lovecraft refers to them by various
created, rather like Middle Earth refers
names but we shall call them the Other
to everything J.R.R. Tolkien created.
Gods because of their otherness
Lovecrafts Mythos therefore includes his
compared to reality as we know it.
pantheon of alien gods and monsters,
the eerie Dreamlands setting, the Only a couple of the Other Gods are
fictional books like the infamous named in Lovecrafts Mythos. Azathoth is
Necronomicon and invented histories, the Daemon Sultan who writhes at the
like the Elder Things and their Antarctic centre of the universe. Yog-Sothoth is
city overthrown by a Shoggoth rebellion the lurker at the threshold who exists
a million years ago. For clarity, whenever throughout time and space but is
these rules refer to Lovecrafts blocked from manifesting in our reality.
imaginative project, we use the term Yog-Sothoth seems to lust after the
Lovecrafts Mythos. material world and yearns to break into
our reality, with horrible results.
Mythos is also used, especially by
gamers, in a more restricted sense to The third named Other God is
refer to the antagonists in Lovecrafts Nyarlathotep, the haunter in the dark.
setting the legions of Other Gods, Nyarlathotep is an expression of the will
Great Old Ones, inhuman monsters and of the Other Gods, perhaps their soul,
amoral aliens, demented Sorcerers and herald and messenger. He is the only
hybrid fish-people and mocking, multi- Other God with any sort of personality
faced Nyarlathotep marshalling them all. and it is a mocking, contemptuous
In this sense, we can talk of Player personality. Nyarlathotep has many
Characters confronting or even defeating forms which he has assumed in different
the Mythos. This is the sense in which periods of history, some monstrous,
these rules use the term the Mythos. some recognisably human. Although
deadly and insane he can be charming,
Lovecrafts Mythos breaks down into a
ironic, even polite. Most players in a
number of subcategories:
Lovecraftian campaign will be
1. The Azathoth Mythos disappointed if they do not attract the
mocking, mischievous and murderous
Lovecraft invented a pantheon of what,
attention of Nyarlathotep.
for want of a better word, we shall call
gods. These beings of immense power 2. The Pnakotic Mythos
and destructiveness exist outside,
Of a lesser stature than the extra-
beyond and before our universe and are
dimensional Other Gods, the beings of
not subject to its laws, logic or values.
the Pnakotic Mythos are unbelievably
Few of these beings have names and ancient but they are creatures of the
most are described by Lovecraft as physical universe like the humans who
mindless or idiotic. Insofar as they have evolved since.
even notice humanity, they are hostile
The first were the star-headed Elder
and predatory, but most give human life
Things that came to earth billions of
or any life at all no thought
years ago and created cities in the
planets shallow oceans.

Cthulhu Abides

They bred the Shoggoths to be their When the stars are right the Old Ones
slaves and perhaps created life on earth have almost unlimited power, but when
itself as an experiment, an accident or a the stars are not conducive they are
whim. They were later joined by the impotent and cannot even live. To
Great Race of Yith, a bodiless race of distinguish them from other Old Ones
intelligences who possessed the forms of these star-fallen beings are the Starry
the cone-shaped vegetable creatures Old Ones.
inhabiting the southern hemisphere. The
The Great Old Ones seized earths primal
Yithians warred with the entities referred
supercontinent, which they named
to by Lovecraft as flying Polyps.
Rlyeh, and drove the Elder Things back
All of these races possessed alien into the sea. Perhaps their conquest of
technology, including interstellar travel, this world would have been complete,
terraforming and even time travel. They but for some strange catastrophe that
are long-extinct before modern humans occurred around 850 million years ago.
evolve but their influence lives on in Lovecraft refers to the moon being
many ways. Firstly, there are the Elder ripped from earths surface, the sinking
Ruins, the remnants of their cities on sea of Rlyeh and the march of glaciers
beds, under mountains and glaciers or across the planet. Rather than some
high plateaus. These ruins may contain local shift in the earths orbit, this seems
treasures but are often guarded by their to be part of a cosmic realignment that
servitors, the Shoggoths. Secondly, there affected the Old Ones inhabiting other
are survivors, locked away in hidden worlds as well.
colonies, frozen in ice or suspended
The Starry Old Ones are dead, or sleep,
animation. Finally there are the time
or are trapped, depending on your
travellers, projecting their minds forward
viewpoint. However, they inspire dreams
through history. The Pnakotic races care
and nightmare. Their Cults and servitor
little for humanity, except as tools or test
races work to free or wake or resurrect
specimens, and pursue their own
them once the stars are right.
immemorial wars. Nevertheless, they are
not actively hostile and it is from them The Old Ones are beings of indescribable
that humanity has inherited such wards malice and hostility, but they are
and banishments as are effective against ironically dependent on human efforts to
the Other Gods and the Mythos. free them or wake them. Of course, they
show no gratitude, or even
3. The Rlyeh Mythos acknowledgement, of their allies and
The most infamous warlords of the liberators when this happens.
Mythos and humanitys most In the meantime they are the Mythos
determined foes, these are the Old Ones beings who are most interested and
who fell or seeped from the stars over involved with human cults, mystics and
a billion years ago. explorers, admittedly only for utterly
Like the Pnakotic races with whom they selfish and destructive ends.
warred, the Great Old Ones are physical
4. The Chthonic Mythos
beings inhabiting the material universe.
The upheaval the banished the Starry
Like the Other Gods, they practise magic
Old Ones brought another set of beings
or magical-science and are bound to
to the worlds stage. The convulsions
obey certain inscrutable cosmic laws.
that sank Rlyeh raised up mountain
ranges and opened up caverns under
todays continental plates.

Cthulhu Abides

These caverns were not empty. Another Most acknowledge the Other Gods and
order of beings bubbled up or oozed some worship and serve the Old Ones, if
from dimensions as vast and alien as the only out of short term gain or self-
starry void from which Cthulhu and his protection. As true aliens, they often
spawn fell. Now they were thrown into have physical forms that interact only
contact with the surface-dwelling partially with the laws of nature as they
Pnakotic races, who recoiled in horror operate on earth, making them seem far
and sealed the caverns and quarantined more supernatural to humans than the
the new mountains. Pnakotic races of earths past, who
clearly employ advanced science. For
This branch of the Mythos included the
example, some of these beings are
Yig and his Serpent People and the
invisible, extra-dimensional or exist in a
formless spawn of Tsathoggua. Many of
different relationship to time and space.
these entities rank with the Great Old
ones in power and malice and are 6. The Hyborian Mythos
referred to as the Chthonic Old Ones.
However, they seem to be local to earth The first great flowering of humanity
and are still very much active. They are took place before the recent ice ages
subterranean creatures and find current reshaped the continents. These
conditions on the planets surface to be civilisations included Atlantis,
inimical, which is why their influence Hyperboria, Mu and Valusia. Lovecraft
over humanity is (thankfully) limited. freely mixed his epic pre-history with the
fiction of his friends Clark Ashton Smith
5. The Yuggoth Mythos and later Robert E. Howard. This is the
world of Eibon the Wizard, Conan the
Out in space, other alien races were
Barbarian and King Kull of Atlantis.
exploring the cosmos. The most
energetic travellers were the fungi from These civilisations were in more direct
Yuggoth known as Mi-Go who visited the contact with the earlier races, especially
earth in the Jurassic Period and warred the Serpent People of Valusia and
with the Elder Things, perhaps because Chthonic Old Ones like Tsathoggua.
their mining projects stirred and aided Moreover, they had preserved as magic
the Chthonic beings below. some of the science of the Elder Things.
Elsewhere on other worlds, races raised However, the main achievement of these
up civilisations, like Carcosa and Celaeno. first human cultures was to open up the
Many of these races encountered the Dreamlands which has ever since
Old Ones and Hastur's agents and left resembled the ancient world of their
warnings and spells to dissuade others myths, dreams and nightmares.
coming after from disturbing forbidden
The most powerful entities of the
Dreamlands are the Elder Gods
In many ways, the beings of Yuggoth and worshipped by the Hyborian civilisations.
the other worlds are like the Pnakotic In fact some, such as Nodens, Bast and
races: life forms of the physical universe, Hypnos, extended their worship into the
explorers and scientists in their own later post-Ice Age cultures of the Celts,
right, albeit with alien and amoral Egyptians and Ancient Greeks.

Cthulhu Abides

Lovecraft is unclear about the precise All of the religions, scientific theories and
nature of the Elder Gods and their historical assumptions our species have
relationship to the rest of the Mythos. concocted since the last Ice Age are, in
Later writers like August Derleth terms of Lovecrafts Mythos, simply
interpreted the Elder Gods as cosmic mistaken or perversely misguided.
forces for good, opposing the baleful
Nonetheless, fragments of earlier truths
horror of the Great Old Ones, but this
are embedded in later folklore, religion
seems to contradict the tone of
and occultism and even in some of the
Lovecrafts Mythos.
newer sciences like Evolutionary Biology,
We shall treat the Elder Gods as beings Freudian Psychology and Quantum
of the Dreamlands. Within the Physics. These fragments of true
Dreamlands themselves, the Elder Gods knowledge, often misunderstood or
may be a match for a Great Old One or misapplied, are termed Esoteric Wisdom.
even thwart Nyarlathotep, but in the
Esoteric Wisdom can be gleaned from
Waking World their influence is sorely
conventional books on witchcraft and
occultism or from the more outr
We leave it up to you to decide whether scientific theories of the period. There is
the Elder Gods are truly gods, albeit of Esoteric Wisdom in many of the heretical
another world, or merely the potent strands in the major religions and some
projections of human wishes, fears and of the older myth-cycles of the Celts,
worship over millennia, given physical Greeks, Egyptians and Babylonians.
form in the plastic environment of the There is even Esoteric Wisdom in the
Dreamlands, and therefore relative Mrchen recorded by the Grimm
latecomers to the cosmic conflict with Brothers.
the Great Old Ones.
This means that Investigators can turn to
The Hyborian civilisations perished, with traditional religion, occultism, folklore or
Atlantis last of all, over 100,000 years science for help, but they need to be
ago, plunging humanity back into mad to understand it properly, as will be
barbarism from which it only emerged at explained later.
the end of the last Ice Age.
Nonetheless, books, myths and artefacts
of the Hyborians survive, to the As we have seen, Lovecraft didnt
puzzlement of historians, and form systematize his creations, but a good
potent weapons against the Other Gods Roleplaying Game does.
and Great Old Ones. In the Dreamlands
one can see an echo or a memory of the The Old Ones can be divided into two
great Hyborian Age that was. Many of camps or waves: Starry Old Ones and
the Monsters of the Mythos remember Chthonic Old Ones.
the heroes of the Hyborian Age with
rancour or fear and work to ensure that The Starry Old Ones
humanity never again rises to that level The Starry Old Ones fell or seeped
of magical knowledge. from the stars more than a billion years
ago, when the planet consisted of a giant
Our civilisation's focus on science is, by
super-continent, shallow oceans and life
contrast, much less threatening to them.
as we know it had barely evolved. There
ESOTERIC WISDOM was no ozone layer and the world was
bathed with what Lovecraft would call a
These six branches of the Mythos
rainbow of cryptic poison. Then the
represent the true history and magic of
stars changed
this planet.

Cthulhu Abides

Cthulhu Shub-Niggurath yearns to be free, but

cannot dream. Her yearnings and urgings
The greatest of their kind, Cthulhu sank manifest as instincts and impulses:
beneath the new waters of what will, perversions and corruptions of the drive
millions of years later, be the Pacific. to eat, to copulate, to give birth. She is
Although dead, he dreams and he is the the blind drive behind every fertility cult
mightiest telepath. His dreams have and orgy and her worship is protean and
reached into the unconscious minds of ineradicable.
all humans since our beginnings. We can When certain stars and, in particular, the
never know what we would have been, moon is right, more of Shub-Niggurath is
what we would have become, had we free to take form.
developed as a species free from
Cthulhus insane whisperings. Space travelers sense Shub-Niggurath
and know that the earth is her tomb and
These dreams direct and guide the her gaol. The Mi-Go make pacts with her,
worldwide Cthulhu Cult, aided by the that their diggings might not stir her into
abominable Tcho-Tchos who dream only life. Ghouls and all delvers after
and ever of Great Cthulhu. His dreams forbidden things reverence her as do all
permeate and darken the Dreamlands who worship flesh and its mysteries.
where the Tcho-Tchos also dwell. His Humans find the aliens and the Elder
worshippers imagine their frenzied rites Things strange, but we are the creatures
empower Cthulhu, so each time the stars who are made in Shub-Nigguraths
become right he can venture further image, not they.
from sunken Rlyeh until eventually he is
altogether free. Hastur
Other psychic entities sense Cthulhus Not a denizen of earth, but caught up in
dreaming mind and fear it. Perhaps they the same change that entombed Cthulhu
envy humans who can awake and go and Shub-Niggurath, Hastur is sealed
insensibly about their little lives, away under Lake Hali on an alien world.
unaware that dreaming within haunted
Hasturs freedom is somehow tied to
R'lyeh, Cthulhu abides.
that of Cthulhu and Shub-Niggurath, but
Shub-Niggurath while Cthulhu dreams and Shub-
Niggurath quickens, Hastur is conscious
The fate of Shub-Niggurath is far and aware, just impossibly distant. He
different. Bound into the very earth of can send out his astral mind in many
the great continent of Rodinia and then avatars, possessing bodies and plotting
torn apart as that continent arranged the release of the Starry Old Ones. The
and re-arranged itself, first as Pangaea King in Yellow is his favourite guise.
then as the familiar landmasses of our
world, Shub-Niggurath is everywhere. Despite this mental freedom, Hastur is
She is immanent, part of the earth strangely impotent. He can promise,
beneath our feet, part even of the very threaten and intimidate, but he cannot
matter that makes up our bodies. act. He can destroy only those who give
themselves to him but many do.
No telepath, Shub-Niggurath is a physical
entity: in a sense, she is all physical The Mi-Go are aware of Hasturs
entities on earth. She is the Black Goat of attempts to free himself and have
the Woods with a Thousand Young and learned (sometimes the hard way) not to
we are her young. help him. They shun his Yellow Sign and
those who bear it. Sometimes they
intervene to help thwart Hasturs
activities on earth.

Cthulhu Abides

Other Starry Old Ones Darkness seems to be necessary for

Tsathoggua: his worshippers seek him
There are countless Old Ones, but none out in it and his Formless Spawn is
has the potency and range of these rendered inert in sunlight.
three. Some are tightly confined to a
limited place an island, a cavern Like Shub-Niggurath, Tsathoggua is an
while others are more limited in power. intensely physical being, but he is distinct
and free and rather than corrupting
Ithaqua is free to come and go above the living creatures from within, his Formless
Arctic Circle and has some of Shub- Spawn invades and subverts them from
Nigguraths power to manifest in and without. He is a huge toad-like creature
control the environment, but only of inky darkness.
freezing winds and blizzards; he can
manifest as urges within mortals, but Yig
only as cannibalistic hunger.
The father of serpents, Yig is the most
The Chthonic Old Ones active of the subterraneans and
resembles Hastur in his persistent
Of course, these beings no more came wiliness and malevolent cunning.
out of the interior of the planet than
Cthulhu and his spawn came out of the Although he has been worshipped by
clouds. They emerged from dark humans as Set and Quetzlcoatl, the
dimensions that exit into the earths Serpent People were his special children
mantle, set free by the same cosmic and and he nurtures them still in the
tectonic reversal that imprisoned their degenerate and dwarfish forms they
Starry cousins. possess now.
Nonetheless, the stars hold them in Like Tsathoggua, Yig appears to
check and one star in particular, Sol, acknowledge and enjoy worship, but, like
our sun. In their subterranean empires Shub-Niggurath, he seems to be tied to
they reign as gods but on the surface sexuality, begetting half-serpent hybrids
their grip is weak. With the final turning both on his worshippers and those who
of the celestial wheel, when Cthulhu and displease him.
his spawn are free, the stars will hold In the Hyborian days of Valusia, Yigs
them back no more and they will ravage dominion extended above ground until
up through the caves and out of the the coming of the ice destroyed it. He
mountains and howl beneath the sky. finds the upper world too cold for his
Tsathoggua kind now but the prospect of Global
Warming cannot disappoint him. He
Toad-like Tsathoggua is as immobile as manifests as a writhing carpet of worms
Great Cthulhu, but not because he is and serpents, occasionally entwining into
constrained. For millions of years he has a vaguely humanoid shape.
ruled the black vault of NKai, attended
by furry subhuman Voormis and Other Chthonic Old Ones
faithfully served by his Formless Spawn, There are many more Chthonic Old
a semisentient black goo that invades Ones, like Nug and Yeb the Twin
and infects living creatures and bends Blasphemies, but few match
them to his will. Tsathoggua is a true Tsathoggua and Yig for their interest in
emperor of the underworld and actually promoting their Cults and the worship or
seems to notice and enjoy the worship of enslavement of surface dwellers.
lesser beings.

Cthulhu Abides

T he Perfe ct Hos t
It is the lips he watches. Almost imperceptibly, He remembers the Dutch sailor with his Asian
they part. His throat catches in anticipation. He tattoos and broken English, the one who sold
exhales when he sees them: first one, then two, him the curious fish with its tentacle mouth.
then a multitude of tentacles pushing out of The fish later died, but by then Edwin had
the mouth, waving as they explore the outer extracted the parasite and transplanted it to
world. another host. During the week of the Wifes
trip to Brighton, Edwin studied his new
Edwin! Edwin!!!
acquisition. Palaeoteuthis cthulhuas, he named
It is her voice: the Wife. She is calling down the it. Palaeoteuthis for its resemblance to the
stairwell, because wont come into his cellar, ancient ancestor of a squid; cthulhuas was his
full as it is of the horrible fish. best attempt at representing the Dutchmans
jabbering description. Palaeoteuthis cthulhuas,
He doesnt want to leave yet. Carefully, he
so beautiful, so old and yet so new, but dying as
teases the animals lips apart with his tweezers
each host expired: first fishes, then cats, now
and more tentacles unfurl from inside the dogs
the dog.
head. They are fine filaments of pink and green
and electric blue, more riotously colourful than Edwin! Edwin! She is calling again from
the petals of any flower. downstairs, drawing out the last syllable of his
name in the way that grates on his nerves.
The dog is dying already. Her eyes no longer
Edwin! Have you seen Dolly? Dolly!
follow him as he moves around the workbench.
He had hoped this transplant would last longer. Edwin applies shaving cream to his jowls as her
voice echoes from different parts of the house,
Edwin! I know youre down there! Dont hide
calling the dogs name. The maid is dispatched
from me!
to the neighbours houses to enquire after the
Edwin Carritt sighs and straightens. He draws a animal. Edwin sorrows at the thought of
sheet over the twitching dog strapped to the Palaeoteuthis cthulhuas dying, within the hour,
bench, pausing only for a last glance at the fan inside Dollys flabby body. Something beautiful
of tentacles escaping from her muzzle. He expiring while the Wife plays host. He looks
studies the tanks where his fish move slowly down at the shaving razor in his hand.
behind the glass with their unblinking eyes.
It is a simple matter, in the end. He has carried
Then he turns off the light and climbs the stairs.
out the transplant several times already. His
The hallway smells of bleach and the tall clock hands shake more than usual because there is
chimes the quarter hour. The Wife emerges resistance to overcome, but he tells himself to
from the drawing room, wearing her floral persevere. The squid-like parasite is limp and
pinafore. grey by the time he removes it from Dollys
carcass. Salt water will revive it and fresh
Edwin! The Vicar will be here within the hour
blood, his own, dripping from the razors edge
and youre not even shaved. What sort of host
onto the feebly stirring tentacles.
are you? Why are these things left to me? And
you smell! Her nose wrinkles and her thin lips After that, there is only the long wait. The door
pull back to bare her teeth. chimes jangle when the Vicar arrives but soon
go silent again.
Would motherhood have softened her, Edwin
wonders? Would a babys cries have silenced It is the lips Edwin watches. His throat catches
her shrill voice? in anticipation when they part. He exhales. First
one, then two, then a multitude of tentacles
Shave! she snaps, propelling him towards the
push out of the mouth. They wave to him in
bathroom. Im away for one week and you let
their riotous colours.
yourself go! Get ready, for goodness sake. And
you, girl! she calls to the maid who appears, His Wife no longer shrieks or makes her
terrified, on the staircase. I need to see you strangled whines of protest. But she is a perfect
dusting, not loitering! host. From behind the fan of tentacles that
spread across her face, her wild eyes follow him
Relieved that the hapless maid has distracted as he moves around the workbench. He smiles
her, Edwin enters the bathroom and studies his
back at her. She is silent now and soon to give
thin features in the mirror. Its true: a fuzzy
birth to something new and he has never loved
beard has crept across his cheeks, meeting his
her more.
moustache and giving him a nautical look.

Cthulhu Abides

The Rules
Cthulhu Abides uses an additive dice If you try adding more dice, youll notice
mechanic, sometimes called the Poker that extra dice push your potential up
Dice mechanic. You roll a handful of (with 5 dice you can in theory roll 30, but
dice and youre looking for doubles or with 6 dice it goes up to 36) but they
triples or better. If you have matching dont dramatically change your average.
dice, you use the total for the highest Most 5 dice rolls come up around 9. With
scoring set. If none of your dice match, 6 dice, you tend to get 10.
you just have to settle for the highest
The dice probabilities are on the table in
dice roll you got. Like this:
Appendix I.
The good news is you dont just get to
roll dice; you also get to add a Bonus.
Now in some ways the Bonuses are more
Thats a nice roll. Youve got two 6s,
important than the dice, because you
giving you (6+6) 12. You can do most
know exactly what they are going to be.
things with a roll of 12.
If you have a +4 Bonus then you add four
to your total, whatever it is, so even that
feeble roll of 4 becomes an impressive 8
and that rather good 12 becomes an
Thats not so great. Theres a 5 there, but awesome 16.
also three 2s which is better, because
they give you (2+2+2) 6. You can do The advantage to this system is that the
simple things with a roll of 6. dice keep things nice and uncertain,
enabling players to make occasional
extraordinary feats, but tending to bunch
around ordinary mean scores that
discourage outrageous heroics. If you
want outrageous heroics, you need to
Oh dear. Thats no good at all. Youve got have good Bonuses. Just how high does
two 1s, but the best score on offer is that the GM want Bonuses to be? Too low
single 4, so 4 it is. You cant do much and the players struggle often to
with 4. accomplish even ordinary challenges
(scoring 8 or higher); too high and
One thing youll notice is how non-
players just cant fail at all but the most
intuitive this mechanic is. Its hard to tell
staggering of challenges. Well discuss
what youre going to get, what your
this further in Chapter 2.
chances are.

Cthulhu Abides


1. Pick-
Pick-Up & Play (PUAP) In Call of Cthulhu characters could not
solve mysteries unless they made key
Character generation is quick and can be
skill rolls at certain points in the story.
done entirely through simple dice rolls.
Trail of Cthulhu replaced this with
An Investigator should be ready to
spending skill points for automatic
replace your last dead/crazy one in 10
advancement through the story.
These rules introduce the idea of
Choosing how to spend hundreds of
awarding Clue Points to Investigators for
points buying scores of skills has been
either good roleplaying or successful dice
replaced by a fixed number of generic
skill bonuses applying to six core abilities.
Clue Points are an artificial mechanic, but
As far as possible, character generation
they serve two important story
has been presented as a random process
functions. They let the GM indicate to
involving simple rolls on small tables,
players that they are on the right track,
since experience shows that characters
that an avenue of investigation is worth
created from making sense of a random
pursuing or that a particular deduction
process are often more interesting,
was well-done.
memorable and challenging than ones
many players choose for themselves. They also let players buy key
information off the GM when they are
Nevertheless, options are provided for
stuck, frustrated or just rolling terribly.
designing a character by choice rather
Some gamers will dislike the whole
than dice rolls.
device, pursuing to develop a detailed
2. Character Motivation setting then allow players who
Why risk your life and sanity fighting the misinterpret data or mis-roll dice to be
Mythos? Why waste time roleplaying stonewalled. Live and let live! The Clue
your scepticism and incredulity before Gathering System works for us and it is
the Shoggoths come calling? offered for your use if it proves helpful.

Instead, each character has a core 4. Dynamic Madness Rules

motive for seeking out and confronting Most Lovecraftian games RPGs, board
the Mythos. These are formalised as a games, video games - treat madness as
Philosophy a sort of code or outlook something inflicted on PCs with
that guides how you react to danger and invariably debilitating results, but this is
the paranormal and a Goal a at odds with Lovecrafts fiction which
specific reason you have for responding treats madness as a source of
to curious news articles, phone calls inspiration, albeit a risky one. These rules
from old friends in the dead of night or introduce a dynamic Madness system
the opportunity to buy crumbling old which enables the PCs to become more
books at creepy out of town auction or less sane throughout the story,
houses. expanding their options in some ways,
3. Clue Gathering System restricting them in others.

Various RPGs have tackled the detective Critics might accuse us of being
aspect of any good Lovecraftian scenario irreverent here: theres nothing positive
in different ways. or inspirational about real life madness.

Cthulhu Abides

This may be true I wouldnt know, Id These rules apply perfectly well to
have to consult DSM-V. But the point is American or other settings (although for
that Lovecrafts fiction treats madness as US characters, you might like to
something ambivalent, something that substitute Credit for Class, but
opens doors of perception or mercifully otherwise treat that Attribute the same).
clouds minds that have known too much.
Some new gaming concepts will need
This game attempts to capture
Lovecrafts tone, not to pursue clinical
orthodoxy. Time Frames
5. Players Only Roll (POR) Four main time frames are used in these
These rules place the responsibility for rules. The shortest, an action, take only
rolling dice on the players, leaving the a few moments, anything between half a
GM free to concentrate on spooky second and 5 seconds.
descriptions, mind-bending revelations The next, a Scene, is more fluid and is a
and intricate plots. If players do dramatic unit of time. A Scene lasts until
something to a NPC, the players roll the a drama has run its course. Thus, a chase
dice and the NPC has a fixed score. If a Scene lasts until the fugitives escape or
NPC does something to a player, again are caught, no matter how many
the player rolls dice to avoid it and the different locations the chase passes
NPC uses a fixed score. through.
In practice, the habit of rolling dice is A session is an artificial distinction,
pretty hard wired in most GMs. Theres because it is the duration of a period of
nothing wrong with rolling dice and play that bears no necessary relation to
these rules present options to make the drama within the game. A session
NPCs more bespoke by rolling dice to could end in the middle of a Scene and a
customise their actions and abilities. new session resumes concluding the
6. Asymmetrical Mechanics Scene.

Because NPCs do not roll, different A Story is a satisfying dramatic piece,

mechanics apply to NPC stats than to often with a resolution or climax of some
player characters. NPCs dont have to be sort. Stories consist of several linked
built using the same characteristics and Scenes and may be concluded entirely in
mechanics that apply to Player one session or over several. At the end of
Characters. This is advantageous in a a Story, PCs receive their Rewards.
game where many NPCs are alien gods,
immortal frog-fish hybrids or rolling balls
Sandbox Games
of gibbering protoplasmic goo. Some Stories are Sandboxes where the
GM has prepared a detailed environment
Nonetheless, the GM is free to create
(creepy mansion, decaying seaside
Player Character style NPCs and may
village, etc) and the PC Investigators can
want to build recurring NPC allies, rivals
go where they wish, talking to
and enemies this way.
inhabitants and exploring settings in any
7. British Assumptions order.
The assumption that PCs are 1920s Many of the published Lovecraftian
Britons, or subjects of the British Empire, scenarios for Call of Cthulhu and Trail of
is reflected in the importance of the class Cthulhu take this form.
system, the ubiquity of experience in the
Great War and certain cultural values
that differ from the conventional
published American rules.

Cthulhu Abides

Sandbox Stories are satisfying for players In a Rail Story in Cthulhu Abides, the PCs
because the resolution (if it happens) is can spend Clue Points to trigger the
all their own work, just as the death or denouement or ordeal of a Story, but no
madness of the PCs is a consequence of satisfactory resolution will occur until the
their choices and strategies. players spend the points.
One drawback of Sandbox Stories is that, Sometimes there will be a time limit to
if the PCs do not find certain plot hooks introduce urgency and the GM may
or visit certain locations in the right break the Story down into chapters with
order or at the right time, they may miss each chapter requiring a certain number
out entirely on crucial information. This or combination of Clue Points to
can also happen if they arrive at the right complete it. The players are free to go
place and say and do the right things, but where they please and the GM will
fail to make a good roll using their reward good roleplaying, successful dice
investigative skills. rolling and imaginative thinking with
Clue Points until the tally is met. The GM
In a Sandbox Story in Cthulhu Abides, the
can then introduce a cut scene that fills
PCs can spend Clue Points to cross
in any necessary details missed and
thresholds that might point them in the
move PCs on to the next chapter or the
right direction, fill out gaps in their
final resolution.
understanding or provide an opportunity
for them to act. These can be NPC Perils
actions, or confessions, flashbacks or
plot developments. Perils interrupt the sedate gathering of
Clues by forcing the PCs to react. A Peril
Often the GM will ask for a particular may be a literal danger (like an assault or
combination of points (To get Lord a booby trap) or a psychological threat
Witherhyde to confess, youll need 5 (like a Madness Stressor or the
Testimony, 3 Evidence and at least one emergence of one of the characters
Deduction Clue) or sometimes just a Frailties). Sometimes the Peril itself, once
total (9 and he tells all!). dealt with, offers up more Clues for
The GM may tell players that their example, once they overcome the shock
efforts to do something (extract a of finding a dead body in their room,
confession, find a secret door, translate Investigators can search the body.
an old scroll) only work once theyve The pacing of Clue-gathering and Peril is
invested a certain number of Clue Points. part of the tone of the game. Purist
Once this is done, the PCs automatically games favour Clue-gathering over Perils,
cross the threshold without rolling dice. with the Peril being revealed only at the
climax and perhaps not even then if the
Rail Games Investigators successfully avert it. In
On Rail Games the GM has prepared a Pulp games Perils are more common
plotline rather than an environment and and form the basis to gain Clue Points.
events take their course in a certain
GMs may consider springing some form
order. PCs can hurry events along and be
of Peril on PCs after they acquire a
well prepared for them when they
certain number of Clue Points, just to
happen, but they cant alter the
keep the game lively. In general, a Peril
fundamental thrust of the Story.
every 4 or 5 Clues is a nice balance (the
This avoids the major pitfall of Sandbox GM can roll 2D to determine this
games (PCs stalling) but it creates randomly), however some GMs may
another problem: futility. Players can prefer to script their Perils carefully in
easily feel their investigation is irrelevant advance or keep Peril offscreen until
to the inevitable outcome of the Story. the terrifying climax.

Cthulhu Abides

When PCs attempt a Challenge, the The player rolls a pool of 6-Sided Dice
player and GM decide which Attribute equal to the Attribute and EITHER
and which Bonus will be tested. chooses the highest score OR adds
Where the rules specify an Attribute and together matching dice and uses the
a Bonus they are separated by a slash, as highest total. The Bonus is added to this.
in Physique/Fighting for a roll based on The overall Challenge Score is compared
the Physique Attribute and adding the to a Difficulty Score. If it equals or
Fighting Bonus. exceeds the Difficulty, the PC passes the

Score Difficulty This test is a fair challenge for

3 Easy A child with Attribute 1
5 Routine An untalented adult with Attribute 2
8 Average A talented adult with Attribute 5
10 Challenging A skilled or determined adult with Attribute 6
12 Hard An elite adult with Attribute 8
15 Very Hard An optimal or peak human with Attribute 10
18 Inhuman Superhumans (eg Mi-Go)
20 Unearthly Alien (eg Elder Things)
22 Monstrous Powerful Alien (eg Shoggoths)
25 Gargantuan Terrific Alien (eg Other Gods)
28 Titanic Vast Beings (eg Nyarlathotep)
30 Awesome Great Old Ones (eg Cthulhu)

At other times, the Difficulty is For example, attacking a scaly Deep One
determined by the NPCs Resistance. This is difficult because the monster has a
is a fixed number but the Challenge Test Defend of 12 (the equivalent of a Hard
is modified according to whether the Challenge).
situation makes the action easier or
harder. If the PC was ambushing the monster,
catching it by surprise, the GM would
lower the Defend by -3 for one action to
a more manageable 9.

Modifier Difficulty Example

-3 Easy Attacking someone unawares
-1 Advantageous Attacking someone from above, from the flank or unexpectedly
+1 Difficulty Attacking someone from below, behind you or hidden
+3 Very Hard Attacking someone you cant see

Cthulhu Abides

Attribute: Class Challenges involving asserting your wealth or status to achieve things
Profession Most social rolls with strangers, businesses, bureaucracies,
employees; buying equipment, obtaining weapons
Dream Social rolls that are subversive, like bribing or blackmail
Fighting Buying guns, applying status aggressively (threats, coercion)
Investigation Rumours or general knowledge about your social circle or groups
Occult Infiltrating Cults or Esoteric Archives
Survival Succeeding in sports (football, cricket, hunting with dogs)

Attribute: Charm Challenges asserting your personality apart from your wealth/status
Profession Informal social rolls with friends, enemies, team members
Dream Fast-talk, seduction or lying; forming Teams
Fighting Aggressive emotional confrontations, like taunting or intimidation
Investigation Informal questioning, gossip-gathering and popular knowledge
Occult Masquerading as a Cultist or a Sorcerer, pacifying Monsters
Survival Succeeding in gambling and games of chance or bluff

Attribute: Creativity Challenges involving imagination, intuition or empathy

Profession Most problem-solving rolls for practical problems
Dream Problem-solving involving relationships; forming a Team
Fighting Rolls to outwit opponents, including setting traps and ambushes
Investigation Problem-solving involving lateral thinking, guesses, intuitions
Occult Using magical Artefacts and other magical effects
Survival Tracking, finding shelter, foraging for food or medical plants

Attribute: Intellect Challenges involving intelligence, memory or education

Profession General knowledge about history and geography
Dream Solving riddles, decoding symbols, seeing through lies
Fighting Recognising wounds and cause of death, spotting traps or dangers
Investigation Most rolls to research and explore Archives
Occult Most rolls to use Grimoires, cast Spells or create Sigils
Survival Most rolls to formulate quick plans or solve problems in a hurry

Attribute: Perception Challenges involving the five senses

Profession Identifying a NPC by their job, class or uniform; recognising people
Dream Reading emotions and body language, getting intuitions and vibes
Fighting Sensing danger; identifying weapons; firing guns
Investigation Most rolls to search a place for clues
Occult Identifying magical auras, omens, Artefacts or signs of the Mythos;
identifying and passing through Non-Euclidian Angles
Survival Tracking, navigating, finding someone who is hiding or spying

Attribute: Physique Challenges involving physical strength, speed or agility

Profession Carrying out physical tasks lifting, repairing, using machines
Dream Most rolls involving stealth or agility
Fighting Most Attack rolls with hand-to-hand weapons
Investigation Opening locks, doors and lids; fighting sleep or exhaustion
Occult Performing rituals correctly, resisting certain magical attacks
Survival Leaping, climbing, balancing, running; dodging ranged attacks

Cthulhu Abides

Some drawbacks, like going mad, create By spending a point of Insight the
greater problems for characters. A Limit character may re-roll as many of the dice
restricts the score on a roll; only dice as he or she wishes, including all of them
that score equal to or less than the Limit if desired. Each Challenge may only be
count towards the total. Dice that score re-rolled this way once.
higher than the Limit are ignored.
There are some other actions that
On a normal non-penalised Challenge require spending a point of Insight,
any roll of 6 or less is counted. A -1 Limit notably casting a Spell or changing the
would take this down to 5-, meaning 6s colour of a Clue Point (from Testimony
are ignored and only dice coming up 5 or to Evidence, for example).
less are counted. A -2 Limit would take
his down to 4-, ignoring 5s and 6s. A -6 In Cthulhu Abides there are two sorts of
Limit means the character cannot act at Insight: Esoteric Insight and Mythos
all. Insight. Both types of Insight can be used
to improve normal dice rolls (jumping a
For example, think about this impressive chasm, translating Egyptian hieroglyphs)
dice roll: but only Mythos Insight can be used to
affect the beings, powers and devices of
the Mythos. This means that if you are
trying to dodge a Shoggoths tentacles or
resist a Deep Ones corrupting gaze, you
need to spend Mythos Insight.
Normally it would score (6+6) 12, but
with a -1 Limit the sixes wouldnt count. Stressed characters gain and use Esoteric
Instead youd have to use the next best Insight; Insane characters gain and use
number, which in this case is a solitary 3. Mythos Insight; Sane characters cannot
From 12 down to 3 shows you how usually gain or use Insight at all unless
punishing even a -1 Limit can be. they have the Sensitive Perk (see p148).

Occasionally the actions of NPCs are Characters can pick up Insight in a

Limited, but NPCs dont roll dice: they number of ways:
have a fixed Score. If this occurs, any PC Archive: A Stressed or Insane
acting against the Limited NPC can person consulting an Archive
improve their rolls by 1D per Limit. For may gain Insight instead of Clue
example, if a NPC has a -2 Limit on their Points
Attack roll, the PC gets +2D to their Fugue: The first time a character
Defend Challenge. experiences Fugue (a mental
breakdown) during a Story, they
Remember, all dice in Cthulhu Abides are gain Insight equal to their
rolled like Poker Dice. So adding +2D Current Madness Level
doesnt mean adding them onto your Potency: Grimoires that provide
score like a Bonus, it means adding them Potency for Spells can provide
into your pool of dice and looking for Insight equal to their Potency
matches or the highest score. Dice (eg 3D provides 3 Insight)
Gnosis: Encounters with the
Gods of the Mythos or their Cults
provides Gnosis which can be
turned into Insight, each 1D
providing 1 Insight

Cthulhu Abides

PULP STUNTS Limits on Stunts

Some activities are Pulp Stunts that Characters suffer a -1 Limit for each
ordinary people balk at; characters who Madness Level they are away from being
are Sane suffer Limits when they roll dice allowed to perform the action.
for Pulp Stunts. Insane character can only
perform effectively when doing Pulp A character who is Calm0 suffers
Stunts. If they try act in a normal, a -2 Limit on Stunts, being two
restrained way they suffer Limits on their Madness Levels away from being
rolls, just like Sane characters do when Stressed enough to act; a Lucid1
trying to perform Pulp Stunts. character suffers a -1 Limit
Characters who are Deranged4
The idea of being Stressed or Insane will suffer a -1 Limit on non-Stunt
be explained later in the Dynamic actions; this is -2 for Psychotic5
Madness Rules (see pp40-46). characters and -3 for Maniac6
Pulp Stunts include:
ACTION STUNTS: Things that Power Stunts
ordinary people would balk at
because they are dangerous These are outrageous and adrenalised
(swinging on chandeliers, leaping actions that are possible when a normal
chasms, dangling from ledges, success is virtually automatic. The GM
confronting an armed man or a may allow Power Stunts whenever a
wild animal) character cannot fail to succeed at a
SOCIAL STUNTS: Things that Challenge (see Appendix I for dice
ordinary people are inhibited probabilities - p140).
from doing because of social
pressure (defying policemen, A Power Stunt can:
disrupting dinner, insulting the
Dowager Countess) 1. give a character an extra Action,
AFFECTIVE STUNTS: Things for example attacking straight
ordinary people decline to think after a Defend Challenge
about, never mind do (using 2. double the effectiveness of an
Wards or Geist to resist Magic, Action: applying an Attack
casting Spells, using Artefacts, against two targets, gaining 2
carrying out field surgery, Clue Points instead of 1 or
disinterring dead bodies) protecting two characters with
Various Perks and Professional Bonuses one Resist Challenge.
let some characters perform Pulp Stunts
At the GMs discretion, Cultists,
while Sane. The GM may declare any
Monsters and other NPCs can perform
activity to be or not to be a Pulp Stunt
Power Stunts if their Score is twice as
based on a characters background.
high as the player's roll to resist them.
One particular Pulp Stunt is the Killing
If a PC chooses to make a Power Stunt,
Wound. Ordinary characters only fight to
roll 1D:
Stun. If a Sane character deliberately
tries to inflict a Killing Wound on
someone, the GM might either disallow
it or treat the attempt as a Pulp Stunt.

Cthulhu Abides

Roll Power Stunt

1 The Stunt BACKFIRES and your Bonus is cancelled out for the next action
2 The Stunt FAILS but the Action works normally
3-5 The Stunt SUCCEEDS as planned
6 The Stunt is a WILD SUCCESS and you gain another Stunt for free

Hengist Winthrop goes to the library to With Dream Magic the Potency
find occult lore and the Difficulty is 10. Challenge doubles as a Danger
Hengist is Feverish2, has an Intellect of 6 Check, to see if the characters
and a +6 Investigate Bonus so he Dream Lore increases. Other
qualifies for a Power Stunt. He not only actions in the Dreamlands also
wants to gain a point of Esoteric Insight necessitate Danger Checks for
from the books, but hed like to copy the this, usually with one dice but
passage down so his friend Knuckles sometimes two or three
Murdigan can gain Insight too. He rolls a Waking from the Dreamlands
4 so the Stunt succeeds. and losing your accumulated
Dream Lore requires a Danger
Knuckles Murdigan wrestles with a Check to avoid the pursuit of
group of Cultists. He is Hysterical3, his Night-Gaunts
Physique is 5 and his Fighting Bonus is When Crossing the Angles,
also 5, but the Cultists only have a Danger Checks are needed to
Defend of 8 so a Power Stunt is possible. avoid the pursuit of the Hounds
Murdigan wants to punch one Cultist so of Tindalos
hard he flies back into a second one,
Characters may spend Insight to re-roll
knocking them both down. He rolls a 6
the 6s that come up in Danger Checks.
and the GM rules two Cultists go down
Esoteric Insight is usually effective but
and a third trips over them both, sending
re-rolling Danger Checks against Mythos
all of them sprawling.
beings (Transfigurations, Mythos Cults &
DANGER CHECKS Ruins, Nether Dream Lore and Hounds of
Tindalos) requires Mythos Insight.
A different type of dice roll is the Danger
Check. During a Danger Check, the player
rolls a number of dice and if any of them
come up 6, danger strikes. Usually a Only by acting together can Investigators
Danger Check is made with just one dice defeat the Mythos and only by
(1D) but as the danger escalates more combining their rolls can they hope to
and more dice are added. Examples of achieve the high scores needed to injure
Danger Checks include: Monsters or cast Spells.
When Investigators encounter a How Teamwork operates depends on a
Great Old One or Other God they groups Cohesion:
may be Transfigured. As long as
Disunited: Characters who have
this goes on, Danger Checks are
never met before start at this
made to see if the Entitys Wrath
level. Disunited characters
lashes out and destroys the
cannot attempt Teamwork.
Disjointed: A typical team of
While infiltrating a Cult or an
new Investigators with little
Elder Ruin the cultists may get
experience in working together,
suspicious or the ruins security
even if they can agree on a
may take effect. Danger Checks
are made to see if the
Close-knit: A more experienced
Investigators are discovered.
team who know each other's

Cthulhu Abides

strengths and are trained in Advancing through these roles is one

following group strategies of the main ways groups of PCs
United: The most experienced advance and improve in Cthulhu
sort of team, with well-drilled Abides. The Difficulty for getting a
strategies, habituated to new level of Cohesion as a Reward is
responding quickly and selflessly shown below. Rewards are explained
to commands and instructions on pp136-7.
Cohesion is based on the lowest One way kind GMs can give starting
member of the group. This means characters an advantage in a
that if everyone is Close-Knit apart dangerous Story is by promoting
from one member who is Disjointed, them to a Disjointed Team right
the team will be Disjointed. away.

Team Effect Reward

None No Teamwork is possible (unless team leader has the Leadership Perk) N/A
Disjointed Everyone chooses dice secretly then Leader reveals her chosen 5
Close-Knit Leader reveals his chosen numbers then everyone chooses their dice 8
United Everyone reveals all their dice and Leader chooses from among them 10

Disjointed Teamwork Everyone is then free to choose dice that

match the leaders numbers. Only the
If the group comes up with a plan, each leaders Bonus is used.
member rolls separately and chooses the
dice they are using (a single die or a If Ray, Alec and Luke had been a Close-
matching set) without telling the others. Knit Team, Ray would have announced
The team leader reveals his dice and any his 2 5s. Alec would have ignored his 3 6s
team members who have chosen the and chosen a single 5, a weaker roll but it
same can contribute them to the effort. matches the leaders 2 5s. Luke would
Only the leaders Bonus is used. still have chosen his single 5 and the
team total would have been 20.
For example, Ray, Alec and Luke are
a Disjointed Team, trying to work United Teamwork
together to shoot a Deep One. Ray,
In the most cohesive teams, each
the leader, rolls his
member rolls separately then reveals
Perception/Fighting and chooses 2
their selection of dice. The group can
5s. Alec has chosen 3 6s, a great roll
work out the optimal total and the team
but it doesnt match the leader's 5s.
leader can add up all the dice that
Luke has chosen a single 5, his best
match. Only the leaders Bonus is used.
die roll, and since this matches Rays
5s it is added in to form a total of If Ray, Alec and Luke had been a United
15. Team, Ray would have not have
announced his 2 5s. Instead, everyone
Close-knit Teamwork would have revealed their dice. Alec
Each member rolls separately but, before would have pointed out his 3 6s and Ray
they choose their dice, the team leader would have agreed and added the single
announces what dice he or she is 6 he rolled. Luke would not have added
choosing. anything, since his highest die was a 5,
but the team total would have been 24.

Cthulhu Abides

Carrying Out Teamwork One of the main things they will use
these Rewards for is to improve their
The team leader must make a successful Cohesion, going up from Disjointed to
Creativity/Dream roll to pull everyone Close-Knit and then on to Unified.
together. The Difficulty is 5 plus the
number of people in the team. A Team always functions at the Cohesion
Level of the least cohesive member, so if
If the roll fails, no Teamwork takes place one player has a new character who is
and the would-be team leader forfeits Disjointed, then everyone in the group
any other Action. functions as a Disjointed Team even if
In stressful situations like combat, the the rest of them are Unified.
team leader may have to keep making A kind GM might allow the Unified
the Creativity/Dream Challenge every members to enjoy their superior
turn to keep the team together. The cohesion if they leave the new member
difficulty goes up by +1 each additional behind, but the GM should insist that
turn. just by being present in a Scene a poorly
Some characters can be leaders without cohesive team member lowers the entire
having to make this roll. For example, groups Cohesion, whether he or she is
the Leadership Perk allows characters to actively taking part or not.
form teams without rolling or roll to
create Disjointed Teams out of a group
Reducing Teamwork
where there is no Cohesion. Its hard to be in a team when youre
The Team Leaders Bonus is
used, even if another team If a character rises to a higher Stage of
member has a higher Bonus. Madness than their Base Madness Level,
If an Action requires the their level of overall Cohesion drops by
expenditure of an Insight point, one. For example, if a character's Base
then every contributing member Madness Level is Lucid1 and they rise
of the team must spend the from being Sane to being Stressed, they
Insight point too. stop functioning as Close-Knit and
Forming a team during a combat become Disjointed.
exchange is itself a Pulp Stunt If a characters Base Madness Level ever
No one can contribute to a Team increases to a higher Stage of Madness,
while in a state of Fugue, their permanent level of Cohesion drops
Stunned or suffering from any by one. Players can try to raise this back
Resist Effect like "Falling", again at the end of a Story by using
"Writhe" or "Maim" Rewards.
All the other members of a Team
forego their Dramatic Action in Example, Regina Van Zandt is Close-Knit
order to make their contribution with her team and her Base Madness
to the Team Leaders Action Level is Lucid1. If she goes up to Feverish2
Teamwork is incompatible with she is now Stressed and drops to being
performing Power Stunts - these Disjointed with her team. If she rises to
heroic feats are always individual Deranged4 she is Insane and can no
efforts longer do Teamwork at all. If her
Madness Level drops back to Stressed
Improving Teamwork she can rejoin the team. If her Base
Madness Level increases permanently to
At the end of a Story, Player Characters
Feverish2 she loses her Close-Knit benefit
get Reward Dice and Reward Bonuses
from the GM. This is described on p136.

Cthulhu Abides

The most frequent dice mechanic is the Only the Team Leader gets to add his
Challenge. Theres something about this Bonus, but by collecting Dice from team
that takes GMs and (since they make all members really big scores can be
the rolls) players a few attempts to get amassed. Teamwork only becomes
used to. Its important to remember that effective once the PCs have gained some
you never just add up all the Dice. Youre experience and Team Cohesion. It will
looking for Dice that come up with the usually take at least half a dozen Stories
same number and you add them for characters to advance to Unified
together. If all the Dice are different, you Cohesion, probably longer. Cohesion
may just have to choose the one that drops when someone in the team goes
comes up with the highest number mad, suffers Fugue or is replaced.
The GM may insist that players provide a
Usually, a Challenge is Difficulty 8. This is detailed plan of how the Teamwork will
a target that someone rolling 5 Dice proceed. Carrying out the plan might
should achieve about half the time. If the itself require some of the team members
character has a Bonus, it gets easier. A to succeed in Challenges of their own
character with a +3 Bonus and 2 Dice and, if anything occurs that the plan did
should be able to roll 8 over half the not account for, the Teamwork
time. immediately collapses. This approach
might seem harsh, but it rewards
If the GM wants to make a typical Player
organised and thoughtful players, rather
Character struggle, then Difficulty 10
than off-the-cuff A-Team style
should do. With Difficulty 10, a person
improvisation with powerful dice rolls.
rolling 6 Dice will succeed about half the
time, but someone with only 3 Dice will The other type of Dice mechanic is the
really struggle, even with a +3 Bonus. Danger Check. Danger Checks are usually
made when PCs are exploring to see if
Difficulty 12 poses most characters a real
they are detected or run into danger
problem. Even characters with 6 Dice
like the classic wandering monster
need to get lucky and even a +3 Bonus
check. Each time a Danger Check is
doesnt substantial improve the odds,
made, more Dice are added, increasing
especially for people with less than 5
the likelihood of getting a dreaded 6.
Dice. Set Difficulty 15 when you really
Danger Checks ignore the Investigators
dont want most characters to succeed
abilities and subject the players to pure
and Difficulty 18 when you dont really
(bad) luck. This is appropriate when
want any of them to succeed.
forces are outside the PCs control (such
Bonuses change things, especially when as whether a train is coming down the
they go over 5. Someone with 4-5 Dice tunnel), or too complex to predict (such
and a +8 Bonus has a real chance of as whether anyone in a roomful of
passing those Difficulty 15 and Difficulty people notices the Investigators enter or
18 Challenges and can hardly fail the leave) or simply too powerful to resist
Difficulty 10 and 12 ones. If a GM allows (such as the wrath of a Great Old One).
Bonuses to exceed +6 the tone of the
Even if a Danger Dice comes up 6, the
game changes away from Charles Dexter
GM might allow Investigators to make a
Ward and Dr Henry Armitage towards
Challenge of some sort to avoid the very
Doc Savage and Tarzan. Thats fine if you
worst side-effects. Being killed outright
want to run a swashbuckling Pulp-style
by a Danger Check with no chance to
campaign, but Purists may want to
escape or fight back is very dispiriting.
declare no Bonus can exceed +6.

Cthulhu Abides

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The Dutiful Son

Remember how dutiful was Isaac, who carried Holding onto the roots, he lowered himself
the wood as his father bade him? In full down the slope towards the pond.
submission to his father Abrahams will, he was
Whatever it costs me.
willing to make of himself a sacrifice.
Thats what B.-P. would expect of a Scout. The
The boy thought about his fathers sermon as
Hero of Mafeking, the great Baden-Powell,
he crouched among the rhododendrons at the
expected his Scouts to be brave and
bottom of the garden. What father would
sacrifice his own son? A disappointed father.
The boys feet slithered on the muddy bank.
The sunlit lawn stretched away behind him to
From the water, a chill touched his cheeks.
the French windows. From somewhere in the
house came the sound of piano scales: Brave and independent, like a Scout. Not
Henrietta at her lessons. In front, the ground running to Father. Brave, like Isaac.
dropped below the bending rhododendron
It was quiet down here, beside the pond.
Henriettas scales had faded. The only sound,
Down there was the pond. very faint, was voices. Father and Uncle were
reading aloud in the study, first one then the
The boy hated the pond. It was cold, even in
other. The syllables drifted like a chill breeze
summer. On warm afternoons, with the hot sun
across the lawn and found their way down
on his cricket whites, he could feel its chill
here, among the shadows around the water.
breath on his back. Fish moved in the depths
with their watching eyes. The boy shivered. Where was the ball?
You nearly drowned once, in that pond, Something rested in the water, round and
Father had told him, but youve forgotten. smooth and glistening. The boy reached for it.
But he hesitated.
He must have been very little when he fell in
the pond, to have forgotten it, but he What if but it was silly, it was ridiculous.
remembered the fear of it in his dreams. They Those old dreams of being pulled down into the
were dreams about the cool darkness, beneath cold depths of the pond, pulled deeper down
the rhododendrons, under the water, with cold than any pond could go, down into the
hands clutching him. unending gloom with cold hands upon his skin:
those were the dreams of a little boy.
Now his ball had rolled down there.
After the sermon, Uncle had given him the
The ball was a gift from Uncle. And Uncle had
cricket ball. Dont lose it, he had commanded
taken it to the Oval where W.G. had bowled
in his gruff voice and he and Father had
with it. The great W.G. had held that ball and
watched him, from the windows, as he set up
now the boy had lost it, thrown it wild into the
his stumps. They both looked so stern.
rhododendrons. He had hunted for it for a long
time in the afternoon heat, under the heavy The boy shook away the gnats clinging to the
petals, but it had rolled away, down the slope. sweat on his temples. He wasnt a little boy any
more. There was nothing to fear in the pond.
Into the pond.
Nothing listening under the still water.
He would find Father who would be in the
study. But that was a dreadful place too, with No cold hands waiting under the surface.
Fathers books wrapped in leather, cracked and
No sudden jerk to pull him into the depths
pitted like old mens hands. When Uncle came
without a cry.
from Abroad, he and Father locked themselves
away in there for hours. They recited words He would be dutiful, like Isaac, his namesake.
from the old books. Frightening words. Only an angry father would sacrifice his son.
Only a terrible God would demand it.
No, he would find the ball himself.
It was so dark down here and so still.
From the pond.
Isaac reached for the ball.
I will do my duty, the boy reminded himself,
to God and the King. The waters opened for his fingers.
The cold closed around his wrist in a tight grip.

Cthulhu Abides

We have found randomly rolling A word of warning to GMs: oblige players
characters works very well. Left to their to choose or roll. No mixing it up. For
own devices, even the most imaginative example, if you choose your Attributes
players turn out a bland succession of or Bonuses you have to split 21 points
archaeologists and parapsychologists, or between them, but if you roll 1D for each
play safe with combat-ready private you have a chance of getting a much
detectives. This happens even more higher set of Attributes.
when there is a high turnover of
On the subject of Bonuses, they have a
characters due to character death,
huge impact on play. If the GM is
madness, etc.
planning a detective-themed (or
Purist) game in which the characters
These Character Generation rules invite
are very much ordinary people
you to roll a single dice on a series of
confronted by horrors they have never
tables and make sense of the results. For
dreamt of before, then no Bonus should
the most part, it isnt hard to do and the
exceed +6. This limits PCs to being good
resulting characters are playable and
in their field, but no one is a world
champion or genius. In an action-themed
If the tables strike you as too limited, an (or Pulp) game where the characters
additional set of tables are presented in are professional adventurers and
Appendix II, increasing the diversity of monster-hunters, Bonuses can go as high
character types. as +8 or even +9, making the PCs real
On the other hand, some people have a world-beaters. The GM should decide on
specific character in mind. Maybe the tone of the game before the players
theyve always wanted to play a Mythos- start rolling dice.
busting Egyptologist, or maybe they As mentioned earlier, if you create
want to bring in a dead characters American characters in this period, use
brother who, it has already been Credit instead of Class, but otherwise use
established, is a night club singer or a the Attribute in the same way. Race
professional gambler. Maybe the might be a more important feature in
thought of roleplaying a traumatized war 1920s America, lowering Credit but
veteran appeals to you or perhaps you improving the Hope Attribute by the
simply roll up a devout Church of same amount.
England vicar and dont fancy it very
Characters in other settings at this time
much. If so, choose rather than rolling
might make similar adjustments based
randomly on each table and, rather than
on gender, religion or ethnicity. In
rolling for Attributes and Bonuses,
general, being the victim of prejudice
allocate points from the fixed pool of
reduces your Class/Credit but it increases
points suggested.
your Hope since something pretty
important must be driving you to go out
and confront the Mythos in the face of
all that bigotry and resistance from
mainstream society.

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There are 6 Attributes. Attributes can Roll 1D for each; alternatively assign
range from 1 (or 0) to 10, but a starting values 1 through 6 (giving 6 to the
character will have attributes between 1 favoured Attribute, 5 to the next, down
and 6 which will be modified later. to 1 for the least-favoured) or distribute
21 points in any way to all six.

Attribute Description
Charm The characters social skills, used to get NPCs to give up information, provide
assistance or treat the character kindly
Class The characters social class, which affects the characters ability to order people
about, gain access to restricted places and call upon large sums of money
Creativity The characters s imagination and spirituality, used to create art, speculate on
unusual topics and gain intuitive insight
Intellect The characters intelligence and education, reflecting knowledge of the world,
problem-solving abilities and ability to research topics
Perception The characters powers of attention and concentration, used to notice details, find
clues or aim weapons
Physique The characters physical stature, including general athleticism, fighting ability and
overall health
Attribute Charm Class Creativity Intellect Perception Physique NPC
1 Boorish Pauper Blockhead Illiterate Distracted Feeble 3
2 Dull Labourer Insensitive Ignorant Careless Weak 5
3 Polite Tradesman Aware Educated Patient Healthy 6
4 Pleasant Clerk Reflective Well- Thoughtful Fit 7
5 Engaging Business Imaginative Graduate Alert Strong 9
6 Attractive Professional Poetic Expert Focussed Athletic 10
7 Charismatic Gentry Spiritual Don Keen-eyed Sportsman 11
8 Socialite Nobility Mystic Fellow Hawk-eyed Gymnast 12
9 Celebrity Royalty Psychic Professor Crack-shot Champion 13
10 Star Monarch Genius Polymath Hyper- Olympian 15

Because NPCs have fixed Scores rather This is also the average number a player
than rolling dice, the NPC column can expect to roll using that many dice,
shows the equivalent Score for a NPC. so it helps the GM work out how difficult
or easy a Challenge is for a character.

Cthulhu Abides

For example, a Physique of 4 means Fit Optional Rule: Attributes of Zero

and the character could reasonably hope
to get a total of 7+ on 4 dice by rolling A character may have an Attribute
a double 4, 5 or 6 for example. reduced to zero and the GM may allow a
Characters also have a Bonus applying to PC to set one Attribute at 0 in exchange
every roll. This may be +0 (no effect) but for raising another by the same amount.
it will usually be at least +1 or +2 making A character with a zero Attribute cannot
those higher targets easier to reach. (normally) roll dice, but still gets to use
any Bonus towards Challenges.

Attribute at Effect
Charm Scarred: Probably due to war injuries, your appearance is shocking enough to
make Calm people check for madness. Where appearance is not an issue (eg over
the telephone), roll 1D, Limit -1. Madness +1
Class Destitute: Due to debts and a chaotic lifestyle you own nothing and are homeless
and will quickly lose anything that you are given to gambling, debtors or
compulsive generosity. If someone bathes and clothes you, roll 1D, Limit -1. Hope -
Creativity Shell-shocked: Probably due to stress, but perhaps autism or drug use, you cannot
relate to other people or feel appropriate emotions. You follow strict routines, but
if these are appropriate to a situation, roll 1D, Limit -1. Initiative -1
Intellect Retarded: You are simple or mentally handicapped, with the thought processes of
a small child. If child-like Intellect is relevant to a situation, roll 1D, Limit -1.
Certainty -1
Perception Blind: Perhaps due to injury in the War, you have lost your sight. If you rely on
other senses instead (eg listening for movement) roll 1D, Limit -1. Initiative -1
Physique Invalid: You are confined to a bed or a chair and your upper body strength is
feeble. If using a bath chair to move or relying on upper body strength, roll 1D,
Limit -1. Resilience -1


Bonuses are numbers that are added to a A +1 Bonus is of limited value, but a +2
characters score on an Attribute-based Bonus is very useful for enabling
dice roll. Roll 1D for each; alternatively moderate Attributes (3-4 range) to
assign values +1 through +6 (giving +6 to succeed at Average (Difficulty 8)
the favoured Bonus, +5 to the next, Challenges.
down to +1 for the least-favoured) or
distribute 21 points in any way to all six.

Cthulhu Abides

Professions can be your characters job, Your Profession modifies the Attributes
but they also include things like and Bonuses youve already rolled and it
vocations something your character is has an effect on the characteristics to
drawn to as a hobby, passion or come, including your overall sanity.
consuming interest.
The default option for a Mythos-
investigator is Scholar, but players can
choose or roll on the table instead:

Roll Profession Description Modifiers

1 Artist Someone who creates art, either +1 Creativity, either +1 Class or +1
physically (painting, sculpture) or Perception; +1 Dream; Madness
performance (musician, actor) +1: Hope +1
2 Clergyman Someone who works for a religion, as a +1 Charm, either +1 Class or +1
priest, minister, monk or nun Intellect; +1 Occult; Certainty +1
3 Explorer Someone who investigates the world to +1 Class, either Physique or
expand human knowledge, perhaps to Perception; +1 Survival +1;
get rich or famous too Madness +1: Resilience +1
4 Scholar Someone who studies as a school or +2 Intellect, either +1 Charm or +1
university, with a reputation for Perception; +1 Investigate;
learning and knowledge Initiative -1
5 Veteran Someone who has served in the Armed +1 Physique, either +1 Class or +1
Forces, probably in the Great War Perception; +1 Fighting; Madness
+1: Initiative +1
6 Writer Someone whose business is words, +1 Creativity, either +1 Intellect or
perhaps a journalist, novelist, poet or +1 Class; +1 Dream or Investigate;
campaigner Madness +1: Hope +1

Later on, in Chapter 4: Dynamic Alternatively, another set of 6

Madness, there is a table to fine-tune Professions is set out in Appendix II.
your characters Profession. For example, Players can choose to consult that table
instead of being just a Veteran you instead of the one above or roll 1D:
might be an Artillerist or a General.
on an even number they roll on
Players might wish to consult those the table above
tables now and choose or roll their on an odd number they roll on
Profession Sub-Type before continuing the table in the Appendices
with the Character Generation process. (page 141)
They are on pages 48-50.

Bonus Description
Profession Your ability to focus the skills and resources of your Profession
Dream Your sensitivity to magic, emotion and stealth
Fighting Your ability to fight, whether bare-handed, with weapons or firearms
Investigate Your ability to piece together information, from observation, interviews or a library
Occult Your knowledge of and belief in the supernatural world and the Mythos
Survival Your ability to accomplish daring physical feats or survive hardship

Cthulhu Abides

Your characters Philosophy describes his Philosophy modifies your earlier
or her world view, especially how the Attributes (suggesting habits, interests
character interprets strange, threatening and pastimes from your education and
or paranormal phenomenon. working life) as well as your overall
Philosophies are a product of upbringing sanity.
and life experience, but they can change.
Some Philosophies are particularly rigid,
restricting your later Goal, but others are
highly eccentric, concentrating you on
your Goal but possibly making you
slightly less sane.

Roll Philosophy Description Modifiers

1 Cynical You dont believe people are to be trusted or anyone +1 Perception;
really understands whats going on; expecting a trick Madness -1; Hope -
or a hoax, you examine the evidence closely: 1; Resilience +1
2 Devout You are a true believer who accepts the tenets of a +1 Charm; Madness
religion; believing in the spiritual world, you expect to 0; Hope +1
encounter marvelous things
3 Egoist You believe the world is dangerous and +1 Physique;
incomprehensible and the important thing is to Madness +1; Hope
survive it; expecting trouble, you concentrate on +1
living through it
4 Patriotic You believe deeply in your own countrys values and +1 Class; Madness
the importance of supporting it; expecting threats to 0; Hope +1
it, you are always ready to take a stand
5 Phantasist You are an explorer of subjective reality, perhaps +1 Creativity;
assisted by drugs, art or meditation; aware that there Madness +1; Hope -
are many realities, you do not cling to this one 1; Resilience +1
6 Rational You believe in the power of logic and science to solve +1 Intellect;
problems and explain things; even things that appear Madness -1; Hope -
mysterious have a rational explanation if you look for 1; Resilience +1

Appendix II contains a table with an As a Cynic, Regina tends to see through

extra six Philosophies. Players can either bombast and fakery, so her Perception
choose to consult that table or roll 1D: goes up +1. Cynicism is a stabilizing
outlook, so her Base Madness Level will
on an even number they roll on
go down by -1 (canceling out the +1 from
the table above
being a Writer). Cynicism makes it hard
on an odd number they roll on
to care deeply about things, so Reginas
the table on p144
Hope Attribute will go down by -1.
Example: Regina Van Zandt is a Writer
whose high (7) Class makes her a
wealthy heiress. For Philosophy she rolls
1, making her a Cynic, a wise-cracking
and ironic society writer like Dorothy
Parker or Nancy Mitford.

Cthulhu Abides

Your characters Goal describes what Your Goal modifies your earlier Bonuses
drives him or her to leave an ordinary life (suggesting a recent shift in your habits,
behind and forswear status, security and interests and pastimes because of your
respectability to go haring round the exposure to the Mythos) as well as your
world, babbling to anyone who will listen overall sanity.
about Cults and Other Gods.
Some Goals are particularly driving,
Goals are often a product of a traumatic reinforcing your earlier Philosophy, but
life experience, but they can change. others are highly flexible, exposing you
to more and more troubling ideas.

Roll Goal Description Modifiers

1 Ambitious The Mythos presents an opportunity to you, its Occult +1; Madness:
dangerous but it offers power; you intend to +1; Resilience +1
acquire its powers
2 Avenging The Mythos hurt you, maybe your loved ones went Fighting +1; Madness
mad, were eaten by Shoggoths or murdered by +1; Initiative +1
cultists; now you want revenge
3 Curious The Mythos intrigues you, you want to know more Investigate +1;
about the mysteries of what exists beyond Madness: +1;
Certainty +1
4 Dutiful The Mythos threatens your country, civilisation or Profession +1;
values; you must take a stand against it so that Madness -1: Certainty
others can live in ignorance +1
5 Fugitive The Mythos is after you, youve been marked for Survival +1; Madness
destruction by a cult or wizard because you Know +1; Initiative +1
Too Much; you need help to strike back
6 Redeeming The Mythos has something or someone you care Dream+1; Madness -1;
for, maybe a cult has kidnapped a loved one or you Resilience +1
need an ancient book to lift a curse

Appendix II contains an extra six Goals. Example, Hengist Winthrop is a

Players can either choose to consult that Phantasist Scholar, a sort of Aleister
table or roll 1D: Crowley or Aldous Huxley figure, always
dabbling in the occult. He rolls a 5 for
on an even number they roll on
Goal and learns he is a Fugitive, on the
the table above
run from a supernatural threat he has
on an odd number they roll on
himself unleashed. He adds +1 to his
the table on p145
Survival Bonus and +1 to his Base
Madness Level, along with +1 from being
NB. The GM may limit any Bonus to +6 in
a Phantasist. When he comes to
a detective-themed game and no Bonus
determine his Attributes of Certainty and
can be higher than +9 in any event.
Hope, both will be +2.

Cthulhu Abides


These two Attributes both have a score Alternatively, players may distribute 4
of 1-10; players roll a Die for each and points between them. These are then
halve the results, so the Attributes are modified based on the characters
between 1 and 3 at the start. Profession, Philosophy and Goal.

Certainty Hope
The strength of your personal code or outlook on Your commitment to a cause or belief that
life and your ability to keep your sanity will help you stay focused when challenged
Attribute Certainty Hope NPC
1 Complacent Indifferent 3
2 Conventional Interested 5
3 Thoughtful Motivated 6
4 Enthusiastic Keen 7
5 Convinced Gallant 9
6 Committed Courageous 10
7 Principled Intrepid 11
8 Idealistic Valorous 12
9 Fanatical Lion-hearted 13
10 Zealous Heroic 15


These are two Bonuses so players roll Alternatively, players may distribute 3
one Die for each and halve the results, points between them. These may be
giving a Bonus between +1 and +3. modified by your Profession and Goal.

Initiative Resilience
Your speed, reflexes and ability to act quickly and Your stamina, strength and ability to
decisively when threatened withstand pain and injury

Cthulhu Abides


Every character has a Base Madness Base Madness Level cannot be less than
Level which is their habitual state of 0. If Modifiers would reduce this further,
mind, the one they start off in at the the player may add the points to
beginning of a Story and can return to Certainty or Hope instead.
with effort. Base Madness Level is Zero,
but this is modified by the characters Certain traumatic events during a Story
Profession, Philosophy and Goal and can (and will) increase a characters Base
possibly having Attributes at Zero. Madness Level. This includes exposure
to Extreme Horror and learning Spells.

Level Description
0 Calm Sane: You exist in a normal undisturbed state; you are steady, reliable, balanced
and perhaps just a little bit boring
1 Lucid Sane: You are typically alert and sensitive; you are lively, energetic and
extraverted and hate to be doing nothing
2 Feverish Stressed: You spend most of your time in a state of great agitation; you are
jumpy, fidgety and prone to mood swings
3 Hysterical Stressed: You exist in a very disturbed state; your moods are quite extreme, your
conversation is disjointed and you are prone to outbursts
4 Deranged Insane: You are certifiably insane most of the time; your behaviour is clearly
eccentric, your conversation often incomprehensible and your emotions
unpredictable and often inappropriate
5 Psychotic Insane: You are clearly insane by ordinary standards; your appearance is wild,
you gibber and twitch, nothing you say makes much sense and you frequently
6 Maniac Insane: You cant relate to real life any more PCs cannot be at this level of
Madness but most Cultists are this way all the time

Players should note down their Especially traumatic events can even
characters Base Madness Level because increase the characters Base Madness
this is the Level at which they start each Level permanently. This is very difficult
Story. Characters will also have a to reduce.
Current Madness Level. As the Story
Any character whose Base or Current
proceeds, shocking events will increase
Madness Level reaches Maniac6 is
the characters Madness Level and
irrevocably insane. Such a character
reassuring ones will decrease it. It is
usually becomes a helpless wreck, but
difficult for a PC to lower their own
some convert to the side of the Mythos,
Madness Level below their Base Level,
becoming evil NPCs.
but it can happen, especially if other
characters help them.

Cthulhu Abides


These are behaviours which make you A Frailty increases your Madness
less mad (Crutches) or make you more Level. If the character is able to
mad (Frailties). A Crutch or Frailty takes avoid/indulge the Frailty but
effect once per Story. chooses not to there is no roll to
resist this. An addict who
A Crutch lowers your Madness Level. The
encounters their drug must take
GM might ask for a Certainty/Resilience
it; if not they increase their
Challenge if enacting the Crutch is
Madness Level. If the character
difficult. A Crutch cannot lower a
tries to control their Frailty (eg
characters Madness Level below their
moderate drinking) then a
Base Madness Level.
Certainty/Resilience Challenge is
Crutches are vital for Investigators called for. A Frailty never
wanting to stave off madness and should increases a characters Madness
be chosen so that they can be Level beyond Psychotic5.
incorporated into most Stories.

Roll Crutch Frailty

1 Art: You find truth in beauty and are Addiction: You have a drink or drug habit that
consoled by artistic expression either disturbs you when you indulge it or see others
contemplating art or creating it yourself by indulging it alcohol, tobacco, opium,
performing, writing, painting etc. -1 to cocaine. +1 to Madness if you cannot indulge
Madness when you enjoy art. or if you over-indulge.
2 Hedonism: You calm yourself through Bigotry: There are people or vices that offend
getting drunk, having sex, eating fine food or infuriate you foreigners, Germans,
or smoking good tobacco. -1 to Madness atheists, homosexuals. +1 to Madness if you
when you have a good time in this way. cannot express your disgust.
3 Love: There is one relationship that inspires Infatuation: There is someone, or a type of
you, either romantic or family, and you are person, you hold in uncritical esteem and
calmed by being together, writing letters or cannot bear to see abused a sweetheart,
contemplating a photograph. -1 to horses, a regiment, the King. +1 to Madness if
Madness when with your beloved. you cannot prevent them being mistreated
4 Nature: You find solace in the natural world Lust: You are sexually driven to flirt (or worse)
rambling through countryside, admiring and become aroused around attractive
views, being with animals. -1 to Madness members of the opposite sex. +1 to Madness
when enjoying nature this way. if you cannot seduce them or you are
5 Partisan: You are fiercely devoted to a Melancholy: You have a great sadness and
regiment, sport or the King and focus on are troubled by things that remind you of
that whenever you are troubled. -1 to your loss true love, children, happiness in
Madness when sharing your passion wit others. +1 to Madness if you resist the urge
anyone who will listen. to lapse into depression and hopelessness.
6 Religion: You keep yourself sane by Phobia: You are irrationally afraid of
believing strongly in the tenets of your something commonplace darkness,
faith. -1 to Madness when engaged in cramped spaces, dogs. +1 to Madness if you
religious devotion. are forced to confront your fear.
Appendix II contains a table with an on an even number they roll on
extra six Crutches & Frailties. Players can the table above
either choose to consult that table or roll on an odd number they roll on
1D: the table on p145

Cthulhu Abides

Roll or choose Perks below. Perks are Each character rolls once for
more fully explained in Appendix III their Profession and once on the
(p146-8). The GM has the final say on General table.
Perks and may disallow those that do not Anyone with Class 7+ can roll on
contribute towards the style of the Story the Upper Class table.
(eg Oneirist, Treasure, Theurgist and Anyone whose Base Madness
Sorcerer may not fit with a level is Feverish2 or worse can
Purist/Detective Story). also roll on the Eccentric table.
Artist Clergyman Explorer
1. Bohemian: You can do Social 1. Believer: Use Faith against 1. Daredevil: You can roll
Stunts while Sane all Magic Action Stunts while Sane
2. Broad Minded: You are not 2. Esoteric Lore: You possess 2. Dogged: You need to be
affected by Disturbing Ideas an Esoteric Grimoire Stunned or Killed twice
3. Esoteric Lore: You possess 3. Field Medic: You can 3. Famous: Re-roll any failed
an Esoteric Grimoire administer First Aid Class Challenge
4. Famous: Re-roll any failed 4. Sensitive: You can gain and 4. Gun Owner: You have access
Class Challenge use Insight when Sane to firearms
5. Oneirist: Enter the 5. Relic Treasure: You have an 5. Relic Treasure: You have an
Dreamlands automatically Esoteric Artefact Esoteric Artefact
6. Sensitive: You can gain and 6. Theurgist: You can use 6. Ruin Map: You have access
use Esoteric Insight when Sane Esoteric Magic while Sane to an Elder Ruin
Scholar Veteran Writer
1. Elder Sign: Create a Sigil 1. Athletic: Add 1D to Dodge & 1. Broad Minded: You are not
worth 1D Resist using Insight Fall Resists or other feats. affected by Disturbing Ideas
2. Field Medic: You can 2. Dogged: You need to be 2. Diarist: Create 1D Epistles
administer First Aid Stunned or Killed twice from 2 Insight
3. Mythos Grimoire: You 3. Field Medic: You can 3. Esoteric Lore: You possess
possess a Mythos Grimoire administer First Aid an Esoteric Grimoire
4. Mythos Treasure: You have 4. Gun Owner: You have access 4. Famous: Re-roll any failed
a Mythos Artefact to firearms/explosives Class Challenge
5. Sage: You have access to 1D 5. Leadership: You can lead 5. News Cutter: Start Story
Archives any Team without rolling with 1D Deduction/Insight
6. Sorcerer: You can use 6. Pugilist: Add +1D to damage 6. Sensitive: You can gain and
Mythos Magic while Stressed and Dodge Resists in fights use Esoteric Insight when Sane
General Upper Class Eccentric
All characters Class Attribute 7+ Base Madness Level 2+

1. Broad Minded: You are not 1. Batman: You have a very 1. Cultist: You have access to a
affected by Disturbing Ideas competent servant Cult (1D: 6=Mythos)
2. Gun Owner: You have access 2. Bohemian: You can do Social 2. Oddball: No Social Penalties
to firearms/explosives Stunts while Sane for Stress/Insanity
3. Leadership: You can lead 3. Clubbable: You enjoy the 3. Oneirist: Enter the
any Team without rolling resources of the Diogenes Club Dreamlands automatically
4. Stiff Upper Lip: Re-roll any 4. Leadership: You can lead 4. Mystic: Roll Perception /
failed Certainty Challenge any Team without rolling Dream to sense magic
5. Team Player: Maintain team 5. Unflappable: Re-roll any 5. Sorcerer: You can use
coherence when mad failed Hope Challenge Mythos Magic while Stressed
6. War Experience: You can 6. Transport: You own a 6. Visionary: Start each Story
attack to Kill when Sane vehicle (D: 1-2 car, 3-4 boat, 5- with 1D Insight
6 plane)

Cthulhu Abides

The GM has two related decisions to Most players enjoy rolling their
make. Is the game to have a characters and use great imagination to
Pulp/Adventure or Purist/Detective weave a backstory around the different
theme? And, Should players roll or Professions, Goals, Frailties and Perks.
choose their Attributes, Bonuses and Nevertheless, some get frustrated at
other characteristics? rolling low and find it hard to roleplay a
character they perceive as weak.
To establish a Purist/Detective theme,
its important that the PCs Bonuses This view is worth challenging.
(Attributes are less important) do not Ultimately, all PCs are weak relative to
exceed +6. Any modifiers that raise a the power of the Monsters and Gods
Bonus higher should be ignored (or ranged against them. Horror is more
reassigned to the characters lowest satisfying when its scary and a game is
Bonus if the GM wants to create scarier when your character feels
"hardboiled" Detective-style characters). vulnerable. All Investigators die
eventually, usually horribly, and
Mainstream Bonuses enable the PCs to Attributes and Bonuses are rarely an
succeed at normal Challenges but make indicator of who will die first.
it very difficult for them to use violence,
magic, wealth or athleticism as the The whole point of the game is to
solution to every problem that comes roleplay a character who is brave and
along. Some Challenges will be beyond goes out to confront great danger even
them, forcing wise players to retreat, though they know they will probably not
research and persevere with a new plan survive. To insist on playing a character
rather than relying on dice rolls. who has less reason to be afraid is rather
to miss the point of horror roleplaying.
A Pulp/Adventure theme allows the
players to take on the roles of more Nevertheless, human nature (especially
extraordinary characters and also shifts roleplayers) is hard to change. Another
the odds back towards humanity. In a option is to ask players to assign points
Pulp/Adventure Story, the Mythos can to build characters 21 points to split
be decisively defeated, at least between Attributes and Bonuses, 4
temporarily. Characters will engage in points between Minor Attributes and
risky, swashbuckling strategies, dare to Minor Bonuses. Players then choose
confront the Mythos directly and employ their Profession, Philosophy, Goal,
firearms, dynamite and occult spells Crutch, Frailty and Perks.
against Monsters, all with some hope of
success. Point-building suits Purist/Detective
games better because players can build
Even characters with Bonuses of +7 or focused characters who complement
higher are very vulnerable to being killed each other, each having one strong area
or going mad, especially when the gods of expertise the researcher, the
and titans of the Mythos manifest. muscle, the mystic, the snoop, etc. Dice-
Nonetheless, these characters can building suits Pulp/Adventure games
dispense with thugs and minions easily better, producing quirkier characters
enough and go toe-to-toe with most who can have very high Attributes and
Monsters, especially if they use Bonuses or very low ones and who
Teamwork. possess a wider range of aptitudes.

Cthulhu Abides

Cthulhu Abides

Madness is the most distinctive aspect of Insane characters are perilously
Cthulhu Abides and has a huge impact on close to becoming a Maniac6 and
play. It may take a while at first for calming down from this level of
players and GMs to get used to keeping Madness is difficult and can take
track of Madness Levels and interpreting a lot of therapy.
how they affect play, but it becomes
Player Characters have strategies for
obvious and the system is flexible
stressing themselves and increasing their
enough to adapt to most situations.
Madness Level or sedating themselves
Madness is grouped into a number of and reducing their Madness Level. They
levels rising from 0 (Calm) up to 6 need to watch out, however, for Extreme
(Maniac). The bottom two levels are Horrors that can cause them to hop over
Sane, the middle two Stressed and the several Madness Levels at once.
top ones Insane. At any given time, a
The other drawback with going up a
character will be on a particular Madness
Madness Level is Fugue a state of
Level. For example, at the start of every
insensible panic and helplessness. Having
Story a character is assumed to be on his
a strong commitment or focus on a Goal
or her Base Madness Level unless the
helps characters to resist the effects of
GM rules they are still affected by the
Fugue, which can be completely
horrors of the last Story.
incapacitating at high Madness Levels.
In general, the Sane levels are the best
The main complications to all the
place to be while carrying out an
foregoing come from Professions and
Investigation. Sane characters can gather
Perks. Different Professions function
Clues and interact with society normally.
differently when they are Sane, Stressed
or Insane.
Once the action heats up, its better to
be Stressed. Stressed characters act
Veterans can do a particular Pulp Stunt
earlier in combat, can gather and use
(attacking to Kill) while Sane and Writers
Esoteric Insight and can perform Pulp
are the exception to the rule about being
Stunts. If you want to punch a
unable to gain Esoteric Insight while
policeman, leap a chasm or chant a
protective mantra, you need to be
Stressed. Moreover, Stressed characters Perks like Sensitive also let a character
can deal with corpses, wounds and use Insight while Sane, whereas
minor paranormal phenomenon quite Bohemian is a Perk that lets a character
calmly. perform Social Stunts (like being rude to
Her Ladyship or defying a policeman)
Sometimes it pays to be Insane.
while Sane.
If you want to gain or use
Mythos Insight you need to be Players need to keep track of their
Insane. characters Madness Level and be
Insane characters can pull off thoroughly informed about what their
Pulp Stunts but unfortunately Profession and Perks currently let them
thats all they can do driving a do.
car or buying a book in a normal
way is quite hard for them.

Cthulhu Abides

Madness is rated dynamically between 0 Characters start each Story at their Base
and 6 and grouped into 3 categories: Madness Level but they can go up from
Sane, Stressed and Insane. here or (less often) go down.


SANE 0 - CALM : an Perception of
ordinary mind- Danger
1 5 LUCID : a
heightened Disturbing Refreshment
mentality, no Ideas
penalty for
Perception or
agitated Profound Snap Out of It
mentality that is Shock
noticeably odd
4 3
very agitated The Unnatural Consolation
mentality that is
noticeably ill
extremely The Psychotherapy
agitated state Otherworldly
that makes
5 15 PSYCHOTIC : no
6 5
distinction The Mythos Hospitalisation
normal people
get very
6 18 MANIAC : the character is incapacitated and incoherent
or a convert to the Mythos.

The numbers in superscript help remind The Difficulty rating is the Challenge to
the GM and players what different recover from that level of Madness. No
events do. Disturbing Ideas2 are roll is normally needed if the character
numbered 2 because they will only uses their Crutch, but most other types
take a character up as far as Madness of therapy require either the sufferer to
Level 2 and have no effect on anyone make a Hope/Resilience Challenge or the
past that stage. Psychotherapy4 will help therapist to make a Creativity/Profession
heal anyone on Madness Level 4 or less, Challenge at this Difficulty.
but is no use for someone at Madness
Level 5.

Cthulhu Abides

Stressors increase a characters Madness The Otherworldly5: Anyone up
Level. To cope with a Stressor a to and including the Deranged4
character must make a goes more mad when exposed to
Certainty/Resilience Challenge. If they alien worlds or other
succeed they are unaffected by that dimensions. This includes
Stressor for the rest of the Scene. If they traveling to Yuggoth or
fail, they go up one Madness Level. encountering aliens like Mi Go or
their technology as well as extra-
Perception of Danger1: Calm0
dimensional beings like Dark
people may become Lucid1 if
Spawn, Hounds of Tindalos or
they believe themselves to be in
Elder Things from prehistory.
danger: this might be brought on
by suspicious noises in the The Mythos6: Anyone who isnt
house, bloodstains, direct already a Maniac6 risks becoming
threats or the distant approach more mad when exposed to the
of something menacing. Other Gods, the Great Old Ones
or their manifestations and
Disturbing Ideas2: Calm0 or
avatars. Some of the worst
Lucid1 people become more mad
Mythos books have revelations
if exposed to Disturbing Ideas2.
that do this to readers.
This includes Esoteric Insights or
Mythos Insights or the ravings of
Insane Characters who succeed PERSONAL STRESSORS
in communicating with them. (Frailties)
Experiencing the Dreamlands
triggers this and hallucinogenic A Frailty always increases your Madness
drugs like peyote or opium can Level. A Certainty/Resilience Challenge
have this effect too. Occult texts may resist this if there is some way for
contain Disturbing Ideas2 as do the character to control the Frailty.
some of the more outlandish A Frailty can never increase a characters
new scientific theories. Madness Level beyond Psychotic5 and
Profound Shock3: Anyone up to normally only affects the characters
and including Feverish2 Madness Level once per Story.
characters may become more Its not uncommon for PCs to seek out
mad if shocked. Sudden their Frailties and indulge them, purely
exposure to death, mutilation or to increase their Madness Level safely (ie
monstrosity will trigger shock, without risking Fugue). This is allowable:
such as coming across a dead in fact, its encouraged. Going mad is
body or seeing someone killed. never the problem in Cthulhu Abides; its
The Unnatural4: All Sane and surviving the madness and recovering
Stressed characters may be afterwards that takes effort.
driven mad by the Unnatural3,
which includes most Monsters or
evidence of the paranormal.
Most Mythos worship is
gruesome enough to trigger this
as is Mythos architecture (ie the
cyclopean, non-Euclidian sort).

Cthulhu Abides

Sedation decreases the characters Psychotherapy4: Deranged4
Madness Level. To benefit from this, the characters might be helped by
character must make a successful professional psychoanalysis or
Hope/Resilience Challenge with a sedatives that produce the same
Difficulty based on the Madness Level he effect. Usually only a qualified
or she is currently at. If the roll fails, the doctor or alienist can provide
Sedation cannot be effective on that these. However, the GM might
character for the rest of the Scene. allow characters to offer each
other Psychotherapy4 if they
On some occasions, the GM might allow
roleplay through the counseling.
the person delivering the Sedation to
make the Challenge rather than the Hospitalisation5: Psychotic5
madman. This is quite appropriate when characters can only be helped if
one PC tries to calm another PC. If this hospitalised for the rest of the
roll fails, however, the madman cannot Story. Usually, characters cannot
be Sedated again by that particular treat each other this way, so
character for the rest of the Story. Psychotic5 characters can only
make spontaneous recoveries by
Refreshment1: For a Lucid1
using their Crutch.
character, a stuff drink, a cup of
tea, a pipe of tobacco or a breath
of fresh air might make them PERSONAL SEDATION
Calm0. A period of light sleep will (Crutches)
do this too.
In addition, characters can make
Snap Out of It!2: Firm words themselves less mad by engaging in
from a friend or authority figure, certain activities.
a bracing shock (like a slap in the
face) or a sudden change (like These Crutches usually work
being taken inside and sat down) automatically but if there is a
might help a Feverish2 or Lucid1 problem the GM may require a
character a night of unbroken successful Hope/Resilience
peaceful sleep will do this too. Challenge. Crutches work regardless
of the characters current Madness
Consolation3: Characters who level but a Crutch can be called upon
are Hysterical3 might benefit once per Story.
from a long talk with a loved
one, counseling from a priest or Crutches can never lower the
doctor, religious confession or Madness Level below the characters
time in prayer or meditation. No Base Madness Level.
amount of sleep will provide this. PCs may use their Crutches between
Player Characters can Console3 Stories to get their Madness Level down
each other if they have the right to the point where they might recover
Profession. The GM might also normally. Any character who is Feverish2
allow one character to Console3 or less can sleep off madness and
another if they roleplay the return to their Base Madness Level.
conversation well. Characters who are still Hysterical3 or
higher will not recover naturally between
Stories unless the character uses Reward

Cthulhu Abides

In most horror-based RPGs going mad is
always a bad thing, but in Cthulhu Abides
there are definite advantages to
increasing your Madness Level:
1. Character Professions and
Bonuses develop new abilities
2. The character can benefit from
Esoteric or Mythos Insights and
3. The character can attack to Kill
or perform Pulp Stunts
4. The character is no longer
disturbed by stressors affecting
lower Madness levels (once you
are Feverish2, you arent
distressed by seeing people
being killed)

During a Stressor, make

Certainty/Resilience Challenge
(sometimes called a Horror Challenge) to
avoid increasing your Madness Level. If
you fail, you advance one Level on the Characters who experience their
Madness Chart. Frailty go up a Madness Level
The difficulty of a Horror automatically but the GM may
Challenge is usually 8 but may be allow a Certainty Challenge to
10 or 12 for gruesome shocks. control this
Circumstances might alter this
If a character advances to a higher
things a character is prepared for
Madness Level, a Hope/Resilience
are less shocking than frights
Challenge (sometimes called a Fugue
that happen unexpectedly.
Challenge) is made to avoid falling into a
Monsters have their own Horror
state of Fugue.
score which the PC must exceed
on the Stress test. A Ghoul has a The Challenge difficulty is based on the
Horror of 12, Great Cthulhu 30. Madness Level you have increased to
If a character creates a Stressor (see p40).
using their abilities (eg a
clergyman creates Disturbing Characters who increase their Madness
Ideas2 with his sermon or prayer) Level voluntarily to not need to roll for
then that characters roll can set Fugue this includes characters who
the difficulty for the Horror deliberately choose to use a Frailty or
Challenge. decline to make the Horror Challenge to
resist going mad

Cthulhu Abides

Madness Fugue Symptoms Public Response

1. Lucid Pacing, over-talking, wide-eyed, People try to calm the character with
agitated; -1 Limit on all rolls refreshments
2. Feverish Shouting, gesticulating, mood swings, People try to calm the character with
crying or shrieking; -2 Limit on all rolls strong words or even overpower him
3. Hysterical Full panic attack: shrieking, running, People try to restrain the character
thrashing about; -3 Limit physically; Calm onlookers may
become Lucid
4. Deranged Wild laughter, self-harming, stripping, People contact the authorities to
destroying property, blaspheming; -4 have the character arrested;
Limit onlookers who are Calm may
become Lucid
5. Psychotic Furious and berserk attack on The character will be incarcerated;
0 1
bystanders or inanimate objects (no onlookers who are Calm /Lucid may
Limit) or catatonia (foetal ball) if alone (- become Stressed or Fugue
5 Limit) themselves

The first time in a Story a character Characters in Fugue who are

experiences Fugue they gain Insight Sedated can roll Hope/Resilience
based on their Current Madness Level. to recover and stay at their
So a character who is Hysterical3 gains 3 current Madness Level or roll at
Insight which will be Esoteric (because +1 Difficulty to recover from
the character is Stressed). A Deranged4 Fugue and drop one Madness
character gains 4 Mythos Insight Level.
(because they are Insane).
A character can recover from Fugue
Lucid1 characters can experience Fugue - by blocking out the dreadful memory
it's just not very debilitating for them. of what occurred. To do this the
They may gain 1 Esoteric Insight (which character has to give up a number of
they can't use until they increase their Clue Points or Insight Points equal to
Madness Level further) or a kind GM their current Madness Level. Clue
may award them a Deduction Clue point Points that have been shared with
when they recover. the rest of the Team cannot be spent
in this way, unless the entire Team is
Maniacs6 who fail a Fugue test become in Fugue and spends the points to
babbling wrecks, quite incapable of any recover. This represents characters
meaningful action at all. Those who pass forgetting the exact details of what
the Fugue test become willing theyve been through.
worshippers of the Mythos instead.
Magic can cure Fugue. The
Potency of the Evocation Spell
Recovering from Fugue must equal the Difficulty of the
Fugue is quite debilitating, but there a current Madness Level (eg curing
number of ways of escaping from it. Hysterical3 Fugue is a Potency 10
effect). Fugue caused by Mythos
A Crutch causes the character to entities (eg Transfiguration or
drop one Madness Level Mythos6 horror) can only be
automatically or recover from cured with Mythos Magic.
Fugue automatically or both.
At the GMs discretion, Reward
Experiencing Sedation lets you Challenges can be made in the
drop one Madness Level. middle of a Story to cure Fugue.
The Difficulty is based on the

Cthulhu Abides

current Madness Level. As usual, If a character who is already Feverish2

the Reward Dice and Reward experiences an Extreme Horror Profound
Bonus are lost whether the roll Shock3, then they will automatically
succeeds or not. advance to Hysterical3

EXTREME HORROR Characters faced with Extreme Horror

must make a Fugue Challenge as normal,
Some events are so gruesome they have but if they fail this roll then, as well as
dramatic effects on a characters state of entering Fugue, their Base Madness
mind. Many Mythos creatures (especially Level increases by +1. On the positive
Great Old Ones, Other Gods and extra- side, they double the amount of Insight
dimensional or bodiless monsters like they receive for this.
Shoggoths) and some of the worst
Mythos books create Extreme Horror, Some characters are immune to certain
but so may ordinary shocking events on shocks, for example Explorers are
a big enough scale for example, finding immune to Profound Shocks3. If these
a dead body is a Profound Shock3 but characters encounter Extreme Horror,
finding a cellar full of dead and horribly they treat it as a shock of the normal sort
mutilated bodies is Extreme Horror. and may roll to resist it. They still risk
increasing their Base Madness Level if
A character failing their Horror Challenge they fall into Fugue due to any Horror.
against Extreme Horror does not just
gain one more level of Madness: they RECOVERY
advance straight up to the Madness
Level of the horror itself. During a Story characters can use their
Crutches or try to offer Refreshment1,
If a Calm0 character stumbles on a cellar Snap Out of It2, Consolation3 or even
full of bodies, this is a Profound Shock3 Psychoanalyze4 each other.
and also Extreme Horror. If the
investigator fails a Certainty Challenge, Between Stories, characters may seek
they become Hysterical3 rather than just out professional medical or spiritual
advancing to Lucid1 help. Characters can use Reward
Dice/Bonuses to try to recover back to
Characters who do not want to gain this their Base Madness Level within 1D days.
much Madness can opt instead to gain a The difficulty is shown on the table:
single, automatic Madness Level which
they cannot roll to avoid.
Recovery Description Difficulty
A Calm0 character sees a Shoggoth
bearing down on him. This is Unnatural4 Consolation3 Recover 5
and also Extreme Horror. If the character Hysterical

fails a Certainty Challenge he will Psychoanalysis4 Recover 8

immediately become Deranged4. Rather from
than risk this, the character can Deranged

automatically gain a single Madness Hospitalised5 Recover 10

Level instead, becoming Lucid1 from
If a character is already at the Madness Sanatorium -1 to Base 15
Level below the Extreme Horror, then Madness
they must accept the automatic increase Level
instead of rolling.

Cthulhu Abides

Longer term healthcare is an option. The GM may also declare that some
Each month spent in an asylum, particularly exhilarating victories over
monastery or visiting an analyst adds the Mythos have the effect of restoring
+1D and a +1 Bonus to the roll. These Sanity, returning a character to their
extra Dice and Bonuses should not Base Madness Level. The victory would
exceed the characters Class/Profession. need to be quite clear-cut or involve
saving something that was personally
If this sort of long term Challenge is important to the character (eg a Crutch)
failed the character must start building or related directly to the characters
up dice/bonuses again, but permanently Goal.
loses a point of either Class or
Profession. Since characters already get rewarded
for roleplaying their Crutch and Goal,
For example, recovering in them GM should only give out this
Addersfen Asylum, the Deranged4 reward when characters achieve some
Hengist has 2 Reward Dice and a notable victory that produces a real
+2 Reward Bonus. He thinks it too sense of achievement, gratification or
risky to roll the dice straight away closure.
so he spends two months there,
gaining another +2D and a +2 EXAMPLE HORROR
Bonus. He rolls all his dice and CHALLENGES
gets 3, 2, 1, 1 for (3+4) 7. This is a
fail, so Hengist has lost all his When working out the Difficulty of a
Reward Dice and Bonuses and a Horror Challenge the GM might group
point of Class too. He decides to them into Upsetting (Difficulty 8),
spend another 3 months inside, Frightening (10) or Shocking (12).
building up 3D and a +3 Bonus
again. He rolls these dice: 4, 1, 5 Remember that Extreme Horrors have a
for (5+3) 8. This is a success and normal difficulty level. What makes them
Hengist is cured, after 4 months in Extreme is the scale or intimacy of the
an institution and the loss of a lot Horror. The sound of someone being
of his money and respectability. killed is Shocking but the sound of your
wife being killed in Shocking and an
Extreme Horror as well.

Stressor Upsetting Frightening Shocking

(Difficulty 8) (Difficulty 10) (Difficulty 12)
1. Perception of A scream or A bloodcurdling shriek or The sound of someone
Danger gunshot burst of gunfire being killed
2. Disturbing Idea A bloodstain or A dead body A mutilated dead body
body part
3. Profound Shock Someone being Someone being tortured Someone being killed
4. The Unnatural The remains or Non-human artefacts, Magical effects that defy
tracks of something architecture or literature scientific explanation
5. Otherworldly A dream or vision A portal to another world Actually traveling to
of another world another world
6. The Mythos A description of the The sounds of Mythos The sight of Mythos
Old Ones or their worship or evidence of worship or the presence
worship the Old Ones of the Old Ones

Cthulhu Abides


A characters Madness Level (especially In particular, the Bonus Abilities can be
whether the character is Sane, Stressed used for different things depending on
or Insane) affects his or her abilities. the characters current Madness

Your social abilities to interact with other people and exert authority
Sane: You interact normally with Stressed: You can perform Insane: You can only roll
others but if Calm there is -1 Limit to Social Stunts but -1 Limit to for Social Stunts
Perception & Creativity Charm & Class if Hysterical

Your psychic abilities to use and resist magic and visit the Dreamlands
Sane: You cannot use Magic but you Stressed: You can enter the Insane: You can use
can turn Deductions into Evidence or Dreamlands and use Mythos Magic
Testimony Clues Esoteric Magic

Your ability to fight, whether bare-handed, with weapons or firearms
Sane: In combat, you can only fight Stressed: In combat, you can Insane: In combat, you can
to Stun fight to Stun or to Kill only fight to Kill

Your ability to piece together information, whether from observation, interviews or researching in a
library or archive
Sane: You can gather Evidence or Stressed: You can gather Insane: You cannot gather
Testimony Clues or Deductions Evidence or Testimony but Clues of any sort
not Deductions

Your knowledge of and belief in the supernatural world and the Mythos
Sane: You cannot gather or use Insight Stressed: You can use Insane: You can use Mythos
at all Esoteric Insight Insight

Your ability to accomplish daring feats, physical or psychological
Sane: You cannot roll for Pulp Stunts Stressed: You can roll for Insane: You can only roll
Pulp Stunts for Pulp Stunts

Cthulhu Abides


The Artist
The Artist Profession Bonus can be used to create artistic productions as well as selling and
evaluating art and interpreting artistic symbols
Sane: Your art is a Stressed: You art is a Stressor for the Insane: Your art is a Stressor
Sedation for Stressed Sane and a Sedation for the Insane for the Sane and the Stressed
Roll Type of Artist Description
1 Actor [Charm+1, Hope-1] Use your Professional Bonus to adopt voices,
mannerisms and disguises, memorise dialogue, act out a role or know
contacts and gossip relating to the theatre
2 Dancer [Class -1, Physique +1] Use your Bonus to entertain or distract crowds
with your dance, make acrobat leaps or contortions, seduce someone
through dance or know gossip or contacts relating to ballet, musical
hall or prostitution
3 Musician [Perception +1, Hope -1] Use your Bonus to entertain or distract crowds
with your music, recognise music, instruments and melodies or know
gossip or contacts related to music halls or venues
4 Painter [Dream +1] Use your Bonus to create convincing, accurate or
entertaining representations of what you see or imagine, recognise
artistic styles and know gossip or contacts relating to galleries or
5 Sculptor [Dream +1] Use your Bonus to create convincing, accurate or
entertaining representations of what you see or imagine, recognise
artistic styles and know contacts relating to galleries or studios
6 Singer [Charm +1, Certainty -1] Use your Bonus to entertain or distract crowds
with your song, recognise music, voices and melodies or know gossip or
contacts related to music halls or venues

The Clergyman
The Clergyman Professional Bonus can be used to perform religious rituals and know the meaning
of religious symbolism as well as gaining respect from anyone sharing your faith.
Sane: You can Stressed: You can offer Disturbing Insane: Your ideas are Unnatural
3 2 3
Console Stressed Ideas for the Sane or Consolation for for Stressed or Sane characters
characters the Stressed
Roll Type of Description
1 Bishop [Class +1, Physique -1] You have the Leadership Perk; access 1D Ecclesiastical
2 Heathen [Roll 1D: 1 Buddhist, 2 Hindu, 3 Jewish, 4 Muslim, 5 Sikh, 6 Tribal; Class -1,
Hope +1, Occult +1] Access 1D Folk or Ecclesiastical Archives
3 Missionary [Roll 1D: 1-2 Africa, 3-4 Asia, 5 Americas, 6 Pacific; Charm +1, Class -1) Use
your Bonus to know about exotic peoples and places; access one exotic Folk
4 Street [Class -1, Certainty +1] Use your Professional Bonus for Faith Resists and
Pastor access to 1D Folk, Police or Media Archives
5 Vicar [Investigate +1] Access to one Ecclesiastical Archive (parish records) and one
State Archive (births and deaths)
6 Whisky [Class -1, Physique +1] Use your Professional Bonus to know gossip or
Priest contacts from the homeless; you have the Oddball Perk and one Folk Archive

Cthulhu Abides

The Explorer
The Explorer Professional Bonus can be used to possess geographical or cultural knowledge and
skills necessary for traveling through harsh environments.
Sane: You are not Stressed: You are not stressed by Insane: You are not stressed by the
4 5
stressed by Profound the Unnatural Otherworldly
Roll Type of Description
1 Archaeologist [Investigate +1] Use your Professional Bonus to know the locations,
layouts and legends of ruins; access one Elder Ruin (1D: 6=Mythos) and
one Academic Archive
2 Anthropologist [Occult +1] Use your Professional Bonus to understand primitive or
strange cultures; access one Cult (1D: 6=Mythos) and one Folk or
Academic Archive
3 Deep Sea [Resilience +1] Use your Bonus to swim and dive and handle dangers at
Diver sea or underwater; you have the Daredevil Perk
4 Egyptologist [Occult +1] Use your Bonus to know mythology and negotiate tombs and
temples; access one Academic Archive and Esoteric Elder Ruin
5 Mountaineer [Resilience +1] Use your Bonus to survive hostile elements and climb
sheer surfaces; you have the Daredevil Perk
6 Pilot [Madness +1, Initiative +1] Use your Bonus to pilot and repair planes or
handle heights; you have the Transport Perk

The Scholar
The Scholar Professional Bonus can be used to gain access to academic Archives. A Scholar has
access to 1D Archives related to his or her field.
Sane: You can use Esoteric Stressed: You can use Mythos Insane: You can gain Mythos
Grimoires Grimoires Insight from any Esoteric Grimoire
Roll Type of Scholar Description
1 Astronomer [Perception +1, Creativity -1] Use your Professional Bonus to find out
about celestial phenomenon; access Academic Archives
2 Folklorist [Occult +1] Use your Professional Bonus to find out about myths,
legends and superstitions; access Academic & Folk Archives
3 Historian [Investigate +1] Use your Professional Bonus to know about historical
events, figures and places; access Academic Archives and Elder Ruins
(1D: 6=Mythos)
4 Linguist [Charm +1, Certainty -1] Use your Professional Bonus to understand
foreign languages or attempt to translate alien languages or codes;
access Academic & Folk Archives
5 Palaeologist [Creativity +1, Physique -1] Use your Bonus to find out about events
or objects from pre-history; access Academic Archives and Elder Ruins
(1D: 6=Mythos)
6 Psychologist [Perception +1, Hope -1] Use your Bonus to understand the science of
human behaviour, including hysteria, delusions and madness; access
Academic and Medical Archives

Cthulhu Abides

The Veteran
The Veteran Professional Bonus can be used to perform military tactics, operate military machinery
and understand military rules, codes and procedures.
Sane: You have Stressed: You suffer no loss of Insane: You suffer no loss of Cohesion
the War Cohesion at this level at this level
Experience Perk
Roll Type of Descriptive
1 Artillerist [Initiative +1] Use your Bonus to fire heavy weaponry and use explosives; you
have the Gun Owner Perk
2 Field [Intellect +1, Certainty -1] Use your Bonus to apply first aid, restoring a Stunned
Medic character or healing a Maimed character; you have the Field Medic Perk
3 General [+1 Class, -1 Hope] Use your Bonus to know high ranking people in the Armed
Forces and the military chain of command; access 1D State Archives
4 Junior [Fighting +1] Use your Bonus to take command in tactical situations and
Officer identify or stage ambushes, traps or firefights; you have the Leadership Perk
5 Somme [Madness +1, Hope +1] Use your Professional Bonus to understand mental
Survivor illness and Console the Stressed; you have the Gun Owner Perk
6 Tommy [Class -1, Physique +1] Use your Professional Bonus to understand the skills
needed for soldiering; you have the Dogged Perk

The Writer
The Writer Professional Bonus can be used to produce compelling letters and read between
the lines of other peoples writings as well as details about publishing and famous books and
Sane: If you write up Stressed: You can write Disturbing Ideas Insane: You can create
Clues you can keep 1 for at any time and create Esoteric Epistles Mythos Epistles during a
every 2 you spend during a Story Story
Roll Type of Writer Description
1 Biographer [Charm +1, Hope -1] As someone skilled in interview and the study of
human character, you can always use your Bonus to gain Testimony
2 Crime Writer [Investigation +1] As someone who creates mystery plots, you can
access one Police Archive
3 Horror Writer [Dream +1] As a specialist in the macabre, you are not affected by
Disturbing Ideas
4 Journalist [Class -1, Hope +1] Use your Bonus to take notes in shorthand or
conduct interviews; you can access a Media Archive
5 Poet [Certainty +1, Hope -1] As a trained phantasist, you have the Oneirist
Perk and can enter the Dreamlands while asleep
6 Spy [Certainty -1, Hope +1] As a German Agent you can use your Bonus to
disguise yourself, snoop or infiltrate; you have access the State Archive

Cthulhu Abides

Dynamic Madness is the most novel Being Insane is more problematic.
aspect of Cthulhu Abides. Most players Although different Professions gain some
are used to keeping their characters out very useful abilities when Insane and it is
of trouble and regard madness as helpful to be able to use Mythos Insight,
something debilitating, to be avoided. In Artefacts and Spells, your character is
many horror RPGs going mad is a sign very close to mental destruction.
that you are losing. In this game,
Fugue states while Insane are destructive
however, there are positive advantages
and the Difficulty for Hope Challenges
to madness.
gets really high. Its much harder to
Most PCs begin play as Sane characters recover from Insanity without hospital
with the ability to gain Deduction Clues treatment. Whats more, Insane
generic or wild Clue Points. characters struggle with normal
behaviour: if they try to be polite,
There are disadvantages to being Sane.
unobtrusive, competent and safe they
You are easily shocked and as the dead
suffer Limits of -1, -2 or -3. In combat,
bodies start piling up, you will have to
they can only attack to Kill.
make more and more Certainty and
Hope Challenges. Hope Challenges can There are ways for PCs to take control of
be debilitating if you fail and enter a their madness. Crutches let a character
state of Fugue, although the Fugue state drop a Madness Level and Frailties let
for Sane characters isnt inconvenient. you increase your Madness Level with no
ill effects. A lot of the time, players will
Sane characters struggle with Stunts.
use their Frailty deliberately to boost
They are not good at Physical Stunts, like
their Madness Level (for example, to cast
climbing up buildings or leaping chasms,
Spells or use Insight) but a Frailty should
or Social Stunts, like insulting or
also crop up inconveniently.
threatening people, resisting arrest,
trespassing or breaking the law. When Another consideration is Base Madness
they try to do these things they suffer Level, which tends to creep up as the
Limits of -1 or -2 and the GM may rule characters encounter Extreme Horrors or
they cannot attempt Stunts at all. learn Spells. A high Base Madness Level
makes Sane behaviour harder, especially
Similarly, Sane characters cannot attack
as Crutches cannot be used to lower
to Kill or gain or use Insight and they
your Madness Level below your Base.
cannot cast Spells or use magical
Nevertheless, there are a few
Artefacts. Some Professions are more
advantages to having a high Base
effective while Sane (for example,
Madness Level. For one thing, you
Veterans can attack to Kill) and some
cannot carry over more Insight points
Perks let you do things while Sane (the
from one Story to the next than your
Sensitive Perk lets you use Insight).
Base Madness Level.
Stressed characters can perform Stunts,
Despite this, most players will end up
attack to Kill and use Esoteric Insight,
considering using the Rewards system in
Magic and Artefacts. They are immune to
Chapter 10: Rewards to lower their Base
stressors like Danger1 or Disturbing
Madness Level permanently to
Ideas2 and they quickly get used to
something less risky.
Profound Shocks3. Its easy to recover
from being Stressed. Professions gain
interesting abilities while Stressed.

Cthulhu Abides

Cthulhu Abides

Combat is an exciting part of any RPG, Stunning Wounds have got nothing to do
but any realistic consideration of modern with the type of weapon being
firearms or the awesome and unearthly employed. Ordinary people armed with
powers of the Mythos will make combat shotguns only inflict Stunning Wounds.
short and one-sided. Our heroes are not They have no killer instinct. They shoot
Conan, Doc Savage or even Tarzan, even people in the legs or arms and stop
if you run an action-themed game. The shooting as soon as they can. Sane
whole point of the Mythos is that once people shoot to Stun. Its almost what
its dreadful manifestations turn their being Sane means.
baleful attentions on you, then if youre
Killing Wounds, on the other hand, are
not running in terror, you are dead and
lethal. They dismember and decapitate.
leaving no recognisable corpse.
They eviscerate and shred. Killing
Nevertheless, players and GMs like Wounds might make you explode, they
combat. It provides a release of might make you implode, but even if you
excitement, a dramatic resolution and a survive a Killing Wound (it happens)
sense of exhilarating danger. Simply theres a part of you lost forever. Again,
ruling A Shoggoth arrives youre all this is not about the weapon being used.
dead may be strictly valid, but its no Madmen inflict Killing Wounds with their
fun. fingernails just like Shoggoths do it with
their tentacles. Most Monsters and
The combat engine in Cthulhu Abides
Insane people inflict Killing Wounds.
avoids considerations like Hit Points or
Stressed characters have the option of
Wound Levels. By and large, if you get hit
attacking to Stun or attacking to Kill, but
by any serious weapon, youre going
if they dont explicitly state it, the GM
down or there ought to be a reason why
must assume they are attacking to Stun.
Killing people is an unusual thing for non-
Attacks in Cthulhu Abides usually inflict Insane people to do to each other.
Stunning Wounds. This means, if the
The other important concept here is
attack is successful then the victim is
Resists. This is where the Player
Stunned. Stunned is a very wide
Character tries desperately to avoid the
ranging term. Stunned can mean
harm that is coming their way. Resists
cowering in defeat, unable to face
are strategies, manoeuvres or the
another blow, hands raised in
voluntary acceptance of lesser injuries.
submission. Stunned can mean dazed
The PC totals their Resists and rolls a
and insensible, unable to do more than
Resist Challenge, adding their Resilience
crawl blindly over the corpses of your
Bonus. If successful, this spares them the
men. Stunned can mean flat-out
Sunning or Killing Wound that was
unconscious, but drifting back to
coming to them at a cost. If the roll
consciousness sooner or later. Stunned
fails then the Wound happens, but at
can mean hospitalised, in plaster, going
least the player got to enact his
nowhere, watched over by concerned
characters frantic death throes.
nurses. Its up to the GM what Stunned
means, based on the context and the
nature of the injury. Stunned might
just mean captured with no further ill
effects. But Stunned does not mean

Cthulhu Abides


Combat is broken into a series of Take Action
exchanges, during which every character
can take a Dramatic Action and an Each character then takes their Dramatic
Ordinary Action. Ordinary Actions Action in order of Initiative, either an
include talking, changing position, Attack or a Move or a Power Stunt.
drawing a weapon or other Characters can take their Ordinary
unproblematic manoeuvres. Actions at any time.

Initiative The PC must decide with the attack is to

Stun or to Kill. Most Sane characters can
The start of any confrontation indicates only ever attack to Stun. If they succeed
the Presence of Danger1 which is a in their attack, the victim with be dazed,
stressor for Calm0 characters. During subdued, unconscious or bleeding out.
combat, characters may be wounded, Death may follow, but regardless of the
which is a Disturbing Idea2 for their type of weapon used, Stun Attacks leave
friends, or even killed, which is a the target incapacitated but (for the tie
Profound Shock3. Not many characters being) still alive.
finish combat Sane.
Most Insane characters can only attack
Rolling Initiative is a single 1D roll, adding to Kill. If they succeed the victim is
the characters Initiative Bonus. The mortally wounded, regardless of the type
character with the highest score acts of weapon used. Stressed characters
first; on a tie, add the characters usually have the option of Stunning or
Madness Level as a Bonus, so Lucid1 (+1) Killing.
characters follow Feverish2 (+2),
Hysterical3 (+3), Deranged4 (+4), Combat Procedure
Psychotic5 (+5) and Maniac6 (+6); Calm0
(+0) characters usually go last. Attacking PCs roll their attacking
Attribute (usually Physique or
NPCs have an Initiative Score that the Perception) and add their Fighting
PCs must exceed to act before them. Bonus. The difficulty is based on the
Most monsters, gods and wild beasts NPCs Defend score
count as Maniacs6 and win ties. Cultists
are all at least Deranged4 (+4). Defending PCs roll their defending
Attribute (usually Physique or Creativity)
and add their Fighting or Initiative Bonus.
The difficulty is based on the NPCs
Attack score.

Combat Challenges Roll

Hand-to-hand Attack Physique/Fighting
Firearms or projectile Attack Perception/Fighting
Defending against Hand-to-hand Creativity/Fighting
Defending against Projectiles Physique/Initiative
Resisting Damage Resist Strategies/Resilience Bonus

Cthulhu Abides

Some Monsters, Spells or weapons have If the attack hits it does damage
Devastating Attacks which are determined by the weapon type. PCs roll
particularly hard to avoid (gouts of dice for this, adding their Fighting Bonus,
flame, millions of tentacles, etc) and but for NPCs it is a fixed Damage Score.
impose a Limit of -1 on the Defend roll
for each X in the description.

Others have Area Attacks, affecting every

enemy in reach and these are marked Expanded details for different types of
 in the description. weapons are in Appendix V (p149-50).

Melee Weapons Firearms Heavy Weapons

1D/+3 (Fists) 4D/+7 (Revolver, bow) 10D/+15X (Bombs)
2D/+5 (Hand weapons) 5D/+9 (Rifle, shotgun) 12D/+18X (Artillery shell)
3D/+6 (2-handed weapons) 6D/+10 (Machine gun) 15D/+20X (TNT)
Targets are Stunned or Killed if the PCs
Damage Challenge (based on the
weapon used, with a Fight Bonus) equals
or exceeds the NPCs Resistance Score.

Armour can be worn and has a rating. Points Types of armour

Each point in armour can provide 1D for 1 Army great coat, leather bomber
Resist Challenges but Killing attacks jacket
reduce armour by a point each time it is 2 Steel breast plate, padded jerkin
used. Each point of armour above the 3 Chain mail, brigandine
first also confers a -1 Limit on activities 4 Plate mail, hauberk
involving speed or agility, so 3 points of 5 Suit of plate armour
armour gives 3D Resist but a -2 Limit. 6 Behind sandbags
+1 Wearing a helmet
Instead of adding armour points, shields
add an extra Die to Dodges (Parry) or can If the character is physically able (and
be lost as a Disarm Resist. willing) to accept the effect, then the
dice are rolled with a Resilience Bonus. If
Resisting Wounds they equal or exceed the Damage score,
In Cthulhu Abides there are three sorts of the Stun/Kill effect has been avoided.
Wounds a character can receive: Characters can take multiple Resists,
trying to build up the score needed to
Stun Wounds render the avoid the Wound, with the following
character helpless for a Scene restrictions:
Kill Wounds kill a character dead;
Monsters often regenerate from A character cannot attempt the
Killing Wounds but this can take same Resist twice in a turn
1D hours, days or even years The character must by physically
Magic Wounds have effects able to perform the Resist (you
depending on the Spell or Magic cant go flying if youre in a
Attack used small cave or be disarmed if
youre not holding anything)
When a character takes a Wound they Some Monsters, Spells or
can try to resist its effects. Every attack weapons do Aggravated Wounds
has a Damage Score which the character (usually marked X) that impose
must equal or exceed with a Resist a Limit on any Resist Challenge
Challenge. of -1 per X

Cthulhu Abides

Resist Dice Effect vs Stun Effect vs Kill

1. Dodge 1D or 2D Duck or parry Duck or get behind
2. Fall 2D, 3D or 4D Fall to the ground (2D), go flying (3D) or Collapse Stunned for a
pinned for an Action (4D) Scene (4D)
3. Maim 4D Temporarily injured Long term injury
4. Trauma 1D per Madness Level automatically increases, check for Fugue
Madness Level
5. Armour 1D per armour Armour softens blow Armour decreases by
level one point
6. Disarm 3D Lose vital weapon or object for an Action Lose weapon or object
for a Scene

Trauma: The character automatically

advances a chosen number of Madness
Levels and gets 1D Resist per level.
Armour: This Resist is only possible if the
character is wearing armour, in which
case the armour softens the blow. This is
a 1D to 4D Resist depending on the
strength of the armour. Against Killing
attacks the armour drops by 1D in value.
Disarm: If whatever the character is
holding is knocked away, this is a 3D
Dodge: A character can almost always try Resist. The lost item must be significant
to get out of the way of a blow. This is a (a weapon, torch, map, etc). Against
1D Resist by itself, but if the character Killing attacks, the item will be destroyed
has something with which to parry the or put out of use for a Scene.
blow (Stun) or has something protective Example: Knuckles Murdigan is hit by a
to get behind (Kill) then the Resist is 2D. Shoggoths horrible pseudopod. The
Dodging projectiles is a Pulp Stunt. damage is 20X, meaning any Resist
Fall: The character can be knocked down Challenge has a Limit of -1.
by the attack as a 2D Resist. Stunning Knuckles Dodges (1D) and is stunned and
attacks will leave the character on the flung back to the other side of the cavern
ground for one turn but Killing attacks (3D). He also has his leather bomber
will knock the character unconscious. jacket shredded (1D). This gives him 5D
As a Pulp Stunt the character is flung to roll: 3, 6, 1, 3 and 5 for a total of (3+3)
through the air by the attack for 3D. 6. Even with his +5 Resilience Bonus this
Being pinned helpless is a 4D Resist. is nowhere near enough.

Maim: This is a Pulp Stunt. The character He decides the attack Traumatizes him
loses the use of a hand, foot, limb, eyes, and he increases his Madness Level from
voice or hearing for a 4D Resist. There is Feverish2 to Deranged4, adding 2D. He
a -2 Dice Limit on rolls affected by this rolls 5 and 6 but the -1 Limit forces him
loss. to ignore the 6. His new total is (5+5) 10.

With Stun Wounds this maiming lasts for

a Scene but with Killing Wounds it is
permanent unless medical attention
heals it.

Cthulhu Abides

Remembering the lamp he was carrying, Maiming is the vaguest category.

Knuckles chooses to be Disarmed, Often the context will suggest an injury
plunging the cave into darkness, and (a character struck on the head will
rolling another 4D: 6, 2, 5 and 3 gives probably be concussed) but players can
him a total of (5+5+5) 15, or 20 with his roll on the table. A second Stun Maim is
Resilience Bonus. Knuckles is unconscious treated as a Kill Maim and any additional
and insane in a pitch black cave with a Kill Maim is a Permanent Penalty.
Shoggoth, but hes not dead (yet).

Maiming Stun Penalty Kill Penalty Permanent Penalty

2 3
1. Blood Disturbing Idea for victim Profound Shock for victim Blood Loss: produces Stun
& onlookers & onlookers Wound
2. Chest Winded: Stunned for one Broken Ribs: Lose Survival Broken Back: Physique
Action Bonus for Story Zero indefinitely
3. Leg Sprained Leg: -2 Limit for a Broken Leg: -2 Limit for a Severed Leg: -2 Limit
Scene on Movement Story on Movement permanently
4. Hand Sprained Arm: -2 Limit for Broken Arm: -2 Limit for a Severed Arm: -2 Limit
a Scene on handling Story on handling Actions permanently
5. Sense Blurry: -2 Limit for a Scene Blinded: -2 Limit for a Lost eye: -2 Limit
on sense Actions Story on sense Actions permanently
6. Head Dazed: Experience Fugue Concussed: Experience Brain Damage: +1 Base
for an Action Fugue for a Scene Madness Level

Monsters & NPCs Resisting Monsters who are Indestructible for any
Damage reason (enormous, other-dimensional,
invisible, etc) are immune to Impact
When a PC successfully rolls to hit a except from attacks that are Aggravated.
Monster or NPC, but the Damage
Challenge is too low to Stun or Kill it, For example, a Shoggoth has a
something usually happens. This is called Resistance Score of 20XX and will only
Impact and the player should roll on suffer Impact if it is attacked by
the table below. something with a XX Attack Score.

Roll Impact Effects

1 Dodge The opponent ducks or otherwise ignores the blow no effect
2 Fall The opponent is knocked over and misses its next action; if the PC spends
Insight, the opponent is knocked back 1D/+3 yards
3 Maim The opponent loses use of a limb or other useful organ and suffers -1D/+3
from either (D: 1-3) Attack or (4-6) Defend
4 Trauma The NPC gains 1D Madness Levels, losing 1D/+3 from either (D:1-3) Enmity
or (4-6) Resistance
5 Armour The opponents armour or tough hide saves it, but this can only occur
1D/+3 times after which this result means the target takes a Wound
6 Disarm The opponent loses its weapon or drops whatever it is holding (such as a
victim); if there is nothing to drop or lose, no effect

Cthulhu Abides

COMBAT VARIATIONS They are Stunned or go flying

or are Disarmed
Advantageous or disadvantageous They go Insane (ie advance to
positions will affect the Difficulty of a Deranged4 or higher) or suffer
Challenge. A flank attack is -1 Difficulty, Fugue
attacking from the rear is -3 Difficulty,
whereas an opponent above you is +1 NPCs and Monsters can also form Teams.
Difficulty and one who is invisible is +3 This is a good way to simplify large
Difficulty. combats. Assume that each
NPC/Monster in a Team adds +1 to the
Area Attacks Team Leaders Attack or Damage for
Multiple opponents can be targeted with every 10 points or part thereof in their
one attack, but the Defend & Resistance Attack or Damage Score.
Scores of the highest is used for all and For example, if three Zombies attack
each opponent targeted after the first Knuckles Murdigan, the GM decides to
adds +1 to one of these Scores per 10 treat them as a Team. The Zombies have
points in their own Score. Attack Scores of 9, so the two followers
Knuckles Murdigan attacks two Cultists between them add +2 to the lead
at once. One has a Defend of 7 and the Zombies Attack Score, making it (9+1+1)
other a Defend of 11. As a pair they have 11. Since they have a Damage Score of
a Defend of 11 (the highest) +1 (because 12, each could add +2 to the leaders
the second Cultists Defend Score is 10 or Damage Score, making it (12+2+2) 16.
less) for a total of 12. They have a Covering Fire
Resistance of 14 and 11, so the pair have
a Resistance Score of 14 (the highest) +2 Another way characters can contribute
(because the second Cultists Resistance to a teams fortunes is by using shots to
Score is in the 11-20 range) for a total of distract and intimidate opponents rather
16. than Wound them. At the GMs
discretion, characters without guns can
Combat Teamwork do this by throwing crockery or setting
Team Leaders will form the Team before fire to things. Covering Fire rolls to
combat begins because forming a Team Attack against Difficulty 8, but the
during combat is a Pulp Stunt. Team Damage dice are not used to Wound.
Members can contribute their Dice to Instead Damage Dice (ignoring Bonuses)
either the Team Leaders Attack form a pool that other friendly
Challenge or Damage Challenge, but not characters can draw from for any of their
both. Challenges that might be affected by the
fire. However, the dice must be drawn
Keeping Teamwork going through from the pool in the order they are
combat gets more and more difficult. rolled. Dice stay in play until the
With each new Action the Team Leader characters next action.
needs to renew the Team, making a
fresh Creativity/Dream Challenge at +1 For example, while Murdigan roughs it
Difficulty. Other Team Members who with Ghouls, Hengist Winthrop hangs
contribute dice to the Team cannot take back and throws furniture at them. He
Dramatic Actions themselves, though makes his Perception/Fighting Challenge
they can Defend and Resist attacks and the GM lets him roll 2D for furniture
aimed at them. Characters automatically damage: a 5 and a 2.
drop out of the Team and stop Murdigan uses the 5 to improve his own
contributing dice if roll.

Cthulhu Abides

Next Action, Hengist adds a 6 and a 4, First Aid can be delivered by any
producing a pool of 2, 6, 4, but Murdigan character with the Perk by rolling
has no use for a 2. Creativity / Profession. The Difficulty is 8
to wake a Stunned character or 10 to
Next Action Hengist adds another 6 and
restore a Maimed one.
a 3, producing a pool of 2, 6+6, 4, 3.
Murdigan is tempted to match the 2 to Esoteric Magic (Evoking) can be used to
his next roll, just to make that double-6 heal Stun Wounds if the Potency equals
available for the roll after that. the same Difficulty.
Covering Fire is a normal action if the Killing Wounds usually do not recover at
character is personally out of danger, but all without medical attention but using
if the character is in combat and being First Aid during a crisis is a Pulp Stunt.
attacked it is a Pulp Stunt. Covering Fire First Aid can stabilise a mortally
can be combined with Team Work, wounded character so long as it is
where the Team Leader creates the applied within 1D actions and the wound
Covering Fire and members of the Team was not Aggravated Aggravated
contribute their Damage Dice towards it. Damage usually shreds, dissolves or
devours characters with no hope of
Feints healing.
Characters can voluntarily accept Limits The difficulty to stabilise a Killing Wound
on all their Move, Attack or Defend with First Aid is 12. Restoring a character
actions in order to win Initiative in the Maimed by a Killing Wound has the same
next exchange. A -1 Limit allows the limitations and the Difficulty is 15.
character to roll 2D/+5 for Initiative.
Mythos Magic (Evoking) can be used to
Full Attack or Full Defence heal Killing Wounds if the Potency equals
Full Attack is a Pulp Stunt. The attacker or exceeds the Difficulty set for First Aid..
rolls 1D/3 and adds that number of dice During a peaceful interlude characters
to his Attack Challenge. The same can be hospitalised and treated for
number becomes a Limit on any Defend Killing Wounds. The character can try to
Challenge and Resist Challenge during roll Reward Dice to recover:
that combat exchange.
Full Defence means the character
forgoes a Dramatic Action in order to Recovery Description Difficulty
avoid a Wound. The character rolls 1D/3 Hospitalised Heal a 10
and gains that number of extra dice to Maiming
add to Defend or Resist Challenges. Each Sanatorium Heal a Killing 15
dice must be allocated to either
Reanimation Bring a dead 20
Defending or Resisting, not to both. character back
If NPCs use Full Attack or Defence then to life
PCs lower the number of dice they roll to
Defend or Attack by 1D. Each month spent in healthcare can add
+1D (up to maximum of Class) and +1
HEALING Bonus (up to maximum of Profession).
Stunning Wounds disappear after a However, no second attempt is possible
Scene, but a character may want to if the roll fails.
recover faster.

Cthulhu Abides

Cthulhu Abides

When a character takes a Magical
Wound they can try to resist its effects.
Some Magical Attacks can be physically
dodged with a Physique/Survival
Challenge (eg mystic blasts) or seen Characters can take multiple Resists,
through using Perception/Occult (eg trying to equal or exceed the Spells
illusions) but most have to be resisted Potency to avoid its effects. The Resists
supernaturally. available to PCs are shown below.

Magic Resist Dice Effect vs Magic

1. Defiance 1D/+3 or 2D/+5 Stare it down
2. Writhe 2D/+5 or 4D/+7 Fall to the ground or (4D) go flying
3. Geist 4D/+7 Experience an Unnatural stressor
4. Trauma 1D per Madness Level Increase your Madness Level
5. Sigil 1D/+3 to 6D/+10 Design a protective Sigil
6. Faith Roll Certainty or Hope Call on what you believe in

This is a 4D Resist and an Unnatural4

stressor for the victim and anyone
watching. There are often long-term
Roll Geist Side-Effect
1 Full Recovery after Stun ends
2 Roll on Maim Table (Kill Penalties)
3 Bad Dreams: Check for Night-
Gaunts after dreams
4 Degeneration: Gain a Ghoul Point
5 Nervous Shock: +1 to Base Madness
Defiance: A character can almost always 6 Permanent age 10 years (-1 to
try to Resist an attack with pure Physique, Charm or Perception)
willpower. This is a 1D Resist by itself,
but if the character has something to
Trauma: The character automatically
symbolise their defiance (a holy symbol,
advances a number of Madness Levels
protective circle, charm or prayer) then
and gets 1D Resist per level.
the Resist is a Pulp Stunt for 2D.
Faith: This Resist calls on the characters
Writhe: The character can Resist
Philosophy or Goal to sustain them. It is
physically, spending an Action writhing in
only possible if the Philosophy/Goal is
agony for 2D or even (as a Pulp Stunt)
relevant to the attack (eg a Rationalist
levitating in the air or climbing the wall
convincing themselves a curse is really
for 3D.
food poisoning)
This is a Profound Shock3 for onlookers
Sigil: Various occult signs and symbols
and the victim.
called Sigils are effective at warding
Geist: This is a Pulp Stunt where the away Magic. Sigils are usually created
character is Stunned, goes white eyed before a Magic Attack and carried
and starts vomiting ectoplasm, speaking around like armour.
in tongues, generally displaying
supernatural pollution.

Cthulhu Abides

Sigils remain effective for a Scene and

only the most powerful Sigil takes effect.
Sigil Difficulty Examples
Resist Investigators will probably want to
1 5 Apotrope a gesture of create Sigils before going into dangerous
warding away evil situations. This is permitted, but
2 8 Logos Apotropai remember that Sigils only remain
words of warding effective for a Scene and most characters
3 10 Aprotropaic icon have to be Stressed (or Insane) to create
(talisman) warding Sigils unless they have a Perk like
symbols on an object
Sorcerer, Theurgist or Sensitive.
4 12 Temenos a magic
circle inscribed on a More examples of resisting Wounds and
surface Magical Wounds are included in the
5 15 I! Shub-Niggurath! or descriptions of monsters in Appendix
Cthulhu fhtagn! VIIs Mythos Bestiary.
speaker must be Insane
6 18 The fabled Elder Sign or
Seal of Ngah but the
creator must be Insane
Monsters & NPCs Resisting Magic
Sometimes a PC will cast a Spell on a
Creating a Sigil is an Intellect/Occult
Monster or NPC, but the Potency is too
Challenge with a variable Difficulty.
low to affect it; however, something
Creating a Sigil is an Affective Stunt and
usually happens. Similar to Impact in
creating one in combat is also an Action
combat, the player should roll on the
Stunt requiring the expenditure of
table below.
Insight (Mythos Insight for the level 5 or
6 Sigils). Sigils require the investment of Monsters who have X after their Magic
belief so canceling an old Sigil and Score are immune to Magical Impact
starting again with a new one requires an unless the Spell comes from a similarly
Insight point (must be Mythos Insight for potent being.
the level 5 and 6 Sigils)). For example, a Deep One has a Magic
The Sigils Resist Dice can be applied Score of 10X and will only suffer Impact
against a Magic Attack, after which it from something with a X Magic Score.
drops by -1 in strength.

Roll Impact Effects

1 Defiance The opponent laughs at your puny Magic no effect
2 Writhe The opponent is paralysed for its next action; if the PC spends Insight, the
opponent is levitated into the air
3 Geist The opponent goes through a magical convulsion and suffers -1D/+3 from
either (D: 1-3) Attack or (4-6) Defend
4 Trauma The NPC gains 1D Madness Levels, losing 1D/+3 from either (D:1-3) Enmity
or (4-6) Resistance
5 Sigil The opponent employs a counter-spell but this can only occur 1D/+3 times
after which this result means the target takes a Magical Wound
6 Faith The opponent invokes the Other Gods (usually Yog-Sothoth) or Old Ones
(usually Shub-Niggurath) but this can only occur 1D/+3 times after which
this result means the target takes a Magical Wound

Cthulhu Abides


The main thing to get your head around If these strategies dont work, the
with this system is that there are no hit character cannot employ extra ones. For
points or wound levels that tick down example, against a gunshot wound a
until you die. Instead, a Wound will character might declare they are using
either Kill you or Stun you. The best way Dodge, Fall and Maim. If these didnt add
to avoid Wounds is not to be hit, which up to enough, the character couldnt add
you do with a Defend Challenge against in some Trauma for good measure.
your attackers Attack Score.
Similarly, if the Dodge and Fall Dice
If you get hit, you can still try to Resist rolled well enough to Resist the Wound,
the Wound. This takes the form of an the character would still be compelled to
extended Resist Challenge where the roll to see the sort of Maim they
character looks for more and more ways received, even though they didnt need
to avoid the painful blow. If all your the Dice.
options get used up and you still havent
Most NPCs are automatically Wounded
resisted the damage, you have to accept
(either Stunned or Killed) if the PC rolls a
the Wound.
Damage total high enough to overcome
How the GM handles Resist Challenges the NPCs Resistance Score. The Impact
has a big effect on the tone of the game table is for occasions when the PC fails to
and the longevity of characters. In do this. It represents the idea that, in
Pulp/Adventure Stories, the emphasis is order to avoid the Wound, the NPC
on the heroes surviving hair-raising might have had to fall over or take a
dangers by the skin of their teeth. In this maiming injury.
sort of Story, the GM will start off getting
This means that, even if the PC fails to
characters to roll a Dodge, then a Fall,
Wound their enemy, they might still
then perhaps a Maim or a Trauma. You
succeed in doing something that puts the
keep the Dice youve already rolled, roll
bad guy at a disadvantage.
again and add more. Eventually youll get
the score you need or run out of Dice. Of course, some of the Impact penalties
might be inappropriate for some
To make some situations dramatic, the
Monsters (its hard to see how you could
GM can declare some Resists to be
maim a Shoggoth).
ineffective: in a narrow tunnel there may
be no room to Dodge, on a high ledge it Magical Wounds are handled in a similar
may be death to Fall, a poisonous way. A Magical Wound is the effect of a
creature might ignore Armour and a successful Spell or the magical power of
creature that strangles its prey might a Monster or God. As with combat, in a
ignore Maims. The Disarm Resist can Pulp/Adventure Story, the GM should
only be used if the character has allow players to draw on a range of
something important that can be defences, clutching at new and more
dropped or broken. desperate remedies until eventually they
get a score high enough to Resist the
In a Purist/Detective Story, human
Magic Score of their attacker.
Investigators are fragile and combat is
dangerous. One way of emphasising this In a more gritty and unforgiving Story (or
is to make the players declare, right at against more powerful and fiendish
the outset, what Resist strategies they opponents), the player might have to
are going to use against a successful make an initial decision which Resists he
attack. or she will call on, without the option of
adding in new ones if these dont work.

Cthulhu Abides

Cthulhu Abides

There are a number of problems with This is an effective way of pacing a Story,
running a puzzle-solving and detective- stopping PCs from rushing too soon into
themed RPG. For example, what if the an encounter they are not prepared for,
players dont get the clues? Most of us ensuring that necessary encounters take
arent great physical warriors, but we place, making the players work through
enjoy playing characters who can do an investigation rather than guessing.
physical feats that we cant. So, why not
The players can offer up Clue Points to
play a character whos actually brighter
the GM, buying critical information,
than you are, who can pick up clues that
plot developments or revelatory cut-
you cant?
scenes. This enables investigators who
Immediately we have problems. Bright are out of ideas, stone-walled or just
players want to get the credit and plain unlucky to buy themselves back
satisfaction of figuring things out into the plot, bringing forward
themselves, even if they are playing revelations, getting baffling clues
characters who are too dumb to finish a explained to them.
crossword. Less cerebral players would
In a well-designed mystery, the PCs
rather roll dice to solve puzzles, but then
should be out of Clue Points by the time
the GM (who spent hours, perhaps,
they get to the Denouement.
devising the puzzle) feels cheated, as do
smart players who wanted the chance to As the Story develops and characters
figure it out the hard way. Madness Levels rise, it gets harder and
harder for many of them to pick up fresh
Our solution is to use Clue Points, which
Clues, but easier and easier to gather
are given out by the GM either for
Insight instead. By the time characters
figuring stuff out yourself and making
are Insane, its impossible for them to
shrewd investigative decisions (Ill look
pick up Clues any more, but they can
for a wall safe behind the paintings) or
gather Insight easily.
for making good dice rolls using Intellect
and Investigation (I rolled 18, wheres Something that generates Insight is
the safe?). termed a Grimoire (pronounced grim-
war, not grim-oyer). Traditionally a
Clue Points represent a sort of numerical
Grimoire is a big musty book for of occult
conversation or exchange between
babblings, but anything can be a
players and the GM. The GM can
Grimoire if it takes on significance in
demand Clue Points before he gives up
terms of the plot. Examples of these
certain crucial plot points or allows the
temporary or one-shot grimoires might
investigation to move to the next stage.
If PCs dont have enough Clue Points
then, no matter how much the players The peculiar pattern of wounds
guess or surmise, the characters need to on a victims body
dig further and find proof. The inane scribblings in the old
professors diary
The suggestive five-toed prints in
the snow outside
Anything else that the GM or the
players find creepy or suggestive

Cthulhu Abides


Insane Investigators
Insane Investigators cannot gain Clue
Points of any sort. When they would
normally gain a Clue, they gain Insight
instead. This can be either Esoteric or
Mythos Insight but if the Insight is gained
from a Mythos source (eg a Mythos
During an adventure, PCs will talk to Grimoire or Transfiguration) it must be
NPCs, consult written records and Mythos Insight.
investigate locations. In response to their
investigations, the GM will give out Clue Insane Investigators can use any sort of
Points to represent their progress Insight but cannot use Clues. They can
through the mystery. convert Esoteric Insight into Mythos
Insight (by reflecting on the hideous
Sane Investigators truth behind folklore and religion) but
Sane Investigators receive Clue Points. not the other way round.
The GM can award Clue Points when the Clue Points come in 5 varieties:
players look in the right places or ask the
right questions or else when the players Testimony Clues from conversations
succeed in Investigation Challenges. with NPCs or reading their testimonies in
Evidence Clues are awarded for diaries, letters, news articles, etc and/+or
discovering objects or places, Testimony making a successful Investigate roll
Clues for unearthing information. Evidence Clues from exploring locations
When players of Sane Investigators come and finding footprints, strange slime,
up with good ideas about the plot or broken windows, bloodstains, hollow
draw accurate conclusions, the GM can walls, etc and/+or making a successful
award Deduction Clues. Investigate roll

Sane Investigators cannot use Insight. If Deduction Clues from reflecting

they would gain Insight from something appropriately on what Testimony and
(eg an Elder Ruin), they gain Deduction Evidence might mean or making a
Clues instead. successful Creativity/Dream roll
(characters can only acquire Deduction
Stressed Investigators Clues while Sane)
Stressed Investigators can still gain Cue
Points but, if the mystery has a
supernatural element, whenever they
stand to gain Clues they can gain Esoteric
Insight instead. This is usually up to the
player. Stressed Investigators cannot
gain Deduction Clues and always gain
Esoteric Insight instead.
Esoteric Insights from reading or
Stressed Investigators can use Esoteric encountering evidence of the occult
Insight but not Mythos Insight. They can world (supernatural events, cults,
convert Esoteric Insight into Deduction conspiracies, magic, the Dreamlands)
Clues that might be useful for them later, most characters need to be Stressed to
when they are Sane again. acquire or use Esoteric Insights

Cthulhu Abides

Mythos Insights from reading or and move to the Old Musgrove

encountering aspects of the Mythos House, with the GM explaining
(monsters, Old Ones, other realms) anything they may have missed.
most characters need to be Insane to Alternatively, the GM might
acquire or use Mythos Insights demand the 10 Clue Points
contain at least 1 Deduction and
Investigators gain Clue Points in two
1 Esoteric Insight or some similar
1. If the player describes the In any scenario, a GM may let
investigation well (by roleplaying a PCs spend Clue Points to buy
conversation or detailing exactly Preparations
where they are looking or what they During a Denouement or Ordeal
are looking for) the GM may assign a (usually the climax of an
Clue or Insight Point adventure), the GM may also
2. If the PC makes a successful roll allow PCs to convert Clue Points
(usually with the Investigate, Dream into a Bonus for particular
or Occult Bonus), the GM may assign Challenges, to represent their
a Clue Point or Insight as appropriate research and preparation. No
These two features are cumulative a Bonus can be raised above +9 in
player can roleplay an interrogation well a Pulp/Adventure game or +6 in
then make a successful roll and earn 2 a Purist/Detective Story.
Testimony Clue Points. Using Deduction Clues
USING CLUE POINTS Deduction Clues are wild Clues that can
Clue Points can be spent by players to count as either Evidence or Testimony.
move the Story on and have the GM Only Sane characters can gain or use
reveal key details of the mystery. How Deduction Clues.
this works depends on the style of Pooling Your Clues
scenario the GM has created:
When PCs gather together to discuss the
In a sandbox scenario a number findings, the players can pool their Clues.
of Clue Points (or perhaps a After this, any PC can draw on Clues from
specific combination) will the pool. Before this happens, if a
unlock certain features at a character dies or becomes a Maniac,
location or from a NPC. their Clue Points are lost along with
For example, 2 evidence Clues them.
might reveal the secret door in
the library, whereas a Deduction
Clue and a combination of any 4 INSIGHTS
other Clue Points might prompt
Lord Tremayne to confess his Stressed or Insane Investigators gain
guilty past. Insight instead of Clues. Moreover, each
In a rail scenario a number of 1D of Potency or Gnosis from a Grimoire,
Clue Points (or perhaps a specific Epistle, Cult or Old One can be taken as
combination) will move the Insight instead.
entire Story on to its next Insights also come from experiencing
chapter, with the GM filling in Fugue Esoteric for Stressed Fugue,
any gaps in the players Mythos for Insane Fugue. The character
understanding. gains Insight equal to his or her Madness
For example, by accumulating 10 Level.
Clue Points the players finish
their investigation at the docks

Cthulhu Abides

Esoteric Insight is an understanding that SPECULATION

the paranormal exists, that there are
other realities, other worlds and Players can think out loud to solve the
supernatural entities. However, Esoteric mystery they face and the GM can
Insight is usually couched in the language award Deduction Clues to reward
and symbolism of the Occult religious good puzzle-solving. Players who
cosmologies about angels and demons, need prompting can make a Creativity
black magic or pagan rituals. test using the Dream Bonus to gain a
Mythos Insight is a direct understanding Deduction Clue from the GM.
of the reality of the Mythos, unfiltered
To deter players from dice-rolling
by religious or cultural symbols, and it is
through a mystery, the GM should
available only to the Insane.
allow the first Creativity test to be at
Esoteric Insight can only be difficulty 10, but each subsequent test
gained or used by characters goes up a level (to 12, 15, 18, etc)
who are Stressed or Insane and
cannot oppose or assist with
Mythos Insight can only be
Often, players will ask the GM if their
gained or used by characters
character possesses something a box of
who are Insane
matches, a knife, more bullets, money
Unlike Clues, Insight cannot be
and it isnt clear whether this is
pooled and shared though it can
something the GM should allow, given
be recorded in an Epistle
that the player didnt specifically state
There are three main uses for Insight: that their character was packing this
item before the adventure stated.
1. An Insight point can be spent to
let a player re-roll some or all of A similar occasion is when a player asks
the dice from a failed test. the GM if it can be assumed that their
2. Insight points are used to cast character took at certain precaution
Spells or use Artefacts of the locking a door, standing look-out,
same type, Esoteric or Mythos. keeping the car engine running even
3. An Insight point can change the when it wasnt explicitly stated at the
identity of a Clue point currently time that the character had done this.
in your pool, treating Evidence as
One solution is for the PC to make a
Testimony or vice versa.
Preparedness Challenge, usually rolling
Remember that most characters can only Creativity / Profession (or the Dream
use Mythos Insight while Insane and only Bonus if the preparation is more based
Mythos Insight can be used to overcome on a hunch or superstition) with a
the powers of Mythos Magic or Mythos Difficulty of 8 (for ordinary preparations)
Monsters. going up to 12 (for paranoid ones).
If the preparation seems particularly
implausible (like coincidentally carry
garlic when faced with a vampire) the
GM may still allow the roll if the PC
expends a number of Clue Points, usually
between 1 and 3.

Cthulhu Abides

Archives represent a different way of
gathering Clues. If the character gains
Access to an Archive, he or she
automatically gains 1D Clue Points or
Insight as appropriate. There's also the
chance of a Grimoire.
Interrogating NPCs is usually a Charm
test, but may use Class or Creativity
instead. The Investigate or Profession
Bonus often applies. ACCESS CHALLENGES FOR
On a success, the character gains a
Testimony Clue; the GM may also Research in Archives is also possible.
award a Clue for good roleplaying. Most characters will pass to make an
Access Challenge to gain access to the
Exploring settings for evidence is usually Archive or else roleplay befriending a
a Perception test, but may use Intellect NPC librarian or journalist.
or Creativity instead. The Investigate or
Profession Bonus often applies. Characters who are Scholars
automatically have access to 1D
On a success the character gains an Archives, but not necessarily in
Evidence Clue; the GM may also award the area the Story is set
a Clue if the player described searching Some other Professions also gain
in appropriate places. automatic access to certain sorts
of Archives (eg Journalists to
Media Archives, Bishops to
Ecclesiastical Archives)

Roll Archive Description Access Challenge Chance Grimoire Grimoire

of Horror Potency
Grimoire Rating
1 Academic Libraries Class/Profession 5-6 Disturbing 4D
kept at Difficulty 8 Idea
or private
2 Ecclesiastical Wisdom of Charm/Occult 5-6 Disturbing 3D
/ Folk religious or Difficulty 10 Idea
groups as
part of their
may be oral
3 Media Kept by Creativity/Profession 6 Disturbing 2D
newspapers, Difficulty 8 Idea
agencies and

Cthulhu Abides

4 Medical Confidential Class/Profession 6 Profound 2D

medical files Difficulty 10 Shock
kept by
5 Police Criminal Class/Investigate 6 Profound 2D
records kept Difficulty 8 Shock
by the police
6 State Official Class/Profession 6 Disturbing 1D
records kept Difficulty 8 Idea
by the
A complete listing of Archives available Archives often contain Grimoires but
to PC Investigators is given in Appendix these are much more difficult to access,
V. either because they are priceless
treasures kept under lock and key or
Archives function rather like Grimoires,
because the archivist is unaware of the
but are less intense. Although Archives
Grimoires significance.
can only be accessed once per Story,
theres no limit to them amount of Clues
Normal Archives yield a Grimoire instead
or Insights they can give up over time.
if 6 Clue Points or Insight is rolled; some
Sane characters can pick up a 1D yield a Grimoire if 5 or 6 points are
Clue Points from accessing an rolled.
Archives that have a Grimoire have a
Stressed or Insane characters similar chance of it being a Mythos
can pick up Insight instead of Grimoire. For Mythos Grimoires, add 3
Clues levels to the Horror Rating and double
Example, Hengist and his nervy colleague the Potency; the Investigator should also
Dutch gain access to Lord Witherhydes roll to determine the Grimoires quality
library, which is an Academic Archive. and condition.
Investigators who have free
Hengist is Feverish2 but he can still gain
access to an Archive always have
Clues in this state and gains a Clue Point
a Grimoire in the Archive but
from here as well as any other
make the normal Access
information the GM has for him.
Challenge to study it
Dutch is Deranged4 but makes his Access Characters who dont have
Challenge and as Dutch stares at the automatic access to an Archive
medieval woodcuts of witch trials in the must make a second Access
nearby village he gains a point of Mythos Challenge at +3 Difficulty to
Insight. study a Grimoire there

Cthulhu Abides

Once per Story, the reader of a Grimoire
must make an Intellect/Occult Challenge
to understand the text and a Certainty
Challenge to bear the horror of its
contents. The Difficulty for both rolls is
different for each Grimoire but usually
varies from 8 (for very innocuous
Grimoires are collections of material Esoteric Grimoires) to 15 or higher for
that contain philosophical, scientific or deadly Mythos Grimoires. The benefits
occult significance. will be:
Ordinary published books are not A single Testimony or Evidence
Grimoires because editors and Clue, if the reader is Sane
publishers remove all the troubling and Insight equal up to the
unpleasant material from them, so Grimoires Potency, if the reader
Grimoires tend to be ancient books or is Stressed or Insane
self-made literature diaries, memoirs, NB. Mythos Grimoires produce Esoteric
workbooks and compilations make Insight for Stressed readers, but Esoteric
good Grimoires. Grimoires do not produce Mythos Insight
when the reader is Insane.
When Sane people study Grimoires
they find confused ramblings or baffling Grimoires can also be used to add their
details. Potency to the Potency of a Spell, so long
as the Grimoires Abjuration matches the
ACCESSING GRIMOIRES Spells Abjuration. Esoteric Grimoires are
no help with Mythos Spells, but Mythos
Each Grimoire has a Difficulty for Grimoires can provide Potency for any
someone to access it with an Esoteric Spell at a -1 Limit.
Intellect/Occult Challenge. This
represents the frailty of the pages, the
obscurity of the text itself and the
difficulty in translating the language. Esoteric Grimoires
The Grimoires Horror rating is similar to These Grimoires contain Esoteric Insight
the Horror Score of Mythos creatures: but no Mythos Insight. They are often
the character attempts a mystical or visionary works from within
Certainty/Resilience Challenge but if this mainstream religions or magical
fails the character advances one traditions Christian mystical prayer, a
Madness Level. book of Black Magic or an ancient pagan
A very few Grimoires are Extreme Horror
Challenges, meaning that if the Certainty The Bible is an Esoteric Grimoire so long
Challenge fails the reader immediately as it is in its original Hebrew, Greek or
advances to the Grimoires Horror Level: Latin rather than an edited commercial
instead of rolling the Challenge, the GM edition; so are the Anglo-Saxon poem
may allow a reader simply to gain one Beowulf or the writings of Aleister
automatic Madness Level instead. Crowley.

Esoteric Grimoires include:

Cthulhu Abides

Roll Grimoire Author Provenance Difficulty Horror Potency Abjurations

1 The Emerald Unknown Greek, c200 10 Profound 5D/+9 Hermetic
Tablet AD Shock
2 The Golden Sir George English, 1915 10 Disturbing 2D/+5 Pagan
Bough Fraser Idea
3 The Key of Unknown Latin, 14 12 Disturbing 4D/+7 Hermetic,
Solomon century Idea Kabbalist
4 Malleus Sprenger & Latin, 1486 10 Profound 5D/+9 Angelical,
Malleficarum Kramer Shock Demonist
5 Les Michel de French, 1557 12 Disturbing 1D/+3 Demonist ,
Propheties Nostradame Idea Hermetic
6 The Zohar Moses de Hebrew, 12 Profound 5D/+9 Kabbalist
Leon 1280 Shock

Mythos Grimoires This meaning, of course, disappears if

the reader comes back to the Grimoire in
Most Mythos Grimoires appear to be a healthier frame of mind. Mythos
Esoteric Grimoires of Black Magic or Grimoires include:
heretical mysticism until an Insane
person reads them, then the hidden,
true meaning becomes apparent.

Roll Grimoire Author Provenance Difficulty Horror Potency Abjurations

1 The Olaus Latin, 1228 15 Mythos 12D/+18 All
Extreme Horror
Necronomicon Wormius
2 The Book of Unknown English, 12 Mythos 10D/+15 Hyborian,
Eibon c15th Rlyeh,
century Pnakotic
3 Cultes des Goules Comte French, 12 Unnatural 6D/+10 Azathoth,
dErlette c1702 Hyborian,
4 De Vermiis Ludwig Latin, 1542 12 Unnatural 6D/+10 Azathoth,
Mysteriis Prinn Rlyeh
5 Unausprechlichen Friedrich German, 12 Otherworldly 10D/+15 Azathoth,
Kulten von Junzt 1839 Rlyeh
6 The King in Unknown English, 1895 10 Otherworldly 5D/+9 Azathoth,
Extreme Horror
Yellow Chthonic

Roll Quality Effects An expanded list of Grimoires is given in

1 Expurgated -2 dice to Potency Appendix VI.
2 Damaged -1 dice to Grimoire Quality
translation Potency, -1 Limit
on all rolls Most Grimoires are ancient books, often
3 Translation -1 dice to Potency collections of documents, commentaries
4 Damaged copy -1 Dice Limit on and marginalia rather than a book in
all rolls any conventional state. Roll 1D for
5 Original copy None quality (see table, left).
6 Pristine -2 Difficulty to
original read

Cthulhu Abides

Example: Hengist, a Feverish2 Scholar, is

reading a damaged translated copy of
Potency Horror Rating
the Cultes Des Goules. This will be 1
1 Danger
Difficulty 12 to make sense of and the 2
Intellect/Occult roll is Limited at 5, 2 Disturbing
meaning 6s are ignored. 3 Shocking
4 Unnatural
5 Otherworldly
6 Mythos

Hengist rolls 4, 1, 4, 6, 6, so his total is Epistles have a Horror Rating equivalent

(4+4) 8 which, with his +5 Occult Bonus, to their Potency, as shown on the table.
is 13, a success. Notice that Hengist Most Epistles are diaries, letters or
cannot use the two 6s for a better score folders full of scrawled notes, but they
of (6+6+5) 17, but 13 is enough to can also be songs, paintings, prayers,
succeed in any event. maps, diagrams or mathematical
Hengist must make a Certainty Challenge equations.
because of the books Unnatural4 Epistles can be read by the person for
contents at the normal Difficulty of 10. whom they were written. Investigators
He fails and goes up from Feverish2 to may write Epistles for themselves (to
Hysterical3. He needs to make a remind themselves what they
Hope/Resilience Challenge to stop understood while they were mad), for
himself going into Fugue at Difficulty 10, other Investigators in their team (to help
but he is successful in this. them out at a future date) or even for
Hengist can gain Mythos Insight up to the players next character (in the event
the Grimoires Potency up to 5 at a of this characters demise).
time. Most readers cannot gain Mythos The reader of an Epistle might gain:
Insight while only Stressed, but because
Hengist is a Scholar he can use Mythos A Testimony Clue, if Sane
Grimoires in this state. If Hengist wasnt Insight equal to the Epistles
a Scholar, he would only gain Esoteric Potency (if Stressed or Insane)
Insight from the Grimoire. The Potency of a Grimoire can be added
If Hengist was casting a Spell, the towards an Esoteric or Mythos Spell, so
Grimoire would provide 5D for the Spells long as the Epistles Abjuration matches
Potency. the Spell (see Chapter 10: Rewards).
Epistles can be used only once, after
Epistles & One-Shot Grimoires which they turn into incoherent
ramblings. Other one-shot Grimoires can
be discovered during an adventure.
These could be the scribblings of a mad
occultist, bass reliefs on a temple wall or
a painting by a brilliant but disturbed
artist. These one-shot Grimoires should
Epistles are special Grimoires that PCs be considered to be types of Artefacts.
can create between Stories by writing
Characters who are Writers can compose
down their crazed insights. Every 3
Epistles in the middle of a Story, turning
points of Insight invested in an Epistle
Insight into Dice. Insane Writers can
creates a Dice of Potency. For example,
even compose real Grimoires that can be
investing 6 Esoteric Insight creates an
used more than once.
Esoteric Epistle with 2D Potency.

Cthulhu Abides

The rules of Cthulhu Abides assume a A few starting Clue Points and Insight
certain structure to a horror-mystery helps characters feel confident and
game, whether Purist/Detective or prepared and may be useful in the early
Pulp/Action. As a GM, you are invited to stages of a Story.
take advantage of this structure or
deviate from it or ignore it. In the Dreamlands, the STIMULUS may
be more fantastical, like the appearance
of a mysterious and mystical stranger, a
PRELUDE: THE LAY OF THE proclamation from a king or a prophecy
LAND from a priest. Depending on the
characters starting Lore ratings, this
At the start of most horror-mystery might come instead from the
Stories, the GM will let the players know manifestation of a God or Monster or
where their characters are perhaps at involve the characters being summoned
home, at their place of work, or maybe by the king or queen, seized by slavers or
on a mission or assignment or traveling cultists or abducted by Night-Gaunts.
to a far away place, sightseeing or
exploring. This context is important
because it lets the players know what INVESTIGATION A:
Grimoires, Archives, Cults and Ruins their INTERVIEWING &
characters might reasonably hope to RESEARCHING
make use of in the forthcoming Story.
There is usually an Investigation phase
Often the Story will begin with a where the PCs try to find out more about
STIMULUS. This might be a plea for help what is happening. There may be
from an old friend or an intriguing particular NPCs to talk to, locations to
stranger, a tantalising newspaper article visit and inspect or documents to read
or an overseen or overheard encounter and decipher. This will be a mixture of
between NPCs that prompts further roleplaying and dice rolling. The GM will
investigation. Sometimes, the stimulus is give out Clue Points (mostly Testimony)
something more aggressive: one of the for good roleplaying or successful dice
PCs themselves is threatened, robbed or rolling. Some snippets of information,
attacked and wants to find the cut-scenes or revelations might only be
perpetrator and recover what was lost. encountered if the PCs save up and hand
over a certain number of Clue Points.
Most PCs will immediately want to make
use of any Perks or Professions that give During the course of this, players might
them access to Grimoires, Archives, Cults ask if they can make use of more
or Ruins. Theyll do this to pick up Clue Grimoires, Archives or Cults to pick up
Points or even (if they are characters extra Clues or Insight. Obviously, if a PC
who start play Stressed) Insight. Of has access to one of these through a
course, using these resources might have Perk or Profession and it is nearby and
effects on their Madness Level or even accessible during the Story, theres no
lead to further complications, but by and problem with that.
large GMs should let PCs do this.

Cthulhu Abides

In other cases, the GM must make a In the Dreamlands, interviewing and

decision. Letting PCs make Access researching generally plays a lesser part
Challenges to get into Academic, Folk or in the Story (exploring is more
Police Archives might be perfectly important). Nevertheless, characters will
appropriate and a good way of building still listen to poets and musicians
up extra Clue Points. On the other hand, performing ballads, investigate
the setting, the time frame and the crumbling libraries and seek out priests
general tone of urgency might preclude or oracles for the same effects.
this sort of unhurried approach.

The GM has to make another decision, INVESTIGATION B:

whether to give out information, Clue EXPLORING
Points, or both. By and large, both is
best, since its always easy to take Clue The PCs visit a (possibly dangerous)
Points back off characters by charging location. There may be crime scenes to
them for extra details or revelations inspect, haunted houses to visit and or
later, but if players dont have enough mysterious individuals to spy on.
information they can find the Story
This will also be a mixture of roleplaying
and dice rolling. The GM will give out
Another consideration for the GM is the Clue Points (mostly Evidence) for coming
level of Peril. Some players enjoy up with good ideas or successful dice
interviewing NPCs and sifting through rolling. Some snippets of information,
documents, but this can become cut-scenes or revelations might only be
frustrating. Brushes with danger, sudden encountered if the PCs save up and hand
frights and disturbing encounters are over a certain number of Clue Points. In
part of the pacing of a horror-mystery particular, important discoveries like
Story. Moreover, some characters are secret rooms, hidden Grimoires or the
better suited to physical or mystical villains lair might require Clue Points to
problems, but have little to contribute to be used rather than a Challenge Roll to
mundane investigations. be made.

One option is for the GM to ask players Players might ask if they can make use of
to roll 1D and introduce a Peril after the more Elder Ruins to pick up extra Clues
indicated number of Clue Points have or Insight. Letting PCs make Access
been earned. The Peril doesnt have to Challenges to get into Esoteric Ruins
be a Shoggoth Attack a surly drunk at might be a good way of building up extra
the bar or evidence your room has been Clue Points. On the other hand, the GM
broken into can create a sense of Peril. is free to rule that no such Ruins are to
Another option is to have a PC make a hand or near enough to be reached in
Danger Check every time they gain a the time frame of the Story.
Clue Point, adding dice to each Check
Peril is usually closer at hand during an
until a Peril occurs. Well-prepared GMs
exploration phase or takes a more
will timetable Perils into their Stories
alarming form. Peril doesnt have to
mean attacks by Monsters the lights
going out, a fall through a rotten
floorboard, an alarming banging upstairs
or a disgusting stench. These can be
Stressors rather than dangers.

Cthulhu Abides

In the Dreamlands, exploring generally One feature of Crossing the Threshold is

plays a major part in the Story, usually in that the PCs pay the GM a crossing fee
the form of travel. Characters will take in Clue Points to indicate their
passage on strange galleys, cross deserts preparedness. This might be a token
or mountains and explore ancient ruins amount (ie equal to one Clue Point per
as well as descend into the Underworld Investigator) but it could be a more
or fly to the Moon. significant sum (10 Clue Points or more)
if the threshold comes at the end of an
Although they are treated here as
extended period of investigation.
separate phases, in a complex Story
researching/interviewing and exploring
may be blended. Investigators go If the PCs dont have the requisite Clue
through news cuttings (research), but Points to pay, the GM has two options:
then tail a mysterious figure to an old Send them back for more.
house (exploring), quiz neighbours about
the houses past (research), then break This is a very good way of indicating to
in (exploring). players that they havent uncovered
enough information to stand a chance
against the Mythos (or understand and
CROSSING THE appreciate the conclusion of the Story).
THRESHOLD This is quite appropriate where the
Threshold is a literal barrier, doorway or
There is a point in the Story where the journey that can stay closed until the
action shifts from mounting dread to GM wants it to open.
energetic terror. Usually, this comes
before the climax of a Story. In a classic Let them proceed, but at a
narrative, the Investigators Cross the penalty.
Threshold when they enter the villains Common penalties might be to
lair, the Monsters den or the Old Ones downgrade the teams Cohesion
temple. They are leaving the normal temporarily by one level (so a Close-Knit
world of reason, science and logic behind Team becomes Disjointed), to disallow
and entering the world of the Mythos any Preparedness Challenges beyond the
where anything can happen. Sometimes, threshold (so characters can only use
the threshold is crossed the other way equipment explicitly recorded on their
the Mythos comes to visit the PCs, with character sheets), to treat all Stressors
Monsters or Cultists invading the PCs and Horror Challenges as one level
home or attacking human civilisation. higher (representing the Investigators
unreadiness) or simply to make up the
Normally, the Threshold should be difference by deducting Insight from the
flagged up by the GM. This can be PCs.
explicit (Youre crossing the threshold
now, folks) or implicit, through a change This is better when theres no obvious in-
in atmosphere, description and imagery. Story reason why the players should not
Its important that players realise this be able to cross the threshold if they
shift has happened, so they can roleplay wish.
Sophisticated Stories might disguise the
threshold crossing deliberately to
mislead or fool the Investigators, so they
dont realise the danger they are in.

Cthulhu Abides

Complex Stories might have multiple In a Purist-Detective game, any

thresholds to cross, usually requiring Denouement tends to be intellectual,
only small Clue Point fees. Entering the such as a riddle or puzzle to be solved or
creepy old house might be a threshold, vital evidence or Artefacts to be
penetrating the secret tunnels recovered. The only Peril tends to come
underneath the house another, entering from a Stressor brought on by the new
the ancient temple in the caverns under revelations. The Final Denouement often
the house a third and final threshold. involves using knowledge, Artefacts or
Spells to defeat, banish, trap or escape
Thresholds dont have to be bad and
from some Mythos force. The Peril only
some times players want to cross them
occurs if this attempt fails and is often
but cant. A visit from the Elder God
Nodens offering help and advice might
be a threshold and Investigators might One feature of Denouements/Ordeals in
spend Clues to trigger this intervention. Cthulhu Abides is that Clue Points can
now be spent by Investigators, turning
The GM will identify and prepare
them into Bonuses. For example,
thresholds at the start of a Story. Some
spending 3 Clue Points gives a character
have to be crossed, but others may be
a +3 Bonus for a particular Challenge.
optional side-missions, cut-scenes or
interventions. In a Purist-Detective game, this Bonus
will be used to translate a crucial scroll,
In the Dreamlands, getting to the
enact an ancient ritual or making a
Dreamlands is itself a threshold crossing.
successful Certainty Challenge.
Oneirist characters may cross for free,
but others will need to pick up Clue In a Pulp-Adventure game, its more
Points from their normal dreams to pay likely to be a Bonus on a combat roll. In
the crossing fee. This is usually a token either type of game, the Final
cost (one Clue per dreamer) but might Denouement or Ordeal can actually be
be higher for PCs with Philosophies like an escape attempt, with Investigators
Rationalist or Cynic or unnecessary for running for their lives while the
Phantasists. Monsters awaken, the cave system
collapses or Nyarlathotep laughs
ORDEAL In a Purist-Detective Game, Clue
Bonuses must be added before
The Denouement is the scene at the end the Challenge Roll has been
of a detective story where the murderer made, not knowing what
is unmasked and the mystery explained. number will actually be rolled.
The Ordeal is a similar stage in an This rewards caution and good
adventure story where the hero judgement in players and makes
confronts his nemesis. theatrical/cinematic behaviour
less likely.
In a Horror-Mystery RPG the
Denouement/Ordeal will occur when the In a Pulp-Adventure game, the Final
threshold has been crossed. If there are Ordeal is a showdown and the
several thresholds, then crossing the last Investigators are trying to kill (or at least,
one will lead to the Final Denouement or incapacitate) a Monster or God and/or
Final Ordeal. rescue important people, Artefacts or
Grimoires from it.
In a Pulp-Adventure Game, Clue
Bonuses may be added after the

Cthulhu Abides

Challenge Roll has been made, to A nominal cost would be a single Clue
try and bring the roll up to the Point to bring about the return of all the
target number needed. This surviving Investigators. This would be
rewards a more reckless, appropriate if they were already
flamboyant style of play. physically in their homes, in a friendly
city or due to be rescued by friendly
GMs may want to limit the size of this
forces. If Investigators have to get
Clue Bonus to stop Investigators blowing
themselves home under their own
all their remaining Clue Points on a single
power, then a cost of one Clue Point
overwhelming Challenge Roll.
each is appropriate.
A useful mechanic is to limit the Bonus to
+6 minus the PCs Current Madness If the Story left the Investigators in a very
Level. For example, a PC who is precarious position (on a desert island
Deranged4 can only spend (6-4) 2 Clue somewhere in the Pacific, in a gaol in
Points at a time for a maximum +2 Mongolia) then a substantial cost like 10
Bonus. The GM has the final say on Clue Points might be imposed.
whether Clue Points can be used to add a
Bonus. If the GM wishes PCs to have Clue If the PCs can meet the cost of the
Points for the next Threshold, vetoing a return, they will be ready to face the
Clue Bonus may be in the best interest of next Story with their Base Madness Level
the Investigators. restored and any Wounds healed.

THE RETURN TO SAFETY Characters who do not pay the cost of

safe return will not be assumed to have
The return to safety may or may not be regained their health and sanity between
an important feature in a Story, adventures and will have to use Reward
depending on where it takes place. If the Dice to heal Wounds and bring down
Investigators have barricaded their Madness Level. Otherwise, they
themselves into their own study to fight start the next Story highly mad (perhaps
off the Hounds of Tindalos throughout in Fugue) and possibly injured.
the night, then in the morning they
return to safety by surviving and walking In the Dreamlands, returning to safety
out into the street. In other Stories, means waking up unhurt with only a
Investigators may find themselves deep reasonable amount of time having
in the woods, in a cavern far passed in the Waking World. If the cost
underground or on an ice floe in the of safe return is not met, the GM may
Antarctic. declare that a huge amount of time has
passed (with the character assumed
Returning to safety is like crossing back missing, ill or dead), some side-effect of
over a threshold and it has a cost in Clue the dreaming adventure carries over into
Points to be done successfully. the Waking World (such as Night-Gaunts
or Ghouls) and/or the dreamers Lores
do not re-set themselves at their Base
Levels, causing problems the next time
the character visits the Dreamlands.

Cthulhu Abides

Clue Points represent a sort of Another use for Clue Points is turning
conversation between the GM and the them into Bonuses for Challenges. This is
players. The GM gives out Clue Points for entirely at the GMs discretion and will
roleplaying interviews well, looking in normally only apply for a Challenge that
smart places or making really successful arises directly from the Investigators
Challenges at things like research. Typically, the Clue Bonus is
Perception/Investigation. used to attack or defeat the Monster or
main antagonist at the end of the Story,
Sane characters can also get Deduction
once the Investigators have figured out
Clues for thinking of clever things or
the creatures nature, purposes and
even just making Creativity/Dream
weakness. The Clue Bonus might be
applied to a Combat Challenge to fight
Players give Clue Points back to the GM the monster or a Magic Challenge to
in exchange for information. In a well banish it.
structured Story, the players will pick up
Players need to be advised by the GM
a bunch of Clue Points in their early
how Clue Points are being used in the
investigations then spend them all to get
game they are playing in. If a certain
the information they need to get to the
number of Clue Points are needed to
conclusion or climax of the Story.
unlock the climax then players wont
The GM may design a Story so that the want to fritter them away on Preparation
climax or other key scenes or locations rolls or Bonuses in fighting Monsters.
can only be unlocked once the
Similarly, if the GM intends that the
Investigators have accumulated enough
Clues should be turned into Bonuses to
Clue Points. A typical tariff might be to
give the players a fighting chance against
charge the entire group 5 Clue Points to
a nasty Monster, this should be obvious.
unlock a minor scene or 10 Clue Points to
unlock a climax; alternatively, each Both of these examples are typical of a
individual Investigator may be asked to Pulp/Adventure style game. In typical
contribute 1 or 2 Clue Points. Purist/Detective Stories, Investigators
must use their own wits to reach the
Usually, theres no difference between
conclusion and defeat the Monster; Clue
Evidece and Testimony Clues, but the
Points are to be used along the way
GM might ask for a specific type. For
rather than hoarded until the end.
example, if the players are struggling to
locate an Elder Ruin, 5 Evidence Clues In a simple Story, 5 Clue Points might
might be a paid to turn up an old map cross the Threshold and unlock the
showing its whereabouts. Similarly, if the Denouement or Ordeal. It's not difficult
players are finding it difficult to get NPCs to pick up 5 Clue Points from cursory
to tell them what they need to know, 5 investigations.
Testimony Clues might bring on a
If the GM asks for 10 Clue Points for a
friendly NPC who spills the beans and
Threshold, this will turn away under-
makes some aspects of the mystery
prepared investigators and ensure they
more clear.
do their research thoroughly before
heading off to confront the horrors of
the Mythos.

Cthulhu Abides

A Threshold requiring 15 or 20 Clue Of course, you can also get Insight from
Points requires a significant amount of falling into a Fugue state, but thats
detective work before hand. It alerts the much more inconvenient.
PCs to the fact that there is much more
Later on in these rules there will be more
to be uncovered before they'll be ready
ways of gathering Clues or Insight at the
to take on the Mythos. It may also mean
start of a Story: infiltrating a Cult or an
they can't create huge Bonuses during
Elder Ruin or being Transfigured by a
the Ordeal.
Mythos God. These, however, are more
Archives and Grimoires are part of this risky than browsing in an Archive.
system. In the early stages of an
Investigator may also gather Gnosis, a
investigation, PCs will consult Archives
sort of magical energy that is generated
for extra Clue Points. Archives related to
by taking part in the worship of Cults or
a characters Profession can be accessed
encountering Old Ones or Gods directly.
automatically, but the GM may expect
Gnosis is usually used to boost the
PCs to make an Access Challenge or
Potency of Spells, but it can be cashed
roleplay convincingly to gain access to
in for Insight by Investigators (each 1D
other Archives.
of Gnosis turns into a point of Insight).
Sometimes the GM will have decided on
As a campaign progresses from one Story
specific information that can be
to the next, PCs will start acquiring their
uncovered at an Archive instead of a
own Grimoires and earning access to
Clue Point.
more and more Archives. They might
Insight points are very useful in this also start converting their excess Insight
game, because they let characters re-roll into Epistles insane scribblings that can
Dice. Most Investigators start a Story generate Clues or Insight when read
with very little Insight (you can only carry during a later Story.
between Stories an amount of Insight of
Experienced Investigators will have
each type equal to your Base Madness
resources at their disposal that enable
Level). This means one of the first things
them to generate a stack of Clues and
Stressed or Insane PCs will want to do is
Insight before they even set foot in a
consult an Archive or Grimoire to gather
creepy old house, but then they are
the Insight from it.
probably up against more deadly and
unforgiving enemies.

Cthulhu Abides

One of the things we wanted to do with Researching a Spell is a long-
Cthulhu Abides was get away from Spell winded process that only works
Lists. In the early days of RPGs, magic- at all if you are mad.
users knew lists of spells and a spell book
Professor Armitage was able to put
was something that contained a list of
together his Yog-Sothoth blast after
new ones. Magic-users added to their
suffering a complete nervous
lists and grew more versatile. Nothing
could be further from the spirit of
Lovecrafts magical books and mystical For humans (or part-humans),
powers. performing Magic depends on
using Mythos Grimoires.
In Lovecrafts Mythos, magic is really
science. Its a demented, blasphemous Humans just dont have what it takes
alien science that only aliens, monsters to do Magic without a Grimoire.
and madmen can understand, but its However, they dont need the
still science. In the past it was mistaken Grimoire there in their hand the
for magic by occultists and recorded as moment they cast the Spell. Its
such, but this just goes to show how enough to have studied the Grimoire
wide-of-the-mark human civilization has beforehand and worked out the
been for the past 5000 years. Science words, gestures, ingredients, etc that
doesnt give you a bunch of one-shot you need
techniques that produce hard-and-fast The Grimoires dont contain
effects. On the contrary, science gives ready made Spells. They contain
you procedures you can adapt creatively advice, hints, invocations,
to any problem. So long as you know procedures.
what youre doing. And (because this is
demented, blasphemous, alien science), The trick is to adapt these creatively
so long as youre a madman. to induce the magical effect you
The best example in a Lovecraftian story
of Player Characters using magic is The There are fairly standard rituals
Dunwich Horror. Here, monstrous hybrid and invocations that help out
Wilbur Whateley wants to summon Yog- any Spell.
Sothoth but his (earthly) fathers books Wilbur Whateley talks about the
dont have enough of what he needs. Voorish Sign and Professor Armitage
The Latin Necronomicon at the uses the Powder of Ibn Ghazi. These
Miskatonic University does, but Wilbur is seem to be elements in any Mythos
(rather disappointingly) killed by a guard Sorcerers occult kit bag.
dog before he can steal it. Professor
Armitage and his allies then use the Following these principles, Cthulhu
same Necronomicon to cobble together a Abides uses a freeform magic system,
spell that will destroy Wilburs ghastly where the PC describes the effect he or
twin brother. she is trying to bring about and the GM
works out which Abjuration (magical
From this a number of guiding principles school) is appropriate, what Grimoires
emerge: are needed and what the precise effect
of the Spell is once it is cast.

Cthulhu Abides

Esoteric Magic usually requires that the
caster is Stressed, expends Esoteric or
Mythos Insight and any Esoteric Spell is
an Unnatural4 Stressor with a Score
equal to its Potency.

All magic is really the alien science of Spell Difficulty

the Great Old Ones and other Mythos
beings or else the will of the Other Gods The first problem for a human spell-
and Elder Gods focused on earth in a caster is getting the Spell to work.
special way. Most sorcerers and miracle
workers do not realise this and possess A Spell Challenge is made using
only fragments of true magic, clothed in Intellect/Occult and the Difficulty is high
the symbols and rituals of their religion 20 for Esoteric Spells, 30 for Mythos
and culture. These skewed and Spells. Various things can bring this
incomplete perspectives form the Difficulty down, such as longwinded
Abjurations into which magic falls. rituals, magical ingredients which create
Sympathy. Some Abjurations lower the
Mythos Magic Difficulty by a certain amount in
exchange for lowering the Spells
These are magical traditions with a direct Potency by a similar amount.
and uncorrupted vision of the dreadful
truths of the Mythos. They are the most If the Spell Challenge fails, there can still
potent magics but are especially harmful be unpleasant side-effects, but the
to human Mythos spell-casters - called caster doesnt have to suffer a Stressor.
Sorcerers. However, all Insight spent in the process
is lost.
Casting a Mythos Spell is only possible
for most characters when they are Spell Potency
Insane. Only Mythos Insight can be used
to improve a Mythos Spell. Any Mythos Even if the Spell works, it might not be
Spell is a Mythos6 Stressor with a Score strong enough to do what was needed.
equal to its Potency. The Potency of a Spell is like the Damage
of an attack in combat. It is a separate
Esoteric Magic score created by a separate roll. Mythos
creatures have their own Potency so
These are human magical and mystical their Spells automatically do what they
traditions that do not acknowledge their want (most of the time) but humans
basis in the alien and inter-dimensional have no Potency of their own.
science of the Old Ones and the Other
Gods. Because they are ignorant about The main source of Potency for humans
their true origins, these magics are is a magical Grimoire, Scroll or Epistle.
limited in effect, but they are also less Potency can also be collected from the
dangerous to the spell-caster or Gnosis offered by Mythos gods, their
Theurgist - who performs them. Cults or certain prized Artefacts.

Cthulhu Abides

The only restriction on this is that all the This is why ambitious Theurgists seek
ingredients used in a Spell must share out Mythos Magic.
the same Abjuration. Abjurations are
2. Spells should be unforgiving.
thematic magical groupings of Grimoires,
Cults, Elder Ruins and Gods that share Esoteric Magic is a human twisting of
similar mythological origins. true Mythos Magic in line with
mankinds fixation of justice and
NPCs and Monsters have a Magic goodness. In essence, though, they
Score which is checked to see if are hostile and dangerous forces.
they cast the Spell successfully There should be a cost or a sacrifice
(often against a PCs Magic Resist in most Spells, a sort of poetic justice,
Challenge) and also serves as the which should be darker and more
Spells Potency. macabre the more powerful the
Mythos Spells have a Potency effect. For example, Spells which
that can go as high as 30; make a person romantically
Esoteric Spells have a Potency attractive also make him impotent;
that can go as high as 20 Spells that make a person as strong
The Complications of Spells as a bear give him a craving for raw
Cthulhu Abides uses a freeform magic 3. Esoteric Spells are no match for
system, encouraging GM and players to the Mythos.
work together designing atmospheric
and memorable Spells. There are two Esoteric Curses fail against Mythos
principles to Mythos Spell creation: Wards and Esoteric Wards are no
protection against Mythos attacks.
1. Spells should be provocative, Esoteric Summonses only work on
stimulating new stories and plot Mythos creatures who wish to be
developments. summoned. Of course, sometimes
Mythos creatures will enact a
A Portal to transport Investigators pantomime of being affected by
home should have a chance of Esoteric Magic, the better to exploit
dropping them in Leng; a sword that humans or disguise their true nature.
deals out unhealable wounds should
gradually replace the wielders mind
with that of a dead ancestor.
2. Spells should be creepy.
All Mythos Spells are alien in origin
and none were meant to be used by
humans. Performing them should
involve perverse or destructive
behaviour or else they should have
corrupting or disturbing side effects.

There are three guiding principles for

Esoteric Spells:

1. Spells are temporary, so the

Theurgist must keep repeating
the casting process at regular
intervals otherwise their benefits

Cthulhu Abides

Esoteric Abjurations

Roll Abjuration Description Complications

1 Angelical Prayers and rites laid down by the Require extensive purification,
Christian churches or derived from personal sacrifice or else they punish
heretical scriptures the caster for his sins
2 Demonist Inversions of Angelical rituals, using Needs living sacrifices, blasphemous
Black Masses, orgies and virgin rituals and often rebounds on the
sacrifices caster in a malevolent way
3 Hermetic Mystical disciplines derived from Needs alchemical equipment and
the writings of Hermes astrological timing; can backfire
Trismegistus; based on alchemical explosively or poisonously
4 Kabbalist Mystical disciplines derived from Requires ritual purification,
Jewish scriptures and traditions; knowledge of a beings name,
based on meditating on numbers mathematical calculations and
and the power of true names meditation; may drive the caster mad
5 Necromancy Contacting the dead, through Involves visiting graveyards or tombs,
psychical research, spiritualism or exhuming dead bodies, creating
voodoo traditions voodoo dolls and taking drugs; may
result in spirit possession
6 Pagan Rituals laid down by the pagan Needs living sacrifices or self
tribes of Europe and preserved scarification, brewing potions or
through folklore; based on evoking using poppets and runic symbols;
nature spirits, cursing and healing. may turn caster into a beast or
produce uncontrollable urges

Mythos Abjurations

Roll Abjuration Description Complications

1 Azathoth The rituals that contact Yog Sothoth Sorcerers often get physically
and the Other Gods through knowing transformed, abducted or driven
their names and chants insane or simply blasted
2 Chthonic Chants and rituals that summon the Caster is impregnated or mutated by
Chthonic Old Ones or Shub-Niggurath the Tsathoggua or Yig; often only
effective underground
3 Hyborian The magic of the lost human Caster may fall under the power of
civilisations from before the Ice Ages, ancient undead sorcerer, be cursed
preserved in the Dreamlands; invokes to complete ancient quests or drawn
the Elder Gods into the Dreamlands
4 Pnakotic The alien science of earths earlier Sorcerers are often psychically
rulers, the Elder Things and the Great abducted by the Yiths while their
Race of Yith. Uses alien technology or bodies are left as husks or possessed
psionic mind powers by aliens
5 Rlyeh The alien science of Cthulhu, his Sorcerers usually go mad or are
spawn, servitors and cults, largely sought out and killed by the Cthulhu
preserved by the Deep Ones and the Cult; effects linked to the stars and
Starry Wisdom Cult may stop working or backfire when
the stars are not right
6 Yuggoth The alien science of the fungoid Mi- Weird technology often backfires or
Go, largely based around dimensional involves transferring the casters
travel and bizarre technology brain to another body or receptacle

Cthulhu Abides

Creating a time portal to the time of the

The GM might be even stricter about
Great Race of Yith might only be possible
Abjurations, ruling that some Spells will
with Pnakotic Abjurations; summoning
only work if the right Abjuration is used.
Cthulhu from the depths might require

Types of Spell

Spell Description
1. Binding Control a person, animal or Monster and compel it to serve your will
The Bindings Potency must exceed the targets Resistance (or Resist
Challenge) to control it
Esoteric Binding only usually lasts for a Scene and cannot affect Mythos
Mythos Binding can last indefinitely, but subject to the Spells
2. Curse Blast your enemy with magic and make them die hideously
The Curses Potency must exceed the targets Resistance (or Resist
Challenge) to Wound it
Esoteric Curses only inflict Stunning Wounds
Mythos Curses inflict Killing Wounds
3. Evoke Channel magical energies into someone or something to make them powerful
See table below for effects
4. Exaltation [Esoteric only] Manipulate luck, good fortune, popularity and social pressures to
bring prosperity and advancement
See table below for effects
4. Portal [Mythos only] Open conduits through time or space to other worlds, dimensions
or aeons
See table below for effects
5. Summon These draw a person, animal or Monster to you
The Summonings Potency must exceed the targets Resistance (or Resist
Challenge) to attract it
Esoteric Summoning attracts the target under its own speed and may
take days to arrive; will not affect Mythos entities
Mythos Summoning can be instantaneous
6. Ward Create a defence or prison which a monster or person cannot approach, attack
or escape
The Wards Potency must exceed the targets Resistance (or Resist
Challenge) to repel or trap it
Esoteric Wards only usually lasts for a Scene and cannot affect Mythos
Mythos Wards last indefinitely, but subject to the Spells Complications

Potency Effect
5 Change the superficial appearance of something, like its colour, apparent age,
cleanliness or state of repair
8 Alter or mutate something noticeably, so it no long looks like it did but is still
10 Alter or mutate something dramatically, so it is no longer recognisable
12 Bring someone back from a Killing Wound or protect against a Killing Wound
15 Restore a limb or organ Maimed by a Killing Wound; cure diseases and poisons

Cthulhu Abides

18 Rearrange the limbs and physiology of a creature, altering its Scores and
Attributes and giving it powers like flight, water breathing or invisibility
20 Reanimate the dead or give life and intelligence to animals or objects
22 Alter your body into a new form or transfer your consciousness to another body
25 Make yourself immune to age, disease or death by normal means or alter
someone elses body or mind into a new form
28 Alter your body into monstrous or alien forms
30 Alter anyones body into monstrous or alien forms
Changing/altering can be a slow process of mutation, a surgical process of removing and adding
organs (Yuggoth) or a sudden but illusory change (Hyborian)

Potency Effect
5 Makes you attractive to someone else, helps you find something you lost
8 Makes you sexually attractive to someone else,
10 Makes you seem wise, competent or authoritative to others
12 Creates lucky breaks (same as spending Insight, but others can benefit)
15 Creates opportunities for jobs, promotion, marriage or business deals
18 Creates opportunities for wealth or political power
20 Creates the opportunity for your dream to come true
Exalting duplicates the effect of a Charm, Class or Creativity Challenge; effects are temporary

Potency Effect
5 Share thoughts with someone you touch
8 Share thoughts with someone you see
10 Share thoughts with someone you know or view them; create a portal to
somewhere you can see
12 Share thoughts with or view someone whose name you know or whose personal
items you possess (a condition for all the further powers) or view a place you can
imagine; create a portal to somewhere you have been; conjure something you see
15 Share thoughts with someone recently dead or view the recent past or near
future; create a portal through the Angles or to somewhere you can imagine or
the Dreamlands in your sleep; conjure something you have owned
18 Share thoughts with or view someone from the historic past; view another world;
create a portal to anywhere on a map; conjure something you have seen
20 Share thoughts with or view someone from the pre-historic past; create a portal to
another world (the Moon, Yuggoth, Shaggai, Celeano) or view a legendary or lost
place; conjure something you have seen depicted or described
22 Share thoughts with or view someone from the pre-human past or a Monster;
create a portal to the past or a legendary place (Rlyeh, Irem, Kadath, Lost Carcosa)
or view one of the Gods or Old Ones; conjure something from another world
25 Share thoughts with a lesser God or Old One; create a portal to the Hyborian past;
conjure an Esoteric Artefact
28 Share thoughts with an Other God or Great Old One; create a portal to the Elder
past or the future; conjure a Mythos Artefact
30 Share thoughts with Nyarlathotep, Cthulhu; create a portal to the throne of
Azathoth; conjure something from the past or the future
Sharing thoughts can mean telepathy or swapping minds (or, in the Yuggoth Abjuration, brains);
portals can be teleports, gateways, vehicles or creatures that serve as steeds; conjuring means
teleporting an object or transforming something (or someone)

Cthulhu Abides

Reducing the Difficulty of Spells Sympathy is a pool of dice that can be

rolled and the result is deducted from
The GM may agree that some Spells are the Spell Difficulty. Sympathy may come
particularly Easy (-3 or -1) or Difficult (+1, from several different sources six of
+3) and use the Difficulty Modifiers for them are shown here:
normal actions.
Magic Description Sympathy Mechanic
Athame The presence of certain cultic If the Athame is to hand, difficulty goes
items or alien technology makes down by 1D
magic easier.
Facility Making the intended effect Each point deducted from the Spells
weaker. This is the usual strategy Potency Bonus lowers the Difficulty by 1;
for PCs, who can attempt weaker, the Facility benefit can never be greater
limited versions of the awesome than the Spells Abjuration Potency Bonus
powers of the Mythos. (see below).
Incantations Certain chants and gestures can Characters must roll Intellect/Occult and
[Mythos Only] be used by Sorcerers and most spend Insight; score is raised by 1D or 2D
PCs to lower the Difficulty slightly. per Incantation
Ritual Performing lengthy and often Use Teamwork: team leader rolls
obscene ceremonies. This is an Intellect/Occult; assistants add Intellect
option not usually open to PCs Dice; everyone spends Insight: this is a
6 4
because the rituals are dangerous, Mythos Extreme Horror or an Unnatural
inhumane and mad. Extreme Horror for Esoteric Magic
Sacrifice Offering living victims to catch the A suitable victim reduces the difficulty by
attention of the Mythos beings. 1D but is Unnatural ; mass sacrifice gives
PCs will rarely take this option. 2D or 3D but is Extreme Horror
Time & Place Casting the spells at a propitious A sympathetic location lowers the difficulty
place or time. Such locales are by 1D and so does a sympathetic time
often dangerous.

Several Incantations popular with Each Incantation adds 1D to the Spell
Mythos Sorcerers are listed below. A Challenge, but if the Incantation matches
Sorcerer must spend Insight for each one the Spells Abjuration then the value is
and make a separate roll; if one roll fails, 2D.
all the Incantations fail.
Incantation Description Difficulty Abjuration
Cthulhu fhtagn Ph'nglui Mglw'nafh 10 Rlyeh
Cthulhu R'lyeh
wgah'nagl fhtagn
Elder Sign 12 All, but only for
Wards or Binding
I, Shub-Niggurath! I! Shub-Niggurath! The 8 Azathoth & R'lyeh
Black Goat of the Woods
with a Thousand Young!
Powder of Ibn Ghazi Dust alchemised from a 15 All, but only for
200 year old corpse Curses or Evocation
Seal of NGah 10 Chthonic

Voorish Sign ? 8 Hyborian

Yellow Sign ? 10 Azathoth & Yuggoth

Cthulhu Abides

The GM can choose a fiendish accident

When Spells Go Wrong or roll on the table:
Failing a roll to cast a Spell is a bad thing
because something almost always


Roll Spell Mishap Description
1 Nothing A lot of wasted time and effort
2 Hints The Theurgist regains 1D points of Esoteric Insight
3 Horrid Dreams An Otherworldly Stressor troubles the Theurgists mind
4 Degeneration The Theurgist is physical exhausted and mentally frustrated, losing a
point in either (1D: 1-3) Creativity or (4-6) Physique
5 Madness An Otherworldly Extreme Horror blasts the Theurgists mind
6 Mythos The Theurgist attracts the attention of a Mythos being who will start to
Contact manipulate him; alternatively, Transfiguration occurs

Of course, the consequences of failing a

Mythos Spell are worse.


Roll Spell Mishap Description
1 Explosion A huge explosion consumes the Sorcerer and his workplace; Damage is
8D/+12 and cannot be resisted with Dodge or Armour
2 Madness A Mythos Extreme Horror blasts the Sorcerers Mind
3 Stalker A Monster is dispatched to destroy the presumptuous Sorcerer
4 Transformation The Sorcerer is bodily transformed into something inhuman, either
suddenly or slowly this might mean gaining a Ghoul Point
5 Transfiguration The Sorcerer is Transfigured by a Mythos entity (if in doubt,
Nyarlathotep); roll 1D for the starting Blasphemy Level
6 Snatched Away The Sorcerer is pulled through the Angles, then left there

When Spells Go Right A character can choose to forget a Spell,

destroying or hiding (but not giving
If the Spell is successful, the GM decides away) any of the Grimoires, Athame or
what form it takes, how often it is used other items that went into its making.
(never more than once per Story) and This will restore the characters Base
what effect it has. Madness Level.
Each Mythos Spell a character
knows automatically raises her
Potency of a Spell
Base Madness Level by +1. Even if you cast a Spell successfully, it
Every two Esoteric Spells known needs to be Potent enough to work. The
adds +1 to the casters Base Potency depends on the Grimoire(s) the
Madness Level Sorcerer is using. Simple Grimoires often
have a Potency of 1D (or score of 3) but
the legendary Al Azif has a Potency of
15D (or 20).

Cthulhu Abides

Some other ingredients add to the All the dice are taken together then
overall Potency of a Spell. rolled like a Challenge. The casters
Dream Bonus can be applied if they have
Gnosis is a sort of floating pool of the Magician, Theurgist or Sorcerer
Potency that can be saved until used up Merits.
on a Spell or cashed in for Insight or
Clues. It may come from Transfiguration In addition, each Spell gets a Bonus to its
or the help of a Cult or the use of some Potency depending on the Abjuration
Scrolls or Artefacts. being used and the Spell Type. The
Abjuration must be compatible with the
Every additional source of Potency Grimoire being used.
added into a Spell requires the caster to
spend a point of Insight.
Abjuration Binding Curse Evoke Exalting Summon Ward
Angelical +3 +0 +4 +2 +1 +5
Demonist +0 +3 +1 +5 +4 +2
Hermetic +2 +5 +3 +1 +0 +4
Kabbalist +5 +2 +0 +4 +3 +1
Necromantic +1 +4 +2 +0 +5 +3
Pagan +4 +1 +5 +3 +2 +0


Abjuration Binding Curse Evoke Portal Summon Ward
Azathoth +9 +6 +7 +8 +10 +5
Chthonic +7 +10 +5 +6 +8 +9
Hyborian +6 +9 +10 +5 +7 +8
Pnakotic +8 +5 +6 +7 +9 +10
Rlyeh +10 +7 +8 +9 +5 +6
Yuggoth +5 +8 +9 +10 +6 +7

Most human Sorcerers will have used the In some cases, the GM might allow a
Facility option to reduce the Difficulty lesser effect to take place after a failed
enough to cast the Spell in the first place, Potency roll, but should insist the caster
so this must be deducted from the rolls on the Spell Mishap table to
Spells Potency, possibly wiping it out represent this unplanned effect.
any Bonus altogether.
Re-Using Spells
If the rolled Potency isnt high enough to
achieve the effect the caster wanted, Most Spells tend to be one-off affairs,
then usually nothing occurs, but the created to tackle a particular problem
character will still have spent Insight and during a particular adventure. However
suffered a Stressor for casting a Spell. some Spells (especially Cursings and
The Certainty Challenge to Resist this Summonings) might have wider
Stressor has a Difficulty equal to the application and Investigators might want
Potency that was rolled. to cast the Spell again and again.

Cthulhu Abides

When a Spell is created, the PC should Hengist decides not to attempt any
record the number of Dice and the size horrible Ritual or Sacrifice but he does
of the Bonus that created the Spells venture into the Dreamlands and
original Potency. If the Spell is re-cast the perform the Spell on the Isle of Oriab
PC doesnt have to re-roll the original under Mount Ngranek and this is highly
Intellect/Occult Challenge to make the sympathetic: Hengists player rolls 1D,
Spell work in the first place. Spending a scores (5) 5 and the Difficulty drops to
point of the right sort of Insight is 25.
enough to make the Spell work, but the
Potency must be re-rolled each time. Hengist decides to use Facility and
deducts 6 from the Difficulty, taking it
down to 19 and noting that the Potency
will drop by 6 too.
Re-casting Attempt Limit
Spontaneous -2 Hengist performs the Voorish Sign. He
Close replication -1 passes his Intellect/Occult roll and spends
Different Grimoire -1 a point of Mythos Insight. Because the
Sign is aligned to the Hyperborian
Abjuration, he can roll 2D and since he
If the Spell is re-attempted in a scores (2, 3) 3. He attempts an Elder Sign
spontaneous, unplanned way, there is a - and succeeds in his roll, spends another
2 Limit on the Potency Challenge. If an Insight and rolls 2D again; he scores (1,
attempt is made to replicate the original 3) another 3 for a total of 6. He invokes
casting, adapted to a new time and Shub-Niggurath successfully, spends
place, then there is only a -1 Limit. The another Insight and rolls a 2, so no effect.
GM might allow a Spell cast in exactly In total his Incantations reduce the
the same way as the first time (using the Difficulty by (3+3) 6, so the Difficulty is
same Rituals, Grimoires and Sympathetic now 13.
Locations) to suffer no Limit. If the PC
uses better Grimoires, the Potency roll Hengist is out of Insight and, in any
might be increased, but a -1 Limit will event, doesnt want to risk another
still apply for altering the original Incantation because if he failed the roll
formula. then all the Incantations would fail and
he would have to attempt the Spell at
Example of a Mythos Spell Being Difficulty 19 with no further chance to
reduce it.
Hengist rolls Intellect/Occult to cast the
Hengist Winthrop, a Deranged4 Scholar,
Spell, scores (5, 6, 2, 5, 2) and a +4 Bonus
wants to create a Spell to bind a Night-
for 14 and succeeds. Now he must
determine its Potency. A translated
Grimoire like his is worth 5D; as a
The GM says that Night-Gaunts need to
Sorcerer, Hengist gets to add his Dream
be bound using the Hyborian Abjuration
Bonus but the +6 Hyborian Bonus was
since they are creatures of the
wiped out by his use of Facility. Hengist
Dreamlands. Fortunately Hengist has a
scores (4, 3, 1, 4, 4) and a +4 Dream
damaged copy of Cultes Des Goules in an
Bonus for 16 in total.
English translation and this book links to
the Hyborian Abjuration as well as
Azathoth and Rlyeh. He spends a point
of Mythos Insight to start the Spell.

Cthulhu Abides

The GM decides that Hengist has created They can be acquired from Mythos Spell
a mystical melody that will control any Mishaps, Geist effects, Transfigurations
Night-Gaunt with a Enmity of 16 or less or associating with Ghouls or their
but which creates Unnatural4 music for burrows - including studying Cultes des
anyone else present. Goules or viewing Pickman's ghastly
Each use of the flute costs a point of
Mythos Insight but Harvey will have to Every time a Ghoul Point is gained, the
re-roll the Potency with 5D and a +4 character must make a Danger Check
Bonus. However, the Potency Challenge with 1D for each Ghoul Point. If any
will usually suffer a -1 Limit (-2 if Harvey come up 6, the transformation into a
doesnt even use the flute). Ghoul begins (-1 to Charm & Intellect, +1
to Base Madness, +1D Potency for any
Hengists Base Madness Level increases Mythos Spell, +1D Mythos Insight each
by +1 so long as he knows this Spell. He Story) and the change is completed
has spent 4 Mythos Insight, plus any when the next Ghoul Point is gained or if
Insight he used to travel the Dreamlands the character is Transfigured. Characters
and adjust his dice rolls. who become full Ghouls should be
retired - they are now NPCs.
Ghoul Points
Removing Ghoul Points might be
Ghoul Points measure a character's possible with experimental treatment in
transformation into a monster. certain sanatoriums. This is a Difficulty
15 Reward.

In Cthulhu Abides, characters have access Nevertheless, theres a lot PCs can do to
to magic quite freely. All a character improve the odds.
needs to cast a Spell is a successful
Visiting special places, waiting for special
Intellect/Occult Challenge and a source
times, performing tricky Incantations or
of Potency, usually a Grimoire. The
trading off Potency for Facility can lower
Magic System is freeform, allowing
the Difficulty of a Spell.
players to come up with any Spell-effect
they can imagine. Potency itself gets a boost based on the
Spells Abjuration and theres no reason
Its not quite as simple as that.
why spell-casters should restrict
The Difficulty for the Intellect/Occult themselves to just one Grimoire. In fact,
Challenge is set really high (30 for getting access to several different
Mythos Spells, 20 for Esoteric Spells). Grimoires is the classic approach to
boosting your Spells power. This means
The Potency Challenge that follows tends
visiting different Archives or pooling
to be quite Difficult for significant
resources. The only restriction is that the
magical effects at least 12+, often
Grimoires must all share the same
much higher to travel to other worlds or
bind powerful entities. The Dice available
for a Potency Challenge tend to be
limited, 4-6 for most Grimoires.

Cthulhu Abides

On the face of it, magic can be a GMs should be careful with this, since if
headache for a GM. In a Story where every Spell backfires then players will
Investigators are supposed to confront give up on magic, but one backfire in six
the Shoggoth in the old mine and trap it sounds like fair odds and GMs might
down there with dynamite, they can make a Danger Check to see if a Spell
instead research a Spell to Bind it or works out as it was supposed to.
Ward it or even Curse it.
Although the different Abjurations are
One response is to welcome these provided to give magic a sense of theme
developments. After all, Spells arent and style, the GM could interpret them
easy and many Mythos creatures are more strictly. Abjurations might be
highly resistant to magic (having high specifically required for certain Spells.
Enmity Scores and the X symbols that For example, Binding a Shoggoth might
indicate Limits on any Potency Rolls to require the Pnakotic Abjuration. This
overcome them). Reading Grimoires limits the Grimoires a character can use,
imposes a Stressor and the most sending would-be spell-casters further
powerful Grimoires are Extreme Horrors afield to acquire the Potency.
that either catapult a PC straight into
Players may use Teamwork to bring
madness or impose an automatic hike to
down the sky-high Difficulty levels of
Current Madness Level.
Spell Casting Challenges. "Teamwork"
Furthermore, most characters have to be means conducting a Ritual, with the full
Insane even to attempt Mythos Magic, panoply of cowled figures chanting,
while the easier, weaker Esoteric Magic blood sacrifice, orgies and self-
has no effect on creatures of the Mythos. mutilation. Attempting this is always an
Extreme Horror because of the alien
Finally, every Mythos Spell created
psychology underlying magic - Mythos6
increases a characters Base Madness
for Mythos Spells, Unnatural4 for Esoteric
Level. Many players figure their
Spells, the Horror Score being equal to
characters can cope with Base Madness
the Potency achieved. Few player
in the Stressed category, but beyond this
characters choose this - it's a recipe for
players need to think hard before
turning into a Maniac6 straight away.
choosing magic as their solution.
Team Members must be of the right
Despite this, a GM might decide to Madness Level and each must contribute
restrict magic further. It is perfectly fair a point of their own Insight.
to allow Spell-use only to characters with
Because Professor Armitage and his
supernatural Perks (Theurgist, Sorcerer,
assistants did appear to use some sort of
Magician) or the Spiritualist Profession
Teamwork against the Dunwich Horror,
(see Appendix II).
the Magician Perk is provided (p147),
It is up to the GM to interpret the allowing characters to perform Rituals
outcome of a Spell, since Magic is alien quickly (1D hours) and as normal
science and no human should have Stressors rather than Extreme Horrors.
reliable control over it.
Spell-effects created by humans are
temporary or limited, so a Spell to Ward
a Shoggoth might force it to go
somewhere else and a Spell to Curse it
might just split it in two.

Cthulhu Abides

Lovecraft never used his monsters as Some Monsters have Scores so high an
muscle. Invariably, he holds off their ordinary PC shouldnt be able to hit them
appearance to the closing pages, even or hurt them or Resist a Wound inflicted
the closing paragraphs, of his stories. By by them. This is as it should be. If a
the time the Big Bad makes an creature has Scores like that, its the
appearance, its very appearance is the Mythos way of telling players You
climax. Frequently, almost as an shouldnt be fighting with this thing.
afterthought, the protagonist dies or
For the same reason, GMs must avoid
goes mad. However, the sublime horror
putting PCs into no-win confrontations
is the monsters existence, not its
with Mythos beasts. Whats the point in
rending claws.
it? There should always be a way out, an
RPGs arent like that, of course. Player escape route or an alternative tactic
Characters dont go down without a except (perhaps) for the climactic Scene
fight. Theyll try punching a Shoggoth if where (some people feel) it is entirely
thats the only way they can go down appropriate for all the PCs to die or go
fighting. Some monsters have to be mad. After all, if the Mythos Monsters
quantified, defined, described, reduced wanted to fight humans, or saw
to the level of mere opponents. This is something to gain by it, theyd run down
regrettable and we shouldnt stop the High Street butchering shoppers.
regretting it but its probably They dont do this, so presumably killing
necessary. A roleplaying game is not a PCs doesnt interest them much. Of
tasteful Gothic psychological thriller. Its course, if the PCs insist on a fight, then
rather more like a raucous, improvised dont disappoint them
Hollywood blockbuster.
By the same logic, ramp up the Scores
In Cthulhu Abides Monsters and NPCs for top NPC antagonists or Monsters if
generally are defined by a set of fixed the PCs are well-armed, Coherent Teams
Scores rather than pools of dice to roll. with sky-high Bonuses in Fighting.
The Player Characters make all the dice Double Cthulhus Damage Score. Hell,
rolls, which is quite empowering, so triple it! Cthulhus practically a god, he
bearing this in mind the GM should set can have any Score he wants. The Scores
important NPCs and Monsters Scores that follow are, for most Monsters and
high. Surviving a swipe from a Deep Titans, their default setting, the level
Ones claw should be something to feel they find convenient to operate at. But
proud of. most of these brutes have fought Elder
Things with death rays and won, so if the
Nevertheless, fixed Scores can be
puny humans bring a knife to the fight,
predictable and drain a lot of valuable
theyll bring a gun. The fight against the
uncertainty and anxiety out of
Mythos is won with brains, not bullets,
encounters. For this reason, the Boss
and if the PCs start relying too much on
Fight rules allow the GM to vary a NPCs
bullets, then increase the Monsters
Score by 1D, either at the start of an
Scores and tell the players the stars just
encounter or on an action-by-action
got a little bit more right.
basis, depending how unpredictable the
GM wants the opponent to be.

Cthulhu Abides


NPCs in Cthulhu Abides are defined by a Damage: A score usually ranging from 3
set of scores rather than Attributes / (a slap in the face) to 20 (TNT). The PCs
Bonuses. This means the GM does not must equal or exceed this score on a
have to roll dice for NPCs: their scores Resist Challenge or be Stunned or Killed.
either exceed the PCs rolls or the PCs
Defend: A score usually ranging from 3
rolls match or exceed the NPCs scores.
(lumbering oxen, old ladies) up to 15
Initiative: A score usually ranging from 1 (deadly assassins). The PCs must equal or
(lumbering zombies) to 10 (dazzling fast). exceed this score on a Physique/Fighting
The PCs must exceed this score to act Challenge to score a hit.
with Initiative in combat; on a tie the
Resistance: A score usually ranging from
Initiative goes to Lucid1 characters.
3 (children, old ladies) up to 15
Attack: A score usually ranging from 3 (armoured knights). The PCs must equal
(children, small dogs) up to 15 (deadly or exceed this score on a Damage
assassins). The PCs must equal or exceed Challenge to Stun or Kill an opponent.
this score on a Physique/Survival
Enmity: A score usually ranging from 3
Challenge to avoid being hit.
(sheep) up to 15 (fanatical cultists). The
PCs must equal or exceed this score on a
Challenge to influence the NPC or
oppose their influence.

Minor Character Secondary Character Primary Character

Initiative 2 4 6
Attack 5 8 10
Damage 3* 4* 6*
Defend 5 8 10
Resistance 3 5 11
Enmity 5 8 12
* For armed characters, add the weapons rating

Primary characters are peers of the PCs

Minor characters are anonymous
they have a name and a role to play in
passers-by, babbling witnesses,
the Story as a whole. They are other
storekeepers, peasants and other
investigators, senior cultists, wealthy
monster-fodder. They have no particular
patrons and sceptical police chiefs.
strengths or skills.
Secondary characters often have a name Boss Character NPCs
and a role to play in a Scene, but not the Some NPCs are Boss Characters who
whole Story. They are policemen, have a recurring role to play or are
gamekeepers, librarians and minor unusually competent. They often feature
cultists. in a Denouement or Ordeal. The GM may
split 1D/+3 among their Scores to reflect
their skill, mystical protection or dumb

Cthulhu Abides

Monsters are described by the same 6 Damage: Aggravated Wounds (inflicted
Scores as NPCs, but their scores tend to by acid, radiation or slavering maws)
be higher (up to 30). Monsters have two impose a -1 Limit on any Resist
additional Scores: Challenges for each X after the Score.

Horror: A score usually ranging from 8 Defend: Untouchable Monsters (who are
(alarming) to 15 (traumatic) but as high enormous or do not fully exist in material
as 30 for Great Old Ones and Alien Gods. form) impose a -1 Limit on any Attack
The PCs must equal or exceed this score Challenges for each X after the Score.
on a Certainty Challenge or advance in
Madness. Monsters also have a Shock Resistance: Indestructible Monsters
Level (eg Unnatural3, Otherworldly4 or (who have no accessible weak spots)
Mythos5) indicating the Level of Madness impose a -1 Limit on any Damage
they inspire. X indicates the being Challenges for each X after the Score.
inspires Extreme Horror.
Enmity: Alien Intelligences (whose
Magic: A score usually ranging from 10 thought processes are incomprehensible
(mystically sensitive) up to 30 (godlike to humans) impose a -1 Limit on any
power) that indicates the effects of the Challenges to influence or control them
characters Magic and the Potency of its for each X after the Score. Some
Spells. Monsters also have an Abjuration, Monsters and other entities especially
representing the school of Magic they wish to be invited into the human reality
employ. and they are indicated with an asterisk
(*) and their Enmity should be halved
In addition, some Scores work slightly against attempts to Summon (but not
differently for Monsters: Bind) them.
NB. Against other NPCs each X reduces
Attack: Some Monsters (typically very
an opponents Score by 1D/+3
large ones) have a Devastating Attack
which imposes a -1 Limit on any Defend
Challenges for each X after the Score. 
indicates Area Effects, allowing one
Action to attack everyone within reach.

1. Dark Young of 2. Deep One 3. Ghoul

Initiative 5 6 7
Attack 15 10 12
Damage 12X 8 7
Defend 12 10 9
Resistance 20X 15 12
Enmity 15X 12 10
4 3 3
Horror 15X, Unnatural 12, Profound Shock 10, Profound Shock
Magic 12X, Chthonic/Rlyeh 10X, Rlyeh 9, Hyborian/Chthonic

Cthulhu Abides

4. Hound of 5. Night-Gaunt 6. Shoggoth

Initiative 8 9 9
Attack 12 10 15X
Damage 10X 10 (Stun) 20X
Defend 12 9 12X
Resistance 10XX 10 20XX
Enmity 20*X 9 5X
5 4 5
Horror 15, Otherworldly 10, Unnatural 22X, Otherworldly
Magic 20X, Yuggoth 10, Hyborian 5 , Pnakotic

Boss Level Monsters Monsters & Magic

As with human NPCs, the GM can declare Most Monsters use their Magic for one
some Monsters in a denouement or type of effect, but each X after the Magic
ordeal to be Bosses and split 1D/+3 Score suggests an additional effect they
among their Scores or increase the can employ.
number of Xs.

Roll Effect Description

1 Binding The Monster can psychically control Investigators if their Magic Resist Challenge
is lower than its Magic Score
2 Curse The Monster can inflict a Kill Wound on Investigators if their Magic Resist
Challenge is lower than its Magic Score
3 Evoke The Monster can alter its appearance, possibly passing for human, becoming
invisible, growing wings or extra tentacles Investigators must overcome its
Magic Score to spot, catch or escape the creature
4 Portal The Monster can teleport to a location or swap minds with Investigators if their
Magic Resist Challenge is lower than its Magic Score
5 Summon The Monster can summon other Monsters (usually of the same type) although
Investigators may prevent this if their Magic Resist Challenge equals or exceeds
its Magic Score
6 Ward The Monster can trap, paralyse or drive away Investigators if their Magic Resist
Challenge is lower than its Magic Score or use this Score to resist Magic Attacks

In addition, Monsters Magic may be

more or less effective depending on the
Abjuration(s) they follow:
Abjuration Binding Curse Evoke Portal Summon Ward
Azathoth +1D/+3 -1D/-3 +2D/+5 -2D/-5
Chthonic +2D/+5 -2D/-5 -1D/-3 +1D/+3
Hyborian -1D/-3 +1D/+3 +2D/+5 -2D/-5
Pnakotic -2D/-5 -1D/-3 +1D/+3 +2D/+5
Rlyeh +2D/+5 +1D/+3 -2D/-5 -1D/-3
Yuggoth -2D/-5 +1D/+3 +2D/+5 -1D/-3

Cthulhu Abides

Rolling (4, 2, 2) 4, this takes the Ghouls

For example, a party of Investigators
Magic up to 13 a powerful Magical
exploring the catacombs under Rome
Attack which might kill an Investigator.
discover a Ghoul feasting on a corpse.
The GM decides that the Ghoul wields a
Rolling 1D the GM determines the Ghoul
gnawed arm which animates so that it
has Cursing Magic. Since it follows the
grasps victims by the throat and throttles
Hyborian/Chthonic Abjurations, the
them (an Unnatural3 sight as well as a
Ghoul adds 3D to its Magic Score.
Killing Wound).

Depending on the flavour of the Esoteric Monsters are subject to Esoteric
campaign, GMs may wish to introduce Warding and Summoning but can also be
non-Mythos monsters. Esoteric Summoned, Warded and (crucially)
Monsters are tied to human folklore, Bound by Mythos Spells. Most of these
religion and values and though they can creatures have their origins in Mythos
be dangerous and evil, they are less magic, scientific experiments or servitor
shocking than the alien horrors of the races, though they may have forgotten
Mythos. Most only provide Profound it. Many believe themselves to be the
Shocks2 or are at worst Unnatural3. They demons, spirits or demi-gods human
are never Extreme Horrors. culture depicts them as.
1. Ghost 2. Mermaid 3. Mummy

Initiative 7 7 / 1 on land 4
Attack - 10 12
Damage - 12 12
Defend 12XX 10 9
Resistance 15XX 12 15XX
Enmity 10X 12 12X
4 3 3
Horror 12, Unnatural 10, Profound Shock 12, Profound Shock
Magic 15XX, Demonist 10, Pagan 15X, Hermetic
4. Vampire 5. Werewolf 6. Zombie
Initiative 9 / 12 as bat 9 / 11 as wolf 1
Attack 12 15 9
Damage 12X 15X 12
Defend 12 15 7
Resistance 15X 15X 12X
Enmity 15X 12 5X
3 3 3
Horror 10, Profound Shock 15, Profound Shock 12, Profound Shock
Magic 12X, Demonist 10, Demonist/Pagan - , Voodoo/Demonic

As with other Monsters, the GM can Most Monsters use their Magic for one
declare some Esoteric Monsters to be type of effect, but each X after the Magic
Bosses and split 1D among their Scores Score suggests an additional effect they
or increase the number of Xs. can employ.

Cthulhu Abides

Roll Effect Description

1 Binding The Monster can charm, mesmerize or intimidate humans or animals into
becoming its servants
2 Curse The Monster can inflict a Stun Wound on Investigators if their Magic Resist
Challenge is lower than its Magic Score
3 Evoke The Monster can alter its appearance, possibly passing for human, becoming
invisible, etc Investigators must overcome its Magic Score to spot, catch or
escape the creature
4 Exalt The Monster can "grant wishes" or curses - good or bad luck - usually in
exchange for sacrifice or servitude
5 Summon The Monster can summon other Monsters (usually of the same type) or possibly
animals or even psychically call a human to it if their Magic Resist Challenge fails
to exceed its Magic Score
6 Ward The Monster can trap, paralyse or drive away Investigators if their Magic Resist
Challenge is lower than its Magic Score

In addition, Monsters Magic may be

more or less effective depending on the
Abjuration(s) they follow:

Abjuration Binding Curse Evoke Exalting Summon Ward

Angelical -2D/-5 +1D/+3 -1D/-3 +2D/+5
Demonist -2D/-5 -1D/-3 +2D/+5 +1D/+3
Hermetic +2D/+5 -1D/-3 -2D/-5 +1D/+3
Kabbalist +2D/+5 -2D/-5 +1D/+3 -1D/-3
Necromantic -1D/-3 +1D/+3 -2D/-5 +2D/+5
Pagan +1D/+3 -1D/-3 +2D/+5 -2D/-5

For example, a party of Investigators This takes the Werewolfs Magic up to 13

exploring the Black Forest are attacked a strong Summons which will bring a
by a Werewolf. Rolling 1D the GM pack of werewolves to its assistance in
determines the Werewolf has 1D actions unless the Investigators can
Summoning Magic. Since it follows the resist the Magic.
Demonic/Pagan Abjurations, the
Werewolf adds +3 to its Magic Score.

Cthulhu Abides

Maniac Priests keep the Cultists in line
All too often, the Investigators
and are usually slightly more functional.
antagonists are human, albeit insane
Their Horror Score comes from
humans in the thrall to a suicidal death
witnessing their worship. They often
have a couple of Spells from their Cults
Maniac Cultists are frothing lunatics Abjuration.
whose social vocabulary extends no Deranged Magicians are insane but can
further than Die, unbeliever! Their hide it for a time. They often have
Horror Score comes from listening to Artefacts and Grimoires as well as 3 or
their rants. Most have a single Magic more Spells; the Abjuration depends on
Spell based on the Abjuration of their the Grimoires they own.

Maniac Cultist Maniac Priest Deranged Magician

Initiative 6 6 7
Attack 9 10 11
Damage 4* 5* 4*
Defend 8 10 12
Resistance 10 12 15
Enmity 10 12 15
2 3 4
Horror 10, Disturbing Ideas 12, Profound Shock 12, Unnatural
Magic 8, varies 10X, varies 12XX , varies
* For armed characters, add the weapons rating

They have 1D/+3 to split among their

Boss Villains Scores to reflect their skill, mystical
Boss Villains feature in a Denouement or protection or fiendish cunning.

Some of the animals Investigators
confronting evil Cults have to deal with.

Guard Dog Cobra Scorpion

Initiative 9 11 4
Attack 10 12 9
Damage 10 15X 10XX
Defend 10 9 6
Resistance 12 10 8
Enmity 10 8 5
Trained Guard Dogs do Stunning Wounds but Attack Dogs and rabid dogs do Killing Wounds.
Snakes, Scorpions and Spiders do Stunning or Killing Wounds depending on the strength of their
venom; the effects may onset over several minutes

Cthulhu Abides


The great powers of the Mythos ought to A Transfigured character cannot flee or
be figures beyond statistics, but there is attack and each action must advance
a sense in which they can be treated as through a number of steps of perception,
giant Monsters. The following pages give beholding deeper and deeper horrors in
a detailed treatment of the principle Old the entitys appearance and nature.
Ones and Other Gods active on earth.
While encountering such beings should Transfiguration occurs through a number
be moments of high drama rather than of steps (termed Blasphemies). Each
dice-rolling, Scores are listed for these Blasphemy produces a benefit but incurs
beings in Monster format and a system is a penalty if the character accepts the
provided for handling the psychic benefit. Before moving on to the next
destruction, physical mutation and Blasphemy or ending the Transfiguration
gratuitous death these beings can the character increases their Base
impart, allowing PCs to roleplay their Madness Level to match the level of
death-throes entertainingly and perhaps Transfiguration and makes a Wrath
perhaps! survive with something check.
gained as well as much lost from the Wrath is a Danger Check
unequal encounter. involving a number of dice equal
to the current Blasphemy Level:
Transfiguration if any come up 6 the beings
Wrath falls on the character.
Being in the presence of god-like entities Most characters are simply
such as the Great Old Ones or the Other destroyed by the Wrath of a
Gods can induce an experience called Great Old One
Transfiguration. The mortal is harrowed
to the core of their being, shocked by At the GM's discretion, a Mythos
both the alien, extra-dimensional and Insight may be spent to re-roll a
blasphemous appearance of the entity failed Wrath Check once.
but also psychically ravaged by the Once a character has made their Wrath
beings brooding and malevolent check and increased their Base Madness
intelligence. Level, they can either continue to the
next Blasphemy or try to escape from
Transfiguration is usually optional for the Transfiguration. Escaping is a
Player Characters, although some beings Hope/Resilience Challenge that gets
are so telepathically potent that more difficult the deeper the character
Transfiguration occurs whether the PC has seen into the Mythos.
wants it or not.

Blasphemy Level Starting Madness Gnosis Foulness Difficulty to escape

1 Lucid 1D/+3 New Frailty 8
2 Feverish 2D/+5 Maim side-effect 10
3 Hysterical 3D/+6 Geist side-effect 12
4 Deranged 5D/+9 Perversion 15
5 Psychotic 8D/+13 Monstrosity 18
6 Maniac 13D/+20 Possession N/A

Cthulhu Abides

Gnosis: Gnosis is a sort of floating Foulness: This is the automatic drawback

Potemcy that exists separate from for accepting a Gnosis.
Grimoires. It is usually added to the
New Frailties are rolled on the
Potency of a Spell. Each new Blasphemy
standard table but might be
adds more dice to the Gnosis.
specified by the GM; they can
To call on Muthos Gnosis, a usually be cured in a Sanatorium.
character must be Insane
Maim and Geist side-effects are
Gnosis can be converted into rolled on the usual tables.
Insight (1 point per Die)
Perversion is a ghastly
Gnosis can add to a Resist corruption of the mind chosen
Challenge, a roll to cross the by the GM usually an obsession
Angles or a Reward Challenge with some horrific behaviour.
The Gnosis from particular Gods Monstrosity is a corruption of
or Old Ones may be added to the body, physically transforming
other rolls, as indicated for each the character into something
being later that is Unnatural4 to look at.
Gnosis is powered by the God or Possession means the entity
Old One and cannot be used takes control of the character,
against it; however, a Gnosis- who can only use his hard-won
powered Spell could be used to Gnosis with the last moments of
summon a rival God or Old One free-will he has left.

Roll Perversion Monstrosity

1 Cannibalism: The character must kill and eat a Bestial: The character grows (1D: 1-2) fur
human being each Story or gain a Madness all over, (3) hooves instead of feet, (4)
Level and make a Certainty Challenge to avoid horns, (5) claws or talons instead of hands,
killing a wounded ally or prisoner (6) tail
2 Masochism: The character is compelled to Inorganic: The character develops (1D: 1-
harm and mutilate themselves inflicting a Stun 2) brassy metallic, (3-4) black stone or (5-
Wound whenever alone and a Kill Wound 6) translucent gelid skin and bones
during any Fugue
3 Necrophagia: The character must make a Reptilian: The character grows (1D: 1-2)
Certainty Challenge to avoid eating any corpse scales instead of skin, (3) lizard eyes, (4)
and must exhume and eat a corpse every Story fangs, (5) claws, (6) a tail or wings
or gain a Madness Level
4 Psychopathy: The character must kill a Rotting: The character begins to decay,
randomly chosen victim each Story or gain a taking on the aspect of a walking corpse
Madness Level; make a Certainty Challenge to with accompanying stench: (1D: 1-3)
avoid killing a wounded ally or prisoner decaying, (4-5) mummified, (6) skeletal
5 Sadism: The character must torture a randomly Squamous: The character grows (1D: 1-2)
chosen victim each Story or gain a Madness scales or slime, (3-4) gills & webbing but
Level; make a Certainty Challenge to avoid cannot live out of water, (5-6) tentacles
torturing a wounded ally or prisoner instead of limbs
6 Sexual Perversion: The character must assault Vegetative: The character sprouts (1D: 1-
and abuse a randomly chosen victim each Story 2) bark-like or fungal skin, (3-4) tendrils
or gain a Madness Level; make a Certainty and roots instead of limbs, (5-6) no legs,
Challenge to avoid abusing an ally or prisoner rooted to spot

Cthulhu Abides

Characters with Perversions might Transfiguration & Extreme Horror

continue to adventure for a while, but
the GM is entitled to turn them into NPC The GM might allow characters facing
villains instead. the Extreme Horror of an encounter with
a God or Old One to experience
Monstrosities usually prevent a Transfiguration instead of making a
character adventuring, except as a difficult Horror Challenge or gaining an
consultant: most of them make it automatic Madness Level.
impossible to make Social Challenges and
such characters need to be hidden away
and cared for.

CTHULHU (Starry Old One)

Initiative 12
Attack 28XX
Damage 30X
Defend 15X
Resistance 30XX
Enmity 30*XX
Horror 28X, Mythos
Magic 30XXX, Rlyeh
Cthulhu's Gnosis & Foulness
Gnosis Rlyeh Magic Potency, Mythos Insight, crossing the Angles, Cthulhu &
Dagon Cult or Rlyeh Tomb & Deep One City Infiltration
Frailties Hypnophobia (fear of sleep), Icthyophobia (fear of fish), Siderophobia
(fear of stars), Thalassophobia (fear of the sea), Xenophobia (fear of
Monstrosity Squamous Cthulhu activates dormant Deep One genes in a human
Possession Victims become Cthulhus Spawn
Roll Geist Effect
1 Angles: The character is trapped in non-Euclidian angles and needs
2 Audience: A Magic 33 Portal takes the character to Rlyeh
3 Dread: Cthulhus dreams impose -1 Limit on all future Certainty
4 Nightmares: dreams of Rlyeh are a nightly Mythos stressor
5 Salt Curse: vomit gallons of salt water, Stunning for a Scene and
Unnatural stressor
6 Stroke: Permanent paralysis in (1D: 1-2) arm, (3-4) leg, (5-6) face/voice

The lord, high priest and possibly At times, due to an alignment of the
progenitor of the Great Old Ones, stars, undersea vulcanism or energetic
Cthulhu is entombed in his city beneath sacrifices by his Cult, Cthulhus tomb
the Pacific Ocean. Dreaming within rises above the water and he can briefly
haunted R'lyeh, Cthulhu abides. maraud about, although he cannot
escape the precincts of Rlyeh. This may
His telepathic mind broadcasts his
be because of Elder Signs placed to
desires in dreams to his receptive Cult
secure him, the stars not yet being right
and the Deep Ones and Tcho-Tcho tribe
or Rlyehs Angles being incongruent with
that serve him.
the Angles of our reality.

Cthulhu Abides

Cthulhus idols represent him as a Cthulhus Dreams and Nightmares can be

dragon-like humanoid with a squids cured in a Sanatorium but the Angles
head but Cthulhu is enormous, of fate requires a Potency 15 Mythos Portal
mountainous proportions. Cthulhu is Spell to rescue the victim.
probably indestructible, regenerating
Cult: The worldwide Cthulhu Cult is
from a Stun Wound the next action or a
energized by Cthulhus telepathic call,
Killing Wound by the end of a Scene.
but also organised and concealed by the
Transfiguration: Cthulhus telepathy is so Tcho-Tchos. Its rites are often aimless
strong that mortals can be Transfigured (but always obscene), but do sometimes
just by authentic images of his likeness, focus on raising Rlyeh for a time. The
such as the stone idols worshipped by Cult produces hideous idols of Cthulhu,
the Cthulhu Cult. Against idols, the most of which are Disturbing2 but some
Difficulty to Escape is -3 and Wrath of them are wrongly Angled: these are
checks can be re-rolled once; the Wrath Shocking3 and can trigger Transfiguration
is a Potency 20 Magic Attack that Binds if studied closely.
the victim to worship the idol.
The Order of Dagon is another Cthulhu
In person (should Rlyeh rise), Cthulhus Cult serving the Deep Ones and their
presence triggers automatic half-human hybrids.
Transfiguration: the starting Blasphemy
Level is determined by rolling 1D. In
person, Cthulhus Wrath is automatic


Shub-Niggurath (Black Goat)

Initiative 14
Attack 30X
Damage 30X
Defend 18X
Resistance 30XX
Enmity 28*XX
Horror 25X, Mythos
Magic 25XXX, Rlyeh/Chthonic
Shub-Niggurath's Gnosis & Foulness
Gnosis Rlyeh/Chthonic Magic Potency, Mythos Insight, Witch-Cult Infiltration,
First Aid & Healing Rewards, Geist Resist Challenges
Frailties Hylophobia (fear of forests), Nymphomania/Satyriasis (compulsive
copulation), Tokophobia (fear of birth), Zoophobia (fear of animals)
Monstrosity Bestial, Vegetative Shub-Niggurath turns victims into beasts or plants
Possession Victims become Dark Young
Roll Geist Effect
1 Ageing: Grow older or by 1Dx10 years
2 Clone: A doppelganger that will seek to murder and replace you
3 Parthenogenesis: Women become pregnant by Shub-Niggurath; men
are implanted with a deadly parasite
4 Rebirth: Grow younger by 1D x10 years
5 Sex Shift: You swap sex or (1D: 5-6) become an hermaphrodite
6 Violation: Leaves the victim Stunned, +1 Current Madness & in Fugue

Cthulhu Abides

Shub-Niggurath is an immanent Example: Regina Van Zandt is a

presence, bound within the fabric of Hysterical3 Journalist spying on a witch
earths biosphere. Nonetheless, she can coven when the Black Goat manifests.
manifest for brief periods through her Since this is an Extreme Mythos6 Horror
avatar, the Black Goat, whose Scores are she would have to gain an automatic
presented in the table: a three-headed Madness Level or risk becoming a
beast, horned, hooved and priapic. Shub- Maniac6 straight away. With the GMs
Niggurath is fecund, birthing new permission, Regina chooses
creatures wherever her influence is felt. Transfiguration.
Such births are deformed, cancerous and
The first Blasphemy would raise her Base
deadly. Shub-Nigguraths worship is
Madness to Lucid1, so it has no effect on
orgiastic and bestial, taking place in dark
the Hysterical3 Regina. She rolls a Wrath
check but 4 means the Black Goat
Were Shub-Niggurath to free herself ignores her. To escape, she makes a
from her earthly prison, it would Hope/Resilience Challenge but rolls 2, 3,
probably extinguish or wildly mutate 4: a fail even with her +3 Bonus.
most of the evolved life on the planet.
Shub-Niggurath is more thoroughly
asleep than Cthulhu, entombed within
the biosphere, but makes her desires
known through urges. Consequently, her
Cult is widespread but unfocused. When She continues to the Second Blasphemy,
it does unite, at Nyarlothoteps direction, which would raise her Base Madness to
it can be terrifyingly potent. Feverish2, so still no effect. Rolling two
dice, she gets 3 and 5 so still no Wrath.
Transfiguration: Shub-Nigggurath cannot For her Escape Challenge she rolls 3, 3, 5,
be encountered directly, but mortals can scoring (3+3) 6 or 9 with her Bonus, not
be Transfigured by a manifestation of the enough.
Black Goat of the Woods or by Dark
Young. Against Dark Young, Escape The Third Blasphemy raises her Base
Challenges are at -2 Difficulty, Wrath Madness to Hysterical3, which is what it
checks can be re-rolled and the Wrath is already is. For the Wrath check she rolls
a Potency 18 Magic Attack that turns 4, 5, 1 so the Black Goat still ignores her.
victims into plants. For her Escape Challenge she rolls 5, 3, 5,
scoring (5+5+3) 13, which is enough to
The Black Goat can Transfigure victims tear herself away. For reaching the Third
normally and its Wrath brings death. Blasphemy she must roll for a Geist
Offspring or parasites birthed through effect. A 1 means Ageing and since she
Pathogenesis are foul and the parent then rolls 4 Regina will age 40 years. She
rarely survives the birth: getting a has gone from being a beautiful woman
successful abortion in the 1920s is a in her 20s to an old lady in her 60s. A
Difficulty 10 Class/Profession Social dubious reward is that she has a 3D
Stunt; which turns into a Killing Wound if Benefit to call on in the future perhaps
it fails. as part of a Spell to restore her lost
Cult: The worldwide Witch Cult youth
venerates Shub-Niggurath, invoking the
Black Goat and the Dark Young at the
height of their esbats. Theres no
organisation, but Nyarlathotep takes an
interest, manifesting as the Black Man to
direct the Cult towards a dreadful

Cthulhu Abides

HASTUR (Starry Old One)

Hastur (King In Yellow)
Initiative 15
Defend 18X
Resistance 30XXX
Enmity 30*XX
Horror 22X, Mythos
Magic 28XXX, Rlyeh/Azathoth
Hastur's Gnosis & Foulness
Gnosis Rlyeh/Azathoth Magic Potency, Mythos Insight, Yellow Sign Cult
Infiltration, all Reward Challenges
Frailties Maskophobia (fear of masks or costumes), Theatrephobia (fear of
theatres), Xanthophobia (fear of yellow)
Monstrosity Inorganic Hastur turns victims into beings consisting of masks, veils
and robes with nothing within; the Pallid Mask is always the first
Possession Victims become Yellow Heralds
Roll Geist Effect
1 Byakhee: 1D Byakhee are dispatched to bring the victim to Hali
2 Nightmares: dreams of Hali are a nightly Mythos stressor
3 Pallid Mask: a waxen face imposes -1 Limit on Charm Challenges
4 Unmasked: peel off your own face, Stun for a Story and Unnatural
stressor for everyone; -1 Limit on future Charm Challenges
5 Whispers: Hasturs whispers impose -1 Limit on all Hope Challenges
6 Yellow Sign: Companions make Danger Checks to avoid Transfiguration

Although Hastur the Unspeakable is His Cult is carefully directed by Hastur

imprisoned beneath Lake Hali on a himself and seeks to spread the Yellow
distant planet in the Hyades Sign, producing Yellow Heralds who can
constellation, his mind is fully awake and summon the King in Yellow to earth.
his consciousness can be astrally Hastur seems to work towards freeing
projected across the light years to other the earthly Great Old Ones who might in
worlds. Appearing as the masked and turn free him.
hooded King in Yellow, Hastur tries to
threaten or persuade other beings to The Mi-Go in particular oppose Hasturs
free him from his prison. The seals Cult and plots to liberate himself. Their
around Lake Hali destroy his own war against the Yellow Sign is older than
minions and repel his own Magic, so humanity.
Hastur cannot control or empower Hasturs true form is rumoured to be
someone else to do this. vast but his astral ghost is humanoid and
Interstellar races like the Mi-Go fear apparently rational, although this is
Hastur greatly and will destroy anyone doubtless a stratagem to lure followers.
deluded enough to try to aid the King in Transfiguration: Hastur cannot be
Yellow. Because Hastur can only appear encountered directly, but mortals can be
as an astral ghost, not Attack or Damage Transfigured by reading the King in
Scores are provided for him. Yellow for the first time, viewing the
Hasturs power is focused through the Yellow Sign for the first time or by saying
Yellow Sign and a cursed play called The Hasturs name for the first time.
King in Yellow.

Cthulhu Abides

Hasturs Blasphemies are addictive: Its enemies force it to be especially

there is no Wrath check but all the secretive. It is directed by Hasturs
Escape Challenges are at +3 Difficulty. telepathy and led by his Yellow Heralds
The Pallid Mask and Yellow Sign mark the and served by faithful Byakhee minions.
victim as blessed, earning the trust of
Favoured servants wear the Pallid Mask,
Yellow Cultists (add +1D to rolls to
as their features become doll-like and
artificial: many can no longer remove the
Cult: The Yellow Sign draws members Mask, which has become their true face.
from all walks in society, but especially
artists and educated people.


Initiative 20
Attack 30XX
Damage 30XX
Defend 20X
Resistance 30XXX
Enmity 22*XXX
Horror 22X, Mythos
Magic 30XXX, Azathoth/Yuggoth
Yog-Sothoth's Gnosis & Foulness
Gnosis Azathoth & Yuggoth Magic Potency, Mythos Insight, Crossing the
Angles, all Reward Challenges
Frailties Gerontophobia (fear of old things), Gnosiophobia (fear of knowledge),
Goniophobia (fear of sharp angles), Laliophobia (fear of speaking)
Monstrosity Inorganic Yog-Sothoth replaces flesh with Tindalos-matter
Possession Victims become Tindalos
Roll Geist Effect
1 Ageing: Grow older or by 1Dx10 years
2 Angles: The character is trapped in non-Euclidian angles and needs
3 Rebirth: Grow younger by 1D x10 years
4 Space Portal: Transports you (1D: 1-3) to another continent, (4-5) to
another world, (6) beyond the Angles
5 Surrogate: Women become pregnant by Yog-Sothoth; men are
implanted with an evil parasite
6 Time Portal: Transports to (1D: 1-3) ancient history, (4-5) Hyborian pre-
history, (6) Elder pre-human history
Yog-Sothoth exists outside conventional Yog-Sothoths intentions seem to be to
time and space but yearns to break rework the Angles of our reality,
through into our reality. When it cleansing the planet of human (and
manifests, it is as a rent in space through perhaps all) life and replacing it with
which indescribable energies fall. Yog- extra-angular entities like itself. The
Sothoth can mutate living tissue and Tindalos, the Hounds of Yog-Sothoth,
engender half-human hybrids. provide a terrifying glimpse of what
existence would be like on such an earth.

Cthulhu Abides

Few cults serve Yog-Sothoth, although all More typically, characters may be
Sorcerers venerate it as the Key and the Transfigured by crossing the Angles or
Gate, the entity that governs realities suffering the attacks of Tindalos.
beyond the Angles and all attempts to
Characters who are aged or reborn
travel in time and space invoke Yog-
outside their normal lifespan typically
disappear forever as do those on whom
All living beings find Yog-Sothoths the gods Wrath falls. The Angles fate
presence deeply noxious, especially requires a Potency 15 Mythos Portal
animals and principally dogs. Some Spell to rescue the victim or the
crazed Sorcerers seek out contact with assistance of a creature that can pass
Yog-Sothoth for the secret of restored through the Angles; space/time travel
youth, immortality or godlike power over requires Potency 20+ Spells.
time. While Yog-Sothoth can, in
Cult: No large Cult serves Yog-Sothoth
principle, heal the sick and restore the
but the Yithians invoke Yog-Sothoth to
dead to life, its powers are invariably
empower their time travel and the
more unwholesome than that.
Yellow Sign make offerings to Yog-
Transfiguration: A direct encounter with Sothoth in their attempts to free Hastur.
Yog-Sothoth is a compulsory
Lone Sorcerers and their families or
Transfiguration, with a starting
servants try to summon Yog-Sothoth for
Blasphemy Level of 1D (spend Mythos
a variety of reasons; many of these are
Insight to re-roll).
Tindalos or served by them.


Initiative 10
Attack 20X
Damage 22X
Defend 18
Resistance 28X
Enmity 30*X
Horror 25X, Mythos
Magic 30XXX, All
Nyarlathotep's Gnosis & Foulness
Gnosis Any Magic Potency, Mythos Insight, Sigil Resist Challenges, Starry
Wisdom Infiltration, all Reward Challenges
Frailties Aulophobia (fear of flutes), Megalomania (delusions of grandeur),
Nyctophobia (fear of the dark), Pharaohphobia (fear of Ancient Egypt)
Monstrosity Any Nyarlathotep transforms victims in all sorts of inventive ways
Possession Victims become Mythos Mummies
Roll Geist Effect
1 Ambiguous Blessing: Increase one Attribute by +1
2 Dread: Nyarlathoteps prophecies impose -1 Limit on Horror Challenges
3 Dreamlands: transports you to (1D: 1-3) Leng, (4-5) Ygiroth, (6) Kadath
4 Nightmares: dreams of the worlds end are a nightly Mythos stressor
5 Sacrifice: Nyarlathotep kills or abducts the person you hold most dear
6 Time Portal: transports you to (1D: 1-3) Ancient Egypt, (4-5) Hyborian
Stygia, (6) Elder pre-human history

Cthulhu Abides

Nyarlathotep is an ambiguous figure in Nyarlathotep can take horrific forms, like

Lovecrafts Mythos. Like the Great Old a winged horror with a burning three-
Ones, he is a being of immense but lobed eye or a howling monster with a
limited power; he plots to destroy or blood-red tentacle for a head.
enslave mankind; he has a distinct
Transfiguration: In human form,
personality and agenda.
Nyarlathotep can initiate Transfiguration
On the other hand, he is clearly free from with his disturbing conversation (in
any sort of imprisonment, roaming at will which case there is no Wrath check).
the Dreamlands and other worlds. He
Characters who are sent back in time
has been described as the soul or
require Potency 22+ Spells to rescue. The
will of the Other Gods, but his status as
Ambiguous Blessing increases one of the
their herald might be self-appointed.
characters Attributes but Nyarlathotep
He can take many forms, but frequently has taken an interest in the character
appears as an Egyptian Pharaoh. He has and can return to trigger
a mocking, mischievous personality and Transfigurations, starting at Blasphemy
his plots often involve freeing the Old Level 3. Nyarlathoteps Wrath is a 22X
Ones. At other times, his goals are more Damage that a victim can try to Resist.
parochial: the destruction through
Cult: The Starry Wisdom Cult worships
madness and tragedy of one individual,
Nyarlathotep and his other avatars are
the undermining of an empire or the
worshipped by sects all over the world in
sabotage of a great human project.
a bewildering variety of guises. These
Cults are often led by Mythos Mummies.

TSATHOGGUA (Chthonic Old One)

Initiative 8
Attack 28X
Damage 25X
Defend 20
Resistance 30X
Enmity 30XXX
Horror 28X, Mythos
Magic 30XXX, Chthonic
Tsathoggua's Gnosis & Foulness
Gnosis Chthonic Magic Potency, Mythos Insight, Chthonic Vault Infiltration
Frailties Batrachophobia (fear of amphibians), Blennophobia (fear of slime),
Narcolepsy (sleeping fits), Nyctophobia (fear of the dark)
Monstrosity Inorganic victims skin and limbs turn into black gel
Possession Victims become Formless Spawn
Roll Geist Effect
1 Black Bile: acidic black vomit is an Unnatural stressor and does a
Killing Wound on anyone struck by it
2 Blind: -2 Limit on sight Challenges, navigating/fighting becomes a Stunt
3 Dread: Tsathogguas darkness imposes -1 Limit on Certainty Challenges
4 Frog in Throat: coughing up toads is Stun Wound & Unnatural stressor
5 Hibernation: The character is Stunned for the rest of the Story and
needs a Difficulty 18 Reward Challenge to wake
6 Nightmares: dreams of lightless NKai are a nightly Mythos stressor

Cthulhu Abides

Tsathoggua is a formless entity of black Cult: Tsathoggua used to have a

ooze that takes on the form of a vast, powerful Cult in the Hyborian Age, but
toad. It shuns sunlight. In ancient this has been exterminated and
Hyboria it dwelt under Mount Tsathoggua himself has retreated deeper
Voormithadreth and was worshipped into the earth. The people of Kn-yan
there, but since the Ice Ages it has worshipped Tsathoggua, but eventually
seeped down to the lightless caverns of they too overthrew his temples, putting
NKai. seals on the entrances to NKai
Tsathoggua is feared because of the viral Formless Spawn that escapes from NKai
character of his black ooze, the so-called sets about infecting an expanding circle
Formless Spawn that controls living of people. Once an town is infected, the
creatures. Many creatures under the Spawn will start excavating to reach
earth will destroy interlopers precisely NKai and free Tsathoggua. However,
because they fear an infected explorer sunlight restricts the Spawns power to
escaping from NKai and bearing the night time when it controls people.
Tsathogguas Spawn back into the world. Of course, an outbreak of Formless
Spawn in Arctic latitudes would have
Transfiguration: An encounter with
much more freedom during the long
Tsathoggua can initiate Transfiguration,
polar night.
but usually characters are Transfigured
by contact with the Formless Spawn.

YIG (Chthonic Old One)

Initiative 14
Attack 25X
Damage 25XXX
Defend 25
Resistance 22X
Enmity 25*XX
Horror 25X, Mythos
Magic 25XXX, Chthonic
Yig's Gnosis & Foulness
Gnosis Chthonic Magic Potency, Mythos Insight, First Aid and Healing Reward
Challenges, Chthonic Vault Infiltration
Frailties Herpetophobia (fear of reptiles), Nymphomania/Satyriasis (compulsive
copulation), Toxophobia (fear of being poisoned), Odontophobia (fear
of teeth), Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes)
Monstrosity Reptilian Yig turns victims into snakes
Possession Victims become Serpent Folk
Roll Geist Effect
1 Ambiguous Blessing: Increase one Attribute by +1
2 Nightmares: dreams of snakes are a nightly Mythos stressor
3 Snake Attack: a carpet of poisonous snakes issues forth and attacks
everyone present
4 Snake in Throat: coughing up live snakes for a Scene is a Stun Wound
and an Unnatural stressor
5 Surrogate: Women become pregnant by Yog-Sothoth; men are
implanted with an evil parasite
6 Venomous Spittle: poisonous vomit is an Unnatural stressor and does
a Killing Wound on anyone struck by it

Cthulhu Abides

Yig is the Father of Serpents. He often Transfiguration: A direct encounter with

appears as a dragonish humanoid, Yig can initiate Transfiguration, but more
similar to Cthulhu but more serpent-like usually characters are Transfigured by by
and less enormous. He can assume the Yigs venom. This deep green poison is
form of a giant snake. used to produce ecstasies and his more
favoured Serpent Folk inject it through
Yig seems to have created the Serpent
their fangs.
People specifically to be his worshippers
and servants before the rise of the Cult: Yigs Cult is strong among his
dinosaurs. Yigs worship was restored in Serpent People, but these remnants live
the in the continent of Valusia but in half abandoned cities underground.
Hyborian slaves revolted against him. Yig Among humans, the Cult of the Great
seems to be the force behind the Serpent exists as a Mythos inner circle
worship of snake gods in later human within an Esoteric Cult worshipping
history. Egyptian Set, Aztec Quetzlcoatl, Greek
Typhon or the Hindu Nagas. Yigs
Although evil, Yig seems to be flattered
influence is limited to the hottest climes
by worship and is protective of his Cults
Yig prefers the tropics, the deserts or to
unlike the other Old Ones who ignore
be close to volcanic vents or lava flows.
worshippers or treat them as tools.
He seems fascinated by sexuality and
delights in birthing reptilian hybrids.
Harming snakes draws his wraith.

As a general rule, any adversary with an The Transfiguration rules allow the
Attack or Damage Score of 18+ will ultimate threats of the Mythos the
overwhelm player characters unless they Gods and Old Ones to threaten
have particularly high Fighting Bonuses characters in some way other than
or use Teamwork. The X Scores are physically.
doubly bad, because they impose Limits
However, because of the mystical Gnosis
on the PCs attempts to Attack, Damage,
achieved through Transfiguration, some
Defend or Resist. Usually, a Monster with
Investigators might choose to be
Attack 20X or Damage 20X is a PC-killer
Transfigured in order to power up a
and one with a Resistance 20X is too
Spell. The rationality (and ethics) of this
difficult for ordinary characters armed
might be questionable, but it fits the
with ordinary weapons to kill.
tone of Lovecraft's Mythos.
In a Lovecraftian horror game, thats
Bear in mind that characters who escape
fine. The Monsters, if confronted
from Transfiguration after the 1st
directly, are supposed to kill the
Blasphemy still pick up a new permanent
Investigators. In a Pulp/Action themed
Frailty and even this modest brush with
game, the Investigators might have
evil carries a 1 in 6 chance of the God or
shotguns and dynamite and possess high
Old One's Wrath killing the character
(7+) Fighting Bonuses that give them a
real shot at rolling 18 or 20 Damage,
even with a -1 Limit. If they use
Teamwork, theres a chance of them
getting scores in the 20s, even against X
or XX opponents.

Cthulhu Abides

Lovecraft was pretty sparse in his use of Pursuing this idea, the Elder Gods of the
magical Macguffins, which were mostly Dreamlands are treated here as an
intended to be suggestive rather than expression of a collective Super-Ego
practical and few having any obvious (punishing and cruel) while the Old Ones
purpose beyond driving the poor of the Dreamlands are an expression of
protagonist crazy or bringing them face- collective Id (selfish and irrational
to-face with a Monster. appetites). If this interpretation of dream
is helpful, use it to explore Lovecrafts
In RPGs its different though. Magical
under-loved Dreamlands.
gewgaws are often crucial to resolving an
adventure and, once theyve acquired The section on Cults and Ruins may strike
them, PCs tend to hold on to them, readers as odd. Surely the point of a
eventually becoming bristling Christmas Lovecraftian adventure is that you
trees of arcane toys. As with the explore Ruins and investigate Cults, not
reduction of Monsters into stratified dispense with them using a couple of
Boss Fights, this is to be deplored, while dice rolls. True, but Cthulhu Abides
at the same time recognising theres not suggests an additional use of these
much to be done about it. institutions as research tools, albeit
dangerous ones. Britain in the 1920s was
In Cthulhu Abides, most characters have
awash with occultist societies or political
to be Stressed before they can make use
societies with occult themes (like
of modest Esoteric Artefacts and Insane
Fascism) and infiltrating such a group to
before the Mythos Artefacts will work for
pick up some Clue Points or Esoteric
them. A set of typical Artefacts is
Insights or using them to boost a Spell is
provided as well as some tables for
a sensible strategy. Mythos Cults are
randomly generating fresh ones for PCs
provided for completeness, especially
whose start with one by virtue of a Perk.
since a few characters may start play
The emphasis is on Artefacts being plot
with links to them.
devices rather than accessories and on
them being double-edged accessories Similarly, Britain is blessed (or cursed)
when they cant be plot devices. with well-known Esoteric Ruins like
Stonehenge and Hadrians Wall that can
Lovecrafts Dreamlands setting is given a
be visited as part of an investigation.
brief overview. Some fans and gamers
Such places may provide Clues or
ignore it, which seems a shame. The
Insights or be sympathetic locales for
realm is a plastic environment
Magic. Mythos Ruins are also provided
responding to the dreamers
for completeness and a few characters
may start play with access to them.
Dreamlands characters are less likely to
The rules for infiltrating and escaping
go mad, but the dream environment
from Ruins and Cults may be used by the
starts to shift around aspects of the
GM for resolving any attempts by PCs to
imagination the dreamer is not in
break into buildings, Archives or
conscious control of what Dr Freud
calls the Id and the Super-Ego.

Cthulhu Abides

They add 1-6D to a Magic Resist
Challenge for the wearer. Each can only
be used by one character at a time and
the effectiveness drops by 1D with each
use. However, some particularly
powerful Amulets might not lose their
effectiveness with use.

Artefacts are Esoteric or Mythos magical
items. Esoteric Artefacts are legendary Athames (ah-thuh-mays) are ritualistic
items from human mythologies or objects that make it easier to perform
objects sanctified (or cursed) by Spells. Most Athames reduce the
association with saints, demi-gods and Difficulty for casting a Spell by 1D, but
witches. GMs will usually want to place powerful ones might reduce the
these in a Story specially to add difficulty by 2D.
atmosphere or reward successful A Scroll might be an Athame, as might an
Investigators. However, sometimes a Artefact. Athames are always tied to a
character might start play with a magical particular Abjuration and the powerful
item and sometimes (such as when ones (2D) are often tied to a particular
searching an Elder Ruin) there might be a Spell-effect (eg Binding). Very powerful
need to create an Artefact quickly and Athames (3D) are tied to a highly specific
simply. The table below gives the main Spell (like creating zombies or
types of magical treasures up to and summoning Byakhee).
including true Artefacts.

Roll Mythos Athame

1 Idiotic Flute: Deduct 2D from
Roll Random Treasure Azathoth Summoning Spells; 3D if
1 Athame dedicated to a particular Monster (eg
2 Amulet or Sigil Scroll Byakhee)
3 Invocation Scroll 2 Lamp of Alhazred: Oil lamp whose
4 Spell Scroll light deducts 2D from any Azathoth
Epistle or Grimoire Portal Spell
3 Plutonian Drug: Deducts 2D from
6 True Artefact
any Portal Spell to travel through
time, mentally or physically
4 Rlyeh Regalia: Golden crown of the
Deep Ones that deducts 2D from any
AMULETS Rlyeh Spell to Summon, Bind or
Sigils dont have to be on scrolls: they Curse Deep Ones
can be necklaces, headbands, 5 Sacrificial Knife: Deduct 1D from any
phylacteries or other forms of mystic Spell in which the knife is used for a
blood sacrifice in addition to the
protection. These are generally termed
value of the sacrifice
amulets. All Amulets can be worn by
6 Space Mead: Deduct 2D from
anyone and have a protective effect Yuggoth Portal Spells; 3D if the Spell
whether they are understood or not. involves travelling through space

Cthulhu Abides

SCROLLS Mythos Spells from Scrolls reduce the

Difficulty to 20 but still require a point of
Investigators often discover Scrolls in the Mythos Insight. The Spell Caster must be
libraries of Cults and Magicians and Insane to perform them unless she has
these should be considered a special the Sorcerer Perk.
type of Artefact.
The GM might allow Esoteric Spell
A Scroll contains one of the following: Scrolls, which have a base Difficulty of 15
and add 1-2D Gnosis. The caster must
A Spell, enabling the reader to
spend a point of Esoteric Insight and
cast a Spell without the lengthy
must be Stressed to cast the Spell unless
preparation, often at reduced
he possesses the Theurgist Perk.
Difficulty and with a certain
amount of Potency The caster does not gain the increase to
A Sigil, enabling the bearer to Base Madness Level from casting the
gain the benefit of a particular Spell from a Scroll unless she chooses to
Sigil automatically if they suffer a learn the Spell herself, in which case she
Magical Attack can cast it repeatedly, without needing
An Incantation, enabling the the Scroll or any Grimoires in future.
reader to get the benefit of a These Spells dont impose any Limits for
particular Mythos Incantation repeat casting, since the Spell has been
when casting a Spell (eg an Elder designed to be repeated.
Sign, Seal of NGah or Sigil Scrolls
instructions for making the
Powder of Ibn Ghazi) Sigil Scrolls impart a Sigil Magic Resist of
1-6D value that the user can call upon to
Scrolls must usually be translated or avoid a Magic Wound without any
decoded, which requires an further preparation. With each usage,
Intellect/Occult Challenge at difficulty 5 the Sigil drops by 1D in strength as over-
(if written in English) going up to 12 (for familiarity ruins the charm.
Egyptian Hieroglyphs) or 18 (for
completely alien languages). This Sigil Scrolls have to be translated, just
normally requires study, so translating a like Spell Scrolls, although they rarely
Scroll during an action Scene is a Pulp have Difficulties higher than 12. Anyone
Stunt. Scrolls usually contain Disturbing who successfully studies the Scroll can
Ideas2 when translated. take advantage of the Sigil, but it
decreases in strength with each use, no
Spell Scrolls matter which character uses it.
Spell Scrolls reduce the Difficulty of the Performing a Sigil in the middle of an
Spell they describe and contribute 1-3D action Scene is always a Pulp Stunt.
Gnosis to the Potency Challenge.
Sorcerers can still use Athames, Incantation Scrolls
Incantations, Sympathies and Facilities to The Scrolls contain instructions for
reduce the Difficulty (but get no extra making Mythos Incantations, like the
benefit from Rituals or Sacrifices if they Elder Sign or the Powder of Ibn Ghazi.
are depending on a Spell Scroll) and can Someone using the Scroll doesnt have to
use additional Grimoires to boost the make a roll to perform the Incantation
Potency if the Abjurations are while casting a Spell.
compatible. For example, a Rlyeh
Grimoire could be used to boost the Incantation Scrolls can be used any
Gnosis of a Rlyeh Spell Scroll. number of times, but they are always
destroyed if the Spell fails and there is a

Cthulhu Abides

Roll Mythos Scroll Translation

1 Incantation: Recitation of the I! Shub-Niggurath! that deducts 1D Latin, 5
from Spell Difficulties, 2D for Chthonic & Azathoth Abjurations
2 Incantation: Seal of NGah, deducting 1D from all Spell Difficulties, 2D Arabic, 8
from Pnakotic Abjurations
3 Sigil: Elder Sign that adds 6D to a Magic Resist Challenge Old English, 8
4 Sigil: Dread name of Azathoth Logos Apotropai words of warding Ancient Greek, 10
that add 2D to a Magic Resist Challenge
5 Spell (Azathoth): Summon Byakhee by playing a flute under the night Egyptian
sky for several minutes; 2D Potency Hieroglyphs, 12
6 Spell (Ryeh): Shrivel a victims skin by spending an action cursing Atlantean, 15
them; 3D Potency

Mythos Artefacts are genuine pieces of
alien technology or extra-dimensional Roll Item Sub-type
power that resemble (or are fused with) 1 Device 1. Clock 2. Pen 3. Radio
mundane items. 4. Telephone 5.
Typewriter 6. Vehicle
Most Artefacts require a 2 Furniture 1. Bed 2. Cabinet 3.
Creativity/Occult Challenge to use but Carpet 4. Chair 5.
characters taking their time studying an Painting 6. Statue
Artefact may roll Intellect/Occult. 3 Instrument 1. Drum 2. Flute/Pipes
Esoteric Artefacts normally require a 3. Gong 4. Horn 5.
point of Esoteric Insight to activate. Piano/Harp 6. Violin
Mythos Artefacts are usable only with 4 Jewellery 1. Amulet 2. Bracelet
the expenditure of a point of Mythos 3. Crown 4. Necklace 5.
Ring 6. Sceptre
5 Vestments 1. Cloak 2. Hat 3. Hood
Mythos Artefacts are mind-bending 4. Robes 5. Spectacles
pieces of alien tech or extra-dimensional 6. Shoes/Slippers
weirdness that can only be activated by 6 Weapon 1. Axe 2. Dagger 3. Gun
most characters when they are Insane. 4. Rod 5. Sword 6.
Ideally, the GM will create suggestive
and unusual Artefacts to tease and test
players imagination. However,
sometimes a quick Artefact is needed (eg
for a PC who begins with one as a Perk) Each item will be aligned with an
so these rules are provided to generate Abjuration and a Spell Type:
ideas for Artefacts randomly.

Roll Mythos Abjuration Mythos Spell Roll Esoteric Abjuration Esoteric Spell
1 Azathoth Binding 1 Angelical Binding
2 Chthonic Cursing 2 Demonist Cursing
3 Hyborian Evoking 3 Hermetic Evoking
4 Pnakotic Portals 4 Kabbalist Exalting
5 Rlyeh Summoning 5 Necromantic Summoning
6 Yuggoth Warding 6 Pagan Warding

Cthulhu Abides

Random Artefacts will have a Gnosis of 8 Each +1 added to an Artefact's Base

+1D, modified by the Potency Difficulty adds +1 to its Gnosis.
Adjustment for different Abjurations for
A typical Artefact may be used once per
Story. The GM should treat Artefacts as
The Artefact has a Base Difficulty of 8, double-edged there is always a
which is the Difficulty for a drawback to using them. The GM or
Creativity/Occult Challenge to use it. player may choose or roll for a drawback:

Roll Drawback Description

1 Corrupting Using (or just owning) the Artefact slowly affects the character,
transforming them physically or psychologically; eg make an Unnatural
Certainty Challenge with each use or experience Transfiguration
2 Coveted Something else wants the Artefact and will pursue the character to get it;
eg a particular Mythos Monster or Cult attacks the owner regularly
3 Demanding The Artefact requires a cost or sacrifice before it works; eg the user must
spend Insight or sacrifice fresh blood to the Artefact
4 Purposive The Artefact has a goal or purpose it works towards and only works
properly in pursuit of this; eg to kill an enemy or return to its homeworld
5 Risky Every time the Artefact is used there is a 1 in 6 chance it will backfire; eg
causing a Stunning or Killing Wound to the user equal to its Potency
6 Whimsical Every time the Artefact is used it works slightly differently. The GM
should create a 1D table to cover the typical possibilities or roll again on
this one

Example, Hengist Winthrop, a starting Instead, he raises the Artefact's Difficulty

character, begins play with an Esoteric to 12 and the Potency to 12. This is the
Artefact. He rolls a 3 and a 5 and chooses Harp of Brian Boru which makes listeners
a mystic harp. He then rolls a 5 and a 2, a fall asleep unless their Magic Resist
Pagan Cursing. The Potency starts at 8. Challenge or Enmity is 12+. The GM rules
Hengist adds 1D to this, but would also that Nightgaunts love the sound of the
have to deduct 1D because Pagan harp and, if once they hear it, they will
Cursings are weak, so he decides to let take it and its unhappy owner away to
the two rolls cancel each other out. Mount Ngranek to play for them forever!


Roll Name Abjuration Spell Gnosis Difficulty

1 Elder Sign Pnakotic Ward 18+2D 15
Blocks the approach or the magical power of any Mythos being whose Enmity/Magic Score is
less than its Potency but Base Madness goes up +1 with each use
2 Glass from Leng Hyborian Portal 12 12
Allows viewing and two-way communication with anywhere on earth or the Dreamlands; on a
1D roll of 6 the Glass shows an Other God or Great Old One and the viewer is Transfigured, but
gets +3 on Escape Challenges and can re-roll any 6 on the Wrath Check
3 Idol of Cthulhu Rlyeh Evoke 12 10
Pouring blood on the repulsive statue increases the users Physique Attribute by +1D for a
Scene and heals Wounds but the user is telepathically Transfigured by Cthulhu (+3 on Escape
Challenge, re-roll 6s on Wrath Check)
4 Knife of Yig Chthonic Curse 15 10
This giant fang makes a Potency 15 Magic Wound on anyone it hit; victims die but the user is
Transfigured by Yig with the starting Blasphemy Level one higher for each victim who dies

Cthulhu Abides

5 Shining Azathoth Summon 15 8

Non-Euclidian stone that summons Nyarlathotep if ever the stone is exposed to complete
darkness; studying the stone triggers a Nyarlathotep Transfiguration (+3 on Escape Challenge).
The stones Angles allow for dimension-hopping without attracting Yog-Sothoth or Tindalos.
6 Pickman's Painting Azathoth Portal/Summon 20 12
One of Richard Upton Pickman's hideous paintings. If a landscape, the view can travel to the
location viewed; if a creature, it can be summoned out of the frame. The user gains a Ghoul
Point each time.


Roll Name Abjuration Spell Gnosis Difficulty

1 Baetylus Necromantic Exalt 12 10
A living stone that generates a point of Esoteric Insight at the start of each Story if it is doused
in the fresh blood of an animal or 3 points for a child
2 Iscariot Coin Demonist Exalt 18 8
One of the 30 pieces of silver paid to Judas; the Iscariot Coin will pay for any product or service
that is for sale but always rebounds on the buyer in unpleasant ways
3 Lance of Longinus Angelical Cursing 15 10
The spear that pierced Christ is a weapon that causes debilitating pain on unholy creatures, the
mere threat of it causing them fear; it will not function for anyone in a state of sin
4 Nepenthe Hermetic Evoke 15 10
The character forgets about the last horror they experienced, re-setting their Madness Level
but losing any Clues or Insights acquired
5 Seal of Solomon Kabbalist Bind 12+1D 15
An iron ring that can be used to command demons and evil spirits but Hope Bonus drops by 1
with each use
6 Thyrsus Pagan Evoke 15 12
A staff entwined with vines that can cure Stunning or Killing Wounds but only at the cost of
adding a Madness Level (Stun) or increasing Base Madness by +1 (Kill)


A recurring motif in Lovecrafts Mythos is Some Lovecraft stories feature
the idea of geometric Angles being characters disappearing through these
wrong Lovecraft famously uses the Angles into more mysteries planes of
adjective non-Euclidian to hint at an existence.
alien and unimaginable geometry that
In Cthulhu Abides travel through the
characterizes the architecture of Rlyeh
Angles is possible for characters, with
and certain Artefacts and Spells.
two requirements:
This is linked to the notion that certain
1. The character must be in the
Mythos beings exist in a wider reality we
presence of Non-Euclidian Angles
cannot perceive because it is outside
2. The character must be Insane
the dimensions, geometries and Angles
we perceive as space.

Cthulhu Abides

If these conditions are met, a character Characters who came here of their own
can pass through the Angles by spending choosing can roll to return to their
a point of Mythos Insight and passing a starting point and no time will have
Difficulty 12 Perception/Occult passed. If several characters return
Challenge. The Difficulty drops to 10 if together, they will all return to the
the character is Psychotic5 and 8 if the starting point of the most recent
character is a Maniac6. If the character is traveler.
in Fugue, the character must roll to avoid
Characters who fall through the Angles
passing through the Angles.
through Fugue, an Elder Ruin trap or a
Non-Euclidian Angles are a property of Geist result from Transfiguration cannot
certain objects or places, such as: return home unless guided back by
someone else. The Challenge to return
Artefacts such as the Shining
home can only be made once by each
character, but everyone can join
together for Teamwork on a roll if this is
Mythos Elder Ruins
applicable for a group.
Alien worlds or Outer Space Characters who are beyond the Angles
may choose instead to push on, into
Creating architecture with Non-Euclidian
other dimensions or realities. Many of
properties is a Potency 10 Evoking Spell.
these are inhospitable or outright
Non-Euclidian Angles are Disturbing
deadly, but it could be better than
Ideas2 for anyone identifying them;
remaining with Yog-Sothoth and his
disappearing through such Angles is
Hounds forever. Advancing to a specific
destination is Difficulty 15, but falling
Beyond the Angles the character finds through to a random destination is only
themselves in an indescribable non- Difficulty 10.
space where Yog-Sothoth exists, so a
Transfiguration by Yog-Sothoth is

Roll Destination
1 Carcosa: a ruined city that succumbed to Hasturs power; its undead inhabitants are
doomed to repeat a horrific masque at the climax of which the King in Yellow manifests
2 Celaeno: a vast library containing all the Archives of Mythos lore from many worlds
3 NKai: lightless vault where Tsathoggua and his Formless Spawn are sealed away, not found
by conventional underground exploration
4 Rlyeh: Cthulhus tomb and citadel, corresponding to the bottom of the Pacific but not to be
found by conventional undersea travel
5 Irem: demonic city of a thousand pillars, corresponding to somewhere in the Arabian desert
not found by any conventional exploration
6 Xoth: alien home dimension of the Great Old Ones

Each action a character takes while Make a Danger Check after the first
beyond the Angles (including action and with an extra dice for each
Transfiguration by Yog-Sothoth, subsequent action: any coming up 6
attempts to leave or joining a team indicates a Tindalos has caught the
attempt to leave) might result in the characters scent and will pursue them
attentions of a Tindalos who will follow once (or if) they leave.
the character wherever they go.

Cthulhu Abides

The Dreamlands are a supernatural Other Dreamers seeking the Dreamlands
realm of the imagination. Many ancient will find any entrance the GM chooses,
and legendary civilizations still exist or roll 2D on the table.
unchanged in he Dreamlands and the
Roll 2D Entrance to the Dreamlands
kingdoms and cults of pre-Ice Age
1-6 The 77 Steps of Light Slumber
Hyboria have migrated here.
7-8 Cliff of Abandonment
The Hyborian Elder Gods rule the 9 Ghouls burrows
Dreamlands and, though less terrifying 10 Nodens Nightgaunts
than the Other Gods and Great Old Ones, 11+ The White Ship
they are disturbing entities nonetheless:
the pagan deities of the Ancient World
Gates to the Dreamlands
are dim and sanitized reflections of these
beings. There are gates to the Dreamlands that
can be used by waking people. Some of
The Mythos is present in the Dreamlands
these are created by Esoteric or Mythos
too, but it is not supreme. Although the
Artefacts, but there are natural gates in
Elder Gods and their worshippers are
the burrows of Ghouls under many
Esoteric beings, within the Dreamlands
cemeteries, the Schwarzwald Black
themselves they are fully as powerful as
Forest, the Asian Plateau of Leng etc.
the Mythos and so are their Spells.
Using Magic to enter the Dreamlands
Any humans who sleep while Stressed or
requires Potency 15 if the character is
Insane may find a way into the
asleep, 20 if awake. Mythos Portal Magic
Dreamlands if they come across the
can do this and so can Esoteric
Seventy Seven Steps of Light Slumber
Exaltation, but Summon could also
leading to the Chamber of the Flame.
attract the White Ship (Potency 15).
These naked dreamers are clothed by
Ghouls or Night-Gaunts can take a
the priests Kaman-Thar and Nasht, then
person to the Dreamlands.
exit through the Gate of Deeper Slumber
into the Dreamlands. When characters enter the Dreamlands
while waking, time passes for them
Other dreamers may come across the
normally, unlike dreamers who can
Cliff and throw themselves from it. They
experience weeks or months in the
will fall through mists, into a glowing rift
Dreamlands in a single night.
and land safely in the Dreamlands.
Fortunate Dreamers may be met by the Waking, Dying & Madness
White Ship whose enigmatic Captain will
On entering the Dreamlands, a character
pilot them to the coasts of the
re-arranges his or her Attributes and
Oneirists can rearrange Bonuses too
Alternatively, Nodens Night-Gaunts may (except for Dream). In the Dreamlands a
seize the dreamer and fly with him to the beggar may be a king and a bookworm a
Dreamlands, or dream-Ghouls may guide mighty warrior. This can be done
a dreamer through their noisome differently each time the character
burrows to the Underworld. dreams but most characters have a
default Dreamlands identity they keep
Characters with the Oneirist Perk have going back to.
already discovered the Dreamlands and
can automatically locate an entrance to
the Dreamlands in their dreams.

Cthulhu Abides

Wounds in the Dreamlands heal

automatically between visits, even
Maiming. Wounds in the Waking World
are not usually present in the
A character with the Oneirist Perk who is
dying from a Killing Wound in the
Waking World may make a Difficulty 12
Creativity/Dream Challenge to escape
into the Dreamlands and cheat death
(albeit at the cost of ever returning to
the Waking World).
Madness is more fluid in the
Dreamlands. All characters in the
Dreamlands automatically increase their
Base Madness Level by +1 for so long as
they are there.
However, many Monsters are less
terrifying in the Dreamlands and are
treated as one step less shocking (so,
Unnatural4 threats become Profound THE DREAM LORES
Shocks3). Magic is not shocking at all and Human characters in the Dreamlands
there is no Madness gained from casting acquire two new characteristics, Elder
Spells or having them cast on you Lore and Nether Lore.
unless of course the Spells have horrific
effects. Elder Lore is rooted in the Elder
Gods. It uses the casters Super-
Fugue doesnt happen in the Ego, their moral, discerning
Dreamlands. If a character fails a Hope aspect. It grows stronger as the
Challenge they gain a level in their character explores the
highest Lore instead. Crutches and Dreamlands, understands its
Frailties do not usually apply in the mysteries and peoples. Using it
Dreamlands. increases the hold the
Once per Story a character can use Dreamlands has over the
Nether Lore as a Frailty, gaining a character, increasing the risk
Madness Level automatically (with no that they will never awake.
risk of Fugue) but gaining a level in Nether Lore is rooted in the
Nether Lore. Elder Lore can be used as a dreaming minds of the Great Old
Crutch, dropping a Madness Level but Ones, their malevolence and will
gaining a level in Elder Lore. to dominate. It is alien and
Sleepers in the Dreamlands can wake frightening even within the
themselves on a successful Dreamlands. It grows stronger as
Creativity/Dream Challenge, difficulty 10. the character succumbs to the id
Those who are killed in the Dreamlands and loses contact with reality.
wake automatically, but lose the ability Using it increases the influence
ever again to dream; their Base Madness of the Great Old Ones over the
Level remains permanently a point character, increasing the risk
higher. they will awaken within the

Cthulhu Abides

Level Description Effects Events

0 Balanced You have heard of the Elder Gods Normal
and Old Ones but have no further
interest in them
1 Inspired The Elder Gods or Old Ones intrigue Priests and prophets notice you and
you and you notice their statues, try to get you to follow them; cults
idols symbols, cults and servants become more fanatical
2 Haunted You fantasise about the Elder Gods Kings, witches and wizards notice
or Old Ones and long to see their you and embroil you in their plots;
true faces; feuds break out and monsters
3 Obsessed The Elder Gods or Old Ones obsess Cities are rocked by riots,
you; your dreaming form takes on a assassinations and abductions;
strange tone: elf-like and angelic or ancient monsters stir; omens are
sinister and deformed seen
4 Fanatic Your dreaming form alters radically: Wars break out and armies march;
winged and hermaphrodite or strange weather conditions and
hoofed or slimy, like your masters natural disasters strike
5 Thrall You are barely human and are an Cities are in flames, populations are
angelic agent of the Elder Gods or on the move, the dead rise,
demonic servant of the Old Ones volcanoes erupt
6 Avatar You are snatched away by Night- Ancient monsters awake, long lost
Gaunts who take you to Kadath or cities emerge, prophecies come true
the Underworld

While in the Dreamlands, a character While the characters are Balanced0 the
must keep track of these two Lores. They Dreamlands are a fairly benign
are opposed, so whenever a character environment. Most NPCs are non-hostile,
would increase a level in one Lore, they no one pays much attention to the PCs
may instead choose to decrease a level and the Dreamlands dont seem to
in the other. change greatly.
As with Madness, increasing to Level Six Once characters become Haunted2 the
in either Lore usually removes the Dreamlands start to notice them.
character from play and, in the Arriving in a city, they receive invites to
Dreamlands, can have even more attend the king or participate in a
apocalyptic consequences than that. festival; Night-Gaunts and Moon-Beasts
try to abduct such characters and
A characters Current Madness Level can
wizards and witches try to recruit them.
never be lower than their highest Lore
The seasons seem to alter and there is a
Level. This means that a character who is
sense of time passing. There are riots,
a Fanatic4 of the Elder Lore and Inspired1
insane religious ceremonies and rumours
by the Nether Lore cannot have a current
of war and invasion.
Madness Level lower than Deranged4. If
this means the current Madness Level When characters are Fanatics4 the
has to increase, the character should not Dreamlands start to change dramatically.
have to check for Fugue. Gods and demons emerge from temples,
old prophecies come true, storms strike,
GMing Dream Lore volcanoes erupt. The Dreamlands go to
Dream Lore is an opportunity for the GM war: armies march, there are sieges,
to vary the tone and menace of the battles and assassinations in the cities.

Cthulhu Abides

If the characters Dream Lore drops back Certain activities within the Dreamlands
again, events calm down. The best way increase the Dream Lores. The most
to restore peace is to awaken. significant is Dream Magic. Each 6 that
comes up on a Dream Magic Challenge
Becoming an Avatar6 of the Gods or Old
adds a level to the characters related
Ones doesnt have to put a character out
Lore or deducts a level from the opposed
of play. Nyarlathotep himself will come
Lore. A character who is a Fanatic4 of the
to collect anyone who blasphemes
Elder Lore and Inspired1 by the Nether
against the Elder Gods, while defying a
Lore might perform Elder Lore Dream
Great Old One causes it to awaken in the
Magic and roll two 6s. Increasing Elder
Dreamlands. A sort of Apocalypse occurs,
Lore by +2 would make the character an
for which the PC is directly to blame.
Avatar6, but instead the character could
Only killing the PC or delivering him to
gain +1 in Elder Lore and drop Nether
the enraged God or Old One will end the
Lore back to Balanced0.
nightmare and the kings, wizards and
heroes of the Dreamlands will all strive Other activities in the Dreamlands that
to do this. The GM might allow the PC to increase Dream Lore are shown below.
awaken, but stripped of the power to These are Danger Checks and on a result
dream. The God or Old One will not let of 6 the Lore goes up by +1. Some
the matter rest there and may try to encounters might necessitate rolling 2D
pursue their former-Avatar into the or even 3D.
Waking World through their human Cults
or the assistance of other Dreamers.
Increasing Dream Lore
Most characters arrive in the
Dreamlands with both Lores at
Balanced0, although characters with the
Perks of Oneirist, Sensitive or Visionary
start with +1 Level in one Dream Lore as
does anyone with the Phantasist

Encounter Elder Lore example Nether Lore example

Visit a temple Most Dreamlands cities have temples Many Dreamlands cities have temples
to the Elder Gods, but viewing the to the Old Ones but visiting the
faces of the Gods carved in Mount Monastery of Leng or the Temple of
Ngranek is worth 3D Bokrug is worth 2D
Explore a ruin Ruined cities of men are worth 1D, but Ruined cities of monsters or sub-men
the Ivory Cities of Kled or Sarnath or are worth 1D, but the City of the Gugs
Sarkomand may be worth 2D or 3D is worth 2D
Consult a sage Most priests and wizards are worth 1D Monstrous wizards are worth 1D but
but the Cats of Ulthar are worth 2D the High Priest Not To Be Described is
worth 3D
Study a Dream The Scroll of Bubastis is worth 1D but The Voormish Tablets are worth 2D;
Grimoire the legendary Parchments of Pnom smoking the Black Lotus drug is worth
are worth 3D 1D
Travel to other The Cloud City of Serannien is worth Passing the Basalt Pillars of the West is
worlds 1D, entering the Underworld is worth worth 1D, visiting the Moon is worth
2D, the Great Abyss is worth 3D 2D, the Court of Azathoth is worth 3D
Listen to songs Any tale of the Elder Gods or Elder Dark prophecies and tales of woe and
or stories Days is worth 1D, 2D if the poet is tragedy are worth 1D
mystically imbued

Cthulhu Abides

The GM should make Lore checks This Dream Magic is the only magic that
whenever the dreamers encounter a Waking Worlders can use in the
mystic or nightmarish location, interact Dreamlands regular Esoteric and
with a godlike or demonic creature or Mythos Magic doesnt work for them
discover occult or forbidden secrets. here.
Reducing Dream Lore Thats no great loss, because Dream
Magic redesigns the fabric of the
The normal way to reduce a Dream Lore Dreamlands itself. Most of these effects
is by gaining Levels in the opposed last as long as the dreamers dream and
Dream Lore. Someone with a high Level some endure longer, still existing if the
of Nether Lore might consider visiting dreamer returns to the Dreamlands
the holy mountain of Hatheg-Kla or the (usually in a ruined or diminished form).
Temple of the Elder Ones in Inganok: any
6s rolled can be used to reduce Nether Dream Magic is a Pulp Stunt involving a
Lore instead of increasing Elder Lore. Creativity/Dream Challenge. The
Difficulty is 15 but is lowered by -1 for
Waking up is a good way of restoring each Clue Point invested in the magic.
Dream Lore to Balance0. However, the This is one of the main uses of Clue
character should roll their highest Lore Points in the Dreamlands, where
and if any dice come up 6, then Night- adventures tend to be swashbuckling
Gaunts will pursue the character into rather than investigative.
their ordinary dreams, looking to drag
them back. If characters choose not to The Potency of Dream Magic is based on
clear their Lores when they wake, then the dreamers Lore. Rolling Nether Lore
the next time they enter the Dreamlands produces sinister effects; Elder Lore
their Dream Lores will each have produces wholesome changes. The GM
dropped by -1, with no other ill-effects. should impose a -1 Limit if the effect
contradicts the Lore (eg using Nether
Lore to heal a sick person). The
DREAM MAGIC characters Dream Bonus is always added
(Oneiromancy) to the roll.
Many inhabitants of the Dreamlands can Any 6s that come up on the Lore
perform Magic. However, Waking Challenge increase that Lore by +1.
Worlders have a power that rivals the
Elder Gods themselves: Oneiromancy.

Potency Effect
5 Heal your body of any injury, reassign your Attributes or change your appearance
8 Create a weapon, armour or supply of treasure to protect or support yourself or
heal someone else or reassign their Attributes or change their appearance
10 Create a beast or a slave who will serve you or do your will - or curse someone
else (create a Killing Wound)
12 Create a village, complete with peasants and beasts of burden, in which you are
recognised as a neighbour - or devastate such a community with plague, storms or
attacks by monsters
15 Summon Cats or create a vessel to transport you anywhere within the Dreamlands
or summon Night-Gaunts to bring anyone in the Dreamlands to you
18 Create a fortress, complete with guards, dungeons and chambers, where you are
the Ruler - or level a fortress and scatter a small army
20 Create a city, complete with inhabitants, who recognise you as their King or
bring a Doom upon a city or a ruler or destroy a great armed host

Cthulhu Abides

DREAMLANDS GAZETEER Several speculative maps of the

Dreamlands have been created, but the
The best introduction to the Dreamlands whole point is that the kingdoms and
setting is to read Lovecrafts short story cities of the Dreamlands come and go
The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath, in and change in relation to one another, so
which Randolph Carter crosses the there is no need to follow slavishly any
Dreamlands, encountering its various canonical geography. The Dreamlands
creatures before a showdown with are meant to be a fluid, subjective
Nyarlathotep himself. environment, so GMs should confidently
invent wild-sounding places, peoples and

Baharna in Oriab: Exotic port on the Island of Forest of Parg: The dark-skinned inhabitants
Oriab in the Southern Seas, guarded by twin carve ivory and are frequently captured as
lighthouses slaves by the black galleys of the Moon-
Basalt Pillars of the West: Monumental rock
promontories that mark the edge of the Great Abyss: Huge cavern in the Underworld.
Dreamlands. The oceans pour down into A stair ascends to the ruins of Sarkomand
space on the other side, but powerful above. Ruled by the Elder God Nodens
dreamers or enchanted ships might fly to the
Hatheg-Kla: Mountain visible from the village
Moon instead
of Hartheg where the Elder Gods once dwelt
Celephas: City in the Valley of Ooth-Nargai and from which the Other Gods can be seen
where time does not pass for inhabitants. (and viewers can be Transfigured)
King Kuranes was once a human dreamer
Hlanith: Great trading city on the shores of
who created this realm from his imagination
the Cerenian Sea and the Jungle of Kled
Cerenian Sea: Azure sea in the middle of the
Ilarnek: City on the borders of Mnar that
Dreamlands across which merchants sail
holds the idol of Bokrug (Tsathoggua), taken
between Hlanith and Celephas; Serannian
from Sarnath after the Doom fell upon it
floats above it and the Nameless Rock is
within it Ilek-Vad: Domed city upon glass cliffs, ruled
for a time by Randolph Carter after his
City of the Gugs: Cyclopean city in the
Underworld, containing the Tower of Koth
and guarding the entrance to the Vaults of Inganok: Onyx city on the shores of the
Zin Cerenian Sea. Ruled by the Veiled King and
containing the Temple of the Elder Ones. The
City of the Moon Beasts: The hideous Moon-
main route into Leng is from this pleasant
Beasts live in this spongy lunar citadel,
collecting slaves from their black galleys
Jungle of Kled: Perfumed jungle famous for
Cloud City of Serannian: This pink marble
its elephants and the abandoned cities of
city floats above the Cerenian Sea; it is ruled
ivory lost in its interior
by King Kuranes
Kadath: Mysterious city on a mountaintop in
Court of Azathoth: Out beyond the Moon in
the Cold Waste inhabited by the Elder Gods
the depths of space, Azathoth writhes,
surrounded by his mindless flute-playing Lake Yath in Oriab: Beautiful lake
servitors surrounded by villages and woods,
connected to Baharna by an underground
Dylath-Leen: Basalt city that trades with the
canal. Monsters inhabit a ruined city on the
black galleys of the Moon-Beasts
other side of the lake.
Enchanted Wood: Forest inhabited by Zoogs.
Monastery of Leng: A prehistoric monastery
A hidden trapdoor leads to the Tower of Koth
on the Plateau of Leng is home to the High
but no Gugs can pass through it.
Priest Not To Be Described who guards a
stairwell down to the Vaults of Zin

Cthulhu Abides

Mount Ngranek: Mountain towering over Thalarion: Mysterious gated city of towers
Lake Yath and inhabited by Night-Gaunts. and domes behind granite walls. The
The far side has faces of the Elder Gods inhabitants may be madmen or monsters
carved into its cliffs.
The Cold Waste: Freezing desert north of
Nameless Rock: Cursed island in the Leng. Somewhere within is the city of Kadath
Cerenian Sea avoided by sailors; a base for
Tower of Koth: Landmark in the City of the
the Moon-Beasts
Gugs containing a stair all the way up to a
Ooth-Nargai: Peaceful valley kingdom, the trapdoor in the Enchanted Wood
capital of which is Celephas
Ulthar, City of Cats: City near the Enchanted
Peaks of Thok: Mountains in the Underworld Woods where killing cats is forbidden. The
Cats of Ulthar are magical and intelligent
Plateau of Leng: Cursed land to the north of
Inganok, inhabited by Men of Leng and
Spiders of Leng. Vale of Pnath: Deepest part of the
Underworld where Night-Gaunts leave their
Ruins of Sarkomand: Ruined city on the
victims. Enormous worms burrows through
north shore of the Cerenian Sea, still
the mountains of bones here
inhabited by Men of Leng. Passages descend
to the Great Abyss. Vaults of Zin: Vast cavern in the Underworld
inhabited by warring Ghasts and Gugs. A
Ruins of Sarnath: Great lakeside city in the
secret passage leads up to the monastery in
land of Mnar destroyed long ago by a
mysterious Doom connected to the toad-god
Bokrug (an avatar of Tsathoggua?) World of Cathuria: Mythical land beyond the
Basalt Pillars of the West where all dreams
Sona-Nyl: A land of Fancy near the Basalt
can come true
Pillars of the West where dreams are birthed

Roll 1D 1 2 3 4 5 6
1 Enchanted Ulthar, City Forest of Dylath-Leen Ilarnek Ruins of
Wood of Cats Parg Sarnath
2 Ilek-Vad Hatheg-Kla Baharna in Lake Yath in Mt Ngranek Thalarion
Oriab Oriab in Oriab
3 Cerenian Jungle of Hlanith Ooth- Celephas Cloud City
Sea Kled Nargai of
4 Inganok Ruins of Plateau of Monastery The Cold Kadath
Sarkomand Leng of Leng Waste
5 Peaks of Vaults of City of the Tower of Vale of Great Abyss
Thok Zin Gugs Koth Pnath
6 Nameless Sona-Nyl Basalt City of the Court of World of
Rock Pillars of Moon Azathoth Cathuria
the West Beasts
To find a random destination, use the If a character enters the Dreamlands
table above. Dreamers entering through borne by Night-Gaunts, roll with no Limit
the 77 Steps or the Cliff roll with a -2 on column 5.
Limit, the White Ship roll with a -1 Limit:
re-roll dice which would be ignored. Characters guided through the burrows
of Ghouls roll with no Limit on row 5.

Cthulhu Abides

Cults are organisations of humans (or Being a member of a Mythos Cult
things that pretend to be human) imposes a +1 modifier to Base Madness
preserving occult knowledge. Mythos Level.
Cults serve the beings of the Mythos and
are dedicated, all in their different ways, ESOTERIC CULTS
to bringing about the return of the Other
Gods, the Great Old Ones or similarly These Cults are all (loosely) based on real
apocalyptic projects. Some Mythos Cults world organisations from the 1920s.
are slightly more innocuous, like the
Pnakotic Cults that seek out time- The Difficulty is the Class/Occult
travellers to support their quest for Challenge for a non-member to gain
knowledge or the Hyborian Cults that access to the Cult and also the Difficulty
further the agenda of the Elder Gods for the Certainty Challenge. The Horror
within the Waking World. rating is the Madness level of the Cults
Esoteric Cults are organisations whose
practices and theories preserve Esoteric Assistance is a Bonus the member can
Wisdom. Some of these groups are gain for one Scene, once in a Story,
explicitly occult societies, but others are representing the Cults help; each Cult
not fully aware of the Esoteric Wisdom also has a specific Optional Assist that
they mediate and would not recognize the GM may allow instead of a Bonus.
the label cult as applying to them.
Gnosis indicates the Potency the Cult
Some Esoteric Cults are secretly led by contributes towards creating an Esoteric
the Mythos, usually an inner circle that Spell in a Ritual.
forms a Cult-within-a-Cult and selects To generate the effects of a generic Cult,
recruits for initiation into higher truths. assume the Difficulty to access it is 1D+6,
the Horror is (1D: 1-3) Danger1 or (4-5)
Any character with the Cultist Perk is a Disturbing2 or (6) Shocking3, the
member of an Esoteric Cult but needs
Assistance is +1D/+3 towards a Bonus
the GMs permission to be a member of
and the Gnosis will be worth 1-3 Dice
a Mythos Cult.
towards one Esoteric Abjuration.

Roll Esoteric Cult Difficulty Horror Assistance Gnosis

1 Kibbo Kift 8 Danger +1D/+3 Survival 1D/+3, P
Youth organisation focused on Saxon English woodcraft founded by John Hargrave, who broke away
from the Scout Movement because the Scouts were too militaristic. Members run tribal camps for
young people and take woodcraft names that embody Esoteric Wisdom.
Optional Assist: Deduct 1D from the Difficulty to access an Esoteric Elder Ruin
2 British Fascisti 9 Danger +1D/+3 Fighting 1D/+3, P
Far Right political organisation founded by Rotha Lintorn-Orman, inspired by the Scout Movement
and opposing Communism and Trade Unions. Racialist conspiracy theories and a fascination with
European paganism constitute its Esoteric Wisdom.
Optional Assist: Direct 1D thugs to beat up or frighten a NPC or vandalise a site
3 Freemasons 10 Disturbing +1D/+3 Profession 2D/+5, HK
Hierarchical secret society popular with the professional classes, operating out of Lodges. Rituals go
back (it is claimed) to Biblical times. The society has moderate political influence within the
Establishment and Esoteric Wisdom in its rituals.
Optional Assist: Ask for minor breach of the law to be overlooked or case dropped by the authorities

Cthulhu Abides

4 Golden Dawn 10 Disturbing +2D/+4 Investigation 2D/+5,
Magical society founded by William Westcott as a breakaway from the more conventional
Freemasons. It is currently going through a period of stagnation after internal splits and feuds.
Optional Assist: Deduct 1D from the Difficulty to access an Esoteric Archive (Academic or Folk)
5 Theosophy 10 Disturbing +2D/+4 Dream 3D/+6,
Spiritualist society founded by Helena Blavatsky and promoting alchemical, cabalist and Buddhist
mysticism. The movement is popular among the artistic set.
Optional Assist: Use guided meditation to visit the Dreamlands
6 Thelema 12 Shocking +2D/+4 Occult 3D/+6, DK
Magical society founded by Aleister Crowley as a breakaway from the moribund Golden Dawn. Very
much a personality cult based around Crowley, it preserves Egyptian Esoteric Wisdom mixed with
Demonist ritual.
Optional Assist: Arrange for an Esoteric Ritual to be conducted within 1D weeks

Many Christian church groups, Bible Assistance Dice might also be added to
study groups and monastic orders also the role to infiltrate a related Elder Ruin.
count as Esoteric Cults for the Angelical
Abjuration. They usually offer Disturbing Gnosis indicates the value of the Cult for
Ideas2 and only 1D/+3 Gnosis and no creating a Mythos Spell. The dice are
significant Bonus Benefit. However they added to the Potency Challenge if a
are easy to join (Difficulty 5) with a Ritual is used.
Charm/Profession Challenge.
Guarded By indicates the sort of threat
interlopers will face of detected,
determined by a 1D roll.
Investigators trying to access Mythos
These Cults are fictional and adapted Cults can use their Madness Level as a
from the writings of Lovecraft and his Bonus, but this means enthusiastically
followers. participating in their rites, which must
then be treated as an Extreme Horror.
The Difficulty is the Class/Occult
Challenge for a non-member to gain To generate the effects of a generic
access to the Cult and also the Difficulty Mythos Cult, assume the Difficulty to
for the Certainty Challenge. The Horror access it is 1D+12, the Horror is (1D: 1-3)
rating is the Madness level created by Unnatural4, (4-5) Otherworldly5 or (6)
the Cults rituals. Mythos6, the Assistance is +3D/+6
towards a Bonus and the Gnosis will be
Assistance is a Bonus the member can worth 4-6 Dice towards one Mythos
gain for one Scene, once in a Story, Abjuration.
representing the Cults help; each Cult
also has a more specific Optional Assist
that the GM may allow instead of the

Roll Mythos Cult Difficulty Horror Assistance Gnosis

1 Culte des Goules 12 Shocking +3D/+6 Dream 4D/+7, CH
An ancient practice of corpse-eating, cannibalism and other less savoury practices that risk gaining a
Ghoul Point. Gilles De Rais was an early practitioner as was the Comte DErlette. Accessing Ghoul
Burrows always risks picking up a Ghoul Point. Guarded by: 1-3 Cultists with Hyborian Magic; 4-6
Optional Assist: Use Ghoul Burrows to visit the Dreamlands in the flesh

Cthulhu Abides

2 Order of Dagon 13 Unnatural +3D/+6 Profession 4D/+7, R
A South Sea Islander cult transplanted to coastal European settlements by Dutch spice traders. The
Cult supports colonies of Deep Ones, hiding their hybrid descendants and arranging to slake their
scaly lusts in orgiastic ceremonies. Guarded by: 1-2 Cultists with Rlyeh Magic; 3-5 Deep Ones; 6
Cthulhu Spawn
Deduct 1D from the Difficulty to access an Mythos Elder Ruin (Deep One Colony, Rlyeh Tomb or
Chthonic Vault)
3 Yellow Sign 13 Otherworldly +3D/+6 Investigation 5D/+9,
Cult serving Hastur and dedicated to bringing back the travellers the Great Old Ones trapped on
other planets to earth. The Cultists venerate The King in Yellow and ensure that people read or
stage the cursed script. Guarded by 1-2 Cultists armed with Yuggoth Magic; 3-5 Byakhee; 6 Yellow
Optional Assist: Ask for major crime to be overlooked or case dropped by the authorities
4 Witch-Cult 14 Otherworldly +3D/+6 Survival 5D/+9, A
Cult serving Shub-Niggurath and devoted to bringing the Other Gods into our reality, this cryptic
religion dates back to the ancient Celts in Europe. Nyarlathotep appears at ceremonies as the Black
Man. Guarded by: 1-2 Cultists with Azathoth Magic; 3-4 Dark Young; 5 Nyalathotep; 6 Black Goat
Optional Assist: Arrange for an Mythos Ritual to be conducted within 1D weeks
5 Starry Wisdom 15 Mythos +4D/+8 Occult 6D/+10,
A church that worships Nyarlathotep, founded by American occultist Enoch Bowen but dispersed
across the world. Uses Shining Trapezohedrons to summon Nyarlathotep and Lesser Other Gods.
Guarded by: 1-3 Cultists with Azathoth Magic; 4 Mythos Mummy; 5 Lesser Other God; 6 Nyarlathotep
Optional Assist: Deduct 1D from the Difficulty to access a Mythos Archive (Academic or Folk)
6 Cthulhu Cult 17 Mythos +4D/+8 Fighting 6D/+10,
Worldwide confederation of cults inspired by dreams broadcast by Cthulhu, but also loosely
orchestrated by Tcho-Tchos. Dedicated to locating and raising Rlyeh and freeing Cthulhu and any
other Great Old Ones. Guarded by: 1-3 Tcho-Tchos with Rlyeh Magic; 4 Deep Ones; 5-6 Cthulhu
Optional Assist: Direct 1D Cultists/Tcho-Tchos to kill or hospitalise a NPC or destroy a site

INFILTRATING CULTS This is a risky strategy. Infiltration can

easily backfire. Even Esoteric Cults are
Infiltrating Cults is a wise strategy for eccentric, paranoid people who will turn
Investigators near the start of a Story. on dissenters and backsliders quite
Its a good way to pick up some Clues, viciously. Mythos Cults only kill you if
perhaps some Insight, maybe a small youre lucky. The Cultist Perk or a
boost to your dice rolls before you run successful Class/Occult Challenge will get
up against real trouble. The risks for you into the Cult, but what then? There
infiltrating an Esoteric Cult are pretty are several actions infiltrators will want
low. to take:
1. Gather Clues/Insight equal to the
Most GMs will only allow PCs to infiltrate
Cults Assistance Dice (eg 3D
Esoteric Cults and declare Mythos Cults
means 3 Insight)
off-limits. However, if a previous Story
2. Gather the Cults Assistance,
exposed a Mythos Cult that is still active
which can be used during any
and the Investigators know where it is,
one Scene in the Story
the GM might allow them to try to
3. Tap the Cults Gnosis to help
exploit it rather than close it down.
with casting a Spell

Cthulhu Abides

Each of these options must be done in When Esoteric Cults are suspicious, they
order and a Certainty Challenge must be ask the Investigator to leave. Maybe the
made at the same time as each one. Fascists rough you up, then ask you to
Characters who become Maniacs6 leave. These organisations are legal so
enthusiastically convert to the Cult. defying them is a Social Stunt and, in any
Characters who Fugue will learn nothing event, they will call the police if they
more. need to.

At the GMs discretion, rather than When Mythos Cults are suspicious, they
making a Certainty Challenge the send their Guardians after you. Goodbye.
Investigator of a Mythos Cult can choose
to be Transfigured instead particularly Going back to a Suspicious Cult is
if the rituals were an Extreme Horror. possible in a later Story, but unless your
Cult membership is a Perk there is a -1
In addition, after each action the Limit on the roll to gain access and the
infiltrator should make a Danger Check, Investigator must roll an extra Suspicion
adding an extra dice for each action, and dice (ie two dice after the first action,
if any come up 6 the Cult is suspicious. three after the second, and soon). This
penalty will disappear from an Esoteric
Cult if you spend a Story not using them;
Mythos Cults are paranoid and dont
forget their suspicions so easily.

Elder Ruins here means places of Esoteric However, sometimes the Investigators
Wisdom or Mythos Power from ancient will know of an Elder Ruin either
times that have been ignored, because character creation has
misunderstood or lie undiscovered by suggested this through a Perk or because
modern society. Cults, of course, know they discovered its existence on a
about Elder Ruins and either use them previous adventure.
for their rites or guard them fiercely.
In these cases, Investigators might risk
Many Esoteric Ruins are (quirky) tourist visiting a Ruin to gain Clues, Insight or
attractions or sites of interest for magical power for their current mystery.
antiquarians. Some are religious sites, These rules provide a fairly abstract way
but the religions that manage them are of working out what benefit the
often unaware of their Esoteric aspects. Investigators gain from such a Ruin and
whether they get into trouble there.
Mythos Ruins are completely hidden and
unknown, deep underground, on the sea ESOTERIC RUINS
bed or atop icy mountains although
some few lie underneath the sewers, These Elder Ruins are all (loosely) based
catacombs and subways of modern on real monuments in the British Isles.
The Difficulty is the Class/Investigate
Often the Investigators will infiltrate an Challenge to gain access to the Ruin and
Elder Ruin as part of a story that the GM also the Difficulty for the Horror
has created. Challenge.

Cthulhu Abides

The Horror rating is the Madness level To generate the effects of a generic
created by the moving through the Ruin. Esoteric Ruin, assume the Difficulty to
The Difficulty of the Horror Challenge is access it is 1D+4, the Horror is (1D: 1-3)
based on the Difficulty of the Ruin. Danger1 or (4-6) Disturbing2, the
Difficulty to find an Artefact is 1D+9 and
Artefact lists the Difficulty of a its Potency will be the same and the
Perception/Occult Challenge to locate a Sympathy value for Spell-casting is 1D.
genuine Artefact there (along with its
Artefacts found in Esoteric Ruins are
Potency, the Bonus applied to a 1D roll).
often (1D: 1-2) Athames that help in
Sympathy indicates the value of the Ruin casting a Spell, (3-4) Amulets that help
for creating an Esoteric Spell, with the with Magic Resists, (5) Scrolls with
Ruin acting as a Sympathetic Locale for Esoteric Spells on them or (6) true
certain Abjurations. The dice are added Esoteric Artefacts or Grimoires.
to the Spell Casting Challenge of the
Spell is cast here.

Roll Esoteric Ruin Difficulty Horror Artefact Sympathy

1 Jews House 8 Disturbing 10, Furniture, Vestment, +4 +1D/+3,
Medieval house on Steep Hill, Lincoln, that was the centre of the Jewish community in Lincoln before
the blood-libel hysteria led to their expulsion by King John. Later Christians associated its occupants
with Demonism and child sacrifice.
2 Hadrians Wall 8 Danger 12, Weapon, +5 +2D/+5,
Defensive wall stretching 80 miles across the north of England, dating from the 2 century, with forts
and temples, many (such as the Mithraeum at Carrawburgh) still undiscovered in the 1920s.
3 Skara Brae 10 Danger 15, Furniture, Weapon, +6 +2D/+5, N
Neolithic stone village on Orkney mainland exposed by a storm in 1850 and mysteriously looted in
1913. It is properly excavated in the late 1920s.
4 Glastonbury Tor 8 Danger 12, Instrument, Jewellery, +2D/+5, AP
Vestment, Weapon, +4
Tall hill capped by St Michaels Tower in Somerset, linked with the entrance to mythical Avalon or
Fairyland as well as the burial place of King Arthur and the palace of Gwyn ap Nudd, the son of
5 Avebury 9 Disturbing 15, Jewellery, Weapon, +5 +2D/+5,
Huge henge compound partially enclosing the Wiltshire village of Avebury, with West Kennet Long
Barrow and Silbury Hill nearby. The site is only just being excavated in the 1920s.
6 Stonehenge 9 Disturbing 12, Furniture, Jewellery, +2D/+5 or
Weapon, +5 +4D/+7, KP
Massive Neolithic monument in Wiltshire. In the 1920s it is the focus of an appeal to save it from
encroaching builders. The site is particularly sympathetic at the Summer Solstice, to which it is

Many medieval Christian churches and Lots of prehistoric barrows and tumuli
ruined monasteries count as Esoteric also count as Esoteric Ruins for the
Ruins for the Angelical Abjuration. They Pagan Abjuration. They also offer
usually offer Disturbing Ideas2 and only Disturbing Ideas2 but 2D/+4 as Sympathy.
1D/+3 as Sympathy. However they are However they are average to explore
easy to explore (Difficulty 5) with a (Difficulty 8) with a Charm/Profession
Charm/Profession Challenge. Challenge since they are usually on
private land.

Cthulhu Abides

MYTHOS RUINS Sympathy indicates the value of the Ruin

for creating a Mythos Spell, with the Ruin
These Elder Ruins are all fictional but acting as a Sympathetic Locale for certain
inspired by Lovecrafts references and Abjurations.
ideas. To generate the effects of a generic
Mythos Ruin, assume the Difficulty to
The Difficulty is the Intellect/Investigate
access it is 1D+10, the Horror is (1D: 1-3)
Challenge to gain access to the Ruin and
Unnatural4, (4-5) Otherworldly5 or (6)
also the Difficulty for the Certainty
Mythos6, the Difficulty to find an Artefact
Challenge. The Horror rating is the
is 1D+8 and its Potency will be 1D+9 and
Madness level created by the moving
the Sympathy value for Mythos Magic is
through the Ruin.
Artefact lists the Difficulty of a Artefacts found in Mythos Ruins are
Perception/Occult Challenge to locate a often (1D: 1-2) Athames that help in
genuine Artefact there (along with its casting a Spell, (3-4) Amulets that help
Potency). with Magic Resists, (5) Scrolls with
Mythos Spells on them or (6) true
Mythos Artefacts or Grimoires.

Roll Mythos Ruin Difficulty Horror Artefact Sympathy

1 Ghoul Burrow 12 Shocking 12, 1D 1-2 Instrument, 3-4 +1D/+3,
Jewellery, 5-6 Vestment, +4 CH
A labyrinth of tunnels under an extensive cemetery. Some of the tunnels may be gateways to the
Underworld of the Dreamlands. Infiltrating this might gain an Investigator a Ghoul Point. Guardians
are Ghouls; Curses are unpleasant transformations into Ghouls (gain 1D Ghoul Points)
2 Mi-Go Base 12 Unnatural 10, 1D 1-4 Device, 5-6 +2D/+5, Y
Weapon, +6
A hidden camp for the Mi-Go to conduct covert mining or other weird plots on earth. Guardians are
Mi-Go; Curses are disintegration rays or brain-removing surgical procedures
3 Deep One Colony 15 Unnatural 10, 1D; 1-2 Instrument, 3-5 +2D/+5, R
Jewellery, 6 Vestment +6
A coral citadel inhabited by a whole tribe of fishy-froggy Deep Ones. Accessible only by diving to the
bottom of a sea or lake. Guardians are Deep Ones; Curses are seductions by lustful Deep Ones
4 Chthonic Vault 12 Otherworldly 12, 1D: 1-2 Furniture, 3-4 +2D/+5,
Jewellery, 5-6 Weapon, +10 AC
Complex of underground caverns almost completely (but not quite) sealed off from the upper world.
Guardians are (1D: 1-2) Byakhee, (3-4) Formless Spawn or (5-6) Serpent Folk; Curses are Tsathogguas
or Yigs Transfiguration Geist effects; geometry produces Non-Euclidian Angles
5 Pnakotic Citadel 15 Mythos 12, 1D 1-3 Device, 4-5 +2D/+5, P
Furniture, 6 Vestment, +10
A fortress and stronghold of an Elder Race (Elder Things or Great Race, probably) sealed off for
millions or billions of years. Guardians are Shoggoths, Elder Things, Mi-Go or Serpent Folk; Curses are
disintegration beams or conversion into Shoggoth-flesh
6 Rlyeh Tomb 18 Mythos 12, 1D: 1-3 Instrument, 4 +3D/+6, R
Weapon, 5-6 Vestment, +8
The tomb of a Great Old One, sealed off when the stars stopped being right. Guardians are (1D: 1-2)
Deep Ones, (3-4) Tcho-Tchos or (5-6) Cthulhu Spawn; Curses are Transfiguration Geist effects;
geometry is Non-Euclidian

Cthulhu Abides

INFILTRATING ELDER RUINS Characters who Fugue will learn nothing

more from the Ruin this Story.
Infiltrating Elder Ruins is dangerous. Even
Esoteric Ruins are unsafe places and they In addition, after each action every
are often on private property, in a infiltrator should make a Danger Check,
country where gun ownership is adding an extra dice after each extra
widespread and trespassers can get shot. action, and if any come up 6 the Ruins
Mythos Ruins are just death traps. security is activated.

The Ruin Map Perk or a successful When Esoteric Ruins become secured,
Class/Investigate or Intellect /Investigate landowners or the agents arrive and ask
Challenge will get you into the Ruin and a the Investigator to leave. These people
Certainty Challenge means you keep are legal owners and will typically back
your wits, but what then? There are their legal rights up with firearms.
several actions infiltrators will want to
take: If Investigators want to defy the site
owners, this is a Social Stunt and each
1. Gather Clues/Insight equal to the Investigator must make a Resist against
number of Sympathy Dice the Stunning Damage equal to the sites
site offers Difficulty +1D. After this, they may
2. Use the Ruins Sympathy to help continue.
with casting a Spell
3. Look for Artefacts with a When Mythos Ruins become secured,
Perception/Occult Challenge something more horrible happens. Roll
Each of these options must be done in on the table below and adding the Ruins
order and a fresh Certainty Challenge dice number (eg +6 for a Rlyeh Tomb, +2
must be made before each. for a Mi-Go Base)

Characters who become Maniacs6

enthusiastically convert to the Mythos
and wont leave.

Roll Security
1-3 Imprisoned: a cave-in or chute leaves the Investigator stuck in the Ruin unless rescued by
4 Trap: The Investigator must resist a Killing Wound Challenge with a Difficulty equal to 8+
the Ruins Dice Number; resist with Dodge, Maim, Armour or Trauma only
5-6 Guards: The Ruin is guarded and the Investigator must fight or flee the guardians
7 Curse: The Investigator must resist a Magical Wound Challenge with a Difficulty equal to
8+ the Ruins Dice Number; resist with Defy, Faith, Sigil or Trauma only
8-9 Alien Geometry: Non-Euclidian angles and planes trap the Investigator within the Angles
(Potency 15 Portal Spell to rescue)
10-12 Transfiguration: A Great Old One or Other God is present and the Investigator is
automatically Transfigured

Cthulhu Abides

Going back to a Secure Ruin is possible in A roll of 6 on the random Artefacts table
a later Story, but there is a -1 Limit on tells Regina she has found a True
the roll to gain access and the Artefact. She rolls 2 and finds Furniture.
Investigator must roll an extra Security A further roll of 5 reveals it to be a
dice (ie two dice after the first action, Painting, which is going to be hard to
three after the second, and soon). remove because its a cave painting. A 4
Characters leaving Esoteric Ruins alone shows that it is a magical Portal to
for a Story can cancel out the penalty, another world and Regina quickly maps
but Mythos Ruins dont get safer. its location to investigate later (the GM
rolls a 1, suggesting the Portal has a
Example, Regina Van Zandt knows of the Corrupting Effect on any human using it
location of a Chthonic Vault and thinks a but doesnt tell Regina that).
spot of potholing down there might just
help out against the Brotherhood of the Regina checks her Certainty again and
Yellow Sign who are after her. Her fails, going up to Deranged4.
Intellect/Investigate roll is 4, 3, 4, 1 and a
+4 Bonus making (4+4+4) 12 so shes Her Hope Challenge to avoid a Fugue is
inside. now difficulty 12. She rolls 6, 2, 1, spends
that Mythos Insight to re-roll the 2 and 1
She fails her first Certainty Challenge and gets a 6 and 3, giving her (6+6) 12, a
against Difficulty 12 and advances to success.
Hysterical3, picks up 2 Mythos Insight
from the gruesome cave paintings Now she checks for security: 3 and 6, not
(although shes Stressed, not Insane, she good. She rolls 2 on the Security Table
is a Writer so shes allowed to gain and adds +4 for the Chthonic Vaults dice
Mythos Insight from writings) and rolls value to encounter a Guardian. That
for security: a 4, all is well. means Tsathogguas Formless Spawn
oozing down the passage towards her. At
She checks for Fugue but keeps her calm least, since shes already Deranged4, she
because the Difficulty for resisting Fugue wont need to make another Horror test
when Hysterical3 is 10 and she rolls 5, 1, 5 against an Unnatural4 Monster.
with a +2 Resilience Bonus.

With 2 Mythos Insight, this is a good

point to call it a day and head back to the
surface. But Regina fancies looking for
Artefacts. She rolls 1, 6, 2, 6 for (6+6) 12,
a success even without her +3 Occult

Cthulhu Abides

The Artefacts section is self-explanatory, When the Elder Lore grows dominant,
but the emphasis is on one-shot or the Elder Gods start intervening around
limited-use items. The more powerful the PCs. These interventions make the
True Artefacts should always be double- societies of the Dreamlands more
edged or exact a high price in madness dynamic and unstable, with romances,
or both. abductions and assassinations leading to
riots, wars and sieges. Even the relatively
Its important to remember that Esoteric
benign Elder Gods have an impact on
Insight can only be spent by most
humanity that is mischievous and
characters while Stressed and Mythos
chaotic. Ultimately, the Elder Gods want
Insight while Insane, which further
to extend their power into the Waking
restricts how often these powerful toys
World, using the dreamers as conduits.
can be deployed.
The Nether Lore follows a similar
The Angles are an idea that recurs in
pattern, but the events are more sinister
Lovecrafts fiction but is further
and horrific. Gruesome sacrifices and
developed here. Wrong Angles make a
attacks by monsters lead to witch-hunts,
great plot device for getting Investigators
undead armies and the rising of ancient
to a strange world or alien dimension
behemoths. Players should soon come to
without recourse to mind-bending
see that their behaviour, in fact their
very existence, is changing the
The presence of Yog-Sothoth and his Dreamlands. They may choose to wake
Hounds of Tindalos should deter PCs and not to return to the Dreamlands or
from using the Angles as a short cut or they may quest to restore the balance in
an escape route any time they need to, the Dreamlands by restoring the balance
but for a dimension-hopping in themselves.
Pulp/Adventure game an Artefact like
Player characters arent the only ones
the Shining Trapezohedron could make
who can upset the Dreamlands in this
passing through the Angles (marginally)
way. The GM might consider the impact
safer and more reliable.
of NPC Dreamers on the Dreamlands and
GMs running a Purist/Detective game have the PCs summoned or recruited by
may want to downplay or ignore this a wizard or priestess from the
aspect of Lovecrafts Mythos altogether. Dreamlands to try to restore balance by
The Dreamlands might require some removing the offending Dreamer.
extra explanation. In the same way, some Elder Gods and
Most dreamers entering the Dreamlands Great Old Ones might manipulate human
keep their heads down and enjoy the Dreamers into becoming Avatars so that
scenery. A few create paradises to enjoy they can pass into the Waking World.
in their sleep. Most of these ambitions Should this happen, the former-
can be accommodated without upsetting Dreamers human body will quickly
the Dreamlands metaphysical balance. mutate into the Old Ones or Gods true
form. An entire campaign could be based
However, when dreamers go on quests, around this ghastly transformation
uncover secrets, travel to forbidden ruins happening to a NPC friend of the player
or lost worlds and (in particular) perform characters.
Dream Magic, the entire balance of
power in the Dreamlands starts to shift.

Cthulhu Abides

Cults and Elder Ruins are given as a Theres also a question of tone. Nipping
player resource, rather like Archives. In off to Stonehenge or infiltrating the
the early stages of an investigation, some Order of Dagon are weekend activities
PCs might choose to infiltrate a Cult or for the Devil-may-care heroes of
an Elder Ruin to pick up Clues, gain some Pulp/Adventure Stories, but GMs running
Insight or gain a boost to a particular a Purist/Detective game might prefer to
Bonus or Potency for a Spell. keep these elements in the background
and only introduce mystic locations or
As Sympathetic Locations, Elder Ruins
evil sects when the plot explicitly
reduce the Difficulty of casting an
demands it.
appropriate Spell. Usually, the Spell (or
at least, a crucial part of it) has to be One option is to restrict PC Investigators
performed within the Ruin itself. to Esoteric Cults or Esoteric Ruins. These
tend to be rather more forgiving and
The Gnosis provided by Cults is like the
dont provide such huge benefits.
Gnosis gained from Transfiguration. It
can be "cashed in" for Insight during the Another option - especially for
second Danger Check (1 point of Insight Purist/Detective Stories - is to restrict
per Dice). If all four Danger Checks are access to a Cult or Ruin to PCs who have
passed, the Gnosis can be "carried away" rolled them as a Perk at character
and used to add Potency to a Spell: this creation, rather than allowing any
usually involves performing the Spell as a character to try to infiltrate them by
Ritual with cultists making up the making an Access Challenge.
numbers. At the GM's discretion, Gnosis
The Cults and Ruins listed arent meant
might be used for adding dice to an
to be exhaustive. A lot of Mythos fiction
Access Challenge for an Elder Ruin,
and RPG merchandise has extended the
crossing the Angles, entering the
Cults of Lovecrafts original Mythos, to
Dreamlands or for Reward Challenges
include the Chorazos Witch Cult, the
involving magic (like curing Geist effects
Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh and
or Ghoul Points or getting Reanimated).
the Order of the Silver Twilight, among
The Horror Challenge from infiltrating others.
Cults or Ruins can create problems if it
Esoteric Cults from the Twenties include
drives a character mad right at the start
all manner of woodland folk, neo-
of a Story. A bigger danger is in failing
pagans, spiritualists, demonists, Oriental
the Danger Check in Mythos Cults or
mystics and political gangs as well as the
Mythos Ruins. This can lead to an
growth of Voodoo and other syncretic
encounter with traps or Monsters so
religions in the British Empire.
deadly they derail the GMs planned
Story. Most parts of Britain contain a wealth of
standing stones, ruined castles, haunted
houses and cave systems that count as
Esoteric Ruins.

Cthulhu Abides

Theres a point of view that any RPG that Then theres Teamwork. Teamwork is
calls itself Lovecraftian or has Cthulhu really the only way that mortals can
in the title shouldnt be about confront Mythos Monsters and come out
experience points or skill increases or on top, or at least break even. Players
any sort of character improvement at all. are going to want to get their characters
If you survived your encounter with the bonded as a team as quickly as possible
Mythos with your sanity more or less so they can start combining their dice
intact and your organs on the inside, effectively. When a character dies or
then thats your reward. goes mad and a player introduces a
brand new character, the whole team is
Lovecrafts characters dont seem to going to be pulled down to a basic level.
learn from their experiences, except This is a prompt for lots of great I blame
insofar as they learn to stop having such you for this, newbie! speeches and
terrible experiences. In fact, Lovecrafts opportunities for the newcomer to prove
counter-Enlightenment and anti- himself, which is represented by
Modernity philosophy would seem to be acquiring back that lost Cohesion.
quote opposed to the idea that
encountering the Mythos could be an Weapon Training, which is introduced in
educational experience. Appendix III, will interest some PCs,
especially sedentary archivists and artists
And yet, and yet who find themselves thrown into a more
violent milieu.
Clearly characters who do survive
bruising experiences do tend to learn But the main value of Rewards has to be
something. The more time you spend to offset the draining of body and mind
running for your life, the better you get that fighting the Mythos involves.
at running. Whats more, players are Characters will finish Stories maimed,
acculturated to the idea of their half dead and crazy and they will need to
characters getting better in some sense, be up and ready for the next threat to
of starting off as callow striplings and civilisation or life as we know it. Rewards
emerging at the end as hardened can get you back in the game.
The system of Reward Dice presented
In Cthulhu Abides, characters start off at here means that its possible to save up
the height of their careers as academics, your Dice, roll for your Reward and mess
artists or explorers; most are already up, back where you started with no
survivors and heroes of the Great War. Reward. We think this introduces some
Their Attributes and Bonuses represent drama as players either go for it hoping
them at their prime. to get a Reward early or else carefully
save up Reward Dice. If you prefer a
So what is there to improve? Well, Class world of certainties, allow PCs to buy
and the Professional Bonus are both Rewards by expended the indicated
strongly tied to real-world evaluations of number of Dice.
experience, fame, status and age. It
should be possible to increase them,
especially if the Mythos is fuelling your
career as a Writer, Artist or Scholar.

Cthulhu Abides


1. Surviving Great Danger
2. Role-playing your Philosophy
3. Pursuing your Goal
4. Role-playing your Crutch or
5. Highly entertaining roleplaying
(GMs discretion or vote)
In Game Rewards
In addition, the GM will give out Reward
During the course of their adventures, Bonuses for:
PCs will pick up Mythos Artefacts, 1. Solving a Mystery
Grimoires and Spells. They will also gain 2. Thwarting the Mythos
Insight points which can be carried over 3. Displaying great ingenuity or
from one Story to the next. Clue Points heroism
are cancelled at the end of a Story.
At the end of a Story they can choose to
roll some, all or none of the Reward
Out of Game Rewards Dice/Bonuses they have built up. The
player must specify the Benefit before
At the end of each Story, the GM will
making the Reward Challenge. Whether
give out Reward Dice to each player:
the roll is successful or not, all the Dice
and Bonuses used in the roll are lost.

Difficulty (or Benefit Description

5 (2D) Team Cohesion: When every PC is this cohesive, they can attempt
Disjointed Teamwork
5 (2D) Weapon Owner You can keep a weapon acquired in a previous Story
5 (2D) Consolation3 Recover from Hysterical and restore Base Madness
8 (5D) Archivist Automatic Access to a new Archive for your Profession
8 (5D) Psychoanalysis4 Recover from Deranged and restore Base Madness
8 (5D) Team Cohesion: When every PC is Close-Knit, a Team can function as
Close-Knit Close-Knit
8 (5D) Unusual Archivist Automatic Access to an Archive outside your Profession
8 (5D) Weapon Training Can be trained in using a new Weapon Type
10 (6D) Hospitalised5 Recover from Psychotic or heal a Maiming
10 (6D) Team Cohesion: When every PC is United, a Team can function as a
United United Team
12 (7D) Promoted +1 to Professional Bonus or a new Profession Sub-Type
15 (10D) Honoured +1 to Class or a +1 Professional Bonus if over +5 or a
sub-type Bonus from a completely different Profession
15 (10D) Sanatorium -1 to Base Madness Level or heal a Killing Wound or
(GMs discretion) heal Ghoul Points or permanent Geist
18 (12D) Elevated +1 to Class if over 5 or a new Perk
20 (15D) Re-animated Bring a dead character back to life or (GMs discretion)
cure a Transfigured character

Cthulhu Abides

Usually, a character can retain a

For example, after three successful
number of Esoteric Insight and
adventures Hengist has built up 7
Mythos Insight both equal to his or
Reward Dice and +4 Bonuses. He would
her Base Madness Level. For example,
like his team to be more Cohesive and
a character whose Base Madness
uses up 4 Reward Dice and a +2 Bonus
Level is Feverish2 could hold on to up
to roll for this. He scores a 1, 3, 5 and a
to 2 Esoteric and 2 Mythos Insight
4, for a total of (5+2) 7.
from one Story to the next.
Not enough to improve his Excess Insight is lost unless the character
sense of Cohesion. can record it as an Epistle. An Epistle is a
Unfortunately, he is left with 3 one-shot Grimoire. Each 3 points of
Dice and a +2 Bonus. Insight invested creates 1D Potency in an
Epistle. The Insight must all be of the
In the case of Benefit marked  the same type. Epistles can be added to from
character can add dice and bonuses to one Story to the next.
the Reward Challenge by spending
months receiving care. Each month spent When creating an Epistle, the player
in care adds +1D and +1 Bonus, not to must determine three things:
exceed the characters Class Attribute for How many Dice of Potency the
dice or Profession Bonus for bonuses. If Epistle is worth. Each 1D requires
this is done and the Challenge still fails, the investment of 3 Insight. An
the character must lose either a point Epistle can have up to 6D of
from Class or from the Profession Bonus. Potency and this in turn
determines the Horror Rating for
The table above also indicates how many reading it.
Dice are, on average, enough to win a The Abjuration of the Epistle.
particular Benefit. With the GMs This is rolled randomly but by
permission, a PC could simply cross of investing 3 Insight in this instead
the Reward Dice and buy the Benefit of adding to Potency the player
without risking a roll. However, to can choose the Abjuration.
balance things out, all Benefits must be Adding to an existing Epistle may
treated as one level higher using this add a new Abjuration to it in
method Difficulty 8 (5d) as Difficulty 10 addition to the old one.
(6D), Difficulty 12 (7D) as Difficulty 15
(8D). GMs are advised to insist PCs stick Roll Esoteric Mythos
to one method. 1 Angelical Azathoth
2 Demonist Chthonic

EPISTLES, CLUE POINTS & 3 Hermetic Hyborian

4 Kabbalist Pnakotic
5 Necromancy Rlyeh
6 Pagan Yuggoth

Who the Epistle is for. This can

be the PC himself or herself, the
players next character (in which
case the Epistle is a sort of last
At the end of each Story, any unused will and testament that will be of
Clue Points are lost unless the next use when the current character
Story is a direct continuation of the dies) or another PC.
same mystery.

Cthulhu Abides

The rewards system in Cthulhu Abides Often, players will be forced to use
has a degree of uncertainty that some Rewards to heal themselves - to restore
players find exhilarating and others their Madness Level, remove Maimings
frustrating. I urge you to embrace both or counter Geist effects. Sometimes GMs
aspects, but offer a more predictable will give the PCs an opportunity to spend
alternative. Clue Points at the end of the Story to
return home safely (see p78) but if they
For a start, there's no increasing most of
cannot do this then Rewards must be
your Attributes or Bonuses, except for
used instead.
Class and Profession. The others
represent "you at your peak" and they The Reward Challenge is full of
only decay over time. Esoteric Magic uncertainty. The player must decide how
might grant temporary boosts or Mythos many Dice to allocate to the Challenge
Magic permanent ones (but at a ghastly and what size of Bonus to use. If the
price) but "experience" won't make you attempt fails, then all the Dice and
prettier, wittier or more deadly with a Bonuses allocated are lost.
Some players will 'play it safe', waiting
Speaking of Brownings, some PCs will until they have a large number of Dice
seek to grow in power by Weapon and a high Bonus then throw the whole
Training. This is simply done but most lot at gaining the Reward. The table of
characters won't need to be skilled in probabilities on p140 will be helpful for
more than one or two weapon types. these players.
More scholarly characters will extend
Others prefer to push their luck, hoping
their power by gaining access to new
for a high dice roll instead.
Some players (and GMs) prefer character
The best way to get more powerful is to
advancement to be more predictable
get more powerful as a group. This
than this. It's frustrating for some players
means choose the Cohesion Rewards, so
to earn a lot of Reward Dice then lose
that you become Disjointed, then Close-
them all, with nothing to show for it, on
Knit, then United. A United Team is truly
a bad roll. Personally, this writer believes
greater than the sum of its parts, able to
aiming to "minimax" or "optimize" your
pool its Dice and choose the best
character is contrary to the spirit of
numbers for optimal results. A United
Lovecraftian roleplaying. Nevertheless,
Team can pose a threat to most
some players hate to be disappointed
Monsters of the Mythos - but remember
and some GMs have long term plans for
that Cohesion drops as Madness
their Stories and intend the PCs to reach
increases (see pp23-25).
a certain level of power by a certain
point in the plot. If so, allow players to
"buy" Rewards if they have enough Dice
- but treat each Reward as one step
more expensive if using this method.

Cthulhu Abides

This was intended to be the Basic Rules
Q. Arent the Monsters a bit limited?
but it seems there are a lot more rules to
What can they do?
squeeze in. Everything so far represents
the core ideas of Cthulhu Abides but A. Appendix VII ups the Monster Count
anyone who plays the game even once and describes them in detail, along with
will want to know more. their Magic Powers and examples of
using them in play. Each Monster is listed
Q. How does this weird Poker Dice
with 6 scenario hooks so you can roll up a
mechanic work?
quick adventure based around your
A. In Appendix I theres a table showing
how the probabilities of getting different
Q. Where are [insert popular Mythos
target numbers spread out if you roll up
Monsters here]?
to 18 dice.
A. Ive restricted myself to Monsters
Q. Only 6 Professions?
named or created by Lovecraft himself. In
some cases, Lovecraft merely name-
A. In Appendix II there are 6 more, along
dropped a Monster and another author
with 6 more Philosophies, Goals,
developed the hint and gave the popular
Crutches, Frailties and a new set of Perks.
interpretation of its appearance and
Q. I dont get the Perks powers. In these cases, Ive freely
adapted the Monster from scratch, so as
A. Theyre all explained in more detail in not to incorporate non-Lovecraftian
Appendix III. developments into the setting (and avoid
infringing on anyones copyright).
Q. Why is the combat system so basic?
Q. I don't get Transfigurations.
A. In Appendix IV there are stats for
different weapons and a weapon training A. Well, dont use them, then. Just
rule to distinguish combat characters impose humungous Extreme Horror
from the rest. Checks when the Old Ones come calling
and drive everyone mad without passing
Q. Can you explain Archives in more Go. Transfigurations are meant to be an
detail? alternative to Extreme Horror or one-
sided combat when an Investigator
A. Yes, in Appendix V, which includes encounters a Mythos Titan, either
tables of Archives from all across Britain directly (god forbid!) or indirectly
(psychic link, clairvoyance, dimensional
Q. Isnt just 6 Mythos Grimoires a bit rifts, whatever). With Transfiguration,
limiting? Investigators can try their luck to get
away with some mystical or magical
A. Appendix VI takes it up to 36, with 36 advantage, at the risk of being
Esoteric Grimoires too. maddened, mutated or simply eaten.

Cthulhu Abides

Percentage chance of succeeding in a Challenge of Difficulty:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
N 100
1 82 66 49 33 16
M 2 100 100 91 80 61 38 8 8 5 5 2 2
B 3 100 100 98 93 80 60 23 23 16 15 8 8 1 1 1
R 4 100 100 100 98 91 77 39 39 29 27 16 16 3 3 3 1 1 1
5 100 100 100 99 96 89 56 56 43 40 26 26 7 7 7 4 3 3
F 6 100 100 100 100 98 95 71 71 58 54 38 38 12 12 12 7 6 6
7 100 100 100 100 99 98 83 83 70 65 49 49 20 20 20 12 11 11
I 8 100 100 100 100 99 99 90 90 81 76 62 62 29 29 29 20 17 17
C 9 100 100 100 100 100 99 95 95 88 84 71 71 39 39 39 27 23 23
10 100 100 100 100 100 99 98 98 93 90 80 80 49 49 49 35 30 30
/ 11 100 100 100 100 100 100 99 99 96 94 87 87 58 58 58 43 38 38
12 100 100 100 100 100 100 99 99 98 97 92 92 68 68 68 53 46 46
T 13 100 100 100 100 100 100 99 99 99 98 95 95 76 76 75 62 54 54
T 14 100 100 100 100 100 100 99 99 99 99 97 97 82 82 81 68 61 61
I 15 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 99 99 98 98 87 87 87 76 69 69
B 16 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 99 99 99 99 91 91 91 81 74 74
T 17 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 99 99 99 99 94 94 94 87 81 81
E 18 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 99 99 99 96 96 96 90 86 86

Its not possible to roll a 7 (or a 11, With 6 Dice you achieve Difficulty 10
13 or any other prime number higher half the time.
than 5) so, if the Difficulty is 7, then With 7 Dice, Difficulty 12 Challenges
it might as well be 8. become routinely achievable.
Since 8 is the Difficulty for most Even a peak human with 10 Dice has
average Challenges, PCs will really only a 50-50 chance of achieving
want a +2 Bonus so they have a Difficulty 15 and less than a 1 in 3
chance of getting 8 by rolling a single chance of achieving Difficulty 18.
6, a double 3 or a treble 2.
Bonuses work because they bring the
Probabilities even out wonderfully Difficulty level down. With a +2
once you start rolling 5 or 6 Dice. Bonus you dramatically increase your
Even without Bonuses, with 5 Dice chances of getting Difficulty 8 and a
you achieve Difficulty 8 half the time +5 Bonus makes even Difficulty 15
achievable with 5 or 6 Dice.
Because the Poker Dice Mechanic used in Cthulhu Abides is non-intuitive it can be hard to
work out just what your lowest possible dice roll is. This is important for identifying when
you cannot fail at a roll and qualify for a Power Stunt. The table below illustrates what the
minimum score is for different dice numbers:

Number of Dice 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Minimum possible score 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 4 5 5

Cthulhu Abides


During character creation, roll 1D and,
on an odd number, roll Profession here
Roll Profession Description Modifiers
1 Criminal Someone who lives outside the law +1 Perception, either +1 Intellect or +1
and pursues their goals illegally Physique; +1 Survival; Madness +1;
Initiative +1
2 Detective A professional investigator and +1 Charm, +1 Intellect; +1 Investigate;
solver of mysteries Madness 0: Certainty +1
3 Dilettante Someone whose wealth and +2 Class, +1 Charm; +1 Dream;
privilege frees them to pursue their Madness +1
odd interests
4 Doctor A professional physician of some +2 Intellect, either +1 Class or +1
sort, dedicated to the healing arts Perception; +1 Investigate; Madness:
0: Hope +1
5 Spiritualist Someone whose career involves the +1 Creativity, either +1 Class or +1
occult Intellect; +1 Occult; Madness +1:
Certainty +1
6 Vagabond Someone who lives outside of -2 Class, either +2 Charm or +2
normal society Physique; +1 Survival; Madness +1:
Resilience +2


Criminal Detective Dilettante
1. Athletic: Add 1D to Dodge & 1. Diarist: Create 1D Epistles 1. Bubble: Use your Crutch
Fall Resists or other feats from 2 Insight twice per Story
2. Daredevil: You can roll 2. Field Medic: You can use 2. Clubbable: You enjoy the
Action Stunts while Sane your Bonus to heal wounds resources of the Diogenes Club
3. Dogged: You need to be 3. Gun Owner: You have access 3. Famous: Re-roll any failed
Stunned or Killed twice to firearms/explosives Class Challenge
4. Gang Experience: You can 4. Leadership: You can lead any 4. Leadership: You can lead
attack to Kill when Sane Team without rolling any Team without rolling
5. Gun Owner: You have access 5. News Cutter: Start Story 5. Unflappable: Re-roll any
to firearms/explosives with 1D Deduction/ Insight failed Hope Challenge
6. Pugilist: Add +1D to damage 6. Pugilist: Add +1D to damage 6. Transport: You own a D: 1-2
and Dodge Resists in fights and Dodge Resists in fights car, 3-4 boat, 5-6 plane
Doctor Spiritualist Vagabond
1. Diarist: Keep one Deduction 1. Bohemian: You can do Social 1. Broad Minded: You are not
/ Insight after it is spent Stunts while Sane affected by Disturbing Ideas
2. Drug Cabinet: Sedate one 2. Cultist: You have access to a 2. Dogged: You need to be
character automatically Cult (1D: 6=Mythos) Stunned or Killed twice
3. Medicine Cabinet: Save one 3. Elder Sign: Create a Sigil 3. Field Medic: You can use
character from a Killing Wound worth 1D Resist using Insight your Bonus to heal wounds
4. Painkillers: Save any 4. Esoteric Lore: You possess 4. Oddball: No Social Penalties
character from a Stun Wound an Esoteric Grimoire for being Stressed
5. Poisoner: Create a Stunning 5. Mystic: Roll Perception / 5. Sensitive: You can gain and
or Killing attack with drugs Dream to sense magic use Esoteric Insight when Sane
6. War Experience: You can 6. Oneirist: Enter the 6. War Experience: You can
attack to Kill when Sane Dreamlands automatically attack to Kill when Sane

Cthulhu Abides


The Criminal
The Criminal Profession Bonus can be used to fence or buy stolen goods, pick up news from the
criminal underground and know local crime figures
Sane: You can do criminal Stressed: You can re-roll failed Insane: If you Fugue you will
Pulp Stunts criminal Pulp Stunts once be arrested
Roll Type of Criminal Description
1 Burglar [Physique +1, Hope-1, Certainty +1] Use your Professional Bonus to
break into buildings, notice and avoid alarms and elude guards
2 Gambler [Initiative +1, Hope -1, Certainty +1] Use your Bonus to win at games,
judge odds and psych-out opponents
3 Gangster [Fighting +1, Certainty +1] Use your Bonus to intimidate or threaten
people; you have the Gang Experience Perk
4 Pickpocket [Initiative +1] Use your Bonus to steal from peoples pockets, purses
and persons without their noticing
5 Safecracker [Perception +1, Hope +1, Certainty -1] Use your Bonus to open locks
and safes as well as spotting and dismantling traps and alarms
6 Smuggler [Survival +1] Use your Bonus to obtain illicit goods (guns, drugs, etc)
and identify hiding places; no Limit for getting weapons

The Detective
The Detective Professional Bonus can be used to get good reactions from local police and solve
crimes and mysteries
Sane: You can freely access Stressed: You can gain Deductions Insane: You can gain Clues
1D Police Archives while Stressed while Insane
Roll Type of Detective Description
1 Consulting [Class +1, Intellect +1,Physique -1] You have access to any 1D
Archives instead of just Police Archives
2 Ecclesiastical [Roll 1D: 1-2 Anglican, 3-5 Catholic, 6 Jewish; Hope +1, Occult +1]
You have access to Ecclesiastical or Folk Archives
3 Forensic [Perception +1, Charm -1] Use your Bonus to get Clues or Insight
from corpses, bloodstains or wounds
4 Government [Roll 1D: 1-3 MI5, 4-6 MI6; Class +1, Hope -1] You have the
Agent Leadership Perk and have access to Police & State Archives
5 Police [Survival +1] Use your Bonus to arrest people, assert police
authority and confiscate items
6 Private [Class -1, Resilience +1] Use your Bonus to know gossip or contacts
from the criminal underworld; limited to 1 Police Archive but other
Archives can be of any sort

The Dilettante
The Dilettante Professional Bonus can be used to get good reactions from the upper classes and
their servants, guards and agents
Sane: You can carry out Stressed: You suffer no social penalty Insane: You have no penalty
Social Stunts for being Hysterical for social actions
Roll Type of Description
1 Adventurer [Survival +1] Use your Professional Bonus to know exotic locations and
geography; you have the Daredevil Perk
2 Black Sheep [Class -1, Creativity +1] Use your Professional Bonus to know contacts in
the criminal underworld; you have the Broad Minded Perk

Cthulhu Abides

3 Degenerate [Occult +1, Hope +1, Base Madness +1] Your family line is degenerate
and dogged with accusations of witchcraft or worse. You have the
Sensitive Perk and access to a Cult (1D: 6=Mythos)
4 Peer [Class +2, Charm -1, Creativity -1] Use your Bonus to influence
government agencies and access a State Archive; you have either the
Wealthy Perk or the Clubbable Perk
5 Playboy [Charm +1, Intellect -1] Use your Bonus to gain access to parties,
casinos, top restaurants and fully-booked hotels; you have the Famous
6 Princeling [Roll 1D: 1-2 Mittel European, 3-4 African, 5-6 Asian; Class +1, Charm -1]
You automatically have access to your cultures Folk or State Archive
and the services of a Batman (as the Perk)

The Doctor
The Doctor Professional Bonus can be used to perform healing, either Hospitalisation or Field
Sane: You can perform Field Stressed: You can perform Insane: You can use sedative
Medicine on Stunning Wounds First Aid on Killing Wounds drugs as an extra Crutch
Roll Type of Doctor Description
1 Alienist [Perception +1, Hope -1] Use your Professional Bonus to
identify the insane; you can Hospitalise Insane characters and
access a Medical Archive
2 Consultant [Investigate +1] You can access 1D Medical Archives
3 Experimenter [Creativity +1, Hope -1] By experimenting on a creature or
living substance, you can make a Creativity/Profession
Challenge to gain an Evidence Clue or point of Insight
4 General Practitioner [Charm +1, Certainty -1] Use your Professional Bonus to
diagnose the sick; you can Hospitalise Insane characters
5 Psychoanalyst [Dream +1] Use your Bonus to provide Psychotherapy for
Insane or Stressed characters; you can Hospitalise Insane
6 Surgeon [Class +1, Hope -1] Use your Bonus to perform Field Medicine
of any sort even when Sane

The Spiritualist
The Spiritualist Professional Bonus can be used to conduct sances, tarot readings or other occult
procedures and tell real ones from fakes
Sane: You can gain or use Esoteric Stressed: You can gain or use Insane: You are not stressed
Insight and Spells Mythos Insight/Spells by the Otherwoldly
Roll Type of Spiritualist Descriptive
1 Exorcist [Certainty +1, Base Madness +1] Use your Bonus perform
Spells or Sigils relating to spirits; start with the Elder Sign Perk
2 Fortune Teller [Perception +1, Base Madness +1] Use your Bonus perform
Spells relating to divination; you have the Psychic Perk
3 Magician [Occult +1, Base Madness +2] Use your Bonus perform Spells
in one Esoteric Abjuration; you have the Magician Perk
4 Medium [Dream +1, Base Madness +1] Use your Bonus perform Spells
relating to Esoteric spirits; you have the Mystic Perk
5 Parapsychologist [Investigate +1] Make a Creativity/Profession Challenge to
gain an Evidence Clue/Insight from any paranormal events
6 Stage Magician [Initiative +1] Use your Professional Bonus to perform tricks
of stage magic, sleight of hand and illusion

Cthulhu Abides

The Vagabond
The Vagabond Professional Bonus can be used to forage and live off the land and get good
reactions from other people at the margins of society
Sane: You gain an extra Stressed: You gain an extra Crutch Insane: Authorities will gaol
Frailty or hospitalise you
Roll Type of Description
1 Anarchist [Certainty +1, Hope -1] You are a member of a revolutionary gang or
movement. Use your Bonus to gain the trust of terrorists, activists and
foreigners treat as a Folk Archive.
2 Gypsy [Class -1, Charm +1] Use your Bonus to get help and assistance from
Gypsies across the country; you can access a Folk Archive
3 Hermit [Dream +1] You are a solitary mystic. You have access to an Elder Ruin
(1D: 6=Mythos)
4 Kibbo Kift [Survival +1] You belong to a Woodcraft community and use your Bonus
for Evidence Clues from woodcraft and identify trails , plants and
animals; you have access to the Kibbo Kift Cult
5 Runaway [Certainty -1, Hope +1] You are on the run from the police, the Fascists
or an angry mob. Use your Bonus to hide yourself or escape from any
6 Tramp [Class -1, Resilience +1] You can use your Bonus for begging and pick up
rumours from other vagrants treat as a Folk Archive.

Roll Philosophy Description Modifiers
1 Bolshevik You see a glorious future for mankind once the +1 Intellect; Madness
present evils have been defeated, a future of +1: Hope +1
equality and peace thats worth fighting for
2 Democrat You believe in the value of the individual and +1 Creativity; Madness
their freedom to be happy. Individuals make 0: Hope +1
mistakes, but you will fight for their right to
make them
3 Fascist Most people are sheep and need a strong +1 Physique; Madness
leader. Maybe you are that leader. You despise +1: Hope +1; access to
the weak and admire strength and conviction. Fascist Cult
4 Humanitarian All over the world, people are in need, +1 Perception;
oppressed, in peril. You cant ignore their Madness -1; Hope -1;
sufferings. You will do everything in your power Resilience +1
to help the helpless
5 Idealistic Whatever they might say, there is truth and +1 Charm; Madness
justice and a civilized way of doing things. You 0: Hope +1
stand up for whats morally right and do not
count the cost
6 Stoical You dont expect the world to be pretty or just, +1 Class; Madness -1:
but you have a strict code you live by and an Hope -1; Resilience +1
inner sense of dignity that can never be taken
from you.

Cthulhu Abides

Roll Goal Description Modifiers
1 Crusader The Mythos and its human collaborators must be Fighting +1; Madness 0:
wiped out. It is a stain on the planet and the Initiative +1
species and you work for its destruction.
2 Cultist When the stars are right and the Old Ones return Occult +1; Madness +2:
they will reward their faithful servants, but first Certainty +1, access to a
all rival cults must be destroyed. Cthulhu fhtagn! Mythos Cult
3 Haunted You suffer nightmares about the Other Gods and Dream +1; Madness +1;
Elder Things and can have no peace until you Hope -1; Resilience +1
solve the mystery or end their reign on earth.
4 Loyal You are personally loyal to a hero-figure, an old Profession +1; Madness:
teacher, Army officer, member of the Royal 0: Resilience +1
Family or religious leader who opposes the
5 Paranoid You see signs of the Mythos everywhere and Investigate +1; Madness:
believe in a huge occult conspiracy involving +1: Initiative +1
every level of government and law enforcement.
6 Thrill- Youre in it for the excitement hair-raising Survival+1; Madness +1:
Seeking chases, fighting cultists, encountering monsters Certainty +1, Initiative +1
and visiting exotic locations. Simply thrilling!


Roll Crutch Frailty
1 Domesticity: An Englishmans home is Choleric: You have anger issues and lash out
his castle and you love to focus on verbally or physically at small provocations. +1 to
home and family. -1 to Madness when Madness if you are provoked but do not retaliate
you enjoy home life for a day or a night. immediately.
2 Enmity: You have a fierce opposition to Fantasist: You have one or more glamorous
a cause, a person or even a country. -1 identities and you love to tell wild stories about
to Madness when working or speaking them. +1 to Madness if your fantasies are
against your enemy. dismissed or you present yourself honestly
3 Labour: You find a sense of purpose Kleptomaniac: Youre a compulsive thief who
and peace in honest toil and the cant resist stealing anything valuable thats
satisfaction of a job well done. -1 to unguarded or something that someone else
Madness when you throw yourself into clearly treasures. +1 to Madness if you do not
your ordinary work for a day. steal something precious when it is unguarded.
4 Science: You keep yourself sane by Obsessive: You have an activity that you do to the
formulating things scientifically and exclusion of other, more sensible ones: collecting
developing theories. -1 to Madness things, cleaning, crossword puzzles. +1 to
when engaged in scientific research. Madness if forced to ignore obsession
5 Sport: You may be an athlete or a Restlessness: You are a wandering soul, incapable
football fan, but sport represents all of settling down and always keen to move on. +1
that is noble in human character. -1 to to Madness if you stay in one place or miss the
Madness competing or spectating. opportunity to travel
6 Solitude: You find solace in your own Shyness: You hate to be in the spotlight, public
company away from civilisation, cities speaking or having to mingle with attractive or
and crowds. -1 to Madness when you impressive strangers. +1 to Madness if you are
can be utterly alone for a long period. forced to perform in public or impress a stranger

Cthulhu Abides


In the earlier tables, Perks are explained
very briefly. Here is a fuller treatment.

Athletic: Add 1D to Dodge & Fall Resists or Cultist: You have access to a Cult (1D:
other feats. Your athleticism gives you an 6=Mythos). Choose or roll a Cult you have
extra +1D on these Resist Challenges and on access to. This is an Esoteric Cult unless the
any Challenge involving climbing, running, GM approves a Mythos Cult on a roll of 6.
jumping or balancing. You do not need to make an Access
Challenge to interact with the Cult but
Batman: You have a very competent servant.
Danger Checks still apply. [Add +1 to the
This may be your butler or valet, a family
Base Madness Level of any character with
retainer, an old wartime junior or a graduate
this Perk]
student or intern. Create this NPC as a
Primary Character or an extra PC. They are Daredevil: You can roll Action Stunts while
intensely loyal to you (with the Loyal Goal) Sane. This enables you to do reckless,
and will only consider betraying you or acting swashbuckling or dangerous things with your
against you if they are in Fugue. full dice roll. The Perk does not mean you
automatically get succeed in such behaviour,
Believer: Use Faith against all Magic with
but many onlookers may find your behaviour
Profession Bonus. Most PCs can only call on 1
Dangerous .
Faith to resist Magic if their Philosophy or
Goal is directly involved. You can always Diarist: Create 1D Epistles from 2 Insight. You
Resist Magic with Faith, rolling either can turn excess Insight into Epistles by
Certainty or Hope and using your Profession investing 2 Insight instead of 3; you can use
Bonus. your own Epistles as well as specifying one
other reader.
Bohemian: You can do Social Stunts while
Sane. This enables you to do wild, antisocial Dogged: You need to be Stunned or Killed
or criminal things in public with your full dice twice. You can receive a Stunning or Killing
roll. The Perk does not mean you Wound once in a Story with no effect, but
automatically get away with such behaviour, the second time you are Wounded it has its
but many onlookers may find your behaviour full effect on you.
1 2
Dangerous or Disturbing .
Drug Cabinet: Sedate one character
Broad Minded: You are not affected by automatically. Your sedative drugs can lower
Disturbing Ideas . You do not need to make a a characters Madness Level by a whole
Challenge when confronted by a Disturbing category (ie from Insane to Stressed or
Idea unless it is an Extreme Horror, in which Stressed to Sane). You can use these once
case you treat it as a normal Stressor. per Story, including on yourself. If used
during an action Scene, this is a
Bubble: Use your Crutch twice per Story.
Creativity/Profession Pulp Stunt.
Because of the protected and nave world
you inhabit, you can call upon your Crutch Elder Sign: Create a Sigil worth 1D Resist
twice as often to lower your Madness Level. using Insight. Whenever you face a Magic
Wound you can spend a point of Insight to
Clubbable: You enjoy the resources of the
create a Sigil: roll 1D for its Resist value on
Diogenes Club. The Diogenes Club will be
the table on p62; it's not automatically an
dealt with in later editions, but this
Elder Sign despite the name of this Perk.
organisation provides Investigators with
[Add +1 to the Base Madness Level of any
advice, resources and even mystical help to
character with this Perk]
keep the country safe from the Mythos.

Cthulhu Abides

Esoteric Lore: You possess an Esoteric Mystic: Roll Perception/Dream to sense

Grimoire. Roll on the Esoteric Grimoire table Magic. This is a Pulp Stunt and enables you to
to see which Grimoire you own and roll again sense vaguely the presence of Magic, the
to determine its condition/quality. You can effects of a Spell or the manifestation of a
consult the Grimoire whenever you like but supernatural creature nearby. By spending a
studying it takes 1D hours. point of Insight you may get more
information (rough direction, a hint about its
Famous: Re-roll any failed Class Challenge.
Potency, etc). Mythos items might
Your fame means you can re-roll Class
Transfigure you if you fail a Danger Check.
Challenges as if you had spent a point of
[Add +1 to the Base Madness Level of any
Insight. This only applies against people who
character with this Perk]
might have heard of you and are susceptible
to your fame (eg a famous Playboy will not Mythos Grimoire: You possess a Mythos
impress an Azande witchdoctor or a gang of Grimoire. Roll on the Mythos Grimoire table
Bolsheviks). to see which Grimoire you own and roll again
to determine its condition/quality. You can
Field Medic: You can administer First Aid.
consult the Grimoire whenever you like but
You can apply First Aid to heal a Stun Wound
studying it takes 1D hours.
as a normal Intellect/Profession Challenge.
Applying First Aid during combat is a Pulp Mythos Treasure: You have a Mythos
Stunt as is trying to heal a Killing Wound Artefact. Roll on the Artefacts table to see
outside of a hospital setting. which Artefact you own or design your own
with the GMs approval.
Gang Experience: You can attack to Kill when
Sane. Your exposure to tough crime means News Cutter: Start each Story with 1D
that Killing is not a Pulp Stunt for you. You Deduction or Insight. Your collection of news
are still affected by seeing someone being stories gives you the drop on an
1 3
killed as a Danger or even a Profound Shock investigation, enabling you to start a Story
if its grisly. You are trained in 1D Weapon with 1D points of either Deduction or Insight
Types. (depending on your Base Madness Level).
Gun Owner: You have access to firearms. Oddball: No Social Penalties for
You can start each Story with a gun and Stress/Insanity. You do not suffer Limits to
ammunition. Replacing the gun or your social Challenges for being Hysterical ,
ammunition during the Story is a or for Fugue-ing and you can roll dice
Class/Profession Challenge. normally for social activities when Insane.
Leadership: You can lead any Team without Oneirist: Enter the Dreamlands
rolling. In addition, if you make the automatically. It is assumed you have visited
Creativity/Dream roll then a completely the Dreamlands before and whenever you
Disunited Team that you lead is treated as sleep and dream you can locate one of the
Disjointed instead. gates to the Dreamlands if you desire, even if
you are Sane. You gain +1 level of Dream
Magician: Perform Ritual Magic efficiently;
Lore. [Add +1 to the Base Madness Level of
you can use Rituals to reduce the Difficulty of
any character with this Perk]
Esoteric or Mythos Spells that take 1D hours
to perform and are not Extreme Horrors. You Painkillers: Save any character from a Stun
can add your Dream Bonus to Ritual Spell Wound. Your anaesthetic drugs can prevent
Potency. Team members must also spend a Stunning Wound if applied promptly. Using
Insight, make Horror Challenges and risk them during combat is a
Mishaps if the Spell goes wrong. [Add +1 to Creativity/Profession Pulp Stunt. You can use
the Base Madness Level of any character these once per Story.
with this Perk]
Medicine Cabinet: Save one character from a
Killing Wound. Your lifesaving drugs can
prevent a Killing Wound if applied promptly.
Using them during combat is a
Creativity/Profession Pulp Stunt. You can use
these once per Story.

Cthulhu Abides

Poisoner: Create a Stunning or Killing attack Sorcerer: You can use Mythos Magic while
with drugs. Your drugs can be used as a Stressed. Unlike most characters, you can
weapon if you inject them (a cast Mythos Spells and use Mythos Artefacts
Physique/Profession Challenge) or mix them while Stressed as well as Insane. You can add
into food or drink (a Creativity/Profession your Dream Bonus to Mythos Spell Potency.
Challenge). Using poisons to Kill is a Pulp [Add +1 to the Base Madness Level of any
Stunt. The GM will determine the exact character with this Perk]
Stiff Upper Lip: Re-roll any failed Challenge.
Psychic: Spend Insight to receive a helpful If you fail a Challenge you can immediately
vision. You are prone to helpful dreams or re-roll it as if you had spent Insight. If you fail
visions that strike unexpectedly. You can a second time you can still spend Insight for a
convert Insight into Clue Points which you third attempt.
can use to ask the GM to describe a helpful
Team Player: No loss of Team Cohesion
vision that will further your investigation.
when mad. When your Madness Level
When Transfigured you cannot spend Insight
increases you never lose Team Cohesion; you
to re-roll any Wrath Check or Escape
dont add to the difficulty of the challenge to
Challenge. [Add +1 to the Base Madness
form a team that has you in it
Level of any character with this Perk]
Theurgist: You can use Esoteric Magic while
Pugilist: Add +1D to Damage and to Dodge
Sane. Unlike most characters, you can cast
Resists in fights. You are skilled in boxing (or
Esoteric Spells and use Esoteric Artefacts
another martial art) and can add +1D to your
while Sane as well as Stressed. You can add
Damage Challenge in unarmed combat and
your Dream Bonus to Esoteric Spell Potency.
+1D to your Dodge Resist in close combat
[Add +1 to the Base Madness Level of any
(but not against firearms)
character with this Perk]
Relic Treasure: You have an Esoteric
Transport: You own a special vehicle (D: 1-2
Artefact. Roll on the Artefacts table to see
car, 3-4 boat, 5-6 plane or airship). This
which Artefact you own or design your own
vehicle belongs to you and at the start of the
with the GMs approval.
Story it is parked, moored or hangared
Ruin Map: You have access to an Elder Ruin nearby. If it is destroyed, it can be replaced
(1D: 6=Mythos). Roll or choose an Esoteric as a Difficulty 8 Reward Challenge.
Ruin you have access to. This means you do
Unflappable: Re-roll any failed Hope
not require an Access Challenge to benefit
Challenge. If you fail a Hope Challenge you
from it. If the GM approves, on a roll of 6 this
can immediately re-roll it as if you had spent
can be a Mythos Ruin.
Insight. If you fail a second time you can still
Sage: You have access to 1D Archives. In spend Insight for a third attempt.
addition to your normal Archives, you have
Visionary: Start each Story with 1D Insight.
access to extra ones that can be of any type.
This can be either Esoteric or Mythos Insight.
Roll to see which type of Archives you can
You can only spend the Insight if your
visit and decide where they are.
Madness Level is high enough. In the
Sensitive: You can gain and use Insight when Dreamlands you gain +1 level of Dream Lore.
Sane. Unlike most characters, you can gain [Add +1 to the Base Madness Level of any
Insight (from Grimoires, Fugues, etc) while character with this Perk]
Sane and spend any Insight you already have.
War Experience: You can attack to Kill when
Insight gained or used while Sane is treated
Sane. Your exposure to the Great War means
as Esoteric Insight. However you cannot
that Killing is not a Pulp Stunt for you. You
spend Insight to resist the effect of
are still affected by seeing someone being
Transfigurations and in the Dreamlands you 1 3
killed as a Danger or even a Profound Shock
automatically gain +1 level of Dream Lore
if its grisly. You are trained in 1D Weapon
with this Perk.

Cthulhu Abides

Before the Great War handguns had to PCs with the Gun Owner Perk are
be licensed but gun ownership in Britain registered gun owners who can start
was only denied to someone who was every Story with a handgun, rifle or
"drunken or insane". There were a shotgun. Other PCs must make a
quarter of a million licensed firearms in Class/Profession Challenge, but with a
private hands across the country. After Limit equal to the characters Base
soldiers returned from the trenches the Madness Level. For example, a character
Government became concerned about who is Feverish2 has a -2 Limit on any roll
the weapons they had brought home to acquire a gun. Other weapons can be
with them, especially after the 1917 acquired with a Class/Profession
Russian revolution increased fears of Challenge and no Limits for Madness
revolutionary gangs. The 1920 Firearms Level. Guns and other weapons picked
Act allowed local police forces to deny a up this way disappear before the next
firearms licence to anyone who was Story they are assumed to be sold on,
"unfitted to be trusted with a firearm". returned or confiscated unless the PC
makes a Difficulty 5 Reward Challenge.
Each table provides the weapons Bonus
Roll Weapon Type
which is added to the users Fighting
1 Hand Weapon
Challenge to hit, the Limit that applies to
2 Handgun
an untrained user, the Damage Dice the
3 Rifle
weapon rolls on a successful hit (the
4 Shotgun attacker adds their Fighting Bonus) and
5 Machine Gun the Difficulty of acquiring the weapon
6 Explosives during a Story.

Roll Hand Weapon Type Bonus Limit Damage Difficulty

1 Bayonet +1 -1 2D+3/8 7
2 Brass Knuckles - - 1D+2/5 4
3 Cavalry Sabre +2 -2 2D+4/9 8
4 Cricket Bat - - 2D/+5 2
5 Flick Knife - -1 1D+4/7 3
6 Hand Axe +1 - 3D/+6 3
Roll Handgun Type Bonus Limit Damage Difficulty
1 Browning M1922 +2 -1 4D/+7 9
2 Colt M1911 .45 +1 -1 4D+2/9 8
3 Derringer M95 (1-shot) -1 - 3D+3/9 5
4 Luger P08 +1 -1 4D+3/10 7
5 Mauser C96 +1 -1 4D+1/8 8
6 Webley Mk VI (British Army) +2 -2 4D+4/11 7

Cthulhu Abides

Roll Rifle Type Bonus Limit Damage Difficulty

1 Enfield Mk III (British Army) +2 -2 5D/+9 8
2 Gewehr M98 Bolt Action +3 -3 5D+1/10 9
3 Martini-Henry .45 +1 -3 4D+5/12 7
4 Nitro Express .577 +1 -1 5D+5/14X 11
5 Springfield 1903 +2 -2 5D/+9 9
6 Winchester M52 +3 -2 4D+3/10 8
Roll Shotgun Type Bonus Limit Damage Difficulty
1 Browning Auto-5 +3 -1 5D/+9 8
2 Browning M93 Pump Action +3 -2 5D+1/10 7
3 Purdey 16-bore (hunting) +5 -2 5D/+9 10
4 Remington Model 17 +3 -1 4D+4/11 9
5 Winchester Model 12 +3 -1 5D+2/11 7
6 Winchester Trench Gun +4 -1 5D+4/13 8
Roll Machine Gun Type Bonus Limit Damage Difficulty
1 Browning M2 HMG +4 -2 6D+2/12 12
2 Lewis Gun +3 -2 6D/+10 10
3 Marlin M1895 +3 -2 6D+2/12 12
4 Maschinegewehr 08 +4 -3 6D+1/11 12
5 Thompson .45 SMG +3 -1 5D+3/12 10
6 Vickers Machine Gun +4 -3 6D+1 /11 10
Roll Explosive Type Bonus Limit Damage Difficulty
1 Mills Pineapple Bomb +4 - 8D/+12 X 9
2 Model 24 Stielhandgranate +5 - 8D/+12 X 10
3 Molotov Cocktail +2 - 6D/+10 X 3
4 Pipe Bomb +3 -1 7D/+11 X 5
5 Dynamite +3 -2 10D/+15 X 8
6 Flame Thrower +3 -3 9D/+13X 15

Gangsters and Government

The Limit applies to untrained or
Agents can be trained in 1D
inexperienced users. Any character with
Weapon Types
the Gun Owner Perk is assumed to be a
Dilettantes and Explorers are
trained user of the weapon they own.
trained in Hand Weapons and
Starting characters from certain
Professions can begin with training:
Veterans and anyone with War
Anarchists and Safecrackers are Experience or Gang Experience
trained in Explosives are trained in 1D Weapon Types
Criminals and Detectives are Artillerists are always trained in
trained in Hand Weapons Explosives
PCs can acquire training in a weapon
type as a Difficulty 10 Reward Challenge.

Cthulhu Abides

Journalists have an Archive at
their own newspaper or
most Explorers access one
Peers, Princelings, Spies and
Archives were previously treated in a Government Agents access one
general way, but PCs (and PC Scholars State Archive
in particular) will want to know where Parapsychologists have access
their Archives are located. to either an Academic or a Folk
Scholars, Detectives, Medical Archive
Consultants and Bishops have Archives that certain PCs have automatic
1D Archives, the first being their access to will contain a Grimoire but the
own library PC does not have to consult it:
Crime Writers and Private researchers may prefer to gain the
Detectives have a Police normal 1D Clues or Insight from the
Archive, usually a friendly police Archive rather than risk their Madness
station Level increasing by studying a Grimoire.

Roll Academic Archive Location Difficulty Grimoire

1 John Rylands Library University of Manchester, Deansgate 12 Esoteric
Extensive collection of Medieval illuminated manuscripts, Guttenberg Bible, Caxton Angelical
and Aldine printings and personal papers of famous people. Grimoire: Rylands Papyri 3D/+6
of Ancient Greek gospels and apocrypha, including the Gospel of Mary
2 The London Library St James Square, London 12 Esoteric
Worlds largest independent lending library, with a huge collection of 16 century Angelical
onwards texts, especially literature, art and religion, and medieval incunables 2D/+5
(printed pamphlets) on open shelves. Grimoire: First Folio King James Bible of 1611
3 The Royal Society Burlington House, Piccadilly, London 15 Esoteric
Founded in 1660, this pre-eminent community of scientists and explorers maintains a Hermetic
library of its publications, papers and lectures. Grimoires: Scotts Reports from 3D/+6
Antarctica, Newtons Principia Mathematica
4 Chethams Library Manchester, within Chethams 12 Mythos
Oldest public library in the UK, established in 1653. 100,000 books, over half from Demonist
before 1851. Marx and Engels researched here. Grimoire: Dr John Dees papers and 4D/+7
partial Necronomicon of 1586 Azathoth &
Rlyeh 8D/+12
5 Bodleian Libraries University of Oxford, Broad Street 15 Mythos
Founded in 1602, Oxford Universitys great library contains Medieval and Renaissance Pagan 4D
texts, including the First Folio of Shakespeare, a Guttenberg Bible and four copies of Azathoth &
the Magna Carta. Grimoire: Monstres And Their Kynde among the Ashmole Bestiary Rlyeh 10D

6 British Library Bloomsbury, London 15 Mythos

Alongside Americas Library of Congress, the largest library in the world with millions All 6D/+10 or
of books, stored in many sites throughout London, but mostly within the British 12D/+18
th th
Museum. Grimoire: 16 century German print of the Necronomicon in Latin & 17
century English Cthaat Aquadingen

Cthulhu Abides

Roll Ecclesiastical Archive Location Difficulty Grimoire

1 Durham Dean & Durham Cathedral, Durham 10 Esoteric
Chapter Library
Founded in 995AD, this is one of the largest of Britains cathedral libraries. Grimoire: Angelical
Bedes Expositio Apocalypseos and the Durham Gospels 2D/+5
2 Muniment Room Wells Cathedral Chained Library 10 Esoteric
Nearly 3000 volumes of theology, science and exploration collected 16-18 centuries. Hermetic
Grimoire: Abraham Ortelius 1606 Atlas of the World 2D/+5
3 Wren Library Lincoln Cathedral Library , Lincoln 10 Esoteric
Created in 1422 and one of the countrys largest cathedral libraries containing 10,000 Pagan 2D/+5
books and 260 Medieval manuscripts. Grimoire: 15 century Thornton Romances
containing the earliest version of the death of King Arthur
4 Mappa Mundi Hereford Cathedral Library 10 Mythos
The chained library at Hereford Cathedral has 1500 medieval books, including the 8 Angelical &
th Kabbalist
century Hereford Gospels and Wycliffite Bible. Grimoire: the 13 century Mappa
Mundi itself shows the location of esoteric places and creatures 3D/+6

5 Francis Trigge Chained Grantham, Lincolnshire, within St 12 Mythos

Library Wulfrums Church
The first public reference library in England was founded in 1598 by a Puritan Hermetic 3D /6
clergyman. The books include medical texts by Celsus and Galen. Grimoire: 1558 Chthonic
Bestiarum of Conrad Gessner with illustrations of real and supernatural creatures 6D/+10

6 Lambeth Palace Lambeth Palace, Lambeth in South 15 Mythos

Library London
This contains 120,000 books as well as archives of the Archbishops of Canterbury Angelical 3D /6
th Hyborian
going back to the 12 century, papers from missionary expeditions and much
genealogy. Grimoire: the Norman-French Livre dIvon 9D/+13

Roll Folk Archive Location Difficulty Grimoire

1 National Library of University of Aberystwyth, Penglais 12 Esoteric
Wales Hill
An enormous library of books and manuscripts in Welsh, including the Peniarth Pagan 2D/+5
Collection of Medieval manuscripts. Grimoire: The Black Book of Carmarthen of 1250
2 Kedermister Library Langley Marish in Berkshire, church 10 Esoteric
of St Mary the Virgin
Parish library founded in 1613 and containing hundreds of theological and scholarly Hermetic
works. Grimoire: Pharmacopolium or Boke of Medicine of 1630 3D/+6
3 Plume Library Maldon, Essex, church tower of St 10 Esoteric
Founded in 1704, this library houses 8000 books in the ruined church tower in Hermetic
Maldons High Street. Texts include astronomy, travel and science. Grimoire: Sir 2D/+5
Francis Drakes The World Encompassed describing his 1508 world circumnavigation
4 Theosophical Society Gloucester Place, London 12 Mythos
This occult movement created its library in the London Lodge in 1880 and has an Necromantic
enormous collection of esoteric texts for its members. Grimoire: The Book of Dyzan 4D/+7 Pnakotic
5 The Wellcome Library Wigmore Street, West End, London 12 Mythos
Private library and museum of medicine, alchemy, witchcraft and ethnography, Demonist
including Asian and Egyptian papyri. Grimoire: Nameless Cults 1845 English edition 3D/+6 Rlyeh
6 The Ferguson University of Glasgow Library 15 Mythos
The premier collection of 7500 books and 300 manuscripts on alchemy and the occult, Necromantic
purchased by Glasgow University. Grimoire: Angelorum Opus prints detail the 5D/+9
complete alchemical process Yuggoth

Cthulhu Abides

Roll Media Archive Location Grimoire

1 Daily Mail Fleet Street, London 12 Esoteric
A pioneer of popular journalism known for its warlike polices and anti-Bolshevik view. Pagan &
Owner Lord Rothermere is a former explorer and aviator who funds adventurers. Demonist
Grimoire: accounts of explorers and aviators 2D/+5

2 Manchester Guardian Manchester 12 Esoteric

A pioneer of liberal journalism known for its support for Trade Unions and opposition Angelical &
to Fascism. The owner C.P. Snow encourages radical, even eccentric, topics and Pagan 2D/+5
perspectives. Grimoire: accounts of folk culture in Britain and Ireland
3 Illustrated London News London 10 Esoteric
The first illustrated newspaper, by the 1920s containing mostly photographs. Covers All 1D/+3
politics, celebrities and military campaigns. Grimoire: archive of maps and illustrations
of famous events , places and persons
4 Morning Post London 12 Esoteric
Popular newspaper with particularly strong coverage of high society, the arts and Kabbalist
foreign affairs. Earl Bathurst and his wife control the paper and expound anti-Semitic 2D/+5
conspiracies. Grimoire: Protocols of the Elders of Zion is serialised in the paper
5 The New Age London 10 Mythos
Radical literary magazine promoting Socialism, Freudianism and Expressionism as well Kabbalist 2D /5
as the works of Nietzsche. Owner A.D. Orage leads the magazine towards the occult. Azathoth
Grimoire: articles on dream analysis, mysticism and psychology 4D/+7

6 Times (of London) Fleet Street, London 15 Mythos

Britains oldest and most influential newspaper, editorially dominated by Lord All 2D/+5 or
Northcliffe and Baron Astor. Grimoire: Foreign intelligence often superior to MI6 3D/+6
Roll Medical Archive Location Difficulty Grimoire
1 Surgeons Hall Nicholson Street, Edinburgh 12 Esoteric
The Museum here dates from 1699, housing natural and artificial curiosities. Necromantic
Grimoire: Graverobber William Burkes death mask and pocket book made from his 2D/+5
2 St Bartholomews (Barts) Smithfield, London 12 Esoteric
The hospital dates back to 1123 and the cavernous Pathology Museum to 1878. The Necromantic
th 2D/+5
Barts Archives contain medical records going back to the 12 century. Grimoire: The
Pathology Museum contains potted diseased organs, some barely human
3 Royal London Hospital Whitechapel, London 12 Esoteric
th th
The 18 century hospital has a museum in the crypt of a 19 century church Necromantic
containing archives, artefacts and the Elephant Man and Dr Crippen cases. Grimoire: 3D/+6
forensic records on the Jack the Ripper killings
4 Severalls Psychiatric Colchester, Essex 15 Esoteric
A 300 acre site for 2000 mental patients with the most modern facilities, including All 2D/+5
lobotomies and ECT. Grimoire: interviews with patients and scientific research
5 Bethlem Bedlam Hospital St Georges Fields, 15 Esoteric
Southwark, London
The original Bedlam, including a wing for the criminally insane. The hospital has Demonist &
th Pagan 2D/+5
archives of case histories going back to the 17 century. Grimoire: Paintings of
Richard Dadd who continued to paint surreal, mythological scenes as part of his
6 Broadmoor Psychiatric Crowthorne, Berkshire 15 Mythos
Englands first criminal lunatic asylum. Richard Dadd continues to paint here. Pagan 2D/+5
Grimoire: Investigators can interview Dadd or incarcerated cultists and sorcerers Azathoth

Cthulhu Abides

Roll Police Archive Location Difficulty Grimoire

1 Scotland Yard Whitehall, London 15 Esoteric
The headquarters of the Metropolitan Police in LondonThe Black Museum of the Kabbalism &
Metropolitan Polices most gruesome, bizarre or unsolved cases is not open to the Demonism
public. . Grimoire: Jack the Rippers letter taunting the police 3D/+6

2 Lincolns Inn Library Lincolns Inn, City of London 12 Esoteric

Private library dating back to 1471 housing 100,000 volumes of law and Parliamentary Angelical &
records. Grimoire: Sir Matthew Hales judgements on 1662 Witch Trials Demonism
3 Government Code & Watergate House, 15 Esoteric
Cypher School Adelphi,London
A new organisation set up after the Great War to crack codes especially Soviet Kabbalist &
Russian codes. Grimoires: Johannes Trithemius Polygraphia and J.H. Klbers Hermetic
Kryptographik 3D/+6

4 HM Prison Dartmoor Princetown, Devon 15 Esoteric

A high security prison for dangerous offenders (and Irish dissidents) in the wild moors All 2D/+5
of Devon. Grimoire: Imprisoned murderers and terrorists not considered to be
criminally insane
5 Mobile Patrol Scotland Yard, London 10 Mythos
The Flying Squad operating across London, headed by Dt Insp. Hambrook and All 2D/+5
building up intelligence on criminal gangs. Grimoire: Practical experience of detectives
like Jeremiah Lynch into gang and cult activities
6 Inner Temple Library Inner Temple, City of London 15 Mythos
Private law library dating back to 1440 housing 60,000 volumes of law, sermons and Pagan 2D/+5
th Hyborian &
medieval politics in a Gothic building. Grimoire: Macrobius Somnium in Latin (12
century) Yuggoth 5D/+9

Roll State Archive Location Difficulty Grimoire

1 General Register Office Somerset House, London 10 Esoteric
The British Governments records of births, deaths and marriages, taken from parish All 1D/+3
records and censuses since 1837.
2 HM Customs & Excise Whitehall, London 10 Esoteric
The Government agency responsible for collecting duties and indirect taxes and All 1D/+3
protecting the UK borders from smugglers.
3 College of Arms Queen Victoria Street, London 12 Esoteric
The Royal Household responsible for retaining genealogies and pedigrees and Angelical,
appointing coats of arms as well as changing names by deed poll. All of the Colleges Pagan &
heraldic records count as Grimoires. Hermetic
4 Historical Manuscripts Chancery Lane, City of London 12 Esoteric
The British Governments records of manorial documents, family trees, properties and Angelical &
other state manuscripts. Necromantic
5 Domesday Book Chapter House, Palace of 15 Esoteric
Westminster, London
The 1086 survey of England by William I, preserving close detail about the families, Necromantic &
settlements and customs of medieval England. The entire book is an Esoteric Pagan 3D/+6
6 The Diogenes Club Pall Mall, London 18 Mythos
A gentlemans club of great exclusivity that insists on silence except in the Strangers All 12D/+18
Room. The Club is a front for the Secret Services activities against the Mythos.
Grimoire: Greek Necronomicon by Theodoras Philetas

Cthulhu Abides

The chapter on Grimoires introduced six
Mythos Grimoires, but a full selection is
given here.

Roll 1 2 3 4 5 6
1 Night-Gaunt On the Sending People of the The King in Azathoth & Dream
Edgar Hengist Out of the Soul Monolith - Yellow Other Horrors Landscape
(English) (English)
Gordon Justin Geoffrey AC, 10, 5D/+9, Edward Ardois-Bonnot
3 (English) O5X (English) (-)
AH, 8, 2D/+6, PS AY, 8, 3D/+6, PS3 Derby
3 4
CY, 8, 3D/+6. PS AY, 8, 3D/+6, U HRP, 6, 3D/+6, O5
2 Poakotic Marvells of Pickman's Tales of the Old Cthulhurupa Eltdown Shards
Fragments Science - uvre Ones Eli Henry tr. Whitney
(English) (unknown) (English)
Morryster Richard Davenport Wilcox
(English) (-) (English)
CHP, 12, 5D/+9, Pickman C, 10, 2D/+6 CP, 12, 8D/+12,
U4 Y, 12, 7D/+11, CH, 6, 2D/+5, U4 Y, 9, 4D/+8, PS3 (4D/+7), PS3 (U4) O5
3 De Vermiis Cultes des Ponape Thaumaturgical The Angell Book of Dyzan
Mysteriis - Goules - Scripture tr. Prodigies in Corpus - Prof.
Ludvig Prinn Comte dErlette Copeland New England Angell All, 15, 10D/+15,
(Latin) (French) (English) O5
Canaan Rev. R, 9, 5D/+9, M6
AR, 12, 6D/+10, AHR, 12, 6D/+10, CP, 12, 5D/+9, U4 Phillips
U4 U4 CAR, 10, 7D/+11,
4 Golden Goblins Bridewells Unausprechlichen Notes on the Livre dIvon Liber Ivonis tr.
Nameless Cults Nameless Cults Kulten - von Necronomicon tr. Gaspard Du Caius Phillipus
(English ) (English ) (German) (English) (French) (Latin)
Junzt Feery Nord Faber
AR, 10, 6D/+10, AR, 10, 8D/+12, AR, 12, 10D/+15, R, 8, 4D/+7, O5 HRPY, 12, All, 15, 12D/+18,
O5 O5 O5X 11D/+16, M6 M6X
5 Pnakotic Cultus Necronomicon Necronomicon Dr John Dees Al Azif - Abdul
Manuscripts Maleficarum tr. Olaus tr. Theodoras Necronomicon (Arabic)
(English) (Latin) (Greek) (English)
tr. Baron Wormius Philetas All, 15, 15D/+22,
CHP, 15, 8D/+12, Frederic All, 15, 12D/+18, All, 15, 13D/+19, AR, 12, 8D/+12, M6X
O5 AR, 12, 9D/+13, M6X M6X M6
6 Book of Eibon Monstres and True Magick Dhol Chants Seven Cryptical Seven Cryptical
(English) (Unknown)
their Kynde Theophilus Books of Earth Books of Hsan
(English) (English) (English) (Chinese)
HRP, 12, Wren All, 18, 12D/+18
10D/+15, M6 ARH, 12, 9D/+13, AH, 12, 10D/+15, CHR, 15, All, 15, 12D/+18,
M6 O5X 10D/+15, O5 M6X

If rolling to determine Grimoires Abjurations

randomly (for example, if a PC starts with Esoteric Mythos
a Grimoire due to a Perk), impose a Limit A Angelical A Azathoth
of -2 to each roll, -1 if the character is a D Demonist C Chthonic
Scholar. H Hermetic H Hyborian
K Kabbalist P Pnakotic
Each Grimoire is listed with its N Necromantic R Rlyeh
Abjurations, Difficulty rating, Potency P Pagan Y Yuggoth
(Dice / Score) and Horror Rating. X Horror Ratings
indicates a text that inspires Extreme 1
PD Perceive Danger
U Unnatural
4 4
2 2 5 5
Horror. DI Disturbing Idea O Otherworldly
3 3 6 6
PS Profound Shock M Mythos
X produces Extreme Horror

Cthulhu Abides

A similarly expanded selection of consult the top row for the exact
Esoteric Grimoires is given below. Grimoire but characters who are not
Characters can roll or choose from an Scholars have a -1 Limit.
Abjuration (left hand column); roll and

Roll 1 2 3 4 5 6
1C Discoverie of De Arte De l'infinito The Book of Enoch De Coelesti Malleus
Witches - Cabbalistica universo et tr. Charles Hierarchia Malleficarum
(English) (Latin) (Greek)
Hopkins Reuchlin Mondi AD, 8, 3D/+6, PD1 Dionysius Kramer &
(Italian) (Latin)
AD, 8, 1D/+3, AKH, 12, 2D/+5, Bruno A, 12, 4D/+7, Sprenger
PD1 PD1 AD, 10, 2D/+5, DI2 PD1 ADN, 10, 5D/+9,
2D Les Propheties Wonders of De Occulta Saducismus Daemonolatreia De Praestigiis
- Nastradamus the Invisible Philosophia Triumphatus - Remigius Daemonum
(French) (Latin) (Latin) (Latin)
World - Agrippa Glanvil D, 10, 3D/+6, DI2 Weyer
(English) 2
DH, 12, 1D/+3, Mather DHK, 10, 2D/+5, D, 10, 3D/+6, DI D, 10, 4D/+7, DI2
DI2 AD, 8, 2D/+5, DI2 PD1
3H The Lost Clavis Liber Historie de la Ars Magna et The Emerald
(French) (Greek)
Lemuria Alchemiae - Investigationis - Magie- Levi Ultima - Tablet
(Latin) (Latin) (Latin)
Scott- Fludd Geber HK, 10, 4D/+7, PD1 Lully H, 10, 5D/+9, PS3
(English) 2 2 2
Elliot H, 10, 3D/+6, DI HK, 10, 3D/+6, DI H, 10, 4D/+7, DI
H, 8, 1D/+3, PD1
4K Cryptomenysis Die Steganographia The Key of The Zohar
(Latin) (Latin) (Hebrew)
Patefacta - Kryptographik - Traumdeutung - - Trithemius Solomon
(English) (German) (German) 2
Falconer Kluber Freud K, 12, 3D/+6, DI HK, 12, 4D/+7, K, 12, 5D/+9, PS3
K, 10, 1D/+3, K, 12, 2D/+5, K, 10, 3D/+6, DI 2 DI2
5N Regnum The Secret The Goetia tr. Sacred Magic of Livre des The Book of the
Congo - Doctrine Mathers Abramelin the Esprits Dead tr.
(Italian) (English) (French) (English)
Pigafetta Blavatsky DN, 10, 2D/+5, DI2 Mage tr. Kardec Birch
NP, 8, 1D/+3, HKN, 8, 1D/+3, Mathers N, 8, 3D/+6, DI2 KN, 10, 6D/+10,
PS3 PD1 DHN, 10, 3D/+6, DI 2

6P The Witch- The Golden Black Book of Anglo-Saxon Leechdoms, Kama Sutra tr.
Cult in Bough - Carmarthen Chronicle Wortcunning Burton
(English) (Welsh) English) (English)
Western Fraser & Starcraft of
Europe - P, 10, 2D/+5, DI 2
P, 12, 2D/+5, PD 1
AP, 12, 3D/+6, PD 1 Early England - NP, 10, 4D/+7, PS3
Murray tr. Cockayne
NP, 8, 1D/+3,
PD1 P, 10, 4D/+7, DI2

For example, Cotton Mathers

Grimoires are not enough
Wonders of the Invisible World
without Lovecraftian adjectives.
is an Esoteric Grimoire for the
Roll or choose from the table.
Angelical and Demonist
Use the same Limits and
Abjurations. It is Difficulty 8 to
restrictions as rolling for a
use and for Spells it is worth
normal Grimoire of that type.
+2D Potency (or +5 for a NPC).
Reading or using it is exposing
yourself to Disturbing Ideas2.
Roll 1 2 3 4 5 6
1A Dubious Puzzling Troubling Fearful Shunned Blasphemous
2D Detestable Daemoniac Abhorred Noisome Loathsome Accursed
3H Profane Wild Frightful Sinister Stygian Antediluvian
4K Fragmentary Tenebrous Ill-regarded Proscribed Suppressed Banned
5N Mouldering Shocking Infamous Dreaded Monstrous Unmentionable
6P Barbarous Obscene Uncouth Terrible Eldritch Forbidden

Cthulhu Abides

Fictional Mythos Grimoires are in bold;
real-world Esoteric Grimoires are in

Al Azif: Written in Arabic by the mad Arab Cthulhurupa: An icon of Cthulhu in greenish
Abdul Alhazred c730, this is the Holy Bible of soapstone, marked with alien hieroglyphs.
Mythos Grimoires although no copies of the The stats are for an image sculpted by Rhode
original Arabic version are known to exist. Island artist Henry Anthony Wilcox, based on
Translations into other languages are known a dream. For a genuine Cthulhurupa
as the Necronomicon. obtained from the Cthulhu Cult, use scores in
parenthesis and inflict Transfigurations/
Angell Corpus, The: Collection of research
notes by George Gammell Angell, lately Cryptomenysis Patefacta: Book by Falconer
Emeritus Professor of Semitic Languages at published in 1685 discussing the art of
Brown University. The nearest thing to a secret communication.
complete elucidation of the Cthulhu Cult in
Cultes des Goules: The Comte dErlette
the modern world.
published this set of memoirs in French in
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Political and religious 1703, describing his membership in a
chronicle of Dark Ages England in nine Parisian Ghoul Cult. Several Spanish and
surviving manuscripts, kept at the British Italian hand-written copies exist. Any reader
Museum, the Bodleian and Cambridge who fails a Hope Challenge gains a Ghoul
University Point.
Ars Magna et Ultima: Book on alchemy by Cultus Maleficarum: Also known as the
Raymond Lully, published in Latin in 1517. Sussex Manuscript, this is an incomplete
and erroneous translation of the
Azathoth & Other Horrors: Deranged poem
Necronomicon into English by Baron Frederic
by Edward Pickman Derby published in 1919
Sussex in 1598.
by Onyx Sphinx Press
Daemonolatreia: Treatise on demonism by
Black Book of Carmarthen: Manuscript in Old
Nicolas Rmy (Remigius), the French judge
Welsh dating from 1250 containing mystical
who presided over witchcraft trials.
poems about Merlin and Taliesin.
Published in 1595 in Lyons.
Book of Dyzan: Mysterious Tibetan book of
De Arte Cabbalistica: Latin text on kabbalism
secret lore that has been translated into
by the Jewish Humanist writer Johann
Chinese and Sanskrit. Mme Blavatsky alludes
Reuchlin; published in Haguenau in 1517
to an English translation and one was
supposedly produced by Wallace Deely in De Coelesti Hierarchia: 5 century Greek text
1901 for the Theosophy movement. on Christian mysticism by an author claiming
to be Dionysius the Areopagite
Book of Eibon: Spell book of the Hyborian
wizard Eibon that survived the Ice Ages. The De l'infinito universo et Mondi: 1584 book on
oldest known copy is a Latin Liber Ivonis by astronomy by the heretical Dominican Friar
Caius Phillipus Faber from the 9 century and Giordano Bruno who was later burnt at the
a 13 century French Livre dIvon by Gaspard stake
Du Nord. An unknown occultist produced the
th De Occulta Philosophia: Three volume Latin
English translation in the 17 century during
treatise on hermetic magic by the alchemist
the reign of James I.
and magician Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa;
Clavis Alchemiae: Latin book on alchemy by published in Cologne in 1533
Robert Fludd, the English astrologer and
kabbalist, published in Frankfurt in 1633

Cthulhu Abides

De Praestigiis Daemonum: Definitive treatise King in Yellow, The: Weird two-act play of
on demonism by Johan Weyer, listing the unknown authorship, published in 1895. The
names of demons and published in Basel in first Act is dreamlike but harmless and
1563 and translated into German, French features court intrigues in the city of Carcosa.
and English. The dreadful second Act destroys the sanity
of readers or viewers. Hastur Transfigures
De Vermiis Mysteriis: Spell book of the
readers who fail a Hope Challenge.
necromancer Ludvig Prinn, printed in Latin in
1542 before he was burnt at the stake. A Kryptographik: A book on codes and ciphers
1670 German edition, die geheiminisvollen by Johann Kluber, published in German in
Wurme, is in the British Museum. Edward 1809
Kelley published an unreliable English edition
Leechdoms, Wortcunning & Starcraft of Early
in 1573.
England: Translation of a Dark Ages book of
Die Traumdeutung: Dr Freuds shocking book magic and herbal medicine by Oswald.
On The Interpretation of Dreams, published Cockayne, also known as Lacnunga
in German in 1899 but translated into English
Liber Investigationis: Geber is the Latin
by A.A. Brill in 1913
name for the 8th century alchemist Jabir ibn
Discoverie of Witches: 1674 treatise on Hayyan, whose experiments ended with him
demonism by self-appointed Witchfinder being banished from Baghdad.
General Matthew Hopkins
Malleus Malleficarum: Treatise on witchcraft
Dhol Chants: Pre-human (or inhuman) published in Speyer in 1487 by two Catholic
liturgies associated with the Plateau of Leng. priests, Heinrich Kramer & James Sprenger.
No translation exists. The Miskatonic
Marvells of Science: A 1790 book by
University owns the only known copy.
Bertrand Morryster describing wild science,
Dream Landscape: Painting of blasphemous including strange alien technology.
vistas displayed by Ardois-Bonnot, a
Monstres and their Kynde: Book compiled
"fantastical painter", in the Spring Salon of
from other Mythos Grimoires (notably the
Necronomicon and the Book of Eibon) in
Eltdown Shards: Mysterios pottery found in 1577. The British Museums copy was stolen
Southern England in 1882 and partially in 1898.
translated by Gordon Whitney into English.
Nameless Cults: See Unaussprechlichen
They describe the Great Race of Yith and the
Elder Things.
Necronomicon: Translations of Al Azif into
Historie de la Magie: Eliphas Levi, the French
other languages are just about the most
occultist, published this treatise on magic in
potent Mythos Grimoires to be found.
Theodoras Philetas created the first version
Livre des Esprits: Allan Kardec was the pen in Greek around 950 but Olaus Wormius
name of French spiritist Hippolyte Rivail who made a Latin translation of the Greek in
published this book on mediums in 1587. 1228. Dr John Dee attempted an English
translation in the 16 century but never
Les Propheties: Prophecies of Michel de
published it.
Nostredame (Nostradamus), punlished in
1555 Night-Gaunt: Deranged novel by Edgar
Hengist Gordon, published by Charnel House
Kama Sutra: The explorer and orientalist
of London. Its morbid theme made is a
Richard Burton translated the scandalous
commercial failure and most editions were
Hindu text on erotic mysticism into English in
recalled and pulped.
1883. A more academic German-Latin text
was published in 1897. Notes on the Necronomicon: Pamphlet
published by the occultist Joachim Feery in
1901, but the translations are mixed with
commentary and Feerys own drug-induced

Cthulhu Abides

On the Sending Out of the Soul: A pamphlet Saducismus Triumphatus: Book on witchcraft
that circulated in Salem, Massachusetts in by Joseph Glanvill, published in 1681 and
1783 desribing astral projection. including folklore and accounts of witches
Parchments of Pnom: Spell book of Pnom of
Mnardis. Supposedly only one copy remains Scroll of Bubastis: Atlantean account of the
somewhere in the Dreamlands. Black Rites of Bast, describing the cult of the
Cat Goddess from Hyborian Stygia
People of the Monolith: Deranged poem by
Justin Geoffrey inspired by the cult at Seven Cryptical Books of Earth: Rumoured
Stregoicavar in Hungary. Geoffrey was translation of the Seven Cryptical Books of
committed to an insane asylum. Hsan.
Pickman's uvre: Collection of art by the Seven Cryptical Books of Hsan: Dreamlands
Bostonian painter of macabre fantasies, Grimoire stored in the Temple of the Elder
Richard Upton Pickman, before his Gods in Ulthar. Chinese scrolls bearing this
disappearance in 1926 Grimoire are closely guarded in the Orient.
Pnakotic Manuscripts: Pre-human writings Tales of the Old Ones: Rare monograph
describing the Great Race and the Hyborian published by Eli Davenport drawing on oral
Age. A Photostat is kept at the British Library. records prior to 1839, describing the folklore
of the Mi-Go in rural Vermont.
Poakotic Fragments: Aztec inscriptions also
known as the Puahotic Fragments. Thaumaturgical Prodigies in New England
Canaan: Book by the Rev. Ward Phillips
Steganographia: Latin treatise on magic and
published in Arkham, Massachusetts in 1794,
spirits by Johannes Trithemius that is also an
with a heavily edited Boston edition in 1801.
ingenious book on codes; first published in
The author tried to buy up all the copies of
Frankfurt in 1606
the book and burn them.
Ponape Scripture: A manuscript discovered
True Magick: Book by Theophilus Wren,
in the Caroline Islands by Cap. Abner Hoag in th
written in England in the 17 century and
1734. Harold Hadley Copeland published an
describing many Mythos monsters. The
English edition in 1907. The texts describe
original is handwritten, but a print edition
the lost continent of Mu in the Hyborian Age
was published in 1872.
and details of the Dagon Cult.
Unaussprechlichen Kulten: Occult book by
Regnum Congo Report on the African
Friedrich Von Junzt published in Dusseldorf in
Congo by Filippo Pigafetta from 1591, with
1839. An unreliable translation by Bridewell
horrific engravings of cannibalism by
of London came out in 1845 under the title
Theodor De Bry
Nameless Cults and a heavily expurgated
Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage: edition by Golden Goblin Press, NY came out
Mysterious medieval treatise on magic by in 1909.
Abraham of Worms, translated into English
Voormish Tablets: Tablets written by the
by the Golden Dawn occultist Samuel L
sub-human Voormis of ancient Hyboria and
MacGregor Mathers in 1897
sealed within Mount Voormithadreth

Cthulhu Abides


BLASPHEMOUS The first sort are reasonably strong
HORROR Sorcerers, the second sort are your
Blasphemous Horror classic Lovecraftian Monsters with only
Initiative 6/4 one Spell Power usually to Summon
Attack 10 / 15 their parent or create a Portal to their
Damage 12 / 15X parents dimension. Most Horrors can
Defend 10 / 8X only use Portal Magic to perform basic
Resistance 12 / 18X telepathy and need access to Grimoires,
Enmity 18X Elder Ruins or Cults to boost this further
Horror 10 / 15, Otherworldly
5 (15 is enough to cross the Angles, 20 to
Magic 10XXX / 15, Azathoth reach alien worlds directly).
Binding 13, Horrors are quite adept at Example: Hengist Winthrop has created a
controlling other Monsters to be Spell to Bind a Blasphemous Horror. The
their minions
7, Horrors often have toxic bites,
Spell will need to be Potency 18 to work
corrosive slime or other attacks; (because of the Horrors Enmity) and 6s
Magic Resist to overcome dont count (because the X means a -1
Evoke 10, some Horrors can disguise Limit). Using his copy of the Cultes Des
themselves as human, but a Goules Hengist rolls 5D but has a +7
Magic Resist or Intellect / Occult
Challenge exposes them
Bonus. He rolls 6, 3, 5, 5, 6. The two 6s
Portal 10, Horrors are focused on dont count and that means Hengist
creating portals through the scores (5+5+7) 17, which isnt enough.
Angles for their masters
15, Horrors can summon their
1. A mad wizard plans to Transfigure his
parent wife so she falls pregnant with a
Ward 5, Horrors are troubled by animals Blasphemous Horror that, when it
but can drive away dogs with grows, can help him with his occult
simple wards work. The bride begs for help from the
Investigator or her friends express
Blasphemous Horrors are the half- concern about her new husband.
human hybrids of the Other Gods and 2. As #1 but twin Horrors have been born;
Great Old Ones. They are birthed from one is robbing Archives for Grimoires
mortal hosts, either through (which will attract Investigators) but the
impregnation or the placement of a other is back at the farm, growing huge.
cannibalistic parasite. The host rarely 3. As #1 but the wife is the Sorcereress,
survives the birth. Sometimes, humans willing sacrificing herself to bring Yog-
are mutated entirely into Horrors when Sothoths spawn into the world.
4. As #2 but the humanoid Horror is more
Possessed by an Other God.
sympathetic, struggles against his
Horrors come in two forms. The first monstrous nature and wants to escape
(with Scores to the left) appear human, from his father and inhuman brother.
albeit misshapen, massive or deformed 5. The Diogenes Club know that a Horror
in various ways. The full extent of their has been born in a medium-sized town,
but dont know the identity of the child.
alien nature can be hidden by robes, etc.
They contemplate execution of all the
The second sort (Scores to the right) are newborns unless Investigators can find
fully alien in appearance, usually massive out whose baby is the monster-to-be.
and possessing human features amidst 6. As #5 but a colony of Deep Ones have
the mass of their monstrous anatomy. their newborn hybrids in the town as the
midwife is one of them. This may lead to
an uneasy alliance to save their froggy
babies from the purge

Cthulhu Abides

BYAKHEE She climbs on the creatures back and

Byakhee commands it to take her to Rlyeh. This
Initiative 6 isnt somewhere she has been before but
Attack 9 the Byakhee gains 2D to its Magic, rolling
Damage 9 a 3 and a 3 for (3+3) 6. A Potency 21
Portal Magic is enough to fly to Rlyeh,
Defend 10
but unfortunately the Byakhees Enmity
Resistance 12X
goes up by +6 to 13 and Regina must roll
Enmity 7
5 again to control it.
Horror 10, Otherworldly
Magic 15, Azathoth 1. A Sorcerer or Cult keeps a flock of
15, carry a rider to anywhere the Byakhees in an old church tower but
rider has visited or seen their decomposing smell offends the
neighbours. Several pest killers and a
Interstellar creatures of unearthly church sexton have disappeared
appearance. They are bird or bat-like, following up complaints.
but have features that are rat-like or 2. A Great Old One sends Byakhee to hunt
insectoid. On earth, they decompose, down Investigators. They are relatively
making them more awful to look upon. easy to kill but wont stop coming until
They can fly through interstellar space the Old One is banished.
3. A child in an orphanage or boarding
and are easily tamed as mounts by Cults
school is sent a musical box by a relative
and other Monsters.
working for the Empire in Africa or India.
Byakhee are easily summoned and When played it summons a Byakhee to
bound but do not belong on earth and carry away whoever the owner has in
will fly into space or into alien mind. Several bullies have vanished and
the childs friend who is dying of
dimensions, taking their rider along with
tuberculosis has been taken away to
them. When mounted by a rider, the
heaven by the angel. Next the
Byakhees Portal Magic gains 2D but its Byakhee will come for the child who
Enmity goes up by the same amount; the wants to be reunited with their friend.
rider must re-roll the Binding Magic to 4. A Byakhee appears at the windows of
control the thing and, if this roll fails, the flats, terrifying the tenants. In fact one
Byakhee carries the sorcerer away. tenant was the ageing Sorcerer who
Sometimes Byakhee are sent by the Old used to ride it to other worlds, but he is
Ones to bring mortals into their presence now in an asylum. Investigators can kill
as worshippers or dinner. Hastur in the Byakhee or reunite it with the old
man for one last wild ride.
particular is associated with them.
5. A group of children have a wounded
Because of their terrifying appearance, Byakhee in a barn, where they try to
they are sometimes used by Mythos nurse it back to health. Only feeding on
Cults are guards. babies will work, so the children
contemplate raiding the Gypsy camp
Example: Regina Van Zandt has a Mythos their parents complain about. A missing
Artefact a whistle that will summon a Gypsy baby alerts the Investigators,
Byakhee to be her steed. She rolls her though local police dont take it
Creativity/Dream to use it, rolling 2, 5, 3 seriously.
and her +3 Bonus equals 8, a success. 6. A dead Sorcerer has left a tame Byakhee
to his nephew, who doesnt know what
When the thing turns up, she must make to do with the thing. Now his over-
a Horror Challenge at Difficulty 10 since curious child has been for a ride on the
her Madness Level is lower than 5. beast, which returned without its rider.
The heir begs or pays Investigators to
take a ride on the Byakhee to wherever
it went and rescue his child.

Cthulhu Abides

CHTHULHOID, SPAWN All have the horrific squid-like head of

OF CTHULHU Cthulhu and long tentacles surrounding
the mouth that can stretch out and seize
Chthulhoid victims. They regenerate, healing a
Initiative 10 (7) Stunning Wound after one action and a
Attack 18 (22) Killing Wound by the end of a Scene,
Damage 18 (22) Mythos Evocation Magic might prevent
Defend 12 (18) this and Mythos Wards might keep them
Resistance 18 (22) X in a dead state if their own Magic Score
Enmity 18 (22)X can be overcome by the Spell.
Horror 12 (15), Mythos Example: Regina Van Zandt is fleeing a
Magic 12XX , Rlyeh Chulhoid who uses its tentacles to Bind
Binding 17, Cthulhoid telepathically her. This is a Potency 17 attack but
control lesser creatures through
their tentacles; Magic Resist or
Regina has Physique 4 / Survival 4. She
dodge with Physique / Survival rolls 2, 5, 3, 5, but this only produces
Curse 12, psychic attacks create (5+5+4) 14 and isnt enough. She spends
nightmares, ultimately frying the a point of Mythos Insight and re-rolls the
brain or leading to suicide; Magic 2 and 3. One comes up 5, giving Regina
Resist only
(5+5+5+4) 19. She dodges the tentacles
Evoke 12, alter their physiognomy to be
immune to a Killing Wound and escapes.
Portal 15, pass through the Angles or 1. An occultist in contact with Cthulhu is
use Binding or Cursing at any
turning into a Spawn. He is growing a
beard to disguise his tentacles and
Summon 7, summon weak-willed humans
to their lairs; Magic Resist only recruits PCs to help him find a cure for
12, root a victim to the spot, his bad dreams. Before this is possible
making them incapable of leaving he will transform into a Monster
or fleeing; Magic Resist or dodge completely, trapping them with him in
his house.
2. As part of a plan to free their master,
When Cthulhu fell from the stars over a Cthulhoids use teamwork spells to
billion years ago, his Spawn came with trigger volcanoes around the world.
him. Many of these sleep like their Tracing the patterns of vulcanism leads
progenitor in Rlyeh or other Elder Ruins, to their base.
but a few have been freed by the efforts 3. An envoy of the Deep Ones contacts the
of the Cthulhu Cult. In addition, PCs requesting aid. An awoken Cthulhoid
has taken control of their city. They wish
unfortunates who are Transfigured by
to depose it but need help. They know
Cthulhu may be turned into Spawn. In
where a biddable Shoggoth is buried.
fact, all of the Cthulhoid Spawn may 4. A cult is trying to summon Cthulhu to
have originally been alien species that the surface. The chief priests are
have been Transfigured by Cthulhu and controlled by Cthulhoids but other
transformed into his likeness. This might creatures (Ghouls, Mi-Go) may make
explain their variation in basic shape and unexpected allies as Rlyeh starts to rise.
size. The Scores given here are for a 5. Excavations under a tenement block
humanoid, roughly man-sized Cthulhoid, awake a Cthulhoid. Its tentacles stretch
the scores in parenthesis are for one of through the buildings walls and pipes to
take control of the tenants, forming a
more titanic proportions (although
zombified army that works to dig it out.
smaller than Cthulhu himself).
6. A bold chimpanzee looks into a Mythos
Cthulhoid Spawn have dragonish bodies, Artefact and is Transfigured into a
slimy or scaly, clawed and bat-winged. Cthulhoid Chimp. It starts controlling
Most are able to shrink or expand and other apes, forming an ape cult. This is a
threat to African villages or, if it takes
alter their proportions.
place in a zoo or circus, an entire city.

Cthulhu Abides

COLOUR OUT OF SPACE Colours are energy beings from either

outer space or beyond the Angles. They
Colour Out Of Space feed off living energies, draining organic
Initiative 12 life of its vibrancy and health, until they
Attack - are strong enough to depart back into
Damage - the void from whence they came. This
Defend 12XX usually involves tainting several acres of
Resistance 12XX land and absorbing at least 1D adult
Enmity 15XX humans but in more barren areas (like
Horror 12, Otherworldy cities) many more humans will have to
Magic 15X, Yuggoth be absorbed instead.
Binding 10, used to control anyone who
drinks Coloured water or food;
A Colour finds a place to hide
Magic Resist to oppose underground because they are
Curse 15, triggers a Transfiguration powerless (but undetectable) during
Evoke 18, can cure Wounds or cause daylight. Their energies infect the local
plants and animals to swell in soil and air and become visible at night
size to anyone making a Difficulty 8
Portal 20, travel through space to Perception/Occult Challenge. They
another world
12, draw sleeping humans to its
sometimes birth Dark Young of Shub-
hiding place to devour them Niggurath from local trees.
Ward 15, make it impossible for
Transfiguration: Any onlooker overcome
victims to leave the vicinity;
Magic Resist to escape by the Colours Magic is Transfigured. In
Gnosis & Foulness addition, food and water produced from
Gnosis Yuggoth Magic Potency, land infected by the Colour carries its
Mythos Insight taint and Transfigures anyone who eats
Frailties Chromophobia (fear of or drinks it on a regular basis. The
colours) Ambiguous Blessing effect makes victims
Monstrosity Rotting victims decay into stronger but the Colour can
ash automatically Transfigure the victim
Possession Victims are devoured by the again every 1D days, starting at
Colour, becoming part of it Blasphemy Level 3 each time.
Roll Geist
1-2 Ageing: Grow older or by Mortals possessed by the Colour are
1Dx10 years drained of willpower and cannot leave its
3-4 Ambiguous Blessing: locale. Once a Colour has possessed 1D
Increase Physique Attribute humans it is usually strong enough to
by +1 depart, leaving its victims as ashen
5 Nightmares: dreams are a husks.
nightly Mythos stressor
Cult: Possessed victims linger round the
6 Stroke: Permanent paralysis
in (1D: 1-2) arm, (3-4) leg, (5- site where the Colour is hidden
6) face/voice (somewhere dark and cold, like a cave or
well) and therefore function a bit like a
The Colour is a Monster rather than an Cult. They will try to protect the Colour
Old One or God, but one which affects from being disturbed, but are often
Investigators through a form of rotted with Foulness and weak by this
Transfiguration rather than attacking point. If the Colour has invoked Shub-
conventionally. The Colour uses a Magic Niggurath then Dark Young may also be
Attack to entrance onlookers who, if present at the site and will attack anyone
they fail to Resist, are Transfigured. threatening the Colour.

Cthulhu Abides

DARK YOUNG OF SHUB- These entities often preside over

NIGGURATH worship of the Great Old Ones, receiving
Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath (devouring) sacrifices. They act as envoys
for Shub-Niggurath and aliens like Mi-Go
Initiative 5
who would negotiate with the Old Ones
Attack 18
do so through summoning the Dark
Damage 12X
Young to earth. Humans or other
Defend 12
creatures are sometimes turned into
Resistance 20X
Dark Young by being Transfigured. These
Enmity 10X often have cloven goat-like feet but an
Horror 15X, Unnatural upper body of fungal tentacles.
Magic 12X, Chthonic/Rlyeh
17, spores or roots under the skin Example: Hengist is fleeing from a Dark
grow inside the victim and control Young which creates a thorny barrier to
him; Magic Resist or prevent him escaping a a Potency 15
hospitalisation to cure Ward. Hengist makes a Magic Resist. He
Curse 17, turns the victim into a tree or
defies it (1D), cries out a 2D Sigil and
fungal creature; Magic Resist to
prevent Writhes in pain (2D): this gives him 5D to
Evoke 7, can make itself appear as a roll. He rolls 3, 2, 3, 6, 6, achieving (6+6)
(grotesque) tree; Perception / 12 which, with his +2 Resilience Bonus, is
Occult to detect not enough to escape. Spending a point
Portal 15, send out consciousness to of Mythos Insight, he re-rolls the 2, 3 and
possess any other tree or large
plant anywhere 3, getting 1, 6, 4 now he has (6+6+6) 18
Summon 12, use spores or roots to animate and is free assuming the thing didnt
1D buried bodies as Zombies eat him while he was writhing.
Ward 15, encase victims within trees,
vines or funguses; Magic Resist to 1. A local occult group celebrating in the
prevent or Physique/Resilience to woods inadvertently summons the Black
escape Goat and one is Transfigured and
becomes a Dark Young. The survivors are
terrified, but a few have started to
Shub-Niggurath infuses the earth with worship the thing as an avatar of Pan.
her deranged consciousness, animating Disappearances attract the PCs.
and mutating the trees to produce the 2. A feud between two rival cults escalates
Dark Young. As the Old Ones grip on when one finds a Grimoire and summons
the land grows, the trees mutate further, Dark Young to kill their rivals, who try to
with branches becoming ropey tentacles steal a Grimoire of their own. An Achive
break-in alerts the Investigators.
and roots becoming cloven hoofs. The
3. An enemy Sorcerer directs a Dark Young
Book of Eibon contains particular rites
to inhabit the tree in the back garden of
for summoning, biding and warding one of the PCs.
these manifestations: add +2D/+5 to that 4. Developers cutting down ancient
Grimoires Potency for these Spells. woodlands disturb a sleeping Old One,
which sends Dark Young to stop the
The branches and tentacles attack
construction team. Conservationists
everyone within reach at once and the
defending the woods are a red herring.
bark is resistant to damage. Fire might 5. An insane gardener is growing miniature
ignore the -1 Limit on Damage Dark Young and selling them as rare
Challenges to Wound the entity. Under- shrubs to customers. So far the shrubs
developed Dark Young are more tree- have only eaten family pets.
like: deduct 1D from the entitys Scores 6. Dark Young spores in Christmas wreaths
and treat as Profoundly Shocking3 rather create a village of zombified cultists who
than Unnatural4. are summoning a full sized Dark Young
into the Christmas Tree in the village

Cthulhu Abides

DEEP ONE They have successfully infiltrated human

Deep One communities in the Pacific Islands, the
Initiative 6 coast of New England, the rocky coast of
Attack 11 Cornwall and the Fens of East Anglia.
Damage 8 Example: Knuckles Murdigan has a
Defend 10 female Deep One cornered when she
Resistance 15 turns on her froggy charms. This is a
Enmity 12 Potency 15 spell so Murdigan calls on his
Horror 12, Profound Shock faith in his Cynical worldview he
Magic 10X, Rlyeh doesnt think she really likes him at all.
Binding 15, the Deep Ones golden He Defies her into the bargain, giving him
treasures and cold sexuality can 5D to Resist. He rolls 4, 5, 1, 4, 3 for (4+4)
mesmerise humans; Magic Resist 8, even with his +3 Resilience Bonus this
to oppose
isnt enough. He decides to full-out Geist
Curse 10, victims can be made to cough
up salty water till they drown on vomiting goo as her fishy lips seek out
dry land; Magic Resist to survive his. This is an Unnatural4 stressor and a
Evoke 10, can make itself appear as a 4D Resist: he rolls 1, 5, 4, 6 for (4+4+4)
(bulgy-eyed) human; Perception / 12, just enough with his +3 Bonus to
Occult to detect
elude her clammy embrace.
Portal 13, travel through salt water to
anywhere in contact with the sea Unfortunately, hes now Stunned and his
or running water hair has turned white.
Summon 5, the Deep Ones can summon
1. Deep Ones have started to corrupt a
shoals of fish, which impresses
small fishing village or trawler; some
7, a sense of dread deters humans humans resist. The longer Investigators
from investigating; Magic Resist take to identify the Deep Ones, the
to overcome larger the cult becomes till the entire
Sea-dwelling monsters with the worst community turns against them
2. A friend has a son/daughter who is
traits of fish and frogs and a strange lust
besotted with a Deep One, not realising
for breeding with humans. Deep Ones its true identity. PCs are asked to stop
venerate Cthulhu and the Great Old the relationship, but the lovers will not
Ones. They are effectively immortal be dissuaded and elope in secret.
unless killed and hide themselves from 3. A friend or colleague of the PCs is
humanity, although they interact with turning into a Deep One, but refuses to
the Esoteric Order of Dagon. They acknowledge the truth. Soon, Deep Ones
sometimes use their golden treasures to will come to take him, willing or not.
corrupt humans. 4. Deep sea trawlers or marine
archaeologists have disturbed a dormant
The Deep Ones scales give them a hive of Deep Ones. Only a few guardians
Resistance against Wounds. Immature are awake, but they are acting to kill or
specimens are more human-like, frighten off human interlopers.
deducting 1D from Scores and provoking 5. Deep Ones are placing hybrid babies in
Disturbing Ideas2 instead of Shock3. orphanages but one Deep One,
possessed of remaining humanity, pines
Deep One/Human hybrids are human for its child and tries to spy on its
until middle age, whereupon the froggy- progress, scaring other children. The
fishy strain takes over and the hybrid creature means no harm but will abduct
slowly turns into a Deep One, eventually its child if it fears exposure.
seeking out one of their undersea cities 6. A smuggler whose gang had long
where ,ore potent Deep Ones (some are dealings with Deep Ones goes on the run
with their jewellery. He feigns innocence
over 80,000 years old) abide.
and asks the PCs to protect him from
monsters who wish only to recover
their Athame and punish the thief.

Cthulhu Abides

FORMLESS SPAWN OF Alternatively, a successful Magic Attack

TSATHOGGUA causes Transfiguration. The starting
Formless Spawn Blasphemy Level is determined by 1D
and if the 6th Blasphemy is reached the
Initiative 8
victim is turned into a Spawn/human
Attack 18
hybrid. Appearance degrades over 1D
Damage 10XX
weeks until replaced by Spawn-goo.
Defend 15X
Resistance 10XX Each Spawn merges with a single human
Enmity 14*X host. Hybrids work tirelessly to free
Horror 12, Otherworldly
5 Tsathoggua from NKai. Formless Spawn
Magic 13XXX, Chthonic hate sunlight: X benefits are all lost in
13, this Magic Wound initiates sunlight and zombies deactivate; hybrids
Transfiguration if successful; cannot use magic under sunlight.
Magic Resist to overcome
18, the Spawn can dissolve living
Regina Van Zandt is fleeing the Formless
flesh or even inorganic matter; Spawn in a Vault deep underground. The
Magic Resist to survive Spawn has an Attack of 21, which Regina
Evoke 8, host bodies can be altered to fails to defend against. The Spawn tries
hide their decay and sliminess, to merge with her. This is a Difficulty 13
but imperfectly;
Perception/Occult to detect
Magic Resist. Regina Defies it, Writhes in
Portal 10, Spawn communicates anguish and chooses to Geist. She rolls 8
telepathically between hosts dice, getting 5, 3, 4, 4, 2, 6, 1, 4 or
Summon 13, Spawn can Summon more (4+4+4) 12, which with her +2 Resilience
Spawn up through the earth at Bonus is enough to shake off its control.
caves or fissures
She must roll for a Geist side-effect.
Ward 16, Spawn can use its viscous fluid
as a powerful glue to paste 1. A farmer hires the Investigators to stop a
victims to the floor, walls or each beast slaughtering his sheep. In fact, the
other; Physique / Survival to farmers dog has been hybridised by
Spawn and several sheep are now
Tsathoggua is a vast, toad-like Old One Spawn-zombies. At night, they close in
sealed away in the lightless caverns of on the farmhouse, seeking human hosts.
NKai, where, like Cthulhu, he is either 2. A pot-holer is a Spawn-hybrid and
recruits a team of Investigators to
dead or sleeping, but certainly dreaming.
accompany him to an exciting new find.
Tsathoggua secretes a black viscous goo
Underground, he will infect and use
that is animated by his dreaming mind. them to locate NKai.
This evil, sentient fluid is the Formless 3. A scientist studying a Spawn sample in a
Spawn. The Spawn is capable of flowing sealed jar invites Investigators to view it.
and trickling across any surface but can It escapes, stalking and infecting people.
make sudden spurts of great speed. It 4. Tsathoggua worshippers place Spawn
seeks out hosts to infect and control. samples in a malted bedtime drink for
pensioners. The old people become
The Spawn attacks living creatures by Spawn-hybrids, regaining youth at first
flowing into orifices, then rushing to before spreading the infection.
dissolve the brain. Armour and Maim are 5. As #4 above but several pensioners want
ineffective Resists against this attack. A to infect their loved ones to give them
corpse captured in this way can be health and immortality. Theyll use their
animated by the Spawn as a zombie-like new powers if opposed in this.
creature with the same Scores. Spawn- 6. An oil well starts pumping out Formless
Spawn instead of oil. The infected crew
Zombies can projectile vomit the Spawn
start drilling for NKai. Freewilled
into the orifices of new victims. A
survivors sneak out a SOS message
Formless Spawn can animate 1D Spawn- before being caught.
zombies at a time.

Cthulhu Abides

GHOUL Example: Hengist Winthrop wants a

Ghoul to help him enter the Underworld,
Ghoul but this is a Potency 18 Portal so the
Initiative 7 Ghoul will need help. A +6 Mythos
Attack 12 Grimoire would do the trick, so Hengist
Damage 12 and the Ghoul break into an occult
Defend 9 bookstore to steal a copy of Justin
Resistance 12 Geoffreys sinister People of the
Enmity 10 Monolith. Armed with the book, the
Horror 10, Profound Shock Ghoul guides Hengist into the
Magic 9, Chthonic/Rlyeh Underworld. Hengist gains a Ghoul Point
Binding 14, Ghouls play haunting insane for associating with Ghouls and another
melodies on their bone flutes that point for using their Portals.
compel humans to join their
ghastly revels; Magic Resist to 1. Ghoul attacks are on the increase. The
ignore emergence of a Great Old One in the
Curse 14, a shrivelling curse that rots Underworld is flooding a local cemetery
the flesh; Magic Resist to with new vicious Ghoul refugees and the
withstand local Ghouls ask the PCs to drive away
Evoke 9, can make itself appear as a these unwanted and uncouth incomers.
(very ugly) human; Perception / 2. A child at a local school is bringing
Occult to detect
strange objects to lessons that clearly
Portal 12, can dig tunnels anywhere on
come from grave goods. Local children
earth or conjure treasures out of
the graves have befriended a Ghoul-child and they
9, Ghouls can summon rats and play together in the graveyard. If the
other vermin Ghoul-child is harmed its Ghoul-family
Ward 12, foul miasmas prevent humans abduct human children in revenge.
from approaching; Magic Resist to 3. An old friend in a mental asylum
overcome contacts the PCs, begging them to free
A race of humanoid creatures with him. They discover he is turning into a
canine muzzles and rubbery flesh. Most Ghoul and the resident doctor is
are natives of the Underworld in earths performing experiments on him. Other
Dreamlands but some were once Ghouls know of this and are spying on
the hospital, planning a rescue of their
humans who mutated due to their
own, but will not be obvious allies.
perverse appetites or exposure to magic.
4. A crazy doctor has discovered a cure
They communicate by gibbering and for Ghoul-ishness. Some Ghouls want to
meeping. They are respectful of humans be cured, but others are trying to kill the
who share their appetites or evince doctor and destroy his discovery, so the
power and authority. doctor comes to the PCs for protection.
His cure might be genuine, or it might
Associating with Ghouls is corrupting.
mutate Ghouls into something worse!
After any non-violent encounter with 5. The Ghouls are holding a traditional
Ghouls, PCs must make a Hope Challenge Festival of their debased culture, but a
or gain a Ghoul Point (see p91). PCs group of (NPC) Investigators are trying to
might also gain a Ghoul Point from expose it and destroy them. A group of
Artefacts or Grimoires associated with Ghouls beg the PCs to distract or defeat
Ghouls such as the paintings of Richard the NPCs so their (horrid but harmless)
Upton Pickman or reading Cultes des Festival can go ahead.
Goules. 6. A wealthy holidaying couple claim their
daughter has been abducted by the
Ghouls dig tunnels under cemeteries family in a run-down farm. In fact the
which often connect directly to earths family are Ghouls. As a twist, the girl is
Dreamlands. much happier with her new Ghoul family
than with her former parents, although
she is turning into a Ghoul herself.

Cthulhu Abides

LESSER OTHER GOD There are many Other Gods, some of

which dance attendance round Azathoth
Other God at the centre of the universe. They are,
Initiative 5 by human standards, mindless and
Attack 22X idiotic, but are not without malevolent
Damage 25X purposes.
Defend 15X
Some have names and Cults serving
Resistance 25X
them, but most are just ghastly forces of
Enmity 25*X
6 destruction that break through into our
Horror 25X, Mythos
reality where the Angles are wrong or
Magic 25XX, Azathoth
where foolish Sorcerers summon them.
Binding 28, to control cultists; Magic
Resist to oppose Because of their mindless hostility, it
Curse 22, blasts; Magic Resist or seems sensible to treat these beings as
Physique/Survival to dodge
Monsters. Some few of them are more
Evoke 25, transform the environment
or take humanoid form
aware and intelligent and make plans of
Portal 25, travel through space or their own but most of them have their
dimensions will interpreted and carried out by
Summon 30, summon Gods or Monsters Nyarlathotep.
Ward 20, prevent victims leaving the
vicinity; Magic Resist to escape
Transfiguration: Encounters with Gods
Gnosis & Foulness produce Transfiguration. The Ambiguous
Azathoth Magic Potency, Blessing effect makes victims sensitive
Mythos Insight, crossing the but the God can automatically
Angles Transfigure the victim again every 1D
Frailties Aulophobia (fear of flutes), days, starting at Blasphemy Level 3 each
Blennophobia (fear of slime),
time. Mortals possessed by the God are
Zeusophobia (fear of gods)
Bestial/Vegetative fronds, turned into Monsters usually
feelers, sacs, mouths Blasphemous Horrors.
Possession Victims become Blasphemous
Cult: Some Other Gods have names and
Roll Geist Cults worshipping them, but most merely
Ageing: Age by 1Dx10 years wait to erupt through the Angles when
Ambiguous Blessing: Increase
an opportunity presents itself (such as
Perception Attribute by +1 during the rituals of Nyarlathotep or Yog-
3 Impregnation: A Blasphemous Sothoth) or are contacted by lone
Horror is implanted Sorcerers looking for power, immortality
4 Insane Piping: -1 Limit on all or insane wisdom. Most of the time,
Fugue Challenges
Outer Gods are indifferent to worship
5 Nightmares: dreams are a
nightly Mythos stressor and even unaware of it.
6 Stroke: Permanent paralysis in The appearance of an Other God can be
(1D: 1-2) arm, (3-4) leg, (5-6)
face/voice determined randomly:

Roll An {Adjective 1} {Adjective 2} {Shape} Of {Adjective 3} {Composition}

1 A Blasphemous Luminous Conglomeration Of Corrosive Eyes
2 A Cyclopean Shadowy Cloud Of Fiery Flesh
3 An Eldritch Slithering Humanoid Shape Of Pulsating Ichor
4 A Foetid Throbbing Ooze Of Rotting Mouths
5 A Gibbering Winged Orb Of Slimy Pustules
6 A Slobbering Writhing Web Of Translucent Tentacles

Cthulhu Abides

MI-GO They seem to have a pact of sorts with

Mi-Go Shub-Niggurath for their earth mining
Initiative 6 operations but frequently act against the
Attack 18 Cults of other Old Ones like Hastur and
Damage 15 Cthulhu. In this regard, they can be
(dangerous and untrustworthy) allies for
Defend 12
PC Investigators at times.
Resistance 18X
Enmity 18X Example: Knuckles Murdigan confronts
Horror 10, Unnatural a Mi-Go scout. Knuckles blasts it with his
Magic 15 , Yuggoth shotgun, easily rolling the 12 needed to
Binding 10, Mi-Go plant organic hit, but his Damage dice come up 6, 5, 2,
controllers in humans brains or 6, 1: only 5 because the X Resistance
use hypnotism rays; Magic Resist imposes a -1 Limit on Damage
to defy
Challenges; even with his +5 Fighting
Curse 15, Mi-Go blast weapons typically
freeze, irradiate or disintegrate Bonus this is a miss. The Mi-Go uses
foes; Physique / Survival to dodge Portal Magic to disarm Murdigan a
Evoke 18, futuristic surgery to cure any gravity ray snatches his gun away.
illness and transplant any organ Murdigan can make a Magic Resist or
Portal 20, create portals through space roll Physique / Survival to hold the gun,
allowing Mi-Go to fly to other
worlds Difficulty 20.
Summon 12, summon other Mi-Go as an 1. Wishing to mine a new site, the Mi-Go
emergency call must cleanse the area of human
Ward 15, energy barriers against infestation. They intend to wake a Great
intruders; Magic Resist to cross
Old One (or raise a Shoggoth) then move
The fungi from Yuggoth are fungoid in to work once the area is depopulated.
space aliens resembling huge winged 2. A disturbed child in a psychiatric ward
prawns. They have a base on Pluto and and a college professor behaving
several hidden bases on earth where childishly are in fact brain-swapped
they mine strange substances, not victims of the Mi-Go, put back
identifiable by humans. Composed of (inadvertently?) in the wrong bodies.
alien tissue, they do not appear on The child is enjoying the swap, but the
professor begs Investigators to help him.
ordinary photographic plates or in
3. Mi-Go brain-swap with managers at a
ordinary mirrors. building project to excavate an Elder
Mi-Go possess alien technology and Ruin. Family members alert the
warriors may have armour and ranged Investigators that their loved ones are
weapons that add 1D to their Damage not themselves since they started
working all hours at the building site.
and/or Resist. They particularly excel at
4. A civil war or sectarian feud breaks out
xenosurgry and perform experiments on between two groups of Mi-Go who start
other creatures, transplanting brains or killing each other, leaving baffling
limbs and grafting on alien organs. One corpses. Investigators will be recruited,
purpose of this is to enable humans to with loved ones' brains as hostages.
survive the rigours of space travel, but 5. A Mi-Go artefact (a deadly weapon) falls
the Mi-Go also seem to do it out of into the hands of a local gangster who
curiosity, religious ritual or a perverse uses it to ice his rivals. The Mi-Go want
sense of fun. their tech back and recruit the
Investigators to find it and return it.
Mi-Go worship the Other Gods and once 6. A Great Old One threatens Yuggoth from
warred against the Elder Things but their its moon Thog. PCs are recruited (or
relationship with the Great Old Ones is kidnapped) and taken to Yuggoth in
ambivalent. brain canisters then placed into new
bodies, either as champions to banish
the entity or sacrifices to appease it.

Cthulhu Abides

MYTHOS MUMMY Example: A Mythos Mummy confronts

Mythos Mummy Hengist Winthrop and uses Summons
Initiative 7 Magic to bring Nyarlathotep himself to
Attack 15 earth. Nyarlathoteps Enmity is only 15
Damage 12 for resisting a Summons (thats what the
* symbol means) but he is alien so the
Defend 15
Mummys Magic Score is treated as 1D
Resistance 12XX
lower for purposes of this Spell. Hengist
Enmity 15X
4 rolls 1D and gets a 3, which means
Horror 15, Unnatural
Nyarlathotep is on the way. Not liking
Magic 15XXX, Azathoth
this, the Deranged4 Hengist spends a
Binding 18, Mummies have great powers
point of Mythos Insight and re-rolls,
of hypnosis; Magic Resist to
overcome getting 6. Now the Mummys Magic
Curse 12, Mummies can Transfigure Score is (20-6) 14, not enough to
victims with visions of Summon its god.
Nyarlathotep; avoid with Magic
Resist 1. An occultist friend calls the PCs to see his
Evoke 15, Mummies can alter the discovery. He has awoken a Mythos
appearance to look human; Mummy. The creature swaps minds with
Intellect / Occult to recognise him and when the PCs arrive their
Portal 15, Mummies can cross the friend tells them the Mummy is loose
Angles, enter the Dreamlands or about the museum. The real occultist is
teleport to known locations trapped in the Mummys rotting body.
Summon 20, Mummies can summon most 2. A Mythos Mummy in the form of a
Monsters and even Gods who are
beautiful Egyptian starlet is the toast of
the party scene, but is seducing and
Ward 10, Mummies can paralyse
enemies; Magic Resist to corrupting powerful men to form her
overcome Cult. One breaks free long enough to
warn the PCs, before being murdered.
These undead beings serve 3. As #2 above, but the warning is in fact a
Nyarlathotep. Many are ancient trap. The Egyptian starlet is a virtuous
Sorcerers who have voluntarily chosen Esoteric Theurgist trying to hunt down
undead servitude, thinking it was the real Mummy, who is one of the
immortality. They require hideous catering staff at the parties and is
sacrifices or cannibalistic diets to corrupting or poisoning people through
drugs in the champagne.
maintain their physical form or pass as
4. A Mummy contacts the PCs for aid.
human. The cursed pharaoh Kephren
Although evil, the being has a millennia-
and his queen Nitokris are the mightiest old hatred for Kephren or Nitokris and
of these and their leaders on earth. an opportunity to strike at them. The
Other Mummies are the victims of Mummy can transport to the undead
Nyarlathoteps Transfugurations. Many pharaohs lair but the wards keep it (but
can be reduced to dust by an Azathoth not the PCs) from entering.
Curse that overcomes their Magic Score. 5. An exhibition displays a newly
discovered mummy that is in reality a
Mummies use Evoke to disguise their dormant Mythos Mummy. PCs must race
desiccated features. They favour Cultists to get to the creature and
Summoning Monsters Lesser Other destroy it before it awakes.
Gods will obliterate an area, but even 6. One of the PCs is the reincarnation of an
Nyarlathotep comes to their call, though ancient Hyborian Wizard; an old enemy,
his responses are unpredictable. Mythos a Mummy, has discovered this and seeks
Mummies sometimes wield alien to kill the PC before they regain their old
powers. The Mummy might not know
weapons that add +1D to their Attack
which PC is its old foe.
and Damage Scores. Those with Portal or
Evoke can create such Artefacts.

Cthulhu Abides

NIGHT-GAUNT If the dreamer is an Oneirist, he or she will

Night-Gaunt eventually submit to the Night-Gaunts
Initiative 9 ticklings and return with them to the
Attack 10 Dreamlands. They will bear him off to
Damage 10 (Stun) Mount Ngranek or somewhere even more
Defend 9
Resistance 10 Example: Hengist Winthrop has returned
Enmity 9 from the Underworld but the Night-Gaunts
Horror 10, Unnatural have followed him. Over the next ten
Magic 10 , Hyborian nights a swarm builds up in Hengists
Binding 7, makes it impossible for the dreams, but he resolves to confront the
dreamer to awake or persuades him creatures. He loses Initiative and the Night-
to enter the Dreamlands; Magic Gaunts try to bind him, but by Defying
Resist to wake up
them and brandishing a 4D Sigil Hengist
Curse 13, a tickling curse that paralyses
the dreamer for as long as the rolls 4, 4, 1, 3, 6: this is (4+4) 8, enough to
Nightgaunts wish; Magic Resist to resist them. He uses his dream sword,
break free rolling 10 on a Physique/Fighting
Evoke 15, increase in number each night Challenge, but his damage is only 8, not
by 1D
enough to deliver a Killing Wound. The
Portal 5, communicate telepathically with
the victim crating Fugue; Magic fight continues.
Resist to block out 1. A friend reports horrible dreams of Night-
Summon 10, summon another swarm of Gaunts and is wasting away. PCs must
enter his dreams to banish or destroy the
Ward 10, hide their victim within his
creatures before they carry his dream-self
dreams from other dreamers;
Perception / Dream to locate off or drive him mad.
2. Night-Gaunts visit a PCs dreams to beg for
help against an Old One that is awakening
Bat-winged, curved of horn and faceless, on Mount Ngranek. They will carry their
these unpleasant imps brood on the slopes human champion(s) to the Dreamlands.
of Mount Ngranek in the Dreamlands, but 3. Night-Gaunts invade the dreams of
also attend the worship of Elder Gods like sleepwalkers and goad them into setting
up a cult to summon an Elder God.
Nodens. They are sometimes by
4. Students at a boarding school are falling
enterprising Ghouls to carry them through asleep and not waking up. A Maths
the air but the main danger they pose is homework problem set by a mad teacher
that they can follow human dreamers back summons Night-Gaunts that bear the
from the Dreamlands and into their dreamer off to the Dreamlands.
ordinary dreams. Whether they summon 5. A local artists painting of Night-Gaunts is
more of their kind, or else breed and a portal through which the creatures can
multiply, is not known. There will be 1D enter the Waking World. Some are
more Night-Gaunts in the victims dreams malevolent, some merely confused but
every time they sleep. others are being enslaved by a Sorcerer or
Cult or tribe of Ghouls for evil ends.
The Scores (left) are for a swarm of Night- 6. Night-Gaunts are persuading a NPC
Gaunts, for each individual imp is quite Investigator to summon Nodens to the
puny, and huge swarms can have much Waking World. The NPC believes the Elder
higher scores. Each 1D of Night-Gaunts God will help defeat the Old Ones, but
adds a Magic Point until the typical swarm horrible sacrifices are needed and
Something might answer the summons
is reached.

Cthulhu Abides

SERPENT PEOPLE Some are true Valusians who have

(Valusians) hibernated through the millennia thanks to
Serpent Person strange magic or Yigs blessing. A few are
Valusian Sorcerers who achieved
Initiative 6
immortality: these fearsome individuals
Attack 10
should add 1D to Magic and Enmity.
Damage 13
Defend 12 Example: Hengist Winthrop is suspicious of
Resistance 12 the mysterious vicar of Addersfen Church.
Enmity 10 He makes an Intellect/Occult Challenge,
Horror 10, Profound Shock
3 rolling 5 dice and a +4 Bonus. He rolls 6, 2,
Magic 10X, Chthonic/Hyborian 6, 5, 2, for a total of (6+6+4) 16. This is
10, snake eyes can mesmerise enough to see through the clergymans
victims and implant suggestions; Magic 15 disguise and Hengist realises the
Magic Resist to oppose vicar is really a Serpent Person.
Curse 15, various poisons can kill,
paralyse, mutate or drive insane; 1. A Serpent Wizard has infiltrated a remote
Magic Resist to overcome community and uses its magic venom to
Evoke 15, can make itself appear as a turn humans into Serpent Folk. Often the
human; Perception/Occult to detect magic backfires, creating half-human
Portal 7, limited telepathy by touch or snake monstrosities. Investigators see
barely audible hissing reports of snake bites in an area where
Summon 10, summon snakes, including giant poisonous snakes are unknown.
sized serpents 2. A Serpent Warrior awakes from
Ward 13, gaze can paralyse an opponent; hibernation and is appalled at the state of
Magic Resist to overcome its kin. It wishes to create a Portal back
through time to Valusia and is stealing
Subterranean creatures with humanoid Grimoires and Artefacts to do this, with its
decayed tribe acting as minions. The
bodies, scales and reptilian heads, Serpent
creature is noble rather than evil.
People predated the dinosaurs, the Scores
3. As #3 but the Warrior is being manipulated
represent one of their later descendants by a throwback Serpent Wizard who wants
from the Hyborian Age when they secretly to bring a Valusian army through the
ruled the continent of Valusia. Portal to conquer the upper world.
4. A NPC Investigator has become a recluse
In the modern age they are found in
following his whirlwind courtship and
underground cities to which they retreated
marriage. His wife is a Serpent Woman and
during the Ice Ages. Modern Serpent her venom and the worship of Yig are
People are highly degenerate, little better taking their toll. However, their love is
than beasts. They inhabit the cities of their genuine (albeit peculiar).
ancestors without comprehending their 5. As #4 but the wifes eggs hatch to Serpent
civilisation. For these decayed Serpent Hybrids that grow to adulthood in days.
Folk, ignore Magic; reduce Enmity to 6 and These monsters are more wicked than
Damage to 9. Even decayed Serpent Folk their parents, whom they plot to sacrifice
have venomous bites which deliver to Yig before enslaving humanity.
6. A new colliery disturbs a Valusian city. The
Damage 8 Killing Wounds that can only be
Serpent Folk start terrorizing miners. This
resisted with Trauma and Dodging.
might be a case of failed diplomacy, the
Undecayed Serpent People still exist. Some prelude to a Serpent Folk invasion or the
are genetic throwbacks who lord it above prompt for an Army taskforce (with PCs as
their bestial kin and are worshipped by advisors) to go underground to punish the
Kings enemies.

Cthulhu Abides

SHANTAK (Hunting-Horror) Riders who overcome the Binding Magic

Shantak (or ride the thing voluntarily) can leap from
Initiative 7 it instead of facing that dreadful
Attack 18 rendezvous. In the Dreamlands, this results
Damage 18 in waking up, as if killed; in outer space the
character will die unless he can roll to fall
Defend 15
through the Angles.
Resistance 18
Enmity 10X Example: Hengist Winthrop, a Deranged4
Horror 15, Unnatural Scholar, is riding a Shantak when he
Magic 10, Azathoth realises he has been doublecrossed and the
Binding 13, when sent as kidnappers, beast is taking him to Azathoths Throne at
Shantaks can bind a victim to mount the centre of the universe. Rather than face
them; Magic Resist to refuse the Daemon Sultan he leaps from the
Evoke 10, can become invisible, although
Hunting-Horrors back. Death in space is
Perception / Occult might spot the
ripple in space inevitable, but Hengist plans to fall through
Portal 10, can teleport short distances, the Angles. He spends a point of Mythos
rippling through space and barriers Insight and rolls Perception/Occult, getting
5, 4, 5, 2, getting (5+5) 10, enough with his
These scaly winged worms with horse-like
+4 Bonus to fall into inter-dimensional
heads and fiery three-lobed eyes are the
special pets, messengers and assassins of
Nyarlathotep. They can be found in the 1. An occultist NPC has angered Nyarlathotep
Dreamlands and in the depths of space, and a Shantak stalks him. The fugitive is
but they must seek out darkness for bright trying to keep lights on but a forecast of an
light burns them terribly. electrical storm that may cause power cuts
makes him contact the PCs.
Artificial light (streetlights, electric lamps, 2. A Sorcerer has found a way to Bind a
strong torches, bonfires) causes a Stun Shantak, using it to abduct his enemies.
Wound, dissipating the creature. Confronting the wizard involves defeating
the Horror.
Sunlight or powerful lamps and 3. A vital Artefact or Grimoire is in a sealed
searchlights may cause a Killing Wound on tomb, but a Shantaks rippling
Shantaks. Smaller lights (candles, torches, teleportation could access, if someone is
fire) may be used as a weapon against a brave enough to mount the beast.
Shantak, normally doing an extra 1-6D 4. A Shantak lairs under a big city, trapped by
Damage, depending on its brightness. the metropolis streetlights. A power cut
will free the beast but am Esoteric Cult
The worm attacks with its whiplike body, hopes to keep it trapped with a candlelit
striking everyone within reach most are vigil. Unfortunately, the members
5-10 yards long, but they can be up to resemble Mythos Cultists.
twice that. At the command of their god, 5. As #4 but the sect are Mythos Cultists who
or if Bound by a Sorcerer, they can act as intend to Bind the Horror once they have it
steeds, bearing a rider anywhere in the trapped in a circle of candlelight, then use
it against their enemies..
cosmos, so long as they do not have to
6. An occultist dreams of Hunting-Horrors
venture into sunlight. they have invaded his dreams from the
If not properly Bound to serve, they will Dreamlands. Although he has forgotten it,
take riders to the Throne of Azathoth the dreamer is a fugitive Avatar for the
instead. Elder Gods or Old Ones. The Horrors want
to take him to Kadath or the Underworld
to become possessed by his new master.

Cthulhu Abides

SHOGGOTH When the Binding fails, Shoggoths turn on

their masters but then carry on executing
Shoggoth their last instructions.
Initiative 9
Attack 15X Example: Hengist Winthrop has cast a
Damage 20X Binding Spell on a Shoggoth to take care of
that Hound of Tindalos that is coming for
Defend 12X
him. When he orders it to attack, the
Resistance 20XX
Shoggoths Enmity becomes 5XX and
Enmity 5X
5 Hengist must make his Binding roll again,
Horror 22X, Otherworldly
this time at -2 Limit. His Spell used 8D from
Magic 5 , Pnakotic the Pnakotic Manuscripts but the Potency
Evoke 5 clean or repair structures
10 reshape or redesign structures
was at -5 for the Facility penalty. Hengist
or landscapes rolls 5, 6, 6, 2, 4, 2, 5, 1 for a total of only 4,
15 reshape living creatures; create -5 for the penalty, +4 for Hengists Dream
Impossible Angles in structures bonus, a big fail. The Shoggoth goes nuts!
20 rebuild dead creatures, create
new Shoggoths, destroy any 1. Miners stumble upon an Elder Ruin and its
structure guardian Shoggoth. The surface authorities
think them trapped by a cave-in and send
down a rescue team, which disappears.
The deadliest of the earthbound Mythos 2. A former-Cultist approaches the PCs. His
creatures, Shoggoths are intelligent blobs Cult has awoken a Shoggoth but he
of protoplasm the size of a train carriage, understands that it will turn on them. He
sprouting eyes, mouths and pseudopods at has the rituals to control the Shoggoth and
whim and at random. They were created re-bury it if the PCs will help him get to it.
by the Elder Things to mine and engineer But can he be trusted?
their basalt cities, but have developed 3. Scientists are experimenting on Shoggoth-
tissue brought back by the Miskatonic
intelligence and a rebellious streak, but no
Arctic Expedition. Dyer the geologist begs
real imagination.
the PCs to break in to the lab and destroy
Though their old masters are long gone, the samples before scientists grow a
some Shoggoths linger on in their empty complete one. They may be too late
underground cities and crypts, but others 4. A Sorcerer has mixed his own flesh with
Shoggoth-tissue, making him nearly
are exhumed and enslaved by enterprising
indestructible. He offers to help PCs
(and short-lived) magicians and cults.
against the Mythos, but as he uses his
Shoggoths have low (but alien) Enmity and powers his Shoggoth-side gets stronger. In
are easily bound. Once a Shoggoth is time he will turn into a full-Shoggoth.
Bound it is a docile (but hideous) servant. 5. The Great Race involve the PCs in their war
It can be instructed to increase its Magic with the Elder Things. They a time portal
Score to 10, 15 or 20. This dramatically to return a Shoggoth to a million years
increases its value as a servant. ago, where it will infect the docile slave
Shoggoths with its desire to rebel and
Letting them raise their Magic Score to destroy the Elder Things. They need the
perform greater tasks also raises their PCs to capture the Shoggoth.
Enmity by the same amount. Whenever 6. As #5 above, but the Great Race are a
they are given any sort of initiative (such rogue faction and will use the Shoggoth to
as being instructed to fight or undertake free Cthulhu before Rlyeh sinks, rewriting
an unfamiliar task) the Shoggoth gains history. The PCs can go on the run with
another Enmity X and the controller their Shoggoth, but how long can they
control it for?
must attempt to Bind them again.

Cthulhu Abides

TCHO-TCHO Tcho-Tchos are the shock troops of the

Mythos, they coordinate the worldwide
Tcho-Tcho Cthulhu Cult and are involved in just about
Initiative 8 every level of Mythos activity. They are
Attack 11 familiar with the Dreamlands and know
Damage 4 + Weapon Spells and gates for crossing to the Plateau
Defend 9 of Leng where their ancestors dwell.
Resistance 11
Example: Knuckles Murdigan is facing
Enmity 13
2 down a Tcho-Tcho assassin who fixes
Horror 10, Disturbing Ideas
Murdigan with the evil eye. Murdigan
Magic 10, Chthonic/Rlyeh
Defies the assassin (1D) but cannot Writhe
Binding 15, Tcho-Tcho enjoy serving human
flesh to mortals, inflaming cannibal
or Geist because the assassin will kill him
desires; Magic Resist to ignore while hes helpless. He relies on Faith (4D).
Curse 15, a shrivelling curse that blisters He rolls 4, 6, 3, 4, 1, for (4+4) 8. Even with
the flesh; Magic Resist to withstand his +3 Resilience Bonus this falls short of
Evoke 10, disguise as anyone or be 13. He decides to accept Trauma, gaining
unrecognisable (except to other
two Madness Levels to gain +2D. He rolls 2
Tcho-Tcho); Perception / Occult to
detect and 6, for (6+6) 12, which with his +3
Portal 13, Tcho-Tcho share a hive mind Bonus is a success.
that lets some of them commune
telepathically with the tribe
1. Tcho-Tchos have set up a soup kitchen for
10, Tcho-Tcho can summon Byakhee
the citys homeless but are feeding them
as steeds or guards human flesh to turn them into Ghouls.
Ward 13, the evil eye paralyses the Tcho- Police are baffled at the rising murder rate.
Tchos victim; Magic Resist to 2. A NPC colleague is troubled by dreams of
overcome cannibalism. Investigation reveals he was
adopted and his real lineage is Tcho-Tcho.
Long thought to be a debased tribe from He hates what he is, but the cannibal urges
Tibet that spread throughout South East grow stronger and the Tcho-Tcho send
Asia, the Tcho-Tcho are actually something tribe members to bring him home.
more. They are a separate human species, 3. Tcho-Tchos are smuggling small quantities
so far diverged from Homo sapiens that of Shoggoth flesh into the country and
they cannot breed with humans without reassembling a real Shoggoth underneath
magical assistance. Tcho-Tcho do not a major city. They must be stopped before
always show a particular Asian heritage, the monster is complete.
4. Tcho-Tchos are turning up dead all over
though they tend to be dark skinned and
the country. This is a purge by the Mi-Go
hairless, but they always appear who are removing opposition to their
indefinably foreign. Dwarfism is common plans. A Tcho-Tcho begs the Investigators
among them from their incestuous and for protection, not revealing what he is.
cannibalistic practices. They gave 5. The director of a mental asylum clams to
themselves over to miscegenation with have cured Tcho-Tcho inmates of their
aliens before the human race even evolved urges. Other Tcho-Tchos try to kill the
and are almost all quite mad but highly doctor but the threat might be from NPC
functional with a hive intelligence. They Investigators who think the cure is a hoax.
often work closely with Deep Ones who 6. Evidence emerges that an important public
figure, perhaps Royalty, has Tcho-Tcho
despise them in spite of (or because of)
ancestry. The leader may be unaware of
the fact that they cannot breed with them.
their ghastly heritage, struggling with
growing urges or a Tcho-Tcho sleeper
leading the Empire to ruin from within.

Cthulhu Abides

TINDALOS Victims encounter the Hounds while

Tindalos crossing the Angles, through
Initiative 10 experimenting with tainted drugs or
Attack 15 magical scrying or reading texts like the
Damage 10X Pnakotic Manuscripts. The GM might roll 1,
2 or 3D and declare an encounter with the
Defend 12
Hounds if any dice come up 6. A Fugue
Resistance 10XX
empowers the creature to travel through
Enmity 20*X
5 the Angles to its prey. Hounds that
Horror 15, Otherworldly
encounter their prey beyond the Angles
Magic 10X, Yuggoth
automatically enter our reality after a gap
Binding 5, the Hounds fascinate those who
of 1D days. Hounds need to emerge
see them, urging them to cross the
Angles to make contact; Magic through impossible Angles, but may be
Resist to overcome able to create these or summon victims to
Curse 10, the Hounds tongue drains the Witch-Houses where such Angles exist
preys psychic essence, leaving a
vegetable; Magic Resist to oppose Example: While studying the Pnakotic
Evoke 13, the Hounds place their essence Manuscripts, Hengist Winthrop rolls a 6
in certain books, drugs, mirrors, etc and has a vision of the Hounds of Tindalos.
that provide a shocking glimpse of
He must Resist their fascination effect, so
them to mortals; Intellect / Occult
to recognise & avoid he Defies them (1D) and creates a hasty
Portal 15, can create impossible Angles Sigil (rolling a die and getting 2 for a 2D
from which a Hound can manifest, Sigil). He rolls 3D and gets 2, 1, 4, nowhere
but others can cross the Angles here near enough to Resist the Hounds.
Summon 7, Hounds can summon mortals to 1. A friend begs help from the PCs. He has
places where there are impossible witnessed the Hounds while using a drug
Angles; Magic Resist to avoid and needs restraining from using it again.
Ward 10, traps its prey in a place until it is Unfortunately, a Hound is on the way.
able to manifest there; Magic Resist 2. An antiquarian with a magic mirror is killed
to escape by a Hound of Tindalos. Anyone viewing
Strange malevolent entities that inhabit the mirror from a certain Angle will see the
the Angles and serve Yog-Sothoth. They Hound and become its next victim.
3. The PCs meet a NPC Investigator who is a
are created when creatures are completely
Hound bound into human form by a
Transfigured by Yog-Sothoth and, as such, Sorcerer it has since killed. It experiments
can have many forms, from the roughly with various ways of killing victims to
humanoid to the indescribably alien. acquire the essence it needs. It might be
Regardless of shape, they are composed of persuaded to become an ally and focus
tentacles, mouths and lashing tongues. only on draining cultists etc.
4. A Sorcerer builds a circular house without
They are known as the Hounds of Yog-
angles as a trap for a Hound he has
Sothoth because they pursue creatures summoned. He feeds victims to the Hound
that encounter them while crossing the while working out how to Bind it.
Angles. If the Hound kills its victim outright 5. An enemy Sorcerer sends a PC a package
(with a Killing Wound) it will return back containing a reel of film that, when played,
through the Angles but if it manages to depicts the Hounds of Tindalos.
drain the preys essence (with a Magic 6. The cursed reel of film (cf #5) is shown at a
Wound) it will be empowered to linger in small film festival, putting a room full of
our world, looking for more victims. critics in contact with Hounds. Cultists plan
to distribute the film to cinemas.

Cthulhu Abides

Yellow Herald The Heralds, like most servitors of Hastur,
Initiative 8 cannot harm anyone bearing the Yellow
Attack 10 Sign. However, the Yellow Sign often
Damage 10 causes Transfiguration in anyone brave
Defend 15 enough to bear it and earns the bearer the
Resistance 12XXX intense hatred of Mi-Go and other alien
Enmity 12X races. Mortals Transfigured by Hastur may
Horror 15, Unnatural become Yellow Heralds. If the Pallid Mask
Magic 12X, Rlyeh is removed, the hideousness beneath is a
Binding 17, the Herald can mesmerise even Difficulty 18 Otherworldly5 Horror.
strong-willed creatures with its
voice; Magic Resist to overcome
Example: Knuckles Murdigan shoots a
Curse 12, Heralds can inflict a rotting Yellow Herald with his shotgun, narrowly
curse; avoid with Magic Resist only making the 15 needed to hit, but his
Evoke 12, Heralds can alter the Damage dice come up 5, 5, 3, 6, 3: only
appearance to look human; Intellect (3+3) 6 because the XXX Resistance
/ Occult to recognise
imposes a -3 Limit; even with his +5
Portal 15, Heralds can cross the Angles,
enter the Dreamlands or teleport to Fighting Bonus this wont kill it. He spends
known locations a point of Mythos Insight to re-roll the 6
Summon 7, Heralds can summon mortals to and the two 5s and gets 4, 1, 3; now his
them (Magic Resist to avoid) or total is (3+3+3+5) 14, blasting it to rags.
Byakhee as guards or steeds
Ward 9, the Yellow Sign is a barrier many 1. An old friend invites the PCs to visit but
creatures and animals fear to cross; Intellect/Occult at Difficulty 12 may reveal
Magic Resist to persist his face is a Pallid Mask and he has
become a Yellow Herald. The house may
These ghastly beings serve Hastur the
be sealed by Yellow Signs and Byakhee.
Unspeakable and work towards freeing 2. A creepy vendor is selling Halloween
him. They particularly strive to set up the masks that turn children into Heralds who
Yellow Sign Cult and encourage mortals to feed parents to pet Byakhees or set up
read or stage The King in Yellow but they school productions of The King In Yellow.
also plot against Hasturs enemies (the Mi- 3. As #2 above, but a company run by a
Go in particular). They appear as roughly Herald is making the masks and delivering
humanoid beings (although often them to toy shops around the country.
tentacled, goat-legged or reptilian), 4. A Sorcerer binds a Yellow Herald into a
cloaked in yellow and wearing the hideous yellow candle. He uses it to kill or control
his enemies, but the Herald has set up its
Pallid Mask over their shifting faces.
own Yellow Sign Cult which is trying to
Heralds are only partly physical and only steal and destroy the candle. PCs may be
their robes are entirely real. This makes hired either by the Cult or the Sorcerer to
them very difficult to harm, but some steal back the candle.
weapons from beyond the Angles, Cursing 5. A PC is replaced by a Yellow Herald. Do not
tell the PC they are no longer themselves
Magic or alien Artefacts might be effective
but describe mayhem whenever the PC is
against them, removing one or more Xs
alone with a potential victim.
from their Resistance Score. They are 6. A Herald is using the radio to serialise The
master manipulators: almost all use King In Yellow in nightly episodes. The first
Binding Magic and one other; those with Act is nearly over. PCs must track down
Portals too may Bind victims over great the source of the broadcast before the
distances or exchange minds with victims. dreadful Second Act is transmitted.

Cthulhu Abides

Cthulhu Abides

A Cthulhu, 12, 102, 115, 127, 162, Esoteric Insight, 21, 39, 47, 66,
Abjuration, 71, 73, 83, 87, 89, 165 67, 71, 73, 137, 143
92, 96, 98, 114, 137 Cthulhu Cult, 12, 103, 127, 162, Esoteric Magic, 47, 59
Aggravated Wound, 55, 59, 95 175 Esoteric Monster, 97
Amulet, 112 Cthulhu fhtagn, 87 Esoteric Ruin, 129, 130, 131,
Animal, 99 Culte des Goules, 126 133
Archive, 21, 49, 50, 68, 69, 136, Cultes des Goules, The, 72, 91, Esoteric Spell, 82, 83, 88, 113,
142, 143, 144, 148, 151 155 125, 143, 148
Area Attack, 55, 58 Curse, 85, 96, 98 Evidence, 47, 66, 68, 71, 75,
Armour, 55, 56 D 130
Artefact, 112, 114, 115, 128, Danger Check, 23, 26, 92, 100, Evoke, 85, 96, 98, 117
129, 130 117, 128, 131 Exaltation, 85, 86, 98
Artist, 30, 48 Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath, Explorer, 30, 45, 49
Athame, 87, 112 95, 104, 163, 164 Extreme Horror, 45, 51, 71,
Atlantis, 10 De Vermiis Mysteriis, 72, 155 102, 126
Attribute, 19, 28, 33, 118 Deduction, 47, 66, 67, 68, 78, F
Azathoth, 8, 116, 123, 173 142, 147 Facility, 87, 89
Azathoth Mythos, 8 Deep One, 95, 102, 127, 130, Faith, 61
B 165, 175 Fall, 56
Base Madness Level, 25, 34, 40, Defiance, 61 Feint, 59
42, 45, 51, 88, 92, 100, 119, Denouement, 65, 77, 94 First Aid, 59, 147
125, 136, 137 Detective, 141, 142 Formless Spawn, 13, 109, 166
Binding, 85, 96, 98 Difficulty Score, 19 Foulness, 101
Black Goat of the Woods, 12, Dilettante, 141, 142 Frailty, 35, 41, 43, 51, 101, 119,
104 Diogenes Club, 146, 160 136, 144, 145
Blasphemous Horror, 160, 168 Disarm, 56 Fugue, 21, 25, 39, 43, 44, 45,
Blasphemy, 100 Disjointed, 23, 24 51, 58, 117, 119, 142
Bonus, 19, 27, 29, 32, 33, 37, Disunited, 23 Full Attack, 59
48, 49, 50, 67, 77, 79, 89, 136, Doctor, 141, 143 Full Defence, 59
137, 140, 142, 143 Dodge, 56 G
Book of Eibon, The, 72, 155, Dream Magic, 122 Geist, 45, 59, 61, 100, 101, 136
164 Dream Quest of Unknown Ghost, 97
Boss, 94, 96, 97, 99 Kadath, The, 123 Ghoul, 12, 91, 95, 124, 126,
Byakhee, 106, 161 Dreamlands, 10, 47, 50, 78, 130, 167
C 111, 118, 119, 120, 123, 126, Ghoul Point, 91, 126, 130, 136,
Certainty, 31, 33, 41, 43, 70, 130, 132, 147, 148, 167, 171, 167
128, 129, 130 173, 175 Gnosis, 101
Challenge Score, 19 Dunwich Horror, The, 81 Goal, 16, 32, 61, 136, 145
Chthonian Mythos, 9 E Great Old One, 9, 119, 121,
Chthonic Old One, 10, 13 Elder God, 10, 111, 118, 119, 130, 133, 169
Clergyman, 30, 48 121, 123, 124, 132 Great Race of Yith, 9, 130
Close-knit, 23, 24 Elder Lore, 119, 120, 121, 122, Grimoire, 65, 67, 70, 72, 73, 89,
Clue Point, 16, 18, 21, 44, 65, 132 92, 155, 157
66, 67, 69, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, Elder Ruin, 9, 49, 75, 117, 128, H
122, 137, 142 133, 144, 148 Hastur, 12, 105, 127, 161, 169,
Cohesion, 23, 25, 26, 76, 136, Elder Sign, 87, 102, 113, 115, 177
148 146 Hope, 33, 40, 42, 43, 44, 51,
Colour Out of Space, 163 Elder Thing, 8, 9, 10, 130, 169, 100, 148
Covering Fire, 58 174 Horror, 43, 70, 73, 76, 95, 125,
Criminal, 141, 142 Enmity, 94, 95 126, 128, 129, 137
Cross the Threshold, 76 Epistle, 73, 137, 146 Hyborian Cult, 125
Crossing the Angles, 107, 116, Esoteric Abjurations, 84 Hyborian Mythos, 10, 118, 172
117, 131, 132, 173, 176 Esoteric Artefact, 148 I
Crutch, 35, 42, 44, 45, 51, 119, Esoteric Cult, 125, 126, 127, I, Shub-Niggurath, 87
136, 143, 144, 145, 146 133, 146 Impact, 57, 62, 63
Cthulhoid, 162 Esoteric Grimoire, 49, 71, 146, Incantation, 87, 113
156 Infiltration, 127, 130
Cthulhu Abides

Initiative, 33, 54, 59, 94 P Sigil, 61, 112, 113

Insane, 39, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, Pallid Mask, 106, 177 Spell Mishap, 88
54, 58, 67, 69, 71, 73, 101, 116, Peril, 18, 75 Spiritualist, 141, 143
142, 143, 144 Perk, 36, 39, 141, 146 Starry Old One, 9, 11
Insight, 21, 25, 44, 45, 51, 65, Perversion, 101 Starry Wisdom Cult, 108, 127
67, 69, 73, 76, 79, 82, 101, 127, Philosophy, 16, 31, 61, 77, 121, Stressed, 39, 47, 48, 49, 50, 54,
137, 147, 148 136, 144 67, 69, 71, 73, 82, 142, 143,
Ithaqua, 13 Pnakotic Cult, 125 144
K Pnakotic Manuscripts, The, 155, Stressor, 41, 43, 48
Kibbo Kift, 125, 144 176 Stun, 47, 53, 54, 55, 57, 59, 99,
Kill, 47, 53, 54, 55, 57, 59, 99, Pnakotic Mythos, 8 143, 147
136, 143, 147, 148 Poker Dice, 15, 21 Summon, 85, 96, 98, 118
King in Yellow, 12, 105 Portal, 85, 86, 96, 118 Sympathy, 87, 128, 129, 130
King in Yellow, The, 72, 155, Possession, 101 T
177 Potency, 21, 71, 73, 82, 89, 90, Tcho-Tcho, 12, 102, 127, 175
L 91, 101, 113, 115, 122, 137 Teamwork, 23, 26, 58, 110,
Lake Hali, 12, 105 Powder of Ibn Ghazi, 87, 113 117, 147
Limit, 21, 47, 55, 59, 90, 95, Power Stunt, 22 Testimony, 47, 50, 66, 68, 71,
110, 128, 131, 147, 149, 150 Preparedness, 68, 76 73, 74, 127
M Profession, 30, 48, 49, 50, 136, The King in Yellow, The, 105
Madness, 16, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 141, 142, 143 Theurgist, 82, 148
44, 45, 47, 51, 119, 120 Pulp, 27, 37, 63, 67, 74, 77, Tindalos, Hound of, 96, 106,
Magic, 44, 51, 61, 81, 82, 91, 110, 133 117, 132, 176
95, 96, 98, 146, 147, 148 Pulp Stunt, 22, 39, 47, 56, 58, Transfiguration, 100, 102, 110,
Maim, 56, 57, 59, 100, 101 59, 61, 62, 113, 122, 142, 146, 117, 131, 163, 166, 168, 177
Mermaid, 97 147, 148 Trauma, 56, 61
Mi-Go, 10, 12, 105, 130, 169, Purist, 27, 37, 63, 67, 74, 77, Tsathoggua, 10, 13, 108, 109,
177 132 123, 124, 166
Monstrosity, 101 R U
Mummy (Non-Mythos), 97 Rlyeh, 9, 12, 117, 127, 162 Unausprechlichen Kulten, 72,
Mythos Abjurations, 84 Rlyeh Mythos, 9 155
Mythos Artefact, 147 Rail Game, 18, 66 United, 24
Mythos Cult, 125, 126, 127, 133 Resilience, 33, 35, 53, 55 V
Mythos Grimoire, 49, 71, 72, Resist, 55, 61, 62, 63, 101, 112, Vagabond, 141
147, 155 146 Valusia, 10, 13, 110, 172
Mythos Insight, 21, 39, 49, 66, Resistance, 94, 95 Vampire, 97
67, 71, 73, 114, 117, 137, 143 Reward Challenge, 44, 101, Veteran, 30, 39, 50, 51
Mythos Magic, 47, 59 136, 137, 150 Voorish Sign, 88
Mythos Mummy, 108, 170 Reward Dice, 25, 42, 45, 59, 78, W
Mythos Ruin, 129, 130, 131 136 Ward, 85, 96, 98
Mythos Spell, 82, 83, 88, 92, Ritual, 87, 147 Werewolf, 97
97, 113, 126, 143, 148 S Witch Cult, 104, 127
N Sacrifice, 87 Wrath, 100
NKai, 109, 117, 166 Sandbox, 17, 66 Writer, 30, 39, 50, 73
Necronomicon, The, 72, 81, 155 Sane, 39, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 54, Writhe, 61
Nether Lore, 119, 120, 121, 69, 70, 71, 73, 142, 143, 144 Y
122, 132 Scholar, 30, 49, 69 Yellow Herald, 105, 177
Night-Gaunt, 96, 124, 171 Scroll, 112, 113 Yellow Sign, 12, 88, 105, 177
Nodens, 10 Seal of NGah, 88 Yellow Sign Cult, 127, 177
Nyarlathotep, 8, 104, 107, 108, Sedation, 42, 44, 48 Yig, 10, 13, 109, 110, 116, 172
116, 121, 127, 168, 170, 173 Sensitive, 148 Yog-Sothoth, 8, 106, 117, 132,
O Serpent People, 10, 13, 110, 176
Oneiromancy, 122 172 Yuggoth, 10, 169
Ordeal, 77, 94 Shantak, 173 Yuggoth Mythos, 10
Order of Dagon, 103, 127, 165 Shining Trapezohedron, 116, Z
Other God, 8, 108, 123, 127, 117, 127, 132 Zero Attribute, 29
168 Shoggoth, 9, 96, 174 Zombie, 97
Shub-Niggurath, 12, 103, 127

Cthulhu Abides

Cthulhu Abides

Cthulhu Abides


During the '90s, when I rediscovered RPGs By inviting PCs to embrace madness and
as an adult, there was a trend towards players to roleplay their descent into
simplicity. Games adopted streamlined insanity, Cthulhu Abides stands firmly in
"core mechanics" - inspired, certainly, by that tradition.
Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying system that
Freeform magic systems were another
undergirds Call of Cthulhu - and ditched
popular Nineties development. Opinion is
specialist tables in favour of elegant
divided about the legitimacy of PCs using
resolution systems that could be applied
magic in Lovecraftian games. Purists insist
intuitively to new situations. In that
magic should be obscure, mysterious and
respect, the pages of Cthulhu Abides with
known only to the rarest true
their multifarious tables look (to my eyes)
practitioners. Adventurists point to
delightfully "old skool".
"Exhibit A: The Dunwich Horror" in which
Nonetheless, Cthulhu Abides is a modern dull academics reach for the
RPG in some respects. One of the traits Necromonicon and cook up a spell to fry a
most horror RPGs share is allocating points Blasphemous Horror. I've opted to make
to different skills before play. I always magic available to anyone but difficult to
found this tedious and slightly arbitrary - pull off and degrading to the mind.
before the game begins, how do you know
Then there's the British setting. I hope the
whether you'll need to speak Swahili or be
rules nudge characters towards period
an expert on Renaissance alchemy? By
Edwardian "types" (or stereotypes). The
reducing all this to 6 Attributes and 6
next book in support of Cthulhu Abides will
Bonuses, character generation gets fast
be Season of Mists, a campaign of linked
and players can make the argument,
adventures developing the Fens of East
during the game, that as an Explorer they
Anglia as a Lovecraftian setting.
should know a few words of Swahili and
proceed to make an Intellect/Profession
Challenge. My website at
There's something fun about roleplaying supports
rookies who know nothing of the Mythos Cthulhu Abides along with other games I
and spend the first half of their first Story play and books I write. Tinderspark is a
in denial, looking for rational explanations. fantasy adventure set during the 17th
Nevertheless, my assumption is that the century witch trial and can also be found
PCs are already Mythos-fighters and on Amazon. Please visit. - JMR
there's no need to roleplay through
incredulity and dawning realisation -
unless, of course, you want to!
Madness was another feature I wanted to
reconsider and in this respect Cthulhu
Abides is very much a "Nineties RPG". In
that decade, a plethora of RPGs positioned
the PCs as monsters, mystics and aliens
with inhuman psychologies or surreal
perceptions rather than the stolid heroes
of earlier decades.

Cthulhu Abides