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  • RPG Biography
    For BRP, Call of Cthulhu, Delta Green, and Runequest
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    Call of Cthulhu
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    Slowly, slowly returning to the RPG hobby

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  1. That’s a very impressive jump - great news for CoC! And it’s nearly doubled its share of Roll20 campaigns from 8.46% in Q2 2020. That said, it’s confusing that the figure listed in the full Orr Report for “Call of Cthulhu (any edition)” is 14.30% of campaigns. (Numbers quoted all over the article don’t match, for that matter.) Incidentally, Roll20’s complete rundown of RPG campaigns includes other Chaosium titles: RuneQuest 0.03%* King Arthur Pendragon 0.03%** Basic Role-Playing 0.02% * down slightly YOY from 0.04% ** up slightly YOY from 0.02%
  2. If real history tells us anything, it’s that the most awful incidents can be covered up and disappear from public consciousness all too easily. Consider how long it took for the Tulsa race massacre of 1921 to be formally acknowledged—and that was in the state’s second-largest city rather than a decaying and isolated fishing town with a dwindling population. Starting with a plausible cover-up of the Innsmouth Raid, the Lovecraftian conspiracy RPG Delta Green has constructed a secret history of the 20th century around keeping it and other incidents from HPL’s stories away from both the public and the government. You’re spot on that it can take a major, unignorable Godzilla-scale event to trigger enough historical waves for an alternate history (unless you’re going for the flapping butterfly version, in which case it’s tricky finding exactly the right butterfly). For instance, after the apocalypse-adjacent, very public shifts toward the imminent arrival of the Great Old Ones, Charles Stross’s Mythos-espionage The Laundry Files series switches over from secret history to alternate history territory. The series used to be contemporary satire, but Stross says current events won’t stay plausible long enough for him to satirize them.
  3. Secret history, rather than alternate history, in terms of genre for the Cthulhu Mythos. The latter revolves around points of divergence from “our” timeline down different paths, while in the former, clandestine plots and happenings lurk undetected behind the familiar march of events. Contrast, for instance, Chambers’s “The Repairer of Reputations”, in which the play “The King in Yellow” turns up in an alternate future USA that diverged some time after 1895*, and HPL’s “The Call of Cthulhu”, in which the atavistic Cthulhu cult has existed through human history while the Great Old Ones covertly influence humanity’s dreams. In any case, your campaign sounds interesting—a postmodern cut-up of the horror genre (c.f. the Anno Dracula series, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Tales of the Shadowmen). * edit: Although TRoR reads like alternate history, it’s technically regular speculative fiction. Neil Gaiman's A Study in Emerald may be better a Mythos-related example.
  4. Sure, and those details are typically set out in the original license agreement. Licenses expire all the time, for any number of reasons - sometimes the licensees choose not to renew them when their original terms end, sometimes the licensors cancel them unilaterally, sometimes negotiations between the two parties don’t work out, etc., etc. Plus RPGs licensed from other parties’ IP fall out of print with regularity. (We’d have to hear Modiphius’s side of the story of their decision to switch to their in-house system for Achtung! Cthulhu for a complete picture.) In the meantime, it’s interesting that the decision to formally declare 6th ed. CoC out of print coincided (roughly) with the launch of 2d20 Achtung! Cthulhu, on the eve of GenCon, before the end of the quarter. It would also be interesting to hear more about Chaosium’s business rationale for declaring 6th ed. CoC OOP, particularly since this runs against the grain of current industry trends in the era of electronic publishing and “the long tail”. WotC, for instance, keeps all its editions electronically in print, along with tons of adventures and supplements from its hefty backlist. One can also find practically every ruleset for Traveller and Vampire: The Masquerade for sale as PDFs, and even smaller RPG like Unknown Armies or Space: 1889 keep their old editions around. But while Chaosium offers older Pendragon rulebooks available electronically (except for the second, AFAICT), that’s no longer the case for CoC. In the meantime, we eagerly await specifics on Chaosium’s plans to release more currently unavailable classic CoC titles, whether as remastered editions or updated conversions to 7th edition - at least once everyone’s recovered from GenCon! Thanks again for the all information!
  5. Interesting - is there anything else on this list of things to turn off?
  6. Many thanks for your info - it’s good to hear old scenarios will return in some form. Does Chaosium have a short list of currently unavailable classic CoC supplements that it’s considering for either revising and updating to 7th ed. or remastering as with the expanding Runequest classic line? And do you plan to release more currently unavailable classic CoC titles in remastered editions? For instance, are there any plans, one way or another, for The Fungi from Yuggoth or Curse of Chthonians campaigns (these were not part of the anniversary boxed set, although the later Trail of Tsathoggua and the Fragments of Fear were included in it). There are perennial requests for new CoC GMs looking for shorter campaigns but who aren’t ready for Masks of Nyarlathotep. Thanks again for the information! P.S. And out of curiosity, what was the business rationale for declaring 6th ed. officially out of print?
  7. Chaosium’s recent Kickstarter for the 1981 anniversary boxed set attracted over 150% of the backers from the one for 7th edition. That would suggest a healthy extant market for earlier editions of CoC. Perhaps the anniversary 2nd edition is now the official legacy CoC line. Once the Kickstarter’s fulfillment is finished, its assorted remastered titles will be available for sale to the regular market. Maybe Chaosium will announce more remastered legacy titles at GenCon or additional 6th edition books to be converted to 7th edition. (Or @Mike M or @MOB could join in this discussion to let us know.)
  8. Although physical copies of the 6th ed. rulebook have been unavailable for some time, Chaosium and DriveThruRPG were selling PDFs until quite recently. The formal notice that 6th edition is officially out of print went up just now. What we don’t know yet is the business rationale for this, though perhaps we may learn more at GenCon (where any last physical copies from Chaosium’s warehouse may be for sale…).
  9. Chaosium has just updated the landing page for 6th ed. CoC: “Call of Cthulhu 6th Edition is now officially out-of-print.” (And the link to the old free adventures is now dead, too.)
  10. While physical copies of the 6th edition Call of Cthulhu rulebook have been out of stock for a bit, its PDF version is now 404’ed on Chaosium’s web store and on DriveThruRPG. Chaosium’s 6th edition landing page continues to advertise it for sale, however (and 6th edition supplements and scenarios are still available). As there hasn’t yet been any official announcement about this title’s current status one way or another, is the 6th ed. CoC rulebook now officially out of print?
  11. Many thanks for all the updates - I didn’t realize sci-fi Cthulhu MS was done already. We all look forward to hearing more about what’s coming down the Chaosium pipeline!
  12. Many thanks for this update! Would it be possible to for you to provide us with information about the project’s production status, please? e.g. something like the one you announced for Regency Cthulhu. (Is there a final MS in the copy-editing stage, for instance, or is it currently in layout/art design? Or is it even further along, perhaps transmitted to the printers with an on-press date set?) Also, since Cthulhu by Gaslight will now be a two-volume edition, are the player and Keeper books going to be published more or less simultaneously or will one follow the other after a period of time? Thanks again for the new info and future details. Lots of people are looking forward avidly to this new edition.
  13. This is great news and a big surprise! Cubicle 7’s Cthulhu Britannica and World War Cthulhu were excellent product lines, with some absolutely superb titles. Are you going to contact any of the original line editors or contributors about the Chaosium editions? What are your plans for working with them on these and future projects in these series?
  14. My deepest condolences to Perrin’s family, friends, and colleagues - his loss is profound. Just as The Perrin Conventions for D&D are widely acknowledged as a pivotal point in the early days of the hobby, last month I was discussing online how important his founding role in the Society for Creative Anachronism was for fantasy gaming. And it should go without saying that the evolution of his RuneQuest house rules into Basic Roleplaying is why we’re here now. Thanks and farewell to an RPG titan,
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