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Convicts and Cthulhu - a new sourcebook


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Our friends Cthulhu Reborn have just released CONVICTS AND CTHULHU, a new "pay what you want" licensed supplement for Call of Cthulhu 7th edition!

It's a 96 page sourcebook about the feared prison colonies of 18th and 19th Century Australia, where the refuse of the British Empire were sent for punishment in a land that was (to European eyes) thoroughly alien. And of course, Convicts and Cthulhu shows early Australia is more "alien" than anyone imagines...

Available here: http://www.rpgnow.com/product/184226/Convicts--Cthulhu

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Being Australian I am totally stoked that there is a Colonial Australia Cthulhu resource for CoC7E! Such an interesting piece of history which is ripe for a gaming experience.

Excellent production for a Pay What You Want product, and having its own character sheet is an added bonus.

This really made my day!

 

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Hi, Dean from Cthulhu Reborn here ... thanks to MOB for alerting the Call of Cthulhu playing world to the existence of our humble little colonial Australian sourcebook, Convicts & Cthulhu. The response to this product has been unexpectedly great: we've been lurking at the top of RPGNow's "hottest" titles list ever since the book was mentioned here, with many hundreds of copies now having been downloaded. So ... thanks to everyone, and especially those who chipped in a small donation (much appreciated).

We're currently looking at options for making a Print-On-Demand version of Convicts & Cthulhu available for those who'd like to get the book in hard copy.

And in response to the suggestion by @SentinelHillPress that we'd included an Easter egg on the cover (in the form of a soldier sticking his tongue out) ... I only wish my Photoshopping skills were that good!

Thanks again to all who've grabbed Convicts & Cthulhu. We hope you enjoy your time as prisoners and gaolers in early Australia.

 

Dean (from Adelaide)

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For the non-Aussies reading this, Leichhardt was an explorer who disappeared during the later part of the Colonial Era of Australian history. Quite a well known historical figure in Australia.

This setting book details the earlier Colonial Era years from the Penal settlement through to the Free Settler years, so at first glance it probably covers the initial 50 years or so of European colonisation of Australia. I think it looks to be predominantly focused around the first 25 years or so, during the height of the corruption of the 'Rum Corps' who practically ran the colony of New South Wales. A great time for a period setting I reckon.

It's about 50 years or so before the Leichhardt expedition. Although you could easily have earlier explorers set out to their doom during this period, as Australia was a wild, mysterious, and almost alien place back then. Who knows what lived in The Bush or The Interior...

 

 

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1 hour ago, Sid Vicarious said:

Dean, isn't  Adelaide the one Australian capital not to be settled by convicts? 

This looks very interesting - I'll grab it at rpgnow in a minute. Does it have a take on what happened to Ludwig Leichhardt.

Hey Sid ... you are fairly correct: Adelaide is the only large Australian city which can claim never to have had convicts transported to it. It was envisaged from the outset as a purely free-settler colony (of the "better class" of people). Of course that shonky and elitist plan fell in a heap fairly quickly, but we never resorted to shipping in convicts for free labour ... we did manage to generate a steady stream of home-grown criminals, though.

Regarding your question about Ludwig Leichhardt ... he doesn't make an appearance in Convicts & Cthulhu (since it's set earlier than his time), but he *does* get a mention in some other Aussie Call of Cthulhu material which will hopefully be making its way into print in the near future. He is one of a handful of famous Aussie disappearances so it would be a shame not to weave him into the Mythos backdrop somehow.

 

Dean (from Adelaide)

 

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I stumbled across this dramatisation on YouTube which presents a highly sanitised made-for-television interpretation of the events leading up to the Rum Rebellion in Australia. It may be helpful for people checking out the Cthulhu & Convicts supplement. If only HBO had produced this, it would have been much grittier, akin to 'Deadwood'. This production wouldn't have won any awards but its watchable, and a reasonable resource for this supplement.

Pity Russell Crowe didn't play Macarthur...

 

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1 hour ago, dce said:

He is one of a handful of famous Aussie disappearances so it would be a shame not to weave him into the Mythos backdrop somehow.

Sorry for nitpicking, but he was actually a famous Prussian disappearance (too) ...  :huh:

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10 minutes ago, rust said:

Sorry for nitpicking, but he was actually a famous Prussian disappearance (too) ...  :huh:

Indeed ... but appropriating nationals from other countries when they have had either a colourful life or eventful death is sort of an Australian tradition :)

 

Dean (also notes that Leichhardt disappeared, and presumably died, 50+ years before Australia existed as a coutnry ... which only makes my earlier statement even more ambiguous)

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20 hours ago, dce said:

 

Regarding your question about Ludwig Leichhardt ... he doesn't make an appearance in Convicts & Cthulhu (since it's set earlier than his time), but he *does* get a mention in some other Aussie Call of Cthulhu material which will hopefully be making its way into print in the near future. He is one of a handful of famous Aussie disappearances so it would be a shame not to weave him into the Mythos backdrop somehow.

This sounds intriguing. Do tell.

S.A might not have benefitted from convict labour and settlement, but  (an adaptation of) Snowtown has "cultist" written all over it.

 

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17 hours ago, Sid Vicarious said:

This sounds intriguing. Do tell.

S.A might not have benefitted from convict labour and settlement, but  (an adaptation of) Snowtown has "cultist" written all over it.

Talking about books that haven't yet been released always feels a bit like tempting fate ... but if you read through Convicts & Cthulhu you'll see it refers to two other forthcoming books focussed on Australia for CoC: Secrets of Australia (a total rewrite of the classic Terror Australis) and Australian Aeons (scenarios in various eras). Both of these titles are already written and waiting with a publisher ... they will hopefully be released in the not-too-distant-future (I don't know anything more precise than that).

I agree with you about the Snowtown connection -- you just have to watch the rather creepy film version of this horrible real-world event to see its potential as a springboard for things horrific.

 

Dean (from Adelaide)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks to folks here and elsewhere, Convicts & Cthulhu has been selling extremely well over on RPGNow. Quite a number of people have asked me whether there was any way of getting a Print On Demand copy (i.e., a physical book). As of today ... you can. I have just activated a softcover print copy (96 page B&W interior with  glossy colour covers) -- cruise over to this page on RPGNow and select either the "softcover print" or "print & PDF combo" and you will be on your way.

If you're curious about how the print copies turned out ... attached is a pic of the print proof that I received today (but be aware this is just a photo taken on my phone, so not exactly the most high-res of images).

For those who are contemplating grabbing this book in print, check out the info over on this blog posting for some idea of cost etc. In short, we are releasing it as a "Pay-What-You-Want" print title which means that there's a fixed minimum cost (the price of printing and shipping the book to you) but you can pay more if you want to, with the extra money going to Cthulhu Reborn. The base printing cost for the book is about US$4.00 and average shipping might be around $5.00 depending on where you are. So realistically you might be looking at around US$9 or so to nab a copy.

Thanks again to those who have already grabbed the PDF copy ... and I hope folks enjoy adding a print copy to their shelves!

 

Dean (from Adelaide)

Convicts & Cthulhu softcover pic1 (sml).jpg

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For those who have grabbed a copy of the PDF or print copy of Convicts & Cthulhu, you may be interested to know that Cthulhu Reborn has just published a free 4-page PDF add-on called "Convicts & Cthulhu: Tickets of Leave #1."

We're hoping to do some more of these in the future (hence the "#1" in the title). The goal of these small bite-sized additions is to give Keepers small self-contained nuggets of information which include a variety of different elements which could conceivably be put together into a short scenario or alternatively picked apart to provide pieces for an all-original scenario of their own devising.

Thanks ... and enjoy your time in the prison colony!

 

Dean (from Adelaide)

Convicts & Cthulhu Ticket Of Leave #1 cover (sml).jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

I bought Convicts & C'thulhu but I can't see why any of this has to be mis-attributed to the Mythos.  All the horror and disappearances are a perfectly normal part of the Australian way of life in the outback, thanks to Australia's unique fauna.  We took my Norwegian in-laws out to our cabin at Harrietville and they all nearly lost their shit over a couple of spiders the complained were the size of coffee tables.  I mean, spiders make bloody great coffee tables; they're a big fuzzy novelties if you ask me, and we trained them to bring the drinks closer, but the Norwegians didn't seem to want the beer, and that is very unlike Norwegians.  Spiders though are not so bad;  feed them right and they will eat off your hand (of course feed them wrong and they will eat off your hand up to the elbow).  I think everyone is just over-reacting.  Have a look at this lovely series of slides from Tourism Australia http://www.swifty.com/destinations/7681/17-nope-animal-pics-that-prove-australia-is-absolutely-terrifying/#slide/0  A trip to Australia is an unforgettable experience, and very affordable at 8-20 SAN loss net total.

Here are some lovely places to visit:

http://www.castleofspirits.com/blackmount.html

http://www.yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=16290

https://portarthurparanormal.com/

http://www.mynrma.com.au/travel/holiday-ideas/nt/the-lost-city-in-limmen-np.htm

https://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/park/wolfe-creek-crater 

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/news/queensland/the-chilling-record-of-lost-lives-at-devils-pool/2008/12/01/1227979901593.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2521752/Children-incest-cult-living-deformed-mute-Australian-valley.html

https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attraction_Review-g552137-d9559909-Reviews-Asylum_Ghost_Tours-Beechworth_Victoria.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_shark_attacks_in_Australia

http://listverse.com/2011/03/30/top-10-most-venomous-snakes/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newsvideo/viral-video/11446648/Watch-Deadly-snake-and-killer-spider-duel-in-Australia.html

Yeah, getting through all of that probably cost you about 2d4 SAN.  Man up and stop whining.

 

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On 7/27/2016 at 2:47 PM, Darius West said:

I bought Convicts & C'thulhu but I can't see why any of this has to be mis-attributed to the Mythos.  All the horror and disappearances are a perfectly normal part of the Australian way of life in the outback, thanks to Australia's unique fauna.

Having a BRP Australia set at the time would attract so many buyers, adding the Cthulhu name multiplies the interest by a fair amount, I would think.

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On 7/27/2016 at 11:47 PM, Darius West said:

A trip to Australia is an unforgettable experience, and very affordable at 8-20 SAN loss net total.

Crikes! I wonder how much Sanity we lose by actually living down here. No regular Gen Con in QLD alone must net me 1D6 SAN, let alone the cost of transport added onto a ticket to The Kraken, heh heh

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4 hours ago, Mankcam said:

Crikes! I wonder how much Sanity we lose by actually living down here.

I am surprised that you have left any Sanity at all. I mean, viewed from here you antipodes live with the earth above your feet and your heads hanging down into the air, this cannot be a sane stance ... :(

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The weird thing is that we say the same about the northern hemisphere heh heh

 

Okay add this to the list of unusual aussie locations - the remote township of Coober Pedy, a tiny little opal mining settlement way out in the desert, much of it is built underground. An ideal location for a Cthulhu Now game, as perhaps the contemporary underground living segues into much older and darker tunnels...

http://www.outback-australia-travel-secrets.com/coober-pedy-australia.html

http://www.outback-australia-travel-secrets.com/coober-pedy-underground-homes.html

Okay it's far too modern for the Convicts & Cthulhu setting, so getting back on topic, here's an interesting piece of superstition from the Penal and Colonial Australian era:

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16801512

http://theconversation.com/these-walls-can-talk-australian-history-preserved-by-folk-magic-47636

(note: the link above contains a link to the researcher's actual PhD Thesis submission on folk magic warding practices in Penal/Colonial Australia - a very interesting reference, and something easily reworked into the Mythos)

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