Call of Cthulhu Quick-start rules

So your thinking of trying Call of Cthulhu but not sure where to start? Maybe the idea of running a mystery game seems daunting, or maybe you aren’t that familiar with H.P.Lovecraft and his works. Maybe you are just reluctant to cough up your hard earned cash for a game you have not played yet. Well, don’t worry, all you need to do is download the Call of Cthulhu quick-start rules from and you can be playing a game tonight!

Call of Cthulhu Quick Start Rules

For anyone unfamiliar with quick-start rules, they are booklets (usually in electronic format) produced by publishing company to give people enough of the RPG for them to play about 1 game. Usually what you get is a brief introduction to the world or setting, a brief description of the rules (often just the basics with more complicated or optional rules left out), some readymade characters and a quick adventure. They are designed to be all you need to get started and to give you a taste of what the full game is like, and best of all, they are usually free. The Call of Cthulhu is no exception.

It starts with an introduction to H.P Lovecrafts work and the Cthulhu mythos, not an easy subject to convey in a few pages but they do a reasonable job here. There is then a quick introduction to the characters attributes and the basic dice mechanics of the game. Call of Cthulhu uses a pretty simple system so this section gives you all you need to get started. This introductory section is dealt with pretty quickly and it is on to the adventure itself.

The adventure is called the Haunting and is apparently one of the oldest and most popular starting adventures for Call of Cthulhu so it should be pretty good. It is loosely set in the 1920’s, i say loosely because it would take very little effort to change it to another time period. In fact it gives you ready-made characters for both the 1920s and 1890s, which is probably the second most popular (definetley the second most supported) era to play in. Only problem is that it only gives you 2 from each time period, which is a bit awkard if you have more than 2 players. You could use the characters from the other time periods as there is nothing that would be too anachronistic about using them, but still is a bit of a shame.

The adventure its self is pretty good, surprisingly good in fact. It is a great introduction to the themes of mystery and unknown terror that make Call of Cthulhu what it is. It gives players and keepers (GMs) a taste of the sanity mechanics and how they will come into play, and a relatively simple mystery for them to solve giving them experience of following clues. It is not too hard to leave the players scratching their heads but tough enough that they won’t guess the end straight away.

What i really liked about this adventure was that dotted throughout the scenes where items that the players might stumble upon that did not tie directly into the game at hand. These mysterious books, paintings etc, where curiousities the players might note down that, should they choose to investigate further, would lead into one of the published adventures Chaosium produce. This turns this introductory game a spring board into a long running campaign that will feel organic to the players and characters alike. It was a great addition to the quick-start rules, and reflective of the overall quality of this product.

With a few more pregenerated characters this would be perfect, as it stands it is still an excellent way to get into an excellent game. 

 4 Star Rating: Recommended

Note: Check our Free Stuff for Call of Cthulhu Here!

Want to try another system?

World of Darkness Core Book Dark Heresy Witchcraft In Flames