Achtung! Cthulhu has long been a favorite setting of mine, and seeing it return in a new edition and using the 2d20 system is a cause for celebration in my opinion. As such, I consider mysself lucky to be granted review copies of both the Player and Gamemaster’s Guides in PDF form for the new edition. And what better way to use it than to do a Let’s Study series for both books?
For those new to the blog, a Let’s Study series is an in-depth look at the game, going through the key points of each chapter, and with every entry with a short note of my own personal thoughts and observations. At the end of the series, we sum up with a review of the product as a whole.
The Player’s Guide opens with a short fiction involving the iconic characters of Achtung! Cthulhu as they attempt to stop an arcane ritual being conducted by the Nazis. Those who might have played the video game will recognize Sergeant Carter and Ariane Dubois.
It’s pretty punchy and pulpy, which means it doesn’t spend too much time in the headspace of the characters, instead favoring fast action and paints a quick picture of the kind of games to expect with Achtung! Cthulhu.
What is Achtung! Cthulhu?
The next section swaps out from the Show mode to the Tell mode, and grounds the reader in specific terms as to what to expect in the game. There’s Nazis and the Mythos, and all set in World War 2.
Unlike the more fragile Investigators of Call of Cthulhu, the heroes of Achtung! Cthulhu are heroes among the allied servicemen and women, as well as secret agents or even civilians! The villains are also quite well defined early on: the Nazis have 2 separate forces in the form of the devious sorcerers of the Cult of the Black Sun, and the Atlantean weird science wielding Nachtwolfe.
It’s not all Nazis of course, the Mythos is in full display here, with the Deep Ones and the Mi-Go also playing a role in the conflict… and that’s not even counting the Elder Gods of the Mythos themselves.
What is the 2d20 System?
The introduction also gives a very quick summary of the 2d20 system mechanics, which we’ll go into later in a separate entry to this series. One thing to remember is that each game that uses the 2d20 system uses it differently. Modiphius has been very clever in how they’re able to tailor fit their system to emulate different kinds of games, and I expect Achtung! Cthulhu to have it’s own twists on the basic formula.
A Secret War?
The next (short) chapter of the book delves into the rumors and “unverified accounts” about the occult war raging in the shadows of the greater conflicts of World War 2. It’s detailed in a smattering of notes and short first-person accounts of incidents or rumors pasted on a bulletin board.
Overall the accounts are interesting, and do give some idea as to what kind of mood and tone each of the major factions of the game have when in an encounter, but can be safely skipped. The chapter itself suggests doing so if you want to come into the game with a character that has no foreknowledge of the occult nature of the world.
Achtung! Cthulhu is finally getting a “home” system in this edition and I’m looking forward to seeing how much Modiphius will build on the already impressive history of this game line.
For our next entry, we’ll be taking a look at Playing the Game.
For those interested in getting a copy of the books, you can get them over at the Modphius Website!