Cthulhu Live 2nd Edition
By Robert H. McLaughlin
Fantasy Flight Games
Cthulhu Live is set in the universe of eldritch horror
created by Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Cthulhu Live is a theater-gaming experience of horror,
action and suspense. The participants are both actors and audience. The game is
a full evening’s worth of fun every time it is played.
LARP (Live Action Role Playing)
offers players a chance to get into costume, test their acting skills and
interact with many more characters than the standard tabletop game usually
entails. Several different LARP games are available; Cthulhu
Live remains one of the most widely played in several countries.
Live has grown in popularity, offering fans a chance to take their games to
another level. Fans of the Cthulhu Mythos have a
chance to act out their stories, face off against ancient terrors and their
minions and generally experience gaming in a different way.
Cthulhu Live offers a simple system
of mechanics that encourages drama and intrigue, instead of test after test to
resolve every little action your character might attempt. Depending largely on
a player’s wits and creativity to solve puzzles, Cthulhu
Live has omitted Intelligence and Charisma from the mechanics (so you have act
and think for your character instead of relying on statistics to win for you).
The combination of abilities and skills, along with Sanity, Magic and Wound
Points is easy to learn and fairly easy to keep track of and use. Players pit
their character’s skills in a Test against a score set by the Keeper. The
Keeper gives the player information regarding success or failure based on the
outcome of the Test, never revealing the actual difficulty of the action to the
There are a ton of character templates offered in
this book, pre-generated characters with suggestions for rounding out their
skills and customizing them for individual players. These templates cover a
variety of professions, ranging from Doctor to Mystic and Private Investigator.
Many of them have notes on how to play these professions in the 1920s and
greatly speed up character creation.
While the basic mechanics of Cthulhu
Live are easy to learn and encourage acting over testing, the combat system
leaves a lot to be desired. A complete stop of play is announced and players go
through Combat Rounds (Declaration, Movement, Ranged Combat, Melee Combat and
Resolution). This ensures less confusion and gives everyone a chance to act,
but makes an otherwise dramatic scene slow and a bit boring for those
characters only partially involved in the combat.
There is a short, but useful chapter on magic and
psychic powers in a Cthulhu Live game. Once again,
the book favors drama over mechanics (always good in a LARP) and stresses that
players should act out the motivations of their characters. There is a nice
warning about playing Cthulhu Live in a controlled
setting…something about how shouting incantations in public might be a bad
The chapter on creatures offers a ton of possible
antagonists to engage the players in Cthulhu Live.
This book also offers invaluable tips on how to create monsters using
costuming, props and make-up. The theatrical information is well written and
easy to follow. The Keeper and Staff can bring monsters to life and add depth
to a game, not to mention make players wonder what horror waits for them around
the next corner. Useful instructions on the application of make-up and props is
included along with experiences from the author’s own Cthulhu
Live games makes this one of the better chapters in the book.
There are basic suggestions for converting tabletop
Call of Cthulhu characters to Cthulhu
Live. This book also gives brief ides on how to use some of Chaosium’s
Call of Cthulhu supplements in a LARP setting.
Cthulhu Live 2nd Edition
offers two pre-written adventures to finish out the book. Both have
pre-generated characters, extensive notes on setting the stage, prop letters
and handouts and lots of story potential. They both can be resolved in one
night of playing, and have possibilities for continued playing in an ongoing
game should the players wish to further their character’s adventures.
provided by Matt McElroy http://www.flamesrising.com