The basis of many popular games including Night’s Black Agents and The Esoterrorists, the GUMSHOE rules by Robin D. Laws never force players to hunt for clues — which can be frustrating for players and Gamemaster alike — but instead let the characters find the clues automatically and have the players interpret them. No more spending an entire game session waiting for the Investigators to uncover that one book in the library; the real fun is in figuring out what the book means.
Trail of Cthulhu cleverly adapts and expands the system to support two styles of play. “Purist” style aims for the classic Lovecraftian mood of ordinary people struggling against dreadful cosmic entities. “Pulp” lets strong heroes actually survive two-fisted combat with unearthly monsters. The rules tweaks you use give dramatically different experiences of investigative horror. With clever rules and quality scenarios, Trail of Cthulhu makes familiar tropes fresh and frightening.
1. Cities of Cthulhu [new]The scenarios in this new Cities of Cthulhu offer pave new trails to the nightmarish streets of Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan’s Cthulhu City and into the twisted Dreamlands Robin D. Laws conjures for Dreamhounds of Paris, perhaps the only recent RPG campaign where players become two-fisted 1930s Surrealists like filmmaker Luis Buñuel, American expat Man Ray, decadent chanteuse Kiki de Montparnasse, Theater of Cruelty inventor Antonin Artaud, and fresh-faced young painter Salvador Dalí.
There were four titles in this offer’s Starter Collection (retail value $54) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the five-scenario collection Out of the Woods, the full-length standalone investigations The Long Con and The Many Deaths of Edward Bigsby, and all 13 treatises in Trail of Cthulhu designer Kenneth Hite’s Ken Writes About Stuff Volume 1.
Those who paid more than this offer’s threshold (average) price also g0t this offer’s entire Bonus Collection with four more supplements and scenarios worth an additional $59.50, including Cthulhu City, the 1930s Surrealist campaign Dreamhounds of Paris and its companion Dreamlands diary The Book of Ants, and Ken Hite’s Tomb-Hounds of Egypt.
2. Trail of Cthulhu [from May 2014]Resurrected from May 2014 (and already revived twice, in June 2015 and November 2016), this original Trail of Cthulhu Bundle had the core rulebooks and key supplements — everything you need to uncover dark plots and shoot demented cultists.
There were four titles in this revived offer’s Starter Collection (retail value $43), including the complete Trail of Cthulhu rulebook, the Pulp-style adventure collection Stunning Eldritch Tales, the Keeper’s Resource Book & Screen, and the atmospheric music soundtrack Four Shadows.
This revival’s Bonus Collection added five more titles worth an additional $65:
- The Armitage Files: Ten mysterious, clue-filled documents by Robin D. Laws, ready-made for improvised sandbox-style adventures based on the players’ interpretations.
- Bookhounds of London: Kenneth Hite’s campaign setting of disreputable hustlers who sell rare Mythos texts — and sometimes defend humanity from their own customers.
- The Book of the Smoke: Also known as The Occult Guide to London, Paula Dempsey’s companion volume to Bookhounds is a primer for the dismal 1930s fog of London.
- Arkham Detective Tales Extended Edition: Five labyrinthine law-enforcement investigations by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan.
- Rough Magicks: Kenneth Hite explains the rules of magick for Investigators and Mythos creatures alike.
Ten percent of each payment (after gateway fees) went to these two Trail of Cthulhu offers’ designated charity, Human Rights Watch.