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[Reborn] Convicts & Cthulhu: Australia in the 18th Century

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#41 dce

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Posted 02 July 2016 - 03:59 AM

I'd like to say thank you again to everyone who has grabbed themselves a copy of Convicts & Cthulhu. The suprising level of popularity for the PDF (and also now the softcover print edition) has left me madly scrabbling to try to see if there is any related material that I can release to make it easier for folks to run games in the C&C setting.

 

I have also been hounding Geoff Gillan (my partner in crime on this project and the true original "creator" of the setting) ... and rather suprisingly my pestering has already paid off. Geoff agreed to writing a short 4-page supplement based on additional notes left over from previous research. I have quickly put these together into a short freebie download, titled "Convicts & Cthulhu: Ticket-of-Leave #1". We're hoping to put out some further free small PDF supplements in a similar format ... 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.

 

Convicts & Cthulhu: Tickets of Leave #1 just went live as a free PDF over on RPGNow and DrivethruRPG ... please grab it if you've enjoyed this rather unique setting.

 

And thanks again to everyone who has expressed their love for all things convict-y ... :-)

 

convicts-cthulhu-ticket-of-leave-1-cover

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)


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#42 Lammomedes

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Posted 02 July 2016 - 03:32 PM

Dean,

 

Thanks again. I just need to get my North American gamers interested in a mini-campaign set in a part of the world they know nothing about.

Should prove to be interesting if I succeed.

 

Prof Matt



#43 dce

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Posted 02 July 2016 - 11:58 PM

Dean,

 

Thanks again. I just need to get my North American gamers interested in a mini-campaign set in a part of the world they know nothing about.

Should prove to be interesting if I succeed.

 

Prof Matt

 

Hey Matt,

 

Thanks for grabbing the files ... I think that many people will be in the same position as you, needing to convince their players to take a bit of a leap to try a Lovecraftian scenario/campaign set in a place and time they know little about. To be honest that is possibly even true for some Aussie gamers to an extent.

 

One possible way to get people interested in the "exotic" setting of the 18th Century Australian penal colonies would be to convince your gamers to watch some film or TV episodes set in Australia (either then, or even now) and then extrapolate -- "what if, this story suddenly took a turn for the weird?" We have put some ideas in the back of the Convicts & Cthulhu book -- one easy-to-find dramatic reference point is the 2015 BBC historical drama TV series "Banished" (fan-made trailer here). There's nothing supernatural in that, but it has great production values and some solid acting (although unfortunately was not renewed for a Season 2). Another different type of TV show is the rather quirky sci-fi/horror show "Cleverman" (official US trailer) which is currently being screened here in Aus (on the ABC) but has also been picked up by the Sundance Channel in the US. That's a modern-day urban fantasy type of show loosely based on Aboriginal mythology and culture. It might not help in getting people across the whole convict-era thing but it might help people get enthused about exploring some of the weird supernatural elements that kind of go along with Australian indigenous culture and sorcery which is equally accessible in the C&C era.

 

While it will certainly take some energy from a Keeper to get a C&C game up and running, I hope that Keepers / players will ultimately find it a rewarding and evocative setting for (quirky) Lovecraftian gaming. That's the goal after all.

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)


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#44 Lammomedes

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 01:52 PM

Hey Matt,

 

Thanks for grabbing the files ... I think that many people will be in the same position as you, needing to convince their players to take a bit of a leap to try a Lovecraftian scenario/campaign set in a place and time they know little about. To be honest that is possibly even true for some Aussie gamers to an extent.

 

<snip for quote length>

 

While it will certainly take some energy from a Keeper to get a C&C game up and running, I hope that Keepers / players will ultimately find it a rewarding and evocative setting for (quirky) Lovecraftian gaming. That's the goal after all.

 

Dean (from Adelaide)

 Dean,

 

Thanks for the links. I'll look for the one show you indicated that is on the Sundance channel. Don't get me wrong, I think my players are up for some quirky things, especially for a one-shot, but I think the setting is worthy of a bit more than a one-off, four-five hour "con" sort of game. I've run a short campaign in the past with a different group of players in 1902 Australia that worked out okay (it used the old Australia CoC sourcebook and some materials riffed from Gaslight) and was set in Sydney and environs, and I think I have some very old notes around to help with my Australian history refresher course.

If I get this up and going, I'll let you know how it works out.

Prof Matt



#45 BrianL

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 06:28 PM

My print copy of Convicts & Cthulhu arrived today, hot off the...print-on-demand press. 

 

CC1.JPG

 

It looks great in the flesh; even better than I'd hoped. If you're hesitating at all about picking up a print version, you shouldn't.

 

CC2.JPG

 

CC3.JPG


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#46 Lammomedes

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 12:26 AM

My print copy of Convicts & Cthulhu arrived today, hot off the...print-on-demand press.

 

It looks great in the flesh; even better than I'd hoped. If you're hesitating at all about picking up a print version, you shouldn't.

 

I usually hate "me too" posts, but this warrants one.

 

Like Brian, I got my copies today. The package waiting at the door was a welcome reward after a 12 hour day at work. Both copies look well done and the print version is obviously well worth the money. Tomorrow, in my "copious spare time," I am going to put together some characters for a one-shot and get ready to spring this as a teaser for a potential longer campaign on my regular gaming group.

 

I'm not sure exactly what the adventure is going to be, but I am going to do something unique for a first go around.

 

Prof Matt


Edited by Lammomedes, 06 July 2016 - 12:27 AM.


#47 dce

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 03:47 AM

Hey Matt & Brian,

 

Glad that you are happy with the quality of the printed books -- I was pretty satisfied with the proof copy that I had made earlier. Previously I've been a bit uncertain about using Lightning Source (the only POD provider which has a relationship with Drivethru / RPGNow), but clearly they have improved their quality standards in recent times.

 

I'd be most interested to hear what you get up to with Convicts & Cthulhu -- and if you invent anything cool and interesting let me know!

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)


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#48 nclarke

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 07:57 AM

I'm happy with the Lulu copy I made although my inexperience with POD meant slight hiccups with the cover (the number top right is partly cut off). 



#49 christian

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Posted 17 August 2016 - 05:36 PM

Convicts received here in France, great copy, perfect printing ( and a book design that is very very professional). Thanks Dean and Geoff, I look forward to delving in that era I know very little about. Any chance of new scenarios? ( he asked greedily)


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#50 dce

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 02:38 AM

Hi Christian,

 

Glad to hear that you are happy with your print copy of "Convicts & Cthulhu" -- generally I have been getting lots of nice feedback from folks who have grabbed it in hardcopy.F

 

It's funny you should ask about follow-up scenarios ... because the answer to your question is "Yes". Cthulhu Reborn has already published one short supplementary PDF adventure (free download via RPGNow) and we are hoping to do more in the near future.

 

convicts-cthulhu-ticket-of-leave-1-cover

 

Also, our friends over at Just Crunch Games have decided to release a "Convicts & Cthulhu" themed version of their OSR-inspired game system "The Cthulhu Hack" (itself a variant of "The Black Hack"). Their version of Convicts also includes a fully-original scenario ... and you can grab it for free as well: it's a Pay-What-You-Want title at DrivethruRPG).

 

BTW: for folks who are wary about delving into a period or history they know little about ... everything in the C&C books assumes no prior knowledge of Australian history, colonial or otherwise.

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)


Edited by dce, 18 August 2016 - 02:40 AM.

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#51 beasterbrook

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 05:13 AM

I'll take a POD as usual..

 

Brette:)



#52 dce

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 12:51 PM

I'll take a POD as usual..

 

Great to hear Brett ... (this time around POD copies are available via RPGNow ... i hope you enjoy your printed copy :)).

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)


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#53 dce

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 12:40 AM

For folks who have nabbed a copy of Convicts & Cthulhu, you may be interested in a new freebie mini-supplement released today by Cthulhu Reborn. Ticket of Leave #2 expands the Convicts & Cthulhu setting by providing details about French explorations of early Australia. It includes historical background, some ideas about French occult interests, a pair of new professions and a scenario sketch.

 

cr3005b-convicts-cthulhu-ticket-of-leave

 

The early days of the Australian colonies coincides with a period where France and England were bitter enemies -- sometimes at war. Although England has stamped its ownership by founding the settlement of New South Wales, the continent of Australia is a vast place and the French are known to be lurking in the seas nearby, conducting their own "scientific explorations". But do the French have more sinister intentions for the new land? Are there plans for a French colonisation? And what of the rumours that some French officers assigned to these exploratory missions swear allegiance to a peculiar occult society? Is there some particular reason that France is especially diligent in acquiring territories in the South Pacific ... are they searching for something in the "lands down under"?

 

Ticket of Leave #2: Tricolour Terror is a six-page PDF, and is available now as a free download from RPGNow.

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)


Edited by dce, 06 October 2016 - 12:41 AM.

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#54 Taavi

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 11:24 AM

Great stuff Dean.


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#55 dce

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Posted 07 November 2016 - 10:57 PM

For those with an interest in Convict-y Cthulhu goodness ... I have just written over a post over on the Cthulhu Reborn blog about the amazingly fun Convicts & Cthulhu session that I was invited to run at PAX Aus on the weekend.

 

It was great to introduce some new players to the squalid setting of C&C (and in many cases introduce them to Call of Cthulhu altogether) -- given the gruesome and blood-drenched way in which the game ended I think the demo session nicely encapsulated everything that is great about both!

 

If anybody else is interested in running a Convicts & Cthulhu session in a short-ish convention slot (I ran the introductory session in 2 hours), I have shared a load of resources as part of the blog posting, including six pre-filled pre-gen character sheets, a detailed session staging guide and a bunch of other stuff. If anybody *does* decide they want Convicts along at their con, feel free to drop a post here (or get in touch with me some other way) to let me know how it worked for you!

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)


Edited by dce, 07 November 2016 - 10:57 PM.

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#56 dce

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 11:42 PM

Yoggies who have nabbed themselves copies of the (Pay-What-You Want) Convicts & Cthulhu sourcebook might be interested to hear that we mad cultists at Cthulhu Reborn have just released another small supplement in the "Convicts & Cthulhu: Tickets of Leave" series. This 8 page free PDF expands upon the C&C setting by providing details of the seedy criminal underworld that existed in the townships of early New South Wales, and giving players the opportunity to see life through the eyes of gang members.

 

cr3005c-convicts-cthulhu-ticket-of-leave

 

The majority of the Europeans living in the penal colony of New South Wales are there because of their guilty association with the world of crime. This is just as true for the gaolers as it is for the convicts they guard. Not surprisingly, incarceration in a large and remote prison has done little to turn felons from their criminal ways (despite brutal attempts to enforce "law and order"). The larger cities are rife with shadowy criminal groups -- some merely thieving to survive, others plotting sketchy political and business dealings. But in a place where the forces of the Cthulhu Mythos are never far away, there is always the chance that "a simple plan" might lead criminals into something far, far more dangerous.

 

Ticket of Leave #3 - Criminal Enterprise provides Keepers with resources to portray the seedy criminal underworld, and allow players to take on the roles of gang members. The PDF includes backgrounds and CoC 7th Edition stats for a ready-to-use gang of nefarious folks; it also includes a detailed scenario sketch which focusses on a double-crossing smuggling mission that leads the criminal investigators into the clutches of some rather unsavoury Mythos forces.

 

We hope that folks who are running Convicts & Cthulhu games will find this a useful (freebie) addition to the setting.

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)


Edited by dce, 22 December 2016 - 11:42 PM.

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#57 dce

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 09:24 PM

Cthulhu Reborn is delighted to announce the release of the fourth in the Tickets of Leave supplements for Convicts & Cthulhu. This PDF -- our largest yet, weighing in at 14 pages -- is titled "The Vanishing Ensign". It's written primarily by Geoff Gillan (with minimal tinkering from yours truly).

 

cr3005d-convicts-cthulhu-ticket-of-leave

 

Ticket of Leave #4 collects together two different types of game resources -- an overarching campaign frame, and a much more detailed sketch for a specific scenario. Both of them revolve around a real-world historical incident: the Grand Muster of 1807, an attempt to undertake a huge survey of the full extent of the (badly provisioned) military forces in the colony of New South Wales. Everybody who lived in the colony was well aware of the short-comings of the force of troops that had been sent out by the Colonial Office to keep the peace, and even more aware of the poor quality of military equipment at their disposal. This "census" was supposed to prove to those back in London that this far-off colony really *was* on the brink of rebellion, anarchy, or invasion by the French. Of course in the world of Call of Cthulhu, there are much more terrifying things that might consume the poorly-defended fledgling colony before any of those ...

 

In addition to providing resources to allow a Keeper to use the circumstances of Bligh's muster as the basis for an ongoing series of scenarios, Ticket of Leave #4 also presents a detailed sketch for one specific scenario, an investigation into odd anomaly -- a soldier who turns up on every record book, but cannot ever be found. Rather than presenting just one Mythos explanation for these dark events, three different Mythos "solutions" are offered, allowing the Keeper to pick something that ties in best with his or her ongoing game.

 

Ticket of Leave #4: The Vanishing Ensign is available right now at RPG Now. Because this supplement is considerably larger than those we've previously released, we've chosen to make this a "Pay What You Want" title rather than simply a free download. You are, of course, more than welcome to grab it free of charge (with our blesing) -- but if you do want to chip a dollar or two our way to help us keep making these titles, your donation would be very welcome!

 

We hope your players enjoy scouring the grubby streets and bushland of early New South Wales, in search of that damn Vanishing Ensign.

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)


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#58 dce

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 10:42 PM

Those who have been following Cthulhu Reborn's ongoing series of mini-supplements to the Convicts & Cthulhu setting, may be interested to learn that we've just released the fifth installment in the "Ticket of Leave" series -- ToL#5: The Damned & The Degenerate. This PDF completely overhauls and massively expands the character generation guideliness from the original C&C book.

 

ToL#5 is avalable right now via RPGNow as a Pay-What-You-Want PDF.

 

cr3005e-convicts-cthulhu-ticket-of-leave

 

This supplement weighs in at 24 pages (and as such really doesn't qualify as a "mini-supplement" anymore). Unlike previous "Ticket of Leave" titles which have focussed on expanding the setting by introducing narrative elements like scenario seeds, this supplement revisits the character options/templates for the colonial Australian convict setting and adds almost 30 new occupation types.

 

Ever wanted to play an indigenous "bush constable" who works with prison guards to track down escaped convicts? What about a convict who was a professional gambler before being caught? Or one of the colony's fearless explorers charged with the task of filling the huge blanks on the maps? Alternatively, maybe you'd care to play a French spy who has been paid to infiltrate the colony to find out the strength of the British military presence in Australia? All of these character types -- and lots, lots more -- are now at your fingertips.

 

To complement the character creation templates, we've also peppered the PDF with examples of real-world ordinary characters who held those professions: these fully-statted write-ups are based on real historical figures (since the real lives of people in the colonies is far more rich and colourful than any fiction we could dream up). Also included are some notes on unusual character options -- like early bushrangers (escapees that decided to try to survive off the alien land), or free wives that accompanied their convict husbands[*] ...

 

All up, this PDF replaces the few scant pages devoted to character creation in the main Convicts & Cthulhu with a comprehensive set of interesting and colourful options for player investigators or Keeper NPCs.

 

You can grab it right now from RPGNow -- because this is much longer than we really intended for the "smaller" Ticket of Leave releases we've made this another "Pay-What-You-Want" title. However, in the interests of keeping the whole C&C line as accessible as possible, we are more than happy if folks (particularly YSDC-ers) want to grab it for free -- consider anything you contribute to be a small (and very welcome) donation to help Cthulhu Reborn keep these coming ...

 

We hope you enjoy filling your Convicts & Cthulhu games with all manner of ... the damned and the degenerate :)

 

 

Dean

 

[*] This is a weird historical detail that I never knew about -- some convict men transported to Australia were accompanied by their (non-convicted) wives, who effectively came out as free settlers. Because convicts were often assigned to settlers as a kind of free labour force this led to a number of unusual cases of men being assigned to their own wives as workers.


Edited by dce, 03 May 2017 - 10:47 PM.

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#59 Lammomedes

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Posted 04 May 2017 - 05:07 PM

Dean,

 

I'm about to embark on the development of a Convicts & Cthulhu-based LARP (Freeform for the rest of the world) to run next spring. It should be interesting bringing this to a American audience at a small spring convention next year. Maybe 12-15 players is what I am shooting for, and when I mentioned to some of the tabletop players last year, they were intrigued to play.

PS: Many kudos for the character sheet for Convicts & Cthulhu from those self-same players when I used it for a 17th century set Cthulhu game. Some of the skills, of course, were not apropos but others felt extremely appropriate including "Bootlicking."

PSS: I am still going to get my home group to run through some of the plot lines my writing partner and I come up with to test them out in a different way.

Thanks again for creating this great setting and providing support for it.

Lamm/Matt



#60 dce

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 04:20 AM

Dean,

 

I'm about to embark on the development of a Convicts & Cthulhu-based LARP (Freeform for the rest of the world) to run next spring. It should be interesting bringing this to a American audience at a small spring convention next year. Maybe 12-15 players is what I am shooting for, and when I mentioned to some of the tabletop players last year, they were intrigued to play.

PS: Many kudos for the character sheet for Convicts & Cthulhu from those self-same players when I used it for a 17th century set Cthulhu game. Some of the skills, of course, were not apropos but others felt extremely appropriate including "Bootlicking."

PSS: I am still going to get my home group to run through some of the plot lines my writing partner and I come up with to test them out in a different way.

Thanks again for creating this great setting and providing support for it.

Lamm/Matt

 

Matt,

 

This sounds like a fantastic idea for a game -- and like you I will be most interested to hear how your in-house group and convention group find the (LARP-ed) Convicts & Cthulhu experience.

 

BTW: from talking to a variety of gamers it seems that although most people (Australians included) don't have much knowledge about the early history of the convict colonies, the key "themes" of the setting are very easy to understand. It's a game set in an enormous a prison. It's in a ridiculously remote part of the world. And it's full of cruel and highly-corrupt guards. Even just that is enough to get things going -- the finer details can get sketched in as the game unfolds.

 

Thanks,

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)


Edited by dce, 05 May 2017 - 04:20 AM.

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