Cthulhu by Gaslight

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1st Edition

Publisher: Chaosium

First Edition

Product Code: 2314-X

Publishing Year: 1986

Pages: multiple books: 56pp + 48pp + foldout map + character sheet

Cover Price: $##.##

Author(s): William A. Barton

Artist(s): Kevin Ramos, Carolyn Schultz

Format(s): Box Set

Second Edition

Product Code: 3303

Publishing Year: 1988

Pages: 124

Cover Price: $##.##

Author(s): William A. Barton

Artist(s): Tom Sullivan, Kevin Ramos, Lee Gibbons, Chris Marrinan, Dean Morrisey, Nick Smith, Carolyn Schultz-Savoy

Format(s): Softcover

2nd Edition

Third Edition

Product Code: 23123

Publishing Year: 2012

Pages: 192 + foldout map

Cover Price: $28.95

Author(s): William A. Barton, Kevin A. Ross, Scott David Aniolowski, David Hallett, Richard Watts, Glyn White, Fred Behrendt, Colin Chapman, David Conyers

Artist(s): Paul Carrick (cover), Kevin Ramos, Adam Denton, David Grilla, Carolyn Schultz-Savoy, John T. Snyder, Steff Worthington (maps), Dean Engelhardt (character sheet & handouts)

Format(s): Softcover and PDF

ISBN: 1-56882-355-X

Setting(s): 1890s

Contents: First and Second Editions

The first and second editions have very similar contents.

Source material includes:

  • An 1890s Sourcebook (characters & weapons),
  • England in the 1890s (politics, timeline, biographies, London, communications, crime, miscellaneous, London fog, occult, prices, clothing),
  • Time Travel,
  • Scenario Suggestions (making reference to Holmes and H.G. Wells),
  • Statistics & New Spells,
  • Europe 1815-1910 [map],
  • British Empire [map],
  • Bibliography,
  • Gaslight Character Sheets,
  • Fold-Out map of London.

Scenarios: The Yorkshire Horrors

Contents: Third Edition

3rd Edition

The third edition represents a thorough overhaul of previous material, with some previous content discarded and a considerable amount of new content added. Generally this edition focuses less attention on Sherlock Holmes elements of the setting and more on general 1890s material and a broader coverage of the British Empire

Source material includes:

  • Creating Gaslight Era Characters (including a new system for character "traits")
  • 1890s Prices & Equipment
  • Britain's Empire
  • Victorian Military
  • Victorian Timeline
  • Biographies
  • A Brief Tour of London
  • Regions of Britain
  • Travel, Communications & Media
  • Crime in London
  • Other source material (British Government, Royalty, Gentleman's Clubs, Hotels, Markets, Universities)
  • The Occult in the 1890s
  • Gazetteer of Strange Sites in Britain
  • Cthulhu Mythos in Britain
  • Victorian Fictional Characters
  • Victorian Campaigns

Scenarios: The Night of the Jackals (Ross), The Burnt Man (Watts)

First Edition Front Cover Text

Horror Roleplaying in 1890s England

First Edition Back Cover Text

Cthulhu by Gaslight expands Call of Cthulhu® into another time, the 1890s, when London was the financial and cultural center of the English-speaking world. Background information on London includes an extensive map, an article about the London crime of the time and the workings of Scotland Yard, information about London hotels, London markets and bazaars, sources of Cthulhoid information to be found in the city, and club life in London.

Cthulhu by Gaslight also provides background on the rest of England in the 1890s. Articles include price lists, an 1890s time line, biographies of important English individuals, a description of the English social classes of the period and how they affect game-play. Period costume is described and illustrated. New occupations are added to fit the period and place, and changes to the Call of Cthulhu skills to fit the time are provided. An 1890s rail map of England facilitates travel.

The Yorkshire Horror scenario brings the investigators together with the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes. The investigators join Holmes and Dr. Watson in an attempt to clear Holmes' brother Sherrinford of insidious charges of murder. While the investigators pursue the mystery. the murderer strikes again and again. Can Sherrinford Holmes be cleared? Can the murderer be stopped?

Rules for time travel are introduced, so that existing Call of Cthulhu investigators from the 1920s can travel to the 1890s to participate in Cthulhu by Gaslight adventures.

A large map of 1890s London is included in the box. Numerous locations important to gameplay or useful in the campaign are marked on the map.

An essay interpolates the works of H. G. Wells into the Cthulhu by Gaslight package and describes how to include his ideas in Call of Cthulhu games. Sherlock Holmes is also well-represented in the package.


  • Sourcebook for the 1890s
  • The Yorkshire Horror
  • Scenario Book
  • Map of London

Second Edition Front Cover Text

Horror Roleplaying in 1890s England


  • new essays
  • six full-color plates
  • revised and corrected

Second Edition Back Cover Text

Horror Adventure and Background in 1890s England.

SECOND EDITION, new essays, six full-colour plates, additional maps, revised and corrected.

CTHULHU and his minions, in the 1890s sharing the globe with the mighty British Empire, had duties to an empire of their own: a dark and cruel design against the ownership of the world and the dreams of humanity. Even in the peaceful fields of rural England only intelligent and energetic intervention could keep the shadows at bay.

CTHULHU BY GASLIGHT includes a lengthy roleplaying adventure, "The Yorkshire Horror" in which investigators join forces with the world’s most famous consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes! Extensive background essays provide period skills, social classes, world politics, biographies and timelines for the 1890s, maps and London location notes (including the best stories of the time), travel, criminals and police, Cockney slang, cost of living, royalty and titles, club life in London, the occult in the 1890s, prices, and clothing. A lengthy essay considers time-travel rationales for moving investigators of another time into the 1890s.

This book is a companion to publications such as CTHULHU NOW, H. P. LOVECRAFT’S DREAMLANDS, and TERROR AUSTRALIS, which also situate Cthulhu players in other times and places.

Third Edition Front Cover Text

Horror Roleplaying in 1890s England

Third Edition Back Cover Text

Horror Roleplaying in 1890s England

IN THE 1890s, Cthulhu and his minions share the globe with the mighty British Empire. But they owe allegiance to an empire of their own - a dark and cruel design on ownership of the world and on the dreams of humanity. Even among the green fields of rural England, only thoughtful and energetic intervention keeps the shadows at bay.

CTHULHU BY GASLIGHT offers a thoroughly developed Victorian England setting for use with Call of Cthulhu. Character creation has been enhanced with new wrinkles. There are articles on the Victorian world, crime, politics, personalities, and so forth. There are extensive sections on the Cthulhu Mythos in Britain - creatures, cults, and books - and a précis of Ramsey Campbell's Severn River Valley. Also included are tips on running various types of Gaslight-era campaigns, a gazetteer of intriguing British myths and legends, a selection of friends and foes from Victorian fiction, and a lengthy bibliography/filmography of suggested reading and viewing. Rounding out this edition are a pair of Victorian-era scenarios - one an urban adventure set in London, the other set in rural Dartmoor. Includes a two-color, fold-out map of the City of London.

Comments / Trivia

First Edition: Winner of the 1987 Origins Award for Best Role Playing Supplement and the 1987 Gamer’s Choice Award for Best Role Playing Accessory. Scenario features Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson, Moriarty and numerous other characters from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s tales of his famous Victorian era consulting detective.

Playtesters for "The Yorkshire Horrors" were Barron Barnett, Bruce Coleman, Douglas E. Femmel, Karl Leatherman, Randy Porter, Larry Wheeler


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