With the release of The SOE Handbook this week, the World War Cthulhu: The Darkest Hour line now includes a core setting book, an adventure anthology, a player’s handbook and a fiction anthology. We thought we’d take a closer look at the line in today’s blog.
Like Call of Cthulhu itself, World War Cthulhu: The Darkest Hour is rooted firmly in the real world of the 20th century, but one in which another, hidden conflict runs in parallel to the Second World War we all know. The Mythos is a threat to all humanity, regardless of which side of the conflict they are on, and you won’t find any Nazi sorcerers commanding undead minions or military alliances with deep ones here; the Axis have as much to lose as the Allies when they encounter eldritch forces.
The scenarios themselves are usually grim, desperate and bloody missions, inspired by the missions of the real Special Operations Executive. In this version of history, a secret network exists within the British establishment, under the leadership of the shadowy spymaster N, using SOE resources to combat the Mythos alongside military missions. N’s agents will often find themselves behind enemy lines, hunting cultists and alien entities, while in turn being hunted by the Gestapo or collaborators. While N’s agents are cunning, well-equipped and trained in the techniques of sabotage, infiltration and assassination, the dangers they face mean any victories will be hard-won indeed.
With the release of The SOE Handbook, there’s never been a better time to start playing World War Cthulhu, as the line now stretches to a core setting book, an adventure anthology, a player’s guide and a fiction anthology – with lots more to come!
World War Cthulhu: The Darkest Hour Core Setting Book
World War Cthulhu: The Darkest Hour is a setting book for Call of Cthulhu, and the starting point for our game of espionage horror set during World War 2. It includes rules for creating investigators to join Network N, as well as new rules for various aspects of warfare including new weapons and equipment. Lavish background sections unveil the hidden conflict being waged amidst the various theatres of war, as well as a complete sandbox campaign, The God in the Woods.
Europe Ablaze is an adventure anthology containing six new missions, all set in the European theatre of operations and written by some of the very best Call of Cthulhu writers. Some are inspired by SOE missions or historical events, while others take a more imaginative view of the conflict, but all are rooted in the all-too-real horrors that the Second World War brought about. All of them add that special twist that being part of N’s network demands, and the dangers of the Mythos will prove at least as deadly as a bullet from the Gestapo.
The SOE Handbook
Drawing from real Special Operations Executive training materials and catalogues, the SOE Handbook for World War Cthulhu presents both players and Keepers with a wealth of information about combat techniques, tradecraft, the ungentlemanly art of sabotage and the sometimes bizarre weapons and equipment developed for Britain’s secret war. Plentiful sidebars translate these techniques and items into Call of Cthulhu game mechanics. The book is also peppered with notes from the mysterious N, steering members of his network through the added complications of applying this knowledge to battles with more eldritch foes.
The SOE Handbook also presents details of a selection of SOE training facilities and the sometimes eccentric personalities who may be encountered there. This allows the Keeper to include mission-specific training, along with the occasional side mission on home soil, as part of their campaign.
World War Cthulhu Fiction Anthology
Critically-lauded editor Jonathan Oliver (The End of The Line, House of Fear, Magic) has collected together fourteen original tales of the Mythos including work by James Lovegrove, Weston Ochse, Rebecca Levene, Robin D. Laws, Simon Bestwick, Gaie Sebold, T.P. Pike, Sarah Newton, Greg Stolze, Paul Finch, John Llewellyn Probert, Jonathan Green, Archie Black and World Fantasy Award winner Lavie Tidhar.
The World War Cthulhu Fiction Anthology is an ebook download, featuring ePub, mobi and prc formats, newly available over at DriveThruFiction!