Saturday, August 6, 2016

Review: Call of Catthulhu, Book 1: the Nekomonicon

It finally arrived!  I say finally because back in early June by friend Bill got me Call of Catthulhu as a birthday gift (because he that sort of awesome dude) on RPGnow.  But then...nothing happened.  It just sort of disappeared into cyberspace.  Happily it recently reappeared and I eagerly dived in.

Catthulhu is a very rules-light game where you play ordinary cats (well, if any cat can ever really be called "ordinary") having adventures opposing the forces of Lovecraftian wrongness.  The GM is called the Cat Herder, which is perfect (or should I say purrfect?).  There are five roles (classes): Catcrobat, Pussyfoot, Scrapper, Tiger Dreamer, and Twofootologist.  These roles are combined with a Breed and a Tale.  Breed is whether your cat is feral, a house cat, or a show cat.  Each combination of the five roles and three breeds as a couple background tales or stories to choose from.  For instance a Pussyfoot/Feral could have the background of Pitiful Beggar or Friend to All. These stories add talents to your cat.  For instance, a Friend to All will "make a circuit of many associates, from fellow street cats to friendly restaurant workers to house cats in windows to kindly old ladies.  A saucer of milk here, a place to sleep in a catpile there, some choice scraps and life works our pretty well for this free spirit."

The mechanic is very simple, basically rolling 2d6 and seeing how many successes (roll of 3 to 6) you get.  Apparently there was a boxed set with "cat dice" where the 1 and 2 sides are each a sad cat face and the 3 to 6 sides are happy cat faces.  The difficulty of the task determines how many happy cats you need, plus there are some special situations involving an extra die, etc.  Injuries are a simple three-level model with injured, badly injured, and dying--and, of course, you do get Nine Lives.

There are two other books which go with this 40-page basic book.  I haven't read them (yet) but from the descriptions you'd probably need at least the GM book to run a game.  The third book is a selection of settings from vikings to spaceships.

Bottom line: this is a fun game, but you might need at least one other book to play.

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