Hello everyone. Prepare yourselves for the Cthulhu Dreamt Kickstarter Preview!
Cthulhu Dreamt began in 2020 when Reed Reimer wrote the musical tragedy of Alya Mudamir as a tribute to his late daughter. The band formed, utilizing a variety of different metal genres, orchestral, and synth music. Reed created not only a body of musical work, but also a new world. Each album presents a continuous experience that expands on the story he is telling. Now, a new aspect of the story is coming into view. With their upcoming Kickstarter campaign, Cthulhu Dreamt presents their world of struggle in a deeply immersive and interactive way. The setting created for this game wraps the players in a dark near-future where horrors are awakening and the truth is more terrifying than the mystery. Cthulhu Dreamt melds sci-fi horror with the cosmic horror of the Cthulhu Mythos while creating a chillingly thematic atmosphere with their music.
Reed kindly sent some preview materials to me and I was excited to spend some time with them. Considering the quality of the sample components, I expect the production value of the final product to be excellent. I received a stapled one shot event zine, two foil stamped guitar picks, and a glow-in-the-dark sticker. The robust guitar picks may be used for play, but I expect the beautiful foil stamps would wear off with use, so they might be better suited for collecting. The sticker presents the interesting logo design and will be going on my laptop shortly.
Mr. Reimer chose a fine manufacturer for his materials, made clear by the quality of the zine that I received. Staple bound, the coated pages clearly display the evocative art and user-friendly formatting and graphic design. QR codes lurk within the text, leading you to tracks that create a multi-sensory ambience for the players. Other QR codes provide a path to pre-generated, printable character sheets as well as Facilitator (GM) handouts. Not everyone enjoys adding technology into their games, but these QR codes make it easy to access the right material at the right time. Cthulhu Dreamt offers the separate event zines as a Kickstarter exclusive.
Springfield Nocturne provides an almost cinematic adventure experience. The soundtrack, pre-generated characters, and scripted events give the impression of participating in a movie. “Read Aloud” boxes set the scenes and the QR codes set the atmosphere before letting the characters loose to investigate and make decisions. Since the adventure brings a very active story, I won’t reveal any possible spoilers. Rest assured, though, that pulses will race as players are swept up in the events and fight for their lives.
The system utilizes a single D12 for its checks. Players alone make checks, so they will roll defense when attacked rather than enemies rolling. Players compare their results against a standard Target Number scale that the Facilitator will use to describe the difficulty of actions. The system includes rules for degrees of success depending on how far above or below the TN the result is. Players affect the results by spending attribute points. This limited resource acts as a bonus to the natural roll and introduces critical resource management into the game. Players may use any attribute to affect the roll so long as they explain how it makes sense thematically. Specialties lend customization to the player characters and provide skills that allow for more efficient use of attribute points.
The Cthulhu Dreamt system is streamlined to allow the Facilitator to focus more on the immersive aspects of the game rather than the mechanics. Enemies appear with stats and a description, so that actions are narrated thematically rather than being merely a string of numbers. I am sure that the team will continue to playtest and expand the system, refining the experience. So far it shows a great deal of potential and I look forward to seeing this project develop further. The world and story grows daily as fans create new content on Reddit and Discord.
The story promises to bring a deep atmosphere, drenching terror, and narrowly preserved hope for survival. The current adventure formatting appeals directly to classic group play. The story is preeminent, creating a potentially complicated situation for solo and co-op players more used to emergent storytelling. I have not seen anything that suggests that solo/co-op play will be a priority for the team at Cthulhu Dreamt. I’m sure, however, that they are not opposed to enabling different play options in the future, but have focused presently on creating the experience that best aligns with their vision for their debut. The system employs story-motivated mechanics, allowing for interpretation similar to the way that other GMless systems operate. The segregation of player vs Facilitator information does assist the determined solo player in selectively reading. Depending on licensing, the community is likely to chip in and create choose-your-adventure style stories and perhaps random table supplements.
Who is This For
Groups looking for a deep, story-driven experience will enjoy the adventure, mystery, and horror presented by Cthulhu Dreamt. The campaign promises to be expansive and carefully constructed to deliver an unforgettable excursion. Solo and Co-op play may require some extra work but players may be rewarded for their efforts with an even more immersive experience. Nothing compares to setting a game up, alone, with music and atmosphere – experiencing the story without the broken immersion of a group inevitably trailing away in banter. The accompanying soundtrack, intriguing art, and excellent writing empower the story to envelop players in the thrilling struggle and horror of this dark world.
Cthulhu Dreamt opens on Kickstarter on August 8th and concludes September 8th. Please click the banner below to find the Kickstarter pre-launch page and sign up to be notified when the campaign is live.