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Chris Lackey on Cults of Cthulhu

Posted by Michael O'Brien on 6th Nov 2021

Chris Lackey

By Cults of Cthulhu co-author Chris Lackey

Boy, am I excited about Cults of Cthulhu!

It’s been a few years since we started on this book and I fondly remember Mike Mason sitting down with me during Dragonmeet in London, asking me if I would be keen on writing a book for Chaosium. I had done a bit of game writing in the past, but I suspect his offer had a lot to do with the fact that I’m the co-host of the podcast Strange Studies of Strange Stories (formally the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast); that I was an associate producer on both The Call of Cthulhu and The Whisperer in the Darkness movies from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society; and I’ve written for some Lovecraftian comics to boot. My history, and Mike’s keen insight, seemed to convince him to let me take a stab at Cults of Cthulhu.

I owe a lot to the Call of Cthulhu RPG. I started playing CoC in 1989 with the glorious 4th edition, but I was playing role-playing games since I was 8 years old. I got into RPGs throwing dice with my dad playing Dungeons and Dragons with his church group (no satanic panic there)! 

But it was Call of Cthulhu that brought me into a whole new style of gaming and also introduced me to this crazy writer, H. P. Lovecraft. I, like many people, discovered Lovecraft through the Call of Cthulhu RPG. I never suspected when I was but a youth, rolling up investigators in my parent’s basement, that I would one day make a living talking about Lovecraft and weird fiction. Now, returning to the source of it all, I have co-authored a CoC supplement! Achievement unlocked!

Cults of Cthulhu is something a bit different from previously published adventures and sourcebooks. It attempts to help Keepers find good characters and compelling stories surrounding one of the most ubiquitous threats in the world of the Cthulhu Mythos: the Cultist.

I’ve always thought that despite the focus on cosmic horror and nihilism, that the good Mythos stories are truly about people. Sure, people aren’t much in the grand scale of the Elder and Outer Gods, but they’re darn important to us! The idea of looking at why people would willingly become cultists is something that always intrigued me. Not only that, but how does a cult function? What is the day-to-day? Do cultists have jobs? Families? The more I thought about each cultist being a real person, the ideas and the stories just started pouring out. Sure, they’re evil, insane, or just plain confused, but they are people. People with hopes and dreams, fears, and obligations.

Cults of Cthulhu goes deep, not only into what shape a cult may take but how they would function in our society. More importantly, the book also helps you create your very own, fleshed-out, unique and inspired cult to cause investigators to have nightmares! There is a lot to think about, but hopefully, Cults of Cthulhu minimises the logistics and helps you find the characters and the stories that make Cthulhu cults such fascinating threats in your games.

I had a great time working on this book with Mike (and others) and I think it’s a fun read and a really useful tool for crafting your own Cthulhu cult centric games and stories.

— Chris Lackey


Cults of Cthulhu

CULTS OF CTHULHU is currently out as a 366 page PDF. It is available from Chaosium.com* and DriveThruRPG.

*Purchase the PDF directly from Chaosium.com and we'll deduct that cost off the full color hardback book when it is out early next year.