Horror, Mystery and Investigation In A Box!
The Call of Cthulhu Starter Set contains everything you need to play the world’s best roleplaying game of horror, mystery and investigation!
Updated for the 40th Anniversary of Call of Cthulhu
Chaosium Unveiled: Inside The Call of Cthulhu Starter Set
What is Roleplaying?
In a roleplaying game, everyone works together in a team, each playing an investigator character. One player runs the game—the Keeper of Arcane Lore—who referees the game and presents the story and adventure plots to the other players.
Dice and the rules of the game determine the success or failure for your character’s actions—all while you are propelled into dramatic and nerve-tingling situations! The emphasis is on having fun.
The Call of Cthulhu Starter Set contains books, dice, premade character sheets, maps, and enough content to keep a group busy for several roleplaying sessions.
This updated Starter Set also includes:
- New box art by Lin Hsiang
- Updated interior book cover designs
- All errata and corrections
- 40th Anniversary Investigator Sheets
Rules & Dice
Three softcover manuals broken into rules and scenarios to guide you in playing Call of Cthulhu. The box also includes all the dice you need to play the game: a D4, D6, D8, D20, Percentile D10, and an extra D10 in a different color for use as a bonus/penalty die.
Learn to play in the best way possible—by playing! The special introduction “Alone Against The Flames”, a solo Call of Cthulhu scenario, teaches you the basic rules of the game and character creation as you find yourself in the rural New England town of Emberhead—but can you escape?
Three scenarios designed for 3, 4 and up to 5 players.
In Paper Chase, the search for a missing professor leads to a grizzly discovery.
Edge of Darkness sees a group of investigators fulfill the wish of a dying friend, and attempt to undo the mistakes of the past.
Finally, in Dead Man Stomp, Harlem and jazz music serve as a backdrop to the nefarious schemes of an alien god.
Maps & Handouts
Player aids are an essential component to Call of Cthulhu gameplay. Each scenario has its own collection of maps, notes and player handouts. Each presented in full color, these play aids will enhance your gameplay, and help your players immerse themselves in each of the investigations.
Once you’ve devoured everything the Call of Cthulhu Starter Set has to offer, you’ll want to expand your horror experience with these! Just click on the images to get more information on each product.
Keeper Rulebook: Everything you need for Call of Cthulhu at your fingertips, and will enhance all of your games.
Investigator Handbook: Expanded rules for creating players characters, a wealth of over 100 occupations and skill descriptions, as well as guidance on getting the most from the game.
Gateways to Terror: Three short-play scenarios for the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game, ideal for beginning and experienced players and Keepers alike.
Doors to Darkness: Five scenarios written especially for beginning Keepers and players of Call of Cthulhu.
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What The Critics Say
"If you have wanted to get into the game but didn’t know where to start, this will be a great purchase for you."
"The Call of Cthulhu Starter Set is an excellent introduction to one of the best TTRPG systems out there. It offers a gold standard on how to introduce players to a system and helps ease new Keepers into it with a simple and exciting scenario. I feel the bar has been set and future starter kits should be measured against this. "
— RPGBot, Call of Cthulhu Starter Set – A Review.
"The textbook example of how to make an accessible RPG onboarding experience and deserves a place on every TTRPG enthusiast’s bookshelf"
"A perfect RPG introduction."
"For fans looking to get into the Cthulhu Mythos or for old timers returning to the game to see what’s changed, this boxed set is an excellent choice to play through some classic cases..."
— ENWorld Review, A Review of the 40th Anniversary Call of Cthulhu Starter Set.
"[Edge of Darkness] is a classic for a reason, it basically just boils the entire essence of a Lovecraftian horror adventure into a single session."
— 1ShotAdventures, Top 10 Horror RPG Adventures You MUST Play.
"The best introduction to Call of Cthulhu and best starter set for any roleplaying game currently available."
— Reviews from R’lyeh, The Call of Cthulhu II Starter Box.
"Freaking Fantastic! … this big beautiful box contains everything a new player would need to get started playing."
— Seth Skorkowsky, YouTube Review.
"...this is a magnificent, perfect entry-level product. And no, this isn't misplaced nostalgia about boxed sets of yore. This is exactly how a new entrant should get access into a game as rich and elaborate...Tons of material. Easy to use rules. Dice. A low level price. What more does one want from a starter set?"
— Antonios S., RPGNet Review.
"Chaosium have done an excellent job creating a gateway, a hell-portal if you will, into the world of Cthulhu-based RPGing at a super affordable price."
— boingboing, What's new in tabletop gaming.
"Everything you need to get your feet wet is in this box… a beautifully put together, carefully thought out collection that allows people () to learn the game easily and relatively quickly. …If Call of Cthulhu interests you, this is currently the best investment you can make."
— Never Read the Latin, Call of Cthulhu Starter Set Review.
"The gold standard at the moment, and for good reason – it’s a pretty decent collection of adventures, offering multiple full sessions of play... effectively teaching players the underpinnings of the game, and more than adequately setting them up to move on to the rest of the game’s offerings."
— Refereeing and Reflection, A Grim, Dark Route Into the Old World.
"...an investment that pays off many times over. Get this if you want to start gaming with the Mythos. Everything you need to play and start checking out the rules, plus a good bit more; a slam dunk for me at around 25 USD."
— Burning Luck Reviews, Burning Luck review Call of Cthulhu Starter Set.
"One of the most comprehensively thought-out starter sets on the market, this slim little box gives you a great way to experience the horrors of the game... The solo adventure, Alone Against the Flames, serves as a solid tutorial and can even help players to generate their very first character as they play."
— Tabletop Gaming Magazine, The Rise of the RPG Box Set.
"There is a reason this RPG shows up at the top of everyone’s horror list. There is no better game at setting the mood for terror and delivering abject horror to your players... I recommend first getting a little taste with the starter set. In total you get four different adventures in one box which is more than I can say for any other starter set I know of."
— Slick Dungeon, Top 5 Horror Tabletop Role Playing Games.
"Though Call of Cthulhu is my favorite tabletop RPG, I won’t let my bias get in the way of saying that this might be the most perfect starter set of any tabletop RPG ever."
— EuroClubAV, Getting started with Call of Cthulhu - A tabletop primer.
"One of the neatest pieces of introductory design; a great way to get into Chaosium’s legendary roleplaying game."
— Staying In Podcast, Podcast Review.
"One of the neatest pieces of introductory design; a great way to get into Chaosium’s legendary roleplaying game."
"It could be argued that more people have been introduced to the Cthulhu Mythos through Call of Cthulhu the RPG than the original stories. The horror RPG’s boxed set features a great mix of pregenerated characters, cases that start at solo adventures and ramp up to full investigations, and even some light character creation for when those characters get killed or locked up in Arkham Sanitorium."
— Dicebreaker, 10 best tabletop RPG boxed sets for new players.
“Generally I’m not a huge fan of RPG Starter Sets - I buy a lot of them but I don’t end using them. This is one is an exception. Because it is exceptional.”
— Books, Bricks and Boards Video, Call of Cthulhu Buyer's Guide (how to get into the world's greatest horror RPG!).
“9/10 - A well-designed and well-executed introduction to roleplaying in the horrific and mysterious Cthulhu Mythos. It presents a curated experience that walks you through all the tools you need to understand the system and it provides you with fun mysteries to solve with a table of friends once you have.”
— RPG Match, Call of Cthulhu Starter Set – TTRPG Review.
“Just an amazing way to get new players and keepers in quick. Plus for 25 bucks, it’s a steal with four adventures AND dice. If you want a cheap way into to CoC and to get running in about 15 minutes, here is your easy way to do it. 100%"
— Throatpunch Games, Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Call of Cthulhu Starter Set.
"Always a Fhtagn time, Call of Cthulhu is one of our favorite tabletop RPGs ever”
“If you're up for spine-tingling suspense and eldritch horrors, this one's a must-try… In a nutshell, the Call of Cthulhu Starter Set is a riveting plunge into cosmic horror. It's not just a game; it's a chilling narrative experience that'll have you hooked from the first ominous whisper to the heart-pounding climax.”
— Gametee, Call of Cthulhu: Starter Set.
Call of Cthulhu is one of, if not the most popular RPG that isn’t called Dungeons and Dragons – and with good reason.
— Gab Hernandez, Best horror RPG games 2023.
Physical Product Settings
Is Physical Product: [Y]
Has Inventory: [Y]
United States: [Y]
United Kingdom: [Y]
Is PDF Available: [Y]
PDF Product Name: [Call of Cthulhu Starter Set - PDF]
PDF Product Link: [/call-of-cthulhu-starter-set-pdf/]
Has Physical Product: [Y]
Is Physical Available: [N]
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- Year Released:
- 2018, 2022
- 7th Edition Call of Cthulhu
- Color Boxed Set
- Page Count:
- 154 pages in 3 books with characters sheets and 7 polyhedral dice (please note the dice depicted on the back cover of the box are different to those supplied in the Starter Set)
- Mike Mason, Paul Fricker, Lynne Hardy, Sandy Petersen, Lynn Willis
- Authors - Adventures:
- Gavin Inglis, John Sullivan, Keith Herber, Dan Kramer, Mark Morrison, Chris Spivey
- Box Art:
- Lin Hsiang
- Cover Artist:
- Josu Hernaiz
- Interior Artist:
- Gavin Inglis, Marcelo Gallegos, Rachel Khan, Victor Leza, Wayne Miller, Caleb Cleveland, Eric Lofgren
- Gavin Inglis, Vandel J. Arden, Olivier Sanphilippo
- Character Sheet:
- Matt Ryan
- Development and Editing:
- Mike Mason
It comes with EVERYTHING you would need to start playing immediately INCLUDING rules that will help you understand the core rules of the game. Some other "Starter Sets" come with just the scenario and dice, but this allows you to play a scene and run them.
This is the best starter set I've ever seen, hands down. It includes all the rules you need to play, a choose-your-own-adventure style solo adventure plus 3 great introductory scenarios. Well worth the $25 asking price.
Was fun to run and worked well to explain how to be a keeper (DM/GM).
As a beginning GM and Dungeon Master, I purchased this starter set for a campaign of CoC I plan to run around Halloween (what better time for horror, after all :-) ) I have been pleasantly surprised at how good this starter set is at familiarizing me with the CoC system. It starts off slowly, with an engaging solo adventure, which allows you to gradually become familiar with some of the rules as you go. The bundled adventures are likewise designed to guide both beginning GMs (sorry, 'Keepers of Lore') and victims (sorry, 'Investigators') to have a great time right off the bat, with minimal set-up and reading required. The stories seem engaging and will be sure to entertain my vict-- players for quite a while! The bundled 'Introductory' rules, despite the name, seem quite complete and usable, and at just 23 pages, are quite manageable. Overall, I think that CoC is one of the easiest systems out there to get started with - a lot easier than D&D, in my opinion - and this starter set is a large part of the reason why.
So far, I'm really loving this starter set! I think it's perfect for a beginner like me. I love that it includes a solo adventure for you to get a feel for the game. The dice included are a little plain, but I'm a little dice goblin. You don't need pretty dice if your getting started anyways.
I have wanted to get into horror role playing for a while, but haven't had any idea of where to begin. I have some friends to play D&D, but that wasn't what I wanted to get into. I wanted horror. One of my friends told me about this product and I couldn't help but try it out. I ran Paper Chase for my kids and they had a blast. I then ran Edge of Darkness with a slightly larger group and everyone had fun. Now I'm preparing for Dead Man Stomp sometime soon. I've never really been a role player, but I love telling stories, so the Keeper role fits me. Eventually I plan to invest in the official rule book, but the starter rules are fantastic and have helped me learn how to play. The scenarios included feel easy to prepare for, but allow room for expansion should anyone already know what they're doing and just want more scenarios to add to their collection. It's been a fun journey and I look forward to continuing on in this great world of horror role-playing so lovingly devoted to the world of H.P. Lovecraft! I highly recommend this product to anyone wanting to test the waters for themselves.
As for the Starter Box, it’s easily one of the best Intro box sets I’ve purchased in over 40 years of gaming. The quality (physical and creative) of the components is outstanding, especially for the price. But I also wanted to give a 5 star rating to the fulfillment itself. Online ordering was a breeze, PDFs excellent and immediately available, and my order was SO well packaged, shipped and received within days. It’s been awhile since I had a regular interest in CoC, but I’m so impressed with today’s Chaosium, a company that provides the same care and thrills it did for me back in ‘81 with my big CoC1E boxed set. The experience was so positive, I immediately felt compelled to give them and this set a review for PERFECTION
The Call Of Cthulhu Starter Set, at just over £20 directly from Chaosium + postage, definitely represents very good value. One could argue that Alone Against The Flames and the Quick Start Rules are available as free pdfs - but having printed versions is definitely a boon. Within the box you really do have (almost) everything required for many hours of running games - and enough of a flavour of 'how it works' to build your own scenarios if that appeals. The contents: Alone against the Flames. A fine introduction to the world and the basics of the system - and making the link between 'choose your own adventure' style books and tabletop RPGs is a nice gentle unthreatening introduction. The intro rule book is well formatted and easy to read. If I wanted anything beyond this, it'd have been a list of pre-prepared n.p.c. names (that's all, just typical names) so that in having to ad-lib a character/headstone/victim I had wasn't pulling a name from my the top of my head. The 'Investigators Companion' book has such a list, but it's also easy enough to prepare one in advance of running a scenario. I'd recommend all keepers, new or old, have one to hand. Five pre-generated character sheets covering a diverse range of backgrounds. Character sheets to fill in and make custom investigators. (Along with the rules to make them) A set of polyhedral dice. A booklet of handouts. The first misstep of the set in my opinion - this would have been so much more useful as loose sheets (though it's easy enough to cut the binding off) - but three of the pages in this booklet contain more than one handout per page. So folding/cutting would be necessary to not give out other handouts too. Practically this will mean using the PDF (free with purchase of Starter Set from Chaosium) instead, and printing that for most keepers. There are a couple of other things I'll say about handouts with respect to scenarios. The three scenarios: This contains spoilers for the scenarios (perhaps don't read this bit if you're going to be a player, rather than keeper). Paper Chase - a relatively un-deadly intro scenario written for one investigator and one keeper - though I modified this for three investigators and one keeper without much trouble. A nice short intro, and some good opportunity to role play. This scenario highlights the importance of negotiation rather than violence. The 'map' handout for players utterly telegraphs what is important (the graveyard) and I'd probably advise not giving players this, unless they are stuck (even then, and Idea roll might be better). I'd also say some other handouts (of which there are some good ones online available. Having Kimble's Diary prepared as a handout might help a new keeper/player. Similarly I was surprised that the newspaper articles that are mentioned aren't given as handouts. Google provided third part ones I used.). In a slightly picky way I'd also point out the (great) artwork that accompanies the scenario isn't useful insofar as the description of Kimble as Ghoul makes him sound far far more through his transformation. The 'Ghoul' illustration is (perhaps) of help to players in imagining him. I showed the other Kimble-reading pics afterward the scenario when we discussed what Kimble had been up to over the past year. Edge Of Darkness - a great blend of investigation and epic climax (fighting off the undead whilst reciting a ritual to banish an evil thing). It's easy to join this on to the previous investigation, if you want the players to use the same characters. There are a lot of red-herrings/potential plot hooks for the keeper to manage here. This is A Good Thing (if you, as keeper can manage them), but can be a sticking point if the players become too focused on those rather than the job at hand. I very nearly lost my investigators to a trip to New Orleans! Fortunately I was able to ramp up the action locally to make that the focus of their investigation. Worth reading other keepers' experiences of this scenario online before running it, to mitigate against some of the potential sticking points. Dead Man's Stomp - this scenario, that requires the most of the Keeper, is kept for last. Set in Harlem, and moving the action away from Lovecraft's Country and into a setting with very real historical context might require the keeper getting their head around that (Charlie Johnson's Band, Louis Armstrong, Eddie Smalls, Small's Paradise club and Harlem in 1925 are real people and places - perhaps the keeper might want to make sure they are 'true' to that reality as far as possible). The criticism that is often levelled at Dead Man's Stomp is that it is in danger of feeling railroaded - and that the investigators are watching a story, rather than taking part. I think that careful keepering can stop this - the very short timescale involved (scene one is the evening, the next major scene is 11am the next day) means the investigators splitting up and investigating different threads is likely, and that will far less 'on rails' for them. But requires gauging who's not been in the spotlight for a while, and when to push the drama. My personal minor criticism of this scenario is not with the scenario at all (just with the caveat be prepared) but in the handouts. There are beautiful maps of 1. Harlem, 2. Small's Paradise Club and 3. An Old Garage that give away in their key the name of important n.p.c.s (in the case of 2 and 3) and an important place of interest (in the case of 1) that the investigators don't know about. It's also particularly annoying that the Keeper version of the Harlem map has a different key to the one in the player handouts have and the 'numbers' don't match up. (Columbia University is 9 on one, and 8 on the other for example). I'd MUCH prefer the map with no key at all - and I can tell the players what the numbers mean as and when they find/need them. (I redacted the key from the keeper's version of the Harlem map, and gave them that.). I also redacted the key to the Small's Map, and gave them the main area they could see, and revealed the backstage area only as they went there. Similarly The Old Garage - with it's key players didn't match my version of the key players (having introduced an n.p.c.) so I just gave them the main area they could see. It's a shame because these handouts are beautifully done - they just give too much information in my opinion. If handled sensitively Dead Man's Stomp also has something to say about storytelling a very sad story, in a racially sensitive time. With an epic ending. The three scenarios can be linked (with a little work from the keeper) if desired, and make for a fun trio of stories - although it is slightly disappointing that Zombies feature in two of them. Given the wealth of horrors available, its a pity that we don't see a bit more variety (although people love Zombies, apparently). All told though, despite those minor criticisms around handouts (and they are minor) this is an excellent set - and a great introduction (or reintroduction, in my case) to Call Of Cthulhu - with the new 7e rules (that work excellently).