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The Children of Fear - Hardcover

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A Campaign Across Asia For The World’s Best Horror Game!

A mysterious telegram plunges the investigators into an epic journey of intrigue and horror.

What's Inside

The Children of Fear is an epic, multi-part campaign for Call of Cthulhu. The scenarios within explore myths and legends of Central Asia and Northern India.

Chaosium Unveiled: Inside The Children of Fear

Watch the unveiling video to see the book for yourself. Remember that you get the PDF when getting the physical copy.

The Feast

A Modular Campaign

Three investigators looking at a map

This player-led campaign allows the investigators to determine the journey they take. In addition, the plot is designed to be flexible, allowing for different scales or types of Cthulhu Mythos involvement—all the way from the Outer Gods themselves down to a more low-key, occult-focused series of adventures. Guidance is provided for the Keeper to tailor the exact nature of the threat to best suit their group’s tastes.

A Rich and Varied Tapestry

Explore Asia Through The Cthulhu Mythos

Award-winning art

The Children of Fear covers in detail the sights, encounters, and dangers found in Peking, Sian, the Taklamakan, Peshawar, and Kham. Investigators will travel from China, through Northern India, and on to Tibet. With detailed appendices covering travel, non-player characters, spells, a reference bibliography, and more, the book gives you everything you need to authentically create a unique experience at your gaming table.

Investigator Map of Tibet

Maps, Handouts, and Characters

Man holding a spear with still-living heads

A wealth of player hand-outs and maps enhance both the player experience and immersion. The Children of Fear includes six pre-generated characters so players can jump right into the action. A host of non-player characters, all with their own agendas, accompany new Cthulhu Mythos monsters for use in any Call of Cthulhu scenario.

Dob-dob - The Fighting Monks

Fighting Monks

Warning of Mature Content

Pulp Cthulhu Compatible

Pulp Cthulhu Compatible

For a different experience, this product contains guidance on how to enjoy it with Pulp Cthulhu.


Downloads for this Product

Keeper Reference Booklet
Keeper Map Pack
Investigator Handouts and Maps
Pregenerated Characters

What The Critics Say

The Children of Fear - Reviews

  • "Unreservedly recommended... a gem and an instant classic"

    — Paul St John Mackintosh, A review of The Children of Fear.

  • "This is another campaign you are going to want... Loaded with hand-outs, pre-generated characters, new monsters, new spells, and a ton of resources, The Children of Fear is more evidence that Chaosium has cracked the code on how to make a massive, sprawling campaign accessible."

    — Andrew Logan Montgomery, The Children of Fear: A Call of Cthulhu Campaign.

  • "A huge and beautiful undertaking... The Children of Fear is obviously a labor of love, and definitely promising to take a place alongside Masks of Nyarlathotep and Horror on the Orient Express as one of the greats of Call of Cthulhu."

    Never Read the Latin.

  • "The Children of Fear is a fantastic campaign, full of twists and more than a few gut punches. Hardy has struck a fine balance between crafting an experience ready to play as written and allowing Keepers the chance to storycraft to their own tastes. 9/10"

    — The Gaming Gang, The Kids are NOT Alright!: Call of Cthulhu – The Children of Fear Reviewed.

  • "Highly Recommended – The adventure delivers on all of its promises and offers the best of what Call of Cthulhu has to offer: historical accuracy, world travel, monstrous foes, cults, grounded reasons for investigators to go on supernatural adventures, and plenty of Keeper and investigator/hero support."

    — Charles Dunwoody, ENWorld, Embark on a Terrifying Journey in Call of Cthulhu’s The Children of Fear.

  • "Up there with the best Call of Cthulhu campaigns that have been produced over the past 40 years."

    — The Grognard Files, Return to Call of Cthulhu with Lynne Hardy.

  • "The Children of Fear will be lauded as a classic, as the campaign that everybody getting into Call of Cthulhu should begin from. It is probably the best-researched and most background-intense adventure Call of Cthulhu has ever produced, with enough material to keep you engaged for months of gaming. It transcends the confines of the Mythos with a viewpoint and scope that have not been encountered in Call of Cthulhu before, for a fresh roleplaying experience that challenges preconceptions on Lovecraftian games."

    — Antonios S., RPGNet., Review of The Children of Fear.

  • "This is the big Call of Cthulhu campaign to hit in 2021. Children of Fear is a marvellously distinct campaign for the Call of Cthulhu RPG that takes a group of investigators across the Indian subcontinent, and on an adventure unlike any they’ve ever probably been on in a Call of Cthulhu RPG adventure. The book by Lynne Hardy is packed with great history, and is set up in such a way that a keeper is given so many options on how to run this one."

    — EuroCultAV, EuroCultAV Holiday Gift Guide Part II – Books and Board Games.

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Europe: [Y]
Australia: [Y]
Canada: [Y]

Is PDF Available: [Y]
PDF Product Name: [The Children of Fear - PDF]
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Physical Product Name: [The Children of Fear - Hardcover]
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7th Edition Call of Cthulhu
Year Released:
Full Color Hardcover
Page Count:
Lynne Hardy
Cover Artist:
Caleb Cleveland
Interior Artists:
Kristina Carroll, Caleb Cleveland, Mariusz Gandzel, Doruk Golcu, Katy Grierson, Sija Hong, Victor Leza, Pat Loboyko, Magda Mieszczak, Mali Ware
Cartography and Handouts:
Vandel J. Arden, Matt Ryan, Olivier Sanfilippo
Nicholas Nacario
  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Empty Star 4
    Magnificently flawed

    Posted by Malcolm Fell on 16th Aug 2021

    NB: I've read this, not played it, so take any comments with the necessary pinch of salt. As a lot of people have commented, this isn't very Cthulhu-y. Indeed, there's a section in the beginning of the book where you can pick which Great Old One is responsible - or indeed, can pick none of them - and to some extent this feels like a bit of an afterthought, since it doesn't really seem to matter which you pick, if you do at all. The Cthulhu Mythos is just very tangential to this scenario. Instead, it is much more a study of Eastern mysticism and religion and how it can be incorporated into the CoC game. Personally, I see nothing wrong with this approach and found much of the resulting information very interesting. It is clearly deeply researched, integrating the contemporary politics with the fantastical elements quite seamlessly - a bit like reading a Tim Powers novel made into a scenario. The setting is also a favorite of mine, being Tibet, China and northern India in the late 1920s, a region which has always personally fascinated me. This seems like a magnificent achievement to me, so no complaints from me on the concept. However, the scenario itself is maybe a bit flawed in structure. As mentioned by others above, the PCs are mostly being duped by the baddies the whole way through, and as conceived they actually have to screw up to move the scenario to its climax. Even if they don't screw up, the scenario suggests the baddies then find a bunch of NPC mugs and get them to screw up (off camera) so this climax can be reached. This is a bit of a loss of agency which may irritate some players. The PCs are also led around by an NPC ally who basically directs them. To some extent this is not an unreasonable ploy as the NPC knows about the mystical requirements and can be the Keeper's mouthpiece to impact nuggets of mystical wisdom of which most PCs (and players) may not be aware. But it's a bit clunky, and again agency might be an issue here. So I would say that while a good read, I'm not so sure how it will play for some groups (the issues mentioned above won't bother some, but will bother others lots). I would still rate it as a worthwhile for the background information at the very least. But Keepers will probably need to think about how they will run it as a less than deft touch could look like a very heavy railroading hand, and it may need some revision by the Keeper to give the players the feeling that their actions matter.

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Empty Star 4
    China, India, & Tibet

    Posted by Morgan Hua on 17th Jul 2021

    This is a well researched campaign with lots of historical information. One earlier review has it quite right, this is not your standard Mythos campaign. It's more of a travel through Asia and experience the otherness of a strange culture. Events and side quests happen and that's what this campaign is really about. Yes, there is a lot of hand holding by NPCs, but all decisions are made by the PCs. A much different campaign than what most CoC veterans are used to. This book also makes a very good reference book for the area, though like a lot of other CoC books, information is buried under lots of text and isn't easy to find. More than once, I've said, "Oh, wait I read this somewhere, and can't find it." Also during play, I found my players googling various things through sheer curiosity. Definitely worth getting.

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Empty Star 4
    Cracking read can’t wait to play

    Posted by Lucas Stibbard on 16th Jul 2021

    Not only if this a beautifully designed and printed book, the detail and depth of the adventure within is brilliant. I’m in the midst of a session zero to get this up and running. On another note I had another order that had that, due to my own foolishness at the checkout screen had a hiccup in process and the helpful and timely manner with which the good folk at Chaosium helped me is to be applauded.

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    Fun with Tantric Buddhism!

    Posted by Nick Brooke on 8th Jul 2021

    I ran “The Children of Fear” in a profoundly Pulpy mode for my players, all new to CoC, and they had a blast! They did not expect four big-budget musical numbers, or the huge volume of tantric Buddhist lore I could spout at them at the slightest provocation, and by the end they were cross-checking a heap of gorgeous maps and handouts to work out what was going on before it was too late. Highly recommended. Lynne Hardy handles a vast amount of material with a deft touch, delivering a memorable globe-trotting campaign that’s unlike anything else.

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Empty Star 4
    A new classic

    Posted by Zachary McKinney on 3rd Jul 2021

    An enjoyable adventure filled with tension and intrigue. This campaign is open enough to have your players explore Asia but detailed so you can have them guessing and questioning their every move and encounter with every contact. A slow burn that allows you to ratchet up the tension with every chapter. Only complaint is it can take a little bit to get going. 4 stars.

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Empty Star Empty Star 3
    A well-made book, but a strange fit for Call of Cthulhu

    Posted by Andy L on 2nd Jul 2021

    Children of Fear describes itself as a campaign where "A mysterious telegram plunges the investigators into an epic journey of intrigue and horror." This could not be further from the truth. Children of Fear is completely devoid of both intrigue and horror, and any group looking for either of these mainstays of Call of Cthulhu will be severely disappointed. Does that make Children of Fear a bad product or a lousy campaign? Not at all. CoF is extensively researched. The book provides excellent historical, cultural, and religious knowledge to prospective keepers. Each character and every area is portrayed brilliantly, and players will feel immersed in the different cultures of Central Asia. The meat of this game is in the journey between locations, and each leg of the trip is exciting. You'll negotiate prices for hiring a caravan, squabble with diplomats and archeologists over ownership of artifacts, etc. However, that's it. That's what the game is about, and it does that well. If you are looking to play a game about 1920s explorers, I can think of none finer than this. There is no mystery to solve, though. There are no clues, no paper trail, no tomes of eldritch lore to pore over, no vicious cultists serving dark gods. Okay, there are *some* cultists. Specific spoilers ahead: the titular Children of Fear are a cult pulling the strings the whole time. The first 6 chapters take the players on a journey orchestrated in secret by the cult, and chapter 6 culminates in the party doing the cultists ritual for them! What this means is that the players have no enemy for most of the campaign, and no active involvement with anything supernatural. The cult sends the party vague visions and actively helps them gather the 3 macguffins they need. What this means is that the sense of paranoia and mystery that Call of Cthulhu depends on to build tension is totally gone. The bad guys are ensuring the party's success, so they are never in any danger for the first 3/4ths of this campaign. Even the Keeper doesn't meet the cultists till 300 pages in! Sure, investigators will worry about sandstorms and asiatic black bears, and those parts are written marvelously, but they don't hit the same as someone's sanity eroding from the horror they saw in the ancient tomb. Speaking of horrors, the monsters in CoF are interesting. They're mostly based on Hindu and Buddhist lore and are, as a result, not really threats to anyone. They want to protect ancestors in tombs, be left alone, etc. Again, fascinating history but a total lack of horror. I really hate assigning a number out of 5 to this. Children of Fear is a labor of love (and the physical product is impeccable, and the art is just gorgeous) and I want to like it, but it isn't for me. It won't be for a lot of people. As a horror campaign, Children of Fear is just terrible, but as a game of historical fiction, I can think of none better. Know which one you want before you go in.