RogerBW's Blog

Cthulhu Eternal WWI 23 September 2023

I've localised another SRD book for Cthulhu Eternal.

This is a set of core rules, lightly tweaked for the WWI period – not a full sourcebook on how to run campaigns there, though with a bit of history knowledge and skill at research you wouldn't be off to a bad start.

How is this different from the standard Jazz Age rules? That was always in my mind, because in terms of the actual real-world things that exist the answer is "not very much"; it's more of a matter of emphasis. As with the WWII book, whenever I write about an actual historical conflict, I want to do it with respect for the real people who really suffered and died – which, to me, means including lots of historical elements, rather than using the war as a backdrop (what I think of as the world-war-land amusement park approach).

So in my introduction I've tried to touch on the points that I consider important: it's a huge war, with huge casualties, both civilian and military; it sees the first significant use of tanks and aircraft in warfare; technology is constantly advancing, and nobody really knows how best to use it. You can talk about the taxis of Paris, but this is largely a horse-drawn and foot-slogging war. Espionage is still seen as "ungentlemanly"; it happens, but on a small scale, and nobody really wants to talk about it.

Which in turn means that the scope for small parties of soldiers or specialists going off and doing Mythosy things is quite limited; this is a war of the infantry battle lines facing each other, arguably the last such war at least at scale, and scenarios should take this into account. There may be small ad-hoc scouting parties; there aren't commando raids.

While it became a cliché that everyone involved in WWII wrote their own book about it, and by the 1950s the market was thoroughly bored with them, the prevailing feeling after WWI was that it was best forgotten as quickly as possible. (And it hasn't been as popular a period to write about later as WWII, with its rich array of 1960s films, its Greatest Generation mythology, and its obvious bad guys.) There aren't many readily-accessible sources to get a feeling of this war the way there are for WWII. I've listed some, of course.

Naturally, there are rules here for war gases, and for trench-related diseases. The Great War is one of the first in which combat stress is noticed and talked about at all, but at least in British and German forces, admitting that you've gone a bit wobbly will often get you shot for cowardice, so the most important part of seeking treatment for mental illness is choosing someone to talk to whom you can trust.

The WWI SRD is available (pay what you like) from DriveThruRPG.

See also:
Cthulhu Eternal WWII

  1. Posted by David Pulver at 01:09am on 25 September 2023

    Sounds cool.

    You can go mad from confrontation with cosmic horror, with a high chance of horrible death. You can go mad from shell shock and PSTD in the hell of the trenches, with a high chance of horrible death. Why not do both simultaneously and get it over with?

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