Cthulhu Live: Second Edition is a live-action horror role-playing game set in the universe created by Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937). The game allows players to match their skills and wits against alien horrors that once ruled our universe. These ancient terrors now wait just beyond the perception of our senses and science... waiting to reclaim what was theirs. Cthulhu Live: Second Edition is updated, expanded and published by Fantasy Flight Games under license from Chaosium, Inc.
Cthulhu Live adventures are a form of interactive literature, not unlike popular "murder mystery" games; interactive, improvisational theater in which players assume the role of characters created for the game. These character roles are defined by professions, skills, and background histories which help gamers role-play these alter-egos. Soon the gamers find themselves in a dark universe of eldritch nightmares and blackest madness, where all they formerly held to be true is shattered by the sinister revelations of the Great Old Ones and their minions.
Players use their own wits and the abilities and skills of their characters as they struggle to save their lives and sanity from unspeakable cosmic horrors. All characters have an array of ability scores defining their mental and physical capabilities. They also have a variety of skills representing their professional training and private studies.
The direction an evening's game may take is largely controlled by the players, their interaction with one another and with non-player characters performed by actors on the game staff. Each game session takes on a life of its own, as player actions, research and intrigue will modify and redirect the game script. Props, costumes, and visual clues play a key role in the adventure. Such props and special effects create a rich atmosphere and require players to interact fully with their game environment rather than relying solely on the narration of a game master.
Cthulhu Live does not limit itself solely to the Lovecraft Mythos. The game system includes rules for mediums and psychic powers, vampires, werewolves, living dead, demons, ghosts and other incorporeal entities. Cthulhu Live is designed to fully support traditional horror and supernatural adventures. Many groups may even prefer to run a series of action-based, monster-bashing adventures such as hunting vampires or battling an army of the living dead.
Cthulhu Live: Second Edition reflects updates, rules expansions, and system changes gleaned from games played around the world since Cthulhu Live was first published in 1997. Many players and game groups have graciously lent their comments and support to the creation of this second edition, and we think the new and updated rules reflect some of the best lessons learned during the past years.