Call of Cthulhu (d20)

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Call of Cthulhu (D20)

In 2001, a stand-alone version of Call of Cthulhu was released by Wizards of the Coast, for the d20 system. Intended to preserve the feeling of the original game, the conversion of the game rules were supposed to make the game "easier to play", at least for players already familiar with the d20 system (users already familiar with the traditional ("BRP") version of the game may be skeptical of this claim, especially regarding players new to role-playing games). The d20 system also made it possible to use Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing characters and content in Call of Cthulhu, as well as to introduce the Cthulhu Mythos into Dungeons & Dragons games (especially since many of the monsters and other content are thematically appropriate to either game). The d20 version of the game is not supported by either Wizards or Chaosium at this time. The reasons for this are unclear, though lack of revenue might be a cause.

Publisher: Wizards of the Coast

Product Code: 886440000

Publishing Year: 2002

Pages: 320

Cover Price: $39.95

Author(s): Monte Cook and John Tynes

Artist(s): Toren Atkinson, Paul Carrick, Heather Hudson, Ann Koi, Jason Soles (cover), Kevin McCann, David Martin, Raven Mimura, Stephen Missal, Pudd'n'Head, Adam Rex, Wayne Reynolds, Richard Sardinha, Christopher Shy

Setting(s): 1890s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, Modern (1990s to early 2000s), Delta Green, Pulp, generic RPG fantasy

  • The D20 Modern rules set generally assumes Modern, but the rule book includes suggestions for playing in all the decades between the 1890s and 1990s, with some nods toward pulp and Delta Green, and details about incorporating Call of Cthulhu material in Dungeons and Dragons)

Format(s): Hardcover

ISBN: 0-7869-2639-2


Scenarios: The End of Paradise, Little Slices of Death


  1. Introduction
    • Call of Cthulhu as a Game
    • Melding of Two Games
    • What is a Role-Playing Game?
  2. Character Creation
  3. Skills
  4. Feats
  5. Sanity
  6. Combat
  7. Equipment
  8. Magic
  9. Creatures (Bestiary Contents)
  10. The Cthulhu Mythos
    • Humans and the Cosmos
    • Humans and the Mythos
    • The Cosmic Narrative
      • Space and Time
      • About the Cthulhu Mythos
      • True Gods
      • False Gods
      • Beasts
      • Avatars
      • Dreams
      • The End Times
    • Heresies and Controversies
    • Elements of the Mythos
      • Cults
      • Books
      • Magic
      • Gods and Monsters
      • Mysterious Secrets
      • Sinister Clues
      • Horrible Families
      • Strange Places
    • The Taste of Ashes
  11. The GameMaster
    • Storytelling
    • Atmosphere
    • Fear, Shock, and Horror
    • The Supernatural
    • Refereeing the Game
  12. Stories
    • Adventures
    • The First Story
    • The Journey into Mystery
    • Campaigns
  13. Settings
    • Time and Place: The Big Picture
    • Time Periods (Age of Empires, The Rough Beast, The Jazz Age, Rise of Darkness, The American Giant Wakes, The Cold War, The Hot War, The Dream Decays, Escalation to Globalism, New World Order)
    • Subgenres
    • Plot Hooks (from combining Time Periods with Subgenres)
  14. Adventures
  15. Appendices
    • Lovecraftian D&D Campaigns
    • Deities and Great Old Ones (Bestiary Contents)
    • A Brief Conversion System (BRP to D20)
    • Recommended Reading List
    • Sample Characters
    • Index
    • Character Sheet

Front Cover Text

"Based on the work of Lynn Willis & Sandy Petersen - Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game - Monte Cook and John Tynes"

Back Cover Text

"The Old Ones were. The Old Ones are. The Old Ones shall be. Ancient knowledge and dark secrets await those brave or foolish enough to delve into the depths of the unknown. Discover terrifying, malevolent creatures that defy the darkest recesses of imagination. Confront horrifying truths long hidden away from the minds of the sane. The risks of investigating such arcana reach way beyond death -- the the rewards exceed explanation. Inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, the Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game is a self-contained D20 System game that provides everything you need to explore the realm of horror."

Comments / Trivia

Out of print and no longer supported by both Chaosium and Wizards of the Coast. Contains no Open Game content. Full-colour illustrations.

Choasium released a couple of contemporary supplements that included dual BRP and D20 stats (Kingsport, Dunwich, Arkham, but discontinued support shortly afterward. Pagan Publishing released 2nd Edition Delta Green with dual BRP and D20 stats, and similarly discontinued support afterward.

D20 Call of Cthulhu differentiates itself from the traditional BRP game by focusing more on modern and pulp settings, and aiming for more of a cinematic quality with the use of "whammies" (little hallucinatory flashes of horror) in at least one scenario (reminiscent of psychic visions, dream sequences, and hallucinations seen in a number of horror films like The Shining or Poltergeist), and a number of plot hooks and story seeds pointing toward classic horror and horror/sci-fi films (such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Thing, Alien).


Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only

Players should not read any further.

Comment here to Keepers about this book. Comments on specific Scenarios and Campaigns go on their respective pages. Keep DISCUSSION on the talk page.

Chaosium released a Game Master's Pack containing a pulp scenario, a little more information, and a number of Errata, but the character sheets included in this pack still have some errors (such as Spellcraft being based on DEX instead of INT).

Should be of interest to keepers and GMs even if the D20 system is not used: most of the book consists of system-independent keeper advice on topics like atmosphere, setting, plot-hooks, and more that would be of interest to anyone interested in playing a cosmic horror game (or, for that matter, writing cosmic horror fiction).

Keepers and investigators expecting hack-and-slash combat from a D20 version of Call of Cthulhu may be surprised at how little combat can be found in the two scenarios included in this book.