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CthulhuTech Hardcover – December 3, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
I also really like how the Ctech story is continuing to "unfold" as the subsequent books get published, and the authors have said on multiple occasions that their setting has a beginning, a middle, and an end, so the GM gets to choose at what point their game takes place in and what the shape of the world at that time is in. It's pretty easy to tell where all the influences for the game came from; Dhohanoids are the same in form and function as the Zoanoids from Guyver, a lot of the character and mech design are lifted straight out of RahXephon and Evangelion. In fact, with all of its anime influences it works better as an anime rpg than a lot of the explicitly "anime" oriented ones, like BESM or Anima. However, my favorite part of the whole game is the "Framewerk" system. It's very adaptable for both small-scale interpersonal combat as well as large-scale war machine combat, and does not take very long at all to count up or resolve actions in either situation. The different scales also make the whole game more flexible in terms of what "sort" of game can be played out of it as well: do players like large-scale Warhammer 40K battles, or do players like small-scale infiltrate-and-double-cross Shadowrun sort of missions, or do players like Call of Cthulhu-esque sort of mystery games? It's all doable and it tends to work just as well. The overarching theme is staying sane in a world gone mad and ordinary people forced into extraordinary circumstances, again anime sorts of themes, and so there's a lot of flexibility in what sort of characters people can play, and the qualities and drawbacks system make it easier to sculpt a multifaceted, believable character from the get-go so it's easier to get deeper into the world. And the authors upload new free content to the website all the time, like new character sheets and book previews on top of regular stuff like art and desktops. They even have free quick-start rules so you can try out the game yourself before even buying it. Even though it's at heart a "horror" RPG, it's flexible enough that you can leave that stuff just sort of in the background, and have really ordinary, human sort of things going on with the backdrop of terrible things lurking just out of sight. I was really excited when the book went back into print and snatched me up a copy as soon as they were available.
Thematically, the developers obviously mixed elements of the Macross, Guyver, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Akira (in the Vade Mecum book) and even Pokemon-esque "pet trainers" (in the Damnation View expansion), with more common elements of the Cthulhu mythos, a fact they happily acknowledge at the beginning of every book. For those with deep-seated roots in either genre, there's a lot of meat here to sink your teeth into. For those unfamiliar, who want a non-standard sci-fi RPG, the result is no less rewarding.
Unsurprisingly, the system mechanics themselves vaguely resemble something similar to Shadowrun, but this serves primarily to simplify gameplay and allow a focus on the storyline elements and keep combat flowing rather than being something players will get repetitively and endlessly bogged down in. That having been said, the variety of spells, powers, mechanics, and so forth are nonetheless diverse and interesting.
An element of the main book, and each successive book, received as a mixed blessing by some people are the short story snippets prefacing each chapter. Some people found them tedious, others found them useful for setting a mood for the reader, and others ignored them entirely. Personally I found them interesting, but by no means invasive or obtrusively necessary to understand the concepts and goings-on in the books. Given that many systems these days do something similar, from Shadowrun's "in character" matrix-user commentary to Mutants and Masterminds' full-page comic book page spreads, the idea is to immerse a prospective player more fully in the gaming world. To that end, it works wonderfully. No one is going to collect the short stories into one feature-length critically-acclaimed novel, but they don't have to.
The only possible downside to the game is that, like many game systems, not all classes are meant to be played together. A mecha jock isn't likely to be an ongoing comrade of a Tager (Guyver-esque characters), for example. The reasons are story-bound, however, so while the scales of battle may be difficult to mix, and the inbuilt storyline reasons run contrary to it, a resourceful GM could still if absolutely necessary mix the two.
All in all, a solid 5 all around. Creative, enjoyable, excellent fan-mash up.
After awhile I finally purchased the game here at Amazon.com (thank you for the on time and hassle free shipping by the way) and after a week or two found the time to sit down and read it. It shocked me. Cthulhu mythos meets Evangelion meets Gundam (etc.) meets well, if you can think of a genre or idea its probably in here somewhere or in a supplement.
The game system is smooth and fairly easy to learn. There are no complicated charts or even very complicated ideas or rules to figure out. Everything is presented in a easy to read format. Even the background information is presented in as concise and quick a fashion as possible so as not to leave the reader overwhelmed with the material (as some of the White Wolf World of Darkness/Exalted products have left me feeling in the past).
I would say that this is on a par with the best Exalted material that White Wolf has published.
This game is a very high quality product and I cannot recommend it enough to anyone who enjoys any of the genres it is based on. Easily 5 out of 5 stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a) a terrible game system
b) badly disguised anime "homages" (Zentradi, Guyvers, Zoanoids, Evangelion)
c) Lovecraftian aliens...Read more