Categorized | RPGs

Cthulhu Live 3rd Edition Review

Posted on September 8, 2007 by Matt-M-McElroy

Available at

Written by Robert “Mac” McLaughlin

Having been a fan of the Cthulhu Mythos and Live Action games for years, I was thrilled when I came across a book that merged the two. I first discovered Cthulhu Live years ago in its 2nd Edition format and had a blast running the game, creating characters and designing plot hooks for players. I had a lot of fun with the game and was really excited when I heard there was a 3rd Edition in the works.

Cthulhu Live 3rd Edition is the result of several years of refinement on an already great product. There are plenty of new ideas on bringing the stories inspired by Lovecraft to life in this new edition.

Character Creation in Cthulhu Live is fairly simple. Starting with your Primary Statistics (Education, Dexterity, Constitution and Power) followed up by Secondary Statistics, Advantages & Disadvantages and then Skills. There are plenty of different ways to customize your character, and the book offers some pre-generated Professional Templates including Archaeologist, Cult Leader, Gangster, Police Officer and Stage Magician just to name a few. The Professional Templates are great for fast character creation, but also can be modified slightly to allow you to personalize your character before the game begins.

One of the biggest improvements in this version of the game is Chapter 4: Magic. This chapter in the book is full of handy information on different Spells, Rituals and various Occult groups that the characters may interact with (or use) during a game. Beyond a simple list of Spells and their Magic Points “cost,” there is also information on Alchemy, Demonology, Witchcraft and other involved occult-based concepts that can add a bit of depth to any character in the game.

There are also over ten pages of instructions on designing props, costumes and make-up to create monsters that any LARP group can benefit from. Ideas ranging from latex masks to making wings are covered in the book. Rather than simply describing the horrible monster crawling up from the sewers, you can create the foul beast by following the instructions for cutting foam and adding the proper covering. There are even recipes for blood, slime and other horrors for player characters to encounter during a game. In my opinion, this is one of the best parts of this edition because it offers visual ways to enhance the horror mood that is so prevalent in the Cthulu Mythos.

The book wraps-up with short essays on Maximizing Game Locations and Safety and Security in Cthulhu Live which are good reads for anyone running any LARP regardless of the genre. The last couple of pages include a handy Keeper Cheat Sheet and Cthulhu Live character sheet for quick reference of Statistics, Sanity and other mechanics. The character sheet is fairly small, and it’s something that you could copy and fold to use as a small, handy reference tool while you’re LARPing.

Cthulhu Live 3rd Edition is a great book that is an easy-to-read manual with straightforward information and lots of options to enhance or run your LARP. There are plenty of photos of players in costume, as well as props and monsters, to give you a visual feel for how the game could be played. These photos help set the mood of the game, and give ideas for “how-to-build” your own stories. If you are a fan of H.P. Lovecraft or Live Action Role Playing, it would be worth it to buy this book, get together with some friends, and create some tales of your own.

Reviewer: Matt M McElroy

Cthulhu Live 3rd Edition adventures are available at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop.

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