By Chris Birch
It was 2012 when we first set out with members of Section M to confront the forces of the Black Sun. Majestic joined the fray in 2013 and the powerful Nazi rivals Nachtwolfe emerged on the scene. As 2013 marched on we saw the Kickstarter for the Achtung! Cthulhu that also launched Modiphius and set us on this strange path! It’s been amazing to see Achtung! Cthulhu live on through the RPG line, the Shadows of Normandie board game by Devil Pig Games, the Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics video game out on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam, a pilot for an audio series, the Dark Tales fiction anthology, Achtung! Cthulhu Skirmish miniatures wargame, t-shirts and a very nice satchel! We're currently in final beta testing on the new Achtung! Cthulhu Secret War boardgame and of course the new 2d20 edition of the RPG is imminent!
Having been a fan of weird war since I read Sergeant Rock and the Weird War comics as a kid I was no stranger to foul plots, Nazi secrets and heroic allies. We’ve all seen the Nazi zombie movies, and the ones with werewolves and vampires and… well you know how it goes. I wanted a deeper story for our adventure. After I discovered Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos I knew the essence was there, but as often happens with these things I wanted to push it a bit further.
The Cthulhu mythos really trades on these unstoppable eldritch forces where humankind is but dust under their feet. We can never defeat them merely prolong the inevitable. The first edition of Achtung! Cthulhu approached things with a somewhat more positive attitude, we’re probably doomed but by jove we’ll give ol’ Cthulhu a jolly good hiding on the way down, right chaps?! Saying that even our book Terrors of the Secret War presented readers with some of the most terrifying gods (with a little ‘g’) and creatures of the mythos. In this book you learn you can never truly defeat them but can learn how to banish them for another millenia, or send them to haunt another dimension. They’ll be another generation’s problem.
I’m married to Rita (my co-founder of Modiphius) who is from Belarus and as a result I’ve been able to spend time in the amazing Minsk War Museum. It really brought something home from the stories of the desperate defense of the USSR in World War Two. Soldiers who’s only way to stop a Tiger tank would be to somehow shoot a bullet through the vent at the end if it’s barrel to jam it, most would die trying but they’d keep trying in the vein hope one would succeed. They made a poster for soldiers detailing this and other insane ways of fighting the Nazi war machine. I realised that during World War Two the average person saw the Nazi’s as being just as unstoppable as we think of Cthulhu and the mythos in our gaming worlds. The Third Reich was this invincible machine rolling across Europe, North Africa and the USSR. How insignificant resistance fighters felt, how hopeless people felt early in the war. And yet they fought, and died, and more stood up to fight in their place for any chance that those who came after them might see the end.
This has shaped my vision of our corner of the cthulhu mythos, there are vast unknowing and ancient entities vying for control of the universe, and for this world itself. They seem unbeatable, but the outer gods were beaten once before because Yog-Sothoth is trapped in the Valley of the Black Sun... and that means maybe, just maybe they can be beaten again. Last time it took the vast power of the galaxy spanning Hyperborean civilization with the aid of the Elder Gods, what will it take next time?
With the new edition of Achtung! Cthulhu we are dialling up the pulp action, the terror and the hope. We’re focusing more on the secrets of our war against the mythos, the terrifying creatures, special weapons, ancient powers, hidden bases, lost ruins and as we expand on the world you’ll discover a new sense of purpose. Which brings me to the title of this blog, Against The Gods Themselves. You can expect to see this in a lot of our future releases. It’s the name for the universe where this all takes part, and we’ll be deep diving into different historical periods in the past, and future to play out the epic conflicts of the Secret War. There’s a saga that starts back with that epic Hyperborean war where titanic ships and technology that would seem like magic even today clashed in a conflict that shook the galaxies. It will span familiar civilisations and adventures through the millennia and lead us on a fantastic journey where every gaming world is connected.
Achtung! Cthulhu was our first foray and after Christmas we’ll be introducing another major new gaming world set in the same universe. We’ve got some stunning art and really amazing names working with us to bring it to err... slithering life ;-)
With that I want to leave those hungry for Achtung! Cthulhu news with a teaser below of what you can expect in the forthcoming Player’s Guide and GM’s Guide that will be going on pre-order in the spring. Here’s a quick insight into the chapters and contents coming your way.
Myself and Rita, and the rest of the Modiphius team hope you have a great Christmas after the chaos of this year, and we look forward to starting a new year together in 2021!
Achtung! Cthulhu Player’s Guide
The background to the Secret War, a run down of the new 2d20 system and an original piece of fiction.
- A Secret War
Rumours, innuendo and unverified accounts from the hidden conflict.
- Playing the Game
The core rule set and 2d20 concepts – with plenty of narrative examples on how to use them.
How to run action scenes, rules for movement, weapons, fighting and thrilling action-packed encounters.
- Heroes Are Forged
A step-by-step guide to creating your hero, choosing from diverse archetypes, backgrounds and characteristics, to forging a truly unique agent.
A selection of extraordinary abilities to give your agent the edge in conflict.
- Tools of the Trade
Every agent needs specialist weapons and equipment to get the job done, and this is where you’ll find them.
Cars, tanks, bikes and armoured vehicles to aid your fight against the forces of darkness.
Wield mighty arcane forces, seek strange artefacts and peer into dusty tomes, to battle the evil of the Nazi occult.
- The March of History
Historical background on some of the key World War II agencies and organisations you’ll encounter.
- Allied Forces
A breakdown of the companions and comrades-in-arms who will fight alongside you.
- Index and Appendices
Useful at-a-glance tables, references and information.
Achtung! Cthulhu GM’s Guide
- From the Shadows
Introduction to gamemastering with the new 2d20 system, and an original piece of fiction.
- The Secret War
A comprehensive new lore chapter on the history, formation, background, goals, missions and bases of Section M, Majestic, Black Sun, Nachtwölfe, the Deep Ones and Mi-Go.
- Secret Weapons of the Secret War
Advanced weaponry, technology, gadgetry and the supernatural arms and equipment used to wage the Secret War.
- Magic and the Mythos
The spellbooks of Nyarlathotep, Yog-Sothoth and Cthulhu, advanced ritualistic magic, and a wealth of new esoteric manuscripts and tomes.
- The Gamemaster
Expert advice on the 2d20 system, advanced tips and tactics for running scenes, creating memorable NPCs, and using Threat spends, all illustrated with in-play examples.
- Heroes and Villains of the Secret War
The special forces who take part in this hidden conflict, both individual heroes and specialist units from Section M and Majestic, and their terrifying counterparts in Black Sun and Nachtwölfe.
- The Bestiary
The sanity-challenging gods, monsters, creatures, demons, entities and foes of the Mythos, including extensive sections on Deep One and Mi-Go forces.
- Index and Appendices
At-a-glance tables, references and information.
If you’re not on the specific Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20 mailing list and would like to hear more about this edition click here to sign up.