Announcing: Trail of Cthulhu 2nd Edition!

“Labyrinthine complexity, involving curiously irregular differences in floor levels, characterised the entire arrangement; and we should certainly have been lost at the very outset but for the trail of torn paper left behind us.”

At the Mountains of Madness

You may have heard whispers in the aether, or seen faint shimmerings on the tablets of wisdom you consult in darkness, but now it can be told: Trail of Cthulhu is getting a second edition! Original edition creator Kenneth Hite and superstar writer-designer Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan are collaborating on the revision process under the keen eye of Pelgrane publisher Cathriona Tobin, with the goal of being ready for a Kickstarter launch this November.

That tight turnaround date should indicate that we’re not changing a lot about the first edition, which won two silver ENnies (Best Writing, Best Rules) and the Lucca Games Festival Best of Show Award, launched a score of innovative and exciting supplements and adventures that have helped redefine Cthulhuvian gaming in the 21st century, and has generally delighted and terrified thousands of gamers since it first appeared in 2008. Trail of Cthulhu has been the flagship RPG for Robin Laws’ GUMSHOE system, and for Pelgrane Press, ever since then.

But we have created a lot of GUMSHOE games and adventures in the fifteen years since then, and it makes sense to import some of those lessons and our current best-practice GUMSHOE advice into a new edition. We’ve also published two of the three campaign frames in the book (if you count Fall of DELTA GREEN as the heir to our “Project COVENANT”), so we need to replace them; character creation owes perhaps too much to legacy code and not enough to ease of play; and Ken’s original introductory scenario “The Kingsbury Horror” may be many things but “introductory” is not one of them.

Another thing that’s happened since 2008: a new edition of Dungeons & Dragons blew up, spawned an entirely new gaming audience, and reshaped the tabletop hobby in a lot of exciting ways. Where Trail of Cthulhu began as an homage to an older (and brilliant) game, a new edition needs to welcome a newer audience, who perhaps have heard of this “Cthulhu” and perhaps want to play a new game about it. So Ken and Gar (and Cat) are taking a look at the Great Old One and seeing where it makes old assumptions and where it can be made more welcoming to new players and new GMs — and perhaps run a little more smoothly for our earliest adopters as well.

For more details as we decide them, or to offer your own ideas for what we should (and shouldn’t!) change, visit the Pelgrane Discord.

Art note: For this post, I really wanted an image of Cthulhu recombining after being hit by the Alert, but I couldn’t find a free one online. However, I did find The Escape of the Alert by Armand Cabrera, which is not free but very much worth your while to check out.

3 thoughts on “Announcing: Trail of Cthulhu 2nd Edition!

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